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If You Thought I Was That Sort of Person, You Shouldn’t Be With Me

creepy_cheater Did anyone see the interesting story in the New York Times the other day about the fake Buddhist monks in Times Square? Apparently, there are a bunch of charlatans dressing up as Buddhist monks and nuns and aggressively pan-handling on the street. Pressing bracelets on tourists and then demanding $20. Badgering people to donate to their “temple.”

Naturally, actual Buddhists (and others) are appalled. Some real monks have approached the fake monks and asked them about the Five Precepts of Buddhism — only to discover that they couldn’t name one. Most of them when questioned just run away.

But this particular tidbit stuck out for me.

One woman dressed as a nun said her temple was in Taiwan, but declined to give specifics.

“I cannot tell you where my temple is,” answered another woman dressed as a nun, who said her family name was Lin and that people called her Little Lin. “I won’t tell you. But it’s not that I don’t have a temple.” At another point, she grabbed at the sleeves of her robe and said, “If I didn’t have a temple, why would I be dressed like this?”


I suppose there are only so many ways to con someone. Being a mark on the street in my opinion is really not that different than being a mark in your marriage.

How many people can relate to that exchange with the “nun”? I know I can.

“I can’t tell you where I was last Friday. I don’t really remember. But really why should I tell you? Are you the Friday police? Of course I care about my marriage. I mean, I’m HERE aren’t I? Why would I be here if I was cheating?”

Mindfuckery is really so unoriginal.

My cheating ex used to do this schtick that inspired the cartoon above. He’d say “If you think I’m that sort of person, you shouldn’t be with me!”

Meaning — how DARE you insinuate I’m some sort of liar and cheat! If I were a liar and cheat, well, you wouldn’t be with me, would you? But AHA! You ARE with me, so ergo, I couldn’t POSSIBLY be that sort of person!

Yes, he really was a gassy gasbag of a gaslighter that one. You could cause an explosion from the combustible gassy lies that came out of his mouth.

I love how the faux nun tugs at her sleeve to “prove” she’s really a nun. Hey, if I didn’t have a temple, would I be dressed like this? 

Yes, yes you would if you wanted to defraud someone into giving you money because they believe you are a nun. The nun get-up is a disguise. The real you is a con. How do I know? Because you won’t answer really basic, inoffensive nun questions like “What temple do you attend?”

Or “Where were you on Friday?”

Of course, being a chump, I don’t want to believe that the world possesses people so debased that they would dress up as Buddhist monks and nuns to shake down people. It’s a much nicer world if I believe that people who dress as nuns are actually nuns. If I believe the appearance of nun over the substance of my experience — the unanswered questions, the non sequiturs, and the defensiveness.

Un-chumping requires us to trust our senses over what we want to believe. This lesson is as old as the expression “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

A con in nun’s clothing.

A cheater in a human suit.

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  • CL, any ‘normal’ person would read you and think you were harping on aggressively.

    But it takes a chump to get it. I have to confess, that THIS has been the absolute hardest thing to get my head around: …

    yes, he REALLY is like this. He really doesn’t care. ‘You’re not the boss of me’ really drives him. His pride is more important that other’s suffering. No, his family is not important enough to get real for. Not because my IC told me years ago, he was character disordered and wouldn’t change…

    this is who he is. It is a hell of a disguise to overcome, made worse by all the ‘normal’ people around you, who don’t believe you (and assume he is ‘normal’. The way I did, and used years of disbelief to keep at bay).

    • I think “normal” people believe there are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They just assume they wouldn’t be conned the way a chump was.

      But most of us don’t default to suspicion. Trust is the social glue that holds us together. It’s hard to see past appearances or rise above what we WANT to believe. Especially when the truth is so ugly and the con isn’t a fake nun, but the person we married.

      I think we all struggle with the Who They Really Are issue, or we wouldn’t be chumps.

      Is that an aggressive message? Or one that just bears repeating because it’s our biggest weak spot.

      • I love these messages CL! It has taken me almost a year of reading it over and over for it to finally sink in, and trust that he sucks. That he is not the person I thought he was, and is a true monster. We need to trust our gut always, and stop letting their cons distract us from the truth.

      • CL it is totally, totally our weak spot. Pretty hard also to accept you are not loved, never were and are not worth changing for. And you gave your heart for this.

        • So so hard to accept Patsy. I have been separated almost two years and I still have to remind myself every day that
          “he REALLY is like this. He really doesn’t care. ‘You’re not the boss of me’ really drives him. His pride is more important that other’s suffering. No, his family is not important enough to get real for.”

          After 20 years of being programmed that he was superman, it has been such a collision of feelings and thoughts in my poor little brain and soul.

      • I don’t find CL’s post today aggressive at all. And I love the “wolf in sheep’s clothing” metaphor. It helps explain the cheater to “normal” people, who think the cheater is a good person but also understand/ believe in the “wolves in sheep’s clothing” idea. I think it will help them reconcile in their mind how a seemingly “good” person could do something so bad. Thanks, CL, for giving us this communication tool 🙂

      • Yeah, if only there was a “lemon law” for spouses/partners! One of the toughest parts of being the betrayed one in a relationship, is that majority of outsiders take that opportunity to blame the chump for getting conned. Heck, even the fake Buddhists in Tracy’s article got exposed in the news! My cheating x? He got 100 people showing up to his surprise birthday party because “he’s SUCH a great guy!!” smh

        • That’s because ‘normal’ people don’t quite get it. Oh, they believe there are wolves in sheep’s clothing, but think there is a;ways a way to spot them (if you’re smart enough). What they don’t understand, is that they look – and act on the surface – as normal as pie.

          So, while we are eventually set free from our chumpdom, the friends that hang around are the ones still being chumps, because they don’t realize they are being conned.

    • I had trouble with this, too. How could the man I spent decades with and shared everything with possibly have a secret life with someone else? I just couldn’t get my head around it. It literally took me YEARS to see that yes, he really IS that sort of person.

      These days, I just watch his actions – which all tend to be self-centered. If it isn’t about HIM, he either makes it about him or changes the subject to him. It’s hard to believe I ever found that attractive…

      • I just saw my husband yesterday for the first time in about a month. (We’re 8+ months out from d-day). And while I was driving to meet him I had to remind myself of how it felt to have him click off his emotions for me and abandon me so that I could harden myself for the meeting. I have come to accept that I’ll never understand why he did what he did. I actually feel attraction to him, and feel pity for him in his circumstances, both of which shame me. But I now trust that he sucks. He IS the sort of person who can coldly turn his back on his wife when she’s literally on her knees to him. You’re right, Red, when we can’t figure them out, we just need to watch their actions.

            • It really will, ML! I liken my x to a good cheesy lasagna.. I LOVE it. I enjoy every cheesy saucy bite! But, having had the unfortunate experience of getting sick after eating it.. I don’t crave it anymore. It still smells great and I’m sure it tastes amazing. But knowing that I’ll end up feeling terrible afterward helps kill any true cravings.
              Hoping mental freedom for you very soon 🙂

              • not me! If I enjoyed that food tremendously before and it made me sick the last time I ate it, I may give it a try one more time (which I did-bad move on my part duh!) and if it made me sick again, well, I lose my appetitive for that dish, I don’t want to even smell it and it makes me gag! 😉

            • Agree because it’s hard at times to acknowledge what they did. My children said gosh Dad is really unattractive. I told them I used to find him really handsome (kids looked at me like I was on something) then explained to them well I did I was with him for 25 years. It’s hard to erase those feelings, but I’m getting there. I just have to keep reminding myself its the unattractiveness in the inside of him A side note 19 months into this. Thanks Chump nation,

        • I hear ya, Moving Liquid. Yesterday was the 6-month anniversary of Dday, and I too harbor those feelings of attraction to STBX. Crazy, isn’t it? After all they’ve done? But looking at it from our point of view..we spent such a huge majority of our lives with our spouses, and we would never do this to them. We can’t fathom how they did it to us. It’s nearly impossible to wrap our heads around it. As you said, he coldly turned his back on his wife when she’s literally on her knees to him. The hurt is unbearable.

      • My Narc X ALWAYS told these stories about himself, and commanded everyone’s attention. At first I was like- Wow, he’s so entertaining, he just gets people to focus on him, and he’s fearless! But it became apparent, over the years, that he would tell the same stories over and over, but conveniently cut me out of the picture, and even cool things I had done, suddenly HE had done them (or one of his guy friends).
        Anyway, as decades of this went on, I did notice eyerolls (not that story again…), or our sons would just laugh and leave the room. It must be fun for the Narc to endlessly tell the Fabulous Fable that is their life, but not so much for everyone around them. Maybe they stop growing, and get stuck, just all wrapped up in themselves.

        • Yes, my husband didn’t have the same old story, but he was always full of advice to inspire and help others. The trouble is he had no success in his own life so what good is all that knowledge and advice?

        • Wow, first time I notice this. My Narc always repeats his stories as does his supreme Narc father. And they need an audience to laugh with or be inspired by them , or repeat some of the parts they already know. So Narc…

          • Same here. His talking has become nonstop too, and the stories repeat, each time a little more embellished. Because he is in his early 60’s, I started spackling for him thinking it was early dementia setting in. But he clearly showed that he knew exactly what he was doing when it came to lying to me.

        • “Maybe they stop growing, and get stuck, just all wrapped up in themselves.”

          My husband had the same blindness When the tech industry boomed, he was innovated and creative. He raked in the money and was showered with praise, quoted in industry magazines. Twenty years later, he had the same message, the same examples even when the rest of his industry had moved on. He was no longer relevant but couldn’t see it. He only tried harder to sell his message.

          He was blind to the poor quality of his fiction writing too. He considered each one “brilliant.” Of course a narcissist would think he own work was brilliant. He’d hand out copies to family, his favorite waitress at nearby cafe, new acquaintances he met at conferences. It was cringe worthy, yet he didn’t pick up the social chest that the was coming on too strong.No one could finish them-too confusing some told him, but didn’t change his self-perception. Note: He NEVER revised his work. He sent copy after copy to agents with zero responses. After we separated (hmm..probably before) he hired a waitress he knew to answer a cell phone he gave her and pretend to be his secretary if an agent called. NO self-awareness.

      • I went thru this too. SO hard to imagine that he could do this stuff.
        But, I finally had the realization that even if he is 99% amazing, loving, fun, etc. He’s still 1% capable of breaking my heart and destroying our foundation. And he’s now proven that he’s at least 1% capable of hurting me horrifically. Took me years and one additional devastation to finally believe this.

        The tough part is that they aren’t all bad. Most of them are mostly good or else we wouldn’t have made a long term commitment. But, now we know…

        • Most of them are NOT mostly good, they make you believe they are good, so you will stay and commit to them long term, but inside, they are rotten to the core. What you saw and decided was good was nothing but a mask that they were wearing to keep you around, truly good people don’t fuck someone else, lie to you, sleep in your bed, have sex with you, laugh with you then they do the same things with someone else behind your back. If you knew right off the bat he was a lying cheater would you have made a long term commitment to them? Even if he was a good/great guy all around with everything else?

          • Goooonnnna haft agree with Nicolette14.

            “Goodness” has to be genuine. If a cheater is using manipulation to look good on the outside, but then pulls hurtful bullshit like that behind closed doors, that’s not real goodness. That’s a facade. It’s a tactic to get people to trust them for self-serving purposes.

            And all of them are self-serving. There are people here who’s exes are ministers. MINISTERS. There are people here who’s exes were active in the church, with various charities, philanthropy, even marriage counseling!

            The appearance of being good people is essential to a cheater. It’s called image management. A manipulative narcissist will do whatever they can to get people to believe they are GREAT. Narcissists like lots and lots and lots of attention. They want people to flock to and fawn over their greatness. If they establish a reputation of being awesome, then it’s easier to play the victim when they get caught cheating. Image management is the predecessor to controlling the narrative. If everyone believes they are great, no one will believe the chump.

            “Oh he’d never do that! He’s a great guy!”
            “He must have had a reason to cheat, his wife must be awful!”
            “Well, she told me her husband was a cold jerk, and she’s so sweet, I can’t blame her for straying!”

            That’s kind of the very definition of a “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing.” Someone who outwardly appears nice and gentle and kind, but underneath is a vicious, cruel creature.

            So, no, they are not mostly good. That “goodness” is the sheep’s wool covering wolfen fangs.

