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Surely You Must’ve Known

Are your powers of premonition pretty lousy? Me too. I have no idea who is going to win the election or what the stock market is going to do next quarter.

But when it comes to infidelity, you would’ve thought that everyone is clairvoyant and that particular super power skipped you. Because after you discover your spouse was cheating on you, there will be folks out there shaking their heads saying: surely you “must have known.”

One of the worst things about being cheated on is others’ wrongheaded notion that somehow you were in on the deal. That you knowingly turned a blind eye. Perhaps you and your cheating spouse had an “arrangement,” wink, wink, nudge, nudge.  The unspoken assumption is that you kind of deserve infidelity for being such an oblivious idiot.

Of course this is a way for the smug to distance themselves from the pain and humiliation of betrayal. Just like some folks think cancer and other sorts of misfortune are contagious, it’s easier to think we have control over Bad Things That Happen. It must be because you failed (unlike me). Blaming the victim is a nice little voodoo smug people do to protect themselves from the scary uncertainty that they too could be played.

Perhaps you were smug once too, safe in the knowledge that infidelity would never happen to you.

I know I was. I thought cheating is what happened when you had a sexless marriage, or let yourself go, or married some obvious Lothario. (The Lothario of my imagination being some cross between Austin Powers and a skeevy sales and marketing rep.) My  husband loved me! My husband pursued me! My husband and I had sex! I was safe.

Insomuch as I thought of infidelity at all, I thought it happened to Other People. People with either really, sad pathetic marriages, (see sexless and ugly above) or glamorous Bohemian people who were swept up torrid affairs, helpless against the inevitability of their fated love. Solid, dull Midwesterners don’t do drama, I thought. I was immune.

We all see the world from our own moral lens. And if you have a particularly good set of morals (and assume everyone else does too), that makes you a good mark. If you’ve never experienced infidelity before and you know that you wouldn’t cheat on your spouse — you stumble around the planet with a certain naivety. You wouldn’t have done such a thing and therefore you can’t imagine a world in which the person you are most intimate with daily would do such a thing either.

That’s why infidelity is so shattering. It completely up-ends your view of the world, your sense of reality, of who you can trust. When it happened to me, it was like that scene in the Twilight Zone where the “normal” people suddenly rip off their masks and reveal that they are pig-snouted aliens. I was shocked to my core. The world has PIG-SNOUTED ALIENS?! WTF?! No one TOLD ME!

It’s not pathological to trust your spouse. It’s what normal, loving people do. And that is why betrayal and manipulation are so very ugly. Because abusers take that trust — that social glue that binds us together — and they turn it on you. Use your loving “benefit of the doubt” against you.

And as if that shit isn’t painful enough — it’s that much more painful to have the Peanut gallery out there gawking and pointing and saying you were somehow party to your own abuse.

You can only be in denial about something you know. Betrayed spouses beat themselves up for being chumps. The deception is humiliating. In retrospect the deceit looks so obvious (he never answered his cell phone, she was a sudden aficionado of Brazilian waxes…) And of course, you probably had gut feelings that things were off. But your cheater told you, no, everything was fine. Or no, actually you were the problem. And you believed that. Until you couldn’t any more.

After you know you’ve been cheated on, it’s pretty normal to go through the stages of grief. Denial is one of those stages, as is bargaining. (Pig-snouted spouse… okay… maybe it’s not that bad. Maybe I can work with this…) Once you know, however, that knowledge is a gift. It doesn’t feel that way, of course. It feels like death. Like someone bulldozed your soul, and shoveled its remains into one of those radioactive waste containers, never to be touched again like Chernobyl. But really, knowledge is power. The worse part is not knowing.

Surely you knew? No. You didn’t. But now you do. The rest of your life is up to you. If you ask me? I think you should run as fast as you can from the pig snouted aliens. God speed.

This post was previously published. Feel free to comment!

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  • My ex said that she had warned me that the house was on fire and that all I did to help was ask for her to bring me a glass of water (for some reason it really bothered her that I’d ask someone already in the kitchen to bring me something to drink. I asked everyone else when I was in there!). I still don’t know what in the hell she was referring to. There’s normally an alarm going off during a fire. At one point during the begging stage she said that she hadn’t shown she was unhappy because she’s not a martyr and doesn’t show people her weaknesses. So, which was it? Was the house on fire or she was working for an Oscar?

    She also seemed almost gleeful when she said “you thought I’d never leave you”, as if she sure showed me! Well, she has me there. I believed her when she said she loved me and wanted to grow old together. I thought our relationship was important enough to fight for, that if one of us was even feeling a tickle of leaving we’d go to counseling. Nope – surprise! She left as though we were teenagers who stopped dating after a few months. I feel so stupid for not being on the lookout for signs that she no longer valued our life together, and I’m worried that if I’m ever in another relationship I’ll be over-vigilant in interpreting every word and action for signs of future discontent. Sure, I can see some warning signs in hindsight, but at the time they seemed like the normal bumps of day-to-day life.

    • whichway, don’t “feel stupid.” You are not stupid for trusting someone who actively undertook to deceive you.

        • Don’t feel bad. My husband actually drug me to counseling because he “just wasn’t happy”. I sat thru a year of that bullshit giving it my all. I still didn’t catch on. He started to unravel during the MC debacle and I called on outside reinforcements for help. I figured I was missing something. My brother and my friend (after hearing the whole story) told me to hire a PI….. I was missing something alright. The PI didn’t miss anything.

          • Mine also insisted on marriage counseling because he said I wasn’t engaged with the family. I thought that was really strange because I do the work of both parents plus job plus arranging date nights, etc. So we went. After the sessions he was supposedly returning to his job but in reality would go on a date or hook up in a hotel room. I guess complaining to the MC about me for 50 minutes at a go wasn’t enough. He and OW liked to incorporate trashing their spouses into foreplay. Maybe MC was pre-foreplay of some sort.

            • Which Way…I’m afraid too if I ever get into another relationship I’ll be hypervigilant because Honest to Dog I NEVER saw it coming! I believed my husband was crazy about me. He looked to the world and me like he adored me. We were attached at the hip and went everywhere together. We had fun! We had sex! Yeah, I learned rather late in the marriage that he had lied about how many times he had been married but I figured that by that time perhaps he had learned his lessons and I wasn’t going to divorce him over it. Figured out he had cheated on a couple of those wives. Saw that a few of those marriages blew up in his face…like I said, thought he had learned a few lessons. NOT. All he knew how to do was chase his dick around.

              One of his friends told me after the blow up was ‘No matter who he’s with Syringa, Marilyn Monroe or Miss America, if some skank wants to fuck him he just can’t say NO.’ Nice trait in a husband. huh?

              He’s an old boy now and still with OW and I’m sure somewhere out there still chasing that appendage around.

              • My ex of 26 years was the only one I ever trusted that I was intimate with. I have two good male friends I trust completely for over 40 years. I trusted my ex so deeply and completely I know I’ll never trust another guy again. Ex said to me all guys aren’t like him. My reply was …. I know some of you are worse. The mountain shook and shook bad but my daughter and sister kept putting the pieces back. No more husbands or live ins for me! I’ll never trust one again.

      • I found fighting for my relationship was always onesided. When you win the fight they win glorious cake. And with a smirk they continue. Forgive only yourself and know this was all on the cheaters lack of character. X sat on a barstool with a whore and said nothing as she berated his wife if 36 years with his lies. Silence. It is golden. No contact.

    • OMG- I got the SAME THING. He kept saying.. I tried to tell you I was unhappy, but I honestly don’t remember any of that. He said.. we fought all the time… did we? Yeah, we fought, but we always made up, made it right… I thought that was normal?

      He said he told me he was unhappy with our sexlife, but I don’t recall any adult conversations. Now, in retrospect, I can point to passive aggressive comments and jokes.. but not real conversations. We have a toddler so yeah, we didn’t have sex enough.. but was that all MY fault? Where was he? He could have hired a babysitter, taken me out, he could have put some time in.. instead, he withdrew and started talking to the whore. Who validated his fucked up view of total victimhood.

      The blaming, gaslighting, emotional turmoil, it just sucks. THERE IS NOTHING A CHUMP DOES THAT WARRANTS CHEATING. I don’t care if the marriage is sexless, or you fight, or you are sick of how the person slurps their soup.. if you have issues, you get HELP.. you see a counselor, a minister, you work on yourself. You don’t go start a relationship with someone else.

      My STBX STILL says his relationship is “friends”.. but even a close friendship (talking daily calls) with someone of the opposite sex isn’t okay. I don’t care if it wasn’t physical (I think it was).. it’s still not okay. He thinks as long as he can claim no sex, it’s not cheating.. but that illustrates the problem. He can’t take ONE IOTA of responsibility for any of this, because if he did, he couldn’t blame it all on me. Blaming it all on me makes it much easier for him to swallow.. and look at his pig face in the mirror. Telling friends/family that we “grew apart” is a lot better than.. I am a POS who cheated.

      I often wonder how this will effect my future relationships too… hang in there, you are quality guy, and you aren’t alone.

      • Newchumpatl-you have it right in several spots-not having an “adult conversation” about quality/quantity of sex, passive/aggressive comments/jokes (pretty much described my idiot right there), and unwilling to “put the time in”. What is it about these shits that makes them think oh, I show up in bed and nudge you for “quality time” (a misnomer, at best), that it should be sufficient to light your panties on fire??!?? My porn-addicted POS has basically done this for 30 or so years-no intimacy, no depth of emotional relationship, no caring, no nothing. And, oh yeah, any time I made suggestions about technique that might enhance my experience, he either 1. Complained, 2. Modified once, then fell back to factory settings or 3. Stopped doing it, whatever it was, and this included kissing other than a peck,, altogether. Then, because I gave that shit right back to him, he put ads on Craigslist for women to sext with, and to chat with, and to complain about me to, and basically to continue his masturbatory fantasies that porn wired him for. Quality piece of work, this guy. And judging from what I’ve read here since my D Day 9months ago, as common as dirt.

        When I told him I would rather divorce, and we came quite close, he asked that I not tell anyone else what he did. I informed him that I was unable to honor that. Because not taking responsibility AND getting a “get out of jail free card” is more than I feel like enabling, at the moment. Trust that they suck, and treat them like the crap they are. Period.

        Don’t worry about the future-work on you, enjoy life and get your power back.

        • There’s a TED talk that addresses the sex and porn problem. Fact is men who think porn is real (or what women even want in bed! And I am no prude!) get it wrong with real women. My ex was like yours. No kissing, twenty different positions, and no foreplay, or hell, relationship, for that matter! Our whole relationship rested on his ability to get off, reciprocal, hell NO. I naively thought we were works in progress but he never got better (read that with intimacy too) because he just couldn’t do it. Hey I could have been Any smoking hot sexy diva momma and the fuck would have cheated on me. IMHO I think this is a big character trait in Cheaters, the inability to engage in a real relationship with real sex.

        • Yes, this was my experience too, he was not willing to “put in the time.” No adult conversation about his dissatisfaction with our sex life, just nasty passive-aggressive comments. No date nights or any type of caring acts. After a while, I realized I was just a hole for him to jerk off in so he could fall asleep. No foreplay at all, except maybe on a random weekend if he was feeling generous. Yet he had no clue why I pulled away from him, and that gave him his excuse to have an affair.

  • “Abusers take that trust… And they turn it on you.”
    Years ago I knew a strong mid40’s woman who told me about her divorce. Her husband hid his drug addiction from her. One day, she knew in her gut that something wasn’t right. She divorced him without a shred of evidence.
    Later, the evidence and witnesses surfaced.
    I remember that I sorta thought that she must’ve known. (my naive brain thought, “surely she knew she was too ugly and old for a decent man”)
    Fast forward four years… and I was blindsighted by Mr. Faithful.
    One thing that this woman, Ms. W. said: “Master manipulators take on the traits of their victims.”
    Even then, that thought made me shudder.
    Now, I skeptically think, “Who is s/he doing?” (as in, who is this Master Manipulator pretending to be?)
    And, sorry about the ugly and old… It could’ve been any trait. I was smug. Not any more.
    Ex Anal Banjo used to pretend to be innocent. He and his Ma would take on those innocent, newborn eyes. Then, he would use his steady, mechanic’s voice to appropriate reality. Unless I were prepared, he would catch me (and others) off guard. The game got to be too much for me & yes, I unleashed my Irish hell to the fuck no. (shit sandwiches are shit)

      • Friend–there is actually a neuropsychological syndrome known as “blindsight” in which people appear to be completely blind, but in subtle tests exhibit more visual knowledge than expected (at a subconscious level).

        Completely appropriate for chumps, I’d say.

      • Lord, yes. Crapweasel used to put his hands on my shoulders, look deeply into my eyes, and tell me he would NEVER cheat on me. While he was actively cheating. D’uh. Did I mention he’s a really good actor? (on stage and off.) heave sigh.

        On the plus side, I’ve learned he’s so predictable, I can push his buttons too. Although I am NC, we have a daughter, and he pays alimony and my (seriously needed, thanks to him) health insurance, so we have practical email conversations from time to time.

        But I’ll confess to feeling safer with the pig-snouted SOB on the other side of the continent.

        (no slur on bitches, my best friend is my girl dog…..)

    • “Master manipulators take on the traits of their victims.” I’ve been wondering how much of my cheater’s are traits are adopted from me. Is he totally going to lose patience, calmness, open-mindedness, generosity, persistence — all those marvelous chump qualities — if he’s no longer sucking them out of my brain?

      • Ca-Chump, I think that they will lose whatever they “learned from you” with time. I got that idea when x leaves me a rambling message one night. He thought he learned enough from me to be an actual “person” but he just doesn’t get the nuances of actually being a human. It’s not something that we need to worry about, though because Karma is a bitch.

        • It was so strange to read my ex’s emails to his OW, wherein he seemed to have cannibalized so many of what were distinctly my traits and cloaked himself in them in order to present himself as appealingly as possible to her. WTF?

    • Friend

      This article and your observation that master manipulator stake on the traits of their victims is spot on.
      My cheater would parrot my values but in truth, he was as devoid of any values. Only in the cold light of his abandonment did I see this.

      The common traits of these semi-humans keeps repeating……we should keep a list.

      Insecure, hoarders, no financial responsibility, odd sexual quirks – warning labels need to be issued!

