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Your Very Best Spackle, Please

tractorjewelryAt breakfast the other day my husband ran a spackle scenario by me. He  was reading “Chicken Soup for the Soul for Couples.”

Let me stop here. I said, “I can’t tell them you were reading ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul for Couples,’ they’re going to think I made you up. Like you’re a magical goat or something.” “They’re going to think I’m a pussy,” he said. Then added, “Are you going to tell them I was making you breakfast? And there was bacon? And I was going to bring it to you?”

Chumps, I married a magical goat. (And man, was his ex the biggest idiot who ever lived.)

Anyway, in this book was a story told by this woman whose husband was a crappy gift giver. She grew up in a home where her father had always thoughtfully gotten her mother gifts. He always recognized her birthday, Christmas, anniversary, etc. But her husband never did this. She’d hint. She’d be direct. Nothing. Finally, one day the guy says he’s going to the flea market on her birthday and she asks, “Hey, bring me back some jewelry.” (At this, I’m thinking… lady, you’re desperate. Jewelry from the flea market?)

And instead of jewelry, he brings back a shovel attachment for their tractor.

Now instead of calling a divorce lawyer, or digging a grave for him with that shovel attachment, she writes a story for “Chicken Soup for the Soul for Couples.”

One winter, he’s gone (he works on a ship). And there’s a ton of snow. And by God, that shovel attachment comes in handy because she can dig herself out, and her neighbors, and she’s a minor celebrity because of that shovel attachment.

The moral of her story is that she always wanted presents, but the shovel was a gift. See, deep down, her husband knew what she really needed. His love was a practical love. And we can’t expect people to be the sorts of people we want them to be. We have to accept their gifts as they are.

“So, is this spackle?” asked my husband.

HELL YES IT’S SPACKLE.

Hey, Chicken Soup Lady! Shovel attachments and jewelry are not mutually exclusive. There is not a finite amount of generosity in a relationship. Your husband can make a card, write you a poem, cook you some goddamn bacon for breakfast. There is no loving reason why your husband refuses to acknowledge occasions or give you gifts. (I bet you give him gifts.) Some crappy earrings from the flea market cost a hell of a lot less than a tractor attachment. Your husband was deliberately being withholding. It was your birthday. He knew what would make you happy, and he didn’t give a flip.

He also probably bought that tractor attachment for himself. No man, even an idiotic narcissistic man, thinks that women want tractor attachments. Women aren’t having slumber parties and braiding each other’s hair and talking about tractors. Unless she specifically asked for a shovel for the tractor, unless you have some cute inside joke about shoves for tractors, unless she is a farmer with a side gig in snow removal, you can pretty much guaran-fucking-tee that a woman does not equate shovel attachments for the tractor with romance.

In short, her husband is a jerk. And she spackled.

So chumps — can you trump the tractor story? What’s your finest bit of spackle? What’s the most glorious excuse you ever devised that really, deep down, your cheater cared?

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Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I actually convinced myself that he only lied to everyone else…..never me. *face/palm* for the younger me.

    • Me three.

      Also, my ExH was the perfect guy in many ways. He made me breakfast with bacon and brought it to me in bed. He gave me beautiful, thoughtful gifts. He took me out dancing and gave me flowers “just because.” Even after 17 years, he was still loving, attentive, and passionate. I really thought he was perfect. Except that he was also loving, attentive, and passionate with many other women too. And physically abusive. And an addict. And a rapist. What I’ve learned is to pay attention to the sum total of ALL of someone’s actions. And just because they tell you AND show you that they love you, that doesn’t mean that they do.

      • Sunshine… I can relate totally, mine worked very hard to give me the illusion of a happy marriage for 23 years while being a serial cheater and sex addict the whole time.

        • Mine too – 32 years of believing everything he said and spackleing over what he did because he TOLD me he loved only me … hhhmmmm ….. f’ing prostitutes and at least one other colleague the whole time (although he nods his head to only 15 YEARS) WTF – why not just leave??? – who can lie to everyone for that long. What a creep – the ones who use you as a cloak of respectability – pretending to the outside world that you are so lucky to have them and all the while dropping into the local brothel for a Sunday quickie when they say are either at work or visiting their elderly aunt ….. yuck

      • sunshine and mimom1….exact same….DDay a month ago, left a voicemail meant for one of the others to confirm a hook up on my voicemail….multitasking from his office line. Ooops. Glad that I didn’t answer the phone and got the bootie call. “Hey, it’s me”….so familiar…..and at the end “Miss you”. Vomit. Brought me coffee in bed that morning. He’s a covert-aggressive. Hired a lawyer, just getting started. I’m still waking up from it.

        • KaBree, me too. I got a text meant for someone else. It was good because he had always lied about his serial cheating and I was a chump so I “believed” him. And spackled. The hard part is to quit spackling. There are times when I still want to believe that he really loves me and that he isn’t who he really is. It’s amazing how my brain can try to twist everything around to try to make everything ok. I’m a better liar to myself than he ever was to me. Good job on hiring a lawyer, I haven’t been able to take that step yet.

          • Well since he prefers strippers and prostitutes, by staying put I’m just waiting to be given HIV or HepC, he already gave me HPV so….I realize that I’m nothing more than an object, a possession, and he doesn’t care how his behavior affects me either emotionally or physically. It’s abuse. I’d rather be alone than just be some pawn in his game of life. It’s weird, and it’s hard, but I’m using my head on this, my heart is that of a chump. Good luck to us both.

            • KaBree & ItsNotMe..–You are both very courageous. What cheaters do IS abuse–the infidelity itself is just the tip of the iceberg and is buttressed by the gas lighting, blame shifting, deception, and downright cruelty they use to keep up the infidelity.

              We are just commodities or objects to these serial cheaters; they are not capable of full human emotions like love or loyalty so your worth is tied to providing them with attention and adoration or some other benefit. It is hard to wrap our heads around how other people could appear normal, and yet be bereft of compassion and empathy. But they are. Keep a log of all the horrible things your STBXs have done to read when you start to spackle. Hugs to you both.

        • My stbx got arrested for soliciting a prostitute. He said she asked him for a ride and he was just being nice. The police report said it was a sting operation and that he parked in the spot the undercover hooker told him she’d meet him in. I bought his version and told my best friend he was just “stupid”. Turns out he was. A stupid cheating lying disordered fucktard.

          • OH my giddy aunt. the same thing happened with Satan, he got picked up and a Dear John sting. got arrested the weekend before Valentines Day (monday) out of town. so he bailed out and came home on valentines day, of course he had no gift or card for me……his wife. he was all stressed out so was acting like a dick when i questioned him. he did tell me he got arrested but refused to tell me why, so little old marriage police mrs vain went out of town and had them print up a copy of the arrest warrant, which i would have spackled if he had just told me something, anything…..except that it was none of my business. so after i confronted him, he tells me “oh you think you know everything” so i say ok what is your story, he says he was just asking her if she needed a ride (which was in the arrest record) but that he did not know she was a prostitute. you know he is just such a nice guy *eyes rolling* that he was only thinking of helping a poor young girl out by giving her a ride….and yep i probably would have believed him if it did not say that the undercover cop “settled” on a price for a blow job.

            but i forgave him for that because i thought he was too stupid….he couldnt even pick up a prostitute right, what did i have to worry about.

        • KaBee – I heard ‘but what I have with them isn’t what I have with you. It means nothing.

          I’m not making love to them. How could YOU be so stupid to not understand that?

          That’s right. I’m the stupid one

          I also go vmails meant for others and he would always say ‘oh and you’re going to blame me for what you think I said ?’

          Right again. I was the stupid one

        • Ps -that always got me too. The familiar – ‘hello you…. It’s me. In the calm seductive voice reserved for the uninitiated.

          I only got the screaming blame shifting voice dumping his problems on me

        • Hi KaBree. Welcome to CN. I’m only about three months into this. Please be kind to yourself. It is true that the infidelity is the tip of the abuse iceberg. The farther away you get from DDay the easier it will be to see it, and I’m still waking up to all the repercussions of this too do I sm nog an expert, but lots of people here are.

          • It’s all scary. Tonight he wanted to chat about the Republican Debate, like everything is good again…I don’t want anything to do with him, so I chill in the den with my dogs, official separation date 6/29, I just want to get all of this behind me and remain in one piece. Lucky to have my labs, awesome brothers and sisters in law, and some much trusted friends…and hopefully a great lawyer. I keep reminding myself that he completely sucks. I repeat it to myself over and over in the car on the way home from work. Reading and this site and my support system help tremendously. Thanks for your kind words.

    • Oh FeralBlue, I thought he would never be condescending toward us (like he is with “other” people in his life) or that he would devalue and discard us so easily…”if he ever loved anyone, it would be his kids” I often think and yet I’m not to sure about it (if he feels anything)…

        • Until I found this site, I went through several years thinking that he and the OWife had the perfect relationship and I was the problem. Chumplady set my sight right. I got to Meh and married a wonderful man. Exhole’s marriage to OWife has since imploded, he was cheating. Surprise. Now he’s married to the OW in that marriage.

          It’ll take a while, but you’ll get to the point where you don’t really care what he’s doing, but will have a great laugh at what befalls him.

    • I am right there with you Janet. “He is doing the best he can do.” He proved over and over that he could do worse than before. He was completely absent from our lives and I made excuses. When I stopped and said I was through pretending, he became more outraged. I was just asking myself,” who he gets to blame for his life now?” Then i realized it will probably be me forever or at least until the legal stuff is over and he finds a new victim. The best part is i am caring less these days because he is the loser. I have the kids and we are on our way to a peaceful life.

    • I was there, too. I have no idea how many times I told the children that their father MEANT well, he just wasn’t good at expressing it verbally. Or showing it with his actions. The kids recognized the spackle long before I did. Oh, well. The loser is almost completely out of our lives and we are moving forward. It’s been almost exactly 6 years since I kicked him out of the house and we’re healing.

    • Me three, or four, or fifty. Why did I do that? I stopped when the now 12 year old called me out on it. Some kids really do see the disordered for what they are. I say sometimes because my other child is now spackling instead of me and I don’t have the heart to blow up his world.

  • I truly beloved that he loved me and just needed time to get over the stress from working so hard to give his family a good life.
    Working such long hours was so hard for him but he said it was all for his family.
    It was asking too much for even a shred of intimacy…a hug, kiss or, God forbid sex.
    Then I found out it was a multiple year affair with his law partner. That was all the hard work.
    And he was faithful to her.
    Believing that he loved me was just a big-assed, industrial-sized bucket of spackle

  • He would get me something but never the thing I asked for. It was strange. So of course you know it is the well of course I am grateful for the apples but I did say I wanted pears. It was like a passive aggressive way of never giving me what I wanted. Weird. If he specified something I would get what he specified cause I figure it meant something to him.

    • IMO it doesn’t mean anything. Long ago there was an American who wanted me badly for real. I told him I did not like red roses. Any color, but not the classic deep red. He got me a bunch of red roses that probably cost him a lot of $$. He was not really listening. He was acting according to a script that the mass media repeat over an over: must-buy-diamond-for-engagement, must-buy-red-roses. The same guy got me a pressure cooker as a Christmas gift (still can’t get over that one). Yet he was kind, shy, and definitely not a cheater. Some people are just not very good at picking gifts.

      • that is what i thought too. poor poor little sausage NEVER ever could figure out what to buy me for gifts (christmas, birthday, anniversary, vday, mothers day) so he just kept buying me roses. by the end of 14.5 years, i hated roses. i had even asked him once specifically not to buy me roses or any kind of flowers. he also would wait until the day of or the day before to actually go out and buy me something. (i think that was because he was never “sure” i was going to get him something, so he waited until i gave him my card and gift) so that mothers day i asked for anything BUT flowers, he had to “run to the store for milk real quick” and came back with ….you guessed it….half dead flowers WITH roses!!!! my daughter was the one who was shocked and said “oh diablo,,,,,how could you, she specifically asks for not flowers.”

        i gave up on getting anything nice from him but all my gifts to him were very nice….i still have those too. well most of them, in my garage.

        i USED to think it was becasuse he was just sucked and picking gifts but it actually was that he did not care to put any thought into it.

        • I used to like receiving flowers. In the few months preceding our separation (initiated by STBX), my STBX started sending me flowers frquently–after he abused me. I started disliking receiving flowers. My mother’s response was, ‘At least he sends you flowers.’ Disturbing on so many levels.

    • I asked for a kitchen aid mixer for 20 years, every year for Christmas. Finally, that was the only thing I asked for, nothing else. What did I get? I got a food processor. The look on my face was complete disappointment and shock. My kids saw my face and how disappointed I was. My ex was like, I thought you would be excited? I said, I asked for a kitchen aid I didn’t ask for a food processor. I was very specific about what I would like and he took great pains not to give it to me. Oh, the OW, she got everything I asked for – surprise jewelry, thoughtful presents, dinner out. I’m glad he was able to use all of my suggestions, NOT.

    • Oh yeah. All the time. I think it brings them some of kind of sick satisfaction to see the flash of disappointment on our faces and then watch it switch to spackling. The difference between what I would ask for and what he would give me was always so small that it would have been absurd for me to even voice that I was disappointed. For instance, there is this brand of workout clothes that I love that’s quite pricey and I would see something from there and send him a screenshot saying “Ooooohhhh, I want to buy these shorts soooooo bad! Do you like that style?”. Then as a gift I would get a different pair of shorts by the same brand, or a workout skirt. I would spackle thinking that he just wanted to surprise me and not be so predictable by getting me exactly what I wanted. I used to think “this shit is expensive, why would you waste your money on something you don’t know if I’ll love or not?”

      • I think, too, when they do it to us at a gathering when other people are watching, they know they are setting us for a disappointment and that it will show on our face. Then they later can say, “She was ungrateful.” It’s that intentional twisting of things that they do…

        • Yes!

          Xwh never got me a present I liked. It was always something expensive, so he could show off in front of family at Christmas.

          One year he got me an orange Coach pea coat a size too small. I never wear orange.

          Another year he bought me a full length mink coat, in the traditional old lady style. I don’t wear fur or anything that old fashioned. That one kinda backfired on him though. My mom pulled me aside after the present opening and asked what the guilt gift was for.

      • i think they also enjoy the spackle. diablo would always get me the cheaper version of what i asked for. and for most things i am ok with that. i am not a name brand hoarder (unlike him who had to have name brand everything especially shoes). but i did ask for a canon eos rebel t4, it was on sell and i really wanted one. i already had a cheaper digital camera, so it wasnt that i didnt have a camera. i just really wanted that canon…. of course he got me a much cheaper Fujifilm camera. not that i complained, i was just sad that he didnt understand how important it was to me to get the canon camera. my wishes did not matter, but he was going thru the motion as if they mattered. but when it came down to it, he got what he wanted to spend on me and not what i wanted.

        i tried really hard to be grateful. i mean i was lucky i got a gift and it was something i liked. i spackled because i didnt want to seem ungrateful. of course that was his excuse….nothing he ever did was good enough for me. really fucked me in the head for a long long time. the real thing is that he always did everything half ass, whether it was giving gifts or fixing the house or working on our relationship. he had no problem spending 100’s of dollars on himself but when it was for me, he just couldnt part with it and had to get the cheaper option. This worked for him for a long time because i was so easy to satisfy and was so undemanding. ironically he still found a way to twist that for his excuse, either i was never happy with what he did or i didnt tell him what i wanted or i was asking too much from him….

        i couldnt win no matter what i did. he always had an excuse ready.

        • This is too much – I have a Canon EOS Digital Rebel 300D that I’m trying to sell. I read this post a few days ago, I don’t know why I clicked on it again. I pressed pg. down a few times and landed on your comment. Did you ever get your camera? As a fellow chump you’d receive quite a discount. Hope I don’t get in trouble for this, maybe portion of proceeds to CL?

          Not long after being married I found some pretty despicable porn on our computer in the basement. This was the first time I’d ever found anything, and I just couldn’t believe it. I had screened him, letting him know that my first husband became very involved in porn, and I wasn’t going down that dark road again. We had divorced over it. He said it was the neighbor. OK, I believed him. I really loved him, he just wasn’t the type. The 2nd time, it was the neighbor’s brother. I said I believed him, but I didn’t. Was I really supposed to believe that various neighbors were coming over to borrow a cup of sugar and somehow ended up in the basement looking at hunting leases where they released naked women instead of deer? 13 yrs. later, and I’m in hell. How I wish I would have left right then.

    • Control freak, thy name is Cheater. They get the wrong thing because you wanted something else. Then get pissed when you’re disappointed.

      • Amen. Mine never bought me anything significant, mostly books (that he liked) or music (that he liked), claiming that he just didn’t know what to get me. PS I’m a jewelry dealer. I love jewelry. It’s that easy. For 30 years, unless I went out and bought it, nothin. At about year 15, as I was beginning to stress about Christmas, he puts a heavy wrapped box under the tree. It. Was. A. DREMEL. “So you can do repairs!” I am so effin loved. He bitched about my dismissal of his special gift for years. Jerk.

    • Mine too!!! I’ve also come to believe it’s a passive aggressive action. He would buy me something similar, but not quite as good as what I had asked for… and I didn’t ask for much.

  • After my 3rd DDay, Christmas was approaching, I knew about his GF, but he lied and said it was only an emotional affair. We were going to Colorado to ski and a superficial reconciliation (superficial because he was still contacting her unbeknownst to me and our MC) when he gave me this cute stuffed gingerbread doll. I thought it meant he loved me and cared since I really like stuffed animals and dolls. Later, when I found at he was skyping her from our snowy cabin in the woods, I threw the doll out. It was as meaningless as his love for me.

    • I got some Waterford martini glasses that are exquisite but I am considering smashing them within the month when D is final. Sad sausage had the worst taste in jewelry that we decided not to give gifts but to do a house project like granite as gifts. On VDay, anniversary, birthday I would get grocery store roses given in haste with a meaningless bump on lips. I found receipts for extravagant and expensive floral arrangements in his cc bill. Imagine that!

      • Mine was too cheap to buy expensive gifts for anyone but himself! But he sure did keep the grocery store florist in business — picking up those last minute flowers on clearance (you know, the ones that are just beginning to turn brown on the edges)… And that was only if someone reminded him it was my bday or on our anniversary.

        • Mine did this too. I love having flowers in the house, and had a big garden that I would cut them from, or would gather wildflowers. Because the ones from the florist were too expensive, and just died anyway dontcha know……..

          He would buy the discards from the gas station or corner store too, always chrysanthemums, which I dislike, and a colour that I didn’t like either. i would always thank him, think, “well, at least he is trying!”, arrange them in a nice vase with what I could find in the garden (because of course there were only three or four scraggly flowers in the bunch). He never bought flowers for anniversaries or holidays or birthdays. I think now it was something to do with him screwing around and that is why it was so random.