            • beautifully put Kara, very well said and my last sentence on my earlier post should’ve said;
              “Even if he seemed like a good/great guy all around with everything else?”

            • Exactly right. The cultivation of image above all else is what matters to most of these folks. There is no such thing as an altruistic deed; there is always a motive, a maneuver, a con. And beware of the fangs once the mask slips-the level of viciousness is frightening. That’s how they maintain the facade (and the control), with false charm and swift retaliation for anyone who challenges them.

            • Nicely said Kara. Just finished reading “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing.”
              My husband is known as the most decent, kind, gentle, giving boss, father and husband. But underneath that facade is a very cruel half human that has verbally and physically abused me for 22 years. And he has broken me to an extant that I remain terrified of functioning without him.

              • I’m so sorry he treated you like that, MGirontree. My wife has verbally and emotionally abused me for years and I, too, am terrified of functioning without her. People tell me I’m brave, and talented, and bright, but mostly I feel just not up to life. I’ve been broken down, by my wife and by other abuse in my life. But you know what? I’m getting better. You will too.

          • I’m going with nicolette14 on this one. If there was any good in them, they’d have a conscience and not tear us apart.

        • UnderConstruction,

          Said gently. I really don’t think that anyone who is capable of “hurting you horrifically” is mostly good. Especially if they are capable of it more than once.

          It is true that good people often do dumb things and hurt those around them, but truly good people learn from the mistake and do everything possible not to repeat it. Disordered people hurt you, and then hurt you again, and then again.

          I used to think something similar to what you express about my ex. I don’t anymore. She is capable of great beauty and caring, but she is also capable of real callousness and ugliness. One does not make up for or excuse the other.

          As for them being mostly good or we wouldn’t have loved them. I think that is wrong too. In my case, I can completely say that I chose to love her despite the ugliness. That is what I have been working on since she left.

          Please know that I was in no way attacking you or arguing with you. Just something to think about.

          • Mmm, thanks for this, guys! Def something to think about in the coming days/months. Guess I don’t see it as cut and dried. I have a family history of not being treated so great as a kid so maybe it’s just ingrained spackling? I appreciate your perspectives for sure and I don’t take differences of opinion as attacks at all. One of the biggest things I’m currently working on is my boundaries and level of empathy I give away for free to people. I just don’t see it (as of now) as all good or all bad when it comes to humans – but I’ll think about it for certain.

            • Those of us who have family histories of abuse or neglect (or both) are vulnerable to people who love bomb or those who sense our hunger for kind treatment. They show us whatnwe’ve always wanted and we, not having experienced the genuine love and caring of others, fall for the genuine naugahyde version. At least that is what I’ve learned in therapy–I am often starved for kindness and my picker is trying to get me some food. Sometimes I’ve felt overwhelmed when some stranger does me a random act of kindness. The fix for this is to be kind to yourself. Every day. And to have one or two friends who know you need to practive reciprocal kindness. Fixing that picker!

              • Thanks! I do know I have a lot of work to do. I don’t want to drag any of this old crap into any new relationships.

            • UnderConstruction, I understand exactly. After DDay I would hear myself say that he is good and didn’t mean to hurt me. I still have doubts that maybe I am too harsh in my judgement of him. I have made excuses for so long that I fall into that trap again and again. He would tell me “Look at how mad you get me that I have to get physical with you.” He has done a number on me that is going to take years to fix.

              • Ugh. I’m so sorry. Where I’m at with my x is that he cheated once and I kicked him out. He and his ow ended, he came back and I let him into my heart again. Then spent several years feeling like 50% of myself was dead due to the lack of trust and respect. Very recently he started sleeping with someone so now it’s over and I don’t want us to have another chance.
                I still feel that he has many good qualities, but I didn’t deserve to be disrespected or lied to. Neither do you. It goes against the idea that they are completely bad people, but I see it as someone can have some good parts to them, even when they are not even close to being good enough for you to trust your heart with and build a relationship with.

                Your story breaks my heart, honestly. You deserve to feel secure and expect joy and genuine respect and love in your life. I hope you can find the courage to get out on your own and rediscover who you are, because I’m sure it’s a thousand times more beautiful than your husband has made you feel about yourself. Please don’t ever let him lay another harsh word or physical hand on you again.

                If you can watch youtube videos, I strongly suggest watching some on “narcissists or abusers in relationships” and also “codependent relationships and how to break free”. Just search those quoted bits on youtube. Knowing the cycles of pushing you away and pulling you back in that cheaters or abusers do to you can help you change your thinking and to start to break free. You deserve so much better than what you’ve explained.

          • I agree. I didn’t fall in love with my ex because he was “mostly good.” I fell in love with his facade. Someone I thought that he was, but whom doesn’t really exist. I fell for his image instead of his real self. By the end of our relationship, he had shown me his real self in full view, because I had been manipulated to the point where I would just take the abuse and had no self-esteem left. I tried and tried and tried to fight for our relationship, but I was fighting for something that was never real. I couldn’t make him go back to the man I fell for because that man never existed.

            • I sat down the other night and tried to write up the history of our 35 year relationship starting with how we met, our first fight, etc. I got as far as the first fight when I realized that I should have run like hell way back then. It was the first example of “crazy making,” the first time that there was no logic or reason to his anger or cruelty. I was terrified, but being only 19, I couldn’t stand the thought of losing him so I continued a life of spackling. All I can say now is that I wish I had listened to my mother way back then who highly disapproved of him -albeit for the wrong reasons-so I used lots and lots of spackle through the years to show her that she had been wrong and he was wonderful. She came to believe it too. Although I would give anything to have my mother today, I am glad that she does not have to witness what we are going through now.

              • I want to say thanks again for pointing out that my views of my x are still cloudy. Our first 8-9 years were very good and he’s helped me just as I’ve helped him as far as work (we’re both in the arts). After his secret affair of 1.5 years, I did kick him out and started working on a life w/o him. His ow dumped him and he came back so seemingly honest, and I was feeling stable, had good work projects going, and I thought we could try for a reconciliation. We were bot very young when we first got together and I think I thought “ok, we’re older and more mature now, maybe starting over can work”.

                That’s where I’m tracing the disrespect and muddy boundaries and muddy commitment back to. I’ve been thinking about all that you guys have pointed out. I’ve been crying for a few hours now and I think I’m starting to see that he hasn’t been a good person to me since his first affair. There has been a lot of sadness on my part during this fake reconciliation even though we were still having good times together and had successful projects together. I thought it was normal for trying again after an affair I suppose. Or something. Now I don’t know what to think.

                Last weekend I’d found out that he’s been seeing someone for the past few months – we’ve been living in different cities for months due to work – and I was so happy because I felt freedom instead of sadness over this second time of him cheating. I felt done with him anyway and was sure I’d never take him back, but was still not bothering myself to be angry at him. I was more like whatever, better luck with his next wife, etc.

                Now, I’m feeling really upset and thinking back on times of struggle and conversations and getting upset that maybe he really was a terrible person for these whole past 9 years, just using me and all. I’m feeling confused now about why I’d still say he was not 100% bad if he could break me like he did the first time. This feels awful, but it’s good to think more deeply on it I’m sure.

                Anyway, totally freewriting here, sorry so long. Just wanted to come back and say thanks for the kick, because it may be helping to save me from not seeing problems in the next guy I fall for. (which wasn’t in my plans anyway for at least a year or so while I work on me… but this wasn’t something I had been thinking about, him being a truly bad guy and everything.)
                Sorry so rambly, hope it makes sense.

            • Kara. Exactly same feeling, same disorientation, same sadness for what doesn’t really exist.

            • Kara, you just described my relationship with my imaginary husband.

      • here here! I see that all time! My situation imploded when my x decided he was going to break some things in the house, and prevent me from leaving and calling police. well, we are in separate places now, and today I find out he is being charged with 2nd degree assault. I know he was served a few days ago, but he is playing real nicey nicey to me right now. I think he thinks I am not aware. I think I will just sit on this and wait to see if I get a subpoena. Guess he is hoping I don’t know so I won’t show.

    • My therapist and I talked about this yesterday. She is not one to “unravel the skein” of the Jackass’s “fuckedupedness” and refuses to diagnose him beyond saying:
      1. He can’t do a real relationship or he wouldn’t have done what he did to you;
      2. You need to be able to spot these people and avoid them.

      I knew this con for over 30 years as a true “friend.” It’s taken me 6 months to be able to look at the beginnings of our long “friendship” and see that he was a con from the time he was in school and he saw me as a mark in the game he was playing. Once he got what he wanted from me, he tossed me aside like a bored child, in favor of conning a screwed up married woman who “worships” him. He’s put here aside for now, but he can hoover her back when needed. One sign that I am nearing “meh” is that I don’t care whether he keeps her on his string, or focuses on his mommy (the uber prize) or chats ups the next MOW as he sits on the recliner in Mommy’s house, where he is now “the patriarch” of a bunch of people who don’t like him. I don’t miss him any more because I know that the end result of any relationship with him is devastation. He wants to walk away with a plausible excuse or he wants to gaslight and blameshift and goad the woman into breaking up with HIM or accepting his discard, for the moment. It’s all there in his history. And it won’t change. He’s over 50 and pretty satisfied with himself on one level, since all his failures are someone else’s fault.

      • Oh my gosh, LovedaJackass, he sounds so much like my husband. No remorse, everything is someone else’s fault. You’re a bit closer to “meh” than I am but I’m getting there.

  • Cheater in a human suit!

    What was it about ME that never questioned. I always believed the creep because it was plausible, ” Hey, I have to take XYZ client to dinner. You know we are trying to close that deal.” . Well, yea. Heading to the Hyatt on Lake-Cook Road because super OW flew in from CA for a 48 hr fuckfest.

    I a mark for a chump blind trust? I mean his behavior was never outrageous. I used to work for the same company, so I knew the culture and how things “got done”.

    I think I am becoming better at not listening to the wolf and actually watching what the wolf does dressed as a sheep. The fake monks, I’d believe that they were actually monks until the panhandling.

    I would still like to trust initially and within reason that what people say is the truth.

    • I agree trust within reason and pay attention to actions.

      Where we become chumps is at the point the monk is panhandling (that doesn’t make sense, monks don’t aggressively panhandle), we should doubt their monk credentials. Or worse, we find out that they are fraudulent monks but we believe stories that, hey they needed the money, or really they did this to save up for monk seminary, or it’s not what it looks like.

    • Actual monks are required to beg for food/funds. It’s probably what attracted the fake monks to charade.

      Actual monks probably won’t do a bait and switch on you, though.

      Now, Hari Krishna devotees do something similar by “giving” you books, and then soliciting contributions. I have a bunch of Krishna books I never gave a dime for because I kept the books and said “no thanks” to the solicitation. I even managed to talk one Krisha out of his personal copy of the Bhagavad Gita before taking a pass on the contribution 🙂 Krishna devotees are chumps, and they’re looking for more chumps, IMO. But hey, they do feed the poor (along with Catholics and others) in the Bay Area (not that I would eat what they are serving, but… beggars can’t be choosers, right).

      • The article mentions that about real monks beg, but apparently they are not allowed to ASK, they just have a bowl. And they cannot make eye contact or even acknowledge the donation/gift.

        Humility vs. Entitlement. Here’s a bracelet, give me $20 NOW.

        • Yeah, one of the principles that the monks believe is to “Not take that which is not freely given.” In certain monasteries, they walk through the village with their bowls, and they aren’t begging for money, they beg for meals. The people who live within the near vicinity of the monastery understand the practice and give food or basic necessities.

          There is no way in hell that a real monk would be charging people $20 for bracelets in NY. That’s such bullshit.

          I believe in a lot of Buddhist principles. One of which is not willfully telling a falsehood, not taking that which is not given, and not using people as a means to an end. What those fakes were doing is just…disgraceful.

    • This whole conversation about appearance and listening to someone while they are gaslighting the Hell out of you reminded me of a book I read shortly after 9-11 on survival and trusting your instincts. A lot of the people who perished in the towers had started to leave because their instincts told them that something was terribly wrong. Yet, when announcements were made that they should return to their offices and security guards were telling them they were safe, they did indeed return to their desks!! They overrode their instincts instead of trusting themselves and we all know how that ended for many of those poor souls! I have always trusted my gut and for 58 years it served me well, but then I was so shaken by my husbands blatant infidelity, I foolishly spent 18 months listening to his lies and BS! What a waste! Now, I trust my gut again, I listen to what comes out of someone’s mouth, but I watch closely where their feet go! More often than not that will tell you the real truth! I think a combination of disbelief, trauma and just pure BS keeps us trapped in the “burning tower”!! It’s just so foreign and surreal, but once you realize it’s a matter of survival then you kick the asshat to the curb and get on with life! I hate I wasted 40 years and an extra 18 months, but I learned more about survival from this awful event than that book could ever teach me!

