Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

Fairy Dust Forgiveness

bitterbunny_lowrezOne of my most popular posts here is on the difference between real remorse and genuine imitation Naugahyde remorse. I thought we should have a post on the difference between true forgiveness and fairy dust forgiveness.

I like a good forgiveness story as much as the next person. I’m a preacher’s kid. I grew up believing it was really possible for people to just hand it over to Jesus and turn their lives around. I get misty during that scene in The Apostle (has everyone seen this Robert Duvall film? If you haven’t, check it out) where Billy Bob Thorton is this harassing thug who wants to bulldoze Robert Duvall’s scrappy, little chapel. But Robert Duvall stands up to him and embraces him. He doesn’t back down, but he holds a crying Billy Bob Thorton and says “I know you’re a good man.” And you come away from that scene thinking, because Robert Duvall believes it, it’s going to be so.

When I used to watch Frosty the Snowman as a kid I was so happy that the Magician saw the error of his ways for stealing Frosty’s hat and everybody ends up friends.

I like a powerful reconciliation story. I want to believe in that kind of forgiveness — that my goodness and fair-mindedness will win the bad guy over. If I just lead with humility and strength, they will recognize how powerful that is, and they will crumple like a repentant Kleenex.

But the way the world usually works is — the bad guy bulldozes the church. He builds some luxury condominiums with granite countertops and douchbags move in. The Magician keeps the hat and tells Frosty he doesn’t deserve to be a real, live snowman. He’s frozen vapor and that’s all he’ll ever be.

And now what? Now you’re supposed to forgive these bad guys who just stay bad?

Here is what Real Forgiveness looks like to me — you may have a different definition, but here’s my take — I accept it. I see it for what it is. And I stop giving it the power to hurt me. I give up vengeance. I don’t wish you dead. I disengage. I trust the Universe, or God, or whatever will sort it out through the natural laws of consequences. I don’t take your continued existence as a personal affront to my happiness.

That’s my forgiveness. And if you think I’m a bitter bunny, consider that I have set the bar lower for forgiveness than the grandmaster of forgiveness himself — South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He says about forgiveness:

To forgive is not just to be altruistic. It is the best form of self-interest. It is also a process that does not exclude hatred and anger. These emotions are all part of being human. You should never hate yourself for hating others who do terrible things: the depth of your love is shown by the extent of your anger.

However, when I talk of forgiveness I mean the belief that you can come out the other side a better person. A better person than the one being consumed by anger and hatred. Remaining in that state locks you in a state of victimhood, making you almost dependent on the perpetrator. If you can find it in yourself to forgive then you are no longer chained to the perpetrator. You can move on, and you can even help the perpetrator to become a better person too.

But the process of forgiveness also requires acknowledgement on the part of the perpetrator that they have committed an offence.

My emphasis there. Forgiveness REQUIRES an acknowledgement of the offense.

How many of us even get that?

And yet how much crap do we read and hear of every day in RIC and in our lives that demands we “forgive” our cheaters? It is essential to our moving on.  Moreover, there is something wrong with us if we cannot muster up forgiveness. We, the chumps, have small, petty characters.

I take exception to this. I think feeling indifferent on the forgiveness issue in no way impedes your moving past infidelity. “I don’t forgive you!” does not necessarily make you a person who wants to hold on to your victimhood and not move forward. You may simply be saying: “I have nothing to work with here.”

I like how Archbishop Tutu says you can both be angry AND you can say “I accept this.” I unchain myself from this crap.

Fairy dust forgiveness is that kind of cheap forgiveness the Reconciliation Industrial Complex traffics in. Just forgive. Let it go. Be the bigger person. You can’t do that? You’re BITTER.

Fairy dust forgiveness is about magical thinking (of course, because fairies make it). That if I fairy dust forgive you, I can TRANSFORM you into a BETTER PERSON. FDF believes in causation. My nice behavior compels you to be nice. And my un-nice behavior makes you keep doing un-nice things. Why of course you had to keep cheating! I couldn’t forgive you. Yep, this one is on me.

Look, chumps. I could sprinkle fairy dust forgiveness all over the 240 pounds of serial cheater that is my ex. Wouldn’t do a damn thing. I could say “I forgive you! Let’s let bygones be bygones. Hope you’re well!” and he would still be a serial cheater. Because he likes it like that. My forgiveness could no more transform that man into a magic toadstool than a good person.

Oh right, but forgiveness is supposed to be for me. To that I say bullshit, RIC. Fairy dust forgiveness does not make the shit sandwich go down easier. You want me to forgive for YOU and your agenda. To keep this marriage together, regardless of how toxic it is.

Let’s talk REAL forgiveness. Acceptance is for me. So I stop living with false hope. So I stop being angry about people and things I do not control. Meh is for me. Because I have better things to do with my life than throw centrality at this person who hurt me. I own my choices and my values. I will not share my life with a cheater because we’re incompatible. I cannot hope and pray for a compatibility that demonstrably doesn’t exist. This person has shown me through their actions what their values are. I accept the reality of that.

I don’t wish them dead. I wish to disengage. I want peace in my life.

That is forgiveness to me and by my definition I have forgiven. And I remain unreconciled.

I think the RIC assumes that if you reconcile, you have forgiven. And that’s an erroneous assumption, because if you ask me, there are more bitter people staying married to cheaters than there are people divorced from them. The bitterness comes from not living out their values, from being disappointed that all their efforts at being magnanimous were not sufficiently appreciated. There is resentment. Why isn’t my magic fairy dust forgiveness WORKING?

Talk to the magical thinkers over at the RIC, maybe they can explain it to you.

I ran this column previously. Feel free to comment. (I need a day or so to finish all these cartoons for the new book!)

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I didn’t see this the first time it ran, but you’ve so nailed it for me! Some of my friends (who are also chumps) talk about forgiveness in a way that, for me, sounds like FDF. I’m working toward acceptance, because forgiveness must, for me, include the acknowledgement that Archbishop Tutu talks about. I don’t think I’ll ever get that from my ex. Thanks CL.

  • That’s the thing,isn’t it.
    Once you internalise that their values are incompatible with yours there is no going back.
    You are then well and truly on the road to meh.It may be a long ,arduous journey ,but you get there.I felt like I had entered a dark pathless forest carrying a boulder on my back with a pack of wolves at my heels.It took time to find a way out,but the good news is,one eventually does.
    I am so glad I found this site.

    • How do you forgive Madoff for stealing your retirement? How do you forgive the extreme sects who kidnapped you and gang raped you in the name of their God? How to you forgive the hackers who ‘stole’ your non-private internet info and exposed you as a liar publicly?

      I really don’t think anyone needs to forgive their perpetrator at all. These crimes are real and horrendous and impact the survivor forever.

      With that, my take is on SELF-forgiveness. This path goes beyond acceptance of acknowledging this shit happened to you and you are moving forward not as a victim but a survivor.

      I won’t forgive my abuser. No.Fucking.Way. I had no choice in the decisions he made. His choice was to abuse. It’s more important for me to forgive myself that I sensed red flags but rationalized them away. Other survivors don’t even have that option. I seek self-forgiveness of not protecting myself and my kids better in order to have a positive life here on out.

      I hope this makes sense. The cheaters and their minions want to label us as bitter because we will not give them a free pass back into our lives. I’m not bitter. My cheater needs to be held accountable for all of his actions. So do I. I’m trying to be the best adult I can be for my kids.

      • ANC so well stated. Every night I pray for courage, strength, power, love and forgiveness, and vision to see a brighter tomorrow. The forgiveness is for me for settling for the s*** sandwich for soooooo long. For wasting my youth on the piece of trash.
        CL—awesome article just in time for me. This will help the vision become clearer and more accurate as I approach MEH.

        BTW, I am now 12 days post divorce! Yeah for me!!

        • Congrats Happily!

          ANC, I hear you loud and clear on this: “It’s more important for me to forgive myself that I sensed red flags but rationalized them away.” Yep. That’s my focus right now too.

        • Congrats, happily!

          And ANC, you nailed it, they are criminals-what is the difference between my partner stealing money and time and effort from our family, and being mugged? The partner gets a free pass! GAH. I hear you about being the best adult model possible for the kids, ANC, and that DOES involve holding cheaters accountable.

          Your ex is suing you for the money you stole from her Mr Fab. Boo-fukkity-hoo. Shouldn’t have stolen it, then.

          love to Chump Nation!
          x-Meh

        • Congrats on your 12 days of freedom! Acknowledging that you gave your power away is a great step towards healing. I’m in a similar place. I think taking our power back and setting firm boundaries IS a form of forgiveness.

          Like CL said,” The bitterness comes from not living out their values, from being disappointed that all their efforts at being magnanimous were not sufficiently appreciated. There is resentment.” If by “forgiveness” we are expected to forget and act like it never happened, then no, I don’t believe we should forgive. That’s just fucked up.

      • Absolutely agree with you in every way. That last paragraph should be embroidered on a pillow and sent to every chumps home across the world.

      • Makes complete sense! Gotta love it when the abusive cheaters accuse the abused of not being evolved enough or being so bitter they just can’t get over it. Of course you could turn the tables by informing them (in a very calm manner) that you have completely “moved on” and now they must do so as well. Repeat as necessary.

      • Amen ANC. I too have had trouble with the forgiveness part. I am at the point that it is not important anymore and not needed. XH has gone his way, I have gone mine. We have children so I am forced to interact with him but I do this the same way I do at the grocery store with the cashier…I am friendly but we are not friends. Hard to do all the time, because we have different parenting styles and more importantly he is an idiot. But not my idiot!!!!

      • ANC, This is where I am right now
        “I won’t forgive my abuser. No.Fucking.Way. I had no choice in the decisions he made. His choice was to abuse. It’s more important for me to forgive myself that I sensed red flags but rationalized them away.”
        I won’t forgive him. For me that’s not part of the road to meh. it’s not like he has asked for forgiveness. He doesn’t’ care. So far no one has asked me if I’ve forgiven him. Lord help them if they ask such a foolish question. That would come only from someone who does not know me.

        • A few months after D-Day #1, I was told by a not-very-bright psychotherapist who claimed to be an expert on personality disorders (NOT!) that I ‘had to FORGIIIVVE!’ Well, I forgave cheating STBX about a second after his adultery announcement on D-Day #1. Other than hearing him say, ‘I forgive you’ (WTF? crazy behavior but very illuminating; he continues to abuse me over a year later–in spite of his ‘forgiveneness’), forgiveness (me forgiving him) did me zero good. The pain caused by the infidelity and the gigantic heaping portion of abuse that accompanied it were the things that kept me from ‘moving on,’ healing, what have you. The main thing that has helped me ‘move on’ is acceptance of THE WAY THINGS ARE.

          I need to keep reminding myself that people, especially those with personality disorders rarely (with odds of winning the Super Lotto) change. Now my STBX tells me that I imagined that he told me he has sex with prostitutes and used cocaine while we were married and really did have sex with men. These personality-disordered people can’t cope with reality and acknowledge truth; I can and choose to do so.

          • Hell yes RSW, love that last thought “I can [cope with reality and acknowledge truth] and choose to do so”

            That one’s going up on my mirror

          • Dated a guy I pegged as BPD right away. He also had a small sex addiction problem. I recognized a lot of red flags right off the bat. He openly admitted that he craved a lot of fantasy to deal with reality.

            Needless to say I went NC with this nutter ASAP !

            Most of these people wouldn’t recognize reality if it walked up and kicked them in the shin 🙂

        • Absolutely ANC – I had all the signs, I screwed around with profound forgiveness and BS reconciliation. Not anymore, I am only working on forgiving myself for being chumped!! I am pissed and frustrated and I am done with forgiving all the shit sandwiches I have been force fed for years.You know I honestly thought my STBX would see in his heart how much this family meant to me that I was willing to forgive him. Duh?? No heart in him to effing have feelings! I am pissed I ever bought into that BS of forgiving a cheater and BS your marriage will be soooo much better! It was just a triple shit sandwich to gag down!! Ok I will shut up now. I have finacial crap to negotiate with the jackass cheater and I am super pissed!Grrrrr!!

      • WOW ANC! What a place of healing this is. I take all your wisdom and keep walking forward…one step at a time. Thank you CL and members of this incredible place and nation! BA

      • Wow! I needed this! Here all this time I’ve been feeling so guilty that I’m having trouble with forgiving. I thought all this time it was me as a horrible person.

        My hubby begs for me let him back into my life, to stop w remembering the bad and replace it w new good memories together. He keeps telling me I keep the bitterness alive, and wonders why I am always irritated now.

        • Susan, anger is a very healthy emotion, it galvanizes us to protect ourselves or others, to react when something is wrong.

          Of course your husband wants you to forgive AND forget. That would be to HIS advantage.

          Your ‘bitterness’ hangs around to remind you not to trust someone who has SHOWN he’s not trustworthy, to not let close again someone who hurt you badly when he took advantage of your trust and caring.

          I bet you’ll find that the bitterness fades pretty fast, once the cheater is no longer in your life at all. It’s protective function will be done.

      • ANC, thank you, your comment is the perfect combo of no nonsense validation that I needed today!

        Happily – Congratulations on your divorce!!

      • I cannot forgive someone who will never acknowledge they did anything wrong. AND, continues to do everything within his power — through our kids — to continue to try to mess with me.

        I went a whole year of facts only contact about our kids, even when he responded with hate-filled, disordered rants to every single correspondence. However, being the recovering chump I am, I took the bait last week, and told him to give it a rest. The venom that spewed from him from that four word response was scary in its complete break with reality. It proved to me that I’m still recovering from marrying a sicko with colossal grudge issues. I’m back on the No Contact Wagon.

        Like ANC, I’m working on forgiving my epic blunder in marrying such a selfish, emotionally abusive loser.

        • Chutes, mine is like yours. Pretty fucked UP. It’s like the older he gets the more yuck he grows. No contact is best.

      • Anc,

        My favorite documentary on forgiveness is “Forgiving Dr. Mengale” This documentary goes through the process of forgiving the unforgivable. The idea is simple, stop letting the action on another control you.

    • Deedee, I love that visualization, “I felt like I had entered a dark pathless forest carrying a boulder on my back with a pack of wolves at my heels” — you captured the hellishness of the post DDay nightmare. So glad you are healing… so am I, it feels good to be coming out of the woods and seeing the sun shine again.

    • I’m so glad I found this site too, Deedee!

      It’s given me the most help/hope over anything which includes family, friends, counselors, books, RIC, etc (some, who btw, roll their eyes or think I should stop reading CL……not gonna happen)!

      I feel they roll their eyes/advise I stop reading because 1. they’ve never been through infidelity and can’t relate or 2. they have been through it and don’t want to face reality.
      Their problem, not mine!

