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Cheaters Are Timid Forest Creatures

TimidCheaterAfter you’ve been cheated on, you’d think it’s a pretty simple decision tree — reconcile or divorce.

Choose divorce, it doesn’t matter if your cheater is sorry or not sorry, the infidelity is a deal breaker.

If you choose reconciliation, however, the matter of How Sorry Are They comes to the forefront of the decision. Not only How Sorry Are They, but What Exactly Do They Intend to Do About It? And that’s where chumps get tangled up in limbo land — trying to parse how remorseful the cheater is and weighing it against demonstrable acts of reconciliation, such as a post-nup, no contact with the affair partner, honesty, transparency, etc.

Remorse? Proceed. No remorse? Go directly to divorce — it seems pretty straightforward. Because, why would you waste one New York second with someone who isn’t sorry, right? I mean, you’d have to be a masochist.


…. There’s a work around.

The Reconciliation Industrial Complex has a wonderful loophole to the remorse question. I call it: Cheaters are Timid Forest Creatures (TFC).

Oh no, you can’t ask for transparency right now — you might frighten them away!

Don’t be angry and emotional! This is very difficult for them too! They’re grieving the affair partner.

Don’t take any immediate actions to protect yourself! You might intimidate your cheater away from reconciliation! They’re very undecided right now and the LAST thing you want to do is get all bossy and demanding with the consequences. Didn’t you read the memo on making the marriage a Good Place to Be? These ugly accountability requests are creating a dangerously bad vibe.

Beware their FOO issues! Didn’t you know your cheater is in the grip of TOXIC SHAME? There you are, being all loud and judge-y — it could trigger them into another bout of toxic shame, and THEN what? You know they don’t handle stress well! They may just be compelled to cheat again. So be patient and loving and ask them heart-felt questions about their subterranean shame issues. Hold their hands on this. The cheater is in as much pain as you are.

Yes, cheaters are Timid Forest Creatures. Very delicate, fragile, and skittish. Just one wrong move and… poof! They’ll scurry off into the underbrush and leave you. No one can make any decisions until the cheater stabilizes! They’re sad. Very, very sad. And broken. Would you break a broken person?

You? Oh sure, they’re sorry. It’s very unfortunate when Things Just Happen to splendid people. (Splendid people like them. Who are you again?)

When the narrative is TFC, who are you to ask for demonstrations of sorry? They need help! They have sex addiction or FOO issues or Borderline or depression… It makes them do things for which they’re not responsible. Not really. Hate the sin, love the sinner. Oh, here’s an idea! Why don’t you join a support group to help you HELP them?

Think of reconciliation as a soap bubble, and think of yourself as a raging rhinoceros. Do you want to crush the fragile surface tension of remorse with your clumsy demands? You realize if this all falls apart it’s your fault, don’t you? You weren’t there for them during this crisis.

How many of you bought this shit? How many of you waited before making a drastic decision of self protection like seeing a lawyer? Did you wait 6 months? A year to decide? Were you patient with your TFC?

How’d that work for you?

I think it’s better to keep the decision tree simple. You don’t see remorse? Don’t wait around for it to emerge from the fog. You don’t see it because it doesn’t exist. Don’t make this complicated. Don’t let your cheater or some quack therapist make this complicated. People who treat you like shit and don’t demonstrate one bit of sorry are not people you need in your life.

Are cheaters Timid Forest Creatures — or are they grifters?

Are they undecided — or are they eating cake at your expense?

Do things “just happen” to cheaters — or do they have agency?

Are cheaters compelled to Do Bad Things because of their FOO issues — or do they manage to hold it together for other people, like their friends or their boss?

Are cheaters really sad — or just sad for themselves?

Ask a Timid Forest Creature and find out!

Oops…. wait… it scurried under a tree root and is unavailable for comment.

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  • got the classic run around: “she was a friend and I can’t just cut off my friend like that.” I wanted to cut off his dick when he said it.

  • OMG that cartoon is just beyond… funny!

    Such a good post. the cheater will NEVER be in as much pain as the victim. They have been out having fun, while the victim is DEVASTATED. No amount of shame, confusion, guilt, etc can even compare to the devastation of being brutally betrayed and lied to. Dean McDermitt’s “icepick to the head” comes to mind… ridiculous.

    Agree 100% with this post.

  • I’m so grateful that the situation was so black and white for me. Even though we had kids, the thought of staying with cheater for even one more second literally (and I mean that) made me nauseous. I couldn’t stand to be in the same room with him let alone spend the rest of my life with him where I’d be expected to have sex with him! *gag*

    Cheating is a choice. It’s a choice to deceive the unwitting chump, and it’s a choice to do all of the other indignities that come after (spending marital money, putting time and effort into the whore of choice instead of the family, having unprotected sex). I don’t see how anyone can view his/her cheater any other way. But, like I said, it was very black and white for me– I told him that if he ever cheated on me, we were through, and I meant it.

    If the cheaters are the Timid Forest Creatures, then it’s time for the Chumps to don their camouflage, buy a nice rifle and ammo, and go hunting! 😀

    • Haha!

      Like you, MO, I couldn’t imagine spending one more minute with him. I was relieved when he moved out. And that’s not to say it’s been easy healing because it hasn’t been. But to think that I could have a real life with him, be intimate and trust him – nope that wasn’t in the cards for me at all. I’m glad he’s gone.

      • Totally agree! I threw up for six months after my ex left. He celebrated and scheduled one a month dinners with our teens. What a Loser!

    • Black and white here, too. I found out on Memorial Day and was so pissed that I couldn’t call my lawyer right then and there! I had to wait 24 hours till the office was open…longest 24 hours I can remember!! Was able to get right in the next day, though, and the papers were filed…YAY!! Haven’t looked back once and don’t have any regrets or second thoughts! Reconciliation with a cheater is BS to me…once a cheater, always a cheater!

      • I did and felt as you MO and so glad. Just wish I had done it sooner than the 1 D Day as the signs to leave were all there before seeing the Craig’s List Casual encounter ad on his laptop.

        I did the full cycle so I saw it from beginning love bombing to end controlling/manipulation right through discard and Hoover.

        Learned my full lesson well and completely so as not to ever repeat again!

      • I saw the “secret” FB page (secret from me and everyone else but the MOW) and went to the messages and sent him a message that I now knew why he suddenly “didn’t have time” for us. I knew right away I would never trust him again.

        • LaJ, oh yes, the “secret” FB page and the 2nd mobile phone. Great giveaways in my opinion. Just as an aside and a tad off topic but 3 weeks ago I sent the ex an email asking when I would be receiving my very large record collection (remember I am 62 !). Surprisingly he did reply and said he would drop them around one night this week. I told him in no uncertain terms that I want them couriered to me because I would literally vomit at the sight of him and also to address them to me using my maiden name which I legally reverted back to 2 weeks ago. I actually feel great. He thought he had me forever. 🙂

        • At least your cheaters were creative in creating fake facebooks and emails.

          The cheater I had just saved the OWs’ (intentional plural) contact information as [Friend’s Name]’s Other Cell.

          I guess he thought I would totally believe that he told his friend “Landon” that the sex they shared the night before was the best he sex ever had if I should pick up his cell phone and take a sneak peek…


          But, on the whole, quintessentially demonstrative of his half-assed laziness…

          • Yuck. Mine was a lazy ass sociopath too. He gave me his old phone when he got a new one from work and asked me for his “friend’s” number. I emailed it to him. What a shmuck.

        • mine had a secret FB page too. just him and his GF and one of her friends knew about it. he promised to delete her in front of our counselor from his original page and cut off communication with her, so he did, but went home and made a secret page instead…well that isn’t deceitful is it? haha poor little timid creature couldn’t give her up

          • My STBX’s FB page was open to everyone, including all of his loser friends. It was not available to me, our children, and his Mom. He told us he had “shut his FB page down because it was too much hassle”. Liar! He had just blocked us! And yep. All of his friends knew he was having a long term affair. And they kept asking him when he was moving down south to live with her permanently.

  • Interacting with “timid forest creatures” as a chump (guilty) was drastically different than having the accidental opportunity to do it (didn’t seek it out) as a disinterested third party.

    As a chump, it just felt a lot like blackmail. How long did I wait around? Through one 3 month limbo and then a a 2 year fake reconciliation. I know, I know. Shaking my own head. What can I say? You live, you make mistakes, you learn, and some people learn later than others. I am a late bloomer 🙂

    As a disinterested third party I have discovered that these allegedly “timid forest creatures” can get downright militant or launch into Wagnerian Epic Dramas complete with wailing and the gnashing of teeth over the most rudimentary observation (i.e. “you are only responsible for your own behavior”, or “the only person responsible for bad behavior is the person who is behaving badly”). So much for that alleged timidity 🙂

    • Can you say more about the blackmail? You mean feeling like if you’re Just Not Understanding Enough, she’s going to cheat again? TFC as implied threat?

      • Oh yeah. Basically. In my particular case the role of timid forest creature came in a “I am uniquely sensitive, perhaps an ’empath'” package. You can’t make that sort of irony up.

        So… there were new rules: never sigh, never… ever-ever roll your eyes at anything, etc. The implied threat was that anything minor could be–and was–used to justify cheating, so you better bring your A-game.

        • Wow……all I can utter about that.

          You were the one that was betrayed yet they actually can turn it around to them again???

          Wow, I have a lot to learn.

        • Hey, I had one of those “empaths” too! It is a special form of gaslighting. When they can’t get you to understand the facts the way they want you to, they claim to have access to a special set of facts that you are too insensitive to comprehend.

          Then they whine about how hard it is to be so sensitive, especially when they are married to an ordinary clod who insists on pedestrian reality (i.e. the chump).

          • I got that too. His hookers weren’t “REALLY” hookers. Escorts, girls who gave “body rubs” with “happy endings,” friends who needed “help” in the form of cash…….in exchange for blow jobs.

            The level of denial and delusion is astonishing.

            People who get paid for sex are sex workers. Period.

          • Wow again!! Did I ever need to hear this. I forgot how much cheaters are so alike. It confused me greatly, my “sensitive cheater.” The regular stuff that most people feel just did not apply to him. He had a unique view, a special way of viewing the world. He was above what most people feel and so how could I not get that?

        • Mine said if I told anyone especially his family he would never come back. This after he was needing time about 4 months. ( all while living with his secetary)

        • Crap! My STBXW always used to say how “sensitive” she was. I think she really meant that she was sensitive as in “her feelings are easily hurt” but I always took it to mean that she thought she was empathic. NOT one and the same.

    • The blackmail thing sounds like a slight variant of the pickme routine. Isn’t the implied threat of the pickme game that, “If you can up your game and prove to me you’re worthy and can do better, well, maybe we have a shot. I would like it to work out between us, but that’s really in your hands.”?

      The blackmail option sounds like, “If you go easy on me, give me plenty of time, don’t throw it in my face, maybe we can work through this. I would like for it to work. Or you can harsh my mellow, be angry even though I (sort of) apologized, not forgive me, and you really back me into an unfair corner. But it’s really up to you.”

      • You’re right. Silly me: I thought the pick me dance was over. The next two years just proved that it never stops 🙂

        • I never thought of it this way but, wow, this just brought my life with cheater on a different level of clarity.

  • Ugh, it’s so eerily close to home with the truth ringing that it hurts! Luckily, after the X came back, I only got caught up in this BS for about 4 months before I told him he needed to leave. It wasn’t until I felt myself starting to once again believe that all of everything that was wrong with him was MY fault and realized that, during those 3 months he was off with the OW, I was actually pretty happy and less stressed that I woke up and realized that he really wasn’t remorseful, and his toxicity was affecting me and the amount of time and energy I spent on what really mattered – my daughter – that I finally told him to not let the door hit him on his way out.

    Wow, that was a really long run-on sentence. Sorry about that, lol!

    Btw…what is FOO??

      • Oh thanks, that makes a lot more sense now. Don’t get me started on THAT excuse, lol!

    • Yeah, my wife flew across the country to vist the AP. She was gone for about a week, and it was probably the happiest, least stressed time I’ve had since D-Day. To the extent she cared, she probably thought I would really miss her. Honestly, truly, I liked the time away from her enough that I would probably have slipped the AP a few bucks to keep her out there longer.

      Funny, but sad. For years, if just one of us went out, we used not to be able to get to sleep until the other one got home safe. I know, I know. But, there was a time when she was trustworthy.

        • Ha, I just realized that this means I can call my ex’s lover a SOW because she wasn’t married. Small triumphs amuse me.

  • Then the “timid” forest creature goes on a full on defamation and smear campaign of lies to protect their “fragile” ego.

    Can the old Freudian psychology die already? These people know what theyre doing and love these models that absolve them of any responsibility. They use the models to chump us and put us back under their thumb.

    They Know What They’re Doing! They are not victims.

    • Then the “timid” forest creature goes on a full on defamation and smear campaign of lies to protect their “fragile” ego.

      LOL. No, tell us what you really think 🙂 Yeah, it’s not uncommon to encounter whole-cloth fabrications and think, “WTF?”.

      I don’t know if that’s about protecting/projecting an “image” or if it’s something people tell themselves so they can continue to believe they are basically good, or ??? Doesn’t really matter, does it? Let the skein remain untangled. In the end, lies are lies, and lying is generally bad, and that’s really all that matters.

    • My STBXH is on that campaign now! Luckily my neighbor was kind enough to tell me that he was telling them all kinds of bad things about me. Glad it’s not just me!!!

      • Sorry your cheater turned out to be one of those defamers, but good for your neighbor to tell you and to not believe him!

      • mine did that too, but to everyone, friends and family, he needed a reason for his selfish actions. even yelled at me and said horrible things about me in front of one of the neighbors, that neighbor is now mowing my grass since STBX left because he feels sorry for me, guess the timid creature was only fooling himself.

  • CL as usual you are spot on! It’s been eleven months since I discovered Wasbands emotional affair. Threw him out, took him back, then he left again cause I was so mean and said he couldn’t go on a two week road trip, ALONE? No talk of the affair, no marriage counseling, no transparency! TFC for sure. So he’s on his trip now, wtf? I said don’t text, call or email! Don’t call me honey, say I love you or XO. Maybe he’ll get eaten by a bigger forest creature, lol

  • Thanks Tracy
    Guilty as charged!
    After months of living the the hologram of reconcilliation he finally admitted to physical sex not just (another) emotional affair… After he left and came back the next day to beg – his mantra to all was that I “just wouldn’t leave it alone and he couldn’t live with all the bitching” and that’s why he had to leave because he “was only helping a friend” (out of her own marriage BTW).
    I honestly do the TFC thing daily still – he is truly a sociopath with narcissistic tendencies.
    Good Lord let this divorce come to a close!
    THAT being said – I have previously bought in to the STBX lingo but as of late NO. That fucktard is my HUSBAND. We are MARRIED and I can’t seem to get UN-MARRIED. I have to tip-toe around his sorry ass, thanks to PA laws and a dickhead for a husband.

    • I feel for you MMB. I am in PA. Its been three years since I filed and I am still un-married like you! I refer to him as dickhead or douchebag on a daily basis. He also has narcissistic tendencies and he’s crazy/stupid enough to act up so I have to call the police. I’ll cross my fingers that both of our divorces soon come to an end. Hang in there!

      • Geez…I live in PA so I am surprised that it is taking this long for you guys. Are yor STBXs dragging their feet?

  • What a wonderful post Tracey!! Love the cartoon, am wiping coffee sprayed on to the screen

  • “Are cheaters compelled to Do Bad Things because of their FOO issues — or do they manage to hold it together for other people, like their friends or their boss?”

    This has finally turned into a red flag for me, after 2 “pitiful” cheaters who blamed their FOO…weird how it made them completely disregard commitments to me (and the first one, to our child), but not to their jobs or friends.

  • Thanks CL for not buying the crap that cheaters are in as much pain as their victims. Cheaters decide with their own free will that they’re going to sleep with whomever they want, whenever they want, without consulting their spouse about it AND give themselves the gift of coming home to a faithful spouse. That’s a pretty sweet deal for them. The pain only happens when others mess with their script. The spouse finds out they’ve been co-starring in the cheater’s play and threaten to rewrite the script. The AP threatens to expose the play. Any “remorse” that is expressed afterwards is to get the spouse back into costume so the play that worked so well in their favor can resume.

      • Absolutely. Mine was cheating with someone new while in counseling playing TFC. Later he said it was because he could see I wasn’t going to forgive him. My fault! Sorry, I didn’t resume my role as cake, so what was he supposed to do?

    • CharacterMatters – I LOVE the name! This exact statement has been a touchstone for me through this whole process. “Character Matters!” was my simple response to my cheater after many stupid cheater excuses. Says it all really. Character Matters.

      …and as an actor, I really appreciate your analogy. Get “back into costume!!”

  • Sure, cheaters are timid forest creatures. They are filthy rats. There must be rats in forests, right?

    • I was married to a timid forest creature. I wanted to be married to a MAN, goddamit. He went to the sniveling and tears so easy it was revolting.

      I used to get a little revenge type satisfaction by buying snide and sarcastic greeting cards for my ex and sending them to a good friend to laugh over. Such as the one with a picture of a bale eagle wearing a toupee that said “Happy Birthday! Looking Good!” Her very favorite card had a varmint lying back in his beatup recliner saying “You knew I was a lying weasel when you married me!” To which his bedraggled varmint wife says, “You told me you were a ferret!” Yeah, she loved that because she had been screwed over (in business) by him too.


