Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

Dear Chump Lady, What do you think of spontaneous “confessions”?

bullshitbirdBWDear Chump Lady

Reading a recent Dear Chump Lady brought an old question to mind. In your article on 11/8, Thomas’s wife suddenly fessed up (sort of), out of the blue, to a years-long affair. It reminded me of one of my lying exes when I was younger, and of stories I’ve heard from other people. What do you think of ‘spontaneous’ cheater confessions? Personally, I detect a strong whiff of horseshit, and I think there must be something else going on that prompted these confessions. A sudden attack of conscience seems, well, out of character.

After a horrible long-term relationship, I briefly dated a guy I met at work who seemed compatible. Things didn’t progress beyond second base before I found out that he wasn’t single, he lived with his long-term girlfriend. I told him to go to hell and that if he didn’t tell her, I would. He found it in his heart to “spontaneously” inform her of the affair and blamed it on him being stressed out by her having cancer (I wish I were kidding). I found out the crap he was spewing when she called me to tell me to step off her man. I heard a few months later that he’d been doing a hell of a lot more than cuddling and sharing a milkshake with OTHER girls. She married him anyway.

The other “spontaneous” cheater confession I’ve heard much detail about comes from a high school friend who married her college sweetheart. He went away for the weekend with friends and when he came home, spontaneously confessed that he’d had a “one time” sexual encounter a year ago with a coworker. He even helpfully provided the contact info for his affair partner. My friend screamed at the supposed OW for hours, and this woman just took it and apologized profusely. Meanwhile, they’d had a VERY rough year for money… no explanation, her husband just brought home less money suddenly. If it was really only one time, what explains that? I guess it could all be coincidence, but I doubt it. They’ve got children together and she accepted his first explanation, so they’re still together.

So really, what’s up with these “spontaneous” confessions? Are they all crap like Pete’s (the jerk I dated)? Do these people sometimes feel sudden, genuine remorse, or is my bullshit detector calibrated okay? I think it’s something they whip out to manage impressions when they think the shit’s about to hit the fan.


Dear Siobhan,

Like you, I am skeptical about spontaneous confessions.

If you work from the premise that cheating comes from a sense of entitlement and narcissism, it does beggar belief that the weight of the cheater’s conscience suddenly eclipses their need for kibbles.

Think about it, if you were a cheater and you were screwing around for a couple months and you were getting an icky feeling that this was Wrong, your decision tree is Tell or Do Not Tell. Dear Abby used to tell cheaters to be better spouses and carry this to the grave, and of course Never Do It Again. (I’m not weighing in on that advice now, but consider how tempting that would sound if you were a cheater.) Telling would be the braver choice, or so it would appear, because then the spouse can make an honest decision about the marriage and you can reconcile with the whole ugly truth. RIC encourages this, and stories abound about how much better the cheater feels for unburdening his or her soul.

But I don’t really buy it. I think it’s far more tempting to a cheater to keep it on the down low. I think this would be the preferred choice if you were one of those remorseful cheaters. Why hurt my spouse unnecessarily? I’ll vow never again! And I think this would be the preferred choice if you were NOT remorseful. Not telling keeps the door open for future cake.

Cheaters who tell have a host of reasons for telling that have absolutely NOTHING to do with their burdened souls. So why would they tell?

1) They want to get to the narrative first. As you pointed out, cheaters may “confess” because someone is threatening to confess for them, and so they rush to get to the narrative first and do damage control. Most likely, it’s the affair partner who is threatened to tell if they don’t. Or it could be some other person with knowledge of the affair. The most advantageous thing to do is tell, because then you can minimize and control the flow of “trickle truth” (otherwise known as lies of omission).

2) They’re grooming you for future cheating. I think cheaters telling chumps about their exploits is a really disordered way of goading chumps into doing the pick me dance. The tell to see what you’ll do, and being narcissists, they’re pretty certain you’ll dance pretty to keep the wonderfulness that is them. They’ll notice how hard you try, they’ll put up with your anger and grief (excuse me while I step over your sobbing body to go make a Hot Pocket), and they’ll just go on the down low. Perhaps if they’re really good, they’ll go through the motions of reconciliation to keep you off base. But mostly what they gain by telling is the knowledge that you’ll still be there, anxious to keep them. Poor broken, sausage them, who might need help through a relapse or two…

So yeah, Siobhan — I’m skeptical.

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.
  • Perhaps, I am still too chumpy, but I am not quite as cynical about these confessions. It is not an either/or in my mind. Confessing–usually in part–can serve the cheater in relieving some of the pressure on their conscience. Then they can tell themselves the lie that they told their partner, and so, it’s all “Okay” now.

    Unless your cheater is a complete sociopath, I find it likely a confession of some sorts will take place. You have to do something with the conscience, and the weight of the treachery will eventually crush the cheater (assuming a shred of a conscience remains).

    That said, I do not deny that these confessions remain self-serving. And I agree with CL that they can serve the cheater in the above ways that she enumerates. If the confession is incomplete in any ways, it is still a lie of omission, and the cheater’s heart is still bound by secrecy to his/her adulterous partner. The incompleteness is a dead-giveaway to the confession being about the cheater and not about true remorse over wronging the faithful spouse.

    Well, that’s my two cents.


    • I am more cynical. I bet that less than 1% confess out of guilt. I think that in almost every case of a confession, there is the threat of imminent discovery.
      Even AA advises cheaters not to confess, despite the steps saying they should. The program seems to carve out an exception for infidelity. And, since addiction and personality disorders are closely tied, there are a ton of recovering alcoholics who have cheated and never confessed, IMO.
      I also bet that most of us who have discovered cheating know the tip of the iceberg re when it started and how many partners there were etc.

      • I agree that disclosure is very rarely “voluntary”. My X knew a very public disclosure was coming (I have the misfortune to be considered newsworthy). Still, he waited for two days to tell, minutes before the shit hit the proverbial fan. Even then, he lied to my face about what had happened and continued to minimize his behavior until I had enough. And the observation that cheaters love to talk about the AP is dead on. I never liked the Jesus cheater who was my X’s AP from the moment I met her . That didn’t stop X from bringing her into my home, introducing her to my children and telling me what a good Christian she was. It’s like they get some sick thrill from their deception, but the only person my X fooled was himself…there’s no fool like an old fool.

      • Arnold–YES! To this part of what you wrote: “Even AA advises cheaters not to confess, despite the steps saying they should. The program seems to carve out an exception for infidelity.”
        I myself have always found it hysterically funny that AA says you need to be rigorously honest….except if you had an affair! I always wondered if anyone else noticed that too. Thank you!

          • Right. Bill W was a predator and the early groups assigned men to run interference and keep him off the new female members.
            My XW is heavily involved in AA and CD treatment ( she used her alcoholism as an excuse for serial cheating). She has never come clean on her cheating.

            • AA is no different than a church, just because someone goes regularly and claims to follow the teachings doesn’t mean they do. People in an AA meetings are the same people that hung out in the bar, some truly want to change their lives and themselves and others just don’t want to get in trouble for drinking anymore.
              I’ve known people in recovery that changed themselves and how they lived their lives and there are others that are just going through the motions.

        • Lulu, it’s not be honest except for an affair. It’s to be honest except when doing so would hurt others. In other words for the sick alcoholic mind this is not an excuse to tell someone the truth about something (under the guise of being honest) knowing it will harm them. “Hey, I had to tell you that I’ve always thought you were ugly, because I’m getting sober.”
          There is not an exception for infidelity. It’s more to question your motive for being brutally honest, not to keep you from being honest.
          And if it is something that you have decided should not be told, you still need to come clean to your sponsor and they may even tell you that your should go ahead.
          If someone in AA has told you this (that be honest except about an affair) than they are merely twisting the facts to lie to themselves and others.

