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Cheaters Are Timid Forest Creatures

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

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

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

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

Unless….

…. There’s a work around.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How’d that work for you?

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

Are cheaters Timid Forest Creatures — or are they grifters?

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

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

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

Are cheaters really sad — or just sad for themselves?

Ask a Timid Forest Creature and find out!

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

This column ran previously. Feel free to comment. I’ve got a speaking gig today and can’t write. Promise to do the UBT post tomorrow!  

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I think you missed the other TFC dodge “I have to work on myself before we can work on our relationship”…I guess that does fall under “I’m so broken”…

    • “I have to work on myself before we can work on our relationship.” Ha! That is exactly what I heard from my ex. And, how did he work on himself? Let’s see… He:
      -bought himself a new motorcycle
      -continued the affair
      -grifted his way into a new job for which he wasn’t really qualified and used it as a cover for his continued lies. (“I need to work all weekend.”)
      -Got fired from that job
      -spent every night at the local bar
      -developed a cocaine habit

      During that time after D-Day, I was in hell. He insisted that I was responsible for his behavior. I drove him to it with my anger and sadness. I did try to be a perfect Stepford wife for a time. It made me miserable and crazy. Like I had lost myself. So glad I got off that crazy train.

      If there are any chumps out there who are going through this particular brand of hell right now — I feel your pain. Please get yourself out by hook or by crook. You really deserve better, and you will never get that from a cheater, no matter how “perfect” you make yourself.

      • “If there are any chumps out there who are going through this particular brand of hell right now — I feel your pain. Please get yourself out by hook or by crook. You really deserve better, and you will never get that from a cheater, no matter how “perfect” you make yourself.”

        ^^^THIS.

        I fell for the Reconciliation Industry’s TFC theory, and it was ABSOLUTE HELL for 18 months. Do NOT put yourself through that. Keep it simple, like CL says. If they don’t show remorse, if they don’t get rid of the OP ASAP and go no contact, then pack your bags (or theirs) and leave (or kick them out). You didn’t sign up for 3 people in your marriage, and that’s all you’re going to have if they don’t end the affair. It’s simple: OP or you. They can’t have both. If they can’t decide, YOU decide and walk away. Save yourself. Because you can’t save your marriage if you’re the only one trying.

        • Yeah, but you might make “love bank withdrawals” if you do not do Plan A for a few years. Marriagebuilders has a 100% success rate if both parties work Dr Harley’s plan ( just like weight watchers is 100% successful if you strictly follow their plan).
          So, make those “lovebank deposits”. Who cares if your cheating spouse eviscerated you and the kids. They need those fucking deposits.
          And, while you are at it, lay down in front of your doorstep so your cheater can wipe his/her feet.

          • Dr Harley and IMAGO does not work with a narcissist. I tried. For 5 years, until I caught him with OW again. He is now very sorry for himself. It is still all my fault. Whatever. The bottom line is, am I prepared to be with someone who completely disrespects me. Even I had to have it bashed between the eyes that I am not. And that issue is completely separate from who he is. He might have good parts. He might have splits from FOO issues, he might not be all bad. But really Chumps, if he acts unloving and behaves uncaring, then you need to draw that boundary and love and care for yourself. Whatever the consequences.

            • Dr. Harley recommend Plan A for like three weeks for women and up to six months for men (if they want to) and then Plan B, which is no contact. I don’t think this plan works a lot of the time (because you are often dealing with narcissists) but it’s the best shot and it actually doesn’t sound unreasonable. He also says that anyone who wants to leave a cheater outright should, no questions asked.

              The only thing that Dr. Harley doesn’t condone is fighting with the wayward spouse. Make the demand for fidelity known, plan a if you want, but then go into plan b if they don’t change. It all sounds pretty reasonable.

              He told me to go into plan b and divorce.

      • Something about cocaine makes addicts think they have the right to shit all over everyone. That is not your problem.

        • Second that with alcoholics, especially ones who relapse after several years when they find that alcohol makes them sooo charming for the OW.

          • Oh yes, I had that scenario. And the OW, who had worked in the recovery business!! went out drinking with him. Serious fuck up.

    • “I have to work on myself …” Yup, I guess how: hand moving up and down in front of porn videos in his ‘temporarily’ rented appartment. Working on himself, indeed. Sad.

    • I got this same line of bullshit. Lots of “work” on him, not an ounce of effort for *us.* He claims that he tried soooooo hard to repair things, when really he just kept fucking his mistress and thinking about himself.

  • Love this classic post, CL! It is so very true. I encourage pastors not to play into this trope when dealing with adulterous spouses. But sadly, it is a much needed exhortation in my experience…maybe more so with counselor types. (http://www.divorceminister.com/so-what-if-they-do-not-come-back/)

    Timid Forest Creatures, indeed. Didn’t seem to bother them when they were laying their webs of deceit, demolishing the faithful spouse’s sense of worth, or triangulating friends/family before they were found out (or even after)!

  • Mine had a smorgasbord of reasons why he cheated.
    FOO issues, an unclean sexual spirit of which he was released, laziness, oh and my favourite because I emasculated him. Once he confessed, I was not meant to speak of it, ask questions and under no circumstances was I to make a decision about my marriage. As those in support of the cheater had hope for our marriage. So that should have been enough for me to wait. Just hurry up and wait. Don’t focus on the cheaters lack of remorse he said sorry, look at your own lack of love towards him. Don’t focus on your pain can’t you see how this hurts him, you constantly bringing up his past. And you use such vulgar terms, don’t be so judgmental, you really need to work on your own issues can’t you see he loves you?
    What he shows you no respect? Yes he does you just don’t realise it.
    What your telling people your marriage is over? Now we told you not to make any decisions on that till late. If you tell everyone your marriage is over and we (the support crew aka church elders) fix him aren’t you going to look silly when you take him back? Besides you don’t have our permission to end your marriage. Not yet, and besides we know he is a lazy tool who does not even realise how much work he needs, but he is contrite to us and that is all that really matters right now. Just wait. We said wait!!!!!!!!!!
    What you don’t like that we have given your abusive, timid little cheater a safe haven, shrouded in our own lies and deception?
    What despite our instruction you have gone and told people the truth? You disobedient ungrateful little bitch. After all we did for you. Look at all our effort. We see now that the real issue in your marriage is not that your husband is a cheater but that he is married to a woman who has over stepped her bounds of authority. The best way to deal with this is to support him and encourage him to take authority over you and if you submit all will be well and if you don’t well your a lost cause and we will encourage him to find a more submissive partner.

    Yep the day I filed for divorce, without any shame he sat in front of me and flirted with the woman who is now his girlfriend, he got served a week later but I should have waited and not been so impulsive.

    • I forgot the first reason I was given.
      I was curious! WTF? at that point you were a 34 yr old father of 3. Not 15

      • Oh. Good. Grief. Church “elders” who say that kind of crap are having affairs themselves. They’re setting a precedent so when they get caught they can use the same lines.

  • I was in a fog for quite some time after I found out about his ‘new phone’ he was using to sext other women. When I confronted him – somehow it was MY fault he got this phone. He needed someone to talk to! Get a Psychiatrist you psycho! Then after asking him to go to marriage counseling and I ended up going alone because he was too busy playing pool with his friends, I found him emailing women on his Yahoo account that I didn’t know about! What was the excuse there? Instead he was asking me what I was doing in HIS PERSONAL stuff? Excuse me dumb ass – this is a laptop we all shared and I wasn’t “LOOKING” for anything – it just popped up (he forgot to shut it down!) Strike 2. I saw a lawyer 2 months later…. still trying to hold on a little – he is still sexting other women. He claims he needs ‘to talk to SOMEBODY’ about the ficticious ‘affair’ I have been blamed for for 15 YEARS! He is an idiot. But good thing I held on because I got knowledgable in divorce laws and plan to take that asshole DOWN!

    • I saw an email too. He swore up and down he just “forgot” to close it. In hindsight there is no way I believe it. It was left on purpose for me to see. No one with half a brain would take a chance sending an oh so secret email on a shared computer. He had access to email on his Kindle which I never touched. If I was going to do something that sneaky (which thankfully I never have) you better believe I wouldn’t have used any computer/phone/tablet he had access to. He just took the cowardly way out by leaving it for me to see before skipping off to work.

      The kicker is that he was sitting there typing this email while enjoying the homemade chicken salad sandwiches I’d made him. Crazy evil.

      • My aunt had a secret cellphone that was for her Catholic priest. They are such a devout family. They are still together, I think just because they don’t want to admitt there are sinners amongst them.

        My aunt also told my cousin that the female orgasm is a “myth.” I actually feel bad for my aunt, five kids later and her husband tricked my elderly mother out of signing over her portion of the house their parents left them. But I doubt that priest will deliver either.

          • Her name us actually “Mary” and I just feel bad for her. She is obviously not happy with her husband who is not a good person, but pretends to be, like my mother. Narcissism is a disease in my family.

            But the priest? Now that shit is just weird. People that hide behind religion are the worst of the worst. It isn’t about any specific religion per say, just using a doctrine to bully people or feign superiority.

            • My parents had a couple they were friends with in their early years…the wife eventually ran off with their Priest. When she told my mom the story, she laughed and laughed at how ironic it all was.

              A few years later they reconnected with that woman’s exhusband who suffered the double whammy of being chumped by his wife and his Priest. He sat at my parents table and wept – when he could tell his marriage was falling apart, he went to his Priest for guidance. He was spousally and spiritually abused during his chumping. poor guy…and he was a nice fellow.

              The contrast between the laughing cheater and weeping chump never left me…and that was YEARS before I was chumped.

              • Yes religion can be a very evil thing. I never needed any book or building to teach me the difference between right and wrong. I just knew.

      • Lina – I do think it was an ‘accident’ on his part he left his Yahoo account open because within 2 months he had gone to Bestbuy and ‘recycled’ that particular laptop and purchased HIMSELF a new one. His new one needs a password – NOBODY in our family knows the password. I had to go purchase my own laptop for my own and my daughters use. My son had already purchased his own as well….. We went from 1 laptop that all 4 of us shared to each of us having our own within 2 months of finding my husband working his shit on his Yahoo account. Loser.

    • Cheater always blamed the affairs on me and said I needed to work on myself. If you find yourself in this situation you are more than likely with a narcissist. I did work on myself and his cheating should have been a deal breaker. He never changed his behavior. Prolonging the inevitable causes more pain. Leaving is the best course of action.

  • OMG.. our “marriage industrial complex” MC is doing this VERY thing with H. Buying his version of events lock, stock and barrel and challenging him very little. I am about fed up with it.

    • DUMP THE THERAPIST (and the cheater). I’m in the profession, and anyone who engages in blame-the-victim (you) needs to have their license revoked. Pronto.

      Believe me–you’ll feel better when you’re free of both of them.

      • You know, Tempest, I don’t get it why so many therapists/marriage counselors take the cheater side. Seems like a horrific lack of insight and empathy at work there.

        • Because they don’t want to wrap that shit up and help you, they want you to be furthur fucked up and pay for more hours. The real job is to help in a way that does not necessitate the job.

        • The way usually deals with infidelity really pisses me off, too. But I don’t think most therapists are doing this knowingly.

          I think it’s more because they are taught how to deal with ‘neurotic’ people, not character disordered ones. They assume everyone has a heart, somewhere hidden away, you just have to work on getting to it. They’re also taught that ‘each partner had a role in the disintegration of the relationship’ crap in their training, and swallow it without asking where the RESEARCH is on this issue, and whether there are exceptions (like for Personality Disorders).

          It’s not actually worth their while to stretch therapy out; they make a lot more money getting people happier fast, ’cause then those happier people send along all their friends and relatives!

          • You are probably right, KarenE. But I am so glad that my therapist’s initial reaction was, “You can never go back.”

        • I think KarenE nails it. Many marriage counselors are used to dealing with relationships where spouses need to learn to communicate more effectively in order to build a better marriage. Better communication lets them negotiate issues like career stress, family stress, “growing apart,” etc. However, when you’re dealing with a disordered person or someone whose sense of entitlement means they discount other people’s perspectives, that kind of approach is ineffective.

          • Many MC’s are super invested in saving marriages, the time sunken issue. My MC was all about that, ” you’ve been together so many years obviously you have something worth saving” shit. No, no we don’t.

  • I am in Limbo. My counselor told me that yesterday. I found out only 3 months ago, there are the kids to worry about and our finances. I did see a lawyer. We have spilt our money and I told him that I am moving out in June.

    Why do I feel in Limbo? Because he is sorry, of the kids, of the 17 years of shared history (of course minus serial cheating which I knew nothing about) and what if he actually changes.

    I know I feel lost and stupid but I am getting stronger everyday. I still look at him and she the husband that I fell in love with and created this family with. Then I am waiting for some Grand Gesture that makes me go…yep….it is worth it to work this out. He is so very sorry….he has cried….think of the happy kids.

    Limbo sucks but I am fooling myself I know. My counselor asked me where I see myself in 5 years and I don’t see it with him honestly. She asked what do I want for MY life not his. I want trust again, loyalty, love without this crap.

    He asked what he could possibly do to prove it to me that he is in this. I said Marriage counseling. That was 3 weeks ago and nothing has changed. My descision is getting easier everyday by his sweeping this shit under the carpet. This site has helped so much. Thank you everyone!!

    • Leolion, I really relate to what you said about waiting… hoping for that grand gesture. I’m not sure what I expected, but I wanted something that assured me he was truly repentant & totally recommitted to our marriage & family. I never got anything like that. Instead, I discovered he had never stopped seeing the OW. This was about 4 months after DDay # 1; the day before Thanksgiving. I made the decision that day that I was done. I allowed him to stay in the house until the holidays were over, knowing this would be my children’s last Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years as an intact family. I made him leave several days after the New Year. He begged me not to… He was sorry, would change… But I knew the truth. That was over 3 years ago. In retrospect, I think I made the best decision of the only 2 sucky options I had. This has been the worst experience of my life. I would not wish it on anyone. Being in limbo is awful. In my opinion, making the decision to divorce is just as bad but I couldn’t continue the way we were. HE is the one who destroyed the marriage when he cheated. It ended then. I just made it a formality. My prayers are with you. It is a very tough situation no matter what you decide. Hugs!

