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UBT: “Please Don’t Give Up On Me!”

insincereDear Chump Lady,

Long-time reader, first-time UBT submitter. I’m a gay man and was with my ex-boyfriend for about 7 years. I need some UBT help on a handwritten letter I got from him after official no-contact for a month and some change. I still love him and am weak in the knees after getting a card like this. Now I know this might be a tall order, but if there is anything that stands out as legit and not bullshit, please let me know.

A little background…

Ex cheated on me twice in the first couple years of our relationship and told me about it in the third year voluntarily, but claimed he was polyamorous and seeing other people was a part of his sexual identity. I accepted this and laid some rules out that would help me feel comfortable/build trust, even though I was still very hurt. On his first date with someone else thereafter he didn’t follow the rules — not sure why he admitted that he violated the rules instead of lying?

Anyway, I didn’t break up with him, he followed the rules thereafter (presumably), and then I, myself, tried fooling around with other people. That didn’t go over so well with him and he said we should go on a “break.” I begged him not to do so and stopped seeing other people because I didn’t want him to feel uncomfortable, though he continued to see others despite my reservations.

Fast forward to this past year when I said I didn’t want him seeing other people anymore and we needed to go to couple’s therapy. He had also tried breaking up with me a couple times because I was withdrawing my affection, but I begged him to stick it out with me. At the start of the very first session I explained that much of my withdrawal of affection was because I couldn’t trust him, didn’t feel like an equal partner, etc. LO AND BEHOLD! A month and some change into therapy I saw a text message on his phone (just on the lock screen, I wasn’t snooping!) from a guy. I confronted him and he said that they had met through Grindr and had had sex at least a couple times. (Apparently this guy knew that I was in the dark about the affair and was totally cool with it! Stay classy, Grindr.) I cried until I lost my voice and terminated our relationship, though we stayed in contact for months. I said to my ex that we should decrease the frequency of our talking and he agreed, but then berated me shortly thereafter because he felt I was “using” him. I also said that he needed to go to individual therapy and he found that an unreasonable request. Eventually I said enough is enough and initiated no-contact.

Here’s his letter…

I guess by now you’ve completed [your entrance exam for graduate school] and what an accomplishment that is! Well, I guess I was nothing more than a deterrent to you, and I vow to never be that again. I’ve been doing so much thinking about myself and about us, and I feel so horrible about how I’ve treated you; on so many different occasions I was completely selfish, recalcitrant and worst of all deceitful. I’ve spent the whole winter thinking about this. Can you find some place in your heart to forgive me? I know it’s hard to see since we live so far apart, but I really have made lasting changes and I really am genuinely remorseful for my numerous indiscretions. I want you to think of my positive attributes, all the times I really was there for you and the ways that I’ve forgiven you for some of your wrongdoings. We’ve taught each other a lot and we’ve grown together in so many ways. I know I haven’t shown you the respect you deserve and I’m so sorry that I couldn’t see sooner how important you are to me. But I see it now even if it’s too late. I wish I could go back in time but I can’t. All I can do is move forward with honesty and faith, two things I couldn’t allow myself to give before now. Please don’t give up on me. I promise to be faithful and true. It’s what I ((with “I” heavily underlined)) want. I never want to lie again and I’m so ashamed of myself. I don’t ever want to make you cry again; I want a happy future together. I know we can have that, if you can find some place in your heart to forgive me.

Sing me my song, Chump Lady.

Gay and Monogamous

Dear GAM,

I’m sorry, GAM. I don’t see anything in that letter that isn’t bullshit. I know your chumpy heart swells to hear “I don’t ever want to make you cry again,” but guys like this LIVE to make you cry again. And again. And again. And hey, back that kibble tanker truck up and dump the gallons of tears here.

He’s not a changed man. Besides, isn’t being a deceitful fuckwit part of his “orientation”? Can’t pray the stray away, you know.

He shouldn’t have to hide his true nature. He should be out and open as a deceitful fuckwit. (So we can throw rotten vegetables at the Fuckwit Pride parades.)

Oh right, but if he was out and open as a deceitful fuckwit, loving chumps would stop being of use to him. So he sends his “regrets.”

Let’s feed his hand-written apology through the Universal Bullshit Translator.

I guess by now you’ve completed [your entrance exam for graduate school] and what an accomplishment that is!

Pat, pat, pat!

Well, I guess I was nothing more than a deterrent to you, and I vow to never be that again. I’ve been doing so much thinking about myself

(The UBT can smell the Change from over here.)

I always think of myself! I vow to never deter myself from thinking about myself again!

and about us,

By which I mean “me.”

and I feel so horrible about how I’ve treated you; on so many different occasions I was completely selfish, recalcitrant and worst of all deceitful. I’ve spent the whole winter thinking about this.

I cheated on you for seven years. And every time I felt so gosh darn horrible about it, I created another Grindr profile. Selfish, recalcitrant, and deceitful works for me.

I’ve spent the whole winter wondering how to better to batter-ram your boundaries and respect your no contact. Oh hey, I know! A hand-written apology!

It’s like a chump decoy! Now, if I can just find my chump whistle to mimic the chump mating call. “I never want to make you cry again! HA-LOooooOOOO!”

What’s that rustling through the underbrush? A chump! Approach the chump lick! It’s made of salty, dried tears.

Can you find some place in your heart to forgive me?

The proper reply for GAM is “Oh yeah, it’s right there in my pocket next to, ‘Go to therapy’ and ‘Quit cheating on me.'”

I know it’s hard to see since we live so far apart,

I can’t show you any sorry, (how convenient!) but I’ve got plenty of pretty bullshit.

but I really have made lasting changes

A whole MONTH! Seven years of serial cheating and a “polyamorous orientation” POOF! Watch it LAST! I feel week 5 coming on.

and I really am genuinely remorseful for my numerous indiscretions. I want you to think of my positive attributes, all the times I really was there for you and the ways that I’ve forgiven you for some of your wrongdoings.

Let me demonstrate my genuine remorse by making false equivalencies.

That time I said “Let’s have an open relationship”? And then you went and actually HAD one? With someone ELSE? That kind of level playing field was really unforgivable. But I forgave! #biggerperson

We’ve taught each other a lot and we’ve grown together in so many ways. I know I haven’t shown you the respect you deserve and I’m so sorry that I couldn’t see sooner how important you are to me.

It took seven years of serial cheating, risking your health with Grindr hook-ups, disrespect, mindfuckery, and one pointless, sullen couple’s therapy session for me to realize how important your kibbles you are to me.

This is the kind of solid foundation every healthy person aspires to!

But I see it now even if it’s too late. I wish I could go back in time but I can’t.

And isn’t saying “I wish I could go back in time” what really matters, versus good character and all that shit?

All I can do is move forward with honesty and faith, two things I couldn’t allow myself to give before now.

I couldn’t allow myself honesty and faith before. I keep them locked in a steamer trunk in the bottom of my fetid consciousness, bound and gagged. Whenever I let Honesty free, she says crap like “PROUD TO BE A DECEITFUL FUCKWIT!” Back in the box, Honesty.

Please don’t give up on me.

It’s hard to find replacement chumps. Fuck buddies? Sure. Invested, loving people who’ll agree to all my lop-sided terms of engagement for the occasional starvation kibble ration? Not so easy.

I promise to be faithful and true.

Hahahhahhahhaaaa! #Islaymyself

It’s what I ((with “I” heavily underlined)) want.

Fuck what you want. (Back in the BOX, Honesty!)

I never want to lie again and I’m so ashamed of myself.

Like I DO shame! Really, if I had any shame, do you think I’d send you this shit?

I don’t ever want to make you cry again; I want a happy future together.

I want a happy future of making you cry again. #kibbles #centrality #awesomeness

I know we can have that, if you can find some place in your heart to forgive me.

By “forgive me” I mean take me back with zero conditions, zero demonstrations of remorse, and allowing me to blameshift my shitty actions on to you.

GAM, Tell him no. Find it in your heart to forgive yourself for wasting seven years on a fuckwit.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Oof…GAM, I’m sorry that your ex tried to pull this shit on you. The UBT is right on point as always. The only thing I would add is that if the man really cared, he would know that opening this can of worms can only hurt you, and if he genuinely loved you, he wouldn’t want to hurt you. Take care of yourself.

    • I 100% agree. The ‘It’s what I ((with “I” heavily underlined)) want” is classic NPD. GAM you shouldn’t be giving a fuck what this cheater wants anymore. You deserve better. We all desever better than giving these asshole what “they want”.

      • I shared this yesterday but here it is again. GAM don’t put yourself at risk again, the odds and research are against you…

        The few available reports examining relapse rates for sex addicts are as
        high as for other types of addicts (Harnell, 1995; Magness, 2009; Schneider
        et al., 2000; Wan, Finlayson, & Rowles, 2000).

        In one study (Magness, 2009, 2012), among 100 self-identified sex addicts, 87% reported at least one return to previous bottom-line behaviors. The author defines a “slip” as a one-time
        event that happens unexpectedly; a “relapse” is a prolonged move back to compulsive sexual behavior.

        In another study, (Schneider et al., 2000), 98% of married sex addicts attending 12-step sex addiction programs reported they slipped at least once, and many had had multiple relapses.

        And these are the people who “reported”. Most of the serial cheaters never report/disclose/confess anything or all the truth to their partners, their counselors or researchers.

        We know your pain. But please, leave this man behind.

        • Yeah, it really does seem at this point like he refuses to grow. Like, his behavior makes him upset (though only after he gets caught so … maybe he’s not really upset after all?) and he understands why it’s wrong to treat me this way, but he makes the same choices with the same reasoning methods in the same situations over and over. Same goes for his marijuana addiction and other impulsive behaviors. I don’t think it’s that he CAN’T stop, I think he doesn’t see a good enough reason not to. He’s a very intelligent and sensitive person so it’s so bizarre that he is like this, but I have to stop trying to untangle the Skein of Fuckedupness as they say and just accept that, from what I’ve seen, things aren’t going to change unfortunately …

  • “It’s like a chump decoy! Now, if I can just find my chump whistle to mimic the chump mating call. ‘I never want to make you cry again! HA-LOooooOOOO!’”

    What’s that rustling through the underbrush? A chump! Approach the chump lick! It’s made of salty, dried tears.”

    HA HA HA!!!! So true but also so hilarious!

    GAM, you don’t have kids with this poor excuse for a human being. Count your blessings and enjoy your freedom. Don’t volunteer yourself for more misery.

    • Oh, CL, you have done it again! Identified the BS and created yet another hilarious visual. Chump decoy whistles and Chump licks made of salty, dried tears? I will never hunt or go bird watching again without an appreciative snicker. You are the best!,

      Shameless plug: get CL’s new book–it’s another winner! Gratitude here.

      • And don’t forget to leave an Amazon review for CL’s new book:

        (Do *not* respond to Fiona’s 1-star review; it bumps it up in recency and we want to keep it off the front page. You can vote “no” to whether her review was helpful, but please don’t comment on her. She’s finally not one of the “most recent”!! Thanks for everyone who’s left such fab reviews! Viva la Chump Revolution!)

        • I ordered 2 copies! One for my shelf. I’m long since past that relationship and at Meh, but Chump Lady and Chump Nation is what/whom finally laid it out in black and white in my head and allowed me to get past it. So yes to supporting her work with cash!

          Another, unfortunately, for a good friend who’s going through wreckonciliaton with her “multiple female sexting” husband. I’ve been supportive of whatever she wants to do, but have reminded her that he needs to act sorry, not just say it and give her the space she needs to heal, not get fuffy because she can’t accept an apology right now. I’m hoping the book will help her as much as this blog has helped me.

          • I know. Sadly, there will always be one more person who needs CL’s book. FeralBlue, I hope your friend makes the best decision for herself (we all know what that is, but she may take awhile to come around to it).

            • go check out how much CL’s old book is listed for…If I thought someone would give me nearly $200 for it I’d sell mine! LOL

          • So, I see that Fiona is a spouse who is attempting reconciliation. I hope she has better luck with it than I did. When my ex cheated, I thought I could put a stop to it by being better. I thought if I had sex all the time, became more outgoing, etc. that he would stop cheating. He didn’t. Honestly, even if he had stopped cheating, my actions were not going to keep him from being emotionally abusive. My actions were not going to make him care about my feelings or happiness. He is now in a polyamorous relationship and can’t keep the poly contract. He even kicked his partner out of the house so he could move his new girlfriend in for a while. I feel bad for his partner because I know what she’s going through. Once a cheater, always a cheater doesn’t HAVE to be true. Unfortunately, the saying exists because plenty of cheaters don’t choose to change. Most of the divorced people I’ve met here and on infidelity boards have tried reconciliation at least once. Our exes just didn’t want to stop being cheaters no matter what we tried.

  • I’m sorry, GAM. Unagreed-upon polyamory was a feature of my life with ex, too.

    I don’t believe that polyamory is a sexual orientation – sexual orientation is about who you like to do it with, not how many. But say for the sake of argument that is is. You sign yourself “monogamous,” and your ex bludgeoned you with the “it’s my orientation” club, to make you feel like a bad, prejudiced person for criticizing out-and-out lying and cheating. Now he says he can change, but if his orientation is “polyamorous,” then how could that happen? Wouldn’t that be like you saying you’re no longer gay? This dung heap of mindfuckery deserves no response.