      • Wow! This is my ex too! Insecure, hoarder-in fact would get a shirt or something for his birthday then let it sit in the closet for a year before he wearsdecided to wear it, etc, very financially irresponsible but covers his butt to maintain social standing, odd sexual quirks…so bazaar they are so similar….holograms of real people!

      • So if the manipulator takes on the trait of the victim, does the bastard then take on the traits of the OW and become a sub human monster?

      • I also wonder if I will ever really trust again. “Common early warning red flags” might help us all feel safer, especially since we are likely to be attracted to the same personality types again. Both of my eyes are now open but, trusting chump that I am, I certainly missed the signs– for decades.

        • This is for Polly. Yes, they do take on the personality of the OW. My ex turned into his soft spoken, never rattled sociopathic Marilyn Monroe sounding psycho! It’s really funny because he has a slight lisp because his dentures need adjustment, so he sounds extremely effeminate, but he thinks he’s cosmopolitan or sophisticated I guess! Anyways, people laugh at him behind his back!

        • Some practical advice for spotting the red flags: make sure to let your friends and family meet the person many times. And, solicit their honest opinions.
          Also, look at his or her parents’ relationship.
          Look at credit, job history, and for any criminal record.
          And, never get involved with someone who has been party to cheating in any capacity.

          • Ex blew my credit, but what the hell my job record is pretty good (although I took time off, was a SAH parent for many years supporting a peace officer husband working long hours and crazy shifts while raising our beautiful children and volunteering) but teaching in my field doesn’t pay very well. Full time work is hard to get…in our school district the custodians earn more. Lol. You are right with “know the family.” I never had the chance to really observe my ex’s parents. They both died early…. One of the first things my ex’s father shared with me when we began dating was that old saying, “A hard dick has no conscience.” Took me a while to figure out what he meant! This from a man who married someone overseas after getting her pregnant, who disowned his second daughter, and was an alcoholic who was waited on by the little wife and never let his son know he was loved/appreciated. Both of us had checked out parents. Alcoholism, workaholics. Hard to love that….

          • Arnold, that is great advice. Although I am personally a long way from even considering another relationship, if I ever do meet someone, I will make sure he spends lots of time with my sister and brother in law! These days, whenever I have a dilemma or choice, I always ask myself “What would my sister do?”

          • Although I’d hate for someone to rule me out because of my parents’ relationship (probably why I was attracted to a narc to begin with–my father was one and my mother was mega-chumpy).

            Biggest predictor of a cheater based on research? Someone who consistently BLAMES others for things.

      • Odd sexual quirks are hardly an indication of a cheater.
        My partner (a fellow chump) has a foot fetish and we both have a bondage fetish, I can say from experience I wouldn’t even dream of cheating and I doubt a foot fetish is an indicator of abuse.

          • Agreed! Vanilla sex that I was always pushing the boundaries of. He loved that about me. Then fucked a corpse. For fifteen months. But try to get the smug unknowing to believe that! Of course I was crap in the sack – she MUST have been FAR superior. Nope. Not even once. Good job guys, blow up a really fantastic twenty-seven years for a bit of texting and occasional erectile dysfunctional insult-to-vanilla sex.

  • I can totally relate to this post CL. I remember the day my neighbor called and asked me to come over. She confided to me that she and her husband had split because he was having an affair. As I walked home after, all I could think of was ‘I’m so grateful that H would never do that to me. Yes, we have issues but nothing like that.’ What a trusting soul I was then….4 years later, I not only discover he’s a cheater but I find out that it was going on for years with many, many women. He so smugly stood there that day when I shared her story with him and acted disgusted by how someone could do such a thing. Ugh!

    Now cheater’s story is that we had a sexless marriage so he was forced to go elsewhere for sex. I fully admit that during our 24 year marriage, there were periods of time that we didn’t have sex. Not completely my fault or his but nothing as extreme as the story he is spinning to excuse his infidelity by blaming me. The truth is that he has been diagnosed as a sex addict so sex with just me would have never been enough to satisfy him no matter how many times a day/week/month we were doing it.

    His infidelity completely ripped my world apart, shattered my trust of him, others, and of myself, deeply hurt me and has left me trying to pick up the pieces of my life and put them back together in a very different way. I like the pig snouted nose reference in this post….I’d take it over what I saw when his mask finally came off.

    • Yes I too was ‘blamed’ for the sexless marriage (which I think was all blown out of proportion). I certainly do admit to saying NO on occassion and ya – maybe a ‘hurry up’ too. But in my defense – he is a drunk. Do you have any idea what the guys breath (and body) smells like when he gets home from the bar? Not only that – but my stbx wears the SAME shirt to bed as he had worn ALL day! Sorry…. gross….. Not to mention the fact that it is a Wednesday (or Monday or Tuesday or Thursday… you get the picture) night – I’ve already been sleeping for an hour when he decides to stumble into bed. Thanks asswipe for waking me up!

      • In a real marriage “no” is allowed, quickies are allowed, and good sex is worked at, communicated about, and nurtured. My ex cheated because he had crap life skills and crap behavior and he no longer found me attractive in bed. Which I guess was my whole value to him…(Head slap) and to think I didn’t see how shallow he was. I think bearing our children and my weight gain turned him off. I think he needed “pretty” on his arm to matter. Not hard working, intelligent, witty, good hearted, true. Not twenty eight years together. He wanted new pussy, adoration, and stupid. He got that and more and as fucked up as he and his new model Owife are she is still going to nag him to do husband things and he will want her to be the perfect wife. Happily ever after? Nope.

        • Drew, you’re exactly right. They think they are getting what they need – ‘pretty’, young (sometimes), and sex (different, more, etc.) but eventually they end up in a routine marriage with the same demands and needs on them. Whatever – the OWs can have them since they’re both that shallow!

  • The “Sex Addiction” Recovery Industrial Complex has used this idea against partners/spouses for 30 years, since sex addict Patrick Carnes named the condition and created the treatment protocol that labeled partners codependent, ignored their trauma, and used them to prop up the “addict’s” recovery. That recovery seldom happens, but the therapists make big money selling the idea to shattered spouses. If they told partners the truth, that what they have experienced is premeditated, prolonged abuse, and helped partners gather the strength to leave the abusive relationships, there would be no industry. “Sex addicts” rarely go to therapy on their own.

    Tracy, I love the way you get right to the heart of it all.

    • I saw an interview with sex addicts and they do not talk addiction the way you describe your husband. What they say is that they troll all day long and will have many sex partners doing the day, they don’t know their names, they can’t remember their faces, it’s an addiction. What you have are narcissists who have found a label to hide behind. Sex addiction is like any other addiction, it controls every thing the person does. If your spouse has enough moxie to take a job, look after the kids, have sex with you, mow the lawn, he is a narcissistic serial cheater but he is not a sex addict
      My sister in law did not give one single hint to my brother. In fact they were standing there talking about a vacation they were going to take when he tried to put his arm around her and she would not let him. Then he asked her what was going on and she said she was leaving. She packed her bags and left and then there was nothing. He told me several times not one thing ever showed up before that that made him think she was cheating

      • Are you replying to me, because I never mentioned my husband. But that’s my point: Most people being diagnosed as “sex addicts” actually have bigger issues (personality disorders?) that allow them to manipulate/use those closest to them and live secret lives for years–sometimes decades. The sexual acting out (with all the behaviors you mentioned and more) is just one of the symptoms. By the way, think twice about believing anything said by a self-professed sex addict.

        • Thought I was replying to another. Sorry. Addicts are addicts. They all become completely dominated by their addictions. I admire anyone who can give theirs up. Prime example. James Taylor and heroin. It is my understanding that sex addiction is the hardest to give up because sex is a fundamental drive once we reach puberty.

          • Let go, I think your response was meant for my post. My H was referred by one counselor that had previous experience working with sex offenders to someone licensed to work with sex addicts. He fooled the sex addict specialist for a while until more was revealed. Yes, he was trolling seedy parts of town for random hook ups during the day, having sex in his car with not only them but also with his willing ho workers. He had lots of one night stands while traveling, some were paid and some were just willing participants. And yes, he’s had the same job for years and he came home, mowed the grass and pretended to be a decent person. As soon as he was told he was a sex addict and a narcissist, he quit going to appointments and denied that any of it was true. Do I believe in sex addiction? No clue and most of the time I do simply say he’s a narcissistic serial cheater.

            • Narcissistic serial cheater….ding ding ding. That is a perfect description. Although one wonders if “narcissistic” in front of “serial cheater” isn’t redundant. I’m also a fan of the terms whore and piece of shit. I think these guys have a misogynist and sex offender vibe too. I don’t believe in sex addiction but sometimes I use the term to describe the ex just to capture the deviant nasty. Pigfaced alien is exactly what it was like unmasking him.

              Seriously though, their issues have nothing to do with what kind of spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, partner we were. It doesn’t matter how much or how kinky the sex was. That’s like saying if a rapist had enough sex they wouldn’t need to rape. IMO my ex was basically a polite rapist. These dudes would cheat on and abuse their partners in open relationships too. It’s just extra fucked up that they search out monogamous appearing relationships.

              I don’t beat myself up for not knowing or for managing to soulmate up with Captain Butthole Inspector anymore. Truth is these guys hide themselves expertly and because they don’t have a soul they reflect back yours. And your values. My soul is pretty awesome thanks. I bet yours is too ByeByeCheater.

    • My preferred terminology for Married Cheating Sex Addicts is still Whores. What a crock of horseshit that mess all is.

        • Amen, Kat! Mine denied he was a sex addict and he was right—he wasn’t one. The definitions provided by a poster earlier was spot on. XBF didn’t fit the profile of a true sex addict. He was just addicted to gaining the adoration of and sticking his dick in women.

          • As my therapist explained it, sex addicts HAVE to have sex to feel whole, and have little control over their behavior. Narcissists, on the other hand, do have more control but LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the ego enhancement from adoring sex partners.

            Mine was full-blown narc. After raising children single-handedly, running a full-time job, and still servicing the jerk 4 x a week, a grad student was able to provide more ego strokes than I could, and thus won her right to stroke something else. In the end ,the karma bus hit her head on; still waiting for it to hit narc-X.

    • If I hear “codependent” applied to a poor, unsuspecting spouse one more time, I will breathe fire.

      It is adding insult to intensive injury to claim someone is complicit in their own abuse, in ANY arena.

      • I actually think that “codependency” or something like it is why I was with Jackass in the first place. I was always, always, in a relationship and general moved out of one into another with as little time as possible between–and always unsatisfied and “looking” if single. Also, I often picked people who had significant issues (alcoholism, Jackass’s job hopping without advancement, etc.) So I was primed for love-bombing by someone who had been “misunderstood.” I totally own that.

        But that didn’t make me complicit in his cheating. That is all on him.

      • Thank you.
        My therapist told me that all the sexual, financial, jabs at my personality and beliefs, misbehavior, was Domestic Violence! All of it. That does not make me a co-dependant, because I tried to stay around and work with him to fix it. It makes me a dedicated spouse. That is, until I wanted out, because he was continuing the deceptions, so OK to leave, at last!
        Not accepting the co-dependant label at all.

      • Co dependence is an amorphous, overused an undeveloped concept.
        Look, many of us were , simply, tricked and then became committed further by children, vows, mutual responsibilities like mortgages etc before the mask came off.
        They do this, intentionally, to make getting out difficult.
        It is not codependent to validate when your kids’ welfare is at stake or your finances are likely to be ruined. Hesitating to get out with these types of considerations at stake is not co dependent .
        I bet many of us had the abuse ramped up gradually and took the crap not because we liked it but because we were confused and scared.

        • Amen. I didn’t pick the serial cheating, heartless pig, I picked the nice, upstanding man he pretended to be. I stayed with him because I still believed he was pretend guy. It is SO unnatural to be tricked like that….takes a while to wrap your mind around it. I’m like Tempest….I could scream like a banshee every time I hear the term.

          One of your best articles, Tracy. I’m glad you reran it.

      • Tempest,
        Codependancy …. Yes… Not only did I contact women for you to sleep with…I acted as your fluff girl … I also set up your account on AM and paided your on line porn addiction with our kids college fund… Because I love you. Thats a codependant . I aint codependant.
        I put up with shit for far too long after DDay…. Codependant i am not

        • Codependant, eff that poop. Thanks to TheClip my response from now on will be “I’m too awesome to be codependant you dead dog fuckers!”

          I’m also tired of hearing about how “insecure” these guys are. It’s a term that shouldn’t be used to describe anyone over 25. I used to ask the ex how he could even fit his head through the door some days.

          • I wasn’t co-dependent. I was unwittingly and unwilingly turned into his enabler. He had no home, no car, no job, no money. He was a predator seeking what he needed and I had it all. By using what I had he ran amuck, re-establishing a relationship with his prior GF and collecting other assorted hos. I was ‘the means to his end’.

            I was indeed the mean to his end….when I threw him out, he landed in a homeless shelter. Yep, went from my seven figure home to a shelter over night.

            His life has reeeeeallly gone downhill since that day four yrs ago and I couldn’t be happier for him.

        • There are people who believe that if that if a predator spotted you, you must have wanted to service him for life. No. Those are the same people who say that if you looked too good that night, you must have wanted to be raped. Again no. No one asks for any of that. And no one asks to be lied to and deceived. How we get out of it is what is important. Go, sisters, go.

      • “It is adding insult to intensive injury to claim someone is complicit in their own abuse, in ANY arena.”

        Thank you for this, Tempest!

        • Tempest, you and me both. “If I hear “codependent” applied to a poor, unsuspecting spouse one more time, I will breathe fire.” Actually I think I already have, that may explain the sinus issues that won’t go away !

  • I highly agree with the point that we do not even suspect infidelity because we consider that a non-option ourselves. Personally, I found it rather disillusioning to wake up to a world where people exist who could be close to you and STILL lie with a straight face about some rather important things!

    As to the smugness part, I had someone comment that he was surprised the marriage lasted as long as it did. This may be true but I found it insulting at the time and in that set of circumstances akin to the you should have seen this coming.

    • I had someone tell me, “She did you a favor”, referring to the OW. No, she did not do me a favor. The kids and I are having to pick up the pieces of THEIR selfishness. Because of them, we all lost our innocence. Their selfishness has affected all three of us and our future marriages. Our trust in the person we should trust is shattered.

      Those smug people just don’t understand until it happens to them.