      I promote and support CL site!! Beyond perfection for me!

  • I needed this….once again CL you have nailed it. If i hear “Move on….Let it Go….Give it to God….” one more time….especially the one where they say “You know what the Bible says, if you don’t forgive God can’t forgive you”. Oh…so now Jesus and I are gonna have issues on this. Want to know how many times I have told Jesus that I am really pissed off of how this has gone down….I did the Love Dare…I did the 5 Languages of Love…..I read the Power of a Praying Wife. I was faithful…. I get a blank stare from Jesus going “Yup…you did. I know. I hear you.”….I have wished my husband dead more times than I have breathed. I can’t even utter that out loud because it is considered a “terroristic threat”….. I am angry. Have been…will be. I feel like that line in that Will Smith movie where he has super powers and he is a real jerk…and they call him an asshole…and he says “call me an asshole one more time…..” I feel that way when people tell me I need to forgive and move on. I’m breathing aren’t i? He is still alive isn’t he? So…the fact that he is still alive shows I have restraint. Because I could run him over and back up over him 100 times.
    But I havent…. it’s been three years….still not divorced….and he filed a petition to end my alimony health insurance…..but won’t settle on the divorce. Wtf? So more lawyer fees…more bullshit. Oh….and unpaid medical.bills are affecting his credit rating…you mean the medical bills from our daughter attempting suicide but she fell.and broke.her back in 4 places and you have done zero to help medical bills….those bills….Yea. Angry? You betcha. Forgive him…. Nope. Realize that if it is true that my depth of my anger equals the depths.of my love….then I am Valentines Day on Steroids.

    • Tracy, I hear you sister. It’s HARD and made even worse when the Church or friends in Christ say those things. Obviously they haven’t lived it and have no idea what they are talking about. The struggle is REAL. I believe that there are NO set rules in the Bible for when we can or will forgive another. God loves us and sees our struggles and knows how difficult it is. He sees our anger and the injustice placed on us by another. And He sees the bastards we have to deal with. I also believe we have ALL of our emotions for a reason. That includes anger. Most definitely includes anger. It can serve us well. Keep us vigilant and alert. It serves a purpose and it’s not a “good emotion” or a “bad emotion”. It just IS.

      I don’t know what else to say except I hear you. I just wanted to comment on your post here. Wish we could go to a batting cage together!! haha

    • I’m sorry, Tracy, I feel the anger, hurt – hell, all the gamut of emotions!, in your post. Hang in there for yourself and your child!!

      • I get so tried of that “oh here we go again let’s bring up the past again, when are you going to move on! Your such a martyr” Well, maybe never, but after eight years of this bullshit (27 married and 32 together) and one last huge fight last week, I have put my big boy panties on and told him to get out! Hallelujah, praise Jesus! Free at last! (well almost) After asking him to show me his cell phone and he refused and asking him why he spends 6 hours a week in his ho-workers office (which is located in another building across campus), and he fumbled around for words for that one, caught him off guard I think! 🙂 I have had enough. I am in the process of getting bank accounts closed, going to see a lawyer and talking to real estate agent. We had planned on going to Florida next week, he said he was not going, ask your sister he said, Hell no, I am going to have a nice quite relaxing time at the beach ALONE!! I can’t wait! I am one am looking forward to a excellent life ahead, it has to be better then what I have been living!

    • Tracy,
      My pastor decided he wanted to have a chat with me when he saw me upset and the HasBeen told him he’d had an affair. First I told my pastor I was glad the HasBeen could be honest with him because he couldn’t’ be honest with me. Then I proceeded to lay out the things HasBeen did in his 4 year long affair. I ended with the fact that the morning after DDay I woke up to God telling me to get out of this marriage, that this was not my test. Pastor’s demeanor went from can I get you into couples counseling I know some people to “I don’t’ usually offer this but I’m here if you need immediate emergency counseling, just you to make sure you’re going to get through this.” Unsure if pastor could not reconcile what was down to me or if that fact God told me to get out of my marriage was the key but no one from church has asked me about forgiveness.

      • I knew in my heart that God had told me to divorce my wife too, but my church counselors confused me. Fortunately I filed after two weeks and guess what? Everything has been OK since. Sure I still get angry about it, but that is to be expected. It is allowed.

        Tracy, not sure if you have been to DM’s blog but I can tell you it helped me a lot. It is uncolored biblical advise. It’s Godly advice regarding adultery and divorce minus the church subculture. It confirmed many things that was in my heart but my church was telling me otherwise. You may find it refreshing.

    • Tracy: I am so sorry for what you and your daughter have gone/are going through. Your STBX is a monster. You don’t owe him forgiveness, nor even civility (IMHO). May lightning strike him to free you of his manipulations.

      • May lightning strike him to free you of his manipulations.

        Tempest, you must have some Italian in you, I love your curses…ha ha ha ha ha…

    • Tracy! U must be my sister from another mother! How I wished my ex would get die! I even planned the funeral in my dreams! I would donate his body to a local medical school so they could study the criminally insane! Ur true friends won’t be asking u if you’ve “gotten over that yet?”! I had several I had to let go bcuz they weren’t true friends but my real friends and fam prop me up when I need to bitch, whine, vent etc. Thank God for them! Forgiveness isn’t necessary in my opinion. Hate can be productive. And screw all those so called Christians calling on us to forgive and move on!

  • Well – I DO wish him dead or a lot of pain. I wish to disengage and I want peace, yes.

    The problem with ME forgiving is the fact that my ahole DOESN’T acknowledge his offense. You see everything was and is my fault. I cheated on him 15 years ago (not really), so I did not deserve to be loved. I have not heard an “I love you” for 15 years because HE didn’t want to get hurt again. I cheated on him 15 years ago, therefore he was entitled to get a sexting phone line and pick up women on his Yahoo account. I cheated on him 15 years ago, therefore I deserve nothing in this divorce and he is fighting me tooth and nail to make sure I am homeless. I cheated on him 15 years ago, therefore he has smeared me to our friends, his family, and our kids. And some of those idiots (his family and the ‘friends’ who don’t know me) actually believe the alcoholic entitlistic jackass.

    You see – I am the bad guy here and he obviously can’t FORGIVE my ficticious affair. How can I FORGIVE someone who has done nothing wrong?

    • This reminds me of “NOT MY FATHER’S SON,” a powerful, sad memoir by actor Alan Cumming. His dad was INCREDIBLY physically abusive to Alan and his brother from early in his childhood. But Alan was a particular target. The mom stepped in when it became particularly bad, but was under a lot of pressure by religion/the era to stay in the abusive marriage and make the best of it.

      On top of that, Mr. Cumming was a well-known philanderer, who didn’t even try to hide what he was doing.
      All of these extremely shitty elements of Alan’s childhood crystallized in adulthood when the TV show, “Who Do You Think You Are” started interviewing Alan. And Mr. Cumming used this an opportunity to tell him that he was not Alan’s father. He KNEW Mrs. Cumming had cheated on him way before he ever cheated on her, because years before, they’d attended a dance at a hotel. His wife was seen coming out of a room with another man. He KNEW this was proof that she’d been cheating and when Alan was born months later, he KNEW that Alan wasn’t his son.

      Mr. Cumming claimed their whole lives changed after that hotel dance. That’s when the marriage fell apart. That’s when he started cheating. That’s when he gave himself permission to beat Alan and his older brother.

      Even though it was painful, Alan actually got really excited because he loved his mother and hoped that she had some moment of non-abusive affection in her life. But it turned out that Alan WAS Mr. Cumming’s biological son.

      So Mr. Cumming used that one hotel incident as carte blanche to cheat with any woman that crossed his path and horrifically abuse the son that was a “constant reminder” of his wife’s “betrayal.” And it all turned out to be bullshit. He’d spent years justifying his own behavior based on a lie he told himself. You would think he would apologize for what he’d put his son and (now former) wife through or weep for what he’d lost. But no, even after being informed that Alan was his biological child, he continued to justify what he’d done.

      Mr. Cumming HAD to believe it, he insisted, because it was true. It was true because he had to believe it. Alan forgave him because that’s what he felt he had to do for himself. BUT he never spoke to his father again and felt no guilt when he died.

      The lies these people tell themselves to justify their own bullshit became unshakeable truth in their brains. Even when confronted by evidence that it’s not true, they’d rather believe the lie. It’s more comfortable to believe the lie.

      • Should have also added, that Alan spoke to his mother and she was completely bewildered by her husband’s belief that she’d cheated at the hotel dance. She’d gone into the room to talk to the other man about getting treatment for his drinking problem. That was it.

        Mr. Cumming never told her that was the reason he treated her that way. Or that he believed she cheated. He didn’t even have the balls to confront her about the “night that ruined their lives.” Because if she’d argued, provided some other explanation for what happened that night, it would have intruded upon the fantasy explanation he gave himself to get a free pass.

        • OMG Puke Muse – this is it! This explains my stbx COMPLETELY! It is so hard to explain to people how I have been treated…..and you summed it up in your last sentence “Even when confronted by evidence that it’s not true, they’d rather believe the lie. It’s more comfortable to believe the lie.”
          I think he has been telling people and himself this story for sooo long, he has to continue with it.
          Thank you so much for adding this comment. I am DEFINATELY going to watch that, because it sounds like it is a complete reflection of my past 15 years.

          • Dang – no movie out yet. I will have to get the book and pass it to all my friends and family so they may understand what I’ve had to deal with.
            Just a side note – my kids were already born when I had this alleged affair. HOWEVER, I heard over the years from stbx little incinuations that they are not really ‘his.’ Thankfully they got thier mothers’ good looks rather than their father’s fat face, beer gut, and bald head – and squinty eyes now because his face is so fucking fat.
            We were at the State Fair last year and dipshit said they had some kind of quick DNA test there now so you could see if your kid was really yours (who knows if he was just saying it or if he beleived it – but regardless.) So – I said (while we were at the fair) “Lets go find this magical place and find out whether the kids are really yours or not, cuz I am tired of hearing about how they aren’t.” (And once again – how do I prove they ARE his without spending a ton of money – like my affair – how do I prove I didn’t have one?) Dumbass laughed and so “NO – I know they are mine.” He hasn’t made any stupid dumbass comments about them not being his since.

        • I think that some of these cheaters are histrionic (clinically or sub-clinically) and thus feel better believing the dramatic story, which involves scandal rather than the ‘dull,’ ordinary, story, which involves someone (usually the chump) doing something innocent or even quietly noble. Believing that the chump and other innocents are as a bad as they (the cheaters) are also helps cheaters cope with themselves the way a little kid might, saying, ‘Well he did it, too, when caught taking a cookie from the cookie jar without permission.’ They didn’t learn that two wrongs don’t make a right and refuse to acknowledge, even when presented with irrefutable evidence, that the other person did not commit a ‘wrong.’

          • Rock – I agree with the “Well, she did it too” bullshit childish attitide. When my son busted asswipe with his sexting phone and confronted him, my stbx at that point told my son that I had had an affair with (his friend) years ago. I WAS IRATE! STEAMING MAD! I said to my piece of shit husband “It is one thing for YOU to believe I had had an affair, but to plant that ‘invention’ in our sons head!” He had NO right to do that!
            So ya – when he got busted, he had to justify his actions by “well, your mom did it too…” Now my poor son doesn’t know what to beleive…..

            • All of this for 15 years because of a misplaced TOWEL? I got some weird treatment early on when I had my study group over to work on a project before the ex was home. We sat OUTSIDE on the patio with books and notes, but somehow that led to accusations I was sleeping with both men who were in attendance. I don’t think he even believed that for a second, but it was a warning to me to avoid any appearance of impropriety. Now I wonder if it is what he would have done in a similar situation.

              • Yes, a towel.
                I forgot about the affair I was having with my boss too. One day I was going to work (I could wear shorts to work) and the shorts I chose to wear that day (because all my other shorts were in the wash to get done after work because we were going camping that weekend) were wearing thin and I didn’t realize it. My stbx made a comment about the ‘lingerie’ (regular white underwear, mind you) I was wearing. I checked my butt out in the mirror and thanked jackass for catching me before going out the door. That could have been embarrasing, right? I went and changed and needless to say never wore those shorts again. SO – my story goes, I didn’t realize my shorts were as see-thru as they were (who looks at their ass every morning before leaving for work?). His story is he ‘caught’ me wearing lingerie to work – so I must be having an affair with my boss. (Eye Roll – whatever….)
                OK – let me just say one thing here. These two guys that asswipe has accused me of having affairs with….oh please. Give me more credit that that!

              • LadyStrange, when the shit hit the fan, my ex deposed my bosses to find out “how many” of them I was sleeping with. The answer was none, but the question was revealing. I should have been asking “how many” of his students he was sleeping with.

                Maybe you should have asked if it was okay to buy some new clothes if yours were worn and too revealing?

              • Deposed your bosses? Wow – we have a lot in common I think. They are insecure about themselves – we MUST be cheating!
                Ya – I got the “You don’t ever wear lingerie for me.” Yet – he thinks he BUSTS ME going to work in lingerie. It is just sick the ending to their stories. At least in my case – my dipwad tends to get half the story then assume the rest. You never know what he is telling you is true – well half of it is…..

              • LadyStrange: If they are being bad, we must be too. That lost me a job because no one wanted any part of the drama, but in the end he lost a career. Sure, everyone wants to go to work in threadbare clothes, right? How about you have decent clothes to wear? Oh? That makes you high maintenance? A lingerie queen? “Who is that for?” What a sad thing you had to live through. My apologies for that nonsense.

      • I read that disordered people process reality differently. Most of us have feelings in reaction to reality. My mother died, ergo I feel sad.

        Disordered people feel stuff and then construct a “reality” to fit their feelings.

        My guess is he probably wanted to beat the shit out of his kids and abuse his wife to feel powerful, for the thrill of it. He had those angry, entitled feelings. So then he had to create a “reality” to match his actions.

        It’s fucked up. And if he was “meh” about the “cheating”, he’d feel no need to lash out at anyone, mother or son.

        I also think most chumps respond to injury with self reflection and doing like Rarity, below posted — buying the abuser a candy bar and trying to nice them back. Sure, some of us lose our shit, but most of us follow that up with the pick me dance.

        Abusers don’t dance.

        • Wow this hits the nail on the head. My STBX is doing this.. stuffing emotions, lying, creating his own reality but it’s already caving on him. The sad thing is I loved him and would have stood by him… but he threw me away. And now he’s out there in space. I did try to nice him back for 8 solid months and it did absolutely no good. It was wasted time and it about killed me.

          You can’t get blood from a turnip.. as my southern grandma used to say. People don’t generally change, unless they WANT to. You can’t make them.

