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Do Cheaters Have Low Self Esteem?

narcissistegokibblesIf you spend any time on reconciliation boards, you’ll read a lot of creative excuses being thrown around about the deep shame and inadequacy that cheaters feel. Really, it’s there buried deep under their secret cell phones, dating profiles, and FOO issues. The whole time they were screwing around on you, somewhere deep in their black little hearts was a sense of… inadequacy and self-loathing.

It took DDay and being carted off to therapy under duress for them to realize that gosh, they suffer from low self esteem. They needed the validation of an affair… and hey, they’re really fragile right now, so they can’t deal with your distress about being cheated on. Their issues are complicated. But perhaps you could do a bit of bolstering? You know, BE there for them during this difficult time of self awareness? Hold their hand, and maybe reinforce how much you care and how much you value being with them? Because you know, if this self esteem thing flags again, they might be out trolling Craigslist. It’s a delicate thing.

Now read on a cheater board like the cheater reddit page and see how much low self esteem you spot, as the cheaters dish about how they keep their affairs secret, the best places to fuck, and managing the occasional guilt pang. (“It passes. Hang in there!”)

Newsflash chumps — cheaters don’t suffer from low self esteem. On the contrary, they think they’re splendid. It’s YOU who are lacking. You don’t appreciate them enough. You don’t fuck them often enough or well enough. You’re a little dim.

Cheaters cheat because they feel entitled to cheat. You know who feels entitled? People who think they’re better and more deserving than you are. Not people with low self esteem.

But wait! No, it’s really their low self esteem that made them gin up this false self! The arrogance and entitlement is just masking deeper inadequacies! It’s their insecurity that makes them have to puff themselves up so much!

Hogwash. Their arrogance and entitlement is actually masking deeper arrogance and entitlement. If you do any reading about schoolyard bullies, you’ll see that this myth, that bullies suffer from low self esteem, has been debunked by researchers. Actually, bullies are little narcissists. They think they’re tops and feel perfectly free to trample over anyone they deem a lesser being. What they need is for a nun to whack them with a ruler and shame them in the name of God. Not a self esteem intervention.

Similarly, cheaters don’t need your patience and understanding. They need a whack upside the head with a divorce summons.

Why do chumps persist in thinking cheaters feel bad, really somewhere deep down? Because we need to think they’re human and they care and we matter. People in reconciliation especially need to see their cheater as sad, soft sausages who didn’t act with agency. Also, chumps tend to project their moral world view on cheaters. Boy, only someone really sad and depraved would do such a thing, ergo, the cheater must be sad and depraved. No, the cheater actually ENJOYS being “sad” and “depraved.” At your expense. They weren’t thinking of you one bit while they were getting their jollies.

If you think I’m wrong? Go read on those cheater boards — they’ll admit it to each other. Just not to the chumps in their lives. The truth has the unintended consequence of a decline in ego kibble production as the chumps take umbrage. So better to just go along with the low self esteem narrative… more kibbles in that. Tell me again how great I am. I suffer from low self esteem.


This column ran previously! Feel free to comment!

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  • I agree! I actually went over this theory with my counselor and she echoes the same conclusion. These cheaters have absolutely NO issues with self esteem. They honestly believe they are heads above everyone else and God help the chump who dares to get in the way. These idiots are delusional at best!

    • Meh. chumps HAVE to believe that their cheater cheated because of some trumped up excuse. It’s either “FOO” issues or he’s a ‘sex addict’ or a ‘porn addict’ or there were manipulated/blackmailed by the affair partner into an affair they didn’t want to be in. Chumps will literally scrape the bottom of the barrel, DESPERATE to find a ‘why.’ Most of the time, the simple truth is because their cheated WANTED TO.

      They won’t accept that. They’d rather believe some horseshit psycho babble from a therapist instead. Fools.

      • Most of us were such fools. It’s very human to want to believe and very hard to accept how inconsequential we were to people we loved and invested in. It’s also kind to want to help someone who you determine is struggling.

        • CL: ‘It’s very human to want to believe and very hard to accept how inconsequential we were to people we loved and invested in.’ THIS! I plan to read, write, and recite this a thousand times (or however long it takes) to get out of denial about my STBX, my post-separation ex-boyfriend, and all the guys who lied to me on Internet dating sites. Yesterday, I deactivated my profile on my dating website. I feel lonely and don’t like that feeling, especially considering that at 50, I think that i will be alone forever while my now ex-boyfriend finds love and treats my replacement like a princess (the way he used to when he was love bombing me), but being lonely without paying for the privilege is better than paying to feel lonely and lied to and rejected by not only someone you love but also strangers who really are not compelled to lie to you.

          • I agree the hardest part is realizing we meant nothing to the other person. I found out that my ex boyfriend was not attracted to me at all when he first met me (I’m a brunette and he likes blonde bimbos), but once he saw my lifestyle, that’s when he started to become attracted to me. I was furious when I found out, but I ended up immediately after that. Best decision ever.

            • Kella – OMG! Married 25 years to a man only to find all his dating site profiles and the checklists of WANTS/LIKES and they were all the opposite of me. Blonde, tall, leggy, ginormous boobs….I’m 5’1″ if I stretch my neck and 100# of short nuggetness. Clearly don’t have model proportions, or the right hair color/length, or the right eye color, or the right shape, or the right boob size….and when I cornered him about this and wouldn’t listen to nonsense bullshit answers he finally shrieked “I guess that’s really my type. It’s just what I like looking at!” As if all he was doing was looking? Even IF I lied to myself and tried to believe that shit, I can’t unknow that he’s hasn’t ever been looking at ME. Wtf? Why did he marry me if I’m not his type or what he likes looking at? Unlike you, I had nothing of worldly value to offer. So I do struggle with this and I don’t want to admit it but I used to be confident and had good or appropriate self-esteem. Never felt like I needed to look like Malibu Barbie to be successful in life or dating or marriage. Fuckwit cheaterpants always wanted and was apparently always seeking out exactly that – so wtf!? Now I have to really work on myself and the lies he’s planted in my soul, that I was never good enough and wow just a big mistake I guess. I’m sorry Kellia, but you give me hope because it doesn’t sound like it affected how you feel about yourself. And, at least you found out sooner than later and had the sense to show him the door. Maybe if I hadn’t believed cheatingass husband loved me and loved every aspect about me, maybe it’d be easier. Idk. I have tried to think about what my 25 year old self would’ve thought/felt, instead of my 48 yr old self. I don’t think I would’ve cared back then so much. Idk. Thanks for sharing though. I feel less weirdly alone with that part of his betrayal.

              • Chumpedupchik, if it’s any consolation, you can buy the ginoromus fake boobs and blonde hair at the same place as the whores. But you don’t want to, they are a dime a dozen. They, and your cheater ex, are all as fake as it gets. Ugh.

              • Same here … Cute petite brunette with normal dimensions, smart gal, funny, patient, all around nice girl. After 30 years it turns out what i was lacking was a penis. So hurt but at least i know my own worth. Too bad i had such a lousy picker. Make a list of your positive attributes like i just did and then repeat them to yourself until you know how fantastic you truly are.

              • Hey Chumpedupchik,
                I know that totally feels like shit and am not saying this to minimize those feelings at all, but at least you had some qualities he was attracted to….like a vagina.

                I found Pigfucker’s personal ads looking for some cockandballs! Not only was I an “old, fat, haggard, ugly, nasty bitch”, buy I had a vagina too!!! Apparently soooooo not his sexual preferred type!

              • Wow, I can’t believe how many of us went through the same thing. And here I was posting about my life, thinking I feel like such a fool for being duped like this, and then I saw everyone’s response. I feel so validated. I’m sorry each one of you had to go through that, it sucks. But I have no mercy towards someone who abuses my niceness and takes me for a ride, and takes advantage of me, when I had the best intentions towards them. It infuriates me and I will NEVER forgive them. EVER.

              • ChumpedupChick, I wrote a post to you and it disappeared. I want to tell you that you are valuable and worthy. What happened to you is unforgiveable, and only a piece of shit coward and louse would do that to someone else. No one put a gun to his head to marry you! WTF? And if the blonde type is what he wants, then why didnt ‘he marry that. What’s the point of choosing you to marry and then having a wondering eye at blondes. I never understood assholes like this. And your ex is the unworthy one, he’s the worthless scumbag. You are VALUABLE and you will get over this I promise. Work on surrounding yourself with people who love you and think you’re “da Bomb”, because you are. You will need to show a lot of compassion towards yourself and do loving things for you. Thank God you got away from this piece of shit.

              • Add me to the list. My biggest flaw was also not having a penis.
                What I had in spades was a willingness to make it work, a desire to honour my marriage, the willingness to choose to love him even when I was pushed beyond what any human being should endure, and the desire to punch his lights out was a constant battle ( I never did sadly).

                Now I just look after me. Bought some nice skin care products, do my nails, my hair. Nothing extreme just the things I denied myself to put him and the kids first. The difference it has made to my self esteem is immense.

              • HEY CHUMPEDUPCHIK!

                And let me ask: Could you Ex dance for the Magic Mike Revue? Is he a Perfect 10?
                I bet I can guess that answer. And yet…that is what he thinks he DESERVES.

                These clowns have no self awareness of how they look and what losers they are.

                Your looks have nothing to with his cheating! I can promise you that.

                They are like hungry ghosts…empty inside, roaming the world looking to fill that black abyss inside of them. Some use alcohol, drugs, whores, gambling, CHEATING, anger..but they are never filled up.

                You could be Super Pussy, and he would still cheat. As hard as it is to believe- It is not personal.

                For some reason…I always remember that Billy Joel cheated on Christie Brinkley over and over and over. In her prime.

                Do you see?

              • I am a blond, tall model from Hungary. I still look very stunning but I went to get a degree in finance and now working for a National Bank making lot of money. I am smart, intelligent , caring and faithful. Y boyfriend still cheated on me Multiple times and with multiple women. He is a serial cheater. I believe cheating is a selfish and narcissistic act. You can’t not change cheaters. A cheater is always a cheater. Nothing can change the fact that they cheated. Thr best thing to dump them and let others suffer with them.

            • Kellia. After d-day, which was after 20 years of marriage, a close friend of my EW told me that my EW had told her a few years into our marriage that her feelings for me had changed TWO YEARS before she married me. It explained everything I needed to know about why she married me and the “why” of her disinterest in me and her years and years of serial cheating.

              I have been shocked reading this site at the willingness of some people to defraud others out of the years of their lives, money, and their mental and emotional health to serve their hidden agendas. I’m no longer shocked, but it’s still hard for me to comprehend such indifference and cruelty.

              • Exactly JK. That’s the true horror we Chumps have to come to terms with. For those of us dealing with Cluster B’s, our spouses felt entitled to defraud us out of the years (nearly 4 decades in my case) of our lives, money, mental, emotional and physical health from their pathological abuse. It takes a lot of time and deep work to heal and literally rewire our brains after this level of abuse. There should be legal recourse for emotional abuse, like there is for psychical abuse…

              • You know JK. It took me a long time before I was even remotely ok with what had happened, because it’s evil and I would never do that to someone else. But I realized that there are so many people who will tell you they love you and say all these kind words to your face, while they royally screw you over day after day. Nothing surprises me anymore and I’m sorry you had to go through that. I will never forgive these people and hope they rot in hell.

            • Kellia and all who replied….believe it or not I never saw the comments after I posted mine in 2016, until TODAY, 11/29/2018! Finally seeing because someone else posted a comment yesterday-maybe new or reading in the archives? I was startled because I had not remembered writing this and certainly forgot about the lengthy and ragey tirade I posted after the first one ????). I felt a little embarrassed (partly bc autocorrect sucks), sorry! I was so grumpy I clearly didn’t proofread. It was weird to read back on this and yet all your lovely responses and the encouragement from you and so many others really touched me and I was able to let go of the yucky feelings.

              I’m not sure why I needed this today, or how the universe goes about bringing these kinds of things to me at just the right time, but I’m ever grateful for the uplifting that happens on this site daily. Also appreciate the loving, sometimes necessary, virtual face slaps we get now and then, LOL! I still find myself feeling stupid at times, but maybe some things will never NOT feel surreal to me? Although I do see the Xcheaterpants for what HE is, not what he tried to make me feel or believe I was, it still makes me cringe just a little. That horrible familiar feeling of doubt creeped up on me as I was reading, but I more quickly recognized it as false and know it only took root because of all the mindfuckery, blameshifting, and excuse-making that left me disoriented and led to a mind-numbing amount of traumatizing trickle truth. None of it makes sense and it won’t make sense to us chumps, which I see as a good thing – that we can not fathom their wickedness. March on sweet fellow chumps. We will all (eventually) make it to the land of Meh. Someday I will fully stop backsliding by taking mental road trips to Shitshow Corners. I’m thankful to have had this look back though, because even if I’m not where I’d like to be, I’m sure as all hell not where I WAS. Love y’all!????

          • RockStar, so proud of you for going off the dating site. Hang in there through the loneliness and the fear you’ll always be alone and the compulsion to find another man right away. You are working hard on you. I think of my first year post-Jackass as my detox period. It takes a while to learn to enjoy your own company, to learn to be fully grateful for all the other people and things that life offers. Now go treat yourself like the queen that you are, even if all you can afford to do is make a perfect cup of tea and sit on the patio and list all the wonderful things in your life NOW. You are the entire world to your kids. You are necessary. Major hugs.

              • Atta girl – RSW, it is always GREAT to hear from you. You are braver than you know.

                Hey, by the way:

                “I feel lonely and don’t like that feeling,”

                Who does? And there’s lots you can do with this very honest assertion. It’s a great place to begin a journey into finding new friends, interests and – shock – yourself!

                “especially considering that at 50, I think that i will be alone forever”

                Why? I doubt it. You’re only half-way there. Invest in a bit of healing first, and you’ll be amazed what the universe throws at you. (WHEN YOU ARE READY …)

                “while my now ex-boyfriend finds love and treats my replacement like a princess (the way he used to when he was love bombing me),”

                Ah yes, the man with the thousand-year history of 3-month relationships. Yes. I can see that turning out real well for his replacement. And her replacement. And her replacement. And her replacement.

                “but being lonely without paying for the privilege is better than paying to feel lonely and lied to and rejected by not only someone you love but also strangers who really are not compelled to lie to you.”

                Indeed. You said a mouthful there. Save your money and buy a pizza instead. Or a manicure. Or a puppy. Or give the money to a homeless person. Or a homeless shelter. Or a women’s refuge.

          • RSW – So glad to see your comments today, I have been wondering how you’ve been. Great progress, you don’t need to be with someone to be whole. Your kids and you are a family, focus on your own growth and theirs, and keep forging on in finalizing your divorce. I am a few months past my final divorce decree and having that final divorce decree has really helped me starting to heal and re-examine my own habits and mindset.

