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Character Assassination? Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down

liesfabricationsA lot of my Chump Lady mail can be divided into two categories, “I got chumped… what are people going to think?” and “I got chumped… and my cheater is telling people terrible things about me.” Both followed with “And what can I do about that?

Nothing. Sorry, chumps. You can’t do anything about what people think of you, and what people say about you.

Look, I know it’s unjust having your cheater telling bald-faced lies about how controlling, sexless, abusive, hairy-legged, and insane you are. Worse, I know some people whom you once thought cared about you (such as your in-laws) are inclined to believe it. This infidelity crap is a one-two punch — betrayal, and then more lies.

Okay, maybe it’s more like a continuous thug-kicking by a motorcycle gang than a one-two punch. Betrayal, lies, character assassination, gaslighting, alienation, and alimony. Anyway, my point is, leave the impression management to the crazies. You just keep being your mighty self.

Some pointers:

  1. Never let what people might think of you get in the way of protecting yourself. That especially goes for what the cheater thinks. Oh, I might antagonize him if I see a lawyer/move half the money/run a credit report. Hey, your cheater didn’t worry about antagonizing you when he/she cheated on you, so just go ahead and protect yourself. Stop caring about how you’ll be perceived (i.e., bitter, vindictive, selfish, churlish, hasty, etc.) Start caring about reality (i.e., this person is fucking me over).
  2. Speak the truth, but stop at defensiveness. There’s no good way to answer set-up questions like “How long have you been beating your wife?” I don’t beat my wife. “Oh you would say that. Six months? A year? Ever since you met?” The temptation is to raise your voice and really get stroppy. I DON’T BEAT MY WIFE! Stop. You just missed an important clue — your questioner is fully invested in that narrative. You answered the question. They either believe it, or they don’t believe it. In the case of infidelity (and not fictitious wife-beating), the truth is you were chumped. That’s what happened. You don’t need to defend yourself. You didn’t do anything wrong here. Frankly, you don’t have to answer any personal question you don’t want to.
  3. Speak the truth, and realize that your cheater probably got to the narrative first. One way chumps get chumped is when they agree to the “we just grew apart” story, and keeping “private matters private,” they think the cheater is going to play by the same set of rules. You won’t talk smack about them, they won’t talk smack about you. Oh chumps, your cheater has probably been talking smack about you all along. Shaming you into being quiet ensures that their narrative stays on top. That’s why cheaters get so ugly when you do start speaking up — you’re tilting at that balance of power. Disordered people need their impression management so their manipulations (and Sad Sausage story lines) keep working on everyone.
  4. People who believe the worst about you don’t know you. Not really. This might be one of the single most awful things about life post-discovery. People who you thought knew you, really don’t. Their attachments were shallow. It’s hard enough to realize this about a spouse or partner, it’s even more gobsmacking to realize it about your social circle. Well, of course Dorothy got cheated on. She’s frigid. Unlike me. I have sex with my husband! This person doesn’t know the inner workings of your bedroom. Maybe the lie makes them feel superior. Maybe the lie gives them some weird false comfort. Who knows? What matters are the people who do know you, and have your back. Invest your energies there.
  5. People who believe the worst about you probably have a vested interest in believing that crap. You don’t control that. Your in-laws turned on you? Better you be the monster than believe their son or daughter is a lousy person. Not their special Pookykins! Maybe they’ve been believing all the crap said about you for years, and now that the affair has been revealed, they’d have to admit they were mistaken. Why be wrong? Who are you again?
  6. Character is revealed over time. Who we are is revealed every day in every little action and decision. No one is perfect, but the arc of someone’s character — how giving they are of themselves, how considerate, how reciprocal — is perceptible. The people who matter aren’t swayed by your ex’s gossip and trash talk. The shallow people who are? Please, stop caring what they think today.

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  • This is so perfect for me today, my ex wrote to my teenage daughter last night to tell her a whole load of crap about how I mistreated him for years and that we grew apart. Does he forget that she saw the whole thing from backstage?!? Saw his cheating signs and his gradual disengagement from the family. Saw mum falling to pieces afterwards.

    Dealing with a madman is making me ill. His constant lying makes it impossible for us to co parent effectively. The whole thing has made me regress into the mess I was a few months ago. Will this thing get better? Really?

    • Midlife,
      Yes, the day she is 18 it will get exponentially better because as an adult she will make her own choices. In the meantime his words are hot air, you and your daughter know this, and she no doubt is seeing what a douche he is. He is still her father, so really the bigger issue is for her to decide how much contact she wants with him as the years pass.

      Be gentle with yourself and have as little contact with him as possible. He has no business now saying anything to anyone about you. Co-parenting does not have to involve frequent contact.

      Sounds like he’s trying to win some sort of struggle for daughter’s affection. Refuae to engage. She knows you are a good person.

      • Thank you marci. He’s not even her dad!!! 🙂 and yes it’s definitely a competition in his eyes. Everything he accuses me of is things that he is doing, not me. It’s classic projection. Aw poor thing, can’t bear to look at himself properly.

        Thank you for your encouragement, I really feel like beating my head against a wall right now.

        • MidLifeBlast–how old is your daughter/children? Don’t try to co-parent. Kids are smart enough to realize that what flies in one situation won’t fly in another (e.g., the kid who talks back to mom is still unlikely to talk back to teachers). Don’t have contact with the jackass yourself unless absolutely necessary, and then only by text or email. Tell your children the truth and let them sort through his bullshit until they tire of it and are old enough to go NC.

          Hugs to you!

            • The poor children. Your 9 year old is nearing the age at which he/she will start to understand what jackass has done, and will judge him morally for it. the 5-year old has a ways to go, and may still idolize the idiot for a few more years (esp. if he is sparkly or Disney Dad). Hard not to tell the truth to them when he’s about to have a baby with OW.

              I’m so sorry; minimize your contact with X, don’t try & correct his parenting (it won’t work, and he’ll just use it as a source of power over you), but make sure your kids realize what will and won’t fly in YOUR house. (Post in the private forums as you need support or advice–it helps).

              • Tempest is amazing. If you look at the top of the page you will see a Forum link if you are logged into WordPress, otherwise you will see a Login in link. Click either one to go to the forums

        • Midlife – Why do you have to co-parent if your daughter is not your ex biologically? Did he adopt her while you were married? If he did not adopt your daughter, he has no right to be in contact with her. And you have all the power!

          If he is not her dad and did not adopt her, you can tell your kid that you made a mistake in marrying him, and that when you realized he was using lying as a problem solving strategy, you understood that it was best for her and you to get out pronto so you could build a better, high integrity life for both of you.

          If he adopted her, you and I are in a similar situation. In my case, as in the case of many CN members, half of our kids’ chromosomes come from a lying cheater. This means that yes, I do have years of shit sandwiches on the menu.

          Through CL’s and CN’s excellent points in today’s post and the other priceless articles and comments I poured through over the past few months, I have come to realize that his passive aggressive lying is the biggest thing I (and everyone who is in touch with him) will have to keep dealing with.

          So I make sure that our elementary school aged kid keeps seeing a therapist and when our kid asks me about the divorce, I say: “I decided to divorce your dad because he lied to me about grown up things I will discuss with you when you’re older.”

          Not dwelling on it, as well as staying open to our kid’s reports about activities and life “while with dad” (and being civil in his presence) have all helped me considerably lower my stress levels.

          • Chum pitied – He’s been her step dad for over 10 years. But I think she knows what he’s really like. I just didn’t want her to be dissapointed. Silly me. In fact it was me that asked him to reply to her message where she called him out on all his shit. Again – silly me.

            Anyway. I love your quote “I decided to divorce dad because he lied to me about grown up things” I may well use that.

            I have 2 little children that are his. And yes “passive aggressive lying” is a very accurate term. Thank you.

              • Midlife – You hit it on the head, silly us wanting to protect our kids from being disappointed about our exes’ character flaws. But the fact is that their father’s character flaw is real, and it would be even worse if we did not help our kids validate their own observations of his character flaws.

                Let’s say, he is a leopard but leads everyone in the community, including his kid and me to believe that he is a tiger. I find out first hand that he is a leopard, and have proof of it. By not saying anything when I get questions or stay mum when statements are being made about him being a great tiger, I indirectly reinforce everyone else’s misguided perception that he is a tiger.

                Our kid keeps getting powerful messages from him and the rest of the community that leads her to want to believe that he is a tiger. But by living with him, she sees that in fact he is a leopard behind closed doors. This is very confusing, and the worst possible outcome to me would be our kid doubting the validity of her own observations and gut feeling that in fact he is a leopard. This might lead her to ignore her own gut feeling (and obvious red flags) about other important relationships in her life (sounds familiar…???)

                You see where this is going…

                Do I wish that my STBX were an honest person and that I would not have to worry about future conversations about cheating and passive aggressive lying with our kid? Do I worry about our kid’s self-esteem as she finds out about my STBX flawed character? Absolutely!

                But I have proof that my STBX is a lying cheater (leopard) despite his masterful ability to project a polished image as an honest, high integrity community member (tiger). This is the familiar lose-lose situation all chumps are faced with.

                The realization that my silence about his lies would be even worse for our kid’s self-esteem was key in my decision to cite his lying as the reason of our divorce as a direct way to validate our kid’s possible current and future experiences with his flawed character.

                Now please excuse me, writing this got me so worked up, I need to go and perfect my sand bag punching technique for a few hours…

            • what’s an appropriate statement with regards to a 6 year old? I used to say “because we don’t get along” but now he’s asking why we can’t just make up and still be friends? I’m at loss for words.

              • This is really timely for me as well. Back in June when I decided to end it after a number of DDays I told my 9 year old that he would be sleeping with his Dad and I would take his bed, and I wouldn’t join them in any upcoming family travels when his dad visited us in the summer. (we have been in a long distance marriage last 6 years seeing each other over christmas and 2 summer months). I told my son I was upset with his dad because he lied to me. Dad comes by, does his sparkly narc thing (I had not discovered CL then but was educating myself on NPD after a few youtube videos), classic hoovering with the right words and the right actions over two summer months, promised to finally reunite (he was adamantly against us living in the same place with him citing insecure situation in his country for years, which is a real BS but it was giving him great advantage of free time with whores and no child rearing or family duties. We essentially met twice a year for fun and travels. So chump me gets hoovered in with his great promises and starts the pick me dancing more vehemently than before. Because promises came with conditions: lose weight, start looking for a job remotely so you secure something by the time you are back, make new friends, be open for new sexual experiences (threesome etc). So after I moved back to my bed with him and we did some great road trips together my 9 year old son asks me, ” Mom, how come you slept with dad in the same bed and you came traveling with us after you told me you were mad at Dad?” I said, “well…Dad said sorry. He was really sorry.” And my 9 year old goes, “soooo…just one sorry was enough for you?”
                I was dumbfounded. My son clearly has more common sense than me.
                Fast forward 4 months, I am back with him for the long ago planned christmas break. In those 4 months, he got back to his entitled jerk actions and words. He purposefully “forgot” my birthday (which he did for 12 years but after all those heart to heart conversations during wreckonciliation I thought he would make that minimum effort, especially after finding out he took his 15-year long AP on the 2-week trip in Egypt for her 40th bday). So after I burst out re his “forgetting” and hang up on him (skype) and stopped talking (only minimum kid related stuff) he then decided that I acted disrespectfully for hanging up and did not make any effort to reconnect. Anyway, we flew over and I told him I am finally done- thanks hugely to CL and CN for the 3 months of hard-core unfogging my brains. He is his jerky entitled self – the guy in the summer was a show off unicorn. And it”s my shitty character again, and my disrespect and my inability to connect with him and my soldier-like ways – all the blame for not having a future family with him is put back on my shoulders. But thanks greatly to CL I now caught it right away – there must be something new going in his life, hence the narc divalue and discard. And bingo! A little snooping in his password protected phone (never complained re my eagle -eyed vision!) And I found a new love. Well. Technically an old one but rekindled.
                So…now sitting on the beach (at least I get to enjoy the sun for a while before getting back to the cold), discussing amicable divorce and joint custody, and he wants his son over here around christmas as usual to which I will have to agree because there is an international custody issue and he may just be a jerk and create unnecessary problems with the double citizenship. This essentially means I am stuck spending christmas new years with him for another 9 years or so. He behaves nicely for this short time frame but I am afraid this will prolong my own healing. Plus, some common friends over here to whom I opened up decided to go Switzerland route.
                Thoughts?

      • Hi rumblekitty. Her step dad for years. But when she confronted him about his shitty behaviour, he just ignored her. Then it was me who told him to fix up and reply to her. And he just gives a really idiotic reply saying that his cheating was my fault. She thinks he’s an idiot

        • Tell him to leave your daughter alone. I had the exact same situation. He was step-father to her for 11 years.

          When we split, he had the balls to email her and say, “I’m sorry honey, I’m leaving your mom, not you. Hope we can talk soon.”

          Unfuckingbelievable.

          She emailed back to him and said “I want nothing to do with you or anyone in your family.” We shut the door on that shit. There’s no reason to keep him around. At all.

        • Opps . .. I missed the part where you said you had two by him. I got off easy in that respect; I don’t have to co-parent with is ass.

          • Midlife, rumble kitty, tempest, and chumptitude are right! Great words of wisdom. I especially love the validation of what our kids know in their guts (great one Chumptitude). I will never withhold honesty with my children. I try to keep it matter of fact because what I have learned (via tons of support from CN and CL) is that they do find out the truth eventually. Now “eventually” is kind of hard, like waiting for meh, but I am here to say it does come. My oldest daughter, who is college aged and was angry and distant with me, is talking with me now and saying she wants to “figure out how to be important to each other,” and my youngest wants nothing to do with her dad because he has actually never directly told her is living with AP. It’s been over a year and a half and he has lunch with her occasionally and spends time with her when not vacationing with AP and, can you believe it, has never directly said, “This is who I live with.” Weird. But of course she knows. They will over time know things through observation of behavior.

            BTW, CL, I appreciate greatly your post today and especially what you said, “Their attachments were shallow.” I’m going to admit that after full rejection from what I thought was my family for 25 years (okay, it really wasn’t that great), it hurt to be shunned by them. My SIL totally bought into the “they grew apart” bullshit, which still makes me angry when I think about it. Your post helped to affirm that this was not about me and instead about the cheater and his AP. Thank you.

            • Chump B – Many synergies in our stories! I am also very grateful to CL and CN for allowing all of us to learn from each other and support each other as we endure the consequences of marrying (and breeding with) a disordered person.

  • “The arc of someone’s character…” I like that.
    Crapweasel told the world that “we grew apart”. For a long time, I did nothing to dispel that crap, and still have little to say about it. What belies this?
    I have no contact and absolutely nothing to do with him. I am raising HIS late sibling’s child, our daughter lives and works with me, and we have created our own ‘family’ within the animal rescue we founded and run. Crapweasel is not welcome here, and I think that alone says volumes about the dissolution of our marriage.

    • Today’s #6 resonated with me too. Thanks for that, CL!

      I’ve been subjected to X employing transference to TRY to make me assume all of his character flaws. We’re two years divorced, and he continues to spew venom in every single email exchange regarding our children. When you’re down and out, it’s easy to believe the worst. It took me this long to realize I don’t need someone like him to give me approval. I have people in my life who really like who I am and always did, especially my kids.

      I admit that at first, it devastated me to know how much he hated me. It bothers me less and less, but a part of me will always be saddened to know he was the center of my world for so long, and he threw me and our family away to go re-live his youth (which wasn’t that thrilling to begin with).

      We’re two years divorced, and I’m so thankful I’m not married to him anymore. Meanwhile, he’s more miserable than ever as evidenced by every single exchange. They would have an element of comedy if they weren’t so indicative of his scary personality disorder.

      Someday, I’ll post some. They’re amazing in their complete distortion of truth.

  • I love the line, “People who believe the worst about you don’t know you.” That is the truth! If they believe it, cut them loose also!

  • My first divorce was like a slow car accident. I knew for years he had cheated, I put up with crappy controlling inlaws and stayed “for the kids” until they graduated university. The numerous d-days I just stuffed down and made me focus on planning my eventual escape. Finally I left on my own schedule with the funds I had saved. Cheater admitted his wrongs, and we agreed to remain civil so that future things like kids weddings would be relatively stress free. Not perfect, but better than alternative. I did walk away rather than battle his expensive lawyer for my rightful share.