          • Wow! Eight months?! How did you do that? I danced for about a month, it made him cruel and it nearly killed me. I didn’t want to live anymore. I saw that it was killing me, I kicked him out of the house, went no contact and my healing began. You are strong!

          • I could have wrote your post newchumpatl. I danced for 8 months and thought he would pick me over the “30 years his junior” co-worker. Nope.. My divorce was final yesterday and even though I have been emotional today, it will get easier.

        • “Disordered people feel stuff and then construct a “reality” to fit their feelings.”

          YES! And that imagined reality does not have to be present day, either. Disordered are masters at going back to rewrite history into a story that suits their narrative — usually twisting things about so that THEY are the victim and the chump is the bad guy.

          They believe that shit, too. Disordered believe their twisted reality because it serves to protect them from the truth — that they are bad people. On the other hand, the constant lies they tell to fool other people, they know perfectly well they are lying in those situations.

      • I get the forgiveness Alan gave to his father. At the moment of forgiveness the abusive ghost of his past disappeared.

        That is what happened to me.

        Great story, Pucksmuse. I cannot thank you enough for it.

    • LadyStrange: I’m beginning to wonder if you shouldn’t have a little laugh at your cheater’s expense. He obviously prefers blameshifting (LadyStrange had an affair 15 years ago!!) to reality. So make him feel even worse–own it (privately, to him, but deny you ever said SUCH things should he pass on what you said to others). Tell him the affair from 15 years ago was FABULOUS–the most amazing, ethereal sex you ever had (cheater couldn’t possibly equal it). And the meeting of minds with your AP–you would discuss complex topics until the wee hours of the morning, you finished each other’s sentences because you were so sympatico. And the guy’s physique–uh!! (at this point, simply bite your hand, as if you couldn’t put into words how beautiful he was under his clothes). I’d pay good money to see your cheater’s reaction.

    • Haha, I have one of those too. He justifies all of his infidelities with the time I cheated on him. A time that he entirely made up. It is so frustrating. But you have to know, it doesn’t matter if he acknowledges it or not. You know the truth and that will be enough at some point. Now when he starts with the blame shifting, I can look at him and just think, “You are a crazy person.”

  • There is an old saying that goes like this – if you continue to do what you did, you will continue to get what you got!

    I am a small town girl – not sure who said this, but it’s a little nugget from my childhood.

    I cannot change my x husband any more than I can make a snake stop being a snake.

    He has shown me who he is and I have forgiven as much as I need to be at meh.

    Doesn’t mean I approve or like what he does or even who he is as a person.
    Doesn’t mean I need to live with him and continue to eat his shit sandwiches.

    He ( being a snake ) will never stop doing those things I do not like because they are in his nature. Staying with him and hoping for change would be ridiculous!

    The RIC needs to get bent. They can kiss my fairy dust ass.

    • Lucky, that’s great: “I cannot change my x husband any more than I can make a snake stop being a snake.” In fact, when I was doing therapy, the “story of the snake” my therapist told me, really helped me to see my Ex for what/who he really is, not who I imagined him to be. The story is in this song, too

      • Thanks TheMuse! A smile came to me as I listened to the song of the snake and tender hearted woman! A snake, a rat, fucktard all these names do describe the ex. As time is chugging along, I am getting closer and closer to meh! As hard and painful as betrayal and divorce has been…….I’m glad I am away from the snake, the rat, the devil, the disordered etc. CL and CN shine on!

        • Mehbound, they never change… they can’t! it’s how they ARE. How they operate. We were unfortunate to run into them in our lives… because of how we are (trusting, kind, loyal) they were able to fuck us over and now we are fortunate they are OUT of our lives!

  • LadyStrange, just for the record and FYI and anyone else who may have really had an affair in their past, if your cheater continued to live with you then it indicates he forgave the affair and it would have absolutely NO bearing on your divorce from him now. This is especially true if they have no proof of filing for divorce or separating at the time of your alledged affair. It won’t hold water!

    • Roberta,
      To be honest, I think the jackass knows it really didn’t happen. BUT – he liked to ‘use’ it against me and throw it in my face anytime he got mad at me. He has no proof, but how can he? It never happened. Oh wait – there was a towel on the couch!
      If I can’t use his affair in court (which I do have proof of -thanks to my son), how could he use ‘mine’ against me? No-fault divorce is bullshit.

      • LadyStrange, believe me, I understand about crappy “no fault” divorce states. When I filed I was still able to name his Schmoopie as a reason for our “irreconcilable differences!” I also live in an equitable distribution state. Equitable DOES NOT MEAN equal. If your attorney is sharp then she can introduce this affair information in another way, such as filing and asking for your marital assets that were wasted on his affair. It’s called dissipation of marital assets and it does hold up in divorce court! This was just one of the reasons my cheater decided to go the mediation route because I was going to not only introduce this in court plus I was going to call in his Schmoopie into court! She was shitting herself, so he had to figure out how to avoid that. My “ace in the hole” was that if he did not readily agree to my proposals in mediation then I was going to go ahead and bring this into court and ask for much, much more! He folded like a cheap house of cards and in record time! That mediation lasted maybe three hours! He knew he was sunk! He knew full well that I had hard evidence of his affair, the money he had spent on her, and to top it off, fraud! Don’t buy into every threat these cheaters throw out at you! It just means they are Desparate and they know you have some real power and YOU DO!

        • Roberta — This is SUCH good information to know! I was in a no fault state and my lawyer said affair stuff was of no consequence. I hope others can benefit from your experience!!

    • I would say even most forms of forgiveness require two people. For example, you can’t forgive what you don’t know about, and I’m pretty sure very few chumps ever know the full extent to which they’ve been betrayed. That’s what’s so transformational about the concept of “Getting to Meh”: it seems to be the only method by which a chump can process betrayal without any cooperation from the cheater. I would add that reconciliation can be impossible sometimes even when two people want it. Sometimes the damage is simply too profound.

      • In many ways, those of us who have Xs who refuse to level with us about their behavior have been robbed the opportunity to forgive and to have closure. Instead, we are blameshifted, gaslighted, and often verbally abused so it’s difficult to “forgive” and “move forward” when you are still stuck trying to figure out what happened.

        I feel like in many ways my STBX has robbed me of the opportunity to find closure. It will take me longer to get to Meh because he STILL won’t level, still lies to anyone who will listen, and refuses to take any responsibility. I realize it’s isn’t my issue, but it makes it harder. I think an admission in some ways at least gives Chumps the gift of closure. To KNOW what happened and be able to deal, rather than continuing to guess and second guess yourself.

        • Newchumpatl,
          It sounds as though closure is very important to you. (I’m not sure exactly what ‘closure’ means to you.) May I suggest an idea? Perhaps the thing that bothers you most may be the frequent abuse (e.g., campaign to smear you) that you are likely receiving. I found that the moderate reduction in abuse following STBX’s departure did way more for my well-being than any acknowledgement of STBX’s infidelity and abuse of me every could. The details of the bad partner’s infidelity, proof of the infidelity, etc. matter less than how you FELT and now FEEL about your relationship. If you felt that your partner was treating you badly, then you very likely deserve a whole lot better–and are justified in seeking divorce, separation, etc. In short, trust that they (bad partners) suck. You don’t need the justification of a ‘smoking gun’ (irrefutable proof of adultery) to validate your decision to leave a bad partner. My STBX has maligned me to the whole world, in and out of court, even though I begged him to stay while I did the four-month long pick me dance) but I don’t care any more. I know that I live according to my moral code, and knowing that is enough for me.

        • I agree, Newchumpatl. If Hannibal Lecher had admitted everything he had done during the marriage right after D-day, I could have thrown him out that day (instead of 6 weeks later), started the grief process right away, waited for the panic attacks to cease, and then moved on with my life.

          Yet here I am a year out, still fishing for a few last details to confirm what I already know so that I can get closure. I’ve moved on as well as I possibly can–my life is now my own, I have rekindled old friendships & hobbies, made new friends (mostly people in CN), and feel as strong and happy as I have my entire adult life. But the trickle truth that I still have to continue to seek myself is preventing full closure.

          Forgiveness? Never.

        • I can see where you are coming from Newchumpatl, and that having to second guess yourself robs you of the chance for closure and that sense if forgiveness. ((hugs)) I know you will find your own path to the other side of that.

          In retrospect, I can be grateful that the disordered fuckwit wasnt clever or sneaky at all, so I didn’t have to snoop very far to know what was going on. After that part, he lost his damn mind and flaunted her in front of me. Then after that part, he rolled around crying on the bed in front of me when they broke up. So there was no question in my mind about what he did or when or how. I still second guessed myself every step of the way, but not for lack of knowing who he was. I just didn’t WANT to believe it.

          So yeah, any forgiveness I can muster up will be for myself, for the lies I told myself.

      • I agree Nomar. When I couldn’t spackle any more, and the latest affair became SO blatant, the damage was complete. Too much to get over, and my main feeling was of being disrespected! How do you work with that? You don’t! That is when you decide to remove yourself, and start showing respect to yourself, since your partner refused to! Go on, put one foot in front of the other, and savor each day you have on this earth.
        Personally, I just don’t understand any of it, so I chose to go live a new life that I crafted. I don’t forgive him, I don’t have to. I do hear that he stopped drinking, and is nicer now (from our son), hey, that’s cool! Just stay away from me!

        • “I just don’t understand any of it, so I chose to go live a new life that I crafted.”

          Exactly. As I’ve heard other say, “Something you can’t ‘get over,’ you can only ‘get past.'” And moving on with a new life is the best way to “get past” what happened yesterday, last year, or two decades ago.

        • “Personally, I just don’t understand any of it, so I chose to go live a new life that I crafted”. So true, Free, that is what I’ve tried to do. It was the only choice I had (other than to curl up sucking my thumb in the corner and waiting to die…and believe me, I thought about that option for a while!).

          As Nomar said, many of us can only “get past” not “get over.” I think we often make a critical mistake in believing we must “get over” (an often Herculean and even impossible task). It is freeing to realize that getting over would be enough.

          • I know, thank Goddess those days are gone, of crying myself to sleep for 2 whole hours every flipping night! Over a selfish Moron!
            I also thought I’d never live without him in my life, but like I said, just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and eventually you realize- Cheater was the crazy one!!!!
            Tomorrow I go on vacation, with my very kind, and fun BF, and I do not miss someone who would trick me for years, at all! I come back here to read and comment, because Tracey did me such a huge, great, favor, and I hope to help others that are just finding out they were conned! Chumps are the Salt of the Earth, and you all deserve nothing but the best! Love to you all, especially ChumpLady for starting this!

  • I can’t analyze my own attitude, but I can describe it.

    I still believe that what my cheater has done was awkward, disrespectful and mean, and even ridiculous. It was destructive, immature, and led him nowhere. He lost his best partner, the only person he could rely on: me. My opinion about the events he caused is not going to change.

    However, I am not angry. I do not hate him, that’s who he is, I failed to see it. Sometimes I feel sadness because of the damage. The situation sucks. But I am not the most unfortunate person in the world… I look around me, and see that everyone has problems. I am determined to enjoy what is left of my life: the perfect blue sky in the morning, having a coffee on the beach, a fat paycheck, a drink at the pub while making new friends, the dance of joy that my rescue dogs make when I come home in the evening, the total freedom to visit family as long as I want, or to catch a plane to anywhere, etc.

    I keep an agenda to balance my new life. And I even go hiking with my cheater and our dogs once in a while ! I have always liked our hikes, so why not continue. Thus, I keep the part that he was always able to do well. Turned out he is no good as a life partner, so while he has nobody in his life, I can appreciate his company as a hiking guide.It gives me the opportunity to observe him and admit that wow, he does NOT have a great personality. Maybe now I will meet someone who does.

  • Ah forgiveness. This was and is a big thing for my X, how all his misdeeds were so long ago, how it’s my fault things didn’t work out because I couldn’t just move on, how I suck at forgiveness.

    But there was never any acknowledgement, just the idea that one year of space between the time I could confirm he last cheated and D-day meant he was a changed man.

    I got some mealy-mouthed apologies but those would quickly escalate to rage if I in any way tried to hold him to account. Then it was MY fault things were falling apart because I refused to move on.

    The RIC and these disordered fucks turn the concept of forgiveness on its head and against us chumps to their benefit. Typical – take something beautiful, abuse it till it takes a useful shape, and use it to blame shift.

    • Sad–yes, mine used my lack of “unconditional love” as a way to blameshift the end of the marriage onto me. Typical “it’s not what I did, but your reaction to what I did” bullsh*t. What’s funny is that X claimed to have unconditional love himself, despite blaming his affair/s on the fact he was unhappy with my numerous flaws. Freedom comes from not giving a tinker’s dam about what he thinks anymore. We can’t make them see reason any more than we will the earth to stop turning on its axis. No point trying.

    • I could not forgive my ex (aka give him another chance) because I never felt his apology was sincere nor did I believe he would change… That was quickly twisted and used against me. Proof that I was such an evil meanie!!!

      • Yes! This! It’s bad enough we feel like we’re going crazy with all the lies they dish out leading up to DDay, and unfortunately for some, even after DDay, but the truth is that these dumbasses are emotionally-flatlined and know NOTHING about what love or mature relationships are.

        Knowing this, why ever in the world then would we think these douchebags can recognize forgiveness when it’s offered?

        They think forgiveness is for us to be doormats again, to buy their shitty lies, allow their abuse of us and our kids, and for us to just continue to not hold them accountable. Essentially, they would very much like to go back to us being unaware of their betryal, and their endless cake-eating.

        We can offer forgiveness, but that does not look like anything these assholes are prepared for. It’s too much “work,” and who wants that compared to cake and no one knowing they are f-tards?

        Phuuuleeese…

  • Odd, I’m dealing with this concept of forgiveness now! Just meet with the therapist last night about this! Funny how the universe flows through CL 🙂

    Do I want to forgive her? Do I really want a BS response from her? Do I want to find out about more horrible details…ahg!

    I was there for her while her mother was ill, paid the bills, ran the errands, made the lunches dinners, cleaned and gave her the time to tend to her mother then to grieve for her mothers passing.

    So here it is:

    I forgive you for reminding me that I sometimes feel devalued, inadequate, and unlovable. I know that I am valuable and worthy of love, because I value and love others. Whenever I think of how you hurt me, I will value our daughters and show them how much I care and want them in my life, and that will remind me of how valuable and lovable I truly am.

    Even this; I believe is kibbles…. Just for myself.

  • Forget me, I cannot forgive what he did to my Dad in the last few years of his life that he has left. A truly good man, WW II vet, caring and giving.