        • I agree with this. I do feel like OW inadvertently did me a favor. But that certainly was not her motive and what Ex did still hurts. But ultimately yeah, I am objectively glad he’s her problem now, not mine. But I actually don’t care anymore (approaching Meh).

          • The OW did do me a favor. She manipulated that Mother f*er long enough for me to get away from that. Kept him occupied for about six months. He went NC during that time, after all one must not cheat on the person that you are cheating with!!!??? Anyway, by the time that he did want to contact me I had “detoxed” from the “fog”. I had not yet found CL, but I realized that he was spewing “piggy faced” lies at me. A couple of months after that I found CL and I was hooked. Someone who uses snark, and bad words in a post, I knew I had found my “people” and it saved me. Thanks CL and CN, because reading this blog saved me from the “maybe he isn’t so bad”, “maybe he didn’t really know how that was going to affect me or my kids”, “maybe….., maybe….., maybe”. No you are a mother*cking son of a b*tch and you need to go.

              • OW did do me a favor, I might have wasted even more of my precious time with asshole ex if she hadn’t wanted him so badly. I hope his girlfriend keeps on taking his shit for as long as he lives.

    • “I had someone comment that he was surprised the marriage lasted as long as it did.”
      That’s awful, DM! I really hope the person who said it meant it in a “I never liked her” kind of way, but even then, that’s still an awful thing to say.

      • With a little more emotional distance from that time, I suspect that was what he more or less meant. However, it was a particularly awful thing to say in the midst of a hearing that would determine whether or not I’d remain licensed as a minister (and yes, this was said by another pastor).

        Hindsight is 20/20. I look back and am surprised by what I overlooked or ignored even going into the marriage. So, in a sense, I agree with the idea that it is surprising the marriage lasted as long as it did. However, it is amazing ANY marriage lasts in my opinion. That is the problem with such judgments it is a “other”-izing sort of statement. A distancing.

        • I would add that the statement at the time struck me as “Boy, you guys were messed up!” It followed upon me sharing the secrets of my marriage warts and all to these fellow pastors. So, I chalk that one up to a pastoral care fail. It wasn’t very sensitive to my position to say the least.

  • I told my husband that I was leaving him one year ago today. He was shocked and hurt by my decision and I felt so bad when I told him. I had no “real” evidence just a gut feeling. I did find out later that he was seeing another woman and not telling me. Thank you for comparing the way I felt to the Twilight Zone, that is exactly how it felt. This week I have met his new girlfriend because they are moving in together at the end of May. As I sat there and listened to her telling me about herself and a little about their relationship, I really wanted to tell her the reason that I left, because she clearly has no idea why our marriage imploded. I want to tell her so she can decide if she wants her pain now or later.

    • The Twilight Zone analogy is perfect. It’s such a surreal, disorienting experience. It’s certainly that can’t be explained to outsiders.

  • I had NO clue – I swallowed his B.S. hook, line, and sinker. It wasn’t until I met him for lunch one summer Friday and told him that he was spending too much time at work, that he needed to stay home more and help with the kids, that he got nasty.

    Me: “Some of my friends think I should put my foot down.”

    Him: “And did they say how they were going to support you once I divorce you for being such a f*ing nag?”

    I just stared at him. He’d been “working” 80+ hours a week for six months, I’d been single parenting the entire time and needed his help. And THAT was the response I got the first time I asked?

    I went home and cried. Then, listless, I turned on my PC to read the news headlines before I went and picked up the kids from summer camp. One of the headlines was “10 Signs Your Spouse Is Cheating.” I clicked on it, knowing my guy wasn’t a cheater, and was SHOCKED to see he fit 7 of the 10 signs – working late, working out, new clothes, always talking about one of the girls in his dept, etc. D-day was about three weeks later. The affair had been going on for 18 months.

    Looking back, all the signs were there. But if you’re naive and trusting, you don’t look for signs – you take them at their word. These days, I’m all about “trust and verify.” I rarely take anyone at his word. Sad.

    • Not to mention, if you are raising kids by yourself, working a job, keeping a home.. trying to survive, you don’t have much time to read tea leaves!!

      STBX complains I never had enough “time” for him…well Boo Fucking Hoo.. I was too busy keeping all the balls in the air. You could have HELPED, or cut your precious WORKOUTS a few minutes short and come up to bed with me. He’s the one who CHOSE to disconnect. While I was busy wiping noses and asses, doing algebra homework and running kids to sports/doctors appointments, doing all the shopping, cooking, cleaning, PLUS a job.. he was developing a relationship with MOW.. who incidentally has NO kids.. and plenty of time to dispense endless kibbles.

      • Yep – I was running the show, and he was complaining because it required so much of my time and energy. If he’d have helped, everything would have gotten done faster. But no, he found an OW with no kids who would feed his ego day and night. Now she’s long gone…

      • Typical day for me in my first marriage: Get up. Wife already gone. Wake kids make breakfast. Pack lunches. Dress kids an myself. Drive them to daycare. Go to work. Go to daycare for lunch with boys. Take disabled son to doctor 3_ 4 times a month during work.
        Rush from work to pick them up. Get home and cook dinner. Bathe them. Play with them or take them to sports or swim lessons. Sing and read to them to get them to sleep.
        Start on laundry and dishes. Go to bed. Wake up at 2 or so when wife gets home drunk to describe body of new guy she was with or some other bullshit.
        Go back to sleep wake up and she is gone. Repeat.

        • Arnold…thanks for being there for your boys…. You wont ever regret that. Your whore bag ex wife is a dog fucking self centered sack of shit… God ridances to bad rubbish.

          • As a result of this, I have a very close relationship with both boys. She does not. her loss. Thanks , Clip.

  • But I did know. I knew every time, even the ones I purposely ignored in the beginning when we were still getting to know each other. As time progressed, and we were “official” I thought he would have the decency to tell me and we could part ways. I thought he was that kind of guy. And I waited to see what would happen. But I always knew, and I don’t think that means I was condoning it. It means I was waiting for him to do the right thing.

    • I knew, too, Jen. Very different situation than for people whose cheaters were carefully hiding a double life. My ex is so entitled, I don’t think he thought he should have to hide anything, and Affair #1 started as an EA. So I waited, to see if he’d do the right thing.

      Amazingly enough, he kind of did. Told me he was involved with her, and wanted to fuck her (that’s the charming terminology he used. True love is so beautiful.). I was so devastated, and he saw it. It never occurred to me that he would go ahead and fuck her, seeing what a wreck I was at that point. But he did, and I stupidly bought into the whole RIC thing, did the pick-me dance for months while he was still involved with her, all of that. Man, it was RAINING kibbles on the man at that point, from two women! Must have been narc paradise.

      Over the following years, I started to clue in to who my ex is, started to realize there were no guarantees, despite his promises, that he wouldn’t cheat again. It was actually fairly likely, given his selfishness, his justifications of other people’s cheating and dishonesty. I began to see that he wasn’t a messed up and immature, but fundamentally decent person who loved me and his kids, not at all. And sure enough, the first really good opportunity arose, he was sent out of town for work, 4 days a week for months, and a colleague was hitting on him. I’m sure he thought he’d hit the jackpot! Chump would never find out, Schmoopie would keep putting out and adoring him, cake cake cake! Narc heaven again.

      But mean ol’ me, I figured it out in about 2 weeks, and took away his cake.

      I think if this as a double gift, given his character; the cheating freed me from a difficult, selfish person, and because he was so transparent, I didn’t get the rug pulled out from under me, like so many chumps have.

      • PS, I originally thought the narc had ‘done the right thing’ by telling me he wanted to fuck the OW. That he was trying to be honest, that he wanted to fix our relationship, not destroy it, that he didn’t want me to be blindsided. This ‘honesty’ was one of the reasons I thought reconciliation might work.

        Turns out he told me because he hoped I’d give him permission to eat cake. Apparently that’s what his previous long-term girlfriend had done, let him have an ‘open relationship’ when it became clear he was going to fuck around anyway (I don’t consider it a real open relationship if it’s a one-sided decision that is accepted only because the other par is afraid to lose the cheater.) And he made his contempt for ‘honesty’ very very clear in later discussions about other cheaters, financial abusers, and his own later behaviour.

        • KarenE–I gave my cheater the benefit of compassionate interpretation several times, too. It took 5 months after D-day, and some additional horrific information for me to see what my daughter had seen months earlier–he has no empathy, no conscience, and will never change.

          • He tried to tell me once but stopped himself. He realized I was going to walk away at that point. I realized what he had done, and choose to stay, knowing he was just stupid to do it. I can forgive stupid. But it repeated itself.

            These women are not attractive which gives me some comfort, but also puzzles me. I am not a master of the Kama Sutra, but I know what I’m doing, more so than he. So I guess it is some psychological thing, and I loved him so I wanted to help him move past it. Enough already, this is BS.

    • The awesome ex in my life told me time and time again “he never tried to hide it” and if “I would’ve asked him, then he would’ve been truthful.”

      That used to piss me off for so many reasons but now that I’ve escaped I understand that believe it or not, he was telling me the truth. He is such a coward and passive/aggressive loser, that is his way of ending any relationship. He had two supposedly monogamous/quasi serious relationships before me and that’s exactly how he did it with them. I think he was with one for two years and the other for 6 months. (He was barely 22 when we got married).

      Anyway, he let them both find out about his cheating so they would end the relationship. He was too lazy/entitled to have a conversation about being unhappy and he didn’t have the balls to just end the relationship himself and figured it would be better his way? Needless to say-to a battle of wits, he comes unarmed!

      The funny thing is that during our three years of false reconciliation whenever he threw that line at me I fired back with “Your idea of not hiding it and my idea are very different.” If you really weren’t hiding it, you would’ve said: “I think I’ll go out and fuck so and so.” He just kept with his assertion that he didn’t hide it. When I finally had that aha moment about the way he ended relationships I said: “Nope you didn’t hide it because you were just too much of a coward to have an adult conversation to end this relationship if you were so unhappy.”

      He has never uttered those words to me again. Not that I’ve given him much choice in that matter.

  • We had some married friends and the husband was a horrible cheater. Before finding out about his infidelity, the wife told me that he never let her take out the trash or any heavy lifting around the house and I felt a twinge of jealousy because my husband never did anything like that around our house. After finding out, I remember thinking to myself smugly, well I don’t mind taking out the trash, at least my husband is faithful. I’d take that over household help any day. The joke was on me, not only did I have trash duty (and every other household duty) I was being cheated on the whole time. I just remember how lucky I felt that my husband wasn’t like hers and she must be an idiot not to know or to put up with it. Will never judge someone else’s situation like that again. You never know what it’s like till you’re in the middle of it.

  • You know when the “surely you knew” kicked in, it was after. After I connected all the dots, noticed the red flags that I dismissed cause he had other “issues.” Realized I was dealing with STBX with NPD.
    WhichWaydidSheGo, I hear the pain in your words. It’s sucks that we chumps were such trusting nitwits. Believing that our partners were on the same page as we were. Mine told me stories of how wonderful the OW was like he was a love struck adolescent. WTF man, I’m your wife, I could give two shits about the HO you cheated on me with. I believe I have reached Mey, found someone new and looking at the X in my rear view mirror!

  • Yes, the problem when you are young and have not been cheated on and you know you have no intention of cheating is that you are projecting your values and moral compass onto others. When you make a promise, you intend to keep it. Surely your mate has the same intention??? Otherwise, why would your mate say the words and go through the motions?

    The scariest part of dealing with a disordered individual, as far as I am concerned, is how easy it is for them to lie. They can stand there with their genuine naugahyde remorse and look you in the eye and lie, lie, lie. “I would never do that to you.” “I couldn’t live with myself if I did something like that”. Or, “I don’t know why I did that, I’ve learned my lesson and I will never do that again.” “We can be open and honest with each other and work out all our problems.” Sure we can — I can do all the work and be honest, and you can do whatever you please and lie about it.

    The other thing that was devastating to me was when I put a time line to the deceit and cheating. Leave the house to “work” after having a loving night and a good bye kiss, and as soon as you pull out of the driveway and proceed down the block, you are on your way to see OW, calling her on the phone to whine about your loveless and sexless marriage. ” Yes, dear, I can’t wait until our divorce (which my wife knows nothing about) is final and you and I can finally be together, forever. Oh joy — it will be Naked Day everyday in our glorious union. ” The ability to compartmentalize and switch from one fake life to the other with ease — that is scary! The way they can analyze everyone and instantly decide what use and how much use they will be to them is scary. Neither I or OW really mattered — we just served different purposes.

    Look at them as the predators they are. When a lion is hungry and looks out at the choice of “meals” he has available to him, he doesn’t think antelope or wildebeest. He just picks out the target he can kill the quickest to solve that hunger problem he has. He doesn’t say fast food or full course dinner, he just knows hungry. This animal is one meal, that animal is good for several meals. He will gladly kill both and have an abundance of food available to fill his needs — if it isn’t too much trouble to do so.

    The fact is, I meant nothing to him. I was just a source of some of the things he needed. All the OW were sources of other things he needed. None of us mattered the minute we stopped being useful to him.

    I do not feel “stupid” for not thinking that way. I will never think that way, but now that I know about predators, I will be more attuned to the truth of their intentions. I watch their actions, and I don’t believe their words. I don’t believe anything until it is proven to me over a period of time. I listen to those “gut” messages. I do not assume people are nice. I do not assume they are honest and they will keep their promises. I watch, wait, and listen. I proceed with caution. I’ve learned how the predators hunt, and I try to stay out of their “territory”. I hope to live to a ripe old age, and I hope to be able to live my life without having to worry about the predator every minute. That is no way to live, and is not meh. But it was necessary for me to learn about the predator and to learn how to protect myself. The road to meh is dangerous, but living in meh is well worth the journey.

        • Me too!

          And I know now that when I heard a response of “yea, yea, yea” STBX wasn’t listening to a thing I said. My kids used to call him out on it but we were all blind. Now when someone says that I cringe and move on really fast!

        • Yep. That describes dealing with these folks. They are practiced liars , very adept due to a predisposition for it and tons of practice. I cringe when I see Tiger Woods interviewed. The narcissism just oozes out of him. Greg Norman and Michael Jordan, too.

      • Portia—THAT’S my story too. We’d have a romantic lovemaking evening, cuddle all night, have morning sex with many admiring words being said to me, he’d get up and make me a wonderful breakfast. He would say a beautiful grace thanking God for bringing us together for eternity. He’d then go take a shower and dress.