            To survive and succeed, I have had to remain in a hyper-vigilant state for most of my life. It’s always been about finding ways to make things work, find a way to pay my way through college, find a way to make it work to find work where my SO was moving, find a way to pay for grad school, find a way to balance life and work in a volatile environment. Everything was all about welcoming crises, finding new ways to do things, It’s always been about potential, about the thrill of solving a problem and getting bored quickly. No wonder my favorite spackling technique was to convince myself that X and I could figure out anything together, that I just had to better communicate what I wanted.

            The shock of DDay shredded me and I realized that my X had used my problem solving skills against me in passive aggressive vagueness so elaborate and perfected he should get a honorary doctorate from Fuckedup University for it. He kept everything vague or under the umbrella of “yeah we should/could/will do this” which really meant “hey chumptitude, make it happen.” And I would do it, because we were a team… Yeah right!

            Since DDay there was more than enough drama brought to my doorstep by my X’s behaviors during the divorce. I was so devastated and his behavior became so unreasonable that I had to say ‘no’ to things that would have been challenges I would have previously taken on without hesitation.

            Since the divorce was finalized a few months ago, the ongoing buffet of shit sandwiches of sharing custody with my X along with my kiddo’s schedules and needs have brought on challenges of their own, but overall, my level of “busy” and drama in my life is considerably lower.

            I have been working on “just being” instead of “doing more.” This new test has made me realize an interesting twist in my mental make up. Serenity and calm makes me anxious instead of content. I am so used to be a go-go-go type of person that I have to re-program myself. I am slowly learning how to re-wire my brain to recognize calm as times of farniente as a good thing.

            RSW – You have had to endure far more than many chumps, and I admire your resilience so much. I hope that your decision to stop dating will allow for more space for you to “just be” instead of focusing on doing more.


            • Wow Chumptitude, I read your post and went YES’

              the expectation that you will just make everything work.

              I wonder if that is why cheater became so upset when D’day hit and I ended it. I was no longer managing his day to day needs and just making it all work.

              Thanks for the light bulb moment.

              • Right back at you thankful about why my X become so nasty once he realized I was serious about divorcing him.

                Losing control over a pro crisis management chump is so unfair [insert sad sausage picture]…

                Good riddance!

            • Chumptitude, you’re such a good writer.

              I don’t have any wisdom to share. I just wanted to say that the new experience you describe of being agitated by serenity and calm is something I share too again since D-Day. I hope that it gets better for you.

              You have done very well and better than most even observing, identifying, and labeling it. You got this.

              • Thanks Ian I can relate to how frustrating a STBX’s silent divorce stalling tactics can be… Keep going, it gets easier and better post-divorce.

      • ChumpLadyFan, did you just called all chumps “fools”?

        While I agree that some chumps might think our cheater cheated because it was out of their control (porn/sex addict), most chumps wouldn’t think that, or they’d abandon that way of thinking when they really looked at their situation.

        We’re not fools. We’re victims of severe emotional abuse by a non feeling, entitled monster who just turned our lives upside-down.

      • Wait, what? We are fools? Pretty harsh. What we have endured, likely for a mindfuckingly long time BEFORE d-day, isn’t willful foolishness. Nobody wants to believe the committed relationship they thought they were in for 5, 10 or 25 YEARS was a complete lie and waste of their life. It takes time to get to meh and those of us not there yet aren’t FOOLS just because we aren’t there yet. Slow maybe, but not fools.

        CL and CN help us get there. They help us wipe the cheatingass liar’s lying shit out of our eyes, so we can better see our assclown cheater for what/who they really are and not who they’ve pretended to be, not who we KNEW them to be for all these years. There’s something horrifically disorienting about having your life and family detonated ALL TO HELL IN AN INSTANT and I don’t think the stages I went through or am still going through trying to GET to meh, make me a fool. It makes me a human being with a broken heart, because they had their life shattered. I don’t need any more more snarky ass, self-righteous people telling me to GTFO it or that I was clearly a fucking FOOL not to see it in the first place.

        Maybe I woke up on the grumpy side of my bed today, or maybe I just haven’t had enough coffee yet, but I was offended by the first post about how we WANT to believe the nonsense therefore we aren’t chimps – we’re just fools. I’m sure it feels really good to be at meh, but a lot of us haven’t made it there yet; and, while I appreciate a good bitch slap as much as the next chump, especially because we tend to list toward the unicorn forest, that doesn’t make me a FOOL. It makes me a heartbroken chump. That post insinuates I’m willingly being stupid or that I was clearly somehow a complicit or willing FOOL or that I only have myself to blame really. ?Seriously? What in all the FUCK?!

        Sorry to vent CL/CN, but I’m all WTF with people telling me I’m a fool or stupid or somehow complicit in the abuse I’ve suffered, simply because I didn’t or COULDN’T identify what was happening to me. Because I didn’t recognize the sheep in wolf’s clothing. My cheating fuckwit asshat manipulated and gaslighted me from the start and for example, the norm always WAS that he worked long hours, often until past midnight. I wasn’t a dimwitted FOOL to continue to believe that was still true a few years later when he started having affairs. I couldn’t know what I couldn’t know. And, when I finally did start to see some cracks, I got trickle truthed, manipulated more, gaslighted more and became completely disoriented. When Pandora’s box started to crack open, my cheaterass dirtbag sat on that morherfucker to keep it shut. He didn’t just let it all spill out and come right out and say “Chik, since you FINALLY ASKED, I’ll tell you the truth! Yes I AM, and always have been, a flaming narcissistic cheating lying dickwad piece of shit. AND, yes indeedy I’ve been fucking around with coworkers and waitresses and random women I meet when I travel for work or whenever or wherever I have had an opportunity. And oh yeah, I’ve also been registering on dating and cheating sites for YEARS.” I’m fairly fucking certain my response would NOT have been to pat his head and tell him to stop beating himself up over his abhorrent behavior, because it was obviously the result of his non-existent self-esteem. WTFever.

        I didn’t just stupidly, foolishly WANT to believe the marriage counselors, therapists, family, friends who push these typical ridiculous notions about low self-esteem and other assorted artificial flavors of excuses and explanations. I did think those things might be true at first, because that’s what the majority of us are bombarded and browbeaten into believing all the fucking time by the PROFESSIONALS and sadly by our friends and family too. I’m NOT a fool nor did I just CHOOSE to believe the lies or go looking to help him conjure up more idiotic justifications for his gigantic betrayals. It takes time for the betrayed to untangle from all of that shit.

        The FOOLS are the asshole marriage counselors, shitty therapists, and Switzerland friends or family, who strongly endorse these “excuses” or “explanations” for any cheater assclown’s behavior AND push the betrayed spouse to believe it too. If I hadn’t found chumplady and if I didn’t have the support of CN, I’d probably still be stupidly trying to work within that sad sausage cesspool of reconciliation bullshit advice.

        Sorry that was long and likely redundant. Can you tell it was a trigger? Ugh.

        • Marvelous post, Chumpedupchik. I’m printing this bad boy off to hand out to a couple of folks I know who are in need of enlightenment. I recommend you always forego coffee before you post:)

        • Right on, Chumpedupchik! STANDING OVATION!!!

          I was pretty triggered too to see this post today, especially in light of yesterday’s contentious discussion. Anyone who wants to call themselves a fool or a doormat or an idiot is welcome to it, although I don’t know why you’d want to talk about yourself that way. I spent years beating myself up and quite frankly I’m done with that shit. I made the best decisions I could at the time.

          So, so much brilliance in your post. Glad you let loose — you said everything I was thinking!

        • Chumpedupchick, excellent post! True to the core, human nature shittiness exposed. I had a horrible day yesterday, I felt tired and lonely and your post was the straightening of my backbone trigger 🙂 So thank you!

      • I, buddy chump-master, don’t have an issue with being called a fool in this context, because there is some truth in it.

        And truth is what it really comes down to, assuming the chump and the cheater want truth. Honesty, true love, meaningful connections.

        Probably too often marriage counselors assume the couple wants to reconcile more than to wants to know the truth, because counselors tend to start down the path of rebuilding and reconnecting without first ensuring honesty and trust from the cheater.

        So you go down the therapist-led path of reconciliation all the while the cheater remains unchallenged on their significant compilation of lies and abuse and disrespectful actions, and, with high probability, continues to deceive and fabricate. In that sense, yes, the therapists are foolish, since they too avoid the truth, they too are afraid to judge, prematurely trust the cheater, and prefer neutrality over protection and honesty.

        Marriage counselors should first establish a sense of reality and try to get to some understanding and resolution of the infidelity, of the lies, of the historical truth – what actually happened and go from there. Yes, it’s painful and uncomfortable, but that is why we pay them $200 an hour, else we’d do-it-ourselves.

        Perhaps therapists know if that if you first try to focus on the truth, there isn’t much chance of reconciliation, and thus prefer to avoid the truth and instead collect their cake (paycheck) just like the cheater.

        • “ounselors tend to start down the path of rebuilding and reconnecting without first ensuring honesty and trust from the cheater.

          So you go down the therapist-led path of reconciliation all the while the cheater remains unchallenged on their significant compilation of lies and abuse and disrespectful actions, and, with high probability, continues to deceive and fabricate.”

          Ohhhhhh, yeah. This is EXACTLY how I feel about couples counseling. And it describes the counseling scenario with my cheating STBXW perfectly.

        • Buddy you nailed it for my case. Swoosh! All net! ( Sorry – watching basketball finals) I could not get the counselor or my wife to understand the need for truthful answers in disclosure. Not gory sexual details but major issues, events and people.

    • I must be a bitch, or I had become feed up with being a chump. I never once bought into the something must have happened to make him do it.
      And it is not just psychologist that peddle the lies. the members of the church I attended who knew what he had done were the worst and they played it on thick without regard for my grief or my trauma.
      It started with
      he “fell” because he was not committed to reading his bible daily
      he must have had a religious spirit because of his father (because his father is a religious wing nut)
      he must have been sexually assaulted as a child (he was not)
      he was possessed by an unclean sexual spirit (of which he claims he was delivered)

      I was asked
      not to make any decisions about my marriage, because though I had right to divorce, they had hope for my marriage.
      knowing what he had done would I be willing to take him back.
      to not focus on my marriage just focus on my daughter who had cancer that was my true place, they would deal with him

      and they did. he never spoke about it instead choosing to hide behind them.
      even now I struggle with the sense of entitlement that he and they exhibit.

      • And did they ever once think of you as more important than the contract that is marriage? My spiritual life is deeply important to me, and I have tremendous regret over my decisions to marry the wrong people for the wrong reasons (e.g. “I must be part of a couple”). However, in no way was I ever confused about divorcing the first XH who tried to choke me one night and that was pre-no fault. And had I been married to Jackass (ugh–the thought of it), I would have divorced him in a heartbeat. We get one life. And if we’re married to a lying, cheating hyena who can’t even stay faithful while his young daughter battles cancer, then I think whatever our Higher Power is would be pleased to see us valuing the life we’ve been given more than the traditions and rules imposed by humans. The Bible says “love your neighbor as yourself,” meaning that we should cherish and honor the lives of others in the same way that we should cherish and honor our own life. It’s truly a miracle that you’ve escaped that mindfuckery, Thankful. Some churches and their “leaders” will have a lot to answer for.

        • Nobody thought of me as more important than anything, or even AS important as anything or anyone in our home, in our relationship, for years. I am only now becoming conscious of this. For years I just believed the BS about family, about my place in it as a step parent. Ex told me in counselling after DDay that I was a wonderful parent to his 4 sons, that he loved me. During 9 months of counselling, he was still carrying on with the OW, hired a lawyer to go against me 4 months into counselling after consulting with the OW on the phone while I was out picking up HIS son from school and taking him swimming. I found all the phone records to prove it months later. But he didn’t make a move until 9 months later, after I had looked after his kids even longer, and got the 3rd one the 3rd car in 3 years, got him through his driving lessons, and his driver’s licence, and bought the 4th son a dirt bike.
          I was home looking after his youngest son while he was banging the homewrecker.

          He said in counselling he didn’t feel recognised, he felt emasculated, I was this, I wasn’t that, and he didn’t feel ashamed. He feels bigger than ever with his OW who’s an idiot and a whore, and the lies he has fed the family and the kids about me. Absolutely right he is a school yard bully. I have a couple of scars of accidents I have had rushing to do things just the way he wanted because I was so scared of his yelling. But he had excuses, FOO, a partial disability which can be painful. So I thought he was tired, he got angry to get through the physical pain and keep going. I just always gave the benefit of the doubt. Because I get angry to get past pain or exhaustion sometimes.

          I tell myself I was a fool and beat myself up. But I was systematically lied to and groomed for years to believe there was something wrong with ME. Grooming is incredibly effective. That doesn’t make the victim a fool. It just shows the perpetrators are truly vicious. Falling prey to a master predator does not make anyone a fool. I was preyed upon by a whole pack, the ex, the OW, her family, all allies in deceiving and using me for years. To my face, we were all friends and almost family.

          What I should have noticed is there were no photos of me with the family on the mantle piece. I didn’t count, visually it was obvious, but I listened to the words instead. Not one photo with me in it, except eventually I put one up myself which had been taken by a guest! A year before that I was so sad about the photos, I got a photo of old sheep breeds and put it up there and announced that these were my ancestors since I didn’t have anyone. Didn’t make any difference, no one took any notice, Not him, not the kids. But obviously I was aware on this level of how miserable I really was.

          Telling myself or being told I am a fool. What good does it do? What choice do I have: lose faith in humanity, or be a fool? There are good people on this forum, not fools, the last bastion of real humanity.

        • LAJ, thanks for the encouragement. No I was not valued. I’m still not valued by the cheater or the cult he still resides in. Not even as the mother of our three children. Cheater put the new chump on that pedestal and has demanded the younger two to worship at it. He is a total tool.
          And yep those who chose to devalue me in support of him will still have to face the God they proclaim to speak for.

          As I type this cheater has arrived at our daughters clinic visit an hour late. But insists on coming because he can. Despite daughter saying she does not want him too. Ha can’t even value her.

        • One of the things I’ve struggled with, as a Christian, is balancing my belief in the sanctity of marriage with the reality of the fallen world. I used to hear people say that they stayed married 30 years simply because ‘divorce was not an option for them.’ I’m sorry, but if someone is abusive or unfaithful, that person is putting their spouse’s very health and life at risk. In that situation, I believe divorce may be the lesser of two bad options.

    • Cheaters have issues with self esteem. Looking as if they have high esteem is a mask. Look at someone with naracisstic tendencies—-all narcissistic personalities are low in self esteem, the fact that they have unrealistic opinions of themselves makes it appear they have high self esteem. Deep within they have about as much self esteem as a pet rock.

  • They don’t have any problem with self esteem. They have waaaayyy too fucking much of it. And, if it were the case, chumps would then cheat to raise their self esteem. No, they just really want a fresh new piece of strange ass.

