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Dear Chump Lady, I’m a serial cheater and I want to change

how-many-counselors-does-it-take-to-change-a-lightbulb-one-but-the-lightbulb-has-to-want-to-change--f22acHey Chump Lady,

Found your book in the book store. It’s been tough to read, and I guess I’m doing that thing that a lot of asshole guys do — thinking I’m a unicorn, that I can change, that I can do better for my partner, that I can overcome this super shitty way of life.

I know your specialty is on the other end of things, but do you think people can change? How do they do so?

I am seeing a shrink for anxiety and am on my way to an SAA (Sex Addicts Anonymous) meeting.

I don’t want to be a bad man, but I am right now.

Felix

Dear Felix,

Thinking you could change (i.e., be a unicorn) isn’t what makes you an asshole. Knowing you don’t want to change and manipulating a chump into investing further in your relationship with false promises, so you can keep extracting value from that chump? THAT would make you an asshole. Knowing that you’re not really cut out for a monogamous relationship, but keep “committing” to one? THAT would make you an asshole. Risking your partner’s health and welfare in secret, while telling them to trust you? THAT would make you an asshole. The desire for self-improvement? No.

Yes, I believe people can change.

However, change is a long, slow, humbling process, and I am skeptical that people prone to self-indulgence and immediate gratification can sustain character change. It would require a huge values shift, from entitlement to empathy. From escapism to dealing-with-your-shit-ism. From narcissistic notions of gaming the system (more kibbles for ME!) to reciprocity and fair play.

This isn’t instant switch-o-change-o stuff. Character change occurs when the costs of being a “bad man” outweigh the perceived benefits. When it hurts you to hurt someone you love. Perhaps you do feel bad that you hurt your partner with your infidelities. But guilt isn’t enough — the fear of hurting someone you love should precipitate your actions. The connection and respect you feel for your partner should squelch entitled, escapist, let’s-go-fuck-someone-I-met-on-Craigslist notions. You should care enough to NOT hurt your partner.

Oh, but they’ll never know. Oh, but I deserve this. Oh, it’s just a bit of fun. Oh, but they pissed me off last Thursday, and they’re never going to fix X about themselves, so I’m entitled to this. Because I don’t get A, B, and C. Not enough anyway. And my partner doesn’t do P and Q. What’s life without Q?

If you’ve got a thousand rationalizations why cheating on your partner could be okay with certain mitigating circumstances, you’re not getting it.

Felix, I recently moved back to an area I moved away from 10 years ago. It’s changed a lot since I left. Yesterday I went to this farmer’s market I used to go to and I was wandering around the stalls thinking, “Where’s the Sticky Bun Lady? She should BE here! Where is she?!”

Even though I haven’t been to this market in over a decade, I childishly assumed it should be just as I left it. (In fact, the Sticky Bun Lady, I vaguely recall now, died of a stroke. Probably due in no small part to unfettered consumption of sticky buns…)

I resent that entire neighborhoods are missing and have been replaced with glassy high-rise condo units and fusion noodle cafes. I’m unnerved by the unfamiliar. Why can’t it go back to 2006? I’m MAD that I cannot get good sticky buns!

Felix, for you to be a serial cheater and come back to your relationship expecting it to still be there waiting for you is a lot more delusional than me thinking those sticky buns are there. To belabor my analogy — you firebombed the farmer’s market. And now you’re back.

How do you change after serial cheating?

First and foremost by recognizing and accepting that you destroyed your relationship. THAT relationship. It’s over. I’m sorry you broke it, but you’re not entitled to keep it. It’s changed. It’s been flattened. All the things you love about that farmer’s market? They’re all out. Trust, peaches, respect, sticky buns…

Sure, you could come in and offer to fix the farmer’s market! But you’d be doing a lot of grunt work for a long time. And those who invested deeply in the farmer’s market might not trust an arsonist with rebuilding. You can’t blame them for that. Even if you’ve truly changed in your heart, even if you scrub every toilet, and scrape blackened vegetables off every surface, and work tirelessly without pay, the memory of that explosion will haunt them.

Accepting consequences is the first step to improving your character. You don’t get to come back to the relationship you left. Is it fair to make your chump do the grunt work of rebuilding? Or worse, imply that they deserved to have their world exploded? Or demand a fully-functional market from a burnt-out wreck?  You can hardly expect your chump to put their life on hold while you figure out this self-improvement journey.

In my opinion, the best way forward is new lives for everyone. Chumps must rebuild, but let it be lives of their own creation on their terms, not yours.

You can go forward too into a new life. You don’t want to be that “bad man”? Don’t be. But if it was so shitty and bad, why did you go back for second and third (and 15th) helpings? Get real with yourself. You liked the perks of entitlement, the power trip. Fucking around feels great! Until it doesn’t. Because consequences.

Stick with the therapy. Accept the consequences. Good luck.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • In addition to all that Chump Lady said, have you told your spouse yet?
    In order to rebuild a relationship built on trust, you must come clean with absolutely everything you did. EVERYTHING!
    Answer any questions and provide any documentation requested: credit reports showing all credit cards, bank accounts and loans, along with the statements.
    Then commit to a fair post-nuptial agreement that will hold up in court.

      • There are simply men and women who are wired for monogamy or non-monogamy ( “monogamish”). The problems start when everyone jumps off a cliff together thinking the differences will solve themselves in marriage despite loss of work or a woman getting fat. It doesn’t. True love cures all of that , so chances are you were never really in love to begin with so don’t sweat the details – you are better off not being with this woman than you are beginning to know yourself.

    • Here is my problem. He never came clean! He knows I know what happened. The other women told me. But he never has admitted to more than a friendship. What drives a man to lie even when the truth is known? I have trouble getting to meh because of my obsession with hearing the truth from his lips. I am working on this.

      • “What drives a man to lie even when the truth is known?” –

        The answer is……a real man wouldn’t but a child would.

        Linda2 what you have is just another dime-a-dozen disordered lying cheater. Anything that comes out of that hole in his face sure as heck will not be the truth.

        Dont obsess with wanting to hear his depiction of the truth from his lips. The only things that will come from his lips is (fill-in-the-blank).

      • Power. Liars come in two forms–instrumental liars lie to get out of trouble (certainly some of that here); pathological liars lie because they have a piece of information you want and they won’t give it to you. That can be true, even when they KNOW THAT YOU KNOW. To accede to the truth would give you power over them, and that is intolerable.

        • Yes! I think you hit the nail on the head. He does enjoy his power in this case. He is simply a liar. I keep hoping he will speak the truth but he never does.

          • Linda2, you are hooked on wanting to hear it from his lips but if he is a narcissist, which I highly suspect he is, you will never get an honest apology. You think that getting him to admit the truth will be the answer to your healing. My ex apologized, tears and all, admitted to everything he ever did, told me it was all his fault, begged me to give him one last 2nd chance. He even looked sheepish when he said “one last 2nd chance” because he knew he had blown all the other 2nd chances I had given him. As he was promising me total honesty, telling me I was all the woman he would ever need and how much he loved me, he had three other women on the hook. (He was a trucker with a woman in 3 different towns and one in another country)
            He ended it 2 years later and I was devastated worse than ever. Then a year after we split he showed up and gave me a tearful apology again, only this time I stayed strong and didn’t buy into it.
            My point is, even if he did give you the apology you think you need, you would never know if he really meant it and what good does it do once you are split? IF he was genuine and gave a heartfelt apology you would want him back, be thinking he has changed and become the honest man you always wanted and the new woman is getting the “good” him, so you would have something new to torture yourself with. He hurt you, you are going to take time to heal, he can not, will not nor wants to fix you besides; only you and time can fix your pain.

        • When I’ve asked Douchebag why he lies. Even when he knows I know the truth (and it seems to be particularly when I know the truth or he has an inkling that I know “something) he responded saying “it was easier”!! Easier for who. He admitted that he has been lying consistently since he was about 10 years old mostly stuff from a disengaged Mother. They are psychotic. Seriously mentally disordered. Even before I found CL. I could see how abnormal all the lying was. Once I realised I was being lied to!!

          Because like all Very Good liars. Every Lie has a grain of truth or even half of the truth. Just the other parts are lies whether by omission or not. They get so used to lying that it becomes second nature. One of the things that used to rankle him was my inability to tolerate any distortion of the truth and I would correct him when he let “poetic license” get the better of him. My bad that I am genetically programmed to be honest!!! That gene obviously didn’t get uploaded to him. And add to that an ability to live in a delusional fantastical mental state. And no he didn’t use drugs ever, but man some of the drivel that has spewed out of his perspective on the world (in particular “our” families world) was mind boggling. Yup they should have these douchebags tagged and labled at birth. Then we wouldn’t have to worry about intertwining our lives with theirs if we didn’t want to.

        • Yes, this! It is about power and image control. Durtbag, as he and his mother were finally leaving my home after a year of him living with slut puppet and denying it, actually told my mother he hadn’t been with anyone else (insisting that he talk to her without me) but it was all about his sobriety. eberyone knows he has been with slut puppet for the past year, including his crazy mom.
          Then he came in to talk to me and told me basically the same thing and that he is not living with slut puppet in some room in a friend of her mom’s house. I speak to our mutual friends and they tell me the truth. The creepiest thing was while he was sobbing to me that he wanted to live in our house with me forever, in the midst of it, he suddenly said, in a normal calm voice “you need to switch those two tables around” and then turned back to the sobbing. It was eerie.

          As for Felix, it is great that you want to change. I think Durtbag has moments when he wants to change too. But that instant gratification and the power/ego trip is irresistible to him. A man put on his FB page this week (I am no contact, a mutual friend sent Me a screen shot) “thanks again for sexting my fiancé. I hope her tits get you off.” Good to see he can’t stop his cheating ways even with his love, his muse, his joy. Believe me Felix, you will be a happier man if you are somehow able to overcome that hell. He is miserable even when he is “happy,”.

      • He won’t admit to it, because he doesn’t want to be bothered discussing the cheating. Because if he does admit to it, then you’ll ask him why he did it, why he didn’t care, why he did this, why he did that, why this, why that. And frankly, he doesn’t care about you, to sit down and talk about why he cheated. He just wants out and doesn’t want to talk about the cheating, because he doesn’t care about you. He knows what he’s done, just doesn’t want to go over his offense. Just like a criminal will not admit to his crime, same with cheaters. Do you think a sociopathic murderer wants to go over why he killed the person, and discuss how he hurt his victim, how he didn’t think of the consequences. No, he doesn’t give a shit. He did it and that’s it.

        • Bottom line, he doesn’t want his offense to be rubbed in his own face. Just like a dog who pooped on the carpet doesn’t want his own pooped to be rubbed on his nose. He can’t be bothered talking about his offense.

      • As long as your own road to peace requires “the truth” from someone who is a serial liar and cheater, you are putting your life and future in the hands of someone who has abused you and who lacks integrity. I will never, ever, hear the truth from Jackass but I trust that he sucks because of how he treated me.

        • Maybe I’m too new to this post D-day phase of hell (because in truth it’s been years of hell, I was just too gaslighted to recognize the abuse). Maybe I’m too raw. D-day was much worse than I expected, however inchoately. I know, intellectually, that Fiend does not think like I do.

          But I can’t get to “trust that they suck.”

