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The Ready Chump Response to “I’ve Changed!”

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changedI reckon I’ve read tens of thousands of infidelity stories to date. Maybe hundreds of thousands. (I should crunch the numbers.) And one common recitation I read time and again after D-Day, is when cheaters threatened with the loss of cake, don unicorn costumes and tell chumps that they’ve Changed.

Really? Upon discovery of affairs and illicit fuckfests and diverted monies and God knows what else, we are to believe you just had an instantaneous character change? Saw the error of your ways and repented? Realized everything you could lose and are committed now?

Oh how chumps want to believe this. At the moment of the big devalue to hear that, hang on, upon consideration! you have value after all. And that person and all those ugly truths you discovered? The cheater is not that person, but a NEW person you can trust!

“I’m a new man.” “Let’s make this work. I’m a changed woman!”

If you hear this after D-Day? Here’s your response.

Dear Cheater,

You are not a changed person. Talk to me in five to ten years, after you’ve demonstrated your selfless character. No, I don’t mean stuffing the occasional dollar into the Salvation Army bucket, I mean stop cheating. Parent your children responsibly, support them, delay gratification, be kind to your parents, take ownership of your issues, and hey, maybe adopt a couple orphans or something.

You don’t have five to ten years? Well I don’t have five to ten minutes to put up with your “I’m all better now!” bullshit.

Funny how you realized how much you want me at the exact moment I discovered how much you didn’t.

Funny how your character revolution is completely dependent upon me not enacting any consequences upon you.

You’re changed? No. I’m changed. The new person here is me. I discovered you played me for a chump. This knowledge has transformed me. Shattered me and put me back together in new ways. And knowing what I know about you now — who you really are, what you did — does not fit in my new life.

Can you change? I hope so. I hope for your soul, for our children’s future, that you can be a better person. But the fact that you’re trying to sell me on bogus, immediate character transplants doesn’t inspire confidence. It makes me think you’re a con.  You wear the humiliation and the shame for a long while and get back to me on that “new person” thing.

Or don’t. Either way, I’m moving on.

Bye.

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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.
    • My next door neighbor has a friend who married her cheating husband THREE times. What’s the line about “hope springs eternal?”

    • I told a colleague that I was divorcing mine for cheating on me. She exclaimed that she took hers back–twice!

      No, she’s not married now. She does, however, have a dog who dotes on her.

    • I hear you Tania. Add in the so-called experts, the sex addiction therapists (C$ATS) who claim that “your marriage can be better than ever” and “your husband CAN recover” and you really are powerless. I dropped my legal proceedings against Dr. S, only to start them up again 10 months later. No, they don’t change. We do.

      • Yeah, after months of separation, once I found out that OW had moved into the house, I quit the CSAT work.

        Just, nope.

  • Love that! I’m going to store that for use. I’m always getting the “I’m trying” and “I’m changing slowly” along with the he knows how much I mean to him now and how good I am to him. He should have realised that sooner!!!!!

  • Character = action + time

    No shortcuts. And at D-day cheaters have an enormous negative balance to make up.

  • My Cheater said this after being caught, he even started going to AA and admitted to being an alcoholic on the very day I had him served with divorce papers. I left him anyways, then he started something up with someone “new” within 2 weeks of when I left, a girl from the Coop gas bar. Yup, he got over me quick and was after my replacement. When I told him I found out about her and had a the proof from this girl because I told her we were talking reconciliation 2 weeks earlier, she dumped him. His excuse was “You left me”. Ugh, I’ll be officially divorced in 15 days, can’t wait! They NEVER change!!!!

    • My husband of 27 years picked up and moved to another state with schmoopie. He called me drunk from a hotel room (she was with him) to tell me that they were moving in together. (She was giggling in the background). They traveled, ate out, went shopping, vineyards, on a cruise (all seen on find my phone), looked like a pretty nice life. Meanwhile I had a high schooler that had grades that were tanking and we were fighting all the time. An older child trying to accept more and more responsibilities to help me out, but growing resentful. I was the one untangling a lifetime of combined bills, meeting with the attorney, repairing the house, working full time, etc. When I met my ex to get him to sign the divorce papers he sat and cried. “This isn’t what I want”, “I have no idea how my life turned out this way”, “I want my old life back”. I shut up and listened only hearing I, I, I, I, I. Never heard, “I’m worried about the kids”, “I’m sorry I did this to you”, hell even a “can you forgive me?” Nope, nada. Now that history has been re-written, it’s “you left me, I didn’t want a divorce”. “Well, I didn’t want to marry a 14 year old boy with the emotional depth of a shot glass. Guess we both got screwed”. God, these people are so infuriating.

      • “Well, I didn’t want to marry a 14 year old boy with the emotional depth of a shot glass. Guess we both got screwed.”

        Staying Strong – Lol, I love your quote. You are so amazingly strong. I can’t believe that douche was seeking thrills and pleasure, while you were trying to survive with all the chaos and damage he caused and left behind. And after all he put you through, he cries like a coward in front of the divorce papers. Good, it was his turn to cry after all he put you through. And then he tells you he didn’t want a divorce, surrrrrre. Just like he didn’t want to go on the cruise with that slut, he didn’t want to move in with her, travel, go shopping and act just like a teenager would. He really has the emotional depth of a puddle and never really evolved past the teenage years. I’m so glad you’re no longer with a moron like this.

      • Love your quote! “14 year old boy with the emotional depth of a shot glass.”

        Mine went off and got tanked and slept with someone random after 2 weeks of our trial separation. Then went out again and got high and returned saying he was in a new relationship a month after that.

        When she rejected him (apparently he jumped the gun on that one a little 🙂 He returned saying his behaviour was terrible and he didn’t want us to end. Bit late in the day, poppet.

        Your quote sums up my ex in a shotglass.

        I so needed to read this thread today!!! I was actually considering inviting him over for a family dinner for the sake of my son, but this is such a good reminder that he is still as much of a muppet as he always was. He is busy acting nice – probably wants something and sometimes I’m enough of an idiot to think things have changed. Duh for me!!!

        Thanks to you!!!

        • If he’s “acting nice,” that’s a plus for you, in that he isn’t creating problems. But it’s good that you won’t falll for the con.

          • I agree, it’s nice that he’s acting nice, but I also think you don’t owe him a dinner invitation. That’s a boundary issue, and it will be more confusing for your son if dad sometimes shows up, but sometimes doesn’t. Send the signals that at your house, and that you and your son are the family unit there. If his father wants to have family time at his place, then your son will learn that he and his father are the family unit at dad’s place.

            If his father can’t be bothered to do things with his children, then they learn that while they may love him because he’s their dad, they can’t depend on him. However, your son’s relationship with his father is his to figure out, not yours to encourage or discourage.

            Best of luck!

            • If cheaters are going to act all nice to avoid consequences, maybe we should use that to our advantage. Somewhere on here, I read about a cheater who was trying to get the wife to agree to a divorce, saying that they might end up finding their way back to one another again. Maybe we should do something similar. Tell our spouses that we may find our way back together again someday, but first we need to divorce. Tell them we’ll see how the divorce goes. If the cheater is nice, maybe we’ll get back together again down the road. Perhaps, it will help the divorce process go smoother. Then, when the divorce is over, we can inform that we changed our minds about getting back together ever again. Worth a shot.

          • Thanks! Yes. I always want to be the bigger person, but as soon as I open the door he takes something else, or gives it his best shot. It’s utter craziness. The last time he made it through the front door he started going through the closet. Not sure what he was looking for as he moved out two years ago.

            But I need constant reminding not to fall for it again. *sigh

            • “The last time he made it through the front door he started going through the closet.”

              What a nutjob! Imagine if you went to his place and did that?! He’d be on CNN, record breaking news announcing to all his buddies that you’re crazy and nuts for having rummaged through his closet. He may have forgotten something in the closet which he was looking for. As if it would be there 2 years after he moved out. Moron.

              • They don’t do ‘nice’ they just do ‘me me me’….they all follow this same entitled script. Don’t be fooled into thinking any gesture is for anyone else than for their gain. It’s sad and heartbreaking, it too me over 18 mths to really get how selfish they are. But then I truly got better and started feeling like myself again (not the crazy, confused controlled mess I’d become).

                Reading chump everyday kept me focused on the reality. It’s like daily medicine as you heal 🙂 xx

              • He was looking for his manhood or his honor in your closet. Not there, never had any.

      • When I first found out, and months later, it was always, “I, I ,I,I …” even in mc, the mc wanted so badly for me to “hear” him…

        5 yrs out, separately living apart from my husband. I’m still looked at as the bad guy unable to forgive.

        Yes, he’s done a remarkable turn around, has
        shown me the sides of him that always were there and the man I fell in love w and still love. But it doesn’t change the broken heart nor our broken life, as we were together 30 yrs of what I thought a pretty good marriage.

        If I could, doesn’t he know I would, but this was all his doing… Yup it all changed me… and I’m finding Im liking who I am again… a place I didn’t think I would ever see again.

    • Similar experience here. After our separation, my ex said he knew that how he treated me was wrong and he would do whatever it takes to change IF ONLY I would give him another chance and let him come home. Said he’d go to marriage counseling with me — something he flat out refused to do over the previous 23 years we had been married. Said he’d do anything to prove his love for me. I told him that my part was done and that he needed to go to counseling without me to figure out what he needed to do. THEN MAYBE in a few years we could try again.

      He went to ONE counseling session and was SO proud of himself. He reported to me that the counselor had told him that his behavior had “broken” me, but I could be “fixed” again… Then he proceeded to tell me all of the things that I needed to do in order to repair our marriage. Not one word about what he need to do!! Right then I KNEW for sure that he had no clue and wasn’t going to change. He wanted me to go to the next session with him. I told him no, I still wanted a divorce, I was going to work on myself, alone, and that I thought he should find a counselor who would help him with his own problems instead of trying to analyze mine. He never went back. Couldn’t do it on his own.

      Within 2 weeks he was openly dating other women. All that talk of doing anything to prove his love for me went right out the window.

      • OMG, Over and Out–similar story about marital counseling. I knew mine wouldn’t change, but since he seemed verbally sincere about reconciliation, I tested him by telling him to make a marital counseling appointment. He responded by listing all the things I would need to change about myself for him to be willing to go to therapy. I shook my head, said, “Apparently you didn’t get the memo that your cheating means you have NO bargaining chips,” and I told him I wanted a divorce.

        Beg, beg, beg, tears, tears, tears. He *then* said he will go to a MC appointment. I test him again by texting the number of someone reputable. Dumbass calls me up and reiterates all the things I’ll have to change for him to go to counseling. I again say, nope, game’s up, I want a divorce.

        Beg, beg, tears, tears, he makes the appointment, then proceeds to behave like an ass in front of the MC (who later told me “he’s not relationship material”). When he balks at a second appointment, I finally filed. More tears–no, he’s sorry, he’ll go to a second appointment. I tell him, “Go yourself, I’m done.” He makes an appointment for himself, and mainly talks about how he can get back the “old Tempest”–the happy one who gave him lots of kibbles and stability.

        It’s always all about them. They don’t change, they will never care about us or our emotional well-being. We’ll get more emotional satisfaction from inanimate objects (who at least don’t criticize or gaslight us).

          • Excellent advice from your therapist Tempest.

            My cheater called me the “love of my life” and said, “I’ll spend the rest of my life making this up to you.” When I asked for divorce his tune changed, he was angry, drunk and threatening. His true ugly self revealed.

            These cheaters rarely change. Mine was not sorry, not remorseful, not ashamed. He went out and found another vulnerable woman within weeks. It’s sickening really to think that at one point I thought so highly of him.

            To this day (and we have very few encounters) he believes he did everything he could to save the marriage and he becomes immediately unhinged playing a victim when there is any hint of confrontation about his shitty life choices. Peace is no contact, no engagement, no response.

            Freedom is getting away from these assholes.

            • Yes, when you stand up and draw the line, you get the abbreviated version of Love-bombing quickly followed by the extended version of Devalue and Discard…

              • Yes, yes, and yes to all the above. He went to one MC session with me but acted like an ass when it was suggested that he try being my Butler for awhile. I guess the MC saw that he was only using me as his wife appliance way before I finally resigned from the job.

