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Dear Chump Lady, Why does he suck at remorse?

chipperDear Chump Lady,

Why does he suck at showing remorse? I know what you’re going to say… “HE DOESN’T HAVE ANY,” and maybe that’s true, but he understands that his behavior was wrong and SAYS he wants to be empathetic. It’s almost like he just doesn’t know how. Maybe I’m just injecting “hopium” and I need you to knock me over the head with a 2×4 so that I can trust that he will always have the emotional intelligence of a newborn banana slug.

My ex cheated while I was pregnant. Wait, hold up, it wasn’t “technically” cheating because I broke up with him a few hours before and we got back together the day after. See, when I was 8 weeks pregnant (with a wanted and planned-for child), he decided to take a couple weekend trips to L.A. with his “buddies”… guys that he hadn’t hung out with for years. I had been trying for weeks to get him to talk about why he was pulling away, which was always met with “I’m not, you’re just being crazy” statements.

By the second weekend of these trips I told him I couldn’t be with someone who wasn’t going to be a partner or father. We fought. We text-fought (UGH). He told me he’d rather play video-games than be a dad, I broke-up with him, he shut off his phone pretending it ran out of batteries, and cheated that night.

Now to me, that’s worse than cheating. That’s gas-lighting and manipulating, followed by cheating-with-a-side-of-plausible-deniability (to maintain his self-image).

As bad as that night felt — him gone and me wondering what the hell I could have done differently — the rest of the pregnancy was worse. He returned but the gas-lighting never stopped. After our daughter was born he fell instantly in love with her and admitted that he had, indeed, been pulling away the entire time and was “so sorry” and would do anything to make it right and keep his family. From now on, there would be total honesty, therapy, etc. We all know how empty those promises are. I didn’t learn about the cheating until my daughter was 8 months old, and only after playing detective and repeatedly pushing him for the truth.

There is so much more to the story and as I type this I realize it’s textbook narcissism and entitlement. He says he wants to fix things, but gets angry when I point out that he’s not really doing anything — no consistent therapy, no initiating difficult discussions, no reflection.

Every time I point out that he talks only about his feelings and isn’t showing understanding or empathy, he is furious! I should “KNOW” he feels terrible and that he is “ALWAYS” reflecting on how badly he treated me. Except, there’s nothing to show for it. Just now he told me “if we’re never going to be together I need to stop therapy so I have time to mourn.”

He’s full of it, right? He’s only feeling sorry for himself, isn’t he? He seems different when I talk to him and he’s willing to admit where he’s wrong, but his actions show me that he’s still not getting it. Does he not have the capacity to learn empathy? Both he and his mom lived with his narcissistic, abusive father. They lied “to survive,” and now he can’t seem to break the habit. Oh wait… these are classic FOO issues and I’m untangling, aren’t I? SAVE ME!

Signed,

ArmchairPsychology

Dear Armchair,

Yes, you’re untangling the skein of fuckupedness. This entire letter is Why Is He Like This? Why isn’t he sorry? Why isn’t his remorse convincing? How did he get this way?

STOP IT.

You could spend the rest of your life trying to solve the mystery of Naugahyde remorse. I file these sorts of queries under How Many Fuckwits Can Dance on the Head of a Pin. Wither art thou sociopath? We could devise many reasons why he can’t do sorry. Maybe he has cancer of the empathy glands. I don’t know.

The real mystery here, Armchair, is YOU. Why are you with a man who would rather play video games than be a father? Whatever it is you need from him (remorse, accountability, investment in the relationship), he’s not providing it. His crap is either okay with you, or it’s not. This relationship is acceptable to you, or it isn’t. You call the shots here, NOT him.

As chumps we often get tripped up on the “sorry” thing. Well gosh, he says he’s sorry. I don’t see it, but maybe I’m missing something here. Maybe I’m being a hard-ass? Maybe I’m asking too much?

Sorry is as sorry DOES. It’s not that you have a failure to understand his remorse — it’s that it DOES NOT EXIST.

Look, it’s not enough to say “so sorry” and [I] would do anything to make it right and keep his family. From now on, there would be total honesty, therapy, etc. 

You have to actually DO IT. Make amends. Initiate the therapy. Tell the truth however ugly. And treat the person you harmed with humility, not continued entitlement.

He’s not ENTITLED to your forgive and forget. He’s not ENTITLED to be there. But hey, Armchair, you’re letting him be there. You’re listening to his bullshit. Your words might say “I don’t buy it,” but your ACTIONS say you do. He’s still in your orbit.

Every time I point out that he talks only about his feelings and isn’t showing understanding or empathy, he is furious! I should “KNOW” he feels terrible and that he is “ALWAYS” reflecting on how badly he treated me. Except, there’s nothing to show for it.

I had these exact stick-your-head-in-the-blender mindfucks with my cheating ex. He also said he always felt bad. (Evidence that he did not? Four D-days.) The fury? That’s the manipulation set to the rage channel.

What was revealing was when I would ask him what exactly he felt sorry about. Think about it — if you really felt terrible for doing something, it would be right there at the tip of your consciousness. It would haunt you. You wouldn’t have to sputter to come up with particulars. Cheaters? They sputter to come up with the particulars. It’s always this nebulous, undefined faux regret.

Just now he told me “if we’re never going to be together I need to stop therapy so I have time to mourn.”

I’m sure the wake will include beer and strippers.

This is just garbled mindfuckery. Who quits therapy to give themselves more time to mourn? Boy, those 45 minute sessions really cut into sad sausage time.

Armchair — get out of the armchair and stop analyzing this loser. He cheated on you and he isn’t sorry. Stick around and expect more of the same, or get the hell away and start a new life for you and your daughter. Please don’t model this crap to her.

If your cheater loves his child he can show it by treating her mother with respect. He can demonstrate his love with child support and sane parenting. I’m afraid his “I love you’s” will be as empty as his apologies.

Doesn’t matter — your daughter has you. Start being mighty and gain that new life today. Dump him.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • The timing of his cheating wasn’t an accident.

    He instigated the argument that led to you dumping him so he had an excuse to do what he wanted (and was probably doing anyway). I know this because my ex would antagonize me so he had an excuse to storm out, turn off his phone and spend time with OW. The only difference between your situation and mine is that we were married. But just because you don’t have that piece of paper doesn’t mean he didn’t cheat.

    How can you possibly expect remorse when he won’t even admit he cheated?

    • You are so right, Lulu. And that technique is “high school” cause that is what my boyfriend did to me repeatedly when I was 16 and in 11th grade. He was a pathological liar. A serial cheater. They never change. And trust me, they are not sorry, one bit. They love doing it.

      • Exactly, Anita! And to add insult to injury, while they’re off doing there own thing and so satisfied with themselves at how skillfully they choreographed the blow-up, you’re at home crying and replaying the argument over and over again, wondering what you could have done differently.

        Sound familiar, Armchair?

        • This is exactly what I can’t make myself stop doing: replaying the entire thing over and over, wondering what I could have done differently. I keep beating myself up over this because he blame shifted so heavily.

          • Me too! I just keep thinking if I wouldn’t have told people he cheated he would have wanted to work things out with me(he says he doesn’t trust me and I ruined it all). I need to remember he moved out well before I found out about the cheating…his mind was already made up. But, I can help but wonder if things would be different. Also, I was the one who filed because of custody and financial and he’s blaming me for doing it all!!! Yet, he was the one who initiated EVERYTHING and NEVER wanted to work on our marriage. But, I can’t stop beating myself up!!! I so bad want my family back together!!! I feel like I miss him so much, but not sure if it’s just the idea of my family being together. We used to enjoy going to football games together and now it’s football season I’m even more sad.

            • He doesn’t trust you??! That is really rich. Please never doubt yourself. He wanted out, got out and found a way to blame you. Oh if you hadn’t opened your big mouth and told everyone the truth I would have worked things out. What utter horseshit! He is the worst kind of defective garbage and you are well rid of him. Let him be the OW’s problem, more than likely she deserves the insipid creep.

          • You can beat the living shit out of yourself for a long time trying to figure out how your supposed shortcomings made cheat; that if you had just been more of this or less of that, that this would never have happened. It’s not true, and you will come to see it. There’s no shortage of voices on this site telling you the same thing. I stayed on that self-abusive, hamster-wheel way of thinking you describe way too long, and respectfully suggest the following: STEP OFF. It wasn’t you.

    • Of course it was timed perfectly to allow him to cheat (and of course he can’t even admit that)!

      You guys are amazing. I’m reading every single one of these comments. CL, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done the “why are you sorry?” line. The “sorries” sound so empty. I’m sure they are empty… From my perspective, the only thing he’s sorry about is being held accountable.

      • “From my perspective, the only thing he’s sorry about is being held accountable.”

        You got it.

        Cheese Fries was full of fake sorry and remorse and a whole lotta blame-shifting when I was 9 months pregnant and caught him answering Craigslist sex ads. When I was pregnant with our second child and caught him hiring a hooker, he was just furious he had to justify himself to me and that I was snooping. They only get worse with time.

      • He probably wasn’t with his buddies when he went on those vacations. Again, the timing. It’s too convenient. Two weekend trips in a row with friends he hasn’t seen in years, and then suddenly his phone is out of battery and he cheats that very night?

        Nah, he was cheating way before that. He didn’t magically find some random woman to bang in a bar right after your argument. She’d already been lined up two weeks before. He had someone to go to and that’s exactly where he went.

        He’s not sorry for what he did. And he’s not mentally ill, he’s not hurt because his FOO was fucked up, he probably does know better (if he didn’t know any better, then why would he need to hide it and then blame you?) he just doesn’t care. He probably did pick up this kind of shit from his asshole father, because children learn what they live, and that’s exactly why you should model boundaries and self-respect to your daughter. Otherwise she might wind up in a similar situation, thinking that this is an acceptable way to be treated.

        Tell the bastard you won’t take it anymore. Don’t worry about what he farts out of the facial anus below his nose. It’s not about you, it’s about his shitty character. You don’t need that.

        • “He probably wasn’t with his buddies when he went on those vacations. Again, the timing. It’s too convenient. Two weekend trips in a row with friends he hasn’t seen in years, and then suddenly his phone is out of battery and he cheats that very night?”

          Ugh. That pit in my stomach returned. You’re probably 110% right.

          • I know that pit like the back of my hand. I sensed you are at the beginning of your journey. That is why I was trying to give you some baby steps that helped me.

            Being educated does not help this type of pain. It actually makes it worse because we over analyze it.

            The best thing you can do soothe that pit is to be SO EXTREMELY UNAVAILABLE to him. If you don’t, that pit will become a festering ulcer of horror that can ruin your health. I thought I was having a heart attack (seriously) and I am not overweight and I don’t have high blood pressure. My GP said the stress and the adrenal weakened my heart wall. Cheating is primitive. Hence, the pit in your stomach.

            Not having contact with him: This is not to get him back, or play a game- it is save yourself. I am taking care of terminally ill dog (my DDay was Mother’s Day) and she takes up so much time, and my other dogs, one cat and my work and my OCD housekeeping….it helps to stay very very busy. Of course, he is on my mind. But I don’t wail anymore. I cry….once every two days.

            I am not sure if you are in medical school now, but it would be very hard to be in the States in med school and have time to do anything. And with a new baby?

            He could wreck your whole life. Medical school is the most demanding academic challenge (in the States). Don’t let him blow it for you.

            People mean well with the truth comments about what is really going on, and sadly, they are probably right. BUT RIGHT NOW, it is best not to deal on the nitty gritty stomach churning details of the extent of the cheating. It is best to become *manically* focused on you and your baby’s needs.

            You don’t want to become obsessed. Obsession can take on a life of its own. Maybe a time will come to know the truth and maybe not. For me, I am not strong enough to know anymore. I can’t process it. And it does not enrich my life in anyway to know what the women looked like or what went down. Does not matter.

            I know he betrayed me. He admitted it. He asked (first call last week in three months)

            “I mean…I don’t know….How do I even go about fixing something like this, Babe?”

            You can’t. I loved you and you shit all over it. Good bye.

            The details don’t matter right now. Escaping with your sanity, your future and your finances in tact are what is important. He is focused on his needs. Focus on yours.

            One last important tip:

            Just because you miss someone…does not mean you should be with them. Remember that. Grief is part of this. I can’t imagine having a new baby and being alone. I can’t. As I read posts, I am holding up an IV bag for my dog. I would love to have someone to help me hold this bag up, or fix me a snack. But I don’t. And that is life.

            But, I will soldier through this alone than be with someone who CHOSE….CHOSE….to inflict agony and misery on me when I treated like a King. I am pretty fabulous. He can go get fucked that he did not value it.

            • Thank you for the encouraging words and for touching on so many things I needed to hear. Super proud to hear you were able to shut down his phone call (Seriously? After 3 months of silence he expected to fix it? What, was he out of narcissistic supply? I swear they read the same insane playbook).

              Anyway, congratulations for keeping yourself strong. Cleaning and organizing have always been great procrastination tools for me; I can use them as anti-chump amunition. Do you live around any close friends or family? So far, moving close to my best friend has been a life-saver. I’ve got day-care with flexible hours for the days I have my daughter, and I get to share lovely evenings/nights with her. To put myself in a good place, I just imagine playing with her, and wonder what she will be like as she gets older.

              What is your poor dog suffering from?

              • Do you know….and this kills me….but I think he wanted to get me back “in the mix” to triangulate with whatever slag he is playing games with? Isnt it horrifying. But…you have those moments of clarity. He wanted me to have his number so I would step back on the crazy train.
                Note: I once called him over 100 times in a row. He nevered answered.

                So, if I can go no contact…you can. And…just some incentive…this puzzles their Og cave man brains.
                Do not become Sherlock Holmes…ferreting out thr details. I think it is borrowing misery.
                Well…seeking comfort from my mother is a fools errand. No one has much sympathy ….I think they see it as gardeen variety broken heart. I have tried to explain…I was conned!!! It was all a lie.

                I am in therapy. And I am so happy you have your best friend!

                This site, her writing and the support here will show you unequivocally that no good will come from any more contact with a cheater. People here truly understand. It is gold.
                Kiss and Hugs. You will make it. You are smart and strong.

              • She is (was) a feral stray. I gave her 3 years of dog utopia but her poor kidneys are gone. It is a nightmare of vomiting. So now we are in the palliative phase Our journey is ending. This dog…she knows pain. When I would sob over his cheating…she would come and lay her big head on my tummy. And not move. She is a sweet and humble soul.
                My X spent so much $$$ and time on her. And he had cast her off like a bag of old fast food.
                Who ARE these people?

              • Ah sylvia, canines are so great better than husbands i my opinion. Asswipe walked away from his dog twice left him with me. The poor baby goe very emtional cause he didnt understand after adswipe would leave the poor baby would sit by the gate waiting for him to come back for hours. I usually had to go and get him and bring him inside. The dog has since attached himself to me. He wont listen to asswipe anymore and doesnt enjoy being around him he clings to me. Asswipe thinks the dog is now demented cause he a senior and doesnt treat asswipe like daddy anymore he mostly ignores him. I told asswipe the dog is not demented asshole you are! My three fur babies and i send warmth and snuzzles to you and your baby.