        After a firm hug, “I love you and can’t wait to get back home to you”, several goodbye kisses and a kiss blown as he drove away he would go to his noon ‘networking’ meeting.

        He would return home with damp hair. When I required why his hair was damp, he told me he’d stopped at the gym for a sauna.

        That flew for a few times and then I learned he’d been with his Ho at her house on her lunch hour, having sex.

        Double life indeed,

    • Now I really want one of CL’s ‘meh’ mugs. That was beautiful. I went to buy one earlier and got distracted by the journals.

    • “The other thing that was devastating to me was when I put a time line to the deceit and cheating.”

      You too, huh? When I got really good at detective work and put a lot of the pieces together, making all those timeline connections really hurt.

      I also thought it was interesting how you said your ex could easily switch from one fake life to another. I think of stbx as having had a secret life, but your description is much better: he had two fake lives.

      • …” making all those timeline connections really hurt.”…
        YES, even after the fact…that has just about killed me, finding out, “oh on THAT special day he had just spent the morning in bed with someone else…”, or ah, at THIS special moment he demurred on sex with me because he hadn’t had a chance to wash her juices off yet, but pretended he was tired and wove a story that was all crap…ouch.
        Every breath he took in my presence was a lie.
        If there was a day or week or month when he didn’t lie or fuck others, it is still all lies.
        I still try to excavate. I have never confronted him on some things I found out about later, because am NC, but I do wonder what he would say if he knew that I know.

        • “Every breath he took in my presence was a lie”. That is so true, Crushed. That was my X’s life story. After DDay I told him he killed me, and finally broke me. I understand the pain of living with a disordered sociopath. You have enough evidence. You know he sucks. I was stuck for a long time reliving the years of deception and disrespect. I filed for a diviorce three months later. I thought the pain would never end. I learned things that still make me cringe. All my fears were resolved by gaining support here and with the help of a good therapist. Being free of a toxic spouse has made my life worthwhile once again.

          • Bravo, Donna.

            I too spent a long time knowing I was married to a liar, and felt hopeless and stuck long before the final series of Ddays. You said, “I told him he killed me, and finally broke me.” What I said at the time was,”It’s like I was standing on the edge of a cliff, and you took a running start to push me off the edge.”

            The good news is that the spirit is resilient. The good folks here prove it every day.

            • StrongerEveryday, yes the spirit is resilient. Today each of my three children called me to see how I was doing. My son and daughter wanted to make plans for his birthday. Instead of presents we go somewhere for the weekend. My son wants to walk the freedom trail. How fitting is that!! Last year we celebrated my granddaughters birthday in NYC. I look forward to sharing my life with my children. He lost this privilege the day he chose a whore over his family. The only thing I really lost was the cheating asshole. I lost him but found myself. Divorcing him was the best thing I ever did. I decided to start dating this spring. I deserve to be in a relationship based on respect. That will be refreshing! I have hope, finally!

              • Donna–have a great time with your kids! After your horrific X, hearing that you’re healing is music.

        • Crushed, I was still making connections too, a long time after it really didn’t matter anymore. We were on the divorce path, I really knew how much he sucked, and still–still!–all of a sudden I’d make a new connection and think, “ohhhh, that’s what was really going on.” It cracks open the wound again.

          I too know about a lot of his lies that I never confronted him with. Part of me wants to let him know that he really didn’t get away with these things, but the larger part of me knows that it won’t make a difference to him anyway. And it won’t change the past.

          And yet…there’s one particularly egregious betrayal that I still wish I had thrown in his face, even though it took me a few years before I figured it out. I’m working on finding a way to let it go.

    • Portia–yes, how easy it is for them to lie. Mine got down on his knees with prayer hands to swear on his life that he had never done something I now know he did. He couldn’t have been more convincing at the time.

      • Makes you want a visit from the Old Testament God, doesn’t it. A lightening bolt thru the scrotum of the Liar, caught in the act of his virtuous pose and sanctimonious affirmation!
        You know, I’ve always heard you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear — do you think Lightening could make genuine remorse out of Naugahyde?

          • Im all about old school… Genital mutilation via divine intervention…not saying I am wishing it to happen… But if God( whom ever that might be) decided to make my ex a shish kabob… Who I am to get in the way of that Karma?

              • Unfortunately, some feel that the Old Testament God, is okay with sawing off a large part of a male infant’s penis. Who came up with that idea?

              • Off topic, but wasn’t that about hygiene? It doesn’t matter either way to me, I just thought it helped prevent infections, although I understand there is more sensation if you don’t do it.

            • Jen–I looked into this a lot because of what I teach (warning–getting on a high horse, here). Circumcision is a barbarous practice justified on religious grounds or “hygiene” grounds. The American Academy of Pediatrics permits it, but does not recommend it (and most doctors do not circumcise their own sons).

              We don’t do preventative appendectomies; why would we engage in a practice that kills 117 infants a year in the U.S. because of complications, causes tremendous pain, risks infection, to reduce urinary tract infections that are easily prevented by training boys (and parents) to use soap & water? [The claim that circumcision reduces the risk of AIDs is spurious and based on African data only, in places where HIV is present in a larger proportion of the population.]

              Someday, we will look back on this practice with as much as enthusiasm as we do bear-baiting in Elizabethan times. Okay, rant over.

              • Thank you thank you thank you Tempest. Exactly how I feel. Some day we’re going to look back and say wtf?!?! I refused to circumcize my son who is now one. I’m pretty sure people would be aghast if their doc recommended chopping off their daughter’s bits.

                My son also has my last name. Douchebag hasn’t been around for the pregnancy or the first nine months of the kids life, shows up once and the first thing he asks about is forcing me to legally change son’s last name. I have full custody. Sad thing is that a judge could rule that way. That is some bullshit.

      • Tempest– mine did the knees/prayer hands and added splashy tears….

        The first time he did it, ridden with guilt, I bought it. The second time, I was skeptical and put off by how unnecessarily dramatic it was. By the third time, I had already gotten some info (from his ‘former’ GF/perrenially triangulated OW ) that it was part of his MO of manipulation.

        I very passionately told him to get off his fucking knees, he looked like an idiot and I wasn’t buying it. He never did it again. (“end of scene” as they say)

    • Portia, were you also married to my husband? Sounds so familiar! He would kiss me before he left for work, then proceed to make videos (on his company computer) to Schmoopie, telling her to “hang in there”, “I love you”, “we’ll be together soon”! I found these during our so-called reconciation on his computer. The one that really got me was on my birthday. He took me to lunch, bought me a beautiful bracelet, then hurried back to his office to write a power point poem to her about their great love complete with pictures of her all over it! The poem was so adolescent sounding that I’m pretty sure my 6 year old grandson could have written it! Yuck! It just sickens me to even think about it! Double life doesn’t even begin to describe this shit and I was all in thinking he was working hard on our marriage! WTF??? And also, like you, I now watch very closely to be sure that actions match up with words. Do I trust people. Hell no! The depth of deception these sub humans sink to is unreal. I’m glad to be done with him and his disordered ass! It hurts, but it hurt a lot more dealing with lies and deceit everyday. Trying to figure out if he was being sincere or not. I no longer have to sit and wonder if he’s really being honest anymore. That is a special kind of miserable limbo that I will now let his Schmoopie live in! I wish her luck, but I’ll give her a hint! He lies all the time!

      • Roberts, x was the fucktard king of sucky poems. I swear if I ever meet a man who writes me a poem it will be over in a cheater second. And your right, they are sooo juvenile. Ha! And auwhore thinks he’s a fucking knight in shining armor. If she only knew he originally wrote it for Linda. And then changed the name to Sharon,mary, Donna, and then to Nan. He is that lazy.

  • It is all about Chump Lady’s previously identified cheater mindfuckery and chump Spackle. Yes, I was concerned about some issues. Very non-threateningly I brought them to the fore. I was naive and by his appraisal, “oversensitive”. He was “quirky”. Instead of trusting my gut, without any proof, I tried to ratchet back my “paranoia”. Thinking by doing so I was maturing into an everyday spouse learning about the give and take of relationships and navigating marriage. Oh my FOO issues set me up but good. Simply put: I was the giver and he was the taker.
    Not even his OCD-germaphobia kept him carousing with people he considered desperados. Go figure?

  • Six months before D-Day, “Lover of Whores” left his e-mail open and I found pictures of his “junk”. When I asked him about why he took pictures of it he said, “I was bored.” I let it go. Complete denial. Now, almost a year post D-Day (many, many hookers, strippers, backpage and craigslist nasties) and (me) almost happily divorced, when I contemplate his response, I am brought to tears by laughter. When you are bored, is that an activity you consider or do? A weekend project? A new hobby? “I’m just going to grab my camera phone, pull down my pants and see what’s going on down there. Oh wait, this is way cool! It looks better from some angles than others. Don’t want to get Mr. Pecker’s bad side. I might as well just save these great pics in my e-mail. I might never know when I might need them.”

    Please accept my apologies if this is your hobby…

  • This is right on! I used to be one of those people, how could they not know their husband was gay, I mean really there must have been signs!

    Looking back and as it got closer to DD I can see that subconsciously I knew, it was like my body knew. When he came back from deployment in 08 I remember this night I was really crying and now I know why, something was different subconsciously I knew part of him had left the marriage…but I didn’t really know this, you know? He would always say I didn’t trust him, I believed things were my own wrong perception due to insecurity or jealousy. The truth although an unbelievably devastating nightmare to explode into reality, also set me free because then I knew no I was not crazy, no I was not having those dreams about him cheating on me because of my insecurties or something wrong with me, somehow my body knew things before the conscious area of my brain.

    I especially agree with the -we are moral people and then believe others are too, they see that and pray on that as a weakness…

    • I also didn’t know, but I knew something was way off. X and I had been together for over 25 years and we had our ups and downs, like most married couples. Bu we were still in love (I thought) and my X was very, very ill. In fact, he was not expected to live, to the point that we were discussing how I was going to raise the kids after his death. So was he pulling away? Absolutely, but not for the reason I thought. Was I distracted? Hell to the yes!

      The one thing I clearly remember was my dreams and they were screaming at me. I kept dreaming I was trying to call X on the phone, but I kept dialing the wrong number or getting a busy signal. I could just never “reach” him. In other dreams, I kept getting lost in my own home, finding hidden rooms I never knew existed. My subconscious was telling me the truth, but I didn’t understand the language. I was so intent on doing everything to keep X well and to keep my children cushioned from the awfulness of their dad’s medical condition that it was impossible to focus on anything else.

      A few months before X’s very public exposure, which was very deliberately planned and executed by OW, X and I had a huge fight about his dismissive attitude toward me. I asked him point-blank, “Do you even still love me?”His answer was, ” I don’t right now.” Even then, I clung to the fact that we had been married so long, and he was sooo ill. Surely, it was his illness pushing him away. I know it is not acceptable to blame the OW, but in my situation, she targeted a terminally ill man, hoping for a quickee divorce and marriage, knowing that she would soon be playing the role of merry widow. Of course, that in no way diminishes X’s resposibility, but again, I couldn’t conceive of someone deiberately targeting a sick old man.

      It was also almost impossible for me to fathom that a man so sick would throw away a lifetime together for some skank willing to give bj’s during the middle of the day. Who in their right mind would do something like that, knowing the pain his family was already going through watching his decline? For me, that is why I still have so many trust issues to this day. If I couldn’t see what was happening with a man I spent most of my life with,how can I ever trust new people coming into my life? Which is why I am still in what a poster here so aptly referred to as my Greta Garbo phase. At my age, I don’t have it in me to start over.

      • I asked myself that question too.. “who in their right mind would throw away a beautiful family, a secure life, financially good after ALL the lean years, for some rode hard put away wet middle aged whore”???

        The answer is.. no one in their right mind. They aren’t in “their right minds”.

        I think my MOW targeted mine too.. he’s a big spender and looks all big and bad but the truth is.. all of that is a facade. She bought his “victimhood” story, the victim of a meal ole bad wife.. who made him participate in child rearing, and was “just a paycheck”.. which is funny he said that to me one day, considering I have always worked and made a good living- all while raising children and taking care of ALL the details he never even knew about. But that was the line.. I am just this horrible person who takes advantage of poor sausage. Never gave him enough attention or loving. She probably thinks they’ll stay together, live the fabulous life in the city.. she’s not thinking clearly either. She’s never been up all night with a sick toddler (she is childless), she’s never had a teenager scream at her (oh and she will, my older one will KNOW what she is). She’s not paying attention to red flags. She hasn’t done the math either. Neither one of them are too bright.

        They are in a fog… in la la land and trying to reason with someone in that state is impossible. I tried desperately to get my STBX help, I tried to reason with him, to get him to talk to people, begged him to get a counselor, to be honest with himself.. but he couldn’t. If he admitted fault, that means he can’t blame it all on me, and blaming it on me and riding off into magic pixie land is so much more appealing.. even if magic pixie land is a total fantasy. He’s never been a super realistic person. I did all I could to honor my marriage vow.. and he spit all over me.

        There is only so much abuse someone can take. I suspect magic pixie land won’t last long once the realities of the finances, the responsibilities and logistics of dual parenthood, and all the other shit hit the proverbial fan. But by the time he realizes what he threw away.. it will be too late.

        It’s such a tragedy, because he has decimated me, this will harm my kids, change who they are, how they view relationships.. all for a selfish desire to fill the need for kibbles. It’s outrageous and unforgivable. It’s a shit sandwich that keeps on giving.

        • Infidelity “harms faithful loving spouses and children, changes who we are, and changes how we view/engage in relationships.” Yes, this. For many years, I worked hard on my marriage and our kids. I never allowed my children to be around people I didn’t trust. And then the whole abandoning, cheating spouse thing “just happened” to me, and all that crazy happened too to our three beautiful children. How do you trust someone who’s taken your savings, is quickly remarried to his affair partner, has caused you to lose a home, and has a new life with you not in it?!? Not a lot I could control apparently. The guy who was supposed to be looking out for and loving his family, well, he just blew us all up.

  • This topic actually brings to mind a quotation by FBI crazy man J. Edgar Hoover, writing about how mid-century Americans were handicapped in their fight against communism by a lack of imagination:

    “Yet the individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists. The American mind simply has not come to a realization of the evil which has been introduced into our midst. It rejects even the assumption that human creatures could espouse a philosophy which must ultimately destroy all that is good and decent.” (The Elks Magazine, August 1956)

    As horrible as Hoover was, his quote applies pretty damn well to Chumps and Cheaters.