    • Polyamory is no defense against infidelity. All it takes to be a cheater is to break an agreed upon set of rules, for your own advantage. Those rules can be monogamy, or those rules can be the terms of engagement around polyamory. Cheating is about character — not orientation, not monogamy, and not polyamory.

      • “Cheating is about character — not orientation, not monogamy, and not polyamory.”

        This cannot be repeated enough.

        • Dontcha just LUUUUV how cheaters figure out their…*orientation*…AFTER they already cheated and not BEFORE?

          • Have been watching Frankie and Grace on Netflix. Warning, lots of triggers. But a very good series.

            • I watched a few episodes of Frankie and Grace and couldn’t take any more, although the female leads are terrific. I just couldn’t stand how the husbands’ 30 YEARS of lying and cheating was glossed over just because they are gay. So what? That doesn’t excuse them in my book — my ex pulled the same stunt, although to this day won’t admit he’s actually gay. I would love the show if the husbands were left out and it only focused on the women and their children.

              • The 30yrs of cheating and “nobody is supposed to be angry at them cause they’re gay and that’s great” is actually addressed later on in the series, by the wives AND the children.

                I love the leads as well and can’t wait to see the new season when it comes out. …

            • Feral, I’m glad to hear it’s addressed. Maybe I’ll have to give the show another try. I only watched the first couple episodes. Love me some Lily Tomlin.

              • I’m in the same boat, Glad, with an X who still won’t admit he’s gay (though he does have “subconscious sexual fantasies” about other men, as well as “same sex attractions,” and gets off to gay porn, but he’s never actually “acted” on any of his “urges”).

                I hung in there with the show and it does eventually take a harsher look at the toll all of the years of lying and denial takes on the families, though I found myself envious of the wives because they got an admission of the truth. Something I probably never will, but that just goes with the narcissism territory.

      • I am in a poly relationship currently. It is all about HONESTY and TRUST. It takes a high level of communication. It is not for everyone. I find it far superior to my faux-monogamous relationships of the past. Now, everything is on the table. I don’t have to wonder. But, again, it isn’t for everyone.

        Poly isn’t an orientation!!!

        Poly takes a lot of work so that everyone is on the same page. Poly is about talking about everything, getting everything on the table, being rigorously honest and trustworthy.

        Cheating is cheating. Lying is lying. Cheating and lying go on in Poly relationships too, but the affect is the same…one person is cheating and lying.

        GAM, this guy is a liar and a cheater. He will do it again. Run away, go no contact again and STAY NO CONTACT. This guy is a manipulator.

        • What Sam said. Your ex is like Newt Gingrich asking for an open marriage after being caught lying and cheating. Same damn thing, the “open” in marriage requires major trust. Can’t have that after fucking it all up.

      • Absolutely right here, Chump Lady. It’s easy to see how the issue is his character when you look at other areas in life where he “bends the rules” or ignores obligations or burns bridges or leaps before he looks … I could give you lots of examples. Here’s one: twice during transition periods in his life between jobs/physical locations, he forgot to make sure his health insurance was intact. He has a chronic health condition that requires infusions every 8 weeks, and so, of course, he missed his infusion date each of these times and became extremely sick. Long story short, illness, scrambling, anxiety, and extra unnecessary spending was the result. Guaranteed if there’s another type of life transition like the last two times that he’ll neglect his insurance a third time and end up fucked over yet again. (Except this next time he won’t have my help … kind of makes me sad to think of him suffering like that but I can’t be his parent.)

    • OW in my situation was in a Poly relationship with her then boyfriend now husband. Her response to why she did it when I asked her was “i am non monogamous. I just want to love and be loved freely and honestly” Cheaters come in all shapes and sizes. Funny thing; when I told one of their friends that he was cheating with her and that she was poly they said that “that couple” is toxic and most people stay away from them. Wish I had gotten the memo.

      • I’d say to the OW “Oh hey, I want to be loved freely and honestly too. Too bad you didn’t extend those considerations to the people you’re chumping.”

        Nothing is worse than the holier than thou New Age “honesty” of cheaters and their affair partners.

        Yeah, if you valued honesty, you’d care that your sexual partner was cheating on his wife.

        • People in a true Poly relationship make damn sure everyone knows what is going on. There are no secrets from anyone.

          An affair is an affair. Lying is lying. Cheating is cheating.

          I’m in a poly relationship now. Poly isn’t about sleeping around with anyone you run into. It is about extending relationships to include other people. It is about communication, rigorous honesty and trust.

          If I were to get to a point with another person where I felt I wanted to begin a relationship I would require that any person/people they were involved with knew what was going on and I would want to meet with them personally.

          I can’t stand when people use “poly” as just another way to justify their lying and cheating.

          • Fun fact: I went on a polyamory forum to present my situation and 99% of the people there responded “DTMFA” (dump the motherfucker already). Apparently the poly community doesn’t stand for this kind of shit either.

        • “I want to be loved freely and honestly”

          Translation: I want to do whatever I want for a new love high without having to regard others feelings and without having to call myself a “cheater”. Hey, I am in an “open” relationship…

  • Omg so glad I threw out my Himalayan Sea Salt Chump Lick with those Turd Brown dishes I always secretly hated.

  • It’s true that the teach us to use “I” statements (as in, I feel sad and hurt when you say you’ll do something and you don’t do it”) in order to be accountable for ourselves. That doesn’t mean everything is all about me and I don’t have to be accountable (as in, descriptions of all the things I want without any concern for what’s important to you. Shit, this guy even makes it a point to UNDERLINE his “I” while talking about what he wants!)

    He is talking about making changes, but he isn’t demonstrating any clear behaviors — seeing a therapist who specializes in sex addiction or character disorders, taking a new medication, etc. etc. It’s another letter that’s all about me regardless of you and your pesky needs and feelings, with a clear dose of “hey, you have wrongdoings to be sorry for too, buster, so you can’t just complain about me” thrown in to use as future ammo.

    I agree, too, that there’s a core issue here of totally separate values (monogamy vs. polyamory, including the caveat that it’s only OK for one of you to be that way) that underlies everything. Even if he had always been totally honest with you, your core values are different. No amount of love makes that work. Eventually, people need to be who they are.

    You have to grieve, that’s reasonable. And it hurts so much. But your faithful heart deserves another that matches it. Hold out for that. You matter. Your sanity and your joy matter.

    Take care, Friend.

    • “But your faithful heart deserves another that matches it.”

      What a nice thing to say. Something we all should remember. 🙂

    • Not defending the cheater, but … the underlined “I” thing was not meant to be an “all about me” statement, imo. I think his intention was to say, “in the past, YOU wanted me to be faithful and honest, and I just went along with it reluctantly. But now *I* want to be faithful … it’s coming from ME this time.”

    • I appreciate your kind words and I agree with you. <3

  • “Can’t pray the stray away”

    Gasping for air over over here, oh god I’m dying of hysterical laughter


  • Actions, GAM, actions. Pay attention to what he has DONE. Words are cheap and spill from cheater’s mouths like water from a garden statue. Actually, sludge from a sewer truck may be more apt.

    • Yes, you are right. It’s hard to believe someone would say something with such fervor and (apparent) sincerity about something so meaningful/important, then not do what it takes to uphold those words. But no untangling of skein for me anymore. I have to cut my losses and remember the good times/positive things I garnered from my time with him, understanding that THOSE good times are now behind me unfortunately (and other, different kinds of good times are ahead!).

  • Wow, the UBT deserves a nice new oil change with full-synthetic after processing that load of crap. UBT, now with hashtags! Hilarious.

    GAM, I know you’ve been reading for a while, but thanks for introducing yourself.

    He sucks. Man, he sucks. He’s also a terrible writer. You deserve better. He doesn’t deserve you. Those aren’t just platitudes. He sucks.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about Stockholm Syndrome and slave mentality. I was being conditioned as a slave. An obedient little spouse-appliance who was always willing to defend Match Girl’s bad behavior. It took me a while of no-contact to even begin to see that I was a slave. I failed for three months.

    Don’t be too hard on yourself for your emotional reaction. He’s abusing you by even reaching-out again. You tried to play by his rules for so long. You did everything you could. He kept changing the game. You get to decide what you want.

    Congratulations on your academic achievement.

    Welcome to the club nobody wants to join.

    • I too appreciate the UBT hashtag upgrade! Such a hip addition.

      Welcome GAM. Hopefully you’ve figured out how to handle the ever moving goal posts in the game of cheater ball, by taking your ball and going home.

      Ignore that crappy apology and stay the course with No Contact, the path to the truth and the light. You’re doing great!

      • “the ever moving goal posts in the game of cheater ball” OH MY GOD YES! It’s so fucking unstable and I feel like I never know what’s going on but that’s because the rules of the game are like clouds in the sky: you can see them but if you manage to reach them, you realize there’s nothing to grab on to!

    • At Ian, you know it’s funny you should say slave because I have been thinking a lot about that. I was listening to a sermon actually and it said “a master withholds from his slave. He considers himself above, the slave beneath”. It wasn’t talking about infidelity but my mind just went there bc let’s face it, I’m a little consumed. I thought all the times the douche withheld from me. He withheld his warmth, his kindness, his knowledge about his thoughts, and his activities. Just thinking.

      • Thanks, Kay.

        I am always hesitant to get into another round of oppression Olympics. Using “slave” in the U.S. is fraught with (deserved) peril. But I was reading about the Norman conquest of England.

        It’s just not too much of a stretch to classify an abused spouse as a slave. It’s more apparent with the only recent development of suffrage for women in the US. So as a man I just don’t find any sources that really address it to my satisfaction. With the recent advent of mass divorce since the seventies, we are all wrapping our heads around this new paradigm.

        As a man who married a cheater, it’s easy, like Lothos said yesterday, to just now out gracefully and not fight a cheating wife. It’s a vestige, like LAJ said, of some ill-fitting past that guys (too narrow a characterization, but speaking for myself) have to overcome.

        So yes, I was an appliance, I was a victim, I was battered. Now I am fighting her tooth-and-nail even though she expected me to be the “bigger man.”

        • One more bit of historical context. Apropos of today’s letter: gay marriage and same-sex adoption. /brain-dump

        • I get you. I’m from the south and well, well mannered women just don’t duke it out either. I just want to frankly crawl into a hole and lay there. But I want good men to fight. Fight for what is right. Fight in a way that is true and fair and good. Fight for your children, not for control or “mastery” over them, but for their well being. I know you don’t have kids, but think about how valuable you feel when people fight for you. And good women should fight too. When I was thinking slave, I actually was thinking about Roman times and not anything else. Slavery really is an institution that has existed almost since the beginning of humanity and is easily well documented throughout history. It’s an atrocity of course. But it’s still alive and well. Think about sex slaves. It’s horrific. Slavery should be eradicated on whatever place it occurs. It can be blatant, but it can be subtle and difficult to detect, as we all know. I have been no fun these last two weeks and have felt like everybody would be better off without me. I’m praying to get out of my pit. I don’t have a job. I’ve been a SAHM for a few years, my teaching license has expired and short term I’m screwed. I have no fight right now.

          • Kay, I have never replied to someone’s comment but I just had to let you know that you are not alone. I have been a SAHM for 10 years and I know how scary this new world is. It has changed so much since I was a kid and I feel as though I have nothing in common with this version of reallity. Please know that you are not alone. We do have reseves in us that we fail to see. Think of how much more energy we can direct to ourselves now that we don’t have a soul sucking vampire latched on to us. When you think about it, the cheaters need us to do what they do, we don’t need them.

            • Nice, Anewdaydawned! Keep commenting. We need you. There’s a fire in there!

              • Thank you Virago. All of you wonderful ladies and gentlemen at CN are heroes to me. You share more of who you are with this group then my husband ever shared with me. I had a very bad feeling that maybe everyone was that way and I was some sort of truth telling freak. I am able to look on these pages and realize that there are others who don’t get off on making other people fools. Thank you. Thank you all.

            • Thank you. It does take some adjustment though doesn’t it? I’m feeling better today. But it’s just been tough.

              • Kay, don’t lay down just yet. Yes it takes adjustment, but you will turn this around, You are a smart lady. I too had no career when the dirt bag ex blew up my life- for 20 years i had been an artist, keeper of the home and had some very casual jobs here and there.
                2 Years on, i retrained, got busy and started both consulting and running my own business, i got a drivers license and frankly life is better than i could ever have imagined.
                Channel those crappy feelings, breath and start taking small steps toward your bright, bright future. Can you retrain? Maybe do some child care or something to tide you over? Reach out to any resources available to you.
                Its scary, but every little achievement is going to give you major strength, every day you get up and get going is an empowering success.

          • Kay, you feel as though you are in a pit because you’ve been to Hell, stayed quite a while and now are appropriately quite burned and ‘no fun’. Please stay with CL and CN. Every day. 24/7. Go to the Archives. Go to the Forums. Belt out your feelings. Don’t hesitate to be authentic. And remember, Hell is a really bad trip. The jet lag is atrocious and lasts a long time. NC and time are your best buddies, PLUS tremendous kindness to your Self. But stay with us. All feelings morph into other feelings, I promise.

            • Kay, just breathe…deeply, one moment at a time. I understand the fear and overwhelm of your situation, I was there too. Remember a good moment when you were a child and feel how you felt then, you are that lovely child. Tell yourself you are worthy of the space you take in this world, come here often. Love and hugs to you ?