  • Hm. When you wrote that ***Cheaters are TFC*** and said that means “Timic Forest Creatures” you created some acronym ambiguity for me, Chump Lady, since I always thought “Cheaters are TFC” meant Cheaters are . . . Totally Fucking Cold-blooded.”

    But seriously, when I gobbled up those theories and offered them to my cheating wife in the form of assumptions and leading questions (“What you need from me right now is unconditional love, isn’t it?”) she mostly just stared at me like I’d lost my mind. She didn’t tell me I was being stupid, mind you, but looking back that’s clearly how she felt. SHE knew how simple it was, and she seemed confused that I didn’t see it.

    Looking back through the years, it’s almost funny . “The Emperor Has No Clothes” recast as “The Cheater Has No Remorse.” So glad that CL is out there telling it like it (obviously) is in the face of so many who are so invested in playing make-believe.

    • Funny, funny! ” The Cheater Has No Remorse.” Yeah, something dead about these folks. Zombies, yes?

  • Excellent illustration CL.

    Mine was kind of sad when I found out but gosh he just couldn’t tell me the truth because he was… asshole, plain and simple.

    Once I knew about the affair I asked him to leave. I didn’t second guess it. It wasn’t an easy thing for me to do but I’d put up with enough BS to last a lifetime in the many months leading up to discovery of his affair. I was done. I did not offer him support or understanding. I called him a liar and a cheater and that made him angry. He was anything but a timid forest creature in front of me, but for others, sure he made a good show of a false sense of sadness.

    He wasn’t misunderstood, lost, sad, in a fog or whatever other excuses we give shitty behaviour. He knew exactly what he was doing and he just didn’t think he’d get caught.

    When we interact (rarely and over custody/money) he’s angry at ME. Haha. I haven’t figured that out yet and I don’t care to. Moving away from that fucked up mess of a man is the gift that just keeps on giving.

    • What is it with them being mad at US??? OMG – although mine hasn’t just torpedoed our relationship, but every single relative & friend he had except for 1 guy who lives in San Antonio (10+hr drive away). So the common denominator is definitely him. Funny thing is, he will say to others that this is all his fault, he’s the one who f’d everything up, then turn around & rage at me for some perceived slight. My favorite is the bi-polar alcoholic will tell me to stop being so angry & I need to get help for my drinking (ahhh, sure…) as he is reeking of booze at 10am & balling his hands into fists, grimacing, pacing, slapping his hands into each other… while I’m sitting there calmly. Project much??

    • Yep, coming up on 3 years and ex is still full of rage towards me. Anything at all can set him off, no matter how much time goes between contact (which is very, very rare and only about kids). He will flip over anything and is so fucking angry with me that it’s bizarre. The dude was a serial cheater and I booted him out. Sure, I had hope for a bit but in the end he was going to cheat and nothing would stop him so that was that.

      I think they’re pissed we rip off their mask. I believe this because he’s got final OW convinced he won’t cheat on her (despite banging other bimbos while seeing her). She actually told my kid she doesn’t think he’ll cheat (yes, my kid asked). And he said ‘oh no, I’ll never cheat on final OW’, despite having loads of social media ‘friends’ to this day, some of whom I KNOW he fucked.

      Fuck their crazy.

      • The Jackass is radically No Contact, even though he left a bunch of his expensive stuff (family heirlooms, furniture) at my house. First he was NC during his narcissist discard, then he couldn’t risk me finding out about MOW, and now–it’s because I ripped off the mask. I know he lies, betrays, cheats, gaslights and runs a bunch of cons in every area of his life. Pretty sure he won’t be hoovering back in this direction.

      • I think CL needs to to add a sidebar of acronyms and short one liners. Sort of a Chump-Speak Primer.

        Fuck their crazy.
        Trust they suck.
        Not my monkeys. Not my circus.

        What else?

          • I’d love to contribute here: “special kind of mindfuckery” seems to be my favorite.

          • Here are mine, with relevant quotations. I keep a list!

            Hyenas: “The best description I could come up with for people like this, [disordered folks who have sex with their APs in their marital bed] including my X and his new hole is, hyena. They remind of of hyenas that scrounge around looking for scraps and just act all-around disgusting. We know the cheaters are gross, but just imagine the mindset of their OP’s. What kind of person would allow herself to be brought to another woman’s home like this and act like this? Fucking hyenas.” –Rumblekitty, 7 /2014

            “I know a secret you don’t know.” The smirking, superior attitude of some cheaters as they lie and gaslight their partners about the affair and the behaviors going on around the affair. “Sex isn’t the high, deceit is the high. Power and humiliating others is the high. Control is the high.”—CL. 7/2014

            “Seeing card to card.” –CL quoting the New Yorker article on the science of sociopathy and why some cheaters neither anticipate nor fear consequences.

            “The perfect triangle of cheater sadism.” Cheaters getting their chumps and APs into a mutually humiliating social or professional relationship with the cheater at the center. “I was duped into assisting her affair partner and championing his cause, and he was forced to accept guidance from his mistress’s more-knowledgeable husband about how to fix his fucked up family situation.”—nomar, 7/2014

            • When I asked my therapist about the meaning behind ex’s having sex with one of the OWs in her marital bed, he sort of dismissed and said we have bigger issues to concentrate on (this was right after DD.) but I have wondered about this occasionally since… One OW was using her marital bed when her children were playing outside, and an infant sleeping in the next room, another OW had no problem using her boyfriend’s apartment while he was away working in another state… it proves it’s sickness all around, and I’m convinced APs are just as disordered as “our” cheaters. If AP claims they didn’t know he/she was already in a relationship, they are what Bill Cosby calls “special kind of stupid”, because quite frankly, who in this day and age doesn’t google their dates, does basic Internet search, which by simple cross referencing will almost always reveal enough about a person to determine if they’re married, living with someone, etc. unless they’re in secret service or in witness protection program. Actually, not being able to find enough info online on the person you date is considered a red flag in 2014. I’m not just referring to social media presence but simple free background search…

      • Nord – So much the same with my cheater. So. Much. Rage. towards me. And I think you have it exactly right, it’s because we’ve ripped off the mask. We know who they really are. I continued to remain on the high road and refrain from saying calmly (after any contact that is generally communicated by him is shout-y ALL CAPS!!!!) “Nice to see therapy is working so well for you”. Oiy. Just sad and pathetic.

    • He was anything but a timid forest creature in front of me, but for others, sure he made a good show of a false sense of sadness…When we interact (rarely and over custody/money) he’s angry at ME…

      Same for me. He was all tears and depth and sad for all, but for me an abusive name-calling substance abuser. And yes, what’s up with them being angry at us for dealing with practicalities? I think narcissistic people are layers of false and they project that “sweet, vulnerable, sensitive shit,” for some sort of connection to other people. But what is really brewing underneath is unhappiness and discontent that manifests in rage but only onto certain people, like us their spouses, the ones they promised to love and honor. So much mindfuckery when you start to put it all together.

  • I gave ex a week to decide, he said he wanted me. A week later found he was still in contact with the OW so I found a couple hotels, told him to stay in one until he made his mind up. He moved into an apartment, I started planning on divorce. He came back 3 weeks later in tears begging me to take him back, insisting on sex and of course insisting he’d never had sex with the OW (a lie of course). He continued to live in the apartment saying he needed to fix his mental health issues, hahahah, I said OK. A bit over a month later I discovered he was with the OW again. I told him we were divorcing. Total time from discovery to that day was just under 4 months. That night for 3 hours I felt peaceful. Then he harassed me on the phone, showed up, attacked me, I called police and he lied to them while I lied for him (never occurred to me I could be arrested) and I ended up in jail. So began his reign of terror. He moved back in the house because it was “his right to live there”. He was drunk every day, lost his job, went to rehab, walked out of rehab, constantly threatening me, blah, blah, blah. I couldn’t get him out of the house, I was too stupid to leave because I didn’t want to loose my home. Nine months later he agreed to mediation, swaying drunk. An hour later he brought the gun in the house. Despite the PO it took another fucking year to get the divorce final. I only wish my ex had been a Timid Forest Creature who went poof, if only!!!! If your spouse cheats, pray you get a TFC and then scare the shit of em!

      • OMG…that is so incredibly awful! I wish you never had to experience that Datdumwuf…so sorry. (((Hugs)))

    • Ugh Dat, your ex is a piece of shit, extra poo on the side. I’m really sorry you had to go through that. That’s dreadful.

      Good for you that you have that huge loser out of your life. Big hugs to you.

    • Well you raise a good point. I think they’re only TFC while they’re trying to get you to reconcile with them (allow the cake to continue) — but when you draw boundaries and say enough of this shit? Yeah, they get ugly very quickly.

      It’s fake timidity — I think it’s a con usually. You’re so “broken” you managed a double life quite nicely and got up off that sofa. Huh.

      • Also, I think Chumps are told to treat cheaters like TFC by folks OTHER than their cheaters. That usually means therapists, family members, “friends” who want to remain neutral, all deeply invested in the marriage not ending.

        • Agreed, Nomar. What I didn’t realize at the time (but understand now) is that the people who insisted that I treat my ex like a TFC, who insisted he was a “good and decent man” were users & abusers themselves, and they weren’t about to encourage me to draw boundaries lest I draw some with them as well.

        • That’s the whole culture. A “marriage” is more important than the mental health and physical safety of the chump and the kids. That’s so backwards. A marriage is supposed to be THE safe place for the partners and their children. When it isn’t safe–and that includes the emotional safety of fidelity and trust–it’s over.

          If a TFC wants to reconcile, it should go into therapy and get over being afraid of real life. Bottom line, there are probably some people who marry knowing the partner is a TFC and a cheater but expect that marriage is a magical state that cures those problems. Or that their own magical love will fix the cheater. But most of us would not go ahead with a marriage if we knew the partner was going to be a Timid Forest Creature requiring access to other TFCs.

      • I think they’re TFC right up until they realise you are not going to go along with their narrative. Once it becomes clear that you’re going to tell the truth TFC goes right out the window and they go nuts, full on rage and loads of smearing.

    • Dat, sorry your life was a living hell. If I may ask, if you could redo your actions after your first discovery of infidelity, what would you do differently?

      I see similarities between our partners and am in the exit planning stage now before I confront my husband of my knowledge of his infidelity.

      It sounds like you’ve been to hell but you actually survived and came back a much stronger person. I could use some insight!

      • Justanotherchump, I would trust my gut that he was dangerous. Over the years I minimized his rages and much more, this became so normal to me my intuition was broken. So, different moves? I would have arranged to go to an undisclosed location before I told him we were divorcing so he wouldn’t be able to find me during his initial rage. I would have consulted a lawyer before I told my ex I was divorcing so I would know my rights, the most important being that I could NOT keep him out of my house until divorce was final. AND I would have known I could get an instant divorce with proof of adultery in my state. Had I known that I could have easily gotten that proof BEFORE I confronted him. Afterward I lost that ability, he cleaned everything up, he was oh so careful.

        I would never have tried to reconcile with him, if I’d filed for the divorce immediately, he might have taken it better since at that time he had his job, he had moved into his own apartment, the OW was giving him lots of attention.

        Every situation is different, and you *know* your spouse better than anyone if you let yourself *know* it. So what is the worst he might do? Whatever you come up with, think worse and operate on that assumption. Be careful.

        I no longer do “woulda, shoulda, coulda” crap for what happened to me, I accept that I did the very best I could in a fucked up situation and I did a damn good job. I’m still alive. I relate these things sometimes because I don’t want anyone else to find themselves fucked over similarly, PTSD sucks. Someone here said our lives are not meant to be cautionary tales, I agree with that. However, if my tale causes someone to hear their own fear and heed their intuition, that’s a good thing.

        • Dat, thank you so much for going in depth of your experiences and insight. You have caused me to wake up and trust my instinct and my “gut” on how I fear he will react with this confrontation.

          Your words have given me a great gift – confidence in myself.

          Thank you!!!

          • I hope it helps. If he’s ever gone into rages or done similar that frightened you, recognize that is about control over you. When you tell an abusive person they are loosing control over you (divorce), they escalate and can that rage can become physical attacks. I forgot to say; if he makes threats to commit suicide do not believe it – but recognize this is a last ditch effort at control, if it doesn’t work, the violence against you is likely next.

    • TFCs when cornered are fierce, have you ever handled one? I think most Narcs are as well.

  • Looking back there were so many signs of dysfunction in his life. I commented to someone the other day, “My marriage to John felt like being a hotel. He just showed up whenever HE wanted to.” Which wasn’t very often. It’s funny but VACATIONS were miserable with a cheating spouse. I never had fun with him because he was so checked out. We built a beautiful home together (literally) but it never felt like one big happy family. My ex always did his own thing. It seemed to me he always had secrets or maybe that’s me thinking he was “deep.” Timid Forest Creature yes. He could not discuss anything. Finances, spending time together, sex (I don’t know one Cheat who is great or giving in bed because there is such a disconnect. After awhile it’s just twenty different positions. My ex stopped kissing me altogether in the last year and I think it was this that should have told me something was wrong, humiliating as I used to love him.) He would just find somewhere else to go. He spent very little time at home. Too much going on. I am a strong woman and I do intimidate some men because I think it’s a new world. There shouldn’t be an imbalance go power. There for a long time he seemed normal but I think the disordered need new for the act to be successful. When it clicked for me, on DDay, I didn’t look back. Cheating was a deal breaker. He moved out within a week and continued his affair in a big way, so I focused on getting well and taking care of my kids. I did wait till he filed and knew he would do so the day six months time had passed. One thing about knowing my ex well was that I knew his next move even before he did. So glad he is “no longer my monkey (rabid TFC), nor my circus.” 😉

    • “My ex stopped kissing me altogether in the last year and I think it was this that should have told me something was wrong, humiliating as I used to love him.)”
      Same here! Now that I look back, I can see why the kissing stopped. It was because of her of course. His heart (puke) was with her. Don’t get me wrong..he still wanted sex with me..but it was perfunctory. No romance. No love. Absolutely NO kissing. And now, I know why.

      • I know how much that hurts because it happened to me, too. So sorry.

      • How odd…I got hugs, kisses, affection, flowers and jewelry but we only had sex twice during false R. I brought it to stbxh’s attention on more than one occasion that I felt this lack of sex was because he felt more loyalty to his AP than his wife (hit the nail right on the head with that assessment since he was still fucking her…I just didn’t know it at the time!). First he tried to turn it around and blame it on me…because upon discovery of the affair I said, in a fit or pain and anger, that he would never lay a hand on me in a sexual manner again. When I made it clear that I had sexual needs that he was not meeting (yeah, he wasn’t “meeting my needs” but I still held up my end of our wedding vows!) he began to use his age, his meds, his fatigue from work as an excuse. I knew deep down in my heart what the real reason was but I had no way of proving it and he was adamant that AP was long gone. God, the faith that I had in that man makes me cringe!

        • lovehonorcherish..the no kissing was BEFORE I knew about Dday, so he was obviously emotionally withdrawn for quite some time. Amazes me though..I was good enough for SEX. Just not good enough for any kissing, affection, or anything else. I guess he was saving all the good stuff for the OWhore.

          • Yes, before Dday too. And you know the real kissing that occurs when you are making love. Cheaters love cake. In the last two years of our marriage, he was affectionate in public but we had always been discreet, even as young lovers! and kept PDA to a minimum. And he had never been the holding hands type. But sex without kissing is a guarantee your partner is checked out! What amazes me is that I should have been paying attention to my body as well as my “gut”. It would have saved me a lot of time!

          • For some reason I’ve always felt that deep kissing is more intimate than sex.

            They could have sex with you because it was a rote thing. They probably just shut their eyes tight and pretended they were masturbating.
            So icky.

        • ” God, the faith that I had in that man makes me cringe!”


        • “God, the faith that I had in that man makes me cringe!” I’m with you on this LHC. This occurs to me and saddens me daily.

        • You say something important here: “I knew deep down in my heart what the real reason was but I had no way of proving it and he was adamant that AP was long gone.” We get all tangled up in proof, which of course is quite useful in court. But why isn’t it enough just to say, “I feel like your loyalty is with someone else. You are not engaged fully in this relationship or marriage. I am lonely and you aren’t paying attention to my needs.” Those feelings we have are a kind of proof. It’s our intuition and our heart screaming at us not to be ignored.

          • You are absolutely right, LovedaJackass. My gut was screaming at me and I just continued to suppress and ignore my doubts and suspicions. Our MC, our families and our friends felt that we were doing wonderfully and had recovered quite well from the trauma that rocked our marriage. He and I had always been good friends and gotten along well together, we had always been loving and affectionate and enjoyed spending time with one another. On the surface, to everyone else at least, it appeared that we were still the same couple that we always were…but I knew something was off and deep down I knew exactly what that something (or someone!) was. When I expressed my doubts to our MC she tried to reassure me by saying that it would take time to rebuild the trust in my husband, to feel “normal” again and that he was doing everything in his power to show me how much he loved me (yeah, he snowed her too!). Truthfully, I wanted our marriage to work, I wanted to believe my husband when he said he was capable of being the man that I deserved him to be… so I didn’t listen to my own intuition. In the end, of course, he was revealed to be nothing more than a selfish, adulterating liar. All those doubts and suspicions that nagged at me turned out to be true. Should I have listened to my gut? Absolutely! Will I heed my intuition from here on out? You bet!

