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Dear Chump Lady, What if he changes for the next woman?

fraudfoilDear Chump Lady,

I called off my wedding three months before the big day, after discovering that my fiance was sleeping around with multiple women, including his ex.

Anyways, as stupid as it sounds, I feel like I was completely blindsided. He was so amazing to me and he was the one who pursued me all this time. I mean now that I look back, maybe there were red flags. Anyways, I know I don’t want to be with someone like that, but I have this fear — what if he changes for the next woman? What if he takes the lesson from this mistake and becomes the man I thought he was?

I honestly feel so silly as I am typing this, but I would love your opinion on how I can overcome this fear. Just to give you some idea, he never really took ownership of his mistake and said he was just having fun, even blamed me in front of his friends for the whole thing. I don’t want to ever go back. I want to move on and be happy again. Please help. Thank you.


Dear Carmel,

You miss the lie. We’ve all been there, Carmel. The man he pretended to be, the creature you fell in love with, the heady intoxication of love bombing, the unspoiled Eden of trust… The lie felt good. The reality sucks.

Reality is your friend here, however. Reality is this creep PRETENDED to love you, CONNED you into a commitment, let everyone else invest deeply in that con (hope you got the deposits back), and CHEATED on you with multiple women.

So now you’d like to swap one lie — the hologram you fell in love with — for another lie — the person he COULD be if he “changes.”

Sorry Carmel, the person he is is that guy who never really took ownership of his mistake and said he was just having fun, even blamed me in front of his friends for the whole thing.

That’s the REAL HIM.

Betraying you was a bit of “fun.”

That’s your prize there.

What you’ve got is a classic case of “Trust That He Sucks.” The hopium vapors are still dissipating. You’re still clinging to the wreckage. Let go.

1.) Let’s buy the reconciliation narrative for a moment that he’s changed (he won’t, but okay). The Wizard of Therapy gives him a new heart. Now you’re back together again and he’s wonderful! He’s so into you! He wants to commit to you forever!

You’ll never trust him again. How could you? He was super into you before the whole time he was fucking other women. He’s really good at fronting lies. The is he really real question will haunt you. It doesn’t matter if he changed, he destroyed the trust.

2.) It doesn’t matter who he is for the next woman, he broke this relationship. You must rebuild. I know that’s exhausting, just thinking about it. All that time and love you invested in this person — can’t you get that investment back? Nope. You can only LEARN FROM IT. Whatever those red flags were? PAY ATTENTION. Fix that picker. Go be awesome without him.

3.) He’s a sick fuck to do this. If you really need to detach, keep reminding yourself of this. Healthy, sane people who make good life partners would NEVER do this. Only really disordered, shallow, mindfuck freaks do this. Courtship, engagement — this is supposed to be the loveliest part of romance — it’s the high. It’s life before kids and a mortgage and the disillusion of a thousand annoyances. He couldn’t even sustain THAT. He couldn’t even be there for you when it was WONDERFUL. Now imagine who he’d be if you had cancer, or your mother died, or you lost your job.

Time for that cliche — you dodged a bullet.

Please don’t stand up and take another hit.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I think it’s not only a matter of ‘Trust he sucks’ but also ‘Trust that in good time you won’t even CARE whether he’s better for the next one or not’ (AKA Meh).

    • Carmel trust he sucks. Know that one day you’ll be grateful for learning the truth before the wedding, recover from this nightmare and work to fix your picker.

      You’ve experienced how he treats a life partner first hand. He won’t change. My husband has been a serial cheater / liar / fraud since his first marriage 35 years ago. I learned very painfully that 5!!! other wives and fiances kicked him to the curb before me. In addition to the love bombing, he wormed his way into my simple life with my kids, with charm, helpfulness and massive lies about his past – claiming he was only married twice and his last wife broke HIS heart by cheating. And chumpy me, never having experienced deception at this level, ignored the red flags and my gut instinct.

      How I wish I learned the truth before the wedding. Not 11 months later. And not after another year of fake reconciliation and abuse.

      People show you who they really are Carmel. Trust he sucks. And trust there will be others worthy of sharing your life and love.

      • Me too!!! Same guy?! They ALL SO VERY MUCH SUCK. “In addition to the love bombing, he wormed his way into my simple life with my kids, with charm, helpfulness and massive lies about his past – claiming he was only married twice and his last wife broke HIS heart by cheating. And chumpy me, never having experienced deception at this level, ignored the red flags and my gut instinct.” So this! Exactly! An entire divorce he neglected to mention! Vilified exes! I was a single mom living a modest but stable life just beginning to date again when he swooped in. Things in the house would get fixed and money would never be an issue. Never mind the restraining orders, massive debt, back taxes, and that he’s a child support deadbeat — the cheating while we were “exclusively” dating and during our “engagement” was just the tip of the iceberg! Thank heavens I had not made any major financial decisions, and wasn’t yet married to him. I am 10 months no contact and I my kids and I are happier than I thought possible.

      • Carmel-
        Great question I’m a new chump and this thought keeps coming back to me “but what if he changes for her”. I found out about the first affair three months after our wedding on the day before thanksgiving he was sorry (he said it but I made the therapy appointments etc.) we reconciled blah blah now four years later many more red flags emotional abuse and anxiety I’ve filed for divorce. Be glad you found out when you did, it may hurt but you did dodge a bullet. I agree with this article a fuckwit is a fuckwit they don’t change we want to believe in the lie the happy ending we thought we would have. Instead of wasting time believing in bullshit focus on you, your a badass. This website book and other chumps have been the best thing that has come out of this for me I ❤️You Chump Nation ???????

  • Carmel, I totally get it. I think we all ask ourselves this question. Chump lady hit this response exactly right. Even if he does change (which he won’t), he broke your trust and your relationship. If it makes you feel better, I did work on things with my ex husband, thought the same things. Invested another eight years and two kids. Sure, we had some really good times, but he cheated on me when my son was two months old and it hurt so much worse the second time around. I’m saying this to give you a picture and fast forward to what it feels like to invest in that hope only to have it shattered again. You can do this. Trust that he sucks!

    • Thank you for your comment! My STBXH is a repeat offender. Second time while 8 months pregnant with our son and the third time was 2 weeks after our daughter was born. Very eye opening. He’ll never change. Why plan to have children if you’re just going to blow it all up? Guess he thought I’d continue to be a chump.

    • This is basically my story too. What’s with the cheating while pregnant or just after birth? Narcissists can’t handle it when they aren’t getting your fully undivided attention.

      Carmel, truly, see him for who he really is, and trust that he sucks.

    • This! It does hurt so much more the second time around I think because it takes so long to build up the trust after the first time and then we feel so extra chumpy because It Happened Again. Or maybe for me it was the third or fourth Agains, and I never find out about the other ones. I’ll never know. It’s hard to process not being able to trust ourselves and our instincts after all. Yes, there were some amazing moments in between his boundary breaking, and yet I never completely ever trusted him after that first time. I became hypervigilant which is addictive in the worst way thinking I could control his behavior. It was like carrying around a jar of hornets and a jar of butterflies. Most of the time, the butterfly jar opened, and life was wonderful, and then the jar of hornets would bust open, and I would end up face down in the gutter blaming myself because I’ve seen the jar of hornets bust open before. Was I to think it wasn’t going to happen again? Once I realized I was carrying around a jar of hornets, I should have gone running. But that meant leaving behind the jar of butterflies, and I’ve always wanted a jar of butterflies. So now I miss the butterflies so much, so I’m on the search for jars and jars of them.

      • Great analogy, ChumpDude! Yes, being with a cheater is all too often like carrying around a jar of hornets (or, for HungerGames fans, tracker jackers).

      • Love your analogy. I don’t know how much of my relationship was butterflies and how much was hornets, as he will only admit to the bare minimum and denies what the other woman told me. I wanted the butterflies jar, felt happy I was a person who had the butterflies jar, never once thought I had the hornets jar too. It’s hard to come to terms with.

        • Yeah my cheater was like Asian giant hornets. Multiple stings from her may be fatal. Funny, I didn’t see butterflies too often. With the kids and I she was mostly stuck on the rage and self pity channels. In the last few years the charm channel was reserved for all her enablers and strangers.

          • Asswipe all fun and laughter for everyone else but his family. We got mostly not always but mostly doom, gloom and rage.

            • Yes. Mostly. When we did get the butterflies they were lovely. I miss that.

            • There’s a good saying in Spanish about people like this: “Luz de la calle, oscuridad de la casa.” It means something like “(s)he’s a bright light out in public, a pit of darkness at home.”

              • Yep that sums up ptretty much what he became. Wasnt always like that but he sure is now. Good saying. Thanks oaktree.

      • I forgave and totally trusted again the first time, 10 years later there he was cheating again. Looking back I don’t think he ever stopped, chumpy me. he got sloppy cos I was grieving my mother. Jedi hugs ChumpDude! It will get better and you’ll find butterflies again if you still want them

      • Butterflies and Hornets are a great way to think about a relationship with a cheater Chumpdude!

        I had told my X that I was allergic to hornet stings before we married. Yet he hid the jar full of them in our house, and opened it to let out these suckers in the backyard, because you know, what I didn’t know would not hurt me.

        I could barely breathe after DDay, yet he is the one who acted all outraged and dismayed when I told him to keep the jar and divorced him.

        Carmel – Listen to CL/CN, the person you thought was your fiance only existed in your head. Cluster B personalities are very good at projecting or emulating our qualities while doing incredibly hurtful things behind their partner’s back.

        CN shared a link about Cluster B relationship cycles by Sandra Brown that I hope will help you heal –


    • I am so sorry that u had to go through that ! I know now how much strength and courage it takes to try to work things ,,, or even to walk away …. It has taken all I have to walk away from the man I was in love with .. Thank u for sharing ur story … It’s the answer I was looking for 🙂 xoxo

  • Lets face the fear: Let’s say he is absolutely amazing to the next woman. He still hurt you. He’s still the man who hurt you so badly that you called off your wedding. Nothing could ever change that. Even if he morphed into a proper Prince Charming (you know, the guy who chases chicks all over town saying he will marry one that fits in a shoe that a girl he likes wore. Really, I blame Disney for our skewed expectation of love. Prince Charming wants a girl with a particular sized foot. All Cinderella wanted was a dress and a night off), he is still a prince who broke your heart. That’s the only heart that matters.

    But, trust me, he won’t magically transform into a ball of awesome. My ex has had an oops kid with a girl he was not interested in having any kind of relationship with beyond “insert tab A into slot B.” He took sensitive company information to his former employer’s competition, got sued, and had to surrender his license in a medical field. Now he sells used cars. The truck he bought two weeks after we separated was recently repossessed, because no one is the boss of him–even car financiers. He’s only got supervised visitation about 20 hours a month with his children because a judge decided he sucks at life. And on, and on, and on.

    Don’t fear the “what if.” You dodged a bullet. Count it as a win and go be happy in a life without a cheater!

    • Thank you for putting things in perspective … And wow karma got ur ex huh !! ???? … U r so brave to share this story with me ..

  • Yes, keep in mind what he actually did. Write it on a card if you need help remembering. He made a commitment to you and didn’t keep it. In fact, he chose to blame you for his bad actions. Lack of character doesn’t change overnight.

    • DM touches on a very important thing here. The cheating is a huge betrayal but it also shows his character, the fact that he chose to blame you for something he did. Once you have experienced a period of No Contact, the path to the truth and the light, you will be able to step back and likely see other examples of his bad character. These are likely things you didn’t notice at the time or noticed but explained away. This is not a person you want to spend your life with.

      Please forgive us if we are happy for you at this most crushing time. I know it can’t possibly make sense at this time. Many of us wish that we had the opportunity to not marry the person who broke our hearts and in many cases hurt us in ways that will change us forever. We take some joy in knowing that you have the opportunity of a life time, the chance to move on from this madness and start fresh without ever having to deal with your cheater again.

      • THIS !!! Run far and fast Carmel. YOU ARE MIGHTY! You have great boundaries. You deserve a thousand times better than this idiot. Congratulations for standing up for yourself. Go no contact, recover & have the real life that is waiting for you ?

        • Yes! I did stand up but it took all I had … To walk away … If it wasn’t for amazing people like u ,, I don’t know what I would do

      • my name is also carmel. just have to say that you are soooooooooooooooooo lucky to have gotten out of this before the real shit even happened. i wish i could have just walked away from my dickhead but he’s the father of my kids and we will always be tied in that sense. walking away and never seeing him again is a wonderful dream i have which you are able to live out. youre hurting now but you won’t forever. trust the many many chumps on this site alone…..we have all been where you are now and it definitely gets easier and you will care less and less as each month passes. one day you honestly wont care at all.

      • U r right ! It’s been a month since no contact I am already seeing things I didn’t see before !! i can’t believe I ignored all those signs before ! Love really is blind .. But u r right ,, i do thank god for the chance to start again .. Thank u for ur support

      • That is so True! Don’t look back, be happy cause you saved yourself!! Good for you!

    • Lack of character doesn’t change overnight…..As a matter of fact, it doesn’t change at all.
      You have your whole life ahead of you Carmel-AND you get to do it without a cheater. Don’t get tangled up I the scheme of “What if?” It is wasted time & energy that you can never get back. Your cheater isn’t going to get a character transplant-he showed you exactly who he is and he will be the same for every woman. Run like the wind and never look back…..
      There have been a couple of ladies on CL who called of their weddings. Yes, it is the worst pain but you will overcome. The fact that you called off the wedding means that you have massive strength. The fact that you found CL means that you want to heal……and in time you will.

