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Red Flags You Were With a Cheater?

ecardRecently HuffPo asked me to contribute to a piece they wrote on Cheating Red Flags You Missed. (I’m Tracy S.) My example was dreadful time management skills. In retrospect the combo plate of intense solicitousness and flaky date canceling should have been a sign. But I spackled, because gosh, he seemed so sincere about wanting to get together, but Events Beyond His Control often interfered.

To maintain a double life, you need a lot of flexibility. But as I wasn’t really cognizant that Apparently Nice People engaged in such sociopathic subterfuge, I was chumped.

So, following up on the HuffPo question — any signs you missed in retrospect? The two on the HuffPo list that stand out to me are cell phone secrecy and defensiveness. Yes and yes.

 

 

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  • ..the secret phone calls on Sunday morning… Pray that I get out this sham of a marriage.. I deserve better..

        • MissTwizzler, as someone who just got through my divorce two weeks ago to a pathological cheater, lier, abuser, etc… (confirmed by two Psychologists – because I’m such a chump I felt I needed a second opinion). May I ask where you are in your journey? My hugs and support go with you, wherever you are.

            • Me too. Now that I have awaken to this nightmare everything is sooo glaringly obvious. That this has been going on for IDK how long! Just have evidence for last 4-5 yrs but realize that it has been so much longer. Just not as prolific as it was recently. I have days I feel so hopeless. My better days are when I read these posts and recognize I have options and support.

              • I too go back and realize just how sick the person I loved betrayed me for years. The realization it was a relationship of one is agonizing. This relationship gives true hope.

  • He made himself the Pied Piper of Women (and some Gay Men)….Is there a color reder than red? Maybe code orange? Had to “be there for them at all hours at all places”, whatever they needed. I used to feel like “the chosen one”…ha!

    • Chicago, maybe we were dating the same guy. I’ll call him Mr. Sparkles: CEO, charismatic, charming, socially well connected, super narcissistic, He genuinely loves life and i am just accessory arm candy, though he tells me i’m more, but his narcissistic love is fleeting and temporary, based on circumstances and how much attention he is getting elsewhere.

      At my age, 49, i’ve learned not to take cheating personal. This is fairly simple to do because Mr. Sparkles and I have no children together and my finances are not tied up with his, nor will they ever be. I have friend zoned him for the following reasons listed in importance:

      #1. My gut tells me . Even if there were no other signs. This is all i need. I no longer need proof or validation or to find evidence via romance police sleuthing. My anteneas are picking up signals and i trust them. No need to confront Mr. Sparkles either. If someone is cheating, they will never tell the truth about it. So why ask for verbal confirmation? It’s a waste of time.

      #2. Mr. Sparkles has emotional affairs with numerous woman business associates. His focus is work and maintaining strong business relationships. That’s what he’s good at. Who am i to judge his success? I interject these facts when he’s making goopy romantic declarations about us and asking when we’re getting married. Yes, Mr. Sparkles wants to be married to have someone to cheat upon, a recipe for triangulation and drama that focuses on him exclusively.

      #3. He’s always texting and emailing when we are together, he has a seperate phone number, he has a wondering eye in public. Focus is fruition and he is not focused enough on me when we are together, enough said.

      #4. He never remembers important facts about me. Little things mean alot.

      #5. Women flirt shamelessly with him when we are together. Mr. Sparkless has been a bachelor for many years and there’s a reason. He has established many long term shallow relationships and at this point in his life, that’s all he’s capable of.

      I feel very comfortable with Mr. Sparkles in the friend zone, any closer, i turn into a mess.

      *There are more signs but #1 is all that matters.
      As a recovering Chump, i understand that i am responsible for holding the standards high for the way I am to be treated.

      My instincts tell me when and where to make a stand and when to speak up!

      It is all about me until i find someone whose all about me, then i’ll be all about them.

      For future refrrence, here’s my checklist.
      My partner must do the following:
      -empower me
      -we have fun just being together
      -he bring out the best in me
      -make me feel happy and secure
      -admires me, respects me
      -have amazing communication, both verbal and non verbal between us.
      -be 100 percent fathful and loyal to me in his body mind and spirit.
      -trust
      Not perfect, not looking for perfection, real
      -sense of humor, intelligence
      -I’m alright with chubby
      -consistant with his inconsistancies
      -hold me higher than anyone else on earth
      -this is how my marriage has to be. It is a sacred relationship, above all others.
      -if i don’t have all of the above, then i’m much better on my own.
      -vise versa, i do the same for him
      -there is mutuality

      Ideally:
      This is how the union between a man and a woman is supposed to be and when it IS, you feel it and when it ISN’T, you feel that too.

      This may sound philosophical, but anything less than 100 percent feels incomplete.

      Why do that?
      We are complete on our own.

      How are you feeling today?

  • He suddenly bought himself exorbitantly expensive boxer shorts, this from a man who had never replaced his shorts in the 15 years we had been married. I used to buy him new shorts and throw out his old ones when they became threadbare. But all of a sudden, he takes it upon himself to but several new swanky pairs?

    • OMG – This just dawned on me that he started wearing boxer briefs and prancing around about a year ago about the time he started 2nd affair. Should have been a red flag. He had me doubting my intuition for 30 years always telling me I had nothing to worry about, he was a VERY good boy, yeah right!!! He had an affair 20 years ago, I just found out about and another just ended after 8ish months. Tried to get other women to have sex with him but no takers I guess. Had him take a lie detector to make sure he told the truth which I would highly recommend. He’s soooo remorseful and wants to work to get me back. What do you think? Am I fool to even consider it? Like a lot of descriptions here, he is charming, witty, successful, funny. So f**king difficult!! Never felt such pain. Been 5 months since bomb drop and I’m getting stronger every day, but still tough.

      • Rain-or-Shine,

        You asked: “What do you think? Am I fool to even consider it?”

        OK….I’ll bite—–So, this is what I think: You are not a fool to ‘consider’ it; However, I dare say it would be very foolish to actually DO it!

        I say; “Run! Run away from the crazy! As far and fast as you can!”

        He has not had a ‘character’ transplant. And, remember, just like cockroaches, where there is one affair you can ‘see’, there are LOTS more you can’t! At this point in his life, he is, as they say, ‘set in his ways’. He will continue to abuse you in whatever way he can, even if it stops including affairs. And you have already had to do ‘policing’ with the Lie Detector test. Being the marriage police is NOT a respectable or satisfying ‘career’.

        You also mentioned: “Like a lot of descriptions here, he is charming, witty, successful, funny.” All those things to added up to “Shallow cheaters” in these cases. Think about it this way: What is so charming, successful or funny about the excruciating pain we innocent ones feel in the wake of an affair? Looking at it that way…..Yeah, maybe he really isn’t so charming, after all…..

        {{{{{HUGS!!!!}}}}} Hang tough! Grow Strong! And RUN!!!!!

        • ForgeOn! I feel so stupid wasting 30 married to this guy even though we’ve had many happy times in there too. Thank you for the clear, straight advise. He’s now turning to God with a holier than though attitude. Says he’s working on forgiving me for the hateful things I’ve said to him. Amazing! Things said like that makes me realize too that he hasn’t changed, same old narcissist.

          • Dear Rain-or-Shine,

            Yeah, it sure is crappy to feel as though we have ‘wasted’ all those years.

            Personally, I am unable to afford a divorce, so even though I have been separated for 2 years as of yesterday, I have been married to him for over 34 years now. So, ‘all those years’….yea, I do understand. However, I have none the less ‘Lost a cheater / Gained a Life’!

            Remember, the stupid ones are the cheaters, NOT you or I! (even though they spend enormous amounts of time & energy making us feel that way!)

            WE are precious. THEY are users and abusers. WE are faithful, loyal, kind, generous, virtuous and so on. We have so much compassion that we are now able to assist, direct, console and advise others as they break free from similar ‘stupid’ situations.

            You and I are in very good company! Many of the precious chumps here at this amazing Nation have spent this many, or even more, years stuck in the sticky web of narcissism.

            Yes, it is totally (sickeningly) amazing how they always turn it all back on us. I, too, STILL get accused of so many unbelievable things. (Related to me by my child from conversations with the cheater—–We both just laugh at the twistedness of it all!)

            Please, do take the advise of Tracy & the rest of us chumps…….Get away…Far away!

            ForgeOn, My Friend…..

            PS: If you have not done so already, please be sure to check out the resources Tracy has listed. The more you educate yourself about their manipulative ways, the easier it is to see the need to remove yourself from the situation, as well as how to do it safely.

            • …34 years for me too…just found about the affair a month ago. Failed to connect the dots for over a year, the panic if her cell phone was more than a foot from her body, the changing of passwords, the increase in work related travel…always to SoCal, the loss of interest in things we had shared for decades…travel and sailing, last but not least…the lack of intimacy. yes…34 years is a long, long time.

          • I was also with my cheater husband for 30 years – it is 18 months since d-day . He was a ‘respected’ member of the community … we have 4 beautiful adult children. I have recently moved cities and states to try to escape my grief . My whole life has been uprooted because I couldn’t stand living with the triggers of my home town and old life … everything about my life felt like a lie …..and all of the secrets I knew about the life he lead while we were married broke my heart. For me a good therapist, good friends, time and distance were the only thing that healed – I am thinking of you xxx

          • Dear Rain,

            From the been-there-done-that perspective (including the polygraph), no one is going to criticize you for still having heart enough to give the asshole another chance. I remember reading and hearing so much about the ‘no regrets’ approach to Chumpdom, ie, ‘you can try and walk away knowing it couldn’t work, or not try and walk away wondering ‘what if’. So I dug in to try to save 25 yrs of marriage, my family, etc. It had ups and downs but at 15 mos or so I knew it was curtains. The downs were glimpses of the real so-called-man still hiding behind the dark curtain despite the show. The dude who wanted to save-face more than save the marriage. Keep the chick who could expose all his dirty littles happy!! Meh. That’s no marriage.
            But ya know, it does take time to process it all and be SURE you’re doing the right thing. So, the best little pearl I can give you from my experience is this: If your H doesn’t have his own therapist he’s working with to ‘get his head straight’, GET one. After awhile it will be important for you to have a meeting or two with the therapist. What comes out at these little meetings is invaluable. Namely, whether your H is lying to him, too. Like mine was.
            I had info on my ex that I didn’t disclose. Ex would go in and tell his therapist I was worried about this or that, but he hadn’t done it, ‘honest’! Or rewrite the history of an incident to make himself look like a good boy and me like a crazy woman. Is it any wonder my counselor & our marriage counselor had him pegged as a possible sex addict while his counselor thought he was a remorseful choir boy?
            When I divulged stuff to ex’s counselor (in front of ex) & saw the blindsided look on his face, I had my answer. Everything ex did was about damage control, not fixing the source.
            I am SOO much happier now and I only wish I’d gotten out sooner.

      • If you have to perform a lie-detector test on him, he’s not worth keeping. Lie detectors can be fooled and you shouldn’t have to do that on your own husband anyway.

        Any relationship in which you have to fight to get the other person to love you, or where you have to gather extensive proof that they’re NOT cheating on you, is not a relationship worth keeping. You should not have to police your own husband into being faithful. You just flat out shouldn’t.

        It’s okay to have deal breakers and it’s okay for infidelity to be one of them. Charming people can be cruel too. Being charming and successful doesn’t negate cruelty.

        • My XH was an oscar winning charmer, highly intelligent, VERY successful, and VERY generous with his time and money.
          He was witty, fun and loved to be the center of attention. He was considered one of the “good guys.” When the curtain was pulled back on the wizard, when the mask fell off and onto the floor…we were left with a decades long serial CHEATER. His first affair was nearly forty years ago. He was given a second chance and the marriage continued. I am telling you, do not waist another year of your life with a CHEATER. “Once a cheater, always a cheater” played out in spades in my life. Dr. Phil says “the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.” SPADES. Google serial cheaters, narcissism, and personality disorders.
          If you must stay, go in with your EYES WIDE OPEN, be hypervigilant and follow every red flag that flys. I am hoping you don’t arrive in life where I am and the whole thing was a lie…your life. This is YOUR LIFE and they are not worth that.

          • Kara and Blown Away – When you’re right, you’re right. I like the quote “believe someone when they show you who they are.” He’s shown me who he is over and over and I still fell for his lies. No more!!! Thank you so much for responding with such great perspectives!!

    • Idle, a friend once told me, after finding her long time husband having an affair with her best friend/personal assistant, that when your spouse starts;
      1. Buying new & more expensive underwear
      and
      2. Starts going to the gym out of nowhere….
      you’ve got an affair on your hands. They just began giving a damn about how they look naked.

      Who would think we should have to even keep an eye out for these things?

  • When I looked at the history on the family computer and there was a dating site listed. Logged in and saw his profile. He told me that the site put everything together based on his online information and he had never signed up. I had two little kids at the time and I suppose I wanted to believe him. Maybe that is why we stayed together so long. I had my head up my ass, while he was out looking for ass. Ugh, could kick myself.

  • First time:
    Cell phone secretiveness. Defensiveness. Increasing coldness.

    Second time:
    Many late nights “at the shop.” Saying things he never would have come up with on his own. Insisting that a separation will save our relationship.

    I was a trusting fool. I can’t believe I took him back after the first time.

    My best advice: Don’t be a step-mother; don’t take him back if he cheats.

    • Oh this was my ex’s MO. After 34 years together he said lets separate for six months and take baby steps, getting to know eachother again. When I asked if there was someone else he said “no, there is no one else, why would I want to complicate things more by adding in something like that!” He said he just needed a little time to sort things out. He encouraged me to move out and he moved closer to work.

      When in reality he moved closer to the preditory ho-worker and unbeknownst to me played the pick me dance and ate cake for two years until I became suspicious and did a credit check showing he had moved in with her. He married her a couple months after our divorce.

      But don’t feel bad for me because I won-I have woken from the hologram marriage and I am free!….and she gets a flaming narc sociopath! Say bye bye to your money and soul ho-worker…lol

      • I’d say any time a partner or spouse wants separate living arrangement, that’s a giant red flag. One way to deal with that might be to use the opportunity to set up your own permanent place and then drop by his new place on a Sunday night…

        • The separate living arrangement was always for the OW, so he could test drive the one’s he was dating. When it didn’t work out for him, he always came back. He would move out for the summer to play and then came back. It was never to work on our relationship. This last time I just gave up and threw him out. With no other options or way out he is now stuck with his ho. it was the hardest but best thing I ever did.

      • Overcomer, sounds like you were married to a cheater who could have been my ex cheaters twin! I’m with you, I won and Schmoopie is in for the ride of her life with this user! But, she deserves it and I want both of them to get what they so richly deserve!!

        • Roberta, that is my wish, too; that X and Bim get exactly what they deserve! They are perfect for each other. I’m sure I’ll hear about the implosion within the next few years. X can only sustain his facade for so long.

    • “Saying things he’d never come up with.” Mine too. “Amicable.” “Mediation.” Definitely was coaching with someone. He didn’t have a very extensive vocabulary to say the least and no way those words just came out of nowhere.

  • My brother’s wife just lost interest in anything having to do with the family, marriage, children etc. The kids got fed when they got fed. The house was never clean. She would forget to shop for groceries so they ate cereal. My brotherwas recovering from a terrible illness, working a full-time job and coming home trying to take care of the house. He spackled and spackled and speckled never for one minute thinking she was cheating on him. He was blown away and so were we all because not only did she abandoned him she abandoned her children. I guess Red flags are different for different people but I would say in her case total indifference was it.

    • I think indifference is a big red flag. 🙂 Every thing my ex did in those last years pointed to a life separate from mine. I just could not save it. Who the fuck walks away from their children!?!?

      • “Who the fuck walks away from their children!?!?”

        ^^^^ THIS ^^^^ SPOT ON DREW!!!

        Exactly!! I have NEVER understood this…. IMHO…. who? Disordered souless assholes….. that’s who.

        • XH’s current record is 3 WEEKS without contacting his kids (ages 13, 11, and 8 at the time). Who blows off their grade school kids like that?!

          He met his new wife last summer and has officially spent more time with HER kids in the last 10 months than he’s spent with HIS OWN kids in the last 10 years. Sad.

          • Mine has been better with our son than his kids from his previous marriage, according to ex-wife (awesome lady & friend) he never went to ANY events with her kids… conferences, school functions, etc. His youngest with her is a 10 year old daughter…. as of last Friday he hadn’t seen either of our kids for 3 weeks and had not called his youngest daughter ONE single f*cking time in those three weeks….. and he has the bullocks to call ME selfish. Disordered asshole.

            He left 4 months ago, I desperately hoped he would be there for his son who adored him…. like he PROMISED him. But NOPE…. not a chance…. he avoided our son just like every other unpleasant circumstance he created in his life. I know that our son’s pain made him feel like a piece of shit…. as it should, he couldn’t get away fast enough when the crying started. Went from living with him every single day and tucking him in every night to calling him every 3 or 4 days (sometimes) and every other weekend visitation. I told him he is pathetic….. I said…. I bet you don’t miss ONE single phone call to your cheating tramp every day though.

            • Oh…. but he NEVER fails to call at bedtime when he IS with the cheating tramp…… part of the love bombing charm…. showing what a “LOVING” Daddy he is……. makes me want to crawl through the phone and punch him in the mouth myself. He should have been in theater. Asshole. “Daddy loves you SOOOOO much.” Really? It’s disturbing that he has NO SHAME whatsoever!!!

              • Ugh, all of this^^^^^

                Superdad is my STBX’s favorite hero to emulate. The only involvement he has with his child is when OW or his family is involved. Otherwise I don’t hear from him about her. OW tries to impress him by adoring our daughter and he does the same to impress her.
                I laugh when I think of how conned she is. She has NO CLUE what he would actually be like if she procreates with him. Lmao….she should give it a try!
                He thinks he’s broke now? Where the hell would he find money or the give a fuck for 2 kids?

      • My ex, Drew, from 3 beautiful kids. There is no way to fathom it or get over the bewilderment and abandonment they feel.

        • Mine too. Three beautiful young adults. They were just weapons and pawns in the divorce settlement as well as he stopped caring for them.

          • You know what is so scary about all these creeps? They are so damn charming. My ex SIL can charm birds out of trees, she is sparkly and swirly and cutesy. If you only knew her socially you would think she is just wonderful. I hate her.

            • Mine is the EXACT same way…. EVERYONE just thinks he is this “great guy”…. yeah… I did too. Different when you live with him for almost a decade and realize you’ve been spackling the hell out of everything. It has ALWAYS been all about him…. always what HE needed or wanted first.

              I could NOT believe the schmoopie talk between him and OW…. I’d be f*cking embarrassed talking like that as an adult. He charmed me… but not with that stupid shit….nonetheless I sure as hell fell for it…. and I’m NOT an easy mark (I was a bartender for 14 years).

              Waiting to reach complete and utter indifference….. I’m getting there.

              • My ex is a restaurant manager/proprietor. They are a sleazy breed. His restaurant will be losing by June due to slow business and bad management. I very nearly posted a warning on Facebook today, but stoped myself.

                I would like to get back at him for playing me the way he did, but revenge never fares well. At least he can’t blame me, I’ve been gone since mid January. I’m sure he’d like to, he had me doing admin stuff that he didn’t understand. If I was at meh I wouldn’t care. Any suggestions to propel me to meh? I am so sick of this. I hate devoting my feelings to someone who wouldn’t do the same.

              • Honestly Jen, and I think most chumps here will agree…. the BEST therapy and reinforcement you will EVER get is right here on this site. Getting to “meh” is different for everyone, depends on when you figure out you have either had enough or just get passed it all.

                Maybe it has something to do with when you finally stop spackling and truly open your eyes and look at them for what they are and not what you believed or wanted them or the situation to be.

                I also hate devoting my feelings to someone who wouldn’t (doesn’t/can’t) do the same, truth is…. I think most of us realize that they aren’t capable of truly loving, they pretend. Trust that they suck. Fuck em.