    Ok, it’s not his father, but my Dad was a million times better to him than his own abandoning alcoholic father. Ex was neglected and abused as a child. My Dad trusted him by agreeing to add his name to the deed of our house. The house with two beautiful new kitchens, new sidewall, new bathrooms, and windows my Dad installed when in his late sixties. He’d pick up the check for ex out of his social security and the POS let him while making good money which he mostly spent on himself. If he’d stayed he have owned a house a few years from being paid off without ever having put down a cent of a down payment. Before he left he was pressuring me to talk my Dad into buying us a second car, then threatened to force a sale in the divorce and put us out of the house my Dad put his heart and soul into. He happily walked away with a third of the house’s value. He didn’t need that money and I could have used it to pay for better care for my Dad. It was just selfishness and cruelty.

    I saw my Dad cry over his betrayal at the age of 90. He still asks me if he’s coming back. Ex walking had a direct influence over the quality of the end of my Dad’s life. Having a severely depressed caregiver is not good. I did my best to keep the worst of it from him but at times it was impossible.

    As I look at my frail Dad laying in a hospital bed this past week while I sit there alone wondering how we’re going to cope going forward, nope I’ll never forgive.

    • Lina, my dad is in his late 70’s and tells me that my ex was like a son to him. He felt almost as betrayed as I did and said he was going to “divorce” my ex too. At a recent family gathering my father wouldn’t even acknowledge my ex. I begged him to be civil, but had to settle for my dad ignoring my ex instead of punching him out. lol

      • Lyn, my dad, who I loved dearly, always told my now ex that he was the son he never had (may dad had all girls). If my dad had been alive when this shit hit the fan, I believe my dad would have beat him to a pulp.

        • My father embraced STBX as he did his sons. In fact, my family welcomed STBX. He is probably in every single family photo going back 25 years (we were a couple long before we married). His cheating is a betrayal not only of me, but also of the entire family. What a POS!

          • My dad encouraged me to marry my now STBX although I mentioned that I had reservations about marrying now STBX as he had had sex with a prostitute. (My dad said that, ‘That is in the past, before he met you.’ My dad generally offers good advice, but I should have followed my gut on this decision!) My dad also paid for our wedding. He and my mom gave us much money later in my marriage. How does STBX thank my dad? He accuses him of abusing our kids. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

          • When I was in my early 20s I was engaged to my high school sweetheart and desperately wanted my mom to accept her into the family, but my mother refused. It was an ugly situation and I’m my mom wasn’t too miffed to see the relationship end.

            12 years of so later I met my now ex and my mom loved her to pieces. It was what I had always dreamed would happen and was a true testament to how much my mother has grown and changed as a person. My ex would occasionally refer to her as mom and would call her up to invite her to lunch or whatever. My mom was over soon after my ex announced that she was leaving and was trying to make sense of the situation. My ex said “I can’t talk to you, you’re trying to make me feel guilty.” My mom is still dealing with her own feelings of betrayal and abandonment, as it doesn’t seem possible that someone can profess love one day and disappear the next.

        • I never got to tell my dad what the fuckwit did and that we were separating. I separated from douchcanoe in June 2013. My dad was battling cancer, was really sick, barely with it, and could barely move move at this time. I didn’t want to upset him and cause any additional stress.
          Prior to becoming ill, my dad always loved to party, hunt, fish, and do & say whatever he wanted (yeah…narc. but he was still my dad.). He wasnt afraid to call someone on their shit and he never backed down; which resulted in fights. I witnessed him slug a creepy neighbor when I was a teen.
          Had he been well and known of my situation, I’m quite sure he’d have beat fuckwit to a pulp. That thought makes me smile. He ultimately lost the battle at 59 years old and passed away in August 2013.
          What did fuckwit do the day my dad died? Came over to tirade about what an awful, frigid person I am. Then, he came to the funeral only to cry on my grandmother’s (dad’s mom) about how bad he’s been hurt in all of this. The audacity astounds me.

          • (((hugs))) Freedom.

            My sister is afraid ex will show up at my Dad’s funeral but I can’t see it happening. Even if he cared (which he doesn’t) he’s too much of a coward.

      • My Dad felt the same about my ex. Of course he left when my Dad was vulnerable and too old and I’ll to kick his ass. He walked out without ever facing my Dad again. Coward.

    • So sorry to read about your dad. My dad died this summer after a long struggle and he would ask about X all the time in that last year. To his credit, X had one of our grown children take him to see my dad just before he died and actually gave dad some comfort (the two of them both suffered from heart failure). Dealing with the death of a parent is tough and brings up so much. I wish you both peace as you enter the difficult days ahead. You are a good and kind person and I know your dad is comforted by your presence.

    • Lina, reading your story always makes me mad. I miss my dad more than anything! Can’t stand the thought of anyone’s father being so mistreated. I’m so sorry, it’s none of my business, but I want to throttle your Ex.

    • I am brought to tears reading that Lina, I am so sorry. Your father and you deserved much better. I wish you much strength and some peace through all of this.

      • Thank ou Kelly. X

        My dad is very sick right now with a UTI. He fell last Friday and was admitted to the hospital. Yesterday he was transferred to rehab. He didn’t recognize me. He cannot stand by himself. I really don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m hoping to bring him home but I really don’t know what’s going to happen or if he’ll recover. It’s hell.

        • Lina, seeing them so unlike the people they were, and the unknown, are the worst parts. You can only continue to do your best, and take care of him as well as yourself during this time. (((HUGS)))

  • Mine too Lady Strange.. has never acknowledged it, continues to lie to this day. You can’t forgive something someone won’t acknowledge. So there you go.

    • THAT is the most frustrating. Mine lives with his lady friend when he doesn’t have our children, my dad caught him at her place, caught him riding around in her car, and HE STILL DENIES HE HAD AN AFFAIR. He has a picture of her as his save screen on his phone that our children has seen and asked me about – I bring it up to him – he STILL denies he’s seeing her! It drives me up a freaking wall!!! Why can he not just ADMIT what everyone knows to be true?? The only thing I can think of is that our divorce is not final – but, we have nothing to fight over because he pissed that all away and ruined my credit. He has introduced her to some of his friends, but she’s not his girlfriend? GAH!!! I just want him one time to admit that he cheated on me and THAT is the reason that we are getting divorced. Not the bullshit that he’s spewing to his kids, family, and friends.

      • I feel you WJH.. I think that’s why I am battling so much on closure. Since he refuses to tell the truth and continues to be duplicitous.. there is still a “teeny tiny” smidgen of guilt on my part that “maybe I got this all wrong”. I know logically I did not. I know I gave him LOTS of chances, I know I did all I could.. but because he won’t be straight with me, I doubt myself.

        It occurred to me he’s done this our whole marriage. That’s the method of control. Lying, deceiving, making you feel like you are crazy. He’s done it before, just not with a woman. But then again, maybe there have been several, and she’s just the one I caught. That’s the thing with liars.. you can’t believe anything they say.

        I had hoped he’d have the integrity to tell me the truth in the end, but not so far. Our D isn’t final either so maybe that’s why… my state isn’t a “fault” state, but adultery can still matter here.. so maybe it’s just selfishness.

        At any rate he sucks. Trust they suck because they DO! I wonder how these OW feel being HID and having to lurk in the shadows. What a crappy existence, is there a man on this earth that’s worth that? They suck too. People who do this suck.. there is no reforming them.

  • My ex wants fairy dust forgiveness, so that we can ALL BE FRIENDS! So that I’ll SEE that now he’s a good person, he’s completely changed! So that I’ll tell our kids that he’s a good person now and they should accept him fully back into their lives as a father figure, they should love and trust him as they did before.

    And hey! He APOLOGIZED! He still thinks infidelity is ‘just something that happens in relationships’, and that lying is a normal thing to do when you’re not getting what you want, and that threatening me physically ‘wasn’t a big deal’ because he never actually hurt me. He still blame-shifts and gaslights, and every bad thing he has to deal with is still somebody else’s fault (usually mine). But he APOLOGIZED and CHANGED, so how could I be such a terrible person as to not be friends now!

    I confess, I rather enjoy being a bitter bunny.

    • KarenE – I believe the whole ‘let’s be friends’ thing is simply image management for them. If you’re their friend then they must not have done anything bad. Mine loves to tell his family, who lives out of state, that ‘we’ moved our daughter in to college, etc. because it sounds good. The reality is that yes, we were both there on the day she moved in but we drove separately and she and I did all the work while he sat and text whoever. Also, the ‘let’s be friends’ things allows them to continue to try to manipulate you. I don’t want friends like that so I stay NC unless necessary. Like you, I enjoy being a bitter bunny!

    • I too enjoy being the Bitter Bunny!
      It was almost my screen name here.
      We’ll see if mine ever asks for forgiveness or to be friends.
      I’ll let you all know what happens if he does.

  • In June of last year, after my XH started things with the OW, I decided to try being as loving and forgiving as possible. I never raised my voice to him. I didn’t get angry with him over anything, no matter how awful and selfish he was being. I let it go when he was late for visitation and when he brought the kids back early so he could rush off and see the OWhore. I told him I forgave him (his response was always “okay” in an amused tone that made it perfectly clear he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong) and I made goodies for him and left them for him with notes telling him how much I loved him. I remember telling a friend that I really believed the power of love would melt his heart and win him over.

    One time I left him a white Sobe and a Snickers bar, two of his favorites. When he came in, I tried to say something playful and amorous. He responded with a barrage of verbal abuse, telling me I make him miserable and I’m disgusting and repulsive and we are NEVER getting back together. He held up our 9 month old and said, “Do you see this here? THIS is the only reason I have anything to do with you.”

    I left the apartment crying. When I came back, he’d eaten the goodies and left the garbage on my living room floor for me to clean up.

    That’s what being loving and kind and forgiving got me: used, abused, and discarded.

    Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the day I discovered he had secretly gotten back together with the OWhore after swearing to me she was out of the picture and wanted nothing to do with him. Yesterday was the anniversary of the day I realized my marriage was over and could not be saved. I wanted to rage at them, or comment on her blog, or post the link to her blog at CN and let chumps comment. But I didn’t. I lived my life and had nothing to do with either of them.

    That’s what my forgiveness looks like. They can take it or leave it, I truly don’t care, so long as they leave me alone.

  • I still stand firm about not forgiving or pardoning my Ex for what he did. Its not a reflection on my inner peace or torment. It comes down what my self worth is. He chose to treat and continues to treat me like a lesser human being. Much like the man who,raped me. I dont compare their actions just my resolve with both situations. No amount of forgiveness will change what they did or the fact that they had no regard for me. I dont forgive them. I wont accept it either. I never deserved any of it. What I do accept is I cant change it or reframe it.i walked thru many emotions … Fear, denial, shame, guilt and rage. Admittedly I got stuck on some of those emotions. Being stuck created self loathing. Nothing took away the pain. I had to look at the pain and say.. ‘ Alright pain, you are here for a reason… Now what importance do I attach to your presence? What are you serving? ‘ Nothing. It kept me paralyzed. What I changed is how I chose to live with the pain. It wont cloud my whole life. And it wont make me inert. Its behind me sometimes… Pushing me forward. Sometimes its beside me and i can see it from my periphery. Sometimes it sits square in my lap and i have to deal with it.
    Its my pain. I own it. And no one will tell me how to ‘ get over it’ or ‘ forgive’ Its not a crutch. Its not an excuse. Its a reminder that I am strong.

    • TheClip, that’s a really interesting perspective on pain. I’ve often felt very defensive about my pain, as if I need to protect it. I know how deep it is, and I’m not going to let anyone trivialize or minimize it or tell me to “just get over” it. I’ve often wondered if the reason I don’t want to let go of the pain is because it would be like acknowledging he didn’t hurt me. But maybe I’m really hanging onto it because it keeps pushing me forward. Maybe the pain is giving me energy to being more courageous about trying new things. Maybe once it’s propelled me far enough, I’ll be able to let it go. I like that idea very much! Thanks!

    • Well-put, TheClip. For many months, I simply reported that my anger was a little monkey sitting on my shoulder, ever present. Somedays, it was silently munching peanuts, other days it was hissing and spitting and throwing peanut shells at passersby. But it was my monkey, and I had set up the guest room for it since it wasn’t going away anytime soon. The monkey is hissing & spitting this week after confirming that my X had an Ashley Madison profile while we were married, but she will simmer down eventually.

    • TheClip nailed it, especially “Its behind me sometimes… Pushing me forward.” That pain? that’s how I got from DDay to settlement in 77 days. Now it will push me to get the house refinances and the furniture he takes replaced and the rooms all painted so it was like he was never there.

    • just wanted to say that your perspective on pain has got me thinking and will be of real help to me, theclip. thank you. x

  • Well, luckily Gollum never asked for forgiveness because he never admitted to any wrongdoing. So I guess we’re all good? Lol.

    I did believe for most of my 30 years at the point of separation that if you loved someone enough, you might be able to change them for the better. I should’ve known the error of those ideals, my mother would have a much better husband in my father at 62 if that were the case. I still hold out hope for her.

    But now I take knowledge of cheating & similar immoral activity as a clear sign that I’m not compatible with that person, like CL said. I’m also not compatible with people who would want to violently assault me, break into my home & steal my belongings or kick my dog. Does that make me bitter? Nope. Just picky, I guess. ;P

  • I couldn’t agree more, Tracy. The trip to most of the time meh has been a tough one for me.

    I believe in survival of the soul and reincarnation. I believe in karma, and that souls who make decisions to be horrible people do meet themselves. I also believe in the law of grace. How that works is…. say I’m the bad guy. I decide to hurt and exploit someone, and I get away with it in this life with no repercussions. No consequences is just an illusion. I have not learned my lesson not to do that. It is a lesson that is still hanging over my head. It will follow me until my soul has grown enough to be able to properly understand the harm I have done and have the ability to to repay the debt. Then I will encounter a similar situation in my life and I will experience the devastation, the betrayal, and all the accompanying fun stuff inherent in the damage I inflicted at an earlier time. When I truly “get” it I can move on and I don’t have to experience that lesson again. However, if I suddenly grow some good character, am truly sorry, do my best to make amends to those that I hurt and resolve never to do that again, the law of grace kicks in. I have learned the lesson I needed to learn. No need to go there again.

    When we chumps get to meh, we withdraw energy from the conflict and move on to a better life. We already know the lesson of don’t hurt and use others. Our lesson is often that we matter too and we learn to stand up for ourselves and those in our care and say….No More. We refuse to be used and hurt anymore. We discover our own innate strength, and use it. We grow. Once we truly “get” that particular lesson, we are done with narcissists and cluster B’s. The hold no interest for us anymore. We fend the off with impunity, once we recognize what they are.