      Carmel-you get to start your life over now. Do not waste it by giving that cheater any more of your mental real estate. Know your worth.
      Take it from the many members of CN who wasted years with cheaters, were the marriage police, and some who have to co-parent with a disordered fuckwit…… you truly saved your own life by getting rid of your cheater.

      • I am one of those ladies on CL that called off my wedding. And it was also three months before because I found out he had been cheating for months with an ex. And my cheater-ex was also amazing and loving and everything I had ever imagined. Until he wasn’t… I was intermittently blamed for his actions and begged for forgiveness. I considered it for a brief moment, but I realized that even if he did change and never cheated again, I deserve someone that would never consider it (much less actually do it!) in the first place. I didn’t deserve what he did to me and I didn’t deserve any of the blame. Neither did you…

        I believe I have reached Meh, but it was the hardest, most painful path to get here that I have ever experienced. Luckily, I never really questioned whether he would change for the next woman because I realized that the next woman is really just the next victim. These types of people do not change. They just hide it better.

        Please trust me, Carmel, when I tell you that calling off the wedding and never re-engaging in the relationship was the best decision of my life. It will be the best decision of yours, evidenced by the immense lack of respect he has shown you since you discovered his true side. Now we both can find all of those things that we thought our exes were in someone who truly means them.

        No contact is the best and only way to go in order to move forward from this. You will reach Meh eventually, but it will hurt like a motherfucker getting there. That pain, though, will make you stronger, wiser, and beyond happy that you made the decision you have made. Hugs to you.

        • Thank u for sharing ur story ! Yes it hurts …. Boy I have never felt pain like this before but I gathered every ounce of self respect I could find and went no contact .. As my could have been wedding date comes near ( sept 3 ),, I found myself crumbling .. So I am reaching out to all u lovely people , for support ! Aowlee I think what hurts more is the dreams he broke .. I just wish I could forget him like a bad dream …. It hurts when someone who doesn’t know sends me congratulations !! It hurts that he put 10 min of fun over me .. But I know I deserve better … I told him when i said my good bye that even if I end up alone for the rest of my time ,, I am still walking away from u because I deserve better

          • Carmel – ‘I am still walking away from u because I deserve better’.
            This is a very mighty action, my young friend.
            I know I’m not the only one on C/N who is very proud of you for taking such instant action and you have now learned early how to have a keen picker.
            I’m so sorry it was the hardest and most painful way possible.

            So many of us were too late. I was 35 yrs.
            The other day driving, I kept thinking how damn great I am that I kicked asshole to the curb.
            He was darn lucky to have let me pick him in the beginning and stick with him for so many years.
            *I* was special. He was the run of the mill cheater, liar and thief, at the end of his ‘tenure’.

            You have a very bright future ahead as you are one smart, intuitive and good person.
            What a fool he was to let you go.
            Jokes’ on him. People will be scratching their heads forever about his decision to cheat 2 wks before marriage, and you know darn well everybody will know why you called it off. He will live with the stench of cheating over his head for the rest of his life. And, you will go merrily on with your own morally decent and richer life ahead.

            I’ll be celebrating this Labor Day with you in mind. Indeed, you dodged a huge bullet. Enjoy yourself and hold your head high.
            You’ve earned it.

  • I don’t think there is one single member of chump nation that does not STRUGGLE with this very thing. I think that as hard as it was to be in that marriage and be constantly cheated on, blamed for the relationship dysfunction and then discarded after d day #5 it was harder watching him go be awesome with the affair partner ( he goes to church, has taken on her kids….he hardly had anything to do with ours growing up) and then I remember that this is all part of the con. He’s gotta be great right now to lock her down so that when shit goes south as he starts showing who he really is, he can pin it all on her. He did not get a character transplant. Eventually my ex will treat her the same as he did me. She’s not a “better woman”. She will be around as long as she plays the “worship me” game and is cool getting nothing out of the relationship.
    It used to kill my soul that he was off being what I so desperately wanted with another woman….let alone the affair partner. I now see their relationship as her visit from Karma…..I know what lies ahead for her, she deserves it. I am better now and trust that he sucks. Everything that chumplady said was spot on but one point that was made that is absolutely true is that he’s broken the trust, and you’ll spend your whole life waiting for the other shoe to drop if you are with him.
    Go no contact, it’s the best thing for you. Who cares what he does or with whom….he’s an asshole. All your energy needs to be focused on YOU!
    I’m so sorry that happened to you. If there is a silver lining at least you didn’t give up decades of your life before you discovered this.
    Be thankful that you are rid of this freak.

    • PW is right and it was part of what kept me in bondage for years. I was TERRIFIED of sending him packing and having him act like a decent person to OW. When this all first came down, I would have believed that he actually could have changed for her (or someone else down the road) but the more I learned of him after he died, I realize that he was incapable of that degree of reformation – whatever dickish things he did to me he would have eventually done to whoever else. He had no coping skills.

      What I missed out on was the pleasure I would have gained from rebuilding my life with him not in it and a boundary that he would never be. I wish he had had to look at me knowing he would never touch me again, would never hear a word of love ever again, that he had overplayed his hand and ruined what he had <– not very meh of me but its true.

      • I think most of them act better in the beginning, hell mine even dressed better and smelt better but it is image management cause he ended up treating whore juice pretty much the same hed forgotton hed fallen in love before and what it felt like. So he started out on his best foot and slowly went back to his old habits. Leopards do not change their spots. Answer to every intimate question cause im a guy. Answer to every question. After he destroyed the marriage he destroyed the affair/ relationship. Now he wants us to be bestest friends and we talk like two human beings never mentioning uh, you know….uh that other stuff. He cant even bring himself to say it. He wants to act like nothing happened and he and i have always been great friends. Asswipe is a gigantic fucking asshole and you sweet girl you dodged a big giant bullet.

      • I love the character transplant reference! So true, but temporary. Their facade slips, or in the case of my ex, the company he currently keeps is as morally corrupt and disgusting, so the facade was only in place around me.

        Carmel your pain may feel crushing right now, but it will fade. Know this : he blames you because he has nothing else, you saw him, and exposed him, for the rotten human being he is. You took control right out of his hands and have opted for a better, brighter true love filled life. Bravo!!!!

        • If you break this behavior down into much simpler terms, it’s really childish. It’s suggests the emotionally stunted thought process that they have. I used to half-jokingly call my Ex my toddler, because he ate like a toddler and was picky etc. But he really acted like a toddler. He threw temper tantrums. When called out his behavior he either lied or sullenly accepted his “time out” (i.e. me not speaking to him) until it all blew over. The blame shifting and the like is like a 4 year old saying “your not the boss of me!” when called out for his bad behavior. It’s exhausting.

      • Unicornnomore, I think I totally get what you mean about him being able to have died ‘basking’ in the comfort of your love. He was a cheater narc of the first degree and its unlikely it mattered one jot that your love at his deathbed was only acquired by deceit and betrayal. I imagine that leaves you with a tight, hard ball of anger and indignation in the pit of your stomach. If it were ‘The Great I am’ we were talking about I know that’s how it would feel to me. The fury is a bitch and, as life forced you into the ultimate NC, you were denied even the imagined pleasure of confronting him with it (though, I know you know there’s rarely any pleasure in reality when confronting these arseholes – slippery mindfuckers, every one of ’em). I also know, you know, ultimately he left this world with the knowledge that he couldn’t earn love authentically, whereas, you know – you did love authentically. I had a conversation today about death and the little signs that often show up around death (you know, like the pop up that tells you it’s the recently deceased birthday, the wound down clocks that somehow stop at the time they died – the stray thought that we have of someone we haven’t seen for ages but then learn but moments later that they’ve died) – these moments of serendipity give me great comfort – I take from it that there’s a much bigger picture we just don’t get to see. There’s something more than the physical expiry of the body – and I like to believe the soul knows the truth as it drops the suit it’s been wearing during its ‘threescore and ten’.

        I hope you can take heart, unicornnomore, I honestly believe his soul KNOWS all about how cruelly he injured your soul.

        With love

        Jayne x

        • Jayne, thank you for such a thoughtful post. Yes, he lived to his last in the comfort of a home I created for him under false pretense and lies. The betrayal has no home on this planet as he has moved on and the ill-fitting of this in what should be a normal life is anger provoking beyond measure.

          I also believe that he exists on another plane with full sentience and he has had to deal with the realities of what he did with a more informed understanding of the full effect of his actions. I find solace in this.

    • We are not privy to what really goes on with these folks behind closed doors. From the outside they present well. Most are NPD in my opinion and outward appearances mean everything to these folks. They are monsters in reality.

      • You are exactly on point. It doesn’t matter what your X may show to the world. He is still the same person who lied and cheated. These folks are all about image control, but when no one is looking, they are the same terrible person you have experienced. “The one thing you can’t hide is when you’re crippled inside.”-John Lennon.

        • violet, I heard that Lennon song whilst in a shop the other day and I immediately thought of my ex husband. I hadn’t heard the song for many, many years but gee it definitely had my ex’s name all over it.

    • Paintwidow, you nailed it with “It used to kill my soul that he was off being what I so desperately wanted with another woman….”. So glad I put an end to the snuffing out of my soul. It was painful getting off the hopium and trusting that he sucked, but my, oh, my, does it feel wonderful to be alive again!! Every day feels like a precious gift when you are free of the soul-deadening lies and gas lighting.

      Carmel, I am so sorry your dreams were crushed and you had the bitter disappointment of calling off a wedding. But like others have said, the bigger pain has been avoided. I had started to see and feel red flags as my wedding date approached, but regretfully I did not call it off due to wanting to avoid looking foolish. Oh how I wish I’d listened to my gut feelings and never married my ex. Come here to CN any time you need support. We’ve got your back, sweetie.

    • Paintwidow’s right. She’s not a “better woman”. But what’s more, you’re not a “worse woman”. Quite rightly there’s nothing in your letter that sounds like you’re assigning any blame to yourself, but when times are hard and someone has done something unspeakably horrific to us, we can slip into a dark corner where we think we must have done something to deserve that kind of treatment. Because we look for logic, we look for reasons WHY he/she was one kind of person and then something (“maybe it was me?!”) ‘made’ him/her turn into the kind of person who does unspeakably horrific things to their partner who loves them. Silly, flawed thinking, like wondering why the mosquito bit you and what you must have done to make the mosquito do such a thing. Accept this is simply a full and accurate picture of who he is and what he does — as it always has been, and always will be.

      • Well said, HopeandGloria. I think that is the fear that motivates this letter, and I suspect we have all had similar questions: “well, if (s)he can be decent and kind and (gasp) LOVING with this new person, maybe I was the problem.” Thanks for helping to dispel that awful train of thought.

    • Hi paintwidow I’m new to CN thank you for what you wrote it really helped me with my thoughts as I deal with horrible situation

  • Carmel

    People change from their mistakes all the time. Sleeping with multiple women while anticipating your wedding and blaming it on your fiancé is no mistake.

    You gave the cheater consequences. You cancelled your wedding. Don’t look back. You are the one capable of growth after this experience.

    • That’s what I told him when he said ‘ it was a mistake ‘ .. I said no ! This is a choice u made over and over and over again until u got caught ! But it hurts ! Fuk :((

    • That’s what I told him when he said ‘ it was a mistake ‘ .. I said no ! This is a choice u made over and over and over again until u got caught ! But it hurts ! :((

  • Carmel, I am right there with you. The last of innumerable DDays happened for me two months ago and it is O. V. E. R.

    In five years together (the first of which I thought was good), he cheated more times than I’ll ever know about but four times that I can prove.

    CL is right. I didn’t have to imagine what might happen if I got sick, lost my job, or my mother died. At the 4.5 year mark, my mother did die.

    On her deathbed, he promised her that he would take care of me forever. Not long after, he walked out of the house, never came back and started talking about needing space, how he was depressed (no thought for what I might be going through having just lost my mom), and how this was all my fault.

    Come to find out six months later, while I’m mourning, grieving, processing, trying to help *him* with *his* depression and going to incompetent couples counselors to save our relationship, that he’s been cheating with a coworker for at least four of those months and probably much longer.

    My fear was your fear: that he would somehow magically learn from all he had put me through and become the white knight for this troll he’s with now. It isn’t going to happen. Here’s why:

    – He started with her before we broke up. That relationship is built on a lie. I’m sure she does not know this or the truth about our relationship. These creeps never end things cleanly and then pursue a new relationship. They hedge their bets to ensure their kibble supply remains uninterrupted.

    – He has created a narrative about our relationship that portrays me as the demanding, unreasonable, unstable shrew and himself as the meek, innocent victim who could never make me happy no matter how hard he tried. Just like he did with his last girlfriend when he met me. I was told they were long over when we met. Now that I look back, I realize that he was stringing her along and torturing her at the end — the way he did to me with his new GF. It’s a pattern. Patterns don’t break just because you want them to.

    – He’s now busy doing all the things she loves and taking interest in all the things she likes. Things he never wanted to do or had interest in before. He’s shape shifting to be her perfect man, just like he did for me.

    From the outside, it definitely looks like he’s the perfect man for her. But I know his insides. I have had the benefit of seeing this pattern play out time and time again. Part of me wants to warn the new one, but I know he has poisoned the well and that she would never hear me or believe me because I’ve already been discredited by him — it’s part of the sociopath’s plan.

    It took me a long time to really understand “trust that he sucks.” But I’m getting it. Every time those “he’s going to be better” fears creep in, I run through the mental list in my head of all the lies and unconscionable things he did to me, while I was there, being an open, vulnerable, loving chump. Then I ask myself, could a normal person with a normal conscience — regardless of his childhood issues, mental/emotional problems or life circumstances — do this repeatedly to someone who loves them, without remorse?