            • At virago. I do read and reread. I do it so much I feel like I know everybody. It’s been just a huge encouragement. I don’t know how people do it wo this help. I am going to counseling with an amazing man. I’ve gone to 4 and he’s the BEST. Hugs to you too. War is hell.

          • Slavery is not possible without devaluing another human being to the status of unfeeling property. The slave feels devalued, of course–and in the case of whole groups held in slavery, that devaluation echoes for generations after freedom or abolition. But the most insidious corruption is that of the slaveholders, who learn to see others as lesser than themselves. That, too, can be passed through generations.

            Kay, one step at a time. You don’t know it now, but you are about to write a new story of your life. You can figure out what you need to renew your certification, and if that requires more classwork or something that you can’t do today or in a timely way, then get a transitional job, something to get you moving, out of the house. Or if you file for divorce, you might get sufficient $$ to get that schooling done. I don’t know your circumstances, but figure out a first step and take it–call an attorney, start looking for a job, sign up for school. You need a plan and a timetable. Sing your “Fight Song”:

            “This is my fight song
            Take back my life song
            Prove I’m alright song
            My power’s turned on
            Starting right now I’ll be strong
            I’ll play my fight song
            And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
            ‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.”

            • I’m scared but I’ll reread this. I’m chicken. I’m working on it. A transitional job i do need though!!

              • Oh, honey, we’re all afraid. It took me two years to get on the lawn tractor. I hope you have your real-life support system behind you for encouragement. Here’s a baby step: make a playlist of songs that fill you with courage. I’m a big pop music fan but you could do musicals, too. I love Michael Buble’s “It’s a Beautiful Day”–about leaving a narcissistic type behind and burning that bridge. Or make a vision board. (I used Pinterest.) Just start imagining that new life–how you will live, what you want to accomplish, who you want to become. Truth be told, we all ought to do that revisioning on a regular basis!

          • Kay,

            A lot of people think I’m crazy for recommending this, but call you local alternatives for battered women shelter. The name has changed to Willow to reflect that they serve men too. You do not need to be physically abused or in need of housing to use their services. They can offer you a plan on next steps, career counseling, legal rights and legal aid and support groups. You can use the expertise of others to get specific help and resources in your area.

            • This is a great idea Annie! I’ve had the worst time looking for jobs. It’s so hard to find one when your life is a soul sucking pit. I may need hand holding.

              • 1. Sit down and make a list of everyone you know who has a decent job. Who on this list might be willing to help you? Almost every job I’ve ever had–going back to high school days–came to me through someone who knew I was looking for work. Ask those people to meet you for coffee (cheap!). Your purpose is to let that person know you are job hunting, to ask for advice on your job hunt, and to find out how that industry or field does its hiring.
                When I started looking for teaching jobs, I learned that a good time to look for high school jobs in Catholic or private schools is right after the school year ends. That’s when people tell the principal they aren’t coming back. Today, lots of schools use the online application services–but if you do the research, you’ll find out how that operates. Until you get a job, your job is to learn about YOUR job market–what is out there for you in your area.
                2. Get a copy of “What Color is Your Parachute?” It’s a great book that provides up-to-date information and advice about getting a job or making a career change. A local library will likely have a copy.
                3. Make a list of your dream places to work. Check LInkedIn to see whom you might know who works at that place–or who might be connected to someone in those places. Dig!
                4. Do a functional resume that highlights your achievements–not just your chronological job list. Have you led fundraisers for kids’ school trips? Or led book club groups? Have you organized and supervised play dates for the neighborhood kids? You’ve probably done a lot more than you think.

          • And dare we forget when Prince wasn’t allowed to produce his copious work, he changed his name to a symbol with the word Slave on his cheek. He won that round.

          • Kay, I happen to know a kick ass chump personally who was a SAHM for about the same amount of time. She did a certification in her field and while it took time and lots of resumes, networking and interviews she landed a job. She had a lot of pain and heart burn getting there, she did it!! She is doing well. It’s not insurmountable, it’s a damn hard mountain so just look a few feet ahead and get started on how to get back in the work force. Jedi Hugs!

            • It does suck and is so overwhelming. Nice to know people get it though. Once somebody said (they were just trying to help) but that I should be so excited to get back in the work force bc I could express my creativity. I don’t mind working, but who wants to go back to work bc your husband abandoned you? I didn’t hit her, I just said “yay”.

              • Kay, I know this is overwhelming right now, but the suckitude isn’t forever. The economy went into the tank a couple of months after I got divorced from cheaterpants. The owner chose to sell off part of the business at that point and I went to the new company, knowing that I wouldn’t have enough to keep me busy more than part time if I stayed with the old company. Well the new company promptly cut my hours and then cut them some more and then cut them some more… I should have tried to find a new job sooner than I did, but I was lacking confidence. I like the job I have now and have found that I am valuable to an employer. (I’m in graphic design.) You’re valuable too. So, please remember how lucky the employer who hires you will be when you get discouraged.

              • Thank Janna G. It is a blow to your confidence this crap. Part of me feels like the worlds biggest loser and the other part of me feels angry that I even feel that way, bc who is officer douchebag to make me feel so low. Job stuff is just overwhelming.

      • Kay, this, ex did this too. He was one of the most disengaged people I knew (though my Mom and Dad are too) and withheld. Thoughts, dreams, affection, and commitment. Even in those early love bombing years (and those weren’t all great!) he was checked out. GAM, look at all those years wasted on a disordered love and know you are worth more. You can not change stupid. You will one day find a love who makes you feel good, who respects you, who values you. Love isn’t meant to hurt. Stay no contact, then get out there and meet like minded hotties who have integrity.

        • Thank you everybody for your great comments. I love CN!!! One day at a time. This is a roller coaster from hell.

      • Ian – Your path to recovery is impressive, read back your letter to CL about MG and the gas station, huge high five to you!

        Our choice of words are critical to our recovery. I remember the first time I found out about Patrick Carnes’ “The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships.” I felt that the term “exploitive” was so harsh, really it could not be so bad…

        Then I started reading, and increasingly understood how far I had pretzeled my own thinking and had allowed myself to be devalued and disrespected by my then STBX.

        I am a long way from Meh, but at least I am no longer allowing him to exploit my kindness.

        • Chumptitude,

          I’ve been struggling to put into words how much your note meant to me. I can’t go look at that post from the past yet. The pain and confusion are still just below the surface. Thank you so much for your encouraging words.

      • Yes, scripture does say that wives should submit to their husbands. HOWEVER, it also states that husbands should love their wives just as Christ loved the church. Note, that it says in verse 21 that we should all submit to one another. So, husbands are submitting to their wives by loving them just as wives are submitting to their husbands. It’s not a one-sided thing, as some who abuse the scriptures would like to think. It also states that there should be no sexual immorality, impurity or greed and that we shouldn’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey Him. (Ephesians 5:3 and 5:6)


        Ephesians Chapter 5:
        21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

        22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.

        25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.[b] 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself.

  • GAM, I wish I could sit and have a drink with you, use my experience as a lesson, and convince you to run from this situation as quickly as possible.

    The only thing my STBXW didn’t do is send me a written note like yours did — but every mindfuck tactic and sentiment that you describe was done almost verbatim. (CN will tell you this kind of behavior isn’t specific to race, gender, or sexual orientation — it’s about the pyschological DNA of these people)

    Take some time later today to review the 200+ responses that this post is bound to get and (if you haven’t already) reach out in some of the forums. You will get the validation for what I suspect you already know — that you can’t trust this person until actions his speak louder than his words. (But I wouldn’t hold my breath — this note makes clear that he sees the world only in terms of himself.)

    • Thank you very much for your level-headed comment. I do already know that I can’t trust him. Actually, I can FEEL it. (I’m pretty sure we have 6th, 7th, even 8th senses … and feeling a lack of trust for someone is one of those senses we must refine over time.) So, yeah, I’m not holding my breath. Maybe I’m making the wrong decision but I absolutely am resolved to move forward alone, maybe finding someone else in the future who I love AND trust AND who respects me.

  • I get the sense GAM isn’t quite ready to give up the dream just yet. You know, that period where you KNOW you’re not really getting the truth but What If I Give Up Right When They Finally Have An Epiphany? Then their NEXT relationship will end up being the bliss that WE could have had!!

    Wake up from this dream, or relive a nightmare.

    • Ah yes, that sounds very much like the ‘fear-they-will-be-better-for-the-next-person’. All too familiar with that.

      GAM, he won’t change. Not for long, not permanently. This might sound brutal, but after 7 years of an emotionally turbulent relationship, maybe it’s time to cut your losses. Can any good come from giving him another chance? Life is so short…. You deserve someone who treats you properly and has the same values as you. You can love that person as much, if not more, than this idiot. Why waste any more precious time on him? x

      • Just suppose, the ex does straighten up or the alchoholic stops drinking, or the cheat stops cheating? Even if it was a guarantee that the change was real and forever, would you take them back? If ex’s new girl or beau were now suddenly on the receiving end of a true unicorn would you become jealous or resentful?

        I personally could not do it. I can forgive because he was only being true to his nature. Through it all I have become a different person as well. Hopefully as the father of my kids I really do hope for a sincere change. Who wants to be the spawn of a jackass that never got his life together?

        I am working on myself, and I’m sure that ex is reaping what he has sown…the diference is I’m not keeping tabs on that nor chearing it on. Also if ex does well I won’t harbour any bitterness because God can and has blessed me too.

        Do I believe GAM’s ex is sincere. No! Believe it when he says
        “It’s what I ((with “I” heavily underlined)) want.”

        • I do know of a cheater etc that worked for Hef at the PlayBoy mansion. He lost his family, cleaned up remarried and became his new wife’s unicorn. The anger and bitterness ruined his relatonship with his kids…forever though.

        • Great points, renewed. And think of this–even if the cheater reforms, or the alcoholic stops drinking (etc.), how long will it take that person to learn how to live in a different way? It’s not like an alcoholic stops drinking (for example) or cheating and turns into someone who is emotionally healthy and good at relationships.

          • Yes, this is true. Knowing him, my ex- MIGHT stop cheating, might stop being addicted to marijuana, etc. … but he won’t totally be able to cut out his arrogance/entitlement that spills over into so many other areas. It’s sad because he really, truly is an intelligent, interesting, and sensitive person in many ways. But he seems to have immense difficulty admitting he’s wrong and/or truly being flexible/changing himself.

    • One of the first things I learned on this site, was that even if my Ex woke up from his “fog” and suddenly he became all wonderful and selfless and whatever prince charming thing I could think of, that wouldn’t take away the real pain and abuse he had caused ME.

      So it is better to go let them be awesome with someone else, and look for a partner that didn’t drive a knife through your back. Because you have the scars, you don’t need his presence as a constant trigger.

      • Very good perspective. Even if they DO demonstrate genuine & lasting change, it’s too late for the relationship. Even if they are better for the next person, who cares? You can (eventually) find someone better for you, and even if you stay single, work on having a better life than being emotionally abused.

        Thanks for that perspective 25.

      • You know, even if he is “better” for real… wouldn’t that almost be like a personality transplant. When you first start dating someone, you don’t really know them or trust them. You build that over time. If someone like GAM’s cheater suddenly became this caring, unselfish person… well he would have to get to know him all over again. So you are sort of starting over. Who is this person, do I really want to be in a relationship with him, what are we like as a couple… you know the drill. But instead of it being new and exciting and full of promise, it’s on a backdrop of knowing he lies, cheats, disregards and has the ability to be a really awful person. If you are going to go through all the trouble of “starting over” why not do it with someone that you think has the potential to be awesome, not someone you KNOW hast he potential to be horrible.

        I have really struggled with “what if he’s better for someone else” the last few days. But that’s just another version the sunk costs fallacy. He’s not going to be “better”, and if he actually is… well, good, two people are now in a rewarding relationship that makes them happy.

        • There’s definitely something necessary and healthy about doing just what you alluded to: letting go of what could be — even if it were extremely positive — and acknowledging what is. “What is” is that I have been betrayed by this person multiple times despite clearly communicating my feelings and needs. If he now somehow understands what he’s done is completely messed up and he’ll never do it again, then … he still did that to me. And I would never, ever do that to somebody else. So since I would never do that, I’m sure there are others out there who would never do that to somebody else, either. And that’s who I have to try to fix my picker for 🙂 In the meanwhile, I still love my ex-, and if he finds happiness with someone else, good for them. I’ll also be happy either by myself or with someone else. Our relationship does not = my happiness in its entirety. Y’kno?

    • And now, from the site that brought you “ILYBINILWY” comes “WIIGURWTFHAE”: What If I Give Up Right When They Finally Have An Epiphany?

  • cleaning out some files and came across this little gem I’d saved:

    The Scorpion and the Frog
    A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion says, “Because if I do, I will die too.”

    The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream,the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown,but has just enough time to gasp “Why?”

    Replies the scorpion: “Its my nature…”

    GAM – you’ve got yourself a scorpion. Save yourself. Let him find his own damn way across.

    • This is a very apt parable. And boy did I have a scorpion as well.

    • Gah, I’m a sucker for a parable! Thank you for this.

  • Hi GAM,
    What stuck out for me is how he has hijacked YOUR awesome academic achievement with this beautifully timed letter of mindfuckery. It shows the only person he cares about is himself.
    You have a beautiful heart GAM, don’t let him play with it any more. Apologies don’t come with buts, as soon as he mentioned that you had faults too, that was the end of the illusion of an apology. Apologies go thus: I am sorry, I take full responsibility for my behaviour, how can I make amends? See the difference? Go and find a real man who respects you, loves you & values you; you deserve it.

