Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

Dear Chump Lady, Why does he want to remain friends?

cheater_just_friendsDear Chump Lady,

My husband has said that he cannot bear the thought of never seeing me again after our divorce.

He wants to remain friends and still visit me. I said his OW, who he admits he might marry one day, and who he is living with now, might not let him. His reply was genuine surprise and he said well I was friends with her before the affair. How nuts is that?

I think his ideal world, the roles would be reversed but with me being the Other Woman. Although I don’t think he would want sex with me as he told me that he didn’t enjoy sex with me anymore and didn’t enjoy kissing me as my mouth felt strange. The truth is I always thought he was a lousy kisser too, but unlike him I am too kind to have said anything.

What goes on inside their head Chump Lady? Are they delusional or just insane?


Dear Denise,

They’re narcissistic. Which is a kind of delusion of grandiose centrality.

The answer to “let’s be friends” isn’t “your mistress won’t like it” but “HELL NO. My friends don’t cheat on me.”

(Although I’m presuming you just mentioned his OW to poke at him and see what nutty thing he’d say next.)

Why does he want to be friends?

1.) Kibbles. Narcissist need supply, what we here at Chump Lady call “ego kibbles” (or Narcissist ego chow). Once you realize this, their behavior starts to make a weird kind of sense. Ah, they’re trying to maintain kibble supply. The OW is supply, you’re supply, and the rest of the world (and all his invariable dating profiles) are potential supply.

When supply is threatened narcissists get ugly. Remember they have three channel settings to get what they want — rage, charm, and self pity.

Rage: You won’t give me kibbles? YOU SUCK. I’ve always despised you and the way you kiss. HA! I didn’t want your kibbles anyway! My OW kisses better than you do! (Don’t you want to do the pick me dance now?)

Charm: What will I ever do without you? I can’t imagine not seeing you any more! Gee, all those memories…

Self-Pity: Can’t you see how this Hurts Me Too? It pains me that you won’t be my friend, after everything we’ve shared together. You shouldn’t be so angry and bitter. I still love you, just not in that way. This is so difficult for me.

You threatened kibble supply. He needs your “friendship” to get kibbles back.

2.) Impression management. Narcissists care how they are perceived. (People won’t give you kibbles if they don’t like you.) If you’re friends with him, then what he did wasn’t so bad! Why don’t you eat the shit sandwich for his sake?

3.) Setting up the new hypotenuse. As you rightly pointed out, he’d like to line you up as a new OW. Cheaters are lazy, they’d rather go to old kibbles sources than scout new supply. That’s hard. They have to sparkle and give people attention and shit. It’d be much nicer if you’d do the pick me dance to keep him, and just be there for sex. You don’t have any needs or self-respect, do you? You’re not a person with agency. You’re just an extension of him and his needs, so of course you’re on board!

So anyway, Denise, to answer your question — Yes, delusional AND insane.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • They want to stay friends because that justifies in their twisted little heads that their actions are some how ok.

    My response to this request is, your actions are not acceptable and I am no longer required to spackle for you, neither on purpose or by default.

    I would rather befriend a ravenous jackal than remain friends with my STBX.

    • Yup!

      I got the “let’s be friends, we’ll celebrate holidays and birthdays together, we’ll go on vacation together with our kids, we just won’t be married.”

      And the RIC tells me I’m hurting my kids because I won’t let him be part of our family celebrations.

      • That is the exact same line I heard. “Holidays, birthdays, vacations, grow up and deal with it for the kids sake”. I didn’t realize it was that common of a line.

        • I dealt with STBX for DD1’s bday a few weeks ago. I’m thinking for DD2, I’m not going to. Let him plan his own thing for her. And she’ll probably love it: 2 separate parties/celebrations. Every kids dream

        • Same here – “We can still be friends”, “Have Holidays and birthdays together”, “I’ll keep putting up the Christmas trees for you AND your parents – they’re like my parents too”, etc. etc. Of course the kids were on board with this idea, so now I’m the bad guy because I’ve gone No Contact and they don’t understand why.

          • Jabber, mine cheater wanted to send flowers with a card to my Mom in the hospital. This is after he left me for another women over a year before. Talk about nerve. He actually though that my Mom wanted to hear from him?

            • the cheater (after trying all the agreements above) just told my lawyer “Its only her and me divorcing, I don’t understand why the families can’t keep on interacting, I really love and miss her mom”
              WTF? My mom hates him. My brothers want to kill him. But he wants everybody to keep on being friends. It is so not evolved not to do it, right?
              Even my 19 yr old daughter told him “are you stupid dad? are you listening to yourself?”

              • Mine also wanted to keep in touch with my mum, wanted to visit me in hospital and ‘do coffee’ round at each others houses. He tried ‘popping in’ on my sister several times and sent Christmas cards saying ‘see you soon’.
                Nearly 4 years later, I’m hoping that the stoney silence he’s had in return will finally get the message through.

              • My mom told me that she hoped that STBX realized that he’s no longer welcome at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

              • Mine too thought we would be great friends “for the kids”!!! He left me for an OW 15 years younger (I found them in his car) than us and THEN when I went no contact, I get “This is all I get after being together for over 20 years?”

                I only do birthday parties for our daughters (which one is Sunday) UNTIL I get through court..he finally signed the papers! After court…no more celebrations together! Because he loves them, he’s so happy…like what he did was acceptable.

      • Most common line…We can be friends and do holidays and birthdays together…um…no we can’t…they are all truly the same.

        • Mine thought I would not only be friends with him but also with final OW. Soemthing along the lines of ‘once I got over it’ I’d be her best mate and we’d all circle around him and give him those ego kibbles he so desperately needs.

      • I have a friend who has been doing the ‘friends, holiday’, hanging out’ thing for nearly a decade. He still comes to Sunday lunch a few times a month. And he holds money over her head and treats her like crap, yet she stays friends with him ‘for the kids’. She’s nuts.

      • Yes- I got this too. It is wierd how you think these things are particular to your ex and then find out they are specific to all narcissists.

      • Well, He didnt care about that…When he betrayed You and his role in tne family. Did he?
        Friends? Did he treat You like a friend, best friend ? That’s his Idea of a friend?

    • It’s validation that what they did wasn’t so bad. They think that if you stay friends, it means you’ve forgiven them, and they don’t have to feel guilty for their betrayal. It’s just more of the same delusion that let them cheat in the first place. I’m surprised Chump Lady doesn’t have this in her list. Usually she’s spot on with everything!

      My ex gave me that line: “We didn’t work out as lovers but we’re great friends.” Yeah, barf! I’m not friends with anyone who would cheat on their spouse, or help someone else cheat on their spouse. I don’t need that kind of friend. So now my ex is doing “look everybody we’re still friends” while I’m doing “acting civil because I want to model maturity for the children.”

      • Tracy is spot on with everything. The reason she didn’t put what you said on her list;

        “They think that if you stay friends, it means you’ve forgiven them, and they don’t have to feel guilty for their betrayal”

        because they don’t feel guilty. PERIOD.

        • I reversed it and played into the ego. “We are still a family, of course we will spend holiday’s together, how about a family vacation?” I said it all, just dribbled out the kibble to get him to sign the divorce papers. It worked. Now I don’t want a thing to do with him, either do my kids and even his family. He can spend the holidays with his sparkle fairy and the new replacement family. Those morons can enjoy him stumbling in Thanksgiving and Christmas eve after spending hours in a bar trying to fill up on kibble to make it through the holidays.

  • Finally, after 2.5 years of self doubt and questioning, I FILED! H was notified 2 days ago (nice em from my atty, not the sheriff) while on yet another fabulous business trip to the west coast. He came back to the house last night In his ridiculous white linen suit w a cheery “I’m home!” He was in the kitchen this morning to help make breakfast for the kids. What part of “I’m done w you and your skank gf” don’t you get?!?! He wants to keep the happy family facade. And the lawyer wife to pay the bills. GO AWAY AND LET ME LIFE MY LIFE!!!!!

    • I have a similar sort of situation. I filed in August. STBXH is dragging his feet on getting the last two pieces of documentation into the lawyer’s. In the meantime, we’re all playing nice. He has not said anything about being friends post-divorce. Me? Nope. Not going there. We’re behaving civilly, as housemates, and I’m not rocking the boat a lot because I’d like the civility to continue until I move out.

