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Dear Chump Lady, She wants to apologize for cheating on me

so_sorryDear Chump Lady,

This past May I uncovered an affair my wife had been having for the past two years (possible longer) with her co-worker. They are both teachers at the same school. I uncovered a secret email she had been using. The inbox contained two years worth of emails. The details and photos they sent each other almost destroyed me.

When I confronted her she denied it until I gave her proof and even then she showed no remorse. She just asked for a “fair settlement”. I’ve gone NC since, only communicating with her via email when it pertains to the kids. We have two kids ages 3 and 5. I only see her when the kids are dropped off. The divorce application is pending and we have a signed separation agreement.

She asked me yesterday if we could meet to talk. She wants to apologize for her behaviour. I don’t want to meet her and if I do I might lose it. I want to give her sh*t for what she’s done but will it even be worth it? I’m trying my best to detach. The thought of meeting her makes me shake. This morning I thought I was going to have a panic attack. Will confronting her now make me feel any better or will that make it harder for me to detach?


Dear Michael,

Will confronting her make you feel better? Well, ask yourself that. From what you wrote, you don’t want to meet her, the thought of it makes you “lose it,” want to “shake,” and have a “panic attack.” Generally, we don’t consider those things to be improving.

So no, don’t meet her for the bullshit reason of her personal impression management. It’s not your job to assuage her conscience (assuming she has one). Your job is to heal and protect yourself from further harm. And the way you do that is through no contact.

This is early days. Your D-Day was only last May — FOUR months ago. You’ve had to endure a tremendous amount of loss in that time. It’s OKAY to say NO to your ex. Or better yet, just nothing. Crickets. Spend the day doing something actually improving, like washing your hair, or vacuuming behind the refrigerator. Anything really other than listening to your ex “explain” her two-year affair.

There is no explanation for it. It is what it is — horrific. She was stepping out on you and two small children. She destroyed your family.

If you confront her and give her shit — it won’t have the desired effect. You aren’t going to get your family back, or your two years, or some pre-affair state wife of purity. She can’t unring that bell or unfuck that douche. You can’t shame a cheater. Her actions clearly indicate she lives without shame quite well, thank you. All you will do is get yourself into a lather and be upset that she’s not nearly as upset as she should be. There isn’t enough shit to give her that begins to approximate the shit sandwich you are eating right now.

As for her apology? My best guess is that the bitch wants kibbles. Cheaters love to “apologize” under the pretext of seeing how much You Still Care. Are you wrecked because of her? Kibbles! Do you miss her? Kibbles! Do your eyes look puffy from crying? Kibbles! These “apologies” are often invitations to do the pick me dance. Here, I’ll throw you a bone — I’m sorry! — now DANCE motherfucker. Compete for my affections again. Tell me how much you miss me and I’ll tell you how confused I am right now. Gee, you rather suck, and I had to do this, but… I hate how I’m perceived as a cheater, so forgive me, and let’s be friends with kibbles, okay?

You have my permission to skip that.

She’s REALLY sorry? She can demonstrate that by being fair in the divorce and not fucking with access to your children. THAT is the best approximation of sorry you should get and it’s the least she can do. If you have to reply to her meet up offer, I’d probably text that. Sorry is as sorry does. You’re sorry? Leave me alone and don’t fuck with my kids.

Michael, your probably also bucking up against the expectation that chumps immediately forgive and play nice for the kids. I’ve written about forgiveness elsewhere in this blog, but suffice it to say, meh is your forgiveness and it takes a hell of a lot longer than four months to achieve meh, or indifference, towards your ex. You must be civil to her for the kids. Accommodating when it suits you. Pay your support. Beyond that, you don’t owe her ANYTHING.

If years out from now when you don’t feel like puking at the sight of her, she wants to apologize, let her. You won’t care one bit. New Michael will be totally moved on. Until that day — no contact, my friend.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • I’d also worry that this apology meeting would be quickly turned into a bogus relationship autopsy that she would play one of two ways. Either she’d prompt you to talk about your faults and spin some bullshit false equivalency story of your marriage under the banner of “mistakes were made by all involved,” or you hold fast to the truth that she unilaterally cheated and blew up your family and she’d spin that as proof of how cold hearted and arrogant and domineering you are (justifying her need to seek comfort outside the marriage). Both of these are image management tactics for her, do nothing for you, and likely hurt you further. Don’t go there.

    As always judge by actions (especially with people who won’t honor the meaning of even simple unambiguous statements, like “I do”). The settlement she agrees to will tell you how sorry she is.

    • I agree with Nomar here. My ex tried to do this what’s Nomar describes, and it was painfully obvious in the follow up to my rejection of the meeting that it was going to be a relationship autopsy with heaping portions of blame-shifting upon me. Image control is important to these people.

      And I would add that if she is truly sorry and needs forgiveness. She can always put it in writing. You do not owe her a face to face. And it may not be wise right now as CL says.

      In general, I suggest judging her actions and not her words. Two years is a long time to have an affair. That’s a lot of wrong…innumerable lies. One sit down conversation is not going to solve all of that in my opinion. It would take much more time to demonstrate that she has stopped. I am skeptical if she has…but do not know. I suspect it is just more about not looking bad on her part.

    • ” or you hold fast to the truth that she unilaterally cheated and blew up your family and she’d spin that as proof of how cold hearted and arrogant and domineering you are (justifying her need to seek comfort outside the marriage). ”

      This is exactly what happened to me

      • Oh, & then if you don’t go, it gets spun as “well, I tried, you won’t even talk to me”. There is no winning w/ these people. However, at least not meeting & remaining NC, you don’t put yourself in the direct line of dysfunctional fire. Our instincts as chumps, because we’re “nice people”, is to acquiesce to reasonable requests. Problem is, you’re not dealing w/ a normal person, ergo, few if any requests are reasonable. Just remember that (it took me a long time to figure this out -5 months after he moved out- & practice what I preach…).

        • it gets spun as “well, I tried, you won’t even talk to me”
          Yep. Been there, don’t care 🙂 My ex tells everyone how he’s tried to talk to me but I refuse. And I do, I’ve told him to email or text me ONLY. When mutual “friends” say things like “it’s so sad that you guys can’t talk and you have a child together” suggesting that I should step up “for my son” I show them the nasty text messages he sends & how he talks to me, and they switch sides real quick. Anything she has to say she can say in writing and then you’ll have record of it!

          • This got me thinking of how I would put it if my ex were to broach the subject of meeting with me for an apology.

            First of all, I think Nomar totally nailed it.

            But how to turn down the ex (if you even feel the need to do that — crickets is always another option) in a way that further protects yourself by placing the blame solidly where it belongs – on the ex. For me, the contact would have to be via email. No phone call or in-person contact, period. The email would go something like this:

            No, I will not be meeting with you. If your apology meant something to me, that might be a different story. But your past behavior has destroyed the trust I once had for you, and now I no longer believe a word you say.

          • I also agree with Nomar. In my case, this scenario played out during “marriage counseling.” I’m writing this in quotations because it was anything but a fair, equitable process. Ex used it as an opportunity to discuss how I f*cked up and how I would need to improve to again be worthy of his love. After a few months of this, a good friend advised me to figure out what *I* wanted from my ex and the marriage, so I went into an appointment armed with my requests. Every last one of them was explained away as unreasonable. Not long after, I discovered that he lied to me so he could see OW again.

            I guess it was important to go to counseling so I could feel I “tried,” but no contact seems so much more sane. I wish I had given that one a whirl instead.

        • I agree. This is a no win situation for you right now. When my STBX “apologized” a few days after an incident, I thanked him but told him I was not ready to discuss or forgive him yet. I said I needed some time, and I was met with an enraged eruption of blame shifting– I was “unChristian,” “cold,” etc. Since you aren’t at “meh” yet, your STBX will use your response to launch something– an angry outburst, a new identity as a poor martyr, a love bombing campaign, etc. Your NC position is serving you well, so stick to what is working for you. If she can cheat for 2 years, you can take 2 years to find your new equilibrium.

          • That’s rich, Eilonwy: an adulterer lecturing you about being “unChristian!” It sounds like he needed reminding that you were only in this situation because of how unChristian HE was. The arrogance of cheaters!

      • Whatever it is she wants, it won’t be good for you. And no matter what she says, you already know she’s a liar. I hope you don’t make any response to her.

    • Spot on Nomar…I couldn’t of said it any better. My ex-wife cheated on me with multiple men and then eventually left me for another man. I hired a private detective catching the man coming and leaving my house and when I confronted her with the evidence…I was to blame. Blame shifting is a tactic anyone that has committed something to push the fault onto someone else. I kicked my ex out of the house and gave her no choice but to be with the other guy. It was a painful process to deal with. Just like Nomar said…some people don’t understand the concept of “I do”. I disagree partically with Chump Lady for once…fight for custody, make her pay you child support. Not implying that Chump Lady thought this but just because you are a man, doesn’t mean you can’t take care of your children. If the courts decide to give physical custody of your ex..then get a lawyer and ensure that she follows the rules on the agreement.

      Don’t meet with her in person…this meeting should of been held way prior to her considering infidelity. She wanted to hurt you and didn’t really seem to care that you found out. She put so much effort into hurting you, now you need to take back your self-worth and preservation and keep pushing onward. Just because you are a man, don’t be afraid to let some tears out. Trust me, I did, and after a while I had no reason to cry anymore. Fast foward 9 months later I found a wonderful woman. Your wants kibbles from you…let her get kibbles with another dumb a$$ that falls for her tactics. Close the bag of kibbles and get to MEH 🙂

      Chump Lady you are awesome 🙂

      • I thought the same thing as NotNormal. She has a job. Why should the cheater get custody? You could do a child care plan as well as she could, without the male skank on the side.