    The answer is, of course, no. And if you can answer the same question the same way, then be assured, he’s not changing. Not now, not ever.

    All of my friends used chump lady’s cliché: you dodged a bullet. For a long time I didn’t believe them. But it’s because I was unwilling to accept who he really was. Once I could no longer avoid that reality, and I started to embrace it, I realized that they are right.

    Stay strong. It won’t be long before you look back and think to yourself, with a sigh of relief, “Thank God he’s gone.”

    • “could a normal person with a normal conscience — regardless of his childhood issues, mental/emotional problems or life circumstances — do this repeatedly to someone who loves them, without remorse?

      The answer is, of course, no. And if you can answer the same question the same way, then be assured, he’s not changing. Not now, not ever.”

      Thank you, Chumpzilla, for this reminder. Of course my STBX won’t change and be better for someone else. It’s who he is deep at his very core that will prevent him from ever having a loving, stable relationship based on mutual respect and shared values.

    • This: “He’s now busy doing all the things she loves and taking interest in all the things she likes. Things he never wanted to do or had interest in before. He’s shape shifting to be her perfect man, just like he did for me.”

      This is what a lot of these NPD’s do. In fact, it is exactly what a chump friend of mine and I have experienced to a “t”. It is impression management and it is love bombing to pull her in. These disordered fucks don’t even know themselves so they mirror the behavior and personality traits of others. For example: mine was a Republican when I met him. Now? He’s the world’s biggest Bernie Sanders fan. He is also molding her like he did me-making her eschew her former interests in order to acquiesce to his. Coincidence? These assholes operate like clockwork, slithering from one supply to the next.

      Eventually, the mask will slip and he will do the exact same thing to her. Trust that he will always suck and that you did nothing to deserve or cause this. And, know that the side chick isn’t going to be able to change him either.

    • Like another poster, I have a number of really egregious things that were done, besides cheating, that I used to have to harken back to when I had my doubts.. These included dousing me with freezing cold water a number of times when I showered and once when fully clothed; describing in detail the body of the younger man she had been with that night and bragging about it; announcing that she was going to Chicago to spend the weekend with a man she met in AA ( my dad had died two weeks earlier-nice empathy, eh?), telling our kids we could bring a dog home for the weekend from the golf course, then going crazy when we did forcing us to bring it back while the children cried.
      There are more , but, the concept is to hold on to these when I have doubts. To recall them and realize that no normal person could ever do this type of shit.
      And these actions were done well into adulthood, well beyond the age where realistic change could be expected. And, she would sleep like a baby after having done this stuff.
      You will go nuts trying to figure out a personality disordered person’s rationale and justifications because you cannot fit their logic into any realistic framework.
      And, amazingly, the twisted thinking is not precluded by them being somewhat intelligent.
      I had a light bulb moment when, after tracking my XW’s nights out until after midnight for 6 months (we had two young boys at home, one with Down Syndrome and autism) I , rather nicely, questioned her on why she was gone all the time ( 112/180 nights out until after midnight. Kids would not lay eyes on her for 3-4 days at a time. she would be gone in the morning before they arose.).
      Her response: ” Of course I get more time out than you. I have more friends ( affair partners, apparently) than you.”
      She was reasonably bright with a J.D. magna cum laude, but her logic made sense to her. I came to realize that all her actions made logical sense if one started from this basic premise: ” I am better than and more entitled to things than others, the mere peasants among us.”
      If you start from that, then entitlement makes perfect sense.
      If you start doubting yourself and whether he or she sucks, it is nice to have some of these things to look back on. And, thinking about what you tolerated may be an incentive to start looking at yourself and to question whether it was healthy to have put up with this so long ( with the caveat that with kids, finances, marriage commitment factored in , you may not , necessarily be messed up ( codependent) , but simply so entangled that it was difficult to get out sooner))

      • Arnold–it’s helpful to know that one has to refresh the memories of the wretched things cheaters did to us (independent of the cheating itself), even years out. I’m headed to my second year anniversary of D-day (fittingly, September 11th), and find that as my outright anger diminishes, the thought that he sucks is less salient. Of course Hannibal Lecher does suck, it behooves me to act as if he sucks, but sometimes those memories of emotional abuse are the only thing keeping me from considering, “Was he really THAT bad?” Yes, yes, he was.

        • Was he really that bad? Yes, yes, and yes. It’s usually much worse than we imagine . Typically it’s years of emotional abuse, financial losses, crazy making,and a lack of love, respect, and commitment.

          At some point it becomes obvious who lacks integrity and debth of character and we can silently say to ourselves, I know this.

        • I know, Tempest. Sometimes, just writing this stuff out refreshes my memory, as some of what was done is so unbelievable. When I see it in print, it comes flooding back- the feeling of an electric shock running through my body as I failed to recognize that a large glass of freezing cold water had been thrown on my back as I showered. I did not know what had happened, waking up sort of groggy, as my XW turned on all the lights at 3 in the morning and began gushing to me ,in my half dream state, about the physique of the guy she had been with that night.
          My utter disbelief that right after my father had died, she announced she was heading to Chicago for the weekend with some guy from AA ( 13th step anyone. He needed to be initiated, I guess).
          And, I do not know about your XH, but my XW could charm and fool most anyone until they really got to know her.
          In fact, I believe that if she and I stood up to tell our stories here, in front of other betrayed people, a fairly high % would , eventually, take her side. She is that good. She would have people believing I am a monster deserving of being cheated on.
          Here is the deal, though, anyone that knows her for a length of time, sees through her, eventually. Men have a difficult time, at first, due to her physical beauty ( almost up there with my own). Women , especially weak, follower types, seem to worship her at first, becoming virtual groupies.
          She is good. Catches on to the lingo and philosophy of any new group, especially new age, recovery/spiritual types, in no time and is an expert on the field right away( very superficial but glib understanding of things, possibly because she feels no embarrassment if confronted with a misconception and feels confident in her chameleon like ability to adapt and bluff her way through.)
          In some ways, as a true sociopath or NPD, life is easier for her. she does not have to contend with the constraints of a conscience.
          I became friends with the next guy she dated after we divorced. He had broken up with her and came to me for golf lessons years later.
          He told me he busted her cheating, too,

          • I believe she’s that good, without a doubt. My Creep’s ability to pull and attract everyone tests my sanity daily.

            (And like she, I have a J.D., magna cum laude. Very prestigious school.. Interestingly enough, given what I thought I’d encounter from the privilege/prestige and hence entitlement factor, there were actually very few disordered characters. The few who were? God help us all. And my H went to law school with me. Intellectually, he’s not all that. But ability to manipulate? A+. )

            She is, by the way, a stone cold, gives-me-the-chills, abuser. What you describe is horrific. I’m so sorry … and inspired by your mightiness!

          • Same here, my memory mellows the abuse, yet I kept evidence of his actions.

            And he is good at the charm and poor sausage channels… So good because he is who he is, because he has proven that lying is his preferred problem solving strategy along with passive aggressive vagueness. He does whatever he needs to do to control his environment…

            Reasoning with the disordered is impossible, NC is the only way to move forward.

        • I just can’t help refreshing my memories at times, especially when it starts creeping in – was he really that BAD? The strange thing about going through the devastating heartbreak of breaking up due to infidelity is that, the pain does start to diminish. You try and remember the awful pain that you went thru during the discard and vile meanness. Did that really happen? I imagine it’s a little like childbirth. The pain is so horrific that your brain kicks in some morphine (or whatever brain drug) that makes you forget how deep the pain really went. Sometimes I wish I just had recorded some of our conversations, or written down what was said any given night. My memory fails me. So, I also like the to keep the really egregious sins foremost in my mind when refreshing memories, trying not to go down memory lane.

          He became obsessed with the sky falling. Seriously. I know a lot of bond guys are doomsayers but he was over board. It’s all he talked about to me and to any friend or family around. He sounded like a total lunatic to me (and he got worse) as he lectured people about the dollar collapsing, yada yada – and, with his charming genius personality, they believed him (sort of) because he was a mystic successful bond trader who would throw around bond lingo that nobody understood but him. Yanno, sounding smarter than everybody else – if they could get a word in.

          Weirdest relationship in his life was with his family. He talked down to every single one of his siblings, but more so to his mom and dad, treating them like 12 yr olds and pointing out their stupidity in how he ran his farm and how they could be doing it better than his dad had for 50 yrs. I couldn’t believe anybody could talk to their parents that way. Of course, they listened for the hours he would rant on the phone to them, accepting everything he said like he was God himself.

          Becoming the most selfish human I’ve ever met – to everybody around him.
          It was alarming that, when the mask fell, it fell like that creature in Indiana Jones, melting.
          He finally morphed into himself when the affair came out. A poor pitiful creature that nobody likes or would ever listen to his blather again.

          These aren’t cruel things, of course, but showing what a freak he was. He appeared completely normal. Nice, charming man, full of charisma.

          Ha – Won’t Get Fooled Again — The Who

          • I’m fortunate in that, for the last six months, the Cowardly Liar refused to face me in person so all of his lies and abuse is documented in texts and Facebook messages.

            Whenever I need to be reminded that I’m not crazy or that I’m not to blame, I just pull up those exchanges. It doesn’t take long to remember that I have lost nothing.

  • Congratulation for calling off the wedding! You knew it before the big day, you are saved! And we should CELEBRATE it! That’s what my former boss said to me when I told him that I cancelled the wedding (we are very close, a very good life mentor).

    Yes, I experienced the almost exact thing, D-day was about a month ago and we should get married end of Sept. Yes, it was very hurtful, I couldn’t sleep and eat. I trust him so much and the betrayal really breaks my heart (They didn’t sleep together, but still, we almost get married, how could you?!). I did a bit of pick me dance (oops, I watched Esther Perel Ted talk) but then little by little I realized he is a total fraud. The lovebombing and then noticing all the red flags. He has no remorse at all all, very immature and irresponsible. He cheated with an 18 year old girl, damn it (while we both 30). It is either creepy or maybe that’s his real emotional age!

    So Carmel, he won’t change. In my case, I realized that it is his real character that we didn’t see before. We are blessed that we can free from those fraud. And even if he really change for the OWs, good for him. If he doesn’t change when he is with us, he don’t really love us anyway.

    CL, thank you very much, everyday I read your blog and it really helps and speed up my recovery. And really amen for your #3 Yes, this should be the loveliest part and he can’t even handle this. What’s still bother me now, I think I really get better and I don’t want him anymore. But, after realizing his true character, I feel very dumb. How could I don’t see that? How can I am tricked and even want to get marry with him?

    • It’s certifiable creepy. I say this with authority: I am a cast-off byproduct of a 65 yr old with a 25 yr old girl-child.
      Daddy issues-both of them. Or perhaps he is a predator and she a gold-digger. Yea, both.

      • HEA, my ex as well, he is 53, she 23 and they have a new baby! Wtf!
        Karma train!

    • Dear tropichump… I know exactly what u r talking about .. No remorse … Like he doesn’t even get it !!! He doesn’t understand what was wrong with his behavior or the hurt he caused … I am also looking back with a different lens and I see so many red flags too ! He pretty much mirrored me and I thought It was love … I wish there was a fast forward to my pain and recovery

  • Wow CL! Thank you for this post! I really needed it today! You have no idea!

  • Carmel — think of it this way.

    You’ve got all of your anger and resentment in a nice fresh package. Feel it? Good.

    Now take that feeling and multiply it by 10. That’s how much it will hurt 10 years from now, when you’ve invested another 10 years in his disordered behavior, established financial links and credit, built a home, brought a child or two into the world.

    There’s never a guarantee of happiness of stability, but you’d like to start with as clean a slate as possible. Knowing what you know now, what odds would you give yourself that it would never happen again? 50/50? 60/40? Do you want to start a marital commitment KNOWING that those are the starting odds?

    If he changes for the next person, great. Good for him. Be removing yourself from him now — physically and mentally — you won’t have to sit by hoping it happens.

    He doesn’t have the Golden Cock of Nebulon. Consider yourself lucky you’ve seen the real him before getting in any deeper.

    • Golden Cock of Nebulon!! That is hands-down the Best Title Yet.
      And I’m pretty sure it’s the root cause of 99% of these disordered individuals – all of their character is actually in their little head and they worship it, because it is more special than anything else in the whole world could ever be, and we chumps get discarded because we don’t worship properly. My new theory!
      Or they’re just freaking Aliens. That makes sense too. They’re just not operating with the same set of basic character traits as real people are born with. No concept of emotions, other than what they mirror from us. Zero capability of remorse – mine actually had to look up the definition and didn’t understand that! smh If it’s not serving them, it’s of no consequence to them.
      After a life-time of this crap I am so thankful to CL and CN – I know there is hope for me yet, and I’m not the crazy one! 🙂

      • Alien indeed. That’s my theory too. He’s an alien wearing a human suit. Looks like a human, and the aliens could figure out the programming to have it function well in superficial social situations (the aliens probably watched a lot of sitcoms). But they absolutely could not understand how humans are supposed to interact in intimate relationships, and so couldn’t manage to put in the correct programming, hence the complete lack of accountability or conscience.

        • SomethingNew – sometimes I believe the exact opposite – that we chumps are the aliens because it sure seems like we’re out-numbered. Maybe the planet we come from is all about love and empathy and loyalty and character and “humans” are all about greed and ego and selfishness. If this is true, I want to go home!