          • Yes, but there is a lot written out there carving out the infidelity admission as an exception.
            From what I have read, it is pretty standard advice on this issue.
            So , I wonder how it is they think telling someone you cheated, so that person can make informed decisions( like getting STD testing or paternity testing etc., is harming a person.
            It is protecting the person.

    • I saw it as his pressure relief valve opening up just enough to let off a little tension from the guilt. He didn’t confess to the actual affair he was still involved with, just to having been bad with some meaningless relationships after which he “felt dirty”. After it was over, he said it did feel much better to get that out in the open. All about him after all.

      I think the ex actually did have a pretty good superego/conscience that he rebelled against constantly. He could have made a decent adult if he weren’t such a delayed adolescent with this malignant resentment toward life for not giving him all the goodies he thought he was entitled to.

      Well, wanting is usually better than having, as he is finding out.

      • “Well, wanting is usually better than having, as he is finding out.”

        Oh the irony, LOL! I wanted that man so bad I completely upended my life for him. To be truthful he was great during the 4 yr long distance relationship. I planned on transition issues when I moved in because we’d both lived alone for so long and we both are fairly strong willed. I was living there less than 24 hours and the man did a 180. Boy did I start to rethinking “having”.

        Now this OW he’s hot for has a gun and a temper. She has no fear and no trouble standing up for herself. She’s just what he needs. : ) Too bad I’m too far away to enjoy the show.

        His other side piece (EA) is married former ho-worker actually has a spare bedroom in her home in case he ever had to spend the night in an emergency. Ugh! She just beamed whenever she saw him and it was such an obvious crush. Puke.

        I am all out trust, sh*ts, & f**cks this fine Monday afternoon. I am so enjoying the colors outside my window right now. I am so gratitude filled this November as opposed to a year ago. I was missing one of his cats, a yellow tom, and the Universe saw fit to have a loving one move into my neighborhood. He loves my dog and she loves him. Cute to see.

      • Mine was an alco in his twenties to early thirties, rheir emotional development is stunted by the drinking. They are not complete people. I always thought he was a lost soul or a hungry ghost looking to take from anyone who would let him. I was correct.

  • My ex at one point after finally admitting to the PA, said, “I could have gone to my grave and not told, I was going to keep quiet about it but decided that wasn’t right.” He was weirdly proud that he was telling the truth, that he was being the “good guy” for admitting to cheating! I told him, no he couldn’t have gone to his grave and not told, because he wasn’t giving her up! That only works if you never have anything to do with the AP again.

    Personally, I believe it was controlling the narrative. I fully believe someone was threatening to tell. I think he was going to keep quiet about it and enjoy cake.

  • I have been lied to, been gaslighted, and been on the receiving end of so much cheater crap over the years that I no longer leave my fate to chance. I quite like living alone, but it’s nice having a partner on my life. However I do feel the need to protect my heart and my bank account outweigh the moral obligation to be trusting. So, I trust, then verify. By whatever means is available.

    If this means keylogging my computer, or checking their text messages, or showing up unexpectedly sometimes…I do it. Patience helps. Date someone over an extended period of time, don’t be in a rush to pair up. The default plan should always be that you’re willing to call their shit and leave.

    Someone choosing a life partner with whom to have children does face a challenge. I think getting to know their family and friends is a good start. Listen carefully to their history. If they have behaved dishonestly in any way, then quit. Listen to what a person says early on. Often they tell you who they are before they’ve put up their guard.

    False confessions? I think the controlling-the-narrative is usualy what it’s about. I once keylogged a BF and discovered his cheating. I watched and listened in fascination for the following three weeks while he covered his tracks, gaslighted me, called me paranoid and jealous … That famous line they use “I don’t do jealousy”. I simply used the experience as a chance to observe a liar … To see just how low some people can stoop. You can bet I made sure he spent a boatload on me in the interim (I thought of it as payment for the cake) then I chose my exit and simply went NC. He never did hear from me, although when one of his friends contacted me to say how I’d hurt the guy, I dished to him about the cheating and said I just ditched the no-good loser. I bet that got back!

  • CL has nicely explained another move in the cheater pants bag of tricks. This post made me take another look at why cheaters love to bring up the AP’s name in conversation with the person being chumped. For example, after the first “official” contact Jackass had with the MOW (at her brother’s memorial), he called and told me all about her and how he “wondered where her husband was at.” A week or so later, it was all about how she wanted to buy his mother’s dining set. In both cases, he had a secret; he knew something I didn’t know and talking about it to the person he was betraying was exciting. What other explanation could there be? It’s a way of saying to the chump, “I have someone new and better than you” (although we know the cheating APs are not “better”; they’re not even regular people but hyenas, morally and emotionally speaking).

    So–I think for one subset of the cheater species, the spontaneous confession is also related to this phenomena of mentioning the AP, making sure the spouse meets the AP, having AP’s family over for a barbecue, getting her to babysit the kids, etc. When “I know something you don’t know” gets old and boring, time to ratchet up the stakes. Of course they never tell the whole truth, but now “I know something you don’t know” is heightened because every time the cheater isn’t in line of sight, the chumps knows they might be cheating and are sitting home, wringing their hands, gearing up to pick-me dance to get the cheater back in love…

    When we realize we are no more than charters in a TV show to them, we have a chance of understanding that there is no fixing the relationship if a narcissist or other disordered cheater pants is involved.

      • Yeah, mine constantly brought up the OW…she was a colleagues, his line manager in a pathetic call centre working barely above minimum wage. She was a fat mess and looked hideous, and I used to say that when he mentioned her. He would get indignant and say he “needed to respect her because she was his boss”. I couldn’t figure out why he didn’t move to a better job, but he must have been getting pretty good service out of her to stay! Now I always perk up my ears when a BF mentions a colleague too often. And I ask to meet them, that usually reveals the truth.

        Soooo glad I got my digs in when I did. They are still technically together, but she has ballooned up to a huge size, is a total drama queen, and I cannot imagine for one minute that he is staying faithful. So glad she took him off my hands!

        • Yeah, definitely a bad sign when they’re frequently talking about a colleague or “friend”. Also, watch how they react if you half-jokingly suggest that their might be something going on. If they get all indignant and you’ve-got-to-be-kidding, it’s probably time to do a bit of detective work on the side.

          • Oh yes! After listen to story after story about OW, I told him I didn’t like her. I met get a few times, she was weird and shady. Anyway he defended her and it was game on. Two weeks of gas lighting and he was out of there go be with The Love Of His Life. Ugly, married and mother to three young children, whom my ex was grooming for months, taking the bowling, etc.

    • Yes, mine talked about the OW all the time (ho-worker) until I finally told him I was sick to death of hearing her name. I was suspicious of her right from the start but got the “we’re just friends” crap. The day he told me they were going to “walk and run” together every morning after work I put an end to it. He pouted and she sent me candy! What the F**K! Then he wanted me to meet her. She was “all about her family” and such a good person. It all makes me so angry now. I definitely think it was the “I’ve got a secret” thing and it was obviously working for her too (married with two kids). Of course I didn’t eat the candy from the bitch. It was probably doctored with ex lax.

      • Never eat anything you haven’t cooked yourself. My crazy ex DID poison me. Thank god I caught him cheating before it was too late. Food from the OW? Omg!

        • Yes, thank God you caught him Marci! I was semi kidding about the candy but this s**t is terrifying. So sorry you had to go through that.

    • First, holy cow, Marci! That’s unimaginable!

      My STBX talked a lot about OW, but since he had some female temp workers in his office who all had personal lives that were just terrible, I didn’t think a lot of the talk until the temp workers all left and he was still talking about her personal life. In retrospect, maybe he wanted me to feel sorry for her? What was I supposed to think, “gee, she’s had a hard life. I know that you’re not really cheating–just making her feel more loved.”?