    Plus, I chuckle at imagining my ex-wife as Leonid Brezhnev in a Mu-Mu. Madame Hot-to-Trotsky?

  • When stories about infidelity would come up, like with celebrities or in movies or something, X would always say, “I could never do that to you,” “If either of us ever want out, let’s just admit to it and not do that” or “I wouldn’t take you back if you cheated,” and I’d always reply, “There’s no way I’d take you back if you cheated.” And once he did admit to the affair with OW, he even said something all sad like, “And now that I’ve done what I always said I’d never do…” Oh, you poor widdle sad sausage! Yes, let me feel bad for YOU for something YOU did.

    Toward the end, though, I did notice he started to not care as much if character’s cheated in movies. And the moment he started talking about his co-worker, the OW, I felt that relationship was inappropriate. Like I could probably still tell you almost the exact day, because it was like a switch flipped. He talked way too much about her, all the time, and said completely inappropriate things, which I would call attention to and then he would try to dismiss away as a joke or that I was being jealous of his completely innocent “friend” and “if she was a guy, you wouldn’t be this way.” Actually, if he HAD talked about a guy like that, yeah, I still would have been suspecting an affair! So I had suspicions the moment he started running his mouth about OW, and he kept blameshifting/gaslighting me, making me think I was crazy or being a bitch. And it escalated pretty quickly after that, me saying I was going to leave if this continued, him saying he wasn’t sure what he wanted anymore, etc.

    In the time since, I have gone back and forth in my thoughts that either X just didn’t have a good filter on his mouth, or that X took great delight in flaunting it to me. I think I’ve mostly come down on the flaunting side. But for all the flaunting cheaters, there are just as many who keep their secret lives a secret until the last possible moment.

    • Samesies. I remember the day he came home with homemade jam, said who it was from and said, innocently, “who’s that?” He blew his shit instantly about how I didn’t care about his job and all that was important. The hair on my neck stood up for the first time and I ignored it. Because you know, I wasn’t paying the fucking mortgages and affording the cushy life. In 25 yrs he had never spoken like that to me.

      • Wow, me too! My exH even told me about his best friend cheating on his wife and said, “my friend has no soul, how could he do that” — all while HE was cheating on me! But he did get one thing right, he definitely has no soul 😉

        • Yes yes of my goodness. Ex’s best friend cheated with the babysitter of his two very young daughters. In the house owned by his partner and mother of his two girls. The OW was about 10-12 years younger.
          Ex used to say it was disgusting then I’d be thinking but you slept with prostitutes and did worse to me?! Used to mess with my brain so badly. All my logical thought was eroded by such gaslighting bullshit. One of the many shit sandwiches of let’s pretend it never happened I swallowed.

      • OW did contract work for us and was paid as all contrators were. One day, I saw a check paid to her out of order. When I asked why, X responded that she need money for a car repair. Right then I knew something was off as X never, ever made exceptions to the payment schedules. Six months later, the truth came out.

  • I have to admit, I just think I was in denial throughout the whole marriage about XH’s interest in other women. It was always going to end the way it did- I just hoped it wouldn’t.

    However here’s a cheater bigamist story to show how it really is possible to believe all is well even when you are being fed the most appalling crap…It’s also testament that Facebook can sometimes be the Chump’s friend.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3041696/Wife-discovered-cheating-husband-s-secret-second-family-tagged-Facebook-doing-Ice-Bucket-Challenge.html

    • Oh my word! Witness Protection Program? LOL And the second wife is staying with this fool? Oh Lord. Someone please send her the link to Chump Lady!!!

      • Yeah second ‘wife’ works for a company called Vivid Imaginations !!. Cheater’s excuse is the well-worn abandonment issues from parents who divorced when he was 15…ha!

  • This is SO spot on, CL! I had no clue whatsoever. When I met my ExH, he told me that he divorced his ex-wife because he walked in on her with another guy in their bed. It was SO painful, he said, he could NEVER inflict that kind of pain on someone else. Especially not on me, the love of his life. Now, I’m pretty sure that was a big, fat lie, because I’ve since learned that he was cheating on me from Day 1.

    But he played a great part. Very loving, affectionate, thoughtful, etc, for the whole 17 yrs we were together. He’d bring me flowers, go out and get my favorite food at midnight, kiss me at red lights, lots of sex, etc. He was even pushing for a ceremony to renew our wedding vows when DDay came knocking. I truly thought he was madly in love with me, as (most of) his words and actions seemed to show it. Yes, there were other huge, honking red flags of disorder, but I truly believed that we had such a strong, passionate love that, with him in counseling, together we could triumph over his abuse and addictions.

    Guess I was just very naive and trusting. His OWife, though, has no excuse. How she doesn’t know that he’s cheating on her, considering she has firsthand knowledge that he’s a serial liar, cheater, and alcoholic is beyond me (though she probably doesn’t know yet about the drugs and domestic violence). Apparently, she’s both ugly and stupid. Kind of looks like the pig aliens in your pics, especially her nose… She just has a lot, lot of money…

  • I don’t understand why what you knew when matters. If you now know, there was time that you did not know, then a time you did know (and all the gray in between). But so what?

    Discovery does not infer permission to cheat, regardless of one’s post D-day path, unless you explicitly agreed to an open marriage (unlikely).

    The chump’s post D-Day path might not be rational because they are traumatized, so it is unfair to use that path to blame them.

    It seems that the RIC could come up with better reasons in favor of reconciliation than blaming the traumatized victim.

  • My wife, while claiming her PA was actually “only” an EA, told friends and family, “And JC knows I talk inappropriately to ManGod, and that I have feelings for him.”

    So, it wasn’t just that people *thought* I was somehow in the know. My spouse actually *told* people that I was in the know.

    When I heard her do that, I realized that I was fighting a losing battle. My wife was so far out ahead of me in impression management with her lies and manipulation of friends and family. I had no chance, because all I had was the truth, which is boring and damning and would force people to confront questions like: What does it say about you that you’re still friends with JC’s wife, but not JC?

    So, I folded. As CL says, the game is rigged, so there’s no point in even playing. Accept that you lost. Cash out. Leave the casino. Find a place where love is not treated as a game to be played for short-term thrills.

    • I agree JC with Chump Lady also. The game is rigged. My ex thought he would win on that final spin at the roulette wheel once I was diagnosed with lung cancer. I only wish I could show you all the heartless, calculated emails he sent to his attorney (cc to Schmoopie) trying to figure out how to spin the story once I dropped dead! He was going to play the grieving widower who was lucky enough to have support from his “friend” at his side! Trouble was, I didn’t die!! My bad! And once I was well enough to face off with this deceitful bastard in mediation, I exposed enough of his contemptuous conniving to everyone so that he was cornered! Let’s just say, he lost BIG at the tables that day! Cheaters never change and very rarely win in the long run and I’m fine with that! They reap what they sow!

    • I suppose I’ve been lucky in this regard. While my stbx is an expert at impression management, I think most of our friends and family have seen through this, and I, armed only with the truth, seemed to have won the PR battle, not that I was trying to win the PR battle. At the same time, I needed to tell my story, and I wanted the support of my friends and family through this horrific time. Luckily I have received that support in spite of her image management tendencies.

  • I didn’t know.

    It was so super obvious, but I didn’t know. I just thought he was becoming more and more repulsive, actually.

    But if anyone asks me if I knew? I like Tracy’s phrase: I’ll say that, no, I was not in on the deal.

    I won’t judge people for being chumped any more. Now I know.

    But at the same time, I won’t hold it against anyone for being a little smug. I was smug once, too. Now I know.I’ll just be smug right back–“Go ahead and be smug–you have no fucking clue. I am wiser than you.”

    But isn’t that the case with smugness–it’s always committed by those least qualified. That’s what’s especially egregious about it–and a little humbling now, speaking for myself.

  • I never saw it coming. I was completely blindsided by his cheating. It was embarrassing and humiliating.It was easy for him too. He never had to lie to me too much. But he always sucked at so when he did…..when I looked back, after DDay, I saw only one major sign that I noticed was that I stopped seeing his cell phone. He didn’t walk into the house with it anymore. It didn’t lay on the kitchen counter. It disappeared. I also felt disconnected with him but I chalked it up to our crazy schedule. It had happened before. I never thought he would cheat. I was not a jealous person. I trusted him completely. Being suspicious was not part of my nature. It is now though.

    6 months after DDay, I was chatting with 2 girlfriends. They are also chumps. Infidelity ended their marriages but I am the newbie Chump. They intimated that I had been wrong about something in the marriage and asked what i would do differently. Like what did I do to contribute to the demise of my marriage. What the hell?!? I am not perfect but I did not cause that asshole to cheat on me. I will NEVER take responsibility for that. He even KNEW that I was clueless. When he started to tell me he was “depressed”, he would say, “Everyone thinks we have the perfect marriage.”. Well, it wasn’t perfect but I thought I was happy. No, in the end, it was his “happiness” without me and our 7 yo son that was paramount.

    Funny. I had a thought yesterday about all these asshole cheaters their “happiness” with the OW/OM. They don’t normally mention they are leaving because the found “love”. Probably because they can’t access that emotion with that tiny excuse of a heart.

    • How very astute! Few comments were that he wasn’t “happy”. My cheater was going to “work on himself and on coming home happy” when he moved to his apartment. “Of course there isn’t anyone else. That isn’t what this is about. I’m not interested in dating or sleeping with other people”. Dday just the next week. Guess CheaterDicks go to sex stores and tell the OWhore how close it is to your new place when you are just working on their “happy”. Maybe your “Mr.Happy”. He’s been NC since being caught. And outta here!

      Amazed at the depth of the deception and lies. And OWhore is no prize either. It’s like peeling a rotten onion finding all the things we “spackled over” and were “chumped” about. We silly trusting chumps.

      And I’m only on month 1….stay tuned for the next episode of “As the Stomach Turns”.

  • Chump Lady I thought I’d read every post but I obviously need to go back and make sure.
    This is so spot on. I was 6 months pregnant still having lots of sex, looking pretty hot and making sure my waxes were never missed. Teaching four days a week and taking care of a toddler because dickhead never came home or returned late, drunk and drugged up. Few weeks before DD1 I told a few friends who I had over at my house nooooo he would never cheat he had issues but noooooo I know for a fact he would never cheat. Don’t even know how the subject came up. Two weeks later I find his searches for married affairs and a whole lot more online. He’d been cheating the whole marriage. When I found out he was fucking prostitutes then having a go on pregnant me! I was mortified.

    I would not cheat so noooo he would not cheat why would he? I did it all I loved him I blah blah blah. I lived in that naive bubble and when it burst a new bubble grew which said hey he’s been caught once he won’t do it again. WRONG WRONG WRONG. Five years later he walks. It was five years of gaslighting hell.

    At the time of DD1 my mother asked me but how did you not know? That he was credit card happy paying for strippers and prostitutes? How the hell was I meant to know? Are we meant to stalk our own partners? I was to exhausted but was still to blame.

    Aaaaagghhhhh!!! So glad that mess is over.

    • I am sorry that your own mother said that to you. My own brother said, “On some level, you must have known.” Really? what “level” was that. Like all the other posters here, Cheater daily told me he loved me, we were talking about our retirement, remodeling our kitchen, future grandchildren, when I was completely ambushed when one night it seemed weird he was out late when he said he would be having dinner at Burger King and I didn’t think there were open that late; check cell phone account, 100x texts and calls, just knew! Nuclear Bomb!! I waited up for him, then asked him was he out on a date, laughed in my face and denied it. After two hours of forcing the truth out of him he then informed me he had NEVER loved me, never been happy, was jealous of my kids, OW was better because she had no kids, this was a “great opportunity for him,” and claimed he only met her two weeks before this???WTF?? how could I have known any of this insanity on any “level”? Yes he used to flirt with waitresses and store cashiers, but this?? no way.

      Together 16 years, raised my kids together, had lots and lots of his favorite kinds of (deviant misogynistic dom sub) sex, I paid for all the food, most of the mortgage, he lacked for NOTHING! So really, on what “level” was I supposed to have figured out the person I trusted more than anyone in the whole world was secretly fucking another woman while supposedly remodeling her house… then discovered after DDay he had continued to fuck prior GF to me for 9 years while living with me and had another affair 5 years before Schmoopie? “On some level???”

      • Serial cheaters go to a whole other level with their compartmentalizing. Like the more extreme their secret life the more upstanding or fabulous seeming their family man alter ego. The butthole inspector ex was the perfect man. He coached little league and vacuumed and was amazing dad man. They’re like Jekyll and Hyde.

        Word is that Grade A Narcs target amazing, intelligent, strong women. Then we blame ourselves because we are amazing, intelligent, strong women and how did we not know? I have wicked good intuition and ex got past that. Because they do hide that other part of themselves so well. Eventually I figured him out because you can’t fool a scorpio for long, but I fired my guardian angel for sure.

        Muse you are an amazing, intelligent, strong woman. Your brother is an asshat for saying that. Anyone trying to blame or devalue you is trying to make YOU wear a mask as evil as your ex’s. It’s hard to feel awesome in the middle of a hurricane but I can see it in you. The ex? Fuck that guy and hell poodle he rode in on. Like I said up above, asshole for a soul.

  • I didn’t know and I would hazard a guess that most Chumps don’t know but our gut is telling us ‘be alert’. This is a bit of a different version of keeping secrets which I only found out about many years after the fact. When newly married, my ex husband would go to football training and cricket training in the respective seasons. He stayed with the clubs he had always been at and they were near where his parents lived which was about a one hour drive away. So twice a week I was on my own because ‘he had to have his interests’. Long story short, he would visit his parents before supposedly going to training but he actually never got to training because he was so scare of his mother he stayed and then returned home to me. He would put his training gear in the washing basket, however, me being so dumb just washed them and a got them ready for the next ‘training day’. I mentioned this to my best girlfriend after my divorce and she queried why I never checked them. Why should I? I trusted him because I knew (thought) he was the same as me. Honest, reliable and would never do anything wrong. That deception is just one of the many I have found out since but my kids still tell me I am awful and that dad is a nice man and I deserve to be alienated from them. Somethings you just can’t win at.