      • This is a great analogy. I’ve read a lot about 9-11, too. What conditioned the “authorities” to tell people to go back to their offices was the experience of the previous car bomb at the WTC that put smoke into the exit stairwells. So add faulty decision-making and acting on old models to your good list of what keeps people trapped. For example, because people fear returning to a difficult financial situation (something from the past), they hunker down in a disaster that’s getting worse right in the present moment. Or because “they” say that marriages should be saved at all costs or kids need two parents (as if the cheater was actually engaged in raising the kids) or “people make mistakes,” chumps stay trapped in the “burning tower.” One of my favorite writers in Laurence Gonzales, who wrote “Deep Survival” and “Everyday Survival,” two books about how to survive in catastrophic circumstances and why people make choices that end disastrously, often because they can’t see the situation as it exists. One big problem is having an incorrect “mental map” of a situation. We Chumps have a faulty mental map of their relationships until D-Day, when the truth about our situation comes out. CL’s advice for surviving infidelity is all about correcting our mental maps. Get evidence. Get finances in order. See a lawyer. The Cheater is not your friend. In other words, figure out where you stand in real-world, present and future oriented terms and protect yourself. No wonder she calls the book a “survival guide”!

    • You can trust, just be cautious and see the actions and really listen to all words spoken. If you hear or feel something inside of you that makes you go, wha?, know that there is a reason you went wha?, it’s a valid one even if it doesn’t make full sense. It’s your gut warning you that something isn’t right!

      I had a lot of those and waited until the wha?’s made sense. They never did and of course over time the Wha’s? Just grew in size and frequency until DDay. Boom , I was gone.

      Now I trust myself and if a wha? Ces along I am gone, no need to wait and see what’s coming next, I now know.

  • If we were horrid people we would be able to understand quickly how the con men operates. However since we are decent people and would never dream of some of the things these mindfucks are capable of, that is why it takes us forever to get a real grip on it.
    How could we have loved such assholes? I am sure everyone asks themselves this question at some point. Disgust doesn’t even begin to cover it….I’m at a really bad place right now but I have immense patience and I know that my sun will shine.
    Many times I just wish he would die so I won’t have to deal with it and I know that I am not a bad person for wanting another dead. My heart has been trampled on and handed back to me and that is what I cannot deal with.
    We are all trusting people here and we always wanted to believe the best.

    • Agreed, Lioness, I’m 57 and just learned that lesson, which is awfully late in life. That innocence (gullibility) has now been stripped away which I think I’ll get used to, but it’s so hard.

      • Lioness…sometimes I think the only respite I will ever get from the torture and mind fuck that was him is when he is in the grave.

        • yep, because just when you think all is ok and the NC is working well. they just find another angle to come at you and try and start the shit all over again.

          My STBX called last night under the pretense of asking how our youngest was only to then reveal the true nature of his call. He wants my help in rebuilding the bridge he willingly destroyed between him and our son (15).

          I must confess this has left me a little bewildered.

          • Sammie, I suspect it’s all a plea for kibbles. My ex did the same thing. At the time our teenaged sons were in counseling, so I sent ex to meet with the boys’ therapist. The therapist gave him lots him suggestions for how to rebuild to relationship, but he never did any of the work.

            Finally, a year and half later, the ex was trying to look good in front of a new girlfriend, so he asked for his mid-week visitation again. At that point, only my youngest son was willing to see him. That visitation lasted just over a year. When youngest turned 18 in May, he decided he wasn’t willing to spend time with his dad any longer. I guess XH thinks he has the new girlfriend sufficiently impressed because he is making no effort to maintain any kind of contact with 4 of our 5 kids now.

            Sammie, if you have a custody agreement follow it, but don’t try to take ownership of your son’s relationship with his father. It’s between the two of them.

            • Elizabeth Lee, I hear you. Thanks

              The sudden fain of interest in the son at the moment I think is to impress his management team as the son has stopped attending our old church and they would be pressuring STBX to get son back into the fold. I from the beginning have allowed my son to make his own decision in relation to his father as it was his information that led to our initial separation. I had tried for years prior to d’day to get STBX to engage in a meaningful relationship with our son to no avail. It is no longer my job to do so. I do hope that one day they will have a working relationship, but at this point I don’t see it happening.

              • Glad you aren’t falling for it, Sammie D. You are indeed mighty!

    • “However since we are decent people and would never dream of some of the things these mindfucks are capable of, that is why it takes us forever to get a real grip on it.”

      That’s it, right there. And what I fell in love with – and kept loving despite evidence to the contrary – was the man I thought he was, cause I honestly didn’t know there was any other kind. I now know him for what he is, and that’s a guy I want absolutely nothing to do with.

  • I got mindfucked with this reasoning repeatedly – he’d tell me part of the story, and it wouldn’t make sense, and when I tried to figure out the rest he’d deny it and say “why would I tell you one part and not the whole thing?” uhhhh because you were going to get caught on that part anyway, and the whole thing is even worse, OBVIOUSLY. I had to check with my best friend at times to make sure I wasn’t going crazy (which my ex told me I was). Asshole.

    • That is one of the most insulting things ever- to be told you are the crazy one, the nut, the one with who doesn’t have a clue about life! Yeah, I had to keep ‘checking’ with my close friends, and my Mom, Dad, and sisters, to make sure I really was the sane one! I SO don’t miss that! I’ve always trusted my own ability to judge, and choose the right path, but over the last 5-6 years of our marriage, he tried so hard to take that away from me, too!

      • Mina also lied by omission for the whole time his affair was happening. I was called paranoid more that several times when I’d ask too deep of questions. After the truth came out and while we were trying for a reconciliation I said something like “my intuition apparently isn’t all that accurate!”… to which he replied “No! Your intuition is very good!”. Meaning, the questions I had asked over his secret affair years were probably waaay too close to busting him so he deflected and simply blamed me for being paranoid. Easy peasy.

        • lying by omission,
          Mine is an expert at this form of deception. When I asked STBX if he had been with ‘an’ other person he was able to look me in the face and state NO, because the truth was he had not been with one other he had been with multiple other people.
          Clearly my questioning was not accurate enough to induce the right answer.

          • UGH. Mine said once that when I asked him if he was sleeping with someone and he said no, that it was accurate because he wasn’t sleeping with her “at that moment I asked him”. If he spent as much time recycling cans as he did rationalizing his lies he’d be a millionaire.

        • Yeah….I got accused of being paranoid too. Turns out I was just really smart.

          Probably the only thing I still want to slap him for….calling me paranoid, the whole time he was screwing around. What jerks.

          • what’s been one of the harder things for me is that the gas lighting, being called nuts, a liar, making things up – is how my mother has always treated me. So all I ever wanted was to leave home and make a family for myself in a home that was warm and welcoming, respectful and honest. H had a short term relationship with a psycho underling, and blew it all up while treating me horrifically. I have nightmares – real actual middle of the night dreams – where I tell my mother that h cheated and she blames me, rolls eyes and tells me it never happened, that I make shit up and exaggerate and “cmon, nic, really? you’re so dramatic”. I figured by my mid 40s this hurt would abate, not be re triggered. She’s emotionally fucked up, always has been, and I basically replaced her with him. Perimenopause isn’t doing my emotions any favors recently either.

            • Those dream are a real gift to you (as awful as they are) as you have been presented with a clear image of what you are up against–two abusive narcissists, one of whom is your mother. Been there myself, so it is territory I know well. You have cut the cord with your mother. That doesn’t mean stop talking to her or turn your back–that means you must (must!) cut the emotional cord by which she has access to hurting you. That means acknowledging that she hurts you deliberately and figuring out (perhaps with a good therapist) how to put boundaries in place to protect yourself. Remember all narcissists, not just our cheaters, love kibbles, and baiting you in this way produces kibbles. After my father died, I took my mother out to lunch and she proceeded to tell me that my father had an affair with a high school classmate of mine and there was a baby. I was eating a taco salad and suddenly couldn’t chew and swallow–like a mini D-Day experience. I will never forget her eyes as she watched me–they were glittering. Of course the whole thing was ridiculous, just a lie meant to cause me terrible harm a few weeks after my father died. From that point on, I was done taking in her poison. Your dreams are showing you that she is poisoning you. Don’t take it in. there is nothing wrong with you. And what’s “dramatic” is the behavior of two narcissists who cannot live a moment that is “warm and welcoming, respectful and honest.” You are capable of living that way, having that kind of life and home, once you cut the cords that allows these two whackos to hurt you. I strongly believe in limited “no contact” with narcissistic parents. Never share any personal business. Refuse to have conversations about your personal life. Talk in pleasant generalities. Disengage emotionally. And do the work to get years of mindfuckery and self doubt out of your head. I literally went to the bridge in my hometown, had a little ceremony and threw my mother’s wedding ring in the river, symbolizing my commitment to allowing her pathology to be washed away by a force greater than myself. I will no doubt have struggles all my life–witness that I picked a narcissist as my next partner. But it took only 18 months to see through his facade and now I am far stronger against those old voices in my head, and those old needs for the kindness of con artists.

              • thank you. what’s great about this site is finding out over and over again that I’m not alone or crazy in how i feel. one is not supposed to dislike ones mother, and yet….thank you.

    • Yeah. I found out from a former coworker of my wife’s that her affair had lasted a year longer than the five months she’s told me. “That’s ridiculous,” she said. “Why would I lie about that? Shauna can be really deceptive, and she hates me.” “so how long did it last?” “What did I tell you — three months?” “You said five.” “I can’t remember everything.”

      • aarrgghhhh. sounds like my mother when i was growing up and my husband when he was tap dancing like shirley temple on speed during my q and a period. this is how people make you think you’re crazy. like this is deceptive shauna’s fault? cray cray.

        • yah — just crazy-making. and if shauna does hate her it’s largely because she put her in the horrible position of knowing about an affair involving her boss (my wife’s AP), when she couldn’t afford to lose her job by telling me. the “deceptive” part comes from the boss using shauna to spy on my wife, who was spying on the boss. long, complicated story involving money.

          • My mother in law is the co owner (with h) of the business where h and ow worked. So the full reveal of the affair had to involve her, the grand duchess of narcissist-land. Long and complicated and money? I totally understand what you mean. The affair is over, the ow got canned, and my mil hasn’t spoken to me in 7 months. She’s a marriage counselor. That’s my support system since I was moved very far from my home for his job. Sometimes I think I should get a divorce just so I could erase that woman from my life. My h has blamed me for years about the state of my relationship with his mother, but after all this, he’s seeing her differently. And Im starting to shake my guilt over having absolutely no respect for her at all. Creepy and complicated? The OW is my mil’s clone. It’s like duck dynasty with less brains and no money.

            I made my husband read all the emails to me, out loud, between him and ow. Then read to me the emails I had sent him when I was suspicious and he was lying to me calling me crazy for cocoa puffs. Then I asked him to tell me who was the ridiculous one in this situation. Then I put everything in a binder and made a copy for the ow’s husband.

  • My stomach lurched reading this post. On hindsight, oh beautiful hindsight, I swear that I would have felt less humiliation if I were filmed nose diving full tilt into a portable toilet. Sending hugs to the chump nation! Are we mighty? Damn right we are!!

    • Given a choice, and in hindsight, I gladly would have nose-dived into a porta-potty, instead of being gaslighted and cheated on. The cleanup would have been much easier.

  • Mine used his seemingly normal aesthetic sensibilities to gaslight me. When I confronted him with evidence of dirty emails to one of his affair partners, some of which referenced a recent meeting, he became very angry at the suggestion that he would EVER touch her with a ten-foot pole. “Do you know what she looks like?”, he sputtered, before comparing her to an obese member of my family. She was morbidly obese, on SSDI, and had a face that looked like the back of an old man’s balls (assuming the ballsack came with the physiological oddity of a raging goiter). Obviously, he was just playing with her to boost her ego, right? Did I truly believe he would ever be attracted to that, given that he was a handsome and fit guy? I must be insane.