      Anyway, at one point, OW invited STBX to a birthday party, which meant I had to come along. STBX said it was a potluck, and he was supplying sausages from the butcher’s. These were raw sausages, and OW was having a terrible time with her grill.

      In retrospect, his desire to have his sausages cooked properly seems pretty hilarious, especially getting both of us to spend time on them. What a metaphor!

    • Narcissists are the ones that get off on “pulling one over you”. Makes them feel all powerful, and well….you know, there’s always some perceived slight you need to be punished for. It’s a win-win for them.

      A garden variety cheater won’t cop to cheating, even when caught red-handed, with their dick in the cookie jar.

      I’m just glad there’s a way to tell them apart.

    • “So–I think for one subset of the cheater species, the spontaneous confession is also related to this phenomena of mentioning the AP, making sure the spouse meets the AP, having AP’s family over for a barbecue, getting her to babysit the kids, etc. When “I know something you don’t know” gets old and boring, time to ratchet up the stakes. Of course they never tell the whole truth, but now “I know something you don’t know” is heightened because every time the cheater isn’t in line of sight, the chumps knows they might be cheating and are sitting home, wringing their hands, gearing up to pick-me dance to get the cheater back in love…”

      This is the guy I married. I has never insecure about him bringing up all of the names of women he knew and knows. Of course I never suspected he was fucking them all. In hindsight, knowing what I know now, this is sick, sadistic. Even all of his “trophies” from his hookups and gifts from them strewn all over the house. Really sadistic. Very messed up. These people are sociopaths.

    • I could never figure out why my ex had to share all that he was up to with me. Pictures of his trip ” with the boys” when there were no boys in the picture ( it was at her parents farm that he now takes the kids too, doh, did you think I’d never figure it out?) pictures of his happy hour ” with the gang” ( another girl I suspected but never had proof). He couldn’t wait to show me.and I was dancing my little pick me heart out. So cruel.

  • I think cheaters come out with info of whatever sort whenever there is a turning point in their relationship with the affair partner (AP). So if the AP finally makes it clear that they open for interaction, then your cheating partner may mention that person in some context, possibly as “what a good friend he/ she is.” OR as LovedAJackass experienced, their name comes up as just TMI in a conversation.

    So when you hear more about this person

    1) things may have started to look more solid in your cheating partner’s pursuit of a relationship


    2) things have started to look less certain for your cheating partner

    and your partner is trying to shore up the relationship with you.

    • This is brilliant and certainly fits with my experience. I know they had been in contact before, but their first meeting in public–I heard all about it.

    • There is always a trigger for a confession. I don’t believe confessions come out of the blue, nor do I believe that cheaters’ confessions are meant to lessen psychological turmoil. No, something has happened recently in their lives, that they feel a confession will be in their favour. Whether it be that things are moving ahead in their affair, or that the affair is coming close to an end, a confession always serves a selfish purpose. Keep in mind, that narcissists won’t put themselves in a submissive position without secondary gain.

      • I agree, I think the confession for the one night stand, o r year affair is to distract you from the “other” activities they’ve been up to.
        So you ask them, okay so you have had anything to do with OW#1 since that time last year and of course they agree but cheaters are liars of omission and because you didn’t ask about OW#2 you think you’ve been given a good answer and they will not offer the info about something you haven’t asked about.

        A great example. I bought a dozen donuts to take into work. My boyfriend ate two. I asked him “Did you eat two jelly donuts?” No. he tells me so I think my 5 year olds got into the donuts. No he ate two, but I asked the wrong question. He ate two plain donuts.

        • Yes. My x would do this constantly. “Are you still talking with ow?” He’d say “no” because he wasn’t talking with her right that very minute – altho he HAD talked with her a few hours before I asked. Ridiculous. It was like dealing with a toddler.

  • Dear Siobhan,

    I can’t speak from experience, as I got blindsided, but I would say this:listen to your gut. CL is dead right about there probably being another angle, so I’d get checked for STIs and run a financial check up to boot.

    If they do it once, they will do it again.



  • Sung like a canary because:

    She may have been a co-worker and he had to change jobs-lesser take home pay.

    He was afraid she would get suspicious over the reduced paycheck or she would get wind of a company sexual harassment charge.

  • “Players got to play, liars got to lie, cheaters got to cheat” — We have to learn to protect ourselves! We many have been trusting and emotionally naive. We may have actually taken our marriage vows seriously. We cannot assume that our partners or potential partners have the same moral boundaries we do.

    The other thing is that if the liars/cheaters/players are lying to us — they are probably lying to everyone else. I don’t think you should jump to conclusions that the OW knowingly entered into the relationship with a married man. She may have — she may be a super slut — but she may be a perfectly good woman who was lied to. If we believe what liars tell us, we have been chumped. The best advice is listen and verify — from the very beginning. Take it slow. If you get love bombed and there is a big hurry — something is WRONG. If an OW is angry enough to tell you, or if the liar/cheater suddenly wants to tell you about his “sad, sad, mistake” before someone else does — better listen carefully and check up on all the facts.

    Unfortunately we can delude ourselves and live in denial, and the OW can too. I really don’t believe that cheaters suddenly “learn their lesson” and “change their ways” and “never cheat again.” It is possible to completely turn a life around — but not likely. Verify all the facts you can. Don’t be a chump, again.

    • All cheaters are liars. I think a lot of women cheaters tell their affair partners they are abused or their husbands are really bad guys.

      • Yes, this is what my husband’s AP did. Told him her husband was horrible, abusive, threatened her, etc, and yet she couldn’t leave because she had no place to go. I found out later it was all a lie.

      • The Mary Kay pig said her husband, her special cheater pants she convinced to marry her and divorce his wife and children, neglected her. He was too old.

        This loser is 50! She and her cheater, swinging pants asshat is in his 60’s. She was all about a repeat performance with my asshat and their true love destiny in 2012.

        I lost. Asshat would “NEVER do anything that hurt his children” = divorce his unsuspecting spouse for true 50 shades of loser.

        • All of his other chicks were paid sex workers or opportunistic x GFs or co workers. I consider the non-paid sex workers to be opportunistic. They may have been in other relationships. They knew asshat was married and I even knew some of them, but they still sought the thrill of putting one over on me. Or his mighty ” everything but PIV sex” skills. Yuck.

          The stories HE told them about me must have been a really really good narrative.

  • In my case, he confessed to get me to agree to a divorce. We had just married 3.5 months prior and I quit my job and sold my house to move across the country with him and our toddler. He started by telling me that getting married was a mistake and I should just go back to my home state. With no job, no house, a child to care for, and a big chumpy heart, I insisted that we would get through whatever was going on. He finally confessed his affair (which had been going on when we married) in order to put the final nail in the coffin. He used it as ammunition against me, not as a way to unburden himself or in a sudden fit of truthfulness.

    I think in most cases, confessions serve the cheater in some awful and painful manner. If they cared enough to confess for the benefit of their spouse, I have to imagine that they would have been the kind of person to not cheat in the first place.

    • ” If they cared enough to confess for the benefit of their spouse, I have to imagine that they would have been the kind of person to not cheat in the first place.”

      Right on, FreeVixen

    • 3 1/2 months. Wow. And he let you see your house, quit your job, and move across the country, That’s a massive load of entitlement and indifference to the rights and needs of others, including his own child. Your story is the type that always infuriates me–the cheater isn’t content to cheat. He has to blow up the chump’s whole life. I’m sure this experience was devastating, but you certainly are better off without this hyena.

    • FreeVixen, cheating X3 and I married. He wanted me to sell my house and I had school aged kids. I told him that would only happen after we had been married 10 years and were good. It’s not like there isn’t a high divorce rate in this country, especially 2nd marriages. I remember thinking he was being selfish asking. I didn’t sell my house this time, either and my kids are grown.

      I hope you have more than landed on your feet. You deserve so much better. Hugs!