    • He did it because he is capable of it. He will be capable of it again in the future. We all have temptations. The temptation to potentially hurt someone I love isn’t worth it to me.

      My ex was not the best sex I ever had, but that meant less to me than having someone I love in my life. Cheaters are always looking for something better. If you don’t know, no one is hurt while they bide their time figuring out what will be best for them.

    • Leolion, honey, get a divorce. If he is truly remorseful you can watch from your safe, secure home, where you can heal and get perspective. While you are living with someone, he can continue to gaslight you, blame you directly or indirectly for his failing, and play the martyr card. He can continue to appeal to your shattered dreams of a wonderful marriage and intact family. Meanwhile, my guess is that he has kibble and cake supply going elsewhere, even if it is on temporary hold.

      Trust your gut. He’s a serial cheater. He is not likely to change. And if he does “change” after divorce, you will need at least a couple of years to test out his transformation. You can always get married again if he gets help and squares his life around. I’d say the chances of that are slim to none.

      • Sound advice, LAJ.

        “…you can watch from your safe, secure home, where you can heal and get perspective.”

        I hope everyone who is in limbo reads and rereads this.

    • What are his consequences when he cheats? Why move out of your home? If you have been a faithful partner and taking care of your family and your spouse cheats he should move out.

      Nothing pleased the x and a month before DDay he wanted to suddenly buy a two family home. When I said maybe in a year he went ahead and tried to get financed without my income. He was unable to get financed because was self employed. Next, he said he was downsizing and was going to get a studio apartment and I could sleep there. What? He said I could put the furniture in storage. I held my ground and stayed in my home. Then it all made sense. He wanted me out if the house because he had made big plans with his pig. He didn’t want to pay the bills and bed down with his whore.

      Now almost a year later he lives in her hellhole apartment and wishes he had a nice home and his loving family back. Never again. Those are the consequences of cheating.

    • Leolion,
      I spent a yr in limbo land mainly to get stuff in order and to see via his intensive IC and MC over the last 12 mths what kind of clown I am dealing with. Really, your cheater is very worried about his image to your kids. He should have considered what kind of role model he is BEFORE he began screwing around.

      Make sure to find a family therapist to help your kids deal with their shattered ideas and memories of what they thought their father was. This is my huge scary issue for me. Just as you ask yourself, WTF is this guy? So will your kids. So very sad.

      If he isn’t working on finding a therapist, he has already shown you that he’d rather you sweep this under the rug and pretend life is all gooood.

      Stay focused on your future without the clown. Living in Limbo is soul crushing for the chump. The cheater is still eating cake.

      • Okay, this resonates, ANC, “Just as you ask yourself WhoTF is this guy? So will your kids.” Cheaters spend a great deal of time planning…days, weeks, months, years and they do this to the detriment of loving family members. My ex was there, husband, father of three, going through the motions, until one day he wasn’t. (Great big signs of a cheater were there but sometimes it really just looks like a normal life…busy.) Dday was the day he walked out (he knew cheating was my deal breaker). Twenty eight years together and I no longer pretend that that man ever loved me…I mean what kind of person abandons their entire family? Looking back I can see how he fooled me, but I will never forgive him the hurt he has caused our innocent children.

        • One therapist asked me if I had ever really known this man. In spite of decades together the truthful answer to that is NO.
          I lived in limbo of one sort or another for the whole marriage. After his first long term affair – that I know of – nothing really changed. Just the same old life with all the horror, pain and insecurity of the affair added to the existing problems.
          There were practical reasons for staying. My kids were small. I had no paid work. I did not want to accept the truth. I chose to demonise the woman involved instead of looking at the behaviour of my husband.
          Yes, he was a timid forest creature in “reconciliation”. None of his promises came to anything much and when I called him in on it he blamed me for “setting things back”, being needy and not letting it go.
          I tiptoed around while he lamented the loss of his married co-worker who had babysat our children, exposed layers of deception, went on miserable weekends away in the name of trying…none of it worked.
          He done it again on a bigger scale with another married co-worker who had also babysat for us….while we attended MC lol!!
          He is now with her and we are divorcing. He claims to have undergone a character transplant so I wish her luck with that.

    • LeoLion, stay strong. I was where you are now 2 years ago and I was fooled back into the marriage. I am 2 years older (48) and now I am going back to my original gut feeling that he will never change. It’s in his nature to cheat and lie he can’t help it, he doesn’t understand, he is a narcissist, no empathy, no morals. 23 years of marriage to a narcissist will make you do insane things, like hang around for 2 years in hopes of a miracle.

  • I started the divorce process 4 days after dday, the earliest i could get in to see my lawyer. Figured even if i were to reconcile it would happen on my terms. Since im divorced, she obviously did not meet my terms.

    • ^This should be everyone’s path. You know how they say a cheater always affairs down? That’s because they married up. Just my personal experience but I have yet to see a “chump” who married up. 100% of the ones I know can and do better on their next partner.

      • So true, Kellyp. At the end, my ex would go back & forth between saying how sorry he was to extreme rage. He said if we separated I would never find anyone like him ever again. I remember laughing and saying how right I hoped he was.

        • Lol KK, my STBX told me, while not being able to maintain eye contact, that he was a good husband to me. I damn near fell over laughing!

          If lying, verbal abuse, infidelity, covert abuse, etc, etc, etc is the standard for a good husband I’ll just remain a single mom….

      • Very true! I just found out the ow that the ex married and now has 2 kids (very young) is about 18 years YOUNGER than him. When they started to “date” she was 18/19 years old and he was in his late 30’s. She has not education besides High School and no formal job training. Both look poor in health now but they are always smiling on the family pictures. What do they have in common? What do they talk about? For me I have remarried to a wonderful person that makes my life a lot calmer and my life now is so much better. I have remarried so far up that I cannot even see the ground now. lol.

        • Sorry correction…she has no education besides High School….Both look in poor health due to be very over weight but they are always smiling in their family pictures. Fake…fake that is him!!!!

        • Ew. I’m always weirded out about big age differences for the reasons you mentioned – What do they have in common? What do they talk about? But for the ones with the big age differences that hook up when the younger ones are 18-21 really creep me out. There’s a world of difference between the life experience of the average 18-21 year old, and a 35-40 year old.

          • Thank you Kira for your reply. I fully agree with you. I have no clue what this is all about and even what both of these sickos are thinking or feeling. Maybe it is a good age to “groom” a young girl and to control her in what he wants. When the ex and started our relationship that was our age. I was 18/19 and he was 19/20. He was/is very controlling type of person, a sweet/smooth talker, a charmer. When I found out about his 1st affair (this young girl was to my knowledge is the 2nd affair but to be honest with you there was more and hopefully is more on her time) So I’m thinking he doesn’t want to get old or feel old. He had a very hard time with seeing his looks fading! When we were together he lost all of his hair on his head. I said it fell down to his back, chest and his ass. ha! It was a touchy subject in our house the losing all of his hair on his head. From what I can see with some pictures I have see both are in very poor health with being very obese and his looks well…..his outsides look like his insides now butt ugly!!!!! But really what would a 35-40 year old man have in common with a 18-21 year old child. Her frontal lobe (her brain) isn’t fully developed and she is still reasoning like a 12 year old child. Now they have 2 kids. I’m not sure to laugh or pray for this her and her children she has with this loser. I’m pretty sure both will cheat on each other. Well that’s my hope. I’m really hoping one of these or both of these old sayings come true and soon for them…….Once a cheater always a cheater or this good old saying What he will do with you , he will do to you!!!!

            • I have had a few old men not comprehend how I was not interested in them. I grew to understand this over time and friendship with them. One had quite a few stories to tell about cheating on his ex wife and many girlfriends. I found them amusing, like I would an old movie, certainly was not interested. He said its not so weird in other countries to have a huge age difference. Said he had a Russian girlfriend in her twenties, he was sixtyish.

              Must’ve wanted a green card is all I can think.

              • Hi Jen and thank you! There are some real sick people in this world. I have to agree with you on the green card part. lol! It’s so sad that these people will never truly understand what it means to be really loved and how to return that level of love also. I know these people have a disorder but it’s so sad at the same time all they do is destroy and don’t add anything good to the world then they get away with it also. Where is the karma with these sad people?

              • I don’t feel sad for this man because he was trying to “groom” me. He did not ever care about me I’m sure. If I had been interested (gross) he would have quickly lost interest.

                I don’t think you can miss something you never had (a heart). I am realizing my ex may have had a heart a long time ago, but he killed with drugs. It can’t be revived. I am sad, but I need to move on.

          • I think too it makes them feel better about themselves to be with someone less educated, attractive, experienced etc they can feel superior where you and I would n’t take their shit and would call them on it. they in turn look up to cheaterpants, because they have poor self esteem due to being less educated, attractive, experienced.

            OWife is 27 years younger than my x. I’m guessing she thought she was getting security and comfort….luckyher at 22 to make such a good catch, had to get pregnant to close the deal. Don’t think anyof them got what they thought, but I do pity that baby.

      • I think a lot of cheaters “cheat down” because they can’t manage to sustain intimacy and their chump partners can–so we keep pressing them for it. When they cheat, they are seeking their own level…

        • I do not think they really put that much thought into it.

          The OW looks like a horse in her facebook photo. It’s a closeup, there are a few, so I know it’s jot just a bad shot. I heard her voice/vernacular in her voice mails. If she was ever educated, it was dumbed down with drugs, but my impression is her IQ was never high. Pretty sure, as I’ve known a smart druggie or two.

          She is a step down, and it puzzles me. I don’t think he thought that deeply into it. I think he just feels like he won when he fucks someone. He hates me for being smarter, but it’s not about that.

          • One of ex’s spews after dday was that since I had more education than he did (ex-BS/engineering, me BA/history & MA/art history), I should be bringing in the big bucks as well. He would often comment on how smart I was (good memory, full of useless info if you ask me) but then ended up with a dumb subordinate at his job.

        • LovedAJackass, they do trade down especially when they get older. My friend said, I never knew what you saw in him. Now that I’m divorced and see what he is with I know he needed someone at his level of immaturity. Their pickings become scarce when they are grown men with childish ideals.

          • My Ex traded up. I was a hairstylist and she is a nurce. He would tell me the last few years while in the affair, that I could have done better in my job and do something that pays better. I could never figure out where this was coming from.But he traded down on morals. She is married ,2 kids and getting a divorce to be with looser!!!

            • I don’t think of “trading up” or “down” as involving money or looks or age. Trading down is moving from someone who is mature and capable of honesty, loyalty and commitment to someone who is essentially an adolescent or worse in moral and emotional development. So if she was cheating to be with your X, or breaking up her family for him, he traded down. For sure.

        • I absolutely agree that these cheaters affair down. I know my ex did. She is butt ugly and has opened her enormous checkbook to him. Our ink wasn’t dry on our final settlement and she bought him a car ! This OW has no idea that Mr. Cheater pants sleds money like shit going through a tin horn and it’s even better when it’s someone else’s money! But she seems to enjoy buying him all sorts of things, paid his legal fees for the divorce, paid his tuition to finish his PhD, repaired his car after he wrecked it, buys him clothes etc. He loves money! I wonder what is going to happen once the money is gone? But right now he has this stupid OW believing that he “loves” her so if she is that stupid it’s on her! He’s happy right now because he has control of her and her bank account!

          • We may have been married to the same dude Roberta! After I found out about the affair and “we” decided to work it out, I asked him if we should “burn our marital bed” which was the closest I could get to ask him if they had sex on it.

            He said “No, she has lots of money so she always paid for the hotels. When her parents die she’s going to get a lot more.” There were literal dollar signs that popped up in his eyeballs just like a cartoon character.

            After we divorced three years later, you can bet your sweet ass he latched onto her again. They are living together and I’m sure he’s demanding control of her money. Best wishes for a wonderful life schmoopies!

  • “You don’t see remorse? Don’t wait around for it to emerge from the fog. You don’t see it because it doesn’t exist”

    This is the part that I keep kicking myself for. I was the one in the fog, I was the one that didn’t want to see – that HE DIDN’T HAVE ANY REMORSE. I was such a state of denial, I didn’t WANT to see it. Oh, I wish I had found this site, so that I could wake the fuck up. I wouldn’t of wasted 1yr + in Limbo, waiting for him to choose me, waiting for him to go NC. He used to tell me “I’ll go NC when I’m ready to, you can’t force me, it needs to come from me” and I was such a chump that I actually thought that made sense, because I didn’t want to force him to be with me, instead of changing the narrative and force him to leave sooner, because he showed no remorse. He was such a coward, still is!

    • “You don’t see remorse? Don’t wait around for it to emerge from the fog. You don’t see it because it doesn’t exist”

      ^^^THIS^^^ My cheater showed ZERO remorse, he did muster up some half assed “apology” via text war once or twice. Honestly, sometimes I think the lack of remorse hurts worse than their fucking around. He’s been gone over 4 months now and I still can’t wrap my head around it, when we DO have to be around each other he behaves as though he’s done nothing…. like nothing at all happened and we are great friends. I hate it.

      • Because if they act like we’re friends then they don’t have to face themselves. “oh what I did wasn’t all that bad, she’s fine now”

        Yes, the remorse part, really hit one day, In the midst of all this limbo, I went to a religious retreat, and he was asked to write me a heartfelt letter. What a great opportunity for him to SHOW real remorse, nope – it still was all about him and wrote in some bs about me being a great wife and great mother. I knew then for sure that he was either the stupidest person on earth or had absolutely no remorse whatsoever.