      • Probably a blessing in disguise. Seriously, knowing what you know now, would you want to swap spit with a cheater? Grosss. God only knows what that mouth has been on. Eeeeeeeeeeew!

        Read up on oral cancer and where they think the rise in it is coming from. Gagging right now.

  • My husband used up all my money and then began going out seven nights a week. I guess it’s a full time job seeking another sugar momma. Then he came to me and said that it all came down to my being a nervous wreck and for me to get out or he would. I left.

    I then spent a couple of months giving him the space he needed and showing him how calm I was and how much I had changed. He even had me over for sex a couple of time so I thought perhaps I was making headway with him. I asked him to keep his dick in his pants while we figured this out. He said he would.

    Of course I suspected another woman, but when I asked him directly he simply lied. Then he admitted there was another woman and yet seemed to have some conflicting feelings and said for me to “give him time” to get rid of her. I thought wtf? She deserves notice for some reason? Then I must have seemed nervous because he told me he didn’t really want to get back together with me, he was merely trying to soften the blow.

    I said, “Stop softening the blow.” And then it sunk in that he had cheated. He had put his dick in another woman, pretty much the only deal breaker I had. So even though I still loved him, I knew I’d never get over his infidelity and I stopped pursuing him.

    I guess my ego’s damaged that he barely considered reconciliation. I know some folks here will say I was “lucky” in that regard. But this stuff is twisted and complex and even though I am certain I will be better off without this user of a man, not being given the chance to consider reconciliation was just one more blow to my ego. If I had been the one saying no to him, I figure I wouldn’t be hurting as much now. Dumb, I know. Because I never could say no to him for long.

    • You, most likely, only missed out on Round #2 (OW #2, #3, etc–however many rounds you could last in that ring).

      • Exactly. Mine tried R for 6 months until I pulled the plug, but was still cheating with multiple OW. Most will do this. They don’t change.

    • Moving Liquid, it is hard to accept, hard on our ego to discover that we aren’t as special as we thought we were and that we were in love with a sham. The thing is from his perspective there really was nothing to reconcile, he was never truly committed to you, he was committed to ridding you of your money. To a narcissist all women are interchangeable, he will morph into whatever a woman wants in order to get what he wants out of her and once he has drained her of whatever he was after, he moves on with insulting ease and blame the victim for their own pain.
      There is no shame in loving someone, he presented himself as someone you could trust and who loved you as much as you loved him. You had no reason to believe differently and you did what a normal loving person does. Your love was healthy and normal and your pain at being deceived is normal and healthy. Hold your head high that you walked away when you did. You acted in honesty and with love and he abused it and used it against you, THAT is not your fault. Sure if you would have said no sooner you might hurt a bit less, or would you have always wondered “what if” ; now you know with all certainty he is a loser and you can work on healing knowing you did all you could to save the relationship. Just know that history repeats itself and the new woman will be where you are in not too long. He will not change and always will be a cheater, bottom feeder, soul sucking, shallow scum who doesn’t deserve a caring loving woman like you. He screwed up………..not you!!
      Hugs to you.

      • LadyTruck you are so spot on. I have watched with astonishment (as have my children) at how ex has morphed into a completely new person with final OW. Everything he supposedly enjoyed/loved/appreciated when he was with me is now scorned and put down and he speaks of all of it with disgust.

        He’s now living a completely new and different life, one that bears very little resemblance to the one he had with me. At first, when I kicked him out, he was taking final OW to ‘our’ restaurants and favourite places but then she got her shot at weighing in and now it’s all her thing. It’s really odd to watch and very disturbing for the kids. They often ask ‘who is this guy?’.

        • It’s crazy how easily they change personalities. Become someone brand new..someone we don’t recognize with the OW/OM. It baffles my mind, because he is not the person with me that he is with HER. He treats her like a queen! Absolute queen. I was treated like a scullery maid..but she is put on a pedestal. Can someone tell me why??

          • Sandy, if you think back you will recall a time when he treated you well, when he seemed so right for you, he’s just doing the sme thing with her that he once did with you, and you already know how that ends…

            Jedi hugs!

          • Sandy, they don’t change personalities, it was there all along. There is a saying in Spanish, they were acting like a “mosca muerta”, a seemingly dead fly. Until they get the OW in a place that they want and then they turn around “wake” up and inject you with their nasty saliva and suck you dry. It’s just plain evil to do that to someone, no matter what kind of person the spouse is, they should be able to man/woman the f up and get out of their relationship as honestly as possible, regardless of the inconvenience. They just want to make sure that you are on the way to being annihilated.

        • Ladywithatruck,
          ‘To a narcissist all women are interchangeable, he will morph into whatever a woman wants in order to get what he wants out of her and once he has drained her of whatever he was after, he moves on with insulting ease and blame the victim for their own pain.”

          Mine moved on with such insulting ease it was mind boggling. He had been in my bed every night for years sleeping with me and within 24 hours he was in her bed sleeping with her. I’m not exaggerating one bit. I always said it didn’t matter who was riding in the passenger seat next to him, as long as it was a woman. ANY woman. And as soon as we tired of her it would be a NEW woman.

          The OW thinks she’s the Special Anointed One. The One that has tamed him of his wicked ways. Actually he’s already cheated on her and she’s okay with it because she needs a man as desperately as he needs that blow up party doll in the passenger seat.

      • They are missing a core identity, a Self that is not defined by being fed ego kibbles. One thing I’ve though a lot about in the past year is how most of the things that matter to me–gardens, the critters in the yard, sports, working out, the kinds of music I love, reading, photography, etc.–can be traces right back to childhood. I am still in my core who I was at 8, 10, 16 and 20. I’ve added things along the way and learned deeper appreciation of those core things, but my heart still lifts when I see a wild river. These people who can morph into a completely new person based on changing partners are a few bricks shy of being a whole person.

          • I figured out my XH was a complete chameleon. He could morph into whatever woman he was trying to impress wanted him to be. He said and did exactly the right things to make the woman he was seducing believe that she had finally found her Prince Charming. Then ever so slowly he manipulated things around to be exactly the way he wanted them to be. Eventually you were living his lifestyle, swallowed up with his interests, consumed by his wants and desires.

            He’d make a fuss if I got on the phone to my friends or family. I would literally have to hang up the phone because he would start banging dishes around in the kitchen like he was going to break them. He’d bitch if we were going to do something with my side of the family or my friends. Basically acting like he was about 3 years old and his mommy wasn’t paying enough attention to him. I thought it was really stupid and it would piss me off and we’d fight about it but it didn’t do much good.

            • Syringa,

              Early in the marriage, I told my ex he was like a chameleon. He morphed into whomever wanted him to be at the moment. This was especially noticeable in parties. The need to be accepted was profound. Guess he can’t figure out the difference between belonging and fitting in.

          • Moving Liquid,
            Don’t for a second think it would have been easier on you, if you had done the leaving etc….I was the one who left, my so called relationship after only 10 1/2 months. Let me tell you, he left before me, I just stopped it after the 1 D Day. It would have gone on and on if I didn’t stop it. I am here to let you know even though I stopped it, the pain was no less. It still hurt like a mother fucker and I still felt the pain from his discard.

            What I have learned from being and reading here at CL is that each case seems to have the same exact effect and affect on the Chump. Regardless of length of time or how many D Days occurred. When you finally realize what happened the devastation is completely equal. There is no worse pain, plain and simple.

            Not sure this is a comfort to you Moving Liquid but trust me when I tell you that even though my situation lasted only a fairly short time with 1 D Day, I still wish I walked away sooner. I guess that wish was to have avoided that devastatingly painful experience.

            The fact is that I didn’t. I waited till I couldn’t deny anymore what was going on by seeing a Craigs List Casual encounter ad on his lap top. To this day I feel he left a tab for that ad for me to see as that is what blurted out of my mouth when I saw it. That was the last straw for me and after seeing that there was no turning back for me.

            The bottom line is Moving Liquid, I am just as much of a chump as you are and everyone else here.

            The healing part is not worrying about being chumped or how chumped but what you do with that fact afterward for yourself. There is no power in being a chump. The power comes after the Cheater is out of your life and what you do take your life back.

            They don’t change, I am 100% convinced of that. They are just like P.T. Barnum, full of promises and dreams, no reality. Their reality sucks otherwise they wouldn’t do what they do which in essence is running away from reality. Reality always catches up with you.

            So Moving Liquid, accept your reality for what it is, you were chumped as we all were. Now what are you going to do with Non Chumpy life? It’s yours to make of it what you will. That’s pretty great when there is no fucked up loser messing with you and your life. That in and of itself puts you ahead of the game.

            Sending you Unchumped Love and Healing.

            • You are right on, here. The only worse pain I can imagine would be to lose a child. I told someone yesterday that this was the worst thing that ever happened to me, including the deaths of family members and friends. I’m not sure why betrayal is so difficult but it is; I think one reason is that it is so deliberate and requires such a total negation of the chump’s humanity.

            • Deborah, that was lovely and inspiring and I thank you for it. Sometimes I feel on the outside here, I don’t have young kids, I don’t know who the OW is, and I didn’t know there was an OW until three months after he discarded me. But you’re right, in the end the pain I feel is just as bad as anyone else’s and what’s important is how I move on from here.

              I’ve worked incredibly hard to have a shred of dignity in this thoroughly undignified situation, and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. Yes, sometimes I feel really discouraged and pessimistic, but I also often feel filled with inspiration, optimism, love, and excitement for the future. Thanks for your comment.

  • I don’t care how TFC that timid little rabbit is. If I want it to stop eating my garden plants I’m throwing in the smoke bombs! Gas ’em out. Let’s see how TFC they are when they’re laying on the ground gasping or knocked out.

  • Yeah it hurts and this shit is twisted but remember the twisted and painful shit is on him, not you. You trusted him and he abused that trust. I think wanting to hear that you are good, loveable etc is absolutely normal in the face of such betrayal. However, tell yourself that and believe it. YOU are good and loveable and he’s messed up big time. Nobody needs that a kind of sorrow in their life – you deserve better.

      • Thanks, thensome. The intelligent side of me knows you’re right. It’s the emotional side of me that I have to kick to the curb.

        • ML,
          With time and work on your part, the brain and the heart meet and that is when you will be healed. Then with more time, what happened will become simpler and less complicated to you and your story with cheater will get shorter and shorter until it is a mere sentence in you life because your life and what is in it will be coming bigger.

          It takes time but it does happen. I went through all of it. When I was going through it I thought the pain and rehashing of what happened etc. would never end. It did. I got so tired of feeling badly about what happened and what a shit he was I decided enough already. He is a shit. Let it go and work on you because you are not a shit and deserve to have a happy and fullfilling life.

          Healing is about getting to the point that you just don’t want to waste anymore time on someone with no value who brings you down into the dirt with them. Don’t rush yourself but don’t linger in the dirt longer than needed. It takes work and a lot of effort on the Chumps part but so worth it in the end. Everyone has their own timeline of getting there so realize that as you do have to get through all of the feelings and realizations so that you rebuild your own solid foundation again to Get a Life! That you will. I know it.

  • Yes, I thought the decision tree would be simple as well. Divorce, or save the marriage. And yeah, I was initially on the save the marriage branch. But on that branch I did expect him to really try to SAVE THE MARRIAGE. And he did pay me some lip-service on that point for a while…

    he EXPRESSED remorse, answered my questions, had transparency. But definitely didn’t go no contact (though I do believe for our brief limbo he managed to keep it professional with her… well, I’m 90% sure due to the monitoring and transparency, fun stuff!)… though he led me to believe he would. So he strung me along with that promise for a while.

    So in the end he didn’t DO anything remorseful. It took a while for me to notice his actions weren’t matching his words. And it was almost more incomprehensible than the cheating itself. I was like, you already fucked up and now you aren’t even doing everything I ask and more to try to save the marriage?? And none of the books (that I read at least) even mention that as a possibility.

    It makes you feel even shittier. That they just want to continue to walk all over you after they have already destroyed you once. You’re trying to figure out your way after you’ve been traumatized, trying to make sense of it all, and they are just continuing to traumatize you bit by bit, again and again.

    • ^^ THIS.

      Yes, I felt the same way, like “why did you come back to work this out if you’re just going to sit around and act like YOU’RE the one miserable and who had a grievious act done against them???”

      In the end, I found his apathy/TFC attitude almost more disgusting than his infidelity.

    • This was my experience as well. Once he came back for bogus reconciliation, and I was stupid enough to fall for it, it was like he thought I should be grateful just to have him back. He certainly didn’t show any real remorse or seem to feel bad about anything. He very quickly ramped up the abuse and it soon became all about blaming ME for not being supportive enough of him.

    • Yeah, none of the books mention that the cheater might be a character-disordered hyena with no regard for commitments, promises, or obligations; with no compassion for others, including spouse and children; and with no intention of giving up cake or kibbles. If the cheater is a narcissist or similar creature, there is absolutely no point in attempting to reconcile.

  • My story didn’t drag on nearly as long as most:

    He left with no note or anything one day in January, 2014, while I took our 2 and 3 year old to the zoo. I found out he had actually left somewhat permanently by his missing toothbrush and suitcase. Four days later, I hacked his iCloud account to use the GPS on his phone to find him, since he couldn’t be bothered enough to answer my calls or texts.

    Next came five months of hard-core gaslighting to everyone–me, our children (She’s just a babysitter! Oh, her? She’s a lesbian! Mommy, what’s a lesbian?) my family, his family, our marriage counselor, my relationship coach, etc. I knew something was up, but couldn’t prove it. You just don’t come home 2 days a week for 5 months and stay gone the remaining 5 days each week with no explanation. And, he? Is a TERRIBLE liar.

    Example: Him: “I am curled up with the kids on the couch watching a movie, they’re almost asleep.”
    Me: “So why are there pictures being posted on Facebook of you RIGHT NOW at a bar with another woman?”
    Him: “That was a long time ago…”
    Me: “Really? I bought you that shirt on Thursday…”

    So, let’s see, $2,000 on marriage counseling, which he didn’t even show up for 40% of the appointments, $499 for “relationship coaching” (WASTE OF MONEY), 3 “Save your Marriage” e-books–for the bargain price of $47 each, and about $100 in Amazon books on similar topics.

    All to find out that:

    1. He was cheating loooooong before he left in January.
    2. He got an employee pregnant while on 2 “business trips” to New Orleans in February, 2014. The dates of the two business trips? One was Valentine’s Day weekend, and the other was the weekend of our 2 year old’s birthday (who had chickenpox at the time).
    3. He started an affair with ANOTHER employee, and she got pregnant, but had an abortion. They are still dating today, this minute, right now, even after I posted his pathetic Hoovering text messages of him asking me to answer the door because he loves me on her Facebook wall.
    4. He stopped paying all of our bills–I was a stay at home mom at HIS request–in March, 2014, so I had to beg, borrow, and sell everything to keep my lights on and my car from being repossessed until I got a job, making more than he makes.
    5. And the Coup de Gras: He picked up HPV 16 somewhere along the way and now I have cervical cancer! Maybe he got it from a hooker on Bourbon Street in an incident that I have described in a sworn statement FROM HIS BOSS…

    So, fuck him… And Fuck the Reconciliation Industrial Complex as a whole…

      • What a hideous man! I hope you have family and good friends near by to help you.

    • Yes, he’s a monster and thank God you are away from him. Again, so sorry he was also a disease-carrying monster.

    • Kelli,

      Every time you talk about your POS and mention all of the ways he violated you, I want to find him, tie him up, and use a hedge clipper to remove his body parts one piece at a time.

      (((HUGS))) to you. You are Wonder Woman.

      • Thanks, Princess! I’ve been studying Gerald Butler’s character in the movie Law Abiding Citizen. It’s the best $4.99 I’ve ever spent!

  • Yeah my disordered fuck expected the house in the divorce because he had invested an inheritance in our first home. ( Law in CA agrees but I had an argument re commingling. I was not going to budge. Fair is fair, but Cheaters expect you to fold.) Fifteen years and one house later and two more refinances! where he had pulled out and spent the equity (easily twice what he put into our first home). It took me a while to figure out this is how he financed his double life. Hence the barfing…What a dick! I am glad just to be making financial decisions by myself!

  • Sadly, I waited and waited—I wanted to work on the marriage. I felt guilty for being a crappy wife (8 IVF treatments and 3 miscarriages will do that to you). I felt like I should not walk away. I am Catholic for Pete’s sake! I felt like I couldn’t walk away without trying. blah, blah, blah…

    Oh yes, he was nice while he was cake eating but when I filed it got UGLY. I even had a visit from the OW once. Like she was coming over to check out WHY I didn’t want to give him up…Haha! The divorce was almost final by that time–dunno why she wasted the time or energy.

    Anyhoo, the remorse from him was large. He ‘hated’ what he had done (and in fact continued to do at the time-how’s THAT for remorse?); He said several times how ‘imperfect’ he was. He claimed he ‘made mistakes’ yeah, I guess sticking your dick to someone NOT your wife and impregnating that someone could be a considered a mistake. Or not. Whatever.