            • My X actually said, “No matter what happens, you will always be the love of my life.” Really? Because cheating is how one shows true love, right? I still get steamed when I remember that conversation! Not that he heard a word I said, but I did respond, “Hell, no! You don’t get to call me that anymore!” Strangely, just typing this is making me cry. How dare he think it was okay to treat me the way he did and then try to guilt trip me like that. But then, it was never about me or our relationship anyway, so why would I expect him to give a damn about my feelings?

              • What a liar this guy is. If you are the love of someone’s life, then they wouldn’t put their dick in other women’s vagina. It’s quite simple. Yes, I’m sure we are the love of their lives. They are probably telling this exact line to the OW they are sleeping with.

              • Yeah, mine called me the “love of his life” to several friends. Little did they know that he had just returned from a trip to China with his latest mistress, which he took 3 days after D-day when he knew he was fighting for his marriage.

                I could have done without love like his.

              • Mine could not understand why I would not have sex or let him touch me after I found out. The thoughts of his penis inside of me ever again was just too much for me after the ow! You know how he responded??? “I was w other women before you & it didn’t matter?”… OMG!!!!

            • My STBX did the same thing. Said he would regret losing me for the rest of his life and has only truly loved me. However as soon as the divorce papers hit- he became a different person. Angry- Bitter- Asshole!! He has also rewritten the story and somehow the divorce is not his fault because he was willing to work on our marriage after d-day. These guys are all the same. Predictable and NEVER change. Thanks for the reminder CL- I think we all want to believe someone we loved and cherished couldn’t possibly be as horrible as we discovered. It’s really painful letting go of the memories and how we used to see them. At the end of the day it seems easier to think they have changed and to take them back. Somehow we think it will stop the pain, but it actually just prolongs it. Whether its two weeks or 5 years down the road these guys will cheat again. Trust that they suck and move on. I’m rebuilding my life even though it’s really tough and emotionally draining, I know in the end it will better.

          • My therapist said that if I ever tried to marry him again that she would be the first person to stand up and object to it when the minister asks. Lol. She’s the best !!!

        • It’s nuts, isn’t it?!! I’m sure when my ex told the counselor about all the ways I wasn’t meeting his needs, neglecting him, and glossed over all the emotional abuse and his hobby of contacting other women, etc. They sure know how to snow people… The metaphor his counselor used to explain the “broken” me to my ex was that of a timid fox hiding in its den who needed to be coaxed out again… I literally laughed out loud. Nope. This “timid fox” had found her teeth and claws! 😉

        • I love your therapist. I think I remember reading about her when I first stumbled onto this site. Don’t you have an awesome nickname for her?

    • 15 days, Congratulations! Keep us posted on how you do on THE day. I told my sister I wasn’t sure how I felt, at first, but then good, really good. Then rage hit for a few weeks. I was still good, I just had to release all the anger I held in to get through it.

  • Yup I got that after the 1 year affair with our friend. He asked me to re-marry him which chumpy me did. That secured his supply for another 4 years. Time which he used to rape me financially and massively abuse me every which way. I STILL spackled (wasn’t willing to give up on my 34 year marriage),that whole time. He ended up leaving for a new schmoopie. Good riddance to bad rubbish. .it will take me a long time to get to meh..

    • Hello sad lady, my husband used to email ‘sad lady’ on a dating site called Lacanto. Were you ever on that site after your seperation?

  • My cheater didn’t even bother to tell me he changed. He did change his behavior, though. He went more underground.? And I still stuck around for just about five years. ?

  • X had no reason to change. Once I discovered the depths of his lies and depravity, he was already on to his next mark and went willingly.

    He’s perfect for someone who will enjoy riddles for answers, half-truths, high drama and spending a life trudging through toxic, human waste.

    Happily retired from my life as his household appliance and dupe, it’s a joy to enjoy fresh air and clear skies after 20 years of working in hazardous containment!

  • My cheater left me for the OW. He played the ” we can be best friends, you’ll see that we will be better this way….and maybe occasionally hook up” scenario which I played into for a hot second ( pre chumplady and not proud…yuk) . I told the OW he was screwing both of us, she forgave him and I became the “crazy vengeful ex who just wants to ruin their love and FORCED him to sleep with me to settle the divorce” ( she bought it). I went NC after this and built a new me. Guess who’s coming around now to tidy up loose ends of the divorce settlement and “be friendly” so the kids might want to reach out to him ( they are NC also).
    He’s been selling that he’s changed, found Jesus, better now, I only conversate if it’s business related, bet she doesn’t know he even speaks to me( he only calls from work) says he needs things settled incase he has to move from where he is and now would like to be friends. I’ll bet she and her two elem age kids have no clue he’s using sentences like “incase I have to move”
    Looks like the mistress ain’t so fun once it’s not all stolen moments and hotel hookups.
    Thanks to you Chumplady I don’t think anybody on this site will be buying into the reformed cheater story. I’d never let that snake back in my orbit. He’s gonna have to find somebody else to be friends with.

    • I was going to comment at the end because today’s topic has been hounding me in my sleep, but your post had me saying this sooner. I’ve been having these dreams about him lately, which is just horrible because I’m really trying to eliminate him from my mind completely and try redirecting my thoughts elsewhere when I’m awake. In the dreams I apparently take him back and I feel miserable. I have that sick feeling in my stomach and I know I don’t want him there, but I can’t seem to tell him to leave.

      He probably will live with the OW forever unless she boots him out. My biggest fear pre-divorce was that he’d insist on moving back in. That didn’t happen, and cannot happen now against my will. Today’s topic is perfect in case this happens because I can see him doing just exactly what yours did. He’d tell me that we are friends, and I have this big house that I’m not even using the upstairs, so couldn’t he just stay until he found a place of his own? I know I will say no. I know this! But every time I have one of those damn dreams I wake up and mumble, “No fucking way!” I think the next dream I have, I will shout it.

      • Annie Get Your Gun I’ve also had dreams similar to yours lately! Except in mine, I have confronted both my ex and his skank, let them have it verbally and as I’m stomping out he stands up and says “don’t worry, this is temporary” and I wake up instantly. Most of the time angry, sometimes sad. But my dream ends the same way EVERY TIME and although I will never allow him back into my life, I am bothered by the message of this dream (if it is a message). Today’s topic has reinforced that this life without my ex will not be “temporary”, that the meh I seek, once reached, will be permanent!

        • Oh gosh – those really odd dreams. I have them occasionally.
          Where, I am seeing him again (his face is absent but he is present) and I am just so damn angry and holding it in – face turning red.
          Like I’m going to burst emotionally.
          Then I wake up.
          All sweaty, in teary eyes, shaking in anger and actually, have figured out after these 3 yrs that, I never want to return to that anger again.
          I think it’s my heads’ way of moving me forward.
          Those angry dreams are horribilus but, thankfully, getting less frequent.

          I seem to dream a lot more now – guess I get better sleep than ever. And, I actually, seriously, enjoy being a bird flying on occasion.
          Or living under water in real time. (I used to have those dreams when I was first married)
          That tells me I’m getting better.

          Please try and see dreams as something that your mind is madly trying to process and face them head on, especially the scary angry ones that leave you shaking all day. And, I also believe, looking back, that dreams give you an incredible amount of premonition. I can give examples and I’m sure you all can too. The mind is more powerful than we know (no, I don’t talk to animals). Just look how damn hard that gut was talking to us for So fucking long, and we just kept telling it to shut up.

          No more.

        • I think you hit the nail on the head and now I need to let it sink in. Since dday I’ve been holding by breath to reach important milestones. Let him not incur debt until I can file. Let him stay guilty until he’s signed the settlement agreement. Let him stay away until divorce is final. None of these have allowed the finality to sink in. I can say it’s done and over, but now I need to live like it is. Maybe then my head will be free.

          • Trust your dreams. The dreams are your gut talking to you, warning you against him and your softer tendencies, or allowing you to vent your anger. Go with them. During wreckonciliation I kept dreaming I was swimming in the ocean, which I love, but being pulled under by the homewrecking whore and every time I managed to come up for air, the traitor was pushing my head under. At that time we were officially reconciled, he wasn’t seeing her and we were in counselling. I was spackling and pick me dancing like crazy. My dreams were screaming the truth at me.
            Then for months after I discovered all the nastiness through snooping I simply didn’t dream. Now I dream again, angry dreams, terribly sorrowful dreams, wailing in grief dreams, but I’m sure that’s good somehow. The revenge dreams are nice!
            The dreams will tell you they never change, but also show you that you are changing.

      • I’ve had dreams similar to yours occasionally. I could have no dreams about him for a long time, then one night they come unexpectedly. I consider it progress because I KNOW I don’t really want him back in the dreams. In fact, I’m mad at myself in the dream for taking him back. Occasionally, I’d even have dreams that I was going to have sex with my ex-husband and I just felt disgusted in the dreams.

  • Amazing isn’t it…how for fourteen years he was cheating, lying and manipulating, then upon discovery, NOT his own remorse and confession, but weeks and months of detective work, he suddenly has had a soul transplant and, hey, I swear on my Mothers life (loved that) I’m a changed person. If I would just believe him and let’s forget all about it. Then more discovery of cheating…moves out of state for a new job, four months later I bring divorce papers to sign, again…”I swear on Jesus Christ Jen, I’m a new person, in my heart I know I’m different…I know you may not believe me, but it’s true, I’m no longer that animal.” The next morning I find the “work” phone….six sluts all being told how he loves them….yep, he’s changed….changed address, his clothes, and job…but not who he is, a lying cheating sociopath asswipe! He even tried again just the week after the divorce was final…oh, not trying to get me back, but for image control…again, “I’m going to a support group, I found God, I’m praying for you Jen…I told them everything….” A month later while splitting our joint phone bill, I couldn’t stop myself from checking his call/text record…idiot, so many women from all over the country texting and calling all night and day…I couldn’t help myself, broke no contact to text him that I see he hasn’t changed, and oh by the way, two of your fuck friend have rap sheets…you may want to be more careful giving your real number out to just anyone….never heard a word from him. That felt good!! Let him sell his story to someone else…I’ve changed too! No contact is so good.

  • Upon receiving divorce papers, ex announced that he was willing to do couples counseling. A few weeks later, when I didn’t budge, he called and screamed at me for abandoning him when he was “changing” and “doing better”. He clearly felt entitled to forgiveness for making a few weeks effort after years of fuckery.

    • Yes, after I filed (2 months after D-day), he sent me a note saying that if I was going to continue to be broken and depressed, that we had to divorce. Duh, I already filed on you (but they never believe we’ll go through with it and give up the wonderfulness that is them). Plus, I was only “broken” when I had to see him because my limbic system just screamed “Danger! Danger!” whenever I saw him.

      Want to know what it feels like to stay with a cheater? Read the July 12th post of this: https://shatteredbyaffair.wordpress.com/2016/07/12/after-a-while/

      • So glad this will not be me. Thanks for sharing. I started not to recognize myself I felt so much fear and adrenaline from the crazy train he had me on. My limbic system is still recovering.

      • Well then Tempest, you should have said that not only you were guaranteeing him that you would be totally depressed and broken, but that you were also going to be totally bitchy, moody, and completely erratic. And other unfavorable traits would come out too in the near future, but you just didn’t know what they were and it could be worse over time, but there was no guarantee. 😉

      • Used to read shatteredbyaffair. My sympathy/empathy for her is gone. How is she any better than the cheater when she stays with someone she doe not even like, she cares nothing for him but stays. For the children is worn out, most research says it is not a horrible thing for kids. Growing up with two parents isn’t all that helpful when at least one of them is just using the other financially, is resentful and distrusting. If you can’t let go of it and trust the cheater after 2+ years, time to bail. I see nothing in her writing where she has been honest with her husband, meaning telling him she does not care about him. I doubt she says that to him. And time to stop playing the violin, acting like this is some great sacrifice you are making on the alter of parenthood. Her post before the July one was telling everyone to watch an Esther Perel Ted Talk and buying into this idea that people shame you for staying with a cheater. No, people don’t shame you for that, it’s just the story arc cheaters use to explain what’s wrong with people who leave (nothing is wrong with people who leave). I particularly take exception to her rants at people who say she should leave, how can you stay, I would never do that. She always says they don’t know what they are talking about. SHE doesn’t know either, she never left at all. If she wants that viewpoint valid then she should separate for a year from her husband and see how she feels. Rant over.

      • Tempest, what a worthy, heartbreaking, evocative read.