        This shit that we go through, its a process, I wish we didn’t have to go through so much shit, to make us stronger and mightier, but we do, and eventually we’ll get to the other side of this shit sandwich.

        • The acting like BFFs—is a tactic. Mine used (still does, when he desperately wants something) this all of the time.

          It’s to blunt your anger. You can’t hurt a friend, can you? What kind of person are you that you would hurt someone who is just trying to be nice to you? I mean, really–would you smack a puppy just for wanting a belly rub? Look at that puppy face! And that soft puppy belly that they’re showing you right now! How can you be MAD at that!!

          Yep. Then I started connecting how he acted during the time of the affair. It’s interesting to remember events during the time they were lying to your face. How sincere! The nice little things, like getting me tea in the morning–just how I like it! Listening to my stories of my irksome work colleagues, letting me ramble on and on and on….the whole time he was just waiting until I went to work so he could go over to her house and screw—he knew it and he delighted in it–and he kept up the straight face and the oh-so-attentive niceties…..TO KEEP ME UNSUSPECTING.

          After D-Day #1, it was all about tamping down, controlling and diverting my anger. When you’re constantly in someone’s space, talking to them, making the sad puppy face and saying you’re sorry—you can begin to wear that person’s resolve down. It’s exactly what he did and he still does when he gets the chance—-talktalktalktalktalktalk, do a nice little thing, talktalktalktalktalk, sad puppy face, talktalktalktalktalk—and he never actually says ANYTHING of consequence.

          Try this. Didn’t work? Okay. Try that. Not yet? Okay. Try another tack. I see a little crack of light here! Keep pounding away. Uh oh, she’s getting mad and frustrated—she might be seeing through what I’m doing—back off! back off! back off!

          It’s all manipulative and contrived BULLSHIT.

          Kick that motherfucker (or motherfucktress, whichever!) out and change the goddamn locks. This crap I was fed about “quitting on my vows” and “letting everyone down”—BULLSHIT.

          Can I get a permit for bagging these timid forest creatures?

          • SphinxMoth, they are so delusional to think we would want to maintain a friendship. They lost the playbook with the poor me narrative a devoted loyal spouse provided when they were married. What can they say now that they have to rewrite the script?

          • SphinxMoth, your post is SPOT ON. This is exactly what he did down to the damn tea!!!! Did we marry clones?

            Plus he is passive aggressive to the hilt at home… Not at work and not with anyone else… But myself n the kids… First thing I did was to stop enabling his passive aggressiveness. Then told him to fuck off EVERYTIME I saw that puppy face… That meant zero communication … That’s what got me to see clearly… Shutting him up was like someone hit the mute on my drama…. Peace!!!!!

            • My jerk Ex never use to be in nice to me when I was sick. Typical Narc had no empathy. Made me feel guilty for beeing sick!!
              Then during our fake reconciliation ( while he was still seeing her)I had a bad cold he made me tea !!! Never ever never in the 20 plus years married did he do that before!! He was just manipulating me:(
              I did the pick me dance for 9 months and filled. He was gaslighting me manipulating me plus a dose of character assassination to friends and family.Now realize I was married to a covert narcissist!!

          • SphinxMoth, yes indeed you can get a permit to bag these TFCs! But it looks a bit different than most permits. It looks more like a divorce that has been legally filed. But wait, the good news is you get to “hunt” them down in a controlled environment and then skin them for all they have! Yep! It’s called a courtroom! Everyone should try it! I found it a delightful outing and was well worth my time! His hide paid big dividends! Ha! Ha! Ha!

            • Roberta, you have a great settlement? 🙂 Congrats. I wish all family courts were fair, my ex left his family homeless. Working hard though to own again.

          • SM, took the words from my mouth! I literally posted in the forum tonight about my STBX playing fake friend sues with me. Makes me gag!

      • NC, mine behaves the same way. This week alone I’ve gotten an abusive email from his lawyer to mine with all kinds of wild accusations and he filed for an emergency petition to decide if I’ll be forced to sell the house my daughter and I live in (and I pay for) just so he can get some money, that court appearance occurs tomorrow morning. All that and he acts like we are buddies.

        I wish he’d choke on all the bullshit he spews.

        • Before leaving after months of abuse he said he wished me well. This while actively planning to hide assets and put me and my elderly father out on the street. If that was wishing me well….

          Then I got the sad sausage, “now you’ll hate me forever…” Ya think?

          He wanted to stay friends to for image control but no way! He’s not getting that ever. He wanted me gone from his life so I am GONE.

            • Yes, Mr. “I just want you to be happy” annihilated my finances too before skipping off into the sunset with his stupid cheating racquetball partner. Thank You for blowing up My Life, asshole. And No, I don’t want to be your friend.

        • All the best for tomorrow, people who work in family law are not stupid and have seen it all before unfortunately. Hang in there, praying they see through your cheater.

          When we are forced to deal with stupid cheaters we are forced to be all smiles.
          But I have come to realise that if you are dealing with a dysfunctional cheater it does not matter how you react they will spin it to meet their narrative.
          And then continue on as if they did nothing to create the issue.

          I am not a Taylor S fan but two of her songs are on high rotation at the moment. Due to their lyrics
          “I knew you were trouble” and
          “Bad Blood”

          • Thanks guys! I have a good feeling but I never want to be too confident. We all know anything can happen.

            I do hope he looks like a real prick in the courtroom, though. It’s been a year since they bent him over on the child support ruling so apparently he’s had enough time to forget that ass beating and try for another round.

      • When they want to be friends, just squash that idea like a cockroach in your kitchen. A friend doesn’t lie, cheat, gaslight, and abandon the chump and the family. Don’t interact. Don’t react. Don’t look at the cheater. And by all means, no texting or FB or other social media. It’s the one time in life when the permanent cold shoulder is totally appropriate because you are doing it to enforce a boundary, not to get a reaction.

  • Here’s a typical article about surviving betrayal. http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/surviving_betrayal

    It even states:

    “Researcher Martin Seligman advises that people try to think of their partners’ flaws in non-absolute terms. For example, try to see the affair as a terrible mistake, one which you may or may not have had some complicity creating.”

    IMO, as a chump I was already all too willing to take the blame. Instead, what I needed was someone to say “look, you had nothing to do with his decision to betray and lie to you, that is on him.” What I needed was someone who pointed out that I had already put up with too much shit and didn’t need to take it any more.

      • I can’t seem to remember conspiring to troll facebook and find my ex boyfriends, making hundreds of calls and sending texts all while carrying on as though things were just peachy, etc, etc.

        I do remember that when she thought she had another sucker hooked, the fangs and claws came out though.

        • I do remember that when she thought she had another sucker hooked, the fangs and claws came out though.

          Change the ” she” to “he”
          And you have it spot on.

          You are the love of their lives till they realise you will not cover their shit by laying down your life unconditionally. Then they find someone else to be the love of their lives, and because that new victim is special anything that happened before them can’t be the cheaters fault because the cheater wouldn’t do it to them.
          It must be you.

          • Your last paragraph is gold. I was a willing believer that things would be different with me because our relationship was somehow different than those she’d had in the past. And it was. Until it wasn’t. D’oh!

    • Well, my view of Seligman just tanked. The man who gave us the useful concept of “learned helplessness” to explain chump behavior, depression, etc., then advocates blaming the victim? Fuck that. I guess he thought his dogs in the original learned helplessness experiment “caused” themselves to be shocked? No–HE did that to them (just like cheaters cause their own cheating).

      • As a (former) psychology researcher, I am shocked and dismayed that Seligman would espouse the view that adultery is a mistake. I call adultery an intentional act. I would like to hear an explanation from him.

        • I do like the idea of “learned helplessness.” It’s a soul-sucking danger for people in any situation, but especially dangerous for chumps who know they should leave but are “helpless” and believe they can’t manage life without the cheater.

    • Aah–just twigged. Seligman is a cheater himself, I’ll bet (professors being second most likely profession to cheat).

  • I fell for it.

    “No one can make any decisions until the cheater stabilizes!”

    Yes, I heard that from our first MC. Literally, at the end of the last session, he said that no one should make any decisions or changes because things are very unstable right now. So, my wife should not end her emotional affair (ahem, it was physical, but we couldn’t *prove* it) until stability was returned.

    Then, with our second MC, I was told not to bring up the affair anymore. It was over (a lie, again), so why didn’t I move on already? Why did I keep bringing it up. She said she’s sorry — isn’t that enough? Yes, she’s saying she’s sorry while lying about still having an affair, and she’s demanding an open marriage, and she’s blameshifting. But she’s sorry!

    Finally, by the time I’d decided to divorce and was just getting my life in order before I told my wife, she wrote, “I hope to be in a more stable place soon.” In other words…keep on waiting, patient chump. I’ve got you where I want you, and the best way for me to maintain my affair is to keep up this facade of being “unstable” and needing help.

    But, by then I realized the tactic for what it was, and I was on my way out the door. So long, slut!

    • I’m sorry JC. You were failed by not just one, but two mental health “professionals” (if one uses that term loosely).

      • Tempest, it was a truly eye-opening experience. As with all professions, there’s a lot of trashy workers out there. I just wanted to believe they were somehow better.

        And I understand that therapists have to engage in all that FOO exploration; I even understand that they may be dumb enough to (1) believe a lying cheater (after all, I was dumb enough), and (2) believe that “both” people contributed to the affair. I get it–they’re not perfect.

        But saying that the affair should continue for fear of making any sudden moves, or telling me to “stop talking about it and move on,” that’s not marriage counseling, at all! It’s…cheater coddling, plain and simple. It’s saying, “Well, the chump is clearly the stronger person in this relationship. So, let’s put even more on his shoulders so the cheater can feel better about herself.”

        That’s just…nonsense!

  • My ex upon discovery, didn’t want a divorce, but left me and our children and ” wanted time and space” to figure out what he wanted. Yeah right, he wanted to go have his affair uninterrupted and then come home to his loving family when he was done. Such entitlement!!! I also remember him justifying his affair by saying he’d worked so hard and looked after all of us his whole life and really felt he needed something for himself. I was gob smacked … Just what does he think I’ve been doing all those years? Sitting home eating bonbons? Glad to be rid of the arrogant arsehole! I started the ball rolling for divorce within the first month and left him with no choice! He stalled and dragged the divorce on for years but it’s been done and over with for over a year now. Just heard he’s marrying the AP or that theyre ‘engaged.’ Doubt he had any choice with that one either, apparently she’d been pressuring him for a long time.

    • I also heard the ‘need time and space’ argument–although he had been gone for most of a decade! I got the ‘need to do something for myself, need to be happy’ statement, as well. Good for you for starting the divorce within a month! Wish that I had!

  • Timid forest creatures. I love it. They can trounce all over you. Damage everything in their path and you can’t scare them away with the truth because they are broken. As you stand their with your guts spilled out on the floor, dealing with your distraught children, your finances and future about to be dismantled, you have to consider a complete asshole’s psyche or they may head for the roots of a tree.

    CL you can really point out the bull shit in a scene.

  • Ugh…hand up over here!!!!!

    Although I didn’t learn of the affair(s) until after divorce was filed, I knew in my heart it was happening perhaps even before it was. The warning signs were there, his behavior was Infidelity 101. By the way it REALLY pissed him off and offended him when I told him that. Accountability<Blameshifting

    So I didn't walk on eggshells as to not poke the bear after learning of the affair, I did it in the hopes that *if* he actually wasn't cheating, I surely didn't want to drive him to do it!
    Isn't that pathetic?! I didn't want to drive my husband out of the marrisge by standing up for myself….*slaps forehead*

    But I'm pretty sure just about everyone is STBX's life does believe he's a Timid Forest Creature. His family treats him like he's some soft, gentle, pitiful lamb. Nope…no, that's not the Narc Sociopath I was married to.

  • My serial cheating XH and I never went to MC but he did go to IC. There, he learned that his need for attention from other women was a result of his “insecurity.” And, wow, he has milked that for all it’s worth. He never misses an opportunity to throw it in my face if I should say anything even mildly negative to/about him. All of those nasty things I said to him in the days after d-day just “reinforced” that feeling for him (barf)! The funny thing is, he is a successful business/sales man and the LAST thing he is is insecure; and hitting on all of those women around town, all of the “insecure” guys do that, right? Just got an email from him today telling me that I treated him as an inferior (projection much?!) and he doesn’t have to go to counseling anymore because his insecurities disappeared the day he moved out. LOL – glad I could help!

    • Yeah… right. Because nothing makes you feel more secure than when your spouse kicks you out on your backside. Lol! What a nut!

    • Whew, Lizzy….take that as a blessing. They can be easier to deal with when they think they’ve thrown you to the curb.

    • Hey, that makes twisted sense if he felt “insecure” because he was in no way an adequate or worthy or honorable partner for you. 🙂

  • After he moved out, I tried some of those RIC techniques. I texted him that I understood he was depressed and needed time, and I told him that I loved him and always would. (*gag*)

    Then he kept fucking her and not parenting his kids and showing utter disregard for me.

    I gotta believe in his mind he was all, “Smell ya later, I’m having fun out here with the LOML!”

    Timid Forest Creatures, indeed. That act is just another ploy that apparently well-educated counselor types fall for. “Look! (S)he’s crying! That Means Something!” Bullshit. Sorry is as sorry does.

    Actually, cheaters don’t love you–they don’t love anyone. They stick around for a bit with the one who serves their current interests/needs to their satisfaction. Yes, they have FOO issues, which explains their suckiness–that’s not a clue as to how to fix them. They’re not fixable. Why would you want that in your life? Cheating is your cue to get out of there and protect yourself.

      • If they really loved themselves in a healthy way, they would want to be good, decent, people. They love their twisted egos.