    Honestly, I wish I would have just gotten the divorce from the get-go and be done with it. It would have been easier. BUT I bought into all the bullshit. So it took me a while. If there is any residual anger it is that. I should have acted sooner.

    For those currently trying to figure out whether to stay and tough it out or run to the nearest divorce lawyer, my suggestion is to run to the lawyer and get this ball rolling. Yes, it’s exhausting! Trust me, it will be more exhausting if you wait.

  • Interesing. There are many variations of Timid Forest Creature, I think. In my case, I had a Weeper, who Wept (for himself, obvs.) through the discovery phase, the I’m going to divorce you phase etc. Now that we’re divorced (and he has a lovely 1/2 paralysed million-heiress for a new Gf…no you really CANNOT make this shit up), I have a Regulation Timid Forest Creature for an Ex.

    He says, “I cannot be my best self talking to you about anything other than finances and (daughter). You just spew venom.”

    I says, ” I’m not spewing venom, I’m just answering your question about why I can’t trust your word. (It was a LONG bullet list…) It was the truth. So sorry if the truth stings a bit.”

    Cheesy-fake=Buddhist Forest Creature/not sorry says “…crickets…”

    oh well, you know the old line from Ghostbusters, where Bill Murray says, “So? She’s a dog?” … I just say, “So? He’s an asshole.”

    • Hahaha…I got the ‘spew venom’ line at some point, and it was in response to me listing my reasons for not trusting him. This would be when I actually answered his emails and we got into roaring, days long arguments via email that went back and forth forever. Then i realised this was just more kibbles and simply stopped answering one day. It was brilliant. He couldn’t handle it and it made him even angrier. I swear, I await the day he gets so angry his stupid head explodes. I KNOW it’s coming. 🙂

      • Oh crumbs, Nord. Just buy some popcorn and sit back and watch? (maybe crisps 😉 )

        Mine is too passive-aggressive to do anything much, but I think the new GF may egg him on, to try and cut my alimony–which I earned, damnit…did I ever!

        In other words, they’re assholes, all one species, different varieties.

      • This! Got the same shit “You just spew your venom”. Sorry, but I call a douchebag man whore what he is. I even heard the same shit from his homely fuck buddy and his troll ex-wife about my venom spewing. I guess I was supposed to just shut the fuck up and take the cheating and lying like those two pathetic women that have zero self esteem. Just saw Mr. Cheatypants with the twat troll ex-wife the other day. Once she realized that I was in the crowd, she had her arms and hands all over him like some stupid love struck teenager to make sure that I knew she was with him. I just laughed to myself and thought “please have at him – better her than me”. They actually look really gross as a couple – big time alcoholics and heavy smokers. Yuck – not missing any of that shit.

        • Funnily enough, the few times I’ve seen ex and final OW they are both super uncomfortable, like they’re still doing something wrong. It’s pretty hilarious, to be honest.

    • My therapist had one statement in my Untangling the Skein of Fuckeduppedness that had a profound effect on my whole outlook.

      Dr. S: Kelli, how many legs does a dog have, if you call the tail a leg?

      Me: …

      Dr. S: Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.

      Best. Explanation. Ever.

  • When young and naive, I took my fiance back after he cheated then went off with the OW for four months. Classic non-communication, he came back, said his mother was insisting he follow through with our wedding. I went along with it. I felt like a lottery winning pick-me winner, and gloated that I’d won the prize over the OW.

    I was so very insecure, young and stupid. My own mother always said I was hugely forgiving to take him back, but she probably felt sick at what I was doing.

    He never said he was sorry. It was as though it was his divine right to behave arrogantly. The few times I disturbed the TFC by asking when he was going to actually apologize, his answer always was “not that again, I said sorry (he did not, ever) now don’t mention it again”. I think his complete lack of willingness to talk about why it happened made him seem so robotic. Sex was robotic…his gratification then it was over. It was the only sex I ever knew, I figured that was it and all that stuff about orgasms was just a marketing ploy.

    The years since I finally made my jail break have been more marvellous than the 29 years before that. I wake up every day, glad that I don’t have to look at him and feel the gut wrench of knowing it’s another day, another put-down.

    • Oh marci! So glad you don’t have to live with that man for another minute!

      Now is the time to shine! Dance in your house naked! Sing at the top of your lungs! This is FREEDOM. I did this and felt wayyyyyy better! I thank God every single day that I am no longer married to whatshisname.

      So glad and happy for you!

      • Valentine,
        Thanks…you can bet I dance, and love myself plenty. I enjoy all the things I “wasn’t allowed” to do while his wife. I particularly enjoy dressing as I like, without scorn. I feel as though I escaped an insane asylum where I was constantly told I wasn’t good enough.

  • This blog post so relates to a phone conversation I had with a friend this morning.

    I told my friends and family this weekend that I was going to inform STBX that he was a STBX due to his affair with Schmoopie. I haven’t seen this particular friend in a while–she lives in another state and has a job that involves a lot of time that involves a lot of time away from her own home.

    Her first take on the matter? Maybe I needed to confront him sooner, to try to win him back. Had I thought this through? Had I given him a chance? After all, men have a hard time with their emotions, and this might be his way of crying for help.

    At this point, I realized that she was one with the Reconciliation Industrial Complex, that she bought into the idea that cheaters were Timid Forest Creatures, and that the affair was all a big mistake.

    Later in the conversation, it turned out that her father had had several relationships, and while her parents were divorced, they still lived under the same roof. She would see her father go out with different women.

    This sounds weird to me, but I realized then that, while my friend is an American, she was born and raised in another country, and that in her East Asian culture, this is normal. The conversation (really, a monologue on her part), turned toward her own fears for her own marriage, as she is in a line of work that involves a lot of travel, and home life ends up being sacrificed for professional goals, and that she opted not to pursue those goals because they would put even more stress on her home life.

    I nodded and made reassuring noises, and then thanked her for her support.

    She doesn’t get it. For her, cheaters are Timid Forest Creatures. They’re not creatures who spend thousands on their affairs, who give their Chumps STDs, who lie and manipulate. They’re TFC. Can’t I hear the cries for help?

    I can’t make her get it. I’m okay that she doesn’t get it, but she’s not going to be the person I turn to for support. That’s okay, too.

    • Also, my TFC seems to not understand that when I told him that I knew about the affair and am freeing him to be married to Schmoopie, I was telling him that I want a divorce. He seemed to get this–especially when he made a comment about “working out the details later,” but one of my sisters said that maybe he needs it spelled out.

      Given that he can have anger management issues (has never raised a hand toward me, but who can tell?), I’ll let this come out with the attorney. He’ll think he’s smarter than she is, or that Schmoopie’s experience trumps Ms. I’m a Certified Family Law Specialist Attorney, but the fact that she’s an authority figure will make him listen.

    • “Maybe I needed to confront him sooner, to try to win him back.”

      I confronted my husband as soon as I got evidence that he was in a relationship with a co-worker. I knew that they were sexting and communicating nightly on their secret fb accounts, but, although they talked about it constantly, they hadn’t actually done the dirty deed yet. I wanted to end their affair quickly before this happened because I knew if they had intercourse it would end it for me. There was no way I could reconcile after that, and of course I wanted to make things right again.

      Now I feel I should have waited until they actually fucked before confronting. Maybe then I could have made a clean break. Instead I wasted years of my life in limbo land.

  • My former MIL played this card about her cheating daughter. Claiming I had crushed her little flower. This while her “little flower” triangulated multiple counselors. Lied so well that they were clueless to her multiple sexual partners and ongoing long-term OM. TFC or little flower…yeah, right! Just another excuse not to take grow up and responsibility.

    • “Little flower?” When did poison ivy become a flower?

      That is another level of mindf*ck, going to counseling but then telling lies to the counselor about what you’ve done, why you did it, and your true intentions for the future. Even if the therapist isn’t part of the RIC, such conduct makes it impossible to fix the situation. My ex-wife was that kind of cheater, also with several counselors. Talk about moving the goalposts. More like moving the goalposts, the sidelines, the line of scrimmage, and the city you’re playing in. Pure chaos, which is just the way they like it.

      • “Little flower?” When did poison ivy become a flower?”

        HA!! love it.

        That “little flower” was also an LMFT herself. Level of minfduck went up yet again.

      • i like the poison ivy point. Exactly. Or “hemlock” as Me suggest. If goalpost moving was an Olympic sport, it sounds like both of our exes would have been duking it out for gold.

    • My MIL told me I didn’t love her poor little boy enough…i don’t even think the ink was dry on our marriage license before he had his first affair, not sure when i had time to love him, he was never there and when he was he was angry, not so loveable my little timid critter

  • The cartoon is absurd perfection.

    The TFC suit must be just one of the tools in the grifter’s closet. I’d like to think that he had to use all the tools in his arsenal to keep me in the marriage, but I helped. The truth is that I discovered 7 emotional affairs (7! And I no longer believe were solely “emotional”) before I finally found my voice. When I found out about the 8th affair (the “nail in the coffin”; pun intended), it was so egregious that I no longer worried about scaring him away.

    So yes, he used the TFC suit, the gaslighting–everything–and then I stirred it in with my own FOO issues and jumped right into the denial cesspool with him. He ate cake for years while I was miserable and lonely and ashamed. All bow down before me, Queen of Chumps.

    • “…just one of the tools in the grifter’s closet…”

      Laughed, and am still smiling for that line. Snidely Whiplash skulking into a heinous closet to hang up a wrinkled, stained, and sort of ripe TFC suit.

      If I could only draw.

  • I admit, I waffled. Broke up with him right after I had proof, but then decided to at least try to reconcile. I read books about reconciling. I tried my best to do my best without being a doormat.

    In other words, I did all the work. He just sat back and waited for things to go back to “normal.” ugh

    I was a mess for the three months I tried. He didn’t do much trying. I was honest, I was angry, I clearly communicated my feeling, I didn’t worry about scaring him off. He stood in the wind of that for about 3 weeks. Then the poor cheater “got tired” of it. He “got tired” of me not trust him.

    He kept saying “you have nothing to worry about” and refused to discuss any of it. Well, he told me I didn’t have anything to worry about in the past and then started paying hookers for blowjobs so I should believe him now because…….???

    He “got tired” of our conversations going in circles. He refused to have any useful discussion with me about any of it so the “going in circles” was all on him.

    Anyway, I wish I had just stuck to my guns, kicked him out right away and not tried to reconcile. It was a horrible three months for me. He just waited for things to go back to “normal.” The day he finally moved out was wonderful. It was like a weight was lifted.

    Never again. A deal breaker is a deal breaker and I’m done. If you are trying to reconcile then push all their buttons, push those buttons hard and often. Don’t treat them like fragile creatures. They are lying cheating crapweasles.

  • My STBXH is a timid forest creature. But I did kick him out and I filed for divorce. He said he was sorry in an email to me and said his counselor said he cheated because of depression. His counselor said he was like David in the Bible. He gave me the “hate the sin, love the sinner” line. He is a cake-eating grifter who still has contact with the OW (I can tell because of their Facebook actions). The finalization of my divorce can’t get here soon enough!

  • I can even remember his mother saying to me that if I keep asking him questions, I am just going to push him away. Yeah, she was a chump too, but one who chose to stay with cheater. So basically, I should just sweep it under the rug as she did. She seems miserable to this day and uses the excuse that woman just love her husband…… Barf!!
    I guess him answering questions honestly is just too much effort. Be gone, you liar, cheater piece of shit, be gone. 🙂

    If you continue to sweep everything under the rug, one day you will eventually trip over the enormous mess below.

    • I should add, this was said to me when they (exMIL & FIL) were living in my house about six months after dday. I was trying to be kind to them as they said they needed to leave where they were at and were having some financial difficulity. Chump me, let them move in for three months. Didn’t ask for a dime from them either.

    • My MIL said he must have been getting bored with the AP that’s why he was seeking out other potential affair partners.- thus her rationalization that the affair was coming to an end so no harm no foul. But isn’t this a sign of more cheating ahead? If you’re bored fucking two people, will you be bored fucking just one. Smh.

    • What is it, exactly, that you are supposed to be “pushing away”? That is what I don’t get. The cheater is already cheating, lying, gaslighting/ What would being “pushed away” consist of? Other than the cheater being forced to give up some cake.

      The mothers of these crapweasles and hyenas are busy enabling them and trying to get the chump lined up on that road, too. If I had a son like that I would be utterly ashamed.

      • when i first told my ex’ mother he was cheating she told me to kick his ass out. Later she told me it was my fault cos I stopped shaving my legs, LOL

      • My thoughts exactly!
        And the best part is that she had sent me a letter in which she said that my mother had forgiven my father (they divorced due to his lying/cheating when I was very young and both later remarried other people) and that I am just experiencing what she went through..but see your mother forgave your father…. Nice – trying to shame me to forgive her son. PATHETIC!
        She made it seem like it was a rite of passage for me to experience and on top of that, my mother and father only started “tolerating” each other when I was around 21….
        I don’t speak to any of his family anymore.

        • My ex-ILs were apparently angry at me for not “standing by my man” when he “lost his way” and telling people about his affair. No wonder if he feels so entitled!

          • Mine (exmil) told me that I needed to fight for him. Blahahaha
            Are you fucking kidding me??? Shouldn’t he be fighting for me now?

            • “Mother-inlaw, you’ve got it backwards. He broke our wedding vows. He broke my heart. He put me and the kids at risk. He’s the one who should be fighting to get me back. Because he’s the one who broke us.”

  • my X gave me three days to rage after I found out – he then told me I was never allowed to mention his affair again (he was already on to another AP by then, I just didn’t know). Luckily for me his horrible and dangerous narc personality had made me want to leave prior to finding out about slutty vet nurse so I told him the marriage was over. Instead of being TFC he seemedto then lose all sanity and by about a week later, his behaviour was scary enough that I took my kids and ran late one night, hid for three weeks till I got legal custody of our toddler, and then moved on as a single mum.
    I think I was lucky in one way – I never wanted to reconcile because he’d killed any love I had for him months before. I really feel for anyone who still feels they love their cheater enough yo stay with these manipulative nasty people.

    • CL, you sumed that shit up rather cleanly. Just like a surgeon with a laser!

      Your first hand experience along with all of ours is your methods back up!

      Fucking leave and get a life, It’s the best cure, I can back that cure up, it works!!!

      Xo thanks again Lady!

    • Justine, I’m glad you got away with your kid, The escalation when Abusers lose control over us is scary, good that you realized and ran. Jedi hugs!

  • I feel like I just took a bath in a tub full of sarcasm. Very well written and it made me laugh so hard. I know I am guilty of much of this.

    Regardless of what the cheater’s inner issues are they have no excuses for their behavior. They still know the different between right and wrong. They consciously choose wrong.

  • One thing that has always boggled my mind was how my stbxh tried to explain himself. He said to me “You have absolutely no idea how difficult it is to look at myself in the mirror every day. Try to imagine what it’s like to know the difference between right and wrong but being completely unable to do the right thing. I have to live with that EVERY SINGLE DAY!! I have to live knowing that you think I’m some horrible monster that hurt you on purpose and I’m not a monster…I’m not!” And then he went right on fucking the AP and lying to my face. I walked on eggshells around stbxh because my biggest fear was that I would push him right into the AP’s grubby, little arms. I should have known he would have ended up there no matter what I did on my end. After all…the AP was the only person who could understand and mend his poor, broken, twisted soul : (

    • OMG…poor wittle lying cheater. The pain he must endure.


      What an idiot…lol

    • Exactly!! Why is it X can sit there with tears and crying about what a monster he is…and then I have to spend the next days trying to re-convince myself that HE CHEATED…he is BAD PERSON, instead of feeling bad for him and wanting to help.

      Did I mention he’s a salesman?

      • That’s one good reason for no contact. The lies and gaslighting fuck with our minds.

      • “Why is it X can sit there with tears and crying about what a monster he is…and then I have to spend the next days trying to re-convince myself that HE CHEATED…he is BAD PERSON, instead of feeling bad for him and wanting to help.”

        Yes! This happened to me over and over again during our post d-day “talks”—the ones I timidly asked for so he could help me get over his “mistake” (I can’t believe I was such a chump!). I had so much empathy for him then, it makes me sick.

    • “Try to imagine what it’s like to know the difference between right and wrong but being completely unable to do the right thing

      Umm, no. I don’t want to imagine that. I would have to have myself committed if that were true.

      Did you suggest chemical castration? Just kidding. I don’t think that really works (it has been tried on pedophiles).

      • I hear you, TimeHeals! LOL…castration? No, a great idea though! My last act of chumpiness before I filed for divorce was to call our MC and get a recommendation for the best independent counselor in our area. I called, explained the situation to this new IC, begged for an appointment for stbxh ASAP and then washed my hands of the whole sick and twisted mess.

    • Wow. That just gave me chills. STBX pulled the mirror line on me, too — through tears. And chumpy me was trying to do some research to figure out what was wrong with him. What mental disorder would make a person unable to look in the mirror? Poor baby! I must help him!

      Of course, he managed to pull himself together enough to continue the affair, get a secret cellphone, put ads on Craiglist, book an erotic massage, and who knows what else. Shame and remorse were just tools for manipulation — nothing more.

      I have no idea how he feels about mirrors these days. But I look in the mirror and feel proud at how far I’ve come, and happy that I never sank to his level. Genuine dignity: better than botox.