      • Thank you. 🙂 Unfortunately I have not yet landed on my feet. I went from being financially independent with a professional career and my own home to camping out in my parents’ guest room and working a part-time retail job. I’ve been in chump limbo for 5.5 months and struggling financially while my ex takes weekend jaunts with his floozie and blows off commitments to our son. We were together for 10 years, and he just had to marry me and completely destroy my life in order to make his big exit. I’m heartbroken and struggling, and there seems to be no end in sight. I keep reminding myself that this has to get better at SOME point.

  • Check that… she WAS a co-worker.

    Co worker went to HR after “crazy” wife called. He moved job.

    Giving out phone number was chicken shit on his part. He directed her anger to the OW. He’s the real MF’r, never forget it.

  • Angles! Like a haunted house with all those deceptive mirrors. My h had a 5mo pa with his mow co worker. She was a class a fuck up, and when he ended it (I was in the dark) after a few months of ic, she told him to not worry, she wasn’t a psycho. She wasn’t, but she continued to pursue aggressively. Every time I saw a message from her, I confronted – you could see that he was weighing the choices – spontaneous truth puke or maintain narrative that makes him look good? He confessed to a stupid and shameful ea. Lucky (?) for me she was a manic emailer, so I followed the one sided drama with my tea and anti anxiety meds every day, like a white trash telenovela. He left details out about the affair, poo pooed her emails and my gut screamed. I told him his trickling of information was like a nasty std that keeps itching and oozing – pardon my graphic description. He wanted to stay married, so booked another round of mc with a new mc. At the first session (5wks ago), we were told that if there are any untold lies, we were wasting $220/hr (add to that ic for me, him and a knows too much teenager, over $800wk, very fucked up) and he never wanted to see us again, no mc if there’s no marriage, how dare we waste his fucking time (well played, sir). Before we even got back to the car, I got the rest of the story, the sexual details, locations etc. like a boot in my gut. Up until that point, I was told it was a 5 mo ea. chump nation told me starting jan 2014 that an ea was highly unlikely, I just kept wanting to say, “I totally agree, but if you saw her, you couldn’t fuck her either, lol”. No lol-ing now. I felt that odd sense of relief, like I’d been sprung from the asylum and I was running thru a field in a long white cotton nightgown singing, “I’m not a crazy lady!” He really did think that the slimy bump he’d shoved under the rug was not going to be noticed or tripped on. His shame and wanting to not have that secret come out trumped everything – my sobbing, vomiting and coconuts behavior took the focus off him and he could say that I was the problem. His shins are black and blue from a long line of friends who have unleashed on him. His npd mother told him the pa was not his fault, and he has limited his contact with her to only phone calls pertaining to a family business. I refuse to give any time to anyone who doesn’t support me – and I struggle with the guilt and selfishness of that decision, but fuck them.

    As per my kick ass ic, my only focus right now is self care. As a sahm, I’ve got to change my focus towards me and that’s a paradigm shift. my h studies cl’s list of true remorse and reads her book. Saw it on his kindle (he has no idea i write here). After spending 5 months having someone blow sunshine up his ass and telling him he’s so cool and awesome and having npd mom confirm it to him, he’s looking in the mirror and isn’t happy with what he’s seeing. The recovery to getting my badass self back is not linear, quite dynamic (threw up on Friday!), but making self care a priority gives me focus. And dyed eyebrows (which made me look perpetually pissed off, according to my kids), and manicures, and a tiny bit of retail therapy (h gave me a large chunk of money after detailing every cent spent on his affair and the very expensive 2 rounds of bullshit mc we attended during his a). The post nup has been written and signed. Ive got new fun paying jobs, I’m doing more volunteering and rocking a new hair color (jury’s out on that one). And I have no idea what’s going to happen, but my hair and my nails look better, and that’s what I have today. It’s not much, but it’s today.

    I did scratch my revenge itch, I think I should post it in the forums under a different name, but it was a victimless crime, and quite clever.

    • nic, sorry to hear you got such bad news but the truth shall set you free, and it sounds like you are walking on the right path. If you are going to try to reconcile, the post-nup and jobs are great ideas, but–you know, the marriage police. The knowing he was willing to cheat with a class A fuckup. I’d keep that mc’s card and drag him back there for a checkup in 90 days because that dude seriously has radar for cheating. Would that they all were like that. Best of luck and ((((hugs))))

    • How funny your cheater deliberately read CL. I kept sending my cheater pieces by ChumpLady to guilt him into a conscience, but all it did was make him smarter about the right thing to say to keep me invested (and then once he thought I was invested, the old Naugahyde Imitation Remorse would surface).

  • My exH never confessed anything. He only ever fessed up to what I already knew. But….he did say that he “felt so much better that I finally knew the truth!”. Even then, it was all about him. It always is about the cheater!!!!

    • Omg. Same here. I had to do an info trail to create an initial outline. From that more roaches came out from behind the wall boards. All culminating in approx 17-18 yrs of lies and cheating out of a 20 yr marriage. Like other others have said, I feel this is only part of the entire truth, but at this point does any more info really matter?

  • My ex never confessed, continued to claim he was just friends with married coworker. He insisted to our kids OW had nothing to do with it. Luckily I found his writing and even then he denied the truth and told me I didn’t understand what I read. I really think he’d lied so long he believed it himself. Found another document he wrote a year later that spelled out everything, which I shared with my kids.

    It was so good to realize I wasn’t a crazy, jealous bitch and that my intuition was right all along. Just wish I’d have been able to trust my own feelings years ago. I was so terrified of being alone alone I stuck my head in the sand and tried to believe it wasn’t happening. One of my sons also confessed he’d had suspicions his dad was having an affair years ago but didn’t want to believe that of his dad. The easiest people to deceive are the ones that love you.

    Enough time has passed since D-day (3.5 years) that I can see both our parts in the problems we had in our marriage. However, there was definite turn for the worse when OW entered the picture. His angry moods and unexplainable absences made a lot more sense once I discovered the truth. I still struggle daily with wondering what I could have done differently, but at least don’t carry all the blame and shame he tried to place on me for his decision to cheat.

    • Lyn, I feel for you. I stopped thinking about what I could have done differently because it kept me from getting to meh. I think there is nothing that you could have done differently. I tried everything before I knew there was an OW in the picture and he wasn´t responding to it. I did the pick me dance without knowing I was doing the pick me dance: lost weight, put on cute mini skirts like when we were dating, was nicer too him, etc. But now I know that as soon as the kids were born he started chasing colleagues until he found the one that fell for him. So his attitude was never about how he could make the marriage better in response to my efforts, but how I could let him spend more time looking for an alternative. I think cheaters become very angry and absent at the most intense moments of their affairs, not out of a sense of guilt, but because the chump becomes a nuisance in their quest for “twu wuv” or more sex, or whatever …So, “trust that he sucks” and don´t waste more time thinking about what you could have done before the cheating. That is allowing him to win the narrative that it was your fault. He would have cheated anyway. That is his character.

      • Susan, I really appreciate your words more than you can know. I guess it’s just the perfectionist in me that thinks there was something I could have done to change the outcome. My ex was not good at talking about his feelings, although I certainly tried many times to bring up my concerns. I tell myself all the time that you can’t work things out with a person who won’t talk to you. We were both only 20 when we got married and met when we were 16. I’ve often thought he resented that he didn’t get to sew his wild oats.

        • Nothing you could have done. You’re right that marriages that start when the people are under-25 are at high risk of divorce, but that doesn’t excuse his cheating. He could have left honorably instead of deceiving you. NOBODY is perfect, and plenty of partners have better character than to cheat. Yours and mine did not.