      • @ArmchairPsychology. I’m so sorry for what you have had to go through. It was almost hard to read your post because it was so similar to my situation with my ex and brings back so many memories. I also found out my husband and partner of 10 years had been cheating whenI was about 8 weeks pregnant. It tok some time, but by playing detective I was able to learn that the affair had been going on for 9 months and was continuing. He would say he was sorry and remorseful, but when I was already treated with hostility when I would ask him to explain exactly what he was sorry for or question why he wasn’t showing me how sorry he was with his actions, he would get angry at me and tell me of course he always feel bad about what he does and he has a problem he is selfish and how do I not get it. To make matters worse, at 20 weeks i found out my daughter had a life threatening illness. Instead of walking away from that cheating asshat, I continued to deal with him. Finally at 71/2 months pregnant i again caught him trying to speak with the ow (who was 22 years his junior) and I finally had the courage to just walk away. He came around when she was born as we knew she would be in the hospital for quite some time. Once she was here he also “fell in love” and we both stayed by her side as much as possible. Sadly, my daughter’s illness was much worse than any of her doctors predicted and she passed at 12 days old. After she passed, my STBXH did nothing to help with the funeral. He came, but at the wake left me up front by her coffin by myself because he was too ashamed to greet any of my friends or family members. Before he left the afterparty (where he and his family stayed at a table in the corner the entire time) he told me he loved me and asked if we could get together sometime soon. I was actually happy he said it and had no intention of getting back together, but because we had just been through this great loss together thought we could lean on one another. A week later I called him because I never heard from him. he told me he just wanted to move on and forget about Lucy then went on a tirade about how we would have still been together if I didn’t go no contact on him when i was 71/2 months pregnant and he started yelling about me because my brother wouldn’t shake his dad’s hand at the funeral and my brother and brother -in-law snubbed him in front of everyone. As if any of these things were my fault and not the result of his shitty actions. About a week later, I got an email from his girlfriend that “accidently” forwarded to me about their trip to following week to Mexico and how excited she was to go to celebrate his 45th birthday. They were going to the same place we had talked about going for our babymoon before I found out about the affair. At that point I called my STBXH, told him he and his OW were horrible disgusting people. While I was crying my eyes out mourning our daughter he was planning week long getaways to Mexico with his 22 year-old girlfriend. And just the week prior when I asked if he wanted to come visit Lucy’s grave, he said he couldn’t because he was working 7 days a week and no way he could take time off to come to Long Island (an hour away) to visit her. So he could take a week off from work to go away to mexico with his girlfriend 2 weeks after his daughter died that he loved so much he tattooed ger name on his wrist, but he couldn’t take a couple hours out of a day to visit her grave. I told him that he and his OW were horrible people and I have not spoken with him since. I’m on 5+ months of no-contact and it has been the best thing for me. Divorce is starting, which of course I had to initiate, which has brought up a lot of feelings. Sorry for such a long post, but I just want to say that don’t listen to his bullshit. If he really loved you and your daughter you wouldn’t have to question it. He would show you with his actions. It would not be about him. It would be about showing nonstop love for his daughter and part of that includes treating her mother with love and respect. You are so lucky to have your daughter and she is equally luck to have a great mom like you. I would give anything in the world to have my daughter here with me, even if just for a moment. Cherish every second you have with her and tell that POS to go fuck himself and get a child support order in pronto. You and your daughter do not need a toxic, selfish, entitled person like that in your lives on a daily basis. Chumplady’s book and the the site here has great advice of parenting with a fuckwit. I recommend reading all you can, be the sane parent, ignore his bullshit and be the great mom you already know you are.

        • Jessicawett,
          I am trying to think of words of comfort. I am deeply sorry. If I lived near nyc I would take you out for lunch.
          Clearly, you are interacting with a sociopath. Even a child’s death does not phase him in his pathological behavior. God Bless You.

          • Jessicawett – I’m so sorry for your loss and for the callous way your STBXH has acted.

            ArmchairPsychology – Your story resonates with me. My ex left just before New Year and stated that he wasn’t sure what he wanted from our relationship. I had found out I was pregnant in November.

            Fast forward to February when he wanted to work on ‘us’, I found out he was having an affair with a co-worker.

            During the time from finding out to giving birth he did nothing but send me abusive messages, tell me he was going to call social services on me as I wouldn’t be able to cope without his support. WTF??? I did everything in our 13 year relationship. I supported him through his degree, his teacher training, helped him learn to drive, his depression. I cooked, cleaned, looked after his son, all while working full time.

            I had to get lawyers involved and sought mediation to sort out his access to see his kids and also to ask that our son not meet the OW until the baby was born. He agreed, but didn’t stick to his word. He found the best to time to introduce the OW – on my son’s 7th birthday. He took his family and my son to a theme park and took the OW with him. Needless to say it didn’t go down too well with any of his family.

            Now, he’s backed down, he’s telling me he no longer wants to argue and I call the shots. Since our daughter was born, he’s stopped the aggressiveness, but is still with OW, who recently decided to introduce herself to my sister when they met in a corner shop and my son was with her. She’s just as demented as he is, if she thinks my sister is going to be nice to her. She was polite for my son and my son only.

            A few weeks ago, the ex said ‘do you remember when I said I’d regret this in 6 months? …. Well, I kind of am’.

            I think that was his way of trying to weedle his way back. My response was ‘Well, it’s too late now’.

            I went on a date last week and whilst we weren’t compatible, we did get on and I had a laugh. It was good to feel like there are people out there that like me.

            • “A few weeks ago, the ex said ‘do you remember when I said I’d regret this in 6 months? …. Well, I kind of am’.”

              Wow. What a joke of a comment to make to the woman he was with for 13 years. First of all, he told you he’d probably regret what he was doing while actively abusing you? Sounds like pity call of the covert narc. “Feel bad for me while I’m cheating and leaving you pregnant! I’m not emotionally healthy and I have SHAME! No one understands me.”

              He is embarrassing himself. If he truly felt that his behavior was that self-sabotaging, he could have left the OW, enlisted the help of a therapist, bought a book, reflected,… ANYTHING but more abuse. Don’t fall for the vulnerable narcissist. His mommy can pick him back up and comfort him.

        • Your story is so moving. I can’t imagine what you went through. I can’t imagine. There is no way to fully describe the hatred I feel for your ex after reading this… And the 23 year-old is no better. How can she be with a man so devoid of character or feeling?

          You must have gone through a lifetime of pain while pregnant. Hearing the news of your daughter’s illness and knowing you would have limited time with her. What are you doing to heal? Are there any support groups for parents who have lost their children?

    • Exactly Lulu, the timing of the argument was Gaslighting 101.
      Armchair, so sorry you are going through this. There will be hundreds of chumps reading your letter today who are more genuinely sorry for what is happening to you than your partner is. That’s the inconvenient truth of what he is.
      I still do what you are doing, untangling the skein, even months after the traitor dumped me anyway. It’s so hard to stop. But it has to. I wish CL could make an app I could download, it would read my thoughts and whenever they drift into the territory of untangling the skein, which is most of my thinking time if I am honest, in spite of my bravado, the app would give me an electric shock, a bit like a cattle prod. How quickly we would heal then!!
      You know what is going on, but of course you wanted a real partner, a real father for your child, a real family and you can’t let go of the hopium pipe. Been there. No matter how hard we hang on to that pipe, they can’t be what we thought they were.
      You are a good person, focus on you and your child. Since we haven’t got the magic app, just imagine it is there in your phone every time you think about him, try to zap yourself out of it. Your thoughts and you mental capabilities must be directed to you and your child now, nothing towards him. Because that’s how much he really cares about you and his child.
      Read all the other chumps stories, it’s really hard, takes a long time, but many have got there eventually, so can we. Visit here often, whenever you catch yourself thinking about WHY he did this. The other chumps, especially those who are a few years or even a decade of more out of it will enlighten you.
      Be strong.

  • Armchair, hope that CL’s advice helped. Also, want to support what Lulu and Anita said that the timing was intentional – my guy pulled his BS when he knew that I loved him but we weren’t officially together.

    • My ex’s name is Phil, and when he tried to do that non-apology I always thought of it as a “Philpology”, which basically means….sorry you are mad, but this is why I am right and shouldn’t bug me about trying to act like a human

      he sucked, and so does your guy

      • “I’m sorry but…” Is just another way of getting the last word in about why they are totally justified in their behaviour and you deserved it. Sorry not sorry.

        • “What was revealing was when I would ask him what exactly he felt sorry about. Think about it — if you really felt terrible for doing something, it would be right there at the tip of your consciousness. It would haunt you. You wouldn’t have to sputter to come up with particulars. Cheaters? They sputter to come up with the particulars. It’s always this nebulous, undefined faux regret.”

          My traitor could come up with impressive apologies that covered all the areas one could expect to cover. I felt he was reading from a script, like he had prepared them using one of these books on how to apologise. A real professional job. Then he would carry on with the same behaviour anyway. But it was ok because he’d come up with another superb apology, rinse and repeat. He would also complain that I never apologised, Not true by I seldom did compared with him. I only apologised if I really meant it, if I really thought I was doing something wrong, and if I was sure I was going to change whatever behaviour was a problem.

  • Armchair-

    Trust me when I tell you that there’s nothing at the end of the road you’re traveling on. Nothing but continued lies, cake eating and undoubtedly more cheating. Ask me how I know.

    I was married for a long time when my dday came about (24 years). As far as I knew then it was his one and only affair so I made all the justifications you are making. He wasn’t even the tiniest bit sorry though. Sure he said it but his actions told me otherwise. What does naugahyde reconciliation look like to me? Well upon discovery, he blamed the affair on me. He refused to go to individual counseling and the only reason he went to MC is because I booked the appointments and threaten to leave if he didn’t attend. If I brought anything up he’d make thinly veiled threats to leave and he watched my dance and dance and dance while he ate cake.

    You know what he did right though? He told me he never tried to hide his affair while it was going on. When I pulled my head out of my ass, I took that for the only truth he told me. He wanted to hurt me and he wanted me to find out so that I would leave because he was too much of a coward to have an adult conversation or do divorce the right way.

    Did your cheater give you any nuggets like that? As a certified chump I took that truth and twisted it into what I wanted to believe because I was too scared to leave. My pick me dance lasted through 3 years of my 40s that I will never get back.

    You haven’t been with this guy for long. This isn’t going to get better based on what you described. Cut your losses, model good boundaries for your precious girl and kick this loser to the curb. Try a different road and find a better life!

    • You went through this after 24 years? Ughhh I’m so sorry. We’re there clues about his poor character before he cheated?

      I got nuggets all right. I knew something was wrong the entire pregnancy and got blamed for everything. His anger at me was always always justified because of “the way” I brought up my concerns. I triggered him.

      • 27 if you count the three years of wreckconcilaition! We married young and in hindsight there were plenty of clues about his entitlement. You are never smarter than when you are 20 years old right (LOL) Live and learn.

        I think cheaters who cheat while their partners are pregnant get to go right to the 9th circle of hell though. So sorry he tested you that way.

        • “So sorry he tested you that way.”

          What a great way to describe that feeling. It almost felt like that; how far could he test my dignity before I left him.

          It was more important for him to play out his FOO issues and feel sorry for himself than step up. Still is. Follows the patterns I see on CN. “Trust that he sucks” is a lot easier when you see these same patterns over and over in your stories.

          • Based on personal experience it’s possible to work on Foo issues, feel sorry for oneself, and still refrain from abusing the people you’ve claimed to love. I readily admit to being a black hole of despair at times, but I worked hard at showing how much I appreciated her staying at my side (in the end she ran off, but I’m proud of how I rarely took any of my pain out on her or her son).

      • You are experiencing classic blameshifting (among other manipulations narcissists are the masters of). Mine did exactly the same thing. Whenever I questioned him about pulling away, investing his time and emotional energy into various “friendships,” the argument became all about me daring to question him and his behavior, my lack of trust, and, ultimately, how I was abusing him by questioning him at all.

        Mine was a covert narc who was an expert at snowing me and everyone around him–it took me 20+ years to figure out what I was dealing with because he put on quite the show of being a faithful, stand-up husband and father. So you may not always see the signs until they start going off the rails, but in your case that’s already happened and he’s been off the rails for a while. Please get out now before you end up like so many of us here!

        • Covert narc, indeed. He hits almost all the characteristics. They play on your pity, take on a different mask for every situation, feel constant “shame” and self-doubt. Reminds me of my teenage years.

          Ever watch “20 Signs Your With a Covert Narcissist”?

          • well this man just described my first marriage.

            If I had seen this when he was alive, I wonder what I would have thought / done

              • I think it would have helped me see that he was never going to get better. I was SO full of hope…too much hope, inappropriate hope.

                There were 2 situations in our lives that woul dhave likely blown up if he had lived..one would have caused him to blow up and go into a rage and he had used up his reserves of being decent…it might have finally been the rage to end the marriage.

                The other sitch was that he was one to distract himself…always wanted to be on the move…happiness was over THAT hill. He told me “we are moving when D graduates from HS whether you like it or not” but I had already decided I wasn’t moving.

                My sons had both been through really bad mental health crisis and had to move home as young adults. Im glad they had a home to come back to, but I was ready to take me & d and get an apt. I had saved $40,000 as an “escape fund”.

          • Wow – thank for you sharing the video. It was very interesting and describes my cheater very accurately. From his victim mentality, deep depression and his feeling of being unappreciated. The back and forth emotions of extreme entitlement to feeling shame was what always made me question myself and what I thought I was doing to our relationship. I had no idea during many years of our marriage what was happening but I knew it was not normal behavior and since I was the only real witness I started to doubt my own reality of things.

            His APs were all his attempts at rescuing females as he told me he wanted to help fix them. So he picked “broken” women he told me. He even told me once that he married me because he thought he could make me into the person he thought I could be. Again – those are not the thoughts of a normal person. For years I begged him to go to therapy. He tried a couple of times but would quit after a few sessions. I guess it was that fear of the flood of shame overwhelming him? Who knows.

            I do suffer physical affects right now from the emotional abuse. Stomach problems, anxiety, insomnia and stress. Because we have a child, no contact is impossible so I limit contact as best I can. In the process of divorce now. My hope is that he is able to maintain a normal relationship with our daughter but what is normal to a disordered person?

            • How does he treat your daughter? Can you reasonably rely on him to step up and be a parent?

              I’m glad you see that he deserves to have a relationship with his daughter.. but sorry to hear you’re also in the same boat as me with regard to “no contact.” It’s so unhealthy to have to keep dealing with someone who manipulates or lies like it’s some sort of reflex. Ever hear of “grey rock”?

              • She loves him. He is not abusive to her. I’ve always closely watched their relationship. He just doesn’t connect well or know how to bond with her the way a normal person does. In fact over a year ago he asked me what he could do to better connect with her and the question was so foreign to me I was a bit stunned. I told him he needed to figure that out, not really understanding what sort of issues he was dealing with or the scope of his personality disorder. Now I better understand that he understands he should be bonded with her as her father but doesn’t know how to do that. He has fractured relationships with both of his parents so he has no good role models. It’s very sad. He’s used to me being part of the equation when he spends time with her so that he didn’t need to really know how to interact with her but I’ve had to end that for obvious reasons.

          • My X checks 19 of these boxes, cue to shit sandwiches of having bred with a cluster B… Here is to hoping that being a saner parent for our kiddo will provide some immunity…

            Armchair – RUN and give your kiddo’s father as little time with you little one as possible. As Ian mentioned in this thread, use a court-approved parental interface, only email or txt about thing related to your kiddo, and keep your boundaries up! (((ArmChairPsychology)))

    • Same here, as near as I can figure 24 married and 26 together before the affair started. At 16 years married I was ready to pull the plug because he was putting everything before our family. Even after he left, came back, left again – 1month before I told him to fuck off – he would introduce me to people as his WIFE!

      Looking back I see a whole sense of entitlement, I see a man who has the depth of a rain puddle, more concerned with his image as a great family man, helper, friend, volunteer, you name it. BUT when life started to get messy and not fit his image of perfection that’s when he ran. GOOD FUCKING RIDDANCE.

      • “Looking back I see a whole sense of entitlement, I see a man who has the depth of a rain puddle, more concerned with his image as a great family man, helper, friend, volunteer, you name it. BUT when life started to get messy and not fit his image of perfection that’s when he ran. GOOD FUCKING RIDDANCE.”

        Exactly. My wife too. I even recall noting his several times when I was spackling. I remember several instances when relatively minor crisis arose that when they going got tough for me or our family or even her alone, she was nowhere to be found. Their ability to cope sucks.

    • “Did your cheater give you any nuggets like that?”