    • One crazy therapist was the mow, another was my mil who encouraged the affair. Or didn’t know how to handle it, as she said, after spending 20 yrs waving her MSW degree in my face. But the individual and marital therapists I saw after dday beat the shit out of my h, so I was lucky there. $2000/month, but he got called out on everything, hard and ruthlessly.

      I fucking hate social workers.

      • It is a social worker my husband has gone off with. She is an arrogant cow who apparently has said to him that some of the things he did that involved vulnerable children were ok. I know that she defended her daughter when she behaved in a bullying manner to other children too

  • Here’s the thing: Even if remorse is genuine and the cheater agrees to all the chump’s terms and does all the hard work necessary to repair the marriage, it still doesn’t mean that reconciliation is possible or preferable.

    Sometimes, it’s just not possible to recover from cheating, particularly in the case of a long-term affair and serial cheating. How is a chump supposed to move on as if whole months or years of their lives never happened? How are you supposed to remain married to a stranger and just hope that person turns out to be the unicorn of reconciliation?

    Another instance I can think of where reconciliation simply isn’t possible is if an affair produces a child. A dear friend of mine’s fiance got his OW pregnant and was intent on cutting contact with the OW and having no relationship with the child (except paying child support) so he could reconcile with my friend. My friend didn’t want to be blamed for an innocent child growing up without a father, nor did she particularly want to remain married to someone who was willing to shirk his parental responsibilities once the fun was over.

    • I knew I could never forgive it, nor could he EVER make up for having had an affair. Problem solved (but of course he thought the problem was ME–I was “holding this too close,” and “not good at forgiveness.” Yup, but I didn’t screw someone else behind your back, so I win.)

      • When did having dealbreakers become a bad thing? Especially when those dealbreakers are specifically covered by wedding vows?

        • Total respect to your friend. It’s amazing that her fiance thought his horrible plan would be appealing to her. Mind you there are a bunch of women out there who would have gone along with it as all of us on here know only too well. I’m glad she stood up to him.

        • Yes, Chumps need to stop worrying about “keeping the marriage together” and start expecting Cheaterpants to live up to the vows. Or else.

      • My husband bought his secret cell phone on Christmas eve because he had to “talk” to her so badly. When I found this out I knew my marriage was over. I am heartbroken. He picked her over me when he did that. 19 years thrown out like the trash.

        • Same here Sabrina, I called the OW’s hubby and snitched on her for having a secret phone…. so what does X do? Tell me what a miserable bitch I am for trying to “ruin someone else’ life” just because I’m unhappy? So “I” was ruining her life by telling…. not her ruining it by cheating… wtf? Anyway… a week later I found out that X bought them BOTH new secret phones the very day after I called her hubby. Six months later he is still paying for two phone plans…. our Sprint Family Plan and a Verizon plan for him and the cheating whore.

          • My H was always a big tight wad when it came to technology. You would not believe how much money he spent on this secret phone. Totally out of character.

            He would also never text. But he does for her. Anything for her……..

          • H also got mad at me for causing HER problems when I called her H.

            Secret cell phones are really disturbing aspects. This shows that a lot of thought was placed in this deception. Deceit =evil for me.

  • My ex’s comment to me while we were working on the marriage after the 1st DDay to me was “I think you are jealous.” No asshole I’m not jealous I’m was hurt, confused, sad, overwhelmed, in a fog, damaged, lost, alone and very pissed off. This comment came after I asked him one day if he understood how hurt I was with his “mistake”.

    • Beth, they SO don’t get it! They assume we are as unfeeling as they are, and that the emotions we show are attempts to manipulate, as they are doing to us. My ex, too, when asked in MC how he could go on to screw AP #1, after seeing how heartbroken I was by the affair, said ‘I thought she (meaning me) was just jealous, but didn’t think she really cared about me or our relationship’. (Not surprisingly, he ended MC pretty fast!)

      My ex was extremely neglectful of our kids (young teens) after separation, made it clear that they were not his priority. They cut way back on how much they would see him, which he hated. At one point he said to me in an e-mail ‘I know part of their behaviour is revenge, but it’s gone too far’. I was HORRIFIED! How could he imagine that they were cutting him out of their life for REVENGE??? Then I realized, that’s how HE thinks, that’s what HE would do.

      • Thank you so much for that insight KarenE! I’m so very sorry you and your kids had to deal with such evil. I just don’t understand the thought process of the cheaters and the Other people they cheat with (men and women). I just found out the OW my ex has now married to is 18/19 years younger than him (2nd DDay with a new woman not the one above). So that would mean she was most likely about 18 to 19 year old when they started this “relationship” and he was at the time in his upper 30’s near 40 years old and now they have 2 kids. Just wondering what kind of woman (yes men) also think to get with married men/women? What is the thought process of these other people that screw around married people. It seems like a norm now! I just don’t get it at all.

        *Hugs* to you and your kids. I know it hurts how he treats you and your kids.

        • The OW your husband is now married to was a teenager who was dumb and naive enough to think she is “special.” She will be in for a rude awakening once she ages out of his preferred demographic.

          • Thank you so much, Lulu! I had a friend of mine say the same thing to me today. I truly believe her days are numbered with him.

        • i also dont understand the way these people think. apparently boyman has gotten rid of anything and everything that reminds him of me or the boys. it is like we never even existed. the hood rat he is with is STILL married and only has one out of 4 of her kids (the oldest is in jail) She has been in and out of her kids life like underwear. but yet both boyman and evil oompa loompa are doing good, they are sooOOoo happy and have zero trouble with money. neither of them are bothered by the destruction they left behind. and boyman has no issues with living a completely separate life without his children. not to mention me, the woman who supported him, loved him, forgave him and stood by him for 14 years.

          i can guarantee that he never even thinks about us.well defiantly not me at all. and if he does think about his sons, he isnt bothered too much by it. doesnt call, doesnt text, doesnt drive by the house, and doesnt send money.

          life is very very good for those people who do this kind of thing. i am beginning to think that there is zero consequences for men and woman who just walk out on their kids and other people who loved them. i am beginning to think God isnt bothered much by the breakdown of the families, or the betrayal of the faithful spouse. i know i obviously didnt mean anything at all to him, so easily replaced by some other mans wife and children.everything he is doing for her, he didnt do for me. so i guess she really is better then i am. besides, why not take the easy road. it seems to be the better road anyhow. you dont like having to account for your mistakes? no worry, just throw everything away and start all over. dont like having to be responsible? pay your bills? no worry, just move to another town and forget your previous life ever happened.

          they are still together because NEITHER of them have a guilty conscious or even give a damn about what is behind them. it is in the past. they are not worried about you, your pain or your struggles that they put you in. life for them is good, why would they bother themselves with thoughts of you and i? we are the fools that tried to do the right thing, that took our vows seriously, that loved unconditionally. look where that has left us? with nothing.

          sorry. i am feeling a little down today. i am soo tired of working so hard for nothing while he just floats throw life. and i have nothing be HATE for the bitch that encouraged and supported and enabled my so called husband to walk out and blow up my family. it just mind boggles me that people like that can do evil things to others and get rewarded for it.

          • No need to apologize, mrsvain. It’s good to get all that off your chest. I struggle with those same feelings. I try to keep the faith and believe that someday I will find true happiness again. I know these cheaters will eventually face consequences; if not in this life, in the next. I wouldn’t want to be them. Maybe that’s my old naïveté coming to light, but I have to hold onto that. If I had a magic formula to make everything better, I would gladly share it with you. I’m thinking of joining a divorce care group. My best friend has never been married and my other friends are all happily married, so I don’t really have anyone that can relate to me. I hope you find happiness again, peace, and contentment. Big hugs to you!

            • KK, I joined a Divorce Care group after Dday and while it took our family court two years to drag me through negotiations. Best thing ever and I am not religious per se just live a moral life.

      • Beth and KarenE – so true that these disordered assholes project their thoughts and feelings onto us. I realized just recently that, throughout 24 years of marriage, XH never asked me what I thought or felt about ANYTHING. But he loved to TELL ME what I was thinking (always negative things, of course). He thought he could read minds because he was Mr Successful Supersalesman who has special insight into peoples thought process. The reality is they don’t have empathy therefore are not capable of thinking/caring about what others think so they just assume everyone thinks like they do.

        • Thank you Lizzy! The more I read about cheating and the cheaters I truly believe both sides including the AP has some level of NPD. The pain they bring to us and the children and family and friends can be unbearable at times. I’m in not way giving these people and the AP any type of excuse. There is no excuse for this type of behavior. No excuse to being this type of evil. No excuse for giving us chumps the risk of STDs and HIV and the mental toll it also claims on our lives and the financial issues that come into play. They (cheater and the AP and anyone that support them) has no souls. They are not human beings. It amazes me how many people around them (the cheater and AP) do not question their behavior also.

          I’m a chump and I wish I knew fully knew and understood what NPD when I first meet him. I always question how old his behavior was and his strange sense of humor. How he would just blow up at any given time. How he would react with certain people. There are so many things about him that I did question and still do question. Sadly when I meet my ex the internet was not around. I wasted so much time on this loser. He played with my heart and soul and my mind. I’m still trying to heal from it. Everything I have read on this site is my ex and his AP now wife and mother of his poor kids.

          My heart goes out to everyone that has dealt with such pain. I do thank Chump Lady for this wonderful site. This place has saved me so much! Thank you all also for commenting on my comments. You are helping me also.

          • Oh Beth, I also wished I would have learned about NPD and personality disorders long ago. I was raised to be a chump – taught to believe that all people are basically good and deserve the benefit of the doubt. My daughters are 15 and 18 and I raised them that way too… Now I am backtracking, trying to tell them that some people just aren’t worth their time and energy. I hope it’s not too late for them!

            • Lizzy that is so wonderful you are teaching them that. It’s never to late to learn. I feel your pain. Something good has to come with the terrible pain that these people bring into our lives. I hope and pray that your daughters don’t have to deal with such grief. I do believe that my ex is a “groomer” with younger women. He always like the young ones but I’m just seeing it now. These people that have NPD are not good people at all. We all need to be more educated in Personality Disorders. *Hugs* to you and to your daughters!

          • I wish I’d known about NPD and codependency a long time ago too. I do remember a neighbor telling me that my husband seemed to “do whatever he pleased” when my kids were little. I think she was trying to tell me he was selfish, but she couldn’t come right out and say it. My ex and I met at 16 and got married at 20. I really didn’t have any other relationships to compare ours to. However, looking back I’d agree that my ex did whatever he wanted to come hell or high water.

            • Lyn, Mine did too. He would run the idea by me but then go ahead and do what ever the fuck he wanted. Job transfer? Done. Vacation without you? Done. A new truck? Done. And then there’d be one BIG argument about what I wanted. Old dresser? No, you can’t have that! Paint anything old? You are Messing Up the Concrete! What the fuck is right. Lol

      • Karen, my ex also used the “i didn’t think you cared about me” line. Yeah sure. If by not caring he meant I did all the housework and childcare in addition to working outside the home full time, well then okay, I guess that means I didn’t care. What he really meant was, “you don’t want to have enough sex with me”. Which of course he was correct because I was tired ALL THE TIME (see above) and he treated me like total garbage which made him so very unappealing.

        The doormat AP he is currently with now, oh I’m sure she does whatever he wants and jumps when he says to jump. I find it hilarious…they deserve each other for sure!

        • This was my experience too. I did EVERYTHING, and was exhausted, so yeah, I’d rather sleep than have sex every night. It’s also hard to be interested in sex with someone when you realize he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about you or your feelings.

          • This exactly….. At some point you have to save your dignity. Being a piece of meat has never being appealing to me at all.

          • CL talks about the importance of reciprocity in relationships. When cheaters starts up about how little the chump does for them, my first thought is “what are YOU contributing? And what resources that should belong to your partner are you diverting?”

        • I did way more than him re house and kids, while working as much as he did, had to deal with his negativity and criticism way too often, AND had sex with him ALL THE TIME!!!! (We’re talking averaging 7 or 8 times a week, most of the time!)

          What had changed was that, despite still being affectionate and caring (pet names, holding his hand), I wasn’t as admiring and adoring as in the beginning. Hard to keep that up when you’re dealing with a selfish, negative person.

          • You’ve got the answer right there. It’s not about how beautiful, rich, sparkly, hard-working (etc.) we are; it’s about how much adoration and admiration and worship they receive from our interactions. A normal marriage is about knowing someone deeper and helping them grow; a relationship with a narcissist jackass is all about making them feel good in the moment by NEVER, EVER seeing the real person.

        • I’m like you KarenE… Worked full time, cared for kids n the house AND had enthusiasm for sex…while poor sausage went to work n back n was exhausted… I got the “I just peed so I can’t get the little guy up”… Sex six times a year Cuz he was not interested… Sometimes he wd watch TV while having sex…

          God I was such a chump!!! I look bk n I’m horrified… Now he can pine all he wants but that chapter is done n dead…

  • I SOOOO bought into all this, after Affair #1! The ex didn’t LOOK remorseful at all, didn’t ACT remorseful, but I figured he was ‘grieving the loss of his AP’, and too proud to show remorse, and all that CRAP. I thought that as things calmed down after the discovery of the affair, he’d be able to show he appreciated my not dumping him, that he’d re-invest in our relationship, take responsibility for his part in why our relationship had deteriorated prior to that affair … .

    Well, the relationship did go better for a while, since I was pouring on the kibbles again. But of course, he was STILL making zero effort. And over time I began to understand. I didn’t see any remorse, because there wasn’t any. I didn’t see any efforts to make himself into a better husband and father, because he wasn’t making any. And he didn’t do these things, because he didn’t think he should have to. He didn’t appreciate that I’d saved him from making a terrible mistake; he thought my not dumping him meant affairs weren’t that big a deal, and I’d always take him back.

    I so wish there had been CL back then, and not just the RIC. I wasted so many years on this guy, when I could have been re-making my life and family so much earlier. But at least it meant that when Affair #2 started, I knew everything was over.