    So,why was it such a surprise that the outlaws,,,Ex’s nieces and nephews, his sisters and cousins, all embarked on a smear campaign against me which included hate letters and lecturing my sons on what a bad person I must be to “leave” their father? None of them knew the truth because I had always kept it private what a douche The Ex was. He got away with being seen as the perfect spouse.

    So, my response was to demand that he confront them, each one that sent me letters or dissed me on facebook. Tell them the truth. Admit his indiscretions. He actually did respond to them, telling them they had it all wrong and saying it was none of their business, and copied me in on his responses to them. Not a single one of them ever apologised to me. I had to walk away from my entire extended family of 30 years, and never get to see the next generation.

    How did I get him to do this? I threatened to reopen the support case. Hit him in the wallet where his self esteem lives. But it still hurts to be wrongly condemned. In the end, freedom really is priceless.

    • This resonates with me so deeply: “None of them knew the truth because I had always kept it private what a douche The Ex was.” Same here. I have always really hated when spouses crap-talk each other. It’s like…sure, you’re going to have disagreements, but don’t loudly complain about them every chance you get and then still expect your friends to love them. It’s not right to show you friends only the negative. So I downplayed every thing he did, and tried to convince myself that everybody has flaws, or that he was going through a hard time and I just needed to be patient, etc. etc. etc. Years of quietly swallowing his mistreatment later, it turns out he had been loudly complaining about me the whole time. So post-split, those jerks believe him and not me. I’m punished for my discretion. For trying to cover for him all those years. All I can do is hope that the not-yet-split will read this post and understand that they should be sharing what’s going on, at least with close friends and family. They should not have to go through it alone, even if they’re not sure divorce is on the table yet. They will be glad to have a D-Day-ready group of friends and family in place when the time comes.

      • Record your confrontation with the cheater for back up proof, that’s what I did and it was easy to do on my Iphone. I recorded it using my voice memo app (12 minute recording). I told him we need to discuss things again, I needed to, I hid my phone on a shelf where he couldn’t see it, tapped record when we started our conversation and started the questioning of everything again to him. Anyone who questions me who I think is significant, I offer up this recording for them to listen to if they want and most wanted to hear it. The look on their faces as they listened to it was disbelief. For me, it was vindication!

        Btw, I practiced lots ahead of time to test that it would work before hand.

        • Kate50, I was so stunned by the increase in narc abuse during the last few years of our marriage, I too hit the record button one day when he began having a temper tantrum. Honestly, it sounds like a toddler going off, escalating, calling me an idiot, interrupting me, and in general he just sounds crazy. I needed it for me because of that sick thing narcs do called mind fuck where their behavior is really genuinely crazy but they are blaming you for it. This has been a huge hurdle for me to wrap my head around, i.e., it was him, NOT me! I know I am not perfect or blameless, but I did not cheat, lie, steal, and abandon family. That would be on him. I am willing to take responsibility but I am not responsible for his hurtful and unkind behaviors. No one deserves abuse, ever! But approx 98 percent of the time, he was blaming me. What a chump I was.

        • Chumptastic, “he was going through a hard time and I just needed to be patient,” and that he was complaining about me to others all along. Yep, that was me. OOOOOh, poor, poor X, he’s depressed, he’ll come out of it. Or, ‘male depression can lead to rage,’ it’s the depression talking.

          The depression and rage came from a place deep in his pocket. He doesn’t like to be told what to do, and fuck that court order demanding payment. But he couldn’t ruin his image with that, best to blame it on the wife.

          He typed it, skyped it, gplus’d it, hung-out with it, chatted it, link’d it…Russian astronauts probably know. Still unfuckingbelievable to me.

    • Marci- I don’t like spouse bashing either so I kept most of his emotional abuse to myself but told a few things to very close friends. I presented him as such a great guy when I knew he wasn’t but I strangely thought that if I had high expectations of him he would change and live up to them. It didn’t happen over the long run. Fortunately, I did surrounded myself with good and honest people and they have all seen right through him and his “we grew apart” narrative. Even his own brother and sister in law have seen through him. His mother is the only one still loyal to him and that is because she is a covert narc that doesn’t want people to know she raised a monster. At this point I tell the truth to anyone who is willing to listen and encourage women to not tolerate emotional and verbal abuse like I did. My in-laws have completely shunned me because my mother in law has bullied them to do so but I have healed enough to know I truly am better off without that nut cluster. Now that I have opened up to my own mom, she is heartbroken that I lived through so much emotional abuse and didn’t tell her about it. I really wished I would have told her.

      • Ahh, Nicole S. What a similar situation. I am so sorry you endured such abuse; it is unconscionable, so hard to believe, so hard to accept that these monsters exist. I like what you said about the ex MIL. I do believe they can’t bear the thought of what monster’s they raised. I believe my ex MIL is some sort of Cluster B; a real piece of work who I cannot help but to resent. When I am feeling grounded, I really am glad to be free of the superficial, unkind bunch. Love your phrase “nut cluster.” Perfect. We really are all in this together and the support here is so helpful.

        • My MIL was a minister in her church. She introduced the OW to my hasbeen. Daughter of a family friend. When the affair started going online she paid for flights for the OW from Tx to Mich to stay with my hasbeen. They stayed at my in-laws home and cabin. She paid for many flights in and out in that yr long time period. My X and I lived in Wis. My MIL helped my X with the lies and cover-ups. My MIL and FIL were even even in divorce court holding his hand. My X wore his father’s lucky suit coat for the divorce. I guess it wasn’t so lucky. I retained all the property , bank accounts and retirement funds. He got an old pick-up his tools and his clothes. The look on my MIL’s face was priceless when the judge handed down his deposition. On the way out of divorce court I stopped and smiled at my now X-MIL. I said, “Good day for a divorce, I’m extremely happy with the out come” She was so pissed off froth was in the corners of her mouth. I sat in my SUV with my girlfriends and watched them come out of the courthouse. It was like watching a funeral procession. My X on the phone trying to explain to his honey why he got nothing out of a 29 yr old marriage.

          After the divorce my X took off driving for Tx to be with his honey and her 6 kids by 5 different fathers. Within 60 days he was arrested in Tx and spent 90 days in jail for a traffic accident. I was paying the car insurances out of my funds. As soon as the divorce final I called and cancelled his vehicle. Wasn’t mine any more. No reason for me to cover it.

          • Yooper01, good for you! I just love happy endings that favor the chump! I just wish more judges would award the betrayed spouse. It doesn’t make up for ALL the BS we had to endure, but it sure takes some of the sting out of being thrown away like garbage. It also helps to get us on our feet and to secure a decent future for the left behind faithful spouse and family! I figure these cheaters wanted to walk away and start over, so let them walk away with nothing and start from scratch! Good riddance!

  • I had to deal with this with my family and friends. The funny thing was that the ex didn’t even like my family and friends. Real said thing he didn’t even like his family and friends.

    The best thing was that I went no contact with all of them. It’s been years. I don’t miss any of them. Yes, it is very sad and hurtful events but to be honest with you all of them are so mentally unwell and my mental health has improved over time.

    Now sometimes I do wonder if my family and friends and even if his family and friends wonder why I left so fast and I didn’t contact them since the day I left. Overall it was the BEST decision I made in my life was to go no contact with them.

    • I did the same thing as you Beth, except one mutual friend contacted me, wondering why I mysteriously disappeared one day with no forewarning (MY exclusive family and friends knew the real situation and helped me vanish). However, when I told her the truth, as I believe I had mentioned before, she decided to remain neutral. When other mutual friends asked her if she knew anything, she directed them to my now XH – who’s narrative appears to be that I just decided to dislike the teachings of the church we were entrenched in. The same church that I was at the day before the move, hugging all my friends there, (I was hugging them goodbye, but they didn’t know it at the time).

      Oh yeah, that’s the story. That’s why I would suddenly move 175 miles away and go NC with the pervert I married (shaking head). With all the whoppers he told me during our marriage, you would think he could come up with something more creative than that. How lame!

      • Yes, very lame indeed Boudica Reborn. It amazes me at times but at the same time it doesn’t (I hope that makes sense) how much in common all of us chumps have when it comes to these disordered things and their followers.

        Now I have heard things that the ex said about the break up and of course none of them are true and of course all my fault. I can recall getting some phones calls from so called friends and not one of them asked me about how I was doing all they had to say is that the ex is upset with them for talking to me blah blah blah. I told them then don’t call me and I really don’t give a shit what he thinks or feel and go kiss his ass. Let’s just say they were speechless and I hung up. I still laugh about it today. These people would try to call me back in a few days but I didn’t answer and in fact I can recall these people emailing me with some sad sorry ass excuses and the sorries to me. I read in-between the words and knew they just wanted to keep tabs on me and go back and tell the ex. Also my so called family did the same. I can recall many times that I would be visiting my family and when I would leave their home within an hour or so sometimes even shorter than that I would get a call from the ex yelling at me and questioning my behavior. I knew within seconds where all of his information was coming from. I spoke with my family about it and told them if they continued then I would not be in their lives any longer. Let’s just say they didn’t admit (of course) to what they did and I told them well you can have the ex is he is that special to them and I will just go on.

        Also I always thought that my step-mother was in love with the ex. How she would always flirt with him and touch him and other things I saw how she was about him (he couldn’t stand her and would tell me that she gave him the creeps with how she was around him). Plus, when the ex and I split up she wasn’t concern about how I was doing and said to me one day just days after the split up that she was upset that he wasn’t going to call her anymore. She was almost in tears with it. I just walked away shaking my head. I knew then she was in love with him. Also she and my father knew he was cheating and I thought she would have a better understanding about this because her first husband and my father cheated on her left and right. Creepy and just sick if you ask me!!!!!!!!!

        When I knew I had to walk away from all of these people that I loved so very much it was very hurtful to me but I had to do it for my well being. Nothing was going to change and it would never get better. I saw how my family treated the others and I just didn’t want that in my life. It does suck very much but now looking back and now seeing how my life is now all I can say is that it is so peaceful. I have learned a lot over the past years with what I want in my life and it is not them. Plus I can really see how all of them (including my family and friends and him and his damn followers) are just so unwell in the head. I guess the only way to truly understand how mental they all are is to live it. I will never get back in touch with them. There is no trust and no love that I have for any of them any more. The best for my mental well being is to let them live their disordered way of thinking and living. I don’t want it in my life. I guess that has been one great lesson in my life is that is it ok to walk away from people that are not good for you and I have to stop trying to make things better. That isn’t my job. My job is to take care of myself and my life and leave the trash behind.

        There are so many more things that I have forgotten over the years and I do recall from time to time. Let’s just say my family and friends shown me their true colors and really no lost for me. I know karma has hint some of them. In fact, I just found out that karma hit the ex’s first ow pretty bad. I still hope one day that karma will hit the ex and owife and the others around him that are so in love with his Godly life.

  • All of this is true, but yet…I think you have a responsibility to manage the public part of the divorce or breakup, best you can. Write off his family–it’s not fair to expect them to turn on their member, even if they know the truth. It’s not reasonable, and not what families do.

    Choose some surrogates you think have sense, give them an edited version, without detail, and ask their help in impression management. Think of yourself as a business and take appropriate action. Remember less is more.

    Ignore the rest. Step over it, then step higher. What CL says is true–character is a long-term endeavor. Truth will out. Justice eventually gets the arc, coupled with grace. Usually even their new loves learn the hard way…

    You are free. Living well is the best revenge.

    • I have been wondering about this. Sort of a lesser version of taking out a whole page ad in the paper or my fantasy, hiring the Goodyear blimp. I have no desire to start a full scale war or smear campaign but we live in a tiny town. He knows lots of sparkly people but despite being a near hermit, having focused of Little Elf for so long, I have several well placed friends in town. The realtor that sells the most properties, a jeweler who knows everyone, the town chimney sweep…. I just want to make sure the quick, truthful version is out there. It is more about having Team ChumpyElf ready to defend me or correct people who they hear spreading shite about me than gossiping. And it isn’t gossip if it’s the truth.

      • ChumpyElf-this is kinda, sorta, how I got a little bit even (and it completely took away the anger I felt about my husband (many emotional affairs-a Pa, and general teasing of my wifely abilities) and my situation, because the powerlessness breeds anger, I think…) I made sure one of his family members, several of his/our close friends, all of my friends AND some of our professional acquaintances (think doctors, accountant…) knew what happened. It helped me to share, but I noticed I still harbored enormous anger which was affecting my day to day life. I knew I wouldn’t have a revenge affair, it wasn’t even on my radar-I would be incapable, as most of us on this site would be. I did, however, manage to make him aware of many (not all, he will still be surprised by that) the people I told-many he didn’t know about-and he fell apart, got soooo upset, etc. I enjoyed it completely. All I said to him at the end was “I’m sorry you are upset and that you feel that way (that it was wrong for me to tell our/his friends), and I guess I’m sorry for what I did-sometimes, when we make selfish choices we don’t realize the lasting impact they may have on others.” This was a particularly delicious exchange, because the light went on over his head, he connected the dots, and realized that I am not in the business of perpetuating his image management. And that I can be vindictive without necessarily sinking to his level. And that I really do feel much better, which I think pisses him off, which makes me feel even better…..yeah, it’s petty, but as you said, it isn’t gossip if it’s the truth.

  • Biblically, this is called the “fear of man.” It is the idea that another human being or beings’ opinion of us matters more than God’s. Proverbs rightly calls it a snare. It is easier said than done getting free of that snare, though.

    Good thoughts here, CL, about breaking free of that snare. It is a miserable life living for other people’s opinions of us.

    • Yes DM! This is what has got me through the shunning I’ve received from my in-laws. Knowing God knows the truth and that his opinion matters most has been a huge part of my healing.

      • God does know the truth plus you also know the truth about yourself. I’ve never been concerned about what people say about me that don’t know me. But my exes lies did get to me. They have to make themselves the victim somehow.

  • I thought that I shared a connection with my ex’s sister because we both have mental health issues – I have depression, she has bipolar. We talked about our issues and similarities and I once volunteered to foot the medical bills when she was in crisis and without insurance (it didn’t end up happening, but the offer was there).

    I invited my ex’s first ex-husband to stay in our extra bedroom when he came to town to visit their son; I figured the money he would have spent on a hotel could be better used for the kid. When he came to visit we’d play board games, watch movies, share meals. The divorce was a long time ago and I hadn’t known them then, so I had no animosity towards the man.

    Now that my ex is gone? Crickets. I didn’t expect them to be my support team, but I’m hurt that I didn’t even get a “it was nice having known you” or “thanks for everything and I’m sorry this happened”.

    I have no idea what she told them. It’s possible that they think poorly of me, it’s possible that they’re both assholes, or both. And I really wonder what she told her son. After 5 years with him nearly everyday (from 10-15) I didn’t even get a goodbye. It’s like I never even existed.

    She apparently discussed leaving me with her friends and when they didn’t argue with her she took that as their agreement. Again, I have no idea what she told them, but she did say “they knew we were having problems and hoped we’d work them out.” That was news to me. Her friends were better informed about our relationship than I was!

    • I’m with you WhichWay. I didn’t expect my inlaws to be my support team but since they told me for 20 years that they loved me like a daughter I did expect something like “just know that we will always care about you and are grateful you gave us wonderful grandchildren.” Instead, I got crickets. Jerks!

      • After 36 years my ex MIL said “maybe we’ll see you around sometime…” On the other hand, when anyone in his family contacts me I tell them that I love them and miss them. It’s so sad.

        • After 30 years my STBX FIL (the only one of our parents left) said, “Well if you’re ever in town, look me up.” Ok, sure.

      • My ex-inlaws did give me the whole ‘We love you and are here for you’ – and then joined ex in trying to discredit me, even to my own children. So I ghosted because no way was I going to pretend they were not toxic. It was hard, it hurt, but it was the best thing to do. Don’t regret it in any way.

        • Yea, I got that too…my SIL emailed a terse “so sorry to hear things didn’t work out with you and Ex (29 year marriage and two sons)…we wish you well in your future life”. As if was going to another planet. And then later on her daughter sent me a poisonous letter saying how ungrateful and greedy I was for leaving the oaf.

          And that same niece posted photos of her wedding with OW front and centre, on facebok, before our divorce had even been filed. They were aiding and abetting his cheating!

