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Dear Chump Lady, Why Does He Keep Changing His Mind?

Dear Chump Lady,

Why did it take two months after D-Day for my husband of 19 years to come to me crying, apologizing and saying there is no-place else he would rather be than home with me?

He left me and my son two months before D-day. I felt it was all a load of crap and avoided him for the next two weeks while he continued to cry and sleep in his car in my driveway. Then all of a sudden, POOF it stopped, why?

He completely changed and said he was fine, why? That was a month ago and since then I had a change of heart (temporary) and asked him to come home. His answer was no, (WTF?). He felt he would rather go on a date instead. He said he didn’t think he is strong enough to handle the way things would be because of what he did.

I think I’m losing it. How much twisting of my mind can he do? I actually asked him to spend the night twice this month to be with his son (sleep on the couch) and he said no-thank you, I’d rather not because it might be too confusing for our son (16). Also, he says he has been finished with the OW for two months.

Seriously I’m about to stab him in the neck with an ice pick only I don’t have one. What the hell is going on?????


Dear Debbie,

Stop trying to untangle the skein of fuckupedness. Who cares what is going on in his mind? Ask yourself — is this relationship acceptable to YOU? He had an affair and he walked out on you. Whether he’s still with the OW or they broke up doesn’t matter. He abandoned you and your son, refuses to work on the marriage, or see his son. What exactly here do you think you have to work with?

His pitiful latter day “sorry”? That didn’t last terribly long.

For what it’s worth, my guess is he’s probably still in his affair or dating. He would prefer the narrative in which he’s not a cheater, so he says the OW isn’t in the picture. He’s Not Such a Bad Person. He’d probably also prefer to not sleep in the driveway or on a sofa.

Look, I think he’s a crapweasel, but he has a point that returning to sleep at home would be confusing to your son. Your son is a teenager. They can grab a bite to eat, go see a movie. Dad sleeping over is more about you trying to preserve the appearance of familial normalcy. And this shit isn’t normal. Dad walked out. Dad is dating. Those are good signs you should be seeing a divorce attorney, not fluffing the pillows awaiting his return.

And sleeping over isn’t about your son, Debbie, it’s about YOU. It sounds like you threw him out and then had second thoughts about that. Perhaps, at some level, you enjoyed him doing the pick me dance for you, feigning his apologies and sleeping in the driveway trying to prove himself. You wouldn’t be the first chump to think those tears are for you and signified True Remorse.

When you took him at his word, that there is “no place he’d rather be” than home with you — he poofed. So, Debbie, it wasn’t real remorse. It was  genuine imitation naugahyde remorse. It’s time to trust that he sucks.

See, the problem with most cheaters, is that they don’t stay gone. They boomerang for kibbles. Perhaps the OW threw him out, perhaps there’s more than one OW, maybe the air mattress got deflated. Who knows? But he came back because he wanted something from you — cake, a bed to sleep in, sympathy for the affliction of his stupidity — and you asserted yourself. You said no. So, he eventually figured you couldn’t be played and he went looking for a new sucker.

Now, if he were really, truly remorseful, he would not have put you in that position. He could’ve asked respectfully to work on the marriage, stayed nearby, been transparent, gone to counseling, provided immediate temporary support orders. There were many ways he could’ve demonstrated his sorry other than some sit-down strike in your driveway.

He didn’t do those things. When you caved, when you relented to have him back — he met your vulnerability with more mindfuckery.

Nowhere in your letter do you say he’s been direct with you. “I want a divorce. Let’s work out a settlement.” No, he speaks in mixed messages. He wants his family back. He doesn’t want to “confuse” anyone. He’s not “strong” enough to handle reconciliation. (Poor sausage.)

Mixed messages are to goad you into the pick me dance. “Please come home!” or “I won’t make demands of you in reconciliation, if you’re feeling weak!”

In other words, he’d like you to beg him back into cake-eating.

Don’t do it, Debbie. Face that he’s given you NOTHING to work with here, and lawyer up. (((Big hugs)))

Ask Chump Lady

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  • “He felt he would rather go on a date instead. “ I assume he means dating you Debbie, because this is the walking backwards out of the relationship due to sheer cowardice.

    It reminded me of the scene from When Harry Met Sally – when Harry realises Helen has been planning to leave him.

    Harry: “But we can still date, she says, like this is supposed to cushion the blow.”

    The scene also has the best bit of dialogue for chump enlightenment.

    Jess: Marriages don’t break up on account of infidelity- it’s just a symptom that something else is wrong
    Harry: Really? Well that symptom is fucking my wife.

    It is exactly a year since I last saw my XH, after a couple of months of post D-Day trauma including me asking him to stay over (when I hadn’t slept with him for a very long time…!) He declined too; felt he was being unfaithful to OW. But he was so upset when I called time and said I was moving away. “What about the marriage?” he cried (yes, really) Oh, those crocodile tears….

    Debbie, don’t buy an ice-pick, get a divorce.

    (PS Sorry Chump Lady- I’m not liking this font, find it hard to read…)

    • Kicked my ex out after his unrepentant emotional affair with a co-worker. 8 months of “baby, I want you back” with very little visible effort on his part. Finally, I started getting intimate with him again, said I would take him back…

      Only to have him start things up hardcore with another woman. Began calling his recent intimacy with me a “one-night stand” (more like one-month stand, but whatever). Became emotionally abusive. Began badgering me for a divorce.

      Debbie, CL is right. There is nothing to work with here. Dump him and get a divorce ASAP.

      (Btw, on my way to my own divorce finalization as I write this, and I couldn’t be happier about it. If you’d told me 14 months ago where I’d be now, I’d have never believed it.)

    • When my ex was going through her fake breakdown her sister said “its just a symptom”. I used the harry met sally line right back at her. Heres the harsh truth. You cant unfuck someone. So once that boundary is crossed theres no going back. The only question anyone of us faithful decent spouses have to answer is, do i really want this moving forward or not? These people do not change, they simply ruin the next chump or ruin themselves. When all the evidence that cl points to constantly suggests that theres no remorse, run, dont walk to get away.