    Interestingly, even his later attempts to convince me to try to reconcile again included very little remorse, no accountability. As recently as last month (2 and 1/2 years post-separation) he was saying things like ‘I know I what I did was wrong, but I was so filled with anger and so deaf to others’ needs’. Yeah, it did make him mad when he wasn’t getting all the kibbles he thought he was entitled to. ‘Deaf’ implies an inability to hear; he heard just fine, he just didn’t CARE what my or the kids’ needs were. Still thinking of himself as a TFC!

    • This is worth highlighting. It’s why reconciliation doesn’t work: ” But of course, he was STILL making zero effort. And over time I began to understand. I didn’t see any remorse, because there wasn’t any. I didn’t see any efforts to make himself into a better husband and father, because he wasn’t making any. And he didn’t do these things, because he didn’t think he should have to. He didn’t appreciate that I’d saved him from making a terrible mistake; he thought my not dumping him meant affairs weren’t that big a deal, and I’d always take him back.”

  • OMG! Did I say OMG????? Did I write this article in my sleep???? I wish I had read this 10 years ago!!!!!! How long did I saty? I STAYED UNTIL HE HAD HIS LITTLE LOVE NEST ALL SET UP …..AND HE LEFT ME!!!!

    • I have taken a breath…and can continue…… 38 years of marriage, note on the desk…BLINDSIDED…..Everyone felt betrayed by Mr. I am a good Christian Man and Marriage is God Ordained-Marriage is Hard, but Divorce is NEVER an Option. But my poor little timid forest creature was sooooo sad when he left…he was so broken and confused…..everything was complicated and he just needed to work things out in his head…..that is until a “respectable six months had gone by ….and then he just happen to move in with a “friend”….oh wait…the FRIEND is a much younger co-worker that he had gotten transferred to another area because it was a better “opportunity” for her( recently divorced from a husband who “burned her with cigaretts”) and her kids. This article was ME…I did ALL of that, bought EVERY line from the man that I thought was a GOOD, upstanding Christian man…stood by him in his depression, didn’t want to disturb his fragilness , listened to the church crap about “making my home better”,…..oh man!!!!!

      I could go on and on….just read the article again and pretend I wrote it!!!!!

      thanks Tracy for speaking for ME….and to me…

        • Im glad Im not Mormon. I would be stuck with him in heaven…my vow was Catholic and ended at death…he’s dead (actually, not metaphorically) and its over. I was such a stubborn Unicorn – I was the freaking Queen Unicorn with rainbow farts. God himself had to take him away to release my white knuckle grip on my bad marraige…I learned too slowly.

          • No, you wouldn’t be stuck with him in heaven if he committed adultery. He has to honor his vows to you and God in order to do that. My ex got excommunicated from the LDS church so I don’t have to worry about being stuck to him for all eternity. Thank you, Lord for that.

            • Im so glad for you about that.

              In our tradition we teach that if you are in a state of mortal sin at the time of death, you go to hell. He was in mortal sin during his affair, but he repented of most of it (to the Priest, not to me)…he wasnt in as dark a place when he died. I really believe he went to heaven (I prayed for his soul WAY WAY WAY too much for me to want him to go to hell)…I hope he is in heaven, I just dont ever want to hang out with him.

  • Love the whole post, but the part about breaking the surface tension of the bubble is so awesome that I want to marry it and have its children.

    I spent two agonizing years in limbo, trying my best to wait patiently while my secretly cheating then-husband was leading a double life and acting oh-so-confused about whether he wanted to work on our marriage. Every question I ever asked him about us had the same answer: “I don’t know.” I was nearly destroyed during that time. He saw it happening and did nothing to give me any clarity at all.

    Poor Timid Forest Creature. It’s no wonder he was so confused! He enjoyed the family life and the house he had with me, our daughter and his beloved cat. And he loved the ego strokes and sexual variety he got with the mistress in Florida.

    Given the chance to do it over again (though I shudder to think of it), I would have given him three months to figure it out after the first “I don’t know.” Because that limbo shit is hugely damaging.

    • That is three months longer than I would give if I had my time again…three minutes yes – three hours maybe – three days at a push. If they still need time and do not know or feel confused then time probably will not change that and who wants to tread softly around for weeks, months or even years while another person makes a unilateral decision.
      I am not into hate or revenge…if the grass looks greener on OW’s lawn then I would rather he craps there!

      • On second thought, Mary, I agree with you. Three months is much too long. A person knows whether they have enough interest to stay and work on a marriage. Three days would have been generous.

      • Yeah. He’s not sure? Well, hike on outta here and don’t come back because I AM sure that I’m not putting up with your cheatercrap.

  • I fell for the http://www.beyondaffairs.com recon. And I posted about one of their ‘resources’ recently but here it is again because hey, we need all the laughs we can get.

    It’s all about getting men to talk about their affair and is of the TFC variety- what you poor betrayed spouse should and shouldn’t do to get them to talk. There’s 16 key points which begin with “If you ask him a question, then allow him time to answer without explaining to him why he is wrong” and end with “Remember he is not ‘rational & sound’ in his mind.”

    Here to tell you It Did Not Work and timid forest creature ran away with his new forest friend.

    http://www.beyondaffairs.com/2013-archives/motivate-your-husband-to-talk/

    • Here’s what they have to say to men whose wives have cheated: “There is tremendous hope for couples where the wife has been unfaithful, because the betrayed husband is serious about becoming the man he needs to be for his wife, and the changes he makes stick, so now more than ever the wife can have the husband she always wanted with the man she married.” I hate them SOOOO much.

      • Yeah it’s all a dubious enterprise based on the reconciled Brian and Anne Bercht turned ‘affair recovery specialists.’ I even bought their damn book, which was my first step to Amazon chumpdom. Even waiting for the book to arrive delayed my recovery and then I read it, and I really thought I had Unicorn bait.

        After the divorce I was doing a clear out- I didn’t even give this to charity, I tore the book up and put it in the bin. I would never normally do that to a book but I didn’t want some unsuspecting Chump buying it cheap in a charity shop and then costing them dear.

        By the way my post is on twice because the first time, it got moderated because of the Beyond Affairs link. Good call CL moderation, the Beyond Affairs site is truly toxic.

  • I fell for the Beyondaffairs.com recon. And I posted about one of their ‘resources’ recently but here it is again because hey, we need all the laughs we can get.

    It’s all about getting men to talk about their affair and is of the TFC variety- what you poor betrayed spouse should and shouldn’t do to get them to talk. There’s 16 key points which begin with “If you ask him a question, then allow him time to answer without explaining to him why he is wrong” and end with “Remember he is not ‘rational & sound’ in his mind.”

    Here to tell you It Did Not Work and timid forest creature ran away with his new forest friend.

    Beyondaffairs.com/2013-archives/motivate-your-husband-to-talk/

  • I bought it…and the associated untangling the skein of HIS fucked-up-ness…until I began to see lies, stretching back like some kind of Dr. Seuss story…and with the help of several good therapists, decided.

    Oh, and at some point I glommed on to this site with totally reinforced my decisions. Totally. Life saving, this place.

    I didn’t really care what or why, I needed to get away. Stat! and began that process. so, yeah.

    But Crapweasel was and is a timid forest creature, it’s just that there are barbed, poisonous claws under that soft fuzzy exterior…. run away! Forest creatures are vewwy vewwy dangerous.

    • Yeah, Ex is maybe not a timid forest creature, but he is a Creature.
      My mistake: turning my back on him for a second. I still have claw wounds.
      Do not trust the forest creatures.
      The deception was not cute.

  • Ah, yes. I remember those days well. I was supposed to:

    Ignore the affair
    Tell him how wonderful he was
    Allow him to continue working with OW
    Never bring it up
    Never call OW names
    Never tell anyone about it

    When I didn’t comply, he left in typical TFC fashion – he announced he was moving out one week before he did. He’d found a place, bought furniture, arranged for movers, and changed his forwarding address before he bothered to mention it. He also left it up to me to tell the kids.

    Same with the divorce. We never discussed it – he just filed and let the chips fall where they may. Then he got mad when I told the kids. What – they were supposed to figure it out on their own (ages 13, 11, and 8 at the time)?

    These days I don’t look at it as TFC – I believe the correct term is COWARD.

    • Red, that list of stuff you were supposed to do mirrors almost exactly what abused kids are supposed to do: ignore the abuse, never bring it up, accept the status quo, and never tell.

      It’s abuse. And the so-called marriage experts who support it–abusers.

    • I love this blog. I’ve apparently have a potty mouth. Can you imagine how hard it was for me after DDay #1 to keep a handle on that…… But every once in a while it would come out of my mouth and I would call the AP “that bitch, whore, etc.” And that would be “bringing it up” again. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, its a motherf’ng duck. That my “perfect” spouse chose that was not an option. But that’s on him, loser that he is, he could never even take a hint that he might be a loser. Too bad for me though for pointing out that his AP’s were sluts. I call them the “store whores”, others just say that they are the “flirty girls” there. OMG you are a 40+ man and you have no idea that the only reason that you are getting attention is because they are the “store whores”, (sorry the “flirty girls”;trying to be nice and not gag) and that is their MO….. Glad that his “happiness” was so damn important that he blew up his family. Now we don’t have to deal with him at all….. Stupid fuckwit…..

      • I made a game of seeing if I could shock the male mc (40ish, very staid and calm) with my potty mouth. I can put a string of insults together with the best of them. He never flinched and I never stopped upping my game. My h squirmed tho.

  • Looking back, my initial reaction to the revealing of the cheating was Spot On. I gave him a dirty look, said “I HATE your fucking guts!” And left. Stayed elsewhere that night. Texted and called all my friends and told coworkers the next day he was a cheating turd and that we were divorcing. I was never going to speak to this jack ass again. I meant it too.

    Only one problem. Preschool daughter. I know I would have held my line, except for her. The next day he started the shit ric teaches them, and you. I bought it unfortunately, and spent a few more years listening to false remorse, or more accurately No Remorse, insults, etc.

    I found my old journal from that time, and he was acting like he was giving ME, a chance, not the other way around. If you mention it, don’t get over it, question me, etc. I am leaving. This went on a couple of years till I threw his ass out. Best thing I ever did.

    • Mine did the same thing–he wanted a divorce unless I stopped being angry, and anxious, and jealous, and…

      My response to the ultimatum was to file 9 a.m. next business day. I felt like skipping from the courthouse.

  • Best TFC comments I heard from my cheater:
    “You are creating a toxic environment for me because you won’t get over it.” (5 days after d-day)
    “I am in a fragile state, and I can’t find my center if you are hammering me about my faults.”
    “I had to lie to you, because you have to lie in order to have a successful affair.”
    “I need you to be with me to help me understand while she (AP) never really loved me.”

    And my all time favorite when cheater told me:
    “I am not going to be able to commit to this marriage if you aren’t willing to keep your vows to love me for better and for worse.”

    • I hate it when the “for better or worse” vows get brought up. There’s also a vow in there about “forsaking all others!”

      • Ex is remarrying soon to a woman who was not the OWhore. What do you think will go through his mind when he is pledging to forsake all others…until death do us part? Will those parts ring a bell? I know it is faulty logic,but since hearing of his engagement about a month ago I keep thinking, wasn’t I good enough to keep? Hope his next marriage SUCKS! Please someone, tell I shouldn’t care.

        • Okay Hurt1, you shouldn’t care. In time, you won’t. Were you good enough to keep? Yes! You were too good for him. He wasn’t good enough for you to keep. He will eventually do the same thing to his new wife. If she doesn’t know his history, I would let her know. If she marries him anyway, it’s on her. God I wish I had been forewarned.

          • PS – Don’t beat yourself up because you do care. That just shows you have feelings. Something cheaters only have for themselves. I vacillate back and forth with “meh”. You will get there. Also, I know people who have been “meh” for years, and when their ex got remarried all those yucky feelings and old hurts came to the surface temporarily. Take care! Trust that he sucks!

        • He sucks Hurt1, and he sucks big time. And you are a human being so of course you are hurt and you care. If I knew how to waive a magic wand or give someone a memory-zapping lobotomy, I would have done it to myself years ago. In July, my ex is marrying one of the AP’s he had an affair with (for over 15 years of our 25 year marriage!!). They all suck and it all hurts. I am even happily remarried to a very nice guy, so much better than ex, but knowing he is marrying that ho’ still gets to me– that they get to continue pretending they are fabulous people, that they get to profit from their evil awful deeds. Our children are neither attending the happy couples’ nuptials, and in fact refuse any contact with their father. The cheaters will reap what they have sown, you just may not be there to witness it. Don’t forget to trust that he sucks. (((Big hugs)))

          • That’s what I just don’t get. Why does anyone want a known CHEATER? That is the exact opposite of what everyone else wants. Now the sidepiece position will be open…

            • She may not know he is a cheater. Why would he tell her? – his narrative is perfect: I wasn’t this, I wasn’t that, I made him unhappy, I made his life so miserable he HAD to leave. We were married over 24 years but she (meaning me) was so awful at being my wife.

              But wife #2 might get the same STD I got. How could that be explained? Maybe he confessed to her & now promises it won’t be that way this time around. If she is shallow, he’s a good catch on the outside: big bucks salary, sport cars, new house & a whole family that chose to stick their respective heads in the sand that he ran away.

              By the way, I would have no way of contacting her because he moved more than an hour away closer to his family. Only know about new wife-to-be through a forwarded copy (by friends in that area) of his father’s obit last month.

              • I really was just thinking about OP in general, cause 95 percent at least do know. It’s so easy to find this stuff out today. I don’t know exactly what my cheater told his whore, but I read some emails and she KNEW he was creeping and sneaking. So even if he SAID we were not together, his actions said we were.

    • “I need you to be with me to help me understand while she (AP) never really loved me.”

      Whoa Nellie.. that’s some serious entitlement.