    • I think linen pants need to be recognized as a red flag that your spouse is cheating. Mine suddenly needed lots of linen pants for the sunny casual “business trips” he was taking. : )

    • They don’t hear anything. Ignore it, pretend it didn’t happen. Omg its Easier to relate sometimes, hearing others tell your story

  • People told me “You need to remain friends for your kids’ sake.” And I was still reeling from the bottom dropping out of my world, and was still doing the ‘pick me’ dance. When the AP dumped him, he wanted to “prove” to me that I could trust him again, ha! But as CL says, they don’t sparkle for you anymore. And all of those behaviors that I spackled over before, I really began to notice. He doesn’t care about other people’s opinions or feelings at all. Everything is about showing how he knows/likes the cool things. If you don’t like it, you’re stupid. If you like something else he doesn’t know about, it isn’t cool and you’re stupid, unless he finds it later, and then it’s cool. If you end up liking something he mentioned and you initially weren’t interested, he becomes hugely offended. And all of that lead me to this – I don’t like him now. We’re not friends. Much like that co-worker whose attitude annoys the hell out of me, we have to work together civilly, we may even have some similar interests, but we’re not friends and never will be.

    Why does he want to remain friends? Like CL said, kibbles. And I think Narcs know on some level, even if they don’t want to admit it to themselves, that they piss people off. They annoy people. People put up with their Narc behaviors for so long, and then get tired of it. And the Chump put up with it for X number of years. Or the Chump has kids with them, so they will probably feel obligated to be “nice for the kids’ sake.” So they see the Chump as a captive audience.

    • I tried the friend thing for like 5 minutes. One night he invited us to dinner at his new place (where he fcks the OW) and I went because of our kids. He wanted us to be happy family again but it all backfired when we watched a movie together and it was about a loyal dog and how his owner had died and the dog waited for him faithfully for many years. All of us were crying like if crazy and I realized two things 1) dogs are faithful, cheaters are not 2) doing family things as if nothing had happened is a new way of betraying our kids and lying to them. Trying to act friendly to someone who has stabbed you in the back is humiliating to yourself, does not allow you to heal and gives a bad example to your children, as if they should stay with friends or partners that have lied and betrayed them.

  • Oh yes. The “friends” schtick. So appropriate today for me. What amazes me is that when they start cycling through the 3 phases really fast, which is what happens when you’re finally leveling consequences–you get to see how they conveniently “forget” all of the horrific things they literally JUST said to you!

    I watched mine, in the course of 10 minutes go from (Sammie D, this is what prompted me to respond!)–“I never liked how you keep your eyes open when we kiss and you just stick your tongue down my throat, like you’re trying to tongue fuck me!” to….”You’re my best friend. MY. BEST. FRIEND. We do so much better when we are supporting and loving each other! Don’t do this thing to destroy it!” (the divorce)

    It was bizarre and almost a little frightening. They do and say ANYTHING that will get them what they need, which is centrality. If you and OW are still supporting him in ANY way? That makes him so, so important. Everybody wants him, dontchaknow?

    Denise–“friends”—look that up in the dictionary. Does this describe how your STBXH treats you? What is YOUR definition of FRIEND. That is the only thing that counts here. Why would you be friends with someone who endangered your personal health and safety and that of your family? Would you become/stay friends with the guy who carjacked you and had you drive to the ATM so he could take all your money? Really? Cause that’s what this guy did to your life with his affair.

    And yes, mine does the same thing, so yours is NOT unique. When you realize that this is straight out of the playbook, you can see past it to—WHAT DO YOU WANT. It’s all about that. What is it that they want from you–sometimes it’s money or a place to stay or don’t tell my kids that I fucked all of their soccer friends’ moms.

    Move on and scrape this guy off the bottom of your shoe.

    • I got the cycling thing. It really is fascinating.

      I want to be friends, you don’t, how can you possibly do this to me
      – but you paid hookers for blowjobs and lied to me about everything

      That is your fault, you drove me to do it
      – but I was the one wanting us to have a physical relationship. you rejected me.

      I will be devastated if you end this relationship
      – but you got caught, you behaved badly, you lied and cheated
      YOU brought this relationship to an end with your choices and behavior

      wash, rinse, repeat until I just told him to go back to his hookers and walked away lol

      • samiam,

        Like your husband, mine also used prostitutes. He has a “special” one. He is 60 and she is 29. Disgusts me to no end. And he’s MAD that I’m divorcing him and I don’t care about him, he has lost his law license, has no income, dwindling savings. He’s angry and going for the throat in the divorce, which all was because of his whoring around. And he says I’m horrible for not caring how he’ll survive. He destroyed everything for blow jobs, which he could have gotten at home any time. As my lawyer said, “His true colors will come out.”

      • One of the things my cheating ex said, “I am dead inside without you.”
        My answer, “did you realize that before, during or after you fucked those skanks?”

          • My ex had the nerve to tell me when I kicked him to the curb, he said “we were made for each other and you’ll never find another with so many common interests, you’re my match. ” WHAT?!?! SERIOUSLY?? he was/is a piece of work! I also asked him if it was all worth it. He replied “nothing is worth losing you over.” HAH! he should’ve thought about that before! Fucking idiot!

            • Oh my. It’s like they read from a script. My STBX said to me: “no one will EVER LOVE YOU as much as I do”

              Um. Ok. I will take that. I sure home no one will ever love me the way you did: cheating, lying, dozens of women, almost 2 decades long.

              • i used to get the “you will never find anyone like me” 2 years ago when we separated so i told him ” God i hope not” and that shut him up. he didnt say it at all this time…he just kept screaming “You dont need me, you think you need me but you dont need me!” WTF? if i thought i needed him, he should have been there. *shrugs* me thinks he was trying to convince himself.

      • OMG Samian-exactly this! Stbx had me on severe penis rations for years due to his porn/massage parlor/hooker escapades. I begged, cried, pleaded for love & affection the whole time which he of course withheld, lied, gaslighted, blamed, etc. now that the truth has been revealed he expects me to just get over it and go along like nothing happened or is still happening-WTF with these idiots!! My stbx really expects me to stay in a loveless, sexless marriage for his image I guess. NOT! And he started telling our 5 year old that he loves both of us more than anything. I can certainly do without that kind of love! I’m 2 weeks into the new job & can’t wait until I have the money I need to file & get away from him

  • As soon as I filed My ex-shithead said he was surprised to get served because he thought that we would fill out the divorce papers ‘together’ while doing a series of ‘gut checks’ .

    Of course that was his way of saying he wanted to cheat on his GF with me. Delusional and Insane.

    • I got the pleasure of serving my now ex the divorce papers myself. We were still sharing the house at the time, so I figured why pay someone to hand him the documents when I could just do it myself. And yes, it was both heart breaking and satisfying. As time goes by, the satisfaction of living my life free from him (aside from the kids we have together) constantly reassures me that I did the right thing.

  • Denise, my brother was a chump. He had just recovered from a serious illness when his wife abandoned him and their young children. He married again but died within a few years. He would tell you that your life is too precious to waste a minute of it on someone who has caused you harm. (And he did harm you). What my brother and I talked about before he died was about things he regretted but had no chance to rectify. Honor yourself. You deserve so much more than a man who insults you by telling you he did not like kissing you. You were his wife. His smarminess comes through loud and clear.

  • Unfortunately, when you have children with El Jerko, you have to maintain contact necessary for the care of the children. They may think it is an opportunity for them to get extra curricular kibbles, but you are not in charge of what they think — only what you do. So let them ramble on about remaining friends — it does not hurt you, you can make a grocery list in your head, think about how nice it would be for a random bolt of lightning to come thru the window and pierce his idiotic body with karmic accuracy, anything else while he is assuming that you are so anxious to continue to be in his presence you will do the pick me dance. But you don’t dance anymore, and he is delusional.