      Oh yes. He said with a grin, “It was always about the thrill of the chase.”

      He admitted she meant nothing to him. And he was never humble. A sociopath from day one.

  • Nowdeadhusband rarely told me what he really felt, but once he said (after I told him how bad his behavior affected me and the kids) that I consistently tried to “make me feel bad about myself”. Now I was decades into his dysfunction by the time he said this and I had already discerned that in moments where he actually hated himself, he was worse than normal, so doing anything to cause that to happen was a mistake. I wanted him to have respect for himself and for me.

    I really thought if I could get him to see how badly I felt when he was mean, he would care enough to stop.

    So all my emoting and explaining did nothing but convince him that I wanted him to dislike himself. Turns out he already did dislike himself because he knew he was a liar and a cheat (he had info I didnt have).

    My mistake was to take the assumption that “if he knew how badly he made me feel, he would stop” as some sort of Gospel truth. I never questioned it, OF COURSE that was true!! Except it wasnt. That simply was NOT a motivating factor for him.

    • Well-said, unicornnomore: “I really thought if I could get him to see how badly I felt when he was mean, he would care enough to stop.”

      I felt the exact same way. Surely if he understood he was hurting me, he’d stop! I spent twenty-two years on that hamster wheel and of course he never stopped. And why not? Because that’s who he is. He lacks empathy and remorse, but he’s really good at crying. Now I know that during those times he was felling sorry for HIMSELF.

      • “I felt the exact same way. Surely if he understood he was hurting me, he’d stop!”

        My ex bf was exactly like this, he would do things and I’d tell myself, can’t he see he’s hurting me. Then I’d have to explain it to him. And then a lightbulb went up over my head, where I understood this isn’t normal behavior. I sure as heck don’t do anything to hurt him, then why the heck isn’t he mindful of the same?? And I have to waste energy explaining to him that what he did was wrong. Fuck that. I don’t have time to play psychiatrist, I saw the signs and moved on. It’s not my job to reform a person that is mentally off. There’s the insane asylum for that.

        • Damn straight, and given that, IIRC, you had folks telling you to doubt your sound instincts, pretty amazing that you saw this so clearly and so quickly. If a grown man doesn’t display the basics of how to FEEL and DO sorry, it doesn’t matter whether or not he’s pretending or sometimes getting it and sometimes not (a more effective mindfuck tactic than just consistently open callousness, IMO), and it doesn’t matter why. YouWILL be a casualty.

          • ClaireS – thanks for your support. I grew up with 2 Narcissistic parents, who spent their time hurting me over and over and over again. No matter how many zillion times I asked them to stop telling them they were hurting me, they NEVER stopped! I was born into this shit, and it took me 37 years to understand that NOTHING I do will ever make them stop. And so I applied the same theory to the men I date. The minute I realized my Ex was displaying the same behaviors, I was out for good. I wasn’t going to live the second part of my life in the same soul crushing dynamics. And you are right, we will be a Casualty, paying the price with our health, mental sanity and in the end, with our lives.

            • So glad you made it through and emerged mighty (!). Too many don’t make it through that kind of hell. You kept fighting back.

              And when I see similar mindfuckery hells being exposed here by CL and CN … see the many who say that but for this site they would not have made it, I feel more relief than I can express. (I don’t get to say that yet, but I can say that CL and CN resuscitated the near-dead survivalist intuition in me who’d nearly capitulated to death by a thousand cuts over the last eight years.)

            • Kellia, are you my sister? I didn’t know you posted here (LOL at the similarities of our FOO). My mother, pushing 90 is *still* a narc and it’s all about her and the three channels of rage, pity and bullying are sooo very true.

              • Hi Her Blondeness! It’s always amazing to meet other kindred souls who are children of Narcissistic parents. Hugs to you!

              • Yup, me too. Covert narc mother, malignant narc father. I suspect there’s quite a few of around.

                I think we naturally attracted narcs into our lives because that was all we knew. Sort of like we both knew this subliminal dance and all its steps. (Narcs and Chumps) We chumps were the lucky ones who had enough strength to get out, or were left. Once we got away from them we could see the crazy.

              • Being raised in a household with narcs usually results in a “parentified” child. We MUST protect the vulnerable narcissist! We must be there to help with the blows to their ego.

            • Me too- mom and dad. Abusive, alcoholic, cheaters, narcissistic…..life was a living hell, but from outward appearances, at least for awhile, we looked rich and good. Two of the five siblings are total abusive narc alcoholics.

        • My ex would constantly accuse my of cheating. Any man I had an outside, proffessionsl relationship with, I was fucking, blowing him at work, blah, blah, blah. Mind you, the only “evidence ” he had of these transgressions were missed calls he would find on my phone or a record of me calling them, text messages with work related content were no more than code for, “thanks for the great blow job at work.” During the arguments he would start using this “evidence “. He would call me dirty tramp, whore, liar, fool being used for sex and many more horrible names….then demand sex. Sex on demand every morning and when ever he felt the need in between. I tried to explain to him that when we have sex, I feel sick and depressed because in my mind, I feel he sees me as a whore. I was no longer comfortable sexually. I became insecure about expressing my sexuality. I felt that maybe I was somehow giving off some kind of vibe to the world that I was actually a whore. Coming from a history of sexual assault as a young woman, that I thought I had forgiven myself for and placed the blame where it belonged, I found myself feeling like a did then so many years ago, that I deserved what I got because of my behavior.

          I spent the next 6 years trying to prove that I wasn’t a whore. Hiding work related conversations with men and male friends so no one at work would know I was with a man who was so insecure and judge him. Lol!! When I found him cheating multiple times, it was all my fault because of my disrespectful behavior.

          Love yourself

            • I didn’t know that accusing a spouse of cheating was a sign that they are cheating. I believe that accusing a person of something without absolute evidence is ghastly, so I never accused him of anything

    • This. My cheater could stand there watching me cry because I had just caught him telling a massive lie (like finding out he was NOT spending 3 days with a friend, but rather spent 3 days out of town with someone he would not reveal) … my pain and distress was unmistakable plus I was telling him in words how I felt. He looked very uncomfortable and was very sorry he had gotten caught. But he really didn’t care that I hurt because that just didn’t compute in his brain. It took me 20 years to finally understand that he had no empathy and could not respond like a normal human being. I almost feel sorry for him, except that he goes around hurting people to suit his own selfish desires. Bottom line: you cannot teach, counsel, explain empathy to someone who was not born with that part of their brain functioning. Time to move on.

      • My ex, too. He just would look at me when I was crying hysterically. 100% void of any feeling. It’s scary remembering it, because I cannot imagine be so emotionless, like Mr. Spock. He had no empathy, but lots and lots of empathy for himself (feeling sorry for himself.) Somehow he became the victim in his cheating and became the sad sausage which he is so great at being.

        • What is the deal with this? How can they be void of any feeling? It’s so sick! My ex would watch me bawl and the kids bawl and just stand there. What happens with these men down the road? How the hell do they feel sorry for themselves in all of this? How do they NOT see the pain they cause?

          • It’s like they are on pause, just waiting for you to finish crying on your own.

            So many times, I’d pour out my heart and pain to my ex, and he’d just sit there motionless and quiet, waiting for it to be over. It was inhuman. I’d ask why he didn’t do or say anything, try to help me, something, and he said he didn’t know what to do, so he chose to do nothing.

            The genie was out of the bottle and he couldn’t figure out how to get it back in, that was all.

            I was also cheated on while pregnant. It sucks.

            It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure things, and myself, out. New baby hormones really mess you up to begin with, add in what I consider to be the worst psychological trauma anyone can experience, and I was a mess.

            • “I’d pour out my heart and pain to my ex, and he’d just sit there motionless and quiet, waiting for it to be over. It was inhuman. I’d ask why he didn’t do or say anything, try to help me, something, and he said he didn’t know what to do…”

              ^^THIS^^ If I was wise, I would have run the first time this happened (probably year 3 of the relationship). It was a sign of things to come. Never again.

          • <>

            Us normal people think things like “Well they cant ____ forever”.

            Yes they can, they can dig themselves into a hole until they are dead.

            My nowdeadhusband left a trail of so many dastardly deeds he could no longer live an authentic life and he wished himself dead and refused to see a doctor even though he was always sure he was sick. He dropped dead.

            My BPD alcoholic mom drank herself into dementia. She is confused and cant care for herself. My narc dad spent money he didnt have and now they cant move out of their house. Dad will find her dead some afternoon. He will lose all the possessions he valued so highly. All the friends who liked them for their possessions have left them.

            • “What happens with these men down the road? ”

              my above comment was a response to this question, I did the quote wrong

              • This.

                Mine would turn away from me mid sentence and load up a video game while I was sobbing about him tearing me down or lying to me about an AP. If I persisted in trying to make him listen to me he would fet scary and mean and call me horrible names to make me go away. Wouldn’t apologize but instead said that “of course” he got angry and said things he didn’t REALLY mean because I wouldn’t leave him alone. I now know that he really did mean those things in the moment. And later, he really thought he didn’t mean them because he doesnt want to think of himself as the kind of person who could say such terrible things. or he would just deny ever saying them and tell me I was a crazy liar. Fucking asshole.

        • “He just would look at me when I was crying hysterically. 100% void of any feeling.”

          Same. It was un-nerving. Found myself (normally pretty in control of my emotions; not perfect, but not paralyzing) feeling more and more insane toward the end of the pregnancy. Depression and anxiety crept up and before I knew it they became the new normal.

          A good psychiatrist/therapist is worth every penny.

          • Yeah, I cried every single day during my second pregnancy and days afterwards. He was mean, cold, dismissive, turned into Mr. Party Drinking Smoking Guy, total jerk to me. I would cry and he’d be as cold as ice. And just months before we were a “happy” family with a beautiful son. And then he found a ho-worker that he got involved with and he turned evil. And he has the nerve to tell his ho-workers that I’m insane. No, he’s the one with the personality disorder, not me. Yes, it’s un-nerving to watch the person who you thought was one person (a decent human being), look at you and your kids cry and sob and have 0% empathy or remorse what he was doing to us. He’s a evil man and I can’t wait until God dishes out the consequences.

        • Mine would become angry at me if I cried at something he felt I had no reason to be crying for. He would make the determination himself. I cried when a relative died – that was acceptable. But when I cried once because of something that was happening in his family – that was not acceptable because it was his family and according to him, I had no right to be upset! He actually demanded that I stop crying. That was one of those moments where I just didn’t understand what was happening and it was a huge red flag but I later figured no one would believe me if I told them.

      • Isn’t that the weirdest reaction! I remember receiving a phone call that my grandmother had died. We were very close and I was shocked. When I told him what had happened he got the weirdest look on his face. Like “I know I am suppose to feel something here, what is the right emotion. Oh yes, insert sadness and fake tears”. He had known this woman for 20 years! How do you not know what to do when someone has loved you for 20 years dies. It was the strangest fucking thing I had ever seen.

        • X would make fun of me when I would be sobbing, or he would smirk then ignore me while I begged him to talk to me about our relationship or asking why he had purposely hurt me.

          I believe he knew exactly what he was doing and found pleasure in hurting and upsetting me.
          I can’t imagine seeing someone I loved cry and not try and console them.
          They’re callous, soul less beings , reptilians it’s hard to believe they’re human.

    • Oh my God UNM, you just write for me.

      A common refrain from my ex is my ‘constant negativity’ about him, and how much I ‘despise’ him.

      Somehow he is completley entitled to unconditional positive regards, and for people to have no reactions or consequences to his behaviour.

      No ownership whatsoever, to the point of destroying all our assets in order not to do so.

      • When I discovered Susan of Seattle, in a moment where he seemed to be suggesting changes I could make in myself to do a better “pick me dance” he tells me : “What men really like it to me admired”. I responded “The first step to being admired is to do something admirable”. I watched the video above, Major Cheaterpants was a massive covert narc …he had 19 of the 20 traits discussed.

      • “Somehow he is completely entitled to unconditional positive regards, and for people to have no reactions or consequences to his behaviour.”

        Don’t all “mommies” love with unconditional positive regard?

    • “I really thought if I could get him to see how badly I felt when he was mean, he would care enough to stop.”

      That’s exactly how I felt. So tough for me to let go of trying to change another person.

    • I always thought that too, if he just understood how hurt I was by his behavior he would change. I now understand I could never change him, he didn’t, couldn’t know he was mean. He had no empathy. Hard to believe I missed that for so many years.

  • Sorry Armchair, you cannot teach empathy. Exasshole seemed to have it for 17 years, it wasn’t until a MC session that I realized it was only for himself. The rest was fake. At one point I asked him why he couldn’t do the exercises and kept pushing for a real answer, he finally said “I can’t put myself in your shoes when you are WRONG!!!” And of course, anything I was upset about that he’d done was NOT something that he’d done wrong. I remember the first words out of his mouth when I confronted him about his cheating he yelled “I didn’t do anything wrong”. This is how a person without empathy is, they are special, if you cheated it would be wrong, but him? He’s special. DTMFA.

    • For him to feel sorry he cheated would be like me being sorry that I gave my child a healthy breakfast before I drove him to school. It is impossible to feel sorry for something you are fully entitled to do.

    • My ex said it was a part of his “DNA” that he had to get so emotionally (and physically when he had at least ten 100% totally naked lap dances in Canada — and probably more while he was there!) close to women. That was “who he was!” and I “disrespected him” when I didn’t “accept him for who he was!” No mention of how he disrespected me for over 20 years while he was flirting and seeing women behind my back. It’s all about him. The Entitled One.

  • This dude has made hair-splitting into an art form. Can you imagine the kind of irresponsible, unethical, self-serving, manipulative, unclean, disgusting embarrassment of a father he will be? He will probably start hitting on her friends when she hits sixth grade.

      • Exactly. If you are like me, the laugh comes from a mix of sarcasm and anger rather than actual humor. I know that comment was more jaded than my usual fare, but I have seen this type of immaturity play out too many times (not just my ex), and it just seems really universal that people who think and behave like children are attracted to children. Sad, yes, and scary, for sure.

        • I agree 110%. My X showed a bizarre interest in little girls. Fawning over them, giving them inappropriate amounts of attention. Funny…he did not do the same with little boys. I finally said: why in the HELL are you talking and cooing to little girls in the grocery store?
          No answer.
          Looking back now, it makes my stomach roll with nausea.
          He performed in bed like a stallion….but I have been told my whole life I am child like…soft voice, little make up, usually very happy.
          When I dialed into what was going on, and confronted him with the cheating…and became strong and confrontational…he was not as obsessed to see me.
          Just a big ole ball of SICK.

          • OMG, Slyvia, skankboy would do the same thing. I always felt silently uncomfortable when he would do the fawning with little girls. Looking back at all his relationships, including ours if you want to call it a relationship, he chose vulnerable woman with children. This includes the AP, Ida Whore. Ida Whore, recently divorced with a now 15 year old girl and 9 year old boy…….ewwwwww, just ewwwwwww.
            I remember one time when we were at his brother’s house, he was tickling his twin nieces, i think they were around 10 or 11. His brother told him to stop. Skankboy, became enraged and walked out. He said to me, (brother) used to tickle my kids and I never got pissed. Makes complete sense that brother never let skankboy babysit them. EWWWWWW, just ewwww!

          • Once I figured out that X was gay, I realized that every single woman he had an EA with (and possibly PAs, too, who knows) had exactly the same look and build, similar to mine when we first met–slender, no hips, no boobs, dark hair, and a notably square jaw. Every. single. one.

            • Omg, there is a guy I am suspecting him to be gay. He joked that he has thought about making out with other men. And he has a gf who looks exactly as you described. My jaw dropped!

            • Wow! Just Wow! Skankboy has a nephew who is in the austic spectrum and lives to play with his younger cousins. Ex would accuse him of being a pedophile without facts to support his judgement. The old saying, you point as someone and there are more fingers pointing back at you.

            • Me too, slim, no hips, small boobs, athletic (tomboy), perfect for a beard. I like myself, but this does screw with your mind.