          • NCStevie, I can’t agree more about the best therapy and reinforcement is found on this site. I was tired of spackling for the last year of our relationship when I realized he was so indifferent to every aspect of our life. My therapist identified him as being disturbed and a serial cheating narcissist and I couldn’t believe this information until I found CN and realized the traits of the character disordered. They disguise themselves so well it appears they loved you until you realize the ease they have with lying, cheating, and discarding in my case both myself and his adult children/granddaughter. They really fuck themselves in the end. This was a guy that hid in his marriage as an imposter. He continues to subtly degrade me to my children. I threw him out almost a year ago and he continues to blame me for the divorce and the price he has to pay namely living with a whore, not seeing his children, and having to take responsibility for his finances and himself. He always thought the grass was greener and he is living miserably with a whore to support. As a chump I am thankful for knowing what truly makes me happy. It is having a cheater free home, a great job, loving children and my granddaughter every weekend. The fact they can’t appreciate or love what they have destroys them in the end. I am very thankful for CN.

            • OMG Donna this is my H!!!. Subtly degrading me, disguising himself as the family man, lying, cheating, discarding. I believe he intended to divorce us if he could get out looking good. Blameless. My confronting/accusing him stopped that. All of a sudden he won’t look so perfect. Now he is competing with me for kids affection. Campaigning to be the best parent ever. It’s so scary cause he is so good at hiding his true intentions. I never know what he is up to. He is always planning and manipulating. I am doing everything I know how to protect myself and the kids.

              • WillowChump, I am not sure of your children’s ages. My three are all adults and I have a teenaged granddaughter. After just three weeks of seeing my therapist I was worried because I knew he would use his tactics to blame everything on me and try to look good in their eyes. His delivery is so sweet but calculating trying to extract sympathy. My therapist said let it be, stop trying to convince them, he will basically want NO relationship with any of your family. That is exactly what happened.

                They are such masters at manipulation and it is pathetic when they try to control you through children.

            • Honestly…. I have NO idea how often or how many times he may have cheated. No way to confirm. He won’t talk bad to my son about me… he always tries to look like the “nice guy” in every situation, honestly… he isn’t “mad” he got what he wanted and he isn’t malicious, he’s just fucked up. I am the ONLY one he has ever treated with disrespect and indifference, I truly believe he resented me for not saving him. Sometimes I think he is pissed at me because he truly thought I would BEG him to stay again…. not this time. He consistently states “you stopped wanting me a long time ago.” I loved him, very much, I was just tired of making excuses for him and his bad choices…. it was exhausting. One week after D-Day I offered him immunity, I offered him my love and my hand and I promised him if he could stop lying and go to counseling that I would stick by him. I still hoped he was redeemable (unicorn). He told me that every thing I was doing was just pushing him farther away. I told him a few times that I was sorry that he obviously felt that I somehow “failed” him. Truth is that he made it impossible to save him, he couldn’t get out of his own way.

              I was tired of his financial irresponsibility & selfishness and I guess I wasn’t making him feel “special”. He was already a financial disaster when I met him, I have TRIED talking to him for the past eight years…. we are NOT young…. I did NOT want to still be “renting” an apartment or house when we turned 60!!! I was just tired of living the way we were and it wasn’t going to get any better. He was the main breadwinner, controlled the finances and did a shitty job of it, I have never before met an adult that just completely AVOIDED any financial responsibility and just didn’t seem to be concerned ONE bit??? wtf??

              Looking back on it all…. I acknowledge things that I sensed didn’t FEEL right….but didn’t want to “see” or “face”. He has seemed very detached and distant….. emotions seemed forced… fake almost. He complained about our sex life but wouldn’t LISTEN to anything I said about what the “problem” was or my needs….. told him I felt like he was being “serviced” and it wasn’t a turn on for me.

              I offered him everything and he turned his back on me and our son. I can’t save him and i don’t even know if he can save himself. He SAID he knew he needed help…. but he wasn’t willing to do the work…. easier to just bust out and take the path of least resistance. The immediate gratification is a pay-off for him right now, short term. But in the long run…. he is the one that lost what mattered. What did I lose? A coward, a disordered lying cheater who didn’t value us.

              Today was our (his biological) grandson’s 2nd birthday, I was there with our son, he came alone. He was “nice”, always is. Am I sad? Yes. Have I cried? No. I’m not spending one more day of my life feeling like shit and crying over and pining after anyone who could do what he did to me. Fuck him.

              • What an asshole. They get so much mileage out of making us feel responsible for their inability to work on themselves. They can’t be fixed. There is no logic. They suck.

      • the home wrecker married whore that enabled and encouraged boyman to leave his wife and children had already left her own kids for YEARS. she was living with anyone who put up with her, had no job, no car, no place to stay, no responsibilities, no kids to get up with, feed, raise (her are 8ish, 12ish, 16ish, 21ish). from what i could research, she walked out on her husband and left him the children at least 5 years ago. and this is the *uhm* woman my husband choose over me. WTF?? now he also has abandoned his children. we havent seen or heard from him since fathers day last year.

        although i know it is just as bad for a father to leave his kids. and of course i am not excusing it or belittling it. but in my opinion, it is easier for a father to leave his kids. But how the hell could a MOTHER leave her kids? i have ZERO respect for a woman who runs off and leaves her children. the babies she carried in her uterus, possibly breast fed, most likey bonded with when they were little, who instantly connected with her, and whole hearted trusted and depended on her. how the fuck can SHE run off and leave them? dont get me wrong, i am not talking about those exceptional cases. i am not talking about abuse or a controlling man. i am only thinking of a normal situation, with a somewhat normal woman walking out on her own flesh and blood. my XSIL lost her kids to the state, they gave her every chance to get them back over 4 years. all she had to do was keep a job for 6 months, keep a livable house herself (not live with anyone) for 6 months, keep out of trouble (not on drugs or getting arrested) for 6 months, and take the classes. she took the classes but COULD not keep it together for 6 MONTHS straight!!!! every time she fucked up, either lost her job or quit, didnt pay her rent, even got tazed one time from running from the cops, the state would just start her 6 months all over. it was pathetic. now 7 years later, she is crying and carrying on how she would do ANYTHING to get her babies back and how she tried so hard but “they” kept her babies and she loves them and misses them sooOOoo much (she doesnt even have pictures of them, no baby pictures or anything) and all i can think of is she would do anything for her children? but she couldnt do it FOR 6 MONTHS !!!!

        i have zero respect for woman who run off and leave their children ESPECIALLY when the only reason they do is so they can stay up all night, drinking, drugging and fucking and then sleep all day. i dont care what their story is, unless they are busting their ass working and saving money to get lawyer or to fight for their kids, i dont want anything to do with them. the courts are biased towards mothers. there should be NO reason a woman doesnt have her own kids. i just dont understand it and i dont agree with it (AGAIN, NOT talking about the exceptions) and i personally immediately DO NOT want to have anything to do with a person like that. and yet THIS is the type of woman my husband decided was better then me. she will treat him better then me (she didnt treat her own husband better) she respects him more then i did……whatever. the only reason he is with her is because she washes his clothes and lets him drink…..

        • PREACH!!! I agree 100% mrsvain…… any woman that is a loving Mother has NO use for any woman who walks out on or gives away her kids!! I am sure… in certain instances there could be unavoidable situations (mental illness) but ANY woman who does NOT have the instinct to nurture her OWN flesh is NOT capable of nurturing ANYONE.

          And you are also right about the “reason” he is with her…. I know the reason MINE left and needed his schmoopie so BAD is because she tells him exactly what he NEEDS/WANTS to hear… AND most importantly she does not have a clue about who he really is and what he is about. She knows what he wants her to know. She’ll figure it out… and as soon as she starts expecting some accountability… he will resent her ass too.

          • There is an older book that says there are 4-6 % Sociopaths in the world. Most of them aren’t killers. Most of them can live next door to you. They just don’t give a rats ass about anybody, including their own kids. I have no idea what my ex SIL is but she sure as hell left some broken hearted children behind. She never has bonded with them. The kids told me their dad was the best in the world so they have had lots of love but nothing makes up being abandoned by a parent.

          • i doubt she will ever expect accountability from him, she doesnt even have any herself. i suspect they will stay happy together and it pisses me off. she is an evil person and yet she has an easy life. i dont understand it at all but i can only do what i can for me. if not in this life then hopefully in the next i will get rewarded for trying to be a good person. it is frustrating to see these types of people “get away” with being evil.

        • MrsVain, they do what is easy. And since I like to call names lately, how about easysleazy. My grandmother used to always say, “Look what the cat dragged in”. You can’t apply logic to the disordered.

        • i hear you Arnold. how sad that we become indifferent to survive and the cheaters walk away with no accountability. you were hurt by the one person who should have never hurt you that way. i pray you find peace and happiness and will no longer need to be indifferent. there is a beautiful world out there Arnold. Let it find you.

  • Word “kiss” on several days on his calendar for the month of December 2009. He frequently had to entertain out-of-town guests. In that December, many of the dinners were on a Friday & he wasn’t home until much later than on other nights. In hindsight I guess that is when the “kiss”ing occurred. I do remember when I asked if he was having an affair & asked if he “fcked” her yet. He said no but that he wanted to- it was probably a done deal & he was lying.

    Note to Chump Lady – I love my little cartoon character. I feel like that on the inside most of the time.

  • The profile on adult friend finder he filled out while out of town. It was “his friend” that did it and it only linked to his email because “auto fill” filled in all of exH info including his email. They were “just messing around” to see what would happen. The profile read: “in town for 2 days, no strings attached” I actually dumped him when I found it but my best friend at the time convinced me he must be telling the truth because he sound so sad when she called him. Funny, he didn’t fight to get me back until my best friend called him and told him to. So now, I have an exhusband and an ex best friend…lol
    My favorite phrase since: before you diagnose yourself with depression, make sure you’re not just surrounded by assholes first.” Yup!

    • Agreed! I saw a psychologist and psychiatrist for anxiety shortly before D-day and was prescribed meds and taught some self soothing/imaging/breathing techniques. Then the truth came out and I dumped the meds (didn’t even wean like u r supposed to) and got righteously pissed off. My mind was so fucking clear, I was like, get the fuck out. It was such a relief. Now, I view anxiety as my friend. It’s the tip off that something’s amiss.

    • Ashley, not just depression, but for me I had horrible migraines several times a year that only prescriptions could help with and I have not had one of those since we separated.

    • “before you diagnose yourself with depression, make sure you’re not just surrounded by assholes first.”

      ^^^^^^^^^^^ THIS.

      • Absolutely this^^^^. I am so glad that I am not the only one!! My doctor asked if I wanted to go back on my depression meds during my appointment to get tested for STD’s after D Day! Seriously?!? I am suppose to cry and be sad/mad/pissed…etc. Why would I need medication? I am finally seeing my life the way I was suppose too. Cheaters make you think that it is you but now I know I was just eating a shit sandwich and didn’t even know it!!!

        • OMG! I love this so much!
          I too, was eating a shit sandwich, and didn’t even know it!
          Being in reality is so much healthier, and he can carry on with his life of deceit and delusion, without me!

    • Talk about spackle…. I didn’t even know what Adult Friend Finder was and he was on it all the time! He constantly tried to get someone else into our bed. He even surprised me one night when I came home from work by inviting another couple he met on that site over for DINNER… I was so pissed off – working all day – coming home to this surprise – he told these people where we lived. My kids were home… Dinner? They came in the door and I told them outright – that I was not into that and that he had no right to do this without my consent. I couldn’t believe it but spackle, spackle and more spackle – I was so disgusted.

      Overall, I’m so much better off now that he’s with someone else. He gets married next month. I’ve got plans to do a little celebrating. From what I hear, she is ok with swinging and she likes her booze so he found what he was looking for.

      I’m just too old fashioned for that kind of lifestyle. I didn’t want to see what was right in front of me FOR YEARS because of fear and if you don’t acknowledge it it will go away right? Nope – it’s one of those things you just have to learn… Onward and upward – we all deserve much better than that.

      • Wow. With kids in the house. That is so messed up for the children. I think it is hard for other people to comprehend that these things actually happen when one tries to tell them about it.

        • Ok – just a little tidbit about “Adult Friend Finder.” So I got on that site about 12 years ago because hubby and I thought maybe we needed a little umph. He was WELL aware I was on the site. It didn’t take very long until I realized this just wasn’t going to happen. Ultimately, I don’t think I could go through with a threesome. Done! 10 Years later hubby decides to go out and get his own cell phone so he could sext other women. My son found it and read the texts! My son told me about it and divorce proceedings began. Hubby, trying to justify his actions tells me “Well you were on Adult Friend Finder.” Ya well guess what butt head – I didn’t HIDE it from YOU. You on the other hand ARE HIDING your new fucking phone! While I am the one paying for the cell phones for the family – he decided to get his own. POS.

  • Most recently: focus on his business. Can’t discuss marriage (alone or with MC) without becoming talk about his business. Claiming need to “grow business” and hire employees…”interviews” occur on Saturdays and as late as 11pm during the week. Disappeared when daughter and I accompanied him to bookstore for “interview.”

    Strange comments from 4 year old. About curly hair lady that joined them on their days out. His response was “4 yr old imagination.”

    My favorite, leaving phone open. Naked selfie complete with mans aping and smirk while I was plateau on vacation. I didn’t receive this pic.

    Texts asking if “she will free him”. Claimed to be coworker (Hello MOW!). Same out of state number reappearing. Calling immediately after MC. He won’t answer in my presence. Claims telemarketer. Right!

    After 4 yrs of gas lighting, knew this relationship was done.

  • His strange sense of humor (jokes about pedophilia, dead babies and pornography).
    Also, he never wore his wedding ring. He said it was too small. I got it resized. He still never wore it.
    He let the women at his work make him lunch. I tended to our chickens. He would bring the eggs to work. His female coworkers would make him frittata. I asked him to have them stop. (they never did)
    Also, his female coworkers all wanted to meet me and the new baby! When I showed up at work, they couldn’t make eye contact with me. (they wanted to size me up?)
    Oh, and his propensity to not keep small commitments to me. (ie “I promise to wear my motorcycle helmet” followed by, “Haha, I didn’t wear my helmet!”)
    The tip of the personality iceberg. Oddly, I never suspected him of actual cheating! It was a few neighbors that pointed that out to me. At first, I was, “nah! him?”

    • Mine thought “dead baby” jokes were funny too. I tried to explain to him how they aren’t funny and how painful they might be to someone, and he thought I was just too uptight. And there were some other parts of his humor that I just couldn’t understand (one related to porn). This was in the very beginning and I guess I figured he couldn’t really believe all the things he said. Not deep down. And I thought he was playing devil’s advocate or something with some of the debates he had where he argued certain questionable perspectives. After I got upset, that’s what he said he was doing. But now? Well….those things would make warning bells go off in my head. You live and learn…. But I am surprised to see someone else mention the strange sense of humor. I had figured it was just my ex.

      • Count me in, too, for an ex with a strange (read: sick) sense of humour, which he always pridefully chalked up to his country of origin. Apparently the folks there have a sense of humour that’s *way* more advanced than I could ever hope to comprehend. Yes, he was actually very pleased with himself and what a clever iconoclast he was. Now, I just think dude, please. Do NOT blame an entire country just because you happen to be a complete douche who’s in dire need of psychiatric help.

  • I asked him if he ever cheated on anyone before. He was married for over 15 years, and his wife had breast cancer for the last 6 of those years. He actually SMILED and told me the story of how he and his wife hadn’t been intimate since she was diagnosed. During that time, he had become a bit more ‘friendly’ with a client (he’s an attorney). He said that they had planned to go to a hotel, and kissed in the cab. Once they got to the hotel, he said that she ‘couldn’t go through with it’ and would feel guilty about “doing that” to his wife.

    The whole story didn’t quite sit right with me.

    After D-day, I thought about that story and realized that if she didn’t back out (that is, IF she truly backed out), HE WAS WILLING TO GO THROUGH WITH IT WHILE HIS WIFE WAS AT HOME LITERALLY DYING OF CANCER!

    He was also EXTREMELY protective of his privacy and often said that he “got along better with women than men”.

    Yeah. I was chumped.

    • People who cheat on their spouses with cancer, or while their wives are pregnant, are the lowest form of pond scum imaginable.

      • I couldn’t agree more! I discovered (in retro) evidence my now-ex husband had a cheating “encounter” while I was post-op from brain surgery….we were engaged at the time.

        • I’ve already shared the fact (a few times) that my asshole left 6 days after I was diagnosed with breast cancer. He was still communicating (and refusing to stop) with OW in the week after my diagnosis, when I stopped “pretending” it was okay and started unspackling he couldn’t get out the door fast enough. He never missed a beat and never stopped screwing around with her either. NO remorse whatsoever.

          One of my favorite quotes from CL that I always keep close…..

          ” Who abandons people without so much as a warning? Assholes. Vile people. People with shit for character. Cowards.”

      • I had eye surgery, skin cancer removal and a double hernia repair all during the affair. Wife never even gave me a ride to or from the hospital.

        • Mine never attended a single prenatal appointment (2 children), nor drove me from (a) amniocentesis; (b) surgery to remove precancerous cells, nor (c) impacted wisdom teeth surgery.

        • I broke my wrist and my then husband didn’t come to the emergency room…my boss did when he found out I was alone (I broke my wrist at work). Hubbie didn’t come home until early morning hours so I had to sleep in my clothes because I needed help to get undressed. He told me he was bowling… I didn’t even try to argue that bowling alleys aren’t open 24 hours…too tired of it all by then.

    • Oh my God, Gypsy, you just told my story. Holy crap. Except in my case, he *did* go through with it, multiple times, and kept the affair going through email. Apparently his AP (a former gf of his) thought he was going to leave his wife and had started planning their happy new life together. But then his wife found all the emails, and he was busted. This is while she was undergoing chemo for the second time. At the time he confessed this to me, several years after his late wife’s death, I remember feeling moved because A) he’d been so honest about such a terrible shame and B) it must have been so hard for him not to have intimacy in his marriage for so long. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that less than a year later he’d also be cheating on me, and he certainly didn’t have the excuse then of having a partner who wasn’t whole or who wasn’t passionate.

      Yes, Tempest, these people are scum. For so long I heard about how her illness impacted on him, but now I believe the cause-effect relationship ran the other way. I also believe now–or maybe I just hope–that if his late wife hadn’t been terminally ill, she would have left him. Just after I moved out I received an unexpected email that showed me how his long-standing porn obsession had badly impacted on her as well, and this knowledge felt like a little gift from her to me from beyond the grave. I can’t even begin to imagine how she suffered.

      • I now think a porn obsession itself is a huge enough red flag that it warrants leaving right then. Most of the people I know who developed a porn obsession (and not only at an addiction level), went on to some pretty tawdry sexual behavior.

        • That has certainly been my experience with my ex-porn addict, Tempest. They have to keep upping the ante to get their thrills. I know in my heart that as he gets older and his pecker gets even limper that I would never trust him around small children. Because their MO revolves around power and control, I believe it’s only a matter of time until he breaks that final taboo. Sad to suspect that someone you once loved might be capable of such heinous behavior, but there it is.

          • Yep, same here. It’s an escalating thing, and it pretty much obliterated my relationship. I used to have a very benign opinion of porn and actually thought it was pretty hot occasionally as a shared indulgence. Not anymore. I’ve done my research, and the whole industry is sick, sick, sick. Moving forward I will NEVER be in a relationship with a porn user again. Which probably leaves about 3 men left on the planet. How sad, for our society and for our kids. They’ll grow up thinking that this shit is normative.