    With regard to the pick me dance — I’ve been reading about the Jody Arias trial (again). This woman was the ultimate Pick Me Dance partner — until she finally snapped and took out all her pent up anger on her oblivious selfish boyfriend. I also have listened to some of the drivel Monica Lewinsky has been spouting as she works to create a book buying audience and stay in the spotlight. She, too, was a pick me kind of gal. I have no mercy for either of these women — they may have been young, but girls need to learn by middle school and the onset of puberty that men probably have ulterior sleazy and selfish motives which require you to remove your clothes and act as if you have lost your mind ( and common sense, and dignity and, and, and. . . ) I really think it is up to those of us who have seen the light to do all we can to change the public perception that we need to do whatever it takes to keep our significant other’s focused on us. What we need to do is focus on finding SO’s with character. If they are not pleased, and want to slither away to the nearest pick me dance partner to have all their porno fantasies enacted — so be it. We can only go about our own lives within our own boundaries. If they find the random Jody or Monica out there, oh well. Life can be hard for those who need constant cake and kibbles.

  • Mine is passive aggressive. Is it possible for a narc to do that rather than go into a rage? He doesn’t usually rage. When I don’t engage in conversation with him, he does things underhandedly such as putting his FB postings under Public instead of Friends in case I read them because for some reason I just can’t seem to stop going to his FB page to see which profile or cover he has put up next. Basically, sometimes when I am looking I notice how he sometimes takes his postings off of the Friends option and then I see all of his postings. I know this is not good for me, but I can’t help it. I want them to break up so bad, but it hasn’t happened and may never happen. He left me two years ago and I just saw a posting about how amazing his girlfriend is because of what she has to put up with from her kids. He went on and on about how unselfish she is and it made me sick. If she is so unselfish, then why did she get involve with a married man? And in the beginning I pleaded with her through letters to leave him alone and tried to make her feel guilty and I got no reply to those. If she has a heart of gold like he said in his posting on FB, then why did she continue on with the affair? Now they plan to get married. I just don’t get any of this.

    • Block him on FB!! Then you can’t see his posts. It will be like he doesn’t exist and he won’t even know you did it.

      • Cheatersucks…..Oh I have him blocked on my main account. I’m just dumb enough to go through and an account I have that I don’t use at all to look. I know I am torturing myself, but I can’t seem to stop. It’s an addiction. I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook!

        • Continued no contact means no Facebook contact. The longer you go the better it gets. Wear a rubber band around your wrist and snap it every time you think about checking out his stupid page. It won’t be long and you will recoil in horror at the very thought of breaking no contact. Continued contact is prolonging your pain and keeping your head up his behind. Every time you take a whiff you notice “that smell”…it doesn’t change. Take it from one who has been matter how you stir it that smell remains foul.

        • Like CL says. NC is a discipline. It’s hard but absolutely worth it. I am a little over a month into NC and seriouly (after 22 years of marriage) it gets easier every day. I sometimes have to sit on my hands. When i feel tempted I would come to this website and read every post under the No Contact category AGAIN. IT HELPS. 🙂

    • Maria, I have the narc STBX that does passive aggressive instead of rage too. He rarely raised his voice throughout our marriage which I thought was a good quality. I guess I didn’t realize the sarcasm, ignoring and choosing not to do things that needed to be done was his alternative to raging. It drove me nuts though which allowed him to blame me and say I was crazy. It’s the mindfuckery way for them to look good by not raging while making us look crazy.

      • Thanks Bye, Bye. What do you think about him posting all the stuff about how unselfish his girlfriend is even though she was screwing him for over a year behind my back? It made me sick. How can she have a heart screwing with someone else’s husband? She does everything for her kids, giving them money and such and they treat her like garbage. haha I say Karma.


        • Maria, my opinion is that he’s posting that stuff for Tracy’s #2 – impression management. He’s likely blamed you when talking to others by saying you were too selfish, etc. That’s what mine did – he blamed his cheating on me when talking to others. Since they seems to be alike, yours probably did too.

          As far as her having a heart – no she doesn’t and she’s no better than him in this respect. He cheated on you and she knew about you and still cheated with him. Anyone who can do that to another person has no conscience, heart, integrity, or values.

          Having said that, the heartache you are going through is different from mine in that my STBX didn’t leave me for any of his women. They were simply his fuck buddies and he had no intention of having a permanent relationship with any of them or leaving me. If he had left me for one of them, I would likely be in your shoes wanting to find out as much information about them as I could.

          Even if they get married, you know he’s a cheater, she knows he’s a cheater, and she doesn’t mind being cheater accomplice. It may take time, but karma has to come their way at some point. In the meantime, try to find a way to disengage from them and focus on you.

          • Thank you Bye, Bye for answering me. Even though yours didn’t leave you for someone else, I know your pain has to be just as bad and just as deep still. I fee bad for you and wish you all the luck in the world. I wish there was a way for us to communicate with each other (Members of Chump Nation) on this site with e-mails (with permission of course). Thanks again.

            • Hi Maria, be careful with these obsessions…looking at his stuff is a way of doing the “pick me dance”. In your heart, you still want him to come back and pick you. You are still not at meh…and this is normal, but I have found, the hard way, that everything CL advises is good for us and even if at the beginning we don´t want to believe it (because we think maybe our relationship was special and because we are still addicted to hopium) in the long run,it will become true. Just think that for people to change, they need to do really hard work on themselves for a long time, and your cheater for sure is not doing that. This means that everything you suffered with him, the OW will too, sooner or later. And if the OW likes married men, she may also find another one. They are their own karma. The “heart of gold” thing is so that the people who see him on FB and know you, think that he left you for someone who was worth it. It is all part of the image that he has to protect as a narcissist. Work on being happy for yourself and do anything to try to stop the obsessive ideas (therapy, journaling, running, etc) and to enjoy life without a cheater.

      • ByeBye, mine did all of the things that you mentioned and raged too… They are just nut bags… manipulative, narcissistic nutters. Leopards don’t change their spots.

    • Maria, stop looking at the FB page. Block it and you CANiT see it. I had to block the MOW because I was obsessed with it. Here’s the deal: block it and leave it blocked for 90 days. Break the habit. Give yourself a treat when you make it to 90 days. Then do 90 more, and repeat until you are “meh” and never think of what he posts. Remember–he is into impression management (like (0% of people on FB) and he lies. As you know. So whatever is up there does not in any way represent the reality of their lives. For all you know, he’s cheating on her and she’s speckling like a mad dog and pick-me dancing with a new OW. I do believe that if your cheater likes the triangle, you are actually feeding their relationship by paying attention to it. So stop that now! Work on getting to meh. They will break up soon enough or he will just start the lying and denying with her. Trust that he sucks and move on, girl! I know it’s hard but you can do it.

        • Thank you LovedA. I needed to read your reply today. I was tempted to look, but I’m not now. I know it’s so harmful for me to do this. I have him blocked, but not her because she had me blocked while they were having their affair. Then one day I noticed that she unblocked me after we divorced. However, I don’t want to make the effort to block her because then she will know her page bothers me. I just leave it alone. But, I don’t have to type her name in search so I will stop.

  • I would rather eat a bullet or the entire clip than remain friends with my exH. His behavior was and is despicable and he lacks good moral character. I do not remain friends with people who have no trouble throwing me under the bus to get what they want!

    Denise, just stay away from his crazy! He wants this “small bump” in the road to be forgotten about because it is difficult for him to look at his reflection in the mirror and to know what kind of person he really is. He wants you to make it easy for him to live with himself. Fuck that noise!!!!

    • Kimmy, I totally agree with your first paragraph. But as far as looking in the mirror and seeing something other than fabulous and worthy of praise and adoration, that will never happen with my X. He’s the most important man in the world, don’t you know.

  • Yup, it’s about impression management,and goes along with the revisionist history of what went wrong with the marriage.
    My exH was quite upset when I reminded him we were not friends; this after he told me how OWife was on bedrest as she was leaking amniotic fluid, etc… Um, I don’t care!)
    A year after that, he remains delusional: he offered monetary support to my mother and sister, both of whom were struggling at that moment.
    Really?! You are fighting me on child support, and you want to help them?
    ExH was a big brother to sister (she was 13 when we started dating) and he PERFORMED HER WEDDING CEREMONY. No, she is not interested in your help.

  • Denise, this is typical behavior. As ChumpLady advises, it’s best to go NO CONTACT. It worked for me. After the divorce was finalized, My ex expected the same, and I just stonewalled her every step of the way. Most likely, she moved on to someone else who is ignorant enough to give her the attention she needs. Good riddance!