    • Emphasis on the strange. Ex felt entitled to have as many vaginas as were open. Looks didn’t matter, only their ability to fulfill his demands. He will never be satisfied as he is searching for something to fill that void in his soul.
      Oh I believe initially he was extremely happy, but now he is a broken man. That very thing strange, is now boring and empty. All vaginas are alike, except for that special one attached to a special lady. Ex is so afraid that he will meet the female version of himself. In his hunt for loose women his picker is also broken.
      And he’s not do pretty, generous, or sexually capable.

  • Arrogance the ultimate sin. Yes, this is the core of the problem with cheaters.

    • Nowdeadhusband resented all the demands the world made of him…lawn mowing, income tax, car maintenance – all tedious foolishness that he shouldn’t have ever been bothered with – he was arrogant enough to believe that he had some right to live above it all.

      Maybe his cheating was the big “FU” to the “rules” and the “shoulds” his way of refusing to do what he knew was expected. I was just collateral damage in his method of coping.

      • unicornomore, my cheater ex didn’t want to deal with the responsibilities and mundane tasks of real life either. And of course his cheating was my fault because he didn’t want to be held accountable for that either. Now that he’s alone, the responsibilities and tasks are still there and he has no one to dump them to. Wonder how he’s handling that (not that I really care)? I laughed this past spring just at the thought of him having to do his taxes or even gather the paperwork for them. He’s supposedly house hunting but applying for a mortgage requires a lot of documentation in a timely manner and frankly he’s lazy and too entitled to want to put the effort into it. So I’m guessing that died down – D hasn’t mentioned it in a few weeks. Probably found a way to blame me for that too. Their arrogance is amazing.

        • Yeah, you were supposed to use your telepathy to find the proper documentation from a distance. Of course, it would be someone else’s responsibility to sort out HIS mess.

      • Sex for these people is absolutely and FU to the world. For my cheater if flew in the face of everything he claimed to hold dear, his family his faith, his mere existence. which is why I struggle when people tell me he must really hate himself and suffer low self esteem, how else could he live with himself doing what he did. My answer is simple, because he chose to do these things without regard. entitlement! it has been evident in ever increasing measure since d’day.

        the day he told me he had been delivered of an unclean sexual spirit some weeks prior to our conversation. I laughed my ass off. you where given free will like everyone else what a load of shit. he didn’t like hearing that and we have remained enemies. He recently replaced me with a more willing chump who married him already accepting his lies as intimate truth.

        • When I told a friend about mine’s Ashley Madison account, and multiple (not merely one) affairs, she remarked incredulously, “He couldn’t have known what he was doing!”

          Huh??? Did he sleepwalk and create that Ashley Madison account? Does he operate in a fugue state when he bangs the affair partners?

          • Oh Tempest, that is just out there.

            “He couldn’t have known what he was doing” were his affair partners vampires who glamoured him into doing unspeakable acts?

            • I think you may just have hit upon the historical origins of the “vampires control minds” myth. “How could you possibly have cheated on me?!?” “Uh, uh, uh, he was a vampire who made me do it! You /know/ they control minds, right?”

              • So I can drive a stake through X’s heart to prevent further evil? All for the good of society, you understand.

              • Tempest: I’ll do yours, if you do mine! (of course, we’re gonna need magnifying glasses to even FIND an actual heart in these bastards)

              • It’s a deal! (I’m sure I have a magnifying glass and sharp stick around here somewhere…..)

          • Effective and especially prolific cheaters cannot carry off all the plans, reservations, dates, money, etc etc, without a great deal of thought and planning.

            I compare a predatory cheater with a successful sales person. They are constantly scanning for potential f-buddies, the way a successful sales person scans for potential clients. They know just what to do and say in order to “close the sale.”

            If these folks spent the time they spend planning on how and when and who to screw around with on their actual work careers or official love relationships, they would be spectacularly successful in both. Instead they CHOOSE to spend time on something that needs to be kept undercover, and offers only fleeting sexual pleasure. They choose genital stimulation over everything else in their lives. It is an obsession.

            • The grass is greener……..
              where you water it.

              One of my favorite expressions.

            • Portia, my cheater ex didn’t lift a finger to plan anything related to us – finances, vacations, summer camps, medical appointments, house maintenance, etc. He dumped all of that to me claiming I was so efficient with that stuff (he also enjoyed criticizing my decisions so another plus for him). But boy could he plan time to woo his local whores, book prostitutes, and make time during his work trips to f’ck bar scanks.

            • Portia, I made the same observation to my EW – that if she had put in one-tenth the effort on our marriage and family as she did arranging serial affairs, ours would have been a marriage made in heaven. The cell phone calls alone (during just one of her affairs) are astonishing. She was making about 40 calls per month to her AP, and an equal or greater number to my cell, office phone, secretary, boss and parents to arrange meetings and make certain I was where I was supposed to be so they could safely meet. Unbelievable.

              I know now I was simply a means to an end, and that’s all I was intended to be, so her lack of effort in the marriage is no surprise. My purpose was to be a wage earner, financial planner, housekeeper, cook, child raiser, mechanic, yardman, etc,, and her secret sex life was to be none of my business. I carried out my role, like the good co-dependent she knew I was. I’m sure her boss must have thought her a great housekeeper when they came to our house alone during the day while I was at work.

              She worked hard to carry on this double life as a serial cheater over 20 years of marriage, taking advantage of me and shaming me for any suggestion that she could possibly be unfaithful. In the end, her work was fruitful – she fooled me a long time. Later, by way of explanation, she did say she had always suffered from low self esteem, and that she felt ashamed of what she was doing all those years – “but not enough to stop.” I guess all those APs she found were just helping her with her self-esteem problem – counseling of sorts, I guess. Wasn’t doing much for mine though.

              • JK, I had the same thoughts about what our marriage would have looked like if X had put one-tenth of the effort into it that he did with work, colleagues, EAs, hook-ups, and his first love-bombing escapade in the weeks after I finally filed on his ass.

                I was particularly angry at his love-bombing, thinking if he had just done ONE of the very same things with me just once in blue moon, I would have thought we had a decent marriage. But then I realized that this was just another example of how freaking small I made my needs in the relationship and actually thanked my lucky stars he couldn’t even bring himself to throw me a few crumbs. Chump that I was, who knows how much longer I would have hung on?

            • “They choose genital stimulation over everything else in their lives. It is an obsession.” Yup, they live like animals, where having sex is the main thing on their mind. All rational thought goes out the window and they behave like cavemen.

            • Portia

              Before I knew the extent of his chating I saw two seperate therapists. My primary complaint was that he could not plan or commit to a plan. It was a major frustration I believed he had some type of a disability.

              He was quite capable of leading a double life dating multiple women at a time.

          • It’s amazing how some people (witnesses) can suspend logic! Tempest, your dissociative fugue comment gave me the first laugh of the day. Thanks!

          • Tempest, people who haven’t experienced infidelity (and other tragedies) have to find ways to fit the unthinkable into their limited understanding. They can’t conceive of someone who spend your birthday texting an AP and arranging to hookup after the birthday dinner. Hence the “fog” of infidelity and the notion that cheaters don’t know what they are doing. But if they don’t know what they are doing or that what they are doing is wrong, why all the lying and sneaking and covering their tracks? This is one reason why I keep coming back here even though I’ve arrived at Meh. This site is like going back for a grad degree in human behavior.

            • You’re right, LAJ and everyone else–and I totally understand wanting to fit the data to a positive belief set. Heck, I myself don’t want to think that some people are evil and best avoided. I’m a people person! I (used to) think Love and Structure and Positive Regard + a properly-administered 2×4 can SAVE people, even from themselves!!

              Infidelity is a real education. I understand why people don’t want to major in it. But when people who are presented with ample data (as this friend was, and numerous Switzerland friends that other CN members have described on this blog), yet still choose to believe the cheater was just a wayward, timid forest creature, I lose patience. It’s equivalent to someone obtaining a degree in astronomy and still maintaining that the sun revolves around the flat earth. Smh.

              • Tempest, you are right, “infidelity is a real education.”

                It’s a B.S., Bachelor of Shit.

                Coursework designed to disabuse you of your faith in humanity.

              • For months after D-day, I could not accept as true what was right in front of me. I just could not absorb it. My brain would not allow it. I searched for excuses for her behavior to make what she had done less monstrous, listened to the wrong voices, and tried to take on responsibility I did not have. I did not want it to all have been a waste and to accept that I had loved in vain. I did not want to accept that I had been fooled so badly and lived in a house and shared a life and raised a family with a person to whom I meant so little.

                There are some very bad MF’rs out there – I think CL said something like that recently. I’ve always known that, but I think I thought I would know one when I saw them. I didn’t. My IFF radar failed badly in the most important relationship of my life. As time passed and more information was discovered, and the rational me revived a bit, the data eventually began to sink in and it became apparent this was no “wayward, timid forest creature.” This was a heartless, cruel and calculating POS. It took a while, but the world became round again and started orbiting the Sun, and I was able to make the only healthy decision to be made. Still, it took me a while.

            • I think one of my entrees into “meh” was stopping trying to understand why my very glittery and self obsessed ex wife did what she did.

              When I realized that maintaining a double life for almost 5 years simply took some reptilian-level sociopath personality to not go crazy from all the lying. No way to explain it and not worth wasting any more brain cycles trying to have it make sense.

              Narcissists are something.

            • Oh Tempest,
              Reading this thread while sitting with my newly married cheater at our daughters clinic visit is better than therapy.

              I (used to) think Love and Structure and Positive Regard + a properly-administered 2×4 can SAVE people, even from themselves!!

              This is just gold. GOLD!!

              Thank you

        • You know what I would want to say back to the comment about the ‘unclean sexual spirit’

          Well, I’m dealing with an unclean foul language spirit. If you don’t quit your BS, you will hear ALL of what this unclean foul language spirit has to offer.

          (Haha. I just couldn’t help myself with the Deuce Bigalow reference).

      • .”…(STBX) resented all the demands the world made of him…lawn mowing, income tax, car maintenance – all tedious foolishness that he shouldn’t have ever been bothered with – he was arrogant enough to believe that he had some right to live above it all.

        Maybe his cheating was the big “FU” to the “rules” and the “shoulds” his way of refusing to do what he knew was expected. I was just collateral damage in his method of coping.”

        OMG …this is douche bag to a T. His mom says he was that way since childhood: entitled, refused to do chores, sabatoged the garden so he wouldn’t have to do chores. Since adulthood he cheats on taxes, cuts corners and breaks societal rules and norms whenever he can and feels accomplished for “fucking the MAN!” His only friends (2!) are both the same. Cheaters also.

        What a freak. I spackled all of this and ignored red flags in the beginning. His love bombing and manipulations captured me. After 25 years, no wonder I have Stockholm-syndrome like symptoms.

        • Wow, my cheater always talked about different ways to “stick it to The Man.” Maybe that’s another commonality: the rules are for other people.

          • MIne too! Always too busy doing nothing to do anything that needed to be done – like household adult stuff – yet managed his fuckbuddies and sext relationships just fine. We were all married to the same person, it seems.

          • Stick it to the man? Is that the “grown-up”(ish) version of “But mommmmmm…I don’t wanna go to school…I just wanna stay downstairs and play video games allllll day.”

  • Ha! That’s all I can say about that theory.
    Ha! My cheater has no self esteem issues, and they’re not buried because these people are not that deep!

  • Yes.

    “Don’t kick me when I’m down!” My cheater said in response to me expressing my distress.

    “I thought contacting you would help me heal” – from what I saw online, it looks as though he’s healing just fine.

    You should have seen the things he wrote online about me and on other women…no shame, no humility, he was *proud* of what he did. Ultimately it was reading that – from the horses mouth so to speak, that helped me let go, go no contact, see through the lies and turn the mindfuck channel off.

    Smh. It’s all a game.

    • My now ex-husband also characterized my reaction to his infidelity as “kicking him when he was down.” I can’t think of a more bizarre characterization. We, the chumps, are “down.” Having been caught doing something wrong is not “down” by any stretch of the imagination. Can you imagine anyone else screaming this, as they have to face the consequences of their poor decisions? Only in infidelity, where it is knee-jerk socially acceptable, encouraged, and expected that the person who is harmed should be blamed for the whole mess.

      • I know, can you imagine a bank robber wailing to the police “Don’t kick me while I’m dowwwwwn” ??


    • Haha, same here….”yeah…why not kick the dead snake…” He was right about the snake, and I won’t be too said when it is….This world will simply be a better place. I’m just at the beginning of the divorce. Just read his Response. I thought I knew the final ‘depth’ of his depravity but I’ll never stop to be shocked at their shamelessness. The source of it is deffinitely Arrogance, like Divorce Minister mentioned. They are the true children of their ‘daddy’. satan wanted to be God and it obviously did not come from a “low self esteem”!
      See the ‘God wannabe’ in your life? I will be like The Most High! They are just satanic, narcissistic Sociopaths! I would have never found the courage to do this with four kids if I stayed in the ‘fog’. Thank you, Tracy, for leading me out. The witty and sharp reality bitch slaps did it for me! So very healing… Thousand thanks to all at chump nation too. I read and keep going. Great day to everyone!

    • Oh yes. The last time he tried to stop by my house, I called the OW and told her to come get him. She didn’t believe he was there until he yelled at me for calling her. He took off.

      3 hours later, I was at my friends’ place and he called me, screaming, about how I was making everything so much harder on him by telling her every time he stopped by. *face/Palm*

      Told him if he wouldn’t stop by to see me, I wouldn’t have to call her.

      • That’s hysterical, FeralBlue! “Hey, OW, come pick up your man-child.”

      • FeralBlue – This is incredible… An idea if there is a next time: “Hey OW, X is at my house again, please pick him up. BTW, it might be time to get him tested, he might have early-onset dementia.”

      • Thanks FeralBlue, my first laugh out loud moment of the day. You rock!

      • Feral, what a nightmare! WTF?

        Triangulation even when you don’t want to play.

        Time for the short bus to take him home.

        • Loving this right now,

          Time for the short bus to take him home.

          Where do I buy my cheater a ticket to ride?

    • My ex also wrote a lot of stuff online. He got remarried and was all proud to write about his experiences with an open marriage. When things went south, he was all proud to bitch about that. Part of the reason things went south is that he ignored the contract with his wife to give the girlfriend more attention. He got too attached to the GF. Then the GF cheated on him and her primary BF. Then the wife got a BF. He demanded she give up the BF because his GF cheated and now he doesn’t want an open marriage. His wife snuck behind his back to see the BF. The reality helps me to see that it’s not me, it’s just the way he is. He was totally fucking with my mind and I don’t have to take it.

    • I think that they are happy. Well at least happy enough not to explore themselves or even why they do what they do. I made my ex-husband cheater happy because I filled the assigned role of wife and mother. He was able to check that off of his “things to do when you become an adult” checklist. The OW makes him happy because she now covers most of their living expenses and thinks he is super special. The kids make him happy when they actually respond to him via text, cuz he feels forgiven and that he is a good father. All of these things make him spin the narrative that he is a good person.