    • I’ve actually thought about this. He was going for a girl a decade younger than me when he cheated. Ugh.. Are there any grown up guys out there?

  • Armchair – two things in your letter made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. The first is “he understands that his behavior was wrong”. That just gave me the creeps because it sounds like something a mother would say about her child when he was bad and she had to actually explain to him his naughty behavior. This sounds to me like there was a ton of justification on his part. Like Ross endlessly said to Rachel, “We were on a BREAK!!!”.

    The second thing is “after our daughter was born he fell instantly in love with her”. Because of her birth, he now wants to honor his relationship with you?? Narcissists love their babies because of the love they feel reflected back by their child. Anyone with real emotion and empathy loves that child when it’s no bigger than a lima bean. A baby is an abstract when it’s still in the womb and he obviously saw her as a burden – something that would cut into his Black Ops time. That’s why he Houdinied on you. But now that he gets smiles from her and feels her little arms around his neck, he gets a big heaping helping of Narcisstic Supply. Sad thing is, when she’s two and three and four and fifteen years old, and has a mind of her own, she’ll be a lot less enchanting to him because she’ll push back. He won’t like that. At. All.

    Don’t listen to his words – watch his behavior. Him saying if it’s not going to work then he needs to quit therapy? That tells you right there that he looks at going to therapy as penance. He will only do “A” if the promise of “B” is there from you. If he was really interested in seeking guidance through therapy to be a better person, then it shouldn’t matter what you ultimately do. All he’s doing by going to therapy is hoping to shut you the hell up.

    Let him go. He will never be a good, loving partner for you and he’ll only be a mediocre dad for your precious little girl. Find someone who gets it, who’ll be a great partner in this life and who’ll be a wonderful influence on your girl. Life is too short to have this chaotic tornado of a man in your life.

    • Armchair, RUN. uneffing, chilled by “he understands his behavior was wrong” points to his parallels with what look like a toddler (which make you look like an anxious mother of a grown man, and yes, uneffing, he DID justify his behavior by saying he was not ready to be a parent).

      He’s not a toddler. He’s not a moron. He’s a predator. He’s says and does the BARE MINIMUM of what a person who has abandoned, cheated on, stonewalled, and gaslighted you should do. That “conflicting message” tactic is just enough to keep you wondering.

      It will never be enough to indicate even a tilt toward genuine you-matter-I will-NEVER-do-any-of-those-cruel-things-again. But it’ll be enough to confuse you to the point of insanity. Ask me. Your guy could be mine except mine is older and more sophisticated. He gaslighted, slowly, for 10 years, while having basically another marriage for 5. I’ve been there, and though it’s abated, before AND after D-Day I, typically stoic and battle-seasoned in my professional life, curl up in a dry shower and sob into a towel, often silently, because I don’t know what’s real. It’s a grief too deadly, sometimes, for sound.

      Worse, it’s a black hole. You’re already getting sucked in, annihilated. Slowly. DM calls it “soul rape.” Make no mistake. You won’t be the only one annihilated by what you think now *might* be fixable (and isn’t). Your daughter WILL get hurt.

      Maybe, as uneffing says, he’ll discard HER when she puts up too much resistance or demands too much. That’s what my narc dad did to me. (And I didn’t, uh, turn out lacking empathy. Your creep just learned well.) But guess who’s mirroring his stepfather’s behavior (contempt for me, blameshifting, arguments that make my head hurt with his spin)? Guess who holds me accountable for not knowing my cheating H basically had another wife?

      Guess who is enraged and hurt and, one night last year while sleepwalking (runs in the family), screamed bloody murder, and then whispered silently, “I can’t keep her safe. She kept me safe. It was dangerous. [HIS dad diagnosed with NPD, I fled immediately when he was 3.] She kept me safe. I can’t keep her safe.” Guess? My 17-year-old son. Who, until sicko H arrived, was better than okay. I’d seen to that. I got 100% custody, fled, and ex-Narc was either AWOL for my son or attacking ME (but I was ready – textbook NPD was easier to see and to neutralize).

      You can’t protect her. No one can. Don’t be arrogant about that. For the love of all that is innocent and holy, don’t even risk it. Here I am, under six months from D-day, trying to pretend R while devastated and fending off continued gaslighting. Trying to cheerlead myself for the moments (usually on here) when I do not feel like I want to be dead because I’m not sure if I’m sane, because I’ve failed. Trying to help my son, knowing that my H’s gaslighting and abuse turned me into the one thing I swore I’d never be: a parent who didn’t protect her child. And the second thing I never wanted to be: my mother. Wanna live with that?

      You have what I didn’t. Articulate knowledge (BRAVO). Warning (to self, bravo again). NO ONE around me believed me and I didn’t find CL in time. You have access here to people in the know about behind closed doors, OTHERS here to confirm what you know. Now he’s got you over a psychological barrel because he seems to be or is in love with your baby. How about this: if it’s even possible that your dreams are delusions, are you willing to gamble? For your sake, I hope not. For that little girl’s sake? I PRAY not. My heart goes out to you.

    • OMG you are right. I’m a mom. I’m acting like his MOM! I said that for years and here I am still doing it.

      You have amazing insight into his comment about “instantly” falling in love with her when she was born. Love, to me, isn’t instant. It is just there, and can be incredibly powerful (like the day she was born, or first laughed, etc), but it never goes away or magically appears out of no where. It’s a choice. I made a choice to love her the minute I saw that pregnancy test, no matter what (she makes it easy, too).

      I think I’m prone to untangling because I’m in medical school and love to psychoanalyze (hence the username). I echo a lot of others by saying this community has helped check me when I fall down that rabbit hole.

      • You’re in medical school. You’re pretty much guaranteed to be awesome at most things. Are you trying to fix him because you actually want a guy who readily admits his id, and sleeps around, or because you normally are able to achieve anything you put your mind to and you’re bugged that this particular thing isn’t fixable?

        • “…or because you normally are able to achieve anything you put your mind to and you’re bugged that this particular thing isn’t fixable?”

          HAH, you must know med students 🙂

          This is a career change, so I’m not the typical “type A” med student. Clearly something pathological in me didn’t want me to let go of the relationship. Did you do the pick me dance Creative?

        • I’m the furthest from type A BUT I’m a fixer. I LOVE a problem I can figure out and fix. It makes me happy! Not necessarily people problems but just problems in general. And this is a problem that COULD have been fixed if we’d both just said SOMETHING but neither of us could say enough and now I’m just SOOOOO BOTHERED it can’t be undone. I’m devastated because I can see the actual MOMENT it went wrong. All he needed to do was apologize and all I needed to do was not attack and just speak from my heart and none of this shit would even be happening. Very very very sad.

      • Beware, Armchair. The more time and energy you spend analyzing HIM, the less time and energy you spend on saving YOURSELF.

        Don’t think your ex doesn’t know this about you. He’s probably reveling in the kibbles that your over-analysis is giving him. Kibbles from soon-to-be-doctors must be really tasty to a narc!

        As a medical student, you’re being trained to recognize patterns. It’s a good tool to learn because you’ll use it quite a bit when you’re a doctor. But emotionally, this work does not satisfy or even help us on a personal level. Why? Because it’s the wrong tool for the job. You don’t need to completely understand the psychological puzzle of the fuckwit in order to know that he’s bad for you. It’s like saying you need a complete knowledge of thermodynamics in order to stop yourself from touching hot stoves.

        You need a new tool here. People around here call it “gaining a life.” It starts when you stop focusing so much on them, and start focusing on you.

        • “You don’t need to completely understand the psychological puzzle of the fuckwit in order to know that he’s bad for you. It’s like saying you need a complete knowledge of thermodynamics in order to stop yourself from touching hot stoves.”

          Oh I love this analogy.

          Like many chumps here, somehow I never learned to trust my feelings when it came to romantic relationships.

  • “He told me he’d rather play video-games than be a dad, I broke-up with him, he shut off his phone pretending it ran out of batteries, and cheated that night”.

    Wow, what a disaster this guy is. I really feel for you, I really do. You have a newborn and bred with a fucktard who doesn’t want to be a dad. And his actions are showing it clearly. And the way you both handle conflict is him – by cheating on you, and you – by breaking up with him when you’re bringing a child into this world. I don’t know how old you are both, but you both sound immature. I really think you should go to therapy on your own, to see why you bred with a completely immature, childish, and self-centered person.

    Also, in the meantime, your focus should be to give your newborn as much stability as possible. Can you move in with your mom and dad? Somewhere with any kind of stability, than this chaotic cheating dysfunctional predicament that your newborn was welcomed-in? She is innocent and deserves better than the circumstances she was born in.

    • I don’t know about “immaturity” Kellia. My STBX is 48, a nationally recognized expert in his legal specialty, we have 4 kids and were married 25 years. It wasn’t until year 24 that he “decided” he didn’t want to be a father or husband any longer. He plays “video” games 24/7 too (online chess!) and would rather do that than interact with humans. He wore a narcissistic mask for most of our relationship and it didn’t slip until our son went to college, STBX aged, had attained everything he wanted and felt empty and unhappy despite it all. For my STBX, cheating was just another indicia of his soulesssness and sociopathy. It wasn’t immaturity.

      • I can’t believe what I’m reading. This guy got married at 23 years old, produced 4 kids and now at 48 does not want to be a father or husband? WTF? Why did he get married and have kids then? It’s ok to be an eternal bachelor. I swear, you’re the first person who’s husband is in his 40s and plays video games and does not want to be a husband or a father. The common theme is these guys got married in their early 20s and wake up one day and want to be single again. I see this theme reoccur so often. No wonder the divorce rate is 90% if you get married before the age of 25 years old.

        • Not the first person…. Read the archives on this site and the forum posts every day: this is definitely a “sub-type” of cheater.

            • She’s not the 1st person—so many live by the same script. My ex is 43 and we have 3 kids. He was 29 when our first child was born. We were together 21 years and married for 15 years. He walked out on me and our kids on Dec 1st to go live his “free” life and continue his big affair with a known serial cheater co-worker…

          • Yep. Asswipe decided at 55 after everything to do in a life was moving along pretty good all of a sudden doesnt want his boring old life and boring old wife. Doesnt want to work and struggle and put in more effort into what he had worked for. Only wants to be around happy and fun people with no cares in the world. No serious relationships just play the field and have fun with multiple sex slaves. Did he let me know. Nah more fun to see how stupid i am how long could he get away with it. So leaves to be in a relationship with a whore who kisses his ass and prances around my house while im at work but naked posing for pictures. Really good moral person there. Just doesnt want to be in his old life any more. Would have been human of him to sit me down for a discussion based on honesty but no more fun to sneak and cheat and lie. He sucks hes a pod and im sorry i ever laid eyes on him. Everything we worked for destroyed. Made his life 1000 times worse. He will never get out of debt whore threw out out yet again and he will be in physical pain til he dies. GOOD!

          • I was with my husband from 17, he decided at 38 he wanted to no longer be a husband and father to our 4 year old and wanted to party and act like a 20 year old. Good…bye. Only took me 10 months of cake eating, the pick me dance and overdosing on hopium to reach glorious Meh-Ville. Now I’ve upgraded to an actual man, 5 years younger than me, way more attractive, attentive and loving then my husband ever was. It’s crazy how you don’t realize how broken and toxic your relationship was until you get in a healthy one.

            • Curious what happened to ex and what does his life look like now? I am so glad you found someone that is attentive and loving. Gives us all hope.

          • MotherChump – Sorry, I meant to write: you’re *not* the first person who’s husband is in his 40s… Typo. the “not” was omitted, when it should have been included.

        • MotherChump – Sorry, I meant to write: you’re *not* the first person who’s husband is in his 40s… Typo. the “not” was omitted, when it should have been included.

        • OMG! So true. My STBX I swear is having like an early midlife crisis. He has decided that now he’s on the verge of 35 what if there’s more out there? But then he says that I’m better than anything else he could find. SOOOOO
          ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ People are weird! Too bad they can’t figure themselves out! I knew what I wanted. I know what I want still! It’s not that hard but apparently it is if you can’t look at yourself. You need to be able to look at your emotions and feelings and dig in there!

    • Definitely a fan of therapy.. Have been going on and off for a long time (narc family, you know the drill). Started up again when this crap began for just that reason: to figure out why I chose a guy like that.

      I broke up with him because he left me no choice. Maybe immaturity, but I felt backed into a corner. There’s only so many times you can approach someone with your concerns/fears/anger/sadness, and be hurt by their antipathy. I broke up to move on, but didn’t really want to believe he was this guy. When he started saying all the right things, there I was again.

      I think it’s telling that I can feel so competent in life (medical school, second professional career), but reduced to feeling powerless and manipulated when I was with him. Especially while pregnancy. Codependency, much?

  • Asswipe has no empathy, feelings, soul or shame. He said he was sorry a few times but never showed it not once. Lesson here hes not sorry not one bit just sorry he got caught and deliberately did things to cause drama for me and the whore he left me for. Deliberately. So apparently he must love the drama. I asked him once why cant you just look me in the eyes asswipe and say i am sorry i hurt you? He sputtered got angry and yelled i said i was sorry wasnt that implied? With shark eyes wide open and raging. Nope your guy is not sorry hes a douchebag like all cheaters. Listen to traci girl.

  • The main lesson is “Actions speak louder than words”. As I told my ex “You’re not sorry, your’re just sorry you got caught”. They are usually just sorry they are not fooling you anymore. And the fact that he cannot even take responsibility for his cheating says volumes. He blames you? You forced him to be with someone else….Well then you should just take your superpowers elsewhere.

    • To this day, 5 yrs later, I still haven’t gotten the remorse that I need.

      He feels he has given the remorse and more and resent me for even saying such a thing as I am not him and have no idea what he has been thur that led to his affair, and how much he has lost since his affair, and what he is no longer after 30 yrs of marriage.

      We live separately & he supports me 100% in the style I’ve always lived as I would be very $ worst off if we were to D, as he can go on to earn $$$. Sadly, I will be the biggest loser.

      I’ve finally have just accepted we will NEVER get to that place of agreement, and leave as I agree we just disagree, and leave it at that, cuz I’ve finally hit Meh !!!

    • My super powers also involve driving him to cheat, driving him to write songs about women with lisps and hot sauce and depleting his financial reserves. I however did not possess the power to avoid being lied to and betrayed, hence avoiding heart ache. I hate my super powers.

      • “My super powers also involve driving him to cheat, driving him to write songs about women with lisps and hot sauce…”

        I want to hear that song!! Is it a country ballad? a Mariachi song? Johnny-Cash-like? hysterical!

        You do have amazing super powers; perhaps we should start a SuperChump group of all of us who drove our cheaters to shove their genitals into/onto other people copiously. Did we inadvertently yell “Clinopale!” in our sleep, the way Harry Potter yelled “Expelliarmus!”??

  • Armchair, I’m so sorry you’re going through this. There’s a special place in my heart for chumps who were cheated on while pregnant and I admire the hell out of the ones, like you, who are able to confront the issues and leave at such an incredibly vulnerable time. I wasn’t. And ten years of hell followed.

    One sentence leapt out at me. He said he’d rather play video games than be a dad. Believe him, no matter how in love with his child he seems. No normal adult says things like that. I learned the hard way to believe Cheese Fries’s occasional moments of stark truth — for a long time he would say stuff like that and I would think there was no way he could really mean it because no one could really mean something so awful. He means it.

    Anyone who could cheat on a pregnant woman (and no he doesn’t get off on the stupid technicality of “we were on a break” for a whole eight hours) is the worst kind of entitled, whorefucking sack of shit.