            • me too FoolMeTwice. i was like that too, porn or magazines didnt really bother me. i had occasionally looked at it also (not the wierd stuff). the ONLY issue or problem i had was i DID NOT WANT it in the house where my children could accidentally find it. not because i thought naked women are bad (again, not the weird and freaky stuff) but because i think the innocence of children should not be shattered at an early age. so i threw a fit over magazines in the closet because everyone KNOWS you cant hide shit from kids especially in the closet!!!

              come to think of it, i guess it did escalate. he started watching porn and looking at those dating sites that leave nothing to the imagination. i am a computer major, did you REALLY think you could hide your Internet activity from me. sigh.

              i will never allow myself to be disrespected like that again. if you want to see titties and ass on the computer while i have titties and ass just fine. then you dont need me.

              • Porn addiction was my firsts real red flag. And as he was a committed Christian man who apparently was an example to those around him. So sparkly and straight laced, to know that he was spending his lunch hour and any other time he could rangle from work to visit local adult shops, just made me sick. When I stated that I saw it as adultery I was told that I was too black and white. Life was also grey.
                He then promised to never do it again it was all behind him, he even did the whole confession and prayer thing with our then minister. And I trusted and believed the lies, little did I realise..
                NOT dealt with. Over the ten years that followed it increased from porn to affair with another man, flirting with the members of his soccer team right in front of me, to hooking up with strangers in public toilets. He even got bashed once by a hook up. And once again when confronted and eventually came clean on the issue stated that it is all in his past and he would never do it again. But Ten years of suspecting him of cheating and having it used against me that I must be depressed or struggling somehow, his lack of intimacy, being emotionally distant, the secret phone calls, needing to personally go and see clients on weekends because they were busy during the week, needed to go out for dinner every few weeks as a part of a local volunteer committee member. It was all enough, I think his new love is in for the shock of her life when it finally hits her what she has allowed not just into her life but the lives if her two young children.

              • love the fact that I found out he was going to erotic massage parlors before he cheated, oh but then again that’s a form of cheating too.

        • Yes. Porn addiction. There is a great site, “Your Brain on Porn” and a fantastic letter I found by a Porn addict that really spells it out how the mind works when addicted to porn and how fucked up your wiring gets.

          No reason to stay with the cheater, it’s for info only. I would warn it can really fuck with your head.

          A MALE GRIEF: NOTES ON PORNOGRAPHY AND ADDICTION–DAVID MUTA

          I would RUN like HELL if your mate has this problem. There is NOTHING you can do about it.

          • CJ, thank you for the link to that article. I just read it, and so much of it seems to describe my Ex. For a long time I thought he must have been abused as a child. I will never really know. My ex SIL said to me upon finding out about Ex’s cheating and me kicking him out, “You DO know about the terrible incident in his life, don’t you?” When I said no, she clammed up and never spoke to me again. I’m way beyond untangling his skein of fuckedupness, though, and now as I approach Meh, I even feel sad sometimes about the waste of a human life that he has become. But I know that for 16 years I provided a warm loving home to him, was a warm loving partner to him, faithful and honest and over and over forgave him for his abuse. There was nothing more than I could have done and I did more for that guy than anyone in his whole life before me, and more than OW will ever do either. So it ends.

    • My ExH was irritable and angry most of the time. He would cancel plans at the last minute or have to go into work during a date with me. He is w firefighter, so his job always gave him the best excuse for having to leave on a minutes notice. I hated it but I never believed he would cheat on me. He had me convinced I was the love of his life. He was “head over heels in love” with me! No guy that was so crazy about me would ever cheat on me! I realize now that he told me those things to give me a false sense of security. He never meant any of those things. He never loved me brcause he doesn’t know how to love anyone but himself. His first affair occurred while I was pregnant with our daughter. His 4th affair began while I was recovering from brain surgery to remove a tumor. I didn’t know about affairs 2 & 3 until after the divorce. There are probably more.

      • MmmHmm–I’m sorry that happened to you. Your X is an odious lump of carbon-based material. May he develop internal parasites.

        • Thanks tempest. I’ve really found some great support here. My fellow chumps feel like family. It’s impossible to explain how traumatic going through something like this is to someone who has never experienced it. It’s a club none of us ever wanted to belong to, but we have a deep understanding of each other’s pain.

  • One major was when he was all about buying an “Investment property” the same town he works at (about an hour from home)…only to find out the girl who was renting was also the OW…when I found out about his infidelity he said “it’s just flirting, because she noticed you did not pack my lunch for me everyday”…so then if course she took advantage^^…There is way too much

    • because she noticed you did not pack my lunch for me everyday

      Of course, that was your cue to do the pick-me dance for the asshole.

      • Why is packing their lunch such a big deal? I did for the first year of our marriage then his mom asked me “why are you doing that?…you work full-time as well and you don’t expect him to pack your lunch”. So…I stopped. 13 years later he tells me that when I stopped packing his lunch is the day he realized he wasn’t loved. Boohoo. Really?

        He informed me that the twat-waffle he left me for packs his lunch everyday. Well, I should hope so. She has no job (never has) and he will be husband number 3 at 35 years of age. Bet she is dancing her ass off to keep my ex. Hope she enjoys making sandwiches while eating the shit sandwiches he’s feeding her.

        He was a serial cheater for 8 years (unbeknownst to me until after the divorce) because I didn’t pack his lunch. You can’t make this shit up.

  • Well, in retrospect the sudden interest in high brow literature was a giveaway. In seven years with the guy I’d seen him read maybe three books. Two of those were biographies of rockstars. Then suddenly a little book collection appeared including such authors as James Joyce. Vintage classics. Later on I discovered the OW was an aspiring novelist doing a masters in English Lit. He was actually buying new copies of books I have had in my large collection of books for years and that he had completely failed to read or even notice in all the time we’d been together.

    • I’ve learned to never trust a man who doesn’t read. It’s one of my top five rules for anew man. Sounds silly but ex never read a book, ever. I just don’t trust people who don’t read.

      • ha ha my ex never read a freakn book either. I swear there must be a protocol for these men 🙁 That will be my one of my first questions, first of all do you read? lol

        • My ex became angry with me when I spent too long in a bookstore. I thought, “gee, I spend a fair amount of time in bars watching you throw darts or play pool because it stokes your ego to win, and I love you. Why can’t you spend more than 15 minutes in a bookstore?” Because he didn’t love me, and he wasn’t a very curious person. Sports, gambling, drinking, drugs, and sex were his interests. I even bought him a book chronically the grateful dead, but I read more of it than he did. It wasn’t the music that he loved, it was the drugs and the social aspect of being a deadhead. I don’t even think he loves women, he loves telling his male friends his conquests.

      • OMG!!! My stbx never picked up a book our whole sick 10 year marriage….when i got really pissed off I would call him illiterate !!! There definitely has to be some correlation here. Thanx Nord…I am adding reader to my must haves for a new dude.

        • Interesting about the “never reading books” issue. Mine used to get irritated as if he were jealous whenever he came into a room and found me reading. He also hated it if I read a book while he watched TV in the same room. Cheaters are such attention ho’s that anything that takes your attention away from their awesomeness is considered competition.

          • You are describing my XH also, Marci. He would get pissed if I was reading a book and didn’t respond to his awesomeness quickly enough when he addressed me. POS!!

            • Ditto to the reading or lack thereof. He never read and I do all the time. He too got upset because apparently I wasn’t hanging on his every word or watching tv. He never had anything new to say, either.

              • Once again I am reminded of a six year old, Mommy! Mommy! Look at me! Did you see that!

              • Sorry to break it to you guys, but reading is no guarantee that your not with a cheater. They are just more sophisticated narcissists. My cheater had THOUSANDS of books that filled up our home and he read every one of them. He carried books to the bathroom, when he ran an errand, on any trip anywhere, etc. And he is the biggest f*ckng cheater on planet earth. His OWs were also academics and would give him more books. And several of his male colleagues who read tons of books, were also cheaters who cheated on pregnant wives, with their students or other colleagues. Definitely, no guarantee there if s/he reads.

        • My ex did read, although not a lot for pleasure, more for work. He read newspapers, the very occasional history book, and comics (it’s a huge French thing). But I eventually realized he didn’t read fiction because he didn’t ‘get’ it. He had no capacity to put himself in someone else’s shoes, or even to imagine how he himself might feel in the future or remember how he felt in the past. He could empathize minimally of he could see the person’s emotional reactions (except when he didn’t care, of course), and liked really obvious movies, for this reason. I think this contributed to his pathologically selfish and stupid behaviour, as well as to his not enjoying fiction. I bet a lot of narcissists are like this. Too bad it’s not all of them, that would be a great screening tool!

        • As for the readers… mine read and read and read,three books going at a time, the only dates we EVER went on were to a book store or the library… I call it brain candy… it is like any other drug… but reasonable amounts of reading are fine. But mine, lived in his head and that left precious little space for anyone else.

      • Wish reading would be an indication of good character. My lying and cheating H has always been into book.

        • Mine liked to read to. In fact, during the “distancing” in the six months leading up to D-Day, in one of my attempts to get him to talk and engage, while we were sitting at the kitchen table and I saw him reading, I asked cheerfully, “What are you reading?” The answer: sullen, sarcastic, with a dirty look, “A BOOK.” Then dead silence.

          Which was one of many attempts I made to get him out of his stony silent little world in those months. I thought he was just having one of his phases of depression that over sixteen years I had seen before.

          The irony of being told he cheated on me because I “didn’t pay enough attention to him….” when he was sitting in the chair right next to me while we were watching TV together and he was texting Schmoopie. Now WHO wasn’t paying attention to their partner?

      • I love to read, and I think it is important that any companion would like to as well. I love to talk about books with people who read. Reading, and respect for those who read is important. Reading is not a waste of time, and anyone who thinks it is would not be a good match for me, either as a friend or a possible relationship. It is an attribute on my list of essentials, too. Several of my girlfriends think this is very amusing, but I cannot imagine sharing my life and time with someone who does not read.

      • My ex read four books during our 20 year marriage, and one of them was a porno. When we split, he said that the fact that I liked to read made me like an old lady, and that maybe when he was 70 or so, he would share similar interests as me. He included my love of gardening in the “old lady” pursuits.

        • Yes, gardening, reading, and doing puzzles made me an “old lady” too, and therefore boring to him.

    • LOL. Biographies of rock stars to fine lit in one fell swoop. And it didn’t occur to him to check out your collection with his budding thirst for reading material?

      • I know, bizarre. I wonder how long it took her to realise it was all a fake? I really doubt he ever got to the end of the James Joyce.

    • Yeah, the reading thing……Reading quality material is a way to feed one’s soul. Those who have no soul, have nothing to feed!

      So, it seems that lack of interest in such reading, as well as their reaction to our love of reading is a very common red-flag, though not universal, because Schmetterling mentioned she had a different experience in this regard.

      Mine read only very rarely and it was only if he was required to do so for work or such. I LOVE to read and it was only during the horror of the affair, discovery & False Recon. that I found it nearly impossible to read.

      Read on, precious ones…..ForgeOn, Nation!

      • I had a hard time reading after dday as well, mainly because my mind was in a million pieces. And of course I know readers cheat as well …but I maintain I will never date another man who doesn’t have at least a passing interest in books.

        • I’ve had a hard time reading since Dday two and a half years ago. I used to be a books columnist. Just shattering.

          • It’s pretty interesting to hear the 180 many of us have done to avoid similarities to our ex’s in future prospects. Who’d have thought reading could be trigger? But we identify it with them. My ex was a brainy, avid reader of money making/business type material. He hated to sit still long enough for a movie. Now I find myself attracted to guys who enjoy more ‘entertainment’ oriented media. Even moreso, ex was always fit & trim but in the last few years (no surprise) was too into it. Even though I’m in the best shape of my life now I get turned off by buff guys. I actually like a few extra pounds now. 🙂

            • I posted this anomaly of my ex in a prior post a few months ago about the “no reading thing” and asked for a response and no one responded! I am glad (or at least interested) to hear that others had this “no reading” quality in their Cheating X. I will repeat that when asked mine said that the authors “didn’t know what they were talking about, and are just trying to make money!” I was floored and asked him that if he didn’t read, how would he know this?
              The other thing he did that was funny was when we moved into a new home (first one together after marriage) I told him I was going to need a bookcase. He said “for What?” and I said “Books????”
              It ended up outside in the garage here in Florida which as you can imagine did not do much for my books.
              The other things for new folks on the blog is that we figured out many of them did not take pictures or care that anything was documented. (vacations, Disney, special family outings, etc.) Did not seem to need or want photos of our life together, just didn’t care. The only pics we have together was when I handed the camera to a third party & asked them to take it. One of these photos was taken on my 53rd birthday of the 2 of us which was up on the mirror on the dresser in front of the bed so I could be further devalued by him. They could look past photo of me while fucking in the mirror!! NICE!! Shocking disrespect in my book! Like making a mockery of you & your relationship & showing OW you mean nothing!

              • Every time I read about the red flag lack of pictures, I raise my hand…. During my tenure with cheating live-in bum XBF, I can only count two times when pics were taken of us out together.

                To the contrary, whenever he was out with his ho’s (particularly at their initial meetings) he had someone document it copiously. He did take one pic of me that I saw in his Canon camera. It was me in my kitchen, I was unaware it been taken and it’s very unflattering–deserved deletion not retention. I did not mention the pic cos I didn’t want him to know I had figured out how to review what was in his camera….

                {He always told women that my home was his, my car, etc was his and proudly showed them pictures, calling MY possessions his. I guess it went like this—-“Here’s a pic of my show horses. No, you can’t go see them. Here’s my house…..no, you can’t go see it.)}

                Months after my seeing the pic, I learned from a ho that he’d shown it to her (to show off ‘his’ gourmet kitchen) and she inquired ‘who’s that?’ and he replied that I WAS HIS MAID!!!! She told me she remarked ‘she sure doesn’t look like a maid, she’s dressed awfully nice (and to her credit, other compliments) and the shit hook replied “I only have attractive people on my staff and required them to dress nicely and be in full makeup and well coiffed”.

                When I pounced on him with this revelation, he totally denied that he’d ever shown anyone a pic like that/in fact, the pic never existed in the first place.
                (Isn’t it amazing that both his ho and I had the same hallucination that we’d seen a pic of me in my kitchen???)

                Believe me, this asshole did some HORRENDOUS things to me but this comparatively innocuous incident really sticks in my craw. The ungrateful self entitled bastard showed a unflattering mid-motion pic of me in MY home to one of his ho’s and referred to me as his hired help.

  • He was always bringing home “things” that he was fixing for a buddy. And then he’d work hours in the shop making it pretty. Weird. Also, there was always a “buddy” that needed help with something on the weekend. And to think I thought he was just this super helpful friend!

    • Oh Crap Hesatthecurb!! That takes first prize, all YOUR stuff is his & you are the Maid? Nice!! I hope you didn’t slow down to even 50mph when you tossed him to the “curb.” I wonder whose stuff he uses now to impress the girls??? What an ass.

  • The red flags for cheating were there but I was so naive that I was completely oblivious to what they meant, it is only in hindsight that I now realize what was happening.

    1) He would go to bed much later than me (to watch porn)
    2) Added extra nights onto his business trips (to sleep with prostitutes)
    3) Went through cycles of love bombing me and then hating me (it depended on if he was sleeping with someone else at that moment)
    4) He was always angry (so disgusted with himself I presume)
    5) He loved to pick fights just before he left for business trips (so he could justify his infidelity by telling himself how awful I was)
    6) He became more and more distant and more and more critical of me

    But more than that, I missed the red flags regarding his character because he had fashioned such a facade of respectability and Christian commitment that it just wasn’t possible to put two and two together and come up with ‘ he is living a double life’.

    He was extremely charming, generous, giving, amiable, thoughtful, intelligent and successful but also . . .

    1) He was OCD and became more and more controlling over the years
    2) He had episodes where he couldn’t control his anger
    3) He took offence very easily
    4) He was desperate for people to like him
    5) He bought people’s adoration
    6) He was arrogant and pompous

    Jumping to assume these things means a person is living a secret sexual life just doesn’t happen. You just don’t set out to assume a pathological aspect to your partner.

    • If I were to take a guess (without knowing him), I would guess that #4 on the first list was because reality was messing up his attempts to live in affair-land where everything is fun.

    • It’s such a good point that it would be very hard to jump to assume they are having an affair–where they are working so hard at putting up a show of “goodness” and righteousness, your experiences are very similar to mine Free.

      Looking back I can see so many red flags. One in particular comes to mind now.

      He moved out of our bed when our child was born because I nursed at night and our son would sleep with us for some of the night. He said he could not sleep with others and had a hard time sleeping even with one person (was true, would regularly go into the living room) But now he absolutely refused to work with me on how to feed our child while sleeping together—-or even sleep on a futon or air mattress so he could feel sorry for himself that he “had to” sleep on the floor. Then he looked for a EA to help him because he had a very mean wife who cared not for him sleeping on the floor, although I told him that it was not okay that he slept on the floor and he had to sleep in the bed or we needed to get another bed. He refused. When I brought his sleeping arrangement up he would get angry and say he was fine and did not want to talk about it. He created a situation that he could feel victimized, how dare I try and work things out so he/we had it better!! He insisted on his independence in making these decisions and that I was invading it—so confusing for me at the time–so very very confusing.

      So, for me is red flag number one is not being able to say what you feel. Ex was a person who denied his feelings with vehemence and irritability. When a person denies their feelings you never know what they will do, who they are and what anything means for them.

      Ask me how I feel and you will hear it. Things may change, but I will express that. Not ex. His life is one big cover up. Not interested in that ever again.

      • GoodMazel, I agree. My ex too could never talk about his feelings (but he could never understand how others felt either). Weirdly enough he would talk to anybody he didn’t know well about what he did for a living.

        • I felt flattered that he shared some personal/painful stories from his childhood. Then I heard him telling the same stories to customers in his restaurant.

          I don’t tell random people personal things, so I don’t understand it. I am doing it here, but there is the anonymity of the Internet. I feel I need to get some things out and I don’t want to bother people I know. I realize they will remember and form an opinion about me based on my issues.

          But I guess they are not as significant for him, just like sex is not that significant. Am I wrong to want some things to be special?

      • Mazel, this is so very well worded and to the point:

        “He created a situation that he could feel victimized, how dare I try and work things out so he/we had it better!! He insisted on his independence in making these decisions and that I was invading it—so confusing for me at the time–so very,very confusing.“

        I can so relate to this. I was so confused from all this ambivalence and H“s victimhood. All the covert blame and instilling of guilt for things I had absolutely no control over and that he had created. So very manipulative, it can really make you crazy.

      • That business about sleeping on the floor and claiming victimhood reminds me of my Ex who decided that the “only” place he could put his office in our house was in the unfinished basement with a dirt floor. He moved his desk and file cabinets down there. No one made him do this. He complained often that my teenaged sons created “chaos” (OCD) in our house so this was necessary. Then at every opportunity he complained to other people that “Muse and her children forced him down into the basement.”

        This was even dredged up during Post D-Day talks though the children had grown and moved out 5 years prior to D-Day. And I am convinced though no hard proof that one of the reasons he moved his office down there was to view porn as he had a computer down there, one of the 5 computers that he had, every single one of which was super locked down pass-word protected, every single folder on every single hard drive. Victim indeed.

    • I was such a thorough chump. Totally and unreservedly trusting.
      1.stopped sleeping in the same bed
      2. Working out like a maniac.
      3. Manscaping
      4. Wanting lipo
      5. Irritable all the time
      6.slew of business trips.
      7. Get away trips to reduce stress and visit relatives
      8. Smelling of smoke(does not smoke)
      9. Ignoring me or walking away from me in public. (Trying not to be seen with me)
      10. Found a pack of condoms in his car. He said they were our sons.
      11. Getting a back wax
      12.tagging on extra days to trips
      13. Arguing to have private work out sessions.
      14. Buying gifts for the “business partners GF”
      There is so much more. I am truly the chum priest of chumps. How could anyone with normal intelligence not see what was happening???