    Separately, I had a friend–let’s call her Jen–who I found out cheated on her husband for 3 years. And, given what I’d experienced in my own marriage, I realized how little I respect Jen now. So, based on her life choices, I’ve decided not to be friends with Jen anymore, either. She can go find her attention and friendship from people who think that lying, cheating, and manipulating are no big deal.

    Moral of the story: if someone is willing to lie and cheat on their spouse (the person they vowed never to betray), then they will do the same to their friends and family — most of whom the cheater likely manipulated during the course of the affair to begin with. Why be friends with such people?

  • Reading this has me thinking of a line spoken by Terri Garr in the movie Tootsie, “I don’t take this shit from friends only from lovers.”

  • My NPD with a side of sociopath XBF wanted to “remain friends” after he paid hookers for blowjobs and other services, didn’t use protection exposing me to STIs during the rare times he touched me, all the while lamenting he had ED and I needed to be patient (yeah, right) and lied to my face about endless things…

    I told him that I’m not friends with people who lie to me.

    He looked stunned.


    Idiots….all of them.

  • “2.) Impression management. Narcissists care how they are perceived. (People won’t give you kibbles if they don’t like you.) If you’re friends with him, then what he did wasn’t so bad!”

    Exactly. I think this is akin to helping people who want to remain “neutral” about the cheating. It is all about how the cheaters look. The cheating could not have been all that bad if you are still friends. Yep, that’s a good reason to NOT be friends. Want to be friends? Make a PSA to all our friends about how you cheated, lied, and caused unbelievable damage to your faithful spouse. Then MAYBE we can think about being friends. Then again, why would one want to be friends with someone who did that?

    • That is a good question, DM!

      I think the Switzerlanders (“We are still friends with you both”) have the same need for image management, too….

  • Whenever I was presented with the “let’s be frieeeeeennnnnddssss” line of BS, I answered with some variation on:
    Real friends don’t betray you.
    Real friends don’t tell you bald faced lies.
    Real friends don’t stab you in the back.
    Real friends don’t steal your money.
    Or, if I was not in the mood for his drivel, I’d just say emphatically, “You’re NOT my friend.”

    And you know what I find hysterical? All those OW that he said were “just friiieeeeennnnddddssss” are no longer his friend, either.

    He wouldn’t know friendship if it hit him upside the head.

  • When a cheating lying snake wants to remain friends with you its not about you, it’s all about them. It’s not that they still care about you or value you, if they did they wouldn’t lied, cheated, exploited and hurt you in the first place. You were/are not valuable then or now, you were just useful to them. The reasons they want to be friends;

    1- To show the whole world what they did wasn’t that bad, it’s about their image control.
    2- To try to suck you back in, perhaps to keep you as the other side dish fuck, keep you on the back burner while they are with the new sucker.
    3- To continue to mindfuck you and best way to stop being mindfucked is to stay the hell away from the mindfuck.
    4- To triangulate the new sucker, using you to goad them into pick me dance.
    5- To continue to exploit you for whatever that is, sex, kibbles, money, whatever they are after.
    6- If their new relationship fails they have you to fall back on. Until they find another one, they will keep you around to meet their needs– kibbles, sex, money but without the “being in a relationship” title with minimal effort on their part.

    Seriously, who in their right mind would want to stay friends with someone, let them continue to be part of your life when they callously fucked you over for so long? Not me, that’s for sure. My cheating ex, after I finally dumped his ass wanted to be at least friends and accused me of being so hateful, unforgiving when I refused (as in NC). Texting me “I can’t believe you won’t even be friends with me after all the time we were together, I thought we had something special, at least worth remembering, but I guess that’s just me” REALLY??? Is that the reason he repeatedly lied, cheated, exploited me in every way possible all the time we were together? Actions speaks louder and his words are just words, empty lip service and full of shit! He did the charm, rage and self-pity back and forth with no results. While he kept texting me how sorry he was, how he would do anything to be back in my life, how he would always love me, he already had someone else in the wings. If I was stupid enough to take the bait then he would’ve been cheating on me with her and on her with me. That’s who he is, a lying cheat and always will be, he is not a good guy as he wants whole world to believe. So if a cheating fucktard wants to be at least friends with you, tell him/her to fuck off! None of us needs friends like that!

    • Oooh, # 4, yes, that is so important to them! X told me once ‘I like the healthy competition’.
      He rarely contacts me now, as I only give him curt texts in answer, but he was fishing around a few weeks ago and said – There will never be another couple like us.
      That just burned me up, because the first thing I thought was – yeah, you loved being in a couple where YOU were the ‘Fragile Little Special One’, and I was turned into your servant!!
      Good thing CL woke me up with the 2 x 4!
      I’m thinking I might block his number.

  • My ex very much wanted to be friends. Even said, when I was absolutely devastated, ‘I can come over and hang out, we can have a drink or two and talk’ like it was a big gift from him. He was going to let me bask in his glow! I said no thanks and never forgot the smugness of that moment. He reeked of it.

    He’s tried the ‘I thought we said we’d always be friends!’ crap a few more times but the once time I bothered to answer it was ‘hahaha. No.’ It increased his rage towards me, which told me he really is borderline at best, N at worst.

    • Thinking about the “let be friends” shit, it seemed to come after they realize that the divorce is imminent,
      but it it more about self preservation. Controlling the narrative, and hey, if we are friends, the divorce should be smooth, i.e, cheaper for the cheater.

      • Ex hasn’t tried it in quite some time. He’s on permanent rage with me. Seriously, we are in contact very rarely and no matter what it’s about he is full-blast rage. It’s odd, to say the least. Three years and he’s still pissed he cheated on me and got to be with final OW. Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth! 🙂

  • Thank you so much for this post.

    Since d-day (7 years ago), I have also struggled to understand why my exH wants to be friends. The continued mind-fuckery includes an annual request to take me out to celebrate my birthday.

    Slowly and sometimes traumatically, I learned the only way to deal with my exH was to set clear boundaries and to stick to them. It is just like tough-love parenting — except it is tough love for yourself!

    For example, he didn’t understand why I changed the locks to my house and wouldn’t give him a key. After all, I had a key to his house. And, why I would decline an invitation to a party with a bunch of mutual friends. He had a friend call and ask why I wasn’t there. Seriously?!

    I wish I had this site (and book) to help me in the early days. It really would have been a god send.

    I already knew this, but this site has helped me reinforce that — It isn’t me — it’s him. Denise, say it with us: “it’s not you – it’s him”.

    Chump Lady THANK YOU. Please keep up the good work!

    PS The new site looks great!

  • I look at this way. If I had a business partner who lied to me, who stole from me and who was out and about hooking up in a partnership with someone else I would run as fast as my legs would carry me – and carrying my share of the business too. Being married doesn’t mean one shouldn’t apply the same rules and these people are simply not friend material. I have been treated better by people who aren’t even friends.

    My deranged husband seemed perplexed by this. But then he is deranged ,however, at least he has stopped trying to be ‘friends’.

  • My XH remained “friends” with the woman he lived with before me (I didn’t know they lived together, nor did I know that they remained “friends” until she called me on the phone one day to introduce herself to me and then proceeded to send me every email that they had exchanged since BEFORE we got married, but AFTER we got engaged). Then, when we finally divorced he tried to get me to be the “friend”. It was funny when I read some of the emails that he sent to me. It was just like reading the ones he had sent to the first “friend”. I wondered if he kept them and recycled through them. The best thing I ever did was go NC with him. I do oftentimes wonder who has taken the “friend” spot because in my experience, they always like to have one in the bed and one in the stable so I believe that I have been replaced :).

      • We couldn’t make this rubbish up if you tried! I got the date thing also, but after 37 years of marriage he thought that we could be F/Buddies. He actually said those words to me. He is very lucky he is alive today.

        • The first lawyer I consulted told me that this was common practice: the former spouse becomes the lover. I couldn´t believe that he was telling me this when I was a complete mess…I never hired him, of course, but a few months later the scumbag send me a text message asking me out on a date and I asked him if he was married (I had seen a picture of his kids at the office) and he said yes…I immediately told him how unprofessional he was, and how unlucky his wife was to have such a person as a husband. What an idiot!