          SIL is the woman whose hand I held for days in the hospital when her newborn twins died and she almost did. I did countless huge favours for her over the years, agh. Blood is thicker than water. Bet they have a clue by now what a shit their brother and uncle is.

  • I actually had people in my “in law” circle tell me I shouldn’t talk too much about the affair. That revealing “too much” could be bad for me. I had others tell me this too.. that I should keep quiet about it. I guess choke it up and keep eating the shit sandwiches in case his holiness ever wanted to come back to me.

    This felt inherently wrong to me. Not that I’ve blabbed it to everyone, but I have told close friends and family, and frankly, if not for their support, wise counsel, and shoulders to cry on I’d probably be dead. I didn’t feel it was my place to protect his image.. or my image either (being cheated on isn’t great PR for the chump either) but it was essential in my healing. And I was amazed how many of my friends and even family said “I’ve been there” and I never knew it. I leaned on those people and I hope at some point I can return the favor with a future chump.

    We chumps need each other.. we need the support and validation. This shit is painful and people don’t understand really unless they’ve been there. It’s not just “divorce”.. it’s betrayal, and many of us didn’t want the divorce, or our family to be blown to bits. It’s a trauma.. and we need to speak up so that we can find the healing we need.

    PS- I hate the “We grew apart” excuse. That is always an excuse… marriages don’t break up because people drift a part a little… that is so lame and when I hear someone say that now, I am always skeptical.

    • Cheaters rarely honor the “we grew apart” narrative anyway. They will typically say bad things about the chump to whoever is a receptive audience. That is why I now sing like a canary.

      X’s own family knows the truth (I’m friends with former SIL), though he doesn’t realize they know the truth. On a recent visit to his family, he was spewing untruths about me (e.g., I turned youngest daughter against him, even though he knows I did initially try to get her to have contact with him). End result is he has now revealed himself to be a pathological liar to his own family, who will never believe anything else he says. Sucks to be deceptive.

      • I have a lot of support in my X in law family too.. especially SIL (X’s brother’s wife). From the get go, she was super supportive and still calls me from time to time to check on me. She didn’t believe his cockamamie stories from the beginning, truthfully neither did his brother. He lied to all of them too, so you are right Tempest, it sucks to be deceptive because it does affect things. Will they still love him? Of course. They won’t kick him out of the family.. but they might not ever see him the same again.

        Fact is, the women in the family (and BIL to his credit) could sniff out the lies he was telling because a few of them had been chumped. Once this happens to you, you see the signs. They couldn’t deny that, even if they REALLY wanted to believe him. His actions speak for themselves.

      • As far as i kinow, both my XWs’ families supported me in divorcing these women. First wife’s sister was one of the ones who told me about the cheating and offered to testify in court if there was a custody battle, as i had been the primary caregiver.
        Her family then invited me for Christmas dinner after the divorce, as , traditionally, my first XW would not show up to be with her family ( when we were married, she used this time to spend with one of her OM and I would take our kids to her family’s house alone).
        Second XW’s family has been very supportive, inviting me on golf vacation, over for breakfast and to plays. Oftne, when we would attened one of the kids’ functionsa t school, they would sit by me and their daughter was left alone in her seat.
        This allserved me well, as their support amnd my kids devotion dispelled the smearing that was going on. This enraged my XWs’ and that was nice, as well.
        I suppose each XW had a group of supporters but I never really cared what they thought of me. Thye were low lifes. like my Xs and I just never apporached them. Thier impressions had no effect on me.

        • Arnold–
          God forbid one of my kids does to his wife and kids one day what their father did to our family. But the way your in-laws handled their off-springs’ despicable behavior is how I foresee handling myself.
          My xH is a coward with an attachment disorder. Conversely, my kids seem well-adjusted. So I don’t foresee having to choose sides. But it doesn’t hurt to plan for the worst.
          Your in-laws seem like classy people. Sorry their daughters didn’t take on their families’ character.

        • Arnold, you know I think you received the best acknowledgment of all your devotion to your boys right there. BOTH of your ex’s families stood by you. THAT is the best judgment to be publicly displayed before any of us reach the pearly gates. Seriously. Their kindness and interest towards you and your boys reveal that you are a man of TRUE character. Now, what could be better than that! 🙂

          • I was lucky. The in laws had seen their daughters in action for a long time. One father in law apologized to me for not warning me. He said ” we hoped she had changed.”
            My first wife’s sister told me that as I walked down the aisle with her sister, she turned to her husband and said ” I hope this poor guy knows what he is getting into.”
            But, no one ever seems to take you aside and warn you. My picker was badly broken, or , at least very inexperienced.

            • You have exception in-laws, Arnold! I wish that my parents-in-law, who knew that my now STBX had gay affairs (he TOLD them long before we married) had warned me! There’s no law that said they had to, but they could have spared at least three people (my two children, both by STBX, and me) decades of trauma by telling me before marrying him or at least encouraging him to ‘fess up.’ Perhaps their die-hard Catholic mindset prevented them from mentally ‘going there’ (acknowledging that their son had gay relationships although he told them he did), but not saying/doing anything, to me, seems like a sin of omission. Some people might say, ‘None of my business,’ as it is not THEIR marriage, but if someone is about to drive off a cliff and I know it and can warn that person, I feel obligated to do so, even though I am not the one about to drive off the cliff and that is not my car!

          • I’m sorry Hope but I think the in laws sticking by the faithful spouse says more about their character, not the faithful spouse. When in laws stick by a cheater that says a lot about their poor character and it does not reflect on the faithful spouse at all. I’m glad Arnold had in laws that stuck by him but your comment suggests that us faithful spouses who didn’t have in laws stick by us didn’t have TRUE character. That is unfair and hurtful. Please reconsider your comment.

            • I agree with you, Nicole, but you can both be right. You see, in-laws of good character recognize good character in the chumped son- or daughter-in-law.

            • Nicole, please don’t think I was somehow commenting on other chump’s lack of character. That is not my intention at all. I don’t know if you know Arnold’s story or not but it is STUNNING. His Ex-wife left him alone to care for a Down Syndrome child so she could screw around. He managed to care for the child with so many medical issues, continue working and he has supported his other son who has battled a serious drug addiction and gone through I believe it is 8 in patient treatment attempts. The man in my book is a complete SAINT and his ex-wives put him through complete HELL abandoning their roles as mothers. I admire his resolve to to the right thing, stick with very difficult child rearing challenges and not lose his mind.

              • I think I just got lucky and that my XWs had acted so egregiously in the past , before I knew them, that their families had seen enough. I know I am not a saint and I just loved my kids, like most folks.
                It has paid off, as we have a close relationship.

              • I’m not taking anything away from Arnold. That must have been so difficult and he really stepped up! I do think most chumps would do exactly what what he did, man or woman. Therefore his inlaws support just is not a reflection of what he did, it is purely a testament to their strong character and yes Arnold showed amazing character too but the two are not related.

      • Tempest, I also sang like a canary when second Dday happened and cheater went off with his OW for a ten day trip (he didn´t cancel it , while our lives were falling apart). During those days he was gone I called everyone on his side of his family, and told them what was happening, and everyone was in shock because they always thought I was the best thing that ever happened to him. They thought that he is an idiot though they are a very disfunctional family full of alcoholics and closeted gays, but all are lovely to see during family parties! I don´t miss them at all, and they are very nice to me if we happen to meet, but they are all back together again for family reunions, without me. My ex just doesn´t talk to them about the divorce and acts like if nothing happened though he hasn´t dared to take his OW to any events. He would have wanted me to keep quiet about everything and simply inform everyone that we “went our separate ways”. The first thing that he said to me on DDay was that “no one, absolutely no one knows about this” and “I don´t want a divorce”….I made sure to that exactly the opposite became true! However, I should clarify that now, a year and half after DDay and two months after divorce I feel no need to tell the story to anyone, and if someone asks, I just say a one-liner and thats it. For me, the need to tell seems part of the initial healing process but I don´t want to spend another full minute of my life wasted on giving him more significance than he has now (which is nothing, except for being the father of my children).

        This is getting too long, but I just wanted to add that the other day I met a women who had been cheated on 35 years earlier. She wanted to tell me her story as if it was yesterday. Her son told me that she had never gotten over it, and still lived every day in anger and hatred and her physical body showed it. It was a very strong reminder for me that I was NOT going to make that my lif: one more second spent on any chumpy attitude was a second gone that I could have lived a better life for my children and myself.

        • This is exactly how I feel. My experience is part of who I am, but it does not define; my ability to overcome it does.

        • chumpnomore, this stood out to me “The first thing that he said to me on DDay was that “no one, absolutely no one knows about this”” The most important person to find out about an affair is the poor chump but the cheaters don’t see it that way. It is a small town. I’m nearly seven months out and marshaling Team ChumpyElf. If no one knew about it before, they sure as hell are gonna know about it soon. I think after I have had my say, and I intend to be succinct unlike my posts here, I will just focus on making the best life for me and Little Elf. And keeping Asshat out of our lives as much as possible.

        • ChumpedNoMore–good for you letting his family know the truth. I’m 3 days away from my D-day first anniversary (yup, 9/11), and more info has come out since the divorce that I do want passed on–X knows I divorced him on the basis of 1 affair I knew about from 8 years back; turns out the fucker is a serial cheater with lots of notches on his belt the past decade. I still want people to know that, but after they know, I’m willing not to discuss it with them anymore (no one wants to be bitter forever).

          However, I’m also thinking about going more public with being a victim of infidelity; I’m in a field where I could make both clinicians and young people aware of the hazards of cheating & the blaming-the-victim mentality that seems to permeate some therapy. No firm decisions yet, but if I can help other chumps, even one, by publicizing my story, it is tempting to do so.

        • I can 100% understand that woman still being pissed off as all hell – even years later. Its something that, in some cases, the anger never truly leaves. Or is a way to propel people forward. I could validate that, and would never hold that against someone.
          Maybe she had to deal with shit sandwiches, even years later, from fuckwits associated with the ex, or the ex himself. Or people pussy footing around and playing Switzerland.

        • Boudica R: Perfect! I love that you are keeping me hopping and stimulated with your literary quotes and history documentaries! Hugs back atcha!

    • I wonder sometimes, because I don’t know that my ex was cheating on me. It definitely would fit her history, but when she told me there was no one else, I declined digging into it. It hurts bad enough as it is.

      Even if she wasn’t cheating on me, I still feel that I’m a chump. When she told me that she loved me, I believed her. When she said that we’d grow old together, I believed her. When she said that after she quit work and I supported her in her schooling I would have my turn if I wanted it, I believed her.

      When the money was gone, so was she.

      I knew about her history and didn’t care because I believed that people can change. Yes, she did shitty things when younger, but she was older and had matured and learned by the time I met her. And I was going to love her enough and in the “right way”, making cheating or leaving unnecessary.

      As she was leaving she really fucked with my head. At one point she expressed disbelief that I hadn’t seen it coming, and then a little while later she talked about how good she is at hiding her feelings and almost seemed to gloat that I had thought she’d never leave me (and she was showing me!) She also said that she didn’t voice her displeasure to me because I wouldn’t have handled it well… so, as you can see, it was really my fault that she had to surprise leave me.

      Thus ends my essay on why I’m a chump even if she wasn’t cheating on me.

      • WWDSG,

        If you think she was cheating, she probably was. I learned the hard way that instincts are there for a reason and they are almost always right. For YEARS I stuffed my spidey sense when STBX was concerned.. on his little “friend”, and on other things honestly. He was prone to lie, hide and make things seem different from the way they were. Because I loved him so much, and was so attached, I put up with all of it. I spackled a long time. And maybe he spackled with me too, to be fair. But I was always loyal to him and I wouldn’t have given up on our family or shared history. I was in for the long haul from day one and demonstrated it over and over. But it wasn’t enough. He actually claimed I didn’t love him enough. I didn’t “give” enough. Good luck finding someone else who gives what I did over the haul buddy. LOL.

        Mine also fucked with my head.. said things like “I don’t think I’ve ever loved you” (20 years and 2 kids later), “We have nothing in common” (Hello- 20 years and 2 kids), “I can’t believe you are happy with the relationship” (I wasn’t gloriously happy all the time but to me, that’s no reason to throw it away). These folks just have different values. It truly boggles the mind because we can’t think the way they do. Cheap thrills, grass is greener, all that is symptomatic of their desire to be happy and non bored 100% of the time. They aren’t happy with themselves so they medicate with THINGS, and interchange people. I see it now, but I never thought he’d interchange me.. I thought he was committed to the family, and to me. But in the end, I was something else that could be swapped out. If he could do that to me, he could do it to anyone. He’s not happy with HIM.

        Nothing you could do WWDSG to keep her from cheating or to make her happy. You aren’t responsible for her happiness. So you were depressed. I was depressed, and I wonder now how much of that depression was due to HIM and him projecting his shit on me all the time. HE always said I was so depressed and anxious. Well, he created an environment that fostered it. He bought things (100K car) without telling me, we never had control of finances, he changed jobs ALL the time, I never knew when the next “shoe” would drop. Because I am an orderly kind of person.. I didn’t like all that “up in the air” stuff. It did create anxiety. But did he ever do anything active to address this? No. He wouldn’t ever admit to a problem.

        I own many faults and I made mistakes in the marriage and would have worked on my side of the ledger, but he wasn’t willing to work on his. I suspect your wife was the same WWDSG. You can’t work with that. You can’t make someone willing who isn’t. You deserve better. There are women who will appreciate you when you are ready for them.

        • I think you’re really onto something with that desire to be happy and non bored 100% of the time. And I too thought that she might cycle through people and things, but that I was a special case who was above it all. I feel like I should be hearing that wrong answer noise from Family Feud: Who is above being thrown away like garbage? Is WWDSG on the board?

          Some days I accept that there’s nothing I could have done. And then there are days like today when I feel that I’ve lost my last chance at a lasting love relationship, that I failed, that I’m too sick to be loved, etc. It’ll pass, but it still sucks to be back feeling like this for even a minute. And I beat myself up for being so melodramatic, for falling back into a victim mentality. One of these days I’ll accept that wanting reality to be other than it is isn’t going to happen.

          • I bet with some distance from her, you might find some of your depression was due to your relationship. Not all maybe, some of us are more prone to depression, but her treatment of you wasn’t helping. May have been making it a LOT worse. Just pointing out.. that sometimes we don’t realize what the sources of our anguish are, until we get some distance.

            Not that it doesn’t suck. I feel your pain WWDSG. It’s like having your heart stomped on.. I’ve felt physical pain with this, lost 15lbs (thin to begin with), sleep patterns disrupted, job impacted.. it’s affected my whole life. It has changed who I am. I hope at some point for the better but it doesn’t feel that way everyday. He was my college sweetheart and the one person I thought I could count on. It’s altered my whole perception of people. I had trust issues before (FOO) but now I REALLY do. Could I ever trust again? I don’t know. But I won’t worry about that today and neither should you.

            It will get better. Day by day, hour by hour. Don’t give up, and don’t give up on love. Love is what is around you.. your family,friends,kids, it’s not just romantic love. Love yourself first. Your relationship with YOURSELF is the most important of all. Hugs.

          • She’s not. They don’t have souls, so no possibility of soul mates. She’s new, and that’s all that matters for now.

        • Wow newchumpatl, great insight. Almost identical story to mine, I guess it isn’t too surprising as the disordered jerks share so many similarities.

          That’s why I love it here… helps to know you’re not alone and you didn’t imagine everything.

    • I had very little supporters. I too was told not to tell many bc I would “taint” how others would view hubby if I would ever take him back.

      The humiliation of the whole affair probably killed the marriage more than anything.

      • Yeah that’s the RIC point of view. Chumps keep dancing. Chump don’t tell anyone. Don’t force the timid forest creature to be accountable. Chump don’t make any “demands”. Make home a “great place to be”. Aka, nice them into it. I had a crappy MC tell me to do all this stuff. Doesn’t work. DOES NOT WORK. I tried it. All it did was wear me down further and erode what was left of my self esteem.

        • Now that i am ready to tell a few more people the short story (he cheated for over a year, she is psycho and stalking me), I worry this will mess up my filing plans. My lawyer said we would just whip out a separation agreement that says we don’t file until ten years but that still leaves me mopping up the mess with Little Elf and not having time to plan on his behalf. I keep hoping Asshat will get struck by lightning and spare me all this trouble 😉

          • I actually had 2 very violent dreams recently where I was that person who “struck (the sad sausage) by lightening.” And my adult daughter was watching. She had her own dream where he was physically hurting her. PTSD? Anger issues? Immaturity? Or just collateral damage. What a POS. BTW, I would publish my story in the paper if I could.