    • “What stuck out for me is how he has hijacked YOUR awesome academic achievement with this beautifully timed letter of mindfuckery. It shows the only person he cares about is himself”

      I noticed this as well. GAM, he sees that you’re doing well and moving forward, and can’t help but to escalate his attempts to draw you back in. That’s purely selfish behavior.

    • We know how much they love to mess with our holidays and birthdays and other special days to make it about them. Enjoy your achievements that you have earned and add a self high five for not giving in to this crap!

      • And now that GAM has an extra academic accolade, he is worth EVEN MORE to cheater X, “Look, I bagged a smart one!” (with emphasis on the ‘bagged’)

        • That’s the same thing that jumped out at me, GAM is more HighValueGuy now. Ooooh, Oooh! I want to brag to my friends about him! These are huge kibbles now, for ME! I don’t want to miss out on this opportunity, I’d better put those Grindr guys on the back burner for now….
          It was the first thing in the letter, and he tips his hand. Don’t fall for this, and you will meet new people on your new path. It will all work out.
          CL, this was the best yet!

        • Tempest, I made a similar comment way below. I’m thinking that the cheater here sees $$$$ coming from GAM’s graduate degree. Most likely, there is a better paying job in the wings, and the cheater would like to benefit from it.

          • ^This. And that first paragraph just drips with self pity…..”Oh how I helped you and you just threw me away”…..

          • I think chumps often underestimate, or entirely overlook, financial benefit as a potential reason for a cheater wanting to reconcile. I would strongly, strongly recommend that all chumps here who are attempting to reconcile ask themselves: Is there a financial reason for my ex to want me back? Most often, at least for straight, married couples, the answer is yes — to get out of child support or alimony. Sometimes it’s because the cheater simply wants to maintain a certain lifestyle or sees potential for the chump to make more money, and they want to take advantage of that. These people very rarely change…. but their lack of character goes far deeper than their adultery. They are manipulative and typically users as well. If it’s to their financial benefit to keep you around, they will do so if possible. Of course, they will still be cheating behind your back, just more clever about hiding it.

            • I agree. OP should watch out for this, if he does (which I hope he doesn’t) decide to reconcile. My asshole ex didn’t act like he loved me most of time–except when asking me when my parents will make an investment in the business he was planning.

    • You know, it’s true. When I have apologized for “wrongdoings” (as my ex- referred to in his letter) I never said anything along the lines of, “well you’ve made mistakes too” or some such thing. I always took full responsibility as if it were an isolated incident, examining my transgressions in that particular situation(s) and his specific response(s). I then did shit about it and worked on myself/listened to him. And he has ALWAYS pulled this non-full-responsibility BS. Right after the third cheating reveal (after he stopped crying)? He said I had to accept my responsibility for his cheating. THEN he said he felt like I was overreacting. Like, what!? GTFO of here. Who DOES that? I’ll tell you: someone who is so desperately insecure that he can never admit fault or else he’ll be deeply wounded. It’s so sad … I know my ex- is better than this, and I don’t know why he hasn’t risen to the occasion, but I can’t stick around any more wondering when it’ll get better, unfortunately. Thank you for your support 🙂

  • Hey GAM,
    Good for you for having the sense to ask for our objective opinions. I know what it’s like to love someone so much that you want to believe everything they say. Back when I was in the sway of such mindfuckery and brainwashing, I forgave his actions that led to the death of my daughter’s cat, and his infecting me with herpes. I cringe when I remember. But these narcs are experts, and we chumps want so much to believe that we are in something good. Trust that your ex can’t offer mutuality and real love. He’s just mouthing some very persuasive words. Actions are what matter though, remember that. Good luck brother.

    • I’m not sure our opinion is objective. I think it’s experienced. Wisdom comes from the one who has already walked down that path. Thanks CL.

    • Hopium is actually a scientific thing, I have found. In fMRI studies (“bold imaging” as its called), they have drawn direct parallels between cocaine withdrawal and romantic breakups. Hopium keeps us from experiencing physiological withdrawal. But I say, at this point, I’ll take the shakes and tears so I can quit this stuff for good before it kills me.

  • GAM, he has shown you with seven years of actions that he doesn’t value you. He’s showing this by ignoring your boundaries and contacting you now. He knows what you want to hear, and he’s interested in keeping his kibble supply. Stay the course and keep moving on. He has nothing to offer but more of the same, and you deserve far better.

  • GAM- Your ex is an asshole. You’re begging him to be loyal to you, he tried beaking up with you several times, he has sex with others multiple times, he’s berated you, etc. It all sounds like hell. Your ex did hurt you and didn’t care about your feelings not at all. And now magically supposedly he’s changed. I wouldn’t buy any of it. Your courtship is so incredibly dysfunctional, and healthy relationships aren’t supposed to be like this. But more importantly, why do you tolerate such shitty behavior from a partner? In good friendships, people have each other’s backs, why is it not the same in a relationship? You need to figure out why you stayed for 7 years and tolerated a colossal asshole.

    • “Your courtship is so incredibly dysfunctional, and healthy relationships aren’t supposed to be like this.”

      I’ve lost count of how many times I said to myself during my relationship with Stimpy “It shouldn’t be this difficult.” Wish I’d listened.

    • Kellis, right on the money! Wish I’d known you many years ago!!

  • I’m sure he probably believes the stink of his own bullshit right now. But as soon as he has to exercise these changes he’s trumpeting? You’ll get the same kind of response I got: “I meant it at the time, but things have changed since then.” They live in a situational world in which their personal truth is malleable based on convenience. Their words might sound tempting, but never count on their willingness or ability to follow through.

    • THIS! I think The Entitled One believes everything he says when he says it. But then the wind blows in a different direction and he believes something else.

      Adding this to my wall of CN wisdom: “They live in a situational world in which their personal truth is malleable based on convenience.”

      • Totally!! I got the same thing, I was committed when I married you, but I didn’t really know how to be married, or in a relationship….this after he was married before and in a multitude of short term relationships….hey, would have been nice to know commitment meant only as long as you felt like it! Also every time he got caught, he was born new again….I lied yesterday, but today is a new day and I won’t lie from now on…that was yesterday, you keep going back, let’s just go forward from today….arghhhh…

        • I love this place!
          These things they say would be so funny, if it wasn’t some Chump’s life!
          They are just bizarre creatures, anything comes out of thier mouths.

        • OMG This!

          “every time he got caught, he was born new again….I lied yesterday, but today is a new day and I won’t lie from now on…that was yesterday, you keep going back, let’s just go forward from today”

          It’s the never ending nightmare “Groundhog Day” movie for cheaters and chumps.
          Please break the cycle GAM and run for Tuesday in the land of Meh!!!!

          Just put one foot in front of the other in a direction away from the cheater GAM. It will be slow at first but over time becomes easier. We here at CL & CN will be here for you

          • Isn’t it the same for partners who batter their spouse? I promise, I won’t beat you to pulp again, I’m truly sorry, I’m so sorry, I really am. And what do these batterers do, beat the crap out of their spouse even worse next time around.

            • GAM,

              I won’t tell you what to do, but I will tell you a bit of my story, which sounds a bit like yours, to provide you information that you can use, if you wish, to make your decision.

              My life is so eloquently described in the last few comments. My abusive, cheating STBX and my post-separation now ex-boyfriend both seemed so convincing in their protestations of deep, abiding love (infatuation) at the beginning. But then a squirrel came along and their minds went, ‘Squirrel! Must. Chase. Now! Must find happiness. If I am unhappy, it must be because my partner is making me unhappy. I won’t tell her how I feel about her or mention any problems in our relationship. I’ll just let her think that all is well. I will just try to find something new and sparkly to make up for what is ‘missing’ in our relationship and then bounce when I have found something ‘greener’ on the other side of the fence.’ Sad thing is I would jump back into the arms of either of these guys if offered a chance–to be abused, mistreated, or just plain unvalued again! (I really need higher quality, more consistent therapy to figure out why I put up with terrible treatment.

              I hypothesize that cheating, dishonest, selfish abandoning ex-lovers sometimes want to ‘reconcile’ when they realize that their exes have academically, professionally, financially, emotionally, physically improved themselves not only because the chumps have more to offer financially but also because the chumps now have more ‘dating capital,’ more ‘swagger,’ and more confidence. I suspect that such (successful) chumps, like you, are once again a challenge to them. For example, this week my STBX saw me in tight exercise attire and noticed that I had become very slim and muscular from the triathlon training I am doing to forget about the jerks in my life and to feel proud of myself. He tried to ‘sex me up’ (kiss me, caress me). He ended up telling me that all was well in his world because he had forgiven himself (over a decade of cheating, paying for prostitutes and cocaine with our kids’ college money, accusing me of committing heinous crimes to get custody of the kids, refusing to pay support in arrears, abusing me) and my forgiveness of him, which I have offered more than once, ‘was immaterial.’ Pure narc. So sad that he can’t fathom how big a deal it is for me to forgive him the years of abuse and devastation of our family.

              I think a question for both you and me is ‘What is our ‘breaking point?’ (How many times will we take back our cheaters?’

              • Thank you for sharing your story. Yes, there is a breaking point. I told him it would be if I ever caught him cheating again. And so when I did… I left. He wrote me this letter and I second-guessed myself, but Chump Nation put me back on course. I will never turn back. <3 to all of you guys and gals!

              • STBX is stuck in the find happiness cycle too. We had issues in our relationship related to intimacy both emotional and sexual. Imagine that some people lose their desire for physical intimacy when the other partner withdraws their emotional intimacy! WHAT?! How could that be?! But somehow the OWhoremat will MAKE him happy. The worst part is he KNOWS that’s not true. He knows he has issues but he just can’t fix himself. He says people can’t change. Well not with THAT attitutde they can’t! My STBX did have a long term affair, he hasn’t cheated multiple times and I still love him and would have him back if he could just have that epiphany. But he can’t. And it sucks. And I guess I have to try to find someone new eventually. Because even if I love myself I’m only 32 and have a long time to go here. And I don’t want to be alone forever.

    • The line I kept getting fed was: “I was in a different place then.”

      BetterDays has it absolutely right: “They live in a situational world in which their personal truth is malleable based on convenience.”

      • Credit where credit is due…that was me quoting FreeVixen. 🙂 🙂 🙂

        • Was reminded of a perfect cinematic embodiment of this concept: The character played by Thomas Hayden Church in “Sideways”.

          His telltale quote to Paul Giammatti, just before cheating yet again: “Listen, man. You’re my friend, and I know you care about me. And I know you disapprove, and I respect that. But there are some things that I have to do that you don’t understand. You understand literature, movies, wine… but you don’t understand my plight.”

          His plight? He lives in a situational world in which his personal truth is malleable based on convenience.

          So thanks to FreeVixen as well.

          • UX – great movie. Guy was such a pompous ass and was just thinking about it today at the store, for some reason. The movie broke my gut laughing but it was so starkly depressing at the same time. 1/2 hated it. 1/2 like it, was my survey.

    • I got the same “I’ve changed” email from my then-stbx about 5 months into our divorce process. She claimed to regret how she treated me; claimed to have grown; asked for another chance; etc.

      At the time, she was still fucking FreeVix’s newly minted husband and lying/hiding that fact from everyone in her life.

      But yes, truly, she had changed!

      I note that my ex didn’t ever really address all of her deceit. She claimed to have “changed” from being a cheater (apparently into “just” a homewrecker). But she never once actually said she was sorry for all of the lying, gas lighting, and manipulation.

      And that’s because to her those were (and are!) essential tools of human interaction.

      …Five months prior, at the tail end of my marriage, I had made up my mind to divorce my cheating wife. Taking advice I’d found on other forums, I got my ducks in a row. I learned about divorce in my state and rented a month-to-month furnished apartment. And for 1.5 weeks, I put on a good show of working at the marriage, because I wanted to inform my wife if her impending single-dom when it was right FOR ME to do so.

      And then, when I sat her down for our “we’re getting divorced because you suck at life” conversation, I let slip that I had made up my mind 10 days earlier.

      And she was pissed! How could I have lied to her for 10 days and pretended she still had a chance of stringing me along when I’d already made up my mind. How dare I!!!

      I shut her down: “I recommend you don’t start a discussion about who has lied lately.”

      See, lying is an essential tool in cheaters’ arsenal. But if you dare to use the same tool to protect yourself, they get self-righteous and start the rage/self-pity act all over again.

      • I keep reading this and it keeps infuriating me. I just can’t imagine the hell that those two will eventually put each other through.

    • Free Vixen, I understand your words because I have seen them applied by my cheater to our relationship dynamic. Where certain rules are okay to break without communication or explanation before the fact, and other rules are not okay to break. There was no rhyme or reason. Mostly it was just selfishness and he used my high standard of integrity against me. His morals were definitely relative and flexible. Sigh. I really do think my ex- is better than this, but I guess I’ll never find out since I can’t keep waiting around for the changes to happen.

  • GAM, Run away! Don’t respond to the letter. I can tell you from experience that if you allow him back in your life, he WILL do it all over again. I know you’re heartbroken but you deserve so much more than this. Give yourself some space from any relationship for awhile. See a counselor. Do the things YOU enjoy doing. Take back all of the little pieces of yourself that you’ve hidden to keep him happy and comfortable. In the long run, you will be MUCH happier. It is work but it is so worth it!