      • Good response Scott. It is always good to have a male perspective on cheating. Sorry you are part of our Chump Nation.

      • Good comment Scott. It is good to have a male perspective on cheating. Sorry you are part of Chump Nation but it has helped many of us move forward.

      • Oops, sorry for the 2nd post. CL, I am having terrible trouble trying to post as I am constantly being told I have put the wrong letter combo in the verification box. Hence the 2nd post.

    • The reason the dialogue in When Harry Met Sally was so dead-on was that Nora Ephron herself had been chumped. I love how she captured the stupid things that people say to you when you’ve been betrayed. Just perfect.

      • Love Nora Ephron’s writing if you are going through a divorce, H/W cheated, I cannot recommend her book Heartburn enough. There is a film version with Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep that is also very good.

  • I think the font is ok, but all of a sudden the lines of text in the post are too close together, and that is hard to read. The comments looks fine though.

  • Debbie, the minute he said he did not want to see your son is when he should have become history. He is a necissistic piece of shit. Get a lawyer and protect yourself. I guarantee his stuff is more important that you and your son. Make sure you two are ok financially. I repeat. Get a lawyer!

  • Dumb Ass was crying because he worked so hard on making a soft place to land and someone messed it up !
    Poor Cheater Prize, no one understands him or his greatness !

  • My ex went back and forth all the time pre-DDay, post-DDay and even post divorce. I left because of his supposed EA with the AP – I believe it was a full-on affair, I think if you’d ask him today years later, he would still claim not a single thing happened until admitted DDay but I believe with every fiber of my being that is a lie- and he spent the next month constantly changing his mind, going back and forth. He loved me and missed our family, he hated me and always had. He didn’t know what he wanted, was the ever constant refrain. He would say he wanted a divorce, would call me that same day later crying saying he didn’t mean it. We met with a mediator and the divorce attorneys, he catches me in the parking lot crying and begging to call it off. And then admitted DDay! Even after that, as the divorce was going through, he would ask if “this is what I really wanted” and I would point out AP. After a few months together, she dumps him, and he was back again, begging for another chance, to prove I could trust him – I lay out a few things he could do – he does none of them.

    So yeah, Debbie, trust that he sucks. If you would take him back, he would continue to do this – say it’s too hard and he can’t do it and bail for a day, a week, a month, then be back in your driveway crying. Unless you enjoy your life in a limbo, of never being able to predict whether he was going to be there and involved from one day to the next.

  • Sounds very familiar. My ex moved out into his own place, supposedly to work on his issues. Bullshit, it was because he didn’t want me to know the affair was continuing, much easier to hide it when he’s not at home. After a month he came home crying and all the “I can’t live without you” shit. He convinced me to have sex, still lying about how he’d never had sex with the OW…and gave me a crappy gift that day. Get tested for STIs asap! He spent a few nights at home. Then he was back at his apartment “dating” me while he worked on himself. Turns out his attorney told him he needed to spend a few nights here and there at home or I could divorce him for desertion…Get it? Many chumps have experienced the spouse that wants to stay married and keep cheating. You forgive these bastards once and the lesson they learn from that? You will stay with them no matter how badly they treat you… Definitely time to get a divorce attorney, it is very likely your husband has already seen one. He chumped your heart, do not let him chump your finances.

  • I went through similar. He dropped the bomb of wanting “to split” and I tried to throw him out. (I had had my suspicions about his female “friend” at work for months.) He wouldn’t leave, claiming he had a legal right to stay. Three days of hell later (in which my soft side contemplated suicide and my tough side saw my attorney) he came out of the bedroom crying and claiming he didn’t know why he did that to me. I asked him if he were depressed and said we needed to talk things out. In the talk he became sullen again and would not make any concessions, everything about ME had to change, I was at fault for everything. I spackled for eight months in which he see sawed back and forth between emotionally abusing me and acting (and I mean acting) like he still cared. One night he sat at our computer and made an appointment with a divorce attorney while eating the home made chicken salad sandwiches I had made for him. He left without closing the email, whether intentionally or not I don’t know. I saw it and confronted him and off he went into the sunset after the ILYBINILWY line spoken in the coldest harshest tones. I am still traumatised and no where near meh.

    • In reading back my reply I’ve realised that I was doing the pick me dance all those months and I guess I lost out to OW. That is what I love about this site, the clarity that comes in reading and posting.

      • Same here. I had 4 months of “let’s work it out,” lovey-dovey calls and emails, but no concrete action. When I called him on still being in touch with OW, and said I’d seen an attorney, that stuff stopped fast.

        For a couple of months, he transitioned back to OW, but took some time to hide $$$$. All the while kicking the can down the road. In hindsight, I could also tell he was frustrated b/c I wasn’t doing much of the pick me dance, while OW was. She “wins.”

      • Lina, you didn’t lose that scum to the OW, if anyone who thinks she won, well then, she just won a cheating, lying pile of dog shit! Good riddance!!

        • Thank you Nicolette. Logically I know he was no prize and frankly I don’t see their relationship going anywhere. If anyone knows what he’s like to live with, I do.

          Janus, I didn’t do much of a pick me dance either. I was too busy trying to hang on to my self respect, sanity, and what little I had left of enjoyment (all of which he pretty much was asking me to give up as his “conditions” for staying) in my life. I can see now that this must have frustrated him too.

      • Two things about the Pick Me dance from where I have been in my own process.

        1) The fact that he cheated means that I lost the Pick Me Dance before I even knew I was competing.
        2) That I lost the Pick Me Dance means I’ve won, since winning a Cheater as a prize is no prize at all.