    • Your kids are grown up so they should know better. Obviously bankrupt of morals and take after their prick of a father, it seems.
      Might sound heartbreaking to say, but you are truly better off, without their disordered fuckwittery in your life.
      If they think cavourting with underage Cambodian prosti-tots is appropriate, they have a LOT of screws loose in their head.

  • The “blaming the victim” voodoo still bothers me a lot more than I want to admit. I got over my shame of being cheated on a while ago, but I still get the odd niggle of annoyance whenever I hear the cliches about “Why People Cheat.” All of it is utter drivel designed to make this Horror seem less bad somehow.

    But then I remember: I enjoyed my high horse while I was on it too. I compared my relationship to those around me and thought mine was far superior. What a laugh.

  • I never had anyone outside my marriage tell me I “should have known,” or “didn’t I know.” Strangely enough, it was my EX who told some people that I should have known what he was and what he was doing. And from my vantage point now, several years out, I actually see that he was right. I kept my head in the sand, spackled like crazy, pretended I didn’t see the obvious and let him get away with it all because it was too scary to face the truth — that I had married a disordered, closeted-gay, selfish and immature man who did not care about me and cheated from our dating days on. Not to say that my willful blindness excuses him. No, the burden of sin and wrongdoing is all on him. But it’s a shame that it took me so long to get up the strength to open my eyes to reality. At least I finally got the courage to leave him once I did.

  • For me this is one of the worst parts, if not the worst part, of the post-infidelity life. I personally can come to terms, deal, accept, blah blah, all the stages. I have, and I’m not a victim, it’s in the past, and it doesn’t drive my purpose in life, or keep me from setting and achieving the goals of the things I want. The ludicrous nature of the assumptions of others makes me vomit, and if I trigger or cycle through my hurt a little now (been 2 ½ years since dday so it’s a LOT easier now), it’s usually because of some moronic statement made by people who either know nothing, or those who purport to know what’s “right” as a path for dealing with affairs.
    Books, studies, surveys, web sites by counselors, I ran the gamut, and even now, if I click on something and read the tripe being barfed into the web by some know it all from Podunk town claiming they have the answer for all, I spin back a little. This crap, in my mind, is what keeps the betrayed from healing (these are paraphrased):
    “I’ve counseled hundreds of couples and everyone agrees the right answer is to save the marriage after the affair.”
    “Every couple I’ve seen reconcile has a better marriage because of the infidelity and my counseling services.”
    “Once the betrayed owns what they did in the marriage to set the stage for the affair, we can move forward with healing.”
    “The unfaithful spouse doesn’t help their cause by repeatedly lying and trickle-truthing, but the betrayed setting unrealistic boundaries and having a lack of empathy can be just as dangerous for the reconciliation of the marriage.”
    “Acceptance means understanding you didn’t cheat, but that you didn’t help the situation either.”
    “Infidelity isn’t a deal breaker, the reaction to it is.”
    “If the betrayal wasn’t there, you would think the list of complaints your spouse has is legitimate, right?”
    “Bad marriages lead to infidelity.”
    “People cheat because they aren’t getting something from the marriage.”
    “You weren’t perfect, right?”

    • Scott, all those cheater friendly comments make me barf, barf, barf, too. Disgusting what betrayed spouses are subjected to.

    • Scott, those assumptions and stupid assertions are what keeps the blog going. I’m long past being angry that I was chumped. In fact, the experience led in my case to a much better life. But what I continue to be upset about is the discourse around infidelity — that chumps asked for it, or knew, or worse, that reconciliation is the assumed outcome. (Let’s all just give cheaters the benefit of the doubt!)

      That’s the narrative I’d like to change, with everyone’s help here at CN.

      • CL, I’ll never forget when my IC asked me why I stayed with my ex so long. My answer was “hey, I wasn’t the only person he fooled.” My kids were flabbergasted and so were our friends. It’s not like a cheating spouse is truthful with you. They deny your reality because they want to keep two lives going. If I’d had proof my ex was cheating I’d have left.

      • Very timely post, so much great support here! I had this happen today, (and more than today)
        a mutual friend of the ex-cheater asked me ‘Are you still with ex-cheater?’
        Me: ‘No, Ex cheater had too many other ‘girlfriends’
        Friend: ‘c’mon, EVERY body knows that, that’s common knowledge.’
        My brother piped in with the same response.
        Me: ‘I didn’t know, a heads up in the last 5 years would’ve helped me a lot guys.’

        Anyone have any good comebacks to use when insensitive things like this are said?
        Like the other posters I agree, the pain of cheating has dulled but the crazy-making thought of ‘everyone knew and even family members couldn’t say something.’ is heartbreaking.

        • “When they hide behind a mask and everyone who sees shit behaviour is pussy-footing around and not informing me, or worse, playing full blown Switzerland – gee, I wonder why I was unaware?”

        • One of my only two remaining friends told me after I busted ex that he had come onto her years ago in a very obvious way and that she told him to go back to me and leave her alone. I was so pissed. I did forgive her because she said she was afraid I would not believe her and she’d lose me and she loved me too much to risk losing me. It is possible that would have happened, back in the days she was talking about my ex had manipulated me into almost total isolation. So I forgive that.

          Fuck a good comeback, mine would be the same as it was for my friend. If you love me why would you not tell me? If you know me well enough to love me, how could you believe I would have put up with that shit? I trusted him and he lied to me daily, I did not know.

    • Amazing compendium of Stupid Cheat Counselors Say.

      You know, 50 years ago, you could’ve written a similar list of stupid and hurtful things people said to implicate the victims of sexual assault in the crimes committed on them, criticizing how they dressed or acted or where they went or with whom, or for “dwelling” on their injuries by wanting to (gasp!) talk about it, rather than hush up and be quiet and Pretend It Never Happened. Shameful.

      All to say, progress is possible.

        • CL, I see your next topic—>. Stupid Shit Counselors Say. Let’s get this all in one place. But tIll then,

          My first counselor said: “What you have to ask yourself is why you were asleep at the wheel.”

          My response: “Look, I understand that it is supposed to make me feel like less of a victim and empower me if I share some part of the blame by having known what my (then) husband was up to, but I didn’t. He fooled not only me, but my family, our closest friends, and our entire community for decades. And you saw what happened when I DID finally realize the truth– I kicked him out on his ass that day. So while I would love to bear some responsibility for what happened and how long I was fooled, as it would give me some semblance of control in this awful situation, I just can’t do that.”

              • Many of these counselors just do not understand or realize that the “conventional” wisdom goes out the window when dealing with those on the far end of the Cluster B spectrum. Trusting your spouse, giving them the benefit of the doubt, not suspecting astonishing acts of betrayal that suggest your spouse has no empathy when they present themselves as loving and caring, presuming your spouse would leave you if they wanted other relationships, are simply what normal people expect and rightfully so. And turning it around, if I had been a crazy jealous spouse, suspecting and arguing and being suspicious of my husband all those years while he was cheating, but not being able to prove it, I could imagine a marriage counselor suggesting that I was the cause of our problems and that I needed to trust him.

                You see, it is always supposed to be our faults with this approach. I will not accept that.

      • This is actually partially why I don’t bother with counsellors myself.
        When I was younger, I was bullied. And when authority intervened – they pretty much forced counselling on me – to “explore the issues as to why my behaviour was making me a target for bullying”. Hell to the fuck no. I was not at blame. And yes, I did say a variant of “Hell to the fuck no” when they pulled that tripe on me.
        Because of the fact that these days, people feel that infidelity is ‘normal’ and ‘edgy’ and ‘cool’, they are coloured by that view, and will gleefully blame the victim. Plus more money pours in, you see – trying to ‘fix’ someone who doesn’t even need ‘fixing’ anyway. The game is rigged.
        The fact is though, if they were ‘honest’ about their behaviour, a couple of visits would be enough, and they’d garner far more business by that person referring their loved ones onto them.

      • Nomar, I’m sorry but all you have to do is read news to see that victims of sexual assault are still blamed in the same ways they were 50 years ago. Not much has changed for them or domestic abuse victims either.

        • Correct. I just read a story of a woman who was sexually assaulting her underage male student for months. She got probation. Kid is probably hearing how lucky he was etc.

          • Fuck off Arnold, statutory rape is not the topic I was addressing, victim blaming is the topic. The kid isn’t being blamed for being taken advantage of by the teacher, go back to your MRA site

            • Oh, thought you were talking about rape victims, Dat. Just read this story today and thought it might interest you.

    • The marriage industrial complex at it’s finest. I have a great individual counselor… but the MC we tried was terrible. I think most of them are terrible.

    • chumplady.com should be required reading by all in the RIC and MC industry – fair and balanced. Look at all the data. The stories in the blog are authentic, honest, and heartfelt and to me, they count as the most meaningful data I’ve discovered on the internet or IRL, in part, because so many stories match my own experience, so I know my story is not an outlier. Most cheaters DO exhibit significant narcissistic qualities and egregiously instigate severe destruction and devastation.

      So often it is the cheater who is
      – withholding sex
      – withholding affections
      – making no attempt to meet his spouse’s emotional needs
      – disregarding his spouse’s attempts at meeting his own needs
      – not helping raise the children
      – being financially irresponsible
      – consuming a majority of the relationship resources: energy, money, time etc
      – and, by definition, CHEATING!!!

      The narrative that a lame spouse led a cheater to cheat is so wrong on so many levels.

      (ps: I am fortunate to have a IC who supports me, and let’s me know I have nothing to work with, and that my kids will be better off once the divorce is final, and that the risk of staying is too great for both myself and my kids)

      • Thing is though, the cheaters don’t feel they have a problem. So no amount of mind-working will help them – they fall over at the first stage.
        Whereas someone who has empathy and compassion and was chumped, they twist themselves into a pretzel trying to ‘fix’ themselves, when nothing is really wrong in the first place.

      • Great list, Buddy! Nice to see it laid out like that. It helps clarify a few things for myself, because it’s all so true.

        Thanks!

      • Buddy, you nailed this…and it’s one of the things I bristle at when I hear the excuses of the cheater. It’s almost always some sob story about how terrible they had it. My ex isn’t afraid to tell anyone within earshot that she was a workaholic stay at home mom, when in fact, she sat on the couch all day while I worked, then I came home, cleaned the house, the cat boxes, the dishes, the vacuuming, everything but laundry. So I did a double take on your list, with the exception of the first item, my ex did all the below
        – withholding sex – this was actually the opposite for me, and far more devastating when I found out, because our sex life was actually not bad before the cheating, so I didn’t understand not only what she was doing, but when the heck did she have time to do it…
        – withholding affections – with the exception of sex, yes.
        – making no attempt to meet his spouse’s emotional needs – fact.
        – disregarding spouse’s attempts at meeting own needs – fact – she checked out, big time.
        – not helping raise the children – almost zero accountability on that one…she literally did nothing with our son, for probably two years.
        – being financially irresponsible – she’s a shopaholic, a hoarder, manic depressive, and knows no financial boundary.
        – consuming a majority of the relationship resources: energy, money, time etc – Absolutely, the world, and marriage, and life, revolved 100% around her. Not the kids, not me, not the house, but only her.
        – and, by definition, CHEATING!!! – Which now, with the passage of a few years post d-day, it’s obvious there wasn’t 1 AP, there was probably 5 or more. One of her ex-friends even told me, “She’s the single meanest person I’ve ever met.”
        Glad to know I wasn’t the only one married to one of these emotional nazis.

  • so glad to see this post today.

    no, we didn’t know…

    and if anyone reading this knows that someone is cheating on his or her partner, TELL THEM ASAP !!

  • I think a lot of that reaction stems from fear. Some people, when they see someone else experiencing something that fills them with fear – react by distancing themselves. Surely this can’t happen to me — I’m much too smart. I shave my legs and stay in shape. I work hard. I am kind and smart and good and…..etc. ad nauseum.

    A similar thing happens to people who fall ill with a dreaded disease. They find themselves isolated while friends, families, neighbors all discuss the reasons that they will not ever get that disease (I take vitamins, I exercise, I eat blueberries, blahblahblah). It’s bullshit victim-blaming, but I wonder if it’s human nature.

    Falling ill and being cheated on are terrible things that I would not wish on anyone. But I do also think that surviving either can open your heart if you let it. I think I’m a more compassionate person than I was before I was chumped. I know it wasn’t my fault. I know it wasn’t something I could have prevented, if only I was better.

    • The weird thing about having bad experiences, I’ve found, is that it makes the good people even better (more compassionate, more understanding, more empathic and caring), while it appears to have ZERO impact on the character disordered. I guess a learning experience is only that if you are open to actually learning something from it!

      I think it’s easy to be a bit oblivious when we’re young, but most of the more mature and empathic people I know seem to have very much a ‘there but for the grace of God …’ reaction to many bad things that happen to others. They may not ‘get’ things quite as intensely as someone who’s been through them, but they’re not blaming the victim either.

    • Lily – you make an interesting point. I am in an ‘infidelity’ support group and I asked why OUR married friends ABANDONED ME when his little affair was revealed. The response I got was because they (‘friends’) got scared. If something like this could happen to THEM (We were seen as ‘the perfect couple), then it could very well happen to me. I don’t know if I really bought into that because I would never abandon my friends if their spouse was a cheating louse! However, I get it. I understand the fear.

      • I understand it too. I spoke about my cheater to people. Every time, they imagined themselves in the same situation. And it gave ideas to some of them. My very own cousin, who is a family man and never travels anywhere, stayed silent for a while, then said “I am bored. I would like a new partner, to travel around the world”. After this, I was the one who stayed silent.

      • i can understand why married couples detach from friends who are experiencing infidelity. If they are in a cocoon of a healthy marriage, I think there is a natural tendency to shelter their marriage from such “ickiness” I didn’t take it too personally. People are busy and have their own shit. Now, once the dust has settled and the divorce is finalized, if they still abandon me, then good riddance! (sad, but it is what it is).

        • yup. And, for me, Crapweasel definitely salted the earth–spread tales that I was a crabby, unstable bitch. So, after DDay, when I became, well, understandably crabby and unstable, but mainly needing support, it played right into his narrative.

          Of all the things I wish I could do-over, that’s it. Maybe my journey would have been a little easier with some friends around me.

          On the other hand, as they say: with friends like that, who needs enemies, right?

          I’m working on coming to terms with it. You’d think people who knew me on my own for 20+ years could think with their own brains, but, evidently not. Or, maybe they’re just assholes. You know how in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sunnyvale is a Hellgate? Maybe I just lived in Asshole-gate 😉

          Gone now, and it’s so much better!