          I keep trying to understand what the hell happened, to make sense out of chaos. Worse, somewhere I know better. I teach, study, and write about power and cruelty on a historical level: this hideous group of people did horrendous things to another group of people for a number of different abhorrent reasons, but there are two constants: BECAUSE THEY COULD and THEY LIKED TO SUBORDINATE. At the individual level, Tempest notes that pathological liars are similarly driven by control and power.

          The hell? I don’t make sense. I know but I don’t know? Somewhere I know they suck but I don’t understand that they suck? Just ask me … in a couple of hours I will be back in the fugue and fog….

          • The fog exists whenever you try to figure out them, why they did what they did. The fog clears to the extent that you can focus on yourself, why you did what you did, where did that come from, what do you really want and need.

            • No. The fog rolls in precisely when I DO focus on myself. I’m not trying to make sense out of him or his behavior. I know he sucks. I can’t make sense out of how he got away with it.

              I should have been more clear. I can’t “just know” and REST ON “he sucks.” Either I and/or others should have seen it because all sociopaths have disturbed emotional affect, or I have on my hands what, despite years of education and training and experience geared toward fighting people who suck, I have never, ever seen: psychologically, a stone cold killer whom NO ONE suspects. He has bamboozled five therapists, two for years. (Did you all catch that? Cluster Bs don’t see therapists for years. This one does.)

              Ten years ago, once, I said to a friend who is a forensic psychiatrist, “his emotional affect seems off to me, but I can’t explain how.” We’d both known him at that point for 15 years. She thought about it for a few minutes. “No,” she remarked, “I think he just gets shy sometimes.”

              On D-day, at least in front of me, the facade cracked. Now he looks like a Sociopath or a Malignant Covert Narcissist, I don’t care which because both suck.

              And you know the disbelief in unicorns that comes from experience? I disbelieve in undetectable stone cold killers. From experience. But it would appear that I have found a once in a lifetimer. Color me disoriented, surrounded by fog.

              • Smart, well-practiced people who want to deceive you, will succeed.

                I lived for 24 years with a sociopath without full detection (though I did know he was a narcissist). And I have an advanced degree in psychology. Don’t beat yourself up.

          • ClaireS: I read something written by Peace, another writer about cheating, which finally got me there.

            It was something along the lines of: At some point you have to accept that some people actually have no emotion. They feel nothing.

            It is true that my narc was incapable of crying. He was incapable of really being both physically and emotionally close during sex.

            I am not those things. So it is hard for me to comprehend that anyone could put on such a convincing act. He had no emotion. No feeling. Not only didn’t give a shit about me, but didn’t give a shit about anyone. I understand now, looking back at actions vs words, that it’s true. I have to accept the evidence, even though I don’t understand it.

            And that’s pretty much what Chumplady means by “trust that they suck.”

      • Not knowing the truth has been the single biggest obstacle to my getting past this nightmare – and my ex knows it. After two years, and a crisis with our daughter, she came over for three hours and denied there was anything else to tell. Then, she admits to another year or so with one of her multiple affair partners as she’s about to walk out the door. This part of the betrayal is the worst – the not knowing (but really knowing).

  • This. This. A million times … THIS!!!!

    CL, you sure don’t make it easy on those of us who need to be Gray Rock or No Contact — from top to bottom, this is what I would say to KK if I had a modicum of confidence that any of it would penetrate that stupid face of hers.

    But on behalf of CN, we get that it’s not for us to use to make our fuckwits understand the damage they’ve done or the depths of their fuckedupedness; it’s for us to come to a better self-awareness and level of healing.

    A great way to start the week.

    • Like you, and probably most of us here, I considered for a nanosecond sending this link to STBX. It is beautifully well explained. But. I know that my cheater would find one sentence fragment that didn’t apply to him (such as actually wanting the relationship back, which he does not) out of the entire post and then conclude that while “Felix” might indeed be an asshole, he certainly is not. Even Felix will probably do the same and he at least has showed some interest in acknowledging bad behavior. This was so fantastic and the fact that it STILL would not educate a narc is a statement all by itself.

      • “I know that my cheater would find one sentence fragment that didn’t apply to him…”

        Yes. Exactly. During our feeble attempt at wreckonciliation, the therapist called her out twice for doing this. later at home, she just cried and cried and said, “See?! I KNEW is was going to be nothing but a ‘dump on [KK]’ session!”

        • UXworld : +1 – heard those exact words in the exact situation. Ex said that the therapist was “character assassinating him”. Our therapy sessions ended shortly thereafter, after the therapist told my enraged ex, that she had “nothing to work with”.

          • Saddam accused our female MC of being sexist after the second session because she didn’t believe something he said. Assholes are assholes.

          • tflan386: Our therapist agreed to see me for a time after KK stopped going (without telling me, of course).

            In our first 1:1 without KK, she said straight out: “I’m not even going to dignify her behavior with a diagnosis.”

            • When I was 7.5 months pregnant, and after discovering yet another affair with a hood rat introduced to him by his mother, we went to counseling. During my first personal session (that immediately followed our couples therapy), the therapist said “unfortunately, he doesn’t even have one foot in the door…they’re both out and he’s holding on to the knob”…”you need to really consider just letting him go to minimize the damage to your family”. I’d still be seeing this brilliant therapist if he hadn’t moved upstate.

              • We when to M/C years and years and years ago. I had an issue because my husband didn’t want to have sex with me. Early on in our marriage. He was very clinical and professional. We went in together. Then him once alone. Then me once alone. And, at the end, he brought us together and simply said. You two are going to be divorced.
                (I was horrified)
                The X hated him for bringing up his ‘sexual issues’ and thought the guy was pulling the ‘manly’ thing on him.
                Too bad so many years passed before I finally pulled the plug – for adultery, not lack of sex. Idiot me!

              • I’m glad you got good advice, but that must have been tough. I’ve read a number of posts, like yours, where the chumped was going through all this while pregnant. It’s hard to imagine dealing with all that at the same time.

              • Haha! I didn’t do much therapy because as with everything I’m more of a DIYer.

                But after d-day I did ask the ex to go to a therapy session with me so I could try to understand things.

                To her credit, she listened, told me she’d like to see me for a one on one session, and when I came back for that, her first words were, “I’m going to get straight to the point. He’s a big narcissist and you need to get out now. As soon as possible.”

                She put her finger right on it. And said it with such conviction that it stuck enough to make me start pulling myself out of it, so it was well worth it.

                As for the ex, he later concluded she was a bitter, man-hating female who wanted to get even with all men and was spreading lies about him, and he should sue her. Of course, in the narc’s world, someone else is always at fault.

                Funny how he also taunted me into brushing past his arm to try to get my stuff out of the bedroom when he wouldn’t let me into it to move to a different bedroom, called it assault, and called the cops on me! Then, when they slapped a restraining order on him after hearing our stories, he blamed it on the fact that 2 of the 3 cops that came out were female, so of course they were going to say he was at fault! I’m only sorry I didn’t have the wherewithal to have that restraining order enforced. Even when the very nice cops tried to explain that not all abuse is physical and the emotional kind can be even worse in some cases. I wasn’t there yet. I got it later, so thanks to them also. They know this because they’ve seen it all.

                Seriously. Trust that they suck.

                In my opinion, Felix only wrote to CL to grab some attention because he was getting bored with his normal game and felt like manipulating something else for awhile. He should probably go crawl back into whatever hole he slithered out of.

        • X-hole basically did/said the same thing about therapy …. “I felt attacked” “you talked about everything I did WRONG but nothing I did right”. Boo hoo poor me.

          They have zero capacity for self reflection when it comes to their flaws. It’s that ever present reality glitch.

          Good riddance!

          • Our MC therapist told us to just act in favor of the marriage and not worry about what the other person was thinking or feeling. So I kept trying to be extra nice, hug him, etc. Each time I tried to show him any kind of affection he would pull away and/or tell me he just “wasn’t there yet.” Eventually after so much rejection I stopped trying to hug him to give him time to “get there.” This was eventually used against me when he told me that I didn’t try hard enough to get him to love me again.

            It’s always about them isn’t it? Never a thought about how I felt by all of his rejection.

            • The only way to win is not to play. Life with the disordered is always lose-lose.

              Example: My X refused to do much parenting, so when I picked up 90% of the parenting, I was accused of “doing too much for other people.” Our children? #$@!!

              • Same situation I was in. Thought by sitting on the couch, drinking beer and watching tv (not with the kids mind you) that he was Father of the Year. He actually said (out loud) in marriage counseling that we had a great relationship until we had kids. Even the therapist mouth fell open. Who the fuck says that? Guess it is better with schmoopie because he is her only baby now. He gets all of the attention his little heart desires. God, why didn’t I divorce sooner……….?

              • Same here too!! I was told I didn’t take care of the household to his satisfaction, and then after months of working hard on the house, he said “I didn’t mean you had to do everything! Now you won’t let me help with anything.” WTF?? Can’t win no matter what I do.

              • Yes, and had you let him help with anything, he would have found something else to criticize. Such as how dare you leave such microscopic dust on the TV or some other bullshit non-existent reason.

              • Later he tried therapy on his own to try to sort out his own issues. He quit after the second session. I didn’t say anything because I was tired of arguing with him at that point. Later on he told me he quit going because I didn’t show enough interest in how his therapy was going. So here’s the running total:

                Quit therapy – my fault
                Cheating with hoes – my fault
                Lack of self esteem – my fault
                Dead marriage – my fault

                No accountability on his end whatsoever. Also, I must have a lot of power I’m not aware of. I wonder if I can stop time and control the weather too.

      • That was my first thought too. Narkles the Clown would find something in there that doesn’t pertain to him such as “I was never on Craig’s List” or “I don’t even go to farmer’s markets” and from there would completely blow off this wonderfully crafter column which explains things in probably one of the simplest ways possible as not applying to him. To him this is completely different than what he did. No, it’s exactly the same.

        • This. Mine too. He would act all puzzled and bewildered and hurt and say “but I didn’t blow up a farmers market” then anger would follow. Even his own lawyer described him as “a bit simple” lol. Trouble is he is as sneaky as a shit house rat.

      • Me, too, Dixie Chump! My first reaction was to send it to xHubbyCheater, but then my NoContact gut kicked and said, Why? What good would it do?

        “This was so fantastic and the fact that it STILL would not educate a narc is a statement all by itself.”

      • OR…the cheater would find a sentence fragment to justify their behavior (ask me how I know). Then cheater will keep repeating their justification (“you sucked at xx”) until THEY fully believe they were justified, and other people will start to acknowledge that, yes, the cheater was justified in fucking around because their spouse sucked at xx [insert minor flaw].

        Some researchers found that the best way to implant a false memory of an event that never happened was to repeat it to a child or adult multiple times. Same with cheaters, if they repeat their justification for why they cheated, they start to believe it and they convince others.

        • The Limited also repeated statements as part of his con. He repeatedly stated, “I am just a simple guy.” The other one was, “I get along with EVERYONE else.”

          He said this to our children all their lives. He made it into a sing-song type of thing and they would say, “he’s just a simple pop.”

          Truth was he was anything but simple. He was toxic, deviant, and never worked on himself. He preferred leading a double life.

          • I’ve posted this here before, but my X once whined to me about how hard it was for him knowing that I’m the only person he’s ever met who doesn’t like him.

              • (I know, I know, I haven’t met him. But I’m 100% certain I wouldn’t like him if I did.)

            • Oh OtherKat it such Cheater speak. He had NO friends and never will. He HAD customers that he bragged to about me. The person I lived with was a total illusionist.