        • Willowfrost- Don’t be so hard on yourself. You are trustworthy, so you believe others are too. I am sure you had your suspicions, but chose to believe someone you loved and believed in like the rest of us did. This is what we do-spackle over all the crap & try to keep our house together. We trust because we are trustworthy.

      • Willow, my list and yours are kind of similar…but silly me! I just thought he was having a midlife crisis:
        1. tanning beds
        2. wrinkle creams
        3. botox
        4. thousands of dollars on “medical program” to to slow aging.
        5. new weird too juvenile clothes
        6. obsessive about diet and image

        and these are just on the “appearance” department. Good grief.

      • To add to the list
        1. Booking flights a day earlier than needed for business trips or leaving home at the weekend by car for Monday business meeting
        2. Cell phone devoid of ANY messages of the female ‘ work colleague’ he was on a project with- they were using other ways to communicate but he showed me his phone to ‘ prove’ I was being paranoid. Not even a business text
        3. Phoning her in front of me ti have abusiness conversation and say how annoying or strict she was
        4. Travelling with his anti snoring spray
        5. Wearing his expensive aftershave to go to site meetings ‘ with the guys’
        6. Being angry at me for everything
        7. Putting expenses on our credit card to claim back from company for joint lunches ‘ with the guys’ ( salads and juices). The ‘guys’ are hardy line workers
        8. Coming from business trip and putting all clothese in the wash and having a shower
        9. Grooming his ear hairs ( they used t annoy me and I used ti pluck them for him)

        • Kiwi,
          Yes, that list sounds familiar. I would add:

          1. Showered the moment he came home each time he worked a ‘longer shift’.
          2. Always insisted on putting his own clothes in the washer.
          3. Suddenly developed a sensitive anus and started carrying baby wipes in his briefcase. That one was totally weird.
          4. I observed him putting a roll of TP in his briefcase one day. He said they didn’t provide it at work – he worked in a large company…..
          5. Suddenly developed “digestion issues” and had to go to the toilet multiple times during shopping trips, even to the supermarket. When I casually inquired about it one day, he said “what digestion issues?” Yeh, he was probably phoning schmoopie.
          6. Was suddenly a good guy, and washed the bed sheets while I was gone for the day to an out-of-town business meeting. Turns out the OW came over for “lunch”.
          7. Spent hours in “his” room – the spare bedroom, door closed, painting little soldier figures – hundreds of them. Had no aim for this – didn’t use them or sell them, just collected them in bags. I now know this was his way of having time to chat with schmoopie.
          8. Claimed he had to run wasy from his first wife because her grown son was “extorting” money out of him. Turns out the guy discovered his cheating and threatened to kill him!
          9. Had dozens of online profiles when I finally got around to keylogging my computer – which he used – and he used the same ID and password for all. He still uses that password, so I can look up his activity even now five years later. He is cheating on schmoopie.

          • Wow Marci,
            That list gave me a giggle… Especially the ex-step son ‘extortionist’. That son rocks!

        • “3. Phoning her in front of me to have a business conversation and say how annoying or strict she was” — yes mine did this too. Was remodeling a house for a female “client” and kept complaining about her, how she ordered the wrong sink, how she never listened to him, etc.

          Deliberate attempt to cover up the affair that was already in progress. And I was so chumpy that when I finally got suspicious one night and logged into our cell phone account and saw a number beginning with her area code, 100x a day texting, picture texting, phone calls… I of course thought, well of course, they are working on a house remodel. Then it dawned on me there shouldn’t be business calls at 10:30 p.m., 6:30 a.m., pics being texted 3 or 4 in a rapid succesion first thing in the morning (keep wondering what was she sending him, her vag?)

  • There was also the Skype call I made to him while he was on a work trip where suddenly starting explaining to me why he wasn’t wearing his wedding ring because he’d dropped it somewhere blah blah. I hadn’t actually noticed he wasn’t wearing it or asked him about it.

  • Red flags: long distance “dating” for eight years with no commitment in sight (I spackled with “we’re young!” Reality was he had no intention of settling down until I gave him an ultimatum, ugh, my bad), inability to engage in a meaningful discussion ie what are you going to be doing in five years?, inability to sit still at home, always off to the next activity, too much time spent at the racquetball club with skeezy immoral stupid friends, way too much time at work, little eye contact (hard to gaze at someone you are cheating on and lying to), financial creativity (he made great money but would make big purchases knowing we had expenses coming up-kids in college, hello?-nothing seems to be “enough”) big red flag was refinancing the houses-and pulling out equity, unilateral decisions (like the time he hired someone to finish MY tile job while the kids and I were on vacation, passive aggressive much?), never taking just me on real vacations (we always traveled to see family and stayed with them, he was not into family fun), cheap when it came to me (birthday presents, thoughtful gifts, uh…no!), inability to plan, inability to “be present” in times of challenge (ie deaths, illnesses, etc), overly concerned with death, Me,Me,Me attitude because life revolves around the disordered, sex life never improved it just got worse as the years passed (something was missing, he was disengaged, and it became mechanical, the opposite of what years and a loving respectful relationship should be), sunglasses! and female radar on a swivel head!, inability to appreciate differences, inability to be spontaneous, believes he is “better” than others, competes with family members (while pretending to be supportive), compartmentalizes his life (racquetball, work, family, each group separate from the other), solicits limelight to control narrative (he is written up in several papers, what a “nice guy!”). Yeah relationships with fucktards are a challenge. In the later years I never felt safe or valued by my ex, he made me feel less than when I knew I rocked. I spent many years far away from family raising my own…alone. My ex’s best friend always called the house looking for ex who was never home, in the end I think he knew about the infidelity before I did because he was concerned. (He’s a good husband, appreciates his wife and kids, so I am sure he was always thinking why wasn’t ____at home?!?) I spent a lot of time alone.

    • M we lived the same life. Every single point. I am hoping you are in a better place. I am healing. A long journey but glad to be away from that asshole.

      • I want to hold hands with you both…SO MANY of the above were my reality as well.
        And ALONE…yes, and my two adult children say “Mom it was always just three of us.”
        Just sad.

        • Me too. It was me, and MY three awesome boys. He never ever went to the park, beach, friends houses to play, etc. But that’s OK, I was with them because I wanted to be. I knew they would grow up so, so fast, and I got so much love and fun out of those kids!
          His loss!

  • Of course the biggest red flag of all was him going off on a two and a half week work trip the morning after my diagnosis with breast cancer and ignoring my texts and phone calls while he was away. I think they were plotting their strategy which turned out to be ‘string her along while she’s sick’. Perhaps they hoped I would die so he’d inherit my bit of money (it’s not much, but still). So then after two and a half weeks he came back and reassured me repeatedly there was no one else and made up some lies about having no mobile signal while I sat there with my port in my chest and my poor baldy head wanting to think the best of him. But It all blew up in his face before long. I found out he was a cheat and a liar and had divorced him before I even got to radiotherapy. Cannot stand liars now. Anyone lies to me, admits to cheating or pulls any manipulation tricks – they are out.

    • I never called my ex when he traveled. He was never the guy who called home. Last Christmas gift? Cell phones!!!! to OUR Kids. Me. And Him. Aaawwwww down that slippery slope. Guess he needed a leash to keep in touch with his whore.

    • M, you are probably much healthier away from him. Toxic people really do serious damage to those that have to live with them , work with them, interact with them for any reason. What a horrible piece of shit. I hope his penis rots off!!

    • M, you are fierce! I hope you’re well along your road to recovery in all aspects of your life. Huge chumpy hug to you!

      • Thank you FoolMeTwice. I really appreciate that. The Chump Lady blog and all my fellow chumps have been a lifeline for me. I don’t post much but often read and it has helped me so much. Hugs to you all!

  • mine was cheating on me when he was working out of the country, primarily. Apparently he did, however, cheat on me a couple times in our US town. (how friggin humiliating, this is a smallish town) I should have known that he was doing something when he started distancing himself from me, emotionally. Like, he never seemed to want to do anything “fun”, other than travel. I think like most addictions (he had a drug addiction at one point for a couple years), it started out slowly—-just the occasional bonk every now and then, and just escalated to where he was doing it all the time when we were apart (we’d be one month together, one month apart, back and forth between countries). I should have known better. The thing that pisses me OFF so much now is that I gave him an out years ago. I told him that if he ever find that he didnt want to be married anymore, or that he wanted to be with other people, just let me know and we would go our separate ways. I’m a grownup, and I have been married before, so I know that people change even when you dont want them to. But NNNNOOOOO….he wanted his CAKE and eat it too! Of course, like most cheaters.

    • Heh, I remember having that talk with ex at one point. We were going through a difficult time: kids small, lots of work getting in the way of everything else, general life stuff. He wasn’t around a lot, kept blowing off things, etc. I asked if he was cheating, he said no (found out years later that yes, he was cheating at the time). We had what I thought was a great talk, where I said if either of us felt the need to get out we should do so respectfully and try to not make it ugly. No cheating, etc. He completely agreed! Of course he did!

      Turns out he was screwing around for years and had no intention of being honest with me about anything. What an ass. He had every opportunity to handle things above board and he chose the wrong path each and every time.

      • Mine too Nord. I said, “If you ever want to cheat on me, come home and let’s have a conversation first. Don’t let me be the last to know and let’s be respectful.” He would agree.

        But nope. Even when I suspected he was cheating, “Nope!” Even in MC when he was confronted and asked if he was cheating, “Nope!”

        Apparently, the problem was all me.

        Um, nope! Bye cheater.

        • My first two husbands cheated on me and my third husband’s first two wives cheated on him. We were both chumped twice so I thought we had a clear understanding that this would never be an issue in OUR marriage! WRONG!!! He has been the worst husband yet but i’m going to do it until I get it right!!! I really think I know how to put character to the text now thanx to Chump Nation!!!

          • Paula, how sure are you that your husband was chumped twice? He might have been the one doing the cheating all along. People don’t usually change their core. I’m sorry that happened to you.

            • KRKing911, I was going to add to my comment that I later accused him of being the cheater and just turning around his stories, that would make a lot more sense!!! Thanx KR

        • I had the same conversation as he was just about to confess. He changed his mind about confessing when I said I loved him, but I could live without him.

          So what should I have said? It’s very clear he was just about to tell me and changed his mind. I hate conflict too, but why pretend you’re something you’re not.

    • I too had that same conversation before with stbx-We were supposedly in agreement that if one of us wasn’t happy/wanted to leave that we would tell each other before moving on to someone else. Stbx even knew that my late father’s mantra was “You do not get married to “date” other people”

      Of course, now I realize that stbx NEVER had any intention of being honest with me. After DDay, I have given him every opportunity for an out and he still refuses to go. IT IS SO AGGRAVATING!! I told him since I now know all about his other life-we can get divorced & he can have his freedom & go do everything he wants (Craigslist, hookers, massage parlors, work on his stupid POS car, etc) and me & the boy won’t be in his way.

      Yet he still won’t go

      • Personally, I don’t think it should be his call at this point. Since he made the executive decision to cheat, *you* can make the executive decision to divorce his ass. Hugs to you!

  • Never Home – he always had to leave early to go to the gym before work, had an errand to run before work, had to get to work early to receive a shipment, had to work late, had to go back to work to finish something, accidentally fell asleep at work… and I was always extra supportive and sympathetic, taking on all the housework and childcare.

    Manipulated Other People – he was always twisting the truth to other people, manipulating them to make things turn out better for him, lying to make himself look good, to get out of something he didn’t want to do… and I never thought he would turn this power on me because we were in it together and what benefited him benefited me. I even encouraged him to use me as an excuse for things.

    Self-Centred – everything was always about him, we had to watch what HE wanted on TV, go to the movies HE wanted to see, sex was always all about HIS pleasure, we ate the food HE liked, the money and time was always spent on HIS hobbies… and I went along with it because for the most part, we liked the same things, and it was easier than arguing with him when we didn’t. Whenever I suggested something he didn’t like the sounds of, he’d give me this look, like “why would you want to make me do something I wouldn’t enjoy?”

    Many of HuffPo’s red flags were there too, but I didn’t see them because, well, see above.

    • Hopeful, do you ever wonder howcome they’re not too exhauseted to fuck around like they do? After reading your post I was exhausted for him, and I know many of my friends have commented that x just didn’t seem to have enough get up and goto do anything let alone what he did do. Amazing!!!! Makes the mind boggle.

      • Keep in mind point 2 when you are reading point 1. He was not at work or at the gym, and all his errands involved being at schmoopie’s house. He was getting plenty of rest there.

    • Wow, HC, the description of your ex is eerily similar to my own experience. He spent so many extra hours at “work” that 99% of the time, he left before the kids woke up and got home after they were in bed. But of course there were always reasons, and he was working so hard–the poor thing!–so I kept juggling all the home stuff by myself. I finally realized how crazy his schedule was when he went out of town for a few days and the kids didn’t even ask about him once.

      And ditto on the manipulation and the self-centered behavior. He bragged about specific ways he made others bend to his will, like it was a game. Most of the time he didn’t even care about whatever it was that he “won.” It was all about the winning.

      Oh, and when you mentioned your ex giving you a look, I had quite the flashback to the looks I used to get from my ex. Wow. I’m so pleased I don’t have to endure those “why would anyone want to do THAT?” looks anymore.

      • For years my first XW was gone before the kids were up and home after they were in bed. They would go days without laying eyes on her. She always had some lame reason.
        I came to find out she had been having sex with strangers she would meet in bars.

        • Ugh, Arnold. Charming. My ex was getting up early to go get in bed with whoever the OW was at the time. Since the OW were always coworkers, he would then either linger at work late or go grab dinner with them before heading home. Of course this is all stuff I’ve put together on my own from different puzzle pieces I found. He never admitted to anything.

  • Signs I saw from my CW:
    – Poor eye contact, shifting eyes
    – FB and Pinterest posts that were strange, didn’t make sense
    – Other obvious ones like concealing cellphone, laptop screen

    • Yes! Same. Oh and the gagging at the dinner table when I suggested a date night where we could hold hands and smooch in the back row t the cinema. Though he had gone before that Saturday had come around. Maybe the gagging was the the catalyst he needed?????

    • The X would never look another man in the eye when he shook hands with them…always looked down. It made me crazy…now we know why.

  • How about the complete disrespect shown to you at a work function/conference? Not that we were invited to many, but occasionally there would be a family picnic or party in which we would dutifully attend with the children. Usually when we would show up, he would be running off to socialize as soon as we got there while the kids and I would try to awkwardly mingle with strangers. He was never keen on sticking with us or introducing us to coworkers — who now that I think about it would barely make eye contact with me.

    I remember one time I was off with the kids at an activity and looked over to see him engrossed in this conversation with a young female employee. At the time my gut was screaming that he was being totally inappropriate and disrespectful to his family. When I brought it up on the way home, I was told I was being “completely ridiculous and jealous” and made to feel like a jerk for even bringing it up. Guess it was a real killjoy to have to bring your family around while trying to pick up OW!

    • I think it’s a red flag for someone not to care about a partner’s feelings or to show respect in public.

      • Yes. If someone loves you, they care about your level of comfort. I will never be with someone who doesn’t care about my level of comfort again.

      • Absolutely. If they’re not proud to be seen with you, and introducing you around, believe me – they don’t love you in their heart, they’re just faking to keep you around to wash their socks, and pay their house payment, OUCH.
        At least, that’s what happened to me.
        The guy I’m seeing now is very proud of me, and loves showing me off to people. He even exclaimed recently ‘You look beautiful!’, because I wore a new dress. The only reason this is amazing to me, is because X never once told me anything like that (he was invested in being in the One-Up position, so he could chase tail freely). I am not high maintenance, or vain about my looks, and I don’t think beauty depends on outside appearance. Inner beauty is the best. However, it is really nice, to have your guy say something that kind, and want to make you feel good!

    • Totally relate to this, but the episode that sticks out in my memory was an office party where a live band was playing and no one was dancing. I am a super shy person though I do like dancing, Ex wanted to get up and dance so I agreed. Everyone was watching as he started dirty dancing with me, thrusting his pelvis right into me, so vulgar and disgusting as my colleagues and their spouses, my employees, everyone was starting at us. When the song stopped I wanted to sit down and he became livid and angry at me! Sullen, silent treatment, pissed, we had to leave the party because he was SO mad. Later I tied this into one of his sick sexual fantasies that he verbalized which was he wanted to tie me up on my desk at work and fuck me in front of all my coworkers “and there is NOTHING you can do about it” said in the most sick, dark threatening way. God, I think I still need more therapy.

      Ex also had the swivel head and would embarrass me everywhere by outrageous flirting, calling saleswomen “sweetie”, touching their hand or arm, etc right in front of me while they looked me in the eye and I averted my gaze. Shame.

  • There were so many signs that I just can’t believe I was so stupid. One that I recognise now but didn’t then was him accusing me of flrting with other men on a night out. He even abandoned me and took off with the car drunk driving home leaving me to get home somehow. I was gobsmacked – I hadn’t flirted with anyone! Basically he was accusing me of the very behaviour he was prepared to use (and did use).
    There were other signs too – secret texting, new undetwear and clothes, extra nights added to business trips, no interest in his family…

    • Justine, that is exactly what mine did. One night he came home late and he picked a huge fight without having anything to base it on. He accused me of having an affair. I had a two month old at that time and a 5 year old. WTF!

  • O yes, I forgot – his FB account just disappeared. Later, after the divorce, he went on FB again but tried to hide from me by adopting the persona of a woman named Karen. I was puzzled because why did FB keep suggesting I be friends with this Karen person? We had so many friends in common too – who could she be? I realised when I noticed one of ‘Karen’s’ photos was a moody shot of a guitar amp or something with him reflected in a door. What a completely embarrassing prat he is.

  • Being secretive about his cell phone and being on it ALL the time was one of the earliest red flags for me. Unfriending me and everyone that knew both of us from his Facebook page (including relatives) was another. Buying clothes (lingerie, I later discovered) for a “friend” who lost a bunch of weight and couldn’t afford to buy new stuff…I could go on. Fucktard! Trust your gut when the red flags start popping up.

  • My husband was at the bank a lot due to the nature of our business. I usually let him do our banking because I knew he’d be there anyway. One the rare occasion that I actually had to do the banking, it seemed the whole bank would get quiet when I walked in. There were a couple of older ladies that were exceedingly nice to me, but the younger girls seemed to be sizing me up. I thought for so long that I was paranoid, but then found out he had at least two hot and heavy affairs with tellers, and one I suspect he was grooming for an affair.

    He told me one evening in a very somber tone that his secretary of 10 years was pregnant and asked him if he would accompany her to get an abortion. He said he felt bad for her because there was nobody else to take her. A coworker told me after Dday that they knew my H had taken her to 2 abortions, and was sure at least 1 was my H’s, but wasn’t sure of the 2nd. It was going on right under my nose, and I never suspected a thing!! They were chummy, but acted like brother and sister when I was around. She knew me well… I babysat for her when she was on vacation, even brought her family over for dinner once. It was right there… the perfect deception, because I was the perfect idiot.

    Of course there were other red flags; like having to leave at night to service a customer. I used to actually brag to my friends and family about how compassionate he was, leaving the comfort of home on a moments notice to take care of elderly customers… so caring… what a man!

  • One day I opened the mail to see a phone bill with calls to the same number just as I pulled out of the driveway and headed for work each morning. All month long. Why hadn’t I noticed that before? He always got to the mail before I did. Suddenly all the other random things that didn’t really add up made perfect sense. There were a lot of red flags that got explained away, but once I saw that red banner I couldn’t unsee it. I gathered up as much information as I could and confronted him. Then I never saw a phone bill again. Having the mail forwarded to his office was his idea of solving the problem.