    • Sometimes it can be difficult to focus on myself, but I think, ultimately, it will bring me far more happiness than focusing on my relationship with my ex-, which is a sunk cost and must be abandoned. Thanks to you and others from the Chump Nation, I have renewed vigor to get away from my ex-. 🙂

  • I still love him and am weak in the knees after getting a card like this.

    GAM, do you know why you’re weak in the knees? Because your ex whacked your knee caps with a lead pipe. And yet you still love him! If a random stranger came up to you in the street and punched you in the gut, would you thank him? No? Then why the hell would you love the man who used and abused you for seven long years? Time to kick your recalcitrant love for him to the curb and focus on your studies. Stick around here and you’ll get an MA degree: Mighty Awesome.

    • Someone once told me that anytime I feel weak or swoony — basically, anytime I don’t feel grounded and in control of myself — that is red flag warning sign #1 that I need to get away from the source and get clear before making any choices, even if the feeling seems pleasant. That was a real wake up call for me that the feeling of being swept up with emotion might not mean something good. All my Chumpy habits were focused on the sweet feeling of feeling swept up and put on a pedestal. He suggested that those feelings are really the result of an intense ego-feed (lovebombing) combined with my subtle disempowerment (not feeling grounded in reality) and that those feelings might actually mean things are very bad, not very good. It changed my worldview a lot.

      I don’t know if this applies in other situations, but it was a big part of my transition to working on non-Chumpdom (an everyday struggle.)

      • Amiisfree, that’s a very astute observation about getting swept up with feelings. And how ironic that cheaters are seeking that swoony feeling with their APs! Mine said that the “spark” had gone in our relationship and he was looking for “spontaneity, vibrancy, and passion.” When I told him he was the least spontaneous, vibrant, and passionate person I knew, he laughed and said “I know!” Ah, those cheaters are so cute!

        • That swoony feeling they are indulging in is why we’re all so pissed at these cheaters. They get to swan-off in their haze of hormones and delusion while we get stuck with the pig in a poke.

          • That haze of hormones has got to wear off eventually, though

        • Oh jeez, mine wanted “spontaneous” too. Another one from the cheater handbook!

          Decoded: I want to do what I want, whenever I want, without worrying about all that grown-up shit that’s such a drag.

        • My ex said that was what he loves about his mistress too, her spontaneity and her energy. Gee, make me 16 years younger and childless again like her, and I’d be spontaneous and energetic again too.

          Why do they resent us for becoming what they made us?

          • Hopeful Cynic, that’s horrible! My ex cheated on me after I’d literally nursed him through a blood-clotting disorder, stroke, two heart surgeries, and multiple tumours in both kidneys. I guess I didn’t sparkle when I was wiping his drool and his ass, shaving him, bathing him. What is it about these entitled mofos?

        • Ha! My STBX is the same. He in is love with “in love”. He has told me SO MANY red flag things about OW. She has been devalued by her mother her whole life, told she’s moto of enough. Told to do ANYTHING to keep a good man. She has a kid by her rapist ex fiancé. Another ex stole her identity and bankrupted her. Her current STBX is an abusive alcoholic that stole her 401k and hits her. And she told my STBX he is the nicest person she’s ever met. She also somehow got pregnant after having sex with my h ONE TIME with a condom and magically knew she was pregnant after missing her period in 8 days. SCREWED UP! And somehow h cannot see that this whoremat is a user and a loser and a manipulator. But he has to make his own choices. I’ve told him to run from her. I’d tell anyone to run from her! I’d tell a complete stranger in the grocery store I heard telling this story to RUN from her. But he wants to throw away 10 years for this damaged slut bag!

      • This is really making me think: “He suggested that those feelings are really the result of an intense ego-feed (lovebombing) combined with my subtle disempowerment (not feeling grounded in reality) and that those feelings might actually mean things are very bad, not very good.”

        I’ve been reflecting on why I stayed and working on fixing my picker. Something that surfaces a lot is how intense not only the beginning of our relationship was, but also how intensely good it felt in the lulls between the storms over the course of twenty-two years. I think I mistook that intensity for a deep, abiding love when actually it was the relief of me getting that intermittent positive reinforcement I craved, like the mouse in the experiment where the scientists keep moving its cheese.

        Your phrase “ego-feed” struck home for me. In the beginning, he lovebombed like mad — and we were in college, how did he know how to do this at such a young age? His intense focus on me, his admiration, his desire, it all fed something deep within me, something that hadn’t been nurtured in the chaos of my childhood. It felt really, really good … but also really unstable.

        I picture him now, out there in the dating world, living his fantasy of being Hank Moody from Californication. The women he dates will get his fun side, his intense focus and admiration, his carefully crated image of himself as an involved dad who puts his kids first, a mature guy who’s managing a drama-free divorce and wants to be friends with his ex, someone who passionately pursues his interests in life whether they’re work or hobbies. Whoever he gets serious with will be well and truly hooked before she discovers The Entitled One under that sparkly surface, with his mood swings, “fun dad” being as deep as it gets, his compulsive porn use, his need for the validation of every hot chick he encounters (hey, he’s got STANDARDS), his anger, and that there’s a reason his ex doesn’t want to be friends with him.

        It’s enough to scare me away from dating. And to have more compassion for all us chumps because it’s hard to see what someone is going to great lengths to hide from you.

        • BetterDays – Scott Peck talks about this exact dynamic you posted: ” I think I mistook that intensity for a deep, abiding love”. He states that a lot of dysfunctional relationships are very high in intensity and very shallow, which people mistake for love. There a lot of highs and lows, but it’s all a very shallow. In other words, there’s a lot of drama, but not real love, which is stable, calm and safe.

          • I just downloaded his book this morning before reading this post – wavelength!

          • In both my STBX and post-separation now ex-boyfriend I thought that I was getting stable, calm, and safe, but all I got at the end of the day was shallow, non-committal. My picker is horrible! I no longer trust men, and maybe worse, I no longer trust myself (my judgment)!

            • Just work on you. There are a lot of great men out there. Big hug to you!!

        • BetterDays, your description of your ex (who he pretends to be vs reality) is so freaking exactly like my cheater. They don’t want to live a real life. Why can’t they see what they are doing to the person they profess most to love? Is it the narc mirror thing – where they see the adoration reflected back, but when it changes to hopelessness and despair they recoil…and stop looking in the mirror. Detach and move on to positive reflection. It truly boggles my mind why anyone would choose the life they lead. The secrets. It’s like they choose death (no soul, no real love) over the brilliant joy and wonder of real life.

    • GAM–I am so sorry you have gone through this all too familiar mind fuck.

      You aren’t in love it him, you are in love with who you thought he was/hoped he would be.

      I know how it goes and how hard it is to let go….my history entails a 24 yr marriage and then 18 months with a ‘boyfriend’. It’s really really painful to acknowledge you never meant anything to them but you have to.

      Stay with us, post often and we will help you make it through your darkest hours.

      • I will definitely be sticking around this site and I so, so appreciate the support. <3 Thank you! Healing takes a village sometimes, eh?

  • Oh, GAM. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t hoped and hoped for a letter of apology from my cheater. But now I’m glad I didn’t get one, or I would have been stuck for even longer. It’s a trap — IGNORE IT. You have so much to offer a good man. and this bastard isn’t one. Take care of yourself. To put it another way — take care of YOURSELF.

  • Here are the things from YOUR chump apology letter that were also in MY chumpa apology letter: (and that should tell you something right there)

    – I vow to leave you alone (well not be a deterrent)
    – I was selfish
    – I have made lasting changes (mine said: I have made changes/am a much better/different person now)
    – I want you to think of the ways that I’ve forgiven you for some of your wrongdoings (mine said: I wasn’t happy in our relationship either – not sure what part of that is an ‘apology’)
    – I realized these things…even if it is too late for us (oh woah is me!)
    – remorseful, ashamed etc.
    – find some place in your heart to forgive me (and if you do not then it’s YOUR fault, your heart’s fault)

    Bullshit. It’s all the same. This guy is fucked. Sorry to say it, but you will be SO much better off in the long run. See CL’s article from yesterday: after initial pain and heartache, chumps learn to fix their pickers and go on to have better relationships and happier lives.

    You will too.

    • Also, this is my favorite part of the UBT right here: “Really, if I had any shame, do you think I’d send you this shit?”

    • Wow. I am actually shocked to see how similar the letters are. This is fascinating from a human psychology (and possibly evolutionary) perspective … and it is reaffirming of my need to leave and not look back. Thank you for posting.

  • Oh Gam. I get it I really do. I’m a lesbian in Ohio in a 12 year relationship. There is all the pressure to be a good couple that works out. The years invested and the general disgust with the online dating scene. My wife and I have an open relationship. Guess what she doesn’t like me seeing other people either. I have come to realize reading this site that she has always kept the deck stacked in her favor. When we met I was 24 and single with no kids she had 2. One is autistic. I put my life on hold to help raise them. I have been reading this blog for months and Tracy is right about these people. Anyou little thing you ever allow them to do for you is just thrown in your face at some point. The way they belittle your feelings and play on your kind instincts is uncanny. Save yourself. If you aren’t financially entangled don’t get that way. Don’t have kids with this guy. Those things are just more responsibility for you and more weapons for them. This isn’t someone who treats you well trust there are better people out there.

    • I am SO lucky I did not have kids, pets, joint bank accounts, etc. with this guy. Thank the fucking Lord for that. I am so sorry that your relationship fell through and you were treated like garbage. Your story is helping me not make the same mistakes and reminding me to invest in myself first, then someone else … who will not be my ex-. Thank you for your support.

  • Oh, GAM. This is not how I hoped for gender parity. Be strong!

    • Haha, me either! Gotta take the good with the bad when it comes to equality though, eh?

  • “don’t trip over something that’s behind you” unknown… You’ve come this far, Gam…you’re safe from the immediate harm of your abuser. Whether or not you realize it, you’ve done some healing. You wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t. Don’t go back for more. Guard your heart. Have a deep and meajingful relationship with your #dignity.

    • Yes, I am taking pride in me and in my ability to stand tall on my own. I will use what is behind me to give me strength, but I will not get wrapped up in it. And part of that is leaving my ex- for good. Thank you for your post. 🙂

  • I would love, just once to get a letter like this from my xh. >sigh<

    I'd light it on fire and stomp all over the flames, but to read it once, and imagine for just a few moments it was genuine would be really nice. But deep down inside I know what it really is… not a unicorn, but a jackass with a chicken bone taped to his forehead…

    He left and never looked back. Never apologized, never showed remorse, not once. In fact, his blame and monstering was the exact opposite of remorse for 2 years, and still continues. Consider yourself lucky, GAM – you got the apology everyone wants, even if it is only worth the ink and the $ 2.99 Hallmark card it is written on.

    • not a unicorn, but a jackass with a chicken bone taped to his forehead…
      YES! LOL

    • Magneto, reading that letter would be the equivalent of shooting up with a massive, potentially fatal dose of hopium. Those few moments could kill you, with the gaslighting and blame shifting and BS.

      • No Shit, LAJ! As much as I craved one of those letters…and never got one, no matter how much I tried (guy had his mouth zippered shut on everything) I’m re-thinking that I’m really glad I never got one to feed me Hope. But, it does hurt! The X never fought for me – he was just done. And, I wasn’t. So – yeah, I continued to make a fool of myself by sending hateful emails, and, btw, I don’t really regret any one of them. I got it out what I thought of him and wasn’t able to do that prior to divorce. Hell – I know it doesn’t do any good right now, of course. But, it DOES make me feel better and that he’s reading everything I’m writing him. By Friday, our house will be auctioned off and I’ll be done with this damn roller coaster, after 2-1/2 yrs..I need closure! Suddenly, I can’t eat anymore…Fuck this process!! fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

  • Lying about “never” lying again. That’s the biggest lie right there. The second you were to realize the next lie you would feel the title wave of betrayal of lies come back to you in that one lie…the trust is gone because it was never there. He cannot be trusted.

    You’ve learned a lesson, give your love to someone trustworthy that deserves your love, your time, your affection, etc.

  • People who disrespect you for 7 years, do not “change” and suddenly acquire the ability and/or want to treat you better. They don’t give a fuck about you. Sorry, but it’s true. Maybe he didn’t score as much dick on his own like he thought he would. Maybe he misses having you to fall back on, who knows. But people don’t change. Therapy doesn’t change people either. They are who they are. You take him back, you’re in for more bullshit.

    I know you think he’s special and different and you’re still holding out a little hope that he’s a love worth having, but he’s already shown you what he is. Do you really need another go round to prove that yes, he is a dirt bag, and yes, he fucked me over again? Consider this my loving 2 x 4.

    Personally, I wouldn’t dignify his letter with a response. He doesn’t deserve one, and any response you give shows you still give a shit. Also remind yourself, this guy isn’t the all that. He’s your average run-of-the-mill fuck wit. You can do better.

    • I agree Rumblekitty! For 7 years this guy treated GAM like sheer crap. And for someone who claims to be polyamorous and can’t be monogomous, why go back to GAM who wants to be in a committed relationship? This guy can simply remain single and just fuck around to his heart’s content. It’s like you said, he probably didn’t score as much dick as he thought he would being single, so he’s going back to his fall back plan. I bet you this guy isn’t all that to begin with and just some sub-par shmo who doesn’t have much to offer.