        • Since it wasn’t you. Sounds like someone else will End hos Misery for him.
          He is asking for it.
          What a pompous D/A.

      • At one point, before he would admit to the AP, Narc X tried the same thing on me. “After we’re divorced, and I get my head straight, we can always date.” I laughed and said, “What makes you think after putting me through all of this, I would WANT to date you? What makes you think I will even be single when you finally ‘get your head straight?'”

        • Mine wouldn’t admit to the OW for a long time either, even though I had all the proof I needed. There were times when we would see each other in the hallway just before a court hearing that he would ask me, “Is this what you really want?” I would look at him and ask, “Are you still with Jane?” He would just stare at me never really responding. I would then answer, “Damn straight this is what I want.” I have often wondered what he would have done/said if I would have said, “Let’s call this off and reconcile.” He probably would have shit his pants and backpedaled so quickly.

          • Wow, Annie, same thing! I remember while we were in the divorce process, him calling up to ask me if we could meet to talk, and when I asked why, he said “I just want to know if this is what you really want.” (This was after he finally did admit to the AP.) I was like, “You have a girlfriend.” And he said, “Well, she’s not really my girlfriend.” Please note: They left their spouses for each other and were living together, both getting divorced, but she’s not really a girlfriend. That’s the kind of love that warms my heart right there. I think I said something about none of this being what I wanted.

            I shouldn’t be surprised anymore that the Cheater Playbook has them all doing the EXACT.SAME.THING. and yet I always am.

  • It still unnerves me a little how much cheater behavior is universal. I too received the lines, “I can’t imagine you not being in my life,” and “I still want to be friends.” After telling him that I never wanted to see or hear from him again, I went into the study and called my life line and dearest friend. In a loud, distraught, and indignant voice (so that he could hear), I told her, “You know what’s really messed up M? He wants to be friends after all this shit. What a stupid idea-I can’t imagine how that would work out” Then I packed an overnight bag and went to my friend’s house. I never spent another night with him or in his house. And, in the end, I was the only person speaking truth, I went no contact completely. He moved quickly to his next victim (the woman he cheated with), and continues to work overtime lying to her and trying desperately to retain a facade of “normal”

  • Another reason they “want to remain friends” right after dday and during divorce proceedings is that they hope to soften you up so they can take as much advantage as possible during divorce settlement. IMHO, once the divorce is over and done, most of them will quickly lose all interest in being your “friend,” unless their OW dumps them and they want you back for continued use and supply.

    • I totally believe that. Ex wanted to be “friends” at first, which was ridiculous. I said he was merely the father of my child… he couldn’t believe it. But I think it was to control me during the divorce settlement. Jerk.

  • So I’m right in the middle of a divorce. Had to take him to court for child support. Been struggling on my own, paying the bills that both of us should be paying, but he won’t pay so I need to. I can’t afford to have my wages garnished. He’s had pretty much a whole other family for 3 years now. Lo and behold..Saturday night I’m at work, preparing for another meeting with my attorney, putting together financial records, etc. I get a text from the asshat, asking if I’m working. I don’t answer, so I get a phone call. We never talk unless absolutely necessary, so I took the phone call, stupid me. Turns out he saw my vehicle in front of my office, and was parked outside. He wanted to know if I’d like to go to the local haunted house. Um..what? He’s got a whole other life..left me and our kids for the OW..and now wants me to go somewhere with him? This article came at the perfect time..because I’ve been questioning things ever since. I told him no by the way, and he asked “Is it because of me? were the one that cheated and pretty much destroyed me. I wonder what his motives are!

    • I’d be careful about being around him, it sounds like he might be stalking you!
      Don’t trust him, especially when he’s acting all nice, that’s usually when they’re plotting some crazy nonsense.

      • Well what’s weird is he is so “blissfully happy” with the OW, and she is wearing a nice new engagement ring. I agree, FreeWoman. He’s got SOMETHING up his sleeve..just not sure what!

        • Sandy – seems pretty clear what he’s got up his sleeve…you said he’s engaged to OW but you’re still in the middle of the divorce! You can’t get married to another woman if you haven’t divorced your first wife! He wants you to pave the way for him to get married. Stay the course on your divorce and trust your gut that you are correct in thinking he wants something from you.

            • Or he’s trying to sweet-talk you into dropping any legal action that would force him to pay child support.

            • LovedAJackass..I don’t think he wants to slow it down, actually I think he WANTS to get married to her as fast as possible. Supposedly he’s never been happier..he’s such a different person with her..blah blah blah. Flyingsquirrel..we are soooo close to the end of the divorce! I’ve already had to take him to court earlier this summer just for temporary child support, and that is automatically withheld from his paycheck by his employer..court-ordered, because they know he won’t pay it otherwise. When this first started, he promised to pay me X amount of dollars each month, which he did for about 2 months. Then cut me off completely. Good example for others just starting out in the NOT trust anything they say, anything they promise, or anything they “intend” to do. They are LIARS, that’s proven. And because I trusted (yes, I am a world-class idiot) that he would pay me every month during this process..I am now so far behind financially. Because even though he stopped paying me a damn dime..I still continued to pay the bills. Somebody has to! I will never drop any legal action against him..EVER. He screwed me every which way..financially, emotionally, you name it. So he can sweet-talk me as much as he wants. Our first actual divorce hearing is Halloween. If nothing gets settled, we go back November 4th. So he is in between a rock and a hard attorney has sent his attorney several settlement proposals..and they have answered NONE. I won’t back down! To add to my misery, as I have been compiling financial records from him over the past 3 years..I’ve discovered $50,000 so far that he spent on his OW, on cash withdrawals, and overdrafts..all money that should have gone to the kids and me. All these years..I was struggling to pay bills. Calling the electric company so we didn’t get power shut off. Trying to get gas to get work. Food on the table. He throws me a bone twice a me whatever he felt like giving me, even though I was paying EVERYTHING. I always got the excuse..oh, it was a bad week, I didn’t have many loads, (he’s a truck driver) you name it, he used it as an excuse. When all of that was being spent on the OW and who knows what the hell else.

    • Yeah Jayne, at first I was very skeptical about this site and CL’s writings and used to get angry when I read them, because somewhere deep down I believed that him leaving me was my fault and that no one in Chump Nation was taking responsibility for any wrong doing on their part and just blaming the cheater. However, I no longer feel that way at all. It doesn’t matter what you did in the marriage. there is no excuse for your spouse to cheat and make a complete fool out of you. I now look forward to every article and I need them to keep snapping me back into reality. When I’m alone sometimes and stop reading CL’s articles I sometimes slip back and think that somehow I could have stopped him from leaving or cheating on me, but I know that’s not true. The site looks great CL and keep up the good work! We need you! There are way to many of us out here that need constant reminders. .

  • During the one pastoral counseling session that I and the STBX attended, he had the gall to say to me, in front of the two counselors, “I hope we can still be friends! I get along great with my first ex-wife, and I hope that we can have the same kind of relationship!” You should have seen the look on the pastors’ faces when he let fly with that gem of narkiness!
    Guys, he HATED his first ex and continually talked smack about her during most of our marriage!

  • I needed this post today CL so thank you!! My STBX is playing the ‘let’s be friends’ card now along with the ‘we need to be friends for our daughter’s sake’, which is the ultimate guilt trip add on. He wants to help me with things around the house, my car, etc., anything he can to worm his way back in for exactly the 1st and 2nd reason in your article. At first, I thought, why not take advantage of him by getting him to do some things for me. Then my clearer conscience returned, you know, the one that reminds you that they suck, and the answer is no. I can do a lot on my own and, if I can’t do it, I’ll find someone who will help me. But it can’t be him.

    • Do you know why he wants to help you with things around the house, your car, etc.? because he has an hidden agenda. I am sure its not just the 1st and 2nd reason, you better include the 3rd one. After a while, once he keeps coming around, gets his foot through the house, he will want some some that he was use to getting. These cheaters, when they offer you something, there is always something attached to it and there is something in it for them…Don’t let him in your house ever and keep your distance before he gets too comfortable and fuck you over some other way. He cant. be. trusted. EVER.