  • Yes, your husband and father of your 16 year old son is a piece of shit. Trust me, normal men don’t fly off the deep end in their forties. Cheating Disordered Wingnuts do. He will drag you through his fucked up drama as long as he can but you need to get away from this sorry excuse for a “husband” quickly. Lawyer up now because as I write this he is not only fucking you over personally but financially as well. And has been for awhile. Your son also needs to see what a strong woman does when shit happens in a relationship. You get out. You go no contact. You pursue a financial settlement in your best interest and your son’s. I maneuvered my alimony to cover college costs for two kids, no small feat when the first words out of dick’s mouth when I asked him if he were still committed to send second child, a senior at the time, to college and he said, “He’s your son, you figure it out.” (I did but my son struggled, learned everything there was to know about alcohol and drank a lot, and failed most classes at University that year, that’s what my son did when his father skipped gleefully off into the sunset with the OW, Oh but he did bring the kids back souvenirs from his exotic vacation that year!) When my ex started showing signs of being someone I did not recognize I knew there was no saving my marriage. Sleeping with someone else was a deal breaker. Looking back I have to be honest. I loved that man but was he ever really invested in my life or our marriage? No. Pay attention to your feelings. His Cheating finally woke me up, our life together sucked and I was great at Spackling. My ex was someone I should have never been with. And he fucked over his kids on the way out too. Twenty eight years trying to make it work. Barf. So good luck to you, Debbie, you are going to need it.

    • Looking back I have to be honest…. Truth in those words. My exhusband of 14 years was never invested in me or our marriage. And I was always the heavy lifter with any of the real life responsibilities, including and especially our kids. We never shared the same values. When he cheated on me for the third time, I finally had enough. Our life together sucked too and I’m really good at spackling as well. Barf is right. Good for you, Drew. Good for me too. Debbie, finally waking up is no fun. But it’s what you have to do. Stay on a steady Chump Lady diet and read the comments. It’s so helpful.

      • Right Brained, my ex was never invested at all in me, our marriage or our kids either. We were just a side line to his specialness. He was way too busy with his other activities, other women to bother with any of us 90% of the time. He would throw a few snippets of time and love our way to keep us invested. I wished I had the courage to kick him out many years ago.

        Debbie, call your lawyer. Don’t waste time and effort on somebody who just isn’t invested in you. You deserve so much better.

  • “He would prefer the narrative in which he’s not a cheater, so he says the OW isn’t in the picture. He’s Not Such a Bad Person.” Listen to this!

    Debbie, what do you want? What do you control? Get the answer to those questions clear in your mind. Maybe even write the answers out. Lay out what you want (e.g. convince me you aren’t cheating, etc.) if you still want to give your marriage a chance to be resurrected from the dead and if you can live with the knowledge of his cheating. If not, then file for divorce. You do not control his response.

    It looks as if he is checked out. Whatever you do, do NOT take the focus off the fact of his adultery! That’s the issue. If that is not dealt with, no reunion will succeed. The cheating cancer is still killing the marriage.

    • My X still prefers the narrative that he is not a cheater…even though he has been with OW for 6 years, 3 of them when we were married!

      He lied to our young adult daughters about not being with OW after he left. They believed him even though he was lying. He continues convincing impression management. He tells them (now) that he was never happy in our 26 years together (his story changed many times after he was caught) and that is why he left me and had an affair.

      One of the things he said to me when I was shell shocked and trying to figure out who this person I trusted with my life really was..
      “I don’t want the girls to think I am a liar and a cheater..”
      Also an OW quote I haven’t slipped in yet,
      “I don’t want people to think I am a home wrecker” (it was 2nd affair with a married man – that I know of).

      This is some real life narcissism and delusional thinking here.

      And there is real life sanity here in Chump Nation.

      • I got ‘you are exaggerating’ ‘it isn’t what you think’ ‘it wasn’t as often as you think it was’ ‘I did it to save our relationship’ (WTF?!?!) ‘it is your fault’ etc.

        I said ‘if you cheated on me once or 20 or 1,000 times it doesn’t matter. I’m done.’

        • On DDay when i said OW’s husband deserved to be told, X said, in rageful and threatening tone,
          “You would ruin a dying man’s last year by telling him?!!” (OW’s husband had terminal cancer)

          In a moment of non-chump clarity I said, “I am not the one screwing his wife…”

          I wish my clarity continued in a straight line from there. But I got caught up in the skein, hopium and lots of PTSD symptoms

          • When I told my STBX that I would tell the OW h, he said that I would be ruining their family and that they are good people… WTF?! I was so pissed! I told him that he and the OW are the one’s ruining both families with the affair. This fight went no where and my shitty x continued to make me look like the evil person.

            Debbie-They will never change. The level of crap he will give you will just pile up. It’s very difficult to do but walk away from his bs and divorce him. You will eventually see the light at the end of the tunnel and realize that it is the best decision. I’m still going through the process as well and continue to look for inspiration to move forward with my life. Reading CL’s post and comments from everyone will help.

      • “I don’t want people think I’m a liar and a cheater / home wrecker”. Jeezus! I just can’t understand people who think like this. These people have never been properly introduced to the truth. I’ve got news for these psychopathic morons . . . Just because no one knows what you are doing, you ARE still doing it. You ARE a liar/cheater/home wrecker by your actions, not by someone else’s impression of you. How can they not see that!?! Their Crazy-Meter needle is buried in the red.

        • I try to think about this every time I have ‘regrets’ about not boffing every woman that came on to me at work.. every chance, every opportunity where I kept my boundaries up, protected my marriage and my family.. I also was protecting myself from being a liar/cheater/home wrecker. Thanks for the reminder, today was a day I needed to hear it again.. that’s one of the difficult things, that you were keeping their heart safe while they were flirting and sneaking off to motels…

          • Raging – you obviously have character and a heart, unlike most of these stick figures who just lurch their way through life. I’m surprised they don’t bump their heads more often. . .

            • UEB–That made me laugh! Thanks! *bump!*

              Raging–You men, all with your character and integrity and stuff–that’s hot.

        • No kidding, shouldn’t they be saying “I don’t want people to KNOW I’m a liar and a cheater / home wrecker”. They really take the attitude that we’re lying on them or something.