  • Carmel – consider yourself the luckiest woman in the world! This jackass showed you who he truly was prior to marriage, co-mingled assets, creating a history together, and most of all, before you had his children. He didn’t have time to imprison you in marriage then work every day to break your spirit, crush your self-esteem and render you a shadow of your former self. You didn’t allow him to steal your youth, piss on your vows or to have your children in therapy evey week because daddy treats them like an inconvenience.

    He will never change for anyone because he has no character. His is obviously a narcissist or even a sociopath and those people have no empathy. This will be his path in life until he dies. He will only create destruction in other people’s lives and then blame them for the wreckage. He may find a woman who will buy what he’s selling and it may look to others as if he’s changed for her. But you’ll know the truth. The personality disordered are incapable of changing who they are at their core. And frankly, they never think that they are the problem. You can talk until you’re blue in the face, but they will never get it. As George Simon says, “They see. They just disagree”.

    You have dodged not a bullet, but a nuclear bomb. You were smart enough to break it off. That takes courage and guts – don’t ever second guess yourself. Be proud that you refused to accept this sort of treatment. Don’t worry what anyone else says. You know you did the right thing.

    I hope you find a real man who will share your life and be your biggest fan. It’s what you deserve.

    • Uneffingbelievable, your post has so much wisdom in it that I printed it out for future re-reading. I felt like you were writing this to me, as I did dump my ex and believe he’s a sociopath of some sort. These types do not change, and you’re so right about being lucky these people show their colors prior to marriage. And I love how you state that not only she didn’t dodge a bullet, but a nuclear bomb. Overall fantastic advice!

  • This one is near and dear to my heart because I understand it so deeply. If you stretch this metaphor to other parts of your life that aren’t romantic relationships, it’s easier to see.

    If a surgeon botched your surgery in some heinous way, like amputating the wrong arm, you would never, for one second, let that person touch you again, even if s/he had gotten loads of training and new equipment and become known the world over as the best amputation surgeon anywhere. It would simply never be ok that you ended up losing both arms when you should have lost one. You would never tell someone you think s/he’s reformed and they should go there for surgery.

    If one of your best friends drugged and raped you, you would not suddenly start spending time with the person again or stop considering the rape a crime, even if the person did time, did loads of counseling, became a rape crisis counselor, and donated a fortune to support credit victims. It would simply never be ok that the person raped you. You would never tell someone you think s/he’s reformed and they should send their teenage daughter on a week long trip alone with the person.

    You get the idea.

    This facsimile of a person who strung you along while lying at a truly alarming level committed a terrible offense against you. I think this goes beyond whether or not you would want to be with the person again and speaks to a deep reality of character on the abuser’s part.

    It is hard to believe the abuser isn’t capable of reform because it is hard to accept that your near miss was as bad as it was, that someone so evil got through your radar so far. I think your mind, in an attempt to quell that fear, imagines a scenario where maybe it’s just your perspective that’s off, not that you barely avoided total disaster.

    This is, I believe, a trauma reaction, like how little kids who are abused by a primary caregiver feel a sense of caring and loyalty for the abuser while also feeling terrified. It’s the mind’s attempt to reconcile heinous abuse and feel safe “walking out the door into the world” ever again. For me, this required counseling with a long-term experienced counselor. I had to wade through five or so before I found the right one. I am still working on it, and I may always be, to some degree.

    What this facsimile has done to you is heinous. It’s unimaginable to those who have not lived it. Resist the temptation to minimize it. This was no disagreement. Really, this was sexual assault and deep emotional abuse, exposing you to all those people, and swindling you into changing your whole life for a bucket of lies. This person was horrendous to you. It makes sense that you struggle deeply to deal with the aftermath, and even that you want to believe s/he’s not as bad as s/he really is.

    It is hard to volunteer for the grief and pain our minds try to avoid, but it’s the only way out of the whirlpool of shit the trauma creates.

    I send you great empathy and heartfelt support.

      • Love how Amiisfree worded it and painted such a clear picture of a cheater. Well said.

    • Gosh, Amiisfree, you are on a roll these past few days. Well said!!! Well said!!! Bravo!!

    • <3 <3 <3 to all of you for your kind words! I am really digging in with my counselor lately and a lot of the stuff I have written lately is derived directly from that work. A skilled counselor who can hold space effectively AND dig fearlessly and compassionately into the fire of your crap is a wonderful gift. 🙂

    • Wow, Amiisfree. Amazing post. I have just recently stopped trying to hard to avoid the pain and grief. But it’s hard to trust that I will make it through to another place.

  • I think my favourite posts are of the “Trust that he Sucks” variety. Even a few years divorced, I still worry maybe I wasn’t a good enough wife who could bring out the best man in my ex, but Schmoopie will “show him the way.” Ridiculous.

    • Agreed. It is ridiculous, but also reflective of who we are as chumps. I place blame solidly on CheaterEx, while admitting that I *could* have been a better partner in many ways. It’s part of moving forward, learning from the experience, and becoming our best selves for our kids, new partners, friends, colleagues, etc.

      OWife can spend the rest of her days showing CheaterEx “the way.” I’m good… and so are you, GetOut!

      • Exactly true. I am not perfect, or even close to it, but my shortcomings don’t cause anyone else’s bad behavior. Cheaters cheat because they choose to cheat, not because we force them to cheat.

        • One reason for vows is because no one is perfect and it is ridiculous to make fidelity contingent on perfection.
          This is pretty obvious, but our cheaters were , for the most part, way less perfect than a normal person. Cheating is but one manifestation of their fucked upness.
          I see these stories from “waywards” ( these assholes cannot even label themselves accurately) allegedly taking responsibility for their cheating, but, invariably, prefacing their “ownership” with a detailed description of their spouse’s alleged deficiencies etc.
          Des anyone ever stop to think that a cheater is, by definition, a person lacking in integrity, empathy, communication skils, problem solving skills, delayed gratification skills etc.?
          It amazes me how people forget that they are getting the cheater’s version of what the BS was like . One would think people would be aware that this person has, already, demonstrated incredible dishonesty and is highly motivated to distort things to justify.
          I guess, it seems to me that while we are all imperfect, cheaters are many standard deviations more imperfect than the average person.
          As we have seen from the stories here about things in their lives other than cheating, these folks display this lack of integrity and empathy in many other areas of their lives.
          I have been kicked off Si a number of times for pointing out that cheaters are different than normal people. I do it in a polite, non-insulting way. No name calling etc. But, this view is not tolerated over there, despite it not violating any rules.

          • [N]o one is perfect and it is ridiculous to make fidelity contingent on perfection.
            This is pretty obvious, but our cheaters were , for the most part, way less perfect than a normal person.

            Boom. Right there. Right on.


  • Thank God for this blog and the wisdom of Chump Lady and Chump Nation!!!! ?

    • I’m having a rough day today. Going over old notes and realizing I’m probably a chump. I used to have these horrible gut feelings that something was wrong but I believed my OH that I was being “oversensitive” and my stress was due to my “mental illness”. I look back on my diary entries and it makes me so angry – I wasn’t overreacting – I was in a constant state of anxiety because I was picking up on suspicious behavior. Now that I haven’t had that “bad gut feeling” in almost 2 years, it makes me realize that it points to my fears being correct. It hurts to face the possibility, but reading this site has given me some hope that even if the worst happens, other chumps have walked this painful road before me and come out better on the other side.

      Thanks for this site, and thanks for the commenters. You are a light on a dark path…

  • I’m sorry that this happened to you but very glad you found out who he is early. We all know your pain. If it helps go to the pet store and buy a goldfish. Wake up every morning and check to see if it turned into a snugly puppy. If it hasn’t changed, know that this liar and cheater didn’t change either.

    • Love the analogy, Annie!! (but perhaps a flesh-eating Piranha should be the cheater stand-in?)

      (I was going to try and post a humorous piranha attack video, but none of them are cute. Don’t go there.)

      • I was going to suggest piranha but it was way too early for flesh eating fish. I had my mind full creating a Power Point on deescalation techniques after a amygdala hijack. Try finding an almond shape wearing a ski mask and holding a pistol.

        • Subpoena them and find a good brain-surgeon/sheriff eqipped with one of those scope thingies, or holler “System breach! Everyone back to their stations!”??

  • ” I mean now that I look back, maybe there were red flags.”

    Carmel, I am always interested in the red flags that people identify in hindsight.

    As to your question, my belief is that it requires a great loss for the person to change the next time around. So he would not have changed on your watch anyway. And he may never change at all.

    • Excellent point.

      I know this makes it seem even more unfair, Carmel, but I agree that if you were to forgive him, all you’d get is more of the same, grief for embarrassing him, punishment for “not getting over it,” and a darn lousy marriage. He may clean up his act for someone else, but only BECAUSE you taught him about boundaries and consequences (but I wouldn’t count on it).

      You deserve a partner of your own caliber–one who already understands concepts like loyalty, truthfulness, and compassion.

      Many of us spend years anticipating a wonderful partner and a lovely wedding. Losing that dream (for now) is a huge disappointment. Spend time with supportive friends. Spend time with a therapist. Spend time pursuing your other dreams. And in time you will find yourself grateful that you had the backbone not to marry that dud.

      Chin up! It wasn’t an easy thing to do, but that’s all the more reason that you should be proud of yourself. It is easy to follow along and not make waves and submit to avoid pain. Your emotional courage is an inspiration to all the wavering chumps twisting their engagement rings and wondering if they can survive the horrors of calling off their own weddings to someone who just “was having fun.”

  • Carmel, good, decent, honorable people do not act like this, lie like this, cheat like this. You are so lucky that you found this out before you married him. It doesn’t stop your grief but it does make it easier to get to “meh”. There are blogs out there from men and women who found after years of marriage and children that the person they married was your ex. Some of them after 30, 40+ years together. They are trying to hold their marriages together because the alternative is so painful and scary.
    This blog is a gold mine of compassion and advice. Hope it helps you move on.

  • He won’t change. He won’t be better for the Next One.

    Most likely, all the cheaters people dealt with on here, did get caught cheating, acting shady, whatever, did go on to the next one. Us chumps.

    They might have acted better, they might not. They further developed their skills of deception and illusion. Most of us won’t know what went on in our ex’s previous relationships because stuff like that gets swept under the rug and blamed on the victim. But I bet it is there anyway. And I bet most of them have a life long record of cheating.

    • Carmel – pulling on Anita’s thread here… I did go back to his 2 exes…

      – He cheated on the baby momma #1 to be with OW who became Wife #1 – kids all under age of 3

      – He cheated on Wife #1 to apparently pursue me (I was sold a bill of goods that they were separated and she did move 6 states away, but still – he wasn’t divorced.)

      – #1 thought she’d “get back at me” by continuing to fuck my husband after we married

      SO – what do you think the Exes will tell you about his “changing” for the next woman?

      It doesn’t happen. It can’t happen. Broken is as broken does.

      • Cheater ex was very secretive about any exes, so I never had an opportunity to talk to or about any of them. Red flag, right there.

        I think time is the only test of something like this. When I was 16, I fell in love with my first boyfriend. He was also my first sexual partner. He was 18 at the time. He cheated on me, i later found out about other girlfriends. I may have even been the sidepiece, and not the main girlfriend.

        We dated off and on for years. I broke up with him the last time probably 30 years ago. He will be 60 years old soon. I found out I worked with his cousin about 5 years ago, and a few weeks ago a reference to him showed up on her Facebook page. Of course, its under his middle name. He was always hiding, always. I looked at it and you can tell he is the same beady eyed shape shifting pathological liar he was all those years ago. I know for a fact he has cheated on EVERY woman he has ever been with. They do not change, even after decades.

  • Good for you to call off the wedding and let this loser go.

    I’ve struggled with this question as well – will he be “better” for the unfortunate girlfriend? The answer is no. He does try to “look the part” and gain her adoration but underneath all of that is the same sniffling loser that I married who was absent, dismissive, arrogant and thought he was doing you a favour to be in his presence. These types cannot sustain lasting, significant change. It’s hard-wired.

    What you want is an honest, trusting, loyal, decent partner. This loser is not it and won’t be it for the next girl either. Trust that you deserve better.

  • Carmel, I made the mistake of taking my cheater back after he broke off our wedding out of the blue when we were in college. The only explanation he gave was “I thought I saw something different,” but he never explained much more than that. He made it seem like he’d just seen someone in the distance he thought he might like. He explained breaking off our wedding by saying he just had cold feet, and begged me to take his ring back. Unfortunately, my trust in him was broken. Although I WANTED to trust him again, I never really did.

    36 years later, after being in a marriage where I was tormented by his “uncomfortably close” relationships with female coworkers, he walks out the door and abandons me. The explanation he gave over the phone after he left was, “I just saw something different.” I later found out he was “in love” with his married coworker and plotting to break up her marriage. He had even ingratiated himself with her parents and husband as a family friend, and had her children calling him “uncle.” No matter how he felt about our relationship, that’s just sick.

    These people don’t change. They really don’t. Be grateful that you didn’t invest 36 years with him.

    • So true, Lyn. I too tried so hard to trust the loser cheater ex, but i never really did. I even convinced myself I did, but those thoughts never go away. At least not for me they didn’t, and never would.

      • Yeah, and I admit that my lack of trust after going what I went through with the calling off of our wedding probably contributed to our marital problems. I always kept my eye open for potential threats, and he certainly didn’t set appropriate boundaries with female coworkers. However, I always kept the things that bothered me (like his female boss calling him at home to ask advice on her sex life, or calling him her “work husband”) to myself. I didn’t share these experiences with girlfriends because I wanted them to think we had a good marriage. In that way I guess I enabled his behavior, similar to covering up for an alcoholic partner. However, I never had solid proof or any actual wrongdoing. After we finally broke up and I asked my girlfriends if they would have been upset about episodes like that, they said DEFINITELY. Hearing them validate my feelings made me feel a lot less crazy.