            • I used to have dreams–before I knew about the affair(s)–that I was physically attacking him. I knew it meant that I was angry, but I really had no idea why. I think my subconscious was screaming at me, to pay attention to the passive-aggressive gaslighting.
              I’m not a violent person, and I think the dreams were a way to express a lot of buried anger and bewilderment.

              • I actually had a dream before D-day that I told my husband he could go to OW now because I was strong enough for him to leave me. Woke up thinking “what the heck?” Just proved to me that my gut is better at knowing the truth than my head.

        • your post sort of triggered me . Ex twisted my arm (because he was trying to recover his phone I was holding and I didn’t want to give it back, this is post DD), so he provoked me into pushing him, then .. called the police and said I assaulted him.

      • I don’t understand the logic of those you know who knew about your husband’s affairs and urged you not to divulge the news to others in order to avoid tainting your husband’s image. Didn’t you husband taint his image? If you divulged his infidelity to other people, then you were just the messenger. I wonder if you had said, ‘My husband committed murder,’ then your listeners would respond, ‘Don’t say anything; you might taint your husband’s reputation?’ Now some people might say that adultery and murder are not the same. I partly agree. However, both adultery and murder destroy something valuable.

  • I completely agree with CL’s points 1-6.

    Regarding 2 (telling the truth), chumps need to think clearly even as you’re falling apart. Pre-empt the cheater’s false narrative. First thing after D-day, as a precondition to even talking about reconciliation, I made X (then-H) call all the people who had known about his affair and explain that that was the reason why we had separated. Ha–no going back after that since HE had told them. Once it became clear we were headed for divorce, I eschewed his “we grew apart” nonsense and told people the real reason (X salivates at the sight of fresh meat). Sometimes I even overshared (nope, not a sexless marriage–we were having sex 3-4 x a week during his main affair; apparently the man has stamina). And I am glad I did what I did–he has been able to control some mutual friends who have heeded his admonition to not have contact with me, but the true story is out there and I won the moral war. Want someone to do the work for you? Tell the person most likely to pass on information to other people.

    Don’t wait to get your story out just because you’re still shell-shocked; find a way to spill the truth so that you don’t scare people (e.g., “I didn’t like his girlfriend”). You will lose some friends who either don’t want to have to take sides, or who believe your X. Sad, but true (and well-worth ridding yourself of a fucktard). But at least give yourself the option of maintaining friendships by getting your story out there first. The cheater will not be fair, they will blame shift, they will smear you behind your back (heck, they already did smear you to affair partners who were convinced you were an evil, frigid, controlling jerk).

    Those who believe your X, or want to play Switzerland, accept that they are no longer friends and stop caring what they believe. Move on, as CL says, and live your own life of integrity. But think clearly even as you’re falling apart, and do not succumb to the cheater’s desire for you to spew his/her muddled narrative.

    • First day of school so I am slowly making my way down the posts. Yee haw! I posted above about the fact that I am finally ready to start spilling. It is freezing and fireplace season is fast approaching. I have a walking/hiking date with my friend later this week – she is town chimney sweep and she is one feisty lady. She is Asshat’s patient but I doubt for a minute she will believe he is in the right. Going to just start telling two or three people and i am not sure who. I feel like I’m choosing a Fantasy Football team!

    • Ohhhhhhh better believe I told all the town gossips what xH did to his family–nothing but the truth, abbreviated, of course. And they’re friends with a work gossip who probably told everyone at work. It got back to me from a few people who The Coward works with that they were sorry and disgusted with what he did.
      I made sure to look good every time I went out–cute dresses and a smile. There were times that I was tired of being “so strong,” but I never regretted being caught on-guard around town looking presentable and happy.
      Conversely, xH looks tired and old. He works to present the sad sausage look–no OW on his arm. I don’t think he’s proud of her in real life. I was someone he could be proud of. She, not so much, unless they are anonymous, or their current friends don’t know me. (He does have a friend thrice divorced who heartily approves of her, so he’s got that.) In fact, in the beginning, a few people believed their eyes–I must have been the cheater, light on my feet and beaming. No, I would correct–he left for someone he found again on Facebook. Yes, he’s that cliche. No, I can’t believe it, either. No, he’s not the great dad you thought he was–he sees the kids less than a handful of hours a month.
      Of course his mother believed years of lies and exaggerations about me. I have pretty much written her off, too. If I have to see her I am cordially brief and poised. Sucks to suck, you know?

      When I get down I remind myself–better her than me in bed with him. He is stingy, withholding, anxious and unhappy. He is sloppy, evasive and increasingly physically unattractive. The idea of growing old with him is, frankly, repulsive. She can nurse him, thanks. They’re actually probably a perfect match–she is financially desperate and indiscriminate. I will enjoy my freedom.

      • I like this! I finally started leaving the house more. I went out the past two Saturdays to have dinner with girlfriend and I dug out my entire boot collection to wear now that it feels like fall. Not feeling guilty for having more than two hideous pairs of old lady shoes just bc Florence doesn’t approve of my footwear. I live somewhere very, very small so I am hoping it will only take telling a few strategic people….

        • Oh, to have fall weather! and be able to wear boots! It’s 99 degrees here.

          And yes–all it takes is telling a few of the most loquacious people…. ; )

          • I am positively giddy anticipating my first reveal. Hey, you think we’re just here to walk dogs? In the next month, I am also attending a philanthropic party, fairly informal, and the woman who heads up the group also happens to be the director of our excellent local domestic abuse shelter. I plan to hit her up for ideas and contacts. Since the police can’t help me now, what do I do after Florence wigs out? Other than call 911….

      • Stephanie, I read your description of your cheater and how he met his Schmoopie and your description of him. We’re we possibly married to the same lousy cheater? They all sound alike! Like there’s a whole legion of these assholes walking around! It’s astounding!

    • I completely agree Tempest! Hiding the truth is not taking the high road. I didn’t tell people out of shame at first. Then I started telling a few people, then a few more and was amazed at the support and understanding I received. I actually gained friends through this and had people tell me they could now invite me over because the couldn’t stand my husband and they’ve stuck to their word. If you are new to this, don’t be afraid to tell others you truth and do it right away. I too over shared with a few people and told them I was guilty of only having sex with my husband about twice week. Turns out that’s not a sexless marriage like my STBX had me convinced nor is refusing to do some of the freaky things he wanted. Talking to others has been a HUGE part of my healing and I’m amazed at the amount of compassion I have received.

      • IMO, one has to be somewhat careful about demeanor in disclosing. I tired not to ne overzealous and remained calm and matter of fact.
        I have mentioned this before and I have seen one friend adversely perceived because of “fundamental attribution error”.
        See, the cheater has, in most cases, already sown the seeds to others that you are unbalanced or nuts etc. So, if, understandably, you are a bit emotional , angry or too animated in disclosing, folks assume you are always that way vs just reeling in the aftermath.
        My friend was very hurt and angry and he demonstrated this when he disclosed, as well as when he confronted. It played right into his cheating wife’s hands, as she had painted him to her allies as disturbed, thus justifying her cheating.

        • Nicole S, last night, I was waffling again about telling people. I mean, I literally plan to tell 2 or 3 but I thought, “Hmmm, they’re going to think I am a spiteful, jealous bitch.” The thing is, I am not making this shit up and I am far enough removed that I no longer start speaking in tones that only dogs can hear when I talk about it. I can’t search high and low in this little town for people who don’t know Asshat bc it isn’t going to work. If they don’t know him, they likely don’t know me either and I am not telling strangers.

          Arnold, I am now giving your comment a lot of thought. I may not get all squeaky talking about Asshat and the Affair but I know I am very defensive. I need to figure out a way to just lay it out there without being compelled to immediately fill in the blanks. When I finally told the first friend I had in this town a few weeks ago, I found I didn’t need to say much and she asked questions that covered it all.

          I am thankful I have not really wavered on believing he is an ass. Now if I could just stop acting like a nervous Nelly who can’t recite a poem in front of the class. It is not only not my fault but it is not my TRUTH to hide. Sigh.

  • I’ve had to tell myself over and over to ‘tell the truth, but stop at defensiveness.’ I have often felt the need to defend myself from STBX’s false allegations. I quit doing that as my divorce case started sounding like a criminal case in which I, chump, was on trial. Now when asked, ‘Did you push Humpty Dimpty off the wall?’ or asked if I committed some other atrocity I did not commit, I say only ‘No.’ Doing so seems to save time, money, and sanity. Unfortunately, I might not be able to save my (good) reputation, but there’s not much I can do to protect myself and those who defend me from the smear campaign waged against us. I am living the most noble life I can, not to avoid condemnation, but to like who I am and do what I think is valuable.

    Now I think of STBX as a vicious rabid dog who prowls the neighborhood, frequently poops on my yard, and occasionally bites my ankle. One of my goals is to decrease the time it takes to shake aforementioned rabid dog off my ankle to nothing. Ideally, rabid dog’s poop that cannot be removed will serve as good lawn fertilizer or fodder for a stand up comedy routine. Presence of rabid dog won’t stop me from walking through the neighborhood living my life.

    Sadly, my mother still ‘supports’ my abusive STBX, calling him behind my back and suggesting that my kids live with HIM. I’ve had to let go of the notion that my husband and my mother had my back, The truth is painful, but I accept it.

    • Yes, geting defensive or overly zealous in gettig one’s story out backfires. best ot be matter of fact and unemotional.

    • That always breaks my heart when a chump is betrayed by their own family.

      Chumps are often raised that way. Your mother has been undermining you for your whole life, would be my guess. It messes up your radar.

      • That is SO TRUE!
        My first relationship (I was 23!) was with a clear case of a narc. From a virgin he smeared me into some kind of a whore, while he was spinning 3 plates at least (found out much later). How did I get myself into that mess? The answer is my mother: she beat me on my head (why do you think I was a recluse until 23?) and made me think I am worthless. So I took crap.
        That’s what happens when you let other people in charge of your well being and happiness.

    • How did I miss this yesterday? Yes, I agree about it being hard to not be defensive. I think chumps feel so assailed from all sides sometimes that it’s hard to be anything but defensive. The person we thought would fight to defend us totally stomped all over us.

  • I used to agonize about what Cold Slab O’Meat told people about me after raving for years what I wonderful girlfriend and wife I was. What he told the coworker/babymama, what kind of super colon blow extra beans enchilada he fed the current Girl Fiend. How DOES one normalize the timeline of impregnating a coworker, tossing over one’s family, tossing over one’s pregnant mistress, and moving in with a third woman in less than six months? The answer is, you don’t. It doesn’t matter what comes out of his mouth. His credibility is nil.

    I realized that although he and Girl Fiend play happy families, that doesn’t mean they are. I realized that Girl Fiend’s primary function appears to be to assist and bankroll raising someone else’s child, something I simply could not have done. Bravo to anyone who can. I realized I an glad to be rid of him, no longer envy them, and I just don’t care.

    Then I realized also- this is who Hasbeen is. This is a cloud of circumstance of three grown ass adults’ making, and I don’t want anything to do with it, or anyone who is associated with it. I can build a new life. I can even when asked by new romantic prospects, just give the Cliff’s Notes version- that ex and I had different values. No one need know how spectacularly different until we are seriously involved.

    The bottom line is, the whole world can know what The Cheater and AP did to you, and maybe 1% will even recognize what a travesty it was and applaud you for still standing. The world applauds happy facebook folks, ill children, weight loss and homeless to Harvard stories.

    The kind people here at CL and a few chumps I know in real life are the only ones who get it. And I don’t quiet my version of things out of shame. If three people who should be ashamed can gallivant about like they’ve done no wrong I sure as hell won’t take any shame for them.

    I keep trudging to honor myself, to really wash the pain away and grow something new in its’ place.

    Plus, life without him is just more fun!

    • Luziana- I was reading old CL posts this weekend and I came across yours (I hope it was you) about being in the cell phone store and doing the Elaine dance when he got approved. That made me crack up SO HARD my little one thought I had lost my marbles. OMG. I just wanted to thank you for that comment, it made my day. Your posts are awesome.

  • I could have used this two weeks ago when I found out the “story” that was going around to our mutual college friends (spread by my ex MIL). So they have been told I have been cheating for years and that caused the divorce and the ex is HEARTBROKEN! I went ballistic! I went so far back in my healing that I let the anger consume me! I told the one friend that I am closest with the absolute truth. She showed her loyalty to me by letting me know this rumor because she didn’t feel right hearing it and finding it so unbelievable without coming to me with it! So I told her all but have not reached out to any of the rest of them. My counselor – who is great- pointed out the Ex got exactly what he wanted. Me to look like the crazy ex, him to know he can still get to me and him to sit back and watch the show with his schmoopie on his arm. I am still pissed about it but like CL said, those who know you will never believe it and those who do believe it aren’t worth your time or energy.

    • I’m so sorry, that SUCKS. FWIW, a lot of cheaters project their cheating on to chumps. My ex did this. He told me his first two wives cheated on HIM. (I am such a chump…) And I bet he probably tells his new victims today that I cheated on him too. (Although really, how stupid does he look? THREE divorces and every single woman cheated on HIM? I have some evidence that he skips over a few of the marriages…)

      Anyway, these freaks lie and try and poison your support circles. I’m so sorry that happened to you, and I’m glad you’ve got one true friend in that mix.

    • Tell one more friend you can trust (preferably someone who likes to socialize), and leave it to them to tell the rest. It does suck to lose friends, but it turns out some friends are worth losing.

      • That is excellent advice. Coming from a third party, the information will be more believable. avoids the defensiveness/protests too much problem.

      • Tempest is right. I found this is the best way to get the truth out. Find a friend that likes to talk, and give them the details you wish to share. I also specifically asked my family to tell people, because I wanted it out there faster. Telling friends and acquaintances that you’re divorcing feels pretty much the same as telling them about a death in the family; It’s a wet towel on any conversation. Tell your friends and family, and let them do the dirty work for you. They’re more removed, so repeating the information isn’t the energy drain that it can be for you.

        • One of my XW’s brothers, who i still play golf witrh was at a HS reunion shortly after the discovery. He was approached by a friend of my XW who said she was sorry about the impending divorce but “wasn;t it incredible that Arnold is alleging cheating”. Well he simply looked at this woman and told her “Arnold has itr exactly right”.
          This is the same brother n law who i mwt with early in the investigation process and who I showed the evidence i had compiled.
          I said ” Dan, I am 98% sure Laurie is cheating”. He looked at me and said ” Arnold, why don’t you crank that up about 2%.”
          Smart guy. Was HS Valedictorian and went to Princeton.

      • Tempest – loool!!! That is what the vicars wife offered to do for me. She said if anyone else gives her the ‘it was mutual’ story, she will set them straight *wink*

  • Ex’ s favorite narrative is “You are crazy.”. And guess what. By keeping quiet about the cheating, you are buying right into what they want. If people don’t know the story, they probably do think you are crazy. Now that I know what to look for, I can spot chumps a mile away. Behaviour changes without a cause are one thing. Behaviour changes due to another person fucking around on you are a completely different story.

    • I’m pretty sure that’s the narrative from my ex — that I’m crazy. To be honest, I felt crazy after being lied to, ignored, and gaslighted. Anyway, I’ve watched his family criticize his brothers’ ex wives for being “crazy” too. For some reason they don’t mention their son’s alcoholism and excessive gambling.

      • “Yes, I am crazy. Want to see what I’m capable of, if you piss me off enough? Don’t piss me off – I’m running out of places to hide bodies!”

        I didn’t say this with the ex who smeared my name, but I certainly was thinking it.

      • Living with a disordered person will make you crazy. Silent treatments, rages, no- win situations, double standards, gaslighting , financial and emotional abuse.
        After a while , you lose yourself and are walking in a minefield.
        And, this type of abuse is relentless and insidious, such that it gradually erodes you. These folks are tireless. They never let up. Their investment in preserving their distorted reality is driven by a huge amount of fear and self hatred, such that if you dare to disturb it and the world sees what they think is a flaw in the family or yourself, the retribution is extreme.

  • I worked with a guy once who told everyone how his ex wife was crazy, hysterical, etc. Later taking a college class, I met her by coincidence. After tallking with her (over several months), it was clear she was *nothing* like her ex’s descriptions. Karma has a way of working things out, I believe.