    • ““I had to lie to you, because you have to lie in order to have a successful affair.” Bingo. So cheaters are always LIARS. That’s a great reason not to believe in their words of remorse.

      • OW1 actually said to me “he did not want to lie to you but what else could he do? You cannot go to your partner and say “I am involved with someone else and it might come to something or it might not so of course he had to lie”.
        So it is fine to make a fool of someone, waste their time, have them doubt their own sanity while the affair is road tested.
        I wonder how many of us won pick-me dances that we knew nothing about.

        • “I wonder how many of us won pick-me dances that we knew nothing about.”

          This was me. X tells me Oh and by the way, sorry for the other girls”. He was making a fresh start and apparently thought confession was good for the soul.

          I just about lost my sanity for 20 some years because I would ask over and over again about some new “girl” that had caught his eye. Everytime he would tell me I was crazy or jealous. He needed to have friends don’t you know.

          It felt good when he finally admitted it. But those years of being the pick-me dance winner have taken their toll. I’m much better now. On my way to Meh!

  • Great post to rerun, CL. And yay for a speaking gig. Hope you are out there evangelizing about chump recovery – AND getting book sales.

    This was my first introduction to TFC. Yes, I “had one”. Had I known then what I know now, I would have suffered much less.

    Alert for new chumps: TFC are mythical creatures. Observe reality: YOU are the “creature” that needs healing and protection after DDay.

  • The only time I ever saw a TFC was in MC. Poor delicate creature who cowered at the slightest hint of rage on my part. Worthy of an Oscar. Cheaterpants would pick an argument the night before the morning MC appointment. Every week. Then he’d present me as an irrational emotional lunatic while he huddled and whined about how impossibly hard I made his otherwise sweet and sunny and warm and fuzzy life. I was the one who needed to be fixed. I didn’t understand his extreme specialness. I think his only remorse was that I wouldn’t agree to stand by him while he continued to whore around. He would have liked that best.

  • I think it’s important to note that adultery is still fault in some states. What the RIC doesn’t tell you is that you give up your claim to fault if you try to work it out. In fact, you really should kick them out as soon as you find out.

    Even in a no-fault state, evidence of adultery can be used as leverage because public exposure can be damaging. Not to mention that if there is any kind of inappropriate behavior around the kids or the kids are exposed to a parent’s adulterous behaviors, you will have a hard time using that evidence to protect your kids if you have been shown to tolerate the behavior by trying to repair the relationship.

    Chumps often don’t realize that they are trading away legal leverage and even money in the financial settlement by following the RIC’s advice.

    • This is such an amazingly important point. I also think that Chumps give away a lot of their personal power because cheaters see they can be manipulated into accepting cheating after a period of crisis.

      Now that I think of it, DDay –> Crisis –> Reconciliation is a lot like living with an alcoholic. The drinker’s behavior gets worse and worse until he or she creates a crisis. That sort of pops the balloon and releases pressure and the cycle starts again. There’s a similar dynamic in physically abusive relationships.

  • I tried reconciliation for a while, but every time my ex and I would go for a date or something like that I felt like I was incapable of being nice — I felt so repelled that I would literally squirm to get away. It was almost impossible to try to have fun or enjoy a dinner with someone who had done what she had done. When that feeling never really went away I knew I could never reconcile. I just couldn’t stand to be around her anymore. The reality of that took a while to set in though.

    • I know what you mean, Charles–my limbic system screamed “DANGER! DANGER!” every time I saw my cheater after D-day.

        • You and Tempest are both right. All at once I would find myself on the verge of screaming again. It was like my wife and I were magnets, but turned the wrong way. I found my stress levels skyrocketing when she would come home from the gym even. Maybe that’s how prisoners of war feel when the guy who tortures them approaches! (I know that’s probably an inappropriate metaphor, but it’s how I felt.)

            • I agree. But I think there is also something else that happens. The abuser was always there. And they let you think you were mostly safe if you complied with their wishes. It’s when you draw that line in the sand that is saying you respect yourself that the shit rains and hails on you. Then you understand that you were always in danger, and they were never looking out for your wellbeing, only their own. That’s when they make your gut scream and your skin crawl.

          • Charles – I can certainly relate to that. We had about 4 mos together before I filed and they were excruiacting on my nerves, blood pressure, stomach; it was like my whole body was reacting. We kind of faked the dinner thing, but he repulsed me, and every time he walked in the door – there went the blood pressure. You could smell the tension. We were getting along okay but it was all weird. I couldn’t stand him next to me, would avoid a brush in the hallway, and when he sat next to me on his computer when he had an entire house (and his man cave) to escape to, no – he seemed to be watching everything I did (and, looking back, he was probably texting the OW, who I thought he broke up with). Creeped me out to the point my skin crawled. And, that’s when I knew I’d never get over feeling that way about him.

      • I feel the same way now. It also really bothers me to know that he is a man of low character. That was something that was so important to me when I was looking for a husband.

        Character was important to him to at one time. He is nothing like the man I thought I married.

        • Your character, Sabrina, may have been important to him. He didn’t want to be treated the way he went on to treat you. There is a strange split with people like that. They expect so much from you, but they have their own rules you never know about until there is a slip in their behavior that brings it glaringly to light.

          • Survivor, you are so correct. I didn’t know the “rules” about having a job, not a career; not being in tune to his unhappiness; not knowing “we were just like room mates (not! you asshat), etc.

    • I agree,Charles.

      I never officially reconciled, I was instructed to always say I was evaluating my options, and every time we went out alone it was TORTURE. Can’t.stand.to.be.around.such.a.Liar.and.Whore

      I just quit doing that and I stated numerous times that we are NOT a couple. And really, I am no longer married since he broke the contract.

  • My spontaneous reaction to the revealing of the cheating was… laughter. Because he looked so distressed, and in my mind, he had merely seized a one-shot opportunity to sleep with a stranger in a foreign country, and after so many happy years together it was not a big deal. Being in the excitement of the moment, a single occurence, far way from home, during a holiday, that’s unpleasant but understandable.
    He was so relieved that I was forgiving. He told his parents who were quite surprised about the whole story. In addition, I said that he could rent a place near his work so he could stop commuting so much.
    Then I couldn’t believe his reaction: he ran to the computer to write a letter to the OW who had just dumped him. What he wrote, I still wonder.
    As lonely week days went by, the true story unfolded, because I got curious, and the OW had put pictures on her social network page, without any privacy. It was not a single encounter. It had started five years ago. It was a chat every evening behind closed door (ah, the language lessons, that’s why there were so many giggles !) when I was suffering of a bad burnout (both him and the workplace had exhausted me). It was several trip for “sports” in different countries (damn, that’s why…). And even a trip next to home, he left three days early and didn’t want me to come… many heartbreaking ‘aha’ moments. The peak was when I discovered a printed copy, torn in small pieces, forgotten in his suitcase, of a letter he had written to the OW’s new man, where he clearly stated that he had no regrets, although he was about to marry her in 2015 (??!!!). He wrote me a letter too, of the love bombing kind. There I had my own reliable bullshit translator, in the form of two letters contradicting each other.
    I can’t move. I’m stuck. Paralyzed. It’s been almost a year.

    • He’s just a liar. You are right, trust your instincts. I too am having a hard time getting to meh, but eventually we have to realize they are just not honest, good people. This is a clear cut case of someone who takes advantage. Don’t let it be you. Don’t kick yourself, you aren’t that way, that’s why he picked you.

      • This is when righteous anger should kick in. YOU ARE MIGHTY! You don’t need to eat shit sandwiches and serve tea to APs and intended APs. You don’t need to wash dirty undershorts after fake business trips. Yes, assholes choose good and decent people to cover for them and clean up their messes, but you don’t need to do that anymore. You can thrive without that diseased monkey on your back. Toss the thing to the nearest ditch or nature preserve and walk into your new life with a spring in your step. You’ll feel younger, lighter and happier.

    • Thank you for your comments, Jen and Survivor. I wish there were some get-together of people like you in my area ! Alas… all I could find was a “therapist”, who put her energy into convincing me that he was ashamed and the whole thing happened because he needed an ego boost. He did apparently return to his former self, and weekends look normal, but inside I feel disgusting.

  • STBX’s cheater brother (yep, and their father was a cheater, too) was in his mid-30s when he hooked up with his OW–an 18-19 year old girl who’d just lost her father. This young woman was his employee, and the one time I met her, it was clear that she had a crush on him. I said as much to STBX and his mother, saying that Cheater BiL needed to be careful and make sure that nothing happened. But Cheater BiL had been “nice” to the woman, and eventually someone filed for divorce.

    Fast forward to New Year’s Day 2015. Cheater BiL’s former AP, now wife, declared on Facebook that she’s gay.

    I am glad that she’s out of the closet, and I harbor no illusions about her moral virtue, as even a 19-year-old knows that it’s wrong to have an affair. But I also think that Cheater BiL tends to pick younger women who do not see all the red flags he flies. He’s living hand to mouth, and while he calls himself a professor, in fact he’s a part-time adjunct for two online universities. He needs a woman stupid enough to support him, and now, three months after his 2nd wife departs from the picture, he’s found someone else to take on that role. And yes, she is about 10-15 years younger in a low-level position, but one where she has good medical benefits and a steady income.

  • I think my cheater would argue with the premise that I was a TFC because I chose to keep him around.
    He’d probably declare that I was a cold calculating bitch.

    Mr. Hanecita had received a devastating cancer diagnosis 2 years before his gigantic MidLife/Cancer crisis…He self-medicated with a younger married woman that he further escaped additionally with drinking and gambling and a geographic move away from family and responsibilities. Poor thing was horrified when I called his bluff and relocated to be with him, and then most of the ‘fun’ was over for him. Too bad, so sad. He was counting on me to pull the plug on the marriage and that way he could whine: “Hanecita left me…I need companionship: meet my Shiny New Girlfriend.”

    My initial reaction at the discovery of his betrayal was to tell him to fuck off and die, which given his cancer diagnosis, was very likely. But I chose to look at the likely financial scenario and made the decision to stick it out… I was not about to squander my older child’s college tuition on the lawyers fees that a divorce would have sucked up, nor the future of our cognitively disabled child to split up the assets of a 25 year old marriage so Mr. Hanecita could run off with SNG. I also did not want SNG anywhere near the disabled child. My calculation was that Mr. Hanecitas’s diagnosis would end my marriage soon enough.

    The first two years sucked as SNG was lurking in the shadows. We finally made yet another geographic move that SNG was unwilling to follow. Mr. Hanecita succumbed to his cancer 10 years after his diagnosis, and 7 years after his betrayal. Our children were able to help see him through his death without the presence of SNG and I did not have to share assets or retirement with his gutter slut.

    Never felt an ounce of remorse from Mr. Hanecita….He resented me for ‘out-foxing’ him. He really wanted me to do the dirty work of initiating a divorce…he fantasized I’d stay 2,000 miles away from his new life with my family and we’d stay married while he had SNG, he’d visit me on occasion and we’d all be buddies. So I guess this makes me gold-digger of sorts.

    I’d probably do it again if presented with the same circumstances.

    • Lucky you Ms. Hanecita…My cheater XH was also diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer in our marriage but someone ….’Nurse Ange’l here….. got him through so he could LIVE and fuck me over and run off with Slut Woman. Damn!!! I COULD have been a WIDOW with lots and lots of sympathy directed my way not to mention the million dollars in life insurance. Fuckety fuck fuck fuck the bad luck!

    • I wonder whether, perhaps, situations like this might explain the proportion of divorce proceedings started by one gender, as opposed to another.

      • Anonymous…I had a sociology professor in college who taught Marriage and Family and he said that women file for divorce more but that men are usually the cause for the divorce but ‘let’ the woman file. I don’t know if it’s to save face or they just someone else deal with the dirty work. Nothing against the men here who were cheated on either. I get that wives cheat.

        • My cheating husband said he wanted a divorce, and then went apeshit when I started giving him one, he wanted one based on 2 years separation by mutual consent rather than adultery. Just so no one would know. He would not even sign to say that he had done so even though he had flaunted his new woman round family, social circle, village, church for 7 months, no one believed he had ever slept on the sofa every night of those 7 months
          I think he only signed in the end as he did not want to risk some of his unreasonable behaviour being made public, that was my fallback position

          When he realised that I would not back down, he whined that what he really wanted was to be divorced, not to get divorced. Sometimes it is because they are too bloody lazy to file, they would be quite happy just to let you fade away, without any maintenance, or security of housing. Maybe women file first to ensure that they have security for themselves and children

          I helped a timid forest creature once. I saw a mole crossing the road once, and felt sorry for it as being nearly blind he would not be able to see any cars coming. Picked it up and it sank the sharpest fangs ever into my finger, and held on for dear life.Got it to let go eventually but wow – it certainly could defend itself against it’s rescuing human. Maybe husband is a mole too

  • The word “fog” gets tossed around a lot on both sides of the cheater equation. RIC thinks the cheater is in a fog, but if so, it’s like that fake fog you see at rock concerts. It exists to hide cheater reality. So no cheater is ever coming out of that self-created fog because it keeps the chump from seeing clearly.

    Chumps sometimes say they feel like they are in a fog–and that might result from abuse. It’s hard to think clearly when you’ve been gaslighted for a long time or when you’ve been blindsided and you’ve discovered your whole life is a lie (at least the part with Cheaterpants). That kind of fog can be dissipated by family, friends, or a competent therapist who tells the truth and encourages the chump to save his or her own life first. I also think Chumps feel like they are in a fog because they are fighting to believe the lies when their own lies and common sense tell them the truth. In that case, “fog” is about denial and internal conflict.

    In any case, a chump’s first need is to clear up the fog. We can’t change other people. We can only change how we respond to the situation we are in.