        • Lyn, I did the exact same thing you said here: “However, I always kept the things that bothered me (like his female boss calling him at home to ask advice on her sex life, or calling him her “work husband”) to myself. I didn’t share these experiences with girlfriends because I wanted them to think we had a good marriage. In that way I guess I enabled his behavior, similar to covering up for an alcoholic partner.”

          Even as I kept everything secret — and this was back when I believed him that everything was “flirtation” and “fantasy” and mostly my fault — I knew that part of the reason I kept silent was because if I told anyone, I’d have to leave him. I couldn’t spackle after I’d admitted the truth. And I never had solid proof of physical affairs, so maybe I was blowing all this out of proportion and then my friends would think badly of him. I think I was too scared to leave. But after the final D-Day, I told EVERYONE and I told them EVERYTHING — the stuff I’d just found out about and the stuff from the past.

          Now, looking back and trying to reconcile who I thought he was with who he actually is, I think part of keeping silent was also because I desperately did not want this to be the truth about him. I couldn’t face up to the fact that I’d invested years of my life … that I’d deeply deeply loved someone who wasn’t worth it. Someone I should have known wasn’t worth it, but I blinded myself with fairy dust.

  • I think the bottom line is we want what we thought we had. This whole desire for our “other-half” is what drives us to try, what gives us the courage to hope and to dream. Yesterday’s talk centered around whether or not we were entitled to have expectations and desires about our love interest. It is easy to criticize other people’s wants and needs — but it seems to be a chump characteristic to criticize our own wants and needs. It is ok to analyze what you want, it is ok to want what you want, but when it comes right down to it, what are you able to do about what you want?

    I believe it is normal and very human to desire to be with another human and share life experiences. Some of us may be more comfortable in a group, and some of us may be more comfortable alone, but reality requires us to BE ABLE to be alone, competently, so that we can also deserve the chance to be a capable and reciprocating partner to another. We thought we had found a partner who provided the ying to our yang. When we found that we had been lied to, cheated, that our life partner had stolen everything from us, including our heart — naturally we are devastated. We wonder how we could have been so completely fooled? Did we do the right thing? Was it a momentary lapse or a character flaw? Will we ever be able to have what we thought we had found — or will that ex-partner provide all those hopes and dreams to another? Did we ever really have it? Do we want/expect too much?

    Do you really believe for one minute that our lying cheating users spend any time worrying about any of this? I think not. They do what is easy. They do what feels good in the moment. They don’t do hard, and they don’t worry about other people’s needs and desires.

    It is perfectly ok to have desires and expectations. It is necessary to set boundaries. None of us was designed to be merely “useful” to another — we need to be appreciated and valued. There is nothing wrong with wanting or seeking someone who will be happy to dream with you, by your side, loving you back. It is probably pointless to spend time thinking that you, or anyone else, will find happiness with someone who has already clearly demonstrated that he or she takes everything, but gives nothing. You choose how to spend your time — try to eliminate wasting it on someone who is clearly not worthy of your consideration.

  • Never seen any change for the next person. They do get better at hiding their dirty and the next person is usually clueless. Either that or the other person is better than we were at putting up with crap. But nah, I have never seen one change for the better ‘for the next person.’

    The best thing we can do for them and ourselves is to leave. No point two people being damaged.

  • Carmel – Put the mantra “you dodged a bullet” on a post it note and put them everywhere you need to remind yourself that you just experienced God’s grace and mercy first-hand.

    If you’re interested in trying to see into the future and what his next relationship (or marriage) will look like – read the stories here… we took that bullet hit and we are living to tell you – it sucked.

    My story:

    – I was wife #2 and inherited 5 step children (whom I adore) and had a son (who i love beyond measure) but whom I now need to co-parent with a narcissist

    – Before we got married, he came home from a trip to Mexico with CRABS… I was naive enough to believe they came from the bedding.

    – After marriage, he became immediately distant and began withholding sex.

    – I assumed all the responsibility for our familial debt, including for my stepchildren, and now tally as part of the divorce that my sunk costs are around $100,000.

    – I have PROOF that he began running personal ads on Yahoo, Adult Friend Finder, and sites I have never even heard of and that are disgusting beyond measure.

    – He presented himself as Divorced, Bi, looking for women/groups/couples.

    – He eventually walked out on our marriage for a woman 8 years younger with two little kids, but with a big wallet… this after I refused to solely sign a $25K student loan for my stepson.

    – 11 years of cards filled with empty promises and flowers from Trader Joe’s

    – Ruined Mother’s Days, birthdays, and anniversaries

    – No support when my mother died or when I was undergoing evaluation for breast cancer

    Are you starting to get it?????

    You’ve been given a fresh start without much collateral damage. Fix your picker, count your blessings, and go get a mani/pedi. Your life has just begun!

    Rock on Chump Nation.

    • “Before we got married, he came home from a trip to Mexico with CRABS… I was naive enough to believe they came from the bedding.”

      OMG, this happend to me. I really thought I was the only one on this earth who could be so naive to believe his explanation. I felt so ashamed for so long. Years before we got married, we were about 25, just living together. He had crabs… I didn’t know what it was but I saw something moving on his chest, he had an explenation: he was a young amateur musician and the changingrooms were so filthy and he had thrown his coat on the floor. …. I believed him, never a doubt in my mind. I even went to the grocerystore to get lotions. He didn’t want to go himself….felt ashamed so I did it. I can hit myself and cry for the young, sweet girl I was. 25 years later he ran off with his married coworker. Everything fell in place, So many red flags. There had been so many others. I honestly never noticed. He was a very charming but also a very lazy man. I worked my butt of for him and our beautiful children. He himself told me, that I was so naive and he could have told me anything. He told me he knew exactly what to do or say to me to get me where he wanted me. It sure was a funny game for him.
      I cried for many months, so many tears when I realised that I have been fooled for so long. Including his crabs story. But I’m not that woman any more. He chose this OW and I never thought I would survive. But I did. And I’m ok now.

      Carmel, lots of luck with your life, I know this hurts like a mofo but it will pass.And you will be ok, honey hold on, cry as much as you want but please, know that you can make it on your own. You don’t need him. You will be fine.

      • OMG these crabs stories ring true for me. A few months before DDay (when I discovered a 20+ year habit of going to BDSM dungeons at lunchtime during his previous marriage and with me, chump #2), we got bedbugs. My stbx — a therapist of all things!! — said that one of his patients had them. I believed him. Now…..hmmm…. not so sure!!

      • RB – I was picking the crabs out of his ASS HAIRS with tweezers. Yup. Chump. On some days, I’m almost grateful our marriage became sexless… I didn’t have to get tested for STDs or worse.

    • “You’ve been given a fresh start without much collateral damage. Fix your picker, count your blessings, and go get a mani/pedi. Your life has just begun!”

      I LOVE this!! great post all around!

  • This topic is so timely for me. I posted on the forum two days ago when Cheese Fries texted me a message intended for his girlfriend. The pain was SEARING. Seeing him call another woman his “love” (he never called me that, the most romantic I got was “babe”) … checking on her as she’s returning from a trip (I never heard from him when one of us was on a trip unless I called — now I know it’s because he used that time to chase tail) … imagining the rocking sex life they probably have (when with me he could only reliably get it up to porn and strange, and blamed me for our unsatisfying sex life). I went deep into the hole of imagining that he’s become a great partner for someone else and I needed Chump Nation to pull me back out. Which they did (thank you!). Fact is, they’ll have a great relationship until he wants something she doesn’t and then the asshole will surface.

    This is a man who was answering sex ads and hiring a hooker when I was pregnant. And then there were the other other women. Looking back, I think this started when we were dating but I refused to believe what I suspected. I believed in the good times, in the sweet moments, in how he made me feel loved and cherished, in the words he said and the vows he made, in the tender way he smiled at me. The process of seeing the true him, what his ACTIONS show, is agonizing. My brain breaks every time I relive a memory knowing what I now know about him. And even though there’s a part of me screaming “no that can’t be true,” there’s a growing part that sadly accepts he’s not even close to the man I thought he was.

    Carmel – All this to say that what you’re feeling is a normal part of the process. It takes time.

    • BetterDays, I didn’t see your post a couple of days ago … I’m imagining you, reading that text. I’m so sorry.

      I admire how self-aware you are. I hope that soon I will be even one-tenth as “rooted,” because my psyche refuses to listen to my mind, and I am literally everywhere and nowhere. Lost. ( I say 1/10 because I have to buy time, and so I both have to act and try to pull myself out of PTSD hell. One-tenth would be a victory!)

      I am impressed by how you explain, for Carmel, the process of remembering, wishing, going back to good memories and having your mind implode given what you know now, wanting to scream it can’t be true, accepting that it must be, and most of all, understanding that it’s a process and it takes time. In the midst of agony, you manage to be mighty and wise.

      • Thanks so much, Claire. If I recall correctly, you’re in early days, right? I’m a little over a year out from the final D-Day and, honestly, for the first several months I was in shock. My mind could not make sense of what was happening. So much so that I got suckered into wreckonciliation over the holidays, which he ended (“I need the validation of other women too much to ever not cheat on you.”). After that was when I finally began to accept. Things would happen and the knowledge would sink deep into my brain. Bit by bit, I detached. And that process is STILL going on because clearly I’m not at meh.

        I was thinking about this topic when I woke up, before I’d even read today’s post. When someone who is only tangentially part of your life turns out to be an asshole, your mind immediately grasps it, files that person in the Toxic Waste category, and life goes on. It’s impossible to imagine someone still loving that person. But when you’re the person in love with that asshole, your mind needs time to let go of the past, the dreams, the delusion, the future. I’ve quoted this here before but the end of an Edna St. Vincent Millay poem goes like this:

        Pity me that the heart is slow to learn
        What the swift mind beholds at every turn.

        • Oh that’s brilliant! I just cut and pasted it into my “treasured words” folder. Yes, about 3 months out. So I’m grateful for repetition of wisdom. (And if I could I’d go hide for a week and read everything here .. gettin’ there.)

        • I dunno, I think it might be Better than realizing he’s calling the AP the same pet names and sendin the exact same emails to her that he sent you for years, ya know? “Are you OK” and ” I miss you” among them. And then the realization that he had not said my NAME in years.. All the emails to his AP and rob me were prefaced by “Hon”. Talk about interchangeable…

          • Ugh, that sucks. Probably trying to avoid saying the wrong name at the wrong time.

            • He was checking on her as she arrived back from a trip? Did I read that right?


              You suppose maybe he was trying to figure out how much time he had left to get rid of any evidence of his cheating? The behavior from him that you describe is pathological. I think these sorts of cheaters can’t help themselves. They cheat.

              I’m not convinced that he’s capable of real love, nor of any loving emotions/actions.

    • I agree, BetterDays. I’m still haunted by the tender smile during our wedding, the tears in his eyes. The way he was my rock through the birth of our first child…so hard to reconcile the two people in my mind. My dreams are filled with trying to reconcile the before and after. Not sure if it will ever end.

  • Carmel, Thank the powers that be that you had such a blatant reveal of his douchbaggery before you said, “I do”. Many of us, who were unschooled in this level of deception in someone who claimed our affections and who were uncertain of our own boundaries and self-esteem, kicked away the red flags on our way down the aisle. We (me) then went on to living a 30 year existence of dancing on eggshells, tamping down fears and suspicions, because, hey, nobody’s perfect, aren’t we all quirky?, and marriage is a work in progress. Inevitably, the hard proof: e-mails, texts, internet profiles, Craig’s List ads…ad nauseum were more than even a pugnacious “fixer” like me, could deny.
    Thirty years, Carmel! Trying to fix the unfixable! Your Ex will not change to any lasting degree. He would be faithful only to the level of his opportunities, as it suited and served his entitled arse. THAT is what the NEXT woman has to look forward to….
    Celebrate your freedom to pursue the quality individual who you deserve!

  • “He said he was just having fun and even blamed me in front of his friends,” that statement would be repeated your entire marriage. He will never take responsibility for his mistakes for your entire marriage.
    You could look forward to zero respect your concerns or opinion had you married him.

    My son told me how happy X is with new GF, for about five minutes I thought maybe X transformed and his misery being married to me was my fault because I’m an unstable and bipolar (according to X). Then I came to my senses, X has to prove to everyone how happy he is and how special his new relationship is.
    X is playing the role of the perfect gentleman, grooming her like he did me. Once the honeymoon fades and reality eventually sets in along with everyday annoyances, the way she parked her car in the garage, he didn’t put his glass in the dishwasher.., resentments build in the sociopathic mind and they will seek revenge. It’s only a matter of time before their mask comes off and they show their true colors.
    narcissists are unhappy people and look for others to blame for their unhappiness. She will be his target of hate and disdain. Any disagreement they have will be her fault, even when it isn’t, if she doesn’t want to do something he wants to do, she will be a bitch.

  • Carmel…Consider his lack of empathy. He hurt you. Then instead of being remorseful he BLAMED you for his selfishness. Thats cold. He dismissed your pain, saying he was having “fun”. Yes, people can learn from their “mistakes” but this is his character. He is selfish and cold on the inside. He sounds like a narcissist. Now you have the precious gift of a fresh start! A true beginning! Just be mindful of the red flags.