    Deciding to turn the cheater ex and his family over to Spirit and trust that they will get what’s coming to them has helped me tremendously. I trust, sooner or later they will experience the lesson one way or the other. Maybe in this life. Cluster B’s run out of people to hurt and use and wind up alone. They get old and lose their sparkle. Then they have no one who cares because they have burned all their bridges. They are their own karma. Doesn’t matter to me when, I just know their karma bus is coming. That means I can take my hands and eyes off of their lives and concentrate on my own, doing my best to be a blessing to others and living the best life I can.

    • Beautiful Tessie. I agree with everything you said. I have to turn my cheater and his family over to Spirit and trust they will be punished. And I do agree we are living through some sort of ‘lesson,’ and need to learn from it and move on.
      I just pray that the karma bus will be coming and running over (and over) these assholes during my current life so I have the pleasure of witnessing THIER pain that they sooooo deserve!

    • “They are their own karma.” Precisely! That is why I don’t concern myself with any thought of revenge, nor do I think about forgiveness. It’s not my responsibility. Their karma is being them.

    • Tessie,

      You are so right about leaving them to God or the Universe to handle. This was something that was taught to me repeatedly as a child. When someone wrongs you, walk away from them – leave them be. Take whatever lesson you needed to learn from the encounter and leave the rest. Never bother with revenge. Attempting to get revenge ultimately turns that karmic energy back on you. The justice meted out by God/the Universe is always more perfect and just than anything you can hope to accomplish by exacting your revenge. There is a quote somewhere in the bible about whatever you sow you reap and you reap it 7 times? 10 times? to what you sow – and that’s bad or good.

      Our goal is to live our best lives without these Freaks of Nature and be and do good however and wherever we can.

  • My ex scumbag can ask God for forgiveness in the end. My ex is a narcissist/ sociopath, who not only screwed over myself and our children but screwed over my elderly parents and many in our community. I don’t believe I have to forgive him to move on… .

  • I don’t forgive my Ex! He never asked for forgiveness so I don’t owe anything to a facsimile of a human who would purposefully try to destroy me! To Hell with him and Schmoopie! I do realize that they are two very twisted nut cases who deserve each other! I generally give people like that a wide berth! So, I’m good. As long as he continues to be a good little “bitch” and send his alimony on time, I could care less about forgiving him, her or their horrible misdeeds! I hope he sits around staring at her pudgy face and wonders if she was truly worth all the trouble!

    • Yep, and the beauty of it is that the crevice will find them, sooner or later. Like I said they are their own karma, we don’t have to lift a finger.

      • I prefer to think of it as one of those self-sealing sinkholes. Tossing off a hardworking chump is like jackhammering a good strong foundation that has been supporting them for years. Eventually, their shiny new life will crumble and their facade will fall. Then they come looking for spackle where they found it before. All chumps have to do is just say no to that shit and step back from the approaching bus.

          • Tempest, I was thinking of the cheater removing the foundation built by the chump by acting badly, but I suppose it can be seen either way. When the chump goes, so does the foundation supporting the cheater and keeping their self image intact. Don’t know about yours, but my cheater ex’s fall was breathtaking. He lost a tenured job at a major university (Division Chair), He lost longstanding federal grants and his reputation as a noted and prolific researcher. He lost his health, then his friends due to addiction. Then he lost his life, maybe, probably, at his own hand.

            Sometimes they can’t hold it together without the efforts of a chump.

            • Survivor–I think we’re on the same page; I guess I phrased it/view it as the chump removing the foundation because that is when the cheater starts to fall apart. If the chump stays around (either for reconciliation, or because he/she doesn’t know about the cheater’s activities), then the cheater still has that foundation. They get the respectable public facade, the chump still doing all the work at home, with children, & in the marriage, even though they’re carrying on with one or multiple APs. It’s not until the chump leaves (or is left) that the cheater realizes that there is no depth to themselves.

              I had forgotten yours was a university professor cheater, too. That is an epic fall. Sad, but hard to argue he didn’t bring it on himself. I don’t know that I would wish that on my cheater (at least not until he stops paying oldest daughter’s out-of-state college tuition with his much-larger salary), but I certainly wish he had SOME public consequences. Even after the list of university-emails used for Ashley Madison accounts was posted on the internet, our university said it will not dish out consequences for private behavior. In other words, my cheating professor will not even be publicly outed for his AM account, despite a history of having been called into the sexual harassment officer’s net once. Instead he’s still jetting all over the world to give talks as major figure in the field.

              • Tempest,

                I believe that your cheater is still on solid footing because of your daughter’s need for his support. I think as your/her need for his financial support diminishes, you may notice a gradual crack and then a falling away of what he holds dear. Sometimes karma takes its time for the Chump’s protection. One of my favorite sayings from this site is “the mills of the gods grind slowly but they grind exceedingly fine.”

              • Great quote, Chump Princess! I guess I should just relax for 3 years (until daughter’s college tuition is no longer needed), and then inhale in anticipation of the Karma Bus dragging his sorry ass down the main strip of campus. Thanks, you’ve given me hope.

              • Tempest, when the obit was published, I got congratulatory calls. I didn’t have to live in an undisclosed sealed compound to stay safe anymore. But the minions still followed him:

                “FUCKHEAD was a gifted psychologist who had an indelible impact on the study of drug etiology and consequences. He was a prodigious scholar, capable of weaving together the most challenging methodological, developmental, and psychological concerns, all framed by a deep clinical acumen. He resolved some of the most difficult challenges facing longitudinal researchers examining the range of psychosocial forces affecting drug use and deviant behaviors. . . . Fuckhead received his bachelor’s degree in social ecology from [a University], where he pursued joint studies in developmental psychology and mathematics. Much later, he would forge these two academic disciplines together in a rare and powerful blend examining substance use etiology and consequences. Fuckhead made latent constructs come alive, something that many of us overlook or fail to fully appreciate. He was a staid nonconformist, which was reflected in his ardor for research on deviant lifestyles. His “liberal” tendencies were captured well by his long, flowing mane of reddish-blond hair tied back in a pony tail. He was a modern Wittgenstein, a connoisseur of wine, food, travel, and friendship, and probably the most widely read person one could meet. Fuckhead was the quintessential mentor, and his life force will remain indelibly etched in many minds. Collectively, his students’ sojourn and their own grappling with lofty ideals are a mere reflection of his caring professional tutelage.”

                Fan of drug use and deviant behaviors. Check.
                Student grappling caring professional? We can only imagine.

              • Wow, Survivor. I’m sure the narc would have loved to read that obit before he died. But did the author misphrase a few things (corrections in caps)?

                “his ardor for LIVING A deviant lifestyle”

                “Fuckhead was the quintessential mentor OF POSITIONS FROM THE KAMA SUTRA”

                “a connoisseur of wine, food, travel, friendship, AND SHAGGING STUDENTS AND CO-WORKERS WHILE MARRIED”

              • Tempest, by the time the narc died, few wanted to know him anymore. He’d alienated just about everyone with his raging and overmedicating after he got sick and had no one to see to his every want. I got that by dropping a note to his former supervisor and graduate mentor, who said that the guy who wrote the obit showed a bit too much of himself (and his hero worship). I knew that guy and knew he was smitten by the narc back then, so it figures.

                What I also learned was that the end was hard. Six years in as many institutions, with an occasional week at home with a full time caregiver. It appears to have been metastatic malignant melanoma, with attendant neuropathy from treatment and painkiller abuse. About as satisfying as seeing your cheater impaled outside some medieval castle. And total vindication for all those years I stayed out of the sun because my Dad had skin cancer while I was ridiculed and told I’d look better if I was tanned but just didn’t care enough to look good for him. The him who had to sun himself hours every single day, and claimed that growing up at the beach and burning so much as a kid made his skin “tough” enough to do that without any danger. I understand that he went home with a caregiver when they told him nothing more could be done, and didn’t wake up. No one talked about suicide, but that’s what cowards do sometimes. I’d bet on it.

              • “About as satisfying as seeing your cheater impaled outside some medieval castle.”

                A first hand account the payback can be far beyond the imagination of what a chump envisions for their tormentor.

                Great story, Survivor.

    • Tempest, I learned to say the equivalent of “I hope you die a painful death” in multiple languages. I say it with a smile in a pleasant tone when the HasBeen enters or leaves the room. He always says “what?” and I say “how is your day?” or “have a good night.” It’s one of the little things that just makes me feel better.

          • This is my list but be warned if they are not absolutely correct as they are from google translate and only meant to make me feel better:

            Yiddish
            a messa mashee af deer

            Italian
            una morte orribile per voi

            Korean
            dangsin-ege kkeumjjighan jug-eum

            Afrikaans
            ‘n aaklige dood om y

            Japanese
            Anata ni osoroshī shi

            German
            einen schrecklichen Tod zu Ihnen

            French
            une mort horrible de vous

  • “If you can find it in yourself to forgive then you are no longer chained to the perpetrator. You can move on, and you can even help the perpetrator to become a better person too.” A powerful quote by Desmond Tutu, and a reminder that real forgiveness, not the fairy dust type, is a powerful, almost dangerous force. Redemption can be a terrifying thing in its power.

    Another great movie, beside The Apostle, is The Mission which has one mesmerizing scene that depicts real atonement and forgiveness. Robert De Niro plays a violent conquistador mercenary and slave-trader brutalizing and killing the native people in South America in the 1700s. After he murders his own brother he has a transformational experience of grace with the help of a priest and decides to devote himself to helping them. He does a terrible penance of marching through the jungle to the mission village, dragging a heavy net behind him filled with his swords and helmets. The march almost kills him. He even has to climb up a cliff dragging this terrible burden behind him. This symbolizes him acknowledging his wrong and willingness to suffer in order to change himself. They get to the village and one of the natives runs up with a knife, holding it at his throat, screaming at him. No translation is needed – this is the anger needing to be expressed about the horrendous things this slave-trader has done. Everything hangs in the balance of this moment. The priests aren’t sure if the native will kill him or not. Then the native takes his knife and cuts the bag off De Niro and pushes it off the cliff. Everyone is “unchained” by this act. In that moment is anger and forgiveness and everyone is transformed by it.

  • Definitely not going to nice somebody into a change of heart. Like Dr. Simon says, for a true contrition to happen, one has to have a healthy does of shame and enough of it. Someone can feel guilt, embarrassment and even remorse. But if they’re not at the point where they can’t live with the person that they’ve become, no real change of heart can occur. There’s nothing anyone else can do to drive them towards that end.

    I think forgiveness has to do with debt. Debt says you owe me. When my cheater committed adultery and abandoned, she create a debt that she can never repay. But that debt was only detrimental to me. So I’ve decided to let it go; she doesn’t owe me anything anymore. Can I forget about it? Of course not. One cannot rewrite history. Does it piss me off to think about it? Yes, it still does but that gets less and less as I approach meh. Forgiveness equals debt forgiveness.

    Reconciliation is definitely not the same thing and it’s definitely not my responsibility. If she was truly contrite, she would have tried to make amends in any way possible knowing that I have no obligation to her and that there’s no guarantees. It’s not up to the offended to go after the offender. I cannot save the marriage by myself. I think you can forgive someone but not associate with them anymore.

    • Michael, one of my favorite fiction authors Margaret Atwood has a fairly recent nonfiction book called Payback, about the moral, cultural, and psychic concepts of debt. Very interesting parallels to what you are talking about here.

    • Michael, this exactly. I can’t remember where I read this–maybe DM’s blog– and I’m paraphrasing this, but the idea is that forgiveness isn’t denying you the satisfaction of justice, it’s relieving you of the burden of collecting the debt. I found this to be most helpful in letting go. Not letting it go, just letting go.

      I think forgiveness is a confusing and misunderstood concept. If you are a person of faith, you are called to forgive, but that doesn’t mean the person who hurt you gets a free pass, nor does it mean that you have to reconcile, and you certainly don’t have to forget. Unfortunately the mandate to forgive is often used by spiritual leaders and others to bully a betrayed spouse into staying in the marriage. Thats a horrible injustice. And no one should have to feel guilty that they haven’t reached someone else’s definition of forgiveness in the midst of their lives imploding.

      Today is my 1 year anniversary of D-Day. I am nowhere close to meh. But I have made the decision to detach, as CL says, from all the craziness. What I feel is something more akin to forbearance than forgiveness. I’m not obsessed with him getting what he deserves or everyone knowing the truth. All that will happen. God/universe/karma will take care of it. I still struggle daily and have to remind myself of this. But I’ve come a long way in a year. I’m focusing on myself and my future and building a new life. I’m relieving myself of the burden.

      • Carmella, today is exactly 6 months from D-Day for me. DM’s blogged has been a true blessing. Yes, forgiveness is a very misunderstood concept. It does not necessarily entail reconciliation. You can forgive without reconciling but you can’t reconcile without forgiving. The one necessitates the other, but the other does not depend on the one. The term “forgive and forget” is one of those well-intention things that can’t hold up to reality. You can proceed as if the debt is paid, but to truly forget is to rewrite history and that’s impossible.

        Judgement is another misunderstood concept. Those who say you shouldn’t judge your cheating spouse is themselves judging you and does not realize it. Judgement is inescapable. Without it there can be no wisdom. Those people of “faith” is making a judgement call when they say you need to forgive. That is not biblical. Biblical forgiveness is conditional, namely on repentance. No repentance, no forgiveness. You can even lose your forgiveness due to non-repentance. Anyone who says differently is lacking understanding of the Word. My church counselors ran this trip on me and it threw me for a loop. Fortunately, I knew in my heart that real forgiveness is dependent on repentance. Forgiveness does not mean anything is made right. It just means the debt is waived.

  • I really really wanted to forgive my ex from day 1. Being raised in the church I felt it was my Christian duty, but I was surprised at how difficult it was to forgive someone who crushed my soul. It really helped me understand how incredible it was that Jesus was able to forgive those who betrayed and killed him even as he was dying.

    It’s been 4 years since D-day for me and if I think too much about it I can get pretty darn angry. My ex never apologized, instead he blamed everything on me. He didn’t acknowledge any wrongdoing, but took the easy way out by running away. I could never have treated someone the way he treated me, and I can’t forgive him without his acknowledgement of the depth of pain he caused. The hardest part for me to accept is the loss of time with my kids.

    However, I work every day to get to Meh. I’ve learned a lot about letting go and trusting God or the Universe to deal with my ex, I know my job is to focus on moving forward and making my life the best it can be. It’s not my job to worry about what my ex is doing or the kind of person he is. That’s on him. It’s amazing because I truly used to admire him, but now I don’t. He’s not the person I thought he was. It’s sort of like Bill Cosby…no matter how much of a family man he appeared to be, his mask is off and we now know he is a narcissistic, sick person.