  • No I actually didn’t know or even suspect anything. Wow that sounds hard to believe unless I tell you that he always said I love you, we held hands daily strolling through the gardens, we played with dogs,worked together on projects and oh yeah had sex 5 or more times a week. Hmmm, now what was I supposed to notice?

    Most people said you didn’t notice change in sex, didn’t notice phone calls, didn’t notice working late, changing clothes style? etc. Hell no I didn’t notice because my exH was pretty reclusive, he worked only twice a week for parents, didn’t hang out with other guys cause his two best friends always visited our home, he kept the same clothes on the farm as always, cut his own hair still since college, the sex was great and not boring, he never had a cell phone and no unusual calls on house phone.

    BUT let me tell what I didn’t know was that he had a secret FB account he used to say FB was silly, he had secret email accounts while all I ever knew was the email we jointly used, he had secret connections on craigslist whom he never met. My homebody exH wasn’t ever out late or anywhere I didn’t know who he was with etc. yet he managed to have so many emotional affairs via the internet. I found out later that all this would occur while I was at work or sleeping nights.

    Anyone who told me I must have seen red flags make me want to scream because the whole time I was frauded, lied and deceived by a man who wanted to keep the marriage and things at home while delving into fantasies behind my back. Even after having hindsight struggling to figure out what the hell happened I can still say to this day that there were no signs. I was simply mindfucked and soulmurdered.

    • No one has the power to deceive you as much as a person you love. They take the trust you have and manipulate it for their own gain. It’s like discovering you’re married to your own personal Judas.

    • Oh wow. This sounds like my xh. We were incredibly close and connected with our souls daily. I never ever in my wildest dreams expected he was a serial cheater of 17+ years of our 23 married.
      I love what you wrote @spiritwoman: mindfucked and SOULMURDERED. that’s very true.

  • This!

    “That’s why infidelity is so shattering. It completely up-ends your view of the world, your sense of reality, of who you can trust.”

    Yes, yes, yes! People think you are exaggerating or being a drama queen for saying this. I only hope they never have to have their world shattered and experience it for themselves…

  • Did I know? Well kind of…. was I in denial? Hell yea! Was I surprised? No!!! Was I surprised who it was… Yes! Had no clue related to the actual sex partner…. my attention was diverted by a skillful woman to look in the wrong direction. Oh well it is what it is!

  • I’m just going to go out on a limb here and say that some people are just complete and utter assholes.

    When I had the same type of run-in with one of the “all-knowing”, she said I must have had a clue my X was cheating on me because I installed tracking software on his phone to find his dumb-ass. Well no shit lady, at that point I had an idea something was up. But prior to that, no . . . I didn’t know. I had a husband who was home every night. When he wasn’t with me, he was at work. We did things together constantly. Sex life was fantastic, he always told me I was pretty and he loved me and he threw gifts at me all the time like jewelry, sending flowers to work for absolutely no reason, etc so at that time, I had no clue. (Turns out he managed his torrid affair by calling in sick at work and getting a room with this harpy on Friday afternoons. Hooray!)

    As I told this lady, “What fucking difference would it make if I knew or not?” Her, no answer.

    They’re idiots. I stay away from them.

      • I never got the ‘ didnt you see the signs? How could you not know?” When i did uncover what Idiot was up to, I had to convince my friends… And my mother! I was told numerous times…’ Are you sure? Are you sure that you are not just being a little insecure? He lovvvveees you!” Want to talk about Twilight Zone? I doubted myself for 5 secs. Friends and family still cant wrap their brains around it…. Model husband…cop… Goes wild! My mother told me’ maybe he has a brain tumor’ No one wanted to think that this guys shit stunk. then I started looking crazy as the shits hitting the fan… And he carries on like its the same ole day… Like Cristian fucking Bale in American Psycho.

        • Its not like i was naive … Or thought my life was ” untouchable. ” I havent been around the block… may have walked up and down the street a few times. I have been burned before… I know the signs. There was no signs… Until there was a sign. I swear. I had been cruising down the same streets and one day blammmm! There it was… A new street sign. I sure it could have been missed… Its not like it obstructed the whole road… With big orange flashing lights. Nope. It was a tidy understated little sign that changed the whole direction of my world. I am certain he wad hoping i would just drive on by…but there it was.

          • It took my sister in law getting right in my face and telling me to wake up, her sister was cheating, for me to accept it and believe it. This was about 18 months after I had already seen my XW’s journal entry where she described wanting to quit having sex with strangers.
            During that entire 18 months, I had convinced myself that she must have been referring to fantasies vs what she was really doing. I also saw that she had stopped wearing her ring and had documented all her numerous nights out until 2-2 in the morning. Still, I kept myself in denial like an idiot, I was so scared of losing my family.
            It was like I lost all reason , all ability to see reality.

  • I never noticed. In hindsight – things make sense. My stbx would send me ‘bitch’ texts making crazy accusations. I got a weather alert one night while sleeping and jerk off thought it was a text. So he sat and accused me of getting texts from ‘secret’ people in the middle of the night. He would absolutely SCREAM at me for wanting to replace the floor vents in my sons room. One time he was checking the oil in my car and lost the plug. He SCREAMED at ME for HIM losing the plug! One of his texts told me how some girls asked him to come over and play pool with them, but (lucky for me) he refused…. What? WTF? Where is this coming from? I showed a friend these horrible texts he was sending me and at that point she said “Are you sure he doesn’t have something going on here?” I’m like nooooo….. no way…. Then MY SON found his little ‘secret phone.’ At first, I didn’t comprehend what my son was telling me. Then things started to make sense. I just figured since he is a drunk – his mind is just mush now and that is what was causing his hatred toward me. Well – I think not only is it because he is a lush loser, but it was because HE was having an affair.

  • One of the worst moments of my life was reading my ex’s journal in the bathroom as he slept upstairs. After reading it, I finally understood that I’d been manipulated and lied to for years. But as awful as that moment was, it was also the moment I knew the TRUTH. I finally understood that my gut had been screaming for a reason. I wasn’t a crazy, jealous shrew after all. The truth set me free.

    • He was stupid enough to keep a journal and tell his stories in plain text ?? oO
      It is so weird that our guts know the truth before our conscious self.

  • I remember when my Cheater’s colleague revealed the work affair to me by stopping by my car window and just plain telling me – I didn’t even know the guy’s name but am always grateful he told me. I felt sick and then started acknowledging the red flags. I can have a pretty cool head when I get a hatred on for someone and that was how I felt almost immediately. So, instead of making a scene, I quietly installed a keylogger on my home laptop and let the joker use it. So for the two weeks I knew but hadn’t thrown him out, I found out all his passwords. By the time I had his formal dumping planned out, he didn’t have a chance. He walked away with only the clothes on his back. And I’ve been able to watch him online ever since because the idiot never changes his passwords. He is already cheating on the OW.

    But yes, I did see the red flags but kept spackling until someone put the truth in front of me. Now, sad to say, I have gotten so good at recognizing red flags that most guys (poor devils) don’t stand a chance. The only tricky bit is when they try to use my laptop, I feel guilty because I know they will leave private information on there. I actually have already been able to fire three boyfriends because they too were showing blatant signs of preparedness-to-cheat…via their using MY laptop. I must be star crossed to keep meeting such dorks. Oh well at least I’m processing them efficiently.

    Problem is, how do you ever start trusting people again.

    • If they are up to no good – I say you’re just protecting yourself. Better to find out now, than in the future when you have invested a good amount of time and energy into a relationship with a fucktard. Never feel guilty for seeing the red flags in real time.

  • I had a friend that actually found out the same day i did about my ex’s serial cheating that said to me: WOW, YOU ARE A GOOD ACTOR. -obviously meaning that i knew all along.
    Jaw. Dropping. On. The. Ground.
    Pulling. Knife. Out. Of. Heart. From. My. Back.
    Fucking Bitch. We are NOT friends anymore.

    God, it felt good writing those words.

    • HeartChump–she was never a friend, you just didn’t know it (just like almost all of us didn’t realize who our cheaters were either).

      Good for you having the integrity to dump her.

  • When the MOW is someone you know, it’s all the worse. I am sure there are people who know about this who know us both.. but never told me. They have made a fool of me- probably making fun of me.

    I recall me and MOW’s last conversation, over a meal. The things we talked about, I am sure they hee hawed about all of that. It makes me sick to my stomach.

    They are bad bad people.

    • Same thing happened to me, new chump, it’s especially sickening. I often thought post-D-Day that they must have been laughing so hard.

  • I knew only part of it. And then D-Day was partial too. That’s why cheater is still here.
    He was giggling way too much while using Skype to learn Russian. But learning languages are fun, and I could not imagine one second that he was able to organize secret encounters in different foreign countries, and that the woman would pay for her trips. I thought it was just online friendship and I was not going to interfere.
    Despite his lack of motivation for doing anything around the house, I chose him because he admired/loved me, was quiet, was not interested in women, could spend hours reading or studying.I thought he would be a good partner, even if I had to do pretty much everything.I do it when I live alone anyway.
    But along the years, at night I started having nightmares, where he would have the face of the boyfriend of my twenties. I thought it was weird, because they had nothing in common. My older BF was very handsome, very sparkly, popular, and kept criticizing me.
    Recently I realized that they did have a lot in common, in fact. Both came from a poor background, both were the gifted sibling with good looks and college success, both chose to live with me but were not interested in marriage, both were always broke, both were breaking a lot of things and hurting themselves often, and both… started secretely dating an OW whom they were planning to marry behind my back !!!
    With #1, I was traumatized. After we parted, he wrote to me during 2 years, charming letters full of memories (wtf?) until I sent a harsh response and then the next letter was ugly (the cruelty of it makes me smirk today) but he tried again until I stopped answering. I know all these details because I dug them out from my attic yesterday, in an attempt to understand past events. #2 did not get married because OW dumped him.
    It sucks.

  • At some point I just have up and stopped trying. There were many signs while I was focusing on my parents health issues. I was dealing with my mothers last Christmas,last birthday, and her death. At the same time my father had surgery and almost died.
    His response was to masturbate in the basement to porn for months. I hated him. He was making demands for sex and complained about his needs. When I told him I had needs he raged. You have needs? His violent reaction and withdrawl lasted for months. He could not empathize. We went to see my son at his college and nothing pleased him and he made me pay for half of all the meals we are including coffee and Easter dinner. Something inside of me changed when my mother passed away. I saw the anonymous phone messages coming up on the phone, his wedding band on the table cut with pliers and the total lack of caring. As typical with narcs he discarded me with no remorse. There was no fight left in me at this point. As much as it hurt I knew his intention was to destroy the only person in his life that loved him unconditionally. Reconcilliation allows cheaters to carry on. Divorce makes us move on.

  • Over and over we all say the same thing….. they are SO alike it is frightening!!! Xhole also spouted “I told you I wasn’t happy, I told you I needed peace!!”. Translation: “I told you I wasn’t capable of being held accountable, I told you I have to be able to do whatever I want whenever I want because I NEED to for my boyman sanity…. it doesn’t matter that I can’t afford it…. it doesn’t matter that I have children to support…….it doesn’t matter that the rent isn’t paid or the electric or anything else….. I NEED because if I can’t have I will have to go out and find someone to screw to make me feel special and pretend I’m not f*cked up!!” Asshole.

    As for sex….. yes…. it was pretty scarce at times….. WHY??? Because just like EVERY other aspect of living with these assholes it is ALL ABOUT THEM………. I got tired of feeling like I was servicing the asshole…. intimacy?? WTF is that? and he was another one that would shower in the morning…. work all day…. then work out and go to bed without showering…. really? Disgusting. Got tired of telling him “why don’t you try washing that thing off before you come to bed!” again….. Asshole.

    • Also….. realizing we have also been discussing their taking on “traits” of others….. mine is now “holier than thou” and all churchy and bible studying with OWhore. This is NOT the first time he has gone through this phase since I have known him……. once was back 6 years ago (unconfirmed DDay, possible EA/PA) and SHE was super religious…. then about 2 years ago he was working for a repeat client that we all of a sudden started attending church with every Sunday….. I actually saw her lift his shirt once to touch his abs (he had trained for a competition) and it made me VERY uncomfortable….. he “claimed” it made him uncomfortable too…. probably ONLY because I SAW it (asshole). I told him….. “if SHE ever puts her hands on you like that again in front of me I will not be responsible for what I will do to her…. make SURE she knows it.” So…… I guess I should have realized sooner…. and i feel SO stupid, oh well, trusting people trust I guess.

      We still fight like crazy because I won’t eat anymore shit sandwiches. Asshole called me an “angry person” again yesterday and I said “there is a difference between just being an ANGRY person and being RIGHTEOUSLY pissed off…… and I am the latter!” such a dickhead.

  • NCStevie, there was no intimacy with theX, it was always about “servicing him”. And the blatant disrespect and entitlement these assholes display is so fucking disordered. X kissed a woman on the lips one night when we went out to have a drink. This is their normal. Fuck them.

    • Fuck them is right. Mine would have never done anything like that in front of me….. behind my back yes…. in my face…. hell no. Some one would have been slapped…. him or her or both.

  • Yep Donna! My stbx kissed a woman on the lips at a pool tournament. When we got home I told him I was not ok with that. The response I got: “Well you’d better get used to it, cuz it’s gonna happen.” Are you fucking serious? Not even an apology – it was stupid of ME to not be ok with kissing another woman. Huh. Ya – Fuck them!

  • They will never have hemorrhoids, as they are perfect “assholes”. The only thing “perfect” about them….

    • OMG ‚WhatAChump“ you just made me laugh so hard. No more “Which Hazel“ needed for the hemorrhoid free asshole! BAHAAAAHA !!!

  • before my cheater stbxh was a cheater (or, I found out he was a cheater), he was a heroin/opiate addict for 3 years and i had NO IDEA. This is NO LIE. we had a chain of retail stores and he worked away from our home and flagship store quite often, so I guess it was easy to conceal. After he came to me because he wanted to quit I realized all the signs had been there, but having never been around a drug addict I had NO IDEA what was going on. (subsequently went to rehab and was successful at no more drugs…he just turned to sex with other women, and men…..on occasion……). People were like “How could you have not known??” Well, I could have not known because he, like many addicts, was a master of deception and covering his addiction up. He didn’t have tracks until the end and then it was winter so he always wore long sleeves. He was using his legs for a long time I guess and just went to mainlining at the end. That was almost as much of a nightmare as the cheating, believe me.

