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Dear Chump Lady, He apologized. Now what?

sorryunicornDear Chump Lady,

I have been divorced for 10 months (separated for almost two years) From my husband of 22 years. He cheated on me for the final two years of that marriage until I found out and confronted him. He thought we would live together until the divorce came through. It took me two months to pester him out of the house, and I am glad he is gone. Life was very shaky for me and the kids for a while, but I am moving on as the single parent to four teen/young adult children, three of whom refuse to see they’re father at all and one who does so occasionally. We are getting back on our feet and everyone is happier without him around. (He was never much of a father).

Today, he left crying apology emails for each of the kids, I think he wrote himself notes, they all sounded about the same. He also left me a texted apology (no voice mail for me!) The text is as follows:

I just want to say I am sorry. I made some bad choices and we are all paying for them now. What I did to you and the kids was wrong and I’m truly sorry. I know that wont fix anything but I felt the need to say it. I’ve also told the kids the same.

Since I never received a sincere apology from this man in 22 years, I am suspicious of this one. I have a friend who says I should “be mature” and tell him we will “move past this”, but this doesn’t feel right. He devastated five people because he felt he deserved more. I don’t know how to respond or if I should at all.


Chumped but Happier Now

Dear CBHN,

I’m curious why your friend thinks you should tell him “we will move past this”? You did move past it — you divorced him. And everyone seems like they’re getting on with their lives pretty fine, except him.

What are you supposed to do with this apology? Well, you have a few options here.

1.) You could bolster the cheater. I believe this is the path of “maturity” that your friend is suggesting. (Because divorce litigation is so childish and carefree…) Hey, he’s sorry now. We must infer that he sees the error of his ways, feels great depths of sadnesses, and is moved to communicate his regrets to you by text message. I mean, when you’ve committed an atrocity, why lay a wreath when you could text a message?

Anyway, he’s Sad. It’s your job to reassure him after the divorce, that everyone is going to be FINE. Really, it’s just a flesh wound. No harm done. He’s not a bad person. Oh, stop with the awkward apologies, Jeffery! Let’s be friends.

Cue the conscious uncoupling muzak.

2.) You could let him move back home because he’s Sorry Now. Hey, now that he’s gotten the awkward apologies out of the way, you could cease and desist with those consequences. You know, Chumped, if you play your cards right, you could have a chance with him again. And what would be nicer at a time like this than cake?

3.) You could decode the apology. What would the Universal Bullshit Translator say?

I just want to say I am sorry.

So I thought I’d send you a text, instead of one of those insincere gestures like paying your legal bill.

I made some bad choices and we are all paying for them now.

Yes WE all are paying for my bad choices, by which I mean ME included. While acknowledging your suffering, I thought it important to interject how much this hurts me too. More really.

What I did to you and the kids was wrong and I’m truly sorry.

This nugget is fine. It’s an apology. By text. Without an edible arrangement or anything.

I know that wont fix anything but I felt the need to say it. I’ve also told the kids the same.

Actually trying to fix things? Like not contesting the divorce? Or giving you more money to raise four kids? Let me be clear that those tangible expressions of regret are off the table, because hey, they never change anything! But I feel the need to say sorry. Except I texted it. I did say sorry to the kids, might raise their hopes for a reconciliation! Don’t forget me! I suffer too! I won’t fix anything, but I feelz!

4.) You could do absolutely nothing. Okay, he’s sorry. Perhaps he is utterly sincere and would like forgiveness. Whether you forgive him or don’t forgive him, neither path requires communicating with him. You’re not obliged to confer absolution to break no contact.

If he’s truly sorry that just makes a sad situation that much sadder. He fucked it all up for nothing. And now he has to live with the consequences —  as you all did. Now it’s his turn to take a bite from the shit sandwich. He served it. The least he can do is eat it without complaint.

I vote for option #4.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I second number 4!
    File it away in your head and move on with your new life with your kids and without him ?
    No response necessary and continue with total no contact.
    It may or may not help you as you head towards meh but only time will tell.
    I would have appreciated at least an acknowledgement of my ex’s cheating so, hopefully, this ‘apology’ will remind you that he was responsible for the damage he caused, not you!

    • I fully agree with #4 – no contact because no response is necessary.

      I’ve thought about why I am no contact with my ex. It’s not about his cheating – it’s because it is unhealthy for me to be in contact with him. He lies and manipulates me and others so easily with his only concern being for himself and what he can get out of someone. This is not someone I want or need in my life.

      I say delete that text – and block him from sending more! Your teen/young adult childen can block him too or choose to leave the door open for more contact. It’s their choice.

    • // , If you call your phone company, they will block phone numbers for you.

      This has helped me eliminate annoyances from my life.

  • “Whether you forgive or don’t forgive, neither path requires communicating…”

    Excellent CL. I really struggled with forgiveness. I know it felt like if I forgave, I’d have to change something. Be friends, be kind to him, whatever. Realizing now that I can still forgive (if that’s your choice), and not let him back into my world.

    For the record, I never got an “I’m sorry.”

    • I struggled with forgiveness but you cannot forgive someone who is still fucking around and lying. Their apologies mean nothing. They are only concerned with image management and making themselves feel better.

      The only person I need to forgive is me for being such a bloody idiot

      • This troubled me a lot as well especially considering my upbringing. I spoke to a counselor and psych about it. They said forgiveness isn’t letting that person back in your life. It is basically not being vindictive or trying to kill them! That barely works for me.

        • Not letting them occupy any mental space is my “forgiveness.” That being said, I had a very strange nightmare last night about X and the girl-child! Subconscious mental space being occupied–still. I need a head detox!

        • Great counselor. I tell people that since she’s still alive, consider her forgiven. That all I can muster. 🙂

          • “I tell people that since she’s still alive, consider her forgiven.”
            Bwahahaha! I about peed my pants on this one.

            • ‘You’re still alive, that is my forgiveness ‘ could make an appropriate reply to this apology if the writer wants to acknowledge receipt.

          • “I tell people that since she’s still alive, consider her forgiven.” LMAO too. Hilarity, today thy name is marked711.

        • lostntx, very good counsel!!! That pesky old commandment #6.
          ‘The Nine Commandments’ has a nice ring to it.

    • I don’t struggle with forgiveness at all. I will not forgive. The breadth and depth of my X’s treachery and debauchery is breathtaking. Not only is he unremorseful, he continues to blame me for his affairs because of my imperfections which led to marital problems. His former wife was very different from me (and imperfect in other ways, presumably), and he serially cheated on her. I guess he is perfect, and just chooses flawed women (insert eyeroll).

      My college boyfriend was a shit, and I never ‘forgave’ him, I just don’t think about him. That’s as good as it gets. My granting forgiveness would require total honesty, an offer to make amends, and actual guilt for one’s horrific actions. X fails on all 3 criteria. No forgiveness.

      • Same here, Tempest. I could never forgive someone who continues to blow up my family through the neglect and emotional abuse of our children.

        He is still so filled with rage toward me for not rolling over and dying so he could insert the bimbo into my role in our family. While I can now muster respectful responses to my kids about their visits with him (even though he can’t feed them, help them with anything or support their activities without complaint and miserly contributions after making them feel like shit for even asking), he continues to badmouth me at every opportunity to them.

        That’s on him.

        Forgive? Not going to happen as I feel it would leave me vulnerable to a disordered and very hateful man.