    • I have seen the concept of fog as described as analogous to the come down an addict feels after he’s high. You have to fight through the fog and “become yourself again,” no longer needing the inappropriate fix that is/was your affair partner. So we chumps supposedly need to be there to help them through the fog. As if soon they’ll emerge from a state of being what CL describes as “timid forest creatures” and once again be the “normal” spouse we thought we knew.

      My biggest issue, then and now, is that I have trouble knowing myself. After 16 years of marriage you develop certain habits of mind — like “I’m doing this for my wife . . . I wonder how my wife will react” etc. Now I still do that sometimes, then I remember — “oh — I don’t care about that.” It sort of feels good, but also a bit vertiginous.

    • LAJ, my ex husband and I had the same financial planner. After we parted, we maintained the same financial planning company but had different planners. The company appointed a female planner to me. I remember at an appointment about 18 months after parting, I commented to my planner that I was finally getting through the fog. I am not sure what the ex had told them but she did say to me, “it is about time because you have come from a poor background”. She was alluding to the fact that I had an unwell mother so therefore I was taking after her. I now have a new financial planner.

      • Wow. That is horrible. And so unprofessional for the planner to listen to what he said. to believe it, or to repeat it to you. But I’m glad you found out.

  • That’s exactly what I did. Went with Reconcile. Then go to No Remorse. Dipshit ex-wife just kept right on having contact with the married OM — in front of me, in front of our kids, in front of our friends. I stayed in counseling a couple more months to try to discuss the issue and sort it out, but she went right on being a douche about it. So I switched to Divorce. It’s been hard but I’m now very glad I don’t have to spend one more minute with that narcissistic loon.

  • Ah the Timid Forest Creature. Yes, I had one of those. He showed no remorse. Looking back he was just acting. He only did things for me because I asked. And I was dumb enough to feel sorry for the asshole.

    But I did tell several friends and his parents. I didn’t tell my family. I was trying to protect him. I felt I had a right to confide in who I wanted and my mental health demanded I talk to someone.

    During 2012 he started acting strange. I finally asked him in the fall if he was having an affair. He never actually answered the question. Several months later he wanted permission to leave for a few days. I refused. He started crying and mentioned how hurt he was that I thought he would have an affair. What a performance! And me, being the chump that am, fell for it. He left anyway with a phone call and an email. He came back one day later. He said he went to a hotel but I’m sure he was lying. Oh and this was a week and half after the high school had called because our son mentioned to a friend that he was thinking of killing himself. But you know the drill everything is all about Him.

    It was another six weeks till Dday. I found emails. The man whore was doing a married coworker. He promised to end it. Several months later she actually quit, but they were still in contact via email and text. Did they meet? No idea. But I know they took days off before I found out and spent them at her house. After I discovered last summer they were still in contact I called the sluts husband. Then asshole again took off and left for five days. Told me he was staying at someone’s house. No, he actually was with her, because her husband left. He was much smarter than I. The night he came back we saw a MC. He cried through that. Talked about how much he needed time away because he was so ashamed. Well that little performance unraveled because he obviously was supposed to go back to her and when he didn’t she showed up at our door, banging on it at 1:15 in the morning. I was appalled. I felt like my life was a soap opera. He ended up staying but finally left the final time a month later.

    As much as I’ve suffered, I’m glad he’s gone. No more blame shifting, gaslighting, lying, cheating.

  • I hate to admit that when DDay hit-I was in a fog. I was panicked & didn’t know what the right thing to do was. I wanted him gone but struggled because we have a young child. I had no money, no job, and no where that I could go with the baby. I was stuck. I was afraid. I initially felt horrible shame that he was cheating with prostitutes and hooked on porn. I wanted to believe that stbx was a unicorn but in reality he was just an ass with a toilet plunger on his forehead. I went to counseling for me and he did nothing. For a short time I waited for that grand gesture of being sorry that some folks have talked about & of course it never came. He generically apologized once for what happened via text message when I was trying to kick him out. Now I know-He isn’t sorry for hurting me & doesn’t care about losing his family

    Actions do speak louder than words. Since DDay he has continued to password protect his phone, purchased a classic car to restore without asking me, spends ridiculously on said car, and burns up cell phone minutes on porn & secret phone apps. There are still times he is supposedly working late and days when he disappears to go work on the car (which is now at his friends house) He has half-ass made an effort to do things with me & our son just so he can say he is trying. I know now that he isn’t sorry, can’t feel remorse (or anything else) and that he is still doing whatever he wants and thinks he’s so sly. I like when he’s gone now-it makes it easier for my & my son to not have to walk on eggshells all the time.

    Thank god I found CL & CN. It helped me get out of the fog ASAP and kicked my but into making an action plan to protect me & my son. This site helped me more than any counselor ever did! A year out & I can see clearly. I see stbx for what he truly is & my focus is on the exit. I was able to find a job a few months ago & I am almost financially set to file the divorce. I am excited and a little nervous for my new life………I can’t wait to get farther down the road to MEH

      • BRAVO CurrentChump! Mighty. We’re all behind you. One thing I learned is, when we parted, there was a vacuum for a short period of time and then it filled up with wonderful people all around me, like the butterflies came out of the sky. Life doesn’t like a vacuum. You’re gonna do great and have already done so. I was sure nervous – still am, but excited too, about the future. Bear Hugs

        • Thank you Muse & Shechump-
          I needed that today. I just have to keep pushing forward through the crap.
          A bunch of butterflies sounds nice & I know my son would love it!

          But is that before i get my hunting license to shoot timid forest creatures?!
          (HA HA)

  • None of this thanks to CL.

    I did set up most of the basic self protection items, including vetting out top family attorneys in the area and finding an IC and an MC before I went Jackie Chan on my cheater’s ass a month after DDay. At that time I only knew of the LT MOW, not all of the other stuff that came out over the course Of 2014. With all of that knowledge and info it became very clear that my guy is a life long serial cheater. I just happened to be the chump who unknowingly married the creep.

    Thank goodness NONE of the therapists went down the path of going easy on the cheater. Probably the worst thing was the MC asking me to sweep this shit under the rug in order to move on in this marriage. I went Jackie Chan on his ass too. 🙂

    If anyone gets involved with a therapist who suggests to the chump to treat the cheater with great care and tenderness or rug sweep this crap, fire their ass. The cheating and the cheater are not your work to sort through.

    • “If anyone gets involved with a therapist who suggests to the chump to treat the cheater with great care and tenderness or rug sweep this crap, fire their ass.”

      This. Single best piece of advice available for anyone trying to find a counselor to help them try to reconcile.

  • I bought the TFC concept hook, line and sinker. God only knows what I would have done 9 years ago if I had this article to read, but I was so high on hopium I would have given a long explanation for my hope.

    When I discovered the affair, he said “I wont apologize for falling in love”…why (Dear God) did I not kick his sorry ass out that very night ?

    7 years people, 7 years of naughahide remorse and flimsy reconciliation.

    Today I got an email from my widows group with the lyrics of a song all about how they want to be back with their deceased beloved..I have NO interest in spending ANY more time with him. If I die tomorrow, I hope there is a place in heaven I can be that is really far from him. When I do die, I will be buried with my new husband with his last name carved in a stone over my head and that claim to my identity deadhusband had will be GONE.

  • The most TFC moment I remember is one day I was pushing him to take some real accountability for what he did and he said “Don’t tempt me!!” as in “dont make me feel uncomfortable with all this betrayal talk or I will run to her”…dont pop my fragile bubble with your rhinoceros horn of truth.

    What total bullshit that was.

  • OMG, Arnold I tried to make deposits ALL THE TIME and was wondering where the hell our my deposits, I just got withdrawl after withdrawl, but shhh don’t talk about it, they might run off! God I was SO STUPID!!!

  • Oh yes, H is so fragile. He had to work on himself, so he still couldn’t be the husband he wanted to be (but really wanted to be, he would tell me). Finally, a year and a half in, he said that my pain was holding him back from being this new person.
    Well, far be it from me to stop Mr. Wonderful from unleashing his new awesomeness onto the world! That really sealed the deal for me. I only started to regain my sanity after deciding it was done. What a grade A narcissistic jerkwad.

    • The totally inept needs her license suspended MC that we went to see after the DDay prior to the marriage-ending DDay (because, really, I have no idea how many ddays there actually were) told him that he was too sensitive and it might totally destroy him to have to confront all of his issues. She then went on to tell him that he was so mystical and fragile that he might never be able to come to terms with all of the pain that resided in him. Of course, she had no problem attempting to have me confront mine and how they caused him to act in the way in which he did (she would never openly discuss his cheating – she wanted to “keep the focus on the marriage, not the cheating” because the cheating was “in response” to the problems in the marriage. Yeah, I know, I was nominated for an Oscar for best performance by a Chump).

      So, of course, during the three years of “reconcilation” (if by reconciliation you mean dancing faster to please him and puckering up more frequently to kiss his ass while he sat back grading me on how well I was doing) I was fearful of saying or doing anything that might upset the TFC and damage his oh so delicate psyche.

      I wish I could go back and have a do-over. I would tell the Asshole and the enabling, incompetent MC where and how to go fuck themselves.

      • I wish I could have a do-over too! I actually had a really good MC. We only went twice, and he kept telling me that it’s okay to let go if this was too much for me.

  • I treated cheater ex as a timid forest creature because it was the only way I could stay in the marriage. If I knew and believed he was an asshole, I would have been out of there in no time flat.

    For those who are still on the fence whether to leave or stay, time to press the “reset” button on your life rather than “return.”

    • I did the same thing Uniquelyme. Before I even stumbled across the RIC, it was my own bad idea to treat the ex like a TFC. There were cues from him of course. He made me feel like he would NOT tolerate certain behaviors, like asking him too many questions. I felt to my core that if I pushed to much that he would’ve run back into the arms of the OW.

      Oh if only I let him and just walked away….sigh. I had such low self esteem that I didn’t believe I was worth him doing the work or fighting for; like I had somehow brought this all on myself and he was perfectly comfortable with letting me think that way. The coward and the epic chump ; it should be a cautionary tale.

      The good news if you could call it that is that the three tortuous years of reconciliation with that loser gave me the chance to fully appreciate his lack of character. If I had left right away, I might’ve been charmed to go back if things didn’t work out with him and the OW. There is no chance I would ever believe anything he said in this lifetime again. I’ve been no contact since sometime in March last year and it’s been the most blissful year since 1987 (when I was married)

  • The therapist I saw after d-day explained within “time” if he pursued going to SA meetings, I may find I like this “new” person even better than the one I married! So, I sat back a few months observing TFC and of course, no character transplant, no remorse except for himself and he constantly repeated “I don’t know what to do. I have fear”. My hardest part in this nightmare was trying to figure out who this creature was and how he faked me out all the 27 years of marriage. Whew! Got through divorce and in the last year found CL and CN and reading often has helped in my healing especially realizing there are plenty of chumps out there and I’m at peace not unraveling the skein, trusting that he sucks beyond anyone’s imagination and I’m meh-bound!

  • Waiting 6-12 months before making a decision is the party line of the reconciling crowd at Surviving Infidelity. That advice turns BS into frogs that are slowly boiled. They start in warm water and don’t notice the slow increase in temperature until it is too late. The BS is slowly broken down and beaten over time as the cheater wears them down with minimizing and half truths. I see so many BS move from the Recon forum to the Divorce forum over there. SI admin and mods would have us believe we don’t see reconciled couples in the Recon forum or other forums due to them leaving to boards once they reconcile. Nope, not buying it. They leave because they get lost in hopeless limbo and fade away.

    Si has a thread going now about whether or not it is “natural” to reconcile. The BS that are clamoring to say it is natural are baffling to me. It is about as natural as purposefully cutting off one’s arm with a chainsaw for no good reason.

  • Well if they are Timid Forest Creatures I ate mine for lunch!!! No I did not treat my husband and his terrible choices with any kind of timidity. In fact I was a raging monster and I gave him every reason to run for the hills. I challenged him at every turn. I had my bad ass lawyer within a week of him leaving.

    Once he got his head out of his ass and asked for reconciliation I set up my boundaries. Drove home the point when we were at one of our first MC sessions and he had met with her privately. She started the session out that she also could act as a mediator for divorce. I looked both her and husband in the eye and told them if I wasn’t there to work on reconciliation I didn’t need either one of them much less a mediator as I had total confidence in my bad ass lawyer.

    Grieve the ending of the affair?? Fuck that shit!!! Had I seen one iota of grief I’d have literally thrown him out. Reluctance to total transparency? Oh.Hell.NO!!! I checked his computer, his cell phone and his whereabouts, yes I GPSed, judge me if you want, don’t care, DID IT, don’t regret it. Eventually I let him know I had GPSed but in dealing with unscrupulousness one can be unscrupulous. He knew I was looking at his phone and email. Not adhering to NC was a total deal breaker. Pretty certain it was NC. Pretty certain she wanted nothing more to do with him once I got done with her!! Now I know all that marriage policing could have been for nothing as he could have gotten a second phone, second email etc. but for what? He’s the one that wanted reconciliation and as I said I was a raging monster. He knew he could never go that deep underground ever again. I honestly think he thinks I would have gone all Lorena Bobbit on him. TeeHee always keep them guessing! Fact is I wouldn’t have. I just would have taken him to the cleaners AND I live in state that allows that 🙂 Would have sued her too. That just would have been for fun, she doesn’t have shit!

    He wanted back then it was on my terms, my boundaries, my rules. He’s been great, maybe I do have that unicorn. Don’t know.

    I’m not sure who these TFC are but I suggest if you have one to skewer it and add a little tangy barbecue sauce to it before consuming it.

  • Here’s a summary of my relationship with my STBXW after DDay:

    ZERO.

    As in…

    ZERO heartfelt apologies from her.

    ZERO accountability for anything she could have done to make our marriage unhappy (after I apologized to her for fourteen – fourteen! – things I felt I had contributed to that unhappiness from my side of things).

    ZERO attempts at wanting to entertain reconciliation even for our young daughter’s sake.