      • “Don’t meet with her in person…this meeting should of been held way prior to her considering infidelity.”

        Good point. The time for conversation and working on the relationship should’ve been before cheating happened. Once it happens, conversation over.

    • I was going to opine until I saw that Nomar expressed what I was going to say, but much more eloquently.

      Since my D-Day, there has been no real remorse, and the few times she has used the word sorry led to conversations like Nomar expressed. And they invariably (not that it happened more than a couple of times ) left me feeling worse than if she had never bothered saying sorry at all.

      • Same for me. I don’t think I ever want to hear I’m sorry again from my ex. They were the dumbest conversations I think I’ve ever had. Total ploy to blame me. AGAIN!

        • Yep. Totally agree. It’s a total ploy. And the sorry is always qualified. “I’m sorry for what I did to you, BUT (insert hateful comment)”

          I would love my ex to say, “I’m really fucking sorry.”
          That’s it. Nothing else.

  • Great advice, Chump Lady.
    It took my X six years to give what I considered a “real” apology. (something other than, “I’m sorry I had the affair, BUT you ______________(insert insult of me here)”) . By that time I had remarried and had a wonderful new life. One evening we were having dinner out and he called. I handed the phone to the kids (assuming he was calling to speak with them as usual. A couple of minutes later, my six-year-old son (yes, x left when son was born), looking very confused, said “Mommy, it’s for you.” I took the phone and my X was sobbing uncontrollably on the other end. He said “I was calling for you this time. I’m sorry for being a terrible husband and a worthless father and person.” I simply replied “Thank you.” He hung up the phone and refused to answer when I tried to call him back. I had really hoped he had hit his bottom and was maybe finally beginning to mature. (not that I wanted reconciliation. Just hope that he would be a better person for the kids sake and for my sake in having to still deal with him regularly due to kids.) You see, that was before I knew about NPD. It’s now been three years since that apology and in many ways he has gotten worse. He saw the children less and less. He called them less and less. He still missed his child support payments. Etc. Etc. So basically he became an even MORE worthless father and person. Ha ha ha ha! The joke was on me. My chumplike self was still hoping there was a human being down in there somewhere. Not so.

    • and that is why he did it. you were sappose to go to his rescue, make sure he didnt kill himself and tell him that he was not that terrible of a husband or he was not a worthless father. and since you didnt immediately jump in your car and rush over to his house, and give him the ego boost he was looking. (and he was probably drunk) he now knows you no longer care about him the way you did and are not on his puppet string.

      mine used to do that when we separated 2 years ago for 2 years. just another trick to see how much you care and if you still love him.

    • Today is the year anniversary of D-Day. I fled to live with my daughter 23 years old, she supported me in every aspect for four months. He could/can care less, thought our divorce settlement was “more than fair” after almost 30 years. Now knowing he has a serious NPD is enough, he as well wanted a meeting before the divorce was final. I said NO! Discovery of monies you saw, and the answer was “What money? ” ..
      He made a mistake, saying I’m sorry like he forgot to pick up milk…..
      Be kind to yourself! I moved to another state, changed my name and am suffering from the trauma but knowing I survived gives me hope for a brighter future.
      All the best…just knowing you are not alone and God wants better for us all.

  • There are so many ways to say “sorry” without meeting with you face to face. Email, text, snail mail. It’s the face to face request that pinged my radar. Manipulation is so much harder through a letter! If she hasn’t been bombarding you with apologies in every method possible already, then the meeting in person is for her, not you.

    • Agree. The face to face thing is a trick. It’s the only way they can try to exercise control that they’ve lost.

      My STBXH manipulated me into a face to face meeting after I filed for divorce and was trying NC. He texted me and said that he really needed to talk to me, and that it was about his health. That it was personal, and important. I tried to say you can call me or send me and email, but I don’t want to meet. Eventually he had me so freaked because he kept saying it was about his health, that I agreed to meet him in public.

      When I met with him and asked him what the health problem was, he said it was his “emotional health”. He told me he was a sex addict, and he was sick. He then tried to get me to agree that if he confided in me, I wouldn’t tell my divorce lawyer (yeah right). He dumped a “full” (but certainly edited) D-day on me, including details about all the prostitutes, sugar babies, etc. during our marriage and before. This was obviously all for his own purposes; probably a last ditch attempt to convince me he needed help and to avoid the divorce.

      I’m glad he told me, because I wanted to know and now I have more ammunition for the divorce. But meeting him in person was a huge mistake for my emotional health. I have run into him accidentally for work stuff a couple of times since then, and it felt like my digestive system was going to leap up my throat and out of my mouth. I would advise against all face to face meetings.

      • Defying Gravity wrote: He dumped a “full” (but certainly edited) D-day on me, including details about all the prostitutes, sugar babies, etc. during our marriage and before. This was obviously all for his own purposes; probably a last ditch attempt to convince me he needed help and to avoid the divorce.

        My X did the same thing…dumped it all on me…but i think it was more of a “here, the “weight” of it all is on YOU now.” Along with the truth spew, there were subtle, but purposeful blame shifting, justifications, minimizations, denials, and rationalizations. My guilt was immense. Immense. Because I am a Chump. And I like to do my best.

        In any case, he is out of my life and I am able to see how I was cleverly manipulated, dominated, and mind-fucked my entire 20+ year marriage. I don’t miss the fuckstain, but I do still grieve the loss of a life-long intact family.

  • This post is what I needed to read today because I’m WAITING for an apology. Even considered demanding one. Why do I believe he would ever be remorseful? He could say sorry a million times and it would never be enough, so why am I wasting any of my precious time hoping for an unattainable moment? Perhaps I’m looking for closure? Peace? Sigh, meh cannot come soon enough.

    • Never ask an NPD cheater for something they cannot and will not give you. All that accomplishes is showing them you care about how much they care about you (giant kibbles), and it will likely leave you in a worse emotional place than you are now.

      Cheater isn’t sorry? So what. Best way to deal with that is not to be sorry they are GONE.

      • Often just letting them know you want something (an apology, a signature on a legal document, picking up the kids on time, etc.) is enough to *guarantee* an NPD won’t do it. Withholding what you want is power, and these folks are all about the power.

        • Agreed Nomar, my therapist told me exactly this. I was talking to her about how I asked my ex not to give our son a certain medication not meant for his age group, at recommendation of his dr., and how he not only gave it to him anyway but made a point to tell me he did. She stopped me mid-sentence and said “stop. Stop asking him for ANYTHING. He will say no or do the opposite regardless of how politely you ask – it’s the only control he has over you now.”

          • See, this is what I struggle with and why I get myself in trouble.

            I advocate for my son. Ex is grooming him. He told him strange things like he went on the escalator for the first time alone and that he ate limes as a baby. Really crazy nonsense and my son buys it and is confused. I respond by saying that is abuse and then I am hooked into his crazy.

            I am so concerned for my son. I am struggling about whether to go to court. We are close to finishing mediation and soon to be ex is a trial attorney former divorce lawyer. My son also loves him and he want to be with him. How do you realize that whatever you want for your kids will be met with disdain. How do I act knowing my kid is in the hands of a psycho who makes himself into a normal good guy and messes with my kid’s head grooming him for God knows what?

            What do you do to protect your kids lale? I am so scarred all the time about this.

            • That is terrible Chumpectomy. It’s so scary because there really isn’t a lot you can do unless they’re physically abusive. My therapist told me it’s something I just have to let go of, as far as the non-life-threatening types of things my ex does regarding our son.

              In terms of the grooming…I’ve said this before on here and it’s something I hold to tightly. My mom told me a long time ago that the worst thing I could do was talk badly about my ex to or in front of our son. She said if I talk good about him (not lying, just generalizations like “oh your dad is so fun isn’t he?”) that my son will grow up not feeling like he has to defend his dad, and he will be honest with me about his feelings.

              I know it’s hard thinking your son could grow up to be the same kind of monster your ex is…I think the only defense is to let go and live your life and be a safe place for when your child realizes what kind of person the ex is. Be the kind of mom that when your ex says those stupid lies, your son will think “uh that doesn’t sound like my mom”. And when your son tells you what he says, I’d try to control the reaction and just say “that’s not true, I don’t know why your father would say it.”

              I’m so sorry you’re dealing with that. And that your ex is a lawyer…mine is thankfully an idiot and made a fool of himself in court (where HE took ME for god knows what reason – I would never have had the nerve to take him to court, I’m glad he did. But I’ve said on here before too, I got very lucky with my judge, I feel like it’s a complete gamble what happens in some family courts and that is ridiculously messed up).

              • Oh lale, your response brought that nose-sting of tears because it is so right. Truth does that to me these days. I am copying your response to read again and again. You have voiced my concerns exactly. I know you are right. The courts don’t care if he tells my son lies or if he grooms him to accept bad treatment as long as he is not physically in danger. And I have no stomach for court and the risk I would take with a seasoned shark.

                You are wise to listen to your mother on this one and I will too. I want to get my anxiety about his father’s lies and constant spin under control so I can make space for my son to share his feelings and give him honest support throughout his life.

                Please have me in your prayers lale. That I do not get reeled into the lies through horror and fear—that I maintain distance and build a solid foundation outside of ex’s pathology and that my son is protected from it in the ways that most matter for him. Many many thanks.