          When discovered, they act like what they are doing is no big deal and we’re just over-reacting, but they know exactly how horrendous it is, else they wouldn’t be so concerned about other people finding out.

          Mine didn’t give a shit about what I thought, but he sure was worried what everybody else would think.

          • Exactly, Einstein. Mine was all “you’re not going tell anybody, right?”. I told him that he controlled what I knew about my own life for long enough, now he would have no control over what others knew about it. He couldn’t stand that the world at large would know what a weak, sniveling, lying douche nozzle he was. Like yours, he didn’t care that I knew. Just didn’t want me sharing. The look on his face when I told him it was MY story to tell was almost worth all the pain. Almost.

  • Who cares why? You shouldn’t. You know who he is. You know what he did.

    Change is hard. It takes time. It takes effort. If he wants to change and get you back then he needs to do all the work (and that is going to take months or year) and SHOW YOU his effort.

    Weeping your driveway isn’t change. That is simply manipulative bullshit.

    Stay strong. Go NC. Save yourself.

    • Agreed. The man lacks integrity and is a scumbag. Do not consider reconciling. It almost never works. These folks are wired differently than a normal person.

  • Debbie,

    Sorry for what you’re going through. With regards as to why he keeps changing his mind, most likely it’s because he’s extremely selfish, never thought enough about the consequences of his actions, or thought he could avoid those consequences by manipulating you.

    But CL has it right, it doesn’t matter why he does it, decide what you want, set boundaries and expectations and let him decide his own fate. From the sounds of it, you already have some strong indications as to what his fate will be. Don’t let him constantly flip-flop, you deserve commitment and loyalty, a couple of things he seems incapable of.

    My marriage reached critical mass three times, each time it was her running to divorce without much effort to save the marriage and each time I begged and pleaded to keep trying. And each time her behavior got worse. At first it was flirty texts with a guy while in MC, the 2nd time it was the same with another guy on a secret cell pone, and finally a full blown EA/PA with a 3rd guy. The point is, if you don’t establish boundaries, their behavior only gets worse.

    • I have learned the hard way that every time he cheated it got progressively worse. After 36 years and taking him back and forgiving his sick behavior he told me he found someone and didn’t want me to interfere this time and wanted a divorce. He met called her, got a hotel with her a week later and dumped me the next weekend. He has been living with her for 5 months now but uses his daughters address. He never filed and I finally did after three months. I had to see a therapist to help me stop loving this serial cheating narcissist. I am learning how to stop torturing myself for this selfish cruel man that would never change. I am told he will want to come back. He is currently trying to manipulate my adult children apologizing for how he left me for a sleazy woman. I have set boundaries and he cannot come to my house for anything and I will not see my children with him present. He is toxic!

      • Good for you, Donna! Protect yourself at all costs. No Contact, and firm boundaries are definitely the way to go! These fuckups are never people you want a relationship with. Do surround yourself with those who unconditionally love you. My children understand their father gives little thought to others and that cheating was a deal breaker for me, but it was the tip of the iceberg on his character flaws. Even when ex seems to be happily pursuing his life with Schmoopie there has been a great cost. You can bet where he is on anyone’s list of priorities. Lol. Donna, I know you have this!!!! And it hurts but there are better days ahead. <3 and Best Wishes to all Chumps moving towards an authentic life.

  • Ditto everyone else and CL. You’ve got nothing to work with, stop trying to untangle the skein. Document the times you opened up the door again and he said ‘no.” If he said that via text, email, fb message, something else in writing, save it and store it away in your arsenal of evidence (he’s bound to come back and say you were the one not open to reconciliation). He’s pulling you and in turn, your son, along on a string. Take the hook out of your mouth. Take the time you need to grieve. It’s hard when the shit hits the fan, you want things back to how it was, you spackle to preserve the facade of the family you thought you had. It’s a lost dream and you need space and time to grieve that. It sounds more like the change of heart you had was b/c you like the idea of having your husband come back. Maybe not so much your actual husband coming back, just the idea of it. There’s a big difference between the two.

    • “He’s pulling you and in turn, your son, along on a string. Take the hook out of your mouth.”

      That’s a great way to put it, makes clear what’s happening here.

  • p.s. I pictured running over my cheating lying crapweasel with my truck. Back and forth. Over and over. lol I didn’t, but I get wanting to stab yours in the neck with an ice pick.

    Don’t do it. Move on. Save yourself and your son.

    • lol! I pictured that too, running over the shitbrick with my truck and then pictured all the shit I would have to clean off of my truck, and I really didn’t want to deal with that kind of cleaning, you know, since he is full of shit!! LOL!

  • Sounds like the Schmoopie gave him the bum’s rush, to me.

    Which means you give him his marching orders.

    Which will hurt. We know. But fact is, what is causing the conflict for you is wanting to hold onto what you thought you had with this person. If they cheated, then, you never had it…..sorry, there is no way to pad the 2 x 4. You are real. Your son is real. Hold onto that.

    Love to all in Chump Nation


  • I feel your husband is being honest about possibly being unable to handle all the work involved in trying to repair what he broke and using that as an excuse not to move back home. Listen to him.

    I hate to compare it to anything on True Tori, but when you watch Dean every single day have to take on more guilt due to his cheating, you can see how he may just want to say, “Tori, I give up. I can’t fix this.” It would take a brave and determined person to say, “I’ll do whatever it takes as long as it takes.” Your husband isn’t that guy. Dean’s cheating (and all cheating) impacts us on so many levels, it almost impacts every aspect of our lives. Your husband is imagining how rough it’ll be so he’s sitting on the fence.

    Step away from the cheater on the fence.

  • Debbie….I think he’s doing this because he thinks you still might be of use to him. Perhaps Schmoopie dumped him or he thinks she will. Most of these people can’t spend 9 minutes alone in their heads so they always have someone lined up waiting in the wings for them to distract them.