    • Right after I kicked ex out things started falling apart around the house. I TRIED to get him to help fix things because I didn’t have a clue how to do it myself and he was squeezing me on money so I didn’t have the cash to bring someone in. This was literally things with the kids’ rooms, etc. and he would not do it. In fact, he was a total asshole about it. And then he wanted to be friends. Fuck him. I figured out, finally, how to do things myself.

    • You need to be civil for the kid’s sake. Period.

      It takes a lot of audacity to throw the friends card out there when you’ve acted so damn unfriendly.

  • I’m going to change my name, because my life is so different now, and better, thanks in large part to Chump Nation!
    (Formerly PattyToo)

  • Aw, hells no. One of the things that brought me closest to Meh was Ex moving to the opposite coast. (I know I have zero control over that, but it sure was wonderful to have that cloud of toxic whatever move cross-county. Sorry, California! I guess one more narc out there will hardly show 🙂 )

    Here’s how I think “friendly” cheating Ex’s act: I just had a vacation to visit my daughter, in Germany. Suddenly, the man who never contacts me, sent a flurry, flurries! of email to me. While I was over there, seeing her. Ha ha ho ho. So f-ing transparent. I just created a filter for my mail and dumped his shit out of sight so it wouldn’t ruin my vacation. Nice passive-aggressive move there, bud. Not gonna work any more.

    And he sent daughter a long whiny email about what he’s doing at work (like she cares??) how he & (married to some poor schmuck) GF went up to SF for a fundraiser. (They had previously gone to a wedding.–as some wise soul here posted, what kind of human takes a MARRIED GF to a WEDDING after busting up a 25 year family by cheating?? A narc, that’s who. A toxic narc.) Again, DD has minus zero interest in their goings-on.

    Did the email contain any regard for her? her work? her place? her life? No, it did not. So that’s the way he rolls as a father. “Hi, How are you?” blah blah blah 8 paragraphs about me. “I love you” blah blah.

    So transparent.

    So, in sum, a ex who wants to be friends? Just wants more audience. Somebody who knows him to continue to validate his wonderfulness. Also, to provide cover as to how he’s not really the rotten person we all know he is. “Look, she’s my friend??!!” Can’t all bad.

    Nope, walk away, preferably with no response. Not deserved.

  • Ok, well, I guess I am the oddball. *I* was the one who thought they wanted to remain friends with the ex after divorce. Let me clarify, however. That was BEFORE I knew he was cheating/lying/manipulating/etc. Our marriage wasn’t good, going really down hil. But at that time I still *thought* he was a “good guy” and I still cared for him as a person and that maybe we could just get along better if we didn’t live together. My parents got divorced, neither of them leaving for another person. They spent time together doing family things for a while, so that IS what I envisioned even if we didn’t stay married. Remember, I still thought he was that NICE GUY. Once I found out about the cheating, lying, deception, throwing me under the bus and ONCE THERE WAS A THIRD person in the mix…. FORGET IT. I had originally told him he could still come down for the kids’ birthday parties, for Christmas morning, etc.. that was BEFORE he moved in w/ OW (now wife). Once the third person got in the mix, all that wishful thinking went out the window for me. Call me crazy! Guess he was right. LOL.

    • Not the same, but I looked STBX square in the face at my lawyer’s and told him that I bore him no ill will, that I understood that he was in love with Schmoopie, so in the meantime, while we still share the marital abode (but not bedroom, thank goodness!), we’re both adults. We’re civil. Pretty much everything other than “we can be friends.” I think that’s how he heard it, though.

      Fine, whatever. Once the divorce is finalized and I move out, I plan to go pretty much No Contact. Since we don’t have children, that should be fairly easy.

  • I think we all got some version of the lets be friends line. It makes them feel better about the crap hand they have delt us.

    After getting BD on my Birthday weekend with a house full of teenagers – I got the privilege of spending the next family birthday sitting across from stbx at a nice steak house.

    He was surly and would not make eye contact. The kids could feel the hatred vibes coming off him – we were all miserable. But this was his idea – to make things look normal!!!

    Nope – not going to happen. With friends like that – who needs enemies?!? Seriously delusional!!!

    • Ha! The no eye contact/hate vibes. The last few times I saw ex I got that and I finally asked what was up his ass. He had no answer but he really does hate me. To the point that 3 years later he still contacts me to create drama. I ignore him but it makes me laugh.

      • Isn’t it amazing how they feel entitled to hating us after what they have done??? I just can’t get my head around that! Obviously a way to feel their cheating was justified. They’ll keep hating/blaming us until they turn all their character disorder onto the OW/spouse and discard them…. and then onto the next!

        • He’s already finding ‘faults’ in final OW. Because, you know, she turned out not to be the perfect antidote to his misery and crazy. Poor thing, she’s in for a rough ride.

    • i kicked my XH out on jan 1 2014, i found out about other woman on Feb 9, 2014, and filed the papers for divorce the next day. i guess he thought i was just doing it for attention, or that i really didnt file the divorce. my bday is on Mar 16 and i got a single text from him saying “happy birthday. i bet you thought i forgot” i responded “fuck you”. i STILL dont understand why the fuck he even thought to text me. after the divorce went thru…he hates me now. he went NC.

  • I really needed to read this, today. He wanted to be friends, ‘because friendship is part of it…’ I told him that if I couldn’t be anything more to him, I sure as hell couldn’t be his FRIEND.

    He’s still with the reason we split up in the first place and, yesterday, I get a text message: ‘Don’t want to pester you. Just asking how you are. X You don’t have to reply if you don’t want to.’ And I was racking my brains today, wondering what he wanted and why he would bother to write.

    The answer? KIBBLES, PICK-ME DANCE, KIBBLES ad infinitum.

    Ladies and CL in particular, thanks for helping me to see just how manipulative these guys are.

  • Yup, got this from my cheater.

    “I miss having you as a buddy. Doesn’t my mistress have lovely hair? No, I couldn’t possibly give you a chance at reconciliation, you were mean to my mistress! Did you see the latest episode of Arrow? How did your date go? Did I mention what a good kisser my Schmoopie is?”

    He still tries. I won’t engage.

    Of course, now Schmoopie has dumped him and I’m as NC as possible with kids. No cake, no kibbles. Poor cheater.

  • Not only did I get the “we’ll be great friends” but also heard the OM’s S16 and my S17 will be really good friends too.

  • This post was a much-needed refresher course for me! Even though it’s Chump 101 curriculum, I needed the review due to recent hoover attempts for more kibbles. Happily, I’m at a higher level of understanding where narcissists are concerned, but it still surprised me how reading this check-list strengthened my resolve today. Keep on preaching your wisdom ChumpLady — you are brilliant!!

  • My xh also wanted us to be ‘cordial old friends’ after a 38 year marriage. I told him we could be cordial (when necessary at family events, for my grands and my daughters), and we will certainly be old, but we will never be friends after betrayal, rejection, abandonment and humiliation. He was clueless. It never bothered him to see me, while it always bothers me to see him. That’s because what happened to me, did not happen to him. He just does not get it and never will.

    • It’s like we’re from different planets, isn’t it? And I don’t mean Mars and Venus. It’s like we’re a different species! How could it mean so much to us and so little to them? It boggles the mind.