  • It doesn’t come down to love, it is a question of respect also. Armchair, you said it yourself, he would rather spend time sitting on his lazy ass playing video games than be a REAL, caring father and partner to you and your little girl. He simply sees that you will tolerate his laziness. He shows “zero” effort as far as being a good Dad and partner! He figures that since he “said” all the right things then he really doesn’t have to do all those bothersome little things! UMMMMM….yeah, he does! Because doing ALL those little things are the PROOF that he respects, cares and actually loves you and his little girl! I’m afraid that even if he never cheats again you are still going to be unhappy with his performance as a partner and friend because he is just too damn lazy to value anything or anybody that stands in the way of his “fun time”. Be it video games, football, napping while you do all the work, etc! He’s just hoping you will buy the lip service that he is sorry and he loves you. He figures that’s good enough and frankly you have proven to him that you will accept that now. Sorry, but you are standing in a hole with a shovel that you are digging for yourself and you need to put the shovel down! Make this guy DO something instead of paying lip service or you will be a doormat for the rest of your life! Ask me how I know???

  • Despite my past flair for sociopathic spackling, today I am a different person. Hence, all I would need to hear is “I would rather play video games than be a father”. Escort that fucking asshole to the door and hopefully he falls face first in a fresh pile of dog shit on the way out. Either that or spend twice as much in diapers so you can change his too. No matter what you call it, or the whys of it all, it is just plain and simple mindfucking abuse. The kind that never ends well when you live with a narco.

    • That’s exactly that phrase that jumped out at me too! Who the hell says this? Someone who will not be father or around for their child. And I agree that his diapers need changing too, as he’s still a child, not a man. He’s really not a good candidate for Armchair to have had a child with. I hope Armchair doesn’t have more kids with him…

      • I mean, the fact that his cock has the Herculean ability to drag its host into whore vaginas is not even on my radar here. That single statement “I would rather play video games than be a father” is the single only thing I recall from that whole letter from Armchair. This statement should be believed.

        • Absolutely, and I speak as someone who enjoys both videogaming AND the table top variety. The relationships you have with the people around you always take priority over the relationships you have with your online buddies. My gaming community is multi-generational, and we’ve had people disappear for months at a time because they became fathers/mothers, and decided NOT to emulate Clara’s parenting style (Clara is a character from the web series, The Guild, which is about a small guild playing a World of Warcraft type game).

          Good fathers don’t play videogames 24/7. They also don’t go drinking with the boys every night. Good fathers step up to care for their children and give the mother a break. Good fathers will volunteer to watch their child, cook the dinner, do the dishes, clean things up.

          All that cuts into gaming time, but good fathers would rather earn the Good Father achievement than be rated #1 on their server.

            • I’m a gamer also. I quit a few months into my pregnancy and didn’t touch a game for three years. Being a mom was my top priority. Unfortunately, once my little one got a mind of his own and started acting like a normal child…He no longer held my ex’s attention. All they want is endless admiration and kibbles.

    • Funny thing is when I would bring up that come t, he wasn’t sorry about it, just angry that I brought it up. Apparently I should understand that he was suffering a moment of “weakness” (read: truth) and my bringing it up was the real abuse.

      These people are so predictable.

  • You didn’t mention it, but your major priority needs to be the welfare of your child, and her caregiver, you.

    If he isn’t legally declared the parent of this child, make sure the paternity is proven. Next, make sure he legally owes you support money. Right now it sounds like he is making an occasional appearance of “playing daddy” in lieu of financial support. CHEATTARDS HATE CHILD SUPPORT! They will do anything to avoid paying it. Protect your child and yourself.

    • I totally hear you on this. But sometimes I feel torn. I don’t know all the legalities, so I would not begin to call what I am about to say “advice”, it is just perspective.

      Naming and documenting paternity is a necessity for support arrangements, and (barring extremes, like very dangerous people) children deserve to know who their parents are.

      Yet, at the same time, I could see how there could be an advantage to leaving a person behind completely, living without their money just to get the person out of your life and ensure the person can’t claim parental rights later. I know one situation where the dad wasn’t interested until he married a social worker who is a bit off her rocker. Now flush with money and a highly system-savvy partner with connections internally, he sued for custody and got it (she is low income and a single working mom) and she has to pay HIM support money. AND the dad and stepmom divorced so he could get more support money but they still live together. It’s disgusting. And, they aren’t good to the son, as you might expect.

      Every situation is unique. If it’s possible, it might be worth consulting with a lawyer in your area. Just because you aren’t/weren’t married doesn’t mean you don’t have logistics to work out for your child.

      • Right. All situations are different. But if there is one thing that cannot be changed it is who a person’s parents are. And even if this guy is a jerk, unless he is abusive or dangerous, a child will usually regret not being given the opportunity to know their birth parents. It sucks a lot of the time, but I’d say in the large majority of cases it’s best to get child support and at least give the option of a child/father relationship.

      • Child support is for the child, not the parent. Even if Armchair can afford to support her child on her own, she should pursue the child support to which her child is entitled and set it aside because you never know when that money will be needed in the future.

        And if Armchair’s baby daddy is paying child support then he should have the opportunity to have a relationship with his daughter, unless he’s an actual danger to the child.

        • It’s something she should at least get a consult with a legal professional on. Since the father has already established a relationship with the child, it could cause legal problems for Armchair if she were suddenly to deny visitation. I’m not saying she plans to do that or would but it’s best to know the legal ramifications of whatever happens.

          • Could never keep her from having a relationship with her father. He’s her father; he may have acted like an entitled teenager toward me, but I don’t need to play that out by interfering in their relationship at all. My hope is that he turns himself around and meets not just her physical needs, but someday her more complex emotional needs as well. If he doesn’t, then she can come to her own conclusions one day–my job will be to keep my editorializing comments to myself.

            I agree with CL when it comes to honesty about the other parent, but there’s a way to be honest without the judgment.

            In the end, when parents play out their drama in the courts, the kids lose.

      • Oh, wanna add some more drama? He’s a divorce lawyer. BOOM.

        We have 50/50 custody, he’s claimed paternity, and he’s paid me child support since I moved out two months ago. It would look pretty bad to his co-workers and the judges if he didn’t.

  • Armchair, just one other thought. Read the posts at chumplady closely. You will find a familiar thread runs through each chump post. Usually the betrayed spouse is the “mover and shaker”. We did all the organizing, appointment calendars, household duties, planned vacations, anything that had to do with child rearing, etc. Our cheaters were rarely involved at all and just came along for the ride once we had all the plans made. They stand on the sidelines while we do all the heavy lifting then bitch about the little things we failed to provide for them! You are dealing with a lazy, self entitled, boy/man! Make him grow up and sound off like he has grown a pair or kick his ass to the curb! He won’t want to change, but he will have to if he wants to be with you. I never demanded change. I just accepted that I was chief, cook and bottle washer. Thought that I was the ultimate, organized wife. My Ex cheated. One of his excuses after 39 years was that I wasn’t spontaneous or sexy! Who can be either of those when you are the ONLY person keeping a home and family running for six people? We HAVE to grow up once we become Mommies. Imagine if we didn’t just what kind of home and family we would have if we played video games and layed on our asses all day? I’m afraid he’s grooming you to be the ultimate “mommy” figure to him and his offspring. I would run as fast and as far as possible from Mr. Asshole as I could!

    • Roberta – This is an excellent observation! Thank you for making me aware of this dynamic and looking back on my situation and others, this is so true.

      • Kellia, for me this was an uncomfortable truth that I had to face. I had willingly become the person my Ex wanted me to be. The dynamic worked for him for years. And I was the perfect fool! I did everything and I do mean everything! The ONLY job I didn’t regularly attend to was the lawn care. Once he left, I just hired a lawn service. My life didn’t really change because there was no huge leap or learning curve to running a household and all the little financial and practical things inherent in doing so. It was, however, a bittersweet epiphany for me. I had become a drudge. I was addicted to making sure that every aspect of our lives ran like a well oiled machine. I thought my Ex loved, respected and adored me for my “skills”. In retrospect, it only allowed him more time to sit on his ass and indulge in his fantasy land. Of course I had no idea at the time that this was happening. I have had plenty of time to look back over a nearly 42 year marriage and realize that I was groomed, either purposefully or accidentally to be the ultimate willing Stepford wife. And it blew up in my face when he found a new replacement who only worried about having fun and being spontaneous!
        Bottom line take away for me? I should have made him “bring it” and demanded more involvement (hands on) in our lives. I should have made him show me respect and love by making him do things that he might not have “felt” like doing! Instead I bred in him ungratefulness, disrespect for me and my efforts, I helped him diminish in his eyes my human needs, desires and his ability to look at me as a lover and friend instead of a maid and social secretary! I was reduced to the “very capable hired help!
        At the time I was “evolving” I had no idea. Of course it took years. Who knew? I thought I was doing a great job at tending to all the little things and keeping our home and family running. Now I realize he could have just hired a travel agent for vacations, a housekeeper to clean, a babysitter to watch the kids and a prostitute to sleep with! He doesn’t have to love or respect them either, just pay them! It sucks, but what’s done is done.
        But my advice stands. Men need to get off the couch, put down the remote and perform family tasks even if they don’t “feel” like it! I can’t tell you how many times I didn’t feel like looking after my family after a hard day, but I did it out of respect and love for my husband and kids. It sent a clear message to them that I valued and loved them and I was willing to sacrifice “me” time to see that they were happy, healthy and well taken care of. It’s called being unselfish. It’s called respect. It’s called love! I dare say cheating spouses aren’t versed well in this area!

        • What you describe, Roberta, is a classic power imbalance in a marriage, created by entitlement on one side and something like codependency on the other. So many of the stories here involved one spouse who has a separate work and social life and who checks in for fun times on the weekend or vacation, while the spouse (who may also work) must keep the home going. If one partner is doing the majority of the work it takes to keep a family going, then you have a problem even before you discover cheating.

        • Well said, Roberta!
          This is the reality for a lot of us, I think. And what about our dreams, our personal growth over all those years? We’re too damn tired from all this SuperMom stuff to put energy into our interests, and go have some fun! Of course, the one dream that I did realize was having well brought up kids, who had the best childhood I could arrange for them (but if my spouse had helped, it would have been worlds better).
          So, I’m trying to ‘find myself’ in my 60’s.

          • Any man who gets married and brings forth children in this world, yet sits back and let’s his wife appliance do all the work is a colossal asshole. And how juvenile then to quip they wish their wives were more fun and spontaneous! These men are so incredibly childish and must be missing important and serious brain cells. Who the hell thinks this way?? You’d think they’re teenagers focused on having a “fun” partner.

            And how nice to be a man, where you don’t have to contribute much but merely your own sperm, and your wife does everything else. Let’s see how fun and spontaneous they would be, if they did remotely 10% of the tasks their wives did. Go figure… makes me so angry!

            • Ex actually said he wanted to feel like a teenager, or young or some whorseshit like that. I thought most people wanted to grow up and be adults. I certainly did.

              • I’ve never wanted to grow up and be an adult just call me Petuna Pan BUT I also realized that time makes fools of us all and here I am. An “adult” and I can’t do shit to turn back time (where is my Cher-y godmother?!) and I have to suck it up and adult! Darn it! To me that’s the difference! I WANT to pack up my car with my cat and move to Costa Rica but I gots bills to pay and work to pay those bills! So suck it up buttercup! This is real life!

    • Roberta – YES!!! I noticed that same thread too — so many of us chumps ended up taking on the vast majority of responsibility in the relationship while the cheaters sat on their lazy, entitled asses.

      Anyone seen the movie “Bad Moms”? When she comes in loaded down with bags and needing to start dinner, the fuckwit husband is sitting on the couch watching TV and instead of helping her, laughs and tells her she looks like a sherpa. That hit home.

      I’ve had to take a close look at my behavior. On why I let such an imbalance go on for twenty-two years and how I got worn down and gave up trying to get him to be a partner because I knew the futility of arguments and marital counseling, and the potential for his rage. One of the worst fights we ever had was a month before the final D-Day, when I asked him to help me change some hard-to-reach lightbulbs and pull apart the heavy sectional so I could vacuum under it. I made some crack about him needing a hired household staff so he didn’t have to do anything around the house, and he ripped me apart — accusing me of being lazy and pointing out everything about the house and bills and investments *I* hadn’t done. This was right before he took off on a solo two-week vacation to Europe.

      And Roberta, like you, one of the reasons I got for getting dumped was that I wasn’t enough fun. “I need someone who’ll bring the fun.” So he wants someone who will do all the housework, childcare, cooking, bill paying, financial management, errands, fixing of broken stuff or hiring of contractors, have sex on demand, and be his personal entertainment committee. Good luck with that.

      • Yes Better Days. You had to be a willing slave to him and it still wasn’t enough, because you weren’t fun. Unbelievable!

        • Chump Nation, this is why I am suggesting that Armchair run like the wind! I see all the “signs”! Poor Armchair goes through her pregnancy and pushes out this guys child. Of course he’s enamoured with his offspring! He’s running around yelling, “look what I can do!” Now he’s telling her to get rid of the therapist because he knows the therapist will give her the 411 on this Narc! He can’t have his “cover” blown! He just put up with her BS whining through nine months of pregnancy and has her so completely trapped! The therapist is going to screw up his plan! She is being groomed! But she doesn’t even see it for what it is! It’s terribly sad and awful for both her and her child. And you notice that he lets her know, in no uncertain terms, that video games are more important than his family! He already let her know that if they have an argument he will go screw another person! The “grooming” has begun!

        • Yeah, he would whine that the Stepford robot was too compliant and didn’t bring the fire to the relationship.

          Typical entitled cheater … whatever he has is never enough.

      • “So he wants someone who will do all the housework, childcare, cooking, bill paying, financial management, errands, fixing of broken stuff or hiring of contractors, have sex on demand, and be his personal entertainment committee. Good luck with that.” EXACTLY. And all the while, looking the other way while he allows someone else to entertain him.

        • Yep. Despite him supposedly being in wuuuvvv with the new girlfriend, his OkCupid profile has been back up for a couple of months. I hope she’s smart enough to find it.

          Owning my over-responsibility (codependency?) has made me realize I am the typical grown-up parentified child. I don’t prioritize fun or recreation like I should, so that’s something I’m working on. I made some amazing memories with the kids this year (road trips! a mule ride in the Grand Canyon! small stuff like board games!) And I’ve been exploring all MY interests that I never had time for when I was picking up the slack for Cheese Fries. I keep reminding myself that life is more than the endless daily responsibilities.

  • Dearest Armchair,

    I’m sorry you’re in a place where you find yourself asking this question. I struggled for years with this uncomfortable, nagging feeling I could not quite purge after DD #1. I couldn’t figure out was wrong. Was I not forgiving him completely? Was I hanging on to some lingering feelings of anger and resentment over the betrayal? After the initial shock of discovery wore off I made the decision that my marriage was worth saving and that I needed to forgive him in order to move forward in the relationship. He’d told me he was sorry. It seemed he knew what he’d done was wrong, but something always felt off kilter with his apology and explanations, and like many of us Chumps I made my excuses and carried on.

    There were many years in between DD #1 and DD #2. As many have expressed, the second betrayal comes at you like a sledgehammer and when I hit the ground it felt like I wouldn’t be able to get back up this time. The darkness really took over me and as a way to try pull myself out of it and gain some control I researched, among other things, infidelity and the psychology behind it. Mind you, I was also thinking I could still save my marriage at the time so I read a lot of “take your part of the blame for his cheating” blather which in hindsight did keep me in limbo much longer than necessary but did manage to pull me out of my fetal position so there’s that.

    The real healing began 2 years after DD #2 when I miraculously stumbled upon CN and CL’s book. It was here where I read a sentence where all these bells and whistles went off in my head, followed by the immense relief of finally understanding what that nagging feeling meant.

    “People cheat because they feel entitled to cheat.” And there it was. A simple explanation for the fucked up mind of a cheater lacking remorse. All those years I had been feeling off about the way he had dealt with my discovery of his cheating because the simple truth was, he wasn’t sorry. The blame shifting had been bad enough, but feeling like he wasn’t truly remorseful for sneaking around, lying and telling another woman that he loved her and had feelings for her that he had never felt me was even worse. How could someone treat a person so badly, a person they supposedly love, and have no real remorse? It seemed unfathomable to me hence my inability to accept it and process it at the time.