    He apparently was, given the fact that he was able to consummate numerous unprotected sexual encounters with her (and others) during our relationship, including one within days of our wedding (and when I was pregnant). He solicited pics of her flabby, navel grazing tits. He also had a profile on, as well as other dating sites (just looking, of course).

    The kicker? I had gained 18 pounds from the day we first met to DDay and was constantly struggling to lose them, only to regain. I needn’t have bothered!

    • Oh, Wastedheart, within days of your wedding? So sorry to hear that.

      My cheater didn’t gaslight me about her attraction to her drunk, overweight, 15 years older than her boss — she didn’t have to, it literally never occurred to me. Later, though, in marriage counselling, when I asked how she could be attracted both to me and to this guy, she was pretty huffy. Well, not IN marriage counselling, because she always kept quiet then, but AFTER: “Do I have to justify the attraction to you?” Well, no, but …. WTF?

      • My ex always acted like who he had slept with was absolutely NONE of my business. WTF, indeed!

    • My husband had that attraction to fat women too, but unlike you I was fat. The difference was I didn’t want to be fat, didn’t like myself fat, and found the websites he looked at with naked fat women in thongs and high heels just degrading and sorry, but gross. I didn’t want to be thought of as one of those women. (And he really did want me to buy a thong and put on fuck-me shoes). At d-day I weighed 267 and now, 8 months later I weigh 198. I’ve decided that I don’t want a man who finds a 200+ woman sexy — it’s just not what I want for my life! I don’t know why my husband feels attracted to obese women, but I feel it has something to do with how easy it is to fuck with their minds and be the peacock in the relationship, at least that’s how it was for my husband.

      • Moving Liquid..great job on the weight loss! I too struggle with my weight. Always have. On Dday I weighed 256 pounds, I am now down to 224, and working on continuing to lose much more! I’ve been walking at least 5 days a week, right now I’m almost up to 3 miles. I’m frustrated..because I’ve been walking for 2 months now, and I haven’t lost any more weight!

    • Oh Wastedheart!

      Cheating within days of your wedding? What a foul pig he is! (And my apologies to hard working pigs everywhere for the insult.)

      The STBX threatened to leave me if every became “too fat.” He frequently and privately ridiculed overweight women, particularly ones who were overweight and whom he considered additionally unattractive in other ways. I did gain weight after the children and was not happy with how I looked, although I was never obese. I never realized why it was difficult for me to lose weight until I realized that constant stress, emotional eating, undiagnosed depression, etc. makes it almost impossible to take off weight. Well, a couple of d-days later and I’m almost back down to my old weight, but with battle scars intact. The OW? Very overweight and only passable looking on her good days. Once I lost weight, he posted on FB about the beauty of whale-sized women. Years ago, when she wanted to sleep with him he told me he would never be with someone as screwed up in the head as her (and she was much thinner). To this day, I cannot honestly say he wasn’t lying and sleeping with her then. Lying Hypocrite they name is Flaming Turd from Satan’s Ass.

      His behavior has nothing to do with how anyone looks on the outside – it is how he looks on the inside and that big, gaping hole that he is constantly attempting to fill through validation and adoration from anyone willing to join his adoring fan club. Skinny kibbles, chunky kibbles, whale kibbles, ugly kibbles, pretty kibbles, passable kibbles – just give him kibbles.

      • True, true. I don’t think stbx actually had a special attraction for fat; appearances simply weren’t a factor. His centrality to his affair partners, and their willingness to settle for meager attention scraps and sex dates solely on his terms and schedule (usually daytime, while wifey worked), was what mattered. What kind of woman will settle for a guy coming by for a noon-time blowjob, knowing he would never be seen in public with her, even if he wasn’t married? Someone with zero self-esteem. That’s the attraction, not the circumstances that made her that way.

      • My stbx stated he didn’t care what they looked like. The only thing on his list was how they made him feel. As long as they were willing to put up with his demands, wait in the wings, and desperate for happy meal dates and drunk sex it was ok. Seriously who wants a drunken old fool pawing all over them? From what I gathered in her emails she wasn’t pleased with his constant need for alcohol or drugs induced sex but side pieces have no say when it comes to cheaters behavior. He was a cheap old dude but it really didn’t matter the size or age attached to the vagina. The key word being vagina.

        • My husband used to tell me “Men will fuck anything.” And I should have caught that as a red flag. I still hope that’s not true. I hope it’s only true that SOME men will fuck anything.

          • This one girl had a huge crush on my then 14 year old son, she wanted to date him so badly, my cheating asshole X said to my son, “why don’t you date her and get some until you find a girl you want to date? Its not like you’re going to marry her” my son looked at him and said ” I cant do that, I feel nothing for her and that would be using her and that will hurt her feelings, that’s just wrong.” yep, my 14 year old son with integrity– versus 46 year old pig!! (we were already having problems and his true colors were showing)

            • Great job on raising your son! He’ll be a keeper one day.
              [is he still 14? my daughter turns 14 this summer 😉 ]

              • Thank you and yes, he will make a great husband and father someday! He is 16 now and dashingly handsome 😉

        • That’s Jackass to a T, minus the vagina part. His MOW had several highly attractive qualities, none of which has anything to do with her looks. She worships him. She was needy. She has a husband he can “compete” with. And because she is married, he has both his triangle and his exit strategy. Her educational level was lower than his; she makes less money; her skill levels are not comparable (in comparison to my somewhat higher earning power, advanced degrees, professional status and reputation). He didn’t have to pay for dates, contributed to her upkeep, buy gifts, or spend face time with her if he wan’t in the mood. Most of his kibble-scarfing could be done sitting in Mommy’s recliner in the house where he was raised and in which he will no doubt spend the rest of his life. In some cases, it’s not about the sex. It’s about keeping the ego fed, about the desperate need to keep inflating the bubble that they must live in. about getting the “hit” of those first heady weeks of “falling in love with a soul mate.” The problem with sex for guys like the Jackass is that it puts him on the road to possible commitment, which is to be avoided at all costs. He prefers the pre-sex drama.

    • do you think he had a profile on because he thought he could find chumps there?

      • Certainly it smacks of predatory behavior.

        Look, I think that there are people for whom heavy = sexy. That’s fine. I’ve met Big Beautiful Women and Big Handsome Men.

        However, people who troll the websites are not looking for the confident big women or big men; they’re on the hunt for those who will accept being the side-piece, of getting the table scraps instead of the main course. They’re the ones being fed lines to the effect that they’re lucky to have someone so attractive as the Cheater interested in them.

        Truly these cheaters are wolves among the sheep!

        • kb and Diana L – My ex was outraged when I accusedhim of “predatory behavior.” He had (has) this narrative in his head that he’s a “helper”; that he liked being needed by his harem of losers; that they each got more out of the relationship than he did. He saw himself as victimized, pressured and, in the case of one ex-girlfriend (another that he cheated on me with), “bullied” into agreeing to marry her (more than once).
          Despite his prolific profile-making on dating sites, he claims he was “just looking”, like it was porn. In the case of overweightdate, he claimed that he was looking for a “pen pal” who would be happy and appreciative for his attention.
          He does not see this as predatory, despite the fact that he lied to all of his women, there was an imbalance of power, and in most cases, he felt nothing but contempt and repulsion for them as real people, but totally dug them as virtual sex-dolls. His nubby conscience will not allow him to see that as predatory or manipulative, so he clings to the notion that he was “helping” these needy souls, apparently by giving them the honor of blowing him and receiving dick-pics as party favors. The level of self-deception is mind-boggling and heartbreaking – and you can never be safe with a person who believes his own self-soothing lies, irrespective of whether the cheating itself stops.

        • I have a friend who is overweight who spent a few weeks on those dating sites and who agrees with this assessment. She wants nothing to do with the men trolling there. And she is a big, beautiful, confident woman.

  • This is my cheater prizes go to phrase.

    “If your going to accuse me of cheating I might as well do it”

    Oh… And she says it’s not a threat or manipulative.

    I should listen to her. The only other thing it could be is a promise!

    When she spouts out this nonsense I tell her she left out the word “again” on the end.

    Fights on!

    • This Chump medicated for your Protection: My X said something very similar, “You were always accusing me of cheating, so I thought I might as well do it.” Turns out all that accusing was tied to an actual affair that he gaslighted me about for 12 years. TWELVE. YEARS. ass hat supreme.

      • Mine also said that I was the one that made the suggestions for him to cheat. Until I showed that I was bothered because he would go out to dance with his colleagues every other Friday without me (while I babysat, of course) and that this might cause them to think he was available, he said that he had NEVER thought of that until I mentioned it. His three married OWs came from that group of “friends”… long before I made this comment which was comign from my gut feeling, of course.

      • Echo– 12 years, me, too! What a sense of relief that I was correct, he DID have an affair with that fellow graduate student. We went to MC afterwards (since we clearly had issues, he admitted to infatuation), but of course it did not do any good since he never admitted the truth.

  • This website is about basic truth telling, taking responsibility, being empathetic to people close to you and bullshit detection. It is nice to know we’re not crazy, and not the only ones who value these attributes. Thank you CL.

  • “If you think I’m that sort of person, you shouldn’t be with me!”

    my fuckface cheater used to say that to me and get huffy and puffy with an attitude. Man that use to piss me off! or he would say “ok, I fucked up, yes I was cheating” then BAM 2 weeks later he would say “nope! we never had that conversation! I never cheated or did anything behind your back and if you think I am such a cheater, liar loser then why are you with me?” I feel so blessed NOW that I got away from that mindfuck who use to gaslight the hell out of me and don’t have to see his ugly face daily anymore!

    Its so true that, Introspection and distance provides invaluable clarity…

    • It never ceases to amaze me how similar they all are – down to the exact phrasing of their mindfucks! I’ve often wondered if there is an international association of narcissistic cheaters who meet in secret to learn the newest techniques, technology and lie phrasology to use to keep up their pathetic pretense. You know, something like the Bohemian Grove (Google it), where they have druid worship services and fake sacrifice a chump or two in their own version of the “cremation of care”.

    • After D-Day, I got “I’m not that kind of guy. I’m not like the other men you’ve had in your life.” No indeed. They weren’t cheaters.

      • Mine said, “you think I will hurt you, cheat on you, tell you lies over and over. Why do you see me this way? Please baby, I am not just like the rest.” when I was getting suspicious. And while he was telling me all of this, he was cheating (he was with the 2nd OW) telling me lies over and over. Well fucktard was/is just like the rest–a pathological liar and serial cheater.

      • Mine also said “I am not that” “you know me, I am not like that” after I discovered his third OW…

        • Aw jeeze: Mine used to put a hand on each of my shoulders, look deeply into my eyes, and say, I would NEVER do that to you!”. …

          Meanwhile, of course, he was off busily doing exactly THAT to me. Crikey.

          I believed him. I did.

          Until I didn’t.

          • It’s all about maintaining their facade. So pitiful, really.

          • namedforvera..I got that too. He always said “that’s the one thing I’d never do to you.” All the while he was doing it. To top it all off? I’ve posted this here before: He turned the tables on ME! Telling me to go fuck my boyfriend, which of course I didn’t have. And it was YELLING at me to do that. I guess he figured turning the tables on me would make me feel bad for accusing him?

  • “If your going to accuse me of cheating I might as well do it”

    Oh… And she says it’s not a threat or manipulative.

    Sorry you are dealing with this very manipulative “non-manipulation”.

    FWIW, I don’t think there’s anything to fight about. Take your ball and go home.

    • Yep. Another red flag I ignored. Mine said this exact thing years ago when we were first together about his oh-so not nice family. “if they were going to accuse me of something, then I might as well do it”. Wow. Can’t believe I ignored that one.

  • One of the hardest questions my IC asked was “why didn’t you see him for what he was?” My answer was that I wasn’t the only one who was fooled. Our own son said his dad should have won an Academy Award for acting for being a loving husband and father. Some of our friends cried when they found out, and couldn’t believe it. It still sort of bothers me that my counselor asked me that, as if I purposely didn’t want to see him for who he was. I guess she was trying to make me think back to all the red flags, although I never saw a smoking gun. I had gut feelings, and suspicions, but nothing was ever concrete. It was easier to believe the problem was me and my insecurity. All it took was an emphatic word from my husband about how misguided my suspicions were to make me shut up, and feel ashamed for feeling suspicious to begin with.