              One whore and a MOW consume his new life. Dumb Asses have to toot their own horns literally.

            • Other Kat-somehow I find that VERY hard to believe! Plus, like Tempest I’m pretty sure if I ever met him I wouldn’t like him either.

            • OtherKat- The answer to your X is: “Well, clearly it’s all in your head and you’re delusional. There are tons of people who dislike you.”

          • We can file that under “stupid shit cheaters say” along with this gem:

            “Look, we’ve been married for over 10 years and in that time there’s only been TWO other OW. There could have been a lot more than that.”

            I so wish I had had a decent comeback to that head shaker but unfortunately I was so dumb struck that anyone would have the balls to say something so insanely stupid I could only stand there with my mouth agape.

            • Wow, what a sweet guy to limit it to only two over ten years when he clearly is so awesome he could have cheated with many more potential OWs had they not rejected his advances…

              Hindsight comeback:

              “Bullcrap, if you could have, you would have. You can’t count all the times you got rejected as ‘could have'”.

        • 100% believe this one. The lies he told himself were “She stopped loving me because she didn’t initiate sex.” And “The marriage was already over because she didn’t love me anymore.” He CLUNG to that shit for SO LONG. Now he’s seen HOW DEVASTATED I am and he can’t understand how he could have done this to someone that loves him so much. Uh because you never asked me? Or told me? Or thought outside your own perspective?!

  • Yeah, she knows everything, and all the stupid details.

    We’d only been together a year, and we were planning on getting married.

    I love her more than ive ever loved, and shes provably moving away, and i guess its best, but oh my goodness, it’s the saddest worst feeling ive ever felt.

    Thank you for your reply, and thank you for your honesty.

    • Felix – what Chump Lady said about love precipitating your actions is key. It’s the key to your character and whether or not you’re cut out for monogamy. For many people, the love they FEEL for their spouse would never allow them to betray them. Even when they don’t like their spouse very much at the moment. Even when they are not having their ass kissed by their spouse. Those people are great at monogamy.

      Other people need constant flattery, attention, newness, and when they don’t get it, they feel entitled to find it elsewhere. Love is a word to them. They tell themselves they love their spouses but that love doesn’t stop the selfishness. They are horrible at monogamy.

      Figure out which kind of person you are. At the core. If you are the latter, then date around, have new every day if you want, get attention from people who don’t know you very well. But please don’t eat up days or weeks or years of someone else life with cheating. You don’t have the right to do that.

      If you want to be the former, stop talking Sex Addict. A sex addict is just someone who refuses to say no to themselves. You don’t have a chemical need for strange pussy. Learn the difference between want and need. Severe alcoholics NEED alcohol in the systems or they may seize and die. No one ever died from not having sex with strangers.

      Sex may be a compulsion for you, but I’ve have had very strong compulsions to shoot people, yet I’ve restrained myself. SAA is just another place to go where you can be told it’s not your fault that you’re a cheater. And it’s bullshit. If you want to stop this behavior, then stop it. You don’t need a twelve step meeting – you need to white-knuckle it and learn to have some character. It’s called being an adult.

      I wish you much luck in your journey to become a decent guy. There’s no easy road. Just remember to say no to yourself.

      • Uneff,
        THIS: “If you want to be the former, stop talking Sex Addict. A sex addict is just someone who refuses to say no to themselves. You don’t have a chemical need for strange pussy. Learn the difference between want and need. Severe alcoholics NEED alcohol in the systems or they may seize and die. No one ever died from not having sex with strangers.” OMG, thank you!! I’m going to be walking around all day today laughing and snorting over “You don’t have a chemical need for strange pussy.” It took me 2 1/2 years to get there but I made it and am now divorced from my ex “sex addict”. What you wrote is absolutely true. He wasn’t an addict he just wanted a constant supply of fresh adoration because, I guess, the kids and I weren’t coming up with enough new ways to tell him how special he is and hey, if you pay a bunch of sex workers enough they can be pretty damn adoring.

        • Sex Addict = Excuse. Tiger Woods couldn’t admit he was just a dog because it would ruin his image (read: lose millions of dollars in endorsements). So he goes to a Sex Addiction clinic and mails in his participation. So glad to see his game is in the toilet while Elin is living large.

          • Also, too bad his children will one day learn what an epic douche bag their father is. What a shame.

          • I agree. I’m embarrassed to admit it now, but part of my chumpiness was latching onto the term “Sex Addict” as an explanation for why my husband would cheat on me with a stripper (or hooker, not really sure which she was or if she was both) and have such a sick fascination with porn. You know. “Oh he’s not really a lying, cheating, stealing rat bastard, he’s got a PROBLEM. We can FIX him and life will return to ‘normal'”. Eventually “a” stripper became 10-12 strippers and serial cheating over many years. Fixing him became fixing me because I couldn’t let go of the past and “normal” meant back to gas lighting and blame shifting. Same ol’ song and dance that so many cheaters employ. Thank goodness for CN as well as The Sisterhood of Support for showing me that selfishness isn’t a disease or an addiction, it’s a character flaw.

            • Re: “sex addiction”—

              Before I knew better, I mentioned to POP that perhaps he had a sex addiction. He denied that the did.

              That is one of the 4 times that I am aware of that he was telling the truth.

              The other three were when he said he was
              hungry
              horny or
              needed to pee.

            • Beth, wow. That sounds so familiar. My H wants lots of sex with others and then turned the break up around on me and my inability to go back (immediately) to how things were before he screwed the world. So, buy into my gas lighting and be a good wife or I’m out. Glad I reminded him where the door was if he expected a quick fix. Sorry, manipulator. Shame on me for not helping the heart you shattered quick enough. There are better men out there!

              • Movin on–they are inconvenienced by our grief and pain. Here is a verbatim quote from Hannibal Lecher 2 months after D-day, when I had filed for divorce after giving him 8 weeks to make amends, but only got naugahyde remorse. Apparently I was supposed to be all better after 2 months:

                Hannibal: “Yeah, right. You loved me so much that you can’t forgive me for a stupid short affair so long ago I can’t remember it. Let’s face it: you can never just let things go. You obsess and that gets you more and more upset, and finally you even got to me and made me think that you can never be happy with me. You don’t want to be. So be it.”

      • What a great post, uneffingbelievable. I LOVE your definition of someone who is good at monogamy. And the description of my ExH, who excelled at NOT being good at monogamy? Spot on!

      • ” A sex addict is just someone who refuses to say no to themselves. You don’t have a chemical need for strange pussy. Learn the difference between want and need. Severe alcoholics NEED alcohol in the systems or they may seize and die. No one ever died from not having sex with strangers.”

        You nailed it uneffingbelievable , This should be a poster on the wall of every MC/therapist , you see that excuse of sex addiction in all walks of life including women who should have more sense, I’m sure I’ve heard it trotted out by Mel Gibson’s wife, and Halle Berry with one of her exes, And I can just imagine several of the Kennedy’s, Huma Abedin, Eliot Spitzers ex wife , and Beyonce telling themselves the same thing.

    • Felix, thank you for the post. I’m happy to hear that she’s moving away and starting a new life, as well as yourself. The road to change begins after therapy and in your next relationship. This one is over and there’s just no fixing the mess you made. There is no going back once certain lines are crossed, all you can do now is remember this lesson for future relationships. Or maybe you should just stick with casual flings for the rest of your life? Men who are incapable of being faithful should just accept this fact and never marry or be in committed relationships, in my opinion. Sounds like monogamy is just not for you, and that’s okay. There’s plenty of people out there who are fine with one night stands, and they just might be your tribe. Doc and the Dolorian are just things of cinema, time machines don’t exist so you may just want to accept the fact the fact that the strip clubs and Hooters lifestyle is where you belong indefinitely. At least you wouldn’t be tempted to hurt people who love you.

      • Just to follow on from one of Chump Struggle’s points —

        Felix if you decide to take a pass on monogamy and fill your time with bar hookups and Craigslist quickies, at least you’ll be honest with yourself and others. When you roll around with dogs, you’ll get fleas. Be honest, stay honest, and damn well learn to put up with those fleas.

        But when you’re tired of picking nits out of your crevices every Sunday night, do not be tempted to treat yourself an ‘upgrade’ to a better, healthier, flea-less sort of woman you don’t deserve by lying to her about being a monogamy-seeker and playing the part just so you get to steal a free sample of the wild thang she reserves for reciprocal relationships. That, in itself, is a form of cheating assclown-ery. And that, in itself, is exactly how you mucked up your ex girlfriend’s life so badly she has to move away. Behave.

    • Well, you can move forward in one of two ways: the “what can I say? I’m an asshole” way or actually put in the hard work to change. If you choose the latter, you might be ready the next time you fall in love and be able to do that love justice. First, though, you’ll need to fix that mindset that is even now making you dwell on your “saddest worst feeling” instead of the damage you caused to your loved one. Even though many of us might be skeptical, I also sincerely wish you good luck.

        • Felix, did you confess or did she catch you cheating? I hope you really do work on your issues. And as above, sex addiction is bullshit. It’s not an addiction.

          • Not sure if this teply is going to the right person but soneone asked if i confessed or if she caught me.

            Its really fucked up, but i was forced to confess because the person who i had cheated with found out she had chlamydia.

            After teating, neither me or my now ex had it.

            Though both ex and i are crying huge amounts of every day fir the last two monthes now, i am glad i was caught, and glad she has a chance at getting a good guy.

            • Oh, I see. Yes, nothing says you love someone like potentially exposing her to a disease that in women most of the time causes no symptoms but which can cause long-term effects, including infecting any children she might have.

              • Yeah. Knowing this is really disgusting. I cant sleep anymore and i think about suicide a lot more than i ever did.

                I wont do that though- its just another selfish act.

              • You dodged a bullet, Felix. My cheater gave me clamydia. Which cost me my fertility at age 30.

            • That’s unfortunate Felix. I had the pleasure of finding out I contacted genital herpes from my new husband when I was 38 weeks pregnant with our first child and had a small lesion develop. Doctor tested it, and it was done. 29 years of being clean, just to have the person you trust most in the world give herpes. Unfucking-believable.

              I will forever have to live with this while he got remarried to the most recent skank. It’s not him I’m upset about, it’s the stigma of having to explain herpes to any future potential partner.

              Be thankful it was only chlamydia.

              • CheaterBeGone – I’m so sorry he did that to you. You were scrupulous in your sexual encounters then think you don’t have to worry about that any longer because you’re “monogamous” and then that happens. Too bad you can’t sue them for giving you a life-long disease.

              • I’m right there with you, CheaterBGone. It takes a supremely selfish asshole to expose their partner to disease…..and their unborn or infant children. Fuckers.

              • In certain states it’s a criminal act, if you knew you had an STD and slept with a person, yet didn’t tell them. The victim can sue the culprit for assault and battery.

              • Thank you all for your responses. It is a very difficult thing to deal with even though I rarely have breakouts (must be bc I don’t have that stress of him in my life anymore ?)
                I didn’t know about the potential state law though, Kellia. Thanks for the insight.

    • Felix:
      You have no idea how difficult it is going to be to change and develop impulse control. Once the grief of this relationship wears off, your motivation for changing will wear off, too. I married a serial cheater who seemed to exhibit insight into his abhorrent behavior in a previous marriage, AND who claimed that the problems he had with his former wife were not present in our relationship.