        • Forgive? No never. How can I forgive someone who lied to me for 27 years and blew up my family and does not even think anything about it. I am not Jesus, I turned the other cheek so many times I got dizzy.

      • Tempest, there will never be any forgiveness on my part to my ex because I hope he rots in hell alongside his mother. I hope he spontaneously combusts because that is all the rat deserves but he is covered in teflon and nearly everything just slides right off. The last email I received from the predator stated that he had hurt me and it had divided our family. What a friggin genius he is to work that out. We had a lovely family unit of a loyal, loving and hardworking wife, a very hard working husband but that is his only claim to fame and 2 amazing kids who he was not interested in and our family has been destroyed and I am now the outcast much to my despair but I have accepted the reality of the situation which took me a very long time. There will be no forgiveness from me for the predator from here to eternity. As my father used to say, he wouldn’t pee on him if he burst into flames!! 🙂

        • I don’t blame you, Maree; your X doesn’t deserve forgiveness.

          And the ‘spontaneous combustion’ fantasy for X was my favorite for a long while (once my rage abated enough to let go of the wood chipper fantasy). Now I’ve moved on to ‘hope he falls off his balcony and spills Cabernet Sauvignon all over himself on the way down.’

          • Mine is so very specific. I hope he buys a great life insurance policy, writes a will where I am only mentioned once. and does it today
            “For LifeSized, I lived long enough to know I can never make true amends, but I respect that you devoted your life to mine; therefore LifeSized gets all of my life insurance.
            And exactly on the day the policy becomes fully vested; he drops dead from watching his dick fall off in front of all of his CoverBuddies.

            • Wow I had forgotten the stage of evil fantasies! Mine was nasty – ex would have a fatal subarachnoid haemorrhage while porking OW, who would be trapped under his enormous weight & suffocate. The priest would pop around the next day to find his innocent devout angelic musician dead under her equally dead married lover.

              • Vastra, my mother told me years ago that a well known and respected man had a stroke, mid stroke, as it were. He was bed ridden after that. He wife would stand by his bed daily and taunt him that his young honey was no where to be seen and she(the wife) was going to remind him of that every day. K kicked his ass. Btw, I read that it is not that rare. Men who are cheating often have heart attacks or strokes.

          • No no no, that would be a waste of red wine. How about he wets his pants on the way down?

  • It took me almost 3 years after dday to stop listening/reading/thinking about anything stbx said. It will never matter, except when it can be used against him in court. Actions – like him driving himself off a cliff – are the only things that speak to me now, and then, only from a distance.

    • Louisvilleflower, given what I know of your story, that you even arrived at the point where his words can’t get to you gives me hope. “Actions – like him driving himself off a cliff – are the only things that speak to me …” I grinned, partly with grimness, partly with glee. Partly with relief that another decent human being somehow must have been watching my daydreams. According to my therapist who specializes in trauma, grim fury, even matter-of-fact anger, especially for those who were abused for a long time, is a potent shield of self-protection. I’m nowhere near not being manipulated by words, even though I know all the tricks. And I have a hard time getting to anger. But the daydream about the cliff persists. There might be hope. That too, is depressing and devastatingly elusive. You are mighty!

      • It is a process. I am still in the midst of it and some days are harder than others. Today, for example, is my 20th wedding anniversary. I made it clear that I do not want to see him or speak to him or hear from him today. Today is a day that I am allowing myself a little grief. I am hoping that if I welcome it, that it won’t sneak up on me.
        My anger is definitely a shield, and if it falters I have sisters and friends to help me rebuild it.
        The “getting there” part is the hardest. And you are mighty because you are in it. And you are finding the people you need to help you get there.

        • So sorry, Louisvilleflower. He sucks. I know today is painful. Hang in there.

        • Sorry about today, Louisvilleflower. 🙁 Hugs to you on this day. I know it’s tough.

        • Huge hugs to you Louisville Flower. Imagine a bunch of us loving chumps having a spa day together, shopping, then a delicious dinner where we toast this “gaining a life” process ????. Who else wants to join us?

          • That’s a wonderful idea! I would love to join you. Yes, indeed, a gathering of good souls (guys, you’re a’comin’ too even if I have to haul you into the sauna and then massage rooms), a sumptuous day, a sumptuous dinner, lifted glasses, and a toast. MotherChumper99, you are a sweetheart.

      • ClareS, the anger is a beautiful thing. For me, I ate the shit sandwich of lies upon lies, constant triangulation, gaslighting, cheating in many forms. I stuffed it down for 25+ years. When I’d confront him on something, for example the time he left his Gmail open and I saw a predatory “Happy Birthday” email to one of his ex-ho-workers (you see, he kept track of ALL FEMALE ho-workers that he liked and would send them a Happy Birthday message each year — gotta keep making sure the supply is still out there — predator!) and after she replied back to him he said, “I miss you so much!!!!” I confronted him about the email, but as usual the liar that he is had an excuse for telling another woman that he missed her so much (“Martha, don’t you miss people that you used to work with?” Ugh…..yes and no. But I would never keep track of MALE co-workers and send them a Happy Birthday each year. That is disturbing behavior.) I was angry then when I confronted him, but after his lie/excuse, I stuffed the sadness/anger down. 25+ years of stuff anger and sadness down eventually turns into rage and anger. It felt good to let it all out. After I came out of the fog, then the rage and anger presented itself. It needed to be let out. I stuffed it down for way to long. Never again will I do that.

        • The gaslighting is horrific. For me, it’s the worst part of his five-year affair with co-worker OW. Of his bewildering verbal gymnastics where somehow I ended up to blame for everything (and as a former litigator, I am no pansy). Of the sickening public Great Guy show. And of what I did not know was an ongoing smear/ preemptive strike campaign about how selfish, manipulative, and crazy I was.

          I am just barely uncovering the details of the cheating, of whoring around in other ways, of the smear campaign. I keep trying not to be horrified. Every few days I get a little reprieve from depression and the fury hits.

          I want to shout, “How DARE you? I am not crazy. I WAS not crazy to describe what, in fact, was actually occurring. You, who betrayed, plotted, lied, controlled covertly, manipulated my friends and family, made sure you always looked like the good guy, raged because you could not own me and then claimed I was overreacting, broke my heart, nearly broke my spirit, and tried to break my mind? Guess what? You lose. Take it in. I suspect you might have chosen me as a ‘worthy foe.’ Except you forgot the part about never underestimating your enemy. And so. You lose.”

          When I walk out the door (and he figures out that he got played, that my assent to try R was NEVER real), I’ll actually just say, casually, “You lose.”

          Your story about the email is just one hideous episode, I know, in a 25-year rampage. He figured out how to break your heart, mangle your spirit, and keep you muzzled. What a colossal fuck. No, you should never again stuff down anger. I’m so glad you got out. I’m so sorry you had to. I’m so glad people here like you can show the way.♡

    • Louisvilleflower, I agree that things that can be used against the cheater in court do matter. That’s where gray rock is coming in for me. I had been absolutely no-contact, and here I am 11 months out from the last time I saw Match Girl, and not divorced.

      I have been trying to use her communications and emotions to manipulate her. I have to try something. It’s excruciating agony to just flail around while she takes her sweet-ass time getting divorced.