    After DD #1, countless other inappropriate female relationships surfaced in my marriage throughout the years that always made me uncomfortable and angered him whenever I questioned him on those relationships. It was my fault for not trusting him, for never fully trusting him after that first OW, but I as I told our MC, I never felt like he did anything to rebuild that trust with me. I never felt like he ever thought twice about how difficult it was for me to deal with the blow of being betrayed by the person I trusted the most (lack of empathy) or how I would evaluate his behavior of holding back information as being deceitful (entitlement). In his mind, he did try to make amends. He said he did. Screamed it out in fact. Made it seem as if he was exhausted by all his efforts of trying to make up for what he had done. I don’t know if the same part of his diseased brain that tells him lying, cheating and gaslighting your life partner is acceptable behavior is the same part that makes him think he did make an effort but it doesn’t really matter because you, me and the other chumps will never be able to figure that out.

    His words you see, have never lined up with his actions. He has told me over and over that I am important to him. He still says that, especially now that his cake has been taken away from him. But his actions are contradictory. I don’t lie, devalue, replace, ignore and emotionally abuse the people I care about. But I don’t doubt that somewhere, deep in that Norman Bates’ brain of his, he thinks he has shown that he cares for me.

    After more than 2 years of his abandonment, constant deception, anger, lack of empathy and no emotional support provided to me whatsoever, I was still trying to unravel his mess. I stopped when I realized one simple thing: he wasn’t sorry for any of those things.

    You deserve a better answer Armchair. We all do. But there just isn’t one. Some people just suck at the whole humanity thing. The good news is, I believe there are still more people out there like us then there are of them. I just hope we’re able to maintain that advantage because the world will certainly be a miserable place if we don’t. I would love to have some understanding as well, but understanding is not necessary for our survival. Take heart that there are places like CN and go forth toward a better life.

    • The disrespect shown is just unbelievable! How about a little respect shown for years of service and asking for nothing in return? The least amount of respect i wanted was being told the truth like a real honest to goodness grown up man. And being respectful enough to keep the sex slaves and the other woman out of my home and my bed. Not possible for these low life low moral pod bastards and bitches. Good riddance to these lying fucks of hell. They of this type do not deserve good spouses or children. They deserve other low life pods such as themselves. I wish so much physical pain on asswipe only an induced medical coma would give him relief! Whew! I feel much better now. If i have any inkling in the future of a pod near me i will kick them to the curb.

      • Kar Marie, it’s so funny that you mention that these types don’t deserve good spouses. I was just having the conversation about this guy who likes prostitots. I said that if he does decide to date, he should be hones about what he is into so that he can have someone like-minded and shouldn’t try to hide that. If that’s what you like, then just find someone with the same interests! Don’t drag innocent people through the mud, lie and endanger them to risk of STI’s!

        • EXACTLY!! Why don’t these people just associate with people who match their own interests. I mean with the advent of the Internet, more than ever, they can find any fucked up person to match their own fetishes or whatever mental sociopathic interests. Seriously, this guy should be honest about what he wants and I can assure you he will find a like-minded person. And the rest of us will be happier for it!

          • So many times these cheaters do end up with their own kind but there is ALWAYS an expiration date on those relationships. The relationship ends up combusting (always fun to watch from the sidelines) and these defects end up not only playing the victim they really believe in their warped minds they are the victim. So messed up. Unfortunately after they have had their fill of a depraved, degenerate coupling, they again seek out decent, hardworking/successful and honest individuals. Because they deserve only the best.

          • Asswipe is now on dozens of those bdsm sites on the internet however these people managed to find their way to each other before the internet. If i had known and hed been honest when i met him i would have sorry not my thing. Move along. But no i find out twenty seven years later how sick, demented and twisted he is. Sheesh!

    • This is so helpful to me as well:
      “Understanding is not necessary for our survival.”

      This is beyond heartbreaking but I read where this sex offender monster finally confessed to killing a little boy named Jacob in Minnesota over 20 years ago.

      In his confession, the killer said that Jacob asked him…before burying him: What did I do wrong?

      Humans who are not disordered and evil cannot grasp the demonic acts of others without searching for understanding.

      That story has haunted me since I read it.

      • I’m from Minnesota and was a teen when Jacob Wetterling was abducted. His mother never stopped looking for him, started a foundation to help find missing children, and EVERYONE in Minnesota knew his name. My point is that the sick bastard who raped and killed him lived here the entire time Jacob’s mother was desperately holding onto hope that he’d one day return. He KNEW everyone thought about Jacob and he still just went about his life, mowing his lawn and chatting with his neighbors (one woman who was recently interviewed has lived next to him with her four young children for years) as if he was just a regular guy. How sick can a person be?? Obviously very. My wish is that this never happens to another child. And that no man or woman has to go through what we chumps have been through. It’s why I told people in our religious community before leaving (last weekend) what my ex had done. I asked them to PLEASE do whatever they could to make sure he didn’t do it again, if they ever got a chance to intervene.

        I’m not dumb enough to think that he won’t hurt any more women. I was his second wife and who knows how many more there will be. But it doesn’t hurt to try. I love you all–stay strong!

    • OMG – they really are all the same. My STBXH talked about how he had been “trying” for years to rebuild the trust after DDay #1 (while having a secret porn problem and an occassional on-line dating site and random prostitute encounters) and was too exhausted to continue trying. I guess it’s just too hard to be a decent person when you clearly aren’t.

      • Wow, spot on! Each time my ex said I needed to let go of my fears and trust him, it was followed by a lie. I’m amazed at how he could look me in the eye and lie over and over again. Clearly, leopards don’t change their spots.

      • Blessing, that’s it! Pretending to be normal is 24/7 exercise.

        I think of my x as a windup toy. I met him when he still had lots of wheels running but he’s been winding down for at least the last ten years and now he’s just sputtering to a stop.

        In my mind, I call him all kinds of names based on his true desires (Humbert Humbert, Woody Allen, Duggar – very satisfying, gutteral name, Subway Creep), but someday I think I’ll feel very sorry for him.

        He’ll never be normal or have a day where he isn’t consumed by lust and ED and self-loathing.

        At least I hope he loathes himself. (If not, I loathe him enough for two)

        • The windup toy is a great analogy, Roaring. They do get to the point right at the end where jerky movements guarantee they’ll tip over.

          I do sometimes feel sorry now for Hannibal; trapped in his disordered psyche for eternity.

          Love this quote from you!: “At least I hope he loathes himself. (If not, I loathe him enough for two).”

  • Here is something simple that helped me tremendously:

    If someone makes you feel CONFUSED about your relationship, know that they don’t love you. Could it be that simple? Yes.

    That is what you are: the point of your letter. You are so confused. You are scrounging around for bits of hope and artifacts that he loves you. You are having to write to a website for “signs of life” to understand someone’s emotions. Look at it like this:

    Would you ever make your new daughter feel CONFUSED about your love for her? Would you decide to play games one day, let her cry and say…I am not going to get her bottle all night, shut the door to her nursery and watch my Game of Thrones box set! Let her cry!

    Can you imagine if I let my dog Roxie, who is in end stage kidney failure….lie in her own vomit and say…I am going out tonight. (Your X turning off the phone). Roxie can do without her meds and Pedialyte. Let’s Party!!!

    You and I would NEVER do this. Why? Because we love.

    When someone truly loves, they do not want you to feel pain, sorrow, uncertainty…CONFUSION.

    Now, let’s say we lost our minds completely, and DID do this one night. (For the sake of the exercise). Can you imagine the sinking to your knees pain and guilt? The agonizing KNOWLEDGE that we made someone suffer, because all that matters is our relentless commitment to our OWN SELFISH NEEDS?

    Your X left you pregnant and *fucked* another woman. That is as bad as turning off the phone. He is just a big ball of rotten meat with maggots on it. We can write this over and over and over, but you will not see it, you cannot know it…until you take the magic step:

    NO CONTACT.

    Armchair, I was with you. I would analyze my X down into the ground until I believe people avoided me (Cringe.) But, our empathetic brains *CANNOT FATHOM* someone who simply does not CARE that he is hurting us.

    *No contact is the magic pill to clear up your confusion.*

    It will not work on the first day, or the second day, or the third week….but somewhere along that 6th week….the poison gas starts to clear from your mind. And you start to SEE who this person is. Not the filthy lies that come from their pie hole, but their ESSENCE. You need that forced separation to grasp their nature. And to realize that all those words that pour from their mouth are as meaningless as a TMZ post.

    Then, Armchair….you will almost be in shock….when you realize, with intentional cruelty, this person put you through misery, when all you did was love them.

    He does not love you. I am sorry. My X did not love me. It kills me. But, with No Contact, and away from the mind sabotage…you will begin to see that when someone LOVES YOU…they do not send you MIXED MESSAGES. Which is the confusion and why you are in knots. People who love you are clear and direct, both word and DEED. There is no wondering, analyzing, hand wringing….THEIR ACTIONS TELL YOU WITHOUT ANY CONFUSION.

    And, remember this: Don’t be too hard on yourself. You are looking for love, and you looked in the wrong place. You got pregnant. But, it is not the end of the world.

    Armchair, I did things when I was in full blown panic mode with my X that make me want to put a bag on my head (right now). Text fighting? Oh yeah. Done that. They take us so low, and make us do things that steal our dignity. And they will take you as low as you will let them. Situations you never imagined you would tolerate..you find yourself tolerating. And then analyzing. It is a peculiar hell…to love someone that does not love in the way a normal human being does.

    This CANNOT be your life. Step away from the microscope. He is rotten. Go NO CONTACT and you will see it too. YOU WILL KNOW. And you will not need anyone to tell you.

    • “When someone truly loves, they do not want you to feel pain, sorrow, uncertainty…CONFUSION.”

      It is as simple as that. We want to make it more complicated because we understand love on a level that they don’t.

    • This actually freaks me out as I’m reading this because after what I thought was a really good 30 something year marriage, I discovered all kinds of circumstantial evidence but it was hard circumstantial evidence that really looked like my husband had an affair. All of the drama continued for a year. Stuff I found out but he denied it in every possible way. Until this summer when I discovered that he’d been hiding our entire savings and lying to me about it. I left him. We had actually been to a couple of counselors before hand that were a disaster. He freaked out when I left and started seeking help. Of course he promised if I came back home (kids) he’d move out and get counseling. Hasn’t happened. I’m getting my ducks in a row but I’ve already had more drama than I could have ever imagined. I’ve been asking myself… Did he ever really love me? Scary Crap!!

      • Asked myself the same thing. Did he ever really love me? No he never really did at all. Hes incapable of love, hes never really loved anyone, hes hurt and cheated every woman he ever went with. I didnt know that untill 27 years in. The whore thought hed never cheat on her she was wrong too and he told her at the start more than a 59 percent chance hed cheat on her too. She said no shes perfect he would never do that to her. She found different. He cant love anyone he doesnt even like himself.

      • inthemidst: This happened with my x-wife; until she left her Facebook un-tended and all of the lies came together. She still continued to lie after confronting her, and continues to this day to downplay her co-worker boyfriend and that she didn’t want a divorce.

        I asked her point blank dump your friendship or I’m out of here. She choose him. I left. 25 yrs. gone, 2 daughters.

      • inthemidst

        I hope you are continuing to listen to your inner feelings of being “freaked out” and not squashing them. These are your survival instincts kicking in.
        your post really gives me a worried feeling for you. Are you officially, legally separated? Do you have a good lawyer and if possible a good forensic accountant? PLEASE protect yourself and keep coming back here. It’s scary to move on, but you deserve better.
        Good luck.
        UC

      • Peakyblinders, I love your moniker. I just learned what Peaky Blinders meant and wish I’d had one on D-day. Are you a fan of the show? I don’t know anything about it.

        I just became hooked on ‘Game of Throne’ = satisfying in every way.

    • What partners/victims of narcs/sociopaths have to come to understand is that you stand a better chance of receiving authentic love from a door knob (insert any other inanimate object) than from the narc or sociopath. They are incapable of love and can only act or end up mimicking feelings of faux regret, acting ashamed of their actions, etc. Do they love the chase? Can they become obsessed? Sure, initially, and this is where it is confusing for the victim. The victim tends to dwell on the days where they felt totally loved/cherished/adored and if they work hard enough on their relationship those feelings will come back. Won’t ever happen. It was never real.

    • Do these not even love their own children then too? Mine lied to our kids, blamed the kids, kids played the pick me dance, he still left even after promising the kids that he would fix this.

      “you will begin to see that when someone LOVES YOU…they do not send you MIXED MESSAGES.”

      My ex sent our kids MANY mixed messages over and over. So, does he not love the kids?

      OMG this whole ordeal makes me so sick.

      • Let’s flip it: Do you ever send your children mixed messages about loving them?

        I bet that is a big fried slice of NO.

        You may get exasperated, have to play bad cop or set rules….but you dont make your children feel CONFUSED about your love for them.

        Do you see?

      • Can they love their kids? Sadly no. They are a tool to use now and then or be at their disposal when convenient or needed. If the kids excel in sports or academics the narc is right there to share the spotlight or take credit, giving the appearance of a doting parent. I have witnessed narcs getting very close with their kids when they are ready to dump the current spouse, usually the stepparent (former OW/OM) of the kids. All of a sudden they are parent of the year and the stepparent better not get in the way of the narc spending quality time with his kids. Or the narc shows his frustration with his step kids and will blame them for leaving the marriage. I know that on this board everyone discusses how they all operate from the same script and they do!

      • One more comment on narcs. Be very careful during the discard as they will set you up for a fall such as telling everyone you are crazy and then doing something to egg you on so you will do something crazy in public or have you falsely arrested. When they want you gone they pull out all the stops.

      • As a child of 2 Narcissistic parents, no my parents did not love me. In fact, they kept hurting me over and over again. People with personality disordered are mentally off and they aren’t capable of love. Hence the reason your EX has no trouble hurting his own children. I mean, which parent lies to his own kids? And then blames them and leaves them. Yes, parents with mental disorders or personality disorders. My parents are a classic example and after years of torture, I cut off all contact and finally started loving myself.

  • The reason I knew I had zero chance of a unicorn, is that xh had never been able to apologize in any meaningful way, although he did do “nice acts” that I thought balanced it out.
    For a unicorn to return, it must have and show empathy and understanding of the mess they cause other people, especially chump and chump children.
    The formula seems so eerily consistent.

    Again:
    I was the brains of the outfit.
    I was the energy of the outfit.
    He never took any initiative to parent- but I thought this was subconsciously done by his father mode.
    I was made the villain to his victim – for years.
    He never was responsible for his choices, could NOT TELL the truth, over stupid stuff.
    He justified his monstering towards me by re directing his anger and disappointment towards himself. It was reflected out – projected on me.

    I think he knows he really screwed up,
    he really blew it – top, sides and bottom out… NOTHING turned out the way he planned. Apparently, that was all my fault, too…

    Yes, he messed up –
    but he will never tell the likes of me. It will be years (if ever) he acknowledges that fact.

  • Whether he told you or not, his “pulling away” is just part of the cycle these quacks go through. A normal person becomes more bonded to their partners over time. These people get distant because, let’s face it- you were a thrill and the thrill is gone. Nothing novel stays novel. My ex-wife told me “I’m feeling distant from you.” Translation – you’re not entertaining anymore. And she was “so sorry” that she openly declared before our counselor that she was going to continue her adultery. Her exact words were “I’m sorry for doing this to you,” then immediately taking off for the weekend with the OM, straight out of counselling. Then when divorce was eminent she would make ridiculous statements like, “I want to give you all of me. I just don’t know how to stop.” They know what they’re doing is wrong but they just like it too much to give it up.

    No remorse. Sorry is just a word they utilize to continue to abuse you.