    • My counselor has asked this too. Don’t let it upset you. They are asking the toughest question to us Chumps, “why didn’t we see it?”. What your counselor is trying to get at is what is it in you, and I, that had us ignoring things that we shouldn’t have. We ignored our guts because we trusted them. But we probably shouldn’t have. Keep going to your counselor, and switch if you don’t feel she’s helping you. Mine is helping me get to meh, and that is priceless.

      • Yes, my entire family disliked my husband from the moment they met him. It almost feels as though I stayed with him and lost everything simply because I was trying to show them I was right about him. But in the end, they were right about him.

          • There were several factors, but the biggest one for my hardworking family is that he hadn’t ever really worked and they could not wrap their heads around it.

            It did not sit well with them knowing I had just divorced and was sitting on half the assets of an 18 year marriage. And they were right. He cheated and left the very month my last penny ran out.

        • Oh, been there, done that. Put up that shiny facade. I was all about that in my “married to alcoholic” phase.

      • To the question, why didn’t we see it? Because we trusted the person we fell in love with! It’s a necessary ingredient if real love is to be achieved in marriage! Then once cheated on, we cannot quite wrap our heads around the fact that someone we trusted with our lives would do something so cruel! It is the antithesis of real love! So this is the AHA moment! Anyone who truly loves you would absolutely NEVER commit these sort of horrible things! Bottom line, they don’t really love you or anyone for that matter, they don’t respect you or your feelings and you placed your trust in someone who abused it! It’s a tough pill to swallow, but face facts and throw these poor shallow unloving incapable creatures to the curb and find someone who will play on the same level playing field! The cheaters keep moving the goal post and you will never win or finish the game!

        • CL’s post today reminded me of something else. Once I was driving and came to a stop sign on a busy intersection. Sitting on the grass next to the road was the saddest looking young mother with a child I’d ever seen. Her face was dirty, and she looked dejected. She had a sign saying she was homeless. Being a young mother myself, I rolled down the window and gave her what money I had in my wallet, she looked truly grateful and thanked me. Later on I found out that she and some other people were picked up by the police for panhandling. I suppose I should have been angry, but I felt like I did the right thing for me. I saw someone who seemed to be hurting and I wanted to help them. However, now I don’t give to people who stand on the corners any more. They might truly be in need, but I think “there are shelters where they can get help if they truly need it” and I pass them by. I just don’t trust them any more, which is kind of sad.

          • Lyn, I have such mixed feelings about that too, and have given money to lots of folks as I wait for the light to change but recently I saw a flyer that said not to give money to people because it becomes their job, it is what they “do” instead of finding out what to do to get on their feet. It suggested you give them a card showing all the resources available to them in town. I can only imagine the looks you’d get as they walk away with the card instead of a dollar.

            • don’t give them money if and where possible offer to take them to the nearest fast food outlet and by them a meal, you will soon learn who is honest and who is not.

  • I’m getting flashbacks of gaslighting. What a mindfuck. Remembering this makes my stomach turn. Ugh.

    BTW, those people who aggressively solicit (steal) money under the pretense of being a nun (monk)? Yep, they’re buying themselves a ticket straight to hell or whatever that non-life place is called. I doubt the money they collected is worth it.

    • Since they are pretending to be Buddhist monks, shouldn’t we imagine they are re-incarnated into a life of even more suffering due to the bad karma?

      • Yeah, if they are going by Buddhist doctrine, which there are different kinds, they probably aren’t even aware of that, but if we’re going with the traditional Buddha Shakyamuni, then they’d be reborn into a lower plane of existence. I’d put them in the limbless plane. Where they’d be born as some sort of creature with no arms or legs.

      • they are reincarnated as mosquitoes to reflect the blood suckers they actually are.

    • Ugh! This was one of the things that kept me open for a reconciliation attempt. Couldn’t bear the thought X sinking or being dealt with by his terrible karma after what he’d done. After all of my own pain, I still couldn’t stand the idea of him being hurt by anything in his future. So I stayed by him, helped him thru his pain, was always there to try to make him smile again. I shoved my own triggered pain down. For many years he called me his angel and told me he was so glad to have me as his best friend after all that had happened. Until living in different cities due to work over this past year became too much and he was so lonely that he’s started to sleep with someone who is not me!
      Gah, my chumpiness is awful and that’s what I’m working on now. These people don’t deserve our empathy now or for their future downfall.

      • Oh man, that could be me. I actually consider myself grateful that my husband isn’t coming on to me. If he were I don’t know how strong I could be.

        • Funny that you say this. After finding this place 2 months ago, I would always read your posts and see many similarities. I do know what it’s like to go thru this crap but still feel like they are your best friend and miss them terribly. It’s easier on me now that I just found out this past wknd that he’s been sleeping with a friend for the past few months. But my heart def goes out to you, ML. It hurts to miss them and still love them so much. If yours does eventually come back, I hope you can think of me and others here who took them back and then lost another several years of life on them. I wish I’d never fallen for his lies the 2nd time around!

          • Thank you, UC, but I’m trying desperately to never take him back even if he wanted to come back. I know myself and I could never get over that he was with another woman, ever.

            Even though I’m attracted to him and still find him fascinating, we are a bad match, and he can never care for me the way I need him to. I deserve better. If I went back to him I would disappoint everyone, but mostly myself. All I want to do is get on with my life at this point, in spite of still having feelings for him.

            In the coming months we’ll divorce and he’ll leave the area. While I know that will be another adjustment for me, I know I have to face it and get through it.

            I’ve known for years that the primary reason I’ve stayed with him through horrible times is that I often pity him. Feeling sorry for someone is not something you should build a relationship on, I’m sure you’d agree!

            • Oh ok, I misunderstood when you wrote that you’re not sure how strong you could be if he came back around. Great that you wouldn’t go back to him – no, feeling pity for someone is NOT a reason to be in a relationship with them lol!!

              • Just want to say that at some point, you stop missing them. What I’ve tried to do is have the same life I wanted, only without him in it. I can do road trips, buy a great car, get the house painted, see movies, go to the Willie Nelson concert and have fun. Without him. Without, that is, a guy who can’t be trusted to go to a funeral without starting up an affair with the deceased’s married sister. Once I knew he was busy texting her, I would have always wondered what he was doing with his phone in the bathroom… 🙂

    • lol. LAX used to have the most aggressive panhandlers right as you got off the plane. I would think that probably changed after 9/11, but I haven’t flown much, and I haven’t been back to that airport since, so I don’t really know.

      • I had forgotten about the panhandlers at LAX. They are gone now, post 9-11.

    • I think of that movie far too frequently! Especially when I’m in the loading zone at the airport…

  • “If you think I’m that sort of person, you shouldn’t be with me!”

    Years ago, my cheating ex told me a story about his exg/f. He was in rehab for alcoholism for several months before he met her, but he didn’t reveal this to her until well after she was ‘hooked’.

    When he told her about it, she asked him, “Is this something I should be concerned about?” She was probably trying to figure out if he had control over his impulses for alcohol.

    Instead of reassuring her (like MOST humble people would have done) he threw it back on HER shoulders and said, “If you think that I would do that (binge drink to extreme excess that required hospitalization etc.) again then YOU need to think about whether or not you want to be with me!” I could almost see the confusion on her face. He was very smug about telling that story; like he put the onus on HER “where it belonged”.

    That story never sat right with me, but it took me several years to realize how messed up his attitude was. The irony about his story, was that if she DID decide that she couldn’t live with the possibility that he could go off the deep end again, he would have blamed her for breaking up with him…for not ‘forgiving’ him…for being ‘too judgmental’.

    Several months later, he binge drank again.

    Guess she was right to be concerned after all.


    • I think you are on to something, Gypsy. I’ll bet most chumps heard stories that never
      “sat right” with them but that the cheater tells with that “I came out the winner” smugness. The Jackass had a number of these stories, many of which involved married women who were trying to get material goods out of him, like a car or a house. Those story seemed bizarre to me, and I asked him why let himself get involved in stuff like that. His reply: “Because they weren’t you.” Classic con. But at the time I was so very flattered. Some of the other stories show the mean streak but get turned around on the other person in the story. Once again, the story itself has important clues, but the tip-off that he’s the wolf in sheep’s clothing is the way he tells the story: with no empathy or understanding for the other person’s position, no recognition of any damage causes by his choices, and no real explanations why these people behaved in such extreme ways. I’m sure he’s telling his new mark(s) some version of a story like that about me.

      • LAJ – This totally rang a bell for me. Mine told me 2 stories of college years. One was that he made it a goal to sleep his way through the soroity system at his school. And he did.

        The other was a revenge story. He found out girlfriend at college was cheating on him, they broke up, she wanted to get back together with him, he played her along got her in bed (in his dorm room), had sex and when she went to the bathroom after, he picked up her clothes and threw them out the window and when she came out of the bathroom he pushed he naked into the hallway and told her where she could get her clothes.

        God… it’s so clear to me now, but how in the world did that not SEND me when he told me. I own that. My bad.

        • Mine told me how “angelical” his relation was with his exwife and that he left her because she was not where he was from and couldn´t really understand him…So Narcissistic. The story never sounded like a good excuse to leave someone especially if the relationship was a good one. I only get it now, because I am from where he is from but I don´t do all the nice things she used to do for him (so this is why he cheated)… No one will ever fit his standards..

          • Yeah, the Jackass has an awful story about why he slept on the couch throughout his honeymoon with w#1. I could never get him to explain why a simple argument over what car to take could end up like that or why, in the end, she simply moved back to her parents’ house without explanation. Or so he said. I would bet every dime I have in the world that she went through 25 years ago what I experienced last fall. I must have asked him a dozen times why that marriage didn’t work. And don’t you know, w#2 was a crazy, narcissistic, con artist psycho who ruined him financially….all by herself….

      • Don’t feel bad, guys. Mine told me when we were dating that the reason his bio dad and mom divorced was because his dad cheated on his mom, repeatedly.

        Damn , that apple fell and still rots next to that tree.

      • yep the old phone in the bathroom trick! what? doesn’t everyone take their phone to the bathroom? anyway, just want to say i had one of my mini meltdowns today at work 🙁
        one of my co-workers is having family problems, and she says what ever happened to the happy families of yester year? with their picket fences, everyone sitting together at mealtime and taking about their day. and then in the office comes a favorite couple of mine, in their 80’s, telling me about their upcoming vacation together, holding hands.
        I had to step in the back room, and have my mini meltdown. that was supposed to be me, adf the husband I thought I had. no picket fences.

        • Sodone

          I had similar feelings BUT then I realize that my family looks different but it is better . . . because I got rid of the cancer/the blemish/the tumor, i.e. the bad part. I still have my two sons. We are trying to find our new normal but they continue to give me intangible gifts. They are MY sons who have to play the game a bit longer until they are out of college. This week, both of them told me that they can’t wait to be independent from needing him. My youngest, who has been the most tolerant . . . or the most capable of kissing his father’s ass, said that he’s done. He stated, “People don’t change. They are who they are.” Perfect segue for me to quote May Angelou’s “When someone shows you who he is, believe him the first time.”

          Good families do exist. I have one but it just looks different. I am being surrounded by good people now that I am not having to run defense. I have been taken in by two older couples as loving functional parents. I was just adopted by a younger couple with toddlers. They took me fishing!

          I did not see the red flags that were waving in my face. It took me 25 years to catch the cheater/liar but once I did, after feeling that old familiar feeling in my gut, I felt relief. I was told that I was imagining things and that I was paranoid and jealous FOR YEARS. YEARS! Now I know. I am so glad to have my gut back!

          I now am surrounded by good people. I got rid of the aforementioned bad THING and now I surround myself with what is good. My family looks different but it is better.

  • I honestly believe that the mindfuck to the spouse is worse than the real fucks the cheater has with other people. I can get past a physical act of cheating; tough, but I can. I cannot get past someone who engages in constant lying and manipulative behavior. That is the real sickness; not a “sex addiction”, but rather a lack of basic human empathy that would allow someone to lie and say “I’m working late tonight” in one breath, and in the very next say “I love you”. Someone who can say: yes I cheated, but it had nothing to do with you. What??

    That is the real sickness to me, and the one that I don’t think can be cured.

    • Good instinct there – They cannot be cured. Please don’t ever get fooled into thinking they can “recover”.

    • The cheating is a symptom. Like you write, DefyingGravity, when my x fucked someone else, he was also fucking me, both literally and figuratively.