    • NAWSbrat, yes, the truth has a way of eventually rising to the top of the BS! It sometimes takes its time, but it does happen and sometimes just by odd coincidence. The way I look at it is what other people believe about me is absolutely none of my business! People usually want to believe the most awful and salacious tidbits! During my divorce I received plenty of “sympathetic” phone calls. Especially from my EX’s family. They just wanted the dirt. Like it was a Divorce Court episode. Now that the divorce has been finalized and I took him to the cleaners and exposed him for what a POS he really is, I NEVER hear from anyone! I say, to Hell with them! I know if my phone rings and it’s my ex SIL, I can almost bet she wants to gossip about some juicy tidbit that the Ex did. I don’t even answer! It’s just going to depress me and ruin my journey to Meh! Screw what other people believe about my marriage. I KNOW intimately the terrible details and that’s all that matters!

      • I got a call from his trouble making cousin with some BS made up reason why she was as calling when I hadn’t heard from her in over a year. Yeah, she thought I’m that dumb that I didn’t know she was digging for dirt. Didn’t pick up the phone.

        • Sounds like what happened with the slanderous ex of mine. One of his friends decided they’d only talk to me to create more drama. I basically shut that shit down with ”Are you going to actually talk to me with a give and take of a real friendship, or is this going to be another drama-fest episode fishing for info to give back to king shithead? If its the latter, I don’t want to talk to you anymore”. Needless to say, they didn’t speak with me after that.

      • Roberta,
        You could do an enthusiastic rant on your ex SIL…babble on about how Happy and Free you now feel. Talk her right off the phone. People don’t want to hear positive stuff. Bore her into hanging up. If she dares mention the ex, just respond with “hey he’s long gone from my radar.” and immediately switch to a hairbrain subject. Then suddenly have an urgent appointment.

        • Marci, the last time I talked to her I basically did take this course of action. I could tell she wasn’t happy unless I was unhappy! Bear in mind that she LOVES drama, especially other people’s drama, as she is an alcoholic who has been through several rehabs that failed and her own marriage is hanging by a thread because of her addiction. But I suppose it’s much better to dig around in my troubles then to deal with her own! I imagine that once her Mom passes and her husband gets his hands on her inheritance then he’ll dump her in a heartbeat! Then maybe I’ll call her and pour some salt into her open wound! Turnabout IS FairPlay!

  • This is an excellent post. Also, I’ve noticed two trends in the cheaters’ lies.

    1) The “Projection”: It’s like Inception, only all of the layers of internal constructs (read: bullshit and misdeeds) are flung out for all the world to see. My neighbor is divorcing his wife, who cheated on him, hid serious credit card debt from him and spent a good portion of the last year poisoning their kids against him. (“Mommy has a lot of enemies right now.” and “Mommy doesn’t want a divorce. I don’t know if Daddy is going to give us enough money to eat and have a place to live if he files for divorce.”)

    But what is she telling people? She’s telling their friends and her family that they’re divorcing because HE’S cheating. Because HE is telling their children lies about her. Because HE moved money around without telling her. (There’s a small grain of truth to that. He moved several thousand from checking to savings, because she was blowing through it. She still had access to the savings, but it was more of a hassle to get it out of savings, as opposed to just using their checking account debit card. He was hoping to slow down her spending.)

    2) “Out of Left Field.” One of my relatives is cheater. (Sigh). She slept with her husband’s best friend, got caught, went through faux reconciliation and counseling, got caught cheating again, her husband walked out. But what is she telling people? That their marriage is over because he didn’t support her dream of opening her own business.

    All of us heard this explanation and said, “Wait, WHAT?!”

    Yes, apparently, two years ago, my relative came up with the brilliant idea to open up a cute little gift boutique for kids clothes and accessories and specialty baby items. Her husband said it was a bad idea because a LOT of “cute little gift boutiques for kids clothes and accessories and specialty items” had failed in their town. In fact, the retail location that relative was scouting for her shop had housed TWO “cute little gift boutiques for kids clothes and accessories and specialty items” that had failed in the last couple of years. That was the last the husband heard about it, until my relative blamed his “squashing her dream” for their divorce.

    My point is that you can never really predict what’s going to come out of their mouths. You can’t control it. You can’t control people’s reactions to it. All you can do is not give a shit about it.

    In the words of one of my favorite memes, “Behold the field where I sow my fucks. See that it is barren,”

      • I loved going to see the Tapisserie de Bayeux but I didn’t find any hidden nuggets of wisdom like THIS on there. Of course I was 11 ;O

      • That’s awesome lol. Fortunately for me I have never really given a shit what anyone thinks about me, and specifically don’t give a fraction of a shit what x-hole tells anyone about me or his version of the demise of our lives. I know the truth and some day my son will. And ANY chance I get to share the ugly truth I do. I got chumped because SO many people hid the truth from me and I refuse to.

        Any friend of his, after what he has done (especially to our son) is nobody I want to have as a friend. My family despises him, said he was NEVER good to me and our son….his family and their helpful enabling and pretending they don’t “know” or want to “know” what he is or is not doing is exactly WHY he doesn’t understand accountability. They always pretend he is just swimmingly awesome and perfect.

        The reason I’m labeled as the “problem” is because I am the ONLY one who has ever dared stand up to him and call him out on his bullshit, every one else just looks the other way so as not to upset the little darling.

        Good riddance.

        • Good riddance is right. I pretty much flushed my X, his friends and family almost immediately after. Most of his family were a lying bunch of hyenas anyway, and also, they knew what X hubby was up to and said nothing. I figured “fuck ’em”. I don’t need them in my life anyway.

          I think I whittled down my Facebook friends by 35 people on a Saturday morning. It was like peeling weight off. Fantastic!

          • “Fuck em” is exactly right. His family are all selfish assholes. The only contact I have is with his kids, I love them. The rest I am glad to be free of.

            Yesterday was our son’s 8th birthday and not ONE of them called him. His dad called him first thing in the morning . His two oldest siblings TEXTED him late last night, the other 2 didn’t even bother with that. Neither his dad’s parents NOR his dad’s two brothers called our son on his birthday. IMO that is pretty shitty.

    • “One of my relatives is cheater. (Sigh). She slept with her husband’s best friend, got caught, went through faux reconciliation and counseling, got caught cheating again, her husband walked out. But what is she telling people? That their marriage is over because he didn’t support her dream of opening her own business.”

      This is almost exactly my story. My ex cheated more than any person I have ever heard of, along with other typically narcissistic personality disorder behavior. When the marriage finally ended, he told people that it was because I didn’t support his destiny of becoming a famous actor. Oh, and that it was MY fault because I was the one who file for divorce.

      • I’m always amazed that chumps manage to hold “amazing” and “talented” people from their destiny of fame and fortune. If not for those horrible, horrible chumps, these people could be the Next Big Thing.

      • GIO,
        I’m sure that my STBX, who works in the entertainment field, believes and tells people that I held him back from ‘uber-greatness’ in all aspects of his life, including his career. (He did acknowledge me once in his career–by creating a song about how much he hated me. I just hope that he brings in royalties, which can be spent on our kids, for that song. Someday, when our kids are ready to date, I might tell them what NOT to do for their significant others and dates.) He conveniently glosses over the huge, life-altering sacrifices I quietly made for him and the damage he did to almost every aspect of our kids’ lives and my life, especially my career. Now he wants me to support HIM to the lifestyle to which he has become accustomed, which includes narcotic drugs and prostitutes.

  • Ah yes, the gift that keeps on giving. One has to wonder what sort of stories they would have to make up to lure in the AP. Did he say he was in a sexless marriage? (I have news for AP- no he wasn’t). Did he claim his wife was a terrible person? (Affirmative to judge from the strange looks some of his friends gave me after bomb drop and the fact that most of them took off running at the same moment he did. I must say that it appears that they appear to have been clued in on his plans long long before I was- but to some bizarre version of events which has no basis in reality.) Did he tell all his different APs that he was in an “open marriage”. (Eeeeew). I believe that one of the reasons mine does not want to return to the city where we lived is that he told so many different stories that he was no longer able to keep them straight- and that some of his APs/coworkers had crossed tracks with each other and compared versions.

    • The hardest part though is whatever it is that they have told the kids- and you may not know what in the world they have said. My youngest (college age) son was so profoundly affected by his fathers words that he entered a severe downward spiral from which he was only recently begun to recover. He is an introvert and so it is impossible to know what has been said, but to judge from his actions I can only imagine the worst. He has moved away and cut off communications. What stories did the cheater invent that would be bad enough to cause my son to act in this manner? The strange thing is that he has twisted reality so much that my son is angry with me, and not with the cheater.

      • Don’t worry, your son will see the truth in time. I am so sorry for your pain. These people are the worst, the absolute worst.

      • I have to agree, you never know what they are capable of or what damaging lies they will share with even their own small children JUST to make someone else out to be the bad guy. Always about preserving the self and self image. They are swine.

        Never thought mine would go that far because our son is so young and sensitive…but he has. And why?? Because son liking his troll is more important to him than his son’s well being. Selfish ass.

      • I’m sorry MovingForward–stay the course with your son, and tell him the truth if you ever get a chance. Kids need to trust, and they find it hard to know who to trust if they only hear cheaterspeak.

        This is EXACTLY the reason chumps need to be honest with their kids about why the divorce is occurring. If they only trust the cheater, there will be a downfall with no where else to turn.

  • By the way one of the favorite tricks of cheaters is to claim to relatives that YOU cheated. By the time you find out about this he has the advantage of being the first one to lay the claim. From my son’s behavior I suspect that this is what may have happened. They have no conscience, and don’t really care how their lies affect the kids.

    • Yep. Sadly that is really common. See my comment up-thread on this. I suspect my husband’s ex said the same thing about him. I got a lot of stink-eye when I first moved to this town. Then… over about a year, the narrative turned. And she left.

      • After D-Day my husband really wanted me to date other men so I could experience someone else being “nice” to me. It made NO sense. Here I was heartbroken and as somebody else said… How many bonafide chumps can really do the revenge affair? I know I couldn’t.

        It dawned on me he pushed on me to date so *i* would be seen and I could be my own evidence in the false cheater narrative. I have no interest in dating right now. I suspect it will be years before I do. I can tell it chafes his ass. nope. Sorry. I’m happy to be alone and don’t need a warm body in bed. Sorry. Not cheating and never did. not needy and fearing aloneness. look in the mirror, Hector the Projector!

        • Mine wanted me to cheat after D-day so I would be more inclined to “even the score” and reconcile with him. Hmmph–to even the score, I would have had to sleep with the Dallas Cowboys.

    • Asshat told me that I *could* have cheated on him. Wow. That is enough to justify a year plus long affair in his pea brain? It reminds me of Ronan Farrow’s comment that “we’re all *possibly* Frank Sinatra’s son.” Looking at it logically, I must have been a multitasking whiz to be able to squeeze in all the cheating between taking care of everything. And considering most people work during the day, I somehow managed to go date/screw people in the evening while being the only parent to be with Little Elf every single night of his life? Yup, I’m the cheater. Cheaters are lying turds.

      • No S$it!!! STBX made a similar comment and I was like WHEN would I have the TIME? I work all day, take care of the kids all night every night. I am here, EVERY NIGHT for him and for our children.. making dinner, doing wash, cleaning the house, paying bills, etc etc etc. As if I had the time or inclination to do such a thing!! Top it off, I thought he was my best friend and would have NEVER treated him that way!!! I thought we were a team!!

        Annoying to the max.

    • Don’t be surprised if your ex’s family KNOWS s/he cheated, but not only do they not care, they actually support such behavior. My ex’s family are all cheaters. It doesn’t matter to them in the least how much my ex cheated, they still feel it’s my fault. They tell my son things like, “Everyone cheats,” and they have slogans like, “Spouses come and go, but siblings are forever.” They rabidly support my ex, both financially and emotionally. Totally disordered.

      • Mother and Dad Asshat both cheated. In fact, when they split up over one of Dad Asshat’s affairs, Mother Asshat went and shacked up with OW’s husband out of spite. I’m sure one of his brothers cheated. He was so judgmental about cheaters. His first wife cheated on him and it was so devastating and unfair. He left drunken, screaming voicemails for her but he expects me to continue keeping mum? He know it kills me to be un-classy (well, other than here!) so he is banking on me keeping my large trap shut. No dice. His older sister supports him but she is level headed and religious (in the good way). I would hope that, even if she never says it to me, that she would wholeheartedly disagree with Asshat’s shitty behaviour.

        “Spouses come and go, but siblings are forever.” *shudder* Has anyone ever checked their freezers for human heads? They sound like a lovely clan.

      • The first time I seriously suspected an affair/cheating I called X-holes mother, I was crying so hard I almost couldn’t talk. Her response?? “Could you have done something that would MAKE him go elsewhere for sex?”

        Couldn’t be HIS fault…no no no….had to have been something “I” did to him to MAKE him cheat. Really??? WTF?

        • What a bitch! Mother Asshat arrives in two weeks with her idiot husband and I am dreading their visit. I am praying to the Karma gods that the whole HIPAA mess with my hospital record blows up when she is here so that it can segue into him attempting to defend something wholly indefensible. She fancies herself to be a strong, independent, take no prisoners sort of woman but she also has a disgusting ability to overlook huge faults in her children. It isn’t motherly love to enable a bunch of disordered brats.

          • Amazing what you realize once they all show their true colors. I call the whole lot of them “The Pretenders”. His mother is vile and selfish bitch.

            Her husband, their step-father, was an abusive alcoholic and SHE allowed him to verbally abuse and mistreat her boys. She let him kick x-hole out when he was 16. What kind of mother does that? A selfish one. Now that they’re adults she tries to make up for it by coddling them and pretending they do no wrong.

            She is getting her dose of karma right now lmao, he AND his oldest son are both living with her in her condo and she has both of them, plus the 3 youngest kids all weekend twice a month AND the great grandbaby 50% of the time. She is trying to sell her condo with that circus going on. So much for the “quiet life” of living alone. X-hole will NEVER find anyone to rent to him and he can NOT buy so, she is stuck with him until the troll’s divorce is final or that disintegrates and he finds a new piece with a place for him.

        • My own mother said, ‘Lots of people cheat,’ and asked me if I had done something to make my husband get mad at me and cheat. I can’t describe how much these responses, which have come up in some form repeatedly over a year, have made me question my view of my mother, who is considered a saint by most, and my relationship with her. Sometimes, she does support me, though. It makes me wonder how disordered my STBX AND my other are.

          • holy shit, my OWN mother said something similar too! I’ve always suspected covert narcissism in my mother but when she started pushing me toward reconciliation with asshole sociopath, I just about lost my shit. It’s a shame because when I needed her the most, she abandoned me emotionally by siding with the cheater on issues like that I’m a difficult person, demanding, stubborn, spoiled, etc. I will never forgive her.

  • I just want to give a big shout out for my wonderful mother in law, who has perfectly trod the delicate path of showing that she thinks what my husband has done is terrible but without rejecting him and also being unbelievably supportive and caring of me and my children. This wonderful lady said that after all the hoarding and terrible treatment I’ve had I needed a project to keep me busy and she insisted on paying for a new kitchen for me. It really helped save my sanity. I wish all of you had been as fortunate as I’ve been.

    • My stbx’s entire family wrapped me in love and totally held me together. Don’t know what I would have done without their support. Really sorry that so many of you have not known that peace. They’re all so great that I have to wonder what happened to him.

  • Great post CL!

    This was a particularly tough one for for me. EX was a master manipulator/lyer/gaslighter who obviously devalued me in front of everyone so he could justify his actions.

    Post DD2 a few bits of the truth started to trickle down. For example, I learned my EX would regularly take the OW to parties including staff parties — and that he announced to his rec hockey team that he had a girlfriend. I learned that while others were seeing the truth, they were now caught in the web of lies themselves. Some unwittingly. Some not caring.

    At first it was difficult to avoid asking what they knew. But they would not disclose any details — and the damage is already done. It was and still is darn difficult to look into their eyes. It was a sad realization that these were not friendships.

    Everyone knows the character of my EX and frankly – they can have him.

    I continued to keep the details to a minimum in the early days (we were getting a divorce). To some – he cheated. To a few others – EX bought a house and moved in with a 25 year old while we were still married. And to almost everyone — I really am much HAPPIER.