          I held on to those small gestures and they kept me going for years as I spackled wildly with every excuse I could come up with for his awful treatment of me. What did KarenE say downthread? “But really, he was and is just an asshole.” Yup. There were no excuses necessary, I finally realize.

          And now I buy all the flowers that I want at the florist, beautiful hydrangeas and glads and roses. But never chrysanthemums, and never past their prime.

  • Not too sure about this story. I do not like jewellery. I do not like all these useless things that all women are expected to like. I do not like clichés. And I cannot stand gold diggers. Buy me a computer over a diamond any time. In the past when he was not a cheater yet, he got me an electric bike, and one of the first flat screens, I am still very thankful for these wonderful gifts. Besides, when burglars attack your home, they are there for two things: money (I never have more than 40e in cash, and never leave cash at home) and jewels. Until someone proves that expensive jewels are prettier than trinkets, I’ll never buy any, and recommend never buying any for me. I would be devastated if I lost them. I want a clear mind, and I love to leave my door open.

    • Many of us don’t like “traditional” gifts and are thrilled when someone used their creativity and imagination to buy us a gift they think we’d like because they know us. The point CL is making is that this woman TOLD him what she’d like and he never listened. That’s just inconsiderate.

    • Chump F …. to each his own! You attach sentiment to a flat screen TV and an electronic bike… Not I. I loved the gift that came outa no where… No holiday or anniversary. I only received a couple of those. One was a locket with my daughters baby picture. The other a rocking chair. The chair that I rocked my baby and nursed her. The chair I sat and read bedtime stories. The chair that was dragged outside to see the stars. Full of dents and stories. Completely mismatched the furniture and style at our home. He sold it at a garage sale when I was at work.

    • ChumpFromF: I’m the same way. Practical gifts over useless expensive trinkets any day of the week.
      Its partly why I despise Valentine’s day and don’t celebrate it – I’d MUCH prefer to be shown love and care on every day of the year, not on a certain day with overpriced trash that mass media says you MUST buy or you’re a loser. Its all really just one pick me dance trying to outdo others, to be blunt. Ditto the people who get all uppity if they don’t get hundreds, or even thousands, spent for them on that day.

  • I’m starting to kinda think it was ALL Spackle…
    But the biggest spackling operation for sure was me covering for his inability to finish his degree (2 classes was all he needed. 2!) and his chronic underemployment. I was all “gender expectations are soooo bogus, a man isn’t defined by his work, blah blah blah”. Him: *crickets*
    No, he was just a lazy entitled freeloader, but the last person I wanted to admit that to was myself.

    • Me too. He was just so sparkly and charismatic when he wasn’t being rude and complaining. He was such a character that I figured I could put up with it because with all his faults, he was at least LOYAL.

      LOL. No, turns out he was just an entitled asshole cheater who never helped contribute to our lifestyle.

      • Me, too, ML. Very charming and attentive and romantic when he wasn’t being a critical, overbearing jerk.

        The other major spackle–He couldn’t possibly be having affairs when we have 2 children together, knows my views on infidelity, is home for dinner & spends virtually every evening with me, and we are having sex 4 times a week. Foolish me.

        • Welcome back, Tempest!

          HB#2 was a critical overbearing jerk who could be attentive and charming, but never romantic.

          I swear God seared my eyes with hot pokers when I met him then miraculously gave my vision back after our second child was born. I think the Big Guy (God) did this to make sure I had two more beautiful children that belonged in this world and Diablo had the genetic markings necessary for their survival.

          If this isn’t the case, it makes for a good story. Otherwise, I have to accept the fact I was a fucking idiot to even look at that loser twice.

          SPACKLE: During his rages and verbal attacks on the children or me or both, I would herd the kids into a room to get away from him and say very calmly, “He doesn’t know what he’s saying, he’s mentally ill. Just ignore him”

          Believe it or not, it calmed the kids down.

          • I want to add. No disrespect for anyone who suffers from mental illness. I understand it is a sickness. It was helpful to my children to know that his raging had nothing to do with them but with their father who had an unchecked health issue he refused to address.

              • And an unchecked character disorder…and an unchecked empathy module…and an unchecked theory of mind….

                Since Diablo & my Hannibal Lecher were so similar, it continues to amaze me that they both fathered amazing children. Their genes must have been phenotypically suppressed.

                (Thanks–good to be back!)

            • Very smart letting the kids know that he was off his rocker and defective. His behavior is on him and no one else is to blame.

              • Thank you Calamity Jane for your addendum to your original post. I have to admit to a small twitch when I read the original post, but I know your posts well enough to know that no harm was likely meant.

                KB22, as someone who fights feelings of inadequacy, depression, and feeling defective, I’d urge to pick your words more carefully.

              • Let me clarify-I think anyone that abuses anyone or makes them in any way feel humiliated or less than, is defective. Period. This is in no way directed at anyone struggling with personal issues, especially anyone that was a victim of abuse.

              • WhichWay…Keep fighting those “feelings of inadequacy, depression, and feeling defective” They are lies. You are God’s greatest work with a capacity of showing great love and there is nothing more purposeful on this planet. Keep up the good work.

                KB22…I knew what you meant. They were either born without a heart or discarded it along the highway of life as a useless emotion.

                Tempest…I am sure Diablo and Hannibal would be best of friends because of their similarities. Both of them are a horse’s ass.

          • I cannot imagine how terrifying it must have been. And of course you would have to spackle that bc it was an illness. Sheesh.

    • Arlo – I’m with you! Mine is STILL in school and waiting tables at 36…and then claims to others that he “put his schooling and career on hold so he could raise our children.” He was 25 when we met – he already had close to 7 years to finish his degree before he met me…

  • Well, my ex husband was working part-time at a video rental store. I stopped by unexpectedly with our little daughters. Now this video store had one bathroom with one toilet in it and it was unisex. I couldn’t find him in the video store. Then he comes out of the one toilet bathroom with a woman! I immediately think, “OMG! He is cheating on me. He was just having sex with this customer in the bathroom at his job.” And he indeed was. I later found the email where she was panicky and then relieved that I didn’t catch on. But I looked at her. She was a good 10 years older than me and had a good 100 pounds on me and I was young and blonde and pregnant with our third daughter and I spackled the hell out of that scenario. I said to myself, “That customer probably got some paper towel thing stuck and she called to him and he went in there to help her with it and the store swung shut behind the both of them and that’s why that customer’s face is bright red and her head is hanging low and she’s making a bee line for the door And I’ll just embarrass her more if I saw anything.” Spackle Spackle spackle

  • I accepted the narrative that I was the only sick one in our relationship. She was the healthy adult I should emulate and I was the depressed person who didn’t work hard enough at escaping my mental issues. Anything that went wrong did so because of how hard I made life by being depressed.

    • The depression / burnout of their partner seems to be an excellent excuse to our cheaters. Depression / burnout happen because we continue working hard despite a nasty environment. It’s a sign that we are sensitive and full of good will and responsibility. Maybe if the cheaters had done their part of the work there would be no depression. But cheaters explain the situation as mental illness. Despicable indeed.

    • Me too, WWDSG. Because I was diagnosed with some mental health disorders it was so easy for it all to be my fault. And his ego was so enormous (especially when you consider he couldn’t hold a job or contribute to paying for bills) but somehow I still felt as though I was the only sick one in the relationship.

      • Were you treated like you should appreciate him simply putting up with you? I definitely was, like her even lowering herself to be with me was doing me a favor that I should go overboard to repay. I sometimes think she looked at me as charity work, and the biggest crock is that at the time I would have agreed with her.

      • Me too. I have always had generalised anxiety disorder. Oh how he “suffered” because of that, even though he fought me on trying meds. I did try them and they worked wonderfully. I might have anxiety but he was the one who was REALLY f’d up. And at least I admitted to my anxiety and worked on it.

        I applied major spackle when he started “with-holding” and wouldn’t discuss it or seek help (same with his ED). It was him being tired from working nights. It was stress. He would do something at some point or at least address it. He finally made a doctor appointment and I thought “at last”. Nope. He walked out shortly after. I think he got Viagra for OW.

        • Same here. I accepted responsibility for his “depression,” which manifested itself in him giving up all of his favorite hobbies because engaging in them (without me, despite repeated attempts to join him) made me too resentful for him to enjoy them anymore, when in fact I had been spackling the hell out of his need to spend early mornings, late evenings, and most weekend days at the various athletic clubs around town that he belonged to and barely uttered a word of protest. Later, of course, I found out that he gave up the club circuit because people were beginning to gossip and his image management efforts were under threat.

        • After posting plenty of snarky comments about Asshat’s ED and reading other peoples’ stories, I can only assume ED is about as common as cheating. Asshat would NEVER discuss the ED but was happy to go cheat. Probably with his stash of viagra and Cialis.

          • I wonder if ED is really them being faithful to someone else…I plan a trip to Palm Springs, and first thing he says when we enter the hotel room is that he needs to be back for a ‘meeting’ at work the next afternoon. Odd he didn’t tell me sooner, but OK, I say, we’ll leave early. Next thing is that I initiate what I think will be our first sexual activity of the trip and he ends up masturbating in front of me instead of having actual contact. He was ‘tired’, it was the only thing he could manage…
            This was several years ago and I only recently figured this one out, after reading stories here.

            • Yep, his rejection of vacation sex should have been a clue. Not to mention finding his tablet wrapped in towels and hidden away in a bathroom cabinet at the lake house we were staying in, which explained his long, early morning showers with the door locked shut. But no, like yours he was too tired and too stressed from work to have sex on vacation.

              • Oh that is funny Other Kat – My stbx decided to recycle MY laptop and buy himself a new one. A new one with A LOCK on it….go figure. One day i found it between the wall and my cedar chest in the bedroom. Had I not needed something from out of the chest, I would never of found it. Why would anyone need to hide a laptop between a wall a cedar chest? Cheaters I suppose would need to….

            • I’m with you, SarBear. I like to think their ED is part of Karma!!! I got blamed for his problem “down there” too!!! The fact he drank like a fish had nothing to do with it. LOL

            • He tried to not only blame me but send me to get checked out bc there was something wrong with me. His ED was likely due to diabetes but he used it as an excuse to heap everything on me. If i were sparklier, he could have got/kept it up. Ha.

              • Unbelievable, ChumpyElf. Mine first tried to blame a medication he was on, then when I looked it up and noted that ED is not among the many other reported side-effects, he took to blaming my depression and his stress, and then finally just me.

              • I’m sure in his disordered little brain, Florence is awesome bc he could get it up but I bet he forgot about the pills….

            • Yes! ED is a result of their cheating (if there are no medical reasons & they are under age 45).

              I had forgotten I had spackled over my EX’s ED and internalized it as me being old and fat. I was only 38!

              • He was probably having issues with the plumbing by the age of 30 or even earlier. As a physician, he should have been worried. I understand it would be a sensitive issue but apparently he spackled over that one all on his own. He was stressed out, everyone picked on him, work partners were crazy, patients were rude, the computers are running slow…. Now well into his 40s he is still having plumbing issues but now they’re bc I am not paying attention to him, all of the above and anything else he can think of. Grow up! The day after his diabetes diagnosis, he walked up to me and casually said, “I hope the nerve damage isn’t permanent.” Could be his hearing loss he is concerned about or the once in a blue moon hand tingling but I think he was referring to the ED. Freaking genius. As for me, I’m not all that fussed. I’m never getting near his broken plumbing again.

          • Here is another Chump with a cheater that had ED. Geez I cannot believe I am reading the same things I had to deal with the ex with your comments. I have read some place that it comes to something with their brains and certain hormones that are very common with these Personality Disorder individuals. I cannot recall the details of what I read but it is another interesting issue with these individuals. Also with the ex it started when he was very young.

            • This is very interesting Beth. My cheater had the same problem and if hes’s to be believed it started at an early age and occurred with all his partners.

              • Hi Reformednumpty, Yes I found it very interesting. Also I read that they (PD) have high amounts of Cortisol levels also. The more I read the physical and the mental side of Personality Disorders the more I’m finding the answers to the questions about the ex. Hopefully there will be more types of studies like this in years to come. Maybe this will help us chumps in our healing process. I know it has helped me out. Still no excuse for this monsters!!!!!

            • Hi Beth…Reading these posts about ED really hit home with me. I discovered his cheating in May, but suspected for quite awhile, but yep, I spackled with the best of them. He hadn’t touched me in over a year and a half ( which now I’m grateful for ) but I was always finding him on porn sites. I tried everything I could to talk to him about it, he knew it was depressing me and what it was doing to my self-esteem, trust, etc. He blamed it on being over stressed and tired from work. He’s almost 61. The other day as I was cleaning out his crap from his bathroom I found tucked way in the back on the bottom shelf his stash of over the counter male enhancer pills ( box of 40 but 28 had been taken ) and two empty bottles of Viagra. I’ve since discovered that he’s been quite active in the escort services and strip clubs. $400/hr for the hookers who are 10 yrs younger than our kids. Yeah…he was “over-worked” alright. My greatest joy will be when all the pills in the world won’t help to get it up anymore.

    • When I was in my last year of school, I went on antidepressants. My ex kept shoving that in my face throughout the devaluation stage “I gave you everything and tried so hard to make you happy!! And you were never happy!! You were DEPRESSED!”. As if being depressed is this disgusting thing that was not only within my control, but also his. Looking back I don’t even think it was depression, just some serious stress, but I had been off antidepressants for at least six months at the time he was saying this and I was actually really happy (and still am) because I am done with school and can actually start and live my life!! Just goes to show that they’ll dig for any excuse for their bad behavior.

      • How does one NOT get depressed when one is living with a monster who is emotionally abusive (usually covertly), and who cares not one whit about our feelings? Depression in such circumstances is adaptive.

        • Yeah, you know I was thinking the other day that I was doing pretty well before I met him. I had a good job at an insurance co. and a part time small business. I’d just bought a new car. Lots of friends and hobbies, traveling. It wasn’t until we were married awhile that I really needed meds for my anxiety. Coincidence maybe, but I wonder. He shit on all my hobbies and friends. His family treated me like crap and he’d never take my side.

          WWDSG, yes I always felt inferior and had to make it up to him because I had anxiety. It sucks.

    • Mine said the SAME thing WWDSG.. don’t believe it. It’s just more gaslighting and mental abuse. You don’t abandon a partner who has cancer do you? Same is true for depression or anxiety.. and YES, they would be lessened if you had a partner that did their part.

      • Oh man, straight out of the playbook. Mine also said nothing could ever make me happy and when I pointed out that in a healthy relationship, spouses try to support each other through periods of unhappiness and depression, not abandon them emotionally and physically. His response? “I don’t ‘do’ depression.”

        • Wow. I’m so sorry that you had to hear that. I was told basically the same thing, but not so explicitly. What an ass.

          • Thanks, WWDSG, it is amazing the things they’ll say out loud and not even think twice about. Of course years later when he went through his feigned depression over being forced to give up his hobbies because of me, I was expected to pretzel twist my way around doing whatever I could to help him out of his sad sausage “funk.”

      • I appreciate the comparison to cancer. I made the same comparison to a friend, and he said that it would probably depend on how I handled the cancer. So, it’s not enough to be struggling with an illness, you have to throw in the need to impress your S.O. with your efforts at fighting it.

        There were many times over the years when I thanked her for her loving support and then when she was leaving me she threw it all back in my face. I thought she had been acting out of love; she portrayed it as if she’d acted out of an obligation that she was sick of fulfilling.

        I understand that we don’t owe our lives to anyone and that it’s up to an individual as to whether or not they want to devote their life to being with someone who is sick. Understanding it doesn’t make being abandoned any easier.

        • I think the bottom line is these people don’t take their marriage vows that seriously…you don’t get MARRIED and then abandon someone when the going gets tough.. especially if that person is willing to work on themselves and the relationship. Romantic love feelings come and go but marriage is supposed to be on a different plane. Not that CL’s point about keeping things fresh isn’t a good one, it is, we all need to do that. But affairs and “the grass is greener” thinking can’t be compared to the real life of a committed family and partnership.

          I think most of these cheaters do it because they want to. Not because of FOO, or Opportunity, or something their spouses did.. they do it because they are entitled, selfish and they don’t care how it affects others. Their needs are first. That’s what it comes down to. They lack the integrity to live up to the promises they made.

      • “You don’t abandon a partner who has cancer do you?” Oh but they do. Mine did. Still “my insomnia was the reason the marriage failed.” I gotta’ say the cancer comparison makes me uncomfortable.

    • I was eight months pregnant with our third son, crying in my counselor’s office because, “I have it all and I’m just not happy.” After learning that my husband avoided any kind of intimacy or sex, treated me like the help, didn’t work, and we had a child on the autism spectrum that my husband refused to accept, and four aging parents with significant health issues, my counselor told me I wasn’t crazy; I was carrying the burden of not one mentally ill person (my sweet son), but two (husband).

      I showed her; I never went back. I was after all, the spackle queen.

    • I was also blamed for marriage’s demise because I struggle with anxiety and was depressed back then. Funny how my being afraid to fly is some sort of major flaw, but his fucking everyone who would hold still long enough was apparently okay.

      • LOL, GladIO–your “his fucking everyone who would hold still long enough” brings to mind images of the cartoon skunk Pepe Le Pew always trying to hug his love interest (a cat), who was struggling to get away.

  • I am a spackling professional with 20+ years of experience. Every time STBX hurt me and I explicitly asked for an apology and he flatly refused to give me one, I told myself it was because he came from an undemonstrative family. Every time he refused to acknowledge me until I was either crying or shouting, I assured myself that all men are bad listeners. And every time he acted like an entitled, selfish asshat, I reminded myself that he was a good man doing the best he could with the resources he had.

    However, my spackle masterpiece happened two days after I found out about the cheating. Having seen me crumple onto the floor, having listened to me sob all night, and knowing that I was throwing up every few hours, Cheater informed me that he and OWhore were going to spend one last glorious night together in a nearby hotel because they needed “closure.” AND I GAVE MY PERMISSION!!! Because, after all, he was coming back to me which proved he must really love me best, and because the poor sausage was making such a huge sacrifice on my behalf. How could I deny two people who truly loved each other one last goodbye before they parted forever?

    I really wish there had been someone around to smack me with a shovel attachment. Sigh…

    • I’m so sorry, Kristen.

      Being a compassionate person is not a crime; we all wish someone had hit us with a shovel attachment at least once. No, twice. No, ……

      • There comes the day when they have enough of getting caught. I regret not having had enough after the first time.

      • My sister once asked me, “Why do you keep handing [X] the shovel to bury you?”