      So yeah, I think they are happy. Delusional, but happy!

      • The happiest I ever saw my XW was when she was gorging herself on cake: enjoying her swinging single life with her boyfriend on the side and husband and family life when she had a hankering for that side of the bakery. Then I divorced her. She is marrying the OM. But happy? No way. She’s broke, was immediately fired from job after job (no more co-dependent husband to take up the slack), stressed out with our kids (no more husband to take over and OM has no kids, doesn’t love mine and they don’t love him). If she were happy with her new chump, then I would not be the recipient of such unending vitriol from her. Happy people are not angry people. So, I’m happy to say she is not happy.

        • David, I still have days where I am extremely angry so therefore I am unhappy and I am the chump. My ex husband is as happy as a pig in mud with his now 24 year old bar girl and he is 64. My ex climbed the ladder of success when he was married to me and once he got rid of me he slowly but surely slid down that ladder because he was so focused on his SE Asian bar girl and their twu wuv and he was travelling every 3 months to be with her. He never took a holiday when he was married to me and he never bought me anything or took me anywhere. He was pensioned off last year from his very long career and now lives like a king in a 3rd world hovel with the girl and her 2 little boys. But he is happy and that is all that matters.

          • I’m with you, Maree. I’m a happy person, but I am still angry as hell at my cheater. And I don’t intend to stop being angry because he *deserves* my ire. I’m slowly letting him occupy less of my head space so that I can concentrate on positive things, and that is progress.

          • Just to clarify, I am not angry 24/7 any more but when that cloud hovers over me, yes I am miserable but mostly at meh these days and at peace as I await the news of my daughter having her 1st baby. I haven’t been told or included but the thought of my own baby having her baby brings me tremendous joy and calm.

            • Maree – So glad to hear that you are having more and more Meh moments! As you know, we tend to really, truly appreciate our own mothers only when we have kids of our own.

              I hope that as your daughter becomes a mom, she can at least in thoughts hopefully in action, get closer to you again.


        • David

          The Limitec was like a skipping child getting his first puppy while he was dating. He was delusional enough to tell me he was going to have sleepovers. That is when I threw his shit out the door.

          Yet on his birthday three weeks later he wanted to invite me according to my daughter.

          Everything changed the minute he got served. He was furious.

          His life went downhill as he HAD to live the lies. All that encouragement and guidance I provided was replaced by doing what felt good at the moment.
          He lives in a cheesy dump far from his customer base. All those delusions of grandure? Gone. He has no survival skills and forget those dreams of his. Poof! Haha. Dumb aren’t they.

          • Doingme, so so dumb are they.

            But I’m glad. Who needs that anchor around my neck? I’m embarrassed I know him, much less ever loved him.

      • “I think that they are happy. Well at least happy enough not to explore themselves or even why they do what they do.”

        I think what you say above rings true, Stayin Strong: they are shallow creatures only interested in themselves and the positive image (grandiose, IMO) that they project to others which, in turn, makes them “happy”.

        • Yup, they are merely crows happy when they find a spot of tin foil (except that crows are universally smart, and much more appealing than cheaters).

      • I think sometimes they are happy in a spoiled brat sort of way. I believe the times they are the happiest is when everyone else lets them have their own way. Unfortunately, during those times, cheaters are probably the ONLY ones who are happy. It seems like cheaters only become truly sad when people stand up for themselves and leave. No one likes consequences. So, bring on the boundaries. Don’t feed their happiness at your expense.

    • Mine was miserable. I never cheated and I am a pretty happy gal.

      • Unicorn, great point. I’m pretty happy, too, unless I think about POS.

        And I don’t need regular (and expensive) pretend sex with webcam porn to feel something either.
        Or to be drunk most of the time.

        They really suck. I’m tired of thinking about him.

      • I was lucky to have a pretty happy go lucky temperament.

        My X was a real “Debbie Downser”…

    • My initial reaction was, “Who cares if they’re happy.” But after the knee-jerk reaction I think that they’re happy in the moment. Mine obsessed over some material object until he got it, then moved to the next thing. He never took care for today what he so coveted yesterday. I should have seen this as a big clue. Now I’m stuck throwing out or giving away his toys.

      • My ex was a huge lover of shiny new toys too. New cars every couple of years which from a financial perspective is a nightmare! It’s funny to view their world after a couple of years of no contact isn’t it? Put away that spackle and what’s left is not so great!

        And he didn’t have issues with self esteem either. More of my spackle! I must have been a carpenter in a former life!

        • Shiny new toys…yes mine had a huge weak spot where cars were concerned. At this second I have the sales contract for a car he bought – fucking INSANE !!!!!

          He bought a used Lexus (and had lojack installed, paid taxes etc on this thing etc) kept it briefly and quickly traded it in for a NEW 2005 Nissan SUV which he paid on for 3 years then traded it in (still owing a HUGE amt on it) for a used Subaru where he financed the accumulated foolishness of 3 bad car loans so that we would be paying $500 a month on an 8 yr old Subaru.

          While still paying on this, he decided we needed a new $40,000 Ford. He asked for my approval (so he could blame me later) and I refused. I told him that his last car purchase was “stupid” (a word I never used on him no matter the daily insults I got for YEARS) and he responded by raging. He smashed things in the house and raged like a lunatic.

          He never bought the ford but a few months later bought an Acura that I am still driving. I paid off both loans with his death money. The Subaru is currently not running and sits in a parking lot in Rocherster, NY while my son decides what to do with it.

          • meant to say I pulled out the Subaru contract and it is sitting on my desk as I type…long paid off but a testament to the insanity I lived with narc H1. (I showed it to H2 the other day…him a man who hasn’t had a car loan since he was 25). Im tired of driving deadHs car and am looking at a Volvo (plan to pay cash)

            • My Ex always loved new shiny “toys”. He is notoriously stupid about money and finances and historically made very bad deals behind my back. Seemed we were always in debt for shit that was either gathering dust because he lost interest in it or it was long gone. Funny that once his so-called relationship was over with Schmoopie he told me, and I quote,”it was like a new shiny toy, but then the shine wore off and the buttons didn’t work right!” Yeah! No shit! And after the divorce and there was no triangulation it all ceased to be fun. Add his being unemployed, sick and no one would give him the time of day in our family. Not to mention that Miss Moneybags was fully supporting him because he had drained in eight months what little money he had after the divorce! Guess she didn’t want to pay my alimony! Ha! Ha! Like I said earlier, these assholes are delusional!

          • My STBX bought a used Lexus without consulting me. He also decided to quit his jobs without consulting me. Red flags left and right–a sign that he was more likely to commit adultery without consulting me prior. I guess that he was of the mindset that it is easier to ask for forgiveness (although he said that he didn’t care whether I forgave him; he said that he cared only whether he forgave himself) than to ask for permission. I used to wonder why I felt as though we weren’t a team; now I know why–we never were.

            • OMG, ex’s favorite quote was “I’d rather ask for forgiveness than permission.” That probably should’ve been a huge red flag!!

            • Clearly, he had no idea how to be in a partnership. My XH the substance abuser told me he didn’t want to buy a car with me when my old one broke down–even though I needed a car for work. He wanted a cheap car for himself to save on gas for his travels. He just never understood partnership unless something was in it for him.

              • “He just never understood partnership unless something was in it for him.”

                Ding ding ding! Hit the nail on the head–that one goes into the CN file of wisdom.

              • Yep same here.

                It just wasn’t important unless it directly effected him. But nothing could be done without his nod of approval.
                This behaviour left me driving a car for 4 months with not oil in the gear box. But I had to rely on him to negotiate it being seen by the mechanic as he did it on the side. Cheater was also into getting things at mates rates

              • Thankful, me too. I can’t believe I thought this was normal.

                I’m mad at myself today. Mad for spending one second crying over that POS.


              • Roaring, I hear you that 20yrs back would be awesome but not possible unfortunately.

                but can I encourage you to be mad today, get really mad, go punch a pillow sit alone in your car with all the windows up and just scream, just allow it to be the way for today and tomorrow look at it as a step towards the rest of your life free of the cheating POS. the only thing I regret is the amount of effort and support I gave my cheater over the years. but not any more.

                In the words of the Rolling Stones,

                “I’m free to do as I want, any old time.”

              • One of the most surprising things to me about all this is how close to the surface a person’s past is, even if they don’t know it. All your trauma is cumulative over the course of your life. My first husband was very abusive, and I have been away from him a very long time, almost two decades now. I rarely even think of him. But he’s there, i know.

                When cheater ex and I were in Wreckconciliaton, he acted EXACTLY like Turd #1 (except the physical part of hitting, threatening, etc) and it was like I was time traveling and he was the first husband. He even had the same “possessed by Satan” expression. I think that made it that much more difficult to deal with due to my past history.

        • In my experience, they are happiest when being perceived as happy and confident. It’s why they change the narrative to fit. I observed an abhorrent cheater mother this weekend, (who used her teenaged son unsuccessfully to cover her cheating), sit front and Center at his awards ceremony behaving like the mother of the year. She’s abandoned her kids, left the state to fuck around, and thinks by acting like a happy involved mother that others will see her that way. That makes her happy. She’s so busy twisting the story 24/7, she has no time to think about what a scum she is. Or that she’s in fact perceived as such. She was even trying to mouth along with what was being said about her son – front row Center seat – so that she seemed more in tune than the actual parent, her ex husband, who was thankfully left the privilege of being with those beautiful boys.

          To me, the happiness is a mask to cover up the vulnerability. No one asks pitifully “how are you? Do you miss your boys?” If you are walking around with a crazed smile, arms open in Jesus-hug style, with dead eyes. Her boys detest her and will mourn that relationship the rest of their lives. She’s so fucked up she doesn’t realize the sons blabbed the whole story to all their friends. But oh, the the creepy clown smile! I wanted to bitch slap her. My cheater shrunk in his seat. He looked at her and it was like looking in the mirror.

          • Three months after DDay he was going on vacations and within six months he bought a car. This is a guy who has worked very little since DDay.
            He basically lives in poverty.
            Happiness is a warm gun.

        • Mine was fond of guitars. Then he had to have two different drum sets. Then he bought a motorcycle. Then, he bought another motorcycle and gave one to his ‘best friend’. Then he bought a new car. I truly believe some of the buying at the end was an attempt to keep money from me. Good thing I had the proof that he bought a motorcycle and gave it to his girlfriend.

      • My ex was the same. Always starting a new project which never got finished or starting a new “hobby” that he forgot about after a few months–both of which he sunk a lot of money into. Constantly looking for the next toy that he could buy, but always on credit because we didn’t have the money. Had to buy the jazzed up truck because he hated his job so he was entitled to have it. The monthly payment was $750. When he abandoned our family, he left ALL of it behind because it didn’t matter to him and didn’t make him happy enough any more.

    • Martin – Cheaters seek pleasure, which is not the same thing as happiness.

      • Oh Kellia, thank you for that nugget of wisdom. I literally just exhaled and looked heavenward with relief. Dr. Skankenstein has repeatedly told me that I am making too much of his Craigslist ads and Adult Friend Finder searches, filling in suspicious blanks in his stories with an overactive imagination, and giving him too much “credit” (WT ever lovin’ F!) because he hasn’t hooked up with women nearly as much as I think. (I have proof of at least five to date.) Apparently there is some acceptable threshold that he has not yet reached so I should just calm down since, after all, he was only exploring his options because he’s so very, very unhappy. He can weave the most convoluted bullshit excuses that defy all my logical challenges. From now on, if I ever speak to him outside the lawyer’s office, I have the perfect response: You were seeking pleasure, which is not the same thing as happiness.

        • Yep. Pleasure is very fleeting too. It’s an endless, empty search for the next high. Refusing to think about the long term consequences of your actions is unlikely to bring happiness.

          His logic just makes no freaking sense. Acceptable threshold? Too much credit? Since when is it acceptable for a spouse who doesn’t have an open marriage to be searching Adult Friend Finder or putting up Craigslist ads PERIOD. I don’t care if he only hooked up 5 times or 3 times or 1 time or hasn’t had a chance to hook up yet. The fact that he is even trying is a pretty big problem. Your logic is good. YOU still have a good head on your shoulders. You’ve just been stuck listening to the mindfuck channel for awhile.

      • Learn something new here every day. Thanks for this nugget of truth, Kellia.

    • “are cheaters happy though?” Yep. They are happy in the moment type of people, and when that happy moment dims, they look for more happy. My ex used to tease me about “hating him” because, you know, reminding him about daily obligations, like say, paying bills was hating on him. He would say “you’re lucky I have such great self esteem or I’d be a mess”. Yes, he actually said that. He was right. I AM LUCKY. Lucky that I’m out of there, cheater free! Let bill collectors and his skank be the ones to “hate” him now.

    • They just think they are happy. My cheater ex is an extremely negative and critical person – of everyone but himself. When I kicked him out, he moved into a 2nd floor apartment and constantly complained that the person who lived above him was stomping around all day and night. Then he moved to another complex to a 3rd floor apartment so no one was above him. Now he complains that he has to walk up 3 flights of stairs (I hear this from D since I’m NC with him). So, no he’s not happy and I doubt he ever will be.

      • Oh, thank you for writing this! Now I know I am not alone, my ex was just like this. No matter what happened, good or bad, he would whine about it. NOTHING made him happy, the world was against “poor him”. He has the most money of anyone I know, the least amount of worries, nothing going on in his life due to his choice, no interests, no hobbies and he whines and whines. He never helped around the house or paid bills, sat on the couch and watched country music videos. For six years, I thought my positivity and nice family would “save” him, ha! What a fool I was but no more. The final D Day was in Feb 2016 and life is very good for me now with NC, no more spending hours listening to him whine and bitch. Now I spend my time doing what I want and back to my wonderful life. He probably is still seeing the OW for short term pleasure, he is not truly happy inside and never will be. Even she sent me an email saying she was sick of his whining but she is such a low life skank that she will hang on to him. They are 2 disgusting peas in a pod and if they stay together, hopefully they won’t hurt anyone else but knowing them, they are always on the look out for more victims. Life is good today!

    • I think they are happy as long as things are going their way, or they can fool themselves (which is pretty easy) into thinking everything is going their way. I do not believe they experience emotions like joy and contentment, however. But on the flip side, they also aren’t bothered by pesky emotions like guilt, remorse or shame, either.

      • As long as things are going their way, they are central. They are especially happy if getting things their way means sacrifice on the part of others. It’s about control. Definitely not joy or contentment.

    • Happy but not joyous. There is a reason it’s called cake, this stuff cheaters abuse the trust of others to get.