  • He seemed pissed off all the time. He complained about ME “being distant” but would not respond to hugs or attempted kisses (“You only seem to make contact when YOU want contact!” ??? Um, yes??? Am I supposed to make contact when I DON’T want to?) Cologne scent when he never used to wear cologne (“I worked out at lunch and didn’t have a chance to shower”) Even more late night working in the home office that usual instead of coming to bed. Any time anything came up – care trouble, request from friends to socialize, “I don’t have TIME for this!”)

    • Yes, mine was grumpy all the time and wasn’t invested in our daughter. He was a real pain in the ass most of the time and not much fun on holidays. He was into the sauce most of the time. Ugh.

    • I forgot one – this was rather clever, actually:

      He installed a bunch of lifestyle management apps on his phone

      – a ‘sleep monitor’ app that gave him an excuse to to have it under his pillow all night so there was no way I could access it while he was asleep (if it vibrated while he was in bed, he’d mutter about the ‘stupid app’ and how he had to reset it all the time);

      – an app that was supposed to track his daily activities – showering, eating, driving, etc. – so he ALWAYS had it with him and could constantly fiddle with it without (stupid me) being suspicious.

  • The two week vacations he gave me with my girlfriends at the end of a successful school year working. They thought he was the coolest husband ever, I did too at the time. Three years later when I found out the truth, not so much. So I left a 30 year marriage, sued him for alimony, divorced him and never looked back. Too bad I had to see him when our youngest son recently got married and will see him again this May when he graduates college.

    • I can relate. He once pushed me to attend a good friend’s wedding that was half way across the country because we couldn’t afford for both of us to go. He encouraged me to go and have fun and emphasized how much I deserved this time for myself. What a gem of a guy! I eventually pieced together the truth as well. Kudos to you for getting away from that manipulator! The shared parenting events are a trial, but it does help to remember how pathetic these folks are, whether or not it’s readily apparent to the world! You can hold your head up high.

      • Thanks Stronger! The co-parenting is hard but at least my 3 boys are grown. This graduation coming up should be the last thing until the grandchildren come along or my middle son gets married. We live in a small town and I have been very fortunate to not run into him yet.

  • Frequently going supposedly on “man dates” with male friend (half a couple we were friends together with); supposedly dinner and a movie, but getting enraged when I texted or called to see when he would be home after five or six hours (“don’t EVER do that again!”).

    Working Saturday and Sunday in addition to other 5 days.

    Claimed to be “hanging out with the whole gang for a couple beers after work” at a work site he was working at but never invited me to hang out or meet any of them; found out later in found emails these dates corresponded with mushy emails he had sent an OW thanking her for “a lovely Friday night”

    • Adult Protective services calling my house, and when i answered, them asking for Ex’s “old girlfriend.” I said she doesn’t live here. “Are you sure?” they said, “isn’t this the residence of [Ex’s Name]?” — I was so upset because he’d told me his old GF was “crazy.” I thought, “how dare she tell them that she lives here?! (in the house Cheater and I bought 7 years before that phone call). NOW I know the truth because I looked her up after Ex surprised me by cheating with current OW. Old GF told me, yes – APS was involved because she was in the hospital with a handprint on her face after the slapped her during ‘rough sex.’ So when they called my house, they were investigating a “domestic violence incident” and they ASSUMED that because he lived here (at this address) and they were A COUPLE, that she did too.

      When Ex came home from work that night I told him about the phone call and he went: “What???? Don’t ever believe anything that has anything to do with her– she’s CRAZY!”

      I’m sure that is what he has been telling current OW that he lives with after I kicked him out 1.5 years ago.

      • Upshot: after moving in with me and startiing our “relationship”, he was still involved with and fucking (and slapping) prior GR for the first 9 years that he “lived with” me (if you define “lived with” as having all his clothes and other shit here, using it as his legal address, and presenting to me and his family, mine, and all our friends, as “my boyfriend.”

  • Red flags galore, but I was a chump…

    1. Became attached to a cell phone, one he insisted not be on our family account. This was a big red flag because he always made fun of those of use with cell phones and now he couldn’t put it down. Even texted during dinner one night claiming, “It’s a lead to a job.” Yeah, a blow job.

    2. Got in great shape walking around the neighborhood and texting for 3 miles every night, even when I was in the hospital for three days with a mysterious illness. He never visited once, never asked what was wrong, and waited in the car for me when I was released (talking on his cell phone, of course). Didn’t even open the door for me. The ride home was silent, well, except for me crying silently because I realized he hated me and I was nothing more to him than an annoyance.

    3. “Work Function” was listed four to six time a week on our family calendar all the time. For a temp, he was in high demand at night and on weekends.

    4. I walked in on him changing one day, and he put the towel over his body and screamed, “Don’t you knock?” I noticed he had shaved his chest and pubic area. When I asked him why he was suddenly too modest to be naked in front of me, he replied, “None of your business,” ignored me and then left for the weekend to go “mow the lawn” at his parents house.

    The list could go on, but it’s depressing me to realize what a fool I was not to have pulled the trigger on our marriage sooner.

  • In addition to the usual cell phone and laptop paranoia, he arrived back home at 2 am from a ‘business function’ hair damp, freshly showered. When questioned he said he had stopped at our 24 hr gym for a sauna. (skank stank removal)….

    I wrote a hell of a lot more but I deleted it—just pissed me off too much to even acknowledge.

    If you happened to read yesterday’s posts regarding anagrams from the cheaters’ name——his are the one that, incredibly fittingly, have the word ‘karma’ in them.

  • We started dating in high school, so not too many red flags at that point.
    Through the years, though:
    Only friends post high school were women; spent lots of timing helping them with relationship advice (knight in shining armor complex)
    Early Internet days, obsessive time in chat rooms
    Later signs– I always initiated sex, locked phone, super passive on everything house/vacation related (I made all plans), grooming down under, good wordsmith/lied easily.

    • Forgot a couple :
      Increasingly infrequent pictures of me, none the last 2 years
      Year he worked away from home, would not look me at me during video chats, was constantly looking around

  • Red flags for me were 1) flirting with a friend when we were dating 2) superficially pleasant family but no real depth to them 3) things were often on his terms 4) drinking binges 5) frequently going to bars to hang out with losers 6) “I don’t have time for an affair!”, said Mr. Wonderful.

    Gosh, looking back there were so many. However, I spackled it and thought he was wonderful (except for the drinking/shitty friends.)

    He wasn’t really attached to people in a normal way, even his family but he seemed attached to me. He hardly had any friends through our married life until the end and those were pathetic friends that drank heavily and didn’t treat women very well. I was doing an enormous amount of the emotional work. And he was hugely successful in his field. He was abnormally devoted to work and the status that it provided.

    Red flags all around.

    • Oh and I might add, huge cell phone secrecy and loads of working, but he did that throughout the marriage so it wasn’t a huge difference. He also started to dress really nicely and was overly concerned about his appearance. I did comment on that but he called me “manipulative and controlling.” Yeesh. And once he took a vacation “alone” and came home to sleep on the far edge of the bed. I asked what the hell he was doing and he said, “It’s more comfortable here, that part of the bed is sagging.”

      Gosh I was such a chump!

  • I got the classic I have to work late excuse a few months before dday, then it was working late during the week and gone every weekend. And he was increasingly pissy all the time. So I confronted and it began……

  • Early on while dating and throughout our marriage, she never apologized. Also all her setbacks were someone else’s fault or wrongdoing.
    Once the affair started with the Belgian Tennis pro, she started drinking heavily, and developed an obsessive interest in pro tennis ,European soccer and foreign language films. Of course all electronics became password protected and she up a couple private email accounts .Her phone became closely guarded and never left her possesion.

  • My red flags:

    – He stopped being my friend. He ignored my thoughts, my ideas, my recommendations, my jokes, my interests and many commitments to me (household, bill-paying, kid care, etc.)

    – He became obsessed with looks – how he looked, how I looked, how we dressed, if we were fit enough.

    – I became a one-dimensional object to him. Sex was the only thing he cared about. No matter how much it was, he was very disappointed with the frequency.

    – Buried himself in work, night and day

    – Never wanted a picture of me (well, at least one with my face in it)

    – When I asked him a question about work, his day, he would turn to one of our kids, beam at them and respond to them, as if they had asked it

    – Constant texting and defensiveness about phone and computer, which we used to readily share

    – Frequent gifts of clothing, even when I asked him to stop because I was starting to feel like his dress-up doll

    -Absent every Sunday morning for way too long… right after our own conjugal activity. Yep, he rolled off of me and onto her, within the hour.

  • He was always late for everything, and he stopped wanting to eat dinner together as a family. And he was the first to volunteer to drive the kids to whatever activity they had going on. So he could have time to make private phone calls while waiting for the activity (sports, music, etc) to be over.

  • I had more red flags than the Titanic. Yup, stupid me. I have decided to embrace my idiocy (“Hello, I’m Tempest, and I am an idiot”), and just never let it happen again.

    1. BLAMED me for everything (even the dogs whining to play with them–I pampered them too much).
    2. Persistent criticism
    3. Cold lust
    4. never wore his wedding ring.
    5. stayed out at department parties until 4 or 5 in the morning
    6. Cheating in his former marriage.
    7. Started only buying designer/Diesel jeans in his 50s
    8. Slammed the computer shut when I would come in the room
    9. Spent a decent amount of time looking at porn every day.
    10. Most of his good friends were cheaters.

    I could probably get the list up to 50.

    • OMG Tempest. Mine did all of your list except for the designer Jeans. And I would add a few more

      11. Had a strange concept of time that seemed always off (I would remember something took two hours or two weeks, and he would ALWAYS remember differently and correct me).

      12. He stopped kissing me affectionately. His kisses were what I call “Auntie kisses” on the cheek, no passion.

      13. the few times we had sex, I always initiated.

      14. Never went to bed with me at the same time. Started wearing sweatshirts and sweatpants to bed. Now I know that he was protecting himself from me, because OW pressured him not to sleep with me.

      15. He started getting dressed up to go out on Sunday mornings to buy books…very strange.

      16. Said that I should not criticize his cheating friends who chumped pregnant women, becuase “you never really know what is anyone elses mind.”

      17. He went out dancing with his friends and colleagues and never invited me.

      18. He forgot my birthday every year-

  • There were only a few signs because he was not a serial cheater. Little Napoleon began his relationship with young Heather Ann about a month before telling me to leave our home. During that time he withdrew, would not stay home with me, refused to go anywhere with me. He basically behaved as though he were an unhappy teen and I was his unreasonable mother.

    Fucking prick.

    • ML,

      You & I are twins separated at birth, I think. Same thing for me. — I have so many red flags about his behavior, the poor prognosis for us ACTUALLY growing old happily together, etc., but the cheating itself wasn’t going on for very long before he sat me down and told me we were over.

      He still denies that there was anything going on before we split, but given the short (47 day) span between that DDday and our divorce hearing, during which he confessed he was involved with her, and “Had I been cheating on you emotionally? Probably.”… etc., I would have to say, in hindsight, the only red flag I missed was when he asked me, a couple months before Dday, if I thought it would be wrong for him (as her employer) to tell her she couldn’t work at any other wine shop in town because he was “afraid of losing her.” Silly me, *I* thought he meant “as an employee”!!

      But ditto the teen-mother thing — he even went so far as to express disbelief and surprise at my reaction (hysteria) the news, saying he “thought I felt the same way” and, I think, was dismayed I wasn’t more happy for him — I mean, if I really cared about him, I should be HAPPY he finally found his true love, … right??? (gag)

  • He literally picked on everything I did – or didn’t do. Whatever it was? It wasn’t right. This was during his emotional affair (I assume it was not physical, although it may have been).

    Then one day he said to me, “You have six weeks. Then I’m coming down on you for everything you do that bothers me”.

    • Don’t you wish we could live these absurd moments over? Because of course, now we’ve got the perfect retort! Ahhhh…. I wish, I wish.

      • Oh I forgot about the criticism game! For years I “so beautiful.” Then suddenly my clothes were not revealing enough, I needed braces (what? I had them in high school). My chin wasn’t quite right and I needed to start wearing very high heels. I can honestly say I took good care of myself, working out, eating right, took off all baby weight, monthly hair appointments, always wear make-up, nice clothes,etc. while he gained over 50 pounds and shaved his head (I really didn’t care). They are just SO mean!

        • Nicole..same here. I was always perfect and wonderful and beautiful to him..then I must have morphed into something else overnight. My hair, nails, skin, clothing, weight, attitude, voice all became hugely bothersome to him. It is sick and has wrecked my confidence. Was told I needed plastic surgery etc. I am not sure I will ever be the same.

          • Oh Nola. I’m so sorry. I’m struggling with it too but remember that you are infinitely precious and valuable. I have no doubt that you are beautiful inside and out. Now that you mention the plastic surgery, I think my husband wanted me to get the bump removed from my nose. I think he needs a personality transplant- sounds like you ex needs one too. The things they need “fixed” could never be done in surgery. Ok maybe a lobotomy. 😉 The older I get, the less I care about outside beauty. I find myself always examining inward beauty of everyone around me and working on my own heart. Hugs to you.

            • Thank you..I am struggling but just knowing in the end I will come out ahead. This is a new path..started right before Christmas and has snowballed from there. Funny how once you pull the thread, the whole thing (in this case my entire marriage) begins to unravel. Very strange place to be.

              • THanks for sharing. I had the same awful feeling of turning from being perfect to having everything I did or wore be wrong. I didn´t wear miniskirts like I used too, I didn´t smell right, my hair was messy, I was always wrong about anything and everything.

              • Same here. Suddenly I morphed into an old beat up shoe. I look at myself now and all I see is the saggy boob, butt and tummy. I have become so self critical. I never hated my body till now. The boobs I fed our kids with. The tummy that stretched to carry our kids, the butt that used to be provocative. All the Victoria’s Secret lingerie can’t bring it back. I refuse to get a boob lift, tummy tuck etc. this is who I am now. And cheater pants wants new younger shoes. Sooo depressing.

      • OMG Tempest. Criticized for everything, right??? I remember during that time, I really thought it ws me. In an earnest attempt to try to be a better wife, I asked him what would he suggest I improve on (looking back it makes me want to barf), anyway, he goes with a BIG snotty sigh, “….Where do I start.”

    • ‘Then one day he said to me, “You have six weeks. Then I’m coming down on you for everything you do that bothers me”.’

      What an abusive POS. And I agree with Tempest: it was physical.

      • FMT–what an a**hole. Don’t you wish we’d had our current knowledge back then? 6 weeks to pack up and move out would have been ample time!

        • Oh my God. I was SOO naïve. I had no clue that this was a GLARING red flag. I totally thought it was me. And I let that fucktard steal 10 more years. ARRRGH!!!!

          BTW – yes he was totally abusive. This past year got in BIG trouble with CPS. Can’t contact or even be near my son. POS.

    • Oh yes, the feeling of being on notice. Mine never came out and said it but the message came across loud and clear. If I didn’t live up to his demands…. Of course I couldn’t because he kept moving the goal post. Just an excuse so they don’t have to feel guilt. “Well, I gave her a chance….”

        • We are good enough Twitching. It is just a blame shifting tactic so they can avoid guilt and play the good guy. It is a complete mindfuck.

  • First he started to shave his chest…then it was his back, “it gets all sweaty and sticky on my shirt”….he works in an air conditioned airport, for gosh sake!!!!!! Now, I know that shaving your body is not bad in itself…..waxing salons are the new thing…and I am not saying it is a bad thing…for the younger crowd or models, or someone that makes money off of their bodies….but we are talking about a 60 year old man…who had NEVER had a problem with his hairy body before. But when he started shaving his little BEANS AND FRANK….I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN!!!!!!!!! A 60 year old grandpa-man!!!!!!!! PLEASE!!!!!!

      • My Cheater’s OW runs a blog. One of those ones where she keeps a video-log of their boring life…I think she imagines they are celebrities, but really it’s just pathetic, tacky you tube level selfie stuff. No one cares what they eat for dinner, or what they discuss in the car, or whether Junior is toilet trained. However, I did get a laugh out of the bit where she nags him about shaving his balls…made me remember the red flag I missed when he showed up all neatly trimmed after being a hairy beast. And I thought he had suddenly discovered hygiene.

        • Haha OWife does too. All about her being fat but “beYOUtiful” and about how other men still find her attractive despite her weight. It’s filled with poor spelling, uneducated tripe and plenty of kibble searching. Fascinating stuff. X and the baby don’t rate too much of a mention though….wonder what that means?

          • Nat, I kid you not, the OW in my case has gone from a size 16 (UK) to size 24 since they sailed off together. She has had a child, which Ex swore he would never do or want (he is mid forties already and has no personal assets to his name, neither does she).

            She blogs about the most inane stuff….mommy blogger…golden uterus…bird brain. She is grossly obese, but “models” the latest dime-store fashions on her site. I notice she limited comments after she started getting a lot of insults. (No those were not from me 🙂

            She has also variously claimed to have thyroid trouble (Graves), agoraphobia (her excuse for not working), thanataphobia (fear of death), gestational diabetes, and all the symptoms that come with these lovely afflictions. She collects government benefits for all these afflictions, despite being 28 years old and perfectly healthy when Ex was fucking her.

            She made Ex appear on the British version of Jerry Springer, in an episode where couples were no longer having sex. She stated on the show that they had not had sex for over a year. He sat there looking miserable.

            This whole scene just tells me that Ex brought no sanity to bear on his decision to stay with her after I threw him out for fucking around with her in the toilet at work. Actually he doesn’t even deserve the title of Ex, since he mooched off me and played victim to get me to house him. Mea culpa for trying to mother someone.

            I am now absolutely sure this is why Ex is now on the pick up sites again.

            I have his email password…he hasn’t changed it in five years. The sausage just keeps cycling through women, and like his brother, has one baby with one girl, then moves on to make babies with a second one. His brother has already abandoned two offspring, and I’m quite sure that Ex will do the same.

            I deserve a degree in anthropology for the amount I’ve learned from simply observing their gong show. So very sad, I am fortunate it is all behind me.

            • Marci and Nat1, you can’t be serious! These OWs actually have blogs?? Oh my heavens! WTF??? These people are just punch lines!

            • Haha-afraid of death. This experience made me afraid of LIFE! Death is the easy way out! Wow, the government gives out checks for these mostly hard-to-prove “ailments?” no wonder the country is broke (Whether it is here or England!)

  • – Sexless marriage (years).
    – Ogled other women in front of me and was always more interested in talking with ANYONE other than me whenever we went anywhere.
    – Unquenchable thirst for attention (See previous)
    – Loved me like mad while traveling. Indifferent when home.

    On and on…ditto what so many others have said. We didn’t see them as red flags because we can’t fathom being so awful.

  • Before D-Day #1:
    Moved into spare bedroom (he did have Hep C)
    Disrespected me and was rude to me in public (I spackled that it was because he was so sick)
    Had long phone conversations outside in the evening. OW was 3000 miles away.
    Communicated with me less and less

    After D-Day #1 and before D-Day #2:
    Refused to take passcodes off of phone & ipad even though he swore that he had broken up with OW.
    When I asked him to remove the passcodes he said “Everything has to be your way!”
    Acted weird when I told him it will be great when he starts getting S.S. this year as we will be on easy street.
    Cleaned out the attic and yard.
    Started giving away things to family.
    Repaired shed.
    Power washed house. When I asked him why he was doing all this he said “I’ve let maintenance get behind.”
    Unbeknownst to me he starting bringing personal items to storage while visiting his folks out of town.
    He’s now living with OW.
    My attorney sent my Separation Agreement to him 2 days ago.

    • Oh, and last summer our niece got married. After he moved out his family told me that he was on the phone most of the time; they didn’t know with whom. All I know is that he hardly ever sat at our table. I was constantly wondering where he was. On D-Day #2 day, he told me he would have left me earlier except he had family obligations like his niece’s wedding!