    My two cents CL…this font is hard for me to read too. Yesterday’s font much easier on the eyes. Also
    having trouble putting the combo letters in. Thanks~

    • Sorry about the CAPTCHA — to anyone reading — if you get that verify you’re not a spambot message (it’s my spam filter doing that), please email me info at chump lady dot com — and I will put you on the white list (like getting past a bouncer at a club). It’s being extra vigilant it seems. This is happening a LOT, to seasoned commentators. Spam filter is DUMB, but maybe it has to do with the new theme. No idea.

      Working on the font issues, please bear with me. It’s all a work in progress. It’s going to look bad for awhile, until the kinks are worked out. It was weirdness, or shutting down the site, so I chose weirdness.

  • “He felt he would rather go on a date instead. “ Uh, Debbie are you sure hes not the 16 year old here? What is this, high school? Move on, hang out with is adults now debbie, you will like it so much more.

  • This is harsh but when someone you’re married or committed to, has intimate relations with someone that isn’t you; they definitely do NOT respect you and they plain don’t love you. Maybe they did at one point or maybe you spackled over the stuff that you didn’t want to see.

    I don’t say that to be mean; I say it because it’s true and on some level you know it’s true too otherwise you wouldn’t be here and you wouldn’t be writing Chump Lady a letter.

    The one thing that most cheaters have in common is that they deal with what ever is wrong by escapism. To expect someone that can’t deal with reality to do the hard work it takes to fix a marriage after infidelity defies belief. Don’t get me wrong because I stayed for 3 years doing the pick me dance so I know what it’s like to live in denial. You know what I got for my troubles? What I should’ve gotten to begin with; a divorce!!

    My ex showed no true remorse but he was happy to take what he could from me for those three years because I was of use to him: He happily took my ample salary so he could have more “stuff”, asked me to take 7 online classes for his bachelors degree (which I did since I was such a chump) and edit his daily emails because he stinks at grammar. He also allowed himself to keep his good opinion of the OW for those three years; would not tell her to stop contacting him-he was willing to let me do that so he could procure more ego kibbles by me “fighting for him. (Pardon me while I throw up in my mouth)

    Fast forward to a few months ago and the two schmoopies were reunited before the ink on our divorce was final. I’m guessing it never ended; in fact I’d bet money on it. They live together now and for all I know could be married.

    I am your future if you don’t take swift action Debbie. Get out now and for the love of God-see a lawyer!!

    • “This is harsh but when someone you’re married or committed to, has intimate relations with someone that isn’t you; they definitely do NOT respect you and they plain don’t love you.”…that’s not harsh, that is the truth! This sentence right here really just cuts to the heart of what is wrong with cheating and trying to reconcile after your spouse has cheated on you – it is not love nor is it respectful to betray your spouse in such a way. I think when we’re caught up in the aftermath of cheating, we so want to try to understand it and believe our spouses when they say they are sorry but if we strip it all away and really look at it, we see that their actions are the antithesis of love.

      Sadly, Debbie, your story is not unique. Yes, the circumstances surrounding may differ but your H is no different than every other chump’s on this site. What is so powerful about CL is that she can zero in on exactly what is going on. Now, you just have to trust that he sucks and get on with gaining a life by leaving your cheater!

  • Lawyer up! It gives you options and puts you in the power seat!

    You don’t need to wonder what’s going on in his mind. Oh sure, you’ll think about it because doing so is normal, but don’t try to psychoanalyze him. That’s trying to Untangle the Skein of Fuckedupness. You can’t do it! Instead, trust that he sucks because he does.

    Be proactive on your behalf. That means taking back the power. At this point, you need to detach, and to detach, you need to see the lawyer. Find out your rights under the law. And you need to act without telling him you’re doing all of this.

    The start lining up the ducks. Look at your financials, figure out who gets what. Does the fact that he left you mean that you get dibs on the marital home (if you want it)? What about abandonment?

    That he wants to date tells you that he’s not ready to commit. If he’s not going to commit, then he’s not worth staying married to.

    Once you’re divorced, he’ll be free to date as much as he wants, and you’ll be free to find someone who’s willing to be the husband you deserve to have.

    But get thee to a lawyer!

    • Mine just told me that he “wouldn’t give me a divorce” unless I agreed to his “terms”. Uh-huh, that’s not how it works. I feel like I’m in that perpetual commercial “that’s not how it works, that’s not how any of this works!”. It’s what you get when dealing with an undiagnosed, ergo unmedicated, bi-polar alcoholic in the midst of a manic period. Ahhh, the crazy…

  • My crapweasel (new vocabulary word– Thanks CL!) left suddenly a couple days before Christmas. We met for dinner the day after. I asked him several times just to stop by the house and he refused. But this time was golden. Up until then, I suspected nothing and just thought he had gone batshit crazy.

    I asked him, “What are you doing on New Years Eve then?”
    He replies, “I don’t know– Maybe go somewhere.”

    This is a guy who does not celebrate holidays and rarely exits the house because it means he has to shower. I just knew then, kept my mouth shut, and sat back while he dug his hole deeper in the ensuing months.

  • I’m sorry this is happening to you. He’s not changing his mind. He made up his mind the day, the minute, the second he chose to cheat. He didn’t share his heart and mind with you then. He didn’t want to. Why would you waste a second of your thoughts on him or what he thinks??

    He’s a mess, not you. You get to think for yourself now. Do what you want and what’s in your best interest. Clarity and peace of mind to you. : )

  • The waffling is about grooming you to do more as he does what he wants. Like a slot machine that gives you less and less until you are broke, you will continue to get positive reinforcement once in a while. That is to give you hope, so you will invest more. Don’t do it.

    • Great analogy. Like the rats that go crazy pressing the feed bar when the results are random. My marriage was a great big Skinnerian operant conditioning rat cage, and my ex was BF Skinner.

      • Chumpalicious, this is so funny! I suspect my ex was raised by that wire monkey because he has as much love to give to the world as a piece of algae.