      • “Genuine dignity: better than botox.”

        I love this. I need a t-shirt and a bumper sticker immediately.

      • Lily Bart, ex kept telling me this and still keeps telling his family this while he continues to live with OW. These cheaters are a strange breed, aren’t they? Love “genuine dignity; better than Botox.”

  • THIS!!!!

    “People who treat you like shit and don’t demonstrate one bit of sorry are not people you need in your life.”

    One of the blessings from coming to this site is that it’s helped me to clear out all the users & abusers from my life. Thank you, CL!

  • This was my favorite exchange towards the end.

    Me: you never even really apologized

    lying cheater: (shakes his head, looks frustrated) of course I did

    Me: me asking you why you did it and you saying because you are an idiot ISN’T AN APOLOGY!


    My second fav was when he would get mad at me for trying to talk about all of this and say to me “this is all your fault” and I would say “really?! please explain.” He would walk away fuming and a few minutes later come back and say “this is all my fault.”


    • I never got an apology either! The closest stbxh ever came was to tell the MC that I never deserved the way he detonated our marriage and destroyed life as I knew it. Kind of ironic though…he sent me a text after court on Thursday with a bit of a reprimand for acting like a cold hearted bitch when I saw him. Can you believe it? HE seems to be looking for an apology from ME!! When hell freezes over : (

    • Loved that santiam.

      Me: You never apologized.
      Him: Yes I did.
      Me: Nope
      Him: Ok sorry.
      Me: For what?
      Him: For your mindset


  • Timid Forest Creature my ass. Somebody get me a fucking bear trap! This bastard is running amuck and trespassing in my mental territory . He is fucking up my “ego” system. I would catch the bastard, skin him, and hang him on my wall backward just so everyone could see the ass that he truly is except then he would still be in my view. I am 6 days away from being 2500 miles away from “Narci”, Timid Forest Creature’s psychotic inbred cousin. Bear trap his ass and leave him as fodder for other Timid Forest Creatures to feed on. “Sparkly” meat always tastes the best!

      • OMG love it!
        the how we can’t do anything that may upset or in my case as it was put to me “hinder his recovery” fuck that.

        I will never get the oportunity to fully have STBX understand how his actions have made me feel. But I think the closest I would get is looking him full in the face and then tazering him and watching him drop.

        do not be upset as that scares them.
        do not be agnry as that only back them into a corner and makes them retaliate.

        Some days I wish I was “elmer fud” SSSHHHHHHHH It’s TFC season.

        • I love Elmer Fudd–even he wanted to shoot something! But now that I think about it, Bugs always messed with Elmer’s head leaving him confused or hurt. Oh shit, I am Elmer too.
          Visualize the tazer fantasy then go watch Hangover 1 tazer incident. Tooooo funny.

          • Bugs (and the Roadrunner) are Trickster figures out of earliest mythologies, who delighted in gaslighting their enemies. The Brer Rabbit stories and many stories about foxes and coyotes from Native American tribes present these Tricksters. Our ancestors understood that what looks like a TFC might actually be a Trickster.

      • Thank you Shechump. I know I am a bit reserved and soft spoken–I will work on expressing my feelings more. ha ha ha. Today is a mighty day and I’m running with it.

  • The RIC provide great advice, but if you put into perspective the advisors, they are all chumps telling other chumps -stick with it. In three, four, five years you will be fully reconciled. Sure it took two more DDays, or several false reconciliations, but look at me – I stuck through it and in the end I still have my cheater and it’s a wonderful life. Oh and by the way the phones and emails are being checked, I have all of his passwords, there is a var in his car, a private detective tailing him noon and night, and I don’t trust him as far as I can throw him but it’s still a wonderful life living with the shell of a person. I’m not sure they are the best examples of people to be taking advice from on how to end the insanity. I just want to shake them and say WAKE UP, you are delusional, this is not a life, this is a prison sentence, use the get out of jail card.

    • Exactly Misty.

      I would do anything to get the time I spent being a detective back. Although a couple of things I found actually did help me move on and also made me realize what a pathetic excuse for a human he was. Fucked up doesn’t even begin to describe some of what I found.

      Like him have one of his pay for play “escorts” shoot video of him with his phone and him asking her if she would make out with him. She says, “no, you have a girlfriend.” So the “escort” being paid has more standards than him. And WhyTF would you save that video????!!!?!?!?!

      If you need to monitor your significant other then there is no trust and you don’t have a relationship.

      • I think the time to play detective is before you commit to them. I put each new relationship through as many colour (red flag) tests as I can. Watch their habits. See how they treat their ex’s, meet their family and old friends, watch what they do, not what they say. The only time I listen is when they tell me WHO they are. And they do.

        If they don’t have any long term friends, big flag. If their best friend is a player, they likely think it’s OK to cheat.

        Wish I’d known those simple things when starting out. So much easier to walk away with my freedom than ever get chumped again,

        • Marci – ‘If they don’t have any long term friends, big flag. If their best friend is a player, they likely think it’s OK to cheat.”

          Boy, that’s a red-flag just looking back at X. He had whittled his friends down to a guy that was a serial cheater. He admired him greatly. His long-term friends had vanished long ago. He says his friends are his business friends. Pretty sad.

        • After a certain age, look at how and why they exit relationships, jobs, schooling experiences. I’m not a big believer in Xs staying “friends,” for the obvious reasons, but there is a huge difference between people who end an intimate relationship, re-establish boundaries for the sake of kids or other connections, and can cherish the good times and people who are still engaged in war with each other. Or someone who has no coherent explanation about a past marriage, etc., along with no assessment of his own past mistakes. I think what they say when they talk about themselves (not when they are love bombing or flattering you) can be very revealing.

          • wow mine’s best friend is on his 4th marriage, having cheated and lied thru all of them. “but he’s a good guy nic, he’d never screw us over” until he did in a borderline criminal financial business way. So now he’s ex best friend. Ironically, the day h found out about the business was 1 month after our dday. He immediacy went NC with his friend and then spent days aligning emails with his calendar to piece together the mindfuckery. But when I did that about the ow, I was obsessed and just trying to wallow in the pain and continue to hurt.

            Now that I’m not gung ho about reconciling, I’m starting to see the anger and rage emerge too. He doesn’t seem very sorry about anything except that I’m not forgiving him.

        • Wow, Marci – thanks for that list – I am thinking about dating again and this is good counsel for character checking and consistency.

      • Yes: “If you need to monitor your significant other then there is no trust and you don’t have a relationship.”

  • CL, thanks for this post. After I filed for divorce, my XH stopped depositing money into our joint account (“on the advice of [his] lawyer”) and then proceeded to bombard me with pleas of reconciling, “I love you,” “I can’t live without you,” “I’ll do anything to keep this marriage together,” etc. I felt confused–should I reconcile or proceed with the divorce, including asking for temporary child support?

    A “marriage coach” I consulted told me that, because my XH said he was willing to do what it takes to reconcile (though he had not really taken any actions), that I should refrain from filing for temporary support, because how can someone reconcile when he is being actively litigated against? Thank God I found you soon afterwards and proceeded to file a motion for much-needed monetary support.

    • Oh, God. How can these people be allowed to counsel others? A parent had kids to support, bills to pay. If a spouse leaves without negotiating support, he or she can expect to end up in litigation. Poor TFCs, expected to support their kids, pay their bills, live up to their financial obligations.

  • “People who treat you like shit and don’t demonstrate one bit of sorry are not people you need in your life.”


    You have to have enough respect for yourself to cut these users loose. You have to believe that these self-centered liars are not the best you can do.

    They likely will never love anyone but themselves. Cut ’em loose or let ’em drag you down…

  • I had a TFC of the worst sort. It was a real mindfuck. He used it throughout the marriage and the MC. He couldn’t talk to me because I might get angry. He couldn’t take responsibility because I might use it against him. I had to yell at me because I undermined him. He couldn’t be honest because he didn’t feel safe with me. He had to cheat because I was using sex as a weapon. Honestly, in his world I was aggressive with anger issues. In the real world, that was total shit. No one else would describe me that way-quite the opposite. If anything I became even more meek and accepting of his issues because if I challenged him at all he shrank in a corner and started pointing his finger with, “See!SEE how you are??” Seriously, I swear to you, I’ve been in therapy for three years to make sure he wasn’t somehow right. Therapist says my self-esteem has been beaten down to nothing. As you can see, I still feel like I need to defend myself against the things he said about me! He still tells people I was always angry and abusive to gain sympathy. If it were even a little true, it wouldn’t bother me. But I feel so betrayed, on every level.

    • I can so relate to your post. Okay, I admit I tended to get upset and yell at my ex at times. A few times I had a big melt-down. Like the night I got a strange phone call asking if I knew where my husband was. When I asked who was calling they hung up. My husband came home that night around 3 am and I was waiting up. I yelled at him! I asked him where the hell he’d been and told him about the call. My ex got really mad at me and I felt like a total crazy person. In fact, I’m pretty sure he told OW I was a crazy person. I eventually learned to keep my concerns to myself because voicing them meant I was a crazy. I would stuff down my feelings until occasionally I would explode. Now that I’m divorced I’ve realized that I’m actually a calm and loving person. Living with someone who lies will make you feel crazy!

      • Lyn,

        “Living with someone who lies will make you feel crazy!”

        AMEN! I am constantly doing a self-examination because there are things that Cheater McAsspuppet constantly said about who I was (that I never recognized as me) that I haven’t been able to shake. Constantly being told that you are wrong or paranoid or not trusting by someone who is actively cheating on, lying to and deceiving you is the epitome of psychological abuse.

        Lord, I wish I wasn’t claustrophobic and I looked good in an orange jumpsuit.

        • CP we really need a list of all the names you’ve given your ex! Cheater McAsspuppet is genius (along with about 52 others you’ve delighted us with). Thanks for the laughs!

          • I spent so many years calling him “love,” “sweetheart,” “love of my life,” while he was acting selfish, surly and self-absorbed, because I wanted him to understand how much I valued and loved him and how much he meant to me. Based on his actual behavior and overall treatment of me (there were some good times but they became less and less as the years went on), these are all the things I probably should have been calling him throughout the years – and I wish I had. It is very freeing to be able to do it now. And these are actually some of the nicer things that come to mind these days. 🙂

            • All those names are synonyms for anguish. At least mine anyway. And the fact that they make me laugh is very healing. Extreme gratitude!

        • Maybe we could share a cell. My ex would pick out the things he knew I was self-conscious and insecure about and use them to make me even more self-conscious and insecure.

          • My ex also used to tease me about things he knew I was insecure about. Sometimes he’d do it in front of others.

        • I wish that psychological abuse was recognized by society for what it is: ABUSE. I got the same type of shit from my ex and before him, my two narc parents. What makes this type of abuse so hard to recover from is that if you want to heal, it’s pretty much an inside job. You’ve got to believe in yourself 100% and that is really hard to do when you’re being actively fucked with. The world at large can’t seem to wrap it’s head around it, and there’s a lot of quack counselors who are easily manipulated by abusers. That leaves you buried in a shallow grave with nothing but your own hands to dig yourself out and back towards the light.

          I’m glad you find yourself a good counselor, GN. I’ve spent many hours on my counselor’s couch doing the reality check too.

          • Thank you flyingsquirrel for this post. I agree with you. I read and re-read “Why Does He Do That?” (by Lundy Bancroft) and it sinks in…briefly….before I start second-guessing myself again.

            • Lundy is very clear that going to MC with an abuser is a very bad idea. sending a cheater or any other abuser to therapy just teaches them better ways to mindfuck you

              • YES!!!!!!! That’s why I love him (Bancroft). Because he “gets it”. He says MC is nothing but more crazy making with 99% of psychologists.

              • kind of accurate if you have a crappy therapist. I trust my guy explicitly simply because after a few sessions with ex, he pulled me aside and said “I’m very concerned that we may be dealing with a sociopath here”, to which I’ve replied: “so what downe do now?”, just to hear “umm, nothing. You need to leave immediately and don’t ever look back.” He saved my life.

              • Yeah, my therapist is great, too. She had been listening to me for 6 weeks talk about his distancing, the things that didn’t add up, etc. Then, when I came in and told her about the FB page I found (with just him and the MOW) she said, “You can never take him back.” That’s priceless advice and affirmation.

              • My first MC is now my IC. She caught on to him right away, and of course he stopped going. So nice to talk to someone who got to see him in action.

              • Good! At least there’s 3 decent counselors out there (LJA, Done, and Monika’s). Hey CL, would it be crossing some sort of line to compile a list of “good” MCs and bad “RIC” MCs from Chump Nation? I suppose the bad list would probably be too long to fit in anywhere…

              • Fiesty, I totally agree. I’m glad to see some of you had good MC’s. But I suspect, many others, like me, got the “bad” ones. Both MC’s we tried were of that variety. The first was as dumb as dog$&!*!! Very much like CL’s cartoon charcter. An absolute twit.
                The second one was smart. But I suspect he was a narc.

                Fiesty, I searched everywhere here Australia wide for a psychologist who deals with PD’s & marriage counseling. It seems no such person exists. From what I gather, psychologists are taught to diagnose PD’s only if the person is very obvious. They don’t seem to want to deal with the less obvious but still problomatic PD effected troublemakers. I find it incredible that in MC, psychologists don’t pick up on the obvious traits displayed by the cheating spouse. Or perhaps it’s in the too hard basket, and they choose to ignore. In which case they’re incompetent and shouldn’t be practicing in that area.

              • My MC was so pro marriage that she continued to urge me to save the marriage, even after she suggested to my ex that he should be tested for BPD, even after he gave me an STI, even after he attacked me…she just kept insisting on saving our marriage. My ex was that manipulative, the MC was so easy for him to bullshit. THIS is why Lundy says you should never go to MC with an abuser. full stop. PS: after the MC suggested he was BPD, ex refused to see her again.

              • My soon to be ex wife is most definitely a borderline herself. Years ago we went to a marriage counselor and he was convinced that I was the problem.

                I don’t believe marriage counselors are equipped to recognize mental, emotional or personality disorders. They are trained to believe its all about compromise and understanding each others needs.

                The problem with personality disordered people is their needs change every day and they don’t even know what they want half the time. They are very emotional underdeveloped.

                If you are in a relationship with a disordered person you have no chance at saving the relationship unless the disordered person is invested in individual therapy for their condition. The is another problem. Disordered people rarely seek therapy and if dragged to it they rarely participate in a way that is constructive.

                I wish I had known how to recognize the signs of borderline years ago. I thought she was just aloof and inconsiderate. I never thought she could be so inconsiderate as to cheat. There were lots o red flags in the beginning, but I didn’t have the skills to recognize them.

              • I did not have the skills either. My ex handled challenges rather differently than I did. I was okay with that but was unaware that his secret other actions signaled our marriage’s demise. He spent a great deal of time alone and then talking with everyone else (not me) and spent little time with family. We are like most families, working, raising our children, participating in things we love to do. I just knew he wasn’t “there” but made excuses for him especially when deaths occurred in both our families. We all do grieve differently. I did not suspect him then of cheating. I did not suspect that he was putting it out there. I just chalked his actions up to his past experiences and did my best. We all struggled with those tragedies. When our son was fighting for his life, my ex was more concerned about the bank account the money was in and wanted access to than he was about spending time with us (a dear friend had opened an account as our whole community was raising funds for our son and praying for him to get well.) It’s not like I was unaware of the challenges marriages face, especially long term ones, but he never discussed how he felt either. Until he ran off with his racquetball partner. I think he made poor choices all around though in those last few years. He spent money foolishly, hung out with losers (6/7 of his “friends” all fitness buddies ran away from their marriages as well), and actively solicited kibbles. I recognized there is no saving that and that he was someone whose values differed greatly from mine. Just as with Ben’s list (on Dr. Phil’s show yesterday), my ex thought he deserved Barbie. That’s offensive, and something I could not be. Funny how I never demanded that he be someone else. However, I do have a generous heart, love to do new things, am a loyal friend, a hard worker, an awesome teacher, and a great Mom (which ranks right?).

              • Fred, it might seem a strange recommendation but if she was emotionally abusive the book “Why does he do that” might help you understand how you found yourself in the relationship so long. For anyone who hasn’t read the book, here is the excerpt on why MC is a bad idea with an abuser:

              • Oh, there out there. My personal experience has been with a retired clinical psychologist (like notyou on here :), and I realize I’m very lucky to have found him right away (years ago, before any of “this.”) I did give someone else a chance in between, mostly because she was cheaper, but ultimately have gone back to my guy. It may be that he’s retired and not profit driven so he basically does it out of passion and probably to have an activity at his age- he’s 70. He sees a few patients a week (when I first met him he wasn’t retired), has an unbelievably sharp mind, that would put any 30 year old to shame and is obviously a wealth of knowledge, life experience and wisdom for me. I never thought I’d click with an older male therapist but here I am glad i I gave him a chance. This is my opinion only but I think I’d be more skeptical of marriage counselors who have graduate degrees in social work. Call me misinformed or sceptical but if someone makes a living exclusively out of counseling married couples, it seems to me that they would have a greater interest in making a profit than actually telling them “just divorce. You’re done, no hope here.” It kind of defeats the purpose of marital therapy, doesn’t it? And they’re still not making a dime of telling a client their future is doomed. Then there’s the issue of education: a clinical psychologist has a phd and a comprehensive knowledge of personality disorders. I’m not sure social workers have as many credentials to adequately spot things like covert narcissism or hidden traits of sociopathy. Or maybe, once again, I got lucky because my therapist literally saved my life by saying to me that I’m not crazy, but my ex is. It gives me goose bumps to think about how things could have turned out if I didn’t have a skilled clinician to identify the issues in my relationship.