        I’m curious … when that fuckhead sent you the blame shifting note, in response to your having filed a mere two months after D-Day (mighty!), did you view it as accurately as you do now? Did you understand what he was doing, i.e. perpetuating abuse, to say nothing of stupidity? Did its content “throw” you? Or had you “unhooked”? You aptly describe the only damned reason you were “broken” around him: it’s called a normal response to abuse. His. Did you know that part, too?

        (Apologies if you’ve answered similar questions. I’m trying to track on everyone’s stories — and wow do they help — but I’ve not yet read every single post.)

        • I know, reading Shattered by My Husband’s Affair is what cemented me to leave the marriage; no way was I going to realize, as Shattered did, that it took her 11 months to “have more good days than bad in a week.” Uh uh. Better to take our chances with uncertainty.

          Yes, I had had enough of Hannibal Lecher’s verbal linguistics and gaslighting/blameshifting techniques.by the time he sent that letter the day after I filed. Even my oldest daughter told me, “just file already, mom.” Hannibal was a master of verbose manipulation, I’ll grant him that.

          Finding Chumplady the month before I filed helped shore up my defenses, stiffen my spine, and apply labels to each of his defenses:
          False equivalencies–check. Blameshifting–check (he told me I should stop obsessing about his affair and start obsessing about why he had been so unhappy with me at the time. Even 2 days after D-day, I called BS on that one). Minimizing his affair and its effect on me–check. Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse–check.]

          • “Finding Chumplady the month before I filed helped shore up my defenses, stiffen my spine, and apply labels to each of his defenses”.
            That’s a really good point Tempest. I feel that not having labels to identify the behaviours held me back for a long time. Because I’d never been that interested in psychology or human behaviour I was very inarticulate in that area. The traitor is an expert, has been through marriage therapy twice before me (!!) and CBT, jungian therapist, the lot. Still bat shit crazy as I discovered, but he’s mastered all the jargon and used it to manipulate me. So this site, which isn’t particularly erudite but gives access to so many detailed descriptions of these behaviours, and labels them, is a godsend for naive chumps.
            As you said, I also quickly discovered here I could tick things off a long list; suddenly it all made sense and I stopped trying to understand WHY poor traitor was behaving like this, WHAT I had done to provoke it (nothing!) etc. Can’t do it if we don’t have the words, we’re reduced to banging our heads on the floor in frustration and despair just like a toddler who doesn’t have the words to say how he feels or what he needs.

            • There’s a theory in psychology known as Psychological Essentialism–for some categories, we recognize that there is some ‘essence’ that underlies the superficial characteristics that an animal or thing has. E.g., bird genes are the essence which predict feathers, wings, laying eggs, etc. It helps keep our categories coherent, and to be able to predict information (If I see a bird, it will likely have wings, feathers, will lay eggs, etc.).

              The same principle underlies comprehension of our cheaters–once we realize that deep-seated character flaws are a cheater’s “essence” it predicts their infidelity, their blameshifting & gaslighting, their lack of remorse, their need for attentional supply, etc.

        • Annie–Yes. I wish I had a dime for every time Hannibal tried to turn the tables on me to make it look as if things were HIS decision. When I threw him out of the house, initially it was going to be for 2 days so I could think; he unilaterally decided he would stay out for 5. Things like that kept happening.

          Nine months after the divorce, we had 3 email exchanges, and each of mine ended with my lack of any desire to forgive him or to have any contact with him. After a subsequent debate about who got to claim my oldest daughter on taxes, he then ended the exchange by saying he no longer desired contact with me and “goodbye for good.”

          Laughable, really–he (like so many narcs) always has to be the one in control, even when they’re not. His latest line to friends is that he should have divorced ME years ago. Just more fodder for my novel….

          New chumps–realize that 75% of the things your cheaters do or will do is based on POWER. It gets them more excited than anything else in the universe.

        • Hilarious! Thanks for the laugh.

          AND your point goes to something that confuses me often about master manipulators: they are brilliant at playing people. Scarily so. My sicko fooled two MCs even though I flagged and framed the machinations in the sessions, and am usually articulate. So how can they ALSO be so damned DUMB that they would, in this case, have already been served with divorce papers, and subsequently insist that, uh, it was [now] time to get a divorce?

          • Shit – simultaneous post. The hilarious was meant for AnnieGYG, and Tempest, you just cleared up my conundrum. It’s about power. They don’t care if they look stupid. Or they don’t know that they’re stupid. Or they believe their hype (though I recently saw a decent bit of literature about covert narcissists’ NOT believing their own hype, but knowing that others will).

            • Fucktard is not only stupid, he’s lazy. If I told him he is a narcissist, he would want to one until he realized he couldn’t spell it. Then he’d just give up and move on to the next cool sounding word.

          • I think they actually are stupid and they believe their own narrative. I took drama in high school. To play a part well I had to get into character. To believe I was that person while on stage. When I left stage and the play was over, I was no longer that person. Cheaters never get off the stage. When they are with you or the OW/OM they are the role they are playing. It’s when the chump realizes the performance suck and starts chucking tomatoes at them that they get confused as to why you think they suck.

            • 9 years ago in the beginning of our relationship, traitor was in teacher training (only his 4th attempt at a different career, never finished it, never finished the PhD he was doing when he met the homewrecker in 1999, never finished accounting, never finished pre-med, he was doing early in his first marriage, blah, blah) and had to do drama. He’d never tried before. It turned out he was an amazing actor. I remember noticing how effortlessly and convincingly he could get into any character. I found it disturbing but I was in love and found it touching. I told myself he was working out FOO issues this way and it was good. My gut was warning me, and once again I talked myself out of listening to it. AnnieGYG you’re right, they never get off the stage.
              When you start noticing the performance is flawed you become the enemy like a critic that’s given a bad review (remember Monica in friends).

    • My X also insisted on counseling, but failed to tell me that the counselor he had selected was related to the OW. I don’t know if she was trying to move the process along for her cousin, but the therapist did tell me that X was a huge narcissist, who would never change. She wanted to “help me” learn how to live without him. Thank you, but no, I did not need my private feelings broadcast for all to hear. Since the counselor never mentioned her familial relationship to OW, there was no way in hell I trusted her!

      I knew all the promises to change were lies because I knew he was never going to change his essential self. As much as I despised the OW, she was not the problem. He was. I am at meh, but sometimes still wonder why in the hell it took me all of my adult life to see his true character. I guess in my case, love was blind, deaf, and dumb.

      • Yes, the OW could have been anyone. He went through others to find one that was morally bankrupt and easily manipulated. If she ever moved on, he’d just find another. He cannot be alone for a single day.

      • How did you find out they were related? Hopefully this was before you ever went to that therapist! She should have refused to see you guys.

      • Well, she may have said he was a narcissist to help her cousin. She may have said he was a narcissist because she believed it. Either way, it’s the truth. I’m beginning to wonder if she doesn’t like her cousin very much. If she liked her cousin, you would think she would refuse to do anything that would help her land a narcissist.

    • I remember reading about a similar situation on a RIC site. Like so many, they blamed the wife for leaving the cheater after years of abuse! They said after all her years of being a “giver” and “forgiver” she gave up and became a “taker” right when he was finally REALLY ready to change and be devotion to her! They were taking his word for it after a long track record of lies and deceit! No wonder there are so many chumps!!

      • Oh no. She missed out on seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Oh wait, she didn’t miss out. She just decided to leave the tunnel, because she realized it’s the only way she’d ever see the light. Uh, didn’t he promise devotion beginning on day 1 of the marriage, not day 1,000,000,000,001?

  • Cheater ex in my case never offered to change, cause “he wasn’t doing anything WRONG!!!”, don’t ya know. Only in some alternate, nut bait universe is dating/fucking a whore while you’re married not wrong.

    He did however, promise each time he was caught contacting the whore, to stop contacting the whore. Whether he finally did or not I don’t know because I lost interest in checking. He actually said to me, on one of the d-days that ” I didn’t know it would hurt you. I didn’t mean to hurt you. “. Sure thing, buddy, that’s why I have been crying all this time and you didn’t know why. All I had left to say at that point, besides Fuck You, Liar was nothing.

    • Mine never offered to change either. He was too concerned I would constantly remind him of what he did wrong. That was his take the week after D-day. Gosh darn consequences! so I divorced him and we haven’t spoken in at least six months. So it’s possible he might have changed, but I don’t plan to find out because it’s highly improbable. I trust that he sucks!

      • Mine wasn’t going to change either – like you Anita – he did nothing wrong! Besides, changing would mean giving up the his true love – beer. It was all my fault he cheated because he wasn’t getting laid when coming home from the bar 5 nights a week reeking like beer and cigarettes. Besides, that fake affair I had 16 years ago made it “OK” ya know….

      • Unfaithful said he knew I’d never forgive him so why even try to be honest and upstanding? Gee, I don’t know, maybe to be a better person and a great Dad to your children?

        • I said the same thing to my ex – be a better father to your children. The really sad part of this story is this…He asked me to forgive him. I asked him if I did to you what you have done to me would you forgive me? His answer “No, I don’t think I could”…..FUCKER….another reason why he will never be a part of my life again.

          • I totally hate this. Because then it’s somehow like they have superior self esteem, when to me this is not about self esteem at all, but rather about Christian heart. Or, whatever faith. Something about to love is to forgive.

            This really bugs me.

            • He did a good job being a good Christian man. People that were in Bible studies with him were shocked. I asked him if ever worried about his salvation and he said he was good because he couldn’t out sin his forgiveness. UH dude… Commandment No. 6 – thou shalt not commit adultery?

              • “he said he was good because he couldn’t out sin his forgiveness”

                Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone use that as an excuse. Like, even so — make a little effort?!!

              • Yep. Said his salvation was secure because he accepted Christ. Uh aren’t you supposed to confess and repent? Not go running back to Jezebel. She didn’t know who that was when she said her mother called her one.

              • Lldodd – I had to laugh when you said she didn’t know who Jezabel was! I call mine “Judas.” He asked me once, after I referred to him as that, “WHAT is Judas?” Seriously!

              • Fucktard hasn’t picked up a book in years, and even then he skimmed. I bet he thought the 6th commandment was “thou shall not comment on adultery.” See, now it all makes sense.

    • My cheating ex not only never said he would change, he DID say he loved himself just the way he was and would never want to change. His only concession when I was stupid enough to agree to “reconciliation” was that he claimed he wouldn’t lie any more. Of course that turned out to be one of his biggest lies of all.

      IMHO, adults very rarely change their core personality or character in any significant manner. It’s almost always true that history tells you what you can expect in the future.

      • When my ex ‘was asking me to take him back, I asked what he would have done differently in our relationship, looking back, He said he’d be clearer about his needs!!!!! At least once I started really paying attention to what he was saying, I had ZERO doubts about whether I should take him back or not!

  • When stbx was served on a Thursday, he messaged to ask back for my engagement ring. The Sunday he was seen at movies with his ea partner/ex coworker. Monday he messages me declaring he has a problem, he needs God,yes he is arrogant and full of insecurities and anger and he was too proud to ask for help but he wants his wife by his side and his wife should be able to walk.with her head held high And he should respect his wife in private and in public, and he wanted me to go to counseling with him blah blah blah. Heck he even took himself to a couple appointments. Got the counsellor to call ans invite me too. I declined.

    It takes you over ten years to figure this out. He was nasty to me the whole year we were separated. He’d been sleeping around and lining up supply. No real effort was given to trying to reconcile though he would hint. He was telling me we could get back together in three years. A few days later I see a message from him to ea telling her they could get together when they are 40 if they are free. Never told him what I saw. They will only deny.

    To read CL is to be fore warned.

    Within a week he was back to his raging , condescending, abusive self. When he went to the lawyers a few days later he went with his financials already done. Seems he had been getting help on that end and he went asking for full custody of the children. Lol! Reconciliation was never an option. I struggled with hope. Beat it down every time. Anyone who walks out on me stays gone. And if I walked out on someone I’d stay gone too!

    Never trust them.

      • Decades ago, a father said to his son on the occasion of his son’s divorce, “Marriage is like a fine dinner at a fancy restaurant. You enjoy it to the fullest and make it last as long as you possibly can; enjoy every moment, every bite, every morsel. But once that beautiful meal is over and it all goes into the toilet? You don’t go back for seconds.”

        Said dad married and divorced same woman (son’s mom) twice, then enjoyed choice side dishes or fast food for a while. Some years after the above statement, he went back to original wife once more, and the original pair has stayed together now for the duration.