        I think of that question often when I’m giving any kind of information to him. It helps me keep brief and factual; nothing more.

    • I did that too. He told me he was going to take the OW “out to lunch” to say goodbye. I listened to him as he told me they cried together and he “thanked her for saving our marriage.”

      I felt so proud of myself because he “was choosing me.” Go ahead Kristen give me the ole wack with the shovel attachment.

      • They make it sound so convincing. X gave me the same shit and I found his car at her new apartment a week later.

        • One of my ex cheaters took the OW out to dinner to “say goodbye” too. I did not accept it gracefully. He responded with “I don’t do jealousy”. Gaslighting at its finest in my book. It didn’t help that the only reason I knew about their meetup was that an acquaintance mentioned she saw them having dinner at a local restaurant. Then I checked his texts, and sure enough there was a “and I think about you too” message he sent to her the day after. I also strongly suspect they had one last sex session, since her message to him was “last night proved that I still love you”. What dorks. She was making a major play to get him back and he was lapping up the cake. He was so indignant when I dumped him…apparently my belief in fidelity amounts to jealousy in a cheater’s mind. As far as I know, that guy is still single and playing poor sausage to his extended family.

          The OW was already with another guy at the time. Wish I’d had his name to enlighten him.

  • My ex, after multiple d-days and fake reconciliations, got my name tattooed in big, bold letters on his back. Everyone thought it was this big, romantic gesture. I knew it was a product of his guilt. Then, he bought me a handgun for Christmas that same year. (I hate guns. I don’t mind other people owning them, but I’m petrified of them, myself.) He bought me a handgun in December, and the following February, I discovered yet another affair. As he was begging me not to leave him and refusing to pay his full child support obligation and professing his love for me, he got my name tattooed over.

    We’re now divorced, needless to say.

    • What a jerk, mermaiddani. But it wasn’t guilt; it was fear of consequences (his subsequent actions prove he has no sense of guilt).

      • LOL! I’ve never actually seen it. My son told me that it is a Harley emblem. It had to be pretty bad because my name was in huge letters from shoulder to shoulder on his upper back…in black.

    • Horrible story, but I am with ca-chump… how dumb is it for a guy who is CHEATING to buy his wife guns? He’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer, is he?

      • LOL!! Mine did too!! Just a few months before D-day he buys me this .45 with enough ammo to make DHS jealous. Then the night I confronted him, he raged and stormed out of the house WITH the gun. Told my son it was “for my protection”. Uh huh, right. That little act of thoughtfulness was what got the police to have me issue an order of protection against him.

  • You didn’t have to give permission. He was probably going to do it anyway. If not that night, then another one.
    I feel I spackled the entire relationship too. He is so disordered that he will never know what he did to his life, wife, and kids.

  • Chump Lady please tell your husband he is not a “pussy”. He went (and you) had hell of ex’s and now you have the type of peace that you can be your real selves. I, myself had the same hell of an ex’s and now I am remarried to the same kind of man you wrote that read “Chicken Soul for Couples”. I never ever expected that I would remarry and never thought I would have so much peace with another person. Your husband is just down to earth a real person. Well that is what I get from what you have written about him. He is a normal human being. That is what I have also. Sounds like you both have peace between each other. A nice grown up relationship and friendship. That is all we want. We want to be able to just be ourselves and that is what you have between each other you can just BE!!!!! Simple but it is very hard to find. I’m so happy you both have that for each other. I hope you send that message to him.

    Oh btw tell your hubby that my hubby cooks (he is an outstanding cook), he cleans the entire house many times I don’t even say a thing and it’s done when I get home, does the washing, the best handyman in the world, very smart, and he makes me laugh with his wicky sense of humour (I must say I have a wicky sense of humor). Now is our marriage perfect hell no. We have had our ups and downs but NOTHING I mean like I had with the ex. The ups and downs we have had are just normal type of ups and downs. We support each other. Most of all we like being around each other and I have a friendship with my hubby now. It sounds like you have that also.

    So your husband and you are very lucky to have each other with the abuse you both had with your exs. Tell him thank you for supporting you with this blog and I know you have written about his ex many times also and I thank him for that. I’m so sorry you both had to deal with such abuse. Thank you for helping us also Chump Lady. I hope you know how much we love you both.

    • Thanks for your kind words, Beth. I think you pretty much nailed what it’s like to experience a “gown up” relationship after suffering through a dysfunctional nightmare with a serial cheater. So glad you found a good guy, a safe place to be yourself, and happiness.

      • sorry for the misspelled word of wicky and should have been wicked. ha! You are most welcome Mr. Chump Lady. Yes, I found a safe place to be a normal and quiet boring person. I like boring. Boring is my friend!!!!! ha!

    • “He is a normal human being. That is what I have also. Sounds like you both have peace between each other. A nice grown up relationship and friendship. That is all we want.”

      YES. I am still dating Nice Guy, it’s almost two years now. We’re talking about moving in together. While he is far from perfect, and has a fair amount of FOO issues, he is so NORMAL. He is a grownup. He tolerates my quirks as I tolerate his. He does not make me feel “less than” or boring or a low priority. I feel like we are a team, something I never once felt with my ex. While I fear I will always have some trust issues and baggage from my nightmare marriage, I can just be myself with Nice Guy. It is so refreshing after my ex.

      • GladIt’sOver, I can fully relate how you feel. I have the same feeling as you do. I think most of my healing and overcoming trust issues from anyone is educating myself about Personality Disorders and really breaking down my marriage, and also seeing that I others in my life that have these disorders. It takes time but I think we are more aware now. It is so good that there are places like Chump Lady site to help us see what the truth is. Also there are good people out there.

  • OK for the sparkle about the ex same old mess new engagement ring, new wedding band, necklaces, pearls, earrings. Some of bullshit stuff they all do. None of it had meaning to me. He was just doing that to be a show off. He would give me the items in front of my family or his. I just would look at it and just empty inside. Also a new computer and desk that I wanted. New home furniture. Stuff like that. It would piss me off because we needed to pay the bills but he wanted to buy my love I guess. So sad. So happy that is not my life now.

      • OWs fiance was a high end jeweler and my nowdeadhusband wanted to buy me a diamond and have her fiance get it for him – lets all vomit together. I said I would sooner set a piece of dog poop in wire and wear that over her “getting me” anything

      • actually isn’t it interesting how close SPARKLE and SPACKLE are in chump nation? when they stopped sparkling for us, we started spackling.. but that was because we thought they were actually normal! like we are.

        • Very true, Chumpette. I did have many red flags during the many, many, many years with the ex. I could never wrap my head around why he did or acted a certain way. Guess what I did with those red flags yeppers I spackled the hell of it. There is so many things that I can recall with how he reacted or how he would deal with things well more not dealing with things and run away. I swear to god he would start some disagreement with me every damn week just to have some attention. I can recall many times I told him he would never be happy. Plus he always started some type of trouble between his family and friends and all he would do is laugh this evil laugh. Also when we were around young kids per our families having kids and we would be playing some type of sport or video game and he had to win. I mean the look in his face was the devil itself. He would not let a small kid win. Myself I don’t have this type of thought process. Everything in the ex’s life was a competition. There are so many more things that it is hard to explain but now I fully understand why he did what he did. Just a note I am NOT giving that jackass an excuse in any shape or form but now I know why. He has a mental illness, a disorder. There is no way he can be “cured” of it. He is the OW’s problem now. Good luck to her! Not my circus, not my monkeys!!!!!!

  • With my last relationship I spent roughly 10 months being stonewalled – if I said something that pissed him off in the slightest – he’d go silent or disappear for days at a time, which gradually got longer. And it was severely walking on eggshells trying to think of topics that WOULDN’T piss him off or make him give me the silent treatment. Even mundane topics would result in this – one example I can give, was the time when I said I was considering learning his native tongue. I was interested in doing so, so that I’d have a greater appreciation of his roots, and also broaden my horizons a bit. His response? “Why? Thats useless” and then proceeded to spend the next 2 days ignoring me.

    My spackle-time is this: For a while, I actually thought “He just needs some time to recharge without resorting to verbal abuse”. And then I considered “His father is extremely abusive, maybe this is his way to deal with stuff, he probably feels trapped?”

    Yeah. Right. After 10 months, he disappeared for nearly 3 weeks and that was the straw which broke the camel’s back. He returned, 2 days before I was going on a 2 week holiday which I would have no contact with the outside world or himself, and in that moment I realised that his behaviour was really quite delibrate – and that likely, a lot of things I had been told would most likely be a lie.
    Even through all of this – I do wish him well – however, I don’t want him to be anywhere near me ever again. That stuff is EXTREMELY mentally tiring. Fortunately, after I cut off contact, he sent me a single message at Christmastime about 6 months after this occurred, and nothing since.
    Its really a breath of fresh air when you end up, later on, being in company of someone who doesn’t pull that sort of stuff, and respects you for exactly who you are.

  • I believed that the time I caught my STBX in the back of a car with another guy (and her bra off between them) was the first time they’d met. My wife took six months of separation to relieve me of that spackle… I’ve had to clear away a lot of spackle since then and am now creating some healthy boundaries to avoid donning the spackle tinted spectacles in future relating…

  • Definitely that he must ‘really care’ because he never left me. But now I understand that that’s just the joy of having your cake and eating it! Between me being a great wife and his girlfriends on the side, why would he? His life was just dandy and leaving me would have been a major inconvenience to his lifestyle/kibbles etc!

  • Spackling? My second career. I had a patch kit, Magic trowel and spackle in every color. There were no spackle lines… It was a seamless repair. i would check from a distance for any teltales… A dimple? A offset line… Nada. I was a fucking pro.

    • Same here. I could smooth to perfection despite regular earthquakes registering 10 on the Richter scale. I could pretty things up so well noone ever noticed the rotten house set on a rotten foundation built on landfill.

    • THIS!!! I was a pro! I could talk myself into ANYTHING! Oh he needs to go to the bathroom with his phone for the 4th time in two hours and the toilet never flushed- well he did have two beers at dinner! Oh he is sleeping with his phone under the pillow again- well at least it won’t fall on the floor! After DDay like 4 and going on fake reconciliation pick me dance parade AGAIN he said to me one night “Don’t you think there is a reason I could never leave you”! Awe it is so considerate of him to cheat time and time again with the 23 yr old HOworker… but he can’t bear to leave me! I took that and made it into a shiny crystal glittered Spackled piece of shit that it was and that sentence alone kept me going…until DDay #5…

        • For years I spackled the hell out of his need to go to extreme and increasingly ridiculous lengths to hide and password protect his technology, which no one in the family was allowed to even look at sideways without him walking off with it in a huff. My favorite was that I believed he needed to log in and out of his computer each time to protect the life of the battery and that he couldn’t share his password because of security precautions at work, like he was James Bond or something.

          No worries, though, if I ever needed the password in the event that, say, he up and died and I had to get into our financial accounts (which I stupidly let him manage believing his delusions about how good he is with money. NOT), I could find it stored in an envelope in his locked metal briefcase, which he also took with him everywhere he went and I did not have the key to. When I pointed this out he lied about where I could find the extra hidden key.

          To my credit, that’s when I finally started to see the cracks in the spackle and searched for the key in one of the many hiding places throughout the house he didn’t know I knew about and waited until he forgot to take the briefcase with him on an out-of-town trip. Sure enough, there was no envelope with his password in his James Bond briefcase (though there was cash stashed away). By then I had started to put the pieces together and sat on that information until it came out during an argument just before I filed and demanded access to all of our accounts, not letting him know that I’d managed to set up online access myself. I just wanted to bust him and see how he would respond.

          Cue dead-eyed stare. “Now you’re just making shit up. That’s just fucking crazy, you can get into my computer any time and the only reason I ever need to hide things is because you’ll go snooping and use some innocent email to accuse me of having an affair.” You really can’t make this shit up but I’m betting anyone who reads this could have predicted his response. Crazy making!

          • Other Kat,

            I spackled that phone and computer hidden password shit like a professional. I bought the line that there was “sensitive” information from work on this phone and/or computer that couldn’t “get into the wrong hands”. What a load of shit…this isn’t the CIA!! BUT there was sensitive information on those devices about work…the fact he was f***ing a married coworker.

            I also spackled over the financials. I stupidly let him handle all of the accounts. (I know, I know…can you say chump?). When I was at the AT&T store (where I was trying to untangle my life without passwords), I am not sure if the young, single girl helping me really appreciated my heads up lecture about not ever letting anyone take control your finances…NEVER.

            Glad we both finally saw the cracks in the spackle. You are so right about his response…you just can’t make this shit up!!!

  • A few Christmases before DDay, he gifted me a knife sharpener. In front of all of his family and our kids. How the hell do you react to THAT? Mind you, I am not a chef, a cooking hobbyist or a ninja. However, I had honed my spackling techniques to precision. So I simply smiled and of course, modeling good behavior to my kids, I said thanks without grimacing with disappointment.

    I had spent YEARS in quiet disappointment that this guy still knew nothing about me. Never once did he gift anything that indicated he knew my likes, dislikes or hobbys. It was never about cost or size of the gifts, just knowledge that he understood me and wanted to support the various things that make me tick.

    The sharpener is a reminder that my back stabbing cheater could sharpen his daggers in plain sight with me none the wiser. That year, via cc receipt sleuthing, I also discovered he had gifted his decade long MOW a LV dog carrier bag.

    • My response was a bit off topic. I always told him I had his back and let him know I was capable of managing the home front while he toiled as a road warrior to drive sales for his employer and support his family.

      He was never present during the dirty part of being a family and raising kids. He never took the kids to doctor or dentist appointments, never did laundry, never found contractors for home repairs, never negotiated new mortgage rates, never transferred utilities between cross country moves, never located and established new bank accounts, never found babysitters, never arranged date nights, never organized entertainment with friends,never did a fucking thing related to all of the tedious things couples do that aren’t the sexy, FUN!!!! He just sat there and still sits there expecting to be served like a fucking prince.

      I spackled the shit out of my life to compensate. I never realized how stressful this was until I stopped after DDAY.

      What’s truly strange is that all of the fucking traditions that I created for us as a couple, he initiated with his MOW. AS IF HE THOUGHT OF THIS THINGS ON HIS OWN. I’m taking every single one of them back, and it’s been good.

      • ANC, I have two theories about this stuff;

        – They go off and do the EXACT same stuff with the new partners that we did with them, because they aren’t actually human, so don’t know how to act human, but have to hide it, or the new person might catch on! The activities we planned, the places we went, these are a template for them to fake having a life.

        Alternately, they enjoyed the things we did with them, so will continue to enjoy them, as long as they have any suitably admiring kibble provider along. Swap you out, swap them in, same dif!

        And of course, the two theories are not incompatible.

        • KarenE, you are very astute. I was married before I met Cheaterpants Dickface, and my ex-husband was not a cheater. But he did lack that certain “human” ability to be…well, you know…human! It was not something I realized during the whole length of the marriage ( we chumps are chumps, after all), but it came to me long after we were divorced. Some people just don’t know how to act like people. They are 2D instead of 3D…human emulators with zero real depth. My ex and I didn’t have an acrimonious divorce, so we stayed semi-friends, and I even met a few of his (mostly short term) girlfriends.

          He had been dating around a long while, and finally met someone with whom he got serious. He started taking her to the same places we had gone together. Then they started traveling together, and he would plan trips for them with identical itineraries to ones I had planned carefully while we were together. Then she told me his pet name for her, and it turned out to be the pet name he had for me when we were together. Which made ZERO sense, because it wasn’t the common “sweetheart,” “babe,” or even “pookie” or “buttercup.” It was actually a real name (Sabrina), which had started due to a very INSIDE joke the two of us had shared in the beginning relationship – one of those jokes no one else gets but the two of you. He actively tried to get her to pursue interests I had always had, like horses, dogs, go-karting and dance. He bought her books I had read and enjoyed. He eventually bought her an engagement ring, which was (you guessed it!) almost a clone of the one I had worn. Then he married her at the same venue we had been married, ON our wedding anniversary, because (I quote) “It will be easy for me to remember.”

          It’s so creepy when I write it out like that. They are still together, and she doesn’t know any of this.

          • Ditto! its creepy as fuck. Our first Xmas he bought me a camera… Guess who got a camera? I chose all the paint colors and tile in the house…. Guess who paint the same rooms the same colors … And used the same tile!!! He ran out to Sears and purchased the range set we had the year before he left.
            I pride myself on the beautiful yard I have built up over the years…. Guess who chose the same trees… Same shrubs and fencing in his new house! He even went and purchased a simialr sheet set for his bed and tweeny’s bed. He gave Tweeny my car…and i found out … Bought her the same perfume… FUCKING CREEPY

            • They had it great with us, that’s what, and they wish they could recreate that really great thing they lost. The same perfume? He even wants her to smell like you? Poor Tweeny. I bet she has to dance real pretty…and she’ll still get steamrolled.

            • The more I think about the crappy b movie that has been my life for the last three years … I realize she is just my body double… She will never get the credits and is happy with being the stand in.

              • Mine takes wife #2 (the OW) on the same holiday itineraries that I did for us. Only difference is he can’t afford the same hotels (I wonder if has finally realised how well I treated him). So, they stay in trailer parks near those hotels and on her blog she disses all the “rich folks” who stay in the actual hotels. I bet his skin crawls because he was once one of them. No, actually he spends his time trawling websites for new pickups, just a matter of time before she twigs to his hobbies.

          • Same here. It helps to read all of these accounts of the templates.

            It has been such a shocking phenomena to me, so freaky and so incredibly hurtful. How to understand it? It helps to see that it’s just another almost common behavior among the disordered.

            He took everything that was personal to us, evolved nicknames that were connected to certain moments between us, our little traditions, the same settings, benches, menu items! from the same places, private jokes (once he explained them to her), my favorite music which he learned about from me, the songs which he associated with me, and gave everything to her. Our Song! became theirs, my nickname became hers, he even was in the process in his delusional head of preparing the way to give her my best friends!

            She had their photographs (which I had taken or which had me edited out) and knew all about their place in the country, their pets’ names and quirks, and was briefed on many of our anecdotes and fun memories between we four. Through the stories he shared with her, she became included in the scene in a sense, which was what he wanted. She would refer to them knowingly in texts and emails, and enjoy it all with him.

            Only thing she didn’t know was that he knew them through me…He thought that once the discard was complete, which he was trying to cause by increasing the friction and fighting between us, that it would look like a mutual break up, and then he could work her into the picture. And his charm would ensure that my best friends would want to keep him in their world, too. Ha. Delusional to say the least. I’ve never told them all of this. They hate him enough already.

            As soon as I told him a funny joke or interesting news story, he would hop on the computer and relay it to her or send her the link.