      I do think my ex had self-esteem problems. He had a completely external locus of happy. He personally was not happy with himself. At all. But when he flirted with and got sexual with a woman (any woman, he churned through a lot) then he felt happy that he “connected”. As soon as she needed something from him that required selflessness or anything hard on his part he dumped them.

      Without the ability to pump himself up with the babe du jour he was a shell of a person.

  • mr. Wonderful is a business man cheater!

    Me (before knowing):

    You look handsome in the suit and the new haircut!

    Him: Oh yeah wright! with this belly and the bold spot!
    ( I guess the business credit card are the wine are attractive for whore nation)
    He still over weight and he is “Playboy”
    I wish I could call his boss for fraud billing dinners for “clients”

    • Ewww…he’s got a pot belly and a bald spot? I can only imagine the ‘quality’ of the women he’s pulling. Be still my beating heart. LMAO.

    • He is a “Playboy”, ah ha hah. That’s like a guy who I recently dumped, who was on the brink of poverty because of his low salary, and had a receding hairline, in his 40s, with a shitty job, lived with a roommate, drove a clunker that made mechanical noise and he told me he’s a player. I laughed so hard at that one and dumped his ass. Never looked back.

      • Most men think that once a woman hits 30 her looks fade rapidly and her market value plunges.

        • Oh, I’m sorry. Did I hurt your feelings? I didn’t mean to do that.
          Please, continue. You were saying something about bald-spots, no money, , a crappy job, and shitty cars?

          Oh, you were finished? Well allow me to retort. If you only see men as a wallet and a piece of meat, expect to attract men who judge you by stereotypical values too. Namely: are you under 30, model-gorgeous, skinny, with big boobs, and no kids?

          I hope we can take into account the many guy chumps here who get to pay alimony for the priviledge of having their Xs fuck randos. One might see how giving a whore money to break your heart and ruin your kids might make your you lose some hair, gain a couple pounds, and have to drive a shit car so that you can support a cheater’s sparkly new life.

          (apologies to Tarantino and any innocent bystanders)

    • FicoChump – I actually did call my cheater ex’es work and report him for using company funds to take his skanks to dinner and drinks. They investigated it, found out that it was true, and yet they never let him go. He is a Senior Vice President. I guess he is just untouchable. That actually made me feel worse.

      • Whoever you reported it to is obviously beholden in someway to your ex. However you may want to follow up with that person (S) that he cannot take his skanks out on the company dime and have the company write off the expense as “business meals or entertainment”. That would be fraud and the IRS frowns upon that sort of thing. Maybe the threat of an audit………..

        • I told the elders at our church that my senior/head pastor husband had been cheating on me for years with a former member of the congregation. They. Did. Nothing. He is still in the pulpit.
          He should have been placed under investigation and either suspended or fired immediately.
          Oh, but my husband was on the investigative committee for the presbytery.

    • I wouldn’t call his boss if he’s paying any child support or alimony because that would be a loss for you. If you have evidence of his fraud, you could show it to his company, and he probably would be fired. But…if that will come back to hurt you or any children financially, it’s just not worth it.

  • UGH. Just reading the pure DELUSION on the Reconciliation board of one of the biggest Infidelity sites out there puts my gag reflex in overdrive. These people will tell each other ANYTHING to help convince themselves that their cheater is now reformed and oh so happy for a second chance. They’re so damned blind that even when they find OBVIOUS proof that their cheating is STILL cheating, they still manage to convince each other it can’t be true.

    Stupidity that deep should be painful.

    • Ease off the insults. First you called people who try to reconcile fools, and now they’re stupid??

      They are invested. They have lives, families, multiple years involved with a person they love. They are not stupid so give it a rest.

      • I didn’t try to reconcile with the skankboy…after all of the emotional devalue, discard, I had enough. I truly feel for my friends that tried to keep their relationships together….salvage family, etc. I guess I just reached my limit and *I* was done. If I thought it stood a chance, I know I would have tried to work it out.

        • Exactly. And that doesn’t make you or your friends fools or stupid. Trolls need to stay the fuck off this blog. CN knows what is up.


          • I don’t think it’s stupidity. I think it’s a mix of pain and fear. I also think they are being thoroughly mindfucked by the cheater. They’re probably reading all sorts of info from the reconciliation industrial complex. I know I tried to reconcile for several years. I felt like I needed support from other people to take the leap of finally leaving. I did finally find it on a website called daily strength that had a small infidelity support group. Unfortunately, that kind of support is hard to find if you are keeping the affair a secret from friends and family or those people are pro-reconciliation or you don’t have any family close by. I can understand why people have a hard time leaving.

  • This is a paradigm shift that I have long been fearful to make… I spackled decades of terrible behavior believing he felt bad about himself only to later learn he had sidefucks all along.

    Now, I dont think he even had the decency to admit to himself that he was a terrible husband …I think maybe he thought I was lucky to have whatever crumbs he felt like giving.

    His internal battles never made sense to me until I learned of the serial cheating…he likely had all sorts of odd mental battles and skirmishes going on…I cant imagine living like that.

  • For me, this is a karma thing. I really WANT him to feel distressed and sad that he lost his marriage. But he absolutely does not. He is having the time of his life … free to drink, do drugs, do only things he actually really wants to do, openly be with his fuck buddy, planning all the retirement travels and activities that they can now openly do and on and on. It is just one more punch to my gut how totally dispensable I really was. He was willing to stick around for the cooking, parenting, yard work, and other assorted services. The price of those items was pretty cheap and he was getting to do all his secret fun stuff anyway. Now it is ALL fun stuff! I hang on to the hope that the loss of secrecy may have diminished the fun just a bit only because I want him to suffer in some tiny way. But alas, no karma bus. My last hope is that the alcohol he’s sucking down will eventually cause him a long, slow, painful death. No signs of that happening … he is the healthiest fuck I know.

    • Feel ur pain a death wish for mine too!! Hope he finds a banana peel to slip on

    • Dixie Chump,
      Thanks for clearly and succinctly stating what I think about my STBX and my my most recent ex-boyfriend.

    • That’s hedonism, pleasure pursuit. Always needing a new high–new car, new sex partner, new house, new job. More stuff. A friend of mine runs a fitness business and talked the other day about how many of his wealthier clients always want what they perceive is the biggest and the best. Their lives are about material things, pursuing status, etc. One reason to get away from these people (and not just cheaters but those whose values cheaters share) is to detox from that worldview and get to what he calls a “humble” life. Exactly the opposite of narcissism or psychopathy. Love and service to others, a peaceful heart, a reverence for nature, curiosity and learning, moments of joy. We take a huge step forward when we stop valuing what they value.

      • I’ve been sharing tidbits from my “lighthouse” (my sanity saving 8.5″ x 14″ page of quotes and insights). This is relevant to LAJ’s comment:

        Observe those who are most wired to consumption, to the buying of goods and services. Often it seems that these are the people who are the most empty inside and the least capable of achieving satisfaction from mutually caring, trusting, long-lasting interpersonal relationships. When life is devoid of meaningful interchanges with other human beings, then where does one get one’s kicks in life? Culturally, one is inclined to buy them, and decorate with them, and wear them, and otherwise display them. A person has to keep moving on – constantly looking for more stimulation, constantly traveling, constantly searching for something to fill the void. Dr. Elliot Barker (psychiatrist who works/worked with psychopaths)

        • Would that Over Consumption thing include things like the 180 Christmas gifts to Kim Kardashian from that guy she’s “married” to? Can’t think of his name, but he’s a loon.

          • No, they are married, not “married”. Married with two children. Just because you don’t approve of him or their lifestyle does not make them any less married.

        • Lol… X is retired now (fairly young, military=pension), with all the time in the world. So, he can Finally lay around the house all day in his nasty underwear like he did all the years he was married to me, while I scurried around picking up after him and the kids, so much like a mouse even though I wore expensive pants suits and was the breadwinner. But does he do that? Oh no, he ran out right away and bought himself a bunch of new suits, now that he’s retired and doesn’t work, so that he can, for example, get dressed up like a CEO to drive the kids to school/daycare/aftercare and run an errand at the DMV before he comes back home for his afternoon nap. He also, of course, got rid of the old-model wife and put $1k down on a new dating service… which was necessary since the EA partner he “thought” he was connecting with while I was busy having our youngest child turned out to be… GAY and MARRIED (to her same-sex partner). DELUSIONAL is the word alright.

    • I have a lot of trouble believing that he can really be all that happy with the drinking and the doing drugs. The high from drinking and doing drugs tends to wear off into a depressing low. Not to mention the fact that people who have joy don’t really need to rely on drugs and alcohol and new shiny trinkets to be “happy”.

  • My XW definitely does not lack self esteem on the surface. She can walk into any type of business meeting and wow the entire room with her charisma and charm. Ever since she has left me for our neighbor, she does not hide in the shadows and corners all my friends and family who are disgusted by her. She acts as though nothing has happened.

    Likewise, I think I lacked self esteem, and my XW focused in on this for her love bombing and then devaluation and discard of me. I think narcs feed on those who are not 100% secure with themselves.

    I agree with Chumplady that cheaters have self esteem on steriods. They think they are so flipping great that no one – their spouse, their children, etc. – matter more than them. Their turbo-self esteem actually causes them to be assholes.

    It has been about a year since I got divorced from my XW, and I have more self esteem than I ever had. What sucks is that I now see how poorly I was treated for so long, and I did nothing about it except try harder at saving the marriage/improving myself. The pick-me-dance drained me mentally and physically, but this experience taught me a great deal. Run from people with an overabundance of self esteem.

    • The problem is (or hopefully WAS) that people with low self esteem are very attracted to those who have it in abundance. It is a very circular thing … both the chump and the narc are seeking each other out possibly without even knowing it on a conscious level. Let’s hope we really have learned that lesson … scary to think we could repeat the mistake.

      • My self-esteem was fine, before, during and after my relationship with cheater narc. And it was solid, because it was built on actually being good at my job, and always working to be better, actually being a good friend and having good friends, actually being a good girlfriend. He was attracted to that. Then of course, he tried to undermine all of that; disparaged the type of work I do, criticized and avoided all my friends and family, and the way I treated him was never enough (without ONCE EVER thinking about the way he was treating me). He knew that my self-confidence made it harder to abuse and take advantage of me.

        And then later he threw it all in my face; he felt like he could cheat, because I would be OK no matter what. He felt he could do very very little parenting post-separation, because he knew I could take care of the kids, no matter what.

        Well, he was right, I’m fine now, and I’m actually a better parent without the stress of living with him.

        In the end, it doesn’t matter whether he has low self-esteem (which sometimes seemed to be the case, often in the stupidest ways, but could have just been a sad sausage game, since it worked for a long time) or very high (the entitlement is of EPIC proportions, always has been).

        What does matter is he was a crappy husband and a crappy father, AND never did anything about it. So he has no further place in my life. His ‘issues’ are now his to deal with. Oh, wait, they’re not! He never spends a single week without a wife-appliance! I hear Match can get him a new one in just a few days!

    • Yes–over-abundance of self-esteem, aka, pure arrogance. My X was/is so arrogant–so sure of his attractiveness–that he never even noticed the EA partner he thought he was having an illicit relationship with was actually gay and married, for G’s sakes, to her female partner, who she adores and couldn’t wait to come out of the closet with. How f’ing clueless do you have to be??? X did not, could not, understand that a reasonably attractive woman might be hanging out with him just to “talk”–i.e., no, she did not, could not, secretly want him. But, I guess it’s hard to even imagine that when you are Delusional about how attractive you are, both physically and as a person. Blech! Now I look at him and I just feel… mostly disgust, but also a teeny tiny bit of pity. I wonder to myself… how he must have felt in that moment when she finally told him that she really appreciated his “friendship” because it had been so hard on her to keep her marriage to her partner a secret from everyone else they worked with. Hahahahaha… Pathetic. (him obviously, not her in the least) But then again… that’s just the chump in me I guess.

  • Courtesy of my Kibbler


    • Dude, wtaf? She’s a princess? Such narcissism.

      I think you’re still sharing a home with her right? What a fucking freaky bitch.

  • I think this is one of those strange truths that is only part of the story, just like all omission of detail that cheaters do so well. Is it true that the cheater has FOO issues? Sure it is. It is probably true that those issues are behind some of the dysfunction the cheater exhibits in life. However it isn’t true that FOO issues are the real reason they cheat, or that working on those issues would change the cheating. The FOO issues are a convenient excuse, and a diversion from the rest of the truth, but they paint an incomplete picture.

    Is it true that they don’t want to feel worse than they already feel? Sure it is. It just isn’t true that the reason they feel bad has anything to do with shame or remorse of guilt for hurting the Chump. It is convenient to let the Chump project those feelings onto them, but it’s not the total picture.

    You see what I mean. For me, this nuance has been critical to my work to learn to trust me and fix my picker, which is not easy or fast work. Realizing that the reason the Chester’s missives seemed so true is because they did contain a shred of truthiness helps me feel less stupid (which was never true) and more misinformed. I can work on and resolve misinformed, so realizing the difference matters.

    • I read somewhere that the best lies always contain some truth in them.

      • Exactly! And by best, they mean the most effective. Plausible is persuasive. Ask any skeevy salesperson.

      • Yep. Even the devil put some truth into his lies. I’ve been told that the devil is the father of lies. Do they REALLY want to act like that?

      • Mine said, at one point earlier in our lives that if you’re going to lie, you HAVE to have a shred of truth in it so you don’t fumble up. Had no idea what he was talking about then, but I see it now.

  • the only time I think that my cheater suffers from low self esteem is when those around me cannot convince me of his humanity via the God forgives route and pushes the he must really struggle internally with what he has done to have kept is secret for so long. to still keep it secret and to have married another woman.
    I really think they believe this inner battle concept where he is concerned as there has been to sign of it on the outside. no non at all.

    he cheated, he lied, he confessed and then claimed it was in his past and he was restored. even now two and an half years on put it that it is my fault the marriage ended.

    As I stacked the dishwasher I thought to myself. I really wish I had treated him as he deserved he may have been honest sooner. or at least given me a divorce when I first asked for it. because he certainly did’t deserve my honesty, fidelity and unconditional support.

  • My ex was this contradiction– claimed imposter syndrome, but sure did not act as if he felt he was not right for the job, etc.
    Everyone feels like an imposter at some point.
    Which is to say– I agree with CL’s premise. My ex did not cheat because he had low self-esteem and felt like an imposter. He cheated because he chose to act in that manner. Yes, he has tons of FOO issues (mother modeled lying for appearances, etc) but in the end it was his choice. My father and grandfathers were cheaters– but I did not choose that path.

    Everyone is defined by their choices.

    • ^^^^^^“He cheated because he chose to act in that manner.” – THAT. IS. IT. IN. A. NUTSHELL!!

      There are people with low, medium or high self-esteem that don’t cheat.

      Cheaters are who they are because they lack of character – have serious impulsivity issues – they feel entitled to pursue what they define as happiness – and act in the most selfish and cruel way of achieving it because narcissism flows through their love juice – and the ability to suppress empathy for the chump and the kiddos.