      • I am so glad others see this. The fact that my STBX got it off with who ever showed up at the time is his sick issue and I am tired of those who think that if they can fix the cheating/sex issue then our marriage will also be fixed.
        As another chump once put it ‘ I could not care if he fucked a flock of sheep’. But the years of lies and deception is a whole different story. Years of claiming to have had a conversation with me when I knew he had not. Years of finding out things that where happening in his and my life by overhearing him mentioning it to others. And when I questioned him I would get, ‘but I told you’ No you did not. The years of looking me in the face and telling me that he had not been unfaithful. That the feelings I had that he was no longer into me and that there was a big issue with our marriage was all in my imagination, and as I had a history of depression that only came about with him and was fostered by him I accepted that he was probably right. I owed the problem in the hope of fixing it, so I would dwell for days with the idea that I was struggling with my emotions, that I should work harder to figure out what it is that is making me, question him and think this way. And while in that thought pattern he would start “are you ok you seem distant” “can I help you with anything?” “your doing that thing again that you were doing just before you went into hospital, is there anything I should now about?’ Yep being mentally and emotionally fucked over is far worse than knowing that they have been with someone else. Any one of my STBX’s past partners is welcome to him, but that would create a whole new basking of fuckedupness that he cant face.

        • Sammie, you just made my day, the sheep quote was mine 😉
          I have to agree– the mental and emotional abuse was the worst. All the years I felt something was wrong, but was gaslighted, etc.
          I even wrote a letter where I discussed our apparent disconnect with sex (ex worked in another state temporarily at that point. I couldn’t figure it out.
          Duh, he was cheating, that’s why I was made to feel as if I was the sex problem was my fault.

          • Thanks for the quote zyx321, you have no idea how often I think of it and just start laughing as it sums up my thoughts on the cheating part of what my x has done.

            • I totally agree. I said pretty much the same thing to Jackass. Who cares whether he f***ed his semi-literate married bimbo or not? It was lying. Keeping secrets. Gaslighting. Disengaging without the basic decency of telling me it was over. Dragging my heart behind his pickup for months while he hid behind “mourning” for his father and his friend (while rejecting any of my efforts to comfort and support him). Disengaging while keeping thousands of my money in his business account. Dumping me at the door on my birthday so he could go home and text with his married AP. Not that his having sex with her, or any kind of physical contact with her, didn’t hurt me. The cheating was just one of the many ways he lied, deceived, betrayed.

    • ^^This (the mindfuck contains the real damage).

      To my mind, the sex is just one of the many forms of ego-kibbles that cheater seeks.

      The thing that destroyed my marriage was the reliance on lies, and the lies about lies, that made my marriage a scary rabbit hole whose terrain was utterly unstable and unsafe.

      Once the well was poisoned by relentless gaslighting and deception, the possibility of ever having an authentic, good-faith interaction with my Jesus-cheater ex was over.

      Like you, I don’t think the manipulative, self-serving behavior pattern is subject to cure. But more to the point of my experience, the cure can’t involve me.

      It’s an excellent opportunity to practice Buddhist non-attachment — the kind that doesn’t tie a bracelet around your wrist and then demand payment: May all sentient beings be in equanimity, free of bias, attachment and suffering.

      • andstillirise, along those lines (I think) of non attachment, I am trying to work on that since attachment is all I’ve ever know with four husbands in my past (I never dated, I just married). It’s a bit easier nowadays to think about what’s important finally, like my mother, father, daughter and the rest of my extended family. I am facing an uncertain future, but I am surrounded by people who matter and who love me. The bottom line is we come into the world alone, we die alone, and in between we just need to do the best we can.

      • But more to the point of my experience, the cure can’t involve me.

        ^^^^^^^ THIS ^^^^^^^^^^^

      • “The thing that destroyed my marriage was the reliance on lies, and the lies about lies, that made my marriage a scary rabbit hole whose terrain was utterly unstable and unsafe.”

        This, this, this. I feel extremely unsafe in my marriage, but it isn’t because of who stuck their dick where. It’s because the constant deception and gaslighting made me fear for my emotional stability and sanity.

  • One of my favorite phrases was “you went along with it at the time.” This mostly in reference to his financial abuse of me, but then, I went “along with it” because I trusted him. Also in reference to his deviant sadistic sexual proclivities, yes I “went along with it” because I loved you and thought it was my duty. BUT the crime of it all, really, is that I NEVER in a million years would have “gone along” with any of that stuff had I known that he was a con artist from the very start, a serial and multiple cheater, a liar and a possible pedophile. What part of their role in the deception don’t these FAKES get? Or is it just part of the thrill for them, to gaslight and mindfuck someone they KNOW is trusting and loving?

    In my case, he mindfucked me, a lawyer, his previous and I now know, contemporaneous with me, ex girlfriend, a mental health professional, and he is undoubtedly now doing it with his AP/OW and current victim, whose undergrad degree is in forensic psychology.

    • “What part of their role in the deception don’t these FAKES get? Or is it just part of the thrill for them, to gaslight and mindfuck someone they KNOW is trusting and loving?” In my view, you’re on target. Getting over on other people IS the thrill. Sex, money, cheating, lying, deceiption, gaslighting. Gambling addicts talk about “action.” They can’t watch sports or play cards for fun–they need to have something bigger at stake to create “action.” So it’s not enough for their favorite football team to be in the Super Bowl and hope to win it; the gambler has to have a bigger stake than the emotions most fans invest. So they bet $1000 or $5000 and the thrill is bigger. Imagine cheaters putting jobs, marriages, kids, their reputations, their finances on the line every time they hook up with the AP. That’s action. And the risk of the AP’s spouse finding out? More action. Juggling multiple APS and a spouse? Like dodging multiple bookies when they lose a bet. The need to re-con their spouse after D-Day, big “action” with big cake payoff. Most addicts abuse substances or activities (drugs, alcohol, food, gambling) to get “action” to alter their emotional states. Cheaters abuse people. For the same reasons. I am convinced that the sex is just part of the action, not the purpose of cheating or even the primary objective.

      • LJ, you are spot on there is something far deeper wrong then just sex going on with these sick individuals…
        Mine was so drawn by the thrill of being with someone else, that he pursued a hook up on work time and then was bashed by the AP. He then went to great lengths to cover up what happened, and I must confess I did think things where a odd but along came more lies and the ‘overwhelming trauma’ he was experiencing from being hit the the head with a skateboard and being robed of his watch and wedding bands. He even went as far as the fain memory loss and claim workers comp. It took him 8 months to return to work full time as a result of the incident, with in three days of being cleared his employer let him go. OMG if I had known then what I know now… STBX has lost job after job, has taken large pay cuts, and has pathologically lied the whole time as to why. Clearly living a clean life with a wife and three kids was not a big enough pay off.

  • CL, thanks for another great post. Being chumped and reading your blog has made me realize that I’m probably susceptible to being chumped by people other than my ex, like friends, co-workers, strangers and even family members. I don’t want to get too paranoid, but it helps to keep your antennae up.

    Also, your example points to the fact that our cheaters are really no different than other types of cheaters. They are pretending to be something they’re not in order to essentially steal something from us–our love, time, money, commitment, devotion. And thanks for highlighting one of the most commonly used tools in the cheater’s trade–preying on our inclincation to trust and see the good in people and throwing our reasonable suspicions back into our face to try to make us look like the bad guy and doubt our own instincts.

  • “Some of the other stories show the mean streak but get turned around on the other person in the story.”

    The subject of the movie “Wolf of Wall Street” came up in a conversation with my wife. In the movie Leonardo Di Caprio played a predator who made tens of millions as a slick con selling people penny and other stocks. FBI finally caught up with him, and he served some time but still hasn’t made full restitution.

    Interestingly, my wife took the view that what he did was certainly not good, but she blamed the people who he conned (many of whom lost all their life savings). She said the victims were looking a free ride, it’s their fault as much if not more than his for being so stupid.

    Normally I might have thought she was just being provocative (she has always kind of sided and empathized with the bad boy types), but having spent some time here, it made me think of it in a different and more symbolic way.

    • Interesting observation, Chumpguy. My STBX was actually fascinated with con artists – he seemed to admire their bravado. Rod Blagojevich and Bernie Madoff come to mind. I remember the look of awe on his face while these jerks were in the news.

      In retrospect, the chills that I experienced then was my body’s sociopath-alert-system. Cray-dar?

      • The fascination with creepy people…

        My exH was completely obsessed with that politician that was suspected of killing Chandra Levy. He watched every possible bit of news on it, and loved talking about how “that guy got away with it…”

        He was gleeful when he’d say that. The guy was his hero.

        Looking back – It’s a miracle he didn’t kill me.

        • I think my husband has admiration for Hitler. At the very least he loves the Nazi uniform. You can’t explain that away to anyone, that’s just wrong. (Also, we didn’t walk on the moon, and 9/11 was an inside job.)

          • Moving Liquid, as an historian however revolting that regime was, I have to admit that the design of their uniforms was really stylish and well cut , from the leather coats to the boots. Hard to admit but it is true. Compare the design of a German Luger to a British Webley. If you stand an SS officer next to the loose khaki of a British officer…

            It’s why their stuff holds value even to this day, because it was beautifully designed, rather than secret admiration of evil.

            • It holds value based on economics: someone is willing to pay for it.

            • I agree, Patsy! Wasn’t Hugo Boss a designer of Nazi uniforms? (Sorry to digress here, folks).

            • Remember that the devil was an angel before the fall. The devil doesn’t come to humanity looking like a snarling, evil thing, he comes as beautiful and “sparkly”.

            • Their uniforms were well-designed, but I think you’re fooling yourself A lot of the value of Nazi stuff comes PRECISELY from secret admiration of evil — from people who imagine themselves not just stylish and imposing in a SS leather coat, but powerful and unbound by the boring imperatives of morality. The Italians had nice uniforms too, but the market for them is smaller because they weren’t as evil.

        • Gary Condit, I think. He was never a police suspect. He was a media/political conspiracy theory “suspect” only.

          Of course, he did have an affair with Ms Levy, and that lead to his losing a re-election campaign, so that’s all well and good.

          Some guy from El Salvador was convicted (and originally suspected because he had assaulted two other women in that same park) for that crime.

    • Chumpguy, I think you’re on to something there. It reminds me of how my ex used to laugh about a prank he played on unsuspecting people in college. He and his friends would drive around with a fire extinguisher. They’d roll the window down when they saw someone on a bicycle and ask for directions. When the person approached the car, they would spray them in the face with a fire extinguisher and knock them off their bikes. He used to laugh and laugh telling me this. I always felt sorry for the people who were just trying to be helpful and give directions in his story. Now I believe that should have been a big red flag about his lack of empathy for others. College kids do a lot of crazy things, thought, so at the time I just chalked it up to that.

      • I think the key is in the recent reaction. I did do a lot of stupid things in college, and I’m very happy that some are hopefully lost in the sands of time. Never did anything like that though, or knew anyone else who did, and I knew some wild people. But more than that, I find it hard to imagine laughing and laughing now about having been part of something like that once upon a time.

        • Absolutely, Chumpguy. You can see being in the car, drunk, while someone else was doing it. Once. Enjoying it enough to want to do it again and brag about it later? Wingnut.

          • My XBF told me numerous times (with glee) about he and his buddy driving the streets at night and lobbing water balloons at total strangers. I finally told him that if someone in a car hit me with a water balloon I would be terrified and wonder if it was random, or me personally they were aiming at, and why, and whether there was diseased urine in the balloon (HIV? HepC?), or if it had been laced with some skin-absorbable drug like LSD. I also mentioned that I would try to get the license plate numbers and expected that anyone caught would be subject to an assault charge. He never mentioned it again.

            But why didn’t I run, then and there?

            • Wild college fun is one thing; sociopathic cruelty is another. It’s so interesting to hear these stories because they show how this kind of behavior is riddled through EVERYTHING these people do. Going back years and years. Anything that smacks of cruelty, no matter how juvenile, is a huge red flag. Especially if these idiots seem PROUD of their asinine behavior and opinions. This is who they are, make no mistake. Believe what you see and hear the first time!

    • Good observation, Chumpguy. Cons always blame the mark. And the fact that the sides and sympathizes with bad boy types? Maybe a red flag. Sending good thoughts your way. Good guys deserve better.

  • Working in London years back, you’d get these gypsies coming up to you giving you ‘Lucky Heather’. They’d be all sweet smiles telling you they’d pray for you and bless you and go shoving the ‘Lucky Heather’ at you.