  • THIS: “I cheated on you for seven years. And every time I felt so gosh darn horrible about it, I created another Grindr profile. Selfish, recalcitrant, and deceitful works for me.”

    After the first D-Day with Mr. Sparkles, I got a typed letter of apology (he was never much for heartfelt, look me in the eye conversations) where he detailed his remorse (sure did use the word “I” a bunch!)… and concluded with “we need to fix us.”

    But here’s the thing… “US” wasn’t using sites like AFF and Backpage and going to hotels and sex chatting on YIM with whoever popped up… HE WAS. And, with every D-Day after (there were 4 before I just stopped counting/looking)… I would get greeting cards filled with apologetic words… but NEVER ACTIONS.

    He even gave me a bronze sculpture of a couple embracing for our last wedding anniversary together with a card telling me this is what he wanted to find again with me… yet 30 days later, he left me for the OW.

    And this Cluster B fuckwit is still at it on AFF, but at least now it is the OW who has to listen to his recalcitrant lies and manipulations.

    I’m so very very tired of the mindfuck.

    Tap Out.

  • Some classic “Do as a I say, not as I do.” crap up in here! He gets caught cheating, so open relationship. You play by thise rules, and get fried for it.

    This person is not capable of emoathy or reciprocity: probably gets off on the deception as much as the sex.

    Sounds to me like you could do much better after you fix your picker.

    Megahugs, sweetie, it sucks, but Chump Nation is here for you.


    • I’m working on picker-fixing as we speak, haha. Well, first I will heal myself alone. Then it’s picker-fixing time like it’s my job!

  • Okay, I think this is the most hilarious UBT yet! Kibble tanker trucks, pray the stray away, Fuckwit Pride parades, chump whistles, chump licks, and hashtags… CL, you rock, thanks for making my day!

  • GAM-I am from the future and this doesn’t end well unless you see the letter for what it really is after it’s been digested by the the UBT.

    You know what’s worse than wasting 7 years of your life with a cheater? Not much unless it’s more time (like 27 years). You’ve made this huge academic accomplishment and here he is trying to make himself central in your life again. He violated your boundaries and is ignoring no contact. Those are some pretty definitive actions. Pay attention.

    At the moment you don’t have any serious financial entanglements with him and no children. Consider yourself ahead of the game! Block him on any and all venues-even if it means changing email addresses or phone numbers; grieve the loss of what you thought he was and start the process of healing.

    There’s nothing to see here GAM. He’s just your run of the mill, average, clueless, unoriginal cheater. They all read from the same playbook.

    Sorry you had to join the club but as the CL says, “this shit is finite”

    • Chump Nation, among the many things it has given me, has allowed me to see what you have pointed out in your comment: “There’s nothing to see here. He’s just your run of the mill, unoriginal cheater.” There are so many similar themes and attitudes among others’ cheaters that I was at first shocked and am now wiser. Thanks to you and the rest of CN!

  • My take on this:

    “I know I royally fucked you over, but please don’t give up on me I’m not finished…”

  • OH dear. This guy showed you who he was right from the start (cheating, then wants an open relationship – that is only open for him) and basically keeping you constantly on the wrong foot.

    It hurts, it sucks, but you need to ignore any letters or other communication and leave this loser behind. You’ll be ok, I promise. It’ll take awhile, but you will really be ok.

  • Here is your response to him:

    “Thank you for your apology.
    Please do not contact me anymore.
    I wish you the best in life – hope you find what makes you happy.
    Take care.”

    Don’t buy his bullshit, take the apology and leave the rest. Let him know that you are done (even if you are not, fake it until you make it)

    • Kindness and politeness only encourage cheaters to circle back for more kibble. Silence is the only thing that deters them. Endless silence…

      • Actually, I don’t agree. Silence unhinged my cheater. He thought he could just keep trying in more and more creative ways plus it drew out the harassment for almost 2 years which was very jarring to me. BIFF response: Brief, Informative, Friendly, Firm…let’s them know that in no uncertain terms it is over.

        Besides, this sets the stage in case you ever need to pursue a restraining order.

        • No strategy works with 100% of people, but in the vast majority of cases, the disordered will consider any kind of contact (even polite goodbyes) as reinforcement,and as an opening for yet more contact.

          • That’s generally how it works, in “Gift of Fear” to paraphrase the author; if you ignore them until the 100th email and then respond, even if you are asking them to cease, all you’ve done is teach the person it takes 100 contacts to get a response.

          • I will finally admit here, that I am an unhinged spouse, who was violated. whatever.
            I am one of those that, no matter if it is unhealthy communication or positive, I respond with some kind of transmitter. I WANT (underline WANT!) to communicate with him and for him to suffer. I feel like I’m ripening up a pig for no reason (and some seasoning!) and, of course, it does nothing to facilitate amiclelcable divorce. I enjoy it. Call me a Sadist.

            He’s been damn decent on my tirades. Because…1) I moved all the shit out of our custom home, 2) he left the county and I took all the humiliation of ‘why’, and I was left with the small community to hold some dignity. 3) he left me with 4 large dogs and refused to help me with them…(shall I go on)…4) I was trying to keep up a huge home that required a lot of maintenance and I was required to pay the bills. But, grateful I had it for the dogs. Since he didn’t live there (he lived in our trailer), I had all the bills and expenses because I needed the house for the dogs. I couldn’t win that one in court and nobody would rent to me with four huge dogs. I had to stay there.

            Ok, so this shit made me angry, and he always seemed to read my angry emails, instead of blocking me.
            I wanted him to hurt like *I* was hurting.
            2 yrs later, I’m still doing it – but we’ve been involved in getting our house to auction and he’s just flittered out of the whole deal. We’re about to lose a fortune.

            I’m damn mad and I email whenever I feel like with awful things. Mostly about how he won’t give me a dime towards two major surgeries for 2 bigs dogs. We settled that out of the lawyers office, on our own, and that was the agreement. He co-owned the show dogs and would pay half of any medical expenses. Food, nope. He’s re-neged before, I expect he will again.

            So, yeah – I’m fucking pissed about the dogs most of all. Could care less about his cheating – he was lousy at making love anyway. Seriously – just liked hand-jobs. And, since we were childless-by-choice, we chose dogs for our family. I shudder to think of what he would have done to children if I had bred with him.

            And, I feel super sorry for the folks who’s kids get hurt in all this entitlement shit. Seriously sorry for them. Dogs live day by day. Kids have daily Imprints in their brains.

            Fuck these phonies.

  • Red flag #713 Cheaters Inability to recognize your worth in the first year (Chumps are so hopeful!) and #51 treating your loved one like shit. All those little affairs! Fuck that!!!!!

  • “Please don’t give up on us.” Famous words spoken by my 20-year serial cheating EX while on her knees in front of me in the counselor’s office holding tightly to my hands and crying her eyes out. She had sworn she had told me the whole truth (“why would I lie now”) and that she knew she could now be the kind of wife she should have been if I would just give her another chance. Her apparent sincerity pulled me in again and I agreed to continue counseling.

    Months later I found out her supposed 10-month affair with her boss was actually five years, and that she had been talking to him behind my back about what was going on between us. It was just inconceivable to me that she could have been deceiving me again. It also destroyed me again, and I STILL had to make myself divorce her. Geez. Pathetic.

    It’s so hard to accept that the person you loved so much for so long, who has stolen the prime years of your life through manipulation and deception, could look you straight in the face in the aftermath and try to deceive you into giving them the rest of your life based on more lies. It is incredible to me how truthful and sincere a person who is lying to your face can appear, but it’s an art with these folks. I guess that’s what makes them so effective.

    I am trying to maneuver through the worst time of my life, with a lot of birthdays behind me. I don’t think much of myself right now, and I spend too much time in sadness, self-pity, self criticism for not trusting my instincts, and worrying about the future. But whatever I was or am, I’m better than what she deserved. I’m also smart enough at this point to never trust a word that comes out of her mouth again. You deserve better too. Believe that. Be well.

    • Oh, JK, I’m so sorry you went through that. The mind boggles that someone could be that deceitful. That’s pure evil. And if your counselor was anything like the ones we saw, he or she ate it up. Those tears! True remorse! That’s all it takes for problems to be solved! I can’t believe how many years I wasted because I thought The Entitled One’s tears meant something.

      This +1000: “It is incredible to me how truthful and sincere a person who is lying to your face can appear, but it’s an art with these folks. I guess that’s what makes them so effective.”

      • I’m sorry you went through that too, Better Days. The tears were such a big part of her deception in our marriage too. I think it’s easy to be fooled into thinking that a person who cries when they tell you something is being honest. I guess it just seems so much more sincere – and the idea that a person could conjure up false tears and be lying out their ass is not consistent with the person we think we know. They take advantage of that. Worked on me like a charm.

        • I went though something similar, where my verbally abuse ex fiancé (finance at the time) begged me on his hands and knees, crying buckets of tears for 45 minutes to give him another chance that he would be nice. You know what happened? The second he felt that he was in back my good graces, was the instant his fangs and claws and teeth came out to attack me yet again. He hadn’t changed, and reverted back to the old monster he always was. Ever since then, I realized people can and do put on a show stopping performance, if it suits their fancy. I don’t buy it anymore.

          • I have lost a lot of my naïveté in this whole debacle, and part of that loss has come with the realization of, as you say, realizing someone can cry and cry and promise and then, as soon as thing are back to a good baseline, return right back to normal. Really, the entitlement and arrogance these cheaters have is astounding.

    • Sorry, JK. I feel their ability to look you straight in the eye and lie with such ease is the most shocking thing to get over. Since you can’t conceive of ever doing the same thing, it boggles the mind how naturally they do it. When you get further out to Meh, you will likely see that she was probably a pathological liar even before the cheating started. She probably used lying as her main form of coping with difficulties in life. Sorry you had to go through this. Glad you’re free of that clusterfuck. Stay strong and remember your worth. You deserve much, much better.

      • Thank you, Finding Bliss, and my experience bears out everything you said. All those years I resolved the questions in her favor because I knew that if my instincts were correct that she not only did not love me, but she valued me so little that she was fine with defrauding me out of my life. After all I thought we meant to each other, I just could not get there. Even now that I know it’s true, its still hard to get over remembering those conversations with someone you loved so much where she looked you in the face and lied and deceived so convincingly for so many years. I’m sure she and her boss had good laughs at my gullibility when she brought him to our home while I was working. Clearly I attributed a conscience to someone who did not have one, and she was a pathological liar to be sure.

        • Finding Bliss – ‘Sorry, JK. I feel their ability to look you straight in the eye and lie with such ease is the most shocking thing to get over.’

          I just need to add The Smirk. We’ve all seen the smirk and the dark eyes..
          When you see that, the mask has been removed and they are proud of their actions, as you watch their face melt, Steven Spielberg style.

          When I saw the X’s blue eyes turn black, I knew he would kill me if he didn’t get what he wanted. I just -knew!- And, he was not a violent man up til he did turn violent. (shit, I was in the way of his happiness). Seriously, I knew I was dealing with Satan right then and there and he really scared me.
          He also had all the guns and I watch too much true-crime.

          He wanted his Bitch so damn bad – nobody should get in his way.

          It all turned out okay and I got control back by changing the locks.
          I could have charged him with the threats he made and he’d have landed in jail.

          Thanks to C/L, I got my ducks in a row super quick.
          And here I am…floating out in the universe with no direction. lol

    • JK,
      “…who has stolen the prime years of your life through manipulation and deception,…” I have struggled with this feeling/thought too, then I think ‘why do I need to value the past 22 years as my “prime” years?’. Yes I was younger than I am now, but youth is not everything. I intend to make the next 22 years the prime years of my life. The past 22 years were not wasted, I will sift through my memories and cherish the ones that were real for me/where I was authentic. And there are lots to chose from! When I discovered his cheating, I felt like he had stolen my past, as well as my present and future, because it felt like he had diminished every single moment of the past 22 years. But I don’t feel like that now (6 months post final DDay and abandonment). I have a self awareness and clarity about my character that I didnt consiously have before. That untangling HIS skein, has shone a light on my own character. And the contrast is blinding. I will never, ever be thankful for what he did, but I will gladly take my new awareness and confidence in my self-worth and go forward and live. And consiously choose to make the rest of my life my “prime” years!

    • I’m living this too. The theft of your life. All aspects of it. It’s hard to manage and stay on track. We bonded with assholes and they used us. I pledged to asshole and his entire enabling cheating deceitful family that this generational shit stops with me. I did not breed the next gen of assholes and abusers. This keeps me focused and grounded. I still cycle through the what if scenarios of wanting to believe him. Then I come and smack myself silly here reading from other posters the EXACT SAME CRAP we ourselves are experiencing.

      • Yes, ANC, that is so much of the pain that goes with this when its spanned so many years of marriage. We bonded with assholes, who to this day refuse to be honest and or come clean. Just validating that’s my feelings were correct – during the years she denied an affair – would help me so much. That has hurt my recovery a lot – remembering all the signs but being given only the tip of the iceberg. Fortunately, I have been able to confirm the 10-month affair was 5 years. It was only one of the multiple affairs over 20 years, but it help tremendously to find out the truth. They ARE so much the same that it’s scary.

  • This may be my favorite all time UBT moment: “I couldn’t allow myself honesty and faith before. I keep them locked in a steamer trunk in the bottom of my fetid consciousness, bound and gagged. Whenever I let Honesty free, she says crap like “PROUD TO BE A DECEITFUL FUCKWIT!” Back in the box, Honesty.”