            And he tried during fake R to take me to the place where he first met her, not knowing that I knew the history there, just to get his jollies, seeing me there and thinking I was in the dark. That power zing thing that he is so addicted to. The series of secrets that made him feel superior.

            He also tried to take me back to all of the places that had been ripped from me, attempting to recycle my former jewels back to me. Nope. Keep all that shit at the pawn shop. It doesn’t sparkle anymore.

  • When I suspected he was cheating and questioned why he was distant physically and emotionally, and I got the dead stares, that sent me into a rage of frustration. When I received projection, gaslighting, and every other bullshit act I accepted the guilt, shame and blame shifting. Focused on my own issues, accepted that love was a choice I had to make and prayed it was just a phase we were going through and that if I did a good enough job as a wife and mother we would get past this negative phase in our marriage.
    I even repeatedly tried to instigate sex thinking if we just did it more often we would reconnect some how.
    I always had his back. And the whole time he was baking me into a corner.

    As for crappy gifts. I once hinted I would love a charm bracelet for my birthday. I was given the most masculin bracelet with the ugliest charm I have ever seen. I suspect it was re gifted knowing what I now know. All he did was add the charm. I also was once given a socket set and spirit level one year for my birthday, XH could not understand why I found the gift thoughtless and was upset. Fast forward 8 years and when XH came to collect his things earlier this year went to take the socket set and became aggressive when I told him he could have it.

    I am not high maintenance but the occasional pretty/girly thing would have been nice.
    Oh I remember one year him giving me ponds facial scrub and moisturiser and because I commented that I liked it, that’s what I got as a birthday and Mother’s Day gift for the next two years off him and his mother. When I spoke up about the lack of originality I was deamed heartless and unappreciative.

  • My Spackle was actually believing that she was sorry about lying and racking up $100K in secret debt and penalties, and that she’d really change. Oh, and the two months I spent actually believing her bullshit about me being the ultimate villain in our relationship. F&ck that noise, sooooooo glad I’m on my way out of that toxic quagmire!

  • Unrelated to cheating, there was so much to choose from. The biggest is that he almost always refused to sleep in our bed, which should have been a deal breaker. But I spackled over that one every day. Had I explained how important it was to me, kind of like air and food and water? Yes. Had I tried to accommodate the one million excuses? Yes. Bigger bed? Check. TV and headphones? Check. Different bedtimes? Check. Snuggle, don’t snuggle? Check. I could spend hours trying to unravel that one, but in the end it was about more control. I spackled in the form of, “He just doesn’t understand how important this is to me, or he wouldn’t do it.” In fact, I think that was the label on the can. He knew. He just didn’t care and used everything I cared about keep me dancing all the time.

    • I remember explaining to my mother that my ex just couldn’t understand my needs. She said, “Oh, he understood. He just didn’t care.” That kind of slapped me in the face because I realized she was right. I was always making excuses for him.

    • Asshat started sleeping in the basement when he first started having trouble coping with heat. We had a/c and he’d crank it way down but with a newborn in the house, that was a bad idea. He would whine and feel sick. Did he go seek help? Nope, just got angry at how i never wanted him to be comfortable, he ached from crashing in the couch, he resented me. Then he started sleeping in the apartment above our detached garage bc he could crank the a/c down in there. He would wake up with the sheets soaked (in sweat hopefully) and STILL he blamed me. I begged him to stay inside the house. I am sure it was easier to look at porn and text people. But he was ticked off that i dared to breastfeed our baby rather than be his bendypornstar, would not turn the house into a walk-in freezer and it was all stressing him out! Dimwit.

      • Sigh. I, too, got the working late, noise in the morning thing. He said i was lazy for wanting him inside the main house in case the baby woke and I was unable to get to him fast enough. Back then I was still off most meds and sometimes needed crutches to walk. He had compassion and time for all his patients and basically everyone else. He saved all his aggression and whiny-needy shit for me.

        • Oh we had babies in the house alright, including those of the fully-grown, big fat variety. Mine had the opposite issue with temperatures–he always wanted it stinking hot in the house and acted as if turning on the A/C during a 90 degree heat wave was the most self-indulgent, wasteful thing I could possibly do and that I was personally responsible for destroying our climate in the process.

          Then, big fat baby man that he is, he would go into his closet (unfortunately, this is also a pun) and put on not one, but two layers of sweaters and walk around in silent, snooty contempt. This summer the few times that I’ve had to let him into my house I blasted the A/C to chase him the hell out as quickly as possible. Of course now I realize it’s all about control, not about his delicate, environmentally-friendly internal thermometer.

          • Omg – I can’t believe I’m reading this. Mine also had an aversion to air conditioning. Actually I think he just had an aversion to anything that made me happy or comfortable.

            I just had a new 96 percent hvac unit put in.
            Any time I dared to put on the air even On a 100 degree day and bring the house down to a freezing 78 degrees, AH would put on a sweat shirt, sweat pants a wool beany, and sit in the same room While i was trying to read and make loud fake shivering noises complete with chattering teeth.

            Then he would complain that the freezing 78 degree air was making him sick.

            He would go to sleep like that.

            Then this same person would go on a mud run or survival trip to show what a big man he was.

            At least I know now, it’s not about temperature, it’s about control.

            • Oh man, Chumpdujour, can you even believe it? I had to laugh reading your response because it so much describes my STBX, though I love the added touch with the chattering teeth!

              Mine would even make a point of layering up when we visited our oldest, who was stationed at a base in the CA desert. It got to the point where it was embarrassing to walk around with him–people would look at him as if he was some homeless person who felt the need to bundle up in extra layers of clothes in anticipation of a winter that would never come. He would be walking around as if the rest of us were somehow weak (on a military base no less), sweating in the heat while he was prancing around in a sweater, cool as a cucumber.

              So true, they want to do the opposite of whatever makes us happy or comfortable. Mine also said that the A/C (and any fans I would put on to compensate) made him sick!

            • Thanks so much. I live in So Cal also and I have to say I run the air now every day if I need it or not.

              In fact, when I go to sleep I set it for 69 degrees. Meat locker status

              Hey I paid my$5500 for a 96 percent energy efficient HVAC, I’m using it!

              It wasn’t even about the money w him bc he never contributed to the bills.

              He used to say when it was 85 degrees , it’s beautiful outside – just open the windows I’d say– I have a better idea- Why don’t you sit your ass outside and I’ll stay inside and make it cooler.

              But how I sweated my butt off so many days and how miserable he made me when everyone within 100 miles of me were grateful for air conditioning

              Every once in a while he texts, always from w different number.

              This summer he’s texts how hot it is in his one room apt in the little ghetto room he lives in.
              Funny, he always loved the heat before

              He gave up a big, beautiful comfortable home where he paid for nothing and was Unhappy w everything so he could continue to have access to phone sex and pigs

              I hope it’s warm enough in hell for him. He almost destroyed my life Hell would be too good

    • “Snuggle, don’t snuggle?” Reading that reminded me of something I always thought was odd about my ex… Outside having sex, he did not want me touching him at all when we were in bed together. Not even my little toe!!! LOL

    • DoneNow, I was heartbroken when he moved out of our bed to go sleep next to his bar on a sofa in the basement. When I mentioned it, he told me I snored, and didn’t want to hurt my feelings. So I went to a sleep clinic to discover I do not snore. When I told him the results, he gave me that dead fish stare.

      He never spoke a word of the lie. So I got out the spackle, convinced myself he would come back and then ended up having a family bed with my babies.

      He used that against me in a deposition, stating that I was frigid and always had the kids with me.

      Unbelievable.

      • They complain you don’t do X, then you do X, and they complain that you do X. It’s lose-lose with these cheaters, which is why running as far and as fast as you can is the only strategy.

  • When he handed me my engagement ring on Christmas Eve and said, “Here, put this on.” – I spackled (after all, he bought me a ring- he must really love me)

    • Mine was shoved across the kitchen table in the middle of a loud tv commercial. He knows how much I detest loud commercials. And when I asked if we could open a bottle of wine and have a moment of some kind to make it special (Spackle spackle desperate spackle), he yelled, “What? Are you critiquing my proposal now? Are you saying I didn’t do it right???”

      I’m so ashamed to write this. And the ring was truly beautiful and he did spend a lot of time searching for just the right one. I think he was afraid he had done too much for undeserving me.

  • How many of us even bought our own gifts which we then had our cheaters gift to us on major holidays or birthdays?

    BTDT. Barf. The Pentultimate spackle.

    • Yep. I basically picked everything out and even told him where he could get it. All he had to do was purchase it and wrap it. He then thought he was the most thoughtful gift giver in the world. In comparison, I was always listening to him when he mentioned wanting/liking something, buying things and putting them away as he expressed interest, and getting him things that I felt pertained to his interests and hobbies. I also did the gift selection/wrap for his parents and other family members as needed. I’m happy to be relieved of those duties, and now I just buy myself what I want when I want it!

      • I was supposed to go buy my own birthday cakes because once I mentioned I liked the creamy frosting better than the whipped cream frosting. That was it! Punishment for every birthday afterwards. I think it was bullshit. I think the whipped cream frosting cakes were cheaper. They came from the grocery store. The creamy frosting came from the bakery and were more expensive and took more effort.

        And I STILL feel guilty that I said that. What a chump I am.

        • Lina – stop, your choice of frosting vs. cream didn’t make you a bad wife. I wanted a rocking chair when I had my first child, and I got a waterbed mattress instead. Was I pissed. I was so hurt… All I wanted was a chair to rock our child in and I got a freaking mattress. I’ll never forget that – I was so hurt and so disappointed for a long time because of that. Should have left then.

          • Mine bought me a computer for my birthday, which he then proceeded to commandeer. It was supposed to be so I could do my research and writing while I was finishing my Master’s, but instead he used it to message OW on FB, troll the casual encounters and “therapeutic services” on Craigslist, watch porn practically 24/7, and shop for teenaged escorts who were the same age as his daughter.

            Ye-ah. I did NOT take that with me when I left, as I’d probably have had to call Father Damian to exorcise it. So gross.

    • I got to where I’d leave a catalog on his dresser with what I wanted for my birthday circled so he wouldn’t have to think about it. LOL. I threw him many parties over the year, and would often daydream that he’d reciprocate and throw me a party for a milestone birthday, etc. That never happened, though.

      • I did the same… planned special parties on milestones for him. Never any thoughtful reciprocation in return. I’m guilty of that same spackle job, too — “it’s a guy thing — not as thoughtful” LOL

      • Add me to the list. I didn’t really even mind not having the party…I just once wanted a special cake that maybe was ordered with me in mind instead of what was left over in the store bakery.

        • Raising my hand here, too. I planned elaborate themed parties for him, while my own birthdays were some last-minute scramble with a card from the all-purpose greeting card Costco box.

          Writing this out, I have to laugh. How fucking lame can you get.

    • Asshat used to get slightly pricey gifts. I accepted them gratefully but let him know i was good with, say, a JCrew cashmere sweater for Christmas rather than some 5-figure piece of jewelry i would never have occasion to wear. Then he would complain how I wouldn’t wear the nice things he got me. Like all the scratch, pokey lingerie, often bought way too small. Especially thoughtful a few months after an emergency C-section. Last month, i sold my old house (where i had a happy life alone with MightyCat) and bought myself a nice paddleboard and am getting a fancy mountain bike for my birthday. Things that I have talked about for years but he got angry about during the affair. The good presents stopped abruptly a few years ago. I am a reader but gets books that are completely random. I don’t even ask for his reasoning bc it offends him, he also got me stale clearance Easter candy for my birthday. The best gift he could give me now is a boatload of spousal and child support and to move far away ;O

      • Of course we must dress like a Victoria’s Secret model!!! What’s wrong with you, woman?! Your reluctance to do so is the reason he has ED!!!! LOL 😉

        • He would get almost nasty and accuse me of having no self esteem and if I would just wear the ‘pretty things’ I would really feel better. Maybe bc he was used to squeezing himself into constricting clothes, it wouldn’t have bothered him but I was unaccustomed to being bigger and, shockingly, I couldnt handle the stripperlicious oufits scraping my giant scar.

          I guess one of my many spackling incidents was finding Madonna Whore Complex in a note on his phone, when he sent me to look at a grocery list, and confronting him about it. He said he was just curious about it so what of it? I guess he was looking for any old excuse even years ago.

  • My biggest can of spackle was when ex was acting funny four years into our marriage so I snooped into his email (we shared passwords) and found what appeared to be a love poem in French to a grad school colleague of his. Yup, I believed him that it was nothing, we went to MC (and I spent the rest of the marriage insecure). Towards the end of the marriage the spackle was the appearance that we were in a loving relationship. Ex made dinners from scratch; we would sit outside alone, away from the kids, and go on date nights; we traveled; ex comforted me when I was having difficult with my mentally ill parent.

    Post decision to divorce, I can see the actions for what they were: shallow and only because it was what a loving spouse was “supposed” to do.
    In reality:
    –dinners that took 3 hours to prepare were to avoid interacting with me
    –I initiated all the “no kid” time, including sex
    –I planned the trips, and looking back, there would rarely be any pictures of me on the trip, especially the last two years. On a trip to Australia, only 1 of me, from the side
    — no real comfort on the parent thing. I would cry that I did not want the problems with this parent to affect our marriage; he sat there while I cried and said nothing, suggested nothing. In hindsight, the marriage was already over for him.

  • As others have said I think looking back that perhaps the whole 220-year marriage to a cheater was essentially a house built entirely of spackle. And how stable would you expect that to be?

    But my personal worst spackle job? That would be the time during false reconciliation that I came up with the theory that (are you ready for this?) I should be GRATEFUL that my cheating wife hid her affairs from me for more than a dozen years because if I’d found out sooner I likely would have had to leave and that would’ve meant so much less time for me with our two sons. And I said this, out loud, in front of my cheating ex (who was, of course, continuing to cheat at the time I said it).

    Lord, when I think about it now I am so deeply ashamed of saying that. How stupid, how weak, how wrong. Lowest. Moment. Of. My. Life.

    • Nomar- do not be ashamed of saying that. If I had not spackled about the French love poem, I would not have my wonderful children today. Some other kids maybe, but not those ones.
      I am sometimes still ashamed that I wrote my ex a “sex” letter. He was working away from home at that point, and we were only together every 4-5 weeks. For years even prior to the away work, I felt that things were off and it was ME. The letter was sent a month before DDay, and ex of course used it as an example of how we were incompatible and should not be together anymore (he was too cowardly to say divorce)
      Sex was off for years because he did not really care for me, so it was a chore.

      In your case, like me, maybe should not have said it to the cheater, but in one sense, it was true. Being forced to not be with your children is to be the worst part about the divorce.

    • Nomar, I did this kind of thing too. I was always trying to find something I should be grateful for in any situation. Right after my ex left, I sent him an email listing all the memories I was grateful for from our 36 year relationship. I remember writing “I wouldn’t trade those times for anything in the world.” Now I want to kick myself.

      • Ugh. Don’t get me started on regrettable reconciliation emails. They were the most frantic and unsightly version of the pick-me dance. An impulse to gratitude gone obscenely berserk.

        • Oh, yes. The regrettable emails. Been there, done that. I wish there was some way they could be removed from the cyber world forever. One of my biggest regrets is that I poured my heart and soul into reconciliation and he had no intention of even trying. Still shaking my head.

    • Don’t be ashamed Nomar, you are a loving person and you were trying to save your marriage. I did it too. Spackled, hoped, prayed, wrote really embarrassing love letters he never read hardly or acknowledged. Begged, pleaded for him to reconsider the life we’d built, our kids, our futures. It did no good. He was gone before I knew anything was wrong.

      I can own the things I did wrong in the marriage, I am not perfect and I had my faults but he never had an adult conversation with me about things that were really bothering him. He just avoided it. He was passive aggressive. He can’t ever deal with conflict, even now, he avoids it. He repeats patterns. He will continue to repeat them because he lacks the self awareness to make real changes in his own life. What I need to do in the future is make sure that I stay connected to future partners. That I realize marriages don’t hit the “pause” button. I made the mistakes a lot of young parents make.. work/kids/schedules got in the way of fun and couple time. I wish I could go back and fix that but I can’t. And truthfully, if he had been a honest broker we could have fixed it. But he wasn’t. It wasn’t really me that was bothering him.. it was the fact that OW was in the picture.

      We all have to own the things we did wrong in the marriage, I have learned some valuable things and I am not blameless. But none of my sins deserved the disrespect he showed me at the end. I can live with my choices and mistakes.. will he be able to? Time will tell. These cheaters are also great at spackle but what they spackle is their feelings and reality. And one day, it will catch up. No one gets away with this stuff forever. Eventually, you have to grow up.

    • Nomar–unfortunately, your thinking was entirely reasonable; men typically do get less time with the children after a divorce, even when they were not the cheater. It is entirely likely that your X would have squirreled the children away to another state had you caught her at the beginning, leaving you to split-holidays and 6 weeks every summer with your kids.

      I’m in the same boat–8 years of cheating before I caught on. Advantage/s? He accrued enough $ to pay out of state tuition for my oldest; daughter; had I divorced him at the time of his main affair, she would not have had that option. We play the hand we’re given.

  • My deadhusband had a terrible rage problem, so I actually fixed a lot of actual holes with actual spackle, so I did this literally and metaphorically…

    The last spackling job I did was after I was left to do a day in the city / lunch/museums alone because he didnt want to deal with “traffic” (it was a holiday, no traffic) …he had recently told me he was going to leave me for a cool job and because I was aging, but I ignored all that insult and rejection. He “saved” our grandson from a possible snake bite by stomping on the snake and I decided that meant that he was the greatest guy ever.

    My magnum opus of spackling jobs, however was when he fessed up to “sharing hotel rooms with” OW on numerous occasions but insisted that they never had sex. Somehow I created a narrative where I considered that possible.

    If CLs husband is a magical goat then so is mine…he buys me coffee and gourmet bread and was a sport when I told him I wanted a “nice” engagement ring “Im too old for a starter ring”. He took me on a cruise of the Aegean sea (with a cook) and even though he is really thrifty (and everything inside him screams for him to get the “cheaper” one of whatever we are buying) yesterday he bought me a $50 LLBean shirt because he knew I wanted THAT one, not the cheap shitty one. It was love incarnate I tell you.

  • Funny you mention gift giving. One of my STBX’s major complaints about me is that I never gave him the right gifts. This is a guy who has EVERYTHING.. buys what he wants WHEN he wants it.. never waits for anything… so giving him a gift is a challenge.. by the time you know he wants something, he buys it himself.