  • All the classics:

    -Working out
    -New clothes
    -Wearing cologne
    -Not wearing wedding ring
    -Working late
    -Working weekends
    -Guarding cell phone
    -Always up later than me
    -Always had time to volunteer for stuff
    -Never had time for the kids or me
    -Stopped going to church
    -Told me everything that was wrong with my religion (converted to OW’s religion after divorce)

    He bitched and moaned for 30 years that everything that was wrong in his life was because his father left for an OW when XH was a teen. These days, he’s trying to tell me that it was no big deal, that he was “just fine” after his dad left and suffered no ramifications. He used used to whine that “Some other kid got my dad.” Well, now he’s raising some other woman’s kids and spends no time with his own. Like father, like son. I hope my kids never do this to anyone else… :/

  • Mine was never without his cell phone. It was under his pillow and switched on every night. I remember seeing the green glow when silent messages came in during the night. Unbelievably, I bought the excuse that it was those annoying colleagues in Australia texting when they didn’t understand the time difference. What a complete dupe I was! Don’t worry about me… I’m afraid every partner after this will be under the watchful eye of the cynical Marci Trust Then Verify program.

    • Omg, even bigger chump than I thought. Glowing messages in the dark….or phone just finished charging? Geez that means it was going on for years!!!!!

      • Isn’t that just the WORST feeling? When you realize something, that you should have seen 20 or 30 years earlier? I kept getting yeast infections, in 81,82,83. I remember asking girlfriends for advice, why was I always feeling infected down there? I was so trusting and DUM to put my faith in a Douchebag serial cheater! He was screwing at least one of the college girls next door, I now know. My body didn’t want her microbes!
        I can laugh about it now, but how was I so clueless? I was so adoring of him, he basically could do no wrong. We had a duplex, and rented the other side to college students (I was only 25 at the time). He must have been like a kid at the candy shop, he only had to go next door to find girls to hit on! Which would perfectly suit his ultra-lazy nature!!

  • I went online after literally over a dozen years, I had enough and no longer believed his explanations of all the small, little disparities. I looked up “signs your husband is cheating on you” and lo and behold, he did every damn one of them….it was like he was reading the playbook and said, “oh wait, I forgot the porn, let me do that too” (in addition to hiding and passwording his phone, not having sex with me, spending too much money, etc.). Years before I actually suspected he was cheating on me but ended up believing his denials because I so wanted to. I wish CL existed back then.

  • Shut detailed billing off on cell phone.
    Took cell phone to bathroom and literally showered with it in the shower.
    Never texted in 10 years. Last bill before I left had over 3,000 texts.
    Backed out of every family commitment at the last hour.
    Worked 7 days a week.
    Office always locked. Said there wasn’t any reason the kids or I should ever need to be in there. I broke in and found proof.
    Started using lotion on his hands.
    He had a post office box, my mail came to the house.
    Separate bank accounts.
    Took the decals off his truck and mind you his name is plastered on everything. You can’t go to HER house or hotels with your name on your truck and someone not notice!
    Pick a fight and leave and not answer his phone. But let him call me and me not answer would make him mad.
    Came home with a hickey said it was a welding burn. Lol
    If we went to dinner, had to go out of town because he was screwing the 26 year old waitress at one of the local restaurants.
    Brought home an STD

    I could go on and on….none of it matters. He’s a 51 year old POS and 1 year later he’s still with her (she moved in the day I moved out) and I’m finally getting me back. They deserve each other!

  • One day a parcel arrived at our house from one of his younger female colleagues in another city where he frequently went on business. I opened it thinking we had no secrets and that it likely was business stuff. He was away at the time, so I called him and just said “a parcel came for you”. He must not have anticipated the OW would act so audaciously, because inside was a gift for him (a coffee mug with a rather suggestive message) but also a letter with it declaring her twu wuv for him…and waxing lyrical about their scintillating encounters.

    So’ I put away the letter and gave him the mug when he returned. He took one look at it, and chucked it in the garbage. He never asked if there was a note. I never let on that I knew…I just considered it a lucky heads up and started lining up my ducks. I think she was a temporary distraction who got mad when he dumped her, but it was a red flag that made me start paying attention.

  • Critical of things about me he never minded before. I couldn’t do a thing right. Screaming at me over nothing.
    Wouldn’t walk beside me.
    Jumped out of the way if he thought I was going to touch him.
    Lost interest in sex with me.
    Gym obsessed.
    Didn’t want me to cook for him anymore. Protein shakes and diet pills.
    Constantly mentioned his “friend” at work.
    No more gifts or outings for holidays/my birthday. Or I got something that was really for him.
    Picked fights with me every time we did go out.
    Unexplained absences.
    Ordering teen aged like cartoonish looking t shirts and new sneakers.
    Mysterious doctor visit.
    Constantly asking me if he smelled-I can almost laugh at this one.

      • Your car keying comment reminded me – a husband in our neighborhood whose OW confessed to her husband….the Ow’s husband came by their house and tipped cans of paint all over the guy’s SUV and two other family cars, the driveway, etc. the only reason I knew the back story was that the cheater told my husband about it. Sadly, the spackling wife-chump told everyone she was sure it was vandal teenagers who did the damage. Now even I would have figured that one out.

        • I believed the BS at first too. Even felt sorry for him and bought scratch cover and was going to try and fix it for him. CHUMP! The pieces fall slowly into place. I think crazy OW did it. I hope and pray she makes his life a misery. She’s a nutcase.

          • Keep the faith, Lina. My Cheater’s OW has turned his life into a nightmare. I still have his email password.

            • Karma is a wonderful thing. I hope the same happens to mine. He didn’t have to degrade me by acting like I was trash.

              • Lina–Devaluing is part of the process. We all suffered it, and the unfairness of both being cheated on and treated poorly in other ways is mind-blowing. It’s really not a reflection of us (just look at the wit and wisdom on these CL pages–chumps are some mighty fantastic, admirable, & alluring people). The degradation from cheaters is a projection of their black shriveled souls. Fuck em.

              • I liked the comment on here where someone’s ex got hit by the karma bus, then it reversed over him again. That is the image I have of my ex now. And I so love the fact that I absolutely know it is happening to him.

                I think I need to stop being so delighted by Karma, and start directing my energy to a positive purpose.

              • I got the opposite. He was spending time helping those other people because I was so strong and smart and independent I didn’t need him like they did.

                He was right. I don’t need him.

      • a mysterious keying incident…..shit. we had a mysterious knifing of many tires incident. i thought it was because he was riding the 4 wheeler at like 2 am and one of our neighbors got pissed. (it pissed me off that he was so stupid to make so much noise that late) so the next morning, he had a flat, i had a flat, the other vehicle had 2 flats, and all 4 wheels on the 4 wheeler were slashed. he went to work at 4 am so i didnt know until later. good thing i didnt have to work that day because his ASS did not come inside to tell me i had a flat. smh. he still didnt understand why someone would do that to him.

        • Someone smashed both the wing mirrors on my old car when no other car in the area was vandalised that night – the police asked if I had fallen out with anyone. I think it was OW in a jealous fit.

          • HaHaHa, the OW, who lived across the street (can you say lazy cheater?), threw plates and drinking glasses at my front door, and also toilet papered our fence and trees! Hoo Boy, what an idiot!

      • Yea, the scorned OW was mad because she lost the pick me dance and keyed my car. XH cake eating days were over, simply because we were military and we were being transferred half way across the U.S. He tried to finish his 20 year career in the small town with schmoopie,( and me) . looked into buting the house we lived in, even though he proclaimed that he hated his job, and how stressed and over worked he was. When none of these things worked out, he consulted an attorney who told him he couldn’t afford a divorce: that I could take him to the cleaners….so, I won 6 more tortured, enlightened years with my fucktard who had genuine noghahide remorse, He did get my car re-painted….but he was never able to repair the scratch he made on my soul.

        • Kim, we were military too…his OW was a sales agent and late husband was a government buyer. She got fired when her company learned of their affair (it would have gotten the company in HUGE trouble). After 25 years in the military, he planned his retirement ceremony to suit OW (still denying the affair) who sat in the 3rd row with a decoy “boyfriend”.

          He had told me he intended to divorce me and was treating me like SHIT. I was suspicious of an affair. He was afraid I would fall apart during the retirement itself so just a few minutes before, he said “we will make it, we will get through this” then as soon as the ceremony was over, he was back to his old tricks.

          We had separate rental cars as we got to the retirement venue on different days and I had to use his car for something and opened the trunk to find a lovey dovery gift from OW…me, his mom and sister found it , so he looked like a complete tool.

          I found the smoking gun the next month. Like you I lost years (7) after that to fake reconciliation. After his death I found proof that the affair was much worse that I originally thought.

  • No real “Oh I missed it” sign a difficult relationship became worse little communication. Then the overages on the cell phone text messages. When confronted it was “Just a friend” then the messages stopped and the secret cell phone began. I was just a chump should have thrown him out then!

    • Cellphone and laptop locked up like Fort Knox. No browsing history, everything deleted.

      Absolutely WOULD NOT upgrade his phone from that old clamshell style. I had a Blackberry through work and loved it–as well a a personal smart phone. Reason he didn’t want to upgrade? Those old cell phones aren’t “app capable”—you know—GPS tracking or keyloggers loaded in the background.

      Disappearing every single weekend with his buddies, all day long. I didn’t like it, but he had “proof” of what he was supposedly “doing”–a few snaps of him and his friends doing their recreational thing. I just took him at his word, and not forced him to account for all of his time out. Turns out he was spending “halftime” with his buddies and the rest with his fuckbuddy.

      We relocated 1500 miles away from his (fuck)friends—and he still found a way to disappear every single weekend, all day long. It took him all of 3 months to find a new fuck buddy in our new city.

      Never answering my cellphone calls during the day. He always claimed he was “in the shower” or “outside” or doing something else—he usually returned my calls or texts hours later.

      CONSTANTLY had to know exactly where I was, at all times. He claimed it was because he loved me and he needed to keep me “safe”—it was so that he would know for sure I was not in his and fuck buddy’s proximity.

      Last but not least, isolating me from my family and friends. They all hated him and each had separate stories as to why. They were always wrong and were jealous of him. They were hateful. They were poisonous. The only person who love me and cared for me is HIM.

      Yeah. right. The sheer amount of energy it took to do all of this bullshit—had he simply directed that into our marriage, we’d be the Golden Couple. But no.

      • Sphinx wrote: ‘CONSTANTLY had to know exactly where I was, at all times. He claimed it was because he loved me and he needed to keep me “safe”—it was so that he would know for sure I was not in his and fuck buddy’s proximity.’

        ^^THIS^^ for me.

        Suddenly he quit traveling the dog-show circuit w/me. Becoming very blasé about how the shows fit into seeing family 900 miles away. A trip we did frequently in a m/h. Didn’t take me a morons brain to figure out he was planning dog shows for me on his calendar so he’d know when I’d be gone…and she would move into my house. Once I did our ‘yearly family reunion camping trip to Alberta’ by myself. And, when I came home – the wench actually landscaped some of my yard. Since I had been to her house many times – (we were good friends from showing dogs) I immediately recognized the same cheap concrete brick she had at her house. I don’t like to talk about her but, how DARE that BITCH mess with my yard. I know they wanted me out.

        HA!

        But, I won that round, and continue to, thanks to this site.
        Don’t underestimate any of these creeps.

        • I would get a call at work at 4:30 every afternoon to see when I was coming home. More likely to verify that I was still at work and wouldn’t be interrupting them for a while.

  • Red flags before there was ever an affair are lack of character that I wrote offas quirks: spending money we didn’t have, spending more money on himself than his family, rudeness, rarely helping me around the house, flirting, arrogance, toxic pride, neediness, always blaming others, never saying he’s sorry, lack of empathy for others, using intimidation, verbally abusive, giving the silent treatment, anger when not getting his way, extreme competitiveness,bullying our children, used vacation time for his hobbies instead of family time, manipulative, mean to kids at church, use of porn, and obsession with salacious movies. I spackeled these things and wrote them off our whole 19 years of marriage and these behaviors got worse the older he got.

    One more thing is that he has always had expensive hobbies and he gets obsessed with them. He will spends thousands of dollars on them and spend every free moment on them, then after a few years he will drop them like a rock and move on to the next hobby. I’ve started wondering if me and the kids were just another one of his hobbies. Ouch. He was really into the family when the kids were little, but then just checked out.

    Once the emotional affair started, he was texting much more, he became extremely verbally abusive and I just had a gut feeling something was off but I didn’t know what. I had anxiety I couldn’t explain. I’m glad my counselor has helped me see all this.

        • Nicole S… “Red flags before there was ever an affair are lack of character that I wrote offas quirks: spending money we didn’t have, spending more money on himself than his family, rudeness, rarely helping me around the house, flirting, arrogance, toxic pride, neediness, always blaming others, never saying he’s sorry, lack of empathy for others, using intimidation, verbally abusive, giving the silent treatment, anger when not getting his way, extreme competitiveness,bullying our children, used vacation time for his hobbies instead of family time, manipulative, mean to kids at church, use of porn, and obsession with salacious movies.” Yup and I will add CL terrible time management, a pattern and practice of ALWAYs being late… because if you just accepted he operated on Mexican Time/African Time… (not to be insulting) then no one questions the reason you are late, or have evaporated.

    • Hi Nicole S – yes, my EH was like this about hobbies, too. Became OBSESSED about a hobby, would buy everything related to it, and drop it in a few years. He also couldn’t hold a job, either. I’ve subsequently learned that Narc’s/Sociopaths, people on the disordered spectrum are easily bored for everything in life, they literally “blow up” their lives to relieve the anxiety of such intense boredom. But it was the hobbies that made no sense to me. I’ve got several hobbies, too, and I think it’s natural to lose your “mojo” for a hobby for a few days/weeks/months, so I’d do another hobby and then my mojo would come back to the other hobby. I’d cycle through all of them eventually. But not EH, he’d drop a hobby one day completely and then NEVER go back to it.
      It was eerie.

      • Yes, Chris I’ve read that about narcs and boredom too. My husband told me I was boring and couldn’t understand how I could be so content with staying home and spending so much time with the kids. Uh…because I love my home and kids. How awful if me. Yeah I don’t have a problem with hobbies per se. I just saw that narc overvalue-devalue-discard pattern with his hobbies and he racked up almost $100,000 of secret debt supporting his hobbies and he now thinks I should have to pay half of it. He’s a real gem.

    • I think narcs like little kids because little kids just adore you unconditionally. Once they grow up a bit and start developing into individuals they question, they talk back, they are not so easily manipulated. I see my ex this way. He loves little kids in his way but can’t deal with teens at all and gets very angry when they don’t go along with whatever he’s currently spouting.

  • I guess too the ICK factor. One day I looked at him across the room and said, “You know what? I don’t like you anymore.” This because he was such a jerk in the days and years leading up to Dday, before I knew about his OW. I think when the truth is discovered these sleazeballs know to just move on to someone else. My knowledge of his affair was the last straw. I think it is best for all to move forward and leave it all behind. My marriage was a lesson in futility, wanting something I could never have. He was just so fucked up.

    • Amen to this. I was just so turned off by his constant selfishness, lack kindness, and sex bullying. ICK! I kept thinking he’d get help and change for the better. Uh…no.

    • Drew -““You know what? I don’t like you anymore.”

      Spot on.
      Suddenly I told my now XH that I didn’t like him anymore.
      And, he repeated it back to me. “I don’t like you either!!”
      (I was shocked)
      But, glad we didn’t get to the ‘hate’ word.
      I guess it was civil enough, but I’d never said that to him or heard it from him before that.
      He was out of the house the next day – on my accord.
      Good bye asshole…who I still don’t really hate..

  • I think some of the most creepy red flags I took notice of have been since my last D-day … During my single-and-dating period. Now that I’m getting practised at it, dating is like a conveyor belt. You muddle along, enjoying one day at a time, then, whack! Another red flagman drops his disguise. I suppose spotting dating red flags is for another day’s subject, but it does pay to school oneself post-D-day so that the next phase of life is approached with an enhanced skill set. I have honestly only dated one guy (out of about a dozen) in five years of being single — who has passed the “no red flags test”.

    • It is a very good future topic and yeesh… only one guy without a read flag… that is disheartening.

      • Ringn, the positive thing is, I’ve learned how to live with contentment in my own skin, and have accepted that I’d rather be unattached than endure another cheater. I still feel fine, healthy, emotionally stable despite five years of dating ups and downs. Sort of like a never ending recruitment process where you don’t actually care if you hire someone for the job. 😉

        • “Sort of like a never ending recruitment process where you don’t actually care if you hire someone for the job.”

          Love this. 🙂

  • Lots of red flags at end:
    Sudden dramatic weight loss, obsessive exercise, unable to sleep, decision to turn vegan (short lived OW had made same choice), no or limited sex in marriage for some years, slathering helicopter baldie bits with “Regaine”, shaving chest, constant obsession with removing hard skin from feet, of course terrific concern about me using his personal iPhone which was passcoded as was his Apple Mac, concern about me attending his yoga classes (he teaches as a hobby which is where he met OW), not wearing his wedding ring, weekend working, constantly teaching classes with tonnes of freedom and refusal to reduce them, avoided considering holidays or retirement or other future plans, emotional disconnect, minimising my worries.

    Then when I’d decided to chuck him out found undelivered letter to OW where he declared his respect for her, how inspirational she was and how he loved it when she wrinkled her nose.

    He denies it all. Says he simply was depressed and hated work (he gave up and now has a temp job on half salary).

    Red flags at the beginning? He would never discuss his ex wife. There was dubious stuff around him having an affair with a married woman which I learnt after I threw him out had been the main cause of that split. Plus he had ZERO interest in his kids which remains to thus day. He was always very quiet and I would now describe him as deeply secretive. He has no friends. He also made it abundantly clear he did not want any more kids. He paid lip service to my initial ambivalence on this topic but I know now he would NEVER gave sanctioned another child and said what I wanted to hear ie we’d have one if I was totally committed to the prospect.

    I have no real concrete proof of affair but convinced he had one if not a few. This part drives me mad. I’ll never know.

    • Lotus, if you think he had an affair then he did. Sneaky people are sneaky for a reason. I hope you told him not to let the door hit him in the ass on his way out.

      • Kicked out and found his love letter to OW in his stuff as I was collecting it all to throw into garage. His affair was short lived and he’s tried a few times to win me back in a half baked way. Stood my ground but most frustrating not to be able to prove his affair(s).

        • Lotusblossom – I had NO concrete evidence of the affair – mostly because I did not want to believe it. I followed his follies when he took my iPad and I had the gps tracker on. He did everything on his precious blackberry-that he couldn’t sleep without (huge red flag) I couldn’t believe it what the iPad kept showing. He was not at the hotel on business all weekend, I saw him at her house. I was in no-man’s land at that point, in disbelief. And, then – I cleaned his bedroom out, that he recently moved into from our master bedroom (right – no sex) and I found a very terrible pair of panties that were not mine. That was all the proof I needed and had. Divorced about 1 yr later and no pick-me dance.
          They are so stupid and sloppy at their sick games.

          • Hi Shechump. Sounds familiar. I refused the pick me dance too. Radio silence for two months then he reappeared basically trying to manipulate me in terms of any divorce settlement. In the meantime I discovered OW was in China for a month with STBX where they both studied yoga. She taught a class for him. I HATE YOGA and now bristle at the mention of it. It’s BS. Anyway he was hugely neglectful, emotionally distant and unsupportive. All our “interests” were entirely geared to him and so I’ve had to reinvent myself. Best wishes to you on the road to MEH. Horrible people horrible discoveries.

            • Lotus and SheChump,
              I too discovered all sorts of sicko evidence once I’d changed the locks and was gathering up his stuff to throw out. He had his own “room” for his hobbies, so I had never really looked in the cupboards until then.