    GAM, you need to RUN, not walk but RUN back to No Contact and never, ever stray from that line again. This guy is poison. You are worth so much more.

  • GAM, your story is another heart breaker. I am so sorry that you have suffered and been treated this way. What you have endured should not be part of a loving, equitable relationship. I felt like shit a lot of the time with my ‘soul mate’!! Would I want to be in a trench with him? God forbid! I could not turn my back on him in the hard times. Insane much? Do I have a low IQ? Nope. On drugs? Nope.

    Ian mentioned Stockholm Syndrome and slavery (humans treated like property) early on here. You might be shocked to read about SS. But your physiology is in total control in these situations. It is like the story of prisoners who had been held in a cave, tied to the wall, all of their lives. One escaped and came back for the others. He told of sunlight, green grass, trees, sky, clouds, fresh air, clean water. But they refused to leave with him. This is the experience you are describing.

    Your wisdom is evident and is your ticket to freedom from this insanity. Stay NC. All contact will be for kibbles. The promises galore, as previously demonstrated, will not be kept. You have 7 years of evidence. Don’t deny your wisdom.

    Stay with us, GAM. You have an entire Nation of amazing people behind you.

    • You’re right. Equity is not my ex-‘s strong suit. I have the evidence to prove it and I have learned everything I need to. I’m moving on alone. Thank you for your support. <3

  • GAM? RUN. Run.

    My beautiful friends have just got married after 24 years, and neither of them have cheated on the other. As they say, they have done better than most of their straight friends.

    Run. Please please please don’t let him play with your decency.

  • GaM, sending Jedi hugs your way. It is always difficult for the folks who loved with open hearts.
    You can walk away with your head held high. Time to go no contact, and to not look back. You did the best you could with the information that was provided.

  • Never trust someone who uses big words like recalcitrant, but not an Oxford comma. That’s just shady, friends.

  • It’s another plea for kibble.

    Dollars to doughnuts he likes playing you off against his side fuck. He can flit from one of you to the other and back, and as you and the AP engage in competitive Pick Me Dancing, he can sit back and enjoy the show.

    Now that you’re no longer dancing to his tune, he’s all upset.

    Look, this guy has cheated on you from the get-go. He’s given you classic Cheater BS about being polyamorous. If he were truly polyamorous, he’d play by the rules the two of you set up. He didn’t because he’s a cheater. He gave you the classic Cheater line of the open relationship. Then when you decide that you want to see other people, he’s mad.

    His actions show you he wants a lop-sided relationship. He gets to fuck around when he want to, but you’re allowed to be with him only.

    Now that he’s gone a month with the OM. He’s bored. He misses the two of you constantly vying for his attention (this is triangulation). He’s trying to gaslight you into taking him back again. After all, it worked before!

    My advice? Don’t respond. No contact is No Contact. Block him from social media and block him from your phone. Get a bit of therapy. You are worth so much more than your ex-boyfriend.

  • The beauty of NC is taking the time to work on yourself. I suspect, as many of us here can attest to, is that you have been ruminating rather than spending the time to focus on changing your situation and fixing your picker. You sound like a sensitive, caring man with goals. The man you THINK you cannot live without… is NOT all that. He has used you as his safety net. You are being emotionally abused and he is pulling out all the stops to keep you involved.

    So nice of him to give you a heads up 3 YEARS into your relationship that he is polyamorous. That should have been front and center from the get-go. Instead he kept you on a string while he was “figuring out his sexual identity”?!?! HUGE red flag (but I totally get the chump response – “Ok, we can work through this, but here are the rules…”

    Then he fucks that up, too, and even tells you. Why? Because he knew he has you hooked. He has gotten away with cheating before and you swallowed his shit sandwiches. Brazen little bastard is thinking you are not the boss of him and it’s fun to see your pain (that he has that kind of control over you). AND he knows you will cave in and forgive him when he changes the rules. Oh, and heavens no! Don’t you go out and date others. You might have fun and meet someone better. Nope, it’s more fun for him knowing that you squirm at the thought of losing him.

    NC has been bothering him. It’s no fun when you are not engaged in the game. (Don’t read more into his communication than simply that!) He’s pouring on the sweet talk of how you’ve both grown together (blah blah blah) and claiming he has changed for the better and he now knows you’re the one for him. A little too late, don’t you think?

    GAM, he is not worthy of you. Please do not settle. Give yourself the gift of accepting that your time with him was lesson of what a loving, healthy relationship IS NOT. The foundation is horribly cracked and he’s not a good investment. He has demonstrated, over and over again, that his words are not worth the paper they are written on. Listen to all wisdom at this website… Your ex is not a unicorn.

    • I agree with your entire post Over and Out! The moment this jackass said he’s polyamorous, is the moment that GAM should have automatically dumped him. People who want open relationships, should be with people also want that too. Otherwise, there’s no point in wanting polyamory and then torturing your partner for YEARS. I agree that NC has been bothering this idiot and he’s back bc he wants to be wanted by GAM. Not because he really cares for GAM or wants his best interest. It’s just a matter of time before he reverts back to his old ways.

    • He certainly is not a good or solid investment. And we do have a cracked foundation. You are correct. It’d be easier to work on the foundation if he wasn’t continuing to take a hammer to it but oh well. Sometimes you have to accept reality: I can’t get out of him what I hoped to. I actually learned what a healthy relationship is both because of AND in spite of him. He was genuinely, truly great in many respects, and I appreciate his time in my life. It meant a lot. But I can’t go on with such instability and disrespect. And clearly he won’t change. So … I go on my own way, knowing that I gave it my all. Thank you for your support <3 🙂

  • You’d be surprised how effective it is to return their letters unopened through the snail mail.

    Just to amuse myself (and okay, this is in bad taste) I had several return address labels made, which you can order on the internet.
    –one has a braying jackass on it
    –one is a picture of a steaming turd with a smiley face
    –one says “have a craptastic day” with a drawing of a unicorn pooping on a penguin who is holding an umbrella and says “back at ya.”

    Sorry, but it is a little bit of fun I’ve employed recently. It STOPPED the letters after two returns.

  • Fuckwit Pride Parade

    Hi-dee HO there folks! It’s time once again for the annual Fuckwit Pride parade! My name is Pearl Ester and I’m super-excited to be your color commentator today! With me is Faux News psycho Dr. Keith Ablow (tee-hee!) providing color analysis!

    Hi Pearl! Say, have you gained weight?

    Keith! Ha-haa! You scamp! Any-hoo, folks our first Fuckwit Pride parade float is titled, “Fantasy are 4-Evah!” and is sponsored by facebook! “Facebook… Why settle for the real-life monotony surrounding you when you could be basking in the glory of your own fake universe?” This float was decorated using discarded hotel, dinner, flowers, and assorted gift receipts. Fun fact… I’m told that when added up, the receipts total more than the GDP of Greece, Costa Rica, Aruba, Disneyworld, and Thailand – COMBINED!

    BBPT-tis!! – BBPT-tis!! – BBPT-tis!! – BBPT-tis!! …

    Oh Keith! I know you know I know what that beat means! That’s the much anticipated “Spring, Summer, Fall, & Winter Fling” float!

    Pearl, you fatso, that’s right! This year’s float is sponsored by Grindr! “Grindr… Don’t just swipe right! Swipe any direction you want! And often!” To prepare for this year’s float, cheaters were asked to narrow down the list of sexual positions they enjoy with all their fuckbuddies. The Fling float depicts 69 of these in all their innocent and harmless fun.

    Isn’t that awesome Keith?! Our next Fuckwit float is themed, “Twu-Luv.” “Twu-Luv” is sponsored by the Photo Vault app. “Photo-Vault… For those dic-pics you don’t want your spouse to treasure!” This year’s float uses 40 million cotton balls to create a fog. We can’t see what’s depicted inside the fog, but I’m sure it’s spectacular!

    And being towed behind the “Twu-Luv” float is the “Adult Responsibility” trailer. Okay, moving on… Ooo! Keith! Do my eyes deceive me, or is that my favorite float, “Monoga-mish??!!”

    Why yes it is Pearl you whale! “Monoga-mish” is sponsored by Any Lab Test NOW! “Got that itching and burning feeling something’s not quite right? Go to Any Lab Test NOW location and receive half-off your second, third, and fourth STD screens.” This year’s “Monoga-mish” float depicts the sheer joy and euphoria fuckwits experience in their affairs.

    And tailgaiting closely behind is “Gaslight” brought to us by Image Management Consultants. “When the truth makes you look like a douchebag… Use Image Management; it’s just easier.” Awarded the president’s trophy, “Gaslight” is a re-creation of the 1944 instructional documentary of the same name. Keith, I’d try to describe what I’m seeing, but I’m afraid I’d be wrong.

    And you’d be right Pearl, you thunder-theighed cow! Well folks, we need to take a break and get our heads straight. This IS the Fuckwit Pride Parade!


    • Yay! Put me on your shoulders! I can’t see the ILYBINILWY float!

        • That was amazing BNM. I totally missed the “I don’t want a divorce, I just want to act single” float! And what happened to the float sponsored by Viagra? Surely the Limp Dick was floating along in the parade?

          • Dat, it was that Macy’s balloon overhead that kept crashing into the crowd below.

    • BNM–That was brilliant!

      Not a day goes by I don’t shake my head at the cleverness and awesomeness of chumps, and the stupidity of the cheaters who compromised relationships with such fab people.

      • As we know from yesterdays CL article there is science to back up chump fabness!

    • WOW — I’m in awe.

      When CL establishes “The Chump Channel” (24-hour programming for chumps of the world) I will work with you on getting this produced.

      Then you can work with me on my cheater version of “Inside Out” produced — instead of short-term memory spheres, their brains retain kibbles and little slices of cake. (They rarely get flushed away, unfortunately.)

      • Cheater Inside Out

        [Fade in: Empty desert. High noon. Fixed camera. Tumbleweed slowly enters frame from camera right, takes its time blowing through frame, and exits camera left.]

        [Fade out]

        The End.

    • BNM,

      I have read some hilarious things on this site because CN is incredibly erudite and talented, but this is the ABSOLUTE BEST thing I have ever read! You have serious SKILLZ!!!! Love it and love you!!!

  • Awesome UBT CL, wow!

    GAM, I am so sorry you had to go through this, and how hard it is to believe that the person you have been investing so much to be in a relationship with turns out to be such a deceitful, disrespectful, and selfish mate.

    I know how it feels to adapt, to reduce your needs to accommodate mounting demands from a cheater, and to rationalize this every step of the way until your pretzel logic can’t convince your own self any longer… I was a true chump, making my cheater’s life really comfy, I was a forgiving, self-sacrificing, hopium addict… I had been very clear about my deal breakers before we got married. From the get go, we had an unbalanced relationship where I moved for his job, put his needs and my kiddo’s needs before mine. I kept believing that I was part of a team, and we all brought our A-game as we got through life. I was hoping that reciprocity would come when my kiddo was older, when his job would be less stressful, all rationalizations common to CN.

    Then I found out about my X’s affair.

    I put down the hopium pipe. Leaving him felt like I had to wrench my heart out of my chest with my own bloody hands and no anesthetics in sight. One of the first saying that kept popping into my mind was:

    “When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.”

    And yep, it has been like this throughout the divorce proceedings, and the ongoing shit sandwiches I will be gobbling down until my kiddo turns 18.

    GAM – Think about your relationship with you X. You have accepted so much from your X, your picker is really in need of a good tune up. You deserve better than a cheating, lying, blame shifter as your partner. I would suggest you remain NC and if anything, burn that note as a closure ceremony to let go of his craziness.

    You want to know how it would be if you took him back? Is he a changed person? Unlikely. Think about what he did when you confronted him in the past. He was blame shifting after you confronted him, and said no to going to therapy after cheating on you. Given that scenario, and based on CN stories, I believe your X is asking for another chance to hide better.

    I am also worried that your X would, like many cheaters, not only cheat again, but also amp up the blame shifting… Every time you would put up better or stronger boundaries, he might throw a fit about you not trusting him nor being able to truly forgive him. Is this really what you believe your best life should be?

    Please consider investing the same time and energy you invested in your relationship and your cheater towards your own growth. Find a trauma psychologist to help you process this, maybe try EMDR, and definitely fix your picker so you can move forward with building your best life without a individual with “low mate value.”

    • Yes, I’ve had to do a lot of thinking about how/why I accepted this kind of blatantly awful treatment. Obviously I have major FOO issues that contributed (big surprise) but now I will fix my picker and work on myself as well. I’ll look into EMDR, too!

  • GAM, one of the first things that popped out to me was his congratulating you on going to graduate school. I’m guessing that upon graduating, you’ll be making a lot more money, right? How much does your cheating ex make? Never discount $$$$$ as motivation when cheaters come crawling back, pretending to be “sorry.” They are never truly sorry, but they are often looking for financial benefit, such as the chump carrying the load. With straight cheaters, it usually centers on child support or alimony, but I’m assuming that is not an issue here. Still, your ex may want to use you as a bank account.

    Aside from that, GAM’s letter illustrates what I’ve often said: Read here enough and you’ll see that the cheaters’ stories are all the same…. it makes no difference if they are male or female, gay or straight, what country they are from, what race, what religion. They all use the same playbook. That tells me that they are broken on a very deep level — their very HUMANNESS is broken and there is no repair for that.