  • This is the way the play it over and over. I already filed for divorce in June, temp orders in place he is out the house., now sent him offer for divorce settlement. This now has prompted wasband to outreach again for try at reconciliation as a last ditch effort to save the marriage on the sake of our kids/family. I say no and enlist the reasons why. He then changes from sad/depressed to anger text messages. Saying that I can accuse him if that makes me feel better but don’t point the finger at him since we are both to blame. He then started recounting past events in our life as he remembers it (rewrote history), claims that I never loved him and that I did kit know how to live him, that he always asked me to dress better, lose weight and go out more and now that we are separate I am doing those things. I responded that I am not accusing of anything, he admitted that he cheated and that is not a lie. And if I never loved him then why would he want to get back with me. The whole blame shifting is his usual tactic to not take responsibility for his actions. This morning after all the crap he sent me says he sorry and reflected and really wants to put our difference aside to work things out for the kids. Within 24 hours this man what forgot all the crap he said .. I know I’m not supposed to untangle the skein but WTF….So now he is stating that out only divisible asset, the house where my kids and I live under his demands only will be given to me. One includes that I remove his name from title and loan, which is some concern as not sure if the bank will be willing to do..?? I just really want this to be over and this is the last step.

    Help chump nation if anyone out there been thru this can give me advice of how this part if the divorce works would be helpful. Yes I do have lawyer but they charge me even to say hello.

    • This is really an instance where you should see a lawyer. Don’t sign anything until you do – you could make a very costly mistake. If you go through a bank to try to get his name off the loan, they are probably going to require that you do a complete refinance. Are you able to do that on your own? I wasn’t. The solution in my case was to put a time frame on when his name would be removed from the title & loan, as in giving me several years to build my credit back up and then either refinance or sell the house when the time was up. Also, he didn’t mention anything about giving you a quit claim to the property, which doesn’t get his name off anything but basically makes you responsible for paying the mortgage. I hated paying the money but I am so glad I had a good lawyer.

      • Thanks for the advice .. I do have a lawyer actually and will suggest the timeframe as a option.. The issue is that the wasband says he wants to buy his own house and that’s his rush to get his name off the loan or sell. I know he is not I. The credit or finance condition to buy a house any time soon. As to what he says he can barely afford his 900 rent with the child support that he pays me which he thinks is to much.. So I call bs that it’s cus he wants to buy a house. It just to push my buttons to make me miserable .. Send the ones who are actually are affected are the kids ..

        My credit is not bad but not excellent and at the time we bought the house interest rates wher low.. So if I try to refinance now it will suck not be able to afford it so it would take me several years to get there credit/finances wise. Thanks so much for the info.

    • My name and my XH’s name are still on my loan…until it’s paid off or I sell the house. Only MY NAME is on the house. My lawyer worked it that way. (Use your lawyer! They are cheaper if you communicate through email as much as possible because that takes less time.)

      • Yes that’s what I would like to do but the asshole wants his name of the loan as we’ll cus he wants to buy his own house … That he can’t afford…Anytime soon … he is just making it more difficult for me to stress me out in hopes that I give up and just take him back cus that easier …. Yeah no not going to happen… I will send my lawyer email communicating then thanks for the advice ..

  • Talk to the bank that holds your mortgage about a quitclaim deed. That will get his name off. I think there is a fee involved but I also believe it’s different depending on what state you live in. Good luck.

  • What’s going on is he’s feeding you enough bullshit so that you don’t step up and do the assertive adult thing to protect yourself and your assets and divorce him. The dream of the life you thought you had most likely makes moving on a difficult thing to consider, so it doesn’t take much to keep tipping you off balance, and he also knows how to play you because he knows you.

    Here’s the thing: somebody who is playing you doesn’t have your back, they’re no real partner, and this is no way to try to live, IMO.

  • (((((Debbie))))))

    “Why does he keep changing his mind?”

    Short answer is: He doesn’t. He has been consistently uncommitted to your marriage and consistently maximizing cake. When Chumplady refers to “the UNIFIED Theory of Cake,” this is what she is talking about. It is “unified” because it “unifies” and explains so many of the cheater’s seemingly conflicting statements and actions.

    Once you see this guy for the manipulative and abusive popdick that he is, any second thoughts you may feel about leaving will melt away and never return.

    Good luck on this difficult journey. Many have made the trip before you, and many walk beside you as you go.

  • This is all part of the cheater’s playbook I’m afraid. Exactly the same thing happened to me. On DDay I threw my ex out and haven’t seen him since. But I have numerous texts, emails, voice-mails, Skypes, Face-time, whatsapp messages and calls begging me to meet with him (have tried to block as many as I can). I have always flatly refused but never quite managed to remain completely no contact for any length of time (which I knew in my heart I had to do) so I tested him. I sent him a text late at night saying I would meet him very next day – knowing that if he was truly the control freak SOB I thought he was he would never agree to my terms. He didn’t disappoint – he replied “it was not a good idea” to which I responded “well at least we agree on something” and have been N/C ever since.
    He stills tries to contact me but they have slowly petered out since I don’t respond anymore (50 days N/C and counting). I didn’t understand either why he would plead with me to meet up, then refuse when I finally (appear to) agree? But I realise now that I never will because I do not, and never will have, his fucked-up mind-set. I don’t want to understand his sicko reasons anymore either for what he does and why. He can go play with someone else. I’m out.
    I still have bad days but then I read this blog and like magic another post appears like this one which has same modus operandi as my cheater.
    Originality is not their strong point.

    • Begging you back, only to run for the hills when you agree? Oldest dirtbag move in the book, and it worked on me many, many times. They don’t want you back – they only want to know that they can get you back. It’s ego. When in doubt about why they are doing something, it’s always ego.