  • Ha! This is so rich! My XH claimed he was sexually abused by a babysitter, he wasnt popular in high school, his father wasnt living with them, they grew up poor blah blah blah. That’s why he needed to do it. I no longer believe he was abused. He never took any initiative to get help and his answer to a messed up childhood was to screw me over! Nawwww he wasn’t suffering from ptsd, low self esteem or anything else. He was just an entitled prick and I was the mark in his con game.

    • My XH claimed he was sexually abused by a babysitter as well. One time. His brother was around and told his parents. That person never babysat them again.

  • CL is awesome at the slap upside the head.

    Does she innately know that we need this type of thing pretty much every day?

  • Great timing and points CL!

    No, cheaters do not have self-esteem issues, their “oh I am such worthless POS for what I did to you” is IMO a sad sausage trick to get their chumps to stay.

    Why this conclusion? Just read the Reddit thread on adultery –
    WARNING: If you are a new chump, this can be highly triggering, please read with a friend or a therapist.

    A particular gem – “As I said to my previous AP, I’m monogamous, just not with my wife.”

    No one becomes a cheater/adulterer “by mistake.” Cheating is a series of entitled decisions made by people who put their needs ahead of their family’s, and who would do anything to cover it all up when caught.

    • I remember looking at those boards when I first got here. I wanted to kill every last one of those cheating pieces of shit.

      What a delusional sense of self worth in addition to self esteem a cheater must posses for them to be able to read one thread on deceiving one’s spouse and the very next thread on “I’m monogamous except with my spouse,” and then imagine they can trust their adultery-partner. Delusion and sky-high self-esteem.

      Cheaters are sick in the head. Like, evil. Like, I’m not a professional, but these people are more than a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

      • Ok, I was just browsing through there and now I want to vomit. These people should all be confined to an island with each other — far, far away from the rest of us. The lack of real empathy is astounding.

        Here is one comment I found from one of the most disgusting people on there. In this one comment, he finally admits to being the sad excuse of a husband that he is. I think this is the closest to the truth…we chumps are so much mightier than the cheaters. The only way they win is by keeping us from knowing that. But deep down, they know. They know they could never hold a candle to our mightiness. I could almost pity them. See for yourself:

        Let’s say I was married for a long time and my husband cheated on me. What would I do? by [deleted] in RedPillWomen
        [–]Affair37 -1 points 9 months ago*
        Breaking the rules, but maybe it’ll help. As a guy… who’s a serial adulterer… if I were caught…
        I really wouldn’t want her to leave me. She’s my life partner and mother of my children. Women think we’re looking for a replacement, but that’s not even remotely possible. She’s irreplaceable.
        I do it for my ego. I do it for variety. I do it to feel alive. I do it because I’m weak and I need more love, and I can’t ask her for more when she already gives her all. I have a hundred selfish reasons that sound pretty good to me, but none of them are worth betraying her.
        The RP truth is that she did nudge me into this. But it’s not her fault. She’s a woman and I’m a man. I’ve learned after a decade together that being overly needy turns her off. She doesn’t like her sex rough, and I really do. She’s vanilla and I’m kinky. I hate making her feel inferior by asking for things she doesn’t want to do. So, I take what she can give and satisfy the rest of my needs as carefully as I can.
        I get away with it because she trusts me. A trust that will be some day be permanently broken. I’ll be honest. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to fill this hole in me any other way. I’ve tried everything. I don’t know how to lead us out of this.
        Every time I come home and see her face I appreciate her even more. The hardest part is that I can’t tell her why.

        • Let’s hope this cheater “filled his hole” by putting a piece of lead in his brain.

        • Hisfreeliveintherapist – When I first read those threads, I also wanted to vomit!

          This is when I really believed that cheaters suck, and that there is no accidental cheater if there is more than one encounter and no confession and out of this world spontaneous actions of true contrition from the cheater to the betrayed spouse.

          That being said it was really traumatic to realize that these types of people existed beyond movie villains and how many of them were there giving each other advice on how to gaslight and fuck their spouse over…

  • I have to disagree. I think some cheaters DO have low self esteem. I mean mine for example. What kind of woman, who has any sense of self esteem, would fuck a married man in a supermarket parking lot. Repeatedly. That is the best she could do? Well that screams low self esteem to me.

    • Very possible lookingup but it also screams lack of character, serious impulsivity issues, entitlement, narcissism and the ability to suppress empathy for the chump & kids.

      • Sorry lookingup, I disagree.

        You judge her as having low self-esteem, but I see a married parking-lot slut as having abnormally high self-esteem.

        She thinks, “oh my husband is such a ___. He always expects me to do ___. I don’t want to do what he says, so I’ll get all the attention I can get from this unavailable guy who thinks I’m hot and wants to fuck me. I deserve it because I am hot, and I deserve to be happy. Besides, my husband is such a ___, Oooh, also my ___ husband might get a little jealous of my new man, and I’ll have a fucking cake-high tonight like nobody’s business..

        “C’mon strange dick. Put it in me. I’m your parking-lot pussy. I’ll let you fuck me raw-dog while the cart-boys watch. I’ll even stick my finger in your ass while you cum. I’m such a dirty whore, and I like it.”

        What do you think, lookingup? Is that anything like what your wife’s inner dialogue might be do you reckon? Does that sound like a person with low self esteem? Not to me it doesn’t.

  • Self esteem requires more self awareness that the 40-year-old Toddler just doesn’t possess. He’s only self aware enough to understand what makes him feel good, what makes him angry and what entertains him, and that’s about the depth of him. It’s hard to hate yourself when you have no idea who you even are, and that’s my ex in a nut shell.

    • “It’s hard to hate yourself when you have no idea who you even are.”

      Tottering dangerously close to trying to untangle the skein of fuckedudness, but a great quote nontheless.

  • Great post CL! You nailed it, as always. Cheaters and low self-esteem, that is an oxymoron. A person with low self-esteem would think they are not worthy of anything and feel totally undeserving. The cheater on the other hand, feels plenty deserving and entitled to screw over the people around them to get what they want. This higher sense of self worth and level of entitlement that they are more deserving than you is how they operate. And if anyone has low self-esteem, it’s the poor chump, who is incessantly invalidated by the cheater, and is constantly told ” it’s all in your head, you’re too sensitive, you’re insecure.” etc.

    • I was always told “it’s your imagination”. Well, all of my imagination is sitting in my attorney’s office, in black and white proof of his purchasing teen aged prostitutes. Maybe he can convince the Judge it was all just an illusion. Asswipe

      • He wants you to think it’s in your imagination, to keep you in sleep mode and unaware of his intentions, while he conducts his antics on the side. He’s aggressively screwing you over, by having sex with prostitutes, possibly giving you a life threatening STD, yet it’s all in your imagination. Might as well as ask you to bend over, so he can screw you that way too. This makes me so mad, he’s such an asshole.

      • One day, my STBX will confess that he had sex with prostitutes (during our marriage as well as before) and provide me the gory details of the sexual encounter, the preparation, the deception of taking out small amounts of cash at a time so that I would not notice he was saving for trips to the massage parlor, brothel, etc. The next day, he will tell me I just IMAGINED him telling me that he had sex with prostitutes. Truth is meaningless/useless to many of these disordered adulterers.

      • I hope you’ve reported his activities and your proof to police for having sex with minors.

        • The youngest I found “claimed” to be 18. But the detective that did the data recovery worked in sex trafficking and said that there was no doubt some of these girls are younger than they claim. I reported him to the local police department also. I was told that they have to catch him in the act, but he said that as addicted as he was, it wasn’t a matter of if, but when he gets caught. Those hook-up sites are crawling with undercover cops posing as “escorts”. My biggest hope is to see his ugly mugshot posted in the paper for all to see.

  • One of the strangest things my ex said to me was “When I’m with her I feel good, but when I’m coming home to you I feel guilty.” He seemed to believe I was causing him to feel guilty, instead of recognizing the guilt came from his own conscience.

    Anyway, he wanted me to give him a lot of sympathy and understanding for his suffering. It felt like I’d been run over by a car, and the driver was now asking me to comfort him because he felt bad about it.

    • That’s how they roll, Lyn. Anything good is projected on to the Whores, anything bad ( or realistic ) is projected onto the spouse.

    • Shouldn’t it be the opposite, where he feels guilty to be with her? I mean he’s screwing around on his wife and porking a woman that is not his wife. Talk about being twisted in the head. And he should feel bad, what he’s doing is absolutely unacceptable. And the jerk wants you to give him sympathy. I’d pile on the guilt and make him feel like the piece of shit that he is.

      • This is it exactly. Mine felt no sadness where there should have been at least some. He felt very little, if any, shame where a normal person on exposure of doing something wrong, would feel that. These are normal healthy reactions to loss and wrong doing. Cheaters don’t feel these things and that’s the head scratcher. It’s incredulous to those of us who do feel and empathize. And no amount of therapy is going to help you learn empathy or compassion, it’s only going to be damage control. Even the best of therapists cannot treat these personality types effectively. The only treatment is to manage the chaos they generate and your only hope in a relationship with one of these types is to protect yourself and get out.

        • I do think my ex felt shame because he didn’t tell any of his siblings we were divorcing. After being together for 36 years I ended up having to break the news to them. It was actually done unknowingly when I sent a group email telling people what my new address was going to be. That’s when I got a reply from his brother asking why I was moving out. He hadn’t been told, and he was supposedly my husband’s closest friend. It made me so mad because I felt like I was once again doing the hard stuff while he just ran away.

          • Alternatively, it’s a desire to avoid direct oppoprobrium because you just can’t easily spin cheating as good Impression Management.

            I’m cynical because while I attributed shame to my cheater a few times over his main affair, subsequent evidence showed it was purely a pity-strategy or Impression Management (they KNOW that other people think cheating is bad). Without fail, my X reneged on every aspect of apology or “shame” he delivered when trying to keep me in the marriage.

            • Yeah, XH’s standing comment to our (formerly mutual, now his) friends was “I just feel bad that she hurts so much,” as if I was hurt by something not even remotely connected to him. I also think he felt bad that I was such a Debbie Downer! I mean, if I could’ve just got on board with the whole thing — you know, not take anything so personally! — then EVERYONE could get along, and there’s NO awkwardness and, I mean, Whew! Right? … But, nooooo, I’ve gotta go be all DEPRESSED that my 16-year marriage came abruptly to an end and I was betrayed. Intentional or not, Impression Management it is, indeed.

              • AAArrrgggghhh! Doesn’t that make you FURIOUS–that the cheaters are pitying us? Mine pulls the same thing–he feels so baaadddllly that he just made that one little mistake with gradwhore because we were having marital problems (insert “because of Tempest’s suckitude”). And now I’ve become the sad, lonely dog lady who mostly hangs around with other indoctrinated ChumpNation members–bitter people, really, who can’t forgive or understand that “affairs happen”. Tsk tsk.

                One set of friends started out trying to support both Hannibal and me equally, dontchaknow, but are pulling away from me–if only I’d adopted a forgive and forget attitude, and been friends with Hannibal, then they could invite me over to dinner. But I’ve brought my isolation from former friends on myself by telling the truth about his serial cheating, and refusing to keep taking one for the team. I mean, jeez, if I’d just accepted H’s sad sausage ploy and his tepid, meaningless apologies, I might even have been able to have dinner with him and his new GF-appliance and our old friends!

              • Hi, Tempest. Are you okay? You’ve been sounding uncharacteristically angry the last few days.

                Sometimes I worry that you have taken on so much by helping everyone on this site and forum while healing yourself and raising your children. Intellectuals suffer due to the very qualities that make you so smart: overthinking and spiraling. Great for creativity. Sucky for healing.

                If I am making up a story, I apologize. Just thought I sensed a tone.

              • Thanks, Roaring. Yes, I am back in an angry phase, mostly for two reasons:

                I attended a conference last week that merged my and Hannibal’s disciplines, and it triggered me in ways I didn’t anticipate. He and I had often attended such conferences together, and the intellectual overlap was perhaps the strongest connection of our partnership. It was very unexpected to miss that kind of interaction with him (after not missing him since I tossed him out 1.5 years ago). Emotionally, I still find it hard to understand how he was willing to toss all that away by serially cheating (even though I can grasp how the disordered operate at a cognitive level).

                It also looks as if I may have lost another set of friends to Hannibal’s lies, and I”m probably not dealing with that very well. I want to “break up” with them and explain why, but since the formerly-Switzerland couple appear to be ghosting me, I merely have conversations with them in my head about how they’ve added to my betrayal. Need to take my own advice about not trying to reason with cheaters or cheater apologists.

                Perhaps I picked the wrong week to give up a nightly martini?

              • p.s. I’m all too aware that other people are dealing with far worse things than Switzerland friends and lying Xs. Perhaps my anger is because of recent reminders from many fronts that the world is not a just place, and I feel powerless to do enough about it.

              • Dear Tempest,

                I know I do not need to explain to you the concept of triggering and re-traumatisation, so please let me validate how you are feeling. 110% normal.

                Unfortunately when Switzerland friends fall of the fence and show they are no longer people you can trust to hold a safe space for you it sucks. It sucks even more when you know it is the result of lies that no one is willing to even pick up the phone and validate.

                Tempest today you helped me no end with your comments which I read while I sat with my cheater. you are an amazing person and I hope that in due corse you will be back to your positive self

              • Tempest, you *could* make nice and take one for the team, but that doesn’t seem like an option you could live with.

                I like all the anger here the last few days. Cheating fucking sucks, and it hurts like a motherfcker.

                We can’t all be well at once. And, Tempest, sometimes you just have to *be* here and not worry about helping others.

                It’s an oft-stated fact, but the first thing that drew me to Chump Lady was the anger.

  • My cheater thinks he’s amazing. I don’t think he has low self esteem although I think he’d love to use that as an excuse. He loves to “save” women and look like a “hero.” So he preys on women who are vulnerable. It gives him a real kick.

    I don’t think he has any insight and if you scratch the surface on the nasty personality you get rage. THAT is a psychopath/narcissist. And no, those folks don’t have low self-esteem.

  • This was very timely for me to read today. I’m still in the middle of the process, and as I tell my therapist it’s very tempting to fall back into the pick-me dance of trying to make my STBXH to “love” me again. Conflict is hard and scary, but I know the cost would be my mental health, and it really wouldn’t change anything.
    When I follow her advice and keep detached, and don’t try to “reason with unreasonable” I get accused of being angry, cold and negative. No matter how many ego kibbles he’s getting from his new “circle of positive people” he’s hanging out with now, I guess my kibbles are the tastiest because he sure acts like he’s missing them, and I’m the meanest woman in the whole world for not telling him how great all his new choices are. I fell for the whole self-esteem crock of shit, and fell into the trap of trying to boost his whenever possible, thinking if he felt better about himself we’d be happier together. Now I see that it just kept digging my hole deeper and deeper and didn’t really change anything else.