  • i dont know who said they were out of the normal (on my phone which is different then pc) but i also was one who thought we could be “friends”

    after all we separted a few times. he came for dinners. we went to movies and outings. he was here for birtbdays and holidays. and he helped fix things at the house. i dont know why i was thinking that would continue. or COULD continue

    but my XH (or his MOW) stopped all that as soon as i filed. he has been cruel mean and hateful. and it was him who started the NC. he hates me so much that he wouldnt even call the house to tell sons happy birthday. at first it killed me. but if he didnt text or call i didnt either. but it killed me. now i dont know what to feel. it still hurts that i meant so little to him. or that he is such a pussy he cant handle it like an adult.

    but it is better i guess. i dont have to deal with the crazy. and it is peaceful in my house. i think i was addicted to the crazy thou and going thru withdrawals. i struggle with NOT calling him evry day. i just want to hear his voice so bad even if he is being hateful. i struggle with wanting to call him about the kids, to share the detils of their lives. but since i am not sure if i wAnt to do that just so he knows what is going on with the kids or if it is because i wnt to hear his voice or even if it is so it can hurt him just alittle and remind him of what he threw away……so i do nothing.

    i was wrong. you cant be frienxds with someone who doesnt love you and is incapable of being a grown man. you cant be friends with a man who lets his MKOW degrade and disrespect you. you cant be friends with a man that lets the same woman come between your family. she has convinced him the kids are better off with a dad, and that it is ok not to see theem because it is all my fault.

    but it still hurts

    • He doesn’t call to say happy birthday to his kids NOT because he hates you, it’s because he cares about no one but himself. Most of the cheaters don’t give a shit about their kids, if they did do you think they would go break their family? for anything? They wouldn’t, so don’t think he hates you, don’t take it personally, he is nothing but pile of dog shit, only person he cares for is himself and himself only, when idiots come around later “for the kids” it’s just a charade to show the world “look at me, I am such a great parent!” but behind close doors they don’t give a rats ass. The kids will be fine as long as they have one sane parent who cares for them and loves them.

      You know why you are craving to hear his voice and want to call him? NOT because you still love him because you were used to talking to him, the routine, you miss what it used to be. Its more than likely you made him the center of your world/your life so you miss that, that’s it! It hurts because what you thought you had is gone, your dream of what it could’ve been is gone, but It will get better in time believe me. Fuck him and fuck his skank! You don’t need him and if he doesn’t call his kids that’s on him, not you, all you need to do is be the strong, loving, great mom for your kids! Everything he is doing to you, some day he would be doing it to the OW and you can take that to the bank. You know what’s the best revenge? Get on with your life, live well, be happy and leave the fucker behind in your dust!

      • Good point, Nicolette. The separation anxiety is a big issue. Not to mention the hell they put us through so that our every waking moment is consumed by them, it, her, the suck situation. It takes a lot to retrain your brain to think about something else.

      • Thanks nicollettt.

        i struggle with a lott these days. i cant figure it out. i guess i am still trying to use my feelings and character to explain his actions. i thought i had stopped trying to unravel the skien. but even when i am trying to understand my own feelings right now, he is still part of that.

        funny. i never thought about how much his was part of me. which is the way i thought it should be. 2 become 1 doesnt just mean sex. i need to untangle him from myself to move forward.

        guess i still have work to do. thank you for laying it out for me like that. i read cl everyday but sometimes i just need to hear people tell me these things

  • Yea, I think a lot of people get the “Let’s be friends” nonsense. If you have kids it’s enough to be civil during rare interactions, IMO. Why cheapen the meaning of friendship?

    I got that speech twice. The first time, I said nope. The second time I wrinkled my nose up and said, “Try to have a little dignity”. But I was crisply done.

  • Yep, I really want to be friends with someone who would have killed me if he thought he could get away with it…NOT. Seeing him looking at me with a gun in hand, watching him DECIDE if he could get away with killing me while he was drunk? Talking him into emptying the gun, being chased as I ran from the house. Scary shit that sent me balls to the walls to get him away from me. His reaction to the PO was Absolutely stunning. I made the mistake of allowing phone calls from the psych ward… I was still under the impression that not only was he mentally ill, he recognized it and was working on it. Yes, he was and No he wasn’t. So he called me; first the rage about how he was going to fuck me over so bad for what I did to him, then the I’m sorry shit, and I love you. Bullshit. Then like clockwork the MARTYR MAN made his entrance, this is the face EVERYONE else sees 100% of the time; it’s the drugs they have me on talking, without you I can’t find the path, don’t abandon me like everyone else, I’d do blah, blah, blah. For fuck’s sake make up something new asshole! You almost shot me for Christs sake, surely your MARTYR MAN persona needs a remake? Long story short; He whipped through the cycle of abuse in a single phone call.

    I’m not going deep on my story. I’m sure I’m not the only one who had to take out a protective order/restraining order on their ex, or stbx. AND of course they still want to be friends. Oh, and BTW, please rescind the PO because you know I would never hurt you… Srsly, you already did. You cannot make this shit up.

  • Thanks. I needed this today. I’m only a few weeks out from ending it, and deep in the Loneliness Woods. Telling myself but not quite believing that he sucks. Or perhaps more accurately not at all convinced that I DON’T suck – the logic and the fear aren’t in agreement on this point yet (logic suggests I’m pretty great, fear questions). He’s been leaving small gifts, or returning things – no note just the item. That’s felt like picking at the wound. Today though he made contact via e-mail, I deleted it without responding. But I can’t say I was very meh about it. Then I came here and just laughed when I saw today’s topic. Not sure if you’re psychic Chump Lady – but whether by coincidence or divine intervention, I really appreciate the borrowed strength of reading today’s post.

    • I remember this phase quite well. Was having a lot of trouble working out an honest division of responsibilities for the end of the marriage. A bit over a couple of years out, it sort of came down to this:

      There were times when I behaved badly (lost my temper, shouted, said things I shouldn’t have, self-medicated, became withdrawn, resisted affection). My behaviour was, most of the time, the result of having been gaslighted, manipulated, abused (emotionally and financially) and lied to over a long period of time. This doesn’t excuse my behaviour, though, but the fact that I wouldn’t address the issues in a mature way, or just pack up and leave, shows a high level of codependence in me.

      For her part, well, she cheated on me (at least once), manipulated, gaslighted and abused me emotionally and financially.

      I’m not someone who has ever kept a journal, but writing in one religiously for the first year allowed me to get clarity because I could spend time thinking about, and writing down, concrete examples of the above behaviour. Then I could read it and, over time, get a more accurate picture of what happened. I don’t keep a journal anymore.

      When someone has made you doubt your instincts and your reality for so long it becomes very difficult to trust yourself. Maybe this is why you don’t quite believe that he sucks and you’re not sure that you don’t suck.

      He cheated on you and therefore he sucks.

      You don’t suck, but maybe you’ve behaved in ways that are distasteful to you. It could be that this behaviour was a normal, if somewhat uncontrolled, reaction to the situation you were in.

      • “You don’t suck, but maybe you’ve behaved in ways that are distasteful to you. It could be that this behaviour was a normal, if somewhat uncontrolled, reaction to the situation you were in.”

        Hear, hear, Kendoll.
        We do what we do to get by. It’s only afterwards that we’re able to look at things objectively and understand properly who we were in those times and the reasons why we behaved in certain ways.
        We are all different women, now, and we should not blame ourselves for loving, or even for loving someone who wasn’t worthy of our love.
        The fact that we CAN love, separates us from them…

      • To kendoll’s response:

        Thank you for putting into writing what I’ve been trying to express. The cheater just wants me to absorb blame of his Why.

      • Kendoll,

        Thank you for this excellent piece of insight, compassion and demonstration of self-compassion. So well put. Thank you, thank you for the shift in perception.

  • “Dear Chump Lady, Why does he want to remain friends?”

    When you’re done answering this question, Chumplady, I have a few others for you, including:

    Why does that tick stay stuck to my dog’s hind leg?

    Why does that reality TV star stay on my TV?

    And, why does that fat man stay at the all-you-can-eat buffet?

    I have a suspicion that a lot of the same reasoning applies.

  • Don’t know why this posted down here. This was in response to Nord and her husband thinking she and the final(?) OW being friends.

  • I was emotionally devastated and philosophically overwrought – seriously I was taking philosophy during the anticlimax… so I really screwed myself over trying to find a human connection with the cake eater. I tried to elevate my own understanding instead of seeing him for who he is. I would take that time back so fast your head would spin! Save yourself the trouble. Seriously, it took me three hard, hard years to get to the point where I could tell him, “It’s sad that the value of my love for you = 0. Unfortunately, the value I placed on myself had diminished in direct proportion to the time I wasted trying to untangle his skein of fuckedupedness. After two life changing months of no contact, he forwarded a “The Universe Wants You To Know” blurb about holding grudges, forgiveness and letting go. He had inserted my name in all of the places his had been. My reply was… kept to myself. Trust that he sucks – you don’t need more proof than that to know he’s not good friend material.