              Things I found included:
              Thigh-high black vinyl boots, size 3 (I am a size 7)
              A sexy fireman’s man-thong, still in the package (never saw it before)
              Various bustiers – size gazillion, so definitely meant for OW
              All sorts of little-girl Barbie figures that he had painted – for who?
              All sorts of semi-nude female plastic figures featuring buxom women – wtf?
              Lists of women/sites/email addresses – no doubt pick ups from the past
              Vinyl sex masks, whips, furry handcuffs (I don’t do S&M)

              This is the same guy who was found to have been trying to poison me. Not to be dramatic – but I’ve said this here before – do not think their deception EVER stops at simple cheating.

  • Totally ignored me except to rant.
    Totally ignored kids.
    Cell phone came in only once and went off in the middle of the night.
    Loved some porno and self pleasure.
    Lying
    Never wore his wedding ring. The excuse was his construction job and it may get hooked on something. To my knowledge it has never been out of the safe.
    Abandonment by staying 20 hrs daily at his single best friend for about four years.
    Infections
    Condoms-I was chemopaused at 33. He had an explanition for each discovery
    Denied when i asked
    Accusations that I was cheating or a lesbian. I actually think he may be gay or bi. There were times i wanted him to tell me he was. I could understand or blame the anger and frustration he displayed if he told me that.
    Distain for authority-rebellious
    When in a crowd he would be drawn to other women & wants to be admired
    Manic spending on self but we were on a cash allowance
    I didnt get the manscape until now(duh) i was so tired of his crap that i did not care anymore.
    Anger, blameshifting, twisting comments, gas lighting
    Jealous
    Played the victim- poor me, poor childhood, no real friends, so left out
    Talked constantly about another woman, her poor life with boyfriend, then awesome pregnancy and what a great mother she is. Crickets about us. Still complains years later on what they named him. It makes me so angry. I finally asked before i left if her husband cares and frets over the names of our kids.
    I could probably keep going! Wish i would have ended this years ago. I feel exhausted writing this list.

  • I could have copied Nicole’s post. The exception would be bullying the kids. We walked on eggshells which is abuse. He never lifted a finger to help me with home or kids. I was married and made to live single and he was living single while married. I would think he would be very happy now.

    • Oh yeah we walked on eggshells too. I guess the list could go on and on. The kids are still walking on eggshells and it makes me so sad. My stbx should be happy now too. Living in a condo his mom GAVE him, sees the kids once a week if that, does whatever he wants yet he seems angrier and more miserable than ever. Oh that’s right, he still has to live with himself.

  • Gee, where do I start? This is the kind of shit that makes you want to b-slap yourself in retrospect. Short of having someone club me in the head with a 2×4, I had all the signs in the book. To wit:
    1. Browsers close the instant I walk in or past a room
    2. Creepy disconnect, going to bed much later than me and lengthy trips to the washroom with iPhone in the middle of the night
    3. Extreme irritability bordering on contempt in virtually all matters related to me/my kids
    4. Texting me that he was too “tapped out” to help me with important issues, but posting lengthy FB messages to Schmoopie 5 minutes later
    5. Public distancing
    6. Refusal to be in pictures with me or take pictures of me
    7. Cell phone and iPad on DEFCON 1, and never without an electronic device at the ready, even when in the shower
    8. Deleting all text messages the second they come in and are read. He did that the whole time we were together, and I always thought it was strange. “Why would you want to keep them?” he said. Now I know this was probably a habit developed after his late wife caught him cheating
    9. No sex or “cold lust” sex (thanks, Tempest. This wording is good)
    10. “Bobble head” around other women
    11. Being impervious to any accomplishment or change in appearance (lost 2 dress sizes doing the pick-me dance, and I was already a single digit size. At stepdaughter’s hs grad, I wore a great new dress a neighbour had given me, and this neighbour is known for being very stylish and very slim. He does not notice the dress at all but does point out, “FMT, you have a cut on your shin.”)
    12. Oh, hell. This is just too depressing. I realize that I could go on and on all day. The long and short of it is, you can have every sign in the world, but unless you’ve got a Rosetta Stone, you don’t know how to interpret it. I’d never been cheated on. Thank God for CL and CN. I will never EVER go through this bullcrap ever again.

    • “cold lust” That describes it… not sex not even intimacy… something just short of rape.

  • Red flags missed prior to the affair:
    1. Had no explanation for failure of marriage #1. Denigrated wife #1, based on lack of education and working at a pizza shop (which turns out to be untrue as to her education and minimizing of her work). Had a horrible story about refusing to share a bed with her on the honeymoon, which he told with some satisfaction. Not a scintilla of sadness of remorse.
    2. Mentioned once getting into some difficulty as a post-secondary teacher with the wife of a student that cause his trouble at work.
    3. Mention of 2-3 other affairs with married women, with overtones of competing with the husbands.
    4. Two business failures when he is a talented, book-smart guy who could easily be successful. Had no business records to show from either (while I have every check I’ve ever written…)
    5. Chaotic and violent 2nd marriage with a woman who is “crazy” and who robbed him in the divorce and alienated him from his child…etc. She was the cause of all problems.
    6. Verbally abusive to his mother.
    7. Poor relations with he siblings.
    8. Had one friend, who is essentially a work buddy. J feels superior to that friend because J has a moderately better education and is not fat. The friend has a great marriage and has raised 2 successful kids.
    9. Inability to work under a supervisor because no one is as smart as he is. 7-8 jobs in 10 years.
    10. Twice failed to complete a college degree.
    11. Lived for years rent-free with his parents but left them with an unfinished home remodel.
    12. Had two days of visitation but only used one. Never called his kid in the evening because “— doesn’t want to talk to me.” Didn’t confront situation of kid’s teenage “steady” being rumored to already have a child but lying to the kid about it.
    13. Has a story about working as to chop cars for an auto theft ring after HS and nearly getting caught.

    So–essentially, his history showed very poor life skills, no respect for marriage, blame shifting, and failure to follow through on commitments. I spackled all of this. And I was already involved as much of this information was coming out.

    Early stages of devalue and discard:
    1. Sudden change in his ability to spend time with me.
    2. Picking fights about spending time with me.
    3. Telling me “I don’t tell you how to spend your time, so don’t tell me how to spend mine.”
    4. Suddenly becoming impatient with me for no reason.
    5. Dragging his feet on finishing projects he committed to.
    6. Creating a rationale for living apart.
    7. Started talking about MOW but insisted she was “just a friend.”
    8. Smirking.
    9. No birthday gifts. Decreasing text messages to me while starting FB account with MOW.

    What I learned:
    1. Have my standards and deal-breakers in mind before getting involved–and then take my time and look. e.g., if someone can’t articulate what he did wrong in a previous marriage, run! In my case, for example, I know that I married people with substance abuse and then couldn’t sustain that. It’s not that my X was a drinker, it’s that I though I could live with that. Or in the case of Jackass, I had already made up my mind he was wonderful based on years of sporadic friendship.
    2. Be ready emotionally and financially to walk away if a man is unkind, dismissive, or stops being a true friend.
    3. Pay attention.

  • Going to bars with the “girls” to unwind at night without spouse regularly. Picking fights on purpose and refusing to invest on marriage by remembering/engaging in mutually enjoyable things.

    • Yes, that red flag, when they choose not to do anything to make the relationship stronger. Doing new things together.

  • 1. Dead stare when I would talk about important issues w regard to our children, aging parents, or us.
    2. Started giving me gifts we should not have been affording.
    3. Getting up super early and going to work two hours earlier “to study.”
    4. Asking people about their compatibility in their relationships.
    5. Checking out at the dinner table.
    6. When the kids or I would be angry about anything he would tell us to “just be happy or to just smile.” He didn’t want to deal with the problems
    As if they were real.
    7. Sleeping a lot.
    8. Sitting around at family weddings and parties with his arms crossed and did not engage.
    9. Became more and more judge mental of others.
    10. Lost interst in family activities.
    11. Started to hang out with his friend who got divorced and his sister who left her husband for a man with more money.
    12. Always played the victim and still does even though our children have been the biggest victims.

    I was a chump for a very long time. I had asked for counseling years ago when I found it easier to write him letters about my feelings for him. I couldn’t talk to him. It wouldn’t go any where.

    Now that MFer is out of our home, the children and I are free of his passive aggressive narcissism! We are free to feel all emotions and to focus on our needs and choices and not his feelings. We are free to give ourselves willingly to others in healthy relationships!! He left 19 months ago and after much therapy and trial and error, we are gaining our lives to the MAX!

    • Ding, ding, ding! 4 and 7. He got a second job at a neighboring family court (dirtbag peace officer), the place had a reputation for employing women who would sleep with married men. He asked every body there for advice. Lol! And on vacations ex could not plan fun, so slept in, and had us all waiting for him to get up. Meanwhile half the day just went.

  • Before Marriage:
    *Excessive Love bombing
    *Got engaged a few months after meeting
    *Bad upbringing and family was trashy – always in trouble at school. Parents were alcoholic and the mother was literally crazy
    *Passive

    After Marriage:
    *Would find quarters in his pockets – that was to call those sex lines trying to get hookups with trannies
    *Left to go to the train station earlier than necessary on work mornings – that was so he had time to make phone calls at the pay phone

    He fooled me for a long time because he:
    *Was always home after work and any OT was always documented and in his paycheck
    *Never did boys night out or even hinted at wanting to do that sort of stuff
    *Was always at home when not working & we did everything together (even market and store runs)
    *Spent a ton of time with the kids
    *Deferred to me for everything – decisions were left to me without any fight – very passive
    *Always praised me to my face, always wanted to have sex with me, cuddle, etc. and people would tell me all the time, “Your husband really loves you” because he would constantly praise me to others, even strangers

    Totally fooled.

        • Hmmm. That actually happened to me as well, with Cheaterpants. Once while we were dating. I initiated sex. I think it was completely unexpected, in a way–caught him off guard. Admittedly, he was usually the one to initiate, because it was a constant state with him–I couldn’t touch him in any way without him saying something like “You touch me again and you’ll start something you can’t finish.” I mean, that was said if my hands simply lingered on his shoulders for more than a few seconds.

          Anyhow–I initiated sex and he said something weird like he didn’t want to do it because he wouldn’t last very long. I was like—what? He wasn’t very good at the actual act–he was okay with foreplay and kissing…but get down to it—he lasted maybe a few seconds. He always blamed his first girlfriend for “training him to be quick about it”. This time in particular though, it was AWFUL. We barely started and it was over. He started to cry.

          I felt so bad for him, and Chumpy me, I told him that it was “okay” and that sometimes these things happen. He just got dressed and left the house. He didn’t speak to me for several days–and when he did, it was like nothing happened. Although, our sex life kinda went out the window for awhile after that incident. We recovered for the most part, meaning, he went back to getting a hard on when there was a stiff wind outside….but he never really got any better at sex. I never, ever demeaned him about it—but it was just amazing to me that with all of the time we were together, it never bothered him that it was over in just a couple of minutes.

          It did, however, bother me–and I did tell him several times over the years that I felt like he was just masturbating with my body. He would get offended, pull away….but not long after, he’d be right back the same way again.

          I think that the crying thing—-is a huge red flag—of IMMATURITY. Having a loving, open, mutually satisfying sexual experience with another human being takes maturity and some level of confidence.

          The more research I do into NPDs and those with personality disorders, the more I understand that they simply cannot have this level of adult interaction with another person. It may have been extremely upsetting to him at the time I initiated the intimacy—but I also noted that no matter when we had sex, he would almost act like a little kid after he would climax—and he’d almost be giggly. Like he was doing something naughty. Like it was something he was hiding from his mommy downstairs.

          I never really thought about that until you posted that yours cried after sex. I am wondering now if it all is connected to the arrested psychological development that NPDs are notorious for.

          • Dear SMoth, my STBX also had issues with sex. He struggled with losing his erection on the first time and was seriously embarrassed. He blamed me for being too forward. He then over the years struggled to ejaculate as if he was always holding back and couldn’t give emotionally. Bit like you in that he seemed to feel it was all a bit degrading perhaps or using me as a live body to simply masturbate. Very odd. Then whatever sex we had diminished to virtually nothing and I began to feel so unattractive. When challenged he tried hard to diminish it all and said I read too many magazines to compare sex lives with so called stats which were unreliable and created feelings of inadequacy. So I stopped mentioning it. Whilst I’ve never uncovered concrete evidence of affair(s) it’s clear he was playing away but your description rings very true regarding the maturity and confidence required to have a healthy sex life.

            Sorry all for being explicit but this has bothered me for years and it’s good to know my own dysfunctional marriage is not unique!

            • XH couldn’t get it up, Right after our wedding,…. and for the next three and a half years, it was iffy. I was a mother of three small children, but I was spending two hours worshipping the dick, trying to have a sex life with my husband, and he was already checked out and ugly all the time. It sucked, and I gave up. We had no sex the last eighteen months before D day. So, he found shmoopie, and I guess, she fixed him. I think he was a porn addict and I was just too real. And I wanted intimacy and respect. Well, you know. Red flag? Always triangulating. Always. Had fans coming out of the woodwork. I was a military wife, away from my foo, always moving, and always alone. Anytime we could have had some alone time he moved in a friend or family member so he could flee from any expectation of intimacy. He got his kibbles and made sure I didn’t. He also made me feel bad about myself. Always criticizing my ability to keep a house, and my appearance, although he was subtle about the latter, but it still cut me to the core, especially since he couldn’t, get it up, with menk of him as a part of my family. te trauma bond persists, because even after having left him almost 20 years ago, I still thi yet, thdude for sure, andotally objectified me. A good dad/bad dad kinda guy. strange

  • so many red flags, i could write a book. just about everything everyone has already said. for the most part i was trusting and naive. i just couldnt believe that people could be that hateful, that selfish, that cruel and that evil. i honestly DID NOT SEE IT, not that he was so good at hiding it just that i did not see it. i believed that we had a good marriage. i was proud in the fact that i was open minded (huh?), i knew EVERy marriage had issue, problems. i did not think that we were so special or our love would save us from having issues or problems. i truly and honestly believed that anything could be fixed if you talked, agreed, agreed to disagree, compromised, sacrificed and fought for it. i also was taught that you fight for what you want and you do not just give up on someone you loved because they werent perfect. (huh?) so every little thing we went thru to me was “normal”. financial problems = normal; teenage girl pains = normal; kid gettin in trouble at school = normal. even his drinking episodes and dwi while not actually normal were not workable or not fixable. basically as long as he was trying, i was in. however, i never knew when he STOPPED trying.

    that being said. i was too stupid to see a lot of things as red flags, looking back i could check it all off with the list here.

    the thing i am teaching my children to look for is character. (actions over words) and family ties. i tell my 21 yr old son and my 18 yr old daughter…to look to their significants family. are their parents still together? how do they treat their siblings? how do they treat their parents? how do their people act, talk, behave. how do they feel about drugs, jail, partying, work. how are the older people living?

    looking back i think that was my FIRST real clue. boyman dad died of alcoholism. his parents were always fighting, he knew where all the shelters were not only in our town but the surrounding towns also. he did not know where his mom was when i met him or 2 of his sisters. they were put in foster care long ago. most of his people were in jail, on drugs and didnt work, most of his people were not married, or did not have relationships with their children (although i didnt find that out until later) basically he was all alone when i met him, i felt sorry for him but he seemed like a good guy (BARF). he was 24 when i met him, working and making it on his own. i didnt count his past against him since my own past was pretty sketchy. although i have a close knit family, i had made some mistakes when i was younger. i knew he drank a lot but i chalked it up to being young and single. and i also drank and partied but it never interfered with my kids or work.

    it never dawned on me that his childhood or his crappy family would and did cause him so much damage. nor did i even think that it would be the thing that would destroy us in the end. like i said for much of my marriage, he was always trying. up until he just didnt.

    • MrsVain, I joined my X family, my X and my SIL, yesterday to attend a military funeral at a National Cemetery. My XH said not one word for either one of those skin walking shape shifters. A woman they had known a long time a go got up and said a eulogy, mostly talking about who the were before they had kids. Years ago, when I first met Dr. Demento, my mother said, his family life was shitty. Boy did she call it. I said, he knows mum and he is determined not to be like them… ha… now I worry about my kids. How did this hideousness impact them. Moral of the story, never reproduce with a fucktard.

      • I was at a military ceremony yesterday as well. Forgive me for asking, but was it for one of the helicopter victims?

    • Mrsvain we all have a crappy childhood. You have to be who you are meant to be regardless of where you came from. My sister did not have a problem being the other woman. She saw her boss who had an unsuspecting girlfriend, got pregnant and had an abortion.

      I would never do it in a million years. Be the other woman, it’s against my moral fiber. I was daddy’s favorite, but she was mommys favorite, and mommy could drive, daddy lost his vision when I was in middle school. I was stuck at home with a sick blind man watching MASH and she got to go to cheerleader practice and the mall. For whatever reason, my mother hated me and my father.

      When my sisters husband cheated and left her, she cried so hard for such a long period of time, I wanted to take her to the emergency room and get her Xanax. She has no such sympathy for me, and wouldn’t listen to me cry for a minute. Something about wanting me to be the big sister.

      We grew up in the same house, and I have some idea how the stupid dynamics between my parents must have affected her, but she has no such insight into how they affected me or even that I am her sister and am deserving of compassion. Their feelings/past are not more important than ours. If we play that game we are feeding their delusion that they deserve better than we do.

      • “…but she has no such insight into how they affected me or even that I am her sister and am deserving of compassion.”

        What an on target statement that encompasses any person with a personality disorder, Jen! You just described my relationship with my sister, as well. Not the cheating part, because she cheated on both of her husbands—but the lack of insight, compassion, or empathy. That bullshit started when I was about 6-7 yrs old and she was 12.

        It was weird, but my older sister and my younger brother look nothing like me and my older brother. We look just like a combo of my Dad and my Mom. Those other two–look nothing like anyone in our family, are ridiculously narcissistic (I suspect my sister is a sociopath) and have historically been my mother’s “Golden Children”. My sister would fly into an instantaneous rage, flying dishes and anything within reach, screaming and crying—if someone complimented how I looked in a new dress in her presence. I also suspect that since my mother serially cheated on my father–that my sister and younger brother are not my Dad’s biological children. This could definitely explain how poorly me and my older brother were treated—we remind her of my Dad.

        They don’t have it in them–I often go through the whole “nature vs. nurture” dynamic in my mind to try and figure this out—but it’s just another Untangling the Skein of Fuckupedness. It really is.

        I have decided that you can only use your “shitty childhood” for just so long to excuse your shitty behavior, then you should be held 100% responsible for it. As an adult, you are aware of right and wrong—if you don’t care, then we know therapy won’t help and the only thing that will is the pain of consequences for your shitty behavior.

        I, for one, have been in therapy for quite some time—I want to know why I allow people to walk on me or take advantage of me—and learn from those experiences and grow.

        THERE is the difference between us and them.

        • That is what my mom says too whenever i tried to make excuses for boyman. she would tell me that a “shitty” childhood was only an excuse for so long and that he SHOULD have learned something in all the years he was with me and us. my parents treated him like a son. and yet, no matter what we did for him, no matter how many times i told him i loved him, no matter how appreciative i was, in the end it was still his fucked up twisted way of thinking that ended our marriage.

          *shrugs* oh well. i guess he is happy now. doesnt have anybody bothering him to be a better person, nobody telling him he is fucking up and what he is doing is wrong, nobody holding him to be responsible and to makes sacrifices for anything.

          i couldnt live that way but apparently she can.

  • My STBX did a lot of what has already been mentioned in previous posts particularly always texting, guarding his phone, spending lots of time in the bathroom with it, constantly working late, always had excuses for not being able to help with our daughter (unless it was something fun), his words and actions didn’t match up, blame me for everything, took no responsibility on, constantly complained, etc, etc, etc.