      There is no pre-divorce meh, and I am still in the thick of battle with a malignant narcissist. She emailed me last Friday and asked me to do something for her. I waited until today to respond, and I said, “what’s in it for me?” I don’t expect a response, but the idea that she could actually ask me for something (albeit with two “pleases” but no reciprocation just made me furious.

      She sucks.

      • Ian–Whaaaat??? MatchGirl wants you to do her a favor? I think that’s what we call “chutzpah.” I know I shouldn’t be surprised after 2 years of stories about cheaters, but MG being brazen enough to ask you to do something for her did make my mouth fall open momentarily.

        It would *almost* be worth breaking NC to text her everyday for 2 weeks asking her for a favor, “Could you please pick me up some milk at the corner store and leave it on my doorstep?” “Could you pretty please send flowers to my uncle in the hospital? You’re a doll!” “Could you please hurry up with discovery so I can divorce your sorry ass asap? Luv ya!”

        • On point as usual, Tempest. 🙂

          She has some fucking nerve, ian, and I love your response !!

        • Claire, Molly, & Tempest:

          Thank you for your support. I have spent days white knuckling and not responding to her. (Well, not like the first month of no-contact/gray rock, it does get easier.)

          I know that she doesn’t want to ever deal with me again as evidenced by her willingness to risk a contempt ruling over discovery. I am still perplexed, and it’s not untangling if it’s litigation. Simply – she doesn’t want to face consequences. Y’all give me life!

      • That is a radical understatement. Holy shit. She’s delaying?

        And I think your response was brilliant. There’s no way to win with a malignant narcissist (ask me how I know), but damn. Talk about turning a metaphor (the ONLY selfish gaze) into reality (“what’s in it for me” mirrored back to her), that then turns again into a metaphor (because this time, you’re giving her back her HORRID self). That is one hell of a move.

        Not consolation, not divorce, not the freedom you richly deserve. But I do think it’s like an arrow on fire flying through the air — and it’s yours. You launched it. Alters the landscape, I think.

        What the HELL is she getting out of delaying the divorce?

        • Tempest, you beat me to the post. “Radical understatement” refers to Ian’s last line: she sucks.

      • Ian – I couldn’t agree more… there is no pre-divorce meh. These Narcs are all about centrality and I’m using gray rock to keep gathering his fuck-ups on parenting and anything else I can for the Judge.

        Mr. Sparkles has stalled on discovery for over six months now. I have finally subpoenaed what I need. But again, more work and lawyer fees for me. Yay.

        It is an endless battle – one that they enjoy. Why? OH, that’s not the question… “WHY NOT?” is the question when dealing with these Cluster B twits.

        Have faith though… we will get there. And they never will.

  • Really interested to hear how the kids felt about their apologies.
    Are they able to decode them? Did it change at all how they feel about their father?

    The beauty of Number 4 is in its simplicity, because there truly is nothing left to say.

    • The oldest is at college and hasn’t told me how she feels yet.
      The second didn’t even finish listening to it
      The third laughed.
      The fourth, and only boy, was sad. He wants a Dad, but knows my X will never be a good dad.

      • All of those sound like very normal reactions. And telling ones. You are an awesome mom. Your children know what constitutes good character and what doesn’t, and in today’s world that is no small feat. It’s brutal to have to watch one’s children of any age have to deal with agony, chaos, and loss they did not create. I think you are all doing an amazing job.

          • My kids always read the sad texts, birthday cards, and “letter” ( there was one) and say ” let’s talk about why this is all bullshit.” They had him figured out before me.

            • Do you all think that kids should go completely no contact with the cheating parent too? I’m honestly asking. I still remain in touch with my father from time to time, even though it’s only out of obligation and I don’t expect anything from him. But maybe that tells him that his behaviour was somehow acceptable?

  • Another vote for #4. After almost two years of wreakonciliation, I told my ex I wanted out. He was Sad but swore he would do everything he could to make the divorce smooth and cost effective. That lasted until he realized I was serious about moving on without him. Sad turned to doing everything possible to string out the divorce even though he was paying far more in temporary support than he pays in permanent support. In keeping with yesterday’s topic, he went from “you’re the best person I know and I’m a fool to treat you so badly because of my low self esteem” to “you have to own your part in the failure of the marriage – it may not be 50-50 (no, it isn’t. I was faithful for 30+ years and you weren’t) but it isn’t 70-30 either”. Leave it to an accountant to try to assign percentages of blame. Whatever. When it was finally over and he was left with no wife and no contact with his grown children, he got the Sads again but just like this guy, it was just Sad enough for him to send lame text apologies to his kids on their birthdays (nothing to me, I’m still to blame apparently) but not Sad enough to actually DO anything that would look like “sorry I blew up your family because of my wandering dick”. They ignore him. We are doing just fine without him. I hope you do the same.

    • “Leave it to an accountant to try to assign percentages of blame.” Yep, that’s my Cheater too. He kept trying to say I was at least 50% to blame, maybe more. Doesn’t really matter now, the end result is the same…

    • Mine’s a bean counter, too. At one point post D-Day he said to me, “I’m not sure if this is going to work.” Yeah, it won’t work once you start roasting Tim-Whorton’s Coffee Snatches beans. He then gave percentages. For two months he said, “I’m 50% not sure it’s going to work.” Lying asshole was talking divorce behind my back with all his ho-workers.

      • I got – “I was giving it one year” – of course he never told me he was giving our 20+ relationship one more year to get better… Asshat

  • How *nice*. What, you’re not *swooning* with happiness over this kibble-ette?

    Ten bucks says it recently didn’t work out with the Other Person and now he’s scanning the terrain to see if there’s an opening for him to come back. Like the wishful thinking phase of a four year old, because he wants this to happen, you will then automagically agree. Damaged children? Your shattered trust? Let’s not confuse the issues with the facts!

    I’m with Tracy on this one – real remorse would look a lot more like him covering your legal bill than a 160 character text.

    Set phasers on IGNORE, Mr. Sulu! 😀

    • “Ten bucks says it recently didn’t work out with the Other Person and now he’s scanning the terrain to see if there’s an opening for him to come back. ”

      Ding ding ding! That’s when my cheater ex tried circling back around. It happened before the divorce was final. I think he truly expected me to take him back. Asshat.

  • I get it that this is an apology but for what? He says, “What I did to you and the kids was wrong and I’m truly sorry.”

    Exactly what did he do? Have an affair? Spend the college funds on Schmoopie? Lie? Gaslight? Risk his wife’s health by having unprotected sex on the sly?

    I’d see this as an apology if it came with an enumerated list of what, exactly, he did wrong. What did he do to the kids’ lives? to CBHN? to the family? Until he produces a list, I’m not accepting this as an apology–it’s just “I’m sorry I pushed you into divorcing my ass and making me leave the house.”

    • EXACTLY LAJ!! That is what I told my kids when they got their own lame “I’m sorry I hurt you” texts from the ex. Until he describes exactly what he did to hurt them and exactly what it is he is going to do to *try* to remedy those hurts, it isn’t a meaningful apology. Honestly, I hope he never becomes enlightened (or human) enough to do it. We are all so much happier without the weight of his control and criticism hanging over us. My relationship with my kids is so much easier when I’m not constantly having to try to manage their relationship with him. Not that I would go back to doing that ever again, but life is so much easier without even a whiff of his toxicity tainting the air.

    • Yeah. Mine does this “sorry for everything” BULLSHIT.