    So after many years of getting it dead wrong.. buying clothes he didn’t like, buying the wrong gadgets, the wrong things…. I finally just started ASKING what he wanted and buying those things exactly. Since I am not up on the latest gadgets and gizmos, it seemed ASKING made more sense, that way Mr. Wonderful could get EXACTLY what he wanted and be happy.. or I thought happy.

    But apparently I had that all wrong. I was supposed to “read his mind”.. or “take the hints he dropped” and figure it out. Despite 18 years of doing this wrong.. I did try, it never seemed to work. And further, since when does someone in their 40s care that much about gifts? You aren’t 8 years old. You can no longer expect a big star wars birthday party.. you are a freaking adult.. but I digress. I never made Mr. Wonderful happy with my material gifts.

    I actually thought by buying what he wanted, I was doing what he would like more, but alas, no. Once he told me that my lack of good gift giving didn’t show him enough “love” and “appreciation”. Mr. Wonderful defines love based on THINGS.. rather than ACTIONS. I find this sad. He also told me that all the things I’d done our through our whole marriage… laundry, cooking meals (sometimes with bacon), childcare, taking care of the home, keeping balls in the air.. none of those things mattered to him. They didn’t show him “love”.. he said they were “chores” and things everyone has to do.. but not specifically showing love. At first I was horrified by this.. it is a horrific thing to say, not to mention totally immature, but then I realized Mr. Wonderful was being honest. It’s how he views things. Love to him is superficial. It’s rooted in kibbles. Whether those be possession kibbles or people kibbles. New gadgets or blowjobs. He couldn’t be happy with what he HAD.. it wasn’t enough. NOT. ENOUGH. KIBBLES. He’s always seeking more and greater kibble.

    Sad really. I’d much rather be with someone who SHOWS me love rather than GIVES me items. I don’t need a bunch of crap, what I want is a nice thought, a consideration. I guess in that way the farmer’s gift of the shovel could be interpreted positively, but it comes down to the way in which it was given. If he was really concerned about his wife shoveling snow, that’s one thing.. but if he’s just too lazy, that’s another. STBX gave gifts to show everyone what a great guy he was.. for reverse kibbles. While some give gifts for the joy they bring others. And some gifts aren’t material. It really comes down to context of the spirit in which the gift is given.

    • DeadHusband was very forceful in telling me that he was particular in his personal effects. He forbade me from ever buying him a watch, wallet, coat…he was very particular. After DDay, he was explaining to me why OW was superior to me and hr pulled out a wallet and said “she bought me this, exactly what I like, you never did that”. She also bought him shampoo, face cream and exotic Chinese tea…all things he brought into our house.

      The day after DDay, I put the exotic tea in the toilet and pooped on it.

      so there

  • Let me tell you a little bit about gifts . . . My X bought me countless bouquets of flowers. I probably had over a hundred vases in my basement because of all the lovely flowers. Sometimes he’d surprise me with jewelry, and not cheap stuff either. If I pointed at a picture of something I thought was cute in some gift catalog, 9 times out of time, I’d have it before Christmas. He never forgot a birthday, an anniversary, Valentines Day or Sweetest Day. Not once.

    But still, he’s a cheat and a liar. Now he’s Mr. Attentive with the new wife.

    The man I’m with now doesn’t like buying presents for anyone. And he absolutely abhors receiving them. He would rather go out to dinner or have a fun weekend somewhere. Not sure how I feel about that to be honest. I did love that my partner thought of me, but now post-divorce, he probably just bought me all that shit to throw me off. Who knows . . .

    Is it spackling to say I don’t need another fucking vase anyway? Maybe, but it’s true.

    • No. But I think I would answer differently if you’d been married a long time (like the woman in the book) and had hinted and asked for a present *on your birthday* and never received one. I think we all have to step out of our comfort zone for our partners sometimes. Moreover, it should delight you to delight them. IMO, you should want to sincerely make someone happy.

      People have different cultures on gift giving. I’ve got a Mennonite friend and her dad is conservative Mennonite. He was the town surgeon. But being Mennonite, you can’t display wealth. (He bought farms. He cleaned his own office building.) At Christmas, he’d give his three kids a choice of the *free catalogs* vendors sent him. See, gifts are “prideful.”

      But when my friend was raising turkeys, her nearly 80 year old dad would show up at 4 a.m. to catch them for slaughter. He’d help her install a fence. He’d rent her a house to live in. (One of those farms she’ll inherit when he dies.) But gifts? No.

      I think you have to shrug at that kind of thing if it’s family. You don’t get a choice of dads. And extreme case — he’s part of a minority religion that won’t let you buy bling.

      But a partner? Chances are it’s not against his religion to buy you a gift. Acts of service are great. But romance, IMO, requires gestures. They don’t have to be expensive, but they need to be thoughtful. Especially in courtship — we’re bringing our woo-ing games. This is as good as it’s going to get.

      • I know what you mean; I have family in the Jehovah’s Witnesses that don’t do Christmas or birthdays.

        I watched him completely cringe and sink into his chair when his mom bestowed 13 presents on him last Christmas. He happily said Thank You and nodded his head at everything, but would look over at me like, “help!” Actually, I think he’s embarrassed by it.

        My birthday is coming up . . . we’ll see what he does. I’m older, I don’t need a lot of stuff or things, but I want him to at least make a gesture. And not with a blender or a shovel.

        But I would feel like an asshole breaking up with someone who doesn’t do Sweetest Day. If he’s making me crab legs dinners and playing with my hair at night till I fall asleep and surprising me with tickets to a concert I want to go to, I’m willing to overlook that he didn’t get me a card and flowers.

        Hell, anybody that plays with my hair at night is a winner.

        • RumbleKitty: From what you said above, it does sound like he’s giving. He’s just giving in a different way. Not everyone is into holidays, fine, but I’d seriously side eye anyone who isn’t into giving in general. Making dinner, playing with your hair, and surprising you with concert tickets are all examples of giving.

          My husband once and a great while will do something for a major holiday, but then he acts like he’s forced. I’d drop over dead from shock if he even asked if I want a piece of pie also when he gets up to get himself a piece. (On that note, I’ve actually seen him refuse to share said pie with our absolutely adorable 2 year old daughter who desperately wanted a piece. He shared when I got upset with him, but if I weren’t there he would have eaten it in front of her while she cried.)

          Love is actions.

        • I agree with KT–he’s giving you gifts, just not material gifts. I personally will take a week of foot massages over roses for Valentine’s Day any year.

          • He’s rubbed lotion on my feet too. 🙂 Two times without being asked!!

            Hey this is a relatively new relationship . . . I better not jinx it. 🙂

  • My STBXH proposed to me over the phone and I said yes! We were apart temporarily due to his work. I spackled over the unromantic nature of his proposal as well as me having to pay for the engagement ring. Spackle No More is my new motto! Almost 18 years down the tubes with the asshat but at least I got a great kid out of the mess. I’m wearing perfume again (he said it made him sneeze), am getting my hair done professionally in a style that’s flattering (rarely had the money for a good stylist due to his piss-poor money management skills), got rid of his crap in the house and am finding myself again.

  • I guess my best Spackle was that he was a decent person, when he was just actually just a lying, cheating whore mongering sack of shit. My bad.

    • THIS, Juliet! My biggest spackle was that he was fundamentally a decent person who loved us, that he had a good heart. All this to spackle over the the negativity, criticism, constant judging of everyone, selfishness, laziness, and just plain meanness. Never mind the manipulations, rigidity, putting his work and his moods above everything else in our lives including our kids, and the physical threats.

      I told myself he was immature, a poor communicator, clueless because he came from an incredibly messed up family ….

      But really, he was and is just an asshole. Pretty simple, and very clear once I put down that spackling trowel.

  • I spackled about a lot of things. One was his inability to land a job.

    We had our own business and when our son was born, I put pressure (in a nice way) on my now-X to get a job with a steady income rather than the bust/landfall we were used to (and sooo made me sick). At the time, he was in his very early 50s.

    He made me do the job hunting – AND he insisted I do the calling to inquire about some the jobs where the listing encouraged one to call. I felt very uncomfortable doing this, but he said, “Just tell them I am out working and am unable to call”. Those didn’t work out. I sent his resumes to some other companies, and he was called out for a few interviews. I KNEW he was highly qualified for these positions (neither under nor over). He never came back with a position, and had a basket of excuses why not.

    Then, a company 1500 miles away flew him out for a 2 day interview. He came back and told me that they were “ready to hire” him, but that he had failed a personality test the second day (should have been yet another GLARING red flag) so they ultimately declined.

    I thought the world was against him, and told everyone so.

    • I did this, too. In 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 – 2004, and again 2012 – 2013 right before DDay. I spackled again and again his inability to keep any job. That it was just bad bosses everywhere and just bad luck and nothing to do with the one common denominator amongst all these jobs: him. He actually would make fun of my longevity at firms, like it was something to be ashamed and embarrassed of.

    • I got X jobs more than once, really good jobs with pretty big signing bonuses. Spackler that I was, I was proud of this! He once was working for a pot-growing Hippie boss, for the great big sum of 80.00 a week. Our rent was 800. So, I got him the better job. And yes, he has asked me to call his work for him, when he was ‘sick’, or to set up interviews. All of this is spackle!! I got so far down his Rabbit Hole, I thought I had to do everything!
      It really helps me, to know I am not the only one. They are just really good at making us prop them up, more and more as time goes on…

  • Although we were desperately poor, unemployed STBX bought thoughtful presents for his mother, brother, sister and their families. I begged my parents for money to buy our three children Christmas, birthday and graduation gifts. I understood that STBX’s manly pride needed to keep up with his successful siblings. I didn’t receive nor expect gifts from him, ever. He RE-USED anniversary cards I had saved in my desk. And I smiled, and thanked him. I patted myself on my chumpy back because I wasn’t shallow and materialistic.

  • On DDay, Cheater (who has a degree in MindFuckery) masterfully lied his way through my questions that after having time to “think about things” while he was away on a business trip I was the one apologizing to him for not trusting him when he returned!!! Spackle at its worst.

  • My ex-wife never had long term girlfriends, no real lasting friendships with women. She made plenty of new acquaintances, had lots of “fakebook” girlfriends that lasted beyond superficial circumstances. My ex dropped people all the time, she claimed that most women were just jealous of her.

    Looking back I realize my ex-wife spackled her own reality, it was the other way around, she lost friends because sooner or later friends dumped her when her true colors came out.

    In hindsight, I spackled the spackle she invented. It’s weird but I remember consoling her when she’s get upset that women were so rude or mean to her.

  • I only received really nice gifts if it was going to be given to me in front of other people or family. Then it was fancy jewelry or something expensive, but rarely useful! If we weren’t in front of anyone then it was a couple of cheap gift cards, one year it was a set of pots and pans! Another time it was a floor cleaner machine! I just never realized what a fucking jerk he really was!

  • I would have been totally fine with unromantic gifts. Some people are unromantic but reliable and good in other ways. I’d trade romance for character any day. At least it’s honest and obvious and if romance was key for me, I’d have the information I would need to make a decision about marrying a person like that.

    • My husband was never good at showing feelings, but I convinced myself he was showing love by cleaning my windshield every morning before work. He was always doing little things like that. After D-day I told him, “I thought those things you did meant that you loved me.” His answer was, “I just enjoy doing nice things for people, it was nothing special.”

      • Lyn, they do stuff for you to create a “debt” and it also throws you off the trail of their other issues.

        • Me, too. I thought his taking my car in for oil change, going out to pick up groceries, that sort of thing meant he loved us and was involved in our lives. Turned out these must have been good times to run by for a quick hand job. The laptop he gave me so I could ‘write my stories’ and the little black dress for Xmas were just guilt gifts. I was so thrilled with that little black dress because I had been looking and couldn’t find what I wanted, and it was really nice. Of course, he turned to me soon after I stopped gushing over it and said about the nights he had been gone supposedly looking for it, ‘I was afraid you would think I was having an affair’ (facepalm!) Oh, and the boots he let me buy because we had sex on the way down, and so he knew he had the extra money because now he wouldn’t need to pay for the hooker so could use the money stashed in the glove compartment for just such emergencies.

          I guess my biggest spackle was the two times I wore lingerie, one which I specifically sewed according to his description of his favorite lingerie, and he complete ignored me. Wouldn’t look at me, wouldn’t touch me, even when I sat on his lap! I’m still not sure what I spackled that over with, but it must have been laid on thick!

  • I kept telling him all I wanted was his time, not gifts at all and I never got that. Now I don’t want his time and he won’t leave me alone! Can’t win. ugh

    • Maybe you should do some more editing and make him sound uber awesome. Maybe he’ll be beating women off with a stick and leave you alone 😉

  • A grilled ham and cheese with basil was a sign he still loved me during wreckonciliation. Gag! It’s amazing how little we accept or make our needs!

  • Cumulation of complete spackle, after all I can fix anything.

    Gifts, never enough and never the right one. Like a 3 carat wedding ring, tiffany bracelets and necklaces, pearls, flowers. Even hand made jewelry I made while actually shipwrecked for 2 weeks. Yeah all returned or discarded. She liked the shopping more than getting. So everything was returned so she could shop for it again. I was just bad at gift giving. Sure. Tried harder and harder denying the truth.
    She can’t work, it wouldn’t be right for the family.. sheesh

    Things and appearences, never effort and truth. House was never straightened up, I worked, cooked,cleaned,remodelled,paid for everything, homework, reading to kids, on and on. My spackle was to believe she was trying. Just needed a little help.
    What a chump. I am still fighting through d, but the grass is all ready much greener, nice to roll around on and dream too.

    • chumpalicious wouldn’t it be nice to just have someone ADD to our lives rather then take? It’s amazing how long some of us took to understand this, me included.

      • So agree, but have to admit having someone add would feel strange and probably a little weird. I bet I could get used to that.

        • Chumpalicious, Please don’t leave us all hanging… I know it is off topic but please tell us how you got shipwrecked where, when, how you survived… did you have a Wilson. That you survived is MIGHTY! Please tell. I can’t wait to hear. You are our very own Robinson Cruso.

          • I had a vacation planned diving,surfing,and sailing the islands off of santa barbara, they are about 23 miles out from port. Young and stupid but very bold. My friend and I bought a small sailboat months prior on a whim. It was small, very small. Cost 1500. We both knew how to sail.
            Loaded up and took off, fairly calm seas, a bit breezy. That would be good we thought. This was in the 1990’s so no gps, no radar, only radio. Sailed all day and only got about 15 miles out. Nice day so we had been on deck for quite some time and it dawned on me that we were going pretty slow, even for us. I jumped down in the cabin and was not happy to find that I was up to my chest in water, we were sinking. No bilge pump, so I hand pumped water out for 12 hours trying to limp to the islands which we chose because they were closer. We finally made it and beached the boat in a tiny inlet, There was only a small beach and cliffs all around. Stuck. No way out. No radio reception from waterlogged batteries. We had fire and clothing and food for 3 days. After that we dove for our food, the spider crabs were breeding so it was easy. After 10 days we saw a fishing boat and swam out to it. He gave us a fiberglass repair kit and we patched the boat at low tide and sailed her back. It was very hard to do, but we didn’t have options.
            A couple things I carry with me;
            1. The kindness of strangers is awesome and very appreciated. I will help anyone who asks.
            2, I have lot of scarier stories as I have been a crab boat and tuna captain. When the crap hits the fan, I know I will get calm and focused.
            3. Sheep are stupid. There were bones all over our little beach and I couldn’t figure out why. That is until I was almost killed by one walking right off the cliff at night.

    • OMG you were making her gifts WHILE SHIPWRECKED and they weren’t treasured? Yea, she will find the grass isn’t greener but you will find some lovely green grass.

      My new husband was chumped and dumped for a woman who was impossible to please who tried to get back with him once she did the math (but by then she had burned the bridge to cinders). He is civil with XW and very generous with their D (has her college & wedding are saved for and trust fund is set up). He was picky about a follow-up wife and was single for 12 years until I came along but were very happy.

      • That is awesome. Glad it worked out. yeah it is an eye opener when you finally get some distance and see all you did with no reciprocation. Yes. A handwoven necklace from island reeds,shells, and bits of mother of pearl. Had lots of time on my hands. Was put in the kids bathroom in a box over the toilet, then discarded.

        • Chumpalicious, Please don’t leave us all hanging. You are the only person I have come remotely (pun) close to knowing who has actually been shipwrecked. Please tell us where, how, how did you survive. You are MIGHTY and all of us chumps would love to know this story. Please! Please! tell.

          • It wasnt all that glamorous. Here are a few things that stick out. I got the deepest tan of my life, no escape from the sun and no sunscreen. Got really good at chess and free diving, its very hard to get the keel of a sailboat out of the sand, a surly fish boat captain can look like jesus in the right light, steaks are yummy, flat calm seas and a old outboard that once stormed normandy are welcome for a long ride home.

  • My ex bought me an engagement ring that I hated. We had been shopping for rings, I had shown him countless times the style of ring that I loved and it was always the same: emerald or princess cut three stone ring with a small band, but I did not care about the size of the diamonds. My style is classy, dainty and feminine. I was very direct. He knew exactly what I would have liked.

    Which is why, when he proposed, I was so shocked by the ring. It was a three stone ring, but marquise cut and this thing was GINORMOUS. It stuck out soooo far from my hand it was stupid and not because the stones were big, because they weren`t. But the worst part was that the band itself was so wide. Like, half an inch wide. It was so far from my style I was actually embarrassed to show people. God, I am so happy to get this out because what I told everyone when they asked if I loved it was: It`s not what I would have chosen for myself, but he put so much thought into it!

    Spackle. I realize now that he is just a dick. This ring was so ugly, guys. I`m so glad it`s gone.

    • My XH surprised me with an engagement ring and elopement – how romantic. We had never talked about it. I usually wear silver or white gold, little of my jewelry is yellow gold. Although the ring was very pretty, not only was it not necessarily my style (gold), he bought it at the same store he bought his first engagement ring! He TOLD me about this – yep, she pressured him into it so he proposed and she was cheating on him so they broke up – this time it was for real. The clue was right there! Lazy and inconsiderate and lame. Married him anyway and kept spackling away for 13 years. One of the later spackles was when the hostess at our restaurant was wearing the shortest skirt imaginable with f**ck me pumps for a private party and she said that my XH told them they could wear whatever they wanted. At the time I thought, “there’s no way there’s anything going on there, she’s a baby and that’s one thing that he wouldn’t do.” Um, yeah, they are still together.

  • After the first time my ex-wife cheated on me when we first began dating, she told me one day that several weeks ago she went back to her ex-boyfriends house “to get some of her things” but ended up sexing him up. She goes on to say that SHE feels much better now that she confessed. I asked her why and if she still had feelings for him. After a long silence, I asked if he frightened her. And she said “yes, I was scared of him.” I practically gave her the answer. Is that spackle?