  • Carmel, something Tracy didn’t speak of is the fact that he might have put your health at risk if he’s sleeping around with others. Sorry sweaty, but you really dodged a bullet, one I wish I could have dodged. But instead I lived as the marriage police for two years after I found out my sucky turd of a husband was out cheating again and I never ever trusted him again. Always in the back of my mind I wondered if he was where he said he was, and even went to his work to see if he was there when he said he was. You will not have to look your kids in their eyes and tell them that their father and you are divorcing and see the pain that they go through while you desperately try to keep life together as it’s crumbling apart around you.You will not have to negotiate who gets them for which weekend, and holiday. And you will not stand in the front door and watch your heart walk away with a cheater as your kids go to dads for a weekend. Yeah, I’d say you dodged a HUGE bullet. Get your money back, take a close girlfriend and go on a vacation, and begin life again. Hugs.

  • Remember also that not only is your Ex putting his best foot forward to reel in the next victim, but the next victim is just as culpable! The OM/OW is also “busy” proving that they are a better choice. These AP’s are cut from the same cloth in many cases. They know or knew that they were “cutting in” on your established relationship, but they will try thier best to be different for your poor, neglected spouse! Carmel, cut your losses and let the sickos play the game. Very few of these so called “relationships” work out for cheaters because they are all based on fake personas. The real man or woman cannot sustain the level of disguise required for the long haul of an authentic relationship or marriage. It’s just not in them. They simply don’t have the capacity to care and love for anyone or anything on a deep level. You did indeed dodge a bullet!

  • Carmel, I know it is difficult to fathom at this point, but I will echo the others: be proud you called things off and stood up for yourself, and never fear– he will not be better the next time around.

    I found myself thinking the same thing (we all do). Even after several actions where he showed his true colors, I still could not wrap my brain around his actions and feared he would be better for the formerly MOW, whom he married less than six months post divorce finalization. We had been together 23 yrs, married for 18 yrs. later I find out He told (tortured, really) our 13 yr old daughter with ‘discussions’ of how much better the new marriage was, how he was finally in a loving, caring relationship (!).
    Shortly after that visit to her father’s (ex married, moved away, and had a baby within a month), she went no contact with him, and shortly after that, she attempted suicide. Six weeks later, winter holidays, and I am picking up son from ex (he insisted I meet OW) — daughter is still no contact with ex, but asked to see her baby half sister.
    The response from my ex– if she will not talk to me, she cannot see her sister.

    Finally, THAT moment took away the last of the “what if he is better for her” and “he is still at heart a good person” thoughts.

    It takes time, but since you called off the wedding you are already halfway there. You know you have worth, you just have to banish the “what if” thoughts.

    • zyx321,

      If your ex can act like a petulant teenager/toddler after subjecting his own child to anguish he’s definitely not a good person. Good people will bend over backwards and try to do anything for somebody they love whether it be apologizing, shelling out money, attempting to talk, or respecting the request for distance. Suicidal emotional minor children are the most in need of solid, stable, nurturing parents not overgrown toddlers whose only words are “Me, me, mine, mine” Sounds like the SOB only finds his children amusing and worthy of love when they are new and daddycentric.

      • zyx321, he’s a MONSTER.

        I got chills, reading about you (insisting you meet OW?!) and your daughter … and I suppose, especially your daughter.

        Your X sounds like my dad. I have two siblings. Both were institutionalized for suicidal depression and what looked like bipolarity but wasn’t… One was institutionalized four times, starting at the ripe old age of 16. They finally started to get better, perceptibly, when both moved out of state, one, at 18 for college, and one, at 22 for a job. (I enlisted the help of their therapists and out-of-state family friends to get both of them out of there as fast as we could.) Hard to believe, maybe, but just much LESS contact with my dad set them free.

        Thank God you have little to do with that Monster X. I wish my mother had been like you. Though my parents divorced when I was 6 and siblings were tiny, my parents kept up a sick pseudo-partnership for a decade, though he remarried. Twice. Mixed messages and cruelty and crazy from one parent — from one important person, period — are devastating, especially to children. I often wonder if my siblings would have been okay earlier had my mother acted like you. Because even one sane voice makes a difference.

        You have my admiration, and I wish the best for all of you.

        • ClaireS, thanks for your kind words. I wish in hindsight I had seen how things really were and had gotten divorced sooner– then maybe daughter would not have been so severely affected. I hope your siblings are continue to do well.

      • Just another chump– yup, ex always loved babies (they are on to #2), not so good once they hit double digits.
        I know daughter has a stable home with me– I just regret how anxious she has become. many things in life she cannot handle at this point in time(crowds and noise, for one), and I fear she will not do some of the things she has always wanted to do, such as travel abroad.I also have to speak ly carefully around my son, as he loves his father, and does not understand his sister’s issues (he is three years younger). He was the lesser loved child, so he unconciously craves his father’s attention; son gets upset with any hint of criticism of his father. Now that he has hit the teen years, I hope his perception of things is expanding.

        • My youngest, at 16, was voluntarily committed to a psych unit for a couple of weeks after a suicide attempt (prior to x’s exit but in the during a lovely sojourn of disdainful behaviour towards myself and both our children) ; my kid expressed a need to distance from both parents and the first breech was from x; I contacted the unit and his primary counselor to ask about my son’s wants/needs before coming on to the ward; x just showed up all “I’m his Daddy and so worried about him”; I called everyday and occasionally my son answered; and I waited until he and the counselor said he’s ready before I showed up on the unit. Sometimes I think I should have been knocking down the doors until in retrospect at 20 my son said my hanging back but knowing I was talking with the counselors and being distant made him feel I actually respected him as as a person and wasn’t just all mommy on him. I still feel weird but at the time I felt that I should respect my very upset child’s wishes based on dynamics beyond my experience. He and I have a close relationship but he finds it really difficult to talk to or spend time with his father.

          • I can only imagine how difficult that was, not rushing to see him everyday,
            My daughter was 14; I was there everyday, but she wanted me there. it is tough. My ex had moved away, but she texted him after the attempt to tell him to finally listen (!). I was out of town, but to me the kicker was… Ex did not return to our state after her attempt, even though she was hospitalized for a week. He asked me my thoughts about coming out, and I told him I did not know since she said she did not want to see him. It was only later that I found the text message to him during her attempt. She literally said, now you will listen.

    • zyx, there’s your answer. He’s an overgrown child getting his “payback” for his daughter not worshipping him any more. He’s using a baby to punish his own daughter. He’s setting up the pick-me dance between the two girls. What a piece of work. I hope you can keep your daughter away from him and find a better male role model for her to be around.

      • I cannot imagine daughter agreeing to see ex any time soon– though she did accept the birthday presents that he sent earlier this summer. I wish I had time to date so I can find a good male role model for the kids. Well, I do have some good family friends, maybe the husbands will take the role.

    • ZYX-He may have been tormenting your daughter telling her how wonderful his new relationship was but that was all for your benefit and to torture YOU. Daughter was just collateral damage. Any “man” that operates in this manner has not changed for the better. Right now he is miserable and so is his wife, I’m sure of it and they are just going through the “acting” motions to the public and to stick it to you. I know of a couple that got together via cheating and blowing up two marriages. At first it was great, them against the world, etc. Shortly after getting married the husband was distant, indifferent, not happy and the wife was desperately hanging on all the while presenting to the public and friends they had a great marriage. Could not be further from the truth and the wife was given the boot nearly a year ago after being married over 10 (miserable) years. She thought her future was all set with his pension and now she has to pound the pavement for a job and find a place to live.

      • KB22– well, according to my former SIL, ex is miserable. He left a nice cushy job to start a new life with OW and the new family— funny, still apparently unhappy. He left the “dream job” after 8 months and is a slacks and tie job–which he always hated.
        I doubt my ex will ever realize that happiness comes from within. It will be vaguely interesting to see if the marriage survives 10 years, given the second family and the decade age difference between ex and the OW.

    • ZYX321–your story about your daughter always haunts me.

      Retribution is one of the weapons of the disordere. And they don’t really care about the consequences to the children, even when those consequences are dramatic. DD15 has not had contact with her father for over a year and a half. It took him a year to send her an apology letter (mainly because he insisted on including blameshifting his affair onto my deficiencies), has cut off contributions to her college fund, and told her she will not have access to her cousins, aunt, & uncle on his side of the family unless she is in contact with him.

      I cannot imagine what it like to be him/them. If I had performed actions that alienated me from one of my children, I would be sending letters, texts, flowers every week. I would continue to want what is best for them in the future (including enough money for college). I shake my head with amazement at his behavior, but it is one further confirmation that (a) it’s all about him/them; and (b) he/they suck/s.

        • I will say that I have enjoyed seeing Johnny Depp getting it stuck to him by the side piece he married. I hate all the smug sanctimonious quotes about “love” he has on the internet. Loser.

            • Every cheater and those they cheat with deserve every bad thing they ever get. Fuckers. I guess noone among them feels the need to be honest and open and end the marriage before fucking someone else. As asswipe told me awhile ago normal american male behavior is cheating and getting whatever they want just dont get caught. I said really that aint normal behavior. He said yes we have the dicks and we should be able to fuck whoever we want. I said then why get married? To procreate and have kids his words. Normal american male behavior? i think not. Asshole.

      • Tempest, your DD can’t see the cousins, etc? That really is harsh. On my end– since ex moved out of state, I have to facilitate contact with HIS family. It is fine, they are well intentioned people, but it is ironic since we settled here since ex wanted to be close to his family. My closest family is 2,000 miles away. My ex informed me that he will not contribute to our daughter’s college unless she asks for the money, and if she consults with him on her college choices.
        I agree with your head shaking/assessment– I trust that he sucks.

        • What X doesn’t know is that former SIL (his brother’s wife) strongly prefers me to Hannibal, and thus has ignored Hannibal’s edict that none of his family should talk to me. She and I spent a wonderful day together when I was in London, and f-SIL will make sure DD15 has access to her cousins.

          Your ex sucks, too, both because of the college money (power-hungry much?), and …well, just because….

          • My dad did the same re college money, too-not so much retribution as attrition. I comfort myself with knowing these are life lessons about self-protection our kids would have to learn anyway. It just sucks when you become fully cognizant of evil through the abusive choices of a parent, but that was not in my control…..we have to work with what IS.

            It seems to be a trend, and I certainly witnessed that, as kids get older, it becomes harder to get kibbles from them. Once you realize that all the nice, ‘normal’ things the cheaters did were either autonomic kibble fishing, or pretence management, it becomes easier to realize yhat you were, in fact, in love with a dream. That is hard to reckon with, but crucial to your future safety to understand that your ex had the emotional depth of a teaspoon.

            Will they change for the AP? Nope. Does marrying the mistress create a vacancy? Yep.

            I’m not holding my breath on karma, really, because it has already happened. She gets a controlling, passive-aggressive, frustrating drunk babyman. He gets a gal who has no compunction about screwing married men (she’s already had all the brothers, and probably the dad). My DD being pretty much NC doesn’t even compute to them. Clearly her moving away and getting a shit ton better as soon as she did is completely down to my evil machinations…..

            Odious people do odious things. Actions count, not words, and the best action for the Chumped is to process the pain, and get a life.

            love to Chump Nation (sorry not been here-got a McJob, and an interview-third one- for the Big Kahuna is next week).


            PS-Tempest-Hannibal thinks he can deny DD access to his side of the family in the digital social media age? That is HILARIOUS. DD will see the funny side one day.

  • I don’t think they are ever the same with you after you know. I became an expert at marriage police and doing everything alone while being blamed for the horrible hard life and circumstances of STBX. That is part 2 after DD – RUN! They will justify being shitty people because of what you did or didn’t do and it won’t make sense but you will try anyway. They make you be the parent to their wayward teenage-toddler and it sucks. It will never be a partnership and he will never have your back.

    Fixing himself for another woman… I loved him and I honestly would be happy for him if he was able to become the person he pretends to be. I don’t want him in my life.

  • I had this same fear, and was convinced of it, actually. But I’ve had two and a half years to sit back and watch how things played out, and he has not changed. He still lies, he still meets other women behind the OW’s back, he still makes poor choices.

    My ex thinks he has changed because his circumstances have changed. He is under the illusion that changing exterior things (jobs, wives, homes, cities) will change him internally, and so he is always on a quest for the next new thing that will make him new inside.

    But it doesn’t work that way. (“Everywhere you go, there you are.”) The same will be true of your ex. He will swear he has changed and he will even believe it himself. But that doesn’t make it true. Change is hard, and you have to both want it and have the discipline to DO it to make change happen. Many cheaters have the desire to change, but they lack the commitment to follow through and DO it, so they remain perpetually miserable.

    • “Everywhere you go, there you are.”

      Love that, Free Vixen–pithy & true. Mine is portraying he is on the top of the world, jetting all over to give international talks with 20-years younger GF on his arm, living in his new mansion. But every once in a while, word filters back to me that not only is he the same self-centered bully he always was, but perhaps has gotten worse because now no one corrals his behavior.

      • I think that the bigger you live, the more it reflects your soul deficit. Your ex is living on credit.

  • Carmel, he will never change. I know it will take a while to sink in (it did for me), but you will ultimately understand that these qualities that your fiance showed to you are fundamental to him. That’s who he is. People can change in certain ways, but not their fundamental character or values. This isn’t Scrooge in a Christmas Story, there will be no ghosts to visit him and help make him suddenly put others before himself. That stuff’s for novels.

    What you also need to understand that a part of what you are hoping for in this change comes from your projection of your character onto him. You would never do these things, so you can’t understand why he would. Thus, you sit there thinking that it must be a phase and that he’ll snap out of it eventually and act the way that you would. But he won’t, and he never will — because that’s not who he is, he’s not you.