    • Hang in there, Not Just Me. I’m two years since D-day, mostly at Meh, but there are still some hard moments. I was just thinking of the video clip of … shit, I can’t remember his name… the stand-up comic who dresses up as an old woman? There’ve been a bunch of movies…. Anyway (sorry), the gist is: If someone wants to walk out on your life LET THEM GO! — I don’t have a lot of moments of pride in how things ended (and ended they did, as soon as I found out there was someone else), but I do pride myself on never begging him to stay.

      I did have a few things I wanted to clarify between us (again, before I knew about AP), in case he’d misunderstood my feelings, but that’s as close as I got. And either he knew my personality well enough, or he really truly didn’t care, because he never came looking for kibbles. I’m never sure if that’s better or worse — painful all around, really.

      All you can do (all any of us can do) is move forward. There are some answers we are never going to have so we tend to fill in the blanks with the stories we tell ourselves, usually with absolutely no data or evidence to back them up. You don’t know that he’s happy. Evidence? I just had a friend tell me my latest FB post says I look like I’m doing great! Really happy! In truth? I keep counting my pain pills, making sure I have enough if I can’t make it through today. (Don’t worry, this pre-dates Dday, … but certainly far worse since!!!) — The point is, you don’t know that he’s happy. And it doesn’t matter. All that matters now is you. Is it sad and tragic it comes to this after so much work and love and devotion? Yep. But that’s the way it goes sometimes. Focus on you. The cheaters? Completely incomprehensible. And they don’t matter anyway.

  • I have never disagreed with Chump Lady’s perspective but today I do. I have self esteem. My Ex does not have self esteem. The reason he has to keep proving he is special is because he is trying to convince himself that he is worthy. Did my self esteem take a hit? Yes, it did. It is because I have self esteem that I was able to finally end the relationship. It is where I found the strength to do everything that I have needed to do. My Ex never made an argument that he had low self esteem and I can see how that is a nice way for cheaters to blame shift. I am the one saying he has low self esteem. In my book it is the way a person treats others that shows how they feel about themselves.

    • Phoebenix – This is a great post. I was raised by a very unstable and weak mother that I had to take care of emotionally sometimes, but she always propped ME up and I got excellent self-esteem from her teachings. I have always hit life head on and I needed to marry somebody with the same self-esteem, and I did at 20. So, we were well matched and very positive people and showed the world a happy couple who could make it to 35 yrs.

      That being said, for the first time 32 yrs his business took a huge hit and he must have felt his self-esteem eroding – I dunno.
      I just wanted him to retire. And move on.

      And, this is when he had to switch jobs and found his new lover, my BFF (how convenient).
      For a guy this ‘tough’, he was too ego-driven (to be successful in business), arrogant, selfish, and rather domineering.
      I was also a similar strength for him but I doubt I had the ego he did. But, I could hold my own with a very controlling guy.
      I thought we were a perfect match. He was sort of the King of the trading floor (from home) and he did make a very nice income.
      He was totally money driven.

      Since I know his whore very well, he picked somebody with much less education – a few street smarts maybe, but a total downgrade, with a lot of debt who just divorced her husband over this 3-yr affair. I think he thought he could boost his sagging ego with her ‘charm’ and sluttiness. She was a town bicycle with 3 kids w/different fathers, who non of the kids even knew. Married 3 times. He was her 4th affair in their 13 yr marriage, is what her X told me.

      Don’t let these things ruin your good self-esteem. It did for long while for me, but I’m pretty much a karate kicker to make sure I still like myself and not let others demean me or get me down. I see it’s their issues, not mine. You can spot somebody with poor self-esteem, like yesterday, I complimented my well-dressed friend on her clothes and how good she looked. She replied, you seem to have a lot of wrinkles lately. Well, I make a joke. I understand she has poor self-esteem and it doesn’t bother me so much. I’ll compliment when it’s worth it, but next time I’m going to say to her, Your face looks like leather; maybe you should stay out of the sun more…lol.

  • I suspect it’s a mix…that there are some narc cheaters that definitely don’t have self-esteem issues and that there are some non-narc cheaters that use cheating like a drug to bolster their self-esteem and/or help them avoid confronting their own inadequacies (The AP thinks they’re fabulous so what’s the spouse’s fucking problem? Ergo, problem MUST be spouse. Viola! I They are off the hook and it’s all the chump’s fault! Dopamine Kibbles!)

    I’ve read that there is a tendency for people to be shitty to people they know they have wronged in order to feel better about themselves. but I can’t remember the term for it.

  • Ok, what are some of these cheaters pages you are looking at? I’m not great at the Internet. Stumbled upon Chump Lady- which has been saving my life!

    • Special snowflake – we all stumbled on here somehow….and gratefully.
      Hope you are early in this as I was, and I came out ahead at the end of the ‘War’.

      Welcome, although it’s not the place any of us wanted to wind up.

      If you are talking about the Reddit pages – PLEASE forget it.
      Nobody is ever ready to read those.
      Especially if your are early on in this healing process.

      Please concentrate on your healing….And read all of C/L’s posts in her post-section.
      It should help you a lot.

  • Oh yes, looking back I see the arrogance of my cheater ex. He always thought he was better than others and loved to talk about it. My close family confirms they knew it and saw it back then too. But he got a pass, from all of us. Not to mention that during our son’s birthday party at our house with tons of kids and their parents, he stood by the grill cooking for all of us and at the same time texting/talking to OW. The audacity!! That is not a person with self-esteem issues!!!

    My fear, nowadays, is that my son has inherited this “arrogance” trait. But I keep telling myself, he has a lot of me in him. I see him having empathy for others and animals. That’s the thing that keeps me up at night. The perils of having children with a fucktard.

  • (“It passes. Hang in there!”)

    I almost put my fist through my monitor when I read that.

  • Nowdeadserialcheaterwife did not have self esteem issues. Addiction issues, big time. Depression, definitely. But she was a “romantic”, a superior class of human beings who can only be sexually and amourously satisfied by other “romantics”. [“Romantic”, btw, means, I need to lovebombed continuously for the rest of my life, or I will leave you and find another lover, and if you’re very, very lucky, I’ll do it in that order. Ha ha, just kidding. Why would I leave a sure thing without having another one set up first?”]

    • Sounds disturbingly familiar, HeatDeath. I, and likely many other chumps, have/had partners who lovebombed us or felt the need to be lovebombed and then abandoned or started cheating on us when the ‘newness’ of the monogamous relationship with us wore off (sometimes within just a few weeks or months). I think of love as not something that ‘just happens, exists/does not exist,’ but as something that comes into existence and develops into a beautiful, sturdy entity as it is nurtured–the way a plant grows when it regularly receives food, water, and sunlight. Adulterers and ‘runners’ don’t hold this view. I am done trying to convince these types that love is an action that requires some action on the part of both parties and that that action can be both beneficial and pleasant to both parties.

  • I think, as a chump, that I confused the issue of self esteem with character. Obviously, in the throws of D-Day my own self esteem had taken a huge hit, so the thought that if I felt unloved, undesirable, unworthy were all part of my low self esteem at that moment (of D-Day), so it was a pretty good theory that the cheater must have had low self esteem and needed to feel loved, desirable, and worthy of all the sparkly things that come with the affair. Now that my self esteem has returned, and even more than I’ve ever had before, I still loathe people who cheat. I think a person with low self esteem can cheat and I think a person with unhealthily high levels of self esteem can cheat. Cheating is not about self esteem, it’s about a lack of character.

  • My cheater thought she was pretty awesome. Anything to the contrary really pissed her off. I use to think that was her low self-esteem but really she just didn’t like people disagreeing with her. She was always quick to tell me about the guy at the gas station or the drunks at a concert who made a pass at her. She also use to talk about how everyone at her job could do their job better. During an argument once, she mentioned how easy it would be for her to get another man if we broke up. No low self-esteem there. Nope. Nothing but disgusting dripping pride.

    • She wanted to make you jealous, then if you reacted you would be ‘controlling and jealous’… it’s not that she’s giving signals to the drunk at a concert that she’s easy and has no boundaries… it’s that you’re jealous. Been there.. :p

      • Hahaha! She use to accuse me of being controlling when I didn’t approve of her secret pot smoking, or when she wanted something but it wasn’t in our budget that month.

        • Dudes, you reminded me of a night at a club with Match Girl.

          This guy had been dancing in front of us like an asshole all night. I went to get some drinks and when I went back to my spot, Match Girl was flirting with this dude like crazy. Mostly that doesn’t bother me but she kept touching his arm. That fucking drives me crazy.

          Anyway, he proceeds to get hammered and more flirty. Then toward the end of the night he accidentally drunkenly knocks Match Girl’s girl-friend from her lab down. Both of them start yelling at this dude and then all of the sudden this guy wants to fight *ME.* Well fuck that. I am not getting in a fight with this douche-canoe just do I can ride home with her dumb ass while she yells at *me* for being a violent jealous asshole.

          I told her the next time she picked a fight with a dude, she could fight him, and I’d hold her purse.

  • As far as I’m concerned, the whole “They cheat due to low self esteem” argument doesn’t matter anyway, because it is equally wrong no matter what their level of self esteem is. It’s just an irrelevant way to shift focus from the true issue, which is their crappy character/behavior.

    • This is exactly how I see it. It is just another way to shift focus away from their shitty decisions.

    • Anita, kind of like trying to figure out what was in the fuel tank of the truck that mowed us down. It is kind of immaterial considering the damage done to us during said hit and run.

  • @ Moving Liquid: I took umbridge at the fools comment also.

    I dare say we were not fools but we were FOOLED by these crafty cunning entitled shitbags.

        • Exactly. Who wants to have to police their marriage? I was easy to fool because I loved and supported him. Him being proud of that is like being proud of winning a slam-dunk contest against a four-year-old!

  • My ex-hole had tremendously high self esteem and that certain *charisma* that attracted men and his harem of women ho-workers alike. Part of what maintained that artificially bolstered high self esteem came from putting me down and playing on the weaknesses that come from being a person who was seriously abused physically and emotionally throughout childhood, yet overcame this to become the strong, independent woman I am today. The more self assured I became, the less use I was to him—and he ended up marrying one of the AP’s, a meek little simpering mouse of a woman whose only identity revolves around him.
    Ex-hole has been publicly humiliated professionally by his poor choices, fired from jobs that made national news in his professional journals, is literally an isolated shell of his formal self, pathetic. In my mid-fifties (today’s my birthday!!!!) I’m finally hitting my stride professionally, am engaged to be married to a wonderfully caring man who arranged a surprise party for me last night which included his lovely daughters, some of my dearest friends, and most importantly, the young adult daughter who was actively alienated from me for years through the lies and cruel machinations of her pathetic father.
    Life is good, at least for me

    • The best revenge is succeeding when someone constantly made you feel like you never would! Rock on Second Lady, and I may totally steal “ex-hole” its perfect. 🙂

  • Great perspective! I was struggling for a while feeling like my Narcissist was a sad little broken 5 year old boy wanting his mom’s love trapped inside the man in front of me. It doesn’t make any of it better, it doesn’t make any of it easier… and regardless of what happened to him as a child, he stands before me as the most narcissistic ego-driven person I have ever met!

    • yep – me too. his sad little boy “story” kept me trapped waaaay longer than I should have stayed. Now I even wonder if any of his sad little boy shit was even true. Argh.

  • I know they have no empathy and (really) this was never about me, but if this is so, how do you explain the toxic shame? The quite spectacular self pity? My ex sobs buckets. He sobs! I have learned it doesn’t mean anything for me, but the guy is in PAIN!
    How many of them have the kids and their family feeling SO SORRY for them?

    That could be a video question.

    • Patsy, self pity is not the same as empathy. Saddam was quite capable of turning the water works on and off at the drop of hat too. So don’t be so sure it’s even real sobbing you hear. Saddam could turn rage on and off as well. These are control tactics. None of that is motivated by shame. He wanted two women, I was denying him that, therefore I was hurting him. Maybe this will help, had a conversation with Saddam during wreckonciliation when we were supposed to do an exercise wherein we ‘walk in the other persons shoes’. After the failed exercise, He turned to me and said “I can’t put myself in your place because you are wrong”.

      I called the MC after many such failed attempts and asked her how this could work if he exhibited no empathy, her response sucked, she told me “a lot of people have a hard time with that, he’ll get it”. My take is that as an MC she was seeing a lot of dysfunctional spouses who lacked empathy and instead of telling the other spouse to divorce them, she thought she could teach it. Or maybe it was just a good way to make money, keep going to MC…

      • That’s why the hyena metaphor is so apt. Would a hyena “get it”? Would the MC think a true psychopath would “get it”? I wonder where these MCs get their education.

  • I totally agree with Chump Lady’s assessment. These narcissists don’t lack in self-esteem in any way, shape or form. When I first discovered my STBX was a multiple cheater, I started reading books to try and resolve the cognitive dissonance I was experiencing. One of the theories I came across was that serial cheaters have low self-esteem and are addicted sex. The book I started reading was full of suggestions on how to help them overcome this addiction. Not much on how to help pick my shattered esteem up off the floor. I didn’t end up reading much of the book because, from the emails of his that I got a hold of, where he bragged about his actions to his fellow cheaters and perverts, he was doing this because he has too much self-esteem. There was never any sense of guilt or a recognition that this needed to stop. Only escalation and more chest thumping. And low-self esteem isn’t a valid excuse for this behaviour – it’s a choice.

    • X liked to insist that I had low self esteem. I don’t. I don’t have a template for how and when to walk away from a crappy relationship (well, now I do), but, I don’t have low self esteem.

      He sent me this link once to prove his point, and I laughed — and am laughing today still, years later — because the whole thing describes HIM.

      Btw I think of bragging as a low self esteem activity, for whatever that’s worth. Humility is a beautiful thing.

  • Ah yes, the self-pity channel. My ex (god I love that I can say that now, ex) didn’t use the low self-esteem line, but he did use the depression excuse. “I saw a therapist and she said I am depressed, and she is right.” I ignored him, and when he dropped by my house a month after I filed for divorce, he had the gall to say “you were depressed when you were diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and I was there for you during that time” and I said, “Um, yeah I was depressed, but I also did fuck anyone else! I didn’t email some rando details about how our marriage sucks.” He didn’t say anything after that. Cheaters’ excuses really are ridiculous.

    • Mine told me that he cried,and if he was diagnosed with cancer he wouldn’t do treatment. Really?

      • What they say: I would refuse cancer treatment I’m so upset at hurting you.

        What they mean: I’ll harvest your healthy cancer free organs while you sleep.

      • Ahhh yes, my ex even told me that he wanted to keep me informed that he had a lump on his ball sac. And I care…how?? Unreal. These people are unreal.

        • I think that “lump” he is referring to, in medical terms, is called a whoranoma. He should see a priest and ask for the last rights.