    • Danette, yes, for the longest time I was angry at myself for not realizing that I’d spent my entire adult life with a liar. His actions pretty loudly stated who and what he was but I kept spackling like crazy. His best friend called me all the time, asking to speak with my ex, who was never home. He was always out working or at the club. When his friend finally asked me how I felt about all the time I spent alone, or with the kids, I still didn’t put two and two together. That’s what I regret most. The years I spent with a man incapable of real love. Looking back though they were the best years with my kids.

  • The Jackass was the one who refused to remain friends. The very act of “accusing” him of cheating meant he was “done with” me. He “wouldn’t tolerate it.” In the first couple of months after DDay, I was adamant about ending the relationship but was willing to try to save the 30+ year friendship if he had been willing to talk about what happen and come clean about not only the cheating but the gaslighting and other horrible behavior. That was all prior to starting to read on this blog. Now, of course, I know I could have saved myself the trouble of caring about that, since none of it was real, anyway.

    Jackass talked a lot in the “gaslighting” stage about the risks of losing a friendship after it turned to romance (and then to narcissistic discard). He sounded sad and wistful about that and in the one sustained contact I had with him in the week of DDay, he put on a good act of denying the relationship was over, etc. But it’s pretty clear that his unwillingness to simply break up was impression management (regarding mutual friends) coupled with not wanting to return the money he was holding in his business account, with a side order of keeping a cake supply on the side. He had come and gone in my life for years, and probably figured that if enough time passed with me being none the wiser about the MOW (and whoever else), he could hoover me back if he needed to.

    We have no kids together so there was no need for contact after DDay and it was easier for him to just blame me (yeah, whatever) and get his cake and kibbles from MOW and the life-long pick-me dance with his brothers for the prize of his mother’s approval. But now MOW is history with him and his daughter is off to college and his mother won’t live forever. Those kibble sources dry up fast and they hate to waste ones that go way back to their most awesome days, usually high school.

  • I kind of had to be ‘friends’ because we still worked for the same institution. It wasn’t like we hung out and had lunch together or anything like that but I had to be professional towards him.

    Am I the only one with old eyes? I’m having a lot of difficulty with the size of the font on this new site and the grey background too. It’s much harder for me to read then the old site for some reason.

    • Syringa, yes, hate the new format as I can not adjust it either (my iPad allows me to adjust print size normally) and the greys and italicized words are hard. Anybody over forty, lol!

  • I was married to a closeted narcissist, the passive-aggressive covert narcissist who bailed on our family when he finally found a warm body with blonde hair, after years of chasing various same. This one is different, in that she let him fuck her–er…is his soul mate (I beg your pardon.) She also likes the fact that he’s got a professional’s salary, but she loves him for him, particularly the him who walked away from a wife and three sons. I mean, who wouldn’t tempt/be tempted by a cowar–I mean, a “hunny” like that? Right?

    Now, my ex had it all figured out. Fueled by raging infatuation and a winning attitude (he totally SCHOOLED me in “fuck you, you’re not the boss of me”) he sorted out in his tiny little brain that we’d all be friends.

    What this meant was that he would be the center of all concern. She would be his plaything, the arm candy, the DTF unattached girlfriend, and (how cool is this?) I would be more like the secretary/mom. I would handle all mom duties–not just for my children, but for him, as well. You know–the laundry, the vacuuming, the bills, the calendar. Also I would continue to adore him and look after him, lovingly, kindly, and cheering him on in his romantic life. Also, because my IQ is approximately double hers, you know, if he needed a bit of stimulation, he could drop in and grace me with his musings and theories, before leaving me all dazzled by his brilliance. I’m guessing Mr. Big would have thrown me a bone now and then if I begged enough. Because, why should he give up my usefulness? Right? Why would you want to give up any of that? After all, he’d had a good thing going, taking off on weekends and day trips with the twat troll (GOSH! Sorry!) Soul Mate, while I stayed at home and helped with home work and paperwork and cleaning and bringing in a paycheck. Let’s not forget the yard work, because, what a drag that is, and I really seemed to enjoy it, or something. I offered him sexual favors that she didn’t, as well, so it was really a good thing. REALLY great. But NOW! Now with it in the open, he wouldn’t have to hide and worry, because, while that part is thrilling, it can also be exhausting, and since she is his sidepiece fuck Who Loves Him Unconditionally, the thrill is actually all about his cleverness, don’t you see. I mean, suddenly all the Eagles songs have really deep meaning! You know?

    If only I hadn’t been such a buzz kill, If only I hadn’t over-reacted and been Vindictive? It’s just that I obviously didn’t see how great it all was.

    Well, that’s just another example of why it Didn’t Work Out, and why We Split Up. It’s because I’m obviously really not a lot of fun. And that’s why he never loved me. So, in the end, it’s all worked out well. My loss, you know? My loss. It could have been so perfect.

    • Ms SS… sounds like my STBX. I do all the work and he gets all the glory and it worked for him for years. Oh well, off he rides into the sunset with his little sweet thing…who will dress up her poodly rat dogs in elf costumes and have their picture taken with Santiclaus. With her adoring and utterly empty big blue eyes… as for you and me… we will work, we will raise the kids and we will live an honest and true life, living well is the best revenge as they say.

      • Hah, ringinon! Maybe they ARE the same guy, after all…. xH really, really does not like dogs. And the OW has two adorable little chi’s. Wouldn’t surprise me if he kicks them when she’s not looking.

    • Yes, I do believe our losers deserve what is sure never to be their “happily ever after.” My ex bailed on a twenty eight year relationship, our twenty year marriage, three kids (and their living and education expenses), and all of our combined and joint financial obligations (including the custom home on twenty acres)– What a fucking disordered wingnut! I suspect many of our Cheaters have traits in common and don’t think too much beyond their very simple needs. Money, sex, someone to make me look and feel good. Me, me, me…I don’t think they spend too much time analyzing their crap life skills. My ex too spent three years lining up his new life, dissipating assets, controlling the narrative, all while playing sparkle-y family guy. After returning from a family vacation he gleefully ran our lives and finances into a ditch. SFB quickly married his OW (new pussy is intoxicating!) for her half of the family business (after which her family promptly forced her into selling) and she married him for his reputation in a new community, yearly income, and health benefits. Apparently he’s not the first club member she’s fucked, or married. Oh, true love. (Snort!) What’s really funny about this is that I have come to the conclusion that these Cheaters not only suck but they will never realize how close they came to having it all. You just can never change stupid.

    • This wife appliance turned out not to be that much fun either.
      Mine wanted the same – wanted me to be BFF with Miss Piggy.
      Actually suggested she and her 3 kids move in with us when her marriage was failing ( because of their affair ).
      Then I went an ruined it all by saying NO.
      I am a lot more fun now that I am not married to that fucknut !!!

  • Oh yes, they are very concerned with how they appear to everyone else. Plus the bottom line is that they are soulless. This past week my STBX stopped by the house to get his mail and calmly told me why he would never come back but that he was looking for another house and after my son passed away I was welcome to come live with him. He also told me that when my son was first diagnosed with cancer (back in Feb) I should have put him in a home instead of taking care of him myself and that’s one of the reasons he left.
    He then told me that he had looked into and had found out that indeed I could have put my 24 year old son into hospice for the last year or two of his life.
    Then he calls me a few hours later and asks if next time I can leave my son alone for a few hours would I like to go see a movie.
    I told my friend it was like staring down a deep black abyss.

  • my ex seems to be wanting to be friends with my mum who since died but would go visit her with a cake for their tea never went near her when we were married for34 years,the latest is my friend who i have known since i was 5 calling her up and offering to do her electric work for free of course to which she took him up on he then called my daughter and told her he had been doing work for my friend,mission accomplished i no longer speak to my friend, always wanting to look like the good guy to everyone while letting you know they have the whole world fooled,now he asked my sisters husband at my sons wedding for his number so they could go out for a drink,again never went for a drink with him while married for 34 years but handy to let the new woman see that my friend brother in law and mother still like him,no one gets that they are being used,i am beginning to sound bitter to them because he,s so lovely to them, as for me i only spoke to him as long as it took to get what i wanted from the divorcei wont even look at him now i dot talk to trash



    He Actually Said, you Have A right to your Feelings, BUT IT DOESN’T MAKE THE RIGHT. WTF

  • >