        • It took me awhile to catch onto this power move – even though once I had a chance to think about it, this is a thread that ran through our entire relationship. Anything I wanted or liked, it was pretty much guaranteed that would be something he refused to do or give to me. Places I wanted to go? Wouldn’t go with me, but would let me know he went with someone else (he has done so fairly recently and found a way to let me know because I’m no contact – crickets from me).

          Other people don’t get this at all because he appears (and can be) so accommodating to other people (impression management). It used to make me crazy. Now I just accept it and don’t ask him anything. It can be frustrating, but less frustrating than dealing with him. With character-disordered people, not only should you let sleeping dogs lie, you should probably just shoot them.

          • Yep, after I kicked ex out he and final OW went to my favourite place in the world. And ex made sure I knew it. He did it just to fuck with me and hurt me. One of many things he did to fuck with me and hurt me. He can’t get to me anymore but at the time it really sucked.

            Michael, don’t meet your ex. She’s an asshole and that’s all you need to know. No one should deal with assholes unless absolutely necessary. Meeting her is not necessary.

    • They lie! They cheat! Then they blame you for it! Expecting an apology is like trying to get blood out of a rock.

  • Cheaters don’t apologize. I offered to file taxes jointly with mine to save her money, if only she would apologize for cheating on me. This was the best she could manage (she claimed to have only kissed the AP, a claim which has become more incredible over time): “I am sorry I kissed someone while we were still married. That is the only thing I can apologise for. I hope it gives you peace because. Have a good life.” Not exactly the heights of remorse, there.

  • Always remember that your wife is a person that was very comfortable lying and cheating for a very long time. People that are able to do that are , simply, wired very differently than a normal person.
    I expect at some point in all of our lives, we have lied about something, probably something minor, but a lie, nonetheless.
    But, the extent of deceit and the comfort level a cheater in a long term affair has with it 9 sleeping well, functioning at work etc.) says to me that this person is fundamentally different than a normal human being, many standard deviations from normalcy.
    What value does and apology from a person like that have? Do you feel a person like that has even a tad of sincerity in her?
    I never used to be this cynical until I began researching personality disorders and acquired some ( I think) ability to spot them.
    In my opinion, any person that can carry on a long term affair, by definition, has to be personality disordered. It is simply impossible for a healthy, normal person to live comfortably with so much lying and deceit. I bet your wife has NPD, BPD or ASPD.
    Best to stay as fae away from these folks as possible. They do not change.

    • Whether or not somebody can be diagnosed with a personality disorder is debatable, but it’s astounding to me that anybody can pretty much have the empathy switch set to “off” for you and their family and pretend otherwise for a very long time.

      In as much as it is difficult for most of us to imagine that, I suspect that people who do this don’t understand us either. I bet his wife doesn’t even really know who he is either except through the lens of somebody who could do what she has done because that’s something I have begun to notice–late in life–about people who do things that demonstrate this kind of lack of empathy for their partners and families: they don’t get you either, and they project their own ideas about who you are onto you, so the chances that this “apology” is going to be meaningful and about him are so remote that they might as well be non-existent. The apology is most likely about her and whatever image she has conjured up of him, and yes… possibly impression management or assuaging her own unlikely guilt ( and that last bit is very unlikely as she apparently did just fine with it for years). In short, it’s not about him; it’s about her again in all likelihood.

      • And in case it isn’t clear, knowing how to manipulate somebody of push their buttons doesn’t really involve really knowing and understanding them. A conman doesn’t need to really understand their marks. All they really need to understand is what is likely to elicit trust or guilt or whatever it takes to get what they want. Their marks are usually regarded as “fools” and “fools and their money are soon parted”. Their marks are 2-dimensional caricatures, and that’s kind of what I mean: they don’t really get you, but they do know how to manipulate you.

        • TimeHeals — you hit on something that rings very, very true. Character-disordered people don’t “get” normal people, just as we don’t “get” them.

          I remember how weird it was when my then-husband told me that he suspected the times I acted nice with friends and family were the times I was wearing a mask — faking it. He said, bitterly, “You have them all fooled.”

          He thought my real personality was the one he saw when I would become angry or critical at him over things like his selfishness, arrogance, immaturity, irresponsibility. Oh, and infidelity and deceit.

          He seemed genuinely confused about deciphering who the real person was. I told him that the nice person was who I really am. (Actually, it was all who I really am. I was expressing real feelings in every case.) He seemed unable to grasp that concept. Projection much?

            • Yes, absolutely. It might also explain why they try to provoke people–to bring out what they think is the “real” side.

          • I think the disordered are compelled to create a narrative in their head shifting the blame from them to you. They are simply unable to deal with accepting responsibility. Therefore you have to become the bad guy. It is an extraordinarily painful side effect of the whole sitution.

            For example, when I told my husband I was moving out he said “I always knew you would do this some day. That’s why I wouldn’t put assets in both of our names. I knew you were planning to leave and take half.”

            I said “Oh yes. When we married it was my plan and dream to have you cheat on me repeatedly with hookers, refuse to go to marriage counseling, express remorse, or attempt to fix the marriage; and then leave me no option but to move out without access to marital assets because you kept me financially segregated.” What a dream marriage.

            The projection and blame shifting boggle the mind.

          • To me that’s a sign of someone who, when being nice to people, is only faking. That’s normal to them, so they assume it is the case with everybody else too.

          • My XW did the same thing. She felt that I was hiding who I am. She once told, on one of the myriad timed she was angry at me over some innocuous trigger, ” People all think you Re so nice but I know the real you.”
            Now couple that with all the self doubt the disordered instill in their partners together with my knowledge( through reading/research) that NPDs do hide their true selves from the outside world, reserving their abuse for their inner circle, and you have a.major mind fuck( not to mention a run on sentence).

            • I didn’t think that sentence ran on!

              It does get tiring to have our cheaters feel they know us better than we know ourselves because we know they most certainly do not know us well.

              Speaking of weird sentences, I put four “knows” into that one.

      • Timeheals, you are so right. So many times I opened my heart and tried to be truthful and honest with my ex, only to be met with more blame. Luckily I never pined for an apology because I realized towards the end of our marriage that our brains just didn’t work the same. He didn’t have the same feelings or need for intimacy and connection that I did. There was no sentimentality attached to memories of our past for him.

        For awhile I longed for resolution, in fact I ached for it, but after awhile even that feeling left me. I’ve accepted “it is what it is.” It’s just damn sad to be with someone 36 years and never really know them.

        Seeing your ex, especially when you’re still reeling from PTSD, will only set you back in your recovery. The best thing you can do is let your STBX know you wish her the best, but there’s nothing more you need from her. It’s very frustrating for cheaters to realize there’s nothing left for them to control or manipulate you with.

        • Lyn, what you said about “Seeing your ex, especially when you’re still reeling from PTSD” is so true. Michael really needs to obey what his body is trying to tell him and steer clear of her.

          • I forgot to disconnect from XW on Linked In (I am never on there)…and got an email about some new work achievement of hers on Monday. Just SEEING HER NAME (and pic) in my inbox launched an anxiety attack. And I’ve been full blown 100% no contact for 7 months.

            Just when I think it’s finally Tuesday, some crap like this ends up happening and makes me realize I still have a long way to go. 🙁

              • Thanks, ML. Just caught me off guard – PTSD is just another gift that keeps on giving which she bestowed on me I guess! Oh well, at least it wasn’t the herp. LOL.

              • My first therapist, a truly wise man, says that progress is not a simple line moving up or ahead; it works like a lightning bolt, a zigag. You move forward and then find something else you need to work on. I think setbacks are how we discover those areas that aren’t healed–and how we learn what is right for us. Clearly, NC works for you. Seven months seems like a long time, but I am nearly in my one year anniversary period, and I’m just now starting not to think about what happened all the time. You know you are doing the right things.

            • Something similar happened to me on Tuesday. I never delinked from the OW (we were good friends and in the same industry) and received an email telling me to congratulate her on x yrs at company y (where she and h met). Resulted in many tears being shed. Alas, it is not meh Tuesday for me – yet.

              Hang in there.

              • Linked in keeps popping up with a picture of my ex suggesting I follow him. Stupid Linked in has no way to disable this that I can find. After about a month of seeing his picture pop up I finally stopped having anxiety attacks when I saw it.

      • Time Heals, I think you make a very good point. My ex, after I kicked him out, was suddenly attributing the most bizarre mind sets and motives to me – things that were so far off the mark as far as who I am that I honestly thought he was having a breakdown or something, because what he was saying were pretty much the opposite of who I am.

        And now I wonder if he ever really knew me. Maybe he was projecting the image he had of me and when I became too real (as one would do after a few decades together) he didn’t really like what he saw. So he is now projecting on the final OW, who doesn’t really seem to be what he sees either, when I really think about it.

        Just trying to make sense of this new theory is doing my head in. 🙂

      • We don’t need a diagnosis to know she is pretty cold blooded to have a two-year affair with a colleague at her teaching job. A teacher’s reputation is very important, even in these days. And because she carried on a two year affair, we know she is an accomplished liar. And TimeHeals, you make a good point about how these disordered people really have no idea about the rest of us. That’s one reason, I suppose, why the can risk so much–they have no idea how special real love is.

    • Arnold, you are so right – dollars to donuts Michael’s wife is personality disordered. Probably NPD or a mix of the three disorders you have mentioned. When a person of this ilk contacts you, it’s not about you, it’s about them. These are pushy people with no respect for boundaries – you’re out of their life, then suddenly at their whim, you’re dumped back into their life. Be aware, she doesn’t want to apologize, she WANTS SOMETHING from you. The notion of an apology just a sweet set up, to soften you, for the next bomb she’s going to drop.