      Well I don’t fucking care that you bought the wrong type of salad kit arsehole?

      So let’s break it down a bit.

      How about “I’m sorry I premeditatively FUCKED A PROSTITUTE while you were FIVE MONTHS PREGNANT with our first child. Then I DIDN’T get an STD test and FUCKED YOU AFTER. Then I spent the next month’s trying to hook up with sluts until I had a legal problem that YOUR DAD PAID FOR.”

      Then I proceeded to continue rejecting you, being a Verbally Abusive, critical asshole, indulging in my OBSESSION with porn, disappearing for days and weeks, STEALING YOUR MEDICATION, STEALING FROM THE BANK ACCOUNT, THREATENING TO TAKE OUR KID, telling you that our kid “doesn’t even like you,” treating your dog like shit, tearing a hole in EVERY holiday, raging at you while you cried, utterly using you for a place to live when I had NO INTENT on paying my half of the bills when we were separated, blaming you for our marriage and lying to every counselor we had and telling them you are fucking “crazy” for not trusting me.”

      Then I might take him a smidge more seriously.

      Fucker. And that JUST off of the top of my head.

    • Absolutely correct, LAJ–the “apology” is merely a hook to entrap Happier into more mindfuckery.

      And frankly, even if was sincere, it changes nothing. He can’t unfuck the APs, he can’t make anyone forget the betrayal, he can’t undo the emotional damage. He says he’s sorry. Yes, yes he is a sorry specimen of a human being.

      • Yep. Sorry is only the very first outward manifestation of a cheater’s path back. They’d then have to make the chump whole financially (like that would ever happen), and then we could talk. Ha. That’s why LovedAJackass is so right: divorce first; ask questions later.

    • “Sorry” is supposed to be the blanket fix-it-all for whatever fucked-up mess they left behind. Ask them specifically what they are apologizing for and you get, “well, for whatever you didn’t deserve.” They can’t give you a real apology because a) they can’t be bothered with the details b) you should know and c) they aren’t really sorry but know they should say SOMETHING.

      My six-year-old understands what an apology is supposed to be but you can’t explain real regret and empathy to an adult if they never learned the concepts.

  • #4 without a doubt. Words are just hot air! If he’s truly sorry, he will take action in some way to try and make up for the “bad choices”. Don’t hold your breath waiting on it. And by action, not trying to be around y’all but like giving you anything ($) that will make your life easier. Actually, the best gift of all would be to just leave everyone alone.

  • I agree with CL here. A genuine sorry needs to be a verb, not the generic quest for kibbles that you got. Best to file it under the BS category and get on with your happy, cheater free life.

    Besides, the only time they are ever nice to we chumps, is when they want something from us, be it time, attention, kibbles, money, or to manipulate us into something advantageous to them. Since you have been devalued and discarded, and have successfully been rebuilding your life, ask yourself, what is his real agenda here. Sometimes it is as simple as them fishing for another chance to tear us down because we are actually doing well without them.

    In any case, trust that he sucks, and give him….crickets!

    • +1. Insightful, as usual. I couldn’t put it into words. You did. I smell an agenda.

    • I agree Tessie. One day OP will look at that apology and go “Ohhhh, I get it now!”

  • My ex cheated in 2005 and when the truth came out punched me in the face in front of his 10 year old stepson.

    That was the last day we spent under the same roof with him. My beautiful ten year old boy was incredibly brave sitting in a courtroom being asked to testify about what happened. This unrepentant asshole told his entire family I made it up, but when he saw his stepson ready to tell what he saw he plead guilty.

    Years later he got his record expunged so that he could actually have a decent job and pay for our daughter’s needs, but he never apologized for what he’d done to his stepson or our family. My son lost a piece of himself because of that.

    This summer my lovely boy committed suicide. The creep had the nerve to send an apologetic TEXT saying he knew he was a source of pain in his short life.

    The fuck. Do I feel bad for making it clear he was not welcome at the memorial? No, I do not. Do I feel blessed that Chumps here chipped in to send a Town Car to pick up ex’s sister, who loved my son? I do.

    This fucker even posted memorial pictures of my son and me on FaceBook to get Awwwws and Likes from random women. Ugh. I had to ask him to delete them.

    CBHN, your kids are old enough to decide if they want to forgive or not. You don’t have to. Look outside yourself and think if you’d judge a friend or loved one for not being sucked back in. Your ex is feeling consequences, a new and uncomfortable thing for most cheaters. You aren’t around to fix it anymore. He found there is a vast ocean of difference in a spouse and a lay. Boo Fricking Hoo. He found out his children don’t respect him when he behaves disrespectfully. He’s a real Po’Boy Sausage Sandwich.

    Trust me when I say your effort and emotional investment is best spent on your kids and yourself these days. He cheated for YEARS. He made a bad gamble, now he pays the House.

    • Holy shit Luz, I am so, so, SO sorry about your son. Damnit. No words other than to send you all the love I can from one mama to another.

    • Luz, I am so sorry about your son! I somehow missed it when it happened and am glad you got support from the people at CN. I also didn’t know about the physical nature of the divorce. You have been through so much and are still standing strong. You are and should be an inspiration to all of us! Prayers for you!!!

    • God Luz, there are no words for what an utter piece of shit he is. And how mighty you are.

      I’m amazed you’re still standing. I think there would’ve been a twofer at that funeral if he’d shown up. Way to make it all about HIM. UGH.

      But hey, it’s nice he’s getting Facebook likes off your sorrow.


    • I am so sorry for your loss and any misery this world inflicted on him that contributed to his despair. Please dont forget that you are mighty

    • I am so sorry for your loss, Luz. There is truly nothing worse than losing a child. You are an amazingly strong woman, and in spite of your trials, you still give so much wonderful support to all of us here. Big hugs to you!

      • Thank you all. I didn’t mean to sidetrack the discussion or imply he was responsible for what happened later. Henry struggled with bipolar disorder since he was in junior high.

        The cautionary tale though is we can’t go back and unchoose these crappy spouses and coparents. This one was ancient history and not even the breakup that brought me to CL. We will have to deal with these numpties for a very long time, and they so not change their stripes. But we can make the choice to be the dependable parent, the standby, the one who runs the appointments and pays for the therapy and most of all doesn’t run away. That’s what we owe and who we owe.

        We owe the cheater nothing. Least of all a shield from their own consequences.

        • “We owe the cheater nothing. Least of all a shield from their own consequences.” Yes.

          Luz, I am so very sorry for your loss. You are so brave and mighty to tell your story. Thank you.

        • Luziana, my deepest condolences.

          I don’t remember you sharing this on here before, but I can’t begin to imagine your grief. You are not sidetracking anything. You are a valuable member of Chump Nation, and I always relish reading your words.

          Again, so sorry to hear of your loss.

    • I am heartbroken for you. There are no words. Prayers, love & hugs coming to you and your son. I am astounded by your strength.

    • There are not enough hugs on the planet to say how sorry I am for your loss. Your ex is truly a POS to try to capitalize on your family tragedy just so that he can get sympathy kibbles from people who have no clue that he was a major player in your son’s emotional pain.

      Here’s a hug anyway. {{hug}}

    • I am so very sorry about your loss Luziana. Sending virtual hugs your way. {{{Hug}}

    • So so sorry Luziana! I must of missed that post over the summer! Big Hugs to you!