    ZERO honesty through the initial marriage counseling process.

    I had a horribly difficult time blaming myself for my STBXW’s affair. When I got so low, believing all of the gaslighting and the blaming of me for causing the situation that made her desperate enough to have an affair, I was despondent and almost killed myself. Guess how much consolation I received in my darkest hours from her? If you guessed ZERO… congrats!

    ZERO admission of any cheating on her own. ZERO admission of tons of financial infidelities. All after giving her several opportunities to come clean on all of it.

    So now, my patience has reached…

    …wait for it…

    ZERO! 🙂

    Now, I am a logical guy, so after a while of the self-flagellation, something began to feel totally wrong. I started actually answering (to myself) the questions my STBXW had used to try to minimize the affair and deflect blame. Such as “what are the chances that if we’d met each other now, that we’d even want to date let alone be married?” Well… let’s see… if a woman I was interested in told me that she’d run up $100K in secret debt and penalties, had collection agencies hounding her, had an affair, and offered no remorse or help when her husband discovered it… even if her ex-hubby was THE SINGLE WORST husband EVER… the chance of me wanting to date that woman equals precisely ZERO!

    All those zeros coming up in the good person column do NOT scream “timid animal.” They scream “vicious, wounded, possibly psychotic animal” to me. What sealed the deal was my therapist asking me “are you *sure* that you want to be with this woman?” and, after telling my lawyer that my wife has some good qualities but I just got tired of the lying and deceit and needed to get out of this, hearing her say “good lord, who could blame you?”

    So… how much regret will I have if she runs off with her significantly older hair-plugs-and-teeth-caps paramour? How much of her shame will I agree to carry if she doesn’t want other people to know why we split? How much trust and friendship will I exhibit to her beyond classy civility (as the mother of my child)? How much time would I consider taking her back if she changes her mind in the future? How many weeks will I wait before rebuilding my life once the divorce is finalized…?

    ZERO!!!

    • Sephage
      You had no choice. She gave you ZERO to work with. You’ll find someone great!

      There is no sense patronizing these people. You have to go for the jugular right out of the box. No giving them space, time, etc. You move fast and hard right away. They show no remorse or guilt or humility–TOOT A LOO MOTHER FUCKER!!!

      Timid Forest Creatures, HA!! If they are acting like TMC it’s because you allow them to be.

      • tryinghard – thanks!

        Yeah, the whole thing is kind of tragic. As are all of these scenarios, I suppose.

        My wife’s life is kind of spiraling out of control. She doesn’t fit the serial cheater model, but she clearly has serious issues in terms of maturity, conflict resolution, and responsibility. Large enough issues that they cannot be written off as normal or manageable.

        She’s a good parent, a great cook, and well-liked by many people. But there’s another side to that picture, one that only came out privately behind closed doors, and that side is not such a great person and I am totally done with the duplicity and subterfuge.

        The complicating factor, after I got over initial chump shock, was my daughter begging me to promise to give her mom another chance. So I did; I can now look my kid in the eye and tell her that I gave every opportunity I could and tried my hardest, and can do that ten years from now and feel the same way. I’ve been told by lawyers and therapists that I’ve been very generous about that aspect, so I am holding my head high.

        I was a lousy hubby at several points in the marriage, and I’ve specifically worked on those things about myself that I didn’t like (too hotheaded, too impatient, too selfish…); but I did that for me and my kid, not for my wife. The number of times I cheated to salve my pain of the things I didn’t like about her (who – surprise! – also was not perfect)?

        Waaaaiiiit for it……

        ZERO! 🙂

        And I am in a rock band, travel the world for work being hosted primarily by young, single PR girls, and am reasonably funny. So it’s not like I didn’t have opportunity to blow my marriage vows. I just found the idea of doing that cowardly and repulsive (still do).

  • Stephane
    Just because she was a dishonorable wife doesn’t mean she’s a bad parent or a lousy cook!! Sure they have wonderful qualities and if it weren’t for that pesky little fact that they couldn’t keep their pants on everything would have been perfect. Ok well not so much right?

    Look don’t beat yourself up for contributing to some bad things in your marriage. Everyone who’s married does it Sometimes on purpose and sometimes unwittingly. But I will forever be confused as to why it’s too freaking hard to talk about things and so damn easy to betray? I don’t get it.how is that ever been a better choice? Can people not learn from very public screw ups in this arena? And once the jig is up how is one not remorseful? I’m telling you that’s one of the main things that saved my marriage. Had I not seen utter remorse, honesty, regret, humility I’d have called it a day because his affair reached epic proportions. I had every reason to divorce and decimate his business, our family, his family, many employees lives, spent thousands of dollars on a divorce and I would have done it. I don’t blame folks for moving on. I admire them. Maybe I’m the fool but so far so good. Besides I’m getting used to those shit sandwiches now :). Although I’ve learned to dole out a few of my own!!

    • tryinghard – Amen to all of that! It could be that my wife is, in fact, remorseful. But she appears to lack the ability to demonstrate it in a productive, mature way. Interestingly, with her mother and stepdad staying with us this for a few days (to attend our daughter’s birthday party), my wife keeps taking the healing from infidelity books I have laying by my reading chair in the living room, and she is hiding them. I just keep putting them back on the table in open view. I suppose that is one of the signs of how far apart on this we are – in her thinking, it’s somehow the right thing to do to keep this hidden. Sorry, I am not taking any part in covering up anything, as it’s not my shame to bear.

      In any case, I’ve no patience left, as she prefers to interpret my words and actions to suit her internal dialog without asking me for clarifications, and it’s just wearing soooooo thin now. I would at this point prefer to devote my energies into building a new life for me that doesn’t include her in a romantic way, or even in a friendship, and being the “grown up” side of things for my daughter as an example. I suppose if people who cheat could devote energy in healthy ways, then they wouldn’t be cheating and so in some ways the vast majority of these cases are lost causes. This site and its participants have been instrumental in getting me out of the fog and looking at the facts of our marriage more objectively, and for that I will always be very grateful!

      • Sephage
        Leaving those books around while her parents are there are tantamount to leaving her dirty undies lying on the floor!!! Of course she doesn’t want “those” books around. She would have to take ownership of her behaviors.

        All I can say is you are doing the right thing. Even the Reconciliation Industry advocates taking care of yourself first. Well maybe not the one who says her husband’s affair was the best thing that happened to her—UGH!! Patience does run thin so does compassion when it seems to be for nothing. Can I ask have you actually sat down and told her this is it and that you are moving on and taking the steps to do it permanently? Does she get that? If you just live the status quo, she won’t take you seriously. You have to rock her world. Enough of that taking blame for shit that happened in your marriage. You are dealing with two different animals. By trying to take account for the problems in your marriage you are essentially making her affair about you when she knows it isn’t about you. She liked her affair. It was her and Prince Charmings special time. She’s not going to give you any credit for it. She met her soul mate because she’s Sleeping Beauty and he’s Prince Charming. You first have to deal with her infidelity then you move on to marital issues once the infidelity has been dealt with and everything is laid to rest. This is when you work on YOURSELF, your life, your future. Whatever happens to your marriage, happens to your marriage after all the dust settles. And I totally get how some folks decide they can’t and won’t get past the infidelity to move on to the marital issues.

        I’m happy to hear you’ve quit wasting your time on blaming yourself. And for what it’s worth, you are funny 🙂 So am I. Thank God for my perverted sense of humor otherwise I may have slashed my wrist with a rusty tuna can lid months ago!!

        • tryinghard – Thanks. Great insights, and I think you sincerely for them! I’ve actually learned a lot from both the RIC and the Chump Nation, so I feel good about having the most helpful insights on both sides.

          I did indeed tell her that the infidelity has to be dealt with first, before engaging the marital issues. She knows that I don’t trust her or some her family right now. She has repeatedly said that she does not “feel it” and therefore doesn’t want to reconcile. However, she seems to have made only exploratory moves to get out so far in the last six months (looking for apartments, etc.). I think she is trapped in feeling trapped – financially, emotionally, whatever. Paralysis via blame-shifting, maybe.

          I am more or less in civil NC mode with her, though we are in the same house (separate rooms). Truth be told, I am probably being *too* cold. But to your very valid point, I am of the mind that making me a birthday cake and trying to make small talk with me is just spackle action; there needs to be sincere movement beginning with multiple apologies, or am I DONE.

          My approach has been that I will no longer pretend that things are OK, or that we are going to be friends. I can’t be friends with someone who screws me over that badly, even if I really was a terrible spouse. I am not being malicious, but if sort-of-NC is what it takes to protect myself, then that is what I am going to do. E.g., I won’t be standing next to her or wearing a wedding ring or talking to her at our daughter’s birthday party. If anyone there asks what’s up, I might tell them I am thinking of getting out of the marriage because she broke our wedding vows, and they can ask her for more info if they want it. 🙂

          I have not yet delivered my ultimatum, but will be doing that via email the evening after our daughter’s birthday party. While she says it’s in a way what she wants, I can’t trust anything that she says; so I am preparing for her potentially going ballistic. And it’s a full-on ultimatum, too – R is still an option but would require a legally binding post-nup; mediation or full-on legal D process would require her paying 50% of joint expenses effective immediately… the works. Basically, it’s going to be (in a civil way) me saying “I gave you a shot, you refused to do the right thing, and I said there’d be consequences… welcome to Consequence Town, population: you and your wing nut choices!

          I love the humor!!! And it’s essential to maintain that humor right now! 🙂

          • I think you have handled this all brilliantly Sephage. When all is said and done you will be able to look yourself in the mirror and KNOW you did the right thing, I wish you and she could have worked it out because divorce sounds like nothing short of a painful, tortuous process and when you have a child together it’s never really over. I’ve seen my son go through it and it is awful and heart wrenching. That said, I’m certain you are smart enough to handle it with aplomb.

            I can recommend a really good book to you that a friend of mine wrote. It’s called The Next Happy by Tracey Cleantis. It’s on Amazon and available for Kindle. Tracey explains it brilliantly and empathically because she’s been there. It’s all about letting go of a “dream”, although sometimes in our case it’s more like a nightmare, and how it’s ok and even intelligent to know when to say enough is enough. This won’t be a book you have to worry about your wife wanting to read. Best of all you won’t even care. Give it a shot or maybe you’re all book read out. Hopefully this would be the last one 🙂

            I just know that you and your daughter will be just fine. Your wife, not so much but I hope so for your daughter’s sake.

  • My God. Did I need to read this. I made the decision to cut him out of my life only a few weeks after I found out. About a year and a half later and there are still days I question whether or not I moved too quickly. But then I read this — “You don’t see remorse? Don’t wait around for it to emerge from the fog. You don’t see it because it doesn’t exist.”

    Thank you CL. Again.

    • Gia – I’ve given it about six months, and so far there was one semi-remorseful apology via telephone. All others have been “I shouldn’t have had an affair, BUT… you were too…, you did…, I should have left this marriage X amount of months/years/whatever ago…; you’re still too fixated on yourself… you’re not giving me a divorce…” Etc.

      There was nothing timid or foggy in the reactions I got from my STBXW when I asked her for the date her affair started, so that I could give it to my lawyer, and when I sent her my ultimatum (post-nup, easy divorce, or difficult divorce). It was all deflected back to me: “you are trying to control/manipulate me!”

      While all situations are a bit different, as CL says there are only so many ways to abusively skirt responsibility. You were smart not to wait. I waited so that I could honestly tell my 7yo daughter that I did what I could to offer a chance to keep her family intact. Basically, it resulted in me doing a lot of one-sided reconciliation offers (part of the process, but ultimately a waste of time), healing and growing on my own (essential stuff, but could have done that without having STBXW in the house and maybe would’ve been faster with her marginalized in my life), delaying the start of the divorce process, her incurring even more and more debt, and me enduring her erratic behavior, blame-shifting, etc. Now, I’ve come back around to what my initial reaction was: I messed up during the marriage, but in no way should I have to put up with these destructive choices.

      So… it was mostly wasted time. I am guessing that since about 30% of marriages with affairs are reconciled, then in at least 70% of these cases, the cheater is NOT going to come around and accept responsibility gracefully. The odds are long; it’s too difficult to do the internal reconstruction required, and it requires too much character and internal strength. If someone had that strength and character, they would NOT have cheated in the first place. Instead, they would have found a more constructive way to say that they felt their needs and happiness were not being addressed in the marriage, and asked the spouse to work on that jointly, or separate, or ask for a divorce, or [ insert any number of dozens of more mature and responsible solutions here ].

      Here’s something to which I keep coming back in this process, which helps me to put the timing issue into perspective: for someone who is unhappy and upset and whatever in their marriage, how difficult is it to 1) work on your own happiness, 2) tell yourself you cannot put up with the aspects of the marriage you find painful to you, 2) decide that you need to take some form of action, 3) Google “how to work on your marriage” and pick out some of the 94,500,000 search results and try them with your spouse?

      Are betrayed spouses really that terrifyingly unreasonable, or too wounded or too busy to do this?

      Attention cheaters: I’ve created a shortcut for you in case you find the Googling part of that too difficult: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=how+to+work+on+your+marriage

      Are they too busy to read a 200 page book on what the affair means to them and to the people they have betrayed, and to their families? Are they too bust to find and read sites like CL?

      If they aren’t even doing simple things like that initially, then statistically they’re not likely to ever do it (see above), and probably lack the internal fortitude to truly look at themselves and their choices. I just wish I hadn’t been so much in my own self-blaming fog for the first couple of months after DDay that I didn’t see this objective reality.

      In hindsight, I’d have filed for divorce right away, and if the cheater is going to feel remorse, let them do it in the divorce process, which can always be paused or cancelled if reconciliation seems possible.

  • I hate to say it but I did take him back. After getting him back on his feet and healthy, he let me find out he wanted a divorce (19 months). I agree on the spot. Now I found out he’s already making plans to return to the OW. I ii

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