      • Sometimes there are people that are plainly just messed up and you can’t tack on NPD as a scape goat to the real problem. Some people literally don’t give a rats butt about hurting another person. They pretend to ‘Love’ you, in fact they could actually love you but have no respect for you. Which need to go hand in hand with each other. Without respect there is no love. Children learn most but not all behaviors from their parents, how the family is structured…IE divorce, abuse etc. When it also comes down to it is the person. You can have a pretty bad childhood and still come out as a strong loving person. Some people I am sure can be diagnosed with Narcissitic Behavior but some are just plain terrible human beings. Can I get an amen?

      • ”Pushy people with no boundaries” TRUTH. We would be driving around doing shopping or something, and he would just show up at other peoples house unannounced and not invited. There are 6 of us!!!! You don’t just ”show” up at lunchtime or dinnertime at someones house without calling first. That is how I was raised. But he was Tharp way Wight everything. PUSHY ASSHOLE. One time, he asked me if wanted a glass of water. I said no thanks. He said come on, take the glass of water. I said no thanks, I did not care for any. He got belligerent. TAKE THE WATER!!! I said no. He then through the of water in my face. I was so passed, I got up to leave and he bearhugged me, laughing and saying, I’m sorry don’t go, I’m sorry. Over and over again. Stupid me did not recognize the ASPD right in front of my face. He was pushy like that about lots of things. Now I know who he is. And he surely sucks. I am no contact, and you should stay that way too. Do not give her the opportunity to hurt you more. Because that is what she will do. An apology from a lying cheater is no apology at all. Be assured there is something in if for her. Stay NC. Let her hear crickets. Stay strong!

  • Reading this I think back to everything I did to “save the marriage ” as if it were a living breathing thing that must be resesitated !

    Now I think – gee – if this was a dude I had not been married to for 16 years ( thank you very much ) would I have done the pick me dance and been audience to his many rants and ravings ?!?

    The answer is no. I would have made a clean break and walked away from that freak show!

    So, forget that you signed a flimsy piece of paper called a marriage certificate.
    Look at what that person did. Do you need to be present for their side of things or better yet more blame shifting?
    I think not.

    In a commited relationship if your partner did this you would cut and run!
    NC is key.

    Let the lawyers listen to why she just had to be with her soul mate coworker and how maybe she made a mistake ( or was sorry she got caught ) for $400.00 an hour.
    That will shut her up!

  • Michael,

    My guess would be that:

    1. Her lover is cutting her off. He’s returning to his poor chump, he doesn’t really want someone who’s available (your soon-to-be-divorced ex), or he’s moved on to his next conquest, and she’s hoping you’ll let her come home and pretend it all never happened.

    2. She’s hoping to get you to say or do something that she can use against you in your divorce.

    3. She’s hoping to get a better settlement, custody arrangement or simply screw with your emotions.

    This is what she deserves: NC, crickets, and at least the appearance that her requests, her line of BS, her excuses mean less than nothing to you.

    • Champ, that is exactly what Jackass did once I caught him. After a few weeks, he dumped MOW. He had been caught and he couldn’t be sure I wouldn’t tell her husband or her sister or her mother. The thrill was gone and if the truth had come out in their neighborhood, no amount of impression management would have worked. And I agree–this cheater wants something from Michael.

    • Let me add another one:

      4. She’s concerned about her reputation, especially in light of the fact that she is a teacher.

      Michael…..I can guarantee you, that 1 through 4 apply; this is nothing about you; this has nothing to do with her actually being “sorry”. She has her own agenda, and she is going to PLAY YOU AGAIN!

      Unless you want to heap more injury on yourself, stay away!!! There is no scenario that won’t leave you broken in a thousand pieces and set right back to square one.

  • Shes going to use your anger against you in the smear campaign. I guarantee it.

    No contact. No contact. No contact.

    • Yes, my ex did this to me, including attempting to use what I said when I was angry in a (failed) attempt to get a restraining order against me. Since there are kids involved, Michael, you should keep your ducks in a row and avoid any situations where she may be able to get any kind of leverage over you in the divorce. You need to protect yourself and your children here. Don’t let your wish for the psychological satisfaction of an apology derail you from that. It’s not worth the risk.

  • If I were you, I would simply tell her to write a letter if she’s got anything to say. Then don’t answer it! Cheaters in my experience think if they apologize, then all is forgiven. Even when you don’t forgive them.

    You can never win an argument or a discussion with a cheater. By facing them, all you do is expose yourself to more hurt.

    NC … Painful but effective medicine for YOU in the long run.

      • I think Marci was saying tell the ex if she wants to apologize, tell her to do it by letter, and I agree. Anything you can get in writing from them (and DON’T respond to) can only help you in court. Also when you see these (non-) apologies in writing I think it is a powerful reminder of how these people think. My ex texted me an apology once and I was shocked at how casual it was for such a HUGE wrong he’d done. If he’d done it in person with his puppy dog eyes I’d probably have fallen for it.

      • Timeheals,
        Just to be perfectly clear, please re-read my post. I said that the cheating spouse should be told to put it in writing if she has anything to say. She had asked Michael for a meeting.

        I did not suggest that Michael should have any contact – he does have to see her to drop off the kids but I did not suggest that he write anything, quite the opposite in fact.

  • “Are you wrecked because of her? Kibbles! Do you miss her? Kibbles! Do your eyes look puffy from crying? Kibbles!”

    I would also add: Are you getting angry? Kibbles! Does she see smoke coming out of your ears? Kibbles! Anger is also a sign to her that You Still Care, and therefore, kibbles.

  • Micheal, my H and I have been reconciled for 1.5 yrs now. He had a 1.5 yr affair with a coworker. After my husband broke it off with her, she immediately started to try to get her H back. ( they had just finalized their divorce). It pains me to think her exH could be suckered back with her after I’ve heard some of the things she said about him through my H. She started the affair by telling my H how miserable she is in her marriage, how she wants a divorce, how much she hates her H, how she wants to be single and experience other men. After my H broke it off, she blamed him for,”brainwashing her.” I’m sure she’s trying to manipulate her exH with some more crap. Don’t be manipulated please. I’m not blaming the OW for my H having an affair, but I will say, the OW in my situation knew exactly what she wanted, my life. And she tried her hardest to accomplish that by throwing her marriage and her husband, under the bus.

    • I wonder if her husband is privy to similar things your husband said about you ,Living, and wonders how you could take him back, as well.

      • Yeah, I have to agree. I tried reconciling with my cheater. He swore up and down he was telling the truth. It wasn’t until I secretly recording a meeting of him and the other woman, that I got to hear all the nasty things he was saying about me behind my back. it’s highly likely your H stated some pretty awful things about you to reel her in also.

        • Freeatlast,
          Yes you have to be very careful not to fall for what they are saying to you. I also
          am privy to some information about my STBX and his ho-bag planning their new
          life together. And ways he can set me up. They definitely are coached on these
          things by their ow/om and you would be surprised to see the shit they say about you.
          NC is the way to go.

      • I think we always have to assume that both cheaters were bonding at the expense of their spouses. That’s why gossip is such a potent force for the gossipers; it’s a way to bond by being “against” someone else. So there is no way the nasty talk went only one direction. But perhaps LivingMyLife’s husband has come clean about all that.

    • You have been reconciled for a 1.5 years after he cheated for 1.5 years? How is that working out for you? How do you go back to trusting him after that length of time in an affair? I don’t want to be mean but I am going to be blunt. You say “After my H broke it off, she blamed him for,”brainwashing her.”” Are you sure he didn’t brain wash you to taking him back? This is kind of mind boggling for me. 1.5 years is a long time to be sticking his dick in another woman behind your back and just get taken back.

  • Michael,
    My ex also wanted to meet and talk and apologize. He really wanted more kibbles/the pick-me dance. Oh sure, he said apology words, but didn’t mean them. He hadn’t ditched the OW, so he really wasn’t sorry for the affair and the pain it caused me and our kids. Later, when the OW ditched him, he stepped it up, he was terribly sorry, wanted me back, etc. He was sorry for the terrible, hateful things he said to me to blame me for the affair, why he never meant any of them! (So why did you say them?) EVERYONE said, Let him prove his sorry by his actions, not his words.

    So did he get a job and start paying child support? Nope. Did he go to counseling and work through his problems and come to terms with why he had the affair in the first place? Nope. Did he do anything except come around and ask if I was ready to take him back yet? Nope.

    Even if your STBX does break down and cry and apologize profusely, will she actually mean it? Will her actions match her words? I’m really skeptical that they will. After she’s had an affair for 2 years and kept that a secret, are you going to believe anything she says? Is there anything she can say that will help give you peace?

    I think I’d tell her that if she wants to apologize in a meaningful way, she needs to do what she can to be a good co-parent with you. As one of my therapists said, “You two are now business partners, and the business is raising the kids. You’re not friends. You’re co-workers, so you’re cordial, you keep on the subject of business and maybe some bland small talk.”

    • No small talk, the disordered don’t deserve this either. Just business. My ex five years out triangulates. He’s got the kids jumping through hoops because he does what he should and pays a few of their expenses. And my father…who believes he really cares for our kids is still sharing information with him. Like ex really cares about our children’s future. NO. That’s his great act. I can not even look at my ex without getting ill. He disgusts me. This man’s actions still communicate to me my worth.
      Michael, go no contact, stay no contact. Let the lawyers handle everything else. Don’t allow them to abuse you either. I think two years of your life wasted is quite enough.