        So I don’t know whether what he said was good advice, or to pass the salt.

  • My ex pulled the I’ve changed line in me too, he has a court order that states he’s not allowed unsupervised time with our 1 year old unless I agree to it. He was on full on charm mode and he was soooooooo convincing that I almost gave in.

    Sitting there like the model citizen, it reminded me why I fell for it the first time, he’s so good at pretending to be a normal person. It actually made me forgive myself as I’ve spent the past 18 months beating myself up for being so stupid, after this exchange it made me realise that anyone would fall for his fake image, if it wasn’t for chump nation I would have been sucked in again.

    It’s actually given me a new spin on Switzerland friends too, I can totally see how people are fooled by him, if it was not for this site I would have been sucked in by him twice, despite everything he did to me whilst pregnant! Once a chump always a chump

    • Fair point about Switzerland friends and even some cheater supporters. If these people were so good at sucking us in, and we were spending more time with them than anyone else, and have seen their most despicable behaviours, it is understandable that outsiders would be fooled too.

      • Yes, good point about the Switzerland friends being swayed by the same charming manipulator that we all were swayed by. Except that many of them also buy that the chump did something to bring on their own victimhood. I give a pass to the Switz friends who recognize the X sucks for cheating on their spouse, but still find the cheater fun or interesting to be around. But if you buy the cheater’s bullshit that “marital problems drove me to it,” then I no longer consider that person a friend.

  • Owning the crown of the Queen Unicorn of Chumpdom…I never even waited for this proclamation of change. He didnt offer any promises of change…I must have thought by not divorcing, all these promises were some how inferred. <— not true, dont make this mistake

    Later, I realized that in every TV show I had ever seen where a cheater gets confronted, they always say "I love you, Im sorry, I never did anything like this before and I never will again" I almost thought that apology was inferred too. Later, I realized that on DDay, he never said he loved me (he said "I wont apologize for falling in love!") he never said he was sorry, he never said he hadn't done it before (cause he had) and he never said he wouldnt do it again.

    I think my nowdeadhusband, unlike others, didn't particularly like outright lying…he told LOTS of lies of omission but seldom had to lie because I was SO convinced that he would NEVER do such a thing, I always assumed the very best of him and never questioned him.

    • Wow! This is so very perceptive, and I can totally relate. Cheater Ex was a master at lies of omission, and he also dabbled in the art of creating the illusion of contrition. After DDay#1, he feigned humility, telling me “I will do whatever you want me to do… If you want me to leave, I will leave. If you want me to stay, I’ll stay.” Wow, way to put all responsibility for your actions on me, while appearing to be giving me whatever I want. After DDay#2, when I did finally kick him out, he played that card for time with the kids. “I want as much time with the kids as you are willing to give me.” Again, appearing like the good guy, but knowing I wouldn’t give him anything more than the absolute state mandated minimum time (ya know, cuz I love my kids…).

    • OMG unicornnomore, that is EXACTLY what happened with Affair #1 in our house! I ASSUMED all that good stuff; remorse, recognizing the value of our life together and our kids intact family, re-investment in making our relationship work …… It was so OBVIOUS to me, that I never noticed he never said any of that stuff, until I started noticing he wasn’t SHOWING any of that, not doing anything to repair what HE had broken. I was making all the effort. He even refused to continue couple counselling because it was ‘too hard’. The only thing I got, because I insisted on it, was his promise that if he ever found himself ‘so unhappy’ in our relationship that he was tempted to cheat again, or if he were ever just tempted to cheat again, he would leave FIRST.

      After Affair #2 and my kicking me out, he was trying to get me to let him come back. He admitted he’d ‘forgotten’ about that promise. Under a great deal of pressure, he admitted it had been wrong for him to fuck around again – then resentfully said that must be obvious. I told him I’d thought it was obvious the FIRST time, but it clearly wasn’t obvious enough.

      My ex was another one who didn’t like to lie straight out (although he sure did when useful). Mostly it was lies of omission, letting me keep thinking one thing when he knew it was different …. I bet he still thinks of himself as an honest person (vomit!).

    • Me too, he never said he would change, never apologised for “being himself”, never promised he wouldn’t do it again. I did all the spackling myself. I just yelled at him that it was me or her, choose now and find a MC counsellor of your choice so you can’t make excuses that I chose and you don’t like them, I would go along and I would also get help from GP for PMS/menopause issues which had supposedly made me “asexual” -we had sex a couple to 3 times a week but he called me asexual, he only came into our bedroom for sex then would leave and sleep in the spare bedroom since 2014!!! So I did my bit, and initiated lots of sex too. Then he complained to MC that I was using him like a gimp! Bastard was still cheating but I didn’t know because I was choosing to trust and save the relationship, with the encouragement of that nitwit counsellor he chose.
      Traitor said he was not ashamed of what he had done. Also said after a few months he was a serial monogamist (while cheating!). He sounds convinced he is an honest person.
      The man would redefine any word so suit himself.

  • I got the “I will always love you” and “If I had to do it all over again I would marry you again, mostly for the boys”.

    When his duplicity was discovered by me and called out on the signed reconciliation papers within hearing of is slut, she threw him out. He came crawling to my sons while I was out of town attending my sister’s funeral. Now this lovely piece of trash asked him “Why would you want to go to your ex-wife’s dead sisters funeral?”. This was before she found out about the signed papers putting the divorce on hold.

    He begged our children to give him another chance that he really wanted his family. They told him it was up to me. I was so furious to find him back in my house if I had a gun I would have shot him dead. He begged me, swore he wanted to be married, wanted his wedding ring back etc etc. I made him call his father and tell him what he had done.

    It lasted a whole 9 weeks. In the meantime, while not directly in touch with her via text, he was emailing/texting with her brother. When he announced he needed some space and was moving in with a co-worker(same story as the 1st time he moved out). I asked was he going back to her and he said no. He was through with her. So that was when I started keeping track. After he moved out he still was acting like he wanted to work on things. Then he started acting squirrely again. THAT’s when I knew. On his birthday, he said he was meeting his room mate for dinner and would have dinner with me and our sons the day after. I check the bank account and he paid for dinner to the tune of 90 bucks at a pizza place?

    Two weeks later we met to discuss financial matters etc… I gave him enough rope to hang himself before he confessed that he was indeed living with her brother. I asked him he was seeing her again and his excuse was “She wouldn’t take no for an answer”. Yeah right fucker. I asked him why he continued to lie to me and everyone else. His response as he was crying “I don’t want people to see me as a bad person”. UH asshole – You have been lying and cheating on me for 3 years what part of this do you think doesn’t make you a bad person? More crying, more poor choices, never meant to hurt me…promised my dad the day we got married he would never hurt me. I told him if my father was alive he would not hesitate to punch his light out at 90 years old. That night I told him I was too good for him and he didn’t deserve me or our children.

    Our youngest went through another mental health crisis during all this..his response “bummer”. Youngest son barely speaks to his father. While he wasn’t “involved with her” I found him at her apartment when he could have been spending time with our youngest son. I packed a bunch of the shit he left at the house and dropped it on her doorstep while he was there and said “Special Delivery Asshole” and left.

    Everyone from my counselor to my lawyer has said when Cinderella dumps him for a younger richer model he will try to crawl back into my life. Well good luck with that Prince Charming. I have a circle of friends and family that will let you no where near me for the rest of my life. I took you back once.

  • For the sake of my three children, I gave my ex-hole another chance. Worst 6 months of my life. I hated every minute of playing Marriage Police. When the second D day came (shocker, no?), I kicked him to the curb with my head held high, knowing I had tried every.thing. I could. I do believe in second chances. I do not believe in thirds.*

    After the first Dday I did do the STD and credit check. How I wish I had found Chump Lady before then and had known to get a post nup!

    *No judgement on anyone else’s decisions. Got nothing but love for my fellow chumps. Sometimes I feel like we’re a nation of beautiful idiots, always hoping for and seeing the best in others.

    • “Sometimes I feel like we’re a nation of beautiful idiots, always hoping for and seeing the best in others.”

      This. I am still this. I can’t quite stop hoping and seeing the best in him. 🙁

      • You wouldn’t see the best in him, if you got in his thoughts and found out exactly what he thought of you. I assure you, you wouldn’t see the best in him. It is likely he’s thinking how he doesn’t want to be with you anymore, and is sexually lusting after other women, and is not attracted to you at all. He is probably bad mouthing to you others, that you’re controlling, insecure, too sensitive [Insert other insult to discard you]. And he is likely making arrangements to screw you over. All the while he tells you to you face a completely different story. This is what is likely going on in his head. These cheaters are con artists and charlatans. So you do still see the best in him?

      • I also want to add that I pegged my ex as “not a nice person” pretty much in a few months. I was telling my gfs, and they ALL tried to convince me otherwise, telling me I should give him the benefit of the doubt, that I was too quick and harsh to judge, yada yada. 6 Months down the road, I was right. So much so that my gfs apologized to me for misleading me and admitting that I was right, that my ex was not a nice person. My ex was a charlatan.

        • Trust yourself, Kellia. Being a super chump most of of my life, I shouldn’t be told that I’m too quick to judge people. If anything, I let things go too easily and have to muscle up. We have too much experience now to ignore what we’re picking up about someone.

  • This is brilliant, Tracy. I never heard “I’ve changed,” from my cheater, but if he had said that I’d have loved to come back with something like this. I admit I was so intent and focused on trying to change my cheater back then that I barely stopped to think about what I wanted, but the words you wrote above clearly reflect what a person with good self-esteem would say.

  • “The cheater is not that person, but a NEW person you can trust!”

    Ha, ha, yeah right. Exactly this!

      • Thank you for that image, Tempest. I might print photos of viper and bunny to remind myself of empty promises whenever I interact with STBX or ex-boyfriend who is making overtures again.

        • @RockStarWife—-my ears pricked up—- the XBF is now making overtures? You’ve told us about your recent hurt by him over on the Forum.

          I hope you are doing ok….

          {{hugs}}

          HATC

          • Yes. He has been very attentive lately. Only time will tell if I have a unicorn–or the other 99%!

          • What if the snake wants to kill you. He may be shiny, but when you’re dying, you won’t care he’s shiny or prize winning multicolored skin.

            • It’s true. When I left X last year, I was so physiologically blown out that for the next many months, I was constantly at the ready with a spade and the strength to cut that snake off at the head, with one hard strike, and at all the heads that might spring from its place.

              Why that conviction has wavered lately, or ever, I don’t know.

              • It’s because he may have relaxed on the attacks against you, and so you forget. But these people never change.

              • Kellia, I really needed to hear this today; thank you.

                I’m *significantly* changed since having been NC for the better part of a year. The one thing that has *not* changed, I find now, is my tendency toward slipping right back into the ease of loving this man when everything feels “good” and “nice” and on even keel.

                “He may have relaxed on the attacks against you…” Yes, and the heart of me wants to believe that means change on his part. The heart of me *does* believe that. I mean I am sitting here with it beating in my chest, and it’s contented and believes everything is looking up.

                When I try to connect my thinking brain to it, both sides repel. Brain doesn’t want to second guess heart; heart is asking logic and confirmation; brain is telling heart — sweet heart! — to leave brain alone.

                Heart is animal and sweet and ready to just receive X back, flaws and all. Brain is like, I have a *ton* of other work to do, heart, and I’m not going to apply *any* thinking to whatever you’re up to.

                I don’t know what this disconnect is called, but it sucks. I’m done with therapy so this time it’s just a matter of continuing to make right decisions, moment to moment. This site helps.

              • LuckySeven – my therapist told me to ask myself one thing -“Is the decision I am making good for me?” I have couldn’t absolutely say YES! don’t do it immediately, let is simmer, and ask yourself later the same question. I have kept myself from making a large number of foolish decisions since 9/30/14. Which is DDay. My heart and head were in conflict many times, but this is time to take care of an nurture you.

              • Snake bites heal over time and we forget the pain we endured… but remember, you had to detox from the poison… the open wound was exposed for quite some time as a reminder – all while the snake slithered away. And, your mind forgets.

                I make a purposeful and conscious effort every day – sometimes many times a day – to reality check what I THINK vs what I may be FEELING. I fell in love with a lie because I let my heart lead… unfortunately, my heart is way to sentimental (and just a tad bit willing to believe I don’t deserve anything better). But my brain knows – i suffered straight up emotional, spiritual and physical abuse from Mr. Sparkles… and I deserve so much more.