    • Lyn, My X2 was not a cheater. The marriage had problems, we both had our own individual problems…anyways, there came a point where he just stopped doing the work. I remember his sponsor asking him one time about how things were going. X2 told him things weren’t good. Sponsor asked him honestly how the marriage was when he was doing his part and X2 told him it was much better. Sponsor asks if he’s doing those things now. Nope. Sponsor says to him..So, when you are doing your part in the marriage you’re basically happy but it sucks when you aren’t, right? Now you are standing here trying to tell me she’s the crazy one? Think again!!! That’s just an example of an unhealthy marriage. Lyn, cheating is a whole other level of unhealthy. It’s got nothing to do with You.

      • Thanks for sharing what your counselor said Chumpy. I went to IC for awhile alone and then asked my ex to come too. He sat through a couple of meetings but really didn’t seem too engaged. I’d ask him afterwards if there was anything I could do differently, if he thought things were better. He always said everything was okay but wouldn’t elaborate. He didn’t really change his behavior. In the end he said “we went to counseling and it didn’t help.” Last time I checked, counseling doesn’t work if you aren’t willing to look at yourself.

  • These folks will deny in the face of incredible evidence. Like you, Lyn, I had writings admitting multiple affairs.
    To this day my XW will not even address the writings and denies physical affairs.
    To me, this seems a lot like having two people in a car and one farts. What is the sense in denying it?
    I can see the advantage to lying to the outside world. But , why lie to the one who has busted you, who has seen the evidence? makes no sense to me.

    • It’s a way of refusing to give you the right to your anger. It’s a way for them to deny the legitimacy of your feelings.

  • My cheater never confessed until after caught and volunteered the statement that, “this is the only time!” “I just made one little mistake!” and “all I did was make a procedural error because I was GOING to tell you, sooner rather than later.” WTFever.

    Seven months after I kicked him out because of my discovery of OW, I stumbled onto proof positive that there was a prior OW four years earlier. Emails he wrote to her made it obvious. By then I was NC with him, but one night after crying my eyes out upon it sinking in that this parasite had been cheating on me for years, I texted him that I knew about her. No answer.

    Soon after, prior GF of his contacted me on FB and stated he was also fucking HER for the first 7 years he lived with me and my kids, till he slapped her on the face during sex (for fun, yes) and she ended up in the hospital, and thereafter broke up with him. I believe he is a sociopath, even psychopath; and that he never, never ever would have confessed. I also think that I will never know (and am no longer looking anyway) the magnitude and depth of his deception and exploitation of me.

    • Married a sadistic, sick, narcissistic, immoral sociopathic liar who masqueraded as a human. No real flesh and blood being could do the reprehensible things he did to me and be considered normal, sane or homo sapien.

      Talked about his female friends, their antics and beauty to me -knowing he was fucking these women. INSANE! Got caught and trickle truthed me. When I threatened to have my lawyer subpoena every hotel chain in every place we ever lived (4 states and he cheated everywhere) to see if he had been a guest
      he confessed to a much higher number of indiscretions. I hate this turd more than sin.

      These people are manipulators with no empathy or remorse.

  • My exh “confession” was, at the core, about controlling the narrative/damage control. On dd I got the one-two punch of, “I’ve slept with someone
    and I think I have Aids. You need to get tested.” He used imagined sicknesses to distract me from my suspicions, cause fear, and focus my sympathy and concern on him instead. Three years before dd, he was convinced he had Lou Gehrig’s Disease and put our entire family through hell, yet all the while he was spending thousands of dollars in massage parlors, Ashley Madison, Craig’s List, etc….so sick and twisted, it still makes my skin crawl. Thank God I rarely think about it these days 🙂

  • I agree that there is always a self-serving angle to a cheater’s confession–unless it comes with an offer to move out immediately and provide as much time and financial support as necessary for the chump-spouse to decide what he or she wants to do next.

    In fact, most of the time, the damn thing has so many angles that listening to it is the audio equivalent of looking at an Escher drawing.

  • CL is right. Confession is about controlling the narrative.

    Every “confession” I got was self-serving. Every single one was when my ex either knew or suspected that I already had confirmation of the truth.

    I think the point was for me to see her as an honest person and therefore lower my guard and trust her again. Fail.

  • I only wish I had gotten a confession instead of an STI, my ex literally modified emails I’d already seen and tried to convince me I imagined them. To the end he maintained they were just friends. Turns out he was worried about getting alimony from me so he was doing all he could to ensure no proof of infidelity existed, cos in my state you don’t get alimony if you cheat. As to the cheaters telling you how wonderful the AP is when you don’t know what is going on, I agree it excites them. When they tell after you know it’s to hurt you and get you to play pick me harder. Either way it’s a shit sandwich.

  • I think it is completely self serving. My suspicion is cheater pants was out of the blue walked out and confessed the multi year affair because someone was growing suspicious and had seen him with OW and might tell
    me or that OW was threatening to
    tell. Either way, it was to control the situation. A flaming narcissist is NEVER going to have a moment of reflection and remorse and to think they might is being a chump. Their actions are self
    serving, end of discussion.

    The only thing I wish is that if someone had suspicions I wish they had come forward even after the fact and told me rather than feeling off the hook since the cheater confessed.

  • The confession is never really a confession… Its kinda the appetizer to the main course… What they are hoping is u ate before going out. … Since u are on a budget and all. Now I know there are some who would be ok with the appetizer and water… Not this girl. I was like… ‘ i’ll start with oysters on the half shell… A bottle of chardonnay ….the surf &turf, the tiramisu and coffee with a shot of baileys, thanks! ‘ No need for a doggie bag… We are downing this shit right here… Ya all of it.
    Its always something more… U decided how u want it served up… Rare… Medium rare ….or …Well done.
    Mine attempted to serve it up in bits… And primed me by dropping names and alluding to ‘ friends’ and ‘ this poor gal at work’
    Smoke screens and the word salad…. Its never just a confession. Its bait.
    You jump on the line super quick they can real u in…and they gotcha… And the hook is set.
    Dont take the bait. Dont settle for the appetizer.

  • I think I am in a class all by myself. Instead of telling me so I could make an informed decision about my life or as a way to exit the relationship, my now ex-wife confessed her 9 month EA/PA to me because she was so proud and pleased with herself. There was also the typical blame-shifting but I will never forget her laughing and smiling while she told me.

        • I made the mistake, post divorce, in telling my XW how painful it had been for me the night she came home, woke my up at 2 in the morning, and proceeded to give me a fairly detailed description of the incredible physique of the guiy she had been out with that night.
          This was two years or so post divorce and I was picking up my boys from her house to bring them to school ( as I did every morning despite it not being my obligation on her custody days (( I would also mow her lawn and change her storm windows- what an idiot I was).
          In any case, she got angry that I remembered her abusive description and , instead of apologizing, alluded to his being really well hung, as well.
          There are some seriously abusive a-holes out there and not all of them are men.

          • Arnold, I long ago decided my ex has absolutely no idea of the depth of pain he caused. I don’t think he’s capable of feeling that kind of pain. Our brains just don’t work the same way. If I did try to tell him he’d just minimize my pain, so there’s no use even trying to explain it.

            I’m sorry for what you went through. It’s really amazing how callous and cold some people can be. It’s hard for people with feelings to comprehend.

            • Very true, Lyn.
              I try to tell people dealing with the disordered, that you simply cannot understand them. They are wired very differently.

    • Sadly, Scar Tissue, none of us is in a class by ourselves–cheaters do very similar things to their chumps, even if the particulars differ. Your wife took glee in telling you about her affair to belittle you; my cheater-H told me he was attracted to his young thing because she was “sweet and gentle” to him whereas I was “aggressive.” Although he said this with a sad face, it was clearly to (a) blame me for his affair (if I had been sweet he wouldn’t have strayed–never mind I was sweet until I had to live with his narcissism for years), and (b) to belittle me. Read past forums–when said with sadness or a smile, cheaters always insult and de-humanize those of us who put up with them.

      The only good news is that it means we can all relate to each other as chumps.