      • I’m sure you’ve thought about limiting what your father knows. In your shoes, I would probably play hard ball with a parent who wasn’t loyal. My parents were screwed up, but nobody messed with the family.

        • Alas, my Dad is another chump with issues. Believes women are accessories for men, the entitled older waited upon generation. He means well, has a very big giving heart, and helps me and my children out a great deal. I try to communicate how I feel but also know that I can’t control who people are. I think the truth is healthy so he is aware of the circumstances surrounding my divorce but wants to believe my ex cares. Ha! My parents’ worse traits combined (workaholic perfectionist and Sparkly alcoholic-read that checked out-cheater) are my ex’s as well. I could not save/fix him either. Lol. I am working harder to get a full time job so I can buy a little distance and peace (107 apps in and not one bite; my field pays well but most hires are part time so the district gets out of paying benefits). I am contemplating going back to school….

          • It’s so frustrating when whole fields of employment decide to make people “part-time” so they don’t have to pay benefits. Or can get by with an hourly rate instead of a true salary. Higher education is more and more dominated by part-time people. And then a few decades down the road, people will wonder why this country has fallen behind in research and teaching.

            On the other hand, this is a real opportunity to think about something else you would like to do with your life. You sound like someone who has been through the fire but came out a phoenix.

            • I used to identify very much with the phoenix. But I think I came out of this more like a burnt marshmellow. Oh well, at least I’m sweeter.

  • I’m cynical. I think this has to do with their jobs. Someone higher up has heard something. These two want your “blessing” to get the gossip to die down.

    • I agree. Perhaps the OM’s partner has kicked off with the employer. Or not.

      At the end of the day, there’s no way to figure why a cheater suddenly wants dispensation. There are small children involved, and the thought of them being traded around has probably made her feel guilty’ if that’s possible.

      I still think that cheaters have a “numb phase” while they are playing around, where they simply block out logic and reason and let their hormones/ego/basic drives rule everything shitty they do. They have a capacity to say “I’ll deal with all that later. Now where is my lube”

      I always cite my chump BF’s comments about his cheating ex. He said to me not long ago “I think while she was cheating she simply put me out of her mind. But I think she never stopped caring about me”. Hogwash!! My reply: “Hun, the moment that other guy’s dick stuck in her, she was no longer caring about you”. Strangely he looked shocked at that.

      I think we all live in denial for long periods of time.

        • Yep, he drinks the kool-aid that she “made a mistake” (fucking the kids’ tennis coach for 7 months and only stopped because the OM’s wife caught them). He is truly a chump who won’t admit that he is one and do some things to heal.

          He honestly does not believe that his children’s mother could be evil. Despite the fact that still, 14 years after the divorce, he cries when she texts him saying what a bad father he is. I have never met his ex, but I already want to throttle her. These texts come randomly out of the blue, I think triggered by comments from the kids or something. She is insanely envious that he now has a bodacious GF (me of course) and is doing everything she can to push his buttons. I have suggested blocking her email and texts but he says “he doesn’t want the kids to sense acrimony”. The kids are in their twenties and know the score. It’s a classic situation of a bully just keeping on as long as the victim allows it.

          • Did you say this is your boyfriend? I might be reading this wrong but it kind of sounds like he is still emotionally attached to her. If so, that really isn’t fair to you. You might want to set some boundaries with him and tell him to get some therapy.

            • Fred,
              You are absolutely right about the need for boundaries here. I had that very conversation with him via Skype last night. He is still in denial that he was roundly f*** over by her. She is an extremely domineering and manipulative person. Basically the ex from hell.

              This is why, although I do feel I could love him dearly if we were in another place, as long as the ex is close by and therefore always around, he stays passive aggressive / ostrich / procrastinator. Annoying, and the reason why for now, I have maintained my own home, career, and social life. I will not be moving in with him or officially joining the family circle any time soon. I simply don’t want to get trapped.

              When I point out (gently) to him that he is letting her bully him, he says there is “nothing he can do about it”. To me, this means yes he is still attached.

              His inability to quickly and cynically think things through is alarming, but his trusting nature and lack of malice is also strangely appealing. So complicated, but not to worry, this old battleaxe is remaining objective about it all.

    • Right….if everybody is all chummy and good friends, then there wasn’t any real harm done was there?

      My ex drug my heart around for a year and a half for purposes of impression management. What a cruel thing to do to someone you’ve already been unbelievably cruel to!

  • Ditto everything said by CL. This apology is for your cheating wife – not you. She wants to look “good” and then will turn right around and try to screw you over. Don’t go – it does no good. I know – I had a teacher ex who cheated for over 4 years with another teacher involved in union work like him – and nis “apologies” were small, insincere, all about him feeling like “a good guy but with some flaws” and NEVER was backed up by any action. I had a 3 year divorce process because he refused to even attempt to atone via settlement. Instead, he fought tooth and nail and if I hadn’t had a smart lawyer and was even smarter myself – I’d have been left with far less than I have. Believe me – meeting her to “talk” does YOU know good. Run away and tend to your kids and yourself.

    • I think that’s a good approach, because really the person we thought they were is ‘dead’. And the relationship certainly is, and the only way to deal with dead things is to bury, grieve and move forward. We’re just communing with ghosts when we continue contact, or crave restitution.

          • With respect to good times, we had many. I can remember so many occasions where both of us were genuinely happy. Or so it seemed. Looking back on it with the knowledge that we was screwing anything with the right parts, his lack of apology, his complete lack of regard for my emotional well-being once the truth came out — I can’t in all good conscience call them “good times”. At the end of the day, I was just another piece of ass. At least, his actions would indicate that that’s as far as his feelings for me went.

            Any memory I have of him now is simply a memory – there is no goodness or badness attached to it, just total indifference. It’s like remembering a dream, or a movie you watched. No real emotional attachment.

            Meh rocks!

    • Well, he was a hologram, wasn’t he? And so the person you married is “dead,” as in “non-existent.”

  • I received 10 years of apologies after divorcing XH (15 years ago). Apologies, and explanations of how “(he) knows he messed up”, etc., etc., etc. And once I got smart and started shutting it down, followed by NC YEARS after the divorce (I tried to be communicative and friendly “for the kids”) – his apologies were immediately, like in the next breath followed by venom he basically spit out at me. Telling me how I was such a bad person because “I could never be open minded enough to realize people change”, I was a “controlling bitch” because I just wanted to hang on to anger and be “emeshed” in him…

    yeh, his apology, my cutting him off and asking what we needed to talk about or telling him I wasn’t discussing the marriage, immediately followed by hateful rancor for not recognizing how sincerely sorry he was.

    • Hahaha…my ex likes to say ‘people can change’ as well. I am highly doubtful he’ll stop chasing fresh vagina after doing it for what appears to be in every relationship he’s ever been in. I mean, after I kicked him out I discovered he’d been cheating in every single relationship before me as well. But now he’s going to be a changed man. Sure he is. What an idiot I married.

  • This is really hard when kids are involved. My son wants my husband and I to hang out together. D-Day was two years ago but I have recently filed for divorce and he has been out of the house for 5 months. Before that he was living in a guest room, which I thought I could deal with until my son graduates next year, but I really don’t like being around him. At all. He had me so messed up I was actually feeling sorry for him, even after all his lies, mental, verbal abuse and affairs. My brain is starting to clear now and I see what I have been going through the past 20 years and it was bad, really bad. So, I wish I could never see him again. How do I explain that to my teenage son that doesn’t know the whole story? How doesn’t know how bad the abuse was or about the multiple affairs. One affair was while I was pregnant with him! He knows about the lastest affair, but not the details. My son just turned 18 and I know he is old enough, I just don’t want to hurt him anymore telling him the truth of the matter. So, I am still attending the same church with the STBX. I even told the STBX I wanted to be friends. I might have meant that months ago, but after finding out what a chump I have been, I really don’t think I can be friends with him. He destroyed my family, what kind of friend is that?

    • I told my kids, when they asked if final OW was the only affair (I think they thought there was hope if only I could forgive their dad for this ‘mistake’). My response was that their dad had not been respectful of our marriage for much longer than I had realised. They did the math themselves and it’s now up to ex to deal with those questions. No gory details (although one or two may have slipped out early on). Just a clear message.

      And I’m sorry you went through that. I had a serial cheater as well, it turns out, and it dstroyed so many memories I had of my life.

    • writer65, your son is now as adult in the eyes of the law. He is old enough to be told simply that this was not the first affair, that the cheating goes back to before he was born, and that cheating is abuse. That verbal abuse is abuse. And that while you understand his desire for his parents to live together, you can no longer do that. He will get over it.

      And of course you can’t be “friends” with him. He’s a cheater, a liar and an abuser. Show your son what it looks like for an adult to set boundaries and stick by him. That’s the best thing you can do in this situation. Be mighty!

        • And when you say it, say it in a tone that imparts decisiveness. No victim voice, no whining, no “poor me.” Be very brief. I would just say that it’s very disappointing, and hurt very much to have been betrayed. You’re sorry that it is the way it is, but your friends do not include people who lie and cheat and who are not trustworthy. Promise your son that you are not going to badmouth his father or get tangled in ugly drama, that you are not going to be bitter [at least not outwardly, but don’t tell him this], that you will live a happy and productive and fulfilling life with your work and hobbies, and visiting with your son and supporting him fully. Acknowledge his pain, but let him know that he’s going to be ok, starting out his adult life–this is an exciting time for him to stretch his own wings!