                And so do you LuckySeven, so do you.

              • Oh Lucky Seven, I’m glad I can help. I’ve dealt with my fair share of mentally disordered people from the day I was born. And rest assured, that if you go back to interacting with your ex, the attacks against you will start all over again. Trust me, I’ve been through this with my mother, my entire family and some exes. They never take the gloves off.

              • LuckySeven,

                I can’t comment on the brain & heart statement above, but I wanted to throw in my 2 cents. I think most of us have gone through this problem. Two things that worked for me were 1) My brain told my heart to shut the hell up and it is not allowed an opinion. My brain told my mouth to actually say these words out loud. Yep, ridiculous as it sounds, it mostly worked. 2) When my heart wouldn’t shut the hell up, I talked to myself as if my sister was going through my exact situation and gave her the advice of someone who has been through total devastating heartache. Yep, pretend you’re talking to your sister, mom, friend, whoever, and tell this person you love and don’t want to ever see harmed what she should do. When the heart begins to argue, tell it to shut the hell up.

                I think I may have read this awhile ago on Chump Lady, and it actually worked. If anyone overhead me, I guess I would sound bat-shit crazy, but better crazy than married to it.

              • Annie, I love this! I just kept telling my heart it could feel whatever it wanted, but it didn’t get to participate in decision making where the cheater narc was concerned, because clearly it had no competence in that field!

  • Oh yes – how I love the “I’ll do whatever it takes” line they give. I heard that one and yet he wouldn’t:

    – get a blood test
    – wear a condom for six months and continue getting blood tests
    – unlock all passwords on all accounts on all devices
    – parent his son (my stepson) who was partying all night every night with no accountability to get a job, have a curfew, or STOP UNDERAGE DRINKING IN OUR HOUSE
    – be faithful
    – engage in our family life and activities on a daily basis
    – share financial responsibilities – everything was always in my name

    But, Mr. Sparkles and the OW are just building a perfect new life based on honesty and open communication, only:

    – she thinks it is understandable that he gaslighted me about his multiple perosnal ads because afterall, our marriage had become sexless (UM – which came first #4, the chicken or the egg?)
    – he lied about still being married and actively going on family vacations when they met
    – he maintained his AFF account throughout the first 18 months of his new and improved relationship
    – he did get a blood test… HMMM?
    – he completely ignores his children that are 18 – 24 years old and struggling (not so shiny)
    – he pimps our son to her and her kids as his primary child to include for vacations and weekend events

    THEY DON’T CHANGE. THEY JUST CHANGE PARTNERS. And, just like that iron table on my porch that I just repainted last week… in a few years, it’s going to need a fresh coat or else all you’ll see are the chips and rust because what’s underneath stays the same.

    Great writing today, CL… and soooooo timely.

  • Yeah, mine figured I was the one who needed to change even with her caught cheating. Such arrogance. Well, I did change…got a new life with a new wife. So much better without that arrogant cheater!

    • I got that too, DM. Even down to the end of the divorce proceedings he sent me a nasty text saying “You needed to humble yourself and change”. Really? I did. I filed.We’re divorced.

      • Just what you needed, life advice from a liar with no moral compass… better-off shaking a magic 8 ball for an honest assessment.

      • +1. I was told I needed to “own my part in the demise of the relationship.” This from a serial cheater in two long-term marriages, caught on Adult Friend Finder, Ashley Madison, and in a sexual harassment suit with a student.

        • I’ll own my part. It was 28 years ago when I said, “I do.” Yep, I own that. But that’s all Fucktard.

          • Same, I own all the times I expected her to change and act like a good wife instead of leaving and finding a good wife..

  • It’s just so arrogant that they think you’ll be overjoyed at “I’ve changed!” What they don’t get is that we are people too, who have our own dreams and likes and opinions. And what they really don’t get is that their infidelity changes us from trusting, invested partners into suspicious, disgusted people who can’t love a liar.

    We’ve all gotten that bullshit “You gave up on us!”. Nope. We’ve faced reality head-on, and we decided we don’t want to waste one more precious day with an emotional robot. We are not bit players in their soap opera of a life and we won’t follow their script.

  • He knew better than to even try to run that one by me. I had told him when we were dating that if the relationship went anywhere and he made the promise to commit, cheating was a complete deal breaker. My first husband cheated almost constantly and was so arrogant about it that he never tried to hide anything. I divorced cheater ex number one after three years of marriage. Done deal. I wasn’t about to go down that road again.

    Well wouldn’t you know. Cheater ex number two was a lot sneakier…

  • After DDay #2 I didn’t get the “I’m a changed man” so much as I got the “I realize I’m a fool, you’re the best person I ever met, I never stopped loving you (when you were fucking strippers and spending half your take home pay on them), I never stopped wanting you” (oh gee, thanks, I’m right up there with the paid sex), etc. Even those crumbs were only after I refused to accept responsibility for his cheating the way I did after DDay #1. But when I laid down the ground rules for what he needed to do to get me to take him back? All that fake remorse faded away. “Wait, you mean I actually have to WORK at being a better man/husband/father??” Then not so much. The key for me was to stop listening to the talk and to start watching to see if he walked the walk. He didn’t. So I walked right out of the marriage and have never looked back.

      • I know right?! Since he moved a stripper/fluffer into the cabin we built for our family after we separated but before I filed, I’m guessing that whole “have to stop having sex with strippers” thing never actually happened. I’m just glad I was smart enough to stop having sex with him until we “rebuilt trust”.

  • I did not experience this. Of course, he didn’t do anything wrong…they were just friends. I was over-reacting. He was only sorry that I thought it was something more than it was. Ass. I kicked him out. Even in my shock, I knew something was not right with the DDay confrontation. He didn’t apologize for hurting me or lying to me or disrespecting me or ignoring our son at night while he texted the homewrecker.

    Only one time he mentioned he MAYBE screwed up….he told my brother-n-law, “I think I messed up.” You think?

    Right after DDay, he went NC on me and he also went to counseling alone at least twice. I was never invited. He was and is a coward.

    He left me with all our bills, debt and raising our son while he played house with the OW. Now they live together with her teenage son who has a picture of Adolf Hitler holding the Mein Kempf on his Facebook page. He’s a real winner and obviously has a set of adults deeply concerned about his activities and thought life.

    My Ex never said he would change. But he did. He stopped wearing the mask.

  • My ex never promised to change; he never thought of himself as the problem. The only thing he promised me was the “fix things”, which basically meant he would be nicer to me if I kept my mouth shut.

    In retrospect, I am so grateful for this. If he had given me any hopium to smoke on, I would’ve hit the pipe for at least another year or two. But now I know that even if he did become a new person, he still wouldn’t be the man I thought I married because that man would’ve never betrayed me in the first place.

  • Remorseful people never stop asking for forgiveness. Corrupt people stop.

    “The corrupt man tires of asking for forgiveness and ends up believing that he doesn’t need to ask for it anymore.” (P.82)

    Thank you Pope Francis.

    From his book, The Name of God is Mercy.

    I believe, all of us here were with corrupt people. Only God can intervene in their lives to give them the “grace” of shame. The only thing we can and should do is move on and let God do his work.

    (I know not everyone here has a belief in God, which is a very personal decision. This is for those who do.)

    • My wife said she stopped saying sorry because it didn’t seem to be working anymore… I thought that sounded like more bull… more like she was tired of me having mistrust from her betrayal, wanted me to get over it faster.

      Thanks for clearing that up Pope Francis. 😀

      On a note related to this thread.. I think I realized I was done when I no longer cared where she was or what she was doing, and secretly hoped some other guy would take her away for me.

      • Oh yes, absolutely! To me, that’s the definition of the blissful state of Meh. That and I wouldn’t pee on him if his hair was on fire. That image doesn’t work as well for women but you know what I mean. 😀

      • Calamity, that was a good post. x told me a few months before 2nd d-day that he didn’t understand why God would “let” him do bad things if God knew “everything” we were going to do beforehand. Alas, the x was just like a leaf in the wind, blown to and fro, without him “making” right and wrong decisions on his own. So somehow God is to blame, too. That was when I really started to get the idea that this man has no moral compass whatsoever and that all he had been doing all this time was using me as a moral compass, until he found a woman that was as corrupt as he was. I would tell him to repent and ask for forgiveness, but his idea, apparently, was that God was not all that merciful and that he should not “need” to try to be a good person, God should have taken care of that somehow. I really was upset about that for a long time and then, bam, I find out he is cheating again.

        • My cheater said something similar to me. God made me like this. So it’s God’s fault!!! WTF!!! Demented Douchebag!!!

    • This quote rings so true for me! My ex was remorseful for a few months, after the kids started refusing to see him, and while he was trying to get me back. We got a few apologies, but he expected things to go right back to ‘normal’ after that – even said to our daughter once, ‘I’ve apologized, what more do you want?’. Now he’s VERY nice to the kids (who do see him once a month), but nasty to me, because the kids not forgiving and forgetting how badly he treated them for a year and a half is clearly MY fault, right?

      He declares that the reason we’re not together any more is that I changed, I’m bitter and self-righteous. Well, in one way he’s right, the reason we’re not together is because I changed – I don’t spackle any more – and he hasn’t.

      • So nice to kids and nasty to you….allllll image. They seem to need emotional punching bags. Thing is my stbx is nice to kids in my presence. Seems he is not always nice to them when they are alone with him. He told them he wants them to sound happy when he calls to speak to them.

  • If they are cake eaters, probably a typical response. Mine wants me and only loves me. She found that out the day I found she was banging a 26 year old. Its interesting. Truth is they need to go be better for someone else. For me, there is not getting past the knowledge I have in my brain. Some things never go away if you have to see them everyday……. Its all BS they don’t love us….. or anyone if truth be told. One can not do what they do if they did. I hear stories all the time about guys cheating. Seems the theme is I was neglected. The kids came first. I felt like a paycheck. Ignored. Etc…. well guess what? I was that guy. My kids were her only priority. She spent money like it was water. I felt like an intruder a whole lot. I never did anything right in her eyes…… But because I loved her….. I ran from opportunities to cheat. Its all BS they suck.

    • Been there.. you ran because you wanted to keep your family and your self respect intact. It’s the respectable choice to make for all parties involved. I know at times I thought “damn, I should have..”, but no, you made the right choice for you and who you are. Being neglected and abused, ignored and treated like a paycheck wasn’t enough to make you compromise your values. You didn’t make excuses to justify becoming a creep like the guys you mention. You probably tried to start honest conversations to figure out ways to work on the marriage when you felt problems. That’s the method I tried… I had no idea I was having honest conversations with a liar..

      • Damn I should have…. passes through my mind a lot. Truth is I could not. No excuse no reason to cheat in my world. I have seen enough of it over the years to get a basic grasp on how bad that shit is. So as the shunned guy, I told myself the kids are temporary. We do have to raise them the best we can. When they leave, then maybe we can find what we once had. Till then just deal with it. By the way that is a huge mistake. I should have put a stop to that shit a long time ago….. kids don’t come first! Marriage first kids next! Well it appears that the kids first has done some significant damage to them….. along with a cheating spouse…. what a waste of so many years.

    • David,

      There’s a big difference if your character and those other men being ill treated by their wives…you didn’t cheat. It amazes me that people actually get involved with a married person and actually believe they were treated badly. Perhaps they were, but the fact that they are having an affair already proves them a liar, so why does the OM or OW believe them. It’s just stupid. Being treated badly is no reason to cheat.

      I’m sure Fucktard told the OW all of the above, because he told me how badly I treated him. He told me that I just wanted him around for home maintenance. I replied, “You mean like the bathroom drywall that been waiting for over 5 years to be repaired?” He told me that I only wanted him for his paycheck. I replied, “I make more money than you and don’t buy toys with it.” He told me that all I wanted him around for was his dick. He actually said this to me. I didn’t say anything because what ran through my head and I really wanted to say was, “Yeah, I like sex. I like it a lot. But if all I wanted was a dick, I’d pick a working one.”

      I just turned away and wished that I had a man to come home to who would want to talk with me, work on our lives with me, and play and have fun with me. I still wish for that. The only difference between my wish then and now is that now it’s possible because I am no longer married to Fucktard.