    What I’m trying to point out is the degree of contempt and selfishness in them. You can’t work with someone who has no respect for you and cares only for themselves. Know this is a pattern for them and they’re doomed to repeat it. That’s a ride I’d want to get off.

    • The way they manipulate us is crazy. I wouldn’t have a clue how to do that to someone I care about. Now watch her from a distance and see how she does it to others. I’m watching my X now and she is similar to yours. They just play people to get there needs met.

    • Michael,
      Your post stayed with me all day. I love your insight about how normal people bond, and the longer you are with someone…the more you bond. Not these freaks.
      And your point about the novelty wearing off was super.

      This has helped me. I still have the …How could he not miss me? moments. I have NEVER had a man not miss me. How could he not long for x, y and z?

      Because he is like a shark….always moving, always scanning the horizon for the next novelty, thrill, high, adrenaline rush.

      There is a great line in the movie “Shaun of the Dead”, (one of the funniest movies ever!) where a couple are discussing their plans for a sweet, lazy Sunday.

      The lovely girl says:

      We’ll have a cup of tea, read the papers, go down for a Sunday lunch roast, go round the pub, come home and watch the telly.

      And the man gives her a big thumbs up…bliss. It does sound perfect.

      And I thought (watching it alone)….that does sound like bliss. But I was with a MUTANT who was never happy, never relaxed (unless he was passed out on sedatives or from doing too much Columbian Bam Bam or any hardcore drug) and he could never CALM THE FUCK DOWN.

      Nothing was ever enough stimulation. It actually was exhausting, at times. Always worried that an ADULT is not being “entertained”. Sometimes, when he would leave, I would have to rest for a few days. That was how much energy he consumed, and I spent…trying to “make sure he was happy.” Being in my lovely home with access to MY BODY AND MIND should have sent him over the moon.

      And, hate to beat it into the ground..but how did I finally see this? No contact.

  • Unfortunately there are many degrees of Fucktard in this world. Most of us are here with Chumplady because we didn’t settle for the average Fucktard. Oh no — we had to have Super Fucktard.

    Sometimes I try to console myself by telling myself a little cautionary tale — about me. About what a stubborn woman I am, and I point out that I cause a lot of my own pain by biting off more than I can chew, and overestimating my abilities to solve problems and clean up messes. I may be an otherwise intelligent woman, perfectly capable of working hard and enduring bad times in the real world — but when it comes to selecting really terrible men who are emotionally unavailable and totally unreliable — I really have a talent! I hate making mistakes, don’t you know, almost as much as I hate giving up on a project I have started. But sometimes it makes more sense to admit you made a bad choice, cut your losses and move on. You will never get the time back. Your heart will always bear the scars and bruises of an encounter with a Fucktard. But you will survive and live to love another day.

    Save yourself — you have connected with a total Super Fucktard, and unfortunately you had a child with him. If you cannot do it for your own good — do it for your child. The less contact your child has with him, the less influence he can have. The child does not deserve any more bumps and bruises than life will hand out normally. Tell yourself a cautionary tale — about the mistake you made. Give yourself a happy ending to your own story — Step Away from the Fucktard!

    • Portia, you made me laugh describing your special talent! We might be the wonder twins in that area. I too always pick the FREAK.

      Researching the concept of sunk costs helped me…like you said cut bait and move on. These energy vampires will steal your juice and never give you a backward glance as they slither to their next “bright shiny object”.

    • “Most of us are here with Chumplady because we didn’t settle for the average Fucktard. Oh no — we had to have Super Fucktard.”

      This made me laugh Portia. And I agree with your post!

  • You know those contests where pieces of paper are put in a glass bowl? The one where a name will be picked for a prize. Imagine all these chumps putting their cheater’s names in so one can be drawn and you win a narcissist. It does not matter about age, race, religion, size, hair color etc. etc. etc. they are all in that bowl as the prize narc, and still unable to love. What they want is the thrill of the “new”. You and your pregnant belly weren’t new anymore. And the the baby is born. Wow! All of a sudden he feels love. Nope. You feel love. He feels the thrill of “new”. She is something he can show off. He gets lots of kibble from people when he shows her off. Remember Maya Angelou. He showed/told you who he is. Believe him.

  • As all have said in some variation or another here… “If they lack the honesty to even ADMIT THEY CHEATED… drop the mic and walk away.”

    I heard “I’m sorry” a bit in the beginning. Now, throughout the divorce, he’s smug. And, even when faced with legal proof… he still won’t OWN his actions.

    Who knows, maybe he needs to cling to his delusions because if he were really honest with himself about the man he is and the number of people who’s lives he has intentionally destroyed, he’d put a bullet in his head.

  • Your daughter will be harmed by constant nagging and arguments back and forth between an indecisive mother and petulant loser “father” who has no clue how to be an adult. And only you can decide that enough is enough, and pull away once and for all, and live and act as though the boy-man can and will give you nothing. That’s on you. Be a mom. Cut the loser out of your life.

    • So true, or she will see a semi-broken mother who develops anxiety attacks, or anger, or hopelessness. Trust me–I was a much better (and stronger) mother after I left my X than when he was around, undermining both me, and my parenting.

      This hurts, Armchair, but yanking the rotten tooth out is, in the end, less painful than letting it fester insice you for years. Big hugs!

  • Armchair, you are still early in your relationship. If he is a lazy entitled jerk NOW, imagine how he will be ten or fifteen years from now. Its possible for people to change but it takes motivation and work. It also takes insight. He doesnt sound like he has any. Dont waste the best years of your life and your daughters formative years on an abusive ass. There are wonderful potential husbands and stepdads out there.

    • I think about that all the time; why get back together now, only to repeat the cycle when my daughter is five and it’s worse?

      • Yes. Just know: real love does not make you this miserable. It does not make you feel confused and off balance.
        You are handicapping your chances of happiness catastrophically if you stay connected to a known cheater.
        You can do this. You are smart and strong. He is a cruel lying cheater.
        You are mighty!!!☺

      • Well, there ya go. You’ve asked the right question. The only reason you would go back is that you are afraid to let go of the relationship and what that means to you. Even if it’s horrifically painful and non-productive.

  • Get a court ordered custody agreement, use software and email only to communicate with him and his family, and don’t get pregnant again.

  • The best thing for you to do is stop the relationship, get yourself to the doctor to be tested for STD’s. They never change and they certainly won’t tell you anything about an STD.

  • I agree with Ian. Go NC, only communicate with software about the child.

    It will take Armchair some time to wrap her head around our posts! Hell, it took nearly four years for me, at 60 years of age, to finally realize my Ex was NOT fixable! And to reflect on my marriage and what I could have possibly done different that would have prevented this disaster! Short answer: NOTHING! He wasn’t going to turn into Father and Husband of the Year at any point in our marriage because he liked who he was and it was working in his favor! I was just too tired of having the same fight with him and losing so I just relinquished my dreams, hopes and aspirations to keep him from making us all miserable!

    Armchair needs to get rid of the over sized toddler/boy because he will become an energy suck on her. He will NEVER appreciate anything she does. As a matter of fact, he will probably tell her that she did it all wrong and when given an opportunity he will recount all of her shortcomings in front of friends and family to make her look inept! Then if she complains that his comments hurt, he will tell her he was “just kidding”! But he isn’t! He just uses her as his servant. She will be of no value to him at all sooner or later.

    I was reading an article about cheating husbands and one of the cheaters wrote something very telling. He said, in short, the best thing a person can do to a cheater is to quietly walk away and NEVER give them another moment of their time because that bothers a cheater more than anything! I guess a cheater should know best, but I would insert the name Narc where cheater appears in the statement and it will make better sense. Clarity!!

  • I just officially left my ex this weekend. While we were text-arguing about maintenance for me (our religion has rules for marriage and divorce which we [are supposed to] follow), he kept switching between acting ignorant of the process and dictating to me his (fucked-up) version of a fair deal. At one point, he actually said, “I’m being taken advantage of by all these rules.” I LOLed for real on that one!

    Armchair, your instincts and suspicions are correct: he’s not sorry. He doesn’t care how you feel. He sucks. I’m sorry.

  • Armchair, have you read the seminal CN text on remorse?
    http://www.chumplady.com/2013/07/real-remorse-or-genuine-imitation-naugahyde-remorse/

    You can also go to the Resources tab and start reading Dr. George Simon. Many chumps don’t have access to really good therapy because they lack the money or are living in rural areas. But Dr. Simon has many, many articles that are like a college course in understand character disorder. If you have a whiny baby cheater pants who prefers video games to being a parent to a child he fathered, this is required reading. I’ve done therapy for years, but even if you have a counselor, you will make much faster progress if you learn that not everyone is kind or chumpy or empathetic or even just decent.

    Here’s what Dr. Simon says about contrition, which he distinguishes from “regret,” which is often sad sausage tears related to feeling consequences.
    “True contrition looks like this:  the person can no longer live with themselves and becomes invested in making of themselves a better person.  It can’t be an “acceptance of responsibility” spoken on the lips accompanied by a steadfast refusal to pay the price (and not merely the price of public embarrassment) of duly earned consequences.  It can’t just be crocodile tears of remorse openly displayed but which aren’t accompanied by a change of one’s typical style.  It can’t be the mere broadcasting of regret that’s not paired with clear action to make amends.  True contrition involves a change of heart.  It’s humbly reckoning with oneself, the deficiencies in one’s character that allowed the person to indulge in the misbehavior in the first place, coupled with a firm commitment to exorcise those character defects so that the errors are not repeated.”
    True contrition looks like this:  the person can no longer live with themselves and becomes invested in making of themselves a better person.  It can’t be an “acceptance of responsibility” spoken on the lips accompanied by a steadfast refusal to pay the price (and not merely the price of public embarrassment) of duly earned consequences.  It can’t just be crocodile tears of remorse openly displayed but which aren’t accompanied by a change of one’s typical style.  It can’t be the mere broadcasting of regret that’s not paired with clear action to make amends.  True contrition involves a change of heart.  It’s humbly reckoning with oneself, the deficiencies in one’s character that allowed the person to indulge in the misbehavior in the first place, coupled with a firm commitment to exorcise those character defects so that the errors are not repeated.
    http://www.manipulative-people.com/contrition-revisited/

    “That is, the contrite person is not only “sorry” for what he/she has done but is willing to repair the damage inflicted on the lives of others. I’ve known so many irresponsible characters who will challenge their understandably hesitant to trust again victims with retorts like: “I’ve said I’m sorry a million times now, what else do you want from me?!” — attempting all the while to throw the other party on the defensive (one of the manipulation tactics I discuss in In Sheep’s Clothing) for doubting their sincerity.  And in proper cognitive-behavioral therapy, where the principal focus is on behavior and encouraging attitudinal and behavioral change, the therapist is much less interested in what a person has to say and much more concerned about what he/she is doing to truly make amends and to correct problematic behavior patterns.  Talk, as they say, is infinitely cheap.”
    http://www.manipulative-people.com/trust-and-relationships-pt-2/

    If you can’t afford to order Dr. Simon’s books, he lays many ideas out in short, very readable articles on his website. Read and learn. Do as much research on whether to stay with or leave Boy/Man as you would when you buy a car or a house or choose a dress or an appetizer for you wedding.

    As Done4Good said, “His words you see, have never lined up with his actions.” “Talk, as they say, infinitely cheap.”

  • I remember when the freshness of D-Day was still upon me and I said aloud “It’s like he can’t feel feelings anymore.” He was so stoic about it all. “I cheated on you, yeah, no big deal, right?” I thought that he was having a psychotic break or maybe had a brain tumor. Little did I know that this was the real him. The person that was there all along, just hiding under the surface. Armchair-trust that what you see after D-Day is really him. It sucks a lot to admit it, but it really helps with moving on.

    • Totally, Chumpasaurus. I was convinced mine was manic (he’s on mood stabilizers and had gone off them so this wasn’t totally out of the realm of possibility). In my mind, there was no other explanation for his behavior. That switch flipped after the final D-Day and a short-lived wreckonciliation. He dumped me for the pussy smorgasbord (“You’ll never be able to validate my needs as an extravert.”) After twenty-two years and two kids, he immediately friend-zoned me. Told me I was “cock-blocking” him when I showed up somewhere he happened to be flirting with some babe. I’d come to pick up or drop off the kids and he’d tell me “funny” stories about hitting on the twenty-three-year-old who works at the furniture store. He told me about skydiving for the first time on a first date (“We had no chemistry.”). He told me about his efforts to get in shape to improve his dating life. He painted a lovely picture of how we’d be BFFs and harass each other about our new romantic partners. His dating profile was such a jaw-dropping display of narcissism (my attorney’s words), that I was sure he was in some altered mental state.

      Nope. That’s who he is. The mask finally slipped.

    • Yes, Chumpasarus Rex! I noticed that towards towards the end, he didn’t even try to “pretend” to care as much. I realized that he actually even stopped saying sorry or acting remorseful at all after arguments or conflicts, whereas in the earlier times when things would happen, he would cry and say sorry and beg me to forgive him (all an act I came to realize later). Then on D-day, when he was busted and confronted with proof I finally had of OW, he just sat there and barely defended himself at all and definitely didn’t apologize. Only gaslighted and blame-shifted like crazy and stared at me with those cold, heartless, reptilian eyes….

  • There was a story that was floating out there about taking a plate and dropping on the floor until it shattered. You look at the plate and say “Sorry”. Did it fix the plate – no, it didn’t. That is what constantly saying “Sorry” but not meaning it does. IT never fixes it.

    After the umpteenth time Prince Charming told me he was sorry for something – I gave his this adage. Told him he had to better than just say ‘sorry’. I would love to have him on his knees in front of me one day begging for my forgiveness, but that would be the day after pigs fly. Hell already froze over the Eagles got back together.

    • How about they not do the hurtful thing, and then they won’t have to say sorry. And if they keep saying “sorry” after “sorry”, how sorry can they be if their actions keep repeating the hurtful behavior. It’s because they want to keep doing it. Everyone is exactly where they want to be.

    • My ex used to say he was sorry, but I always wondered exactly what he was sorry for. I’d say, “your relationship with OW is extremely painful to me, I don’t want socialize with her and her husband any more,” and he’d say “I’m sorry.” Those words never changed anything about his behavior, though, except he got better about hiding his activities under the guise of work.

      I guess he didn’t mean he was sorry for what he did, only sorry that I was feeling hurt.

      • He’d say sorry to get you off of his back. He never intended to stop seeing her. He just told you what you wanted to hear and that is a sorry, so you could leave him alone and he got off the hook. But his actions continued on seeing her. A person who means it would have cut off the OW, blocked her and told her to never contact him again. But his actions actually made him pursue the opportunity.

    • They are not sorry when they keep doing the dame awful shit over and over. I had patience with asswipe over and over with his anger and rage i put up with it like a chumpy asshole and made excuses for it over and over like a chumpy asshole. Then d day came and he started over and over with rage i would get upset hed apologize over and over, then it escalated on to blaming me and i would shut down and not talk to him for hours. He would either wait awhile to apologize, act like nothing happened or the good old standby wanna have sex. After an episode after d day i just screamed stop daying your sorry for your behavior asshole your not fucking sorry cause you do it over and over and over!!!! His reactions to shit borders on 5 year old mentally disturbed pod creature. I had it one day and stopped talking to him altogether. He hates it drives him nuts. Fucker!

  • I owe a debt of gratitude to CN and CL for helping me get out of relationship limbo, for now I know that my cheater would have been all too happy to keep me there indefinitely.

    It pains me to realize how cold and selfish this man is. The man with whom I choose to build a life and have a child. How could I have spent so many years with him and not realize how truly uncaring he was? How could I have allowed him to treat me in such a way that I no longer even valued myself? Because I clung to those moments where he was gentle and kind and loving like they were life preservers. But that same man also held my head under the water with his lies and betrayal and once you’ve reached a certain level of mistrust you can never look at that person the same way again.

    • Because there is no bigger or insidious mind fuck….than intermittent rewards.