    I still remember the look of hate in my ex’s eyes when I told him that no matter what, it’s wrong to “plant seeds” to break up someone else’s marriage. It’s wrong to interfere with another man’s relationship with his children while pretending to be his friend. When I told one of my kids that his dad said he “loved” OW’s children, he replied “If Dad really loved those kids then he’d get the hell out of their life and quit trying to break up their family. He would want what’s best for them.” Pretty smart kid.

    • Lyn,”I still remember the look of hate in my ex’s eyes when I told him that no matter what, it’s wrong to “plant seeds” to break up someone else’s marriage. It’s wrong to interfere with another man’s relationship with his children while pretending to be his friend. When I told one of my kids that his dad said he “loved” OW’s children, he replied “If Dad really loved those kids then he’d get the hell out of their life and quit trying to break up their family. He would want what’s best for them.” Pretty smart kid.”
      I asked the x if he was going to man up and tell the schmoopies husband that he was taking over their marriage, he said yes. Sure!!! never did happen. When the husband found out about them, x text my grown daughter, “he found out. I feel bad for the kids.” If he had truly felt bad for ANY of the kids, mine and theirs, he would have never done what he did. The “rationalizations” that these messed up people have are unbelievable. trying to get our daughter to think that the AP husband “found” out and that it was a
      bad thing was horrible. My daughter text her father back, “Good”. She was so upset.

  • That’s EXACTLY it for me. I cannot begin to forgive someone who isn’t the least bit remorseful. If they think they didn’t do anything wrong, what is there for me to do in return? To me, forgiving them anyways would be agreeing with them that they didn’t do anything wrong.

  • ‘Forgiveness REQUIRES an acknowledgement of the offense.’

    When I first read this statement in CL’s post, I thought, cheater did acknowledge that he cheated. But then I remembered that he always followed his acknowledgement with a blame shifting comment like ‘yes, I f’d her but you were busy at work, busy with our daughter, not taking care of my needs, etc. [insert whatever excuse he made up to justify his action]’. So the reality is he didn’t really acknowledge the offense.

    Forgiveness, in my opinion, is available to those that are truly remorseful, make ongoing effort to not commit the offense again, consistently display that they are worthy of trust, openly communicate with you as needed to help with your, and their, recovery of the relationship, acknowledge the impact of their actions on you and display that this is a high priority for them, ALL FOR AS LONG AS IT TAKES (which could be the rest of your lives).

    I was more than willing to work toward true forgiveness however, cheater’s lack of integrity kept him from changing his ways. He wanted FDF (i.e., sweep it under the rug) without any work on his part and my integrity would not allow me to do that. Therefore, we are incompatible and now divorced. He even blame shifted the divorce to me by saying that he knew I would never forgive him so there was no way we could stay married. In a way, he was right with that statement – I wouldn’t give him the type of forgiveness he wanted.

    • BBC,” ‘Forgiveness REQUIRES an acknowledgement of the offense.’

      When I first read this statement in CL’s post, I thought, cheater did acknowledge that he cheated.” Cheater in my case has never acknowledged that he cheated. But the rest of this is like reading about my life, I’m really amazed at the “He even blame shifted the divorce to me by saying that he knew I would never forgive him so there was no way we could stay married.” MFer told me that exact thing on D day. He sure set everything up in his warped mind to make all of the cheating my fault.
      I know that a few people that know my story wonder why I can’t just Let It Go. I filed for divorce and am divorced since Nov 2014. But when you have been mind f*cked like this it takes a while to “forgive”.

  • I think this is what makes the RIC so very, very dangerous. They are in the business of NORMALIZINg adultery. People like Ester P. are over the top, and not as credible cause everyone thinks they are whacked out whores. Rightly so.

    I had numerous DDays, when I caught the ex communicating with the whore. He’d learned my habits though, and knew there was no real danger involved cause I always Forgave him. Til one day, I had enough and told him to get out. That got his attention, and I never caught him in contact with her again and he never defended her as a good person again. We had a “Successful Reconciliation “. Everything was Lovey Dovey.

    But guess what. I was still at the shit sandwich buffet . his opinion was that what he did wasn’t ” really that bad. ” (I could never prove they fucked and he wouldn’t admit it). And even if he DID cheat, it was really My Fault anyway, cause if your help if your wife is fat and lazy, its OK To cheat. This is what the RIC teaches you to accept.

    • Anita, “And even if he DID cheat, it was really My Fault anyway, cause if your help if your wife is fat and lazy, its OK To cheat. This is what the RIC teaches you to accept.”
      There was a person on here that said that in the beginning she was fit, slim, and well dressed. She went on to say that she was fit and slim because she worked out constantly, she was well dressed because her parents were helping her out. She was worn down to a drone, fat and lazy because she was under so much stress trying to please a man that was not going to be pleased with any of her efforts for years of marriage to him. To the person that should have been there for her, helping her raise her kids and not having to be raised himself, I say bullshit. If the damn spouses that we had were only looking out for themselves, and that is the majority plus one, of the people on this blog, would have contributed their part in our relationship, they would have no recourse to say that to us. They are the takers, they are the sorry assed ones, they are the cheating, MFing ones that should be ashamed to be. The RIC can kiss our collective asses.

  • I would say “I forgive you” to my cheating now-ex-husband, and I really thought I meant it. Until the next day, when I’d be on the shower floor sobbing. Then I’d say, “I unforgive you.” I realized that I was using the word “forgiveness” to mean “it doesn’t suck today quite as much as it did yesterday or tomorrow.” So I set the idea of forgiveness on a shelf and I don’t think I’ve ever taken it off since.

  • Cheaters don’t need or want our forgiveness……they forgive themselves in between each whore encounter and they’re good to go.

    • Maggie May, that is literally what my ex told me. That he “forgave himself” after every sexual encounter with some anonymous man in the gay bathhouse and then he felt okay with it all.

  • Even when I begged and humiliated myself in front of him, he could never find it in himself to forgive me for being too tired, too worried or distracted, too sick, too busy with work and our son, too focused on school and job, to meet his insatiable demands and provide unlimited sex, entertainment, and kibbles. Maybe one day he will, but I’m not going to sit around hoping for it.

    • Don’t hold your breath, arlo. He isn’t worth your time or mental real estate. YOU don’t need forgiveness for working your butt off taking care of the business of life while he enjoyed the leisure of time to formulate a list of insatiable demands. Being delegated all responsibility sucks. Being blamed for not doing a better job of carrying the world on your shoulders without assistance sucks louder. And being told you should have been more carefree and spontaneous while carrying that laboring oar is flat out bullshit.

      Let me guess. The more you did, the more tasks you were assigned. And then some more. Enough that you shouldn’t have been able to notice the inequity of the situation or his hidden agenda. At some point, you may have been subjected to sleep deprivation. Abuse comes in many forms. I think you know you’ve met it.

      You don’t need his forgiveness, you need to treasure and protect yourself.

      • ((Hugs)) Survivor, thank you for your encouragement! It’s such a balm to feel so heard and understood in these comment threads 🙂

        I had cut the comment above a little short, but would add that I am starting to see that this is the difference between me and him – I’m capable of reflection, remorse, forgiveness, growth, and healing. He just isn’t. He wouldnt even be capable of understanding or appreciating forgiveness if I did offer it to him. He twists everything into something ugly.

        • Hugs straight back, arlo. You are capable of reevaluating your worth. If that is a new thing to you, well then welcome to the neighborhood. Most everyone here has been told at one time or another that they have no value. And yet, everyone here has a lot of value, If your cheater is a narcissist, thinking only of his entitled self, and not about you, keep reading my friend. You have found a good place to learn how to recover.

          • Well, every single chump on here has more worth, inherently, than a cheater and any whores who mess around with a married person. Oops, I guess I’m being judgemental there. Ask me if I care??

    • I used to beg for my ex to understand what my depression was doing to me and how hard I was fighting to overcome the trauma that was causing it. I compensated in every way I could, treating her as well as I was able to. For instance, I supported me, her, and her son when she quit work to be a part-time student. I was happy to do that for someone who stood by her sick partner. When the money was gone, so was she.

      The last time I saw her I broke down in tears sobbing that I had tried so hard and that I had only fallen short of her expectations because I was sick. Didn’t matter – she was 100% done with me. She said that I loved having a family but didn’t want to do any of the work that went along with it. A part-time student said that to someone working and paying all of the bills and fighting for his life with every ounce of his remaining energy.

      She didn’t just walk out on me, she also nuked from orbit any remaining solace I had, as she blameshifted onto every thing I was and did. A year later and I’m still sorting out which of her complaints were true and which were a covering layer of her self-justifying bullshit.

      • WhichWay, you carried more than your weight in the relationship and she took your love and money and support and crapped all over you. It’s best to assume she was a very convincing pile of dung from the get go and know that she sucks. Then think hard about yourself and how mighty you’ve become since she’s taken her venom and hit the road. Is your depression improving? I know it’s a process, but that sort of treatment was pretty much guaranteed to worsen things.

        • I truly appreciate you asking about the depression. YES! It’s much better. Shortly after she left I listened to Healing the Shame that Binds You and suddenly my years of suffering made sense. I finally understood why I felt like I didn’t deserve happiness and why I felt that I was a burden to anyone foolish enough to be around me.

          Things are much better than they’ve been in a very long time, but I can’t help but regret that I didn’t figure out my huge issue before she left. But then there’s the possibility that her leaving put me in an emotional state from which I was receptive to the information. Ye olde Catch 22.

          I did love having a family. I was so proud to be supporting her and her son. I’m an introvert with some social anxiety, so my circle is pretty small, and the chances of meeting any interested ladies are slim to none. I don’t have the desperation to be coupled that I had when younger because I finally understand my suffering and that the answer to it is in me, not a romantic partner. But I still yearn for companionship and emotional/physical intimacy. I have to fight the idea that not having a romantic partner means I’m unlovable. I fear being single for the rest of my life, something I would prefer not to be.

          I try to know that she sucks, but dammit things felt so good at times. I remember that how I felt was real even if she wasn’t sincere – and like the Velveteen Rabbit, I’m still real even though she threw me out.

          • But WhichWay, if she was worsening your life by being there, she wasn’t a prize in the long run. What you offered her was her prize. Your huge issue, as you call it, could have been huge because of her dysfunction. Someday you may meet a decent person who doesn’t disrespect you or suck your goodness dry and you will be on an even kilter to have a real relationship without any Catch 22. And if you understand yourself better and get yourself into a happier place, you will look lovable to many. Trust that too. Ask any chump if they’ve experienced depression and you’ll have a unanimous vote. Dealing with a cheater when you have underlying depression has got to be the pits. Heal yourself and feel your mightiness, and let your life go on in a more positive way. Upward and onward go we. You and the Velveteen Rabbit are real, and real is good.

          • WhichWay,
            Life is so very difficult with major depression. I get you, I’ve had major clinical depression for my whole entire adult life. This shit is not easy to live with, throw in a sparkly cheater and you really have no defenses for that. Finding out that they were never real, never a real partner, never a real person even, and the devastation is almost insurmountable. But you are here, and you are commenting and you have not gone the way that most of “us” depressives go; that alone should show you how MIGHTY you are. This damn thing can be worked through, it won’t be easy but it can be worked through. Depression steals sooooo much, but you may be hanging on by a thread, I am hanging on by a thread, but the thread is there, it is real, you are real, I am real, and by God’s grace (I am a believer, He’s given me great consolation) I will get through this, You will get through this. We both have to start to “see” ourselves as we really are not as the cheater said we were.

            • Thank you for sharing. I hate that you suffer from this as well, and at the same time it’s a comfort to hear from someone else who knows exactly what I’m feeling. A few days ago I almost jumped across a table at someone who put “depression” in air quotes. He gave some bullshit excuse and I let it slide, but that’s one of the few things that offends me. I don’t usually feel mighty, though I am trying to start trusting what trustworthy people tell me. So thank you!

              My ex walking out on me has done nothing to help my feeling that I may be too damaged to love. I watched her drop her sister with bipolar when the sister didn’t deal with the illness in a way that my ex thought she should. When I raised the concern that she might do that to me, she swore she never would. When at my lowest I would tell her that if she ever got sick of dealing with me I’d understand. I realize now that I wanted her reassurance that she would never do that; when she did do it, she reminded me of what I had said. She felt it was a get out of jail free card. Maybe it was. Maybe it was blameshifting. Maybe it was both. I think on some level I knew it was only a matter of time.

              She never felt that I fought back against the depression hard enough. She threw it in my face that there were times when I didn’t want to leave the bed; she saw it as laziness, as never in her life had staying in bed all day been an option for her. I had just changed anti-depressants and was suffering from intense withdrawal and severe side effects when she decided to leave me.

              My immediate impulse was to shoot myself but I was unable to find my gun, as my parents had removed it from my home some years ago. I then started to go to Co-dependents anonymous meetings and have made a lot of progress in healing my FOO issues, and it’s clear to me now that my ex was attractive to me because our interactions were in many ways similar to those I had with my dysfunctional mother while growing up.

              That doesn’t make me miss the ex any less or to not crave her companionship. Despite the problems it was the closest I’ve ever felt to anyone and the safest I’ve ever felt in my life.

              You are so very right about depression stealing from us. Mine has stolen years of happiness from me, and though I realize that seeing my ex as a lifeline was inappropriate, feeling that I was loved despite my trauma and illness was a beautiful thing. Losing that has been one more consequence of this damnable disorder.

              I don’t see my ex as evil, rather I see her as someone with her own issues who was happy to focus on mine as they let her avoid her own. I can’t help but wish we had been able to work through our issues together rather than her leaving when I was finally making progress. It’s been suggested to me that that is why she left – if I was no longer sick, she’d have to start looking at herself. She couldn’t have that, so it was off to the races. Again, doesn’t lessen the hurt.

      • WWDSG- Seriously, what a bitch.

        First, it’s quite possible that when the smoke clears, you will realize your depression was related to HER. It could be that your fear that you were never “living up” to her expectations was because she was treating you badly all along.

        Just food for thought.

        I am sorry you’ve had a rough time, I understand and feel your pain, I truly do. A few nights ago I had a terrible dream that I was in a building with my older son that was crashing down.. with the knowledge my younger baby was somewhere in the building and I couldn’t find him. These are the kinds of images I live with. My therapist said “building” means “foundation”. My foundation is crumbling.

        But I will rebuild it and so will you.

        Big HUGS.

  • I can’t say that I forgive my ex for what he did, but I do understand why he did it. That helps me a lot in my healing.

    I understand that he did those things because he is disordered., He’s missing an empathy chip. He has a gaping hole where emotional maturity should be. He has entitlement the size of a mountain. He is a snake, and he will continue to be a snake. It’s in his nature, and it’s not my fault or responsibility to try to change the inevitable.

  • I totally agree, Anita. According to the Reconciliation folks, I’m actually worse than the cheater, cause I was a bad spouse who Caused him to cheat.