      Ergo, I thought he wouldn’t cheat in our marriage. Did he? Yes, rampant cheating. Because 2 things best predict cheating: entitlement and poor impulse control (which you’ve already shown by having one affair), both of which have been well-honed by the time you get to adulthood.

      Don’t underestimate how difficult you will find it to avoid temptation in the future. In fact, do you love the dopamine rush from many “new” things? It will be a constant urge to fuck around because of the high of deception.

      • I’ll add to what Tempest says and also add a need for external validation and “I deserve” thinking fueled by self-pity must be addressed. I call it Selfish-Oppressive-Bastard (SOB) syndrome for a reason. The problem with SA is that it simply replaces looking to one external source of validation and locus of control with another. You must learn to validate from within, you must learn that you are in control of your choices, your decisions. You need to learn that you don’t do what is right because some outside force (parents, gf, spouse, SA group) keeps you in check, you do what is right because it is the right thing to do. You need to rebuild yourself from the ground up.

        • Love the Selfish Oppressed Bastard syndrome! The traitor has chronic SOB syndrome. But for the past 18 months he went through an acute SOB episode. MC certainly was not the appropriate therapy.

          SOB syndrome could have cost Felix’s partner the chance of having her own children. Felix, I don’t like to attack someone who says he feels suicidal, but saying you feel suicidal sounds like more self-pity. I certainly hope you haven’t said that to your partner, that would be nasty emotional manipulation on top of what you’ve already done.
          You should be thinking about how to compensate your partner for what you put her through. I am talking about serious voluntary financial compensation as a way of making amends. You can’t fix the relationship, you can pay some reparation. She can put it towards a fighting fund in case she really has trouble having a child later on. The payment might, just might, help you build some character.
          You didn’t confess, you were cornered.

    • Felix,

      It does sound like the relationship with this particular gf is over. That’s part of accepting the consequences for cheating–i.e. letting her go.

      The good news is that you can choose to act differently in the future. My wife cheated on her fiancee years before we met. The thing that kept me dating her while knowing this was the fact that she made no excuses for the act, did not blame her partner in the least for her action, and made it clear such an act was completely unacceptable. Plus, she was transparent enough to tell me about this up front. My point in sharing that is to say people can change and do better in the future. But you have to own your actions and learn to choose better in the future.

      Best wishes on your journey!
      -DM

      • And we are all assuming he should let her go. She dumped you Felix, didn’t she? And I also wonder if she was conned while you were exiting you from you last relationship.

        So you had unprotected sex, all serial cheaters are the same.

        • she did.. we are in the process of breaking up.

          i did not lie about the past- i thought i was done. Looking back, i didn’t do all the work i needed to do, or my hope and want for a mutually monogamous relationship outpaced what i am actually capable of.

          i want family so fucking bad, a healthy family, and i don’t deserve it. She does. she has been nothing but kind to me, and she is in terrible pain.

          • In the process? Hmm…,is it really Reconcilliation your scheming for? If you truly want a good life you need to be by yourself. It will be years. Hedging?

          • Felix- “I want” ” I want”. Please put yourself in therapy now. If you want to change, you need to address your complete lack of empathy for other people. What *I* want is for selfish people to really think about the consequences of their actions. You may want a family, but is it because you truely found someone to be vulnerable with, supportive and a real partner OR it is image management? You know, one way to appear normal. Finding a target to satisfy your want, like your gf still leaves you with a vacuous hole in your soul that you may seek to fill by outside validation(sex sex sex sex with someone NOT your gf or wife) INSTEAD of seeking to fill that hole by loving yourself first-validate from within.

            • Felix, I find your statement “She is in terrible pain.” rather telling. The key to growth is taking complete responsibility for our actions. Every single one. We claim our misdeeds, and the damage they caused. We make amends for our selfish actions if possible, including leaving the injured party alone if that is what they want.

              She is in terrible pain because she invested in you and you betrayed her on multiple levels. You caused that pain, she didn’t just arrive in that state for whatever reason. You made decisions based solely on your wants that severely damaged her. The source of her pain is you.

              You want to change? Start by taking responsibility for the damage that you caused. Own up to it. Lies are destructive and should not be told, especially to yourself….or anyone else for that matter. It should have read….. I caused her terrible pain. That is owning up to your actions. I challenge you to think about the difference in those statements.

    • Felix, love is not something you “feel.” It’s what you do. How you treat the other person. If you love someone, you will move heaven and earth not to hurt that person. You would treat that person as precious and hold that person’s safety, health, and future as something to guard and protect. You would not betray that person’s trust or create a relationship in which the balance is totally skewed in your direction because you know the truth about the situation and your partner does not.

      Exposing your partner to a dangerous STD is one example of not “loving” a partner in this way. Lying to your partner’s face, accepting her fidelity to you while denying yours to her, breaking her trust–none of that is about love as an action.

      Felix, it sounds like you have some issues from your childhood that you haven’t worked out. Many of us here picked cheaters as partners because we hadn’t worked out issues in our own lives. I was a reckless, heedless person in my 20s who created lots of chaos in my life and the lives of others, because I hadn’t done the work on myself. And I got chumped in my 60s because I still hadn’t learned how to live with myself.

      If you are serious, don’t worry about a partner. If you learn how to love yourself (instead of indulge yourself), and you learn to live a satisfying life without a partner, then you will be ready to try again.

  • How many Narcissists does it take to change a lightbulb?? One. He holds the bulb and lets the world revolve around him.

  • Felix

    “I can overcome this shitty way of life.”

    After living with a serial cheater for 41 years my guess is that your need to change indicates you finally have to face the consequences of you actions.

    Let’s first take away the justification by labeling it as sex addiction. It doesn’t exist. Face the facts Felix. Your actions were not impulsive. Rather, you planned and executed your double life with ease. You enjoyed the power and control over your partner.

    I’m not sure of your age. I’m guessing you are an older man given your name.
    I will tell you that once I divorced the serial cheater he lost his ability to maintain his image. He was exposed.

    Old narc serial cheaters find the con of their youthful selves have slim pickings as they age. The Limited is holed up with a mentally ill crack whore. The consequences he faces now are severe. Gone is the hard working loyal wife who repeatedly forgave with uncinditional love; gone is the respect and adoration of his adult children and beautiful granddaughter; and gone is the ability to receive supply. It sucks right?

    When I look back on my life I know I lived with integrity and did what mattered despite tollersting abuse. I have a future filled with new and well earned hope and love being free from the selfish serial cheater.

    Do you have the stamina to change? Are you able to face yourself truthfully?
    I have no idea as hopium for serial cheaters no longer exists for me personally. It’s a very tall order to conquer the ability to use, manipulate, lie, gaslight, and hide behind the mask.
    It’s who you are.

    • Yeah, im trying to figure out if the SAA stuff is an idea thats useful or not. It doesnt matter ultimately i guess, but i take full responsibilty for what i did.

      For me, so far, its been helpful in identifying patterns of behaviour, and- though it doesnt matter – trying to trace how this happened and understanding exactly what i did.

      For me, personally- it is a pattern i reach towards when stressed- just as CL states- i felt entitled and priveledged and didnt think beyond myself.

      I dont want to pass this on to my son, and i want to be a person who brings good to other people.

      So im trying stuff out you know.

      • Check out the work of Dr. David Ley https://www.psychologytoday.com/experts/david-j-ley-phd

        If you look in the archives, there’s an interview with him here.

        He wrote a book called the Myth of Sex Addiction and takes on the industry. He argues that it’s sexually shaming, and the real issue around “SA” is entitlement and deception.

        It’s fine to identify patterns in yourself, but as others pointed out, maybe monogamy isn’t for you. That’s okay, it’s not for everyone.

        But if you like the thrill of deceit, if the power trip is exciting, if open doesn’t excite you because there’s no chump investing 100 percent in you while you game the system — i.e., the profile of a serial cheater — you have a being an asshole problem, not SA. JMHO.

        • Felix: I would be wary about saying you turned to cheating whenever you felt “stressed”. That statement is not going to fly with this audience, nor with your therapist.

            • Every time asswipe got real stressed out he went after strange needing a diversion. Well his stressing caused me stressing but i didnt go looking for new dicks. I tried to deal with the problems and make it better all asswipe did was make it worse. I am the better person, i am mighty and darn it people like me! Asswipe is stessed and miserable and i hope he stays that way til the end getting ezactly the life he so justly deserves. May his misery intensify a gazillion times!

              • Can you imagine, “Hey Tempest, we’re pulling another late night. Besides the coffee, can you grab, um….4 dicks and 2 pussies to go….no wait, make that 4 dicks and 3 pussies. And grab some extra napkins.”

          • I was stressed a shitload during my marriage, and had opportunities, but didn’t cheat.

            ’cause I was married.

            What a concept.

            • I have been living under incredible stress for the past 8 years and I don’t see it ending anytime soon. Not once have I sought out a man’s dick to relieve said ‘stress’.

              Actually, TWO MENS’ DICKS are the proximate cause of this stress.

        • But if you like the thrill of deceit, if the power trip is exciting, if open doesn’t excite you because there’s no chump investing 100 percent in you while you game the system — i.e., the profile of a serial cheater — you have a being an asshole problem, not SA. JMHO.

          And maybe THIS is that bad feeling that you’re feeling–the loss of a source of someone investing in YOU. Not that you hurt them because you loved them (I’m not sure an entitled serial cheater really knows love, nor suffers from losing someone they love, since they don’t love.) Perhaps your bad feeling comes from being alone, realizing you now have to set up another long-term relationship “base” from which to cheat. And maybe you miss the things she did for you or a few of her mannerisms or something. So maybe that’s a question for your therapist, to identify the crappy feeling that you’re feeling. Maybe it’s more like fear. Or dread or worry. I don’t really think it’s the same feeling a chump would feel if one of us hurt someone we loved. I just don’t think cheaters and chumps think or feel the same way.

          • Exactly right, Stephanie. Cheaters want the long-term stability and comfort of knowing “someone” is there. Once they’re done sucking all of the energy and love out of that one, it will be on to the next chump… Cheating is a way of life and a choice. There are no accidents there!

          • Steph is sooooo right! Cheater’s brains and emotions are so messed up. What Felix is feeling is still all about him!!! MeMeMeMeeeeeee……Barf

            Sorta like expecting a rapist and their victim to feel the same way about the attack. Uh, NO! The rapist made a conscious decision to humiliate and destroy another human in the most vile way.

            Same with cheating. Both of these acts are the most vile actions a person can do against another human. Yet, cheating is actually a worse pain, as they are purposefully destroying the person they claim they care for most!. (Ask me how I know…..)

            And a rapist or cheater will NEVER feel the same kind of sorrow, pain, hurt or distress over their actions as the one they have attacked. They certainly do not ‘love’ the one they have attacked.

            In my experience, a serial cheater is incapable of true love. Can they change and become a ‘former cheater’? Yes, I know some who have. ONLY after doing a total internal makeover were they then able to understand what it really means to love and care for someone. Genuine love does not exist in a serial cheater. So, for Felix to claim he loves the lady he was cheating on….Nope! Impossible.

            Love the points the Nation is making today.

            Forge on, all ForgeOn!!!

            • Cheating is emotional rape. My therapist explained that very clear, it is aggression. And Felix is on kibble deprivation right now, in my opinion. Hope he’ll still be around two or three years from now, after having spent time on his own and not attached to some narcissistic supply, after having also spent a good time in a therapist office digging up all the shit inside and doing all that hard work on himself he’s now CLAIMING is willing to do and report back on his progress. Somehow, I doubt that will happen. Yup, very, very skeptical.