    • Blindside, That is so well said and smart. It helps me tremendously. I keep saying (people want to clobber me)

      “But I can’t believe he did this to me”. (I can’t believe it).

      And that is because I would never do it. I am projecting my values on him. All of what you wrote is the shoulder shake I need to read over and over.

      • Sylvia i cant believe he did it to me either but he did took our entire life together and blew it off his fingers like dust. Acts like it meant nothing and we were never married just shrugs it off. That alone hurts me to my core but im recovering and soon to move away. Fuck him fuck him fuck him hes got a rude awakening coming real soon and chump nation will be the first to know. Big hugs sylvia i know how much it hurts. Brush your shoulders, stiffen your spine flip him the bird and be mighty you didnt do this the fucktard did.

  • I said this on & off for years, the “what if…” It not only was my denial talking, but also my addiction to the feeling of yearning. I didn’t know that then, of course. He continues to look together on the outside while he continues to die on the inside. Cheaters cheat. Deaths come quickly sometimes, & sometimes agonizingly slowly.
    Of course he changes for the ow, temporarily maybe, but never in character. He becomes a better illusionist. Really, poor her who gets the new & improved cheater.
    Progress, not perfection is what I’m trying to accomplish in this whole drop-the-dirty-diaper thing. Yes! It IS IN FACT A DIRTY DIAPER! Not an oops.

  • He won’t change.

    “When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.”

    ― Maya Angelou

  • Carmel – Clearly, you’re asking a question that most of us – if not all of us – have ourselves as well.

    But the truth is…. if my whore-fucker ex husband ever decides to a pursue a woman who doesn’t need $200 left on top of the mini fridge after their session, he’s going to HAVE to lie to her. Will he cheat on her? Probably, but that will come later. He will lie first. How do I know?

    Most women, I would think, somewhere near the start of a relationship, are going to ask for some kind of explanation as to why the guy they are dating is divorced. (in whore fucker’s case, divorced twice, if he even admits that much) Now is the moment when he’s gonna either have to lie (his natural fallback) or tell the truth. “ah, funny story, my last marriage exploded when my wife found out that I spent my lunch hour fucking whores.” Which one of these answers are going to score him the pussy prize?

    So, right off the bat, the next woman, is walking into a trap. Good luck to her, she’s gonna need it.

    You and I however, are free of them. Yay for us.

  • Believe it or not you’re lucky. You didn’t invest decades of your life, you didn’t have children with him, you didn’t fail to work at friendships because you needed to invest so much effort into your marriage, you didn’t grow old with him and then found yourself alone and without the confidence, looks or appetite to start again with someone new.

  • “Now imagine who he’d be if you had cancer, or your mother died, or you lost your job”.

    These fuckers don’t get better when life gets harder. My cheater Ex started an affair with sleazy office whore within months of me losing my mother. He abandoned me 10 months after she died, saying “There’s no good time for a divorce”.

    • I got that, too. In a year when my dad was diagnosed with cancer, best friend committed suicide, sexual harassment at work (and attendant BS, but I got the fucker fired), Kiddo being cyberbullied and cutting…..but I finished my Masters. The one time in my life I felt overwhelmed and really needed him, he was fucking around.

      There actually IS a good time for divorce-when you feel like cheating but don’t and are honest about it with your partner. That still would have sucked, but it might have been cleaner.

  • Whenever I feel tempted to go back, I come here and realize that all these cheaters will ever be is a waste of somebody else’s time. Doesn’t need to be mine.

  • A little off topic, and maybe an idea for a CL article, but I would be interested in folks making known which person they discovered was a cheater, most surprised them.
    I have a few: Charles Kurralt( the roly-poly little reporter led a double life for years); Paul Newman ( marriage to Woodward held up as the epitome of a long term Hollywood marriage, yet he cheated on both his first wife and Woodward, too.), John McCain, Barbara Walters ( raking that nutcase Reille Hunter over the coals while having banged a married senator herself in the past); Albert Einstein. I guess there are more that surprised me_ Vince Gill and Amy Grant ( how spiritual).

    • Arnold,
      I nominate Theodore Gisel, ie Dr. Suess.

      Just the other day, my child said she still likes him. Stomach churning.

        • Yes, Arnold, I was researching Dr. S for a school project with my child and found out he was a cheater. His first wife even committed Suicide due to his adultery. So disgusting. He disliked children as well. He married his whore, and she shipped off her two daughters for him.

        • Paul Newman was my touchstone. Blast! He said that great quote, on asked why he did not cheat: Why go out for hamburger when you have steak at home?

          I thought he was true blue faithful. It seems like Tom Hanks is faithful! I admire men so much who are true and do not flirt and make fools of their wives. They are like knights in shining armor to me.

          Tom Cruise (minus the Xenu beliefs) -you never heard about him cheating.

          I am so desperate to find someone who is NOT a cheater. I feel so bad for my neighbor because her husband cheated and gave her herpes. She is so bitter and miserable. She follows him in the car. She is immersed in being the marriage police. Misery.

          But, she is not the “chummy” type and does not want to analyze or discuss, which I understand. I just referred her to this site and I hope she can find some peace.

          Her husband is Mr. Nice Guy (nice vs. kind distinction) and I did tell her: Do not worry. I see him for who he is. He does not fool me.

    • Knowledge of their cheating is too old to be surprising, but I find cheating by FDR and MLK, Jr. most depressing.

      • Regarding FDR, someone asked me if I would discount a “person’s contributions to society” based on their cheating and used FDR as an example. I researched him and was disgusted by his story. It also involved suicide due to adultery.

        I never got to answer, but I’d have to say yes, I would discount ANYONE who is a cheater. Presidents, especially those from political families as FDR was, are surrounded by advisors and I’m sure they get more credit than they are due. Maybe he was the only hope for the country, but I doubt it. We will never know but I just don’t think FDR was the only one who could have benefitted the country.

      • Don’t forget John Kennedy and do remember how long ago that was. Remember no fault divorce helped women get out of those marriages, it’s a shame the laws got warped when women were finally able to leave a marriage and the men didn’t like it

    • Jason Aldean and Garth Brooks. It floored me when I found out about both of them. Blake Shelton, for some reason, didn’t surprise me so much.

      • It sounds like Blake cheated on his wife to be with Miranda. Then Miranda cheated on him. Guess the Karma bus found him.

  • Why do married women stay with chronic liar and chronic cheater??? My married neighbor took advantage of me. I told his wife. The police was involved. She stays. Other neighbors in my building have known for years he a cheater. I didn’t. I learn from the hard way….They don’t have children but he has with his 2 ex. WE pity her…..she think she has a wonder husband not knowing half the building knows her husband cheats bringing other women into the home, when she at work. Love is blind…

    • Lost

      I was married to a serial cheating narcissist who led a double life.

      Many times these cheaters are very cunning and dupe unsuspecting women. Is this what happened to you?

      I know you have previously suffered trauma. Were you young when this happened?

  • Carmel, so much good advice here. I’m going to take one thread of it and summarize:


    Whether or not he miraculously gets a character transplant and actually loves someone else well, which I’m pretty sure will happen right after Putin turns into Ghandi — IT DOESN’T MATTER.

    It doesn’t matter because he sucks. Because you already know what he is capable of doing to you. Because he abused you, was not sorry, and blamed you. Because, as others have pointed out, you would have spent the rest of your time with him wondering when the next hit was coming. YOU matter. He doesn’t matter, and in fact he doesn’t even GET to matter. Whatever he does tomorrow or ten years from now doesn’t matter. “It” doesn’t matter because YOU DO.

    I’m repeating this phrase in all caps because in the midst of agony and doubt and fear, I detect in you a fierce person. You did not marry him. That alone demonstrates you are a person to be reckoned with (and a hell of a catch, BTW). Be proud of that courage. You don’t, you say, want him back. And of course you wonder. After abuse and mindfuckery like that, you’d have to be a robot not to.

    So I’m hoping that fierce part of you will slowly absorb IT DOESN’T MATTER, such that when you struggle, the cascades of mental and emotional twists and flips will get shorter and less frequent. Hang in there. I’m rooting for you, as is everyone here.

  • Carmel, he’ll change alright, he’ll get worse, much worse. I can almost guarantee that within two years from now you will cringe in sickening horror at the thought that you nearly married this freak. It is much harder for these defects to carry on as they get older and that will all play out. Whether you get to witness his downslide or not doesn’t really matter. My freak was a gorgeous, charismatic, athletic guy with a move star smile. Geez the last mug shot I saw online showed him with a closed mouth smirk. I’m thinking the movie star smile now has a few teeth missing

    • “Carmel, he’ll change alright, he’ll get worse, much worse.”

      Odds are, that prediction is spot on. When the first OW happened, we were in our third year of marriage and I spackled like crazy! This was not the man I married. He was not capable of such betrayal! It was surely a moment (or a few months’ of moments) of weakness and I could certainly forgive this man that I loved so much. We could move past this. Many of us know this script all too well.

      After my first D Day I spent very little time trying to unravel the reasons as to why this happened other than to research emotional affairs and “how to prevent them.” He told me he was sorry I was hurt by the time he spent with this woman. Ta-da. He was sorry. All better! I just wanted to move on and apparently, so did he. I didn’t understand at the time that once a person crosses the line into infidelity, it’s really, really easy to cross that line again, and again and so on. It may not happen right away, but more than likely, it will happen again.

      A person who cheats once and is sincerely remorseful could, I suppose, never cross that line again. I think it’s rare, but it probably does happen. But a person who cheats more than once, I think, besides having serious character flaws, has trained their brain to accept abnormal behavior as normal. Many of us have compared cheating to serial killers. Murder to some people isn’t wrong, it’s just something they feel compelled to do. I don’t think any form of therapy can cure a serial killer or a serial cheater. In both cases their brains have been hard wired to accept a certain behavior and I suspect there’s no turning back once you’ve crossed a certain point. The only option we have with these sociopaths and psychopaths is to stay and be their victims or run away and save ourselves. Thank goodness, Carmel, you saved yourself.

  • Carmel,
    I was in your shoes…coming up to my wedding to my fiance of 7 years. He came home one day and confessed to cheating. He asked for “time out” so he “could see if the new relationship was the one”. I let him go, he was gone for about five months, then came back wanting to marry me after all. His mother threw in a fancy wedding as a bribe. 23 year old me agreed to the wedding, but I recall now 35 years later, that even as I walked down the aisle toward him, that I would never trust him again. My marriage was a misery of insecure feelings that I always hid.

    We eventually divorced. I should have trusted my instincts at the time, just as you should now. I think your worry about him being better with someone else must be about your own insecurities…that somehow you are to blame for his bad character? You are not. And every successive gf or wife he has after this will eventually learn the same thing about him.

  • Carmel, I will chime in here and I agree with the others….you dodged a bullet of massive proportions. The fact that you called off your wedding shows that you are doing much better than you think. As much as you joined a club we wish you didn’t belong to, it really is better it wasn’t taken to the next level. As mush as you are going through a painful experience, most of us would gladly trade places with you. You didn’t have kids, properties and all manner of things to separate. Those of us with children will NEVER be free from these selfish man-children. You have been given a gift. Work on fixing your picker and move on with your life.

    And I agree what everyone else says—they DON’T CHANGE for anyone else. They just get better at hiding it. But since you don’t see what happens behind closed doors…you may never get to see how miserable they really are. But don’t let that be your focus. Focus on taking care of YOU and now that you know what excuses to look out for…you will choose differently in the future.

    I’m 5 years out from DDay and not only is my ex a better man, he’s worse… And like your ex, mine is still blaming me for the end of our marriage even though he carried on a 10 year affair, destroyed our finances, and even brought the OW in our home to babysit our children for 3 of those years. Things didn’t work out for him in his divorce from me as he hoped…he may walk away with very little to nothing. And he is getting evicted from the house he is living in right now with nowhere to go…and the OW wants nothing to do with him now…the IRS will be beating on his door soon as he stole one of the kids on his taxes and I reported it ( they cheat in different ways also)…he signed papers so that his parent’s house could be sold from underneath them so he could get money….Who wants to share a life with someone who would let his parents be homeless in their 60’s? Every day I thank God I filed for divorce as I would be embarrassed to be still married to him.

    Trust us, they would need a serious character transplant…..not happening….

  • I watched, via chat logs after her death, nowdeadserialcheaterwife enter and leave a dozen relationships with other guys.

    She wasn’t better with any of them.

    She did the same lovebombing thing with them that she did at the beginning of her relationship with me. It worked for a while. But every single one of them left. And it didn’t usually take all that long.

    Now, these were all guys who were knowingly dating [and in many cases banging] a married women, so their assholeishness goes without saying.

    But she was just as frigid and empty inside with them as she was with me.

    And I have no reason to think that’s not typical.

    • HeatDeath,
      That is so sad for you to have discovered this after your spouse’s death. In these days of online cheating, I’m sure many more people will suffer the additional heartbreak of such discoveries. When I look back on my online dating days (which I am so glad are over) I wonder why anyone could do it voluntarily, for giggles?

  • This is the one thing that I struggled with for a long time. My ex can appear to be such a nice guy. After we got divorced he met a woman and then about a month later her teenage daughter was killed in a tragic accident. I’m sure my ex was a rock for her during this time. They got married within a year. I wondered sometimes if there was something about me that caused him to treat me so badly.

    And then…I found out, for certain, that he was getting tested for STDs. I guess he can’t keep it in his pants for the new wife, either. That was the final thing that got me over to Meh. He’s never been the person I loved. That man didn’t exist.

  • Whenever you start to worry he/she is treating their cheating partner like gold, remember this exchange I had with my X.