  • Someone here once said something about not being in denial but still being in disbelief. A little over a year out that’s where I still am. There’s some part of my mind that can’t accept that this special person that I shared something special with threw it all away. She seemed to be as into me as I was into her, until she wasn’t. A switch was flipped.

    She’s never requested any forgiveness, and knowing her like I do (or thought I did!), she likely thinks she did nothing wrong, as walking out on men is what she does. I’ve forgiven myself for trusting someone I shouldn’t have and can make amends to myself by not doing it again, lonely or not.

    • The hardest thing to accept (was this way for me too) is that this is who he is. He’s a guy who would run around on his wife, lie to her, leave his family to have “fun and passion”. That’s who he is.

      Your wife is the same kind of person. Selfish, narcissistic and entitled. The girl you thought she was was an act. It’s painful as hell… it is for me too.

      These people just aren’t that deep. We love them deeply, and maybe they love us as much as they can.. but it’s not deep, it’s not enduring, and it’s not what we deserve.

      Hang in there WWDSG.

  • I never forgave the asshat cheater. When he tried to stiff me on his last payment for the house he stole from me (though he found it more advantageous to call it alimony–taxable to me, deductible to him), I said I’d see him in court. He didn’t understand. “That would cost you more than I owe you. You should just let it go. Why are you still so angry?” I said that I was no longer required to accept what he decided I should have, and hung up. The check arrived two days later.

    Accountability is absolutely foreign to disordered entitled narcissistic jerks. They are so used to people cutting them slack just to make them go away, that the idea that they should honor their obligations is baffling to them. If it takes a bitter bunny with a blowtorch to show them the way, so be it.

    I’m sure I enjoyed receiving what he owed me more than he would have enjoyed being let off the hook again.

  • My STBXH did say eventually “I’m sorry, all of this was my fault” by way of acknowledging his OW and cheating (over the course of about four years). He had consistently denied each of them was anything but a “friend” right up until I had him served with the divorce paperwork at the gym while he was working out. (That proved to be an effective strategy – he was extremely embarassed, it took the fight right out of him.)

    Not sure where I stand on forgiving him. I think about it sometimes but always come back to the hurtful shit he spewed at me at various times, in addition to the cheating:

    You sow!
    You cunt!
    You are so stupid!
    I can’t accept you the way you are (referring to my weight)!
    I not going to divorce you if you refuse to lose weight but we can’t have sex until you do!
    Your hair is so thin!
    Etc., etc.

    I have disengaged from him for the most part, although we have a child together and are still working through a couple of financial issues. I’ve been cleaning out my house room by room and it’s looking (and smelling better) with him gone. Looking forward to meh.

    • My cheater said the same thing. “I’m sorry, it’s all my fault.” But she kept cheating. Talk is cheap. They can call you whatever but they prove by the way they live that they are swine.

  • The thing that has always annoyed me about the concept of forgiveness when it comes to infidelity is that is a one-way street in which chumps are required to forgive the nearly unforgivable, while cheaters are allowed to maintain petty grievances and point to them as the Reason They Cheated. You were screwing another woman when we got married? FORGIVE, CHUMP! But the chump got mad at you 4 years ago when she was on crutches and you refused to drop her off at the door and instead made her hobble across the parking lot with blistered hands? Well that kind of anger is just going to fester, and what do you expect a poor cheater to do? There is no forgiveness among cheaters, because if they did that, their flimsy justifications would slip through their manipulative fingers.

        • FV, you are absolutely right. Whatever petty thing that the chump “did” to make them cheat, is amplified in the cheaters mind and probably written down in that damn cheater handbook that they all seem to subscribe to for future use.

  • One of the most helpful things I’ve read on this journey to meh was the book “How Can I Forgive You: The Courage to Forgive, the Freedom Not To” by Janis Abrahms Spring. She talks abut ‘cheap forgiveness’ defined as a “quick and easy pardon with no processing of emotion and no coming to terms with the injury, a unilateral attempt at peacemaking for which you ask nothing in return”. (chumps know how that turns out!). Then she goes on to address acceptance – a “gutsy, life-affirming response to violation when the person who hurt you is unavailable or unrepentant” i.e., what you do for yourself to deal with what happened to you and move on (we know that as meh). And she defines genuine forgiveness as something that must achieved through heartfelt effort by both parties and is conditional – it must be earned by the offender.

    Her understanding of what it means to be cheated on and her compassion for the trauma of being victimized comes through her writing.

    And no, I have no connection to her and gain nothing by promoting her book. It just really helped me and I wanted to share.

  • I like this quote from Jeff Brown:
    “Forgiveness is one of the primary mantras preached by the ungrounded spirituality movement. This is not to say that forgiveness is a bad thing, but it is not the first place to go after an abusive relationship or traumatic experience. Healing is. Putting our focus on forgiving a wrongdoer before we have actually worked through our anger and pain is another way the new age movement sidesteps their own unresolved shadow and the principles of accountability. I knew someone who had been stabbed by a lunatic and while they were bleeding, they were doing a forgiveness mantra for the stabber. Good thing someone else called an ambulance, or they would have died. When it comes down to it, healing and forgiving ourselves is the important step. If forgiveness of other arises organically, so be it. If it doesn’t, it’s not important. We are not responsible for those who wound us. They can take that up with God.”

  • In my personal experience, the inability to reconcile my notions of closure and forgiveness with the reality of my experience with disordered people were the biggest roadblocks on my road to MEH. This struggle between what I needed, what I thought I should do, what others thought I should do, my religious beliefs, and my ability to process anger and rid myself of the ghosts from my past life which haunted my current life were a source of constant cognitive dissonance, and the anger that lived inside of me due to the unfairness of it all and the injustice of it all churned with the force of a category 9 Hurricane. It literally made me sick, and was causing me to slide into some very scary long term health issues.

    I finally decided one day that I had to love myself enough to find a way to put aside this rage. I considered the old wisdom of the two hungry dogs live within you story, which one will you feed (one eats to live and one eats your life) and the before you seek revenge dig two graves story (one for your target and one for yourself). I did not want to add to the trauma I had lived through, and let it further disrupt my life. I had learned enough about the disordered to understand that they are incapable of being sincere, and that they only offer a “false” apology if they think they can use those words to get something else out of you. So if you seek “closure” or an acknowledgement that they have done something wrong, you are looking for the holy grail of forgiveness — and it does not happen.

    I also came to accept that forgiveness in that abstract sense did not in any way condone the behavior. What forgiveness of the disordered means to me is that I am not gong to give them one more moment of my precious time. I am not gong to EVER believe anything they say, and I am not going to EVER count on them for anything. I am going to put them into a deep dark cell in the far parts of my mind, they live in the land of distant memory, and I am not going to let them ruin TODAY. What they did was wrong, and there will be no restitution, but it will not control me or hurt me anymore, because those that harmed me are mirages. They never were real, they are like visions of water on the desert to a thirsty soul. They have to live with their empty lives and the results of their selfish actions. But they do not have to live with me.

    When I really accepted this, I began to heal and I started moving on. Because I wanted to — not to satisfy some religious guru or some RI authority, or what anyone else thought. I decided I was worth giving myself the best of my life and abilities, and anything the disordered had done was OVER, and I was capable of building a good life for myself — even more capable without their dead weight holding me down.

    It is amazing how heavy ghosts from your past are. It is amazing how the ball and chain of your anger can slow you down. Stop dragging the burden of mistakes from you past around, and look to the future. You can see MEH from here!

    • Beautifully put Portia. I am finding that the further out I get from the wreck that is my ex husband the easier it gets. However, I was so trapped with my anger towards him that it was literally killing me. I saw a therapist for the 1st time a few weeks back and she said to me that anger is like drinking poison and hoping that my ex husband would die. I can honestly say that from that moment on I have made a concerted effort that every time he creeps into my mind, I change my thoughts and my anger is all but gone now. No more dead weight to hold me down. He is her responsibility now.

      • Good for you Maree! I do think that what we feed grows stronger, and I also hope that by not feeding anger and bitterness that I’ll be able starve those feelings to death some day!

    • Portia, I’ve heard the concept described this way:

      There is an old Cherokee legend about a grandfather teaching his grandson an important life lesson. The grandfather explains to the young boy that we all have a battle going on inside of us. He said, “My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ that live inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

      The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: ‘Which wolf wins?’

      The old Cherokee replied simply, “The one you feed.”

  • I read an excellent book that sums up the difference between real forgiveness – which involves an awful lot of work by the perpetrator – and phony forgiveness. It’s called “How Can I Forgive You?: The Courage to Forgive, the Freedom Not To.” (I hope it’s ok that I plug a book here!). I think the “acceptance” choice – where the victim chooses to live a full life without having to forgive an unrepentant perpetrator – meshes well with the overall philosophy of the CL.

  • I will never, ever forgive him but I am still trying to move forward.

    On another note, I have been dating an older divorced man for 2 years (he was also a chump). The relationship has been up & down for the last year. We had another disagreement earlier this week & it hit me that my picker had been turned off & the relationship is over. I’d been molding & shaping just to fit his mold not mine. I refused to be a chump in a none-marriage relationship. Thanks CN!

  • I forgive my wife, not for her serial cheating, being a liar or making me look like a fool. She’s never shown any remorse and I’ve never gotten an apology. And I’ll never forget what she did to me or our family either.

    But the reason I forgive her is I’ve finally seen how broken and pathetic she is, Her views on love, marriage, relationships and sex are completely warped. She finds validation through sex only and I’m sure she will keep screwing any man that smiles at her. But one day she’ll wake up the men won’t be there and she’ll be alone. And she’ll have nothing.

    • ^^This was my late husband…After having won the trifecta of life crises; cancer diagnosis, job loss and major geographic relocation, he decided that what would solve his problems, what would soothe his anxiety was to pork a childless married woman 15 years younger that had an inexhausable supply of kibbles.

      Chump that I am, I danced the dance unraveled the skein, financed Amazon in self help books to keep my family and marriage intact for the inevitable that was coming. Cancer claimed him 8 years after he made his choice to cheat and lie to me… after 37 years together. I don’t know that he deserved my compassion while I nursed him through his long messy end, but he got it and I am the bewtter person for it.

      He never did find an ounce of remorse in his body. He had whined in our early days of dating that he didn’t ‘get closure’ from a failed relationship with his college girlfriend…. During his third hospitization I contacted her and asked if she would be willing to speak to him while he was stuck in bed, and she agreed. I left the room so they could chat for as long as they wanted…Afterwards I asked if he found the ‘closure’ that he was looking for, and he said, that yes, he did. (I don’t even really know what the hell this ‘closure’ would be.)

      But when he was in his last weeks, his sister, who knew of the betrayal, and how I had struggled to keep my family intact gently suggested that he make his peace with me, he couldn’t be bothered. A self centered ass til the end.

      Broke my heart 6 ways to breakfast, but I am mostly free from it

      • hanecita, this reminds me of a story of one of the classiest women of all time. Eleanor Roosevelt knew her husband, our former President, was cheating. She put a stop to it. And many years later she learned that the same woman visited him shortly before his death. So, after his death, she chose a portrait of him and sent it to the OW with her condolences.

        Your gift to him didn’t get any return. But your class is something no one can buy.

        • The other benefits I got from not dumping his cheating butt was that our adult daughter was able to spend time at the end with her dad without the company of Schmoopie. (Cheater pants thought that Schmoopie would have seen him through the end, but I suspect that when things got messy (various ostomies and catheters and non-functioning genitals she would have bolted for a more sparkly fun place…)AND…. I didn’t have to surrender any marital assets or retirement to Schmoopie. Still working on forgiveness, like TheFiddler says, he was a sick pathetic loser who valued an erection over his dignity and his family.

    • I think end the end these folks just aren’t that deep, or if they are, they don’t know how to express it. You are exactly right about how they will end up… but it’s little consolation to us now.

      But we will get to Meh! Someone once said to me.. he may think he’s in heaven now but hell is around the corner!

    • ” one day she’ll wake up the men won’t be there and she’ll be alone”
      I can’t think about the punishment that you foresee for her as horrible, without thinking that I – too – am in a horrible position right now. And I certainly have not deserved it… 🙁

  • “I want to believe in that kind of forgiveness — that my goodness and fair-mindedness will win the bad guy over. If I just lead with humility and strength, they will recognize how powerful that is, and they will crumple like a repentant Kleenex.

    But the way the world usually works is — the bad guy bulldozes the church.”

    This describes my whole marriage and the counseling I got at church to stay married, while being abused and bullied year after year. I was told to model forgiveness and loving-kindness and my husband would come to his senses and love me all the more because of the years I had been such a perfect wife and set such a good and Godly example. WRONG!!!!! All that happened was I enabled a narc to abuse me for years and he never saw me…he never saw the sacrifices I made, the love and forgiveness I gave him. In the end, he holds me to blame for all of his failings and poor choices.

    I so want to believe in this kind of forgiveness, but 23 years of experience tells me it’s probably extremely rare and can only come from someone capable of self-awareness and introspection.

  • I will never ever forgive the ex and his followers. I fully understand him, owife, his followers all have a mental disorder/mental illness. There is no good with forgiving them because they just don’t care about me or anyone else and they will kept on with the same pattern of behavior.

    I do forgive myself for not understanding and listening to the many red flags and questions I had about his behavior and the people around him and me during the many many many many years with him.

    I do forgive myself for not having the life skills for not leaving his hairy Erectile Dysfunction fat ass earlier with the first D-day; in fact, I forgive myself for even marrying the bastard.

    I do forgive myself for not listening to my gut to leave him even before I married him with all of his other issues I had to sort out.

    I do forgive myself for not having the tools that I have today and the education that I have gained over time about Cluster B Personality Disorders.

    I do forgive myself for all the mental health and general health issues I had with the ex because I was not listening to my gut and just leave.

    Has it been hard to forgive myself? Yes, very hard but I am doing it.

    Overtime I have educated myself about Cluster B Personality Disorders.

    I have been no contact with all them for years. I hope and pray that my silence speaks volumes but sadly I don’t think it does. I know the truth now. I know what he and her and his followers are now. That is my truth.

    The wonderful thing about allowing yourself to forgive yourself is that you see what all of them truly are and the mental disorder they have that cannot be healed. They will follow the same pattern over and over again.

    I do try my best to protect myself but I do keep my eye open because these mental disordered fools will come back. They always do. That is their pattern of behavior.