    • I am so very sorry, Luziana. No mom should ever face the loss of their precious child. Period.

    • How absolutely hideous and tragic, your loss is just unthinkable to all of the parents out there. Your poor boy, and now you left with it all… and that piece of filth who dared to try to insert himself. It’s not often I am surprised, but this is beyond appalling.

      I would never say ”I hope you feel better” because clearly that’s just ridiculous, but I sincerely hope you are able to rid yourself of the ex and his worthless words forever and let that be a tiny nugget of peace for you and your daughter.

    • Oh, Luz. There are no words adequate for the loss of your boy. We need to know a lot more about what it means to be “bipolar” and the struggles of those who have this atypical brain functioning. But it’s just typical narcissist behavior to draft along on a tragedy, trolling for kibbles.

    • Oh, Luziana, my heart is crying for you right now. There is no greater pain than losing a beloved child. And that POS scoring kibbles from your pain is beyond evil! I’m so sorry that happened to you and your son. Sending you hugs, my friend.

      • Tessie and everyone, thank you. My son had been struggling for some time over things that had naught to do with my poor relationship choices. I take full responsibility for the added pain those caused him. We tried hard and long to help him.

        You understand this. I know you do. As a Chump you think you’ve lost the Love of Your Life. Until you really lose the Love of Your Life. Yet those who are left still need you. We are doing okay.

        We still have to get shit done. And this experience is the Great Shit Separator. I no longer waste a second on those who don’t matter, and I love hard and fierce those who do.

        Those of you waiting for karma, here is a secret, too. It doesn’t exist in this life, and that’s okay. The man who abandoned us in part because my son was ‘a handful’ is probably doing just fine. I didn’t do anything to command this shitty hand dealt, I know for certain my daughter didn’t. We just deal with it. Part of that is letting go of people and things who do us harm. And not looking back.

        • Oh Luziana. I am so sorry for your incalculable loss. And for the suffering of your son. You and Tess have endured crushing challenges. I, as well as all of CN most likely, will be offering our individuated form of prayers for you and your daughter. Not just today.

          As an aside, I shared here once with Hopeful that there is an ancient wisdom teaching that dates back to the Middle Ages. It states that our understanding of All That Is (the entirety of existence as we know it) represents only 1% of All That Is. In the other 99% all injustices are recognized and punished purposefully and efficiently. IMO abandonment is an egregious trespass.

        • Luz–I am so sorry for your loss. It must have been gut-wrenching, too, to see your son get to the point where he felt no hope. Another tragedy to get past, not over. Sending huge hugs your way.

        • God Luz, your story really stunned me. It really puts things into perspective …” losing the real love of your life”. So well said. Love and prayers to you.

        • Luziana, I understand completely what you’re talking about. After my youngest son was murdered by cheater ex, life became stripped down to the bare essentials. We take care of our remaining child/children. We go to work. We keep our home running. We pay our bills. We grieve when there is time, and energy. Because we love hard and fierce those who matter, those whom we can still hold and protect, we continue to do life, as they depend on us.

          There is no time or energy left over for bullshit. We become a more honest straightforward version of ourselves.

          Losing a child I believe, the most painful experience there is. We are not supposed to outlive our children. Worse yet is losing a child that you fought tooth and nail to safeguard. That is the topping on the shit sandwich.

          Having walked that road, my friend, I can tell you it is a long, tough slog. There will be days where you will just coast because you just can’t live in that pain one more second. Cue a soothing balm of numbness. Then when you are strong enough again, it’s back into the fray. Just know it’s a process. It will get easier. There will be smiles, and laughter and joy again. It will just take time.

          Meanwhile, I am keeping you and your son and daughter in my prayers.

        • Luz, so sorry for your loss. You speak wise words. A beautiful reminder to love those who love and need us, and not pine over the loss of someone who treats us so callously. Sending you hugs.

        • Luziana – I can’t begin to tell you how sorry I am for your loss. Your strength is stunning. Sending you hugs.

    • Luziana – I’m so sorry about your son. It’s hard to find appropriate words for such a loss. There really are none. God bless you both.

      Your post really drives home something we all know. The devestation cheaters leave behind includes lasting emotional injuries inflicted on innocent people (and not just the betrayed spouse). The fact that the cheater is no longer part of your life doesn’t erase those injuries – they don’t just magically disappear when the cheater leaves. They hang around like a big shadow for a long time and are hard to shake.

      My children did not deserve to have lived this experience, or to have to deal with its effects. Neither did your son. I wish you peace.

    • Luz,

      There are no words to convey how sorry and heartsick I am for your loss. I am in awe of your courage and resilience. I am so sorry I was not aware that you needed assistance. Your Ex is a disgusting attention whore. I am so, so sorry. (((HUGS)))

    • So sorry Luziana. And grateful for your courage sharing this here as a warning to other chumps.

    • Luziana I am so very sorry. I can’t think of a greater horror for a mother. I can only hope that good memories bring you some peace.

      • Luz, oh my. I am so very sorry for the loss of your beloved son. I cannot even begin to imagine your pain. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers! HUGS!!!!

    • Luziana,

      I am so sorry about your son, but even more enraged abhor your ex violating your grief by TEXTING you. What a fucker.


    • Luz, I have no words but I wanted to extend my sympathies.

      There’s no greater pain than losing a child. You’ve been really brave and generous with your story.

      Hang in there.

      • Luz, I didn’t know. I look at my children and I don’t take them for granted. I am so sorry you lost your Henry. So very sorry.

    • Luz, So very sorry for your loss. You are a true survivor. You are in my prayers.

    • I’m so sorry for the loss of your dear son. May God comfort you and your family .Hugs

  • This, my fine friends, is what it looks like when a person realizes that they have overplayed their hand.

    So many of us would have sold a kidney to get an apology like this when they were acting like a selfish monster…during the time we were buying books on how to save our marriages by ourselves. When he had that opportunity, he preferred (as did most of our then-spouses) to eat cake and be a selfish asshole. There was a time when I would actually have forgiven the lifetime of cheating if he had apologized, but he didnt.

    We chumps are SO loving and SO forgiving and SO understanding that they think we have no limits and they abuse their latitude. One of my very biggest regrets is that I never got to look into my cheaters face and let him see on my face and in my demeanor and actions that HE OVERPLAYED HIS HAND. No, by the time I learned the truth, he was dead.

    My now husband is a really great guy…he gave his wife whatever she wanted…she got her way, bossed everyone around. She decided that her ennui was his fault and ran off to find greener grass. OF COURSE he would take her back, anytime she asked. After serving him many shit sandwiches, she cycled back and asked to reconcile and he said “No”. She has, of course, created a narrative where she sought out a reconciliation and his refusal broke their family. We both feel genuinely sorry for her subsequent husband, poor guy looks beaten down from a distance.

    Team Option 4

  • The only person I need to forgive is myself. I need to forgive myself for not listening to my gut when I read the letters that were sent to him from a “friend” who joined the Army and wrote love letters to him while she was in England. The love letters that said, “If you come visit me, we can spend the whole night together and have sex.” He came back from that trip and said, “She’s just a friend.” I was stupid and believed him. I need to forgive myself for not listening to my gut the second time — the period of time where he did the first devalue. My gut told me to run back to my home state, but once again I trusted his words. 25+ years of trusting a pathological liar and serial predator and cheater. I’m working on forgiving myself. When I forgive myself, I think that’s when I’ll arrive at meh. I vote with #4. No response. No contact as much as possible. If this “man” is pathological, he’s not sorry at all. I can’t tell you how many time I got the “I’m sorry” from my ex, but his ACTIONS never said he was sorry. He was only sorry he got caught.