    Two years before I found out about his cheating, he went to the Caribbean a week with a few guys his company does business with. He lied to his boss about where he was and used company funds for the trip. He’d never been on a ‘guys trip’ in the 20+ years we’d been married and, because of the secrecy and lies involved, it made me very uncomfortable so I asked him not to go. He got all arrogant and told me he could do what he wanted and he went knowing that I was not happy about it. He scheduled the trip with them again the next year even though he knew I didn’t want him to go. Fortunately he had to cancel because something came up at work. Then DDay happened and he was all about wanting to reconcile (words) but went on that trip again anyway (actions). What a lying POS – I hope the karma bus hits him multiple times!

    • That karma bus is going to be busier than Santa at Christmas time! Judging from all the chumps here on Chumplady it looks as if this is an epidemic! Is anyone faithful anymore!

  • Mine went out and bought new underwear in colors probably because his regular white undies had shit stains on them that NEVER came out! Yep, can’t even wipe his own ass properly! Then his “work” phone that he of course gave me access to so I could see everything! Yeah, right! The cheater had a gmail for he and Schmoopie! And he let me close his Facebook page with no problem because, as I found out later, he and she had created a new Facebook page with both their nicknames on it! What a prick! So glad he’s gone! What a waste of 41 years! He acts like a 16 year old with his first hard on and this asshole is going to be 60 years old very soon! Wow! Just wow! Hope he goes back to white underwear and she gets to work on stains that look as if someone slaughtered a deer!

    • Roberta, mine had the stains on his white underwear too! I refused to clean them so he had to.

      But I forgot to mention this red flag earlier…he always slept in his underwear and t shirt. When our daughter was 5 or 6, I asked him to sleep in shorts because she would get in the bed with us on weekend mornings and eventually he get out of bed and walk around in his underwear. I didn’t think it was appropriate for her to see him like that. His stuff was covered but still… He refused!!! Up until I kicked him out he would still walk around in his underwear and she was 16 by then!! I can only assume he just didn’t care.

      • Is that why they shave down there so their dicks look bigger… I had no idea… just thought it was a really good opportunity to give your partner a rug burn (pun intended) and for ingrown hairs.

        • This is gross to some maybe, but my men friends say they get a lot more oral from their partners if there is not any hair getting in the way.

    • Haha! I thought he did it for me! 🙁

      He left me a toilet FULL of gray pubes one day, and it makes me gag to think of it even now.

      THAT was a giant “FUCK YOU” to me.

      Ugh, he is JUST so gross. I did get to see the result eventually. It looked ridiculous. Hahah! What a complete idiot!

  • I guess the worst for me is the first red flag I ignored. When we were first getting to know each other long distance, all was going well, I thought. Then he suddenly pulled back and became distant and weird. I was very upset because I was already hooked on him, but I couldn’t understand his behavior so I broke things off. If only that were the end of story!

    After a little while he called again late at night – undoubtedly drunk, knowing him. I was still hurt so I didn’t answer, but when he left no message I called him back like a damn chump. Ug. We continued.

    Much later, (when he was sure I had emotionally invested much more) he explained to me what that break had been about. He had started seeing someone else during that time. Why didn’t you tell me? He said: I knew you would never speak to me again.

    At the time, I took it as a sign that he really loved me. I seemed to have “won” since he’d apparently grown bored with the other girl. (Red flag!) Now looking back, I’d bet she ditched him and I believe he was grooming me to live with triangulation which continued subtly throughout our relationship. He invited that same girl to our wedding 6 years later! By then I was in full on spackle mode.

    I’m so much stronger now a year out from DDay, but it pains me to think how much I cared and how much time I wasted with this complete asshole.

  • Hurgh…red flags…yeeep…ignored a lot of ’em. Hindsight is 20/20 ain’t it?

    1) He would not allow me in the room if he was masturbating. He had no problem walking in on me whenever he pleased, though. And sometimes (on more than one occasion) even if I wasn’t masturbating, he would just come in the room, lift my skirt/take off my pants and shove it in without even asking if I wanted it or getting me into the mood or anything.

    But god forbid I touch the doorknob while he’s jerking it. Oh no, that was “his time.” I kept asking him what the hell he was hiding, and he said he’s hiding “nothing.” So I asked him if he has nothing to hide, then why can’t I be in the room? The answer was always “You just don’t need to be in there.” or “I just don’t want you there.”

    2) I also had the same quick closing of browser windows when I walked by/came in the room. A few times when I knew he was on the computer, I would really quietly sneak downstairs and peek through the crack in the door to see what he was doing without him knowing I was there. Usually I just saw him with his eyes glued to some MMORPG. But once I caught him watching porn. About a week after he’d promised me he’d stopped.

    3) When I wanted to meet some of his “friends” he’d met in said MMORPG’s, and he told me “you don’t need to be talking to them.” When I asked why not, he said “you just don’t.” (I should point out one of them called herself “Sexygirl101.”

    4) When his “friend” (I’m going to use quotes around that word a lot…) from Singapore (I doubt she was actually in Singapore) wanted to come visit to, I kid you not, use the antique bathtub in his parent’s house. Who the hell comes all they way from Singapore to use a damn bathtub and NOT get laid in it? Please…Oh, he also wanted to go to a comic convention, without me, and share a hotel room with this girl. And he SWORE he wouldn’t fuck her, scouts honor! It’s just CHEAPER to get a single room with only one bed!

    5) This female “friend” of his he met that he wouldn’t stop talking about. Who oh so very conveniently was never available to hang out when I was, but was always available to spend time with him when I was working. She supposedly had a boyfriend, but *surprise* he was conveniently never available either, I never saw a picture of the guy and he never seemed to be around when they hung out either.

    6) He actually got mad at ME when men would street harass me. Like somehow it was my fault that men would yell obscene things at me when I tried to do something as simple as just take a damn afternoon walk to a nearby park. Or go window shopping at our local outlets. He would tell me that it made him “feel bad” about himself that other guys were “attracted” to me. (Yeah, because “Hey, bitch, show me your tits!” being yelled from a truck is so flattering…) He said it hurt his self-esteem that he didn’t get attention or compliments on his looks like I did. I tried to tell him that it’s not complimentary to have a strange guy make an unsolicited sexual advance on me, and I wasn’t going out to deliberately get extra male attention, and I sure as hell wasn’t doing it to make him feel bad about himself. So not only did he act like I was going out to pick up a bunch of guys, he acted like it was a personal attack on him. Then, the one time a girl yelled something at him while he was out, he actually wrote down what she said and bragged to me about it. Then he gave me the most convoluted word-salad about how compliments from other women mean more to him than compliments from me because I’m his girlfriend, and that’s just expected of me anyway, but it’s SO SPESHUL coming from other women because it means he’s just spontaneously attractive to someone who doesn’t have that obligation to compliment him.

    Word. Salad.

    I hardly even think about that jerk anymore these days. He’s equivalent to a dust-bunny I find stuck to a sock. This post today made me look back and think, “Damn, what a chump I was! …But also, damn what an ASSHOLE he was too!”

      • Yeah, and she was going to make the trip from Singapore, if that’s really where she was even from, JUST to use it.

        Uh huh…

    • That bit about street harassment started a thought avalanche. So he had a problem with men harassing YOU because it was your fault you were attractive, and he WANTED to be harassed by women because it would mean he was attractive? I bet HE harassed women on the street and believed he was genuinely complimenting them. No wonder street harassment is so insidious – how can we discourage that belief, especially in such an appearance-dominated society?

      • Yeah that was pretty much his thought process. I told him there’s a difference between being complimented on your appearance and being harassed, and I didn’t like being harassed. But of course if someone actually did pay me a compliment, like “You have pretty hair” or something, he didn’t like that either. So whether it was someone saying something obscenely sexual to me or actually saying something nice, I couldn’t win either way.

    • Narc Alert: “He said it hurt his self-esteem that he didn’t get attention or compliments on his looks like I did”

      • Yeup. He’s pretty full of himself. His narc older brother was too. His brother was stationed in Germany and told him how German guys are all “pussys wearing scarves” so German girls all love manly-men Americans and he could totally pick up so many chicks in Amsterdam. (This coming after me having to tell his older brother I was NOT going to allow them to go to a strip club).

        And of course my ex latched on to that bullshit like a moth to a goddamn bug zapper. Which lead to an argument about how it was not unreasonable for me to not want him to go to Germany to visit his brother, and no it was not overreacting when I got upset at him wanting to “Just get some numbers to see how many he could gather. He wouldn’t call any of them, really! He just needs to make sure he’s still attractive to OTHER women, and if it would be so easy in Amsterdam, how could he not give it a shot?”

        …Seriously.

        It didn’t help that my manager at the time took my ex’s side, saying men just need sex more than women, so he “would be cheating on himself if he didn’t cheat on me.”

        Idiots. The lot of them.

  • I guess I had more red flags that I was with an asshole, who became a cheater….from our first date when he stood me up. And like a chump I waited in his (group) apartment for an hour, being totally humiliated. Total Chump behavior! That Maya Angelou quote sure rings in my ears now. To when he turned to me and said my body repulsed him, and he couldn’t possibly touch me (I was driving, with tears streaming down my face…and I didn’t drive him into a pylon, even….) to when he did tell me about the OW fucking, saying, “I thought if I hurt you really, really badly you’d divorce me”.

    Welp I did, and took my fair share of assets and income. After 25 years. That part he did not anticipate; he lived in some dream world. Even one of the lawyers looked at him and said, “didn’t you know divorce was expensive?”

    I believe he thought I would just blow away like a dandelion, and our daughter too. Dear God, my fervent hope is that she never finds out how little he came to care for her. No one should ever have to confront that feeling.

    • Oh, Vera. How I loathe your ex. Nobody other than a complete toad could ever be so cruel as to cheat on their spouse and then use a word like ‘repulse’ to further shame and debase. This actually makes me heartsick. 🙁

      You and your daughter are well rid of of him. As you said, nobody should ever have to confront that feeling, but then, she has a mom who shows her what it means to be a loving human and a good parent.

      • thank you…I really needed the warm fuzzies this AM, and of course, ChumpNation came through! <3

    • Vera, apparently my ex and yours think the same way! Mine also thought I would just fold up and disappear then he could give everything to Schmoopie! That asshole was SO wrong! I liberated over 80% of EVERYTHING plus the house in total! It’s going to suck to be him once he hits retirement age in 5 years! I sure hope Schmoopie can get a job cause I expect payment on time! I’m a stickler about those sort of things doncha know!

    • What kind of heartlessness does it take to be deliberately cruel to someone in order to make them break up with you, instead of just initiating the break-up yourself? I thought we were supposed to get over that sort of behaviour as teenagers.

    • “I believe he thought I would just blow away like a dandelion…”

      This is the perfect description. I think my ex thought this too. Well, he probably thought our marriage would blow away in the wind, but that I would eventually (after I was done being mad at him) become another ex-girlfriend-turned-friend. What he failed to consider was that he had married me, and that doesn’t disappear without a legal process, and he had been with me longer than any of his previous girlfriends, so there were and are deep connections with his family too…

  • named, you took the words right out of my mouth; I didn’t miss any cheating red flags, I caught that right away, the two times it happened (as a matter of fact, for sure the first time and probably even the second, I realized before he even fucked the OWs).

    My mistake was missing the giant, huge waving red flags that he was an asshole. First class, super-proficient, grade A asshole. Selfish, entitled, immature, negative, critical, uncaring, unloving, cowardly asshole. But I loved him, and I thought narcissists were all charming and sparkly (he’s a poor sausage covert narc), and I untangled and spackled and tried to make him happy and to fix him and me and our marriage and and and ….

    The cheating was actually a good thing, it was what finally cut me loose from the asshole.

    • KarenE, what a superb reply; I concur. Yes, the D-day has been devastating, but when I look back now, those red flags were always there: all about him-his needs, hopes, fears, desires, moods, interests 24/7. And I loved his mirage and it seemed worth spackling. At least now, I’m spackle and sparkle free!

    • “The cheating was actually a good thing, it was what finally cut me loose from the asshole”

      My thoughts exactly. Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, I am free at last….

  • My red flags were so numerous the first and second time I was chumped. First time I wised up and divorced him. Second one, I took him back numerous times and really never believed that he would do this, he is now back living with his ex wife. I always let him go and see her and fix things for her as I wished that I had such a compassionate ex. Little did I know that they were screwing the whole time. I told him to leave me so many times but he wouldn’t, claiming I was the one and only for him, he loved me and wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. Always fell for it. ALWAYS. Two weeks ago he told me he was going to fetch all his things from the house that he had never collected, he was finally done with all that. He never came back, woke up alone in bed, talk about been thrown away like a piece of trash! 6 years gone and my self esteem, confidence and anything I ever believed in is shattered. I do know that I am better off now, but I am in absolute agony right now, hurts just to breathe. I know this will take a long time to heal from, if ever. They were both such charming, handsome men but the classic red flags and disrespect for me were actually so obvious from them both. Everyone always made the same comments to me, he’s so handsome, so friendly (yes to all women) so charming (all women) such wonderful people, I am so lucky NOT!!!!

    • The pain you are feeling is the price of being a good person. There’s no shame in being generous, loyal, hopeful or kind. The shame comes in taking advantage of such a person. Let your agony confirm those good qualities about yourself, and your confidence will return. For now, work on accomplishing one thing per day, day by day.

  • Karen, I know just what you mean. At first I was devastated and no one could convince me that he was a solid gold jerk! They all told me I would be better off divorcing him. I actually filed hoping it would shake him up enough to realize he was losing his entire life and everything that most “normal” people would fight tooth and nail to keep! Well, that was then and today i don’t regret for a minute getting that divorce and taking everything with me! Good riddance! I really don’t care why he did cheat or what becomes of his poor, tired, broke ass! Neither do his kids or his own family. I know I was a great wife, a good mother and I did everything for that shit stain! Hope he’s satisfied with his choice as she cheated also and lost her marriage and kids too! I cannot even fathom the depth of depravity that these dumbshits are in, but I’m happy where I am and so glad to not be a part of the cesspool they have created! My wish is that they get just what they deserve!

  • The red flags I missed were the ones waving from my own gut – intuition – because I had for so long been trained to not listen to them. I had good judgement but his love bombing and duplicitous skills were too well honed. It is truly crazy making. I know now that “perfect” is an illusion and that reasonable questions should be tolerated and answered with love and kindness. He was so good at making me feel guilty for things that he did that were horrible because he is so protective of his f***edupidness. How did I not see it/ignore then but so glad I finally opened my eyes.

    • Absolutely Dot, me too. I really had strong gut feelings about something wrong about my ex right from the beginning but they were squashed down and ignored. That really is something I have had to face and unpick. I’m standing up to people alot more now. For example I was on a course last week for work that was purportedly about negotiation but turned out to be basically a ‘how to’ in the art of manipulating people. I got so wound up I spoke out. I thought – I can’t be a bystander here. This is a room of young students and this stuff is evil. It really rattled the tutor when I told the whole room straight that I had been the victim of a manipulator and that it had ended with my life in danger and that I found this way of dealing with people completely morally wrong. The old me would never have spoken up in that room last week. I’m so glad I’ve changed. The funny thing is, even though it is hard to speak out, I am happier now than before. I think there is an important connection. We should be able to say what we see.

      • Go you! That’s awesome. Paraphrasing, because I am too lazy to look up the proper quote: “For evil to succeed, it is only necessary for good to do nothing.”

        That course needs a part B: how to recognize when you are being manipulated. Actually, that should be standard school curriculum. It may save a lot of people from being sheeple in advertising and scams.

        • You’re right Hopeful Cynic, it is useful to learn how these things work so you can spot the techniques being used by others. There’s alot of it about.

    • He also had a former girlfriend commit suicide. At the time I was so sympathetic. Now I wonder if he contributed or if she existed at all.

    • Ted Hughes, H of Sylvia Plath, had TWO wives commit suicide over his infidelity. I guess the first suicide didn’t rehabilitate him.

  • It was the latest Star Wars movie. We watched them through the 60’s before we met each other; such a common history, that by the 90’s, we’d watched every t.v episode a zillion times and quoted lines all the time. THEN the movies came out on big screen. We loved them all and couldn’t wait for the next one. “Star Trek – Into Darkness’. I was so excited! Reviews were great and even Leonard Nimoy was in it!
    And, he refused to go. So I went alone. It wasn’t the same.
    That should have been my biggest red flag, but there were so many others too. This one hurt a lot.

    Good luck you who want to try the marriage thing again – but after 35 yrs, I’m all done and happy about that now.

    • Shechump, my heart goes out to you. Same type thing happened to me. Our special rituals and places came to mean nothing to him. He told me of one of then, “there’s nothing there for me”. Funny he never mentioned that all the years before when he’d initiate going there. It hurts like hell.

      • Ex & I loved going to NYC about every 6 weeks. I live ~130 miles away. Most of the time just for the day. He would check the weather a few days before & often suggested that we go in that weekend. We loved trying new restaurants, visiting museums & exploring new-to-us neighborhoods. After dday, he told me that it was boring going to the city & he only went because he knew I enjoyed it. Asshat loser!

          • Indeed, they did all take the same tutorial. I believe they say these things out loud to be hurtful and see reaction. I find it hard to think they actually feel that way.

            But they probably do. Steaming pile of poos.

  • Early on it was the love bombing that threw me off for a loop- what person proposes to someone they just met after barely a month? I remember not being flattered but genuinely creeped out. Was it a red flag? I don’t know but it was certainly one of those things that made my entire relationship with sociocheater always “off.” He didn’t have any friends, didn’t get along with anyone EXCEPT for women that needed to be rescued. The last one was a stripper in her youth, and in her late 40s she became an escort for wealthy men, while being married to a chump. Ex used to tell me that he was trying to help her to get out of a bad marriage and poverty. I used to wonder if I was a bad person for resenting that he would always be “on call” for this married hooker. She would text him and say that her husband was beating her so ex would jump in the car to “break up” the fight. Come to find out later, none of this shit happened and her husband was just a chump who knew as little about their sexcapades as much as I did. At least I no longer feel like a bad person for resenting the situation.

    • Met ex after my freshman year of college. He was 2 yrs older & we went to the same high school but didn’t know each other then. After 1 1/2 months of dating we both went back to our respective colleges for the fall semester. We wrote to each other everyday & saved our $ for the long distance calls (remember those days). By January, 5 months later we were engaged although the wedding took place 1 1/2 years later, mainly because we both had low paying jobs & it took awhile to save.

      Now I hear ex is engaged to a woman who wasn’t the whore marriage breaker. Something tells me he was quick on the draw for this one too. Money is not an issue at all for him so I’m sure there won’t be a “long” courtship.

  • My latehusband was always mean and cranky and anger was his default reaction to everything, but I made the best of 18 years with him …he was an asshole, but he was my asshole – for 18 years, infidelity was FAR off my radar screen.

    and I got a new job where I had my own office and phone…I did not realize that my employer blocked caller ID, so one day I called him and greeted him in a very wifely way “Hi it’s me, how is your day?” and he responded “Who is this?!”

    About that time the anger and criticism was ramped up dramatically (he was very very very sensitive to any mess in the house, any clutter send him screaming and drop kicking things across the house) . I think that some cheaters over compensate to hide tracks, others find reasons to blame you and he was a blamer.

    During a fight in that general time, he said to me “God, (my name) you are calling me from blocked numbers !!” like me calling him from my work was a super sneaky thing to do. He didn’t do the whole “double life” thing well.

  • I am very wary now of men who don’t have friends. Being superficial buddies with other superficial boy-men doesn’t count – I mean having the ability to be present emotionally and have at least one mature, supportive friendship with another man that’s life-affirming and positive. Also, I will never again be with a man who doesn’t like people, who is a brooding loner and incapable of being kind to strangers. This can be tricky to spot since when you’re first together and crazy about each other you don’t want to be with other people and you’re perfectly happy with your own company for quite some time. But be careful about that, because when that phase ends, it will become clear very quickly how limited your social world will be if he shows no interest in cultivating friendships, taking part in community life or showing loving attention to others. Because if he doesn’t care about ot