      • Annie,

        I, too, hear, ‘You want me for my paycheck,’ especially when I ask STBX to pay child support or half of fees for medical services or just one session of reasonably priced sports, art, whatever lessons for the kids. He tells me that I have manipulated our kids into taking lessons and receiving services (e.g., psychotherapy) even though our kids have asked for these things. (They ask for very little.) Criminal STBX still often tells me that I am a terrible (negligent, critical, selfish) parent, wife, and person. I need to keep reminding myself that he is a psychotic, paranoid, personality-disordered abusive vampire WHO SHOULD NOT BE BELIEVED and who will never change for the better. Sadly, he will probably live longer than I will–I would love to have even one day in my remaining life knowing that he could never physically/emotionally/financially hurt me ever again!

        He probably thinks that I will also beg him back for his dick, the dick that goes everywhere, even when payment is required (by prostitutes). I prefer to get my sex elsewhere–or nowhere at all if no good, loyal man is available to me!

        • When my ex says things like ‘all I’m good for now is to pay the bills’ (he’s such a self-pitying ass), I don’t even reply, because IT’S TRUE!!!! I had hoped he’d be a decent father to our kids, but he couldn’t even manage that.

          It’s still hard not to get riled up by their blame-shifting and nastiness, but I keep reminding myself, ‘consider the source’. Sigh.

          Once the kids are grown I hope to never see nor hear of that man again! (It helped a LOT that he moved to another city ….)

          • Karen,

            I may adopt your reminder, ‘Consider the source.’

            I have a front row seat at the pity party, too. Last week, STBX told me that I should pay for 100% of fees for one of our kids’ activities (a birthday party) because STBX was going to be out of town on the day and, hypocritical prick that STBX is, made it sound as though I would be ‘bad mom’ if I didn’t, STBX then complained about how (1) I put HIM (STBX) in a position in which he needs to live with his parents (although he repeatedly cheated, abused, and filed for divorce, although numerous times I begged him to stay and even told him I would ‘let’ him keep affair partners–yeah, I’m a certified chump) and (2) I was making a PROFIT! (He conveniently forgets that he is months behind on modest support payments and refuses to acknowledge that, not even having gone to trial yet, I have spent nearly $100K on lawyers, mostly to defend me from STBX’s false criminal allegations against me! This month, I am looking for a tiny, dingy old apartment for the kids and me so that I can work in a dilapidated work site in a dangerous, dirty city. But poor HIM (touring the world and staying in four- and five-star hotels)! Reminds me of something a former teacher used to tell my class when someone behaved in a self-pitying, entitled way–‘A tiny violin is playing a sad, sad song.’ Guess that even modest child support payments can cut into the fun of wining and dining other women and men (STBX, I discovered 1.5 years ago, is bisexual) in a ritzy bachelor pad. Looks as though the Karma Bus has not wiped out the jerk but has run over his feet.

            • I feel for anyone who has to do the custody issue, child support, and/or alimony. I never gave up my career to raise my kids and have respect for anyone who did and now finds themselves in the position of starting one, and making much less than if they had one all along. If he would have made those comments about me wanting him for his paycheck after sacrificing a part of me to give to my children and home it would have been hurtful and caused me more doubt. He said something so obviously false since I out earn him and for the past 10 years he wanted to just stay home (kids in school) I was just thinking it was a fucking joke. He said all this before I knew there ever was an OW. I suspect he was grasping at straws from the cheaters handbook to justify his secret life. And what the hell is wrong with a wife wanting sex from her husband? I just wanted to scream at him to turn off the damn TV and pay attention to me.

              • Annie,
                Very sad that one needs to wave a flag in front of his/her spouse’s face to get any attention. I hope that you get much more attention, positive attention, from now on!

              • “He said something so obviously false since I out earn him and for the past 10 years he wanted to just stay home (kids in school)”

                What’s up with these men who don’t want to work? Seriously, the majority of my gfs are married to men who don’t work, and I have men who I date that tell me that they’re so tired of working (they’re in their late 30s or early 40s), and they wouldn’t mind staying home while I go to work if things get serious between us. What happened to the real men who actually want to be employed? I just don’t get it.

              • Kellia,

                I know right? I would have been more than happy if he stayed home before the kids reached middle school. Nope, he started talking about it after the youngest started 7th grade. I told him absolutely not. I was not going to work all day so he could stay home and do nothing, or go play golf, or go to the bar. I swear the more raises, promotions or awards I got at work, the more he wanted to quit his job and stay home. I received a very large promotion just before dday and he was pissed off. He said he was proud, but I just stared at him because I could tell he wasn’t.

                I went into the military directly after high school so never got a college degree. I just now realized he wanted to stop working about the same time I enrolled in classes at the university. The last semester before I earned my degree, I was taking two 300 level classes, getting a professional certificate for my job, and working 50 plus hours a week. That was the most hectic semester I had ever done, most of them were pretty easy and I could plan ahead so I didn’t have assignments or work on the weekends. I’d ask him to plan something that we can do or places we can go to get away on my little off time. That last semester I had one kid in the military, the other had just graduated high school. He didn’t plan anything. He would then get pissed if I didn’t want to stop my school assignments to go to the mall with him. What, are we sixteen? I ask for dancing, festivals, camping, boating, fishing, dining, and he suggests the mall?

                And he wanted to not work. Putz.

        • Even while married, mine used to say “I just write the checks around here,” as if the children and I were greedy for wanting a roof over out heads and electricity.

          When I went grey rock with him in an email, he accused me of being rude to someone “who is still supporting you and DD15.” Dude, it’s called “child support,” and because of you, my salary is still lower than it was 14 years ago when I gave up a tenured job to move for your better position. Frankly, cheaters are hysterical once you’re distant enough from them.

          • Damn you and the kids for wanting food and shelter. You know, you could have just folded the check in half and made wee little tents. Problem solved.

          • Tempest,
            As someone who has ‘done time’ in academia, I understand what you have sacrificed. Your ex’s behavior is horrendous in so many ways!

      • “The only difference between my wish then and now is that now it’s possible because I am no longer married to Fucktard.”

        Well said, Annie! Here’s to wishes coming true for all the loving, devoted Chumps in the world.

  • X pretty much bragged about “I won’t change.” Yea, buh bye. Left homeless after that.

  • After being chumped, I embarked on a period of dating. I began seeing a guy who was a confessed cheater, and was still only separated. This was before I discovered CL, but I think I was trying to learn how to handle such creatures, not realising that they are never worth anyone’s time.

    At the outset of our dating, he used my computer, which had a keylogger. That meant I had his email password and dating site ID, where I met him. Sadly the detective in me thought that it would be a good idea to monitor his activity for a while, mainly to gauge his relationship with the stbx. What I did find out was that he was still in fact chasing an ex-gf who had already kicked him to the curb for cheating and being generally a boor. The ex-gf couldn’t quite give up on him and instead continued arguing with him by email.

    Following their correspondance was a lesson to me in how duplicitous a cheater can be. I would see a message between them in an afternoon, and then he’d be over for dinner all smiles and luvey-dovey. I played along for a while for the fun of it…he did take me out and pay for things so it was company, and a big lesson in human nature. It got so that if ex-gf asked him over at the last minute, I knew he would cancel on me, so I would adjust my plans and be busy. I knew for sure I would never want him, but the thing that astonished me was how clever an actor he was.

    I finally turned the tables on him. We had spent a lovely day together. I left and drove home (an hour away) and that night, he was begging the ex-gf to see him. I just erased everything I had on him…numbers, emails, photos…basically blocked him from my life. He tried knocking on my door a few times after that, but I lived alone and always ignored it. He finally drifted away, so my conclusion was “out of sight, out of mind”. He just saw all women as a means to an end….getting laid, or dinner cooked!

    • @Marci—-wow, your experience with this guy was soooo similar to what I went through….. I even had a very similar computer experience. The minute he drove out MY driveway in MY car (with the story he was running an errand for US), he was contacting whoever…..these guys are such opportunists and users of single women.

      Thank god I wasn’t married to him. I got rid of him by GETTING RID OF HIM, no lawyers needed. He went straight from my house to a homeless shelter.

      • Forgot to mention: Your ‘means to an end’ description is spot on. I told him many times “you just see me as a means to and end—you being able to cheat” That shit came to a crashing end.

        • Yes, and what is always a danger in becoming embroiled with such yo-yo characters is that we chumps learn to be manipulative and cynical in the end. I knew that BF was a cheater, I knew he was a no-keeper, but I feel as though I strung HIM along simply because I loathed his modus operandi. I wanted to see for myself how truly shallow a cheater can be, really to convince myself that these creeps are never worth a moment of attention, no matter how charming, handsome, successful or wealthy they are. Underneath it all, they don’t see the world beyond their own reflection, they are sick, they hide it for years.

          “Changing” is just a costume change to them.

          • Yes and changing for these cheaters would require them to become normal. And being normal is something they never were and may never be. It’s because they’re disordered that they cheat. If they were normal, they would have had good character and they woudn’t have cheated. But they simply would have ended the marriage and walked away. So changing for these abnormal people would mean re-wiring their brain to think like normal folks. And that doesn’t happen without some serious therapy and years of core work.

          • Marci – that takes some balls to sit and listen to a faker lie and cheat on you, just to see if you could learn anything about how shallow he is. I guess I would have dunked his shallow stupid head into that shot glass as soon as I found out.

      • This change thing reminds me of another ex-bf who, while at my house letting me cook him dinner, asked me if he could check his email on my laptop. He didnt know of course that my keylogger sends me an email on my phone every half hour, summarising the past 30 minutes of keystrokes on my laptop. So, by the time the potatoes were boiled, I knew the creep had been messaging other women on Pof, and generally.douchebagging his way around porn sites…while,I slaved away dicing vegetables for his sorry dinner.

        I went in to the room where he was sitting and asked him to come outaide so I could show him something…then I stepped back in the house, slammed and locked the door. He stood outside until I leaned out an upstairs window and told the stupid arse to not bother coming back if all he could do was lie, cheat and bum off me. He was totally stunned, but never came back.

  • Its funny how after years of cheating, stealing and lying to you I everyday possible, they feel that they do one thing right and suddenly they deserve a medal. One of my friends cleverly told me after I kicked him out after Dday “Whatever you do, don’t sleep with him. The only thing that has changed is his address”. We are now almost 5 years after Dday and my divorce was just granted two weeks ago. None of his behaviors have changed, if anything, they have changed for the worse.Good riddance to bad rubbish!

    • I agree Kurleegirl!! This is so typical. They change ONE thing for 5 minutes and we need to roll out the red carpet, sound the trumpets, put a royal robe and crown on them, and pay eternal homage to their 5 minute act. Please. They can go F- themselves. How about I get the red carpet royal treatment for how I treated my ex lavishing attention and so much more on him. I deserve an Empress type of reception them by him. And I’m still waiting for it. They can kiss my a–.

      • Kurleegirl, you wrote, “…they feel that they do one thing right and suddenly they deserve a medal.”

        Kellia, you wrote, “They change ONE thing for 5 minutes and we need to roll out the red carpet, sound the trumpets, put a royal robe and crown on them, and pay eternal homage to their 5 minute act.”

        YES. Well said, both. I have a remark that infuriates these types, Fiend included. Without a hint of derision, I VERY occasionally ask, “So you want a Bozo button for doing the right thing?”

        Takes ’em a sec to figure out what I mean by “Bozo button.”

        I use that moment to walk away, and with exception of Gaslighting Cheater From Hell, to ignore whatever they say … for which, of course, I get vilified and pathologized. I’m not even close to having the shields up when Cheater goes there, but with others, including one N and one BPD family member, I got there, which gives me hope that despite my current level of terrifying weeping spells and what feels like insanity, I’ll get there with Cheater, too. Fighting back openly is occasionally worth it.

        Most of the time, though, I just think it to myself, WITH derision: “Sooooo, you want a Bozo button for doing the minimally decent thing?” It helps.

    • Congratulations on the finalization of your divorce, Kurleegirl. Another chump gains the wings of freedom!! Stay strong and beautiful.

  • some research on how hard it is for cheaters to change…even when they say they want to…

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

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

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

    • Fuck the studies, there is no such thing as a sex addiction. if there were you’d be in intense pain from friction…no matter which gender you are. Unlikely a cheater can go honest with the person they disrespected and fucked over. Let them go, find someone you can learn to trust, learn how to gauge a person by actions not words so you have a better chance of finding someone honest.