    The first time this happened I thought, how sweet, thanked said gypsy, took the heather wrapped in tinfoil and walked on. She chased after me looking for money and got annoyed that I just took heath without paying. Silly me. I did not know the rules then. By God I know them now and some more having learnt the hard way.

    Things are not always as they seem.

    • Yep. There are gifts, and then there is bait. Cheaters rely on chumps confusing the two.

      • Brilliant nomar, Brilliant! This is so perfectly and simply stated. Wisdom is learning/knowing the difference between the two.

  • After 35 years of marriage, 2 kids and what i thought was a beautiful life with some ups and downs, I was Chumped. But even worse – its time for me to face the fact that I married a Con Man. When his company was sued for fraud while mismanaging another partnership, I discovered He had named me CFO and Secretary of the tiny (as in him) corporation without my knowledge. So I am also liable for his actions. Worse yet, as things came to light in the 1st attorneys office, though stunned by what I was learning, I was somehow taking a small measure of comfort believing the Con’s explanations, and story of how he is owed waaaay more money than is question, and it would all come out in the end. When Atty. #1 dropped us, conflict of interest, (and disgust) he privately gave me 2 divorce attorney referrals stating “you are Mrs. Madoff”. Well, quite an exaggeration monetarily, but wowza… Yet somehow I couldn’t hear it yet. I was mad at the lawyer.
    I had already kicked him out of the house months before after I suspected cheating, but he gaslighted me and worked his way back onto our property to the tiny guest house – after empty promises that he would court me again, show me the good man he was and win me back. Haha. I was still believing his words not paying attention to his actions. I have been frozen in shock and trauma as we work our way through this lawsuit, its been dragging on for 3 years in discovery. We are being sued by a partner who is a lawyer, and this is his swan song. Atty #2 says their firm has multi million dollar class action suits with less paperwork than this case, and that I just got drug along into His mess.
    NOW I understand that I have been in a trauma bond with this man. We were actually in a 7month fake reconciliation (my Mom died unexpectedly and i suddenly wanted to fix the marriage – life is too short..!) when I discovered the OW of over a year. Con man had been coming and going from the guest house freely without me suspecting anything. Huh? We were dating again, he was around every day!!! Here I had been standing by his lying, cheating conning side with this scary lawsuit, while he is off with his new girlfriend who thinks he is this handsome, charming, rich cowboy (NOT!) I’m in his cesspool, covered in his shit, while he is trying to decide between miss sparkly pants and me? I filed. Now I feel like an idiot. I’m now finding out about other women, and connecting the dots from decades before. Just learned he was fucking the building inspector on a commercial building project to get inspections passed. I met this week with a man that sued him years ago (found the legal file or i wouldnt have known) and learned even more. Oh, and today STBXH and I have to meet in yet another Atty’s office to strategize settling with a creditor who just got a 1.2 million judgement against him after a land forclosure and subsequent lawsuit (he forgot to mention that too)! We either settle or file chapter 7, so i have had the pleasure of doing that exhausting paperwork over the last couple of weeks. Are we having fun yet? I am numb.

    • Wow, Chump Change, that’s a lot on your plate. I’m so sorry you are having to deal with that on top of infidelity. I relate to the “trauma bond” as that is what my husband and I have had. I can’t wait for it to wear off!

      • Thanks ML, it feels like more than i can take. The painful betrayal and divorce is horrible enough, but being tangled up in his sticky legal web and now on top of it all having my property vulnerable most terrifying. I can’t get away from him fast enough. My IC keeps telling me that this is finite, there is an end to it. Im taking it 1 step at a time because the big picture is too much.

        I pray that everything will work out as it should, and that i will be happy again someday.

        • Chump Change, that is just horrible. I’m so sorry you got taken by a con man. It will be over some day, but I totally relate to the feeling you have that it may never end. Bless your heart.

        • I am so sorry. The one thing I’ve learned is the cheating flaw runs through their personal and business relationships as well. Like you I am finding about years of deceit and my main goal is to extricate myself from this person before his come uppins catch up. These type of individuals NEVER change and OW who couple up with them get their just deserts. Your sparkly OW in in for a rude awakening!

        • Sometimes when I can’t imagine things working out I say the line from the movie Meatballs spoken by Bill Murray, “It just doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t matter.” Because in the end it doesn’t. Yes we like our things, but we can’t take our things with us. On our deathbed we won’t be thinking about things, we’ll be thinking about people.

        • Chump Change, prayers here that your situation works out in the best way possible for you. And very glad your IC is smart and up to the job. You will get through it. But even if you lose every material thing–your worst case scenario–you will have gained your life back. You will be living in the world with your eyes wide open to reality. And from there you can build a wonderful life for yourself. My own situation is piddly next to yours. But my IC has helped me to understand how being happy starts with little moments. The sun shining as you walk out of a bookstore. A finch singing on top of a bird house. A sunset. A phone call from a friend when you’re low. Start with those moments. And keep a gratitude journal if you are not doing that already. All we have in life is the present moment. Find beauty and love and kindness and joy (yes) where you can now. Then when you get to the end of this giant mess, you will discover that you are already happy, and all you need to do is turn the page.

          • I remember a story about the Holocaust, and shamefully have forgotten the name of the brave man at the heart of it. But a number of prisoners were left in a pit, and this man went down to die with them and spent the time singing. As the band on the Titanic played “Nearer My God to Thee” to comfort the passengers. You will survive this, but take strength in knowing that others have made beauty out of terrible things. I started writing poetry again after D-Day, finished a novel, started another. And every day I give thanks for the world that sustains me with its beauty.

            • That was (Saint, if you’re a Catholic) Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish Franciscan friar imprisoned in Auschwitz for hiding Jews in his monastery:

              “At the end of July 1941, three prisoners disappeared from the camp, prompting SS-Hauptsturmführer Karl Fritzsch, the deputy camp commander, to pick 10 men to be starved to death in an underground bunker in order to deter further escape attempts. When one of the selected men, Franciszek Gajowniczek, cried out, “My wife! My children!”, Kolbe volunteered to take his place.

              In his prison cell, Kolbe celebrated Mass each day and sang hymns with the prisoners. He led the other condemned men in song and prayer and encouraged them by telling them they would soon be with Mary in Heaven. Each time the guards checked on him, he was standing or kneeling in the middle of the cell and looking calmly at those who entered. After two weeks of dehydration and starvation, only Kolbe remained alive. The guards wanted the bunker emptied and they gave Kolbe a lethal injection of carbolic acid. Some who were present at the injection say that he raised his left arm and calmly waited for the injection.”


            • LovedaJackass, I’ve been crying while reading the updates, especially your thoughts. They resonate with my experiences as does your experiences with your parents (losing your Dad, Mother being narc). You’re a beautiful and inspirational person. Thank you for taking the time to write all that you have here. I’m an artist and have been stuck throughout the past several years due to my emotional chaos. You’re giving me renewed hope that I’ll be able to create beautiful work again soon. Best to you!

  • Jedi Hugs Chump Change, so sorry you are going through this. Get your anger harnessed, going tharn (numb/frozen) will have you floating on the tide. I’m not clear from your account whether you have your own lawyer, if not, get one.

    • 3 lawyers. 2 of them represent us both with conflict waivers, plus my divorce atty.
      I’m numb from exhaustion and the shock of “But Wait, there’s more… ” yet moving authentically through my shifting feelings. Working with a great IC who helped me immediately take off the rose colored glasses. Now I’m fighting for my Ranch and freedom from this dangerous stranger.

      Jedi Hugs – love them, need them, and accept them gratefully Datdamwf. Thank you.

  • I’d have to say that the lying and the constant feeling of the cheater not engaging in the here and now of the relationship is the worst part of the infidelity. I instantly knew my exH wasn’t acting the same. He was not engaged with our day to day lives. He acted almost like a stranger in our home. When I questioned him about his behavior he made me believe this was all in my head. TOTAL MINDFUCK! I swore I was going insane!!! I planned my suicide twice but couldn’t carry it out. I have never ever thought of doing something so drastic!!! But I felt like I was slowly going crazy. I will NEVER forget that feeling. It was pure torture!

    My exH knew I would believe him. He played his cards very well and manipulated me. He took advantage of my trust and basic goodness and used it to his advantage. He never once thought about how this would all play out. He actually admitted that he never thought he would get caught! I guess that was his nice way of calling me stupid or gullible!!! UGH! FTG!!!

    • Glad you got out alive. It is one of the hardest parts. Knowing something is off but being told everything is fine is really awful. Manipulation is criminal. Best luck to you in your future!

      • kimmy I am so glad you are here to tell your story.

        When you trust someone whole heartedly with your very life, it is unimaginable at the time that they are the source of the emotion that has brought you to the point of self harm. I fully understand and respect where you are coming from.
        It has not been till now that I can look back and see that those times when I had thought I had lost my mind, were not of my doing.

        Last night I listened to a radio production of ‘Gaslight’ on youtube. Now I fully understand the term ‘Gaslighting’ their twisting of simple truths to get us to second guess ourselves. the unwitting use of others to back their story or agenda, bare face denial of facts to push home their point. And their blatant disrespect.
        We are worth far more, Kimmy You are worth far more. Stay strong.

    • kimmy..your story is almost identical to mine! So completely disengaged from the kids and I. When he was home (he is a long-haul trucker) it’s like he wasn’t there. And when I questioned his behavior? Same thing..he wouldn’t do that; or the defensive reaction, telling me I was the one who was cheating. And just like you? When I asked him when he was planning to tell me about the 3 year affair? “I just hoped I’d never get caught.”

  • OMG! My husband, when questioned about whether he was home or would rather be with his idiot OW would always reply, “I’m here aren’t I?” As some sort of “reassurance”! It is too soon to hear that tired phrase! And so hurtful.

  • I often heard, “If you’re that suspicious about what I say and do, you MUST be crazy.”

    Ummm, no, but when you keep lying, I keep wondering what the truth is…ok, nevermind. THEY are the crazy ones. Blech.

  • “Why would I ever cheat?! I have everything I’ve ever wanted! A beautiful wife, wonderful step-kids, we have a beautiful house . . . . I’d be crazy to cheat on you and lose everything.”

    “I would rather put a bullet in my head than ever cheat on you and lose you.”

    “You’re everything I’ve ever wanted. I wouldn’t be me without you.”

    I’ve heard it all.

    • Yes, he would be crazy to cheat on you and lose everything, including you.

      He’s sorted his own fuckedupness out nicely there.

  • I am working on my issues, of which, are I used to love being able to trust. I wanted to and did trust people were what they had the appearance of. I have no idea how I made it going around in life with a smurf bubble around me. I think I got that way from all the abuse as a kid from my alcoholic dad, and once I grew up I decided hey my life now I will chose to feel safe.

    Actually feeling safe is a choice you can make in your head. And sometimes maybe you are grasping at straws, he only hit me yesterday he hasn’t today so, today is going pretty good, it is “safe” today. Or, well he didn’t take all the money in the bank accounts, I can open up charge cards to help our kids in college, I am sure he will come out of the fog before you lose everything, so this is safe for now, I am making this work.

    It is really hard for me to shake off this making it work thing I am thinking is safe. I see my life is really absurd still compared to others, that I talk to and they hear what is still going on, but for me it is pretty damn safe compared to me lying to myself that it wasn’t happening.

    Tracy, the weird thing about the thing in New York, I don’t think nuns have a temple, I think it is usually an order or a church or a mission, so that is kind of funny they are saying they have a temple, I could be wrong on this. I don’t think I am.

    I realize I am a prop, and my kids are. Well, to my shitheadcheater. Only, at the same time, I embrace I am a mom and I love my kids so much, and if he is so stupid to think we are props so he can make himself wonderful, well someone is fooling themselves on that big time and unfortunately I am not the one who missed the boat.

    I love to trust I sort of miss being able to. I am very paranoid now, and the things I say to family of what I think is going on in situations, well, I guess my thoughts of it never crossed their minds and they are shocked. And you know, sometimes after you have had your life you thought you had plastered into a hole in the street, then you get that things are not what they seem, almost never.

    Everyone says I am pessimistic, I have to be how I am to make it around in my day, and I am working with what I have.

    It is better than my lying smurf bubble I had around me before. Ok not lying, my little shamrock nursery rhyme trusting life bubble, I am so pissed at all my lying asshole did to my trust.

    • I thought the nun/temple thing was weird too! Church, basilica, cathedral, mission…maybe, but temple? Nope!