      • I completely agree Einstein, its all about their ego and power trip. When they behave like that, they want to turn the tables and shift the power, to see if you still have a soft spot for them and to see they can get you back. My serial cheating ex asswipe tried that many times with me, because it always worked with others before me and guess what? I am the first woman to dump his worthless ass and that still burns his narcissistic ass like you read about! 🙂

        PS: I am in complete NC and when nothing worked he tried to get to me using my son, texting me saying he misses him and want to spend time with him (he is not my 16 year old sons father) but he only mentioned my son after 6 months of silence (NC) from my end, not before and that didn’t work either.

  • It’s an interesting question really. I couldn’t believe the bizarre behaviour of my ex husband in the aftermath of d day. He was unhinged. Completely unreliable and unstable. One minute one way, the next another. Dithering about moving in with the OW, lying to me still, rolling around full length on the floor crying and moaning ‘o what have I done’ in front of me, telling me how hard it all was for him. It was a sorry sight to see. I was the one with cancer and in chemotherapy and I was able to show ten thousand times more strength and dignity than he did. Any attraction I had for him disappeared rapidly. I don’t find weak and cowardly men attractive. One thing is for sure, he never stopped lying to me. And also, the whole time it was all about him. His drama, the effects on his life etc. I wonder if he had flashes of reality of how appallingly evil what he was doing was or if he lacked a conscience entirely. I will never know. Well on my way to meh now though. So relieved he is gone.

    • More importantly M, are you well and healthy now? Without the stress in your life, it should hopefully make your recovery easier than could be expected. Wishing good health and happiness.

      • Aw thanks Maree. You are sweet. I got lucky with the cancer treatment and, after over a year of tough treatment, I am now in full remission. We call it ‘dancing with NED’ which stands for ‘no evidence of disease’. 🙂 Coincidentally I have also discovered tango and now spend most of my time outside work literally dancing. It is amazing! I also just got my dream job and am decorating my flat. This site has made a huge impact on me getting through this experience. It really has. Sending my love to you and all of chump nation!

  • Debbie,
    What a timely post. I have posted the details of my story earlier but briefly, exactly 2 years ago today, my STBX (and best friend and love of my life) of 20 years, was supposed to be on a work trip to Peru. I was left alone while Hurricane Sandy ran up the east coast of the US. I kept sending emails to his daughter (so embarassing now) how much I missed him and couldn’t wait to see him, etc. She never replied which I thought was odd. On Nov. 26, he walked in, dead white, burst into tears and told me that he had an brief affair with a Peruvian woman but I was the one he loved. I was devastated. Read everything I could on reconciliation and ultimately forgave him. He was so attentive and affectionate. This year, two days after our 20th anniversary, he texted me that she had shown up and that he would get rid of her and wanted to spend his life ‘enjoying the simple pleasures of a life with’ me. And he vanished. Then he sent me an email ON MY BIRTHDAY with a very vague message that since he wouldn’t be back for a long time I should move on! Again he said he wanted to live with me but ‘it was not to be’. No mention of the woman or anything. Totally left me hanging. After I stopped screaming I started Googling his name and running background checks periodically. And eventually I hit the motherlode. Right after he came in crying – he bought a house and moved her in. When he texted he would get rid of her – he had just gone to settlement selling the house. His daughter not responding – the Peruvian had been going to the gym with her and posting on her blog. Once I found the Peruvian’s name it was simple to find her FaceBook page. There are hundreds of pictures of her and him there. This woman is selfie obsessed. And the first picture I saw was dated Oct. 29, 2012! They were on the beach at Key West. The pictures are nearly identical to ones I have of him and me on the same beach years earlier!

    I totally believed everything he said. I was convinced that the man I loved would never betray me. I knew he was very emotionally damaged (now I believe he is severely mentally ill but that is no excuse). He lied and lied and lied. And then he ran. Thank heavens I found this site. Nothing made any sense until I started reading the articles and posts. Unfortunately, my story is not unique and neither is yours. Read the articles. They are so helpful. Whenever I get into a cycle of ‘WHY?’ I reread Tracy’s book. Protect yourself. At the very least, run a background check on your husband. But be prepared for what you may find.

      • Hi. At first I kept googling his name. That eventually showed me the real estate transactions (but they take a while to get online.) Then I signed up for a online one. I used but there are lots of them these sites. They do charge a fee. I am not necessarily recommending this one, it is just the one I used. In the beginning it kept showing his daughter’s address and phone. As time went by, other addresses started showing up.

  • I don’t like assholes pretending to be confused to get what they want. Debbie, he knows exactly what he wants and he’s trying out different tactics to get you to agree to what he wants without having to work for it. My ex was always remorseful about his affairs but it never lasted long. His final attempt was telling me how much he wishes we were still married and he could not stop apologizing. He went straight back to the OW when I told him I’ve moved on. So his desire to still be married to me lasted as long as the time he completed the sentence and got an answer. As Tracy said, you have nothing to work with. You really want to live the rest of your life with this selfish coward? You deserve far more than that, Debbie. A dear friend told me that a random stranger will treat me better than my ex. I bet that speaks true for you, too.

    • TOTALLY, Uniquelyme! Totally, totally, totally. ‘pretending to be confused to get what they want’ So messed up!!! You nailed it.

    • Thank you for linking to this. ‘Follow the rainbow and start over with your sparkly affair partner. Okay, you lose the marriage, family, and half the finances, but you gain sparkles and there is some imaginary trading up’. This is what he is doing. New home, new woman, new belongings.

  • “He would prefer the narrative in which he’s not a cheater”

    Wouldn’t it be cool if we could print t-shirts that said:

    “Would prefer the narrative in which I’m not a cheater”


    Then we could send them to our exes. I would pay good money to see her walking around for a day with that written on her chest.

    • Gosh this is so funny,Kendoll! I want to give my ex a T-shirt that says, “In my divorce I robbed my kids’ savings accounts, forced our family home into foreclosure, and pay my ex alimony. Who says I didn’t send all three kids to college!?!?”

  • I agonized for far too long about “Why is he doing this to me?!?!?” as I just couldn’t wrap my brain around my cheating ex’s actions and words, and one fine day I realized that the answer was simply “I was letting him.”