    By the way, this ex-bf is a tattoo artist with a large tribal tattoo on half his face, neck fully tattooed. So he looks like a scary dude, hence the comment.

    • Yep, that is spackle, happens. Lot with people who have no empathy, they don’t know what to say to make you happy and are relieved when you tell them. This is why chumps are perfect for manipulative people, we tell them too much Bout ourselves first and we help them lie to us when we want to believe the best of them.

  • I’d had worries about my ex’s relationship with his coworker for a long time and he knew it. At one point I’d told him how much his “friendship” with her hurt me, and he said he was sorry and “would try to do better.” It seemed like things did get better, but I kept having dreams about this woman and clearly my subconscious was trying to tell me something.

    Anyway, one day his cell phone was ringing and playing one of his favorite songs by Bon Jovi called, “I want to lay you down in a bed of roses.” (Earlier my ex had made a big deal about the ringtones he’d chosen for each of us, for instance he chose “Boot Scoot Boogie” for one of our children because it was his favorite song when he was 4). Anyway, when I reached for his phone and saw that his coworker’s ringtone was “I want to lay you down in a bed of roses,” I thought I was going to faint. Seriously. I stumbled to the couch and sat there looking at his phone incredulously.

    My husband watched this happen and came running over to put his arm around me. I said “You have that ring tone FOR HER?” He then went into this big explanation about how his phone chose ring tones randomly and he didn’t assign it to her. In all seriousness I said, “That’s good, because something like this could lead to a divorce.”

    I was so relieved to hear his explanation that I put the incident out of my mind. It wasn’t until about a year later I found out my suspicions were true.

    I’ve since asked an IT specialist if it’s possible for a phone to choose random ringtones and he demonstrated that it’s not possible. Now I understand why my husband was showing such uncharacteristic kindness for my feelings that day.

    • Funny the lies they make up and tell us and most of them are pretty easy to verify. Mine tried to tell me that google voice numbers always runs it’s calls through a “central” line in California (not true).. hence why he had calls day and night to one specific california google number. He tried to tell me those were “customers” but some of those calls were on Saturday night? Who calls business clients at that time? Others were suspiciously timed, like after meetings with lawyers or big fights between us.

      Also, oddly, the google numbers suspiciously ended once I caught on… and another number started showing up. When I reverse engineered, I found out that it was a disconnected number. He tried to tell me that his company used that line to forward calls from his office to his cell.. but what company uses a “disconnected” number to forward calls???? Wouldn’t it be the main number or your extension? And again, once I busted, and he realized I was on to it… that number stopped showing up too. If it was his office forwarding, wouldn’t that be impossible to cease?

      They are all just liars. Bottom line.

      • So my XH does a lot of talking to a tollfree number. I can see it on the cell phone bill. I wonder if he is cheating on CFMily.

    • My ex-husband had an affair with my cousin, who lived with us for awhile. They’d openly flirt with each other, but she was a whore and flirted with everyone. Anyway, her phone rang one time and the ringtone was “Stay” by Sugarland, which is a song written from the mistress’ point of view. She answered it and spoke in low tones. When she hung up, I heard her say, “I love you, too.” It was my husband calling her to tell her what time he’d be home because he and I were taking her out to dinner for her birthday. Like, wow.

  • Ooh! I’ll play! Listed among the reasons my husband me with two small kids was what he called “The Purse Story”

    My birthday was coming up and I let him know I’d love it if he had someone come and clean the house.

    The day before my birthday, he went to the mall, and the next morning, he dumped a gigantic purse (unwrapped) on the kitchen table as I was feeding our first baby breakfast. I balked. Then he said, “See, you can carry everything in it… diapers, wipes, everything!” So. You. Gave. Me. A. diaper bag? When I already had like, four of them? And when I was so specific about what I wanted, which would have only taken a phone call? I cried the whole day. He marked it down as one of the many times i was ungrateful.

    To top it off, he was already starting to secretly develop feelings for his coworker, whether consciously or unconsciously at the time, so I was playing the “pick me” dance and I didn’t even know it…

  • Thankful said:
    When I suspected he was cheating and questioned why he was distant physically and emotionally, and I got the dead stares, that sent me into a rage of frustration. When I received projection, gaslighting, and every other bullshit act I accepted the guilt, shame and blame shifting. Focused on my own issues, accepted that love was a choice I had to make and prayed it was just a phase we were going through and that if I did a good enough job as a wife and mother we would get past this negative phase in our marriage.
    I even repeatedly tried to instigate sex thinking if we just did it more often we would reconnect some how.

    Amen to that, mamacita.

    My best spackle was just rationalizing that after a long day of sitting in chair looking at a screen poking buttons, Dada was too tired for chores and needed to be allowed to spend the rest of his waling hours sitting in a chair staring at a screen poking more buttons.

  • The last Valentine’s Day together required some sparkle on my part. I have always been the type of person who enjoys an excuse to celebrate by spending quality time with my partner. Whether it’s cooking a meal together, going out to dinner, being intimate, traveling, going for a walk, or playing a game, I prefer spending time together or sharing an experience over material gifts. So, of course, my ex worked hard to deny me quality time together and ‘make up’ for it with material gifts that were useful/generous, but ultimately held no meaning for me.

    Our last V-day together, I asked him to come home early from work. I made a gourmet meal, set the table, chilled his favorite beer, made his favorite appetizers, his favorite dessert, made a homemade card, and wrapped up a sentimental gift that was cheap but also a play on a joke we had (he loved bacon, I gave him an artisanal soap shaped like bacon).

    And of course, he came home late (around or after 8pm), was grumpy and tired, barely acknowledged all the work I’d done for dinner, and acted like he could not have cared less about the gift and card. Then, he said he had a gift for me but it “wasn’t here yet.” Around 9-9:30 that night, the doorbell rang and it was the florist delivery person with a box of roses and a terse card, “Happy Valentine’s Day.” At the time I thought to myself, “well he works so hard and he just doesn’t have time.” Little did I know, he was most likely too busy sending chocolates, flowers and penis pictures to his new squeeze who lived 3 hours away.

    • We met on Valentine’s Day when we were 16. On our last Valentine’s Day, after he’d left, I was broken hearted. I went out and bought his favorite candy bar, wrapped it in ribbon, and wrote in a card that I hoped we could forgive each other. His response that evening was to send an email suggesting how we should divide up assets. No mention of the gesture. That was pretty typical of the kind of interactions we had. The guy was stone cold.

      • Lyn, I feel for you. The morning my STBX confessed to cheating on me, I told him that I thought that it was important for people to forgive each other. (I had never cheated on him in our decade-long relationship.) Almost the second I finished saying the most saint-like thing a human could say to another, he said, ‘I forgive you.’ He then proceeded to tell me how upset he was about other men trying to pick up his mistress. I should have filed for divorce that day instead of waiting for him to file for divorce a few agonizing months later.

        • OMG ! Yep I lived with the hypocrisy too. I finally told him to never speak ill about people who abuse or have affairs. Duh thats the hell we were in! I still dont understand this moral code or whatever it is. I cant wrap my brain around how someone can condemn others but feels its okay for them to commit the same acts!!

  • Spackle #1: I called his insane hours-long rages at me “his little anger management problem.” Despite my best friend, my brother and my daughter many times telling me it was abuse over a long period of years and trying to get me to seek help.

    Spackle #2: his deviant sexual fantasies, “well, they’re just fantasies. And it’s my womanly duty to please him” so I allowed him to fantasize he was raping little girls and tying them up, and fucking whores, or watching me being gangraped, when having sex with me, a loving, kind, mother of three in my 40s and 50s… and allowed him to call me a whore and a slut repeatedly, and let him convince me these were “just words.” And he would declare salaciously, “YOU Love it!” I didn’t.

    Spackle #3: I also rationalized/spackled his lack of financial contribution to our household for 16 years by saying, “Oh he works so hard on the maintenance and renovations of the house.” He was a freeloader.

    So glad he’s out of my life now.

    • Oh and #4, “it’s okay that he flirts with every waitress or store cashier, and always kisses all our female friends on the cheek and hugs them… if he’s doing THAT right in front of me all the time, he wouldn’t possibly ever be cheating on me! he’s just friendly! I’m too possessive and jealous!”

    • Oh Muse, (((hugs)))) so sorry here for what you went thru and so much glad for you that he is out of your life

    • H never expressed fantasies quite as sick, but as intimacy faded with degradation and debasement taking over in what little sex life we had left, he had the same “Oh, you love it” line… No, I was just pathetically grateful for any bone (pun intended) he would throw me

  • Spackle types:

    I’m so lucky he gets along so well with women. They text/IM him all the time. Even 3am and he’s nice enough to go into the other room so the glowing screen doesn’t bother me.

    It’s great that his coworker has got him so interested in yoga. Yoga’s good. Right?

    All his bosses have been total jerks. It’s all their fault he keeps getting fired.

    He makes more money so he should spend it on whatever is important to him. It is kind of embarrassing to find out we are overdrawn while in the grocery checkout line. It must be me spending too of our six-figure income at the grocery store.

    His career is more important than mine so I should put him through graduate school. Twice.

    He is so busy with classes (not hard degrees, not at a famous school) that he has no time to watch child to save money on childcare. If I have to work early/stay late I should hire a sitter. He should never feel he has to pick up or drop off the baby at the sitters or childcare center.

    He has become unwilling to have sex with me for month because in his mid-40’s he now has a poor body image and fertility issues. Poor guy.

    He couldn’t possibly be having an affair. No way, no how. He couldn’t possibly be having two affairs at the same time. He couldn’t possibly be courting more women after he promised he would never do that again. And again.

    He wouldn’t lie to me, his wife and best friend.

    He has the same goals in life that I do.

    Our marriage is sacred. We have something special. I mean something to him.

    • Oh yeah, this. 3AM messages, I tell myself, it’s normal, it’s the time difference, these people are in Moscow. Never been there, thought it was far away. Until I Googled “Current time Moscow” and saw that there’s only ONE HOUR of difference. Haaa stupid me.

      • Time zones: I feel like Rain Man calculating what time it is in Ho-Worker’s time zone when Cheater slips away to “work”…

    • My ex always had ‘awful/useless/incompetent’ bosses. And I was always right there telling him that yes indeed, you are so much better and they suck. Looking back there was always a reason he didn’t get on with partners or superiors or anyone who basically didn’t tell him he was the greatest gift to his chosen field.

  • I’ve told many times how I spackled over my cheater’s bad behaviour. Now that he is an ex-, I don’t need to spackle any longer, I am just left to wonder. Truly, I don’t understand him. Locks are not changed yet because his part of the house has to be bought before I can do this. So he has the keys to the house, and fortunately, at least he sends a (factual) message when he intends to come over. And then I don’t want to leave the house because… you never know.
    My problem is that his toxic self finds an excuse to see me at least once a week.
    He never says hello nor goodbye, he never says thank you even if I just helped him. He has an expressionless face. Either he moves his stuff (very little each time, but now it’s finally over), or he cuddles the female dog during long minutes, sometimes takes her on vacation. It’s really annoying, I would like no contact.

    Could it be that he comes just to show me that he ignores me, and loves the dog better than me ? 🙂

    • What? No No No. CHANGE THE LOCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You don’t need to sell his half to do this. This is not smart or safe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      For a short time I put up with this nonsense so that the EX could pick up/drop off the dog for a sort period. I then informed him via email that the locks were changed, he isn’t getting a key and he has to confirm a pick up/drop off time of said dog.

      Take back your power!

    • If the divorce is final , the locks can be changed. If it’s not and he knows his rights then he CN enter the “marital home” anytime he likes, in fact you cannot make him leave if he wants to live there. I know this because Saddam toured me in my own home for nearly a year before nearly shooting me and I went Jedi ninja on his ass to get a protective order. Bottom line, in the U.S. You can’t lock your spouse out of the marital home without their agreement.

  • I guess my biggest spackle happened on our Valentine’s Day wedding (which I had planned out so thoughtfully). That was the agreement – I planned the wedding (which he had no interest in doing), he was to plan the honeymoon. At the reception people were asking what the honeymoon plans were and I was eager to know what my sparkling new husband had planned….

    Can you imagine my surprise at finding out he hadn’t made any arrangements at all?!!! Nothing. Zip. Zero. His “plan” was that we were just going to go back home afterward. He said he was sorry but he just couldn’t think of anything…. didn’t know what to do and was too ashamed to tell me. Said he wasn’t good at planning those things. (My spackle was to tell people we were saving up to take a vacation later. I chalked it up to him being immature — we both were young.)

    His dad was so appalled and embarrassed by it all that he booked us room at the local Holiday Inn. He tried to get us the “honeymoon suite” but it wasn’t available on such short notice on Valentine’s Day… I cringe at how badly I was snowed from the very start. OMG!!! I should have filed for annulment the very next day. But, no, I was so in love… True story.

      • Now here’s the irony of my story — The Grand Finale… He walked out on our 23rd wedding anniversary. It was just so apropos. I was at my breaking by then. I had discovered the cheating a couple of years earlier. I tried to spackle that too. Then on our anniversary night, he one of his rages, he said (as part of his usual rant) “I should just leave you!” Instead of my usual breakdown (begging him to stay), I simply agreed with him. Best decision I ever made.

        • Over and Out,
          Just so you know you aren’t alone, my cheater also failed to book a room for our wedding night, despite constant reminders. His answer, well I’m just saving money! He knew darn well that my parents were already staying at our house. His idea was that it was OK for them to be in the other bedroom…but unknown to him, they had (thoughtlessly) invited an out of town guest to stay in our spare room. So we ended up,going to a last minute hotel anyway and NOT doing anything romantic except watch a movie and fall asleep. Ugh. Then in the morning he wanted to go home rather than pay for breakfast. We ate our day-after breakfast with my parents, in stony silence. If he’d just been honest, we could have kept the house to ourselves anf had our privacy.

          I spackled that in addition to having married him after he had an affair during our engagement. Young, insecure and stupid was me back then.

          • Yes, I feel my youth and lack of worldly experience worked against me, too, back then. I got tangled up with a narcissist and didn’t have the wherewithal to deal with it nor did I understand how damaging that relationship would be in the long-run.

          • We never had a honeymoon, either. Spackled that shit as being too busy at work, a re-org, etc… And we would do it later. I wanted to go to Hong Kong before it went back under Chinese rule. We were young DINKS. It was not an impossible idea to plan.

            I forgot about that. Maybe I made myself not remember the disappointment of planning NOTHING. I planned the wedding. The whole damned thing because he had zero interest. His only interest was to bag a beard apparently.

            • Bingo, ANC… There was a selfish agenda behind getting married… Made him look like a good, decent, family man.

    • Memory lane here: mine didn’t tell his best man about the rehearsal and he didn’t book a room for the wedding night. My parents had our house for the night. He drove from one fully booked hotel to another and we ended up with a room that had a very wet carpet from recent cleaning, the last one that hotel could offer. Yuck. I waited, embarrassed, in the lobby while they decided if we could have that room.

  • “He stole less money from you than he stole from everyone else.”
    “He threw you down fewer stairs than he threw everyone else.”
    And that doesn’t bring you comfort? Geez, what more do you want? 🙂

    • Exactly. How did I ever let that fly? I’m pretty sure he lied to me more than anyone ever and still I’ll never know the half of it. In one of our last conversations I told him I knew a lot more than he thought I did. He started to ask what exactly I knew and quickly said “No, no, forget it. I don’t want to know. I don’t want to know.” I’m still all warm and fuzzy from that.

  • My ex always gave me the very best gifts. Even early on. He was always very generous. He was just cheap with sharing his time with me. Writing me a nice note saying I love you. He was devoid of showing emotions or saying how he really felt about something. I believe that the gifts were mostly so other people could see how generous he was. And later in the marriage when he was cheating i think his gifts were a result of his guilt. Because the gifts became even more lavish.

    Now for my spackle………I LOVE flowers. Any kind of flowers. If I could have a vase of fresh flowers around my house every day I would love that! However, my ex HATED flowers (because they only DIE!). Because they are a waste of money to him I rarely received them. And I made excuses for this. I just went along with him and admitted that yes….they were a waste since they die. It’s ok….I would say…..I don’t need them!!!! YES! YES I DO!!! I love flowers. So……I would treat myself to some flowers every so often. Daisies…carnations…whatever I could get cheap! And I was thrilled! Why didn’t he just do it? My theory….once they died his generous act was no longer visible for others to see or never to see!!!!

    It was always all about him!

    • In the very beginning, Asshat sent me flowers at work all the time. He loved knowing that my coworkers (including 80 firefighters) saw his gigantic arrangements. When I moved to his town and he asked if i could stay home and take care of our home, it pretty much stopped. I thought it was bc MightyCat ate the flowers but now I think he figured no one (other than me) would see them 🙁

  • Spackled all the “its for work” excuses. He’s in IT so of course, he has to perform upgrades and updates at home after hours “because everyone’s off the network”. “Work wants me to check out gmail/skype as an alternative”. “You cant have my passwords as there is work sensitive information in the account”. I could kick myself for the stuff I fooled myself into believing.

    Sometimes, I didn’t spackle, I knew it was BS, I just couldn’t face the decisions I would have to make if I acknowledged that his excuses were the lies they were. My bad.

  • I got alot if BS trinkets out of the blue….dind,ding,ding now I know gifts meant he was screwing someone. Best gift ever – brake pads on my car the night of our anniversary. I went into the garage and asked what he was doing.
    STBX smiled enthusiastically: “taking care of you”
    Me: “Its our anniversary are we going to do something?”
    STBX: “OMG I am doing something right now for you. You are so ungrateful”
    That night i was crushed…I thought about how the other woman were wined and dined…he even got dressed up for his dates, but no date for me.
    But of course I felt bad the next day. “I am an ungrateful soul, brake pads are so much better than dinner, flowers and a romantic evening”. WTF I actually wrote him a note apologizing for sleeping on the couch and a thank you for taking the time to put new brakes on my car!!!
    LOL its good to laugh at the old me. I am cracking up right now, what a chump I was!!

    • For our 15th wedding anniversary, my ex got my car washed. I waited all day, expecting there had to be more than THAT as a gift. But no, that was it. I actually cried over that one.

      • My favorite was on Mother’s Day when ex drove me and the kids to a dime store in town. He told me to wait in the car. He took the kids in, bought a couple of cards, and tossed them in a bag on my lap when he got back in.

  • My cheater wife was impossible to buy gifts for. Would return them, rarely expressed appreciation. Even if I got her what she asked for. The exception was jewelry, until she started making all her own jewelry. I grew to dread finding gifts for her.