    • yes, we were “props” in order for the cheater to create a facade of “goodness” while he was doing such vile and deviant behavior on the down low. It IS the hardest pill to swallow. I feel like a game piece in a twisted game that’s been rigged from the start.

  • Oh, my stupidcheaterass didn’t hit me it was my dad, so was just putting my 2 cents in of how I was working my mind around a really bad situation.

    The money and cards, that is my present day really out there thing going on.

  • “I have no reason to lie.”

    Now it’s on YOU to prove that I did. It’s on YOU to spend enormous amounts of time, energy, money, tears, sleepless nights—-finding out if I’m really lying or not.

    This was my cheater’s favorite line—being told while looking deeply into my eyes, holding my hand, lowering his voice with conviction and even a few moments of welling up with tears.

    Then I finally stood back and said…”Wait a minute. So if you HAVE a reason to lie (whatever reason you see as valid), then you will lie?”

    Took me awhile, but I got there. It’s the combo platter of physical proximity, the eye contact, the husky voice, and the carefully selected words—that tell you exactly that they ARE capable of lying to you when they feel that it is necessary. Which is constantly.

    Mine lies about everything. EVERYTHING. Stupid, moronic, dumbass shit that doesn’t even NEED to be lied about—and I’ve even pointed out times that it would actually have BENEFITED him to tell the truth (about something mundane). Yet he lies.

    Mental illness or not—mine satisifed ALL of the Dependent Personality Disorder traits on–so I understand clearly what he is and how it may have begun and what might be done to manage it–at the end of the day, it still comes down to what I want for myself and my kids.

    This. Ain’t. It.

  • X lied by omission. When caught, he was like a cornered animal. And you know what cornered animals do; they lash out to inflict immediate harm, then run. When I discovered the truth, I effectively died in his mind right then. We never spoke of it again except through depositions.

    Such a coward. Such a douchebag. My comfort lies in the fact that his latest bimbo thinks his hype is real. They deserve each other, truly.

    • my ex lies by omission as well. No cornered animal behavior, but the lying by omission continues. I am meeting with an attorney tomorrow to discuss child support, given new information that I have received.

      My parting words to him when we were still in the midst of divorce negotiation:
      you are a lazy, lying, selfish, coward.
      He concurred.
      OWife is his concern now, woohoo! (and she is, as she is a cheater as well!)

    • “When I discovered the truth, I effectively died in his mind right then.” That’s what the Jackass said to me— he “could not tolerate” that I accused him of cheating and he was done. Even though he in fact cheated, which he never denied, exactly–just offered the “She’s my buddy’s sister!” response and “I didn’t step out on you,” whatever the f*** that means (probably that he didn’t have sex with her, but who knows? Maybe “stepping out” would be actually caring about the MOW instead of using her, too.)

      And this is priceless; “Such a coward. Such a douchebag. My comfort lies in the fact that his latest bimbo thinks his hype is real. They deserve each other, truly.”

  • Mine lied by omission too. He ‘forgot’ to tell me about three other ex wives.

    But he loved ME so much!!
    “I know where MY bread is buttered!”
    “I can’t wait until we’ve been married ten years!”
    “I can’t wait to grow old with you!”

    One day I found out about the OW and discovered the affair had been going on for about three months. He went from me to her within 24 hours.

    Who are these people?? I tell my friends and family, “I know he LOOKS like a REAL person, but he isn’t.”

  • My cheater’s brother won the lottery and asked him to come on a short vacation with him. Before they left I remember him telling me earnestly “you know you have nothing to worry about” and I remember thinking it was a weird thing for him to say as it had never entered my mind that he would cheat on me.

    Turns out two years earlier he’d had a fling with a ho-worker, gotten her pregnant and forced her to have an abortion. Finding out about this was part of the drip feed of info after he fell in “real” love with another ho-worker a decade later. God knows what else he’s done – I really don’t want to know, but the wolf revealed himself that day at the airport. I didn’t see it then, but at least I see it now and am not wasting another second of my life in his lair.

  • Not to mention that Buddhist monks (and I would guess nuns) are supposed to stand humble with a bowl and eat whatever you put into it. And some of them literally won’t touch money.

  • I’d have cracked that “nun” across the knuckles with a ruler, as was done to me many times by the Sisters of Mercy(ironic).

    • Yeah, the nuns I know take a dim view of lying, cheating, stealing and conning.

  • As a kid, growing up around NYC, I recall a commercial by some oily dude selling his hairpieces. They were awful looking.
    But, I remember as he was sliding down a waterslide, into a pool to demonstrate how durable or whatever these mullet pelts were. he would look into the camera and say ” I wouldn’t lie to you for a very good reason- I am the president of the company.
    Even as a kid I was “WTF, that is the best reason in the world for you to lie” you asshole.
    I love the indignation I was met with when presenting my XW with irrefutable evidence of her cheating.
    I mean, no normal person could be so busted and yet so stupid as to feign such indignation.

    • “Feign such indignation”!!!! how dare you even hint at indignation. They are ‘sparkly”, they are quasi “gods”, their “awesomeness” should outshine all your logic. Please Arnold get with it!!!! There were “valid” reasons for their cheating. How could you be soooo narrow minded when presented with such awesomeness and that the x picked you to be a witness to it. Ugh, these mofo’s are f’cking unbelievable!!!!

      • their “awesomeness” should outshine all your logic.

        people often say common sense is not common but seriously. cheaters and logic do not co-exist and if you try and point out what is logical it is as if you are attacking them.

        this makes my head hurt, the times I have looked at the STBX and wondered ‘how the fuck did you come to that conclusion?’
        eg of cheater logic IMO.
        2+2 = 7, No it = 4.
        Are you sure?
        Yes because no matter how you look at it 2+2 = 4, and can only = 4
        No 7 is not the answer ‘ do you understand what I am saying, am I speaking a foreign language? 2+2=4, not 7.
        Can you explain how you got to 7? blah, blah, blah, waffle, word vomit, etc.
        no if you look at that again you will see it is 4.
        NO IT IS NOT FUCKING 7! IT IS 4! why am I so upset because you do not listen and then you talk shit.
        What? you have been telling me it is 4, it has always been 4, why am ‘I’ saying 7. you have always considered it to be 4, what am ‘I’ going on about? PALM TO FOREHEAD!

  • Cheaters make no sense. They pull the bullshit phrase “If I were really like that then you shouldn’t be with me” and then go stir crazy when the chump actually sets a boundary and says “Hey, you’re right. I shouldn’t be with you b/c you’re an asshole! Bye!” “Noooo!! I want my cake!! I’ll show you I can win you back! I need cake!!” BARF

  • Finally Done, you hit the nail on the head. It’s unbelievable to me that these cheaters all say the same things. They are following the “Cheater’s Handbook” How could we have lived this long, and not know they existed until it happened to us?

  • This is what I don’t get. The OW knew about me and the kids. How can she cheat while he is married and be ok with it. Hello. Your sleeping with your married boss. And now he is the greatest thing ever?? He abondaned his wife and kids. But he is the best guy ever??

    My hardest point to get over is loving a cheater because he gave me wonderful kids. How do you get past that. He destroyed me and the kids. But without him. I wouldn’t have them.

    • Maybe sometimes God sees how much damn devastation we will face at someone else’s stupid, selfish choices that we get our wonderful kids to love and raise. Trust that x sucks and don’t look back.

    • Hey, magician….we are really only tools or objects to these creeps. The kids too. That’s the truth.

      All the wonderful things your kids are is because of you. If your asshole is anything like mine, I bet he doesn’t have a real, vested emotional interest in your kids. They are good for parading around, or living sports wins through, or showing off their talents. But I be the can’t even tell you what their favorite color is, what book they read that made them think a little harder, who they admire.

      Protect your kids. Stop the cycle of bullshit. That’s how I get past that.

      • So true! Mine says that now that he is away from me ( Satan) LOL,that he has never had a better relationship with his kids. Funny, he doesn’t really know anything about them unless I tell him. Doesn’t even remember their birthdays or middle names either, but yeah………………he’s a great dad ( eye roll)

    • Hmmm. Look at the way you phrase it. “He gave me wonderful kids.” Here’s another way to say that: Out of a marriage with a cheater/con man, I got wonderful kids along with a lot of heartache. So long as you see the kids as a gift from him to you, and not something that came out of your love for him, your capacity to love and commit to a family, your focus will stay on him. He didn’t “give” you those kids because someone who would “destroy you and the kids” is not giving gifts. He’s a taker. So out of a marriage with a cheater and con artists, in which you gave your love, heart, commitment and best effort, in the end, you got wonderful kids. You.

      • thx guys… I guess i need to read it sometimes, and know I am not alone. I will never understand how Narcs turn into what they swear they would never be. I liked his confidence, his I will take care of you…. Yea take care of me by fing your ho-worker and leaving us with nothing. hiding and stealing money. and then be mad at me. SMH

      • after all of this, as his only child (23) says, just because he made a donation, doesn’t make him my father.

  • Reading some of the posts today have made me laugh and others have made me cringe.

    But reading them have brought to mind a comment my STBX once made.
    Due to ‘depression’ I spent our 10th wedding anniversary in hospital, this gutted me as at this point I was owning the whole fucked up mess. He had already cheated by this stage and was clearly of the opinion that I would never find out as I was the best cover story ever. So a few years down the track, I’m still feeling guilty over our 10th anniversary so I bring it up in conversation how could make our 20th something really special. STBX states ‘you can make it up to my by singing Shania Twain’s ‘You’re still the one’ to me in front of all our friends’. At the time I did not think anything about it we are both muso’s, Now in hindsight WTF? LOL we only made it to 17 1/2 by D’Day.

    love to all, you are all so inspiring.

  • Reading these posts made me remember so many times when I just thought this isn’t right. When he was spending A LOT of time with one of his female bosses at work. Not coming home because he was “too drunk” to drive and spending the night at her house. I asked him if there was anything going on and that this just wasn’t right. I got told to get over it. He would never do something like that. When I said to him that this isn’t normal behaviour in a marriage. He said that “we weren’t like everybody else and we didn’t have a normal relationship”.

  • I think a lot of cheaters have things in common. I never accused my ex of cheating but I would comment on his behavior. I always said something about his neck and whiplash. He looked at every female. He did have an eye, it’s hard living with that (sort of like Jack Nicholson’s character in Terms of Endearment, and wasn’t that young husband (Jeff Daniel’s character) a dream too. Sarcasm intended. I wonder how many of us felt lucky to be with someone “sparkly” and did not pay attention to things we should have. I met my ex when we were both quite young but there were things about his family and then his behavior that should have clued me in. Long distance relationships were my ex’s favorites, especially early on. We attended colleges far apart and then had early careers in different locations. So our relationship there was fun but not very meaningful. Muddy commitment. And because we were young and not quite permanent we both made mistakes. But I did not pay attention to those either. I did not learn from these. I think I was so focused on making my life better (and being very intentional)that it did not matter who the other person was. He was definitely good at love bombing. His actions though when things got real consisted of running away. I think responsibility freaked him out. He also made unilateral decisions, whether it was a big decision-ie relocation-or the purchase of a vacuum cleaner there was always a subtle power struggle. He always “won”. He seemed always to sabotage us. My parents and I laugh about the vacations we took together. He had so much time but never quite seemed to pencil it in. When he did go he would go off and do things with anybody else. Family dinners out and he’d be entertaining waitstaff. The comment above that most resonated with me was one along the lines of “living with someone like my cheater ex always meant there was something absent in my life” and I always questioned that. Why do I feel this way? That I felt like I never knew my ex because even when he was physically present he wasn’t mentally. He was just checked out. Another thing too was the little put downs. Making me quit jobs because he couldn’t watch our children for the few hours I was working. I struggled finishing studies because invariably I’d be dropping classes because he could not focus on his job, or his play, etc. it was always about him. His behavior escalated when he was engaged in an affair. He did mean things. I do think he got a charge out of it though. Even now he does the whole impression management thing well. But anybody who threatens their family’s well being can only be one thing.

  • Oh, Jesus, I just choked on my salmon. What a great post! The nun story is a classic! How many versions of ‘the sleeve’ have I heard, have we all heard? They really are all the same.

    “Yes, he really was a gassy gasbag of a gaslighter that one. You could cause an explosion from the combustible gassy lies that came out of his mouth.” This little paragraph is pure gold.

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