              • I have to agree with you. A MC/social worker in Marriage counseling has the objective to make their clients’ marriages work at any cost. For me that’s the “narrative shift” of allowing the nebulous grey area of deceit, deception and dishonesty into a “marriage” in order to remain married to an abusive asshole. The chump is being instructed to mindfuck themselves.

                Ah, nope. What’s weird is that the MC in my case is working with asshat’s IC, who is a psychologist who deals with PD. Yea, I know….wtf am I doing wasting $ on this nonsense. I guess just wasting cash and getting ready for my New Year.

              • I think those kind of marriage counselors may work in cases where people fight about money or how to raise kids or don’t have good communication skills. But going into counseling with a liar, cheater, and narcissistic abuser is indeed a waste of money, as you say.

              • I think a potential client/patient should interview therapists. Find out what their attitudes are about raising children, marriage, reconciliation. Find out what they know about substance abuse, infidelitly, character disorder. Get recommendations from others you trust. My primary care doctor was recommended by a medical specialist I knew from my gym, who knew I would need a doctor who understood athletes.

                I’ve done therapy with three brilliant people at different times in my life, all of whom had different approaches, but all of whom believed that people should be responsible for their own lives. The first one saved my life in my thirties but died of a stroke. I still miss him. The second taught me to feel (Gestalt therapy). And the third has helped me become my own woman. All of them came with great recommendations, and I have recommended them to others who also had positive experiences, including 2 couples who did successful MC with Therapist 2 (cheating was not the issue, and no narcs involved). Therapy is a difficult and painful process that requires commitment to looking at one’s one life, behavior, choices, strange fixed ideas.

              • i had a therapist that saved me too, but it took six years after him telling me to leave my abusive husband, plus an extra affair before i finally filed for divorce. in the mean time, my STBX and i went to another therapist that promised he could help. my STBX just gaslighted him the whole time, and i kept having hope because this guy said he could help me. so one therapist really did see the truth and helped me, the other basically kept me in the mess for longer than i should have been.

          • Another really helpful book is The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans. When a read this a few years ago, I cried because I realized that how I had been treated for years actually had a name: verbal abuse. It gave me the courage to speak up more and opened my eyes to his fuckedupedness. I should have left the marriage for my own self-esteem, but when he cheated in January – or at least had an EA (he won’t own up to more than that), I knew I couldn’t put up with another second of his lies and omissions. Remorse? Nope. He said he was sorry once or twice, but when I tried to discuss it further he went into a rage saying he never did anything wrong. When I made a lawyers appointment, he said “If that is what you want.” No knight in shining armor begging for forgiveness or proclaiming love for me. If I get weak moments and text him about my hurt, he tells me he is at work and busy. I don’t think he sees her anymore, but he got a second phone and a laptop no one is supposed to know about. Knowing him, he is enough of an immature stubborn baby that he just wants to prove no one can control him. He is far from a TFC, but he is definitely acting like one so that our older kids feel sorry for him. Everyone likes a cute bunny, but we all know what they do in their spare time!

      • Gosh, Lyn, this is exactly my story. Now that cheater is gone forever, I’m no longer “crazy.” Funny how that works. 🙂

        • join the club on this one… when I was in the midst of year long gaslighting, it felt like I was losing my mind. When I finally kicked him out shortly after OW#3, I felt like I could “see” with such clarity, I almost got mad at myself for not leaving sooner. The trauma was still there, the anxiety about being on my own didn’t diminish, but I was able to say “it’s not me, it’s you, motherfucker.”

          • Oh, me too. And I could see he was not only gaslighting me, but baiting me first and then gaslighting me to convince me I was the crazy one. Once I found out about the MOW, that cleared everything up for me; it made all the things he did== and denied doing or made excuses for– make sense. Right now I am having some kind of “anniversary” reaction to the gaslighting that started at this time last year, but I know the next few months will be tough, to the anniversary of D-Day, and then the whole thing will be over a year in the past.

        • My friend told me “when you’re around sick, you start to become sick too”. So true! You start becoming like the crazy person, paranoid, angry…. Getting away from the sick allows you to return to your true self. I was losing myself, becoming someone I didn’t recognize, or like! Funny, he left, I’m a much better person…huh, wonder why…?

      • Yeah, like you had no right to be upset that he was out until 3 am without you and you got a call tipping you off that he was up to no good.

        • Chumps’ I thank you for the above posts.

          for years my STBX has used my emotions against me I too had a Narc mother (only parent) and have come to realise I was swollowed whole by one in my marriage.

          contantly assesing your own actions to work out why your marriage is not how it should be is enough to send anyone crazy, questioning what is not right and being denied honesty and having your thoughts present as those of an irrational person.
          I was contantly blamed for the discord between my STBX and I and it got to the point he did not have to blame me as I would just blame myself.

          I have had bad depression in the past and when my kid was diagnosed with cancer after dday many were worried about me in that regard. I was proud to say that at times yes I was a little depressed but that was normal in my situation. I was ok. I am not the person I was with the STBX, he had a special gift for being able to push my buttons to get the responce he wanted. Thank God I no longer have to own his shit. Just my own.

      • Well, we all yell at times! Only the time when I would expect someone to yell at me too if I were being a lying POS. Unless your my MIL. Then you smile and never get angry no matter what.

        • Yes we love those types.

          does your MIL posses the haute look of disapproval also

    • “He couldn’t talk to me because I might get angry. He couldn’t take responsibility because I might use it against him. I had to yell at me because I undermined him. He couldn’t be honest because he didn’t feel safe with me. He had to cheat because I was using sex as a weapon. Honestly, in his world I was aggressive with anger issues. In the real world, that was total shit. No one else would describe me that way-quite the opposite.”

      That’s what my husband’s EW used on him too. He also checked with others to make sure she wasn’t somehow right and he was missing something about himself. It was total BS. 2 years later she’s still playing the card that he was controlling (b/c setting healthy boundaries is always controlling), she was unsafe (b/c he might get angry and he’s a big guy) and that she escaped an abusive relationship. As Nomar so nicely stated in a comment above, she puts the “MF” in LMFT.

      • Mine has claimed that I am abusive and violent and I do confess at times I have been very vocal and loud, angry and even thrown things (never at anyone). But in saying this I have also wanted out of this deception of a marriage for a long time and have allowed myself to be sucked into whatever load of BS the STBX has chosen to spin. When he confessed to sex with others, I was angry and hurt but so relieved that I now had a biblical reason to say “no more, I’m done” STBX after D’day was telling people that our marriage was not over I just thought it was” Even now 8 months past d’Day I hear he has hope for our marriage. He tells different stories to different people depending on what he may get from them. If I am so aweful wouldn’t he be glad to be out of the marriage, Eight years ago when I was hospitalized with depression he could have called it quits. but no that would not do as he has a christian fasade to live up to so I was a great cover.

        these assholes are happy to cheat and use all the excuses to suck in the AP and then when caught, change those excuses to manipulate the faithful spouse into feeling guilty, and if that does not work and the faithful spouse has the courage to stand up and set boundries the assholes then set about openly assulting us with any story they are willing to tell that people will listen too. Today I say Fuck them. Your words are just that words, your willingness to cheat proves that your words like you hold no value..

  • My cheater has been begging for another chance since the day he came home and found the locks changed. He swears up and down that he wants to change, to prove he can be the man I fell in love with. I’m not sure I’m buying this even though for the eight years of our relationship I was desperately in love with him. I thought he felt the same until one day I found his “smart watch” which lead me down a rabbit hole of lies. His first wife cheated on him he says, and it broke his heart. So when he thought I was having an affair (so not true btw) he decided to confide in some skank he met at the bar. Long story short, he blames my friend for ruining our marriage and says I have to have no contact with my friend so he can trust ME again. He pairs these kinds of tasty bits with emotional blackmail like how he wishes he could give our daughter her family back for her seventh birthday this weekend. I wouldn’t say my cheater is timid so much as really sorry. A sorry sack. Now I have to figure out how to take care of me and my little girl because regardless of what is determined through the divorce I know I won’t get a penny from him once I file. I left the window open for reconciliation and it failed for all the reasons listed in this article. I am clearly a chump.

    • See a lawyer. Get a support order. Let the arrears mount up. Then he will go to jail, in most states.

      • Yes, don’t hesitate to use the state system as a collection agent; they play hardball when it comes to supporting kids.

    • The most egregious ones will launch a no-holes-barred offense as a defensive.

      I LOST count of the number of times I supposedly f*cked around on him. I don’t think he genuinely believed that, he just used it to keep me on the defensive so he could hide what he was doing. At the end of the day he wasn’t all that clever or fast on his feet — the only things he could think of to accuse me of were things I was accusing him of (after having caught him in the act with my two bitchy little eyes)

      • Einstein..yep. 100% agree. That was my STBX’s defense mechanism. “Why don’t you just go fuck your boyfriend?!” when I asked him if he was cheating.

    • Mine told me he couldn’t trust me either. I didn’t clean house when I said I would, therefore I’m a liar just like him! How could he possibly keep his dick in his pants when he was married to such a liar?

    • JL, you’ve got a genuine “Martyr Man”, it’s all bullshit and projection, pretty soon he’ll start telling you how abusive you’ve been to him for years. Doncha know how it’s everyone else’s fault he cheated? How can you refuse to forgive him when you drove him to it, well, you, the ex-wife, your friend, your imaginary affair, the woman in the bar, no doubt the stress of his horrible job and the heavy responsibilities he has. Take inventory, I’ll bet what you love about this asshole hasn’t been in evidence in quite some time. Talk to a lawyer, you can get child support while you wait for the divorce to become final. Bring your inner badass to the fore, you need it right now! Jedi hugs JL!

      • Martyr Man sounds perfect. He is always telling me how hard his life was and is, how all these horrible things happened TO him. Thanks for that, bc I was starting to get sucked in again!

    • In CA Temporary Support (pendente lite) is due in cases where it is warranted until marital settlement is agreed upon and final. Child support can be collected at your first hearing. If you have observed cooling off period if applicable (CA is six months…more time for assets to disappear if you don’t take precautions). In CA you can only walk out on kids 18 and older. If parent chooses not to pay child support then go to Children’s Services. They will begin a suit to collect money independent of your counsel and cases often will go after arrears. I did this. TFCs are a lot like mice. They destroy everything you own, a little at a time.

      • In PA, they tack the arrear on after the child support order ends at 18, if you get the wages garnisheed. Play hardball. Don’t be afraid.

        • Do you mean PA as in Pennsylvania? I’m interested to know some basics about this process (child support mainly but also custody.) I’ve been calling lawyers all week trying to get some answers but guess what, no one has called me back since. I guess they’re not going to make much money from me, they think, since I’m not married so there wouldn’t be a divorce but only a custody dispute. Can you share some insight since I also live in pa. I don’t have money to retain an attorney but ex doesn’t want to pay any support for now, says to take him to court, because he knows I cannot afford representation. Is it possible to do this on your own, without a lawyer? Like garnishing wages, asking for full custody etc.

  • Mine wasn’t a Timid Forest Creature. He was just a One Trick Houdini. One minute we are about to celebrate Christmas and an anniversary then *POOF* he disappears.

    I waited a week to visit an attorney, only because everyone was closed for the holidays.

    But I was on the phone the next morning with my friends. They are attorneys. They were not impressed.

  • Do Timid Forest Creatures shit in the woods?

    We all know the answer!
    They shit too close to the house!

    “timid forest creatures” needs to be listed under “cheaters decoded section”

    • Usually you don’t shit where you sleep but apparently cheater TFCs missed that memo.

  • My ex definitely did not ever display timid forest creature behavior. At dday, he informed he he “loved himself just the way he was, and would never want to change,” and then he left. When I was stupid enough to fall for his bogus reconciliation — in reality just a con game to get me to financially support him — there were no claims he loved me, no tears, no remorse, no “you are really the one I wanted.” Just some nonsense about how he watched that movie “Fireproof” and it made him realize he should still be married. Then, once I realized what his game was, and that he was simply planning to use me and continue cheating, I told him I was going ahead with divorce. He looked at me blankly, then said, “Well, you gotta do what you gotta do.”

    Nothing timid about any of it. He never claimed to be sorry, to be suffering, to be remorseful or any of the rest. Well, he did say once or twice that he “cried a lot” after our separation, and that it was “really hard on him,” but that was such obvious bullshit, even HE didn’t really try to be convincing about it.

    • I wonder what these fucktards would say to the women who want to reconcile but also let them know that they will not be providing another dime to help those fucks out financially. I bet all bets would be off from the get go if that was the case. I never let a man take me financially. I never supported any man, nor do I date someone that has a bad employment history or issues with managing money. That’s a red flag right there. I’m not going to be some asshole’s sugar mama. Also, if I were to meet a man and he told me he has “room mates” or lives with his folks, I pretty much don’t need to hear another word out of their mouth. It’s usually a sign of them not being very responsible adults. Don’t get me wrong, I do know that people sometimes can lose their jobs and have to struggle a bit financially for awhile and that things happen, but if someone has a long clear history of issues like that, that is definitely an indication that they are probably just sparkly and charming, but have jack shit to bring to the table. I have seen a lot of women put up with losers like that and I never could understand why – especially since men usually make more money than women in most cases.

  • Wow! I am having horrible flashbacks. It’s funny (read as horrifying) how similar everyone’s divorce stories are at their core.

    • I so agree! Any time I start having doubts creep in (which is totally nuts) I come here and read and get my head realigned to seeing TRUTH. I can’t believe how similar our stories are, at the core.

      • I do e same, Paula. When his family starts going on how wonderful cheater ex is, I shift my thinking and not get caught up in the utter bullshit.

  • I guess I should change my name from Notsurewhattodo to Ifiguredoutwhattodo 😉

    Oh my I am the chump of all chumps and I have had horrible hope issues. I guess I just realized that I was hoping for me to change the way I felt and this whole time (years) I was waiting for him to change. A few weeks ago we sat down in front of our therapist for the first time to see if I could reconcile and I left and continued to have the worst anxiety attacks at just the thought of trusting him again. He was beyond a serial cheater. He slept with 60 women and fell in heart with a coworker. It was during our therapy apt that he told me that when he goes to NY (he’s there now) that he was going to be sharing a room with 3 girl coworkers. But I don’t need to worry…they all have boyfriends and him falling for his other coworker doesn’t ever happen. It’s when I realized he will never have what it takes to make me feel safe and trust him. So I told him it’s time to file and move on. He said he holds out hope for the future. I’m happy to pass the hope baton over to him and I will rest now. He then told me that he was always jealous of our kids attention they got from me and that he never loved being a parent like I do. Guess he wont be fighting me for custody of my sweet kids. And he fits the TFC to a capitol T. Poor him 🙁

    • At last, he told the truth: “He then told me that he was always jealous of our kids attention they got from me and that he never loved being a parent like I do.” A grown man jealous of his own kids. So happy that you passed the hope baton over to him, although my guess is that what he “hopes” for is that you will change your mind and put up with his BS. Indeed, “he will never have what it takes to make [you] feel safe and trust him,” and that is his tremendous loss, although as he is likely a narcissist, he will never understand what he lost. Good for you drawing the boundary and moving on with your kids.

    • Ifiguredout… Congrats, you just took your first baby step towards a better future! You deserve a real man. Your children deserve a better role model. Honest, wide open, loving, and a support to his family. All that is missing in a Narc.

    • definitely change your name, Ifiguredoutwhattodo is fine, maybe IkickedtheTFC would work too 😉

    • I don’t know if being jealous of the kids is true or just another attempt to make a chump parent feel badly and as if the problems are partially his/her fault, but I do know it is a common claim. Personally, I think it is b.s. Responsible people can experience jealousy or anger or boredom or any less-than-lovely emotion without betraying a spouse.

      My advice to you, however, is to get good legal counsel. These kind of jerks will go after custody for all kinds of bad reasons–to hurt you, to limit the amount of child support they will need to pay, to look good to a new girlfriend, to manipulate the children’s affection, etc. Now that you have figured out what to do, “Trust that he sucks” and keep yourself focused on what is best for you and your kids. It doesn’t matter what he wants or thinks about these things any more–he’s given up the right to have a vote in your decision making process.