  • Yeah, my cheater started dropping minor hints as his appointment with the sexual harassment officer approached. Before that–nada.

    And just for fun (need your help here, fellow chumps)–he started agreeing with me that we should divorce this weekend, and refused a second therapy session. I filed this morning (NO WAY he was going to fuck me over for so many years of marriage AND have the satisfaction of filing first)>

    Now I’m knee deep in the “sorry, now I know how badly I treated you” country-western ballads. Any tips from those who have lived through this insanity? I did tell him to go to marital therapy on his own and confess his faux regret and manic-depressive approach to the marriage.

  • Tempest, he’s sorry about how bad he treated you cos he never thought you would actually LEAVE. Now that you are he will love bomb and guilt trip and wtfever to get you back. NC is the way to go, trust me he will pull out all the stops, he won’t change, cheaters don’t want to divorce – that is the whole point. Be married with someone to take care of you at home and act single. NC and tell him if he’s really sorry he can hand over all your marital assets in the settlement, that might make up for it. No, seriously, don’t say that – it’ll just fuel his next phase; rage. Once you refuse to take him back he’ll show you who he is, be prepared for threats of financial ruin and possibly more dangerous threats. The mask will come off.

    • Yeah, there have been postings on this before- how cheaters don’t want divorce or will make it difficult- even if they are with OW- and clearly don’t want the marriage relationship with you.

      It’s about control- of the narrative, of you. I was 300 miles away and 9 months post D-Day when I filed. My solicitor contacted XH to check he’d agree to divorce on grounds of 2 years separation (living apart but in faux reconciliation nonsense). “I’ll think about it” was the response. Somebody who genuinely wants to end their marriage, who knows they’ve ‘done wrong’, does not need to think about it.

      He also pretended not to receive the papers. Luckily I was on to him and despite the provocation kept NC and let the solicitor do the chasing. Of course XH was all charm with the solicitor. It’s a game. The whole thing- marriage, cheating, divorce. You’re just collateral damage.

      As for confessions- I had a scene straight from TV drama. It’s Christmas and the poor little man child is crying on the sofa because not only is he confessing to an alcoholic relapse but sob, sob he’s also visited prostitutes and um, sob, sob used money from my account to pay for them. Did I kick him out then and there? No, I simply enabled another two years of my life to be played with.

      Tempest says- as CL will tell you, your STBX is not your friend and you now have to treat him as the enemy. Everything he says is a lie and nothing he does can be trusted. Follow all guidance at Chump Nation and you’ll get free. (((Hugs)))

    • I know, all of you fellow chumps give such great advice, and I stupidly felt relief that he had come around to wanting divorce, too. But it was just controlling the narrative–whenever he thinks I’m invested in him (which is usually just if I’m civil to him), he turns the tables and tries to dominate me or the narrative. Fortunately, I’m emotionally smarter than he is, so I turn the tables back on him (but the whole duel is killing me. Who needs it when there are children to care for and dogs to walk and life to live)?

      Foolishly, I believed that he would sign the divorce papers without being served, and now need to get back to the courthouse and change my request.

      I am feeling greatly relieved tonight; I finally did something strong in the direction of a fresh start–I filed.

      Hugs back to all of you!!

  • my XH has ALWAYS denied having an affair or cheating on me. i would start getting suspicious because shit wasnt adding up. but he would deny every single time i asked him, or would make a joke out of it like putting out his hand and saying ya, do you want to met her, here she is. and laugh about it meaning it was his hand…

    this was going on for years and i was starting to think i was just crazy. until we separated in 2010 – 2011. i was running around in circles trying to find “proof” the whole time he was denying it but my heart was telling me something was up. then about 2 weeks right before we got back together. i went to go talk to him about our marriage and what was going on. all of a sudden he confessed to cheating on me. his explanation was he only cheated on me when we were separated or “broken up” thou so it wasnt really cheating. he told me that it was only 2 times (i highly doubt that) the one time we separated before in 2005 for 3 months right before baby #5 was due and at the beginning of that time (we were talking in 2011 so he was saying it was at the end of 2010). i was shocked!! although i was always suspicious and still believe it was more then those 2 times. i asked him if he was seeing someone now, he said he was “talking with someone but that he hasnt fucked her because she wont do it because he was still married”…oh what an idiot i was. of course he was fucking someone. i found out about her a week later, and stupidly and foolishly begged him to come back to me. and he did. so that was 3 times he confessed to, in 2011 all at once so i guess i really didnt think too much about it.

    i have ALWAYS wondered WHY he confessed at that time. was it because he thought it was over or what? and of course i know he did not confess the WHOLE truth. after much thinking, i realized that he always accused me of having a boyfriend every time he had a girlfriend. even this last time. now looking back, i have lost count of those times he accused me of having a boyfriend but i guarantee it was more then 3 times.

    in 2013, he started pushing me away again. stopped spending time with us as a family, stopped giving me money, stopped coming home. i believe he wanted me to kick him out like i did on new years. so that he could “cheat” with a clear conscious. after all he only cheated on me when we were broken up. right? so that makes 4 times that i know of in 14 years. i am sure it was much much more then that.

    i still never knew or understood why he told me about the ones he told me about in the first place. it has always boggled my mind. and i know it wasnt all the truth, of course the names he gave me are not true, nor the time limit he gave me. i just couldnt work it out on the first one because he said while he was working at this place and while we were separated before #5 came out. and those two things do not line up on the time line at the same time. he was working at this place. but when #5 was born (and we separated a month before and 2 months after) he was not working there anymore. guess he forgot that. so either there was 1 while he was working there and i believe that. AND 1 while we were separated and i believe that too. so that is now 5 times…..

    i really have no clue just how many times it really was. but this last time WAS the last time. i just couldnt live with myself knowing he was cheating again, and again and knowing he would do it again and again if i stayed with him. i forgave him once (well 3x but it was all at once) but to keep forgiving him over and over was just too much for even my silly little heart to take.

  • Well, this was educational. Thanks! I always gave my now-xh the benefit of the doubt when he confessed to his first (that I know of) affair. Now I see that it was because he was about to involuntarily “change employers”. He had this dumb habit of choosing subordinates and clients of his TV station as affair partners.

    CL – what about this – why, with each new relationship, would he tell me in some way that so-and-so accused him of having an A with a particular woman (never the true OW) and that it wasn’t so? Why would he even bring up the subject?

    • He’s looking for you to give him the ego kibbles of “oh no! You’re SO awesome you’d never do that! Which then makes the game all the more exciting for him. He’s also testing your response, grooming you.

  • I think I’m more cynical than not but I do recognize that there are times when it could be genuine. For any confession to be genuine, spontaneous or not, there still has to be total honesty and disclosure involved from the cheater’s end though. Repeated spontaneous confessions, such as with Thomas’s experience, don’t fall under the genuine category, obviously. That’s just the “trickle truth.” Real remorse still has to be legit by actions and not just lip service. If the cheater truly desires the benefit of the other spouse with the confession they’ll still follow what CL lays out under true remorse, such as full disclosure, no further contact with the AP and no future affairs, taking/accepting all the anger and any consequences that ensue, such as divorce, alimony etc. If the real goal is to be honest and actually rebuild themselves and the marriage then that goal is verified by their actions.

    Unicorns are rare, we all know that. Genuine confessions, followed by genuine remorse and character growth can happen but many times they’re also rare. A rare unicorn, William Paul Young hit rock bottom. It was either kill himself or be fully honest and do the heavy lifting to rebuild. He chose to honesty and rebuilding, which led to him having no secrets from his wife, kids, fiends etc. If the person hasn’t hit rock bottom it’s going to be hard to move forward as they’re probably not willing to do the heavy lifting. (

    • I just went to the blog and read that it took 11 years to rebuild, seems like a crap deal for his wife. I didn’t watch the video so may have misunderstood.