    On the day after d-day, Christmas Day at my fathers house, kids and family around the tree, we opened presents while I was dying inside, barely able to keep from falling apart completely. And she started opening GIFTS FROM HERSELF TO HERSELF. With a smile and twinkle, as if everything was right with the world. She said that was how she could get gifts she really liked.

    Later that same Christmas Day she excused herself and met another new boyfriend on Ashley Madison. At least she didn’t do that with the family around the tree.

    • So Similar to my STBX.. only he was angry at me because I couldn’t read his mind. He was VERY picky with gifts, and often bought the things he wanted before anyone could have a chance to get them for him anyway.. yet he wanted me to somehow know exactly what to get. I often got it all wrong.. he never liked the clothes I picked, for instance.

      I am really easy to buy for. I love surprises and don’t need much.. so buying for me is EASY. Once you are married for 18 years, you get in a pattern of concentrating on the kids (isn’t this normal?) and we would just tell each other a few things we wanted… and get them. I always thought this was better because then he got the things he wanted and they were RIGHT where I so often got it wrong. But apparently at BD, he told me that me asking me what he wanted and buying it didn’t make him feel “special” or “loved”.

      I guess you can’t win can you?

  • At a summer conference/camp held on a college campus, I arrived back at our dorm/apt to find Fucktard and OWhore#1 half-reclining on the couch, their arms wrapped around each other, in the dark. (Turns out, she had an “open marriage’ and had been making her opening available to nearly every human of her acquaintance for years – male of female – and perhaps some farm animals, who knows?. Fucktard was later appalled to find out how many he had been sharing her ‘opening’ with, all the YEARS he was fucking her. Almost as appalled as I was at how many people I’d been sharing the possibility of STDs with.)

    I told OWhore to get out. After she left:

    Fucktard- “She needed someone to hold her; she’s grieving her recent miscarriage.” (True, as it turns out. Also, as I later found out, the baby was HIS.)

    Me- “Well, I KNOW you are a compassionate, caring man, BUT that was CLEARLY inappropriate, and could easily lead to her developing inappropriate feelings for you.”

    Several giant, economy-sized cans of spackle used right there.

  • Last Christmas before Dday and subsequent divorce I got this beautiful ring. Didn’t ask for jewelry, just that he show up at home every now and then. Problem was, I found the receipt and it indicated that a “set” was bought. mr. wonderful gave the ring to me and the necklace to his sailboat racing OW mistress.

  • At first, XH was moody and had anger issues and didn’t have time to spend with his family because he was in a grueling surgical residency (he’s a surgeon). Then it was because of his grueling fellowship. Then it was because of the stress of passing his board examinations (which took several years). Then it was because of the stress of starting his own practice. I thought that once his practice took off and he started making the “big bucks,” he would finally be the easy-going guy I thought I had known during college, but then he started an affair with a woman 20 years our junior.

    He slept through the weekends and never made it to one of his son’s baseball games because he was working so hard for his family and/or sleeping. I later learned that he was complaining to his sister and friends that he felt like he was just wasting his life away slaving for his family and just felt like an ATM (though I was also working throughout our marriage plus taking care of the kids).

  • Cheaters steal from us by sneaking in through our emotions — it’s not something obvious like breaking in through a window or door. They lie and make excuses to cover it up.

    We spackled because we couldn’t fathom the idea that our loved one could be so insensitive and insidious.

  • XH was the cheapest of the cheap of cheapskates toward me. I had to BEG for a bridal set after 5 years of marriage, while he never wore a ring at all. (He was an electronics technician, so “couldn’t wear a metal ring” you know…Spackle!…he could’ve worn one when he wasn’t at work, right?!)

    In fact, I can’t remember any single *special* gift from him at ANY holiday or birthday (over 9 years together) except for that final Christmas a couple of months before Dday. A beautiful gold Bulova watch with tiny diamonds.

    I thought maybe he FINALLY! got past his cheapness (which I had always spackled as his coming from a poor-working-class background.)

    Duh, Owhore probably picked out the watch.

  • I have to say I am slightly disappointed at this article Chump Lady. I’ve read your blog every day for the past month and this is the very first time I disagree with your point of view.
    The spackle lady was sincerely moved by the gesture her husband made in giving her something she really “needed” as opposed to things she “wanted” but did not “need”.
    And I happen to think that’s love. No matter how good a pair of earrings look on a person, it won’t dig them out of sticky situations- like being stuck in snow.

    • And I would agree with you, *if he had every acknowledged her on other occasions.*

      And I would agree with you, if he listened to her and got her a trinket she asked for AND a snow plow.

      But to wait and wait and wait for a present, and it’s your birthday — and he gives you a shovel attachment? IMO, part of him is enjoying the set up and the disappointment. The most charitable interpretation is that he doesn’t CARE what she wants, he thinks He Knows Best. And IMO, that makes him emotionally tone deaf.

      As I said in my post, getting unstuck from the snow and getting jewelry on your birthday are NOT mutually exclusive. If he can afford a snow plow, he can afford some bauble from the flea market. It’s not an Either Or.

      • Yes, it’s about consideration and caring.

        Possibly, if Shovel Attachment Guy had any idea his wife would’ve actually used it, or worse– been the object of others’ positive regard due to it, he would’ve come home from that flea market empty-handed.

      • I see your point about the non-mutual exclusivity. Maybe this woman is lowering her expectations and conceding to something a stronger personality wouldn’t condone let alone praise in a Chicken Soup book.

  • My first child turned out to be a caesarean birth – after all the classes and planning, I had to submit to the drugs and scalpels. I felt like such a failure. The medical staff said so too, indirectly – my birth report cited “Failure to progress” as the reason for the surgery. Being a straight-A people-pleaser, it scarred me and made me constantly worry about my mothering – “Am I doing it right?”

    Fast forward several months to my first Mother’s Day as a mother myself and what did he give me on behalf of my infant? Nothing. Zip. Zilch.

    His reason was that I had been so touchy about my skills as a mother, that he didn’t want to do or say anything that might upset me.

    And the worst part of it is… I bought that bullshit. I made it my fault for being “too sensitive”. We never talked about it again.

  • My spackling started early. I gave him my credit that had a $0 balance and let him use it to buy my engagement ring because he had no money nor a steady job. What. The. Hell. Was. I. Thinking? I should have never ever done that. I thought he had “potential”. IF I had waited, there would have been some other red flags. BUT I didn’t want to see them. I wanted to get married.

  • I spackled the secret credit card he had that was disclosed when we were trying to buy our first home in 2002, a $2,500 balance and I never even asked for the details of the charges.

    In 2003, I spackled the empty condom wrapper that my then 2 year old son found in our living room. I asked dickwad if there was something that he needed to tell me and he just got all embarressed and said no and kind of giggled, said he was home alone and not to think anything of it. I trusted him at the time and did not investigate further because in my mind some people are just freaky sexually and I didn’t want to embarrass him if he was just beating off with a condom or maybe shoving something up his ass – who knows? To this day, I have no concrete proof that he was cheating on me that day.

    I spackled the lies he told me in 2009 about his family and played it off as he didn’t have a great relationship with his family.

    I never thought he would cheat on me, ever. We had another son in 2005 and I found out he was screwing a co worker in 2011 for almost a year. Divorced in 2013. I have no regrets divorcing him – haven’t talked to him in 2 years. Email only and only about the kids.

  • Plus we don’t know for sure if spackle lady’s hubby was a cheater or not. To assume he was is more of a projection and unfair, and we’d be missing the whole point of this woman’s story. We may ask our husband’s to do certain things we like but if they don’t do them we should appreciate what they do–do. I used to ask my stbx to carry my purse all the time and he hated it and would never do it! Just because my grandpa carried my grandma’s purse back in the 40’s doesn’t mean he had to. I appreciate the gifts he did give me whether they were presents or not. And although he’s a narcissistic jerk now, I’ll always be grateful for the good we both gave and received. And just like you, have gracefully moved on.

    • I don’t think you are getting the point here. Doesn’t matter if the story in the book had a cheater involved. It’s about the way one spackles over shitty behavior by people we love, how we make our needs small. how we accept less than and make excuses for it. The point is to respect yourself enough not to put up with, and make excuses for someone treating you like crap.

      • Oh I totally get it. And I don’t believe we should accept less than we are worthy of in terms of behavior, reciprocation and yes, even gifts that are nice to own and have. I guess I’ve been on my own for so long that I don’t value things that are unnecessary. I would appreciate just having a man who’s kind to me and my son.

  • When halfway through our marriage he admitted (in anger) that he had sex with men at gay bath houses, I first threw him out and called a divorce attorney. I took him back four days later, and then spent the next decade spackling that he no longer had sex with men because he just didn’t have enough time for that. In reality, of course, he had more sex with men (and eventually other women) than before.

    • What is it with these wingbat fucktards getting worse as they get older? They definitely don’t age with grace. You’d think he’d stop his shitty behavior instead he just gets worse, ie..In this case, having more sex with women AND men for that matter.

  • When I look back at the stuff I spackled over, the now-obvious lies that I swallowed without hesitation, the way ex fooled me over and over and had to be laughing inside at my chumpiness, I feel a lot of shame. Even though I know that HE’S the one who ought to be ashamed (as if that would ever happen), I still feel this way.

    • I know what you mean. My ex must have been laughing his ass off at me in 2007 when he simply didn’t come home one night. It was cold winter and I kept calling his cell phone and it went straight to voice mail. I was so worried, thought he’d run his truck off the icy road into a snow bank or a ditch. When I heard the key in the door at 8:30 a.m., I ran to greet him, “Oh my god I was so worried! where WERE you?” I chumpily cried. He said he’d stopped at a bar on his way home, had too many beers and decided to just sleep in his truck (in the downtown city.. right) and when I said “WHY didn’t you call me??? I was soooo worried!!??” he said he was so very drunk that he dropped his phone on the floor of the truck, and though he heard it ringing, he was too drunk to pick it up. I never questioned why he couldn’t call me when he woke up – duh. I just OHmigod you must be sooo cold, get in bed right now! and tucked him in. I bet he was laughing his ass off at how fucking stupid and chumpy I was. God what a chump I was.

  • On the rare occasion that my STBX managed to give me a gift that I actually liked (which was not an act of thoughtfulness, simply a lucky guess), I would find the very same gift under the tree the next year. And the next, which at first I spackled with the thought that at least he remembered what I liked. Then he started doing the same with the gifts I returned because they were a waste of money and I would never wear or use them. Sure enough, the next year, there it was again. It became a running joke with our kids, “Oh here it is again, Mom’s annual vase that she’s going to return tomorrow.” By the time he finally gave up and just started buying gifts he wanted for himself I stopped spackling or buying him any gifts at all (which he never used but never bothered to return either).

    • Oh yes, he gave me some soft fuzzy socks one year, tells you something that it was the most thoughtful gift he’d ever given me in years…after that I got the same socks every year.

  • I’ve two big ones that stick out in my mind…

    The first was that when he was giving out his groomsmen gifts at our rehearsal dinner, he made a point of saying that he didn’t choose a best man…”this time around” in his speech. Sure there were a few chuckles and I spackled with “He was so nervous!”…But THEN when I found out about the affair and went through the false reconciliation dance, I remembered that and spackled AGAIN saying, “Maybe when he said that 10 years ago he was really thinking that we would eventually have a son and we would renew our vows and our son would be our best man…” Now that he’s living with his lady friend and we are divorcing, I’m pretty sure he meant he would definitely choose a best man for his second marriage to his tru wuv.

    The other is that when he first sent me flowers for Valentine’s Day, he picked a bouquet that was very pretty to look at, but the smell was just over-powering. I graciously thanked him for the flowers, but nicely asked if he could get me tulips or something less pungent if he were to ever get me flowers. So over the course of our marriage, he would get me flowers for Valentine’s Day and he would get me the same damn smelly bouquet of flowers and he would chuckle and say, “I thought these were your favorite,” and I would come to believe it was some “cute” joke between us that my husband would get me flowers that gave me a headache. Come to find out, had nothing to do with being sweet or loving, it’s just that he didn’t care what I liked and enjoyed seeing the hurt on my face – he also wrote the same four lines on every card, just changed the number of years. 😐

    • The few times my STBX ever gave me flowers he gave me carnations, insisting that he thought those were my favorite, no matter how many times I told him otherwise. Just another passive-aggressive attempt to show that he thought I had cheap taste. Not that carnations can’t be a beautiful gesture coming from someone on a budget or to someone who does love them, but this was even after I told him that if he was trying to save money, I really love daisies (even that was a chump thing for me to say given that he had it within his budget to splurge). Now I love nothing more than picking the daisies I planted in my new garden and arranging them in a vase I bought for myself.

  • >>>…the now-obvious lies that I swallowed without hesitation, the way ex fooled me over and over and had to be laughing inside at my chumpiness…

    This. Omg, this.

    Hard to pick out a single event when you’ve been *swimming in* spackle.

    And then you realize how many people saw you in the pool. Mortification.

  • I guess the area I most especially spackled in was sex. Even when we first met, and I was youngish, skinny, and sexy he was not really that interested in sex. And he wasn’t particularly good at it either. But since I’d been following my crotch around getting into bad relationships all my life, I decided it wasn’t a big deal. I mean, it was tolerable, not awful. And it wasn’t any different when he was pursuing the whore and I didn’t know it.

    After the exposure, he got to acting really crappy in the bedroom, like he was doing me a favor to have sex. Cause I was hideously, disgustingly fat don’t you know. It got to the point, my only hope of any attention was on the weekend, early in the morning. Who doesn’t love being woke up by a self centered dick wanting a blowjob.? There really was nothing in it for me. I started staying away from him (big no no in reconciliation land — you will make him cheat, lol). Going to bed early, getting up early, just refusing to wake up. That kind of thing.

    Anyway, one morning I got conned into the bj, and I was disgusted by it. I know how prostitutes may feel. Used. I spit, wiped my mouth, turned over away from him. He tried once after that, but I shut him down real quick. That was the end of our sex life. Good riddance.

    • After he started screwing around, we only *did it* when HE wanted it. My advances were ignored, (once he even laughed out loud. WTF?) and that was that.

      Like Miss Ceely in The Color Purple, sometimes *it* felt like he was going to the toilet on me. Good Riddance, indeed!

      • Oh my God! He told me once that “you’re not that enticing” when I tried to initiate sexual intimacy. I miss sex with him though, I have to say it was probably the best I’ve ever had. But his cruelty overrides any chance of the hanky panky occurring ever again. It was good while it lasted. ..hood riddance!

      • Might I add that I love how you referenced Miss Ceely! I love that movie! Cant forget “the prison you planned for me is the same one you goin’ rot in”!!!

        • notJuliet – I can so relate to it like I wrote it myself. XDick was only interested in his own pleasure. I’m trying to figure out why I put up with it for so long long. Always masturbating him. He had no conscious about it. Like it was my duty? I quit asking him for back rubs. Seriously today, you please tell me why I stayed with him so long? Did I actually put sex on the blackest of burners at the back? Why would I do that to myself? That is my question. But, I’m so glad the 4/wk hand jobs and b/j’s are all done. Me and my Wand do just fine and she doesn’t ask much of me.

    • Mine complained that I wasn’t sexual enough but I know we were in the beginning and sporadically. But we had little kids and we were exhausted, or maybe looking back I was exhausted. He spent an awful lot of time in the basement… alone. Maybe he wasn’t alone. Maybe he was cultivating the relationship with the whore then.. it’s probably been going full steam a long time.

      And like you Not Juliet, mine always wanted to do things that were selfish for him. It was always about him. He watched a lot of porn and I think that screwed him up too.

      I feel like a fool too. The things I spackled, the things I believed, the amount of time I tried to reconcile with him.. all of it made me feel worthless, rejected.

      But the goods news is now I can move forward with a clear heart and purpose.

  • “When I look back at the stuff I spackled over, the now-obvious lies that I swallowed without hesitation, the way ex fooled me over and over and had to be laughing inside at my chumpiness, I feel a lot of shame.”

    I wonder now how many people knew he was a serial philanderer ..I confronted 2 of his friends and they acted shocked but I dont know if they were faking. Many of his friends disappeared like farts in the wind after he died…me wonders if there is a reason they fled.

    I never realized that years ago at original DDay, he never said “Ive never done anything like this before”…I dont think he liked to lie flat out but I think he became a master of omission…and I was one to always assume the best of him

    • Oh man, “Farts in the Wind” could be a new song of the cheater. “All they are is farts in the winnnddd….”

        • Yea, the real lyrics are sobering, but no worries about the reference…. I tried my best to wake him up to the reality that life is short and anger, criticisms, resentment and meanness were not a way to spend one’s finite time…he refused to listen to anything I had to say. I never imagined life would take the course it did – even moreso with my sweet new husband.

          people sometimes wonder why I do so well and I tell them “I was a great wife” and I really was..the fact that he was a terrible husband (while tragic) doesnt tarnish my devotion.

          now to get my new name on my passport so that I can go to more cool places
          (living well IS the best revenge!!)

      • LOLLOLOLLOL “all they are is farts in the wind.. farts in the wiiiinnnnnddd.. all they are is farts in the wind”.

  • Tons of spackle jobs. The most painful, looking back, centered around him blowing up at me in public for something that really wasn’t that big of a deal. I would tell people “he’s really particular about the house” when he lost it in front of 30 people on Thanksgiving when my cousin put too many carrots down the garbage disposal, telling me I sucked for not keeping more of an eye on things. In front of my whole family. Or “he hates it when I’m not organized” when I got screamed at during his mom’s bday party when he couldn’t find a microphone so he could tell 15 people to come in to have cake. (Really? You need a microphone for that?)

    The worst was when we owned a restaurant a few years ago and he really kicked the drinking into over drive – he’d basically wake up drunk and stay that way the entire day. He was so concerned about how the restaurant looked in the eyes of the community but didn’t seem to get that showing up to work drunk kind of tainted that image. There were complete strangers approaching me to say they were concerned about him – that he looked sick and smelled like booze. I would just smile and say “he’s just tired – he works so hard here.” Ugh – that was so awful. Some Yelp reviews even talked about how the owner was a drunk. So fucking embarrassing. Needless to say, the restaurant didn’t last and he was diagnosed with cirrhosis a few weeks after it closed. He quit drinking, somehow recovered and then started banging a porn star. When people ask about him now I say “he’s a stupid motherfucker”.

    • sheesh. wow. I had a rager, too. Insignificant little things me or my kids did (he wasn’t their Dad.) Sent him into hours long screaming rages. His favorite diatribe? he couldn’t tolerate THE CHAOS! that was his theme. It was him against the world. Me (the devoted woman who loved him and financially subsidized his underemployed narcissistic grandiose existence) and my lovely, smart, good, creative, kids. That he was jealous of.