          If you’re lucky he’ll share his worries/concerns/fears with you, but he’s a boy, so maybe not.

          God, kids eat shit when their fuck-up parents fuck them over.

          But! Keep it very positive and firm and optimistic. You want your son to know he can count on you to be strong and happy.

          • It’s hard for parents not to try to “fix” things for kids by bending their own lives into a pretzel. What is healthier–trying to be friends with an abuser to “please” the kids or telling the truth and showing that abuse shouldn’t be tolerated? That’s a no-brainer, I think. But it is so hard not to drink the “forgiveness, be friends, hang out, save the marriage at all costs” Kool-aid.

  • Michael,

    You say that you see your ex only when they are “dropped off.” Does that mean that she has primary physical custody? Did you move out of the home? Why should you be the one to move out? Why should she have primary physical custody and you pay her child support?

    You may want to talk to your lawyer, but you may want to fight for primary physical custody. Your ex doesn’t seem to be a stay-at-home-mom, and assuming you’ve been equally involved with the children’s lives, you may have a good shot of getting custody. Plus, if you can show evidence that her affair took time away from the kids (late night meetings, overnight trips, etc.) or that she introducted the kids to her AP, that could be held against her.

    Also, she might be trying to apologize to you in the hopes that you will give her a generous financial settlement.

    • My ex wanted to meet with me because while he had so generously abandoned me and all our household bills he wanted to let me know that he would fight for the inheritance he had placed into our first home together, 17 years earlier, and oh by the way I owed him lots of money because I was living in our home. (As were our children!) Yes, people who cheat are beautiful and deserve to live fantastic lives. My ex gave also gave me full custody of our 17 year old daughter because he was too busy with his new life. In addition I was now responsible for all costs associated with our two eldest who were at university. Michael, address this if your children’s education is important. Get everything you can into that MS document. Once you lose that cheater ex, you will have a great future!

  • If you google false apologies there are a variety of them. A prevalent one is the “yes, but” version: “Yes, I did that and I’m sorry. I know you were hurt.” (Hurray for me, give me kibbles for my brave honesty). BUT…these things don’t happen in a vacuum, there are reasons that “this” happened that were in the background (bottom line, it’s really your fault).

    Another one therapist mentioned is the “As if” version. Someone apologizes and says the right things, but there is no sincerity, no real remorse. They’ve now absolved themselves and can feel better for having done what they are supposed to do, and they get the bonus of telling everyone how they made a sincere and honest effort to try to make things right.

  • My STBX didn’t give me a chance to say no when he wanted to “apologize.” He still had a key to the house he left and let himself in, to tell me he’s “sorry how things turned out.” Granted I am a little farther out from D-Day than four months (which was April 2013), but the “apology” was pathetic and sad all the same.

    With many cheaters being cut of the same cloth, I can tell you Michael that her apology is going to be a lame excuse for one, trust me.

    Stay NC, stay NC, stay NC. Fast-track to heal from this mess. Stay strong.

    • “Sorry how things turned out” is basically the same as “sorry you found out about the affair” and is not an expression of remorse AT ALL. It’s just selfish unhappiness about not being able to eat cake anymore.

      I got “I handled it wrong” as the closest thing to an apology. Meh.

  • Michael, CL and everybody here is exactly right. Her wanting to meet you to have your undivided attention will not result in what you hope it might result in. This is all about kibbles, power, control, and manipulation. She can apologize in writing if she feels the need so badly.

    Listen to what your body is telling you. It’s saying, “Don’t you dare go and put yourself in this position!”

    I didn’t find out my husband had another woman until three months after he told me to leave so I really had this empty spot because I never got to scream at him and call them both names. I never had that “scene” and thought that it would make me feel good to do that.

    One day when I drove over to his place to pick up more of my things he seemed ticked off with me (later I realized that it wasn’t me, it was his lack of nicotine) and before I knew it we were yelling at one another. I was finally screaming all that stuff I had wanted to scream and while it did infuriate him, because he still denies he did anything wrong, it didn’t make me feel any better.

    I drove away wondering why it didn’t make me feel better and I still don’t know why. It just felt empty. Plus it made me appear unbalanced and gave him more ammunition to justify why he dumped me.

    Since you feel so much rage and are afraid of what you might do, please do not meet her. You don’t owe it to her. Whatever her reasons are for wanting to apologize, she will not be sincere.

  • Awesome post, as usual. Nothing like telling it like it is.

    I am always amazed at how many of us there are with basically the same story. I am also confounded by how I didn’t see it when I was in it. It is so nice to have this site for validation that we are not all crazy. I still struggle, on occasion, with the thought that it is me who was the narcissist and he is really the sane one. Once a chump, always a chump?

    • Yeah, I have those thoughts, then go take the test again and realise that no, I was just a bit dim when it came to my ex’s character – or lack thereof.

  • No, don’t bother seeing her. Her desire to “apologize” is for one (or several) of the following reasons:

    1. She is hoping to guilt you into giving her a bigger divorce settlement than she deserves (nail her to the wall as much as possible is my advice, and get as much custody of your children as you can).

    2. She wants an opportunity to point out all the ways YOU let her down and “made her cheat.” Cheaters always like to blame their chumps.

    3. She wants to be able to tell people you two are on good terms because this makes her look better.

    4. She wants to fuck with your head.

    5. Things are not going as well with her affair partner as she expected, and she wants to see if she can snare you back in should that become necessary.

    Don’t waste your time with her. She has already shown you what she is: a liar, a cheater and a woman with no integrity whatsoever. That will never change. Disordered do not genuinely apologize for anything, there is always a selfish reason behind their pretend apologies.

    • At the very least, push for joint legal custody and 1/2 time. You don’t want her and some dimwit cheater to be making decisions for them and you having no say about anything.

  • She wasn’t sorry for two years during the affair. She saw how devastated you were when you discovered the affair and still wasn’t sorry. She wasn’t sorry for four months of your emotional agony. So why would she suddenly be sorry now? Because she wants something. Who cares what it is she wants, she has taken enough from you (trust, dignity, to name two) and deserves nothing more. NC

  • Awesome so many comments! I’ve tried to read them all. Thank you everyone for your support. I’ve come to the same conclusion that her apology would be self serving. This situation has helped me realize the I don’t need an apology from her. She probably wants to start the school year with a clean slate. I won’t be the one to clear her conscience for her. She sucks if she thinks she’s tried. I’m so grateful that all of you are thinking the same thing. I’m not crazy for not wanting to meet her.
    Thanks Chump Lady, everyone, I sent her an email saying “Thank you but I’m not interested in meeting” that’s it nothing more.

  • Yes, pretend apologies are not worth the mouth they are coming out of. One day I am going to thank his Owife first for fucking a married man and father of three and then for freeing me from my lying cheating “unhappy” ex.

    • I asked my ex to have his Owife sit down with our daughter and give her advice on what to do when a married man hits on her. LOL. Didn’t hear anything back.

  • Is there anything your ex could SAY in a one-hour meeting that would in any way make up for the hundreds of actions she DID over the course of months/years? If she has true remose, she can show you through her actions, over the course of many months/years, including giving you something you really want as part of the divorce settlement, like joint legal custody or more time with the kids.

  • Everyone has given you great advice all are on the same page.

    Sending support your way. We all know this sucks. NC may or may not be easy for you but I absolutely promise that it gets better every day. You have small children so you can’t cut her off completely but there is no reason you can’t keep your contact down to emails.

    Also, no one has mentioned it today but I have seen it mentioned here before about “Google Calendar.” Or maybe it’s yahoo but either way it’s a calendar you can share so you can put events, drop off times/locations etc. It seems to be very successful in limiting contact between ex’s who have minor children.

    Good luck.

  • Apologies… The only thing I got that looked like an apology was in an email after I filed for divorce. It was an attempt to rewrite history:
    “I have said I’m sorry a thousand times and it does’nt change anything”

    I guess I was absent for the whole 1000 times because he never said he was sorry. Not even once. I did’nt ever bother to reply. The good thing about the road to meh when you take it is that cheater’s remorses become irrelevant.

    Hang in there Michael!

    • My ex never said he was sorry, he did say MANY times that I would not be satisfied unless he groveled for the rest of his life…shit, all I was asking him to do was stop cheating. It’s a mindfuck, his other favorite was “I am not a monster”, I never said he was, the only reason for these statements is to prove that it’s all our fault and be able to paint us as evil ppl, and importantly to feel bad for them and end up defending them. See, he makes that last statement and we end up saying “I never said you were a monster”, if he said it to me now, I’d say; “yes, you are a monster”

  • Michael, great advice here. I have some parallels with you, I have kids and my wife had a multiyear affair, I had to do all the dirty work to expose it, she was essentially remorseless and blamey.

    I would like to do that first 6 months after the discovery over again. I did big the correct picture stuff that was good, kicked her out of the house and got the divorce in action, but I was so shocked and devastated that part of me thought I could negotiate some kind of rational response and remorse from her after 20 years together. I wish I had disconnected and kept the communication just about the kids, it is so hard when you feel absolutely alone. Remember that you have truly been alone for two years already with a shadow of a bullshit spouse, so you have survived on your own longer than you realize.

    The truth has been clarified, and that is the most painful part, but ultimately the thing that sets you free.

  • I got the apology… some 2 years later.

    It meant nothing and came from an expressionless face.