      • It did take 11 years and I agree that it sounds like a crap deal for his wife. I don’t know what messages she was getting at the time (in the 90s) and I’d love to hear her side of the story. The video talks more about it. Basically he says that the only reasons his wife didn’t kick him out of the house and/or divorce him right away were that he was following the outline CL lists (CL wasn’t available at that time of course). He references in another interview that she now says it was all worth it. She says it was hell but it was worth it for them. I don’t think I’d stick around for 11 years personally, that’s definitely not for everyone. That was the path they chose. Another post on him talks about how the angry period lasted for 2 years. She beat into him for 2 years and he took it.

  • My husband came back from a business trip in April and “spontaneously” confessed that he had met the MOW for dinner while he was gone (she lives in a city he visits often for work). But it was okay, because it was just dinner, her friend was with her, and nothing happened! Nothing at all! He had supposedly ended the affair back in November, and supposedly had had no contact with her since. I was baffled as to why he would tell me this since he had volunteered NOTHING after I had discovered the affair, plus there is no way I could have found out about this unless he told me. Well, the reason became clear when I received an email from the MOW’s husband two days later telling me that not only did they have dinner together, but they also spent the night at his hotel. My husband had never ended the affair when he told me he did (big shocker, I know). The MOW had tipped off my husband that her husband was threatening to contact me, and he thought he could get out ahead of the shitstorm with some trickle-truth. So, I would bet there is always some cheat-centric reason for a spontaneous confession…

    • When my kids were little they were very sick. I was almost to the point of exhaustion trying to care for both of them with very little sleep. My ex comes waltzing in one night after a business trip and proceeds to tell me that he and his female boss practiced their presentation in her hotel room on their trip. I was so exhausted and dumbfounded that I just sat there. To this day I have no idea why he would tell me that. Why would he torture me that way? I kept wondering if someone saw them and he wanted to make sure he said something to me first. It’s possible he was trying to goad me into the pick me dance, but I had no idea of this concept at the time.

      Later this same woman started calling our house in the evenings to talk to my ex about whether she should stay with boyfriend A who she has great sex with, or boyfriend B who’s more responsible. I couldn’t believe his BOSS was acting like this. But no, I’m the crazy one for getting upset over this kind of behavior.

      Here’s what should have happened: My ex should have told her that he didn’t appreciate her calling our house after work. He should have protected our relationship and our family. He NEVER did.

      • Narcs/Disordered do not have boundaries. That’s what healthy people have Lyn. And we were young, trusting, and naive. I’d like to think that my ex loved me and was a good man but as time progressed he seemed more and more drawn to sketchy situations. You know there’s a saying that goes something like, “look at your friends today and that’s where you will be in five years.” My ex surrounded himself with men who never grew up. He wanted that. And then became it. Runaway husbands all.

        • Eerily true, Drew. After D-day, I looked at all my husband’s closest friends–all but one was a cheater. Huge sense of entitlement and narcissism in each of those cheater friends, too.

  • I also disagree, DM. I caught mine in the bed naked with a women. During two years of reconciliation futility he never did anything but INSIST that nothing happened (and continue to entertain his harem of skanks).

    They never confess, because doing so gives tacit permission to the victim to be righteously angry. They want cake…and you don’t get cake when you’re being held accountable.

  • Just wanted to thank you Chumplady for the Yellow Bellied Bullshitter cartoon. I’ve laughed more at that than I have at anything for a looooong time. I hope being able to laugh again means I might finally be on the road to “meh”.

  • Well, another piece of the puzzle just clicked into place for me with today’s post and comments. Thank you! There’s ALWAYS a reason cheaters confess.

    Two months ago, out of the blue, XH apologized to each of the kids and me for how our marriage ended. He confessed to an EA only with OW, and even told me, “I could see how that would upset you.” When I picked my jaw up off the floor – not only because he actually said he was sorry, but how easily he dismissed all my pain and heartache – I said, “Is this part of some 12 step program or something?” He said, “No, it has just been on my heart.”


    In reality, unbeknownst to all of us, he was dating someone else very seriously, and asked her to marry him about a month ago. The girls haven’t met her and neither have I. He’s obviously keeping us apart so we can’t compare stories. But I think the apology was an attempt to control the narrative, to put all talk of the affair behind us so we need never bring it up again – EVER – to Wife #2.

    Keep dreaming! Mwa-ha-ha-ha!

    • Controlling the Narrative. My ex had one affair partner that he left me for. One. They “never had sex” until a week after he left. Uh, yeah, SURE because that’s what cheating grown ups do. That’s what he says. My money’s on the whore. She sealed the deal long before I ever knew she existed. They married in July. Did not share this with others. Then had their big public reception in October. So within a year of our divorce. To Happily Ever After! (Snort!)

      • Drew, only 3% of cheaters marry their affair partners, and 75% of those divorce. It may not be until years (or decades) later, but the success rate of these marriages is slim. So you’re right to snort – that relationship has “expiration date” written all over it.

        • That “expiration date” comment is so true. XH married his last OW, and their divorce papers were on file within two years. He probably cheated on her and she probably should have seen that coming.

  • Its always about them… the only time they confess is when the benfit of confessing far out weighs the costs of not. Its very calculated and they always try to see what in it for them. The scale must t tip somehow in their favor. They unburdon themselves and look at you for approval for their good deed of finally confessing and expect some reciprocal information or validation….its always about them.

  • I’m Thomas, referenced in your question above. My wife’s confession was not spontaneous. She had become noticeably withdrawn from me, cool and almost indifferent at times towards me, avoided sex and spent a lot of time on a favorite forum on the computer. I took all of this as, “I need to be more engaged with her, romantic, give her more affection, etc.”. I work in the medical field and was taking call, working long hours, so I reasoned that I had slacked off in the personal affection area. I put more effort into romantic dates, cards, affectionate notes, the usual things a man does to woo his wife, but this seemed to make her more enraged, and more unhappy. I pleaded with her one evening to tell me why she didn’t seem to care. She angrily said, “I just can’t change like that!” So I told a friend at work my troubles and he (who was single and had talked about banging some married women) said, “dude she’s having an affair.” So, I went home and later that night I asked her straight out, “have you ever had an affair?” And she said yes. I asked who with and she revealed it was the therapist. But I do wonder if she had been having another affair, or was her guilt beginning to really weigh on her. Maybe she was tired of holding that secret in. Maybe she was covering up for a more recent affair. Who knows?

    • Its your relationship and your life. You seem to want to make excuses for her behavior and choices. If you can sleep at nite and feel at ease that she is remorseful and u have bought into the 50/50 blame game… Welllll… Power to ya Thomas and i wish you well on that long road to recovery… Sombody has to beat the odds.
      My guess is you dont since you are on this blog… and like the rest of us chumps sit with that pit of doubt in your chest. …its there for a reason. Its real.
      I do believe I called her a dog fucker… Forgive my crass approach… But its a hard knock life and sometimes its gotta be laid out for u. Like a giant neon sign perhaps?
      I am sorry that you, like I , had to suffer the pain of a spouses infidelity … The sucker punch to the gut… The humility… The anger that has no where to go… And there are some who can navigate through the pain. I could not. It was paralyzing and everthing I knew to be true was no longer so. i wasted a year of my life and my childs life before snapping outa my fog…
      I wish I had found this site two years ago… And I wish somebody would have told me strait up… Get your head out of your ass…. He is a dog fucker. What has held true for me is everything that CL has said about cheaters. Not because it feels better . It doesnt. But I can now put a label on the behavior. I can identify my cheater in all these other cheaters. I can see more clearly the lack of character and empathy and finally stop blaming myself. The blame game was killing me.
      What ever your choice is Thomas… Stay or go… Let it be on yr terms. If you can live with what she has to offer you then power to you. If you are sitting on the fence… Do you want to be pushed or do you want to make the leap yourself?
      All the best Thomas.