      • Wow! Same like my narcissist asscreep except I had just one kid. He was so disrespectful toward my son that I just could not see the relationship going further. I married the turd unfortunately.

    • Kitkat this is scaring me. Your ex may be my husband! Seriously. He owned a restaurant with his ex-wife and has cirrhosis. Did you guys have any kids? We may be talking about the same dickhead! Oh my the wonders of the internet!

      • No kids and we’ve only been divorced since December so I doubt it’s the same dickhead but you never know! Just goes to show how unoriginal these people really are.

  • My biggest spackle? Too many to count.

    Tried to divorce me from out of nowhere one year after marriage, without even trying MC or otherwise making an effort to save the marriage… The Spackle: he was hurting and confused and a lot of things were going wrong in his life, so he targeted his new marriage and by extension, me. Also, I was pretty terrible to him, wasn’t I? The Reality: He was wildly immature and marriage was a tough, grown-up thing, so of course he cut as soon as it stopped being fun. He was also emotionally abusive and gaslighted me into believing that I was such a terrible person that he had no choice but to get out ASAP without giving me any chance. Also, he was probably cheating on me.

    Couldn’t hold down a job for more than 1-2 years. Was fired for everything from incompetence to sexual harassment… The Spackle: He’s trying, he’s just having a hard time finding what he’s good at. And the woman who accused him of harassment was a prissy, narcissistic bitch who thinks every man who talks to her is totally into her. The Reality: He’s too selfish to give a damn about doing a good job at what he does, employers eventually pick up on this and give him the boot. And he probably did say something to creep that woman out.

    Was suspended from college for consistent poor grades, didn’t even give me any warning that he was on academic probation… The Spackle: He was depressed. The Reality: He didn’t give a s***.

    Refused to get even a part-time job to help me out during my pregnancy with our first child, let me bear the burden of working full-time while trying to do an MA degree while pregnant… The Spackle: He was depressed and the thought of becoming a father scared him to inaction. The Reality: He didn’t give a s***.

    I used to joke that I only married him because he gave good massages and was fun to look at. Looking back, I see now: it was kind of the truth.

  • I have a million..like the rant he gave me about giving me a diamond ring because it is so unethical and a symbol of greedy capitalism/war/blood diamonds/apartheid. It is hard to argue against oppression!

    I am such a pro at spackling over. I did this recently — even though I have been divorced for 7 years.

    Me: “Well at least we had some good years together. It was just last part that wasn’t good.” (In my mind – referring to the last 7 (when he had at 2 affairs) of my 17 year marriage.)

    Best Friend: “Seriously? No it wasn’t.”

    Me: “Ya, you are right. It WAS terrible.”

    It is a bitter pill to swallow when you have to admit you to yourself that you were married to an ashat.

  • I spackled … a lot that it hurts my brain to think about it. But more than that, I grieve for myself, for having to spackle just to convince myself that he cared. Otherwise, the truth (that he didn’t love me) would have hurt too much. But, little did I know that I was hurting myself even more by spackling. It was a vicious cycle. Spackle to avoid the pain, more pain because of spackling. Being married to a cheater is such a losing proposition, whichever angle I tried to look at it. Nowadays, no spackling whatsoever. An authentic life rocks!

  • I had an explanation for every crappy thing he did. Golfed 6 days a week in the summer, didn’t want to hang out with my friends or family, wouldn’t let me drive the cute little sports car, would “forget” to do things I asked him. What an idiot I was. And don’t get me started on gifts, he only had to buy me a Christmas and birthday gift and he couldn’t handle it. Meanwhile I observed every single occasion with all of my family AND his. One Christmas in frustration I told him what I wanted, color , size, store and aisle. I got it alright, in the retail bag with the receipt in it Christmas morning. I threw it at his head and he looked at me with genuine shock “I thought that’s what you said you wanted”. He was a pro at spending thousands on himself.
    Now he’s married to the OW ( 40 days after our divorce was final), she is more than welcome to come up with her own excuses.

  • I bulk-purchased my spackle at Costco; The only thing I ever really liked that Mr Fab gave me was our ‘wedding’ rings-we were commonlaw, and he bought me mine in that they cost the same and we commissioned two the same….duh. Or some really nice books (bought from my BFF, a book dealer). So I did get some great stuff, but it was usually selected by people who knew or liked me better…..up to and including the Downgrade. She gave me a Tibetan singing bowl, what every atheist north European needs. $2.99 at the corner shop. I think that year I gave her a fridge magnet (she collected them). The ring us now at the bottom of the Pacific.

    Enough to make a Chump eat a pillow.

    The ‘thought’ doesn’t count, because buying Christmas/Birthday/Etc presents is a no-brainer, in the western world. The gift counts, hough, and part of the value of it to the other person is the thoughts from the giver going into its selection, even if it a fucking fridge magnet. Should have been a serious red flag…..

    x-Meh

  • I asked to not have a dark-assed wood in the kitchen that was popular a couple of years ago when we remodeled……what did I get? Yep, the dark-assed butt ugly wood. It it on my list to paint when I get the deed to the house.

  • Too depressing to repeat it all. He lied to me from day one and each time Over many years I discovered these big lies that crossed big boundaries I made excuses for his behavior. Some days I wish we could all live like Benjamin Button so when we’ve learned how to love without losing ourselves we would be young. Of course it’s a chicken egg thing that thought. Heh.

  • What an enormously depressing thread. I think I just went back about 300 steps. Thanks to everyone posting – we all do have our issues with ‘gifts’ and their meanings. I knew on my honeymoon the guy wasn’t a generous one when I asked to buy a new bikini on my hot bod for my birthday at 23 yrs old – 3 days after the wedding and he croaked, saying we couldn’t afford it. Well – not really true – we did have wedding money of $20 bucks for that. And, thus the lack of roller coaster of gifts begins for the next 35 yrs.

    We decided we weren’t big on gifts after that and he hated ‘commercial holidays like Valentines’ where you are ‘expected’ to do something.
    Nobody tells him what to do!
    Instead, I would get a beautifully written Valentines note in his handwriting how much he loved me and WHY.
    It was certainly better than a dinner out, especially if it was a week day and he never went out on a week day because of work.
    I learned to live with that.
    I am also a simple person and don’t wear much jewelry or need nice things.
    But, I will tell you, I sure looked in a lot of jewelry shops for something just really small and meaningful and wished he would have done it just once.

    He treated me well and his gifts of everyday life for me were enough.
    He wrote me sticky notes every morning how much he loved me.
    I even came across one recently that asked me if we could take our vows again…he loved me so much and the best thing that ever happened to him after all these years.
    Always with a big heart and arrow through the signature with our initials that he used to carve into trees.

    (I wasn’t quite so good with words so I bought store-bought cards)

    I am so sad he’s gone.
    Maybe doing this for his OW now. I dunno if they’re still together but she would be lucky because he’s a guy that would have your back as his woman.
    I know I’ll never meet anyone like him again.
    He was a gem.

    Until he cheated.

    • I hear you. Mine didn’t give me romantic notes, but he did do some way nice things for me over the years. I don’t think I always appreciated it. I blame myself for that. He tried, until he gave up trying and fell for someone else, without telling me or talking to me about what was going on inside his head. But your bikini story made me remember a day not long after we were married, had just moved into our new home…I brought home a planter of flowers one day. He thought it was a trivial purchase and not necessary. When I was a bit shocked at his reaction, he backed off. For the rest of our lives, I bought way more than he thought I should. But I NEVER once said no to any of his purchases…a $600 wrestling mat he thought our son would use and never did, a $27,000 boat that he became obsessed about and that drove a wedge between us (the kids and I would have preferred a pool in our backyard but he wouldn’t hear of it), golf clubs, clothing…you name it. His purchases mattered; mine were a waste of money. Even things I bought for our house…didn’t need it, in his opinion. We agreed one year early on to not do Christmas gifts, and I was honestly fine with that. Some years, I would surprise him. Some years, he would surprise me. But overall, when I look back, he didn’t really support a lot of what I thought was important to me and I eventually returned the favor by making under-handed comments as a joke that I think wore him down. I always felt like it was his way or the highway (didn’t like being told what to do, like yours). Before we were married, on my birthday weekend, I had just gone to a football game with him out of state. We spent the night. Coming home on my actual birthday, there was an antique show I wanted to go to. He didn’t want to. I had to beg him. He went, but it was not enjoyable because I knew he didn’t want to be there. He didn’t support me or my interests. I spackled from the damn beginning! But I always thought he was loyal, honest, a man of integrity. What he fell into with the OW, also married…so NOT the man I thought he was. What he gave up and is risking to be with her boggles my mind. Yep, he has her back now. And mine, is just a target.

    • I came across a note when we were moving, written about 18 months before his serial cheating was exposed. It went on and on about how wonderful I was, blah blah blah and included two tickets to a place I love. We had a great time on that trip. He was cheating the whole time.

  • I am an amazing sculptor. I spackled the serial cheating fucking asshole into a “GoodGuy”. I bought his clothes, started his business, did everything for his grandmother, forgave him for cheating, and got nothing in return. I fed his ego until he lost all the sparkle. What I had covered up was his ugliness, deceit, and false self. It was there all the time.

    He was set free and lives his life now as the person he was since the day I met him. I put much more into my art work than it was worth. I’m working on someone worthy now, myself.

  • SheChump,

    I too found this post very difficult as I carted 5 large boxes of cards, doodles, pictures, sticky notes, tickets and sentimental memos of my 16+ years together halfway across the world only to finally destroy/shred 99% of them once my divorce was officially signed off February this year (decree absolute delayed by 2 years over our house sale)

    He claimed that he meant (at the time) every single word he wrote, every hand made card, every funny picture he drew, one of my fondest memories was the effort he would go to when we had no money as students and he would make me posh menu cards in photoshop for a simple (romantic) dinner at home cos we couldn’t afford to go out, CDs of Irish music for Paddy’s Day so I could celebrate despite being away from my home country.

    I never asked for much from him because he was enough, even a simple 50 cent chocolate bar with a funny note meant more than any expensive gift at Xmas that I never got anyway.

    I finally all let them memories go in April this year because it held me back and because despite all his good points during our time together nothing could justify what and how he did it. I reached that decision pretty easily when, despite a small part of me hoping he was still a good guy deep down, I saw a FB pic of one of his best mate’s girlfriends (X girlfriend now) stood 9 mths pregnant in front of all my former marital furniture that I gave him during the initial split, including the $3000 new sofa I had just bought (couldn’t take it abroad as it would cost too much). I was really pissed off, not only because I had suspected he was f@cking her from day one after my 2nd DDay, but because of the sofa funnily enough. He still denies to this day anything went on, despite her timeline confirming otherwise.

    I know realise I spackled all the shit gifts that he gave me in the latter years, a few examples:

    A Nintendo DS (it will make u smarter- I am not tech savvy apparently)

    New gym gear (to help u look better at the gym- I was obviously an embarrassment to him)

    A new Car for us – not me, as I developed a phobia of driving during our whole time together- his speed terrified me and he belittled my attempts to deal/overcome it, funny how I got back driving straight away after I left him with only 1 day of coaching/encouragement by my sister.

    I should add that not only did I spackle the new car which he bought to reward us (him) after I recovered from a near fatal operation in hospital – I contributed 50% every week towards the upkeep, petrol and taxes, all whilst he drove it to work and I had to pay extra $$$ to catch the bus everyday to the same nearby town and he moaned if he had to pick me up from anywhere. That’s a shovel of spackle there, I must of been f@cking nuts.

  • Digbert – belive me – that phobia is going to go away really quickly now that you are on your own with your own thoughts.
    YOU have fun driving – there is nothing more fun than road trips (without criticism – a dog is a good passenger) – good luck to you!

  • My first gift from my ex was a waffle iron so I could “make him breakfast”. Funny enough it was also one of my last gifts 23 years later. A really fancy one. I was so delighted with the waffle iron because I was existing on the crumb diet. Now, I use it to make my new BF waffles. Chicken soup anyone?

  • Mine ran around smiling with a feather duster cleaning our house. Knew he was having an affair. Never lifted a finger ever without grumbling for 20 years together.

    • When u known who broke my daughters arm in a sexgod game for pleasure, I spackler. Honestly, with kids involved, I always fold

  • The reason he was so mean to me in those last few months…job pressures. And then when I tried to talk to him about his job pressures, he said I was negative. I chalked it up to….job pressures. He overreacted to everything I did that he didn’t agree with, and I blamed myself for being stupid. But I had to spackle. I had no other choice. I was in it for the rest of my life. Was a dedicated wife and totally devoted to what we had together…family and all. I was forced to stop spackling when he said, “My affair is a symptom and I’m not in love with you.” If I had my choice, I’d still be spackling today, to make 25 years together work. I’d be working at it. I almost wish he was a serial cheater. The rejection wouldn’t hurt so much. He’s really a loyal guy. He just happened to switch his loyalties without telling me. Spackle, I know.

    • Absolutely, they told the truth like this. We just didn’t listen. Well, we couldn’t hear it because normal human beings don’t behave like this, they have a connection that endures difficulty … [still can’t quite get my head around this tbh].

  • A magical goat brought me breakfast and coffee in bed this morning and I tried to explain this thread without sounding like a lunatic and he said that one of the hardest things to spackle for him was his then-wife’s lack of concern for him on 9/11/01 – at the time, his office was in the Pentagon. She never made any attempt to discern his whereabouts or well being that day…when he did get hold of her, she was pretty meh that he had survived the attack. : (

    • That’s horrible. Hugs to your magical goat.

      Tell him I can relate. I also lived in DC during the Pentagon attacks. Very near where it happened. My son was in preschool, and I had to pick him up from preschool along with one of his friends, whose father worked at the Pentagon and barely escaped with his life. (The plane came in under him — he escaped the fireball in time). I had his four year old daughter and couldn’t turn the news on because she might see it and worry about her Daddy. Meanwhile, her mother was frantically trying to reach her husband. (lines were jammed). He was walking home in uniform, dazed.

      For those horrible hours, my then husband never called. Never checked in. Did not give a shit. And further more, felt no need to come home early because “he had a lot of work to do” (when I called HIM).

      I initiated divorced a couple months after 9-11. If ever there was a sign from God that your spouse does not give a shit about you, it’s being indifferent during THAT.

      So glad you have each other. And may his ex rot.

    • Wow – ^^^ to both these stories. ^^^ It doesn’t get much more harrowing than being that close to the 911 attacks and really or metaphorically left for dead like that? I remember calling every relative and friend in the vicinity of New York and DC that morning – to know where they were – to check on their safety.

      Late to the Spackle party – What can I say? Still waking up and shaking my head in disbelief to my years of Stepford Spackle / Shackles…

      I felt grateful for my partner’s steadiness in times like when my mom passed away – but as I look back there is such a difference between the perfunctory showing up at the funeral and actually connecting in love to your partner’s feelings. There was so much missing below the surface and Spackle is about self delusion – that’s hard to look at sometimes, but I think I am totally grateful that the fog is lifting…

  • I was a master spackler even before I married the asshat. One night, the ex parked his car in a bad place and it was towed. We lived right at the border of two cities, and as it turned out much later, the one he called to see if it was impounded was not the one that had it. So, he reported it stolen and “borrowed” my car to go to work . . . for months. I was paying the car payment and insurance, and to ride buses around town for hours a day, walking home at night in an area where he would not allow our guests to walk alone. When I finally put my foot down and demanded my car back, he arranged to borrow a neighbor’s junker for me to drive instead, which needed a new battery, which I paid for as well. When he got notice that his car was being auctioned for the impound fees, I drafted and filed the complaint that got the car returned with a stack of cash for his trouble. Somebody should have whacked me upside the head with a 2 by 4.

  • My ability to spackle is epic. My cheater often complained about it, how knee jerk it was for me to make excuses for other peoples misdeeds or jerkiness, always wanting to understand their underlying reasons, etc. Compassion gone beserk, not wanting to live my life on the surface. It drove him crazy.

    He was right. He certainly taught me the error of my ways.

    So, there are really way too many astounding spackle episodes I could list, but what finally came to me as I was reading all of the accounts above is the fact that my first boyfriend and I worked in construction together, and one Christmas, my folks were dismayed to see that he gave me my very own brand new, shiny spackle tray and 6 inch knife! And I was DELIGHTED. Not only that, but I was always proud, even years later, of the extra developed muscle in my right hand that comes from the repetitive motion of spotting nails with drywall mud. Can you believe this? What a freaking harbinger of my life!

    And I actually eventually recognized how routine it had become for me to always be smoothing things over socially in his wake (the first bf), and making excuses for his perpetual rudeness, decided that I didn’t intend to live my life like that, and I left him.

    And then I proceeded to take that spackle skill into my future and develop it to a high art.

    Trying a bit late now to drop the damn professional tools.

  • I’ve got nothing too spectacular. Lots of me saying “oh, she’s just tired/stressed/sick” whenever relatives or friends would question me about the verbal abuse and general nastiness. Probably the best spackle I have is all the excuses I told myself as to why she spent most of her life with her “training partner”, including multiple trips overseas in which they shared hotel rooms. I feel like such an idiot sometimes.

    But, then, I’m a few years down the line and very happily living with a woman whom I love very much. My ex, on the other hand, continues her covert “relationship” with a married man. Our daughter knows he’s still married. It must be pretty stressful living in the shadows. What a mess. I’m very glad not to be in that position and very glad to be out of that ridiculous marriage.

  • Cheater gave me a bouquet of cookies for our 10 year anniversary. They were in the shape of dogs with the words “I wuff you” on some of them. I spackled by thinking, well maybe our kids helped him pick them out. SHITTY 10 year anniversary gift.

  • I have fallen behind in reading your blog.

    I cannot give you any scenarios from my former marriage (I’m sure I could if I tried but I’d rather not relive that chapter).

    However, I can give you an example from my parents marriage. My father never gave my mother anything, not her birthday, not their anniversary, EXCEPT… ready for it… every Christmas he would give her a pair of slippers. A. PAIR. OF. SLIPPERS. My oldest brother was born in 1959. My middle brother 1965 and me 1967. My mother worked her but off maintaining a home and cooking meals from scratch like the good Italian-American mother that she was. She made our clothes (until we got to an age where that wasn’t cool). She did *everything* for my father and he did NOTHING for her — nothing. Every Xmas, a box with slippers inside. That. Was. It.

    It shouldn’t come as any surprise to know she eventually left him (the late 1980s).

    It also shouldn’t come as any surprise that when she passed away this past April, her five siblings wanted to attack my father when he walked into the funeral home to “pay his respects”. I mean, dude, why the F*** bother, you didn’t respect her when she was ALIVE!

    Pffffffffft.