    I told him I refused to accept it. I wasn’t going to soothe his guilt.

  • In the end I’m thankful that I was able to hear reason because I have to admit I was curious and tempted to see what she would say. I’m trying to get to meh like everyone else here. I forgot to mention that when I found out about the affair I confronted and presented her with the evidence on Mother’s Day. I exposed to her parents and my family. At the time I didn’t mean to confront and expose on that day. It just happened that way and it was really emotional. Hopefully she’ll remember every Mothers Day from now on.

    • Michael,
      I think many of us here can relate to the trauma you describe – d-day is a different variation on the same theme for each one of us. I foolishly confronted my cheater when alone with him, and he held a knife to my throat and threatened to kill me. So, we are all recovering in some way, and know that it takes time and great fortitude to stay “normal” for your kids’ sake. All the more reason to believe it is best for you to distance yourself from their craziness.

      • Marci, that’s horrific! Your ex must be totally unhinged. I hope you are as far away as possible from him now.

        • Yes, until the moment he was exposed, he seemed like a placid, humorous, pleasant creature. The police told me afterward it is never advisable to confront anyone with evidence if you are alone with them. And in domestic situations with no witnesses, prosecutors are reluctant to press charges unless there is visible injury.

          Best to suppress one’s urge to argue and confront if you already have evidence of their cheating. It goes beyond egos. Never assume that some cheaters have WAY more evil intent than just satisfying their sexual urges. Mine wanted my money, the OW wanted everything I have. My ex was trying to poison me; medical tests proved it. They would have been happy to see me dead, I am absolutely sure of it.

          Now – they are under a restraining order which I paid to have put in place. The cops check in with me whenever they move residence. I guess I’m never going to be completely safe, unless I move to where current BF lives. However, current BF still needs thorough checking out for sparkly red flags. It takes time.

          • My ex was also considered very placid and easy going …. until I asked him why he was REALLY leaving. His answer was to violently assault me and smash up furniture. It was 1am and we were alone in the house. I finally managed to lock myself in the bedroom with the dog (who was terrified). To this day I wish I had called the police.
            2 years later, I reminded him of this when he tried to apologise, funny how he couldn’t remember it, in his head it had never happened.

            Glad you have that restraining order, though I understand why you still don’t feel safe. Hope things work out with your current BF, at least we know what red flags look like now.

            • Verity,
              I’m sorry you had to go through that too. They are the ultimate entitlement people…they think things need to always go their way. Once cornered, they will do anything.

              That type of behaviour, though, has a strange way of getting a person to MEH pretty darn fast. I was so ready to see the back end of him forever, I told the cops to do whatever they wanted in terms of frontier justice. In this jurisdiction, they take em out to the back 40 and use a rubber hose…the cops who investigated my case were no exception. The fact that the OW filed a bogus harassment complaint against the two cops didn’t do her any good either. They looked into her nasty emails to me, discovered she had sent them from a work email address. Then they visited her HR department, and an investigation was launched. She and the Ex both lost their jobs in short order – their affair started and ended at work, lol. The fact that I can laugh about it now means a lot to me, but I still shudder at my own colour (red) blindness at the time.

              • Now THAT’S karma, in the sense that their own actions at some point do them in.

    • Hopefully she’ll remember every Mothers Day from now on.

      Ah, but see–you’re slipping into that line of thinking that is not applicable.

      You are trying to apply rational sentiments to a woman who does not think like a normal person.

      We’re all guilty of doing this. “Wow, I cannot believe him/her. I could never live with myself. (S)he must feel so guilty/ashamed/embarrassed/sad/afraid/remorseful, etc.”

      But they don’t. NEVER EVER suppose you know what their reaction is or would be, not even when you witness it with your own eyes. That’s because these people don’t have the same feelings or thought processes as you do, and they have proven themselves to be adept at manipulation, including bald-faced lying and acting.

      You’re trying to untangle the skein, and assign emotional consequences using rules that don’t apply to cheaters. It doesn’t work that way. It helps to remember that they are DISORDERED.

      So your best bet is to sever ties, financially and emotionally, or you’ll be left twisting your brain to try to figure them out. It’s not worth the pain and effort that it would take, supposing it’s even possible.

  • hmmm….I think this was as close to an ‘apology’ as I’ll ever get.
    “I told you many times that I can love many people in many different ways’.

    He never once told me that little gem.
    And, so I guess that makes it okay to fuck all those people ‘he loves’.

      • Yeah – he said it like it was an explanation. Love is ever-bounding or bonding (get confused) ..~~or something. He doesn’t know SHIT about love. That’s what his OW will find out.
        And, not too many folks love him right now, including his own family.
        And he lost a ton of my family.
        We were the glue – lots of my sisters and extended family – and I thought he loved them too.
        It’s just ridiculous how they try and make up word salad for their soul-less fucks of the moment. I wonder if he’ll marry her or figure out what a low-life he settled with.
        (she has few friends and much less family)
        Yanno what – I hit Meh (sort of) this Tuesday. I don’t give a fuck what he’s doing anymore. Let’s just get this divorce over with.

        • Sounds like water sinking to its own level; clearly he couldn’t live an authentic life with a normal person so he needed to drop down to the low-life level.

  • Michael,

    It sounds like she wants to put on a “show of remorse,” but that’s really all it is: A show. I agree with Chumplady that she is most likely looking for kibbles from you. She wants to see you hurt because it validates herself as wonderful and needed and important. It has *nothing* to do with you, however. It’s a show. All of it.

    If she was really remorseful and not looking for anything for herself — she would keep her distance and write you a heartfelt note– telling no one else about it. And she would expect nothing from you in return. But she won’t ever do that, because — where are the kibbles in that? She might write a letter and tell her friends and family about how amazing she is and how cold you are for not responding (mindfuck, kibbles from them). Or she will meet with you so she can watch you suffer (mindfuck, kibbles from you).

    But that’s not who she is. Steer clear of her, and be well.

  • One thing I really try hard to refrain from saying is that xH “destroyed my family.” I have an instinct to say it, but I quit saying it, quite deliberately.

    Truth is, my family is still very much intact–that’s my children and me, along with my parents. The kids have their father, albeit as more of a crazy uncle-dad, and uncle-dad’s sister, brother-in-law (who I’m SURE knows xH is a fucking idiot), and mother.

    I would hate to have my kids think that their family has been destroyed. So I don’t say that it has been. I refer to the four of us–my kids and myself–as “our family.” And I am cheerful about it. Sometimes I make jokes about it, as in, “Son, don’t use language like that in public. I want people to think you come from a NICE family.” I say this in front of other parents, and we all laugh, because we are considered a very nice family, minus one jack-off who wandered away from a really awesome family. But he’s a dickhead, so what do you want.

    • I like this, Miss Sunshine, and I like you. I just know you have a great future ahead of you. I struggle with being the sane responsible parent because my ex has truly abandoned his kids (21, 23, 25). They are now as pissed off as I was because they now recognize the truth. He throws money at them, spends twice a year visiting them or taking them on vacation, but they are hurting so much. I don’t think sorry means much to them either.

      • Drew, you are kind.

        Teach them that life goes on. They are young, they have so much opportunity ahead of them. Life is their oyster! You, too!
        They did deserve better, so they will have to make better. They can have their good memories–those don’t have to change. They now have to focus on building a good life, and you can encourage them and cheer for them and be their biggest fan. They have a great mama who LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVES them, and they have each other.

        • You really are a Miss Sunshine! I love reading your posts because someone you can really turn the stuff around and see the positives. Thanks.

          • Hahah, my other nickname is Chatty Cathy! 🙂 Same friend gave me both monikers.
            It used to drive my ex NUTSO that I would talk to store clerks, kids, dogs, old ladies all over the place. “Do you have to talk to EVERYONE?” in his usual pissy tone. Well, I’m not his problem any more.


            And I love chatting and spreading sunshine without criticism now.

            Of course, I have my cynical and cloudy side, but I like to think that I don’t go through life with blinders on, sugar-coating everything.

            You are so sweet!

  • Michael,

    I won’t ever get an apology. And I’ve stopped expecting one. In fact, I’m not sure what an apology looks like from a cheater. They aren’t sorry. They are sorry they got caught. They are sorry that people look at them differently now, even if these people say nothing to their face. They are revealed. They’d like to manage this somehow….but sorry? Nah, I don’t think so. If you are REALLY sorry, you don’t cheat, you don’t lie to your spouse. She’s best left alone and removed from you and your new life.

    I say keep going no contact. In my opinion, it takes grace to offer an apology and cheaters do not have that. Protect yourself and say thanks but no thanks. In fact, say nothing at all. Silence is the best answer.

  • When I had to start doing the investigations, thanks to all the advice from here and MLC forum, I was heart-broken at the time, thinking I was crazy for doubting this guy. I even went through the garbage (barely) one time, until I convinced myself this was crazy. He was NOT cheating! Fuck all you guys and girlfriends and sisters who insisted he was. HA

    The guy kept putting the garbage out a day early before I got home from a weekend traveling, before it was due to be picked up. (ya – she kept spending the weekend at my house) Damn …. little red flags everywhere – well see them now, looking back, but all that financial gathering (that you all made me do!!) was a huge emotional break-down for me. Copying copious amounts of paper for attorney. Taking CL’s advice on doing the private (not so legal) credit report on him. Found a hidden acct and a different cc.
    All my worst fears came true.

    And, I’m sure that’s the iceberg on what he had been up to.