  • This is what I would tell mRried people: if it seems like he’s tired from working all the time, you’re losing him/her, and the time is now to act on it (if you want to). This was true for me (coupled with how he could never seem to get home from work on time — because he enjoyed being T work w schmoopie more than being home with me … Duhhhh), and I’ve heard many others say it, too. I don’t have many regrets left, but not confronting him earlier about his “work fatigue” is one of them.

  • Mine managed to hide his cheating for over 15 years that I know of, and then the red flags were flying all at once. No unusual phone activity. No nights or weekends away. He was never very thoughtful when it came to gift giving, so the biggest indicator (sans hard proof) was that he bought me some expensive gifts. I remember opening them and thinking, “thank you?” Once I became suspicious the signs were everywhere, but I wanted to have enough proof to confront him.

  • someone commented to me recently, after learning about my cheating ex, that “that kind of situation always makes you question yourself-how did I not know?” I laughed and said, “well, the depth of depravity that he sank to was so great, it actually made it easier to walk away and never want to hear from him again-when you trust someone, how could you possibly suspect they would be capable of something so horrific?” I believed the idiot when he said he was just stressed about work and school, I didn’t question his bizarre hoarding habit when it came to taking his phone with him everywhere during the last 7 weeks together. That deception is on him, not me.

  • Well I just got the shit bomb thrown at me this evening… Husband says that I either have to get a job,or find a marriage counselor for the both of us..because he’s been to a lawyer..he expects me to pull my financial weight after he insulted me..of all the nerve…I told him that since he won’t use protection with me to never touch me again…it’s been 16 months and I don’t trust where he’s been…I got a lot to process..I don’t believe him anymore..I’m not eating any shit sandwiches..

    • Tell him to get fucked – maybe not literally to his face, but at least thinking it. And then find a lawyer for yourself. You don’t need to tolerate that shit.
      Its funny how his choices are so far-different from each other, really – disordered thinking at its finest.
      Line up your ducks and then go nuclear on his arse.

      • Thanks Lania..it’s only because of coming here that I have the strength of seeing through his lies…

        • I am sorry MissTwizzler, Please go see a lawyer asap! And go ahead and pull a cheater deception while you get ready, go to MC. Do not let him have sex with you and end up with an STI. Jedi Hugs!

    • MissTwizzler–get your own lawyer. The F*cker is just trying to avoid paying you more in settlement; if you have an equivalent job, no spousal support for him.

      Run, don’t walk. I”m sorry you’re going through this (and post your story in the forums for more support).

  • In my case, I will say that the Cheater is/was very interested in keeping up his Good Guy image, rather than being known as the WhoreChaser he is. I sure as hell wouldn’t have married him if I knew what he was really like.

    Like many on here, he presents himself as all that and a bag of chips. A genuine, nice guy. And for the most part, he is. No drug or alcohol problems, no physical abuse, no porn that I know of at least. A nice, considerate momma’s boy. No fighting. Except about the lying and whoring,of course. He NEVER once acted inappropriately in front of me with any other woman. People always told me how sweet we were together, and that he talked (nicely, lol) about me all the time when I wasn’t around.

    He is a sales and marketing rep, lol. Liked to brag to the Whore about all the “freedom” he had. Which kinda contradicts the stories about how Jealous I am. When we first met, he loved to talk about how he hadn’t found a relationship because he was “too nice.” Reminds me of those women who don’t have friends cause they’re “too beautiful.” Here’s a hint, it’s really cause you’re a bitch or a prick. He also once told me his Whore/dater of Married Men has “the highest morals of anyone he knows.” Lol, he must not know anyone is all I can say..

    Anyway, I thought he was like me. I go to my job to work, not date Whores. When I’m driving, I’m driving, not blabbing to some whore I have on speed dial. When I’m alone, I read or watch t.v., or play games, stuff like that. When he’s alone, he is a WhoreChaser. I thought he had morals, but I was wrong.

    • Fact is, Not Juliet – these disordered types HAVE to live behind a mask – otherwise people would run for the hills after 2 minutes of encountering them. Hence the image management for a very, very long time. They also have to throw out the sparkles because thats how they draw people in: where people think “Oh this person must be wonderful, I feel so much better being with this person than someone who doesn’t sparkle – people who don’t sparkle are boring” – a big red flag if someone sparkles excessively – makes you wonder what sort of crap they’re up to, behind said sparkle.

  • I will also add that i was so busy working a full time job, having complete responsibility of a preschooler, and cooking, cleaning, catering to his damn family that I honestly would not have had time to monitor his activities, even if I had been so inclined. Which I wasn’t, cause like i said he convinced me, along with the rest of the world that he was a decent person. Not a cheap, slimy lying adulterer. If this guy said he’d been at work, etc. I actually believed what he said. I doubt he will ever be with anyone else who treats him as well as I did. It’s his loss, not mine.

  • I later learned, that the “whole town” we lived in knew about the extra curricular activities of my H long before I did. I got thrown strange hints at me on occasion but nobody really had the guts to tell me what they knew. I remember how the comments that were occasionally made, made my stomach curl. Harmless statements such as: Oh I saw your husband last night at the Sushi Place. (Fucktard only likes Burgers WTF is he doing at a the Sushi Place eating raw fish?) I was unable to trust my instinct. Really what it all boils down to, as CL mentioned in an earlier comment, I did not trust that THEY REALLY DO SUCK. No way I was busy holding my family together, I had two small children at that time, no way I was letting that unicorn get away. He had the nerves to take the ho-worker out to eat in the town we lived in with a population of 6000. I honestly think he didn’t really give a shit that I find out or maybe at that time I signaled to well that I was not going anywhere. Looking back now I remember that the thought of a failed marriage was not on my radar.

  • WOW !
    This article says it all. Peanut Gallery you suck the big one.
    I remember when I first told someone about what had happened. I was told, “this happened because you allowed it to happen”.
    I think i looked at the lady for a minute or two with red laser cutting beams projecting from my eyes.

  • Late to the discussion here, but I’ve read almost all the posts and am eager to finish the rest.

    A good friend of mine recently shared a quote by Anaïs Nin: “We don’t see the world as it is, we see it as we are.” I think that pretty much sums up this whole thread. Like most everyone, my red flags were obscured because of the way that I was interpreting them based on my own values and principles. I will say, though, that when I sat up and started paying attention was when he became callous. With the detachment and disengagement that always seems to precede cheating, you can always find a way to excuse based on the particulars of your situation (you know, busy job, financial problems, sick children, sick spouse, and yadda yadda). But when someone is actively hurtful to you–that is different. It was stuff that was humiliatingly obvious to other people, too, like “forgetting” to invite me to major parties (such as SD’s graduation), and letting me languish on the couch shivering and vomiting with a severe cold/flu while he went off to a concert we had planned for months to go together. Not just that, but later when I went through his computer and phone data, I realized that he was upstairs the whole time connecting with his Craigslist skanks while I–dumbass Chump of all time–frantically texted everyone I knew so he wouldn’t have to go to the concert alone. Hey, it’s not like he needed any help finding companions. The worst two callous incidents involved shaming/public humiliation. After a fundraiser to which I’d had very strong ethical objections, he coldly told me that I’d not been “social enough” at the event, because I’d not shmoozed enough and sat most of the time with a close couple friend of ours. Not only was this totally untrue, as I’d circulated plenty, it’s also the last fucking time I will ever let an extrovert shame me for being an introvert. Piss off, you flaming narc! Your way of being in the world is not more valid than mine!

    And then, he had some family in from another country, and we all went out to dinner at a pub. He ignored me practically the whole time, but one of his relatives told a story that caused a really awful flashback for me (I’ve mentioned on here a few times about the fun times growing up with my batshit crazy mom). Anyway, I didn’t cause a scene or anything; I just excused myself to the table, went to the washroom for 10 minutes to pull myself together, then went back to rejoin the group. Admittedly, I was pretty quiet for the rest of the time, but I wasn’t catatonic or in some sort of fugue state. After we got home he ripped me a new one for “ruining a fun time,” and how dare I be such a drag in public. I tried to explain what had happened–and he actually knew the particular story of mine, which is a doozie, that was related to the one his relative had told–ZERO SYMPATHY. His response was something like, “Well, I’m sorry that happened to you, but you made everyone really uncomfortable.” I felt so terrible that I wound up emailing his visiting relative and apologizing all over myself. Turns out she hadn’t even noticed anything was amiss–which was a further humiliation, as it showed her the dynamics in my relationship. I later found out that she went home and told her mom, “FMT is beautiful, but X doesn’t support her at all.”

    There are too many stories like this to recount. So did I know he was cheating? No. But I knew he was callous, and that was enough. Now I know what that signified. Cheating or not, I’ll never let anybody treat me that way again, not under any circumstances and not for any reason. He got a lot of passes based on the terrible trauma he’d been through and was going through, but trauma doesn’t give you a character transplant (ask me how I know). Funny thing, one of the first gifts I ever gave him was Victor Frankl’s book, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” which I’ve read over and over throughout my life and which is the main reason other than my faith that I survived growing up. Guess what, he never bothered to read it.

    • FMT–I suspect we’ve both learned that criticism over minor things is a serious red flag and necessitates getting out of any relationship NOW. In fact, I was criticized for things about myself that I actually like (such as X’s claim that I “helped other people too much,” i.e., didn’t give him enough adoration at those times).

    • FMT, when I look back over our last two years together I don’t know how I missed the signs either, but I did feel he was checked out, argumentative, and doing things that did not make sense. Our family had just survived a traumatic year and ex, I guess, was off lining up his next life. Wait, erase life, and just pencil in next pathetic existence.

  • I’d like to see a companion post about the “little lies”, they are part of the mask and to my mind now, a huge red flag. Lying about mundane and inconsequential things is testing boundaries. Most of us forgive those, find excuses for them. I made that mistake, my BFF also has realized that she did too. In fact we used to talk about how both our spouses did this and it made us crazy. We missed the trees that indicate a forest. I thought my ex told those “little lies” because he had learned as a child it would get him hurt. No, he told them to see if they would work and they did. Over time when I found another little lie and discussed it with him his response was always “I didn’t tell you because I knew you’d be upset” omitting the fact I was not upset at what he had DONE, I was upset that he LIED about it.

  • Lying by omission…. Or the assumptions. My stbx only hears half the story then assumes the rest. And he is usually wrong! Then when someone calls him out on it – it it someone else’s fault that that was WHAT he had heard! No it wasn’t!!! And we would go to parties too where he completely ignored me. Would tell people “He sees me everyday – why do I need to hang out by her?”

  • One major thing that I noticed about people who have a cheater mind, and an abusive mind, usually use some form of humor to put you down. You sound petty if you react to it negatively. Because they always say I was just joking or can’t you take a joke or stop paying attention to what you think I’m saying and listen to the words I’m saying. Well, the truth is interpreting body language importance is somewhere around 90 to 95% and that includes tone of voice and facial expressions. If you are not finding congruence between body language and words someone is chumping you big time.

  • This is a really good thread. These disordered folks are so good at gas lighting, it;’ a confusing issue. Did I know Well, sort of. There were red flags, but no proof. My intuition was screaming, though, and my D Day was 26 years ago. To this day I don’t KNOW if a lot of what I suspect is true….so, still suffering the effects of his gas lighting and deception. He only confirmed a two week long pa at the end of the first five years we were married. All these years later, I am still coming to terms with certain incidents I couldn’t wrap my mind around at the time. I THINK he was cheating right from the beginning. I think he had anonymous sex with men in public restrooms.
    One of the first things he did that made me suspicious was while on the way out of town, heading for his brothers wedding, he said one day we would renew our vows. WTF? Why? They don’t need renewing. They are what they are and what they will always be: our vows. Then there was this girl. I knew the first time I laid eyes on her that she was trouble. Sure enough, two and a half years later, it was clear he was boffing her.
    In some ways I feel like I turned a blind eye, but, in other ways, I feel like I didn’t know. I know it gobsmacked me!.I wanted to trust him. I wanted to believe in what he said. In reality, it was all very obvious.

  • Lie by omission contest? Not the obvious ones, the ones you caught and later thought, does he/she think I’m that dumb? I think I have a lock on the win if we want to play!

  • I am playing, Datdamwuf. Two weeks before Dday my ex and I went on a big vacation with our youngest two (high school senior and junior) to “check out colleges” our son had been accepted to. Flying into one state, and cruising three others before joining my father in the state he’d grown up in and attended college. Ex was an asshole the entire time. Picking fights. Spending time away from us. Hard to do when you are all traveling in a small rental car together (clue was that he could not even brush up against me!) and staying in one HOTEL room together and sharing a queen bed. When we reached our final destination we rented a room close to my father’s hotel but the very next day my ex had booked a room across the freeway at another hotel. His reasoning?!? “I know how much you like a pool.” Then when we all did go swimming, he focuses in on the one single woman hanging out, chats her up, and ignores us, his family. We are right there. Guy had nothing to talk about the entire vacation, treated me like shit, and as soon as we were in the room for the evening, he leaves and disappears. I can’t figure out if that fucker and his special whore needed the internet and computer to stay in contact or if his whore actually made the trip with us! Needless to say by the end of that trip my brain was on fire! One of my Dad’s friends invited us all over for Easter dinner and my ex was, according to our very righteous, upright, religious, family man, host, “So blessed to be such a good husband and father”! When I heard this, at that exact moment, I remember looking across at my husband and knowing this was simply. not. true.

  • God, does it ever truly get better after being in a relationship like this?
    Mine completely blindsided me too.
    After that I knew a little more what to look out for.
    I am so broken up about spending SIX YEARS doing the pick-me dance.
    I just don’t even feel like getting up in the morning and being a Mom anymore. My self-esteem is so slammed from trying to show him over and over how much it hurt and having him do the smallest half-assed things and blaming me for taking off over and over. He’s pretty much been disappeared for the last 3 months and doesn’t seem the least bit put out by it.
    How the Hell can he seem so not caring and I feel like dying. I guess other vagina has some sort of magic elixir I wasn’t aware of.

    • 🙁 Keep looking up! You can do it! We will be filled with joy again, one day. He left you in emotional rags. This is not the end. The end is better. You are mighty. Just make it through today. (You will learn to weave your own glory) He doesn’t get the last say!

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