          • “And maybe THIS is that bad feeling that you’re feeling–the loss of a source of someone investing in YOU. Not that you hurt them because you loved them”

            How keen of you, Stephanie. This is what I thought also. In fact, a narcissist ex was telling me how he cried after someone broke up with him. He admitted, “I was just feeling sorry for myself.” For himself, indeed, and not about what he did and why she dumped him.

  • Felix, Im glad that you decided to look at this while you are dating someone you love and didnt wait until you were married 20 years and had 4 kids. What uneffingbelievble said is on point..in our modern society, people dont HAVE to get married and there are clusters of polyamory – if you want to date and fuck around until your last day, you can and were ok if you do that…were not “forced monogamy” folks here. We’re, however, against pretending that you are faithful to get the benefits from it while fucking around behind someones back and lying about it.

    Decide which life you want to live and live it…no excuses, no rationalizations, no buckling, no blaming – if you decide to be a real partner to a good woman then grow the fuck up and be true to ones word.

    Let me tell you about Mr Unicornomore…he wanted to be a stand up guy and presented himself as such. Graduated from an elite Military Academy and was “an officer and a gentleman”. When the decision was made to marry, he insisted it be in a Catholic Church as that was the Faith of his Fathers.

    We had children and built a life together. He, however, never really grew up…he put on a good show at work, but he reacted to problems and challenges like a child and didnt cope well. He raged and blamed and acted like an ass to me and his kids. I knew he had a “too close” relationship with a coworker but he swore he never broke the promises of our marriage covenant”

    He died and I gave him a hero’s send off…flag on the casket and a 21 gun salute of a combat veteran. He was honored by all. After his death I learned that not only did he fuck that coworker but there were others, likely many others. His motto of “Semper Fidelis” (Always Faithful) turned out to be the motto to his dick, not his wife, kids, country or Faith. He was mean, blaming, selfish. lying and immature and his cheating perpetuated it all. I spent my life devoted to this man, I knew him best and I consider him a huge asshole.

    You have one life. Whether you live it as an honest playboy or a faithful partner is yours to decide but dont be a lying cheating asshole. Help Major Cheaterpants to have made a difference.

  • Felix, you are focused on how sad this situation makes you feel. I am not sure you are able to do so, but try to imagine how SHE feels. Does trying to imagine that make you cringe? I don’t mean to sound harsh, but I am guessing that you probably cannot really do that which is why you were able to behave the way you did in the first place. A poor analogy is that I would never be able to kick a dog because I love dogs. It is not a question of my feeling guilty AFTER I kicked one … I would just never entertain doing it right from the start. Feeling bad afterwards does not indicate you love someone. Don’t confuse guilt or regret with love. And if you really do feel any love for your partner, please let her go and work on your problems without dragging her through more shit. It is the one kind thing you can do for her. Do you love her enough to at least do that?

  • Only together a year… yet you cheated.

    Planning to marry… yet you cheated.

    Loved her more than anyone… yet you cheated.

    You’re unfit for anything other than an open relationship, yet something tells me you would break even those rules too. Take your therapy seriously and get help for your “addiction” (ha!).

  • Felix, from my POV, your journey is your journey and whatever work you find works for you is fine by me as long as it doesn’t harm anyone. If SAA speaks to you and gets you to a better place, then IMHO, that’s great.

    I would just say two things.

    First, if you only have it in you to attack one behavioral change, make it this: don’t lie (which includes omitting key details and justifying) to get anything you want. If you can’t get there with transparent honesty, be an adult and accept it. We can’t, and should not be able to, have evey damned thing we want. That’s real life.

    Second, don’t let any treatment plan own you. Walk the steps if that’s what works for you, but retain your personal power. Every choice you make is yours and yours alone, and every consequence is yours and yours alone to bear. No program or sponsor saves you from that. So if you fuck up and it hurts a lot, tough shit. Take it. Be accountable, no blaming. (Which, of course, brings us back to honesty.)

    Make honesty your new best friend. Don’t want monogamy? Don’t say you do. Don’t want to entirely give up compulsive masturbation to fantasy/porn that’s only exciting when you do it in secret? Don’t swear you’ll never do it again. Find yourself resenting someone who “won’t let you” act out sexually so you hide it because you feel YOLO? Huge red flag that you are fucking up big time.

    You get the idea.

    Honesty is your only path to redemption. That’s the truth. Total honesty, with yourself and anyone with whom you want to connect romantically and/or sexually. There is no other way.

    Glad you’re looking for a new way to live in the world. Good for you and good for the world. We need more unicorns. Hope you can get there. Good luck.

  • I’m printing this off to read anytime I start to feel bad about ME finally making the decision to move on with my life. HE moved out. HE had affairs. HE refused to move back even though I made every concession in the world to accept him back into our lives. But in the end, it’s ME that has to take charge of the dirty work and now I’m in the early stages of the divorce process.

    Here at CN, I’ve been referring to my cheater as my ex. I guess technically, he’s my STBX, but I’ve been calling him my ex because that’s the mindset I need to have to finally get the ball rolling and get my life out of limbo land and start living again. For the last two years, I’ve been living as a separated, married woman raising a child pretty much alone, working and going to graduate school. STBX been living as a single man, though covertly I guess in an effort to keep up appearances. It’s time I give him what he wants. Why would a man who feels his marriage has been over for a long time feel the need to join a site like Ashley Madison? Maybe guys like Felix here can explain it because it sure is mind boggling to me. Why not just dump me and put me out of my misery?

    I don’t feel the need to belittle someone who claims that they need to change things about themselves because they have had some sort of moment of clarity regarding their life choices and their impact on those around them. But those here on CN are correct. The love you feel for someone is supposed to trump any sort of “feelings” you might have for someone else. That love is supposed to be what keeps us steadfast against all sorts of adversity and temptation. Without that unwavering dedication to our partners, we just become unfettered wild beings with no direction and no future that doesn’t involve self-gratification. If that strength of character is lacking in any one of us, it won’t matter how much self-improvement or change we attempt to invoke in our selves. Though we here at CN have variations of a similar story we all seem to share one thing. The lack of evidence that those who live their lives in a manner that is completely self-serving can ever reverse that path once they’ve reached and gone beyond the mile marker of cheating and betrayal.

    I wish you luck on your journey Felix. Sincerely.

    • Thank you for your comment.

      I cant speak for your ex, but for me- ultimately, it was-is about not thinking of anyone else .was about focus on short term escapes, not long term solutions.

      • Felix

        How many times were you married? You mentioned having a son. And honesty is not skimming over the tough questions asked and replying only to empathy.

        It’s hard work and evading is right from the cheaters handbook.

        Given that how did it end with the current victim you ‘lived’ . Did you get caught? Details. Yup.

        • Ive been married once.

          Ive had three long term relationships.

          I cheated in two of them.

          My son was conceived the first time his mom and i got together. We tried to make it work as a family, but it didnt. Hes 5 now.

          My father was an abusive drunk with all of the addictions, and i dont want this for my boy. I want this to stop.

            • You have the power to stop it for yourself. You have to want it for your self. It will be hard work and will take years.

        • For my ex, it was absolutely a way for him to avoid addressing his own issues. He has poor life-coping mechanisms and even worse, little to no empathy. I asked him several times to put himself in my place and each time he told me he couldn’t. Whether he can’t or simply won’t try to understand the pain he’s inflicted on me, his inability to deal with life will keep him forever stuck in self-pity mode, forever searching for “the one” that will save him from himself. If you’re at this stage of self-awareness, you’re far ahead of most with similar, messed-up mindsets.

          • I feel you. You described my ex. He is a bright educated man, but a total dumbass when it comes to coping with life’s issues and exactly no empathy. His answer to not wanting to hurt me is to cry and act like he is the injured party. I asked him if I did to him what he did to me would he forgive me? And he said no, but fully expected me to forgive him. I lived in limbo for 3 years before I found out for certain that the co-worker he was living with was is AP.

          • I was dating a guy who kept doing things that hurt me and each time I had to get angry and explain to him how his behavior hurt me. And then it dawned on me, that it’s not normal that I have to explain to a grown man in his 40s how his behavior is hurting me. This is basic and normal people would already know this. So I dumped his ass, and never looked back. I’m sure he’s mentally disordered. I can’t keep explaining basic behaviors to a moron, who is way past toddler years and had 40 years to get it. If he still doesn’t after 4 decades, then he never will. Good riddance sucka!

            • Kellia, good for you! And. Please come to visit MC’s office six years ago.

              Fiend went to preserve his image of a good guy. Even said, sorrowfully, that he had an anger problem, was working on it, but often didn’t know what to do in the moment or afterwards, and how can you call a therapist every time?

              I protested that some hurtful things are obvious, and that at the least, it ought not be I who had to explain because THAT clearly wasn’t making headway.

              MC answer: “Clare, relationships are about give and take. You happen to be emotionally intelligent. He’s admitting he has blind spots. You can help. In fact, you should help. How will he know what you need or want if you don’t explain?”

              Let’s pretend. Enter Kellia and her story. At which point I would have had the gumption to say what I was thinking. Namely: “Do you know the literal meaning of ad nauseam?”

              • ClaireS – I’m sorry the MC was an idiot and couldn’t understand your situation. Give and take my ass. You shouldn’t have to explain what is basic and normal behavior to someone. In their 30s, 40s, 50s, + they should have learned what is decent and normal behavior by now! If I have to explain to someone over and over again how they keep hurting me, it’s not because of ME, but rather because I am dealing with a colossal idiot. And it’s time to bail, because I don’t want to raise a man child. I have better things to do with my time.

  • “Accepting consequences is the first step to improving your character.”

    Yes. This. If my ex demonstrated this in the least, I might be willing to entertain the notion that he has changed.

  • You need to grow up. You have made those women you are screwing into body parts. Vaginas and breasts. Being an adult means you connect with other people. It means you have empathy. When you cheat on your loved one, when you pay for sex, when you have a one night stand with a co-worker, when you do anything to demean your relationship you are a child. If you have no empathy you are still very much a child. It means that you have no concept of the humanity behind those body parts. It means you do not know how to connect to other people. Whether you are a sex addict or whether this is a compulsion that drives you you still need to grow up. Children did not know how to postpone pleasure but adults are supposed to know that. Not only do they know, it is what they do. Whatever pleasure you get out of cheating on someone you love you have absolutely no ability to put yourself in their place. Empathy means that you understand the pain or the joy that another person feels because you can put yourself in their place and feel what they feel. Growing up is a long process and something you need to focus on rather than trying to find a sweetheart to fix you. You have to figure out how to take those body parts you focus on and make them belong to a real human being with hopes and dreams and feelings. It doesn’t matter if it’s a prostitute or a coworker, that is a person there, someone who cries, who laughs, who has hopes. I think it is very smart for you to attend SAA but if you want to have real empathy why don’t you visit VA hospitals and talk to wounded soldiers. Look at those people who have missing parts, who can’t see anymore, who have to depend on others. If you sit with them and talk to them and care for them you will begin the long journey into adulthood. Humane Societies need volunteers. Feed the homeless. Focus on others and their needs and not your own. Until you do that you are still a child. Do NOT make promises to others until you know you can honor them.