      • Thanks for the words of support! I really wasn’t surprised about his comment about parenting. My family is more outraged about his comment than his cheating. I think they just know my kids deserve so much better. However what I have observed over the years just confirms that. Never home, when he is he’s always short with them, when we are on vacations he’s grouchy, never says let’s do stuff with them, doesn’t hug back when hugged, doesn’t teach them how to ride a bike, etc…I’m sure he did share his new confession with me probably to show that he’s changing and he can be more open and he wants to change. I’m sure he told me so I could feel bad about it too @Eilonwy…but it did the opposite. It just confirmed that he’s nothing more than a paycheck to us. Any man will know the way to my heart is through my children and I have even higher standards for their biological father. I have no regrets for being the mother he knew I would be and I have no regrets for being the wife I said I would be. I will definately keep myself guarded through the divorce and he cares waaaayyyy too much about what other people think of him so I would be surprised if he tried to take my kids from me…actually I think he would be more fearful to sleep at night if he tried to take my kids from me 😉

  • I love the way betrayed spouses are told they have to tippy-toe around their cheaters. I love how we’re all told our cheaters are grieving their fuckbuddies so we have to be gentle with them. Poor, poor, poor little cheaters. And let’s not forget all the pain the fuckbuddy is going through–the poor little fuckbuddies that knowingly get involved with married men and women.
    My cheater was so upset and crying about the whole thing after I found out about him. However the tears and emotional upheaval didn’t start until after he lied and denied everything even after I confronted him with the fact that his slut called me and told me about him. My cheater told me that he had “enemies out there that called me and told me a lie about him”. I can file that one away in the “stupid shit cheaters say” file, huh?
    My cheater vacillated between being a TFC and being completely uncaring, cavalier, and cold. I don’t think he was being a TFC when he told me it wouldn’t matter to him if I divorced him because all he would have to do is marry someone who made as much money as he does and he would be fine. How’s that for remorse?
    I have to say I didn’t really tippy-toe around him. I rejected that shit right away. I kicked him out for a bit and I felt that if he went to the OW, he would just be telling me that it was over. I felt that I would have no other option but to divorce at that time. He didn’t go to her though, he went to his parents’ house. Unfortunately, I tried to reconcile and just wasted more years of my life with this cheater. I was always hoping that he would become the man and husband I needed him to be, but that never happened and never will. It took almost 5 years, but I finally decided to divorce him. Even just the decision to divorce gave me a certain bit of relief.
    The garbage that therapists and counselors try to feed everyone with their advice is a huge part of the reason that people do not believe that infidelity is the life-changing, devastating abuse that it really is.

    • “My cheater told me that he had enemies out there that called me and told me a lie about him”

      This was the same story I heard when I told my ex about the weird call asking if I knew where my husband was!

      • Geez, the “I have enemies” excuse must come right out of their cheater’s playbook. It’s incredible. It’s like they’re all the same person. They all come from the same mold.

  • I waited for overly twenty freakin’ years. I am still amazed I didn’t go crazy. The hardest thing was controlling my anger (failed) because if I lashed out, I could lose the cheater. Knowing what I know now, I should have shown my rage in stereo and threw the cheater out a lot sooner. I really don’t card if he’s depressed, had FOO issues or what not. Cheating is a choice. I was probably more unhappy in that marriage yet it never occurred to me to cheat. Mine was not a timid forest creature – it was a timid forest asshole.

  • In our one foray into marriage counseling during the affair with the next to the last OW, the marriage counselor pretty much told me I needed to “appreciate” the fact that STBX was “sensitive” and “different” and I needed to “understand” how to give him his “space” and be available to him when he was ready for me. Instead of picking him up and beating her with him, I was so devastated and so desperate to save my marriage, I actually took that crazy, are-you-fucking-kidding-me advice to heart and attempted to implement it. So I spent another 3 years making myself and my needs smaller, dining at the shit buffet, allowing myself to be further demeaned and disrespected until he turned around and did the same thing all over again – and blamed me.

    TFC indeed! If by that you mean frothing at the mouth, rabid and puss-oozing raccoon, then yes, my STBX is a timid forest creature.

    • Chump Princess, I did the same thing. I still want to throw up when I think of all the stuff I did just to make the marriage work. And what? To keep a piece of garbage? How silly of me. LOL on the raccoon.

  • This reminds me of about 10 years ago. When my ex had been out with some of his female “friends”, he had come home with bites on his neck and told me to get over it, nothing happened, they were just mucking around. A few months later, he was in the shower getting ready to go to work, was in the shower (he had been away working the week before) his phone beeped saying a text message had come through and some other female sent him a text saying “ok, I’ll be home alone tomorrow”. I said to him when he was out of the shower, who is she??? He said it must be a wrong number. Walked into the spare room, picked up his phone bill and went to walk out the door. I said why are you taking your phone bill with you?? He said “oh must have picked it up by mistake”. I took it off him and there must have been 50 text messages to this one number, the number that was a “wrong” number. I sat up all night thinking about what I was going to do. He came home from night shift with me still sitting up. I said I think we should separate. He cried and begged me not to. Said she was a girl he had met while away working and that she was just a friend and “not even attractive” and was having problems with her husband and needed somebody to talk to. The next few weeks, I got flowers, he was home a lot….. I guess he sucked me right back in again. He reconciled for all of a month then he was back doing what he normally did, never home, off having coffees/nights out with his “female” friends all the while gaslighting me. My self esteem went down to zero. Reconcilliation… yeah right. It was me doing the pick me dance for years. I made my needs basically non existent. I wasted so many years of my life trying to please somebody who could not give a damn about me or about his kids. He finally ran off with one of his “friends” about 3 years ago. Reconcilliation, yeah right…

  • TFC- yep that fell into a vat of toxic waste and come out all mankie and nasty.

    TFC – you are always so hard on me and negative. I can never do anything right! It’s not my fault I do ‘try’. See I ‘tried’ when you asked for a divorce, screaming with utter frustration to the point of self harm, when you were not sure what was going on but sensed I was telling lies. I ‘tried’ by telling you that I loved you and wanted our marriage to work as this got you in the right mood. Bloody hell if you were upset and screaming like a banshee just assuming that I was hiding something (because we rarely had sex and I was emotionally distant, manipulative, and often just and out and out DICK!) how would you have acted if I had told you that I had been having oral sex with total strangers in public toilets? Good thing I told you that in front of others as they held you accountable for our marriage and even tried to convice you that you needed to own portion of the blame for my cheating, and now people see me as the good guy, poor heart broken me at having done these things. Surley you feel sorry for me “I’m broken” but no not you. So your choice to end the marriage makes this now all on you. And because people have seen you in the past as being a bit loud and rude I don’t have to tell people that I was unfaithful I just tell them we are having issues and if they press I express how hurt I am by you and that you now want the marriage to be over. Oh poor me, And I have such a twisted sence of reality that I believe I am the victim here so, no need to elaborate as that would not work in my favour.

    Mine STBX has never shown remorse, when I told people what had happened he replied by openly accusing me of being violent. He holds me to account for the failure of our marriage and many have joined him on that stand as they have not been willing to learn the truth but are happy to judge me. This gives him the cover of being the wronged party and he laps up the pity and concern of the ignorant parties. To all of them I say good luck to you. Non of you including STBX has any control over me as a person. If my choosing to stand up for my self and not be used as a door mat is seen as the cause of my marriage ending then good on me. I have often referred to my X as being a fucked up little bunny. TFC – Toxic F’d- up C…..! would be appropriately descriptive.

  • TFC… ya right. The TFC at my house had no qualms about telling me how it was all my fault that he was having an EA (DD1 and I fell for it). If they were so damn skittish then they would not be able to turn around from the poor me attitude and just clothes line you with accusations. The second time around the same thing, I heard things about myself that were meant to hurt, all in an effort to make himself feel better about what he was doing. I felt really bad reading this because I suffered another 8 years before I caught him again and I know in my gut that there were others in between. I had just been conditioned to not question, cause don’t you know that people hate to be told what they have done wrong (found that ironic, guess I am not a “people”). Plus he did say he was “sorry and how many times do I have to apologize”. I did not feel safe in my marriage and it messed with my head. I know wishing that you could go back in time is of no use, but I sure as hell would have loaded up with some buckshot and blasted that damn TFC out of its hiding.

  • Never tried the reconciliation route at all thankfully. My therapist said leave, Monsignor said if they don’t feel remorse they can’t be forgiven, but my attorney unfortunately said to hang in there because it would be a financial disaster. So, they were all correct!

  • Anyone see Dr. Phil today? Cheater was on. Six to 15 women, “smoking hot!” in the first six months of their marriage. The title of the show was Bait and Switch Bride! Lol. Better to call it I need kibbles and cake and someone at home so I can cheat and fuck my family over! Too long? Cheater goes on to say to his beautiful wife “You didn’t LOVE me…” Blah, blah, blah. Oh and he had a list! Of all the things he wanted his WIFE to FIX! Like her weight gain. Dr. Phil’s just saying some of these things are valid and I am thinking what about the wife’s list?!?!?!?!?! Like #1 NO CHEATING. Dr. Phil’s poor fix: Counseling! OMG! Why not just really spell it out?! Woman, LEAVE that IDIOT! He is not salvageable! NO, REALLY. Your marriage is a LIE. Nothing about your fucktard husband will ever CHANGE. One lady tweeted in in ref to Cheater’s list and directed to wife, “Lose 100 lbs quickly, just throw husband out and flush!” Yes, best advice EVER.

    • Dr. Phil should know better. She will spend her life trying to please him, spackle over the deficits, and blame herself for the downward spiral. My STBX’s OW knows about his serial cheating history, tells him that he cheated because he wasn’t happy (um…he cheated on all his previous girlfriends too, unbeknownst to me), and thinks she’s The One – special. But what she doesn’t realize that all the women are interchangeable and replaceable. He idealizes in the beginning and then when disappointed because his “list” is not fulfilled, devalues, ignores, and cheats. It took me years to figure out he’s a user, feigning caring, and a narcissist. I wasted 28 years on him. He traveled the world for his work and and after DDay, told me he felt like James Bond….I was dumbfounded that he was so full of himself and self-indulgent. There were plenty of women who fed his vanity (usually looking for money) – and he thought he was a hero. His favorite movies are Pretty Woman, Flashdance, and James Bond. Instead of being a hero to his wife and kids, he chose to live in some fantasy double life.

    • Well, that’s about all I need to know about Dr. Phil. He clearly doesn’t know a narc when he sees one. Or maybe it’s just that the show would be really short: “He’s a narcissist and an abuser and a con artist. Kick him to the curb right now.”

  • Great message! Timid Forest Creatures, hilarious!!! 🙂 Love the art work. This one should definitely go in your store.

  • It would be interesting to know if the majority of the co-dependent amongst us treat our cheaters like TFC without being told. Speaking for me I can tell you that I treated Mr. cheaterpants with kid gloves before anyone instructed me to do so. Sadly, it was almost intuitive on my part. I felt like if I asked too much of my ex, then he would just go running into the arms of the OW and since I was “all in” for some of that genuine imitation Naugahyde remorse, it seemed counter intuitive to me to make any big demands.

    I see the problem now and obviously realize that it’s flawed thinking but not back then. Sometimes it feels to me as though the flawed thinking of us chumps is what feeds the beast (RIC). Like sharks smell blood in the water, the snake oil salesmen smell our vulnerabilities and fears and capitalize on it in a huge way.

  • He played the FOO issues card on me while sobbing in my arms. I bought into it for a little, even thinking I might consider reconciling. He stated that he was “hurting too”. He looked really sad and broken. He confessed to not telling me about his childhood which involved abandonment from his mother, possible physical and sexual chid abuse, boundary issues with french kissing his first cousin, pathological lying since abut 8 years old, and setting a field on fire as a pre-teen. He actually said, “If I told you, you probably wouldn’t have married me!”. He’s right! It’s the making of a SOCIOPATH! We continued to have sex here and there because I honestly missed the man that I thought he was. I regret this now.
    A month later, I found his Craigslist ad under Casual Encounters. He denied and gaslighted. Being that i was now aware of what gas lighting entailed, he damned himself more with some of the ridiculous cover ups he came up with. Within 5 minutes of me confronting him, the ad was deleted. Go figure! I was shaky when I filed 3 weeks after D-DAY because my mind was confused about how someone could cheat and lie to a devoted spouse the way he did. At the same time, without even working through the majority of emotions, I KNEW in my heart that this marriage was over due to the DEALBREAKER and then some. It’s 4 months out from D-DAY and it’s getting better. I think about what happened to me and my family everyday, but I’m so comforted by Chump Nation when I hear similar stories. I know that I am not alone on this.

    • Chumpalot, you are not alone. During false RIC my ex told me his father kicked him out and he had to live in the woods for a while at 16. He cried in my arms and said my leaving him felt like his father abandoning him all over again. I cried for him.


      His brother and I are still friends, I asked him about this and he confirmed, it never fucking happened. Fucked up people will mindfuck you any way they can, my ex could turn the tears or the rage on at will and shut it off just as easily.

      • Con artists, the lot of them. My mother (the narcissist) once said, in the early stages of dementia, that she loved to “make up stories about people” and then see what would happen.

    • Chumpalot, thank you, THANK you for sharing this. I feel a little sick reading my story in someone else’s post. How many of these people are out there?? SMH

  • A super chump here: 5 years.

    Only now when I am really enforcing boundaries and truly done, is he telling me how much he regrets the damage he did and is devastated.

    However, I have recently been caught out in a lie because I was avoidant w someone and now have made the situation 10 000 times worse, it is a terrible feeling of shame and damnation and ‘why did I do that, why didn’t I just front up in the beginning and bear the initial hissy fit?’
    So feeling a bit for my H today as I gird my loins and ready myself to face the sh* (apologise, make amends to someone who is unlikely to take them).

  • Thank you for the plug, Monika, but therapists’ problems are more complex and we deal with a variety of personality problems that a equally if not more damaging than what cheaters do.

    Yes, psychologists can assess PDs. There are any number of good personality tests that allow us to peek inside the minds of the disordered–even when they try to fool us with the “me-so-good” act. And some ‘paths’ are so clever that they fool some therapists–for a while but NOT forever if the therapist continues to have access to them. One of the reasons for failure in therapy is because PDs (whether cheater or cheatee) typically cut and run when a therapist begins to uncover ugly truths (on all sides), and particularly when therapists suggest the hard changes that need to be made. And, of course, the easy way out is to call the therapist incompetent because he or she couldn’t wave a magic wand over your head and make your whole world right again.

    It is not that we don’t see the PD in the cheater, we also see the PD in the cheatee who has spent years throwing good love after bad because they have this distorted notion that they can “change” another person. That’s pretty arrogant (and even narcissistic) when you think about it, and it’s analogous to beating the proverbial dead horse. Something with rigor mortis just won’t run…or as we say in the South, “That dog won’t hunt.” It won’t.

    We actually have a harder time with chumps who are hell bent on having what they want despite that fact that they are attempting the impossible…. i.e. to fundamentally change another person….people in denial about the extent of their problem; people who refuse to live in the real world and cut their losses sooner rather than later; people who refuse to acknowledge that ALL relationships need healthy boundaries; and most particularly intimate relationships where the price of boundary transgression is incredibly high and painful.

    And, you see, you don’t get to have it both ways and “cake eat” about FOO issues. YOU don’t get to poo-poo your cheater’s claim that his FOO issues caused him to cheat but then turn around and feel ENTITLED to claim that your own FOO issues are what cause you, as an autonomous adult, to NOT be able to set healthy boundaries. Not only is that one dimensional. It’s just as stupid as the cheater.

    You can’t “love” someone into having morals or character…well except young children and then you still have to love them “right” as in allowing them to find out that life has consequences for mistakes and misbehavior…while they are young and the price tags are small.

    You can’t love or forgive someone into not being abusive. That is the height of stupidity and self-destructiveness on YOUR part. What you need to do is exercise compassion for yourself the FIRST time that person shows you who they really are and get the hell out of Dodge. Leave them to Heaven. When you stay, you are making the CHOICE to be a glutton for punishment and all it shows is that YOU are more disordered than they are, and stupid to boot.

    I mean really, who keeps stepping out in front of a speeding bus unless you have a death wish? And who in his or her right mind blames the bus for his or her bad choices…using the excuse, “But I LOVED that bus.”

    You can’t love and forgive someone into becoming straight when they are gay. That is the height of stupidity and self-destructiveness on YOUR part. What you need to do is exercise compassion for that person, cut them loose, and tell them to, “Go be your authentic self.” Let’s face it; can YOU change a concrete block into an apple tree? I sure can’t and I don’t know a single other psychologist who can.

    Therapists can’t change anybody. They can only help motivated people to change themselves by doing the hard and miserable work of shucking DENIAL and facing REALITY head on and dealing with it–no matter how painful the dealings may be.

    Chumps NEVER really heal until they fully acknowledge their own complicity in their own pain, stop wallowing in self pity and blaming the bus because they kept stepping out in front of it, realize that the bus doesn’t give a shit, realize that eternally continuing to “defame” the bus is an exercise in total futility, and figure out how to stop jumping in front of buses (to the greatest extent possible) from here on out.

    That’s one of the problems I have with this site– to which this will be my last post–one reason being I’m sick of the psychologist bashing. The endless “show and tell” on here might be great passing fun to share the egregious details of all the “bus transgressions”…it might even temporarily provide a bit of catharsis to vent. But when such goes on for years and years and is nothing more than one more slightly varied pattern of exposition of the horror show genre, it becomes entertainment and NOT “Me Work.” It causes righteous indignation (which should be a temporary agent of change) to harden into permanent resentment; and permanent resentment can turn into a permanent soul crusher.

    The ugly truth is this: People want to hear what people want to hear and not the Ugly Truth. The ugly truth hurts too much and besides, “my problems are all somebody else’s fault right?”