    • Martha, like you, I only need to forgive myself for not listening to my gut, not sticking to my boundaries, spackling for him, allowing him to treat me poorly and losing my self in my marriage.

      What I feel toward him now is indifference. I’ve been no contact for a full year and it’s wonderful. I know I’ll have to see him at some point since we have a college age daughter. I hope that my indifference will be even stronger when that time comes.

  • If a cheater is ever sorry it’s because their life sucks. After a divorce and we move on, a cheater can no longer use the convenient “blame the spouse” excuse.

    A real apology comes with actions, if I broke your window and am sorry I will pay for a new window kind of sincerity.

    Cheaters rarely back up an apology with anything substantial, it’s only a fake exercise in self pity and self image management.

    Cheaters are like margarine.

    • Dixie,

      Yes, it’s true. I may have hoity toity taste in art & theatre, but I am a Texan so by law I have to have questionable taste in food.

      • Ewwwww. A Nacho Cheese Fountain??? (I had to look it up, I happily confess!!!!)

        Recommend this for your ex’s next cheaterama. Most popular items dipped in the Fountain: wieners, (meat)balls, sausages, etc. and then feed to . . . . ahhh . . . whatever. Who really cares?

    • Even when one gets a real action apology, it’s tough to forgive.
      5 yrs and he still wants our marriage back. He’ll do anything and everything for my son & me that is incredible really.
      But his affair changed me. It changed how I see things and feel about things, I still get blamed for not seeing all he’s been doing, and go back . ((We were married 30 yr))

      Something even zillions of honest apologies isn’t even enough.

  • Hey – 12 months after divorce, a little over 2 years since BD – when xh sent “Cease and desist bothering me and my “friends”” letters to me and his children, – (to protect the scared for her very life OW), daughter 23 recently got a birthday card with three sentences in it.

    “Happy Birthday, Dad. I have rescinded the cease and desist letter. You may contact me at any time.”

    I don’t even know what that constitutes (except – what was pointed out to me, as an invitation for DD23 to “pick me dance” for her fathers attention.)

    • “I don’t even know what that constitutes”

      It constitutes “Im a flaming asshole, you can suck up to me now” bullshit. fucker.

      • Happy Birthday, I’ve rescinded the cease and desist?

        Bwah ha ha ha.

        OMFG. As if that poor girl is going to get right on that!

        Holy shit, what an idiot.

    • Hi DD23. Remember me? The father who sent you a cease and desist? Yeah, well, things change. I have teh sadz because I’m between girlfriends atm. I’m really awesome, so I don’t need to give you a real apology. You should contact me to tell me just how awesome I am, and how generous I am that I’m now allowing you to contact me without my calling a lawyer on your ass.

      This is the UBT translation of that card. Your daughter is mighty. Her father can’t stand that.

      • So true KB! Defective father could also be just bored out of his mind with his precious & delicate OW. Narcs will become parent of the year when they are trying to get rid of the other person, because how can the other person question time spent away from them with your own kids? I think DD23 should send her own cease & desist letter to dear old dad.

    • OK, that message is the epitome of flaming narcissism, with both historical and current dimensions of fuckedupedness.

    • Creepy Sperm Donor to DD: “Happy Birthday, Dad. I have rescinded the cease and desist letter. You may contact me at any time.”

      Magneto: “I don’t even know what that constitutes…”

      Well, I don’t know either …. because it’s an abomination and I don’t understand abominations.

      Claire’s fantasy reply: “Attention Sperm Donor: Please put the cease-and-desist back in place. You know, the legal requirement of no contact? It would be the best birthday present ever.”

      • Goodness! Your poor daughter received this on her birthday? She needs plenty of good people around her to protect her and bolster her defenses. Big hugs to you both.

        • Magneto’s did. Can’t tell, from the position of your post, whom you’re speaking to. (The first sentence is confusing, too. He should have written, “Happy Birthday from Dad.”)

          • Sorry ClaireS, I don’t know what happens, when I press reply, it seems my posts end up all over the place. It was meant for Magneto.

  • So, we got a version of this ( me and my kids s25, d19) but not because he was interested in coming back, he has been living with his AP since about 10 min after he left us. He’s sadz that the kids went NC, he wants zero to do with me….but included me in the apology tour I’m sure because he thought it might grease the forgivness wheels with the kids,but they saw right through it. Nobody here has contact except me and that’s only when it’s absolutely necessary and very limited.
    All the things we say we say are the criteria here for an ex spouse to leave gracefully I actually got, but it’s still shitty….it wasn’t like he said ” I fucked up, I’m so sorry. I’m gonna get into therapy and be a better person. Here, take this house, my pension, this other pile of money and my most sincere apology. btw, I won’t have my affair partner sleep over the DAY I move out because that would be hurtful and fucked up”
    Here’s how it really is :
    Did I get a good settlement without going to court? Yes, but he didn’t offer it, he knew I would get it and conceded. No attack of conscience there. He complains about it every chance he gets. He was smart enough not to waste $ fighting a battle he was guaranteed to lose.
    Did I get an apology? Yes, but not because he’s sorry, because he’s exposed for what he is and doesn’t want to look like a shit to society or our kids.
    So, I say file that apology away where you stored all his other bullshit and keep it moving, don’t look back. Isn’t it funny how they are sorry AFTER they get the new life.
    Sorry to tell you, he’s not sorry.

  • It never ceases to amaze me how the outpouring of sincerity and regret always seem to come after they’ve completely blown up your life and come to realize that whatever cheap, sparkly thing that led them to callously discard their family may not have really been worth it after all. I’m not that optimistic person anymore that believes that anyone who can flush their life away with nary the batting of an eye can ever be selflessly apologetic.

    He’s feeling bad because…well HE’S feeling bad. Not for fucking around, not for lying to you or your children, not for being a selfish coward, but because his choices have led to him to a place in his life where life kind of sucks right now and he feels bad. Give him time. Eventually something/someone will come along and distract him from his bad feelings and then his regrets will fade away as his attention fixates on the new and shiny object. That’s how deep these people are unfortunately.

    I have a friend who was trying to make me feel better about my ongoing divorce. She said, “If people are meant to be in each other’s lives, eventually they find each other again.” I know she means well. But what I want to tell her is this. “No, if people are meant to be in each other’s lives, they don’t treat them as replaceable objects.” He made decisions. They weren’t the best decisions and now he’s not in a good place. Right now. But shallow as he is, I know that his unhappiness will be short-lived because people to him are replaceable, like light bulbs. He is easily distracted by the bright and shiny.

    Your ex sees you moving on without him and it’s making him feel bad. Give him time and eventually he’ll find his bright and shiny and suddenly his regret will miraculously dissolve.

    • I agree, he is fishing! Betcha he is no longer with Schmoopie! Consequences suck.

      • Or he is looking to get a new schmoopie and she probably tells him how important “family” is, so now he needs to get back into his kids good graces. That way he seems like a “normal” person.

  • So his swinging single life isn’t working out so well, huh? Schmoopie left him? He doesn’t like living in a dump apartment so he can afford child support and alimony? No one washes his clothes or cooks his meals?