  • Felix-

    Assuming that Chump Lady’s title of this letter is the opening of your letter to her, then you are in fact a serial cheater. One who chose to cheat in the first year of a relationship while you were making plans to be married. That’s pretty much an “enough said” moment right there.

    I don’t know you. But for the sake of argument I will assume that you are actually sorry for the pain you’ve caused your chump. Maybe you’ll actually seek therapy for those actions. I know you’re seeing a professional for your anxiety but maybe that same therapist could help you get to the core of your entitlement issues.

    Sexual addiction is not even listed in the DSM because there isn’t a lot of credible evidence supporting that it truly exists. It can be however, as suggested in prior posts, used for an excuse as to why the cheating isn’t the cheater’s fault. Any discussion about changing can’t include looking for reasons to excuse your behavior.

    Own what you did, try to change to be a better human, and leave the chump out of the picture. Let her go completely. Don’t try to hoover her back in with promises to change and phrases like “look I’m going to therapy for anxiety and to sexual addicts anonymous meetings.” Leaving her alone to heal would be the most caring and selfless thing you can do for her. This is a consequence of your actions and accepting that is part of every responsible adult’s life.

    Good luck on your journey

  • OMG, Chump Lady!! 2+ years of reading and you continue to amaze me with your words!!

    “Perhaps you do feel bad that you hurt your partner with your infidelities. But guilt isn’t enough — the fear of hurting someone you love should precipitate your actions.”

    ^^^^^ This is exactly what made me finally realize that I had to divorce xhole. He did feel “slightly” bad about the affair, but the thought of hurting me wasn’t enough to stop him from acting in the first place. That was enough for me!!

  • Felix, I want to thank you for coming here with all of us to discuss what happened to your relationship.
    I agree with Dixie Chump… If you love a dog, you would never even dream of kicking that dog. You need to get to that point in your way of thinking if you want a monogamous “real” relationship beyond surface.
    The pain that people feel when they are betrayed and deceived is CRUSHING. She gave you her heart, you ripped it out, stomped on it, spit on it and then handed it back to her. You are trying to fix something that you damaged and no matter what, the love she felt for you will never be the same. She will never trust the person she now knows you really are. I hope that you can learn from this experience and really work to be a better man for the next person you decide that you want to be monogamous with.
    We understand that we are all human and may find someone else physically appealing. The question is…do you love the person you are with enough to give that desire and energy to her? Can you be unselfish and think about someone else besides yourself? If she’s not perfect, or gets on your nerves, do you love her enough to be faithful and work on your relationship and future? These are some questions you need to ask yourself before you ask someone to be your girlfriend. If you are serious about asking someone to marry you, make sure it’s for the right reasons and not because you think you have to. It’s better to be single and “play around” rather than drag someone through “the shit” with you. That’s no way to show someone you care. I truly wish you the best of luck on your journey to being a better person for yourself and your son.

    • Here’s some advice from someone going through “wreckonciliation:” Don’t bother. Seriously. Don’t bother with the platitudes, the remorse, the begging, the reticence, the empty threats of suicide, blah, blah, blah…

      It’s been over two years since my last (fourth) D-day. All the pictures and thousands of sexts my cheater wife sent her fuckbuddies are forever imprinted in my head. Every lie and blameshift she said during four months of trickle-truth remain as well. Those bells cannot be unrung.

      Two years later and whenever she gets angry, sad, suicidal-ish, I can’t bring myself to give a flying fuck about whatever upsets her. I view it all through the lens of her cheating and lying. I refuse to emotionally invest myself into someone who is emotionally bankrupt herself.

      Can you live with a person who will forever-on remind you that you’re a cheating piece-of-shit? How about five years from now? Ten? How about on your deathbed and she/he leans over and whispers lovingly into your ear, “I hope you rot in hell you fucking piece-of-shit asshole.”

      My advice is that you leave, quickly settle the divorce with whatever she/he wants, and just get on with your life without him/her. Go invest your time in the reddit/cheater or fakebook/fuckbuddy clubs instead. Their motto is, “You only have one life on this Earth, you deserve to be happy.” Buy some chrome nipple clamps and let your freak-flag fly. You’ll be much happier without the cognitive dissonance conflicts.

      • I like this post. I was actually saying last night the only reason that I car that Ex doesn’t kill himself is that his dad is nice and no one should have to go through the pain of putting a child in the ground.

        After his dad dies… I honestly think that the world would be a better place if Ex was not in it. He’s horrible. He cheats, he lies, he thinks nothing of abusing people to get what he wants, he has a pathological lack of empathy, he’s mean spirited and entitled. He doesn’t give anything to the world. He’s just out there being sucky all the while proclaiming he’s a good guy. He’s a huge asshole who doesn’t know that he is a huge asshole. I hope he rots in hell… sooner rather than later.

      • BetrayedNoMore: Brilliant post. Beautifully written, incisive, and gut-wrenching.

        Forgive me if you’ve already answered this question, and ignore me if it’s too intrusive: Did you write “suicidal-ISH” because you don’t have enough to commit her involuntarily?

        • On days when I point out her narc flag is flying high she starts flipping the channels between rage and pity; “If I’m such a bad person then maybe I should just end it so you can be happy without me on this Earth!

          It’s just a ploy to pull on my sympathy and guilt me so I’ll back down. My response is no response, just a blank stare or a flat “Uh huh.” Luckily, these days are farther and fewer between. You have my apologies if I seem glib about suicide. Luckily she is a perfectly functioning adult.

  • Felix, you lost me at “overcome this super shitty way of life.” You build your “way of life.” It’s not something you “overcome.” The word “overcome” refers to circumstances not of our own doing that are obstacles to our success or happiness. You overcome childhood abuse or a terrible disease or poverty or prejudice. That phrase, right there, tells me you still think that cheating is something that “just happens.” And therefore that you are still conning yourself and trying to con CL. Sadly, your genuine imitation Naugahyde remorse might work with the partner you betrayed, but it won’t fly here. And if your partner is reading here, I hope he or she makes you live on your own until you demonstrate a long track record of integrity, fidelity, empathy, reciprocity, and respect for others.

  • Here’s what I’d say to Cheese Fries (formerly known as The Entitled One):

    Stop dating. Stop fucking. Stop the porn use and online sex (if any).

    Embrace celibacy and embrace being alone.

    Deal with the feelings that arise when you’re alone, when you’re not getting validation from women, when you’re not getting highs from sex games.

    Keep going to therapy. In the meantime, as you’re dealing with your issues, work on being present for your son and being a good parent. After awhile without your drug of choice, you’ll get clarity on whether monogamy is for you and you’ll learn better coping strategies for stress/boredom/anger/whatever is driving your behavior.

    Best of luck.

  • Mr. Sparkles wouldn’t get past the first paragraph before something – like a Craigslist ad for T4M – would overtake his attention. No unicorn there.

    And, thank you CL – this is a great daily reminder as to why Cheaters don’t change. Character transplants taking longer than they have the attention span for in life.

    • You know, I’m not arguing that cheaters do not change. I get tarred with that label and I don’t agree.

      My point is ANYONE can change. Even sociopaths who have no moral compass or internal empathy warning system can behave decently if they WANT to. They know the difference between right and wrong — they just don’t care.

      The rewards of being a non-cheater have to outweigh the rewards of being a cheater. To people who are highly conscientious, and empathetic, it would drive you crazy to behave so callously. But if you’re impulsive and don’t see things long-term and don’t connect very deeply — the short term highs often outweigh the long-term gains of commitment.

      As Amisfree commented upthread, the take away is to be honest with yourself and others.

      If you don’t value monogamy — great. Don’t be monogamous. But you cannot have the rewards of that lifestyle and trick someone into thinking you’re all in.

      Character change is humbling. It’s full of icky feelings of accountability and the knowledge that you destroyed things. Entitlement (if you can suppress empathy and trump up a lot of justifications) feels awesome.

      Yes people can change. And people can mature. And people can become moral spiritual and better all around.

      I don’t want to damn Felix. He has a son. He wants to set a better example. I hope he does.

      One way he can start is by accepting that his behavior DESTROYED the relationship he had. He can’t get it back. He can, however, move forward and be more accountable and kinder and more honest in the future.

      I wish that for ALL cheaters. Yeah, even me. I just don’t think that chumps should wait around for those changes. The relationship is destroyed. And the odds are great that most people with deep character issues (i.e. serial cheaters) do not WANT to change. Not long term anyway.

      • Good point, CL and certainly fair enough. I still want to believe there is some goodness in Mr.Sparkles – especially because we share custody of our 10yo son and my stepchildren still want me in their lives. BUT, I also need to never forget that he is the same person who willingly blew up our family and my son’s childhood without so much as blinking.

        If Felix can change in even small ways around honesty and transparency and break the cycle for his son, that will be an amazing accomplishment.

        I have 5 stepchildren that would love for their Father to show that kind of self-awareness and willingness to do the heavy-lifting it takes to change. None of them trust intimate relationships (ages 18 – 24) – even with just platonic friends. It’s heartbreaking to watch.

        It took my Dad 36 years to finally find his sobriety, so it’s true… people can change. But the collateral damage left in the wake sometimes cannot even be measured.

      • Agreed.
        A chump should never take back a cheater because that person has betrayed you and has shown total disrespect. Even if the liar can change and become honest, it’s not going to be with someone who forgives the betrayal. person may learn from consequences and change with someone else, just not with you.

        The pain of staying is not worth it for the chump, we can find love again with someone who has not already proven they don’t value us.

        The only person I know,of that changed was self aware and empathetic enough to know the relationship they had was destroyed. She confessed to her partner and left the relationship. She has more empathy for people that cheat than I do but then she did it too. Difference being, one time in her twenties and honestly hating herself for the action. Not just for the pain she caused (she wasn’t caught, she confessed), she felt bad about her actions, she recognized how unethical it was.

      • “I just don’t think that chumps should wait around for those changes. The relationship is destroyed. And the odds are great that most people with deep character issues (i.e. serial cheaters) do not WANT to change. Not long term anyway.”

        Thank you, CL, for these words and your entire comment above. Such accuracy and wisdom. I will now apply this to every lying, abusive, cheater, user type I run across in my life. Dropping them immediately and not wasting any more of my time on them.

  • I recommend reading former Pick Up Artist Guru, Neil Strauss’ recent book The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships. It provides insight to a man”s journey from being a cheater to exploring non traditional relationships to finding real intimacy and monogamy with the one woman who he truly loves.

  • Felix, nice of you to write but just let her go so she can find peace. If you are not manogamous you are not. It took asswipe 30 years to figure that out and i had to point it out. Yes he loves being a couple and family life and all that. But if someone catches his eye he wants to go for it with no consequences. And no remorse. Hey i didnt kill anyone its all good right? no wrong he damn near killed me. 30 years felix 30 years for me. So im giving the whore exactly what she wants my complete and total removal from his life. No contact, nothing. Thats what the whore wants but not what asswipe wants. And i do this for me. Was the 30 years a total waste? No of course not. But ive learned many lessons from asswipe and now instead of believing in him i believe in me! I will remember the good times occasionally and forge on with my life seeking contentment and some happiness just being me untethered and free as i can be. He is miserable and when he finally accepts being good friends with me is not an option he will reap his just rewards. Cause she has forgiven and is best friends with her cheater husbands. Shes a cheater too. I give him my last gift. No more me. Stay single felix and be honest. Is it really worth hurting someone you care about? Asswipe wants me and every other woman he can get. Im either all in or all out. This girl is out. Be honest felix and nobody gets hurt.