    • I never considered money before this, but I suppose you’re right. My graduate school is actually medical school, so upon finishing my training I will be earning $300k+ with very high job security. Wow, do you think he really thought about that? What a bastard…

  • “Let me demonstrate my genuine remorse by making false equivalencies.”

    Here is wisdom. How dare your ex say “I have forgiven you for SOME of your wrongdoings” (my emphasis) ? If this was genuine contrition he would never ever allude to such things. It’s incredibly disingenuous and manipulative. For me, it’s the clearest indication you should not have anything more to do with your ex.

    • GAM,
      Nobody who is apologizing would ever pull the “forgiving your wrongdoings” card. Apologizing means the apologizer is acknowledging they screwed up…where in the hell does the BUT you did something wrong too play in a genuine apology. “I fucked up but you were an ass too” is what this POS is saying to you.
      Um, he strayed, cheated and lied. Then declared he was polyamorous but you can’t be. Really projecting a loving, giving, equitable relationship there isn’t he?
      Do you have a favourite relative or friend who is/was in a relationship remotely like yours (a heterosexual union can even work for comparison). Would you expect your baby sister or beloved uncle to accept this bullshit from her or his lover or spouse? Then why the hell would you accept it for yourself? Try to view your past interactions with your ex as if you were clinically appraising a case study.
      A person who genuinely loves and respects somebody does not lie, does not cheat, does not blame and does not apologize with I want or I need statements.

      • You’re right. Someone who is genuinely remorseful and accepting of the responsibility inherent in such an apology does not say shit like my ex- said. Thank you for pointing that out and bringing me some clarity.

  • GAM here’s a little reminder I keep in my phone to keep me on track when my ex tries the charm offensive:
    Giving someone a second chance in your life is like giving them a second bullet for their gun because they missed you the first time.

    Don’t give your ex that bullet.

    • Oh, Justine. Another bullet, many times.

      And it all plays like Russian Roulette because of the mindfuckery, blame shifting, lying, manipulating.

    • I’m putting that one in my phone right now. I love it.

  • GAM, as chump lady has talked about in other articles, this is the cycle of abuse. Abusers need to be “nice” and “sorry” so they have the chance to abuse you again. Sir, you are going to grad school! Congrats! This guy is a first rate loser. Tell him to go F himself and enjoy grad school and all the opportunities it provides. That guy is not in your league.

    • Yes, it’s the buildup phase. Where they commit the act of abuse, and then there’s the period of rest, which is usually a “build-up phase’ as Lundy Bankroft calls it in his book “Why does he do that?”. These cheaters and abusers are so similar that their behavior should be taught in schools. The abuser isn’t 100% an asshole all the time, otherwise, we’d dump their ass. But they are an asshole 50% and the majority of the time, sparsed with intermittent crumbs of niceness. It really is a cycle. And when they are nice, it’s because they are grooming us to do what they want. They are training us to beg for their attention. And 99% of the time, they are pathetic parasitic bottom feeders.

      • And don’t anyone forget. “Going to Grad School” means there may be more suitable partners available soon. This is a clear ploy to shut that possibility down. My cheater suddenly wanted to marry when I went to grad school. The idea is to take you off the market so you can’t see that anyone better might be out there. The correct answer is no.

  • Dear GAM, When he was being a dick (over and over again) he was showing you who he really is. Now he is on his best behavior because he is trying to win you back. That is the FAKE him. Take him back and the dick will return. He is not worthy of you! If he WAS a changed man then he would respect your boundaries, prove by his ACTIONS that he now has integrity and wait patiently for you to take him back when YOU are ready, if ever. Instead, he is ignoring your wishes for NC.

  • GAM: Seven years of this.
    Go No Contact and stay no contact until you deprogram yourself.

  • Gay & Monogamous,
    I’m very glad you sent that letter to Chump Lady. I know how hard it must have been not to respond to it. Stay strong, stay no contact. It will get better and you will find someone who will love you as well as you love others. I hope the jokes cheered you, sometimes laughing is best, crying can suck, especially if it goes on too long. Sending you all the Jedi Hugs !

  • Hello everybody, GAM here.

    I finished an extraordinarily long day of work only to find about TWO HUNDRED comments from people clamoring to support me. Wow! Thank you all so, so much. I feel very lucky that Chump Lady took the time and effort to select my submission and even more grateful for the thoughtful, wise responses written out by Chump Nation.

    To be honest, of emotions I feel, anger is certainly further down the list than, say, dejection or loss or emptiness. I suppose that’s because I genuinely feel like my ex- isn’t the type to be conniving or malicious. He is just (obviously) a narcissist. I see his words and actions that hurt me not as a personal affront but rather a byproduct of his deep-seated selfishness/entitlement that he, unfortunately, has not so far and may not in the future tackle with the seriousness it deserves. This attitude of his extended beyond cheating to phenomena such as marijuana addiction.

    I realized that I actually don’t see my fondness for my ex-, recollection of our good times, respect for his positive attributes, etc. as at odds with me needing to leave him. I learned a lot over the years about life and love both because of and in spite of him. He was genuinely good to me in many ways and I still pull strength from a myriad of our memories. I feel healthy for being able to cherish our good times while still doing what I know is right for me, which is breaking up and moving forward alone. Chump Nation definitely set me back on track with the last part of that plan, so thank you all. I am trying to absolve myself of the guilt of feeling like I’m abandoning him.

    I hope to respond over the weekend to some of the comments here that I found particularly apropos/touching. For now, allow me to pick out some of Chump Lady’s words that were salient…

    “Can’t pray the stray away, you know.” Hah! So sassy. You would do very well as a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race.

    “Let me demonstrate my genuine remorse by making false equivalencies.” Oh my gosh Chump Lady you have no idea. Well, actually, you probably do. There were many false equivalencies he used over the years and I could not put a finger on them until I started reading your blog. Plus, why would someone use ANY sort of equivalency like that in an apology letter? Even if it was a TRUE equivalency? Not the time or place.

    “It took seven years of serial cheating, risking your health with Grindr hook-ups, disrespect, mindfuckery, and one pointless, sullen couple’s therapy session…” To be fair, the cheating wasn’t for all seven years since I was in the know (for better or for worse) about everyone he slept with in years 4, 5, and 6. But he did end up giving me scabies and gonorrhea (two separate incidents), made me feel like a control freak for trying to set up rules, and, after one of our final therapy sessions, said, “Well, what I got out of that session was that, if either of us is going to change, it’s going to have to be you.” Oh, also, after the final cheating, he said (in our very last therapy session) that he felt like I was overreacting. At a later date he apologized for both of those comments but the damage had been done.

    “It’s hard to find replacement chumps. Fuck buddies? Sure. Invested, loving people who’ll agree to all my lop-sided terms of engagement for the occasional starvation kibble ration? Not so easy.” Abso-fucking-lutely on this comment. I think only at the very, very, VERY end of it all he realized how patient I had been during our relationship. And then he panicked realizing that most people wouldn’t take even 1/10 of what I took. Now, again, in fairness, he also took some of my serious shit/issues/etc. But the difference is I worked on my shit like it was my job and he stayed basically the same.

    “By ‘forgive me’ I mean take me back with zero conditions, zero demonstrations of remorse, and allowing me to blameshift my shitty actions on to you.” Initially, after the last cheating, he told me that I had to accept my part in all of this. CLASSIC blameshifting. I was silent at first, then gave a tepid agreement, then quickly changed the subject. It was in that moment that I think I knew there was no salvation for the relationship. He was the same person who cheated years ago and had not learned a got-damn thing despite all of our conversations and shared tears. I don’t know how a person could waste all that good communication and emotional exploration, treating those exchanges like we were talking about the weather. It’s almost like if someone is bad at math and you explain something mathy to them, it goes in one ear and out the other. Most people who aren’t math people don’t like to sit down and try to make themselves better at math. Perhaps it is the same for people who aren’t the best at respecting others. They just don’t see how math — in this case, protecting other people’s boundaries/comfort zones — is relevant to their lives, so why take the immense effort to sit down and learn? Does that make sense or am I rambling at this point?

    “GAM, Tell him no. Find it in your heart to forgive yourself for wasting seven years on a fuckwit.” I luv ya Chump Lady, but I have to slightly disagree with you here. I do not and will never feel I have wasted any years on my ex-. He legitimately taught me so much about the world and about myself, and I don’t mean because of this cheating/disrespect nonsense (though that has taught me many lessons as well and I plan on fixing my picker post-haste). My ex- helped me grow emotionally in a way I very much doubt I would have had I not met him. He made me a better person and I am forever grateful to him for that. He opened my eyes up to so much and, because of how much we have in common, allowed me to explore myself profoundly. He will always hold a special place in my heart and I feel fine in continuing to love him. I just know now that love is not enough and I have to find someone who also respects me and who I trust. I mean, Jesus, I couldn’t imagine having mutual commitments like children or pets or joint bank accounts or mortgages with my ex-. The thought of that brings me pangs of anxiety like no other.

    So, anyway, thank you again for your time, consideration, and love everybody. I will respond to some comments on this post during the weekend. Until then, enjoy the rest of the week!

    Love and Peace,


    • You’ve got a good head on your shoulders for someone so young. You’re generous and insightful, and it sounds like you’ve got a lot of living ahead of you, and are making the most of your talents and accomplishments and hard work.

      Well done, young man!

      Keeeeeeeep going!

      Thank you for sharing your ex’s letter–it helps other chumps to read stuff like this. Isn’t it funny how easy it is to read the words of someone else’s cheater, and see so clearly what a screw-up they are, yet so hard to get to that same understanding with our own cheaters? It’s a phenomenon! Well, the more practice we get, through sharing like yours, the more practiced and experienced we get. Slowly we start to see the forest for the trees. Patterns and cliches are revealed, and a light bulb goes off over each of our heads.

      Big hugs! We’re proud of you!

    • My warmest wishes to you, GAM. We’ll be here cheering for you from the sidelines!

    • GAM, glad you were able to get back and read this. Part of the reason your story stuck with me was that my ex pulled something similar – sending a postcard that opened “Dearest Vulcan” – while he was in Europe with another woman. I can promise you that time will make it so this letter your ex sent doesn’t make you as weak as it used to. Thankfully, that’s what happened for me.

    • GAM, you weren’t rambling, it made sense. I agree with you, the years were not wasted and the good memories shouldn’t be tossed out. Jedi Hugs!

  • One of the hardest obstacles on the road to Meh is forgiving yourself for wasting so much time with an asshole.

    Whenever someone spouts their forgiveness heals bullshit I remind myself that I don’t have to forgive monsters in order to heal, but I do need to forgive myself for not believing who they were when they showed me the first time.

  • By the way, GAM. I entered a doctoral program, paid for by my university, while I was married to STBX. After simultaneously raising very young children (mostly on my own as now-STBX lived in other cities and disappeared even during periods when he was ‘home’), studying, conducting research, and lecturing for years, when my STBX filed for divorce, he claimed that HE paid for all of my degrees (I had scholarships and fellowships) and HE made huge sacrifices (moving a few miles down the road) to allow me to waste my time and money living a fantasy lifestyle (although doctoral program lifestyle is far from glamorous)! (He basically told the Court that I was a lazy bum who should never see her kids–he tried to get a restraining order against me based on several outrageous false allegations.) I hope that your ex never does the same to you.

  • GAM,
    I love what you said, ‘It’s almost like if someone is bad at math and you explain something mathy to them, it goes in one ear and out the other. Most people who aren’t math people don’t like to sit down and try to make themselves better at math. Perhaps it is the same for people who aren’t the best at respecting others. They just don’t see how math — in this case, protecting other people’s boundaries/comfort zones — is relevant to their lives, so why take the immense effort to sit down and learn?’ I have been both a math teacher for many years and a chump for (way too) many years. I agree with you completely.

  • That maths analogy is so brilliant! That is exactly it. They do not see any POINT in being faithful or honest. Why bother?
    Lying, cheating, manipulating, abandoning their kids, holidays and parties is what floats their boat. Maths / responsibility is hard and they are too special to bother.
    I also wonder if they just have flaky brains, which lose focus very quickly. Like a very poor internet signal which floats in and out. They just can’t keep consistent.
    My ex has a very well paid job ( stingy as hell tho’) but his kids said quite recently ” Dad just isn’t very clever”. and they were not meaning academic work.
    It is sad when teenagers understand life better than a 50 yr old.

  • I’m sorry, GAM. It would be a heartfelt letter if it came from a non-cheater who means you and your relationship no harm, but it didn’t. As an outsider, I see a lot of red flags in the letter (guilting you about your recent academic triumph, making you responsible for whether or not you got back together, milking your emotions–are just a few). I hope you’ll decide to leave; he sounds really bad for you. I guarantee you, anything is better than the hell and chaos of a toxic relationship like this. End the cycle; take your lessons and move on. P.S. Congratulations on grad school!!

    • Left this up a ways before I saw you’d replied, but it is important, so I’ll say it again.

      “Going to Grad School” means there may be more suitable partners available soon. This is a clear ploy to shut that possibility down. My cheater suddenly wanted to marry when I went to grad school. The idea is to take you off the market so you can’t see that anyone better might be out there. The correct answer is no.

      Be strong, GAM, and take care of you. I wouldn’t bring someone like that back in my life (though I did get a similar letter), and neither should you. Take your good memories, toss the bad ones on the bonfire, and get on to a better state of being. Know always that you are mighty!

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