      • I don’t think I have been offering excuses for her behavior. I have tried to describe her behavior from my perspective. I’m sorry you have experienced the same kind of crap. You seem to have seen reality a lot sooner than I have. I appreciate your insight and your encouragement.

  • My dday occurred the same day my dickhead POS ex told me, in front of our teens one Saturday morning, that he “wanted a divorce.” And apparently that’s when my brain turned on and began analyzing all those odd pieces of his crap poor behavior (distancing, angry, entitled, financially creative) that occurred during the last three years of our marriage. (pattern of entitlement and crap life/relationship skills present throughout) Then of course the whole sordid puzzle fell into place. He was fucking someone else. But not before fucking over his family. Affairs are all about time and money and fucking over those you are incapable of loving. Fake imitation Naugahyde remorse!?! hell it was fake love to begin with! My ex was so elated with his decision to leave our marriage because (poor sausage, our life together (28+years) was so…real) ___________inset Cheater reasons here. And new pussy, hell, who can compete with that?!?! Lol. Just this morning a new friend shared that her husband of x years just up and disappeared last week. He took half the money, packed up his belongings, showed up to work for his paycheck and then informed his coworkers that he would not be returning. When friends of the family realized what was happening they were shocked. My friend is so blindsided that she hasn’t even begun to realize that her loser has someone else. And yeah, WHO DOES THIS!?! But gosh these idiots deserve one another! I think it’s a crock to think my ex’s OW was unaware of his FAMILY. His paycheck and health insurance were a draw too. Both these disordered wingnuts get off on this. They are in their own version of really crappy reality TV and life is all about crapweasels (LAJ, hyenas too. Heehee.) So confession, NO. Hard to make marriage work when your twatwaffle threatens to tell. Thank You Smarmie! He did however phone his loser sister so he could discuss ditching his wife and family. Two days before he let me know. It took my POS ex three years to rewrite our story and to line up his new life with his new OWife, Why share secrets with your ex when you are lining up your next vacancy??

  • Hi Thomas. I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings. I addressed a reply to you in your thread as well. I suspect that your coworker was correct- they say it takes one to know one, and it sounds like he had some experience. Even though you asked her, it’s still kind of a suspicious confession in my mind because the usual cheater response to “have you ever had an affair” is protestations, martyred innocence, and blame-shifting. At least in my experience.

    I don’t know if you’ve had any therapy yourself or not, but I see some common behaviors and vocabulary in assholes who’ve had too much therapy. They end up using therapy-speak to construct excuses for their behavior, or just as a straight out weapon. “I feel” can shift blame just as well (better, really) as “you are”. Unscrupulous therapists aren’t so much interested in helping someone be accountable for their problems and providing appropriate support as they are in collecting a paycheck (or kibbles, or sex…). So be on the lookout for that as well, nobody gaslights as well as the professionals. I don’t know, man, maybe she’s totally reformed, but the odds are against you.

    • No, you have not hurt my feelings. Having just discovered this site, it is a relief to be able to see things as they really are and recognize some of the issues I’ve wrestled with. To join a group of people who “get” what I have experienced, and can offer a realistic perspective. Tangled up and tripping over the skeinofuckedupedness – that was me. Getting high on the peace pipe of hopium – That was me. But I am finally taking steps to move away from where I am. I have just seen a lawyer who has spelled out the process and what to expect. So I am moving into the direction of hard-nosed reality.

      • I’m glad you’ve seen a lawyer, step by step, it will get better Thomas.

        And I agree on therapitized cheater speak, my ex’ favorite after therapy was “I don’t feel safe with you”, what a crock. In therapy safe is about emotional safety…

        • Given some of the horror stories of emotional and physical abuse of chumps in these forums, most of our cheaters should NOT have felt (physically) safe with it–it would have been completely warranted for them to sleep with one eye open!

          (I’ve moved on from the revenge-fantasy phase, but during it, I had strong compulsions to buy a wood-chipper to hide evidence of the body).

      • Keep your eyes on the prize, Thomas. It is very hard when you’re on the inside to see how much more pleasant life will be when you are free. Chump Nation is populated with wonderful people who have done more than their fair share of heavy lifting in marriages to people who didn’t give a hairy rat’s ass who they harmed. These good folks have your back.

  • I believe in spontaneous confessions caused by guilt. I think that they are most likely to happen right after or soon after cheating – the first time.

    Sometimes people have conversion experiences or get some kind of treatment and then confess the things they’ve done.

    Perhaps it doesn’t matter what made someone decide to confess, though. If they wait too long, it may not be enough (for example, confessing to a six year affair means there was a lot of lying and bad behavior before the confession).

  • Chump Lady- Wow, thanks for getting back to me so fast. I had never even considered the grooming idea.

    I hope this was helpful to other people as well!

    And sorry Thomas, I didn’t mean to single you out.

  • Mine was a confesser. I think he did it to force me to end the marriage. Correction: I know that, he said it. He is the epitome of a gutless coward.

    He said a hella lot of cruel other shit too–that was the testing, on his part. As he said, “he wanted to see how mean he could be to me, to force me to end the marriage.”

    What I later learned was that he had also been trying to find another mistress/partner/ho-bag/whatever for years, with I dunno, varying degrees of success I guess.

    Jerk. I’m mostly to meh, but this gets to the essence of that particular variety of “poor me” passive aggressive covert narcissist cheater. Holding grudges for decades, lying, lying, lying. I wasted 25 years of my life thinking that assclown actually loved me.

    And my poor daughter. I wish more than anything that I had not cursed her with a bag of fetid goat shit for her 2nd parent. Thankfully, she seems to be coming through ok.

  • My ex “confessed” because I “pressured” him to do it. And he told me because he wanted to leave (exit affair?). Of course before this, he spoke about his ho-worker a lot (I guess looking back I can see the grooming process)…

  • My asshole cheater couldn’t have cared less when I cried and pleaded with him to talk to me about what was wrong before DDay. He lied and mindfucked me repeatedly when I asked him about wtf was up with her: “This is not about someone else.” Displayed NO remorse when busted, but then asked to “work it out.” Then wanted more time with his skank in our 1.25 sessions of mc. Stormed out of 2nd session when I said I was walking away from this shit. FINALLY decided to say sorry and “how could we throw away 12 years” and “we were best friends” 2 months later when I served him divorce papers. Fuck off asshole.

    He’s now written me 2 self-pitiful letters both of which emphasized what a big relief it was not to have to lie anymore after the truth came out. Why would I give a fuck if he was relieved?! Like that means anything. I think the opposite may be true: that he lied constantly throughout our relationship and it came naturally to him and he enjoyed the thrill of deceiving me.

    And he absolutely loved parading his OW around right in front of me and she showed up to all his art events and never for a minute shut the fuck up about herself so I got to know all about her. He confessed about that obvious affair only after I finally broke out of denial and busted him.

    But there was another close coworker “friend” he was constantly going to lunch with and traveled for work with that I never got hard evidence on. She rubbed me wrong, coming on way too strong wanting to be my friend when I first met her but I silenced my gut and became friends with her and her H (who later told me he had been chumped before in his previous marriage. I would lay money down that plenty went on between her and my STBX.

  • I think the cheater starts dropping the AP into conversation almost as emotional leakage – it shows where their thoughts are. Almost a litmus test to see how their chump reacts.
    My W frequently would drop the name of her ex-boyfriend (now AP) in conversations for years long before they rekindled their relationship after his divorce. It was almost as if her stories including him were more real that any of out time together in our marriage.

    • They are emotional vampires. Sucking your life to exist mourning over the dead relationship. My X1 married his old girlfriend. The marriage lasted 7 years and she left him for her gym trainer. He was a ghost of a man when I saw him again. Boo hoo.

  • >