      • Cheating is in my opinion the tip of the iceberg. They are predators without morals. They are addicted to being self serving fucks.

        • Doingme: I couldn’t agree more. You are spot on!! Cheating is a symptom of the real monster that is lurking underneath the facade. They are predators with no morals or conscience. If they had been normal, they likely would not have cheated.

          • “I believe, all of us here were with corrupt people.”said Calamity Jane and Doingme:
            “Cheating is in my opinion the tip of the iceberg. They are predators without morals. They are addicted to being self serving fucks.” You two are so right. And it is the hardest part for me, realizing that I’ve been married for almost 20 years to a fake person. It is even worse than the whore knocking on my door to introduce herself as the one of the many prostitutes my role model Christian(Jesus cheater), godly man, fucked at will. It hurts so much. I wonder if the astonishment one day will go away. Adultery is just the manifestation, the symptom of their decease . Corruption.

  • I never heard the “I’ve changed” speech because I guess he was smart enough to realize that I knew better. One of the things that came up during our MC was that he felt I couldn’t change enough “to be the woman he wanted me to be.” When he first moved out, after a few weeks of feeling absolutely miserable, unloved and unwanted, I took a long, hard look at myself and yeah, I realized there were things about me that I wanted to work on so that’s what I did. I started eating better and regularly exercising, began to socialize more and was accepted into a graduate school program. Basically I worked on myself inside and out. What did he do during those first few months of separation? He continued to feel sorry for himself and eventually found some miserable low-life to tell him what a great guy he was and hooray for you for having the courage to abandon your wife and child in search of YOUR OWN HAPPINESS.

    During a particularly painful and humiliating episode of the pick me dance I asked him what he thought about all of the positive changes that I had made over the months. He said, yeah, I noticed, good for you. I asked him if he had worked on any things himself during the same time frame. *Crickets*

    Right, because our marriage had been suffering because of all of my faults alone and had nothing to do with his crappy attitude, control issues and lack of communication efforts. He knows that I know better. Occasionally he will feel some pang of regret of his treatment of me over the years and he’ll tell me that he knows he could have done better. Yep. But knowing and doing something about it are two completely different things. Some people are just incapable of change. A fact I wasn’t able to accept for a very long time. If I could go back, would I have moved on a lot sooner? Perhaps. But I’m the sort of person who tries to take an experience and learn and grow from it. You can bet your sweet Chump arse that I will no longer allow a person to treat me as a subhuman being.

    All that matters now is that all of those changes I made actually were good for me and are allowing me to live a better life for me and my daughter. It also helps to me to see how very much of a sad sausage he is and how miserable he is wallowing in the cesspool of lies and deceit and poor choices he himself created. He said to me once, “see, because I left you were able to better yourself.” But I was quick to correct him on that assumption. “I’m better IN SPITE of you leaving, not BECAUSE.” I will not allow him to take any credit for my own personal improvements.

    • Done4Good, it never ceases to amaze me how alike every asshole who cheats is. Saddam told me what had happened was good for me! His main tenants were that I’d lost weight (Skeletor Dat), I’d been buying new clothes (mine fell off me, see above) and that I was getting out of the house (to go to therapy appts…). He followed that up by saying it wasn’t good for him and crying over his fate. Nothing new in their pantheon, there must be a site they all go to.

      • That’s it, Dat! My ex once told me that ‘it was for the best’, since our son was happier once he was out and the fighting stopped. Never mind the fighting was ABOUT THE CHEATING and prior to that about his general asshole behaviour, Then when the kids mentioned to him recently that friends of ours had divorced, he smirked at them and said ‘see, marriage isn’t easy’. It isn’t the divorce the kids resent, you idiot, it’s the lying and cheating and then neglecting them horribly! Our friends divorced honestly and openly and they’ve both made big efforts to be good parents through out.

        But the reality is, they will grab at ANY possible excuse for their horrible behaviour.

  • I have to say that whenever I hear a cheater saying they’ve changed, I want to laugh out loud for about 15 minutes straight. That is the biggest bunch of baloney ever served. Real change takes time and requires deep introspection and work on yourself. Something these cheaters don’t want to do, as they are incapable of introspection and being self-aware. And only time really tells if they have changed, with these fuckwits, it’s easier for them to pork someone else than to go through the hard work of therapy and self-reflection. Also, if these assholes have mental illness, then good luck with that, because that’s even worse. It’s easier for me to just move onto someone else, who is capable of reciprocity, kindness and caring. That, and I’d rather drink acid, than go back to a cheater or mentally disordered person. They can go play with other messed up people. I have better things to do with my time.

  • The variation I heard was “You don’t believe people can change?” in a snarky voice…

    I know I saw some changes on the surface… Image control type of stuff. Most of it didn’t last very long, a few things did. She started wearing her wedding ring. That was a huge effort I’m sure. No way to verify she kept it on the entire day.. but it was change.

    • Ok, that one is a killer. She STARTED wearing her wedding band? You can’t make this stuff up. I’ll bet she did expect a huge reward for that. Mine just kept “losing” his. After the third one, I stopped buying him another.

    • ‘“You don’t believe people can change?” in a snarky voice…’

      That’s when you go all Mamet on her, “Co-rrect.”

    • “She started wearing her wedding ring.” What a bitch. I’ve had mine off for over a year and the indentations from constant wear are still clearly visible. Fucktard has no such indentations. What a little prick.

      • I wore my wedding band for 25 years straight without taking it off.. She was cheating when we went to buy the replacement that she never wore until after she got caught cheating. If I ever asked about it, I’d get “so-and-so doesn’t wear a ring, xyandz doesn’t wear a ring….. Like a 10 year old. Now I know that’s a major red flag, don’t even ask if they’re cheating.. just leave.

        • I’m right there with you. Fucktard said he couldn’t wear his because it was dangerous around the machines and he didn’t want to lose a finger. It was reasonable and even smart. Then he came over to myvhouse after work about six months ago to give me paperwork. He was wearing some kind of leather band around his wrist. Really, couldn’t lose a finger but willing to now lose a hand. I’m waiting to rename him Hook.

          • Annie – you are cracking me up. Yeah – ready to lose a hand.
            I scraped together money to buy him a wedding ring and my mom gave me the other half.
            He never wore it.
            Said it would get caught in machinery he worked on and guess I couldn’t argue. You know, a farm boy at heart.

            He worked on a keyboard for a living. pfffft

            And, never once worked on a car or a broken pipe.

            • Now that I think about it, maybe I will anonymously send him a long, thick gold chain for a necklace. Hey, industrial accidents happen.

              • Annie, I was so sad reading through the comments here, but you made me laugh. Thank you.
                .Please, do buy the chain, but fake gold, fake people do not deserve real anything, buy real gold for your honest, faithful self.

  • Mine didn’t quite pull the “I’ve Changed” card, but while we were sitting in Divorce Court waiting for our turn the judge asked the first couple on the docket “are your differences irreparable?” The Narcissist looked at me and said… “Um, I dont mean to sound stupid here but are our differences irreparable???” haha

    …Not unless he can figure out how to not be a narcissist anymore and undo the fact that he started having sex with his next victim 30 seconds after I moved out of the house…

    • LOL…. We were the 1st up in the courtroom that day and the Judge asked her if she understood everything pertaining to the divorce and the mediation process (oh she did!!!)? She stood up and said; “well i think I’d like to purchase the house from my soon to be x husband(It was like the 4th time she changed it….OMG… I just wanted rid of her…each time more, MORE (could have been a movie)”! He said “well you can go thru meditation again or work it out”. She said ” we can work it out”. The judge said why are you getting divorced if you get along so well? The courtroom burst out LAUGHING, and I was just shaking my head. My x-wife is a 1st grade teacher: at least her boyfriend the 4th grade teacher (Hector) didn’t show.

      She still plays me….. thank goodness for CN/CL keeps my head straight!

  • On D-Day #3 (I guess I’m a slow learner) and I work in mental health, what the heck? when I finally finally said I’d had it, go live with the ho-worker, about whom we used to laugh as we watched her serially screw her way up the ladder of administrators of a small liberal arts college until she got THE BIG ONE–Vice President, my exhole–and both were promptly fired—anyhow, my exhole made two very chilling statements when I served him: 1. ‘To do this I have to hate you’ which he did by badmouthing me to anybody who would listen, and even those who wouldn’t, falsely reporting me to Child Protective Services (immediately unfounded, but I work with children with severe mental health issues in a private practice), tried unsuccessfully to have me arrested, the whole game. Even more chilling was his statement about our 12 year old daughter: 2. ‘You will never see your child again. WE (meaning him and schmoopie) are the family now.’ Which he proceeded to pretty much make true until about a year ago when my daughter returned to me, battered and bruised emotionally but still my kid, not the hateful spiteful child who was emotionally and tried to be physically abusive to me during her teen years.
    Now, my present partner is more of a Father to her than my exhole will ever be, and she tells me how she values how much I am always always there for her, no matter what, with no judgment just support and assistance as she needs it. She’s now 25, and a graduate student in psychology—she got free tuition as an undergrad because somehow her Father found another temporary job which he also got freaking fired from, anyone see a pattern here? but daughter feels obligated to pay Daddy back the Parent Plus loan he took out to support his lifestyle while she was undergrad. Bbygrl was not speaking to me at the time or I wouldn’t opened up the gateway to the quite generous 529 education fund my Dad started at her birth which allows her to attend graduate school through her PhD tuition free. But her Asshole Dad is making her pay him back student loans that he used to fund his fun with schmoopie. And my daughter and I missed 12 years of her life–but we’re certainly making up for it nonw

    • Oh Second Lady, that is so sad. The harm done to our children is the WORST. I’m glad you and your daughter are reunited. That’s a happy ending to a sad story. Hopefully she will get over the need to pay her dad back for something she shouldn’t owe him to begin with.

  • People don’t change. If a cheater has spent YEARS honing their behavior, it’s ingrained in them. Not after they fuck everything up, not after they have to deal with the consequences, not even when they find a shiny new partner. They are what they are.

    People may suggest, “Well maybe they learned something and will be better with the new one.” Nope.

    The good thing about accepting this, is once it’s over, you KNOW you’re not missing anything. The cheater takes that shit behavior with them to the next one. I don’t sit up at night cutting myself because maybe Mr. RK found “true love”. I know better. If he doesn’t have a triangle going on somewhere, he doesn’t know what to do with himself. He needs a harem of idiots telling him what a fine upstanding man he is. How do I know this? Because perusing his old emails after D-day proved it. I think in one week, he hit on an IT vendor, emailed a co-worker offering to take her to lunch, and talked about another co-workers tits to his work buddy. The dude was relentless. Then he’d go home to me and be Super Husband. Eeesh.

    • “I think in one week, he hit on an IT vendor, emailed a co-worker offering to take her to lunch, and talked about another co-workers tits to his work buddy. The dude was relentless. Then he’d go home to me and be Super Husband. Eeesh.”:

      Unfrigginbelievable, what a con-artist and a charlatan. I can’t believe he did this. You’re right Rumblekitty. These people don’t change and we’re not missing out on anything, because they take their shit behavior wherever they go. Reading this made me feel better for kicking my ex to the curb. I wonder once in a while if he’s changed, but then I think “nah”. He’s the same shit he was when I first met him. And you’re right, they don’t learn anything and won’t be better. Good riddance!

  • He never was sorry and never did any work or offered to do any work to change. The only thing I ever heard was that it was twu luv and he was sorry he got involved with her in the first place but he just fell in love and “Moved on”!!! Now he lives with the OW out of state, hasn’t talked to me in a year and has abandoned every connection he had here except for very intermittent communication with our son. When I caught him for the 4th time (same OW!) last May, he said: “You wanted me to do things.” Yeah, I wanted him to stop fucking her. I wanted him to go to counseling by himself. I wanted him to get an apt and learn to live alone. I wanted him to go to AA. I wanted him to get tested for an STD, which he never did. I wanted him to be sorry and all I got was that he fell in love and didn’t love me anymore. After 35 years together, I got the silent treatment and financial abandonment because it was twu luv. And it must be, because a year has passed and he never spoke to me again, never gave me a dime and I got stuck will all of the marital expenses, and he never stopped cheating with her.

    • Lostandfound – Unbelievable. I just don’t understand how you (and many others) were left financially abandoned in this day and age of 50/50. If you had money or assets, surely they were split up. Tell me you worked with lawyer.