    I think you made a typo, but it sounds like he left the kids voicemails and sent you a text.

    I think the important thing to note here is that he is attempting to use your kids to pressure you into accepting his apology. Which, of course, would only open the door to more baby steps in his plan to insert himself back in your daily lives. Do you know what that is called?


    He knows he stands a higher chance of creating guilt in your kids for his pain with his voice as opposed to a text or an email. He’s putting his (fake) emotional pain on them. Frankly, if he were adulting, his apology would have been sincere. Sincere has less to do with tears than accountability. It means he acknowledges what he did wrong, how it affected others, and asks (with no expectation) for forgiveness. All of this would have happened at the time of the revelation, not months later.

    Keep in mind that forgiveness and a second chance are mutually exclusive, though I realize that he obviously has problems with the definition of “exclusive” where it pertains to himself.

    He sent you a text rather than chance that you’d answer the phone call and intercept his BS. Sounds like you’re enforcing boundaries. Good for you. Likely he knows you may not have answered or cut him off cold as soon as the fake tears started. But the kids? Yeah, he knows they’ll listen, and they’re his last shot at manipulating YOU. Classic manipulative narc move.

    What do you do? Explain as calmly as you can to your kids exactly what he is doing. Explain to them that they are allowed to have boundaries, too. Boundaries like they don’t have to be force-fed the details of how he imploded your marriage and family. They’re allowed to pick up the pieces and figure out what to do with them without his mind-fucking. Boundaries mean they have the right to tell him to handle his own emotional fallout.

    Stay strong, help your kids stay strong. Save the voicemails in case you need them to alter custody or visitation, and make sure your kids know that they are allowed to tell him to knock it off or lose contact completely.

    • “He sent you a text rather than chance that you’d answer the phone call and intercept his BS.”
      Excellent point! Aha! I could not figure out why she got a text. That is one very good reason.

  • I don’t think the apology has anything to do with wanting anything from the chump and more about gaining the children’s favour. Cheaters start apologizing and trying to get in their children’s good graces when they begin to realize the kids are going to be loyal to the “good” parent for the rest of their lives. It’s just another facade to make their own children another type of chump to bolster the cheating parent’s image and ego. Sensing their own mortality makes the selfish feign sorrow to gain filiality even if it means mouthing apologies to the betrayed partner for whom they no regard or feeling.
    Don’t even bother acknowledging the apology. He made himself no concern of yours through his actions. You have no duty to respond. Forgiveness does not mean contact; it means letting go and just moving on.

    • I agree with this interpretation. He is sorry that his children will always view him as the parent who dumped all over their mom. No matter what he does in life, he will never fully scrub that away. He truly regrets that his kids KNOW he is a shit but he doesn’t regret being one. And he is shallow and stupid enough to believe that a tearful voicemail might undo the damage. No response. Ever.

      • Not enough AJAX to clean his dirty laundry. Attributed to Carrie Underwood

  • I agree that “no response” is the best response. Given your long marriage, you probably cannot help but feel you “owe” him a response. You don’t. You feel that way because you are a responsible person of integrity. Communications between the two of you should now be limited to whatever logistical details are necessary in regard to custody or financial obligations. You don’t owe him nice feelings and warm responses any longer.

    If he is sincere, that’s great, and you won’t hear anything more about it.

    If the apology is a ploy for something, then sooner or later you’ll have it thrown in your face that he apologized, but you were “rude” or “bitter” or somehow at fault for not feeding him kibbles in response.

    If he really wanted a conversation with you, he’d have called you. (Thank goodness you were spared that.) He either knows better than to expect a response when he was in the wrong or he is afraid of what kind of response you might make and has thus made sure he won’t have to deal with you directly. But who cares? His emotional health is his own problem now.

    He probably did script what he wanted to say to the kids. That is not necessarily bad–a good therapist might have told him to do so in order to stay on task–to eliminate the impulse to hedge or justify his behavior.

    In the long run, however, this series of apologies to everyone means nothing in regard to your future. You’ve moved on (keep moving–don’t let this set of less than 100 words change anything about the new choices you’ve made for yourself-). Remind your kids that crafting a relationship with their father is something they’ll be working on for years. Ask if they want help from you or if they want someone else to talk to about it (therapist, other family member, etc.) And then support them in making healthy choices about their own boundaries.

    Congratulations on your own strength while shepherding four kids through such a rough time.

      • Yes it is a great post. I have been reading through the responses so far and I love them. Thank you Chump Lady for answering my letter, and to Chump Nation for their support. I knew you guys would put it all into perspective for me! I read here everyday and you all have helped me get through the divorce and start to settle into single parenting.

        • Oh, the apology came the day after what would have been our 24th wedding anniversary. Maybe he remembered and felt a little something…

          • That just adds to the disordered insincerity of it all . . . wow. The first thing that got me thinking option #4 before I even finished reading CL’s reply was the use of the royal “we” in referencing all of the people HE hurt. A truly sincere person would focus only on those they’ve hurt, but it’s classic NPD to have to include themselves as one of the victims, even when they were the cause of it.

            • “[Sending the text one day after what would have been a 24th wedding anniversary] just adds to the disordered insincerity of it all . . . wow.” +10.

              • Maybe he did reflect on your anniversary and he feels bad about how he fucked up his life but that’s just not good enough. He made his bed… If he is becoming a better person he can demonstrate that over many years in the future by providing better for his kids, unconditionally. Words are cheap, he had the sadz and lonely so he did this to make himself feel better. Not. Good. Enough.

    • The closest i ever got to an apology was (after me yet again (losing 30 minutes of my life that I will never get back telling him what a rotten piece of sit he was and why ), he became very melancholy and somber and said, “yeah, I fucked up, nothing i can do about it now. ”

      He sucks.

      Kudos to you and your kids not taking the bait and giving him kibbles.

      True story — the evil one couldn’t ever remember our own anniversary, always off by a day or two. Last year, even though him and OWife had just gotten married just 60 days after our divorce was final, he still found it necessary to ask me the day before of what would have been or 12th wedding anniversary of I still had”his” Christmas ornaments in a box, LOL idiot.
      They just can’t stay away no matter what .

  • I got an out-of-the-blue apology too, after months of fuck-yous, both verbal and written. I was confused for a second, until I realized it was Yom Kippur. Somehow the fact that the apology was mandated by religion lessened its value for me, even at the time. That was in the first year after the disclosure. No apology in the years following. Apparently, he thought one religiously-mandated apology was enough for 22 years of lying and cheating. Myself, I don’t subscribe to that belief.

    • 20 years ago, my ex told me on Yom Kippur that he had cheated on me 2 years before that. . He told me because he couldn’t stand the guilt. This was all 20 years ago. I stayed with him because we had a young daughter, I believed it was a one time thing but of course I never really trusted him again. .

      We separated 2 years ago and the divorce was just final in September. He’s still making me miserable by not turning over an original signature on the retirement papers so my lawyer can file them.

      I found out he had been going to strip clubs and watching sadistic porn all along. Just last year on Yom Kippur (not the one that just past) he called me at home and on my cell to tell me how truly sorry he was. These idiots think that apologizing on the one day a year when you are supposed to atone for your wrongdoings makes up for all the damage they have caused! Oh, and of course, mine blames it all on me because I was so unhappy and wanted a divorce. I just had a gut feeling about things and little by little I found out the truth the last few years. I still didn’t take action for awhile because I was so brainwashed I believed he was truly sorry. Starting to feel so much better off with all his mindfuck games. Oh and now he frequents bdsm clubs ALL THE TIME!!