      It keeps you off balance, and desperately hoping for gentle and kind “representative” to come back out. (They send their representatives out to meet us).

      Acts of generousity or kindess mean nothing to Cluster Bs. They have to bait the trap with some goodies, or we would have deep sixed them from the jump.

      • There “is no bigger or insidious mindfuck…than intermittent rewards.” That is absolutely true–brilliant! Like the rats in mazes that keep pushing the lever we get trained to accept the abuse in exchange for the rare reward.

  • Dear Armchair,

    You say that your cheater “understands that his behavior was wrong,” and wonder why he isn’t more remorseful. So many of us victims of narcissistic abuse have wondered the same thing.

    It took me 30 years of marriage to a narcissist followed by 30 months of wallowing in sorry and self pity to figure this one out. Fortunately, after I found ChumpLady and the Nation I reached enlightenment and now regularly slap palm to forehead, yelling “DUH!” to myself.

    Your cheater DOESN’T understand that his behavior was wrong. He understands that YOU THINK his behavior was wrong. Narcissists are not normal humans, do not have normal human reactions to things, but they are often very intelligent and highly observant. They will observe that most people might view his behavior as wrong, and most people would expect him to be over the moon about his new baby daughter, so that’s what they present (or proclaim) to the world.

    Deep down inside, however, their moral world is much, much different. I realized that my own narcissist could rationalize ANYTHING HE WANTED TO DO. Because in his twisted universe, everything that makes him feel better about himself, or that distracts him from how awful he is, is GOOD. Everything that makes him feel bad about himself is BAD.

    So by these simple rules, you are BAD. Strippers, lap dances, and picking up women in bars are GOOD. Your daughter is morally neutral because she doesn’t make him feel bad about himself… yet. But she is a tool by which he can appear to the outside world as a “good father,” which gets him approval and admiration, which is GOOD.

    He doesn’t love you, and he doesn’t love the baby, because he can’t. Narcissists can’t bond. They can fake going through the motions and saying the words, but they can’t feel it. My kids admitted to me that they never felt loved by their father, ever.

    The only thing he will ever feel remorse over are things that make him feel bad about himself. And that will never, ever change.

    I wish I had realized these things when I was your age, instead of pushing 60.

    Good luck, and the fact that you’re here on chumplady.com is a great sign you’re not as dumb as I was.

    • “Your cheater DOESN’T understand that his behavior was wrong. He understands that YOU THINK his behavior was wrong.”

      Excellent point, Champchump. I commented something similar above, but you put what I felt into words more accurately.

    • Champ, you are not dumb. You are the opposite of dumb. These idiots are conmen and conwomen.

      Also, your post is a terrific snapshot of their personalities/emotional development. They truly suck and it must truly suck to be them.

  • Hi Armchair–

    It’s good to see you chiming in here again. CL gave it to you straight: this man is a narc cheater–not the kind of man you want parenting your daughter on a daily basis.

    You are definitely trying to untangle the skein of fuckedupness with a man who says he wants to be empathetic, but at the end of the day, tells you that you should have empathy/telepathy/wtfpathy to KNOW how HE feels.

    If he were a normal person, he’d not have cheated, but if he were a one-time fuck-up but otherwise normal, he’d be communicating constantly as he tried to make up for what he did and reestablish the trust relationship. Healthy relationships involve communication. This includes those hard truths to difficult to talk about. IF you had a healthy relationship, or IF he truly wanted to make amends, then he’d be the one opening up to you about why he fucked someone else, why this was wrong, and asking you how he can make you feel safe and loved.

    Then he’d follow up with actions.

    Words alone mean nothing. You must see words AND deeds working together. If he says he’s sorry and he doesn’t act sorry, then he’s not really sorry.

    Best of luck, Armchair. It sounds as if you’ve had your suspicions confirmed. He’s not a keeper. The right man, though, will love you and that little girl of yours. Remember, you are MIGHTY!

  • Armchair, it’s great that you’ve been back online reading the posts, getting lots of excellent feedback for fellow chumps. CN is coming through for you, please come through for you and your daughter. See, you’re getting more support from all these strangers than from your cheater. What does that tell you?
    Big hugs.

    • “See, you’re getting more support from all these strangers than from your cheater. What does that tell you?”

      It tells me there are plenty of wonderful, healthy people out there 🙂

      Thank you guys. I’ll pay it forward.

  • Leave now and go no contact. Do not stay for your daughter’s sake, leave for her sake.
    In a month I will have been married to my narc husband for 30 years and with him for a total of 37 years. Over the last 2 years, I have finally come to understand what I have been dealing with for my entire adult life. I was groomed to be the perfect supply by this man who I now realize is incapable of loving anyone other than himself.
    We have 3 grown children and I regret what they have been put through. When our children were young, he went to prison for 4 years and then was deported. I stayed with him, as the dutiful wife does (and because he was “love bombing” me in letters from prison) and once our children were grown, I moved to another continent to be with him. I’d made promises and I keep my promises. I am thankful that I was smart enough not to move our children when he was first deported and instead we would spend Summer vacations with him. I would also visit him at other times of the year when I could. But I made a conscious choice to keep our children in the U.S.
    Now we have been together for nearly 2 years and in that time I have come to understand who/what he really is and I regret ever having made the move. I look around our home at the things I have collected over the years and I realize that I need to be okay with leaving it all behind when I finally walk out that door for the final time. They are just things and they connect me to this life.
    Too many times I have come back, believing that he would change and things would be different, but now I know that it can never be. He is incapable of love. They are born without the ability to feel empathy and they are only capable of mirroring emotions that they see in others. They do not accept responsibility for their bad behavior and forget the word “sorry”. It is just a word, just as “love” is just a word to them.
    That was what finally woke me up… the understanding that they are incapable of real love. They are users and abusers and they will only keep you around if you are useful to them. They will discard friends, family and spouses once they are no longer of use to them.
    About six months ago, I made a conscious effort to stop loving my husband. I stopped using the words “I love you” and I stopped caring about him and I started caring about myself. I decided that if he wasn’t going to respect me, that I at least needed to respect myself enough to not allow myself to be verbally abused and poorly treated. I have had to learn how not to let him bait me into arguments just so he can get off on my reaction and then punish me with more of his bad behavior. It is a process, but I am working on it.
    Please don’t waste the next 5 days, 5 months, 5 years of your life on this man who can never grow up and never take responsibility for his actions. Please learn from my mistakes and those of all the others who have commented here. Love yourself and your daughter enough to leave now. Have the courage to walk away. because it will never get better. And, I know, I am working on taking my own advice and coming up with a plan to get out. The one good thing I have in my favor is that he won’t be able to follow me.

  • We all look for answers to why they cheated and with such great ease. Why they threw us under the bus to friends and family? Why, after being married for years, THEY decide we aren’t worth a lot of alimony or child support for our kids?

    Trust me, the only answer is pure, hedonistic, unadulterated selfishness! I suppose I am “lucky” in kind of a fucked up way. My Ex knows the end of his life is closing in on him so he is just now being honest about all the crap he pulled on me(or as honest as he can be). He knows it will make no difference now and I suppose in some sort of screwed up way he is hoping he might get a pass in the next life (good luck with that!). I have asked him point blank questions such as:
    Did you even think about me or your family? Answer: I just didn’t think! I certainly didn’t see it all ending the way it did! I never thought you would divorce me! Next question: So how did you think it would end? Answer: I don’t know! I just wasn’t thinking at all. She was like a drug! I would tell myself that I knew it was wrong, but I would then convince myself that I would only do it one more time then stop! I just couldn’t stop! It was an adrenaline high. I was doing something I wanted to do and no one was going to tell me I couldn’t! Next question: was it fun for you knowing you were hurting me and the family? Answer: No. I knew I was hurting you and others, but I just put you all out of my mind and convinced myself that this was what was best for everyone. I felt I had burned too many bridges to come back. Question: So did you want to come back? Answer: Yes, believe me, it wasn’t really all fun and games. It wasn’t about sex or anything I can actually put my finger on. Being with her, stuck in a hotel room or whatever was awful. She actually annoyed me most of the time. Question: But You said you loved her? Answer: No, I didn’t love her. I realize that now. I realized it shortly after everything started spiraling out of control! Question: so why did you leave me and go to her? Answer: I just figured I had fucked up everyone’s life and burned my bridges, so I was just going to stay with her and see where it would lead. I really wanted to just leave her too and be alone! I hated what I had done to my life and it was all for nothing!
    Question: So when you knew it was going nowhere and that I loved you, why didn’t you just stop? Did she suspect you were going to leave? Answer: Yes, I believe she knew I wasn’t invested in a relationship with her anymore, but she and I never talked about it. I think she figured if she ignored the problem that I would just stay. And yes, I knew you loved me and I was overwhelmed with guilt most of the time trying to move on to whatever was going to happen.

    End of conversation! Just sharing so my peeps at chump nation have some insight into what little brain power a cheater has! They have no insight or forethought of the consequences it seems. They revert to almost a childlike version of themselves! Remember, this is now a 61 year old man giving me these answers, but he sounds more like a 15 year old boy! Sad but true! Hope this helps and is not TMI!

    • Roberta, thanks for this insight into the mind of a cheater. My ex also said things that reminded me of a 13 year old boy at the time of his meltdown. I’ve often felt he was playing with matches and shocked that the whole house caught fire and burned down (metaphorically). Once things were ablaze, he decided that walking away and starting over was easier than trying to rebuild. Honestly, although I thought at the time I wanted to save our marriage to keep our family together, there was too much damage for it to have ever worked.

    • Wow. Just wow. Yea. I think it goes like that for a lot of them. Sadly that is the depth of their thought process. I mean, you can’t fight stupid.

    • This is all basically what my STBX has said too. Why can’t they stop themselves?! He said he never thought it would have any effect on the marriage. Really?! And that if he could he would 100% go back in time and slap himself for even thinking about it. W. T. F.

  • I posted a comment above that is “awaiting moderation” but also went haywire in cut-and-paste, so I will sum it up here in a few lines.

    There is no substitute for doing the work of learning about character disorder, starting with the seminal CL post “Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse,” which pretty much rips the blindfold off that keeps us from seeing we are being gaslighted and manipulated by how “sorry” the cheater is. In fact, if you are in the throes of either the early discard phase and are beginning to suspect an affair or if you are in the terrible post DDay pain, read all of the featured articles. Then you can go back to them as they each in turn become essential to navigating a phase of recovery. But the “GINR” article is what will prevent you from confusing tears, begging, and empty promises from true remorse and the willingness to make amends and actually change.

    Then hit the Resources tab and check out Dr. George Simon, who has a couple of great books and also a website with many, many posts where you can learn about character disorder–and everything from trust in marriage to “contrition” to narcissistic abuse. It’s like majoring in character disorder. Here are a few Dr. Simon words that back up Done4Good’s point above: “Talk, as they say, is infinitely cheap.”
    http://www.manipulative-people.com/trust-and-relationships-pt-2/

    (OK, you can delete the post above now!) 🙂

  • nomoreskankboy, I really hope it will help someone. All I can make of the whole mess is that he was so flattered by some idiot woman that he took it too far then it spiraled out of control. He became addicted to the adrenaline highs, but couldn’t handle the lows which magically returned almost immediately and sent him to lower and lower depths each time. He says he can barely remember days at a time because he was on autopilot doing the bare minimum to get by at work and with her! He felt like he had no control over anything in his life and it was spiraling out of control so fast he just went along and played a part. He said he felt duped by the MOW after meeting her in person, but he got in deep fast! He admitted he duped people on Facebook also with a “more exciting version” of himself! He also admitted he knew our marriage was stale and he was just too lazy to do anything about it once Schmoopie started sexting him!

    He knows he screwed up and says he wishes he could turn the clock back now. But it’s too late! He says he resents the wasted almost three years of his life on this awful roller coaster ride and wishes he had it back to share with me like he promised for years! Also too late! He’s down to a few months to live at best! It sucks!

  • Roberta, wow. Keeping with the thread, I truly am not sure if this is remorse or feeling sorry for himself. I have mixed emotions on this one. Did you find all he has said gives you peace? I’m not hearing anything about you but all about him. Hmmmmm. I am back and forth on this.

    • Nomoreskankboy, I figure at this stage of our lives and considering his dire circumstances he knows death is just a few months away. But to answer your question, it does give me some peace, but I’m not in the running now for his affection. This gives me the ability to ask a question and listen patiently at the answer. I figure I have already been through Hell with his then aggressive OW, him and my own health issues so the answers don’t scare me. What does scare me is the fact that I am comfortable listening without getting emotionally drawn in anymore! I’m no longer the same woman who felt she couldn’t survive without him and he knows it. It’s like I’m interviewing a stranger sometimes and getting as much information as I can about the mindset of cheaters. And most times I don’t really care which is hard because at one time in the not so long ago past I would have done anything to have him back! Do I think he’s REALLY remorseful? Yes and no. There is a fair amount of self pity, but there are moments when he acknowledges how awful he was and he knows he broke my heart and shattered my life. The problem for him is that in his current condition he knows he is physically and financially unable to make it all up and create a better relationship. And I am unwilling to spend the time I have left on this earth committing any effort in forming a relationship with him. The time for that would have been the many, many times he would come back to me in false reconciliation only to leave again! He had multiple chances and was too selfish to grab one! SAD!

      • Roberta, thank you very much for being so open about this to CN. It certainly has opened my eyes and heart to things. I hope you both find peace. Hugs.

      • This is so touching and heart-rendering; the emptiness that comes with leading a false life. I can imagine you two talking together, you finally getting the answers you deserved.

        • I must add that during his affair his Mom and Dad were wonderful to me. I would travel five hours to their home to help them. His Mom was decending into dementia and his Dad had COPD and was very lonely. I would go and do my best to care for them. My husband had all but abandoned them. My MIL was placed into an extended care facility and my FIL fell very ill. He was having a horrible time breathing and was actually hillucinating by the time I arrived. I had to call 911 to get him to a hospital. But I remember him telling me, “you know your husband has this too and he will get bad one day also.” It was as if he knew my Ex would need someone someday and although he was totally pissed at him for what he was doing to his family, he still looked to me to see to his son. I promised this 83 year old man that I would take care of him and he shouldn’t worry! Well folks, I DID promise!! My FIL passed away just days before my scheduled depositions for our divorce and I was bereft without him and his support. But fortunately I got through it by believing that he was with me even in death! My inlaws were my biggest supporters and I respected them, especially my FIL! I owe it to that wonderful man to keep my promise and I will!

  • My cheater “fell in love” with his kids when they were born too. Guess what. These pods aren’t capable of love. They just say shit. Later, when child support started he wanted to relinquish his rights and walk away, just to avoid losing any of his precious money over them. Armchair, don’t ascribe human traits to a pod. Especially based on the fact that he said it.

  • When I confronted my cheater with hard evidence of written e-mails, him telling her how awesome the sex was she gave him,(she gave him was his wording, that alone says it all) he broke out in cold sweat, then said: ‘I’m so sorry you had to read this.” WTF ?? He wasn’t sorry about actually chatting and doing it but sorry that I had found out?? They are so incredible, unbelievable and I’m so glad this rat is an ocean away from me.

  • IMHO cheaters don’t appear remorseful is simple………….they AREN’T!! Living 31 years with an apparent serial cheater taught me that sometimes I exposed him before he had time to “assign” his latest cheating episode to one of those infamous …… boxes they compartmentalized their shit in.

    Serious, disordered, sneaky liars, you will always be chasing the truth, Send them packing! Cheating is the exception to forgiving and forgetting. Mine ruined every life event with his secret fucked up life!

    • Compartmentalization to the n’th degree. I don’t know you someone can screw someone else, come home, and smile at their families. That says it all.

      “Cheating is the exception to forgiving and forgetting. Mine ruined every life event with his secret fucked up life!”

      I’m so sorry. Thirty-one years, he’s pitiful. Mine already ruined pregnancy and childbirth; he’s not gonna ruin anymore.

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