    Hold your heads high chump nation. There is nothing wrong with you. These people are not worth the tears or the anxiety.

  • Just sticking this bit of info in here. Read an article that Ohio State has found one simple question can give you all the info you need on a prospective mate. It is, “Are you narcissistic?”. Because these people see nothing wrong with being that way they often are truthful. Also read that narcs and sociopaths often intersect. Scary. These people have no trouble making you the bad guys. They want what they want and will run over you to get it.

    • That’s a good question. My ex had no problem in admitting to being narcissistic (he was professionally diagnosed as NPD) and would actually laugh about it.

    • Someone a few days ago also suggested telling someone “no.” Narcs don’t take well to no; if you get nasty pushback, run (think Kanye West or Donald Trump).

      • That test is accurate.
        My SBXH was very proud that he had “passed” the test question that only a psychopath would know the answer to. The answer of course, involved killing someone for some selfish purpose.
        Now you can point your finger at me for being such an idiot and have married him.

        We may cognitively know they are off. And yet we must fulfil our soul’s journey and learn a few lessons, regardless of what our brain knows. These sub-humans are great teachers, I must give them this. What we learn is always about ourselves, it’s not about them.
        That’s why, knowing cognitively of the disorders is of little comfort. We must know it in our souls, what are our strengths and weaknesses. Trust that we are awesome!

  • Great pointers Tracy!!!!
    Number 6 will be my guiding light now.

    Thankfully the only people we have in common are the neighbors, whom the HasBeen has already told that I am horrible. Oh well, he has to be out of the house by the end of the month and then they won’t see him so much and they’ll have to deal me……and the truth. Honestly I’m not close with any of these people, they’re nice people, great neighbors, and all but their opinion of me means nothing. They can think whatever they want of me when I walk by. Talking about him gives him power in my life and frankly we’ve reached the point where he doesn’t have any. I’m sure MIL thinks I am a horrible person and the HasBeen likely lied to her and told her I did something terrible. I am just glad I never have to see her again, unless she lives to see the kids graduate from high school.

    If nothing else this whole experience has be back where I belong, with longtime friends and allies who know me for who I am and have wondered where I have been and welcomed me back with supportive words, open arms, and loving hearts. My one true wish for every chump is to have people like this in their lives. I don’t need to win any battles. I don’t want to engage. I just want him out of my life and reduced to as little contact as possible considering we have children.

  • The monkey is such a savvy image manager that even after cheating and abandoning me after 20 yrs he tells people: She is really the love of my life, but you don’t know “the whole story” and I am a gentleman so I won’t talk about it.

    That leaves people thinking “what did she do? Is she a psycho? Poor guy, he is so sweet, she must be terrible”.

    It drove me crazy at the beginning. Now I just remember that the people that really love me, beginning with my adult kids, know that I am a normal person, I was a great invested wife, that I loved their father and he is the disordered one.

    • Asshat alternately tells sad sausage stories or he gushes about me. I often wonder what his close coworkers must think. Just because it makes no sense! So I am an awesome mother BUT I don’t have Little Elf’s best interests at heart. I am am amazing cook BUT I never cook dinner. I just saw a tag on a gift bottle of wine from a patient: Dr Asshat – Thank you for being such a wonderful, caring doctor. Cheers.

      Gag me.

      • I can tell you what I thought of one colleague who returned to work and spewed at everyone how horrible his girlfriend was, from being drunk, beating him while he was sleeping, to getting his money. I thought I heard him telling the story enough times to other people, that I didn’t want to hear it again. I cut him short.
        My gut feeling has told me that I didn’t like his person. Ever.
        Now, being wiser myself, I have given some thought and the stuff he said doesn’t make sense.
        I KNOW he was the perpetrator. She probably was just a chump.

  • “To what extent do you agree to this statement, I am a narcissist.?” You can read the article by typing Ohio State narcissist question.

  • I’d say it’s a good rule of thumb that you lose half of everything in a divorce. And I mean everything. That goes for money and assets but also friends and even family (when you include in-laws). Just assume you’re going to lose half. It’s not just, it’s not fair, and there may be some exceptions to the rule. But assume that it’s going to happen.

    The good news is that the friends and family you lose are the worst, those lacking a spine or compassion or character. You lose them, but you don’t need them. Or rather, you need them the way you need a portfolio of Enron stock or a house built on a haunted Indian burial ground. Your life will be better without depending on them. Having fewer friends and family members in your corner isn’t necessarily a bad thing if the overall quality of the people around you goes up.

    • If all I (and my kids) lost was half, then I would be happy. As STBX keeps taking me to court for things he falsely alleges I did (but he did), the Court (attorneys and others who work in the legal system) will get virtually all of my assets. My disordered STBX will keep taking me to court until there is no money to fight with. If you can get anything close to a decent deal with just your STBX or a mediator, then take the deal!

      • RockStar, I can relate. My ex managed to get out of giving me anything close to half by quitting his $100K job within weeks of our separation, and never working a regular job again (it’s been over five years now.) He literally was willing to become homeless and lose everything rather than work a job and pay ordered child support. He moved halfway across the country a few months ago and now lives with his father. He has no job, no car, nothing. Does occasional odd jobs under the table for money and feels absolutely no shame about any of it.

        • That seems so completely insane and counterintuitive. He’s destroying his OWN life?? So that he doesn’t have to support his offspring? Jesus that’s stupid.

          • “Completely insane” would be a pretty good description of my ex, actually. He’s fairly evil, as well. But he considers himself to be very inspirational, and actually wrote a book about himself saying so. He thought it was going to be a huge bestseller (it wasn’t) and told our son that when he went on book signing tours around the country, he would take son along. As it turns out, the only book signing he did was at a donut shop in Cleveland owned by his sister’s friend. No tour involved.

              • If GladIO wrote her full cheater story as a screenplay, it would get rejected by Hollywood as being unbelievable. (and who would play your X? Vince Vaughn? Steve Buschemi? Mickey Rourke? ooh ooh–Christian Bale?)

                GladIO–the fact that you’re not babbling nonsense & twiddling your thumb in a rocking chair 16 hours a day is a testament to your strength of character. Hope you’re doing well, friend.

              • Why aren’t they making movies like these? THIS is happening! The monsters are walking amongst us!

            • GIO,
              Sounds as though you and I married twin spawned by the Devil! My cheater quit his very lucrative job to start some ‘artsy’ (translation: unpaid with virtually no hope of producing income) project–a week before he started the divorce process. He sat on his rear (and who knows what else) for approximately a year, some of it not paying child support, while being ‘artistic.’ He know tells everyone how enlightened he is, sharing his ‘new-found wisdom’ with anyone who has the misfortune of encountering him. According to him we ‘non-artists’ just don’t get art; maybe not, although I studied art here and abroad, but I do know some accounting: no money in and lots of money out = bankruptcy.

        • Glad it’s over,what a loser that man is.quitting a job to obsolve parental financial responsibility,lives with his father and now odd job man.well didn’t life work out well for him….. Yuk

      • Your situation sucks, RSW. I didn’t mean to suggest that everyone can *expect* to end up with half their stuff, just that expecting to lose half is a sensible default setting. In my situation, I only had one minor child left at home at the time the divorce came through, and though I paid through the nose to be the primary custodial parent he chose a year and a half later to live with his mom and her latest affair partner (teenagers love an environment with no boundaries) while I paid child support so they could live in our former family home. So, yeah, I know what it’s like to not get 50% sometimes. But I think it’s a trap to think that we’ll keep most of our friends and family *because that would only be fair.* I suffered that delusion for a long time. Assume you’ll lose half and at least you cushion the blows.

  • I have no idea what ex POS cheater told anyone about me because I haven’t asked, and that’s the way I intend to keep it.

    I do not give a fuck about his or anyone else’s opinion of me. I know who I am and that’s all that matters.

    The day I discovered his cheating was the day I drop kicked his dysfunctional ass to the kerb. That same day I told family and friends (mine and his) we had split up and the reason for that was because I discovered he’d been fucking some whore he worked with for nearly a year behind my back. He has 100% ownership of that – not me.

  • A similar CL post helped me tremendously when I finally decided to give my cheater the boot. For years I kept everything to myself while I tried to determine if I would stay or go. He tried to spin me the “we grew apart” line, but I was prepared… thanks to CL. I saw it coming when he went into his monologue about being married young, and not knowing ourselves. I told him that I couldn’t go along with his “we grew apart” story, and that I’d be telling the truth. Knowing that he would look like a liar, he’s now telling people a fairly accurate version of the watered-down truth. I can see that it’s disarming to people; it makes him look more evolved… like he’s owning his problems. I’m sure it will catch up with him though. He’s too disordered to hold it together for long.

    I think chumps are typically “good” people. We tend to deal with things truthfully and honestly, and want to believe the best in others. When we deny the truth and submit to the “we grew apart” line, it poisons us. Even if we think it’s for the best we are still poisoning our spirit because we’re living a lie. It creates great dissonance that can throw us into depression. My advice to the newly chumped: be truthful. Living a lie will only benefit your cheater. If you’re too depressed to function, to take care of the kids and work, believe me, cheater won’t care. They. Don’t. Care.

    • Ah yes, the “we married young” tripe. As if that makes any difference. Character isn’t something that evolves with age, sadly. I used to think people “grew up” and I guess some of us do..maybe we learn a little here and there and make better decisions.. but some people never grow up. My STBX is basically the same kid I married… just more wrinkles.. but he’s the same person. I always thought his pros outweighed his cons.. but he’s always been entitled, selfish, and difficult to keep happy. He’s always shifting, from thing to thing, hobby, cars, jobs, toys. He blames me for our marital problems, of which I own many things, but the truth is, HE changed. He wants to say I am not the person I was but that’s projection. He got bored with me just like he eventually bores with everything.

      Plenty of people married decades, my grandparents (both sets), my parents, aunts/uncles. I am sure their married lives weren’t pure bliss… but they understood what commitment meant and that some things are worth the long haul. As Tracy says, comes down to values.

  • My initial reaction to DDay, aside from shock, was to wonder who knew and what they thought of me. Such a weird reaction, to turn the blame on myself and worry that it looked like I had failed….when I was merely loyal and unsuspecting.
    .
    Further, when I realized how many of CH’s co-workers, golf partners and friends knew about the 2-plus year affair, it was awkward. I felt they should have told me (even though they are really his friends and colleagues, not mine.) I felt unbelievably stupid to have ignored the signs and to have been the last to know….

    During these past 8 months, I have confided in very few people, and mainly sought advice here on CL, because I am still pursuing that unicorn of reconciliation, I know our children and my family, as well as our “couple” friends are so “ethical” they could probably never get over CH’s betrayal – especially with someone 26 years younger that was his direct report.

    Keeping it to myself has been somewhat lonely, but for me the solitude has helped me think more clearly about what I want. I have tried really hard to focus on myself and decide what is right for me and me alone. I don’t really care at all about what anyone thinks and I’ve realized I will be fine and my children will be okay despite any separation or ultimate reveal. But in t hose first few days, I really cared about what the neighbors/town/other parents/congregants would think.

    I would be dumbfounded if my husband tried to “smear” me, but i guess its just part of my DNA to not believe people do what they do. At this point nothing more could surprise.

    However, I do know that my family and friends would never believe any excuse CH tried to give, as there is “NO EXCUSE” for cheating where I come from. We were raised to know that any honorable person would work on or extricate themselves from one relationship before starting another.

    • Tired Chump,

      I, too, was virtually the last to find out that spouse was up to no good. I was deeply hurt to learn that people I had trusted for years kept the news of infidelity from me. (Don’t they know that what you don’t know CAN hurt you? Or do they just not care if they, by not warning you, let you die from AIDS contracted from an adulterous spouse who constantly cheated?) I don’t think that these people even told my husband to ‘man up and fly straight, or tell your wife that you are divorcing her because you refuse to stay faithful.’

      I, too, thought that all of my relatives and friends would never believe any excuse or allegation that Cheater made. I was wrong. I hope that all of your relatives and friends rally around you. If they do, you have a rare and special family and group of friends!

      I won’t tell you to stay or go, although I think that you may be chasing something elusive by attempting reconciliation, but I want to share with you that, as virtually the last to discover the infidelity, you are very likely ‘behind the curve.’ (I am telling you this as someone who has been there and offer my life story as a cautionary tale. My STBX planned his ‘escape’ over many months, if not years. I suspect that many other cheaters have done the same.) I hope that you will physically, legally, financially, and emotionally protect yourself and your children (grown or not). I wish that I had started trying to protect my family in all ways with all my strength on D-Day #1. I go to court this week for the tenth, eleventh, twentieth time, who knows, I’ve lost count, for yet another round of the Inquisition–of me! Don’t let yourself and your kids fall victim to a ploy like the one used by my STBX, who is trying to clean me out every which way. The early bird gets the worm; the late bird becomes prey.

  • I was married to my ex for 43 years and I know a lot about him, most of it very unflattering. I, being the chump that I am, kept his secrets until I learned that he was fucking his secretary. After I learned about it, he told me about some their sexual escapades. On one occasion they were fucking in the back of our pickup truck at a local park. (It was during their lunch break.) So, naturally a car drove by (Smoochie Pie’s legs were up in the air and my ex was standing facing the tailgate with his pants on the ground), and the passerby in the car asked, “Is everything alright?” Smoochie Pie yells back, “Everything is fine. We are just fucking. “

    Unless the laws in California have changed my ex and Smoochie Pie were breaking the law, and I dearly wish they would have been arrested and both lost their top secret security clearances. However, they fled back to work and got off scot free.

    So back to the lies my ex tells about me: If he is going to continue to lie about me, I will be thrilled to tell anyone and everyone about his antics. I told him this, and suddenly, he is very careful what he says. He lied to one person about me, and I promptly gave the person an example of one his antics. Suddenly, the ex doesn’t complain about me anymore.

    • SuzyQ, those two are disgusting. If my child had walked by and seen that nasty mess in a park, he would wish the cops were there. In Cred I ble

    • Classy pair! Adultery is a felony in my state. Wouldn’t it be grand if some of these chump-friendly laws could actually be enforced?

    • It just makes me shudder to think there are people OUT there who DO this stuff!!!!! What adult person would screw out in broad daylight? I mean, you seriously have to be disordered.

      I languished in limbo a long time thinking that because my STBX came home every night.. when would he have time to screw the slut? Stupid idiot I am.. knowing now that people in their 40’s, 50’s, even OLDER screw in parking lots on their lunch break… that’s seriously demented.

      • I read CL everyday because my STBX tells me that I am crazy to divorce him. He says, “Bedding one’s secretary is normal,” and he was “understandably” conflicted about our marriage when he was screwing Smoochie Pie. He puts the word ‘understandably’ in all of his descriptions of his behavior, such as “I worked closely with Smoochie Pie and “understandably” wanted to fuck her. “

        He has lived a double life for 40 years, and I did not have a clue. I was the proverbial “Dorothy Sandusky” baking cookies while he was in the basement talking porn to his secretary. The rational me knows that he is a major loser and a creep. However, I need to be reminded that he is a manipulator and sociopath. So CL is my daily “bible” read.

        • SuzyQ–it takes a while for us to wrap our head around their pathology. Kick him to the curb; nothing he is claiming is “understandable” is normal. Total mindfuck.

      • Me too. Mine came home every night. Never went away on “business” trips. He did have “emergency” calls now and then, and looking back I can’t believe I bought his excuses, especially considering the industry he is in. Looking back I know they were all booty calls. I actually bragged to family and friends about how he would drop everything for a customer in need. In reality he was only dropping his pants. Chumpy me!

      • Unfortunately, I know some people who do screw their affair partners on their lunch break–on company property. (I won’t provide details as my marriage has not yet been legally dissolved. Sadly, knowing that my STBX cheated on me while we were engaged as well as legally married and not separated, I don’t think that my marriage, at least emotionally, ever materialized. I hope that someday, when I am an even older and grayer woman, I can experience a ‘real’ marriage. I feel like Pinocchio, while a puppet, hoping to become a ‘real boy’ someday.)