          • Ok…I’ll admit that I shouldn’t be reading this blog at work…but I am. And I just snorted out loud at “whoranoma”!!! Priceless!

  • I don’t know, I think it’s possible that some cheaters so have deep insecurity etc

    I don’t think that means they won’t cheat. That they don’t believe that you contributed to them cheating etc

    My ex spoke often over the years about how much he hates himself and his internal script saying he was a piece of shit/ worthless/ you shit on everybody.

    I just don’t think he would let that internal dialogue stop him; I certainly hope he doesn’t let it stop him until BLOW gets a taste of her own medicine (barely legal other woman).

    • Yeah, I see both sides to this topic. I could give a multitude of examples where my cheater exhibited entitlement, privilege, snobbery, and high self-esteem. And then I also see that much of this is a protection over a very fearful, weak core. Image is everything, but what is the image covering up?

      I do fully believe my cheater cheated because she felt she was better and more sophisticated than me, and as such, was deserving of and entitled to search for relationships outside the marriage. I think she continued to feel that way through reconciliation and marriage counseling, lying to me and the therapist along the way on her false-remorse, until she cheated again.

      • Yes, I was also thinking about the distinction between self-esteem and insecurity. My X is also highly entitled, pompous, arrogant, deceptively self-deprecating, and superficially charming.

        But at the same time he is the most thin-skinned person I have ever met. The slightest criticism is met with defensive, terse, angry, and sometimes vicious blowback and blameshifting. And something doesn’t even have to be a criticism to provoke that kind of response–it could be an off-handed remark that he perceives as somehow less than the non-stop praise he believes he is so deserving of.

        I can only conclude that his apparent self-esteem–he truly does believe he’s a brilliant, kind, amazing person–is a mask for his deep insecurity.

        • OK, That sounds a like like Borderline Personality Disorder. Don’t ask me how I know.

  • Whenever I think of my ex, who also claimed “he didn’t know who he was” and that he was the poor little snowflake who had been poorly treated.. ugh, I just reflect on his current move of being a modern day “Dorian Gray”. Honestly, narcissism hath no greater example.

  • My cheater ex claimed to have self esteem issues. It took me FOREVER to figure out that “Low Self-Esteem” is just one of the top hits on the Self-Pity Channel. If he’d really had low self-esteem he wouldn’t have told the marriage counselor that there was nothing he needed to change to be a better husband.

  • My experience was that discovery of my XW’s affair was like being mugged. I was hurt and very confused about what happened to me. I found it very difficult to believe that a person i trusted so much and loved so dearly would treat me so appallingly. I was prepared to believe that I must have been a dreadful husband, grey haired and a little overweight and tired and feeling overworked. I thought it must be to do with some trauma that had happened, some psychological injury she had received (she had lost her father at a young age) all of these theories were preferable to the stark reality – that she had chosen to act in this appalling way. She was an adult in full control of her faculties. What made me realise this was the callous indifference she was showing to our son – then aged 11. He needed me to see what exactly what was going on and how none of this was anyone else’s doing but his mother’s

    • That’s a gut-wrenching story, Limey. So sorry. That must have hurt terribly. Glad you’ve made it here, but sorry you had to come looking for us.

  • Low self esteem is just an offshoot of the pity channel, that they can leverage for more kibbles and excuse terrible behavior.

  • This is a great post. I’ve basically thought about nothing else than STBX’s betrayal for eight months.

    I’ve been operating under the assumption that STBX’s life was as disrupted as mine.


    Today I looked over the website of his favorite neighborhood bar. They post and date pictures every day. Sure enough, STBX can be seen night after night hoisting a beer with a big, increasingly fat and flabby smile and gut, laughing and yukking it up with a lot of drunks.

    I hadn’t realized how extensive the bar’s photo gallery was. I had gone “pain shopping” there a few weeks ago and saw a few photos. Seeing the hundreds of photos today, including a particularly galling one taken the night of D-day, while I was home in a weepy puddle on the floor, just confirmed that I have absolutely nothing in common with that POS.

    After twenty years, I feel no connection to this person. I wouldn’t look twice at him today.

    He actually chose the shitty drunk whore life. He looks like a fat dumb hillbilly with his big gut and white socks/brown shoes. I can’t believe I thought he was a keeper.

    I really can’t believe he thinks he’s “better” than me. He does. That’s always been they dynamic. WTF?

    I’m (almost) at the point where I want to settle for very little just to be done with this jerk forever. Arghh!

    • Roaring

      Fuck that! Let him keep the socks. Consequences rock. What does your lawyer suggest?

      • Doingme, I’m frustrated. It’s been eight weeks since I’ve heard anything from my “new” lawyer (long story). My divorce has been a fucking nightmare. I wish STBX was dead for so many reasons.

        • Roaring, I am a lawyer. You have to ride them sometimes. Send her/him a certified letter and say this:

          Please advise, with detail, the action you have taken regarding my dissolution of marriage. My goal is X. How close are we to reaching this? I would like your response in an email or snail mail within three business day.

          Stay calm, and wait three business days. If no response:

          Second certified letter:

          Deeply concerned about your lack of communication and response. My entire life is hangs in the balance. (You get the drift) But keep it short and non emotional.

          Wait three more days.

          Then, demand FULL retainer back with certified letter and file a bar complaint unless they have been hit by a car, in a coma or someone died.

          Don’t let them get by with ignoring you. If you were a multi millionaire client, they would blow up your phone.

          You have enough stress…you do NOT need to worry about your lawyer being non responsive or playing games. They know how much clients want to hear from them.

          Look for a board certified family lawyer who is CONNECTED. This is the key. This is the sad game of law…if they are playing golf with the judge, and your ex’s lawyer is a nobody from three cities over…who do you think is going to get the best piece of the pie?

          • More free legal sad truths:

            You need a tough lawyer, but you don’t always want the “bad ass” lawyer. People in the courthouse have to work with you everyday, and judges don’t like people who are ALWAYS fighting over every issue. It is like the little boy who cried wolf: when something IS critical….judges can become tone deaf, because EVERYTHING was akin to their hair being on fire.

            The key is to pick a lawyer that is CONNECTED, WELL LIKED AND RESPECTED. I cannot emphasize this enough. In the Rotary, dialed deep into the legal community. His buddies on the bench are not going to fuck him over, and that means you will come out much better off financially.

            Lawyers who go barreling into every hearing ready to rip off heads do not garner friends in the courthouse. “YOU GO TO THE WELL WHEN YOU ARE REALLY THIRSTY”

            Buy the best lawyer you can afford, and WHAT YOU ARE BUYING IS WHO THEY KNOW. Cannot emphasize this enough.

            The best lawyers look like a million bucks, act like gentle men or ladies, and then….when they gone in for your kill…they will get it, because their aggressiveness has not made everyone tone deaf.

            When they ask for something big…the judge leans forward. Because they only ask when it is their BIG ENCHILADA.

            I told another poster….don’t lose your mind over the toaster, the lady from Zimbabwe. That is what I meant.

            Go for the big rocks (money and property) and hire a blue blood, in the pipeline, dialed in lawyer to do it for you.

  • Quote from ex: “I need to [flirt with coworkers] because they get their self-esteem from me.”
    So, apparently the cheater had overflowing self-esteem to spread around like a good virus.

  • ChumpedupChick – I am SO sorry you were married a louse and coward like that. No one put a gun to his head to marry you! If that’s the type he preferred, then why the heck didn’t he marry that. I know exactly how you feel sweets when you said why did he make a life commitment to you when his type was other women. For the life of me, it really sent me off in a rage to find out my ex wasn’t attracted to me. And please don’t say you had nothing worthy to offer, you are a valuable person. Just from your post, I can tell what a sweetheart you are, you have so much empathy and kindness. And this is incredibly valuable. You know who’s not valuable? Your piece of shit ex husband. Just like my ex, he’s not prize either and these people seek others at their own level. So if it’s the blonde bimbos my ex wants, he can have that. Like Anita said, they’re a dime a dozen. And I’m not even concerned who he ends up with, because I know she’s getting a con-artist charlatan. Anyone I meet after this will be exponentially better. Good riddance assholes.

  • Chump lady. You are right on as usual. Yes they do believe they are better, smarter, deserving, narcs. And I’m a reconciler, don’t judge me, but I don’t fool myself with that low self esteem bullshit or FOO bullshit. My cheater has done a 180 but I don’t allow myself to be blinded or fooled by it. Divorce is always an option of which he is well aware. I make no excuses. He was a fucker because he wanted to be. Plain and simple. I walked and hired a bad ass attorney. And made hard boundaries. I never cried or asked why again. When that bullshit ended so did his. Now it’s a whole different relationship. Any back sliding in the slightest and he’s gone. Works for me is all I can say. Love you and your wisdom. Thank you so much

  • Trying Hard ” When that bullshit ended so did his.”

    What bull shit are you referring to?

    • Doingme–when I was drinking my pathetic hands, doing the puck me dance, asking why, figuring out his FOO issues. When I finally saw the reason he cheated was because he felt entitled and wanted to, I gave up and turned my back on him. I found a great lawyer and put my tough girl pants on. I put ALL the onus on him. Changed the locks on the door. Started taking care of ME. He came running back. He figured out what an ass he’d been. How he’d allowed himself to fall prey. Whatever, I made HIM figure out his shit. I made no excuses or accepted any and called him on it when he did. He accepted all the blame. Put my name on everything. Made me an officer in our business. Went to marriage counseling for 2 years, egads!!! So I dunno. Maybe he is that fucking unicorn. I’m still very aware and not naive. Life’s not perfect but who’s is? I admire each and everyone of you brilliant chumps. I’m definitely one of you and that’s why I follow Chump Lady

      • I kind of like “puck me” dance–a perfect combination of “pick me” and “fuck me [over]” dance, which is really what it boils down to.

        • Tempest– I agree!!! PUCKKKK ME!!! BTW I truly admire you wisdom. Love reading your comments.

  • Haha. That’s wringing not drinking. And pick me not puck me :). Stupid autocorrect

    • Drinking my pathetic hands…could be the title of a poem or a confession at AA. And doing the puck me dance.Thanks for the laugh autocorrect.

  • Interesting question. It never occured to me that cheaters COULD have low self esteem. Mine was boasting about having two beautiful women fighting over him (in his mind). And he felt ‘weird’ like some sort of ‘prize’. Narc much?

  • Put me down on the “cheaters come in all amounts of self-esteem”.

    My STBXW confessed to me when I visited her in the psych ward after she attempted suicide.

    She’s since diagnosed with Bipolar 2. It’s hard for me to separate the mental illness from the lack of real remorse she’s shown.

  • All I know is that when life handed us challenges (an inevitability in almost three decades together), he ran. Some would say he “checked out.” I ‘m sure he used it to cultivate fans, impression management has always been his strength. Like life is hard when all you want to do is live only for yourself, you run when things get hard, and that’s selfish in an unhealthy way, right? Cue the Emporer’s New Groove: “Me, me, me….” I think his inability to rise up to those life challenges was his downfall. I did not love him less, I knew he was fragile. I loved him right up till Dday. The moment I realized he had betrayed me, our life together, and our children (who are our best legacy to this world) was the day I realized that is WHO he is. And I wanted no more of it.

  • Everyone’s already said all the good stuff 😉 but I’m feeling a bit down today, so I’m hanging out here with my old buddies (aka, Lifesavers) at CL.

    I would just add these few things:
    1. XH actually said, out loud, one day: “You know, I think I’m better than pretty much everyone else around here!” We were visiting his grandparents who were celebrating their 70th (!) wedding anniversary on the farm they grew up on in Kentucky. Not my choice of lifestyle, either, but “Better”?? Umm, no. — He was always going on about how handsome and successful he was, in spite of making exactly zero dollars per year for the first several years at his “business.” Honestly, that guy was like Teflon — nothing bad ever stuck to him, he’d just refuse to believe it and shrug it off. It could be argued that was all bravado and he actually doesn’t think much of himself, but at this point, who cares, really? I have crappy self-esteem and I would think the last thing you’d want to do would be to betray the person who’d sworn their life to you.

    2. Lack of accountability: I know that’s not the issue in this post but some folks above touched on it, so I had to add something for those who think maybe their X is a new and better person for the AP: they aren’t. I am currently part of an IRS audit from a year that we were still married so I got dragged into it, though it’s all about accounting errors from his business. The very few communications I’ve sent to him always come back with comments like, “Oh, you can just ignore that.” Or, “I don’t know why they’re demanding the payment right now — I do intend to pay it, just now’s a bad time.” — It’s never them, see? It’s always for someone else, those pesky rules. I’m proud to be someone who plays by the rules (except highway speed limits — those are just dumb).

    • NWB–we’re always glad to hear from you, but I’m sad you’re having a bad day. The ripple effects of betrayal continue to surprise me, too. It’s easy to romanticize how fab the cheaters’ lives are post-split, but you’re right–it probably doesn’t reflect reality. They are shallow creatures and heavily dependent on shallow, fleeting things to prop them up.

      Hugs to you!

  • just my 2 cents:
    It’s not ME or YOU lacking something, not being their type etc.
    Actually, they picked us for really good reasons. They obviously thought we were making a great image/cover/mask for their shitty real self. You know, the family image, dedicated husband, father, employee. YOU are awesome and that’s why they picked you! Remember that!

    His shitty ass needed an edge over you, thus the web of lies and deceit. It’s not the OW!
    There is nothing special about the OW. They are easy and he knows it. Nowadays you can order s e x like you order pizza! But girls like YOU and ME….not! The whole investment they made in us, must pain them to loose us!
    Yeah, they suck and now we know it! The more ppl we tell about their true character, the better! Just make sure you gather evidence!

  • Those cheater boards are the BEST, by the way. Any kind of illusion you may have clung to is very quickly ripped away.

    They should be mandatory reading for any chump trapped in wreckonciliation by a KibbleMeister.

  • My cheating STBX had the nerve to complain to his mother about how much he hurt in all of this and how sad he was and how horrible I’m treating him. His mother told him straight up: YOU hurt? You’ve have months to prepare for this. You just sprung this on your wife. She’s in shock, of course she’s going to act out!

    I’m glad I have my in-laws and our mutual friends on my side.

    And no, he does not have low self esteem. He’s a very confident man. Arrogant even. He felt I wasn’t treating him nicely enough (dang those kids and my illness draining my energy), and rather than working with me, I guess I must have pushed him away so hard that his penis landed in her vagina. Dang, I didn’t know I had that good aim.

    He’s currently trying to fight me on everything in our divorce, from who gets control over the passports to me not receiving spousal support after staying home with kids for 7 years.

    • I’m sorry you’re having to deal with your difficult STBX through the divorce. Other posters who have recommended some books in the past that help you maneuver through the negotiations may be able to chime in here (Chumptitude–need you!).

      The never ending pleasure of having mated with the disordered, eh?

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