      Your story sounds so much like mine, except I took his ass to court and got every dime I could.

  • I read this article and all I can think of is South Park the Movie and Saddam Husein singing the “I can change” song and at the end when it goes all dark the Devil makes a weird noise and Saddam says to him “You like that bitch don’t you!”

    LOL

    • Yeah, the devil hopelessly in love with Saddam Husein, telling Kenny his troubles…thanks for the reminder, Lothos. Oh man, that movie….

  • The Cheater in my story changed BEFORE I found her steamy chat logs detailing her undying and UNWAVERING love for her boyfriend. She even said she was GLAD I’d found out what she was doing. Standing tjete in that instant, both of us looking at the chatlogs blown up on the computer screen (I’d found them and increased the screen resolution so the letters were HUGE, and she couldn’t possibly deny what we were both seeing) That NOW we can move forward and work on our relationship, TOGETHER! Isn’t that nice? I get the PRIVILEGE of ‘moving past’ this with her because she SAID I did!!! God I was such a fucking chump.. Of course then after her declaration of being changed she said she’d ‘already been planning to break things off and if I’d have just waited a while and not discovered her relationship with him HE would have been out of her system and she’d be all mine!! She’d have done it all by herself! Whatever the fuck that means. ?? thinking back on it now it’s INCREDIBLE! Of course we all know that she simply made a do or die split-decision. She’s such a sociopath that literally, within the pause of a breath’s inhale, she’d decided to slap on another mask, feign humility in the face of my pain, and plot how to smoothe things over enough to go even more underground with her affair, and keep her one ‘true love’ on the hook a little longer.. Buying time til they could be together. Mindbogglingly. But we all know what happened. She told him MY baby was his (I snuck in a home DNA test on the hospital) and I outed her the second time I found their affair.. The second time I found her chats and emails I confronted him and told him everything she’d told him was a LIE. That I was the baby’s father and we were LIVING together!!! That sent her into a silent rage that brewed for YEARS! Then she took my kids and left and married him and screwed me big time by waiting til I turned my back and adopted my daughter to him, legally..
    So yea, she’d totally changed. .

    • My goodness what a wicked woman…

      Yea sometimes I can muster a chuckle at the nonsense. It is just so uncalled for. They treat us like we are deceitful lying cheating… oh wait ! Deflection much?

    • It is just a matter of time NoHope…someday her Chump husband will start getting FULL doses of her Sociopath and his world will come crashing down like yours did. THEN, he will remember what you told him about the children being YOURS…and then HE will get a DNA test…and HE will figure out a way to contact you. This info is logged firmly in the back of his mind because you told him in spite of her being a very good liar…and he wont forget that.

      Your children will be united to you as a consequence for what SHE will do to his soul in the years ahead, I am certain of that. Why? Because she only wants what she cannot have…and someday she will want yet another man when she tires of this one…using him up, and then he will be discarded too. The ONLY way HE can “pay her back” for the horror that she will put him through is to reveal who their REAL bio dad is if he has even a tiny bit of conscience about how SHE screwed you and your two children out of their rightful relationship. He will have a massive wake up call by the time she gets through with him over the years. Then the game is ON.

      Meanwhile, I am sure that he will take good care of them for you…SHE is the wicked one and he lives in denial for the time being.

  • Here’s the deal for me. Real change is hard and takes time. I’ve been doing therapy week by week for most of 30 years to re-learn all sorts of things that went wrong in my FOO and to learn for the first time how healthy people respond to success, failure, joy, pain, fear, etc. How to process my own emotions. How to be in healthy relationships instead of fixing people. On and on. It’s tough and painful sometimes (less so now than in early days or in crisis).

    We think, though, that the shock of nearly losing the family has somehow brought the cheater out of the fog and the cheater “gets” what is obvious to the chump–how valuable and precious the relationship or marriage and family are. We believe the words spoken in cheater desperation and image management and cake preservation. In reality, a chump’s best play is to step back for a long while and observe how words and deeds align, with a tough and unsentimental eye. That’s hard to do because, at rock bottom, we often value others more than our own health and self-respect. Speaking as one who was discarded (and who heard the narrative of “I’ve changed” as Jackass was exiting, stage right, it still took me months to figure out that the problem is he sucks. And to trust that.

    • The dumping only got me a voice mail on how I was “right”, ya think, you idiot, you picked the company bike, everyone has had a ride. Then later on there was the text that “he was back”. He was back, about how many “personalities” did he have and was he back from getting a pep talk from the devil?? They are really evil, because I had told x that “I wanted the “old x” back, the one that was “sometimes ok”, that wasn’t a complete dick. Ok, I wish I had phrased it like that, but I was still in chump mode at that time.

      Nope!!! Just walk away from the “I’ve changed” talk. It’s just talk and no real action. Actions, chumps, actions, that is the only thing that really matters with these f*cks. But if the trust is gone, there is no need to look back, to try again, to do anything ever again, just go on with your life, go on with you mighty life, go on in little increments but go on.

      • “You picked the company bike, everyone has had a ride.” Too funny. I will definitely be repeating this one.

  • Mine used “I left and won’t go to MC because SHE will never change!” with anyone who’d listen as part of his sad sausage devaluation explanation of why he abandoned a 38-year marriage. What a malcontent witch and shrew I was – forcing him to leave. After all, he’d been so miserable, for so long, and didn’t HE deserve some happiness after being so terribly misused, unappreciated, and unloved for All These Years?

    Thing is, he cheated on his first wife as well (a friend who knew this for a fact came forward not long after D-Day). And cheated on me for (I’m finally realizing) over 10 years before I found out. Amazing the insights that come along the road to Meh.

    So, Shithead, exactly whom in this relationship hasn’t changed??

  • The Limited never changed. According to him I was the one who needed to change. The day I filed I did change.

  • Having stayed with a serial cheater for over two decades and taking him back twice, I now know that the fable “The Scorpion and the Frog” says it all. The last line, “I could not help myself. It’s my nature.” says it all.

    The Scorpion and the Frog

    One day, a scorpion looked around at the mountain where he lived and decided that he wanted a change. So he set out on a journey through the forests and hills. He climbed over rocks and under vines and kept going until he reached a river.

    The river was wide and swift, and the scorpion stopped to reconsider the situation. He couldn’t see any way across. So he ran upriver and then checked downriver, all the while thinking that he might have to turn back.

    Suddenly, he saw a frog sitting in the rushes by the bank of the stream on the other side of the river. He decided to ask the frog for help getting across the stream.

    “Hellooo Mr. Frog!” called the scorpion across the water, “Would you be so kind as to give me a ride on your back across the river?”

    “Well now, Mr. Scorpion! How do I know that if I try to help you, you wont try to kill me?” asked the frog hesitantly.

    “Because,” the scorpion replied, “If I try to kill you, then I would die too, for you see I cannot swim!”

    Now this seemed to make sense to the frog. But he asked. “What about when I get close to the bank? You could still try to kill me and get back to the shore!”

    “This is true,” agreed the scorpion, “But then I wouldn’t be able to get to the other side of the river!”

    “Alright then…how do I know you wont just wait till we get to the other side and THEN kill me?” said the frog.

    “Ahh…,” crooned the scorpion, “Because you see, once you’ve taken me to the other side of this river, I will be so grateful for your help, that it would hardly be fair to reward you with death, now would it?!”

    So the frog agreed to take the scorpion across the river. He swam over to the bank and settled himself near the mud to pick up his passenger. The scorpion crawled onto the frog’s back, his sharp claws prickling into the frog’s soft hide, and the frog slid into the river. The muddy water swirled around them, but the frog stayed near the surface so the scorpion would not drown. He kicked strongly through the first half of the stream, his flippers paddling wildly against the current.

    Halfway across the river, the frog suddenly felt a sharp sting in his back and, out of the corner of his eye, saw the scorpion remove his stinger from the frog’s back. A deadening numbness began to creep into his limbs.

    “You fool!” croaked the frog, “Now we shall both die! Why on earth did you do that?”

    The scorpion shrugged, and did a little jig on the drownings frog’s back.

    “I could not help myself. It’s my nature.”

    • Love this story. The band Megadeth says it well in their song “The Scorpion”,
      “My life, is everything
      That feeds my thirst, that causes sin
      No shame and guilt, there’s nothing more there
      Look deep, into my face
      I sell deceit, without a trace
      Fear not, what I can do
      Unless you, want it done to you……..
      As I climb onto your back, I will promise not to sting
      I will, tell you what you want to hear and not mean anything
      Then I treat you like a dog, as I shoot my venom in
      You pretend you didn’t know, that I am a scorpion
      My self, I’m centered in
      There’s nothing else, there’s never been
      And I dream, to be left alone
      With the sadness, the madness of my own
      Look deep, into my soul
      It’s black as coal, like a bullet hole
      Fear not, get off your knees
      There’s no defense, you’ll do what I please
      My lies to reach the shore
      I aggrandize, and nothing more
      My hopes, to steal away
      All that you love, I’ll soon betray
      Look deep, into my past
      The pain I feel, is unsurpassed
      I’m not a lowly scorpion
      I’m so much worse, I’m the fall of man.”

  • I was married to mine for 30 years.. he was a serial cheat and I didn’t respect myself enough. He found a sugar momma, left me and the kids, moved to FL and married her. Well the kids went to see him last week and my daughter came home and told me that he was talking to her by their pool, of course he was drunk, and he said “I still love your Mother”.. right at the same time, the new wife was walking through the door and heard him. Slammed her beer down and walked out.

    I am still giggling about that.

    • Ah ha ha, what a way to welcome your new wife into your life, by saying you still love your former wife. Nice. I’d be chuckling too…

  • Yes… screwing around for two years, OW finally has enough and leaves him (for good this time) THAT’S when he decides he’ll change for his family! Mofo. “I’m ready to change now and focus on my marriage and family.” EXCUSE ME?????

  • Well, my Ex’s first affair was at 10yrs, yes I forgave and trusted again young dumb ass I was, then at about 20yrs he did it again moved out for 6months, and after lots of tears and stress, my middle aged dumb ass self believed him took him back surely he was old enough to realize what he’d done to me. Well after 32yrs of marriage, blindsided me by announcing he wasn’t having fun any more, I was no fun and he was moving out. This time was different he said no one else involved. Well there was a OW and she hung in there for 5 more years of us being married, so now my old age self, 7yrs post separation and 2 yrs post divorce can finally say I was a CHUMP for sure… I am finally happy again just by myself with my 2 rescue dogs. loving my life finally, she has him and right now the relationship with my 3 adult daughters and 2 grandchildren. I will go to my grave not understanding this journey but finally at peace.. They have their decision’s to live with and innocent grandchildren are deprived of their Nana. Lord may he never cross my path again, and take him first so I will get a raise in income. If that sounds cold oh well…The truth is the truth…Fellow Chumps don’t waste your life believing he can change, a leopard can’t change his spots!

  • Diane Dixon – You sound very Mighty to me. Yes, we were all blindsided (especially us LT married folks) and kept going along with things for too long. I will never understand HIS journey at all. But, I am getting a light at the tunnel end of what mine is, and so far, I’ve now woken up and gone 3 hrs without him coming into my head. This is after 3-4 yrs now. Yep – a big journey and now I understand how all those people wrote those Micky Mouse silent movies back in the 20’s. They were violently human.

    I’m so happy to say, the vacuum he left has been filled by other people, good people.
    And, no – no thanks to dating.
    Forever. I’m enjoying being my own boss for a change and it’s really super fun to finally find yourself without being attached to anybody.

    • Shechump, Ditto: I takes longer then most friends and family think it should. But my tunnel has a bright light, and also no thanks to dating, just enjoying being free to be myself, and come and go as I please.. able to love myself again.

  • Little long but fun. I might go exploring more of the earlier Mickey Mouse cartoons. They had a real message.

  • My XH would continuosly say “Then GET to know ME!” when I would remark how I just didn’t know him at all… crazy part was I think I always DID know him. He was always selfish, made mean jokes and would call me a big baby because i didnt think they were funny (veiled insults), sucky father, entitled little boy, unloyal, a follower, then when his OW entered the picture and i saw how I would get the “f you bitch” texts and they’d get the “i miss you” memes I finally realized he never cared, was using me and was pissed because I was cutting off his primary supply. Buh-bye.

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