    Basically, what tore it for me here was when so many on here from the leader (who set her up) on down so aggressively and condescendingly went after that young graduate student and essentially wrecked her data collection because YOU didn’t see any merit in or agree with her “premise.”

    And, yes, Dr. Pedantic I Can’t Believe I’m a Chump– aka Academic Snob, it was only a master’s thesis and not particularly rigorous. Big shit! Those theses are designed to be a process learning experience for students, and she probably didn’t have a whole lot of control over her topic. But why should you give a shit in your pathological need to PROVE how fucking brilliant you are, right?

    All this “kerfuffle” (My ass!) showed me was that because many of you have been hurt, you feel ENTITLED to discredit and hurt others–SIMPLY because you don’t agree with them. [In case you don’t know this is called lack of empathy and is a hallmark of the Narcissist].

    Further, it has been my experience both as a human being and as a psychologist that this urge to hurt is a character problem that was ALWAYS there and not a result of trauma or current predicament SAME AS WITH YOUR CHEATER.

    The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, and the character of people doesn’t fundamentally change just because they have been traumatized. Examine yourselves, people. Because YOU are the only people you can change.

    Whatever usefulness I may have provided to some here has been essentially nullified by what I perceive as fanaticism and just pure dog-ass mean behavior on the part of others. Plus, I know both when to stop wasting my time and how to stop stepping in front of buses. For me this site has developed “rigor mortis” it just won’t run. But then I’ve never seen any “one trick” ponies win the Triple Crown.

    And with these comments, I’m out of here.

    • Notyou, I’m sorry to see you go. I agree with what you wrote about chumps owning their chumpiness and staying stuck with cheaters. You can’t love someone into a better set of morals, or out of abusiveness.

      We will have to agree to disagree with the graduate student survey. I gave the student the opportunity to explain the questions or post whatever response she wanted on the site. I think she wrote the survey with the intent to help others. I still stand by my criticisms of the questions (i.e., “unintentional” affairs) and the buried purpose that it was for reconciliation.

      Chumps are not perfect, absolutely. But neither are therapists. Some are terrific and there are a bunch of chumps here who will acknowledge that — and I acknowledge that in my own therapy experience (Janet, the tiny, cursing, call you on your shit shrink of fame).

      However, part of changing the conversation on infidelity is changing the therapy conversation — and there are FAR too many therapists who tell chumps to “own” another’s cheating, ask what the chump did to drive them to it, promote marriage at all costs, and do not call out disordered, PD behavior. (Dr. Simon’s work is 20+ years of asking therapists to consider that some people are character disordered and need a different sort of therapy, as do the people who tangle with PDs.)

      So, yes, we are going to criticize shrinks here. But not at the expense of facing our own “ugly truths” as you put it. There are a lot of ugly truths — our own, and a culture that tolerates cheating, stigmatizes divorce, and blames chumps for compelling cheaters to cheat.

      Why you think I encourage people to stay stuck when my own banner head says LEAVE a cheater, GAIN a life baffles me. I am truly sorry we’ve offended you, and I’m sorry to see you go. Thanks for your contributions here.

      • it was only a master’s thesis and not particularly rigorous. Big shit!

        I disagree with that description. I could be wrong, but i don’t think that really was an academic study at all because it had all the earmarks of a “Push Poll” (an attempt to persuade or influence opinion).

        I’ve seen a fair number of academic studies, and none of them looked like that.

    • “My problems are all somebody else’s fault right?”

      My then-wife’s cheating was not my fault. Period. Full stop. So, yeah, damn straight. Not my fault. It really is that simple. I can explain it for you, but I can’t understand it for you.

      Have a great life.

    • I’m sorry to see you go, notyou. I think, if people here are honest, that they’ll have to acknowledge that there is fanaticism and “dog-ass mean behavior” here, but I don’t think that nullifies either your contribution or the value of the site as a whole.

      • ANR, there has been some of that by a few commenters and it saddens me. However, CL does not moderate this blog and without moderation some crap gets posted that is not so great. Cannot be helped. I was also appalled that anyone sent nasty emails to the student and researchers. I thought that was really uncool and I said so. But we can’t control anyone but ourselves, all we can do is voice our disapproval or disagreement with their actions (unless notyou makes the comment of course).

    • The saddest comment I’ve read on here and it certainly ruined my morning. While I truly understand where you’re coming from in your belief that although extremely useful for many of us, this blog has a limited timeline for some- the wallowing in one’s pain isn’t productive and yes, it is the proverbial beating of a dead horse. I suspect each chump gets to the end of the timeline on their own, and then commenting on the blog becomes just a former tool in the recovery process.
      For what it’s worth; and I don’t think I’m in a minority here, YOU (notyou) have been my main reason, aside from Tracy’s posts, for coming here. I find your insight and thoughtful, through responses to be an incredible source of help. I almost think about your contributions here as an extension of my own CBT- the fact that you don’t charge for your perspective is also invaluable 😉
      I wish you’d change your mind about this…

    • I have to say I’m struck by the fact that a message ostensibly condemning a group of people for being mean and written from the perspective of a mental health professional contains so much language that is itself mean and unprofessional (referring to people who disagree with her as “fanatics,” “narcissists even,” “stupid,” “pathological, “pure dog-ass mean,” etc.). Really? That’s the compassionate perspective of a mental health professional?

      The content and tone of this post strikes me as Exhibit No. 1 for What’s Wrong With Therapy Today.

      • I agree. Isn’t it a serious professional transgression to diagnose and attempt to treat people whom one has never met, anyway?

        For my part, I would have been much more interested in NotYou’s own experiences, on the level, as a person like the rest of us, that her/his need to incessantly diagnose, observe at a distance, and critique the members of the group.

        As I can personally attest, woe betide anyone who questions NotYou’s singular authority on all subjects psychological. S/he was awfully quick to lash out at anyone who questioned her assertions. (For my part, I’d say the name “NOT…–YOU!) says a lot. As in, I’m special, you’re not. But I have a wicked sensitive narc radar these days, as I’m sure a lot of other readers do too.

        Finally, I object to picking on other posters, like Dr. I Can’t Believe I’m A Chump–who seems to have done a pretty good job in the–very extensive and appropriate–discussion of the research methodology of that grad student. We have among us “hard ” scientists, Social Scientists of all stripes, lawyers, probably MDs–students–lots of folks trained to do research.

        I’ll add that clinical psychologists are fairly low in the ranks of knowing much about research protocols. That’s why there’s a distinction between clinicians–who are supposed to be good at working with people, and researchers, whether experimental, social psych or whatever. So if I were a clinician I wouldn’t hang around being all pissy about other people’s legitimate discussion of a research design. Especially when we’ve all been expressly invited to participate.

        So what if it’s an MA thesis? I would hope that a student was always held to a high standard. I did it when I taught undergraduate Research Methods at (prestigious Eastern Small Liberal Arts college in MA.)


        Finally, it remains my belief that *all of us* here on this blog have something to contribute, and it matters not at all, not ONE BIT, how many initials we have after our names. I have learned as much life wisdom from HS dropouts as I have from Ph.D.s I have my own (Ph.D. level thankyouverymuch) IC for my own therapy.

        I want to hear from the myriad experiences of the voices here, and it makes me cranky when somebody silences those voices by saying in effect s/he knows more, so there.

      • I have often found notyou’s contributions to be thought-provoking, but I will definitely not miss the narcissistic rage.

    • notyou,

      I personally have nothing but the utmost respect for the mental health profession as a whole, and psychologists in particular, as my oldest child is a practicing psychologist who has a graduate minor in statistics and I respect her immensely. She not only creates statistical models for studies but is frequently employed to evauluate statistical models created by others. I’m sure she would have had a few questions about the structure of that questionnaire and the desired statistical and informational result the student was hoping to achieve. I have a great individual therapist, but the marriage counselor I went to was less than stellar. She refused to discuss my STBX’s infidelity, even though that was the catylyst which brought us to counseling. How was not discussing the infidelity, the STBX’s thinking behind seeking a partner outside the marriage, and putting all the blame on me for the problems in the marriage, while acknowledging that it was my efforts holding the marriage together, a viable therapy model? The larger question I have had to ask myself is why I tolerated it. Just like in any other profession, there are great therapists, good therapists, not so good therapists and lousy therapists. Therapists, like everyone else, start out as just regular folks with their own inherent biases and prejudices, which biases and prejudices, unless they are in an extremely diverse learning environment, are not frequently challenged or fully explored. I believe that some of CL’s questions to that student were to simply make her aware of certain ingrained thinking and biases which the study seemed to indicate were present in the design. Wouldn’t you agree that questioning that ingrained thinking and potential bias and getting her to at least think about them, is or should be part of the learning experience as well – even if she doesn’t change the study?

      I also have great respect for your insight, as you have been a practicing psychologist for a number of years and, as such, have had exposure to, I would assume, any number of personalities and profiles. I have not, however, always found myself agreeing with some of your conclusions, even with the tremendous respect I have for the insight your perspective and conclusion provided. Even the things with which I didn’t agree gave me an alternative perspective and caused me to think and evaluate my own behavior and perceptions. So while I may not have necessarily agreed, your insight still caused me to think and see certain situations through a different lens and ask myself hard questions.

      Yes, sometimes people here (including me) express themselves in a very strident manner. But in a space such as this, as long as the disagreement remains respectful, this is the one spot where we should be allowed to fully express our anger, frustration and pain, ask pointed questions and be free to disagree with one another. I appreciate the fact that Tracy and others who come here take exception to bigoted (yeah, about that Tar Baby reference . . . ), potentially offensive comments so that everyone who comes here feels safe.

      I am sorry you feel that you must leave the site, as I will miss your thoughtful commentary and analysis. I believe that everyone here provides their own unique perspective and insight and ways of coping with one of the most truly horrific emotional upheavals many of us will ever experience. I don’t get the sense that anyone here DESIRES to stay stuck in that pain – I just think that people heal when they heal and it is a different timeline and process for each person. As a psychologist, you probably see pitfalls in some of what you read here, which is why so many of us have appreciated having the benefit of your insight, even when it may have made us uncomfortable.

      Take care notyou.

    • Thank you for your contributions Not you. I’m also sorry to see you go. I can only speak for myself so I will throw in my two cents worth.

      I see recovery from any trauma as a journey. I believe there are stages we go through on our way to wholeness. The first one being survival mode. When we are in survival mode, life is indeed very black and white. We often cling desperately, trying to understand what’s going on, trying to survive. Our mind refuses to accept that what had once been our reality simply was not true. I think it takes time to LIVE our way onto acceptance of what is and not what we want to be true. We are each unique individuals, we have out own time tables in this.

      I also believe that particular time table depends on the tools of life we have at our disposal. Frankly, mine were pretty shitty. As the only child of a malignant narcissist and a covert narcissist, all I had the tools of a scapegoat. (And yes, I am diagnosing them, after 12 years as a psych nurse I think I am qualified.) I was lucky enough that I went to counselling and joined Alanon early on in my first marriage. That is where I began to get a set of new tools, and the idea that life was all about personal growth. Bless those wonderful people who took me under their wings. Did it keep me out of a marriage with a second cheater narcissist? Nope, My tools weren’t good enough yet. I had to do more growing.

      I also believe that the anger we feel, and the nasty things we say are not only natural reactions to being abused time and again, but a necessary milestone on the road to “Never going THERE again!” We need to get pissed about the whole shitty mess so we can use that energy to get ourselves out of it. We stay trapped because we are trying to be “good, nice” people. We are able to move towards getting out when we embrace out inner bitch, stand up for ourselves and get the hell out of a untenable situation. Also, we need to give a voice all the bad thing they did to us. We need to hear “What an asshole! You did not deserve that!” After being blamed for so much for so long, we need to have our inner indignation validated. Does it mean we are “wallowing” and being professional victims? Nope! Does it mean we are perfect?….again nope. It is just another stage of recovery. I think moving out of the anger stage takes as long as it takes for each of us.

      We are all different, unique beings with our own set of lessons to learn. I certainly can’t sit in judgement of anyone else’s journey. I’m not them. We all move through at our own pace. We are not perfect, but then again nor do we claim to be. Speaking for myself, I did the best I could with the tools I had at the time and place I was. I think that applies to the vast majority of us. When we know better….we do better. When my tools improved, I did better.

      On this forum we all are in different stages of recovery, we are walking at our own pace, and we are each dealing with our own lessons to learn. I am here to support other chumps, no matter what stage of their journey they happen to be in. It is not my place to judge anyone but my self, or change anyone but myself. I can only offer my “experience, strength and hope” to try to help other chumps in their journey.

      Nuff said.

      • Tessie, I agree with your point about the “nasty things” that are sometimes said here. That’s part of putting down the spackle. Many people here loved their partners deeply, were committed to home and family, and were blindsided by D-Day. Then they dive right into trying to save the marriage and all the pain and anger they feel gets stuffed down. Writing about these experiences is great therapy–witness the “I am Mighty” post from the other day. It is perfectly normal to have nasty things to say about people (cheaters and their APs) who are still, in real time, devastating the lives of many who post here. The only way out of the agony of betrayal is through it. And getting support here and elsewhere is essential to getting to Meh.

      • Tessie, you always have such a “kindred” point of view. I feel myself healing more every time you post. As to those who see no value in this Blog I can respect that. I don’t have to agree with it. I value this Blog. I choose to grow. It benefits me and this group of Chumps are people who value educated viewpoints, honesty, and living with intentionality. I enjoy the discussion and the varied viewpoints. I have always known what my weaknesses were (and are). I recognize I wanted that fairy tale…and that as much as I wanted it I chose someone who could not and chose not to share that with me. I recognize I made poor choices. There were red flags…. I recognize that the only person I can control is me. But I did not deserve to be cheated on. I hope, like many others here, to learn from my mistakes and to reach meh. I am worth loving and know I could never cheat on someone I love.

    • Notyou,

      I am so sorry to see you go. I agree with your assessment that I am where I am today because I did not set healthy boundaries. It took me a while and a ton of heartache but now I know life is completely about my choices, and part of that is healing and going forward, and not backwards. I had no choice in my cheater’s cheating but I did have the choice to leave sooner. It’s been quite the journey but glad I am finally on a better path.

      My therapist sounds a lot like you, and for that, I am grateful. I wish you would reconsider staying on the site. Your insights have been invaluable to me, whether I agree with them or not. Sometimes, it took me a while to fully understand where you were coming from. We need different voices here on CL. Healing takes so many forms and posts like yours do help to wake up some chumps if they are ready and if it’s their path. I wish you well.

    • First, you wrote: “…we also see the PD in the cheatee who has spent years throwing good love after bad because they have this distorted notion that they can “change” another person. That’s pretty arrogant (and even narcissistic) when you think about it, and it’s analogous to beating the proverbial dead horse.” A few months ago that would have infuriated me because I would not have seen myself as “codependent” in this relationship. But reading and posting here has changed my outlook. If you read many of the comments, they are focused on helping others get past the stuck point that you rightly decry. I have come to see that relationships that don’t have 2 whole people in them, or are based on “fixing” one or both parties, are prone to the kinds of abusive dynamics we see here all the time. You have been part of helping me get to that point. And I have done the work, in therapy and on my own time, of doing a full assessment of my romantic relationships back to the teen years (nearly 50 years of stuff) and I can see both the lack of self-care and esteem and the willful throwing away of parts of my life to “help” someone else. The patterns are there, and visible for me to change. CL’s journey is toward “meh.” I hope “meh” is just a way station for me as I learn compassion for myself and even for the man who hurt me so much. And I don’t mean “forgiveness”; I mean compassion for his sickness, just as I would feel that for someone sick on body.

      It may just be hard to be a therapist reading on a board with a people who have been traumatized, many of whom, like me, were raised by narcissists, alcoholics and other abusers and so went into intimate relationships with a pretty screwed up sense of things. But I don’t think people are mean on this board, and I am pretty much an expert at recognizing that. There are, in fact, a bunch of people here that I would be pleased and proud to know in real life, and who try hard to encourage and lift others who are struggling.

      As for the grad student, I’ve done my Ph.D. in another field, so I don’t have the credentials to critique sociology or psychology studies. I participated and tried to answer honestly. But the notion that cheating could be “unintentional” would at least require some explanation, as posting FB messages, getting into the truck to meet an AP, kissing, meeting for dinner, having sex all seem to me acts that require agency. At the very least, it seems likely that this student and her mentor probably believe, with 90% of the population (my guess) is that living with an abuser is preferable to getting a divorce. That a failed marriage is one where the abused party leaves, while one where the abused party stays is “successful.” I am just using my Ph.D. in literacy to read between those lines, but interpretation involves both the text at hand and the mind and experience of the interpreter. Thanks for your contributions. I’ve learned a lot from you. I’m sorry to see you go, but the people on this board are pretty much learning to let people go when they demonstrate they don’t value us, our opinions, or our experiences.

      • And, as I said in the earlier posts on this subject, what would be the point of surveying cheaters, who lie and lie and lie and lie? So Chumps get studied because we are malleable like Play-Doh and can adjust ourselves to save the marriage….

    • Notyou,

      I respect your stated reasons for leaving this board. But why announce them? Why not just stop posting on Chump Lady?

      • My thoughts too Matt. Is there really a need to write what was probably a few pages in a Word document and insult everyone on this blog in the process?

    • Not you

      Your vent made me sad, sad because you come across as mean and insulting.