  • My stbx’s whole family are entitlistic assholes. My stbx’s older brother especially. OMG – they will tell a ‘story’ (cutting someone down in some way) and not get the stories straight. I would and have corrected them ALL and they will turn around and blame the reason they didn’t have the story straight was because SOMEONE else gave them bad information. OMG – Don’t repeat things unless you have facts you assholes! I can tell you one of stbx’s family members are ‘supportive’ of me. I don’t really talk to her, but I ran into her at Target one night and she said she had found out we were divorcing (I don’t even think she knows about the cheating part) but her response to me was when she found out – she thought “It’s about time LadyStrange…” I’ve had other people comment like “What took her so long….” and again, without the knowledge of the cheating – only because he and his whole family are arrogant alcoholic assholes.
    I will just say that when my brother-in-law died when he was 24 due to heroin addiction – it wasn’t his fault you know. His girlfriend decided to become a lesbian. He died in the hospital. Therefore – it was the girlfriend and the hospital’s fault he died. NOT that he had a serious addiction or anything…..
    Otherwise the rest of the family have nothing to do with me because it was my fault he needed to get himself a phone line. It was my fault he needed to pick up women through Yahoo.
    As I have mentioned before – I love this quote – “Adultery is God’s way of ridding the assholes out of your life.” Obviously this includes more than just the cheater, it includes the rest of the ding bats who believe their bullshit.

    • Good quote, LadyStrange, do you know where it comes from? I might have to have it embroidered on some tea towels. Or custom mowed into the side of our berm which sits along the main road as you enter town….

    • I had one friend ask me (after D-day), “Didn’t you know he was an asshole? Everyone else knew he was an asshole.”

      I said, “Yes, but I thought he was my asshole. Didn’t know his dick was community property.”

      • Bahaha….@ Tempest. Love that “Didn’t know his dick was community property.”

        Once the crap hit the fan with X a lot of people started sharing their “true” opinions of what an asshole they all thought he was. The truth usually finds it’s way.

  • Good afternoon, Chump Family! I need some BTDT advice.

    The ex convinced his family I was “crazy” pretty early on. So much so that I found emails and texts where his mother was giving him the money to file for a hearing to try to have me involuntarily committed for an inpatient psychiatric evaluation. I immediately went no-contact with his family, and that was almost 2 years ago.

    We have two girls, ages 3 and 4, and the girls love their grandparents–not so much their father, but they definitely love his mother and grandmother. He lost custody after he pushed for a custody evaluation, and the psychologist recommended only a few hours of supervised visitation every-other week. The ex is narcissistic to the point of serious delusion. But, his mother and grandmother are good with the children and relatively normal, as far as ex in-laws go. The girls have asked if they could go to their grandmother’s house a few times.

    I know the ex’s grandmother and mother love the girls, and no harm will come to them while in their care. But, I have the whole trust issue because they believe him completely and think I am a crazy person hell bent on using the children as weapons. Which is ridiculous.

    But, on the flip side, I refuse to feel like I am one innocent bruise or scratch away from them calling Child Protection Services on me in another play for custody–which happened several times before custody was finalized. Part of the reason that he lost custody was the extent of his smear campaign.

    So my question: Do I offer an olive branch and let them know that I would be happy for them to have visitation with the girls outside of their son’s visitation? Or do I wait for them to come to me, knowing that my ex probably has told them that I won’t let the girls see them?

    Anyone been through this and have some advice? Thanks!

    • Kelli, my personal advice would be to keep your children away from that entire family as much as possible. The mother and grandmother could be fooling you and once you set a visitation precedent with grandparents, the court might continue to force it on you. Narcs get it from somewhere, and the in-laws are always a good place to start.

    • I would keep them away as well. You don’t need any other issues than you already have. I agree with Anita. The consequences for your X’s narc behavior is that his mother/grandmother won’t see his kids. Sucks, but consequences. It is what it is.

    • Kelli–too risky. Blood is thicker than water, and having grandma have visitation opens up legal issues, plus the risk that grandma & X’s family will manufacture reasons to have your custody arrangement re-visited. Sad, but they’ve chosen their side.

      • Thanks, everyone! I was leaning that way, but you know us chumps… I felt bad because the girls asked to see them, and I thought maybe I would rise above, or be the better person, or whatever.

        I just need to keep telling myself that being the better person does not include catering to the ones who make things worse instead of better.

        Thanks again!

        • Okay, I’m going to err on the other side. I think it would be OK for the visit as long as you were there. Then you can supervise and see how it goes. Maybe a lunch, ice cream or park date.

          If they want to believe “narcboy” that you won’t let the girls see them, that is their problem. But, if they call you for visitation, I would offer these alternatives.

          My two cents.

          Selfish of me, but if it they were my grandchildren it would crush me not to see them and I would accept any terms the mother offered.

          • I can see that perspective, and it at the point I become a grandmother, it would kill me not to see the kids. However,…even with supervised visitation, I’m worried the in-laws could jot down things Kelli does “wrong” to pass on to X, to affect custody arrangements.

            DoneNow needs to weigh in here; she’s got expertise in juggling in-laws.

        • I’m going to speak as a Grandmother (although not a narcissistic one) –

          Don’t let them go until his mother and grandmother give you the respect and consideration you deserve. They can support him all they like without carrying his water for him. Most grandmothers know that their grandchildren have two parents – and one of them is not their “blood” relative. No matter how I felt about my son’s wife, if she was the mother of my grandchildren, I would treat her with courtesy and respect because I know that she has the ability to decide whether or not I get to spend time with my grandchild(ren). Your ex-in-laws chose to ENABLE your ex – not just show their support for him.

          I would hate for anyone to not let me see my grandchildren and of course the kids want to spend time with people who have shown them care and affection. However, considering past history, you cannot trust them to treat your children well without attempting to harm you – and ultimately harm to you is harm to them.

          Just my two cents.

          • Agreed on the “respect and consideration the mother deserves”. This would be the first factor before considering a play date.

            Also, if their intent was for the purpose of affecting custody that would nix any idea of a possible visit.

            We are all so raw from the exploits of cheaters. I think once we have truly established our individual identity separate from the marriage, and feel our power again, we are more capable of making these decisions with a clear strong head. Now may not be the time.

            I have said it before and I will say it again, damn, how I hate it when children are involved.

            Self centered mother fuckers. Blind to the harm they do to their children’s psyche all for a piece of ass. Unbelievable.

    • Kelli, he’s alive, right? So it is his responsibility to take his children to visit their paternal mother, grandmother, etc. That is not your responsibility, and if you make it yours, you may be setting an unfortunate precedent particularly if they turn on you (and you have to assume they already have or will). Why give them that sort of access and risk to your rights? Their own son/grandson can arrange visits if he believes it is in the best interests of his own children. If he doesn’t, then the decision is made.

      • This is the best. Make the asshole responsible and accountable for the visits with his mother and grandmother. I am still amazed at the chump in me.

        I would HOUND my son to bring those babies to me during visitation days.

    • This is coming from someone who doesn’t have children, but has a very similar story from someone in my life:
      If they wanted to see their grandchildren, they shouldn’t have tried to fabricate bullshit to smear your name. Fuck them and their lives – they are despicable. They didn’t respect you, why the fuck should you respect them?

  • You’ve been no contact with them until now, right? I don’t see why you should reach out now. Let them come to you. Since your ex’s smear campaign, they may twist the reason why you’re reaching out to them. Plus: involuntary inpatient psychiatric evaluation? There’s no depth to the levels they’ll sink to…

    • Yep, they tried to have me committed when we first separated. I go to a doctor once a month to get my ADHD meds refilled, and somehow that was turned into an issue.

      We separated in January, 2014, and I hadn’t discovered the cheating yet. I was a SAHM with two babies–one had just turned 2, and the other was turning 3 soon. I had terrible anxiety because my husband had left, and had no real answer for when he was coming back. He never, not once, never even asked to see the children from January until our first court date in May, five months later. Plus, he stopped paying the bills in March. So, I was seriously stressed to the max.

      I made a comment to his mother, whom I thought was on “my side,” that I couldn’t handle the situation anymore. I meant that I was ready to file for divorce. Instead, she turned that into a “suicide threat.” So, together, the ex, his mother, and grandmother decided that they would try to have me committed. They gave the ex money to hire an attorney to file for a hearing to have me involuntarily committed. I found all of this out when I went through his phone when I also found the evidence of the affairs.

      Ultimately, nothing ever came of it. He took the money for the attorney and blew it on crap. Also, I am not crazy. I’ve been tested 3 times by 2 different doctors throughout the divorce and custody battle. But, once I saw that the plan was to have me committed, I immediately went no contact with his family.

      After he got temporary visitation, the kid swap site was at his grandmother’s house. I would drop off the girls and be polite when spoken to, but never went out of my way to communicate with his family again.

      His temporary visitation was week on-week off. He just left the girls with his grandmother and mother for his weeks. His grandmother and mother NEVER offered any information about his actions or anything. Several times I found out that the grandmother and mother took the girls to the doctor for minor colds or ear infections during his visitation by getting the bill from the doctor in the mail. They actually had the bill sent to my house, versus paying for it themselves.

      They really suck. Apparently, they believed that hiding things from me, versus being open and honest, was the better plan. So, I never knew where my children were sleeping. His mother lives about an hour away, but across a state line, and I never knew where my children were when they were at “the dark side.” I tried asking at first, but they always lied, so I stopped asking.

      I know that, as his family, they are going to be loyal to him. I get that. But, now that I have sole custody, his family went from having the girls every-other week for a week at a time to his new visitation schedule, which is 6 hours every-other Saturday. They have gone from 50% of the time to 12 hours a month. I know that has to be hard on them. I thought that maybe now that the custody battle is over, things could be more friendly. I just worry that I will be forever on the verge of another custody battle. If the kids have a scraped knee or bruise, I feel like his family would use that to say that I am neglecting my children. Or beating them. Something.

      Over the summer last year, right after I filed for divorce, the girls got matching raincoats, umbrellas, and rain boots for their birthdays. It was summer, and no rain was in sight, so I let them take their new rain gear in my huge stand-alone shower in my master bathroom to try them out. This turned into “Kelli locks the kids in the shower and keeps them there until the water runs cold to keep from having to deal with the kids.”

      Or when I would wait for the girls to eat their supper in their high chairs (before they got smart enough to escape from them in less than a minute) to return calls from my friends and family turned into “Kelli locks the girls in their high chairs for hours at a time to not have to deal with them.” Those stories, among others, were included in his pleading when he filed for sole custody in November, after I filed for divorce in May.

      So, this is why I say I don’t want to feel like I am constantly fighting a custody battle with his side. I’d like to think that we all could come together and be a family for the girls, but I really don’t see that as being possible.

      Thanks for all of your advice, everyone. I really appreciate it!

  • I don’t know what he’s told anyone but I can make some pretty good guesses. Probably the same BS he tried to accuse me of during the devaluation. I was lazy, cheated years ago with the gay skating teacher, withheld sex, he carried the entire financial side of the marriage, etc.

    I’ve never heard a word from any of my former in laws. No sorry, nothing. They never liked me so I’m not surprised.

    The thing is, he used our soon to be nephew as his lawyer. My flower girl’s fiancé that I had sat beside and chatted with the previous Christmas Eve. That really hurt. He paid zero in legal fees. But it backfired in some ways because his new nephew heard much of my side and had to deal with the fallout from my lawyer about the perjury he committed on his financial statement. He knows ex didn’t “give me” his share of the house. He heard me tell the judge that since he had walked out that yeah, I guess our marriage WAS irretrievably broken down. Yeah, no, we didn’t just “grow apart”. There’s also the court record stating I counter sued on grounds of emotional abuse.

    If I ever run into any of them I just may have a few more choice words to say.

    Another thing is, his family treated him like shit. He was only good for money or help moving, or any other shit job. He’ll probably owe the rest of his life to his nephew in law for that pro bono job.

    • Lina, really sorry to hear what you’ve been through. The smear campaign hurts more than the cheating.
      Your post just made me realize that my SBXH is just a well of money for his family. He funded his mother reckless spending for years. Then lent money to his brother (who is paying the loan back in minuscule instalments), his uncle (never saw those money back) and on top of that, both him, brother and mother have been doubled crossed by greedy uncle.
      At the moment, he is the meal ticket for the OW and her son with special needs.
      With full custody under my belt, he needs to pay alimony for the next 20 something years.
      So I guess it sucks to be them.

  • I got accused of cheating which is where the STDs I got came from because in her words none of the guys she was with had them. Because we all know AM men are of the highest quality.

    But the funniest insult she uses is the amount of women I’ve slept with, four like I should be ashamed. I started dating my wife at nineteen and had been with three women before her. That somehow because I kept my vows and only slept with her for thirteen years makes me less of a man.

    • o.O Good God, Fiddler. Unbelievable she would think that’s an insult. They do have twisted little minds, don’t they? Thank God we can get away from them and start a new life!

    • Its all good the only people that have stuck with her are her two friends she’s known for years. One’s been married five or six times and the other made a pass at me not too long ago. Real winners in life.

      The BIL and I are still close he’s in my fantasy football league. The only person I really worry about is our daughter she’s close to sixteen and knows a lot more than I’d like her too. The last time the wife took the kids to “dinner” and I mean In and Out my daughter came home and called her mom a slut. The wife is trying to relate like a sister and its grossing her out. I don’t want her calling her mother those names but I’m glad she’s realizing how horrible she treated not just me but all of us.

      • Yep, hard not to smirk when your kid tells you that “Dad can go f*ck himself.” I hate that she has been made to feel that way, but, you know what, he can! Being a Chump means being TOO kind at times.

        He sends me three page tirades about all the slandering and defamation of his ‘good name’ I have done, meanwhile I can’t get him to pony up for therapy for the Kiddo (which she requested after she got back from her last visit).

        His latest accused me of ‘trying to turn my Facebook friends against me, but it backfired-far many more of them feel sory for Kiddo having a Mom like you.” My response was, ” It ain’t slander if it is true, so my calling you a theiving, cheating, lying, drug-dealing alcoholic, lazy pathetic sack of shit is merely an observation, and a pretty objective one.”

        Mr Fab: that’s your opinion”

        Meh: ” Yes, I have been subjective here, I apologize Allow me to retract the word “pathetic”.

  • Such perfect timing with your post Chump Lady.
    “Speak the truth, but stop at defensiveness”.
    I just got out of court with “dead to me”. He had me summoned on “Contempt of Court” charges. Totally frivolous…
    I had my attorney point out the truth for me.
    The allegations were dismissed.
    This is more than 2 years since my extremely cruel and pre meditated discard. A little over a year since the divorce.
    The beauty of the support and recovery here is that the “Switzerland Friends” no longer make me sad but angry at their lack of moral compass and not taking sides shit. What anyone else thinks of me standing up for myself, I don’t care… I look out for my own interests first, not worrying about what the consensus thinks.
    The feelings seeing “dead to me” today… I was very scared he was going to try and hurt me, I was very angry about the cost and inconvenience of his allegations. BUT, what he is saying about me, the people who believe him are not the ones who count. I was sad about the loss of my money and financial ruin. I still continue to be sad and angry with myself for sublimating so much shitty behavior that the end of the marriage almost killed me. I was sad about the time wasted on someone who I assumed loved me back and was just having major issues that I could love away… but the sad truth (or for the better growth) is that I see him as a personality disordered individual who will take any opportunity to try and destroy me. Nothing attractive to me and come to think of it nothing that would work so well in finding a new intimate partner. He is just pissed that he was ordered to pay alimony and is looking for any way out of paying me. This is what he wanted… to be rid of me… and the courts ordered him to pay an exit fee.
    Sorry I am going on so long, but the moral of the story is that thanks to Chump Lady and Chump Nation, I am finally escaping the “inert Chump” phase and moving on to stand up for myself. Things are not perfect and I am not at meh yet, but I see it coming one Tuesday, I will be fully entrenched in meh!

  • Well, haven’t seen my cheater in 20 years but had to because of child’s wedding. Ex and the stepmother were coolly polite and mostly stayed away but I was grinning later because: I caught him glaring at me from across the room and she was catty about my dress after I complimented hers AND they snubbed me when it came to speeches (I was not invited to speak). But the “best” part? Get this: I came to the wedding from overseas to find that my other adult child, who inexplicably was impossible to reach beforehand, was not at the wedding. A friend set out to find out what happened and came back with the news that my child had been hospitalised with a serious illness and they’d withheld the news from me on purpose. They had been telling people that I had nothing to do with said child and insinuated that I didn’t deserve to know anything about this child. I got the story just minutes before the ceremony. Know what I did? I was Boss! I had a super wonderful time and when it was all over I turned into a Mama Bear and found my hospitalised kid who was thrilled to see me. Just wow. Got no time to waste hating those two but will use the extra energy to help my kid.