    • No contact is SO hard for me; I have this stupid little girl HOPE that he’l snap out of it but it’s not going to happen. Just when I thought there was hope for reconciliation (he had a lightbulb moment!), he told me he wants what he deserves in the way of financial remuneration for all the years he helped pay the mortgage on the home I already owned when we got married 25 years ago (he’s not on the title) In Cali, it’s called community property interest. He wants to be financially rewarded for BETRAYING our vows!!! So all of his hoovering and nice ACT was to get to that one moment when he could kill me again. I had filed for D to protect assets from whore and he is very angry that I did that. PS to all women out there. Get them to sign a prenup so they can’t ever get CPI decades down the road. I sure wish I had been advised to do that.

      • Some of the divorce laws in these states are so messed up! I live in a no-fault state which means I can’t use adultery as a reason. I have to settle on irreconcilable differences. It burns me that even the state tells him he’s blameless in the divorce. I can’t even imagine having to pay him money in addition to that slap in that face. Unbelievable!

        • BridgetJones – tell him it’s called “rent”. He obviously didn’t see it as an investment in the future since his behavior indicated that your marriage was only temporary. If he wants equity out of YOUR house, then he should have invested in it fully, instead of treating it like a stop-over between visits to the whores.

          • he should have invested in it fully, instead of treating it like a stop-over between visits to the whores.

            BOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • I added up my pay as babysitter, maid, paycheck i handed over for 27 years, chauffer, sex partner, gopher and a whole host of other jobs just for shits and giggles. I was bored that day. And sure enough the day i mentioned divorce he wanted way more than his share. No fault state. So i wipped out my trusty list and said for all of these hobs i wish to be paid! Well over a million dollars for services rendered. Wheres my money since my being a working wife and mother was not good enough for you and your mighty screaming wandering penis? He shut up real quick and i got what i wanted. I told him i always thought he thought mostly with his brain and not the little guy and since the wee one had to wander there was a price to be paid he wanted to give everything i worked for for 30 years over to the whore. I may be a chump but im not stupid. And i planted my feet flipped my hair and said this house can go into foreclosure or i will burn the sucker down right along with your business before i hand it over to some bitch! He was pissed i took a lawyers advice instead of his advice. Every idea he came up with was right out of the whores mouth. He said no his ideas. No they were not hers cant even tell the truth about that.

            • “Wheres my money since my being a working wife and mother was not good enough for you and your mighty screaming wandering penis?”

              LOL – Good for you!

              • The Traitor claims he has a constructive interest in the trust I set up for the farm. All the money came from me, he had nothing but $100,000 + of debts and liabilities. But we worked together on the farm. I’ve added up my pay for caring for his 4 children, especially the second wife/whore’s child who was with us 50% of the time for 9 years. He cheated on me with second whore, he told me he never really stopped loving her and knew he didn’t really love before we even started the farm (but waited until year 9 to tell me that in counselling while he was cheating). All these years I called him the love of my life. When I told him what he has done to me is similar to using a date rape drug, except he did it with lies, you should have seen the display of righteous indignation.
                I claim we were never really a couple, or a family. I was just a childminder, scullery maid, chauffeu, house appliance and sexual appliance. I claim they owe me $350,000 in wages, travel expenses to pick up the kid, room and board for her son etc. This doesn’t include compensation for emotional harm.
                Second whore broke up his first marriage by the way. She is the Eat, Prey, Lie girl, never had a relationship with anyone who was unattached.
                I will file that claim if he attacks the trust. I will name her in the claim, it will become public record. At least there will be a trace somewhere to warn the next chump against them.

              • Kiwichump – “he told me he never really stopped loving her and knew he didn’t really love before we even started the farm (but waited until year 9 to tell me that in counselling while he was cheating)”

                I can’t believe that he never loved you, but never stopped loving her. WTF?! Then why the hell did he spend 9 years with you? A freaking decade?? This makes me SO angry I see red. So the fucker was a charlatan, the entire time, he was using you for his needs, like you said, you were a childminder, a maid, a chauffeur, etc. I can’t believe con-artists like this roam the earth. I hope this becomes public record so he doesn’t con another innocent person. There should be a warning system someone to warm innocent parties from charlatans like this.

    • As Bridget Jones says….”No contact is SO hard for me; I have this stupid little girl HOPE that he’ll snap out of it but it’s not going to happen. Just when I thought there was hope for reconciliation (he had a lightbulb moment!)”

      Let me finish the sentence for my situation…. Buttttt no.. I got slapped in the face again. The only person that these Narc cheaters really love is THEMSELVES.

  • Yes, I believe people do change if they REALLY WANT to. But you’re not guaranteed as to WHEN. It could be never or when they’re 60+, the point is, who the hell knows when they’ll change. And often times, it’s not even worth waiting around. Why not just got for someone who is a better fit, rather than doing the eternal waiting and hope dance. F- that! I have better things to do with my time.

  • I think people can change, but it’s not really easy. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    Talk is OK, to a point, but you need action. I’m guessing you look at porn a lot, or view women as objects to be used for sex. You got this from somewhere so now is the time to identity where and do whatever is necessary to cut those persons or things out of your life. That will make it so much easier for you.

  • Also, Felipe, every action you take will either bring you closer to your goal of being a better person, or it will take you further away from that goal. So ask yourself, is this an action I should take or not. Each person really is the sum total of every choice they make. If not for yourself, do it for your child.

  • “you firebombed the farmer’s market. And now you’re back.” “And those who invested deeply in the farmer’s market might not trust an arsonist with rebuilding.”

    So very true.

  • Felix, there’s nothing wrong with pursuing sexual variety and not wanting to tie yourself down to one person… the thing that’s incredibly destructive and immoral is expecting monogamy, transparency and fidelity in another person when you’re not prepared to offer the same.

    I think you should spend some time alone and in therapy really considering whether you’re well-suited to monogamy. If you discover– or already know in your gut– that you aren’t, then your goal should be learning how to be honest with people and accepting the fact that the women you enter relationships might not want to commit to you in the long-term and/or have other romantic partners of their own.

    I wish you the best of luck in your journey, and hope you and your girlfriend find peace and happiness (with or without each other).

  • Just curious to know what is the definition of the word “Serial Cheater”? Does it only pertain to a person in a relationship who has illicit sex with multiple partners on multiple occasions?

    I would say that one single sexual event with one illicit partner (such as a one single ONS with a stranger) would NOT be Serial Cheating, but other than that, I am really not sure.

  • This was very good CL – thank you! I divorced my ex recently. Got the final paper in June. I worked so hard to accept the relationship was over after he left. I know can see him for who he really is after I took my blinders off. I try to maintain a cordial atmosphere with him for the kids sake. However recently in the last few weeks he is trying to come on to me and even try to kiss me. I have told him to STOP and it’s not happening. He gets angry and pouts! UNREAL. We are done, over…yet he still thinks when he’s in a dry spell that I will be waiting for him and that I would want him for a quickie to help him with his urge. ARE YOU KIDDING ME! What a gem. I wish the world would see him for who he really is but he wears a mask and people think he’s such a great helpful friend. How can people not see him for who he really is?! Drives me crazy these narcs!

    • Tobe- Your Ex seems sick in the head. You’re divorced and he’s still acting inappropriately. He’s not firing on all cylinders. I’m not sure if he ever did. I mean, he left you and now that you’re divorced, he’s hitting on you. And then when you enforce boundaries he gets angry and pouts. Talk about being disordered to the nth degree. He gives me the creeps. I’m glad you’re no longer with him, he seems mental.

  • I absolutely believe people can change. I quit smoking years ago and I’m so proud I did it. However it’s hard hard work, which is why folks don’t. Not to make light with this comparison, but im not a cheater so here’s my Achilles heel: when I want to cut out sugar, I last about 12 hrs before I start the inner negotiations: one giant spoon of Nutella is not going to kill anyone, it’s a reward, I’ve been so good. Who are these fucking experts who say a little bit of sugar is bad? If it tastes good, it’s not all that bad! Damn I want it. Insert betrayal cliche here.

    Point is, I should be strong enough and resolute in what I want, what I’ve decided is good and who I want to be (not a Nutella slave) to not pick up the damn spoon in the first place. Or tell myself to buy 2 jars because the kids love it. All lies.

    I want to eat better and cut some things out of my diet? Then I’m the only one in control of what i put in my mouth. I don’t need a glass of wine w every dinner. Or a little sumpin sumpin sweet. And that strength and self control can be very challenging for me. That’s what differentiates the winners from losers – it’s the strength and commitment to one’s self first. I also notice that when I binge and say fuck it, I’m super grumpy with my kids. They weren’t even home when I had my face in that jar, but I’m testy with them because somehow they remind me that I was weak.

    If I can’t be honest with myself, I’m going to be a pretty bad partner.

    • That’s excellent Nic. Although after reading it I’m feeling mighty guilty about those dark chocolate covered almonds I just “rewarded” myself with as I grade papers. 🙁

    • nic, congrats for kicking the cigarettes years ago, a huge self-loving, hard-won endeavor.

      However, I want to point out that there’s a world of difference between breaking a bad habit and changing one’s bad character – one is difficult to do, the other is nearly impossible.

  • I haven’t read everything – but I kinda feel like we could have let the UBT loose on this one. Because in essence what this guy is saying “How do I minimize the consequences of my actions.” or “The gig is up and I’m not getting as much tail as I used to, so how do I lock in my cake supply with my chump.”

    Like if you have been a serial cheater for much of your relationship, you obviously don’t love your partner all that much. You gave no thought to the SO’s feelings and health. You did not treat your partner with love and respect. So why do you care all of a sudden? Consequences were possible at any time, so why do you care so much now about whether or not you suffer them.

    But anyway – I agree with CL. You don’t in this case. You don’t get to pretend you didn’t do all the shitty things you did in that relationship. If you want to try again after some soul searching and honesty, go for it. But the “no consequence” ship has sailed in this relationship and that’s life.

  • Felix

    There are many here who have FOO issues. There were four children in my family My father was a raging narc who conned everyone he met. His abuse was aimed at my brother and my mother.

    Each child had a different perception and issues. I knew I was resilient by fifth grade. I lived much of my life growing up at friends homes and spent hours reading books from the psychology section beginning when I was in fifth grade. The very first time my father said he loved me was last year. Those were empty words. I maintain no contact.

    The oldest is a raging alcoholic dependent on my father at 62 years old. The other brother is disabled at 59 and lives in a home for disabled, never leaving his home.

    I applaud you for wanting to change. Your son should have a father he is proud of. I made up my mind to never be like my father. I recognized his abuse for what it was.

    Your wanting to change can only be through both your thoughts and actions. You will have to look at the coping strategies that helped you get through your childhood. You will have to face your other addictions you didn’t cop to. Yes there are more and you know it. You have lived a cowards life.

    I’m on the chump side of things. I shouldn’t have survived. There were many heros who through acts of kindness let me know I was worthy of love despite living in hell as a child. I am forever greatful and I pay that forward with compassion in my work.

    You need to be humble. Surround yourself with good people through volunteering. Do good deeds. Look inside rather than outside. Go without.
    Stay in Therapy. And fir Gods sake keep your son safe and away from your father. Stop drinking and partying. Be a man.