    Why does he keep changing his mind? You keep letting him. If he can’t make up his mind what to do, you’ll have to make the decision for him and exit his life. You can only control you.

    • Bravo Hopeful Cynic, I will admit that my STBX was acting very very strange and I ignored all the signs. I did not want to accept the fact that he was still cheating. He cheated and he admitted it and I took him back. I let him and I have to admit that if he had tried to come back right after leaving, I might have let him. I was so wrapped up in the dream of our life in retirement. That is why I love this site. Tracy, you lay it on the line but it helps to get me back to the values I was raised with. I am appalled at what I put up with in the name of love and then he betrayed me even more. And I have to live with the fact that by taking him back and ignoring his excuses and strange behavior, I let him.

    • You got it, Hopeful Cynic. We gave our cheaters permission. As CL has said before, the abuse stops when we say stop.

  • You know how people with curly hair wish they had straight hair, and people with straight hair wish they had curly hair?

    My XH never threw himself at my feet or begged my forgiveness or asked to come home to me. And that has been a painful thing for me, that he didn’t even regret or try. Frankly, I think it’s because I was in angry pit bull mode when I found he was dumping me after 16 years for no good reason… Then I found out the good reason is named Xtina. I told him everything about him was toxic to me and he could just stay the fuck away from me.

    But all these posts today make me glad he didn’t try. I might’ve been vulnerable. God knows it’s what I wanted to hear: “I was wrong. I live you so much!” Instead of: I don’t love you and don’t think I ever have. (What’s that noise? The sound of 16 years of memories being flushed down the toilet.) thanks, chump nation, for keepin’ it real.

  • Dear Debbie,

    I think you were asking why he came back, full of ‘deep remorse’ and begging for ‘just one more chance’, then, as soon as you gave in and told him to come home, he changed his mind and tells you he just wants to ‘date’.

    I’m not at all surprised you are searching ebay for an ice pick! I went through the exact same thing. It is a complete mindfuck and frankly, I wish I’d have laughed in his face and broken his nose with the slamming door!

    I think what is going on is that he couldn’t cope with the idea that you no longer loved him, or think well of him. I am sure ‘The Great I Am’ was devastated I didn’t think the sun shone out of his arse anymore. Once I took him back, as far as he was concerned, equilibrium had been restored. He could tell himself he was so wonderful that, regardless of any cruelty, I loved him so much I’d take him back. He could construct a narrative where he left the marriage but he ‘knows’ I’d ‘take him back tomorrow’ if he wanted to come home (I’d sooner gouge out my own eyes)! I wish, wish, wish I’d not given him that satisfaction. It didn’t make him grateful for the ‘second chances’ he was given, it didn’t make him think value me more for swallowing the shit sandwiches and digging deep to find love and compassion for him – no all it did was made him feel like he’d got the power back, he was still ‘king of the world’ and in control of the narrative.

    That ‘false remorse’ you witnessed on your driveway – it was genuine remorse, remorse that you didn’t adore him anymore. That’s what broke his heart. Once you’d told him you would take him back, oh his poor broken heart was all mended – you still wanted him – hurrah! He didn’t actually want you, he just wanted to know that you wanted him, that’s all!

    If he comes back playing this game again, bear it in mind – he just wants to know he could have you back with a click of his fingers – then he’ll feel all happy again and will abandon you immediately, have you down as a booty call at best (who’d have thought becoming a wife would be a demotion – that’s what happened to me). I hope you can view his play with the contempt it deserves.

    All power to you,

    Jayne x

    • Jayne, Exactly. My wise counselor warned me that my ex will continue to engage me in a sick dynamic, not because he cares, but because he is still floored I filed for divorce and never wanted him back after all the chances I gave him. I have no idea why these people just don’t disappear into the ether where they belong.

  • I left the relationship 4 years ago and he still tries to play me. I used to buy into it to be the nice person and to save face, but as of a few years ago, nope. Does that piss him off more? Yes. So does he try to be a bigger ass? Yes. I was able to get my back bone after finding this website. EVERYTHING CL says is like text book with my breeder. He is so messed up. Every month I get the ‘I don’t want to do this anymore’ telling my kids and me he isn’t going to see them anymore’….. and yes it’s because of me. I get the nasty emails with what I’ve done (which is hysterical because we haven’t talked in 4 years and only communicate via email, sometimes text, about the kids, mainly visitation). Then he ends up seeing them that week. He gets my children’s therapist involved, my kid’s daycare involved, he wants my attorney involved, but won’t involve his. My kids are now 4 & 5 and don’t deserve the emotional abuse he puts them through. But the courts won’t do anything because since he is a parent, he has visitation rights and they won’t take them away even if he asked them to – not unless I’m married and my new husband wants to adopt them.

    Yesterday, he wanted to barter with me – he would give me this and that, minimal money and the kids could only see him when they wanted to. The court system in our state would NEVER sign what he wants. It’s so sad he treats his kids like ornaments and pawns and non human beings without a soul. They do this because this is how they are.

    Long story short? Listen to your gut. Watch his actions. Don’t listen to his words. If you watch his actions and listen to your gut, you’ll save hundreds of hours by NOT listening to his words wondering why his words and actions don’t match. Always remember, friends don’t do this to friends.

    The more I watched his actions and stopped listening to him, the more scared I got to be honest. This guy isn’t all there. Neither is yours. He is a big boy who has gotten himself into a mess that he can fix himself. The best thing I did was treat what was going on like a business deal which took the emotion right out of it. The narcs HATE it when you have no emotion. That’s what they feed off of – emotions. They don’t know what to do when you are emotionless. CL hit it on the head when she says they use the charm first to feed of your emotion. When you don’t do that, they turn to be the victim and when you don’t respond to that – watch out! Thats the 3 channels she refers to.

    It’s much easier to give advice being outside of the situation now for 4 years than it was in the very beginning. Come back to the comments when you need a push or strength. You will get through this. ((hugs))

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