  • A drunk driver slams into your family van and leaves you all bleeding on the side of the road. He goes to prison and serves his time. You pick up the pieces and try to rehab yourself and your kids. The drunk reforms. He commits his life to stopping drunk driving. He writes you a letter of apology and offers financial restitution. God comes to you and tells you this man is indeed sincere. You MIGHT forgive the drunk eventually. But what you will never do is have coffee with him, meet him for lunch, co parent with him, meet his wife or even friend him on Facebook. No Pastor or therapist in the world would expect that of you. Cheaters and their ilk ask the impossible. Make no mistake, they leave destruction in their wake. They destroy families because they cannot/will not control their sexual organ. I’ll take the drunk any day. And I will never forgive what was done to me and my children.

    • Bev, that assumes you didn’t know the culprit and that everyone in your family van is left intact. That is unlikely if you are here. And no, you should not meet and greet with the person who totaled your family and your life. If it’s a bummer for them, well, bummer. Care for what matters.

    • Well Bev…. I for one would rather drink a beer with the drunk driver than my cheater! Yes drunk driving is a bad choice and dangerously stupid. But he/she didn’t leave the bar with intent to harm. Cheaters know what they are doing. The harm they do. They willfully attack the people they are suppose to protect and love the most! They do it over and over…. All the time attacking our sanity! Trashing us to anyone who will listen to make themselves feel better!!! I will take the drunk any day!!! Beer I understand…. It’s cold and tasty!!! Cheating I don’t understand!!!

  • Tracy, your quote from Bishop Tutu’s book, “Book of Forgiving” is one of my favorite definition of forgiveness. He captures everything that I believe forgiveness is to me.

    I forgave, truly forgave, cheater ex twice. It was my choice but cheater ex obviously did not value nor honor the gift of forgiveness. After we were divorced, he has apologized in so many ways – personally, emails, letter, etc. I told him I did not believe he was sorry. Nowadays, I just want to be left alone in my happy land of meh. I couldn’t be bothered with him – I’m not going to do anything to inflict pain on him; he can do that quite well on his own. If he needs a kidney and I’m a donor, hell no, I’m keeping them both.

  • Yes Bev, THIS! They expect the chump to turn their whole moral/values system on its head! They are mentally ill! I’m convinced of it!

  • The more chances you give a person the less they respect you. They will begin to ignore the standards you have set knowing you will give them another chance. They are not afraid to lose you because they know no matter what you won’t walk away. They get comfortable expecting your forgiveness! Never let a person get comfortable with disrespecting you!!!

  • I agree with David B. The more chances you give someone the less they respect you – I wish I could have understood that 30 years ago.

    • If by “chances” you mean letting somebody step right on past what ought to be firm boundaries, well… it’s self respect that takes the bigger hit, I think. And who respects somebody who doesn’t respect themselves? You might feel sorry for them (though, in the case of adultery, that doesn’t seem to be the case more often than not), but respect?

  • “Never let a person get comfortable with disrespecting you!!!”

    this is so true. i definitely let this happen when i was married.

    i accept the affair and subsequent marriage breakdown. i know how i contributed and feel like i have learned (am still learning, in some respects) from the experience. i think i have changed some things about my behaviour.

    my ex cheated because that’s how she responds to attention from men. she wants their approval and she wants them to want her. this was a theme all through our marriage.

  • Oh I love Archbishop Desmond Tutu. His writings are so powerful.

    What he says: “However, when I talk of forgiveness I mean the belief that you can come out the other side a better person.”

    Yes, I believe it is a journey, and forgiveness takes time because it is a verb. And talk is cheap. I think forgiveness can be the place one arrives when enough time has passed. I consider “no contact” to be the work of forgiveness. It is in that space that I believe I can come out of this a better person. – Better than feeling like damaged goods. -Better because I know my EX let go of a good woman. -Better because I no longer live in the shadows of a lie. -Better because I want to be a better person.

    Karma is interesting – if being hurt, humiliated, & screwed over by a cheater is my bad Karma, the Buddhist’s say embrace it fully and move through it. And even though I know it is not my fault, I see the “no more pick me dance” as full acknowledgement of not be consumed by that power, anymore.

    A while back, in my insomniac hours, I happened to come upon Archbishop Tutu as the sole guest on Craig Ferguson’s Late Late Show– (omg, really miss Craig Ferguson!)

    Craig Ferguson’s intro to Archbishop Tutu is a riot, and beautiful.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfuvIgFP-G0

    And the interview with Archbishop Tutu is SO delightful! I hung on every word; “…You have given me back my eyes”. The vids go in sequence.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PW7mvLTqVMM

    Tutu’s command of the English language is so impressive, so powerful, that his words, and his enlightenment: “I can’t be human on my own” resonated with me like no other. And, the very phase “Truth and Reconciliation” is SO applicable to the small and large of humanity.

    -A great (fabulous) post CL! Thank you!! -I loved revisiting this wonderful interview which left me then as now, humbled and human…

    • I’ll add that I love how Archbishop Tutu Rrrrrrrolls his (R)s!

      Listening to him last night was just what I needed. Part of what is very special about this man is yes, his wisdom comes from a being a holy man but it also comes from being a family man; a husband & father.

      While I will not forget, the road to forgiveness (that space) allows me to move away from that which I cannot forget. It’s such a day by day thing. Some days there is only Hell Hath no Fury! But the days when I feel soft and vulnerable I find I am grateful and even forgiving not to be Spackle Woman Extraordinaire. When children are involved it’s so hard because they are made very vulnerable and have to sort through an even more complex set of emotions and truths. So, I wish him well for his children – their road to meh could take way longer than mine. But their road continues on with their father, too.

  • I have really struggled with this topic since I was raised to be a “good” Christian who always turns the other cheek and forgives so I can be forgiven.

    But….I. Don’t. Plan. To. Forgive. EVER.

    Just waiting until the day that I can say I don’t wish him dead.

    Not there yet.

    • I recently ended up in a encounter group situation, somewhat unexpectedly, and was asked to sit center and speak to the facilitator as if he were my ex doucheturd. I surprised myself when I said “I don’t wish you dead but I want many Bad Things to happen to you, so you will hurt as much as I have”.
      This isn’t meh but it is a great improvement over my previous feelings and fantasies.

      • Why can’t you wish him dead?!!? He was shitty to you. In the entire Universe we have no control over things happening to other people as long as those thoughts stay inside us. You don’t plan on doing anything about it so what harm is it doing while you heal? Hate is a great motivator. Just keep on hating and moving forward. All these stupid platitudes are so someone can make some money off you and other chumps. I think this blog is the best thing going. Hate away!!!……then one day Meh and Tuesday.
        BTW, years later I still hate my S-I-L and don’t feel the least bit guilty.

    • twitching, we understand. We have all been where you are. I hope my words help you but I feel you miss who you thought he was, not who he really was and is. The loneliness is very hard but that will also ease. You will stop loving him one day when your heart and head are aligned. I wish I could give you a hug and reassure you that it will get better. Please stay with chump nation as we will support you through this. ((((HUGS & LOVE))))

    • It’s okay that you feel all those things. It only shows you are human and not a monster like these cheaters. But twitching, you have to stay away from him for YOU. You deserve better, and you should not have to be one of the walking dead which is what I call that state of living with a cheating lying spouse.

      Someone wrote on here long ago that there were many things that she did not want to do in life but she did anyway because she knew it was the best thing for her– going to the dentist, getting surgery, getting up in the middle of the night with a sick child or puppy, going to work every day….. Staying away from our cheaters is just one more thing we have to do because it is healthy for us, and the converse is also true–it is physically and mentally devastating if we don’t stay away.

      I’ve often thought of that advice, and it is a good way of looking at it. We all know how you feel and how bleak and devastating it seems now. But I can tell you from my personal experience that you have to go no contact as much as possible, and when you do, like a bad drug the longing for him will wear off. And I can also tell you that things are so much better on the other side, once that cheater is long gone in your rear-view mirror.

      Hang in there twitching. (((Hugs)))

      • Kelly your post was beautiful, just what I needed to hear today. I don’t want to deal with divorce paperwork at all… you have reminded me I have to deal with it so I will heal and be a healthy person

  • I am absolutely heart-broken to hear of so many marriages that ended with Cheaters Blaming their Spouses. I call that Supreme Cowardice. I now feel very lucky that The X of 36 yrs did it how he did it – brutal as it was. (he never wanted to reconcile) When in final mediation before court, where he had signed the documents admitting his 3 yr affair with his lover (50/50 state): whom he admitted moving her into my HOME when I was traveling. Took over my Fucking RockStar Bus! Who Landscaped parts of my home. Who, sent my own dogs away to kennels so her dogs could live here. I think when he told me all this (which I actually didn’t ask for), I think he felt some repentance. (I was busy showing a lot of dogs at the time and he quit going with me).
    Anyway, I wrote ALL of that down in the first divorce papers. Every detail he told me. The war was on.

    Come time for the 3 attorneys and us two at the Mediation Table (after an incredible amt of money spent thanks to his hi-priced atty). Neither of us wanted to go to court but I am a great chess player and I do like to bluff. I was so ahead of him on this game, because I followed everything he did while he cheated..and never once did he gave me credit for my ahem-internet-skills. (Said I wasn’t really worth paying for my time as I was setting up his businesses on dial-up, but whatever)

    In this mediation, He absolutely caved after I gave him a full 25 mins full of what I had to say – no swearing allowed, and other rules. We had equal time to say what we wanted. But, SO thankful for his attorney, my attorney and that mediator to get us together for that session so we could settle our very easy break-up.
    After my 15 min speech, he said…’I’m sorry you feel that way”. With his head down.

    And, well, the mediator gave ME another full 15 minutes of blowing his head off about that not being any close to being an apology.
    I walked out of the room.
    His team asked for a break.

    Me and my attorney saw the X walking down the street really fast….his $500/hr attorney chasing him…Calming him down.
    And, I’m watching this like a Fargo movie – there he goes in the Tan Sierra!.

    So – they came back finally. Asked for another meeting in the conference room.
    I won’t get into his very wonderful apology that was much better said.
    Is was something along the lines that he never meant to hurt me…but, all I know is, that’s what it took for me to sign the papers so we didn’t have to go to court.

    My question for people in a no fault 50/50 state who don’t file first and LIST the GD reasons of why you want a divorce from your cheating spouse, do not let that deter you from getting you more than you think you will. When you file first, it’s documented. When they sign that – they admit it.
    And, right there is your settlement, depending on the judge in your case.

    Blatant disregard for no bounderies in the marital home, including the beds, and all your recreational vehicles (for THREE whole years!), WILL come in front of the judge.
    And, your spouse gets that chance to either give up and give you what you want…or think the judge will understand.

    To me? It sounds like 40/60 shot if adultery is admitted to in a 50/50 state (for the chump)

    Just my experience.

    • SheChump, equitable distribution state and no fault too! Went the mediation route and wrangled a 80/20 in my favor! He was sunk and he knew it. He certainly did not want me dragging it to court and he knew I would if mediation failed! It IS possible to do this. And I also filed first!

  • Forgiveness sounds like a good eventual goal, but Im nowhere near. He was angry and shitty to me for years and years. He can sit up in heaven and love me and while I take my turn being angry.

    This past sunday would have been our 29th wedding had he lived and we stayed married. I opted to not say a single word to anyone about it just to remind myself that it is a detail of such little import I would rather talk about the dirt on the kitchen floor.

  • Unicornnomore, do you REALLY believe he’s “sitting in heaven?” I suppose it could be possible after the Hell they created on Earth for themselves and the families they destroyed, but I don’t believe it’s probable! I do believe though that you are being generous and that proves to me what a good person you are!

    • I could write a book that would answer that question, but the short answer is “yes”…based on my experience with God walking me through the minefiled, I think Major Cheaterpants is in Heaven. To the best capacity his narc self had, he was living in a state of Grace at the time of his death. The Deacon I spoke to shared your skepticism but I told the Deacon, if he told you his stuff then he said it to the Priest in Confession. I think he squeaked in my the skin of his teeth. I want him in Heaven…as far from me eventual part of heaven as he can possibly get. I also really believe in Purgatory where he got a big ol’ debrief about all his stuff. yea.

  • ok, my problem was and still is that I DO forgive him. I forgave him for not coming home every weekend. i forgave him for not giving me money to pay the bills. i forgave him for talking hateful and saying cruel things to me. i forgave him for having a girlfriend, living with her and letting her talk shit to me. i forgave him for not calling or visiting his children. i forgive him for not paying child support.

    he has not and will not ever ask me for forgiveness. he has never understood nor appreciated that i could and would forgive him for all his “mistakes” and bad behavior. he actually never believed that i truly forgave him anyhow because HE IS not the type that would forgive. he was still bringing up shit that i did 10 years after so there is NO WAY he could ever believe that i forgave him. But more importantly he could never forgive himself. it was much easier for him to “run away” then to do the work he needed to forgive himself and better himself.

    But just because i forgive does not mean that i accept being used and treated badly. just because i forgive does not mean that i will not bring it to your attention if you are stupid enough to do the same thing again. just because i forgive does not absolve you from consequences of your bad behavior or that you should not be held accountable for your actions. NOR does my forgiveness mean that it is ok for you to do it over and over. my forgiveness does not change my morals, values and standards that those things are wrong. It does not mean that i am accepting being treated that way. just because i forgave him does not mean that i am going to hang around for him to continue to use or abuse me.

    i forgave him but that does not mean that i want him back. and yep, i still wish bad things to happen to him although i no longer wish his death or his ass in jail. i understand that he has a personality disorder, that he is cluster b, and he will never truly understand what he does. he does not miss me, he does not feel bad for the pain he has caused me and my children. and if he ever does have a brief moment of guilt or pain, he will just drink until it goes away. i could have continued to be married and giving my love, support and forgiveness to a man who doesn’t appreciate it and has no impulse control.

    he doesn’t recognize or admit the things he did that lead to our divorce. both him and his hood rat tell everyone that their relationship ironically started the day i kicked him out of the house (for not coming home yet again). they have lied so much that they both believe it as does everyone they tell that story too. his enablers have made him feel better for bailing on his family and betraying his wife. he has no issues with what he has done.

    But i refuse to live that way. i deserve better. i will never get any closure from him. i will never get an apology or heart felt remorse from him for all the pain he caused me and our boys. i will never get honesty or integrity from him. i refuse to let him control anything in my life. i refuse to give him power over me. i deserve an honest, peaceful, happy life without being lied to, made crazy and unappreciated.

  • I forgive myself for missing all those signs and signals of this affair.
    I forgive myself for trusting and loving to someone who did not deserve my love or my trust.
    I forgive myself for believing in the “potential” of my relationship to a cheater, instead of the reality.
    I forgive myself for saying “enough is enough” and walking away, because this comes from a place of strength, & not weakness.
    I forgive myself for still feeling hurt by this relationship in the future, because my soul will grieve for the death of our marriage longer than my mind will.
    I love myself. I forgive myself.
    This time, I will not forgive him; I will forgive me.

  • >