    I started with this, if you ever loved me, even a drop, will you answer this question with brutal honesty?

    Dum Dum: Yes

    Me: Dum Dum, in your whole life, including your mother, father, brothers, cousins, uncles, Xs, friends….has there ever bee ONE person that you have NOT betrayed?

    Dum Dum: ……..No.

    Me: You have betrayed, in a some way, every single person in your life, of 46 years of living?

    Dum Dum: ………Yes.

    They do not change. They will betray and harm and deceive and cheat on their new partner. They are the scorpion on the little frog’s back.

    It is their nature.

  • good job calling off the wedding. doesn’t matter if he changes for someone else – he didn’t do the right thing by you when he had the chance.

  • would also add that these people can’t maintain change for very long. a few weeks at most, i think. they revert back to their usual patterns when they perceive that things have “settled down” (i.e. they believe they’ve “gotten away” with whatever it is they did).

  • I’m sorry you went through this and had your belief in him, your future, everything just crushed. You get solid props for calling the whole thing off sooner rather than later. Lots of people, including some fellow chumps, would have spackled that situation up real good and gone through with the wedding. We were not married and once we are it will be different. It was cold feet, he really loves me. I have been so wrapped up in the wedding I’ve neglected him… it’s my fault. I could go on and on. So really – good for you for being brave and strong and just walking away. Good for you for just saying “I want nothing to do with this shit show but I’m out”.

    I went through the same thing as I prepared to divorce my Ex. The day I went to sign my final divorce papers I was anxious… and I thought: What if he is “better”? What if I walk in and he is fixed. Whatever that means.

    But I knew that wouldn’t happen. These fuckwits will put on a mask to serve a purpose, but it always comes off. My Ex had worn the “I’m going to the gym and getting healthy mask”. The “I need to work less and learn to relax mask”… you name it, he tried it on. But it never really stuck. I had stuck around through so many rounds of him trying to be a normal functional adult, just to have him backslide into being just a selfish, anxious, unhealthy asshole who wasn’t happy so he tore me down and cheated to build himself up.

    This guy wouldn’t even go to the trouble of telling you he would try on the good partner and husband mask. He was like “Naw – I’m an asshole and that’s pretty much the situation.” So sure – he could do some therapy, and make some more mistakes and sometime – 10 years in the future he could turn it around. Or he could by like my Ex and be stuck as narcissistic asshole for the rest of his life… regardless – you get to skip out on that whole scene and get on with your life.

  • I repeat to myself, this is my world, he just living in it! Fuck those two frauds!
    They got some splaining to do, but not to me! Lol

  • People don’t change. Even chumps don”t “change.” Think of how much suffering we did not to “change,” but to heal. If we could change, that is, have a sudden bolt from the blue or sudden conversion, we wouldn’t have spent 6 months, 8 months, a year, two years wondering if the pain would ever stop.

    But think about what gets us to the point where we can kick the cheater out, or file for divorce, or go no contact. What gets us to the point where we can look around at an old house refurbished or a new house that reflects a new start? What gets us out of the emotional ditch of living with a narcissist, an abuser, a cheater? That’s all hard work. That’s doing our relationship autopsy. That’s fixing our picker and putting down the spackle. That’s figuring out what parts of ourselves got pushed aside in order to make a life with a narcissist, an abuser, a cheater.

    All of that is hard work. If cheaters are going to “change” for the next AP (or the next, or the one after that), that will be the same kind of work we go through. It’s much more likely that the cheater bailed on your relationship because IT WAS TOO MUCH WORK. Just change partners, hit the reset button, and suck up the kibble until it’s gone. As I write this, I’ve heard rumblings that Jackass and the now-separated, formerly MOW with three kids have started “dating”–kinda sorta, because she didn’t want current her STBX to know about the “new” boyfriend. Ah, Jackass. Always loves a triangle. SOW (my acronym for “separated Other Woman”) will get a divorce and fight for child support and drag herself and her kids and her STBX through all of that stuff and then, once she is “free,” she will turn to Jackass and see…that smirk. He knows something she doesn’t know. Guarantee it.

  • What if he changes for the other woman? So what? All I know is that I am not willing to stick around to find out. Life is way too precious wondering if he will cheat again while with me. I’d rather wonder from afar – will he cheat on the other woman? Honestly, being at meh, I would rather wonder where I’m going on my next vacation.

  • He won’t CHANGE, that is who he is. It just means his values are be compatible with hers, while your values are incompatible with theirs. Which is a good thing! At least YOU don’t condone lying, cheating, assholery, etc. etc. Just let them have eachother, and you find the great guy you deserve who shares YOUR values.

  • To everybody here,
    When we wonder about whether the x will be a better person with the next significant other all we are doing is navel gazing. When I obsess about how he might settle down with some divorcee or widow and treat her right what I’m actually doing is asking why wasn’t I good enough.
    Damn it. If I wasn’t good enough why did he string me along. Because even the most awful, obsquecious piece of humanity deserves common respect.
    We need to stop thinking that the fault was in us. Cheating, lying and being a general douchebag or douchecunt to your spouse and children is the cheater’s fault. Laying blame on the chump for being cold, distant, obnoxious, overly involved in their job or children, or being needy, assholian, angry, nagging, depressed, sick, terminally ill … add infinitum stupid excuses is not appropriate. Because betraying your spouse means you kicked any respect or love you had for them off a cliff.
    “My son forgot to send a card for my birthday this year therefore I must write him out of my will and ignore him and his children as they are beneath my existence” is a cheater response. The loss of centrality is the entire basis of a cheater’s treatment of others. My son forgot my birthday last year but he was still phoning me and being my loving kid (apologized when he realized the slip) on a regular basis.

  • Oh, I’ve gotten this argument before. What if they learn from their mistake and change for the AP or the next person? Then I’ll miss out! The other person Will get everything that was supposed to be mine! So what if they do? What matters here is me. If someone is a shit to me, I don’t really care how great they are for someone else.
    Let’s say I think someone is a real jerk because they were very unkind to me, but my friend’s experience of that same person is that they are fantastic. Am I going to change my opinion of them just because they were better for my friend? Am I going to feel like I’m missing out? No.

  • Another point to sooth yourself is this: The cheater 99% of the time does not think they did anything wrong. Why would they change? They are entitled, selfish and self absorbed.

    They are not reading self help books, “doing the work” as someone wrote so well, or doing deep moral inventories so they can stop being a horrible person.

    They do not have any shame. The same behaviors they exhibited with you, they will subject to their new partner. Not at first.

    But time is our friend. And remember….the OW/OM wanted to be with a cheater. Who would accept this? A person who is also a dirt bag.

    Two dirt bags does not a good relationship make.

    This is one worry I do not have…too much. I have those little panicked moments that he is being faithful to one of the six…(there was an entry in his phone that just said WAITRESS) and then I remember who he is:
    a pathological liar. Those roots go deep. He loves chumping women. He will never stop.

    None of these clowns are original. Anyone in their orbit will be fed a diet of shit sandwiches, dark energy and soul sucking put downs.


  • It is so true that the infidelity is just part of their disorder. I have discovered multiple affairs, tax evasion, refusal to pay child maintenance, hidden assets overseas (can’t do anything about that as lawyer messed up), fiddling expenses at work, being sacked for ? , and most recently teaching my son to drive in a car not insured for learners. He lies all the time. Just writes rubbish and expects belief.
    Can all of this really change for the new woman? Well I am 4 years from kicking him out, and the driving incident was last week.
    They need constant thrills, however pathetic.

  • Carmel, this is a fear I think that we all have. For me it comes back to blaming ourselves for our ex’s behavior or believing that we are unworthy. What, he changed for her but not for me. It must have been a problem with me (not because he had crappy character or issues or …). We tell ourselves that he cheated and did’t change because we didn’t make him happy. Or that we weren’t as pretty, good in bed, funny (etc.) as she is.

    But whatever the problem – shitty character, psychiatric disorder, childhood issues – that brings about the cheating, lying, gaslighting … the root of problem is with THEM. We don’t control people. They are responsible for their actions. And we are responsible for seeing the red flags and getting the hell out of there (and I congratulate you on having the strength to do it before the wedding. That must have been very hard.)

    As Sylvia is Sad wrote, they aren’t “doing the work” because in their mind they didn’t do anything wrong (it’s YOUR fault). And because they are blaming everyone but themselves, their shitty character, disorder, issues will show up again. It’s just a matter of time. And because you are working on fixing your picker you will find someone much better out there.

  • Do they change for the Other or New Woman/Man? No. Personality and behavior is hardwired after about age 15, I believe. The brain doesn’t actually cement these pathways until around 25, but from what I’ve read, it’s early teens.

    So the concept that anyone really can change in any significant way, in regards to their basic moral and ethical compass….is totally bullshit.

    I love my kids. Even if I didn’t really care for how they act on any certain day, I love them and would stand in front of a train for them. You could not, under ANY circumstances, MAKE ME harm them. I would have to 1) choose to do so and 2) not have actually been the person that would stand in front of a train for them in the first place. Ergo, I am what I am, it’s simply not in me to do certain things, no matter the consequence.

    That is exactly what Cheaters are as well. They are who they are, no matter WHY. They would NOT stand in front of a train for anyone, because that is their moral and ethical makeup.

    Why does it matter “what made them that way”. Don’t care. The end result is that this person is morally bankrupt, and I wouldn’t stand for it in a STRANGER near my children, WHY WOULD I PUT UP WITH IT FROM AN INTIMATE NEAR MY CHILDREN.


    That said, my XH exhibited this belief in a classic way. He cheated on his first high school girlfriend, where he was the “high school jock” and she the “pretty popular girl”, the supercouple, but not. She left for college and he followed because she had the nerve. He finds that college is a pretty cool smorgasbord of pussy.

    Fast forward to MY relationship with him.

    His version: his first gf was “the love of his life” but her father stepped in because XH wanted to be a Marine. No military guy for his daughter, ergo, breakup. She goes to college, he follows like a puppy dog, she “finds herself” shortly thereafter and says I’m Gay, we can’t be together.

    Reality: He cheated on her with pretty much any willing girl wherever his football team traveled, and then he got his driver’s license…where he spent every single spare moment, traveling to cheat on her in other towns for cover.

    And she’s not gay. She’s happily married with a child. Never experimented, either. I’ve asked her.

    Next five girlfriends, that I know of…

    His version: Each had their good points, and their bad points. Very hazy on details. Never clear on when relationships ended, but it was always because the girls were either too clingy, too crazy, too religious, too materialistic (you get the gyst)

    Reality: He had (at least) 5 gfs that I know of. AT THE SAME TIME. (he left that little nugget out) He quit college to pursue women fulltime and work as an ice delivery boy, so he could travel for free in a company truck. By the end of that particular CF, he had succeeded in getting one girl pregnant and demanded she get an abortion, extorted several thousand dollars worth of gifts and money from each, “borrowed” one girl’s BMW to pass off as his own for 6 months….you get the picture.

    When it all became too much work, and the pregnant girl told his mother on him, he bolted out of state to be with one of the last girls he’d been able to groom.

    That was his first wife.

    His version: she demanded that he marry her and in a moment of weakness during a winter blizzard trip home, he agreed.

    Reality: He coerced her and tricked her into believing that he was going to get back to college and have a career. When she agreed to marry him, he promptly quit his job and remained unemployed for the following 6 years.

    He got caught with a married neighbor woman while his wife worked on a job that required a lot of travel. Husband beats him to a bloody pulp over it.

    His story? The beating actually occurred in college. Over a misunderstanding.

    Does this sound like someone who can change? This story goes ON and ON. He’s STILL doing it. I’ve divorced him and he is STILL secretive, morphing the story of his life to fit whomever it is he’s trying to fool.

    You’re not lucky. Nobody who experiences this kind of treachery is “lucky”. You are FORTUNATE that you got away and didn’t put yourself, or God forbid, any children through the meat grinder that IS having a “relationship” with a patholigical liar and serial cheater.

    They don’t change. Only the flavors of fucked up change. Even then, I’m sure that some here could listen to my story and say….”Were we married to the same guy?”

  • Chumplady this was just what I needed to be reminded of yesterday! I cannot tell you how many times your blog has pulled me out of dark places or reaffirmed the truth. You truly have a calling- thanks for helping people who are fighting with everything they have to build a new life and be healed from the pain. ???

    • Yes CL AND CN definately has a way of pulling us into the light! Love each and everyone!

  • More than four years after D-day and more than two years post divorce, my XW has been making overtures of wanting to come back: “I miss you” (sob), “I’m not marrying AP,” (sob), blah blah. Mind you, she is still living with him. I just stare at her. Frankly part of me wants to lead her on so she will dump AP, who is truly a scumbag who is mean to my kids and whom my kids can’t stand. But I just stare at her and say nothing.

    Yesterday she leaned out of the car and, batting her eyes, said “I know you think I’ve changed. But I haven’t. I’m still me.” (Bat-bat, sweet smile.)

    I replied, “I know you haven’t. I know you are.”

    She lacks a sarcasm or irony detector, so it wouldn’t have mattered if I used those tones. But what I was thinking was “Nope. You haven’t changed. And that’s the problem.”

    Clearly she still thinks of me as option B, an off-ramp now that unicorn land is crumbling. Not a drop of remorse or culpability in the nightmare she put me and our children through.

    Point is, they don’t change. This is sad but at the same time enlightening for us.

  • A shark is a shark. Was born a shark and will die a shark. A shark will never turn into a dolphin. Not for anyone. Not for another dolphin. Not for another shark. Not even if he has all his teeth extracted. He won’t be a dolphin. Just a toothless shark.

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