  • Felix, you said your cheating “was about focus on short term escapes, not long term solutions”…I am asking a serious question here, not needling you: What were you escaping from? Why didn’t ‘escape’ mean being intimate with the one you loved, maybe being next to each other in bed talking about whatever problem or stressor you were feeling the need to escape from?
    I ask because I wish I could ask the man who cheated on me these questions. He lay next to me in bed allegedly having a heart-to-heart over something, only now I know he had been in some other bed just hours before.
    I have imagined a love relationship as the one we escape to, not from; I imagine being each other’s sanctuary from the world.

    • yes, i wonder about these too.

      we often were intimate, and though it will sound like an excuse, i do not beleive i was/am brave enough to just sit and be intimate more.

      without getting into my numerous issues, and hopefully without sounding like i am making excuses:

      I have gotten into the habit of not trusting my issues with others, and i always have kept myself withdrawn from true connection.

      this relationship is dead, but it was the closest i have come to doing so. In previous therapys, i didn’t go deep enough, and quite simply, I haven’t chosen to give myself fully before. instead of true, real sanctuary- i chose the illusion of it, the idiot habit i developed as a child.

      I’m sorry that happened to you. im sorry i havent grown up.

  • ‘Be a man’—I said that several times to POP.

    His response was to bleat ‘teach me how to be a man’.

    WTF? A 54 yr old man with two grown children who’d been married twice telling ME to teach him how to be a man.

    I thought my head would explode. Sorry bud, that’s not my job. Figure it out somewhere else.

  • HesAtTheCurb

    The Limited was and never will be a man. Yup, cutting that cord was like releasing a stunted 57 year old into the world unmasked. One hundred sixty five pounds of pure lust with no brains and a wee little dick to scalp whores tells me there is no pleasure in paradise for him.

    • Doingme, you took the words right out of my mouth. The only difference is my ex is 64 years old and weighs about 165 pounds in a wet army overcoat but the wee little dick is spot on !! 🙂

  • What’s worse than being a serial cheater with a thumb sized dick? That cracks me up. Can’t fix that.

  • How do you change? By taking responsibility for your actions. Have you told friends and family that you are a serial cheater? If there is no shame, then there should be no secret. Cheaters lie because you know what you are doing is wrong. You knew you were abusing your girlfriend. Living a life of truth is about honoring yourself. You cannot be happy in life, you cannot love yourself, when your life is a lie. And you most certainly cannot love someone else when your life is a lie because the foundation of love is trust.

    You want a family? No you want the good parts of being part of a family without doing the hard work on the difficult parts that come with a committed relationship/that come with life. Life is difficult, with moments of sweetness. If your life has been easy with moments of difficulty, then someone else has most likely been doing the heavy lifting in your life.

    So you change by choosing hard instead of easy. Every day you are presented with choices in life – little and big. Choose the difficult path. If your instinct is to avoid and lie, then be open and tell the truth. Look around at your friends and family and strangers and think how can I help. What can I do for them that will make their lives easier/happier. When doing these things becomes a joy rather than a trial, and that you can sustain doing this daily for months/years, then you will know that you have changed and can consider a relationship.

  • I don’t begin to understand why a grown man needs years of therapy and chump nation advice because he can’t stop cheating. It’s pretty simple Felix. You either put your penis away or you continue to be a waste of space. Don’t whine here about wanting to be a better example to your son all the while cheating on some poor woman who’s now devasted. You’re over 21? Get over your penis. Every male has one. Everyone can “hook up” and/or cheat and everyone can pay sex workers. It’s not an addiction. Its a character flaw. I believe Felix is playing chump nation like a violin. Remember Felix is without kibbles right now. How would any of us like it if our cheaters were getting this much attention for one letter to CL? Let Felix deal with it. He damn well knows that this isn’t the venue for fixing a cheater. Remember how chump nation treats OW’s? Felix deserves the same. Ignore him. He has so many many many support venues. The whole damn world is pulling for Felix to “get better”. I’m not. Felix can rot for all I care. Thinks that’s harsh Felix? Try being cheated on, then we can talk.

  • I truly believe that my ex wanted to change and during our reconciliation, he did stop cheating, and he did it for me. That was fine for a while, but I later came to realize that what I really needed was that elusive “character transplant” and it simply wasn’t going to happen. And sure enough, when he knew I was done for good, he returned to sex tourism – with a vengeance.

    I should also note that even when the cheating stops, deceit in other areas continues (or worsens) and still, there’s a pat on the back from SA communities congratulating for not “acting out”.

    • Gag, barf and vomit… The SA folks are as bad as the cheaters. Yes, they actually get pats on the back for cheating and then confessing to the group. Nuff said?

  • Felix,
    I am almost 62…husband is almost 64. He’s been a serial cheater his ENTIRE adult life. Recently we entered into a Legal Separation due to his getting caught again in yet another affair (not confessing) and due to the fact that I have completely lost all feelings of love and trust towards him. He could have been an otherwise wonderful man were it not for the areas where it counted the MOST…his concealed emotional detachment and his never ending lust for excitement with other women. I do care about what becomes of him…but that is all…I also care about if the Robins eggs will hatch each Spring and if the baby birds will survive the predators that lie in wait to destroy them. I learned the hard way that I cannot do a thing to protect him from the dangers of his “nature”. I have had to, instead, protect me.

    What he does not know is that I am “watching from afar”. I mean, REALLY AFAR since we both wanted (and have) no contact…not a peep, even between his family and friends or mine. We are as dead to one another…and yet, I have a deep peace in my heart nevertheless.

    I suppose that I do still harbor a small hope somewhere deep down in my indomitable spirit, that perhaps he can “grow up” and pay his due consequences by giving up the Porn, giving up the women/flirting, alcohol, gambling, detachment, financial disasters, and laziness, and be willing to live very much alone to PROVE to himself what his character is really made of. I know this would take YEARS to convince me if he changed for the better, if he ever really does…his father lived and died the exact same way.

    I will never marry again nor want a relationship again, so watching and waiting is more about satisfying MY own curiosity…to “see” if he morphs into someone admirable over the coming years before we leave this world. I wonder who will love me enough to help me die when my days draw near to ending. I certainly would have been honored to have helped him.

    Is this the kind of “end” that you envisioned for you and your bride to have in old age? Like mine? Ending your lives together with her watching/waiting from afar to see if there will EVER be a loving man who manages to emerge from inside a self centered luster of strange women? Your girlfriend is young and probably wants to have a family someday…with a man who will not have to struggle against himself before she can believe she is “safe”. Be happy FOR HER that losing you will give her that chance.

    Best Wishes

    • It’s as though you’ve written my story. I too at times so wonder if he would grow up but lately, no contact has helped me to distance myself from the drama his lifestyle

      Felix I do know of guys who have managed to straighten up and stop cheating and it usually falls in two camps. The first group of guys are old whores that have aged out, squandered their money, ill or/and can’t get it up. If their marriages did managed to survive the wives are bitter sometimes suffering in silence secretly waiting for the old goats to die.

      There’s a variation in which these men marry younger women only to be abandoned in some fashion once the money dries up or the old whore becomes ill.

      The second camp of guys that I know that did change usually did so at a younger age after becoming more sincere in their faith and the threat of losing their families.

      These are just my experiences however. Most men and women that I know have not changed, but those that do have a really good support system in place. You know friends & family that are honest and don’t support the lies.

      Felix, you just don’t want to be that old whore in the nursing home who sexes up the single women while using a walker. Those guys usually end up sedated and placed in a corner. Don’t be that man.

      • “Felix, you just don’t want to be that old whore in the nursing home who sexes up the single women while using a walker. Those guys usually end up sedated and placed in a corner. Don’t be that man.”

        LMAO! The imagery is awesome. Very good analogy.

  • Felix, if you can change, it has to be a result of a change in you, not your circumstances or a new partner.

    I was fooled by a snake who’d cheated in two previous marriages, but somehow *I* was supposed to be the woman that changed his cheating ways.

    Nope. I had all kinds of positive attributes he said he was looking for, said he needed and wanted, and he said he’d changed.

    It was all bullshit and/or self-delusion on his part. The snake shed his skin, but he was still the same snake underneath. I didn’t change him in the slightest, he only maybe imagined I could.

    So whatever you do, make sure you really have changed before you attempt monogamy again.

    Maybe you can do it, maybe you can’t. Just spare someone else thinking they were the love of your life but only being another discard.

    • Sounds a lot like my story. I was what she’d always been looking for and her running days were over. Until they weren’t

  • Someone I know has a useful phrase when dealing with her patients – “it’s your thinking.” At the root of whether we cheat or not, rob or not, or whatever behavior we indulge or do not indulge in is how we think. As CL and so many others have pointed out, how you think is rooted in your value system.

    Felix, I could be wrong, but I believe you are sincere about wanting to change. That’s my opinion and has no basis in fact because I don’t know you. I don’t know anything about you besides what you have shared on this board, so I don’t really know anything except you have consistently put your feelings, your needs and your wants before the well-being, needs and concerns of people you claim to love. What I also know is that change is hard, which is why I believe change, while always possible, for many people, it is not probable. At a certain point in your life, your values and your thinking become your operating system. When something does not align with your thinking, your next setting is to self-justify, which then merely reinforces your current operating system. It is how human beings subconsciously function. It takes work, self-awareness and a willingness to be brutally honest and not make excuses for choices and behaviors to even BEGIN on the path to authentic change. I am in no way trying to discourage you – I’m attempting to prepare you.

    Your letter to CL is highly self-referenced – which is your thinking pattern. Until that changes, nothing else really can. I hope for your sake, but more particularly for your son, that you will do the work necessary if not to change, at least get your thinking patterns and behavior under control. As someone stated above, your first commitment should be to honesty – most particularly to yourself. People who consistently lie to themselves cannot be honest with anyone else.

  • Thank you CL for choosing to comment on Felix’ letter. This will go down as one of my all-time favorites, both for the subject, your comments, and those of this amazing group of people. The intellect and capability of expression seen here leaves me speechless at times. I really don’t know where I would have been without this site. I know others feel the same. Thanks again.

  • Dear Felix,

    My question is addressed directly to you or any other cheater out there who “suffers” with anxiety.
    What exactly is this anxiety about? Does it give you some invisible pass to cheat on the ones who love you?

    Do you know why am I asking?
    Because the ultimate piece of s* I dated and chose to be my first had anxiety as well.
    Our first date ended weirdly, with him getting stuck, could not even articulate good bye. Do you know how I felt? Rejected.
    Or later, when I put my hands on his knee. He jumped like his pants caught fire: “what are you doing?” and left my house in a hurry. Do you know how it felt? Rejected and WEIRD.

    So please tell us chumps here, what is this anxiety about? It makes no sense to normal people.

    • Thank you for your question- its a big question and i’m not sure that it will be a clear answer.

      But no, there is no pass, and the responsibility lays on my shoulders as everyone’s actions should.

      My own anxiety- i can only speak about mine- is about family, self-worth. I – not an excuse- had an abusive addiction prone family- i was sexually abused, as was my sister. My earliest memories are of fights between my parents that got to the point where both of them were bleeding.

      I have a hard time excepting love, I have a hard time being loved. I have a hard time trusting that people love me.

      it’s my own battle, and i really wish i hadn’t hurt her. It’s too late though. I did.

  • Nah, I’m not buying it, Felix is just looking for material to use to convince his current chump or the next chump that he’s a different man, I’m sure all sorts of narcs /sociopaths lurk on the board, gives them ideas and strategies to get round the defences that chumps build up.

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