    Not sure what my point is, but when you are the one being gaslighted and lied to for so long (2.5 yrs for me), it can give you a lot of strength when you start taking control and the sooner you realize they have no respect for you, it’s okay to dig through their things because I lost respect for him when I did that. GONE.

    When I asked him about the affair – which he knew I was fully aware of thanks to my GPS…he said, he would never have told me if I hadn’t caught him. Actually, admitted this. (hey – you gotta catch all these comments when they’re feeling guilty and write them down!)
    So, yeah – he showed me what he was right then.
    Treat me like shit – screw the harlot and think he can continue this w/o getting caught?
    These people are truly entitled and clueless til they get caught – and this guy used to be fairly intelligent…

    He’s lost SO much after 35 yr together. What is HE thinking? You know what? I hit Tuesday this week, so I no longer give a shit. We’re almost done this divorce and I’ve got all the dogs. That’s all I care about. Oh, and of course, going after everything we earned together. If it comes to a judge – I hope she’ll look at the case of cheating in a 50/50 state, when push comes to shove on settlement. I hear they might do that.

    As you can tell, I’m agonizing tonight. Damn mediation coming up – not gonna agree on much I guess.

    • You lost a lot of dead weight. You lost the kind of dirt bag who would be “in love” with the sort of sleaze bag who would sleep with another woman’s husband in that woman’s bed. That is the lowest, dirtiest most disgusting form of trash.
      You got your dignity back. He was weighing you down all along. The sort of jerk who would do that to you has been a jerk the whole time.
      Soon you will finally be able to breathe. Your doggies love you.

  • I forgot to add a p.s. to that. After I caught him – he was SO RELIEVED. Finally his horror was revealed! Now, it must be MY problem? This comment still makes me just want to puke a little in my mouth. memememememememe

  • Thanks LAJ – that’s why my stomach and head are in big turmoil. It’s already been a long process (since Jan). Lots of $$ on attorney’s already – we agree on most thing and NOW he wants to push for mediation? Doesn’t like spousal support or something? He won’t say. I just need to do more yoga, dogs, friends, socializing, and general well-being so I quit thinking about the 28th….all summer long. I’m really sorry for hi-jacking this great thread. I better go get a tea..

    • Shechump, you don’t *have* to do mediation. In the case of infidelity, it can be another trigger. In fact, the direct negotiating it entails will really be a reset from NC. If I were in your shoes, I would say that any issues he may have with the settlement should be addressed with your attorney. I can’t see any benefit to mediation here, especially given that you want to use his cheating as leverage in a settlement (please note, however, that family court judges have wide leeway in their decision-making, and it may not matter to him/her in the end).

    • He’s just dragging it out, like a football team trying to run out the clock. “He won’t say”? It’s probably just a bid for attention, a kibbles hunt. Once the divorce is over, he lose so much control. You aren’t hijacking; you’re just posting a variation of the theme “the cheater wants to apologize.” Or “the cheater wants mediation.” Or “the cheater wants to be friends.” Or “the cheater wants forgiveness.” If the sentence starts “the cheater wants…”, it doesn’t matter what follows. It’s all a bid for control, attention, power, kibbles.

      • LAJ – well, I came down really fairly on my initial settlement for spousal support and other things. We were getting a long fine about all this. So, assume his slimy hi-priced attorney has got some tricks up his sleeve and trying to get asshole to pay me less. So, I’ve decided to fight and go with my original higher offer that I started with since we’re ‘starting from scratch’ as he says after $40k in attorney fees already. Like they say in business, and he knows this as well as I do, your first loss is your best loss so he should have taken my very generous offer we agreed on. Yeah, this is going to be ugly and I’m not looking forward to it. Trying to keep that date ahead out of my head so I can enjoy what’s left of this summer. He’s pretty much ruined my whole year, but he ain’t taking the last dog days of summer from me too.

        • dslak – that’s what I don’t get – why the mediation if we’ve mostly settled? Seems like a colossal waste of money (his atty and assistant and mediator have a 4 hr drive one way to get here) Cha Ching. Don’t understand why he is ‘mum’ and won’t say why he wants this mediation. I certainly don’t want to go in front of a judge if the mediation doesn’t work out. That seems like a crapshoot.

  • Michael,

    I’m glad you didn’t give your cheater a face to face meeting and graciously told her to so. My cheater ex has apologized to me in lots of different manner – email, letter and finally showing up unannounced in my home. I told him I didn’t believe he was sorry. The conversation was civil and boring but I didn’t get hooked into his agenda. When he said, “I’m an asshole,” I quietly replied, “Yes, you are.” He wanted to reconcile and I said no. He was still with his OW and went straight back to her after the “kicking the tires” conversation with me. I believe they are now married but that is irrelevant to me. I just wanted to include it in this post to show that an apology to a cheater does not mean anything other than they want you to help them assuage their guilt. Once again, another way of using us chumps. Enough is enough. Surround yourself with people who value and respect you.

    My goal is extreme self-care and that includes not opening myself up to further harm. No contact is the ONLY way to go. Bravo to you for putting yourself first. The cheater can go face herself in the mirror and remember, wherever she goes, there she is. Not your problem anymore.

    Best of luck.

    • “The more you trust your own feelings and perceptions the easier it is to accept that you won’t get the apology you deserve and it’s time to stop waiting for it.”

      Amen. Thanks for the link!

    • “Stop it. Stop it now. You’re ten times more likely to travel through an antique wardrobe and find yourself having tea with a faun in Narnia than you are to get any kind of apology from your narcissistic ex-husband.” Another good gem for my quotation file!

  • I think the best thing you can do when one of these cheaters apologizes is to hit them in the face with some type of cream pie, like banana cream or coconut cream. In a pinch, French Silk will also do.
    I am volunteering to fly to anyone’s city and do a run by pieing, if there is a good golf course nearby which I can incorporate into my travels. I am serious. I still have 5 weeks of vacation to use this year.

  • Yea. Come here. Chicago land. I have a very very exclusive range behind the home. I’m not a member, too $$$ and too exclusive, but you can sneak on the 14th back course via backyard.

  • Wow, The coincidences are amazing here. My wife also admitted her two year long affair in mid may and she just happens to be a school teacher too.

    She has not apologized either. The best she could muster is “Just know that i was very unhappy with you at the time so that made it okay for me to do it”

    She also likes to say stupid things like “It started that day you made me so mad” It seems like every time I tried to discuss it with her she would say something stupid along the lines of how it was my fault.

    My best advice is to accept that your wife is a mentally disordered person. She has no impulse control and no sense of empathy. She did it simply because she was bored and it was exciting. You and your kids didn’t even make a blip on her radar. They have this ability to step outside of themselves and become a different person with no responsibilities or obligations.

    Do not set yourself up for anything that will hurt you. If you want to punish her stay no contact. Nothing drives her crazier than that. Every time you respond to her you give her a little more power over you. don’t say anything. Only then are you winning for yourself.

    I will guarantee that this meet for an apology is just an attempt to take control over you and the situation. No amount of apologies or explaining is going to excuse how she consciously made the decision to spread her legs for another man for 2 YEARS!! It is inexcusable. If you want her to suffer the consequences show her what she lost by taking yourself completely out of her life.

    I just passed 30 days of no contact and I feel so much better and stronger. Sure I still have pangs of sadness, anger and guilt at different times. But it does not last very long. Stay no contact. After 30 days you will see a difference in how you are feeling now.

    One final note. Be prepared for her to stall the divorce proceedings. Do not give her anything extra. That is just another attempt to control you.

    • I’ve learned more about infidelity than I’d want to in a lifetime. Apparently teachers having affairs is quite common. A high rate of infidelity among them.

      • My theory to that is teachers crave attention. They become teachers because they like to have all eyes on them. Its well known that cheaters crave attention. So it all fits in my book. When I look back it seems that just about all the female teachers I had as a kid had personalities similar to my wife.

        Sorry if I am offending any teachers here. I am sure it is not ALL teachers. I can think of a few very good decent ones too.

  • Something very similar happened to me. She wanted to meet for lunch, but not to apologise. It was more of a “let me see that you’re OK with me now so that I don’t have to feel bad” conversation. I thought I could trust myself not to lose it, and I did OK for a while, but then she said some things that were triggering. It ended with me calling her selfish, telling her she ought to see a therapist to discuss her issues, rather than complain about what she perceives to me mine, and to keep her nose out of my life. She walked out of the restaurant. Although I stand by everything I said, I regret doing it and definitely wouldn’t put myself in that situation again.

    Your ex is going through a brief period of self awareness and it’s making her (rightly) feel bad about her behaviour. My guess is that she might try to apologise, but the conversation will soon turn to pointing out your shortcomings and how you “made” her cheat in some way. Dude, it will be punishing and there’s a good chance you’ll say something you regret.

    So I guess I just want to say that it might be worth trying to let this one go. Stick with the divorce plan and no contact. Don’t let yourself be drawn in to conversations about a dead relationship. Get a punching bag and beat the shit out of it if you need to get rid of some anger.

  • The great apology I got was not getting one from my ex and moving on with my life. Some people are just not sorry for anything they do and never hold themselves accountable. If they are willing to cheat on you, they are willing to cheat on someone else. They are very capable of many other more terrible things as well. No moral compass is a bad recipe for disaster in this world.

  • At the risk of this already having been said, I hear that this apology stuff is one of the many tasks that a therapist will ask their patient to do as part of THEIR healing.

    As Chump Lady said, unless they (cheaters) are willing and able to do something that makes your life easier in the future, why bother?

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