      • Thank you Tempest. As a testament to the quality of their smear campaign, the newly married child did not tell me beforehand either. How could anybody think I wouldn’t be concerned about the absence of my other child? Married child supposedly was going to tell me after the wedding… so the whole clan kept this big secret from me. They invested a lot in presenting me as an unfit mother.

  • i am probably the only person who doesnt have a story like this to tell.

    i havent heard a single story about me since i divorced him. of course, i never hang around the type of people the exh used to hang around with and i never did like or care for his family members. so it might be entirely possibly that he is bashign my character but to people that i never see, do not talk to or deal with or even associate around the same circle that i do. all my family are in another town, and all my coworkers, associates and friends have no clue who he is.

    i know he did pull the “poor me, my wife doesnt understand/love/respect me” story for the MOW. but after she thought it would be fun to call me from his phone and tell me off. i dont have anything to do with her either. i never felt like i needed to correct what and how she thought of me. and i damn sure was not going to fix his way of thinking yet again. if he wants to think that i dont treat him good then so be it. yes, it damn near killed me that he was thinking that way in the first place, but i cant fight all the ghetto hood rats in the world who see what i have and think he gave it to me.

    18 month divorced and 100% no contact even with kids. i was going to give him credit for not bashing me. but like always i am probably giving him too much credit to begin with.

    thing is. i have never cared what other people think of me. not his family. not his friends, not his coworkers. not once in 14 years did those people influence me. the only person i cared what thought of me was him, and since he has made that loud and clear that he doesnt think (or care) for me at all….it was time to move on. the people who love me STILL love me, with all my bad faults, moles and warts. they are the only people that matter

    • Same here LadyStrange. I commented elsewhere in this thread that I’ve never been one to giveva shit what other people think of me, but I failed to mention that HE was the only one that I cared “what” he thought of me. Stupid me…gave him too much power, little did I know he was deliberately tearing me down. Chump that I am….never thought he was doing it just to make me feel like shit about myself (*palm to forehead ).

  • My ex bad mouthed me for years to his friends and family, and they encouraged him to leave me without ever hearing about the horrible way he treated me. Ironically, when his cheating finally surfaced, they all got to see his true colors and realized how much he had been manipulating the narrative. They’ve learned a lot more about both of us through this process, including the fact that I value a continued relationship between my son and former in-laws despite cheater’s actions, and the fact that cheater was willing to destroy my life and ditch our son to chase other women. They’ve repeatedly voiced their support for me and have expressed choice expletives for my ex.

  • I’m pretty sure my x told a lot of people we had an essentially sexless marriage, except when he was trying to convince some poor fool I was panting for a threesome with her. Or that it was totally vanilla, which apparently is the same thing.

    After DDay and the 2 weeks I waited for his unhinged explanation of why he wasn’t cheating (suffice it to say, it was insane and almost worth the wait just for the frothing absurdity) I took some good advice and broke the news that I was divorcing him for endless cheating directly to our closest friends. I had promised myself that if he cheated again, regardless of whether we reconciled, I was going accept that was how it would always be and tell people exactly what was going on. Maybe it was my insurance policy against choosing to stay.

    I didn’t tell his family. I left that to him and they still don’t know why we divorced. It was too painful for him to explain. But I think they and others have been given the impression he made a one time mistake in circumstances that weren’t really his fault, and that he would have done anything to save the marriage. So a lot of people still think he’s a really great guy. Whatever. It’s been hard to have to discard a lot of good with the bad but it wasn’t healthy to keep exposing myself to that. I’m just grateful it wasn’t worse, especially after hearing people’s stories.

    • I am so sorry! I hope Asshat never tried to convince someone I was desperate for a threesome. Particularly since I have seen his taste in women. The only nice, successful, seemingly lovely woman dumped him for being too obsequious and needy. Oh, and then there’s me, who will soon be dumping him for being a lying cheater, who happens to be too obsequious and needy.

  • good post. my way of dealing with this is just not to participate in trash-talking at all. i don’t know if she trash talks me, but she probably does. i know that she definitely used to (when we were married) because i’ve caught her out a few times. the radio silence from people whom i thought were friends is evidence enough for me that they’ve been fed a line. fuck all of them. i like my life now.

    • When I hear somebody talking bad about someone they’ve been intimate with, sirens go off in my head.
      Surely, they might be a terrible person, but keep it short! Someone who is suffering, feeling shame etc doesn’t have energy left to smear anyone. So yeah, bad talking of your intimate partner is not a good sign in my book.
      Plus, my intuition tells me if I don’t like somebody.

  • The x always used the fact that the mil didn’t like me from day one and that meant that my sil’s didn’t like me either. The bil was more mellow and didn’t necessarily follow along but he was only a young teen when we married. He was the one that told me about schmoopie 1 and that was a good 9 years ago. When schmoopie 2 hit 2 years ago he was still on board. He was the only one that “understood”, he told me that my depression was probably caused by all the bs that his brother was putting me through.
    When x first left, bil was on my side, he understood all the “little” lies and manipulations that had gone on. He was there for years, since he was a teen. The mil only once in 22 years said to me, “I didn’t know that x treated you so bad”. Just one statement, but after a while, blood is thicker than water, and the in-laws all support the x because he is such a sad sausage. Unfortunately, the in-laws don’t really “know” all that went down with schmoopie 2. This is “bitter bunny” talk but its true, my x’s “twu luv” left him only after 5 months of bliss. I feel bad about that, in that I lasted with x for 22 years.
    I’ve had people try and tell me about what x “needed” in our relationship that i “didn’t provide”. and I call b*llsh*t on it. But, alas, once someone “believes” something, they tend to stick with that belief. Those people and the fence sitters are people non grata for me. I don’t need anymore negativity in my life. I got a mega dose of that with the x and with x’s friends and family.

  • STBXH went on a major smear campaign when I checked myself into a treatment center for alcoholism after I discovered and caught him in an affair he was in with a married ho-worker that I suspected 2 years earlier and he denied. Then I learned it actually was going on for 4 YEARS!!! After the discovery I went off the deep end and drank lots and almost took my life after D-Day due to the stonewalling, gaslighting, blaming, denying, cover ups, OMG it was awful. I found a private treatment center and went away for 5 weeks, during that time he told everyone “see it was her, that’s why she’s in a treatment center”, “she’s nuts, it’s all in her drunken mind, she’s lying, making it all up” “howorker is and has been just a friend”, “I only gave a prostitute a smoke, that’s it, I would never pick one up”, “once again it’s in her head”.

    When I got home from treatment, everyone was convinced I was a nutcase including our children, granted I did have a problem over the years with drinking and I had quit many times, then started up again, it was a struggle for me and many knew that, so I had that working against me right off the bat. I should mention, my STBXH is an alcoholic too, he was my drinking buddy and he also had a drug addiction as well. But they all seemed to forget that at this time. Any time I had quit drinking in the past, I never reached out for help, this time I did, I was scared to death because it felt like my entire world had fallen apart and he blamed me for it all to everyone. This time I went into recovery for my alcoholism, I surrendered and dove right into the AA program, the support I got was amazing ALSO the advice I got was amazing with the other problem, STBXH LIES and INFIDELITY that I had to deal with when I got back home.

    One person did not believe him, our eldest daughter and she is the one that told me all about the smear campaign and what he was saying btw. At the treatment center a Councillor of mine told me to record a conversation with him, confront him again with everything and all my evidence I had, which wasn’t much but enough, so I did and he admitted to lots in the recording, a lot of his lies, his spinning of facts, gaslighted again in it but the truth was revealed enough in it to show that it wasn’t me who was at blame. After that, anyone who asked me something or accused me of being the cause was offered to hear that recording. I then got apologies from some and others disappeared from both of our lives and his immediate family (sister’s) told me after hearing it, “what kind of a wife records her husband?”. Yup, no comment about the lies he told them at all and they’ve disowned me to date after being close to them for 25 years. It’s true blood is thicker then water! I understand that. I don’t care anymore who believes what, I’m sober almost a year now, I’m getting healthier every day, my relationship with God is solid now (he filled that void where alcohol used to fill it). My two daughters support me, the company I work for had my back and gave me support, I now know who are my true friends and I’ve made many more new friends from AA. My life is turning a corner and STBXH, he’s not doing very well because I left him and that in itself showed the truth to a lot of his supporters because they new I would never do that if there wasn’t some truth about what he had done.

    • Kate

      X used a smear campaign on me also. He wanted to meet up with women and dragged me along to a casino I didn’t want to go to. I wanted to do fun active things and he wanted to go there to drink and pick up whores. He would disappear and I couldn’t find him. Finally, I told him I didn’t want to go there and DDay suddenly came within a week. He lied and said I had a gambling problem when he was cheating. The truth comes out. I’m supporting two households and he’s there every night sitting at a bar and gambling with an addict. He’s having major financial problems and I’m thriving. It all comes out in the end. The difference is we seek out treatment and heal. They continue on their destructive path I have never been happier.

      • Yes Donna! When I think about my life now, I was depressed over my marriage for years and my drinking progressed to numb myself over the pain, that’s how I coped with it. Getting rid of the alcohol and him was the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself so I can live an authentic happy rest of my life! 🙂 I’m happy for you too! May God bless you immensely.

  • My ex tried it at first, telling people I “had mental problems” and was an “alcoholic”. No one believed him, it just didn’t ring true. Of course, those are perfect descriptions of HIM. The truth came out (I was not shy about telling) and the story that circulated in our community was instead the truth– that he had been leading a double life for decades, with women who looked like men, and under the most disgusting of circumstances. Most decided that they always felt there was something “off” about him, and now they knew why. He had to move away to live with one of his schmoopies. I have gone on to fight through the abandonment to lead a great life, shore up my kids who he completely abandoned, and last year I got re-married to a man I adore. From the little I have heard, ex eventually told a watered down version of the truth — “I cheated on Kelly for 13 years”– (he leaves out the real length and number of the affairs and group sex) since no one believed his lies. I and my children were pretty much the only reason anyone believed him or believed in him before D-Day, that is long gone now. My standing and stock in life in every way has gone up, while he had to turn and run away. Buh-bye loser……

  • Man, it pains me to read these stories.

    I think – no, I know – that it’s the safer bet to assume that cheaters badmouth the betrayed. At the very least, there’s likely a 98% chance that they did that with their APs.

    Interestingly, my stbx-in-laws try to play nice with me in person, despite the fact that I’ve seen the emails in which they’d blamed me for everything, including the stbxw’s cheating… and her interested depression… and her racking up debt in secret to the tune of $100K…

    I’ve also firsthand witnessed them badmouthing other family members behind those people’s backs, and doing so in front of my kid.

    Guess who else tries to act nice to my face? The cheating, lying, stbxw.

    These cheaters learn it from somewhere, folks. Personally, I’ll be NC with anyone who believes the less of the stbxw until/unless those people give me an apology, which likely will be never.

  • I needed this post so much today! Just under a year and a half after dday… And my divorce hearing is next week. The comment about the endless sucker punches is so true. When asswipe left for his much younger coworker he left me with all the responsibility of selling the house and dividin things claiming ‘depression’ (a very real yes, but perhaps in this case a convenient excuse). I dealt with all of that with minimal psycho. What I am still not over though is how cruel my husband was on the way out. And how people I considered to be family have now bought into this rewritten history and character assassination of me now that the mistress is now a girlfriend. Really?

    Im reeling from a low blow from my soon to be ex sister in law of 13yrs (ok, not married for that long but treated her as such for that long since i was 20) saying i was barely an acquaintance all that time.. Listing instances of things I’d supposedly done wrong, things that i mostly decided to do together with my stbx. *sigh*

    I agree with CL that there is nothing to be done than focusing on how awesome I am to have survived but I am still flabbergasted by this part of it. I’ve found this the hardest fight to let go of by far. One day I’ll get there… I hope it’s soon!

    • I am so so sorry chump-ness. The reality is that cheaters go to work on the relatives for years before they devalue and discard. By the time D-day arrives they have been fed a line about how cold and unfeeling you are for years….What the in laws are thinking is that you are a terrible person because after all that is what they have been told for a long long time.

      I was totally blindsided. I had noticed my sister in law acting strangely about six months before but the idea that she had been spoon fed awful things about me did not cross my mind. That we were about to be abandoned did not cross my mind. When it happened I was told in no uncertain terms by xH that his sister was “in on it” and had been covering for his mistress for a long time.

      It is sad. Very sad. I had always treated them like family.

      • @Moving Forward: Doesn’t the mistress wonder: “If my lover’s family will cover for him so he can fu@k me, this must mean that they will do the same thing to ME eventually.”

        Oh wait. The affair partner is special and soo unlike us chumps. It will NEVER happen to them.

        Ughhh

        Chin up. Up and onwards!

        x

  • I’m listening to the audio book done by Eckhart Tolle, “The Power of Now”. After all the abuse and terrible past I’ve experienced with STBXH and the anxiety of the future due to starting my life over, this process of focusing on just living in the present (The Now) is helping me tremendously with my healing. It also helps me experience the joy I would be missing each new day if I did’nt do this. Here’s the link for anyone interested, it’s long, over 7 hours, I listen an hour at a time over days, it’s really deep so I know I’ll want to listen to it many times in the future to really grasp it all and it takes a real mind shift to do it. I will not let the pain body’s take over my life. 🙂

  • The most fun of this is to just sit back and wait and watch. Gently ask the ‘Universe’ to reveal what you need to know and it will. In the last 2 weeks alone I have had 3 sets of ‘interesting’ facts arise. In response I simply told the truth. The looks on the faces of the messengers were actually fun to watch. The more you release trying to control the situation the more the truth reveals itself. The “Universe/God/Nature” hates, yes, hates lies and deceptions and will do its best to right the wrongs. The TRUTH shall set you FREE!

  • On June 30th, I discovered the Mister has cheated on me and lied about it for over a year and a half. He’s been having an affair with the wife of a couple we met traveling in the spring of 2013.

    When I first made this discovery I thought there was hope for our relationship. But as we talked and more of the truth came out, I realized I’d be making a huge mistake if I allowed someone like this to stay in my life.

    This is a man I thought to be perfect. My perfect match. The man I’d happily spend the rest of my life with. But how do you continue to live with someone who expresses no remorse for his actions, shows no empathy for the pain he’s caused, and refuses to stop the affair in the hopes that I will come to accept this relationship if I want to stay married.

    People are finding it hard to believe the Mister is the sort of person who could behave this way. He’s good at hiding behind a mask of Mr. Charming, Mr. Helpful. He’s the guy who will do anything for someone else. Except for the one person who should have been most important in his life. But I’ve discovered that this persona is really not because he wants to help. It’s because it makes him feel good when people tell him how helpful he is. It’s an ego response and one of the classic signs of a narcissist.

    Except the Mister is not just a narcissist. He’s a covert narcissist. Covert narcs come across as charming, caring, do anything for anyone. All the while they are plotting how to get the most adoration and sympathy from you. If something goes wrong in their lives, they will move heaven and earth to make sure you know IT IS NOT THEIR FAULT! It was their boss, their wife, their child, the stranger at the gas station. It’s never them. Because, after all, they are perfect so how could it be in any way their fault.

    And he’s not done with me yet. The more I talk to friends and the more I discover about his behavior, the more I uncover about what he’s been saying about me to friends and family. He’s building a wall of lies and half-truths, and taking things I’ve shared with him in confidence, to try to garner sympathy and support.

    He’s a sad and lonely man. I feel sorry for him and the pain he’s going through. But what’s gotten me through to a point of acceptance and, yes, relief, is knowing that he will never admit he’s at fault. For anything. It will always be someone else’s fault. It’s never him, it’s you. Because to admit that he’s not perfect, that he is a flawed human being, like we all are, would mean revealing the truth about who he is as a person.

    For me, the truth has set me free. For him, the truth is a prison and he’s locked inside without the hope of ever finding the key.

    I am genuinely sorry that he decided to end our marriage. That he wasn’t the man I thought him to be. But every day that passes I get more and more okay with that. There is life after betrayal. And it’s going to be fabulous.

  • This article is very concise and on point! I have had very similar experiences, albeit without the “cheating” part, however I imagine anyone leaving a relationship will have similar issues. Left an ex and had a lot of my own family turn their backs on me! Hindsight is 20-20!

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