      I vote for option 4. Their words don’t mean a thing.

  • Yeah, these “apologies” aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on…oh, wait

  • “If he’s truly sorry that just makes a sad situation that much sadder. He fucked it all up for nothing.”
    THIS. +1000

  • I used to want an apology, maybe deep down I still do. But what does it even accomplish? What is done is done. Saying sorry won’t put it back together again. I vote for number 4, if only because many “apologies” aren’t about true remorse.

    The truth here is this guy blew up his life and now has to wallow in his shit. Many of us spent the best years of our lives cleaning up after idiots like the letter writer’s ex. We made miracles happen, kept life together, and didn’t get much gratitude for our efforts. It is what it is. We can’t get that time back, but we can draw a line in the sand and refuse to keep playing the game. Let him figure out how to navigate his shitty life on his own. You don’t owe that cheater anything.

    • This is exactly it! As if life itself isn’t already hard. *eye roll* No one ever deserves to be stuck cleaning up after other people’s shitty life choices. I married to have a partner in life – not to babysit a grown-ass man-child. It’s funny though how other people’s view of STBX came out now that we are not together anymore. People kept telling me he seemed to be the sort who would lean on me till he pisses his pants off in diapers… UEGH.. It is imagining this future and asking myself if this is what I want when I trully saw the grim reality of our relationship. And no, I do not want any of this. Nor do I deserve it.

  • I’m not nearly as fair (balanced?) as CL here in what is probably at least a very slim possibility that he might really be sorry. I worry because your friend’s comment and that slim possibility might make you second-guess yourself and your instincts. I think you’ve probably had enough of second-guessing yourself.

    I don’t give him the benefit of the doubt. HE’S NOT SORRY. There’s definitely some method to his madness. Maybe he’s looking around, realizing that some men have stability, genuine connection, a place they helped make home. Or his supply has dried up. Or his ability to get supply has dried up. (Don’t worry. There are plenty of women who will eventually give him a fuck fest.) Sounds like he feels sorry for HIMSELF, and he’s figured out a way to make it sound like it’s mostly about you and the children. I can almost guarantee that no matter what you do, you will not change one thing about his character.

    CBTL, you wrote, “Since I never received a sincere apology from this man in 22 years, I am suspicious of this one.”

    Suspicious? I’m more than suspicious. Hell, I’m furious for you! Trust your gut. Before I read your last sentence, my alarm buzzer went off. Three of your kids won’t talk to him. His apologies to your children it sounded rehearsed. You got a text. He made “mistakes.” I was very uneasy. Then I saw “WE are all paying for it.”

    I clutched. No. He’s not paying for something he didn’t deserve. He’s living with the natural consequences of his purposeful, conniving, cruel choices. YOU and the children are paying, for something you did not choose and did not deserve.

    This man spent two years cheating on you. (And that’s what you know about. I suspect there are more.) For two years he had sex with another woman or women, had intimate conversations with another woman or women., for two years, this man went out of his way to get what he felt entitled to. To betray precious promises he made to you (and maybe God) more than 22 years ago.

    You? The family? “Just” collateral damage, IF he even thought about how it would affect you. He took away your right to trust, truth, and safety. He covered. If he used condoms, I doubt he left them for you to see. He lied, and lied, and lied about where he was, what he was doing, and whom he was with. Every single day he lied. Every single day he fooled his family. We call that gaslighting.

    He probably was either a plastic husband or a shit husband during that time. You “pestered” him out of the house? Why? Because he wasn’t decent enough to do what you wanted after he’d gone on wrecking campaign? Because you were rightly angry and hollering? Because he wanted to get away scot-free, just a casual two-year “mistake” that he wanted you to get over?

    You never got a sincere apology for 22 years (!), I’m going to guess that the experts (e.g. Simon, Bancroft) on entitled people are correct. Entitled people don’t change without years’ of work. And the way they come out of it, on the very rare occasions that they do, does not sound like what your X sounds like now.

    How fun was that, for 22 years, not to get a sincere apology? How nourishing? How did it feel to know that he didn’t care enough about you (or likely anyone) to feel genuine remorse. For 22 years?

    Now he feels entitled to share HIS misery (probably transient)? To call his cruelty a mistake? You just got through, partly, to the other side. I think you might have been being understated when you wrote that the divorce process was “shaky” for you and your kids. Three kids won’t talk to him. I’d guess that “devastating” might be a better description. I wouldn’t want to live with even the possibility of that again.

    He sounds slick. Manipulative and entitled people have a way of sensing when they’ve really lost the game — and yes, the tragic part is that for you and the children, it was never a game to begin with. Here’s what I picture: Imagine your hand reaching across a chessboard. Tip his queen over. You’ll have to do it. He’s already shown he doesn’t have the decency to do it himself. Game over.

    • You are right ClairS, And honestly, what you wrote is what I want to say in answer to his apology. I know that any answer will just be opening a door for him, and I won’t do that, so I will not answer him at all.

      • CBHN, I’m so glad that you wrote to Chump Lady. What you’ve done in the last two years is amazing. I hope someday to know what that’s like. Agreed, a reply would open the door. But in your mind, you can still reach across the chess board with your queen and tip his king over. (I’m only imagining, but I might be writing a nasty gram I didn’t send, as well.) Of course, better that he not take up any real estate in your mind at all. But that’s hard. And if he does weasel his way in, such as with this machination, and won’t go away quickly, I say, do whatever it takes. You are understated and gracious. And fierce. I like that.

        Dixie Chump, you are very kind and I am very grateful. Thank you! I am plotting my escape, five months’ out from D-day, it is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and you just made my day. I often feel pathetic. Useless. To know that I might have the privilege, with words, to help even a little means a lot.

        {{Hugs to you both.}}

        • Thanks ClairS. In the beginning I didn’t feel gracious or fierce. I felt like mush that was only held in human form by my will to protect my kids. I had a a lot of help along the way from family and friends and a cousin who was my lawyer and Chump Nation. Now there are days when I do feel fierce. I faltered a bit when I got the apology, but I feel back to normal today. You are not pathetic ClairS you are helpful and mighty.

        • ClairS-
          I thought I was reading the words of an experienced chump that was well into the land of meh. Your post was brilliant. I take screen shots of posts that resonate with me, and I have kept yours. My anger is fading as meh is near, however, your post fired the engine back up for at least today?. I guess the Cluster Fuck B Sociopath better stop peeking from his woodchuck hole to see if it’s safe to come out yet????. The fires of hell courtesy of me sort of scared him. Odd, seeing that he is the spawn of Satan, but I digress. Thanks for a reminder of my fury.

  • CBHN-

    I’d go with option #4 too. You owe him nothing which is pretty much the way he felt about you and the kids when he blew up your lives. The only winning move is not to engage him and keep moving forward as you have been doing. The contact that would be required to respond would set you way back. Only respond to logistics surrounding the kids if you absolutely have to, otherwise stay out of his orbit.

    You’ve been navigating the shitstorm of infidelity and divorce with 4 teens. Enough said!

  • CBHN – it’s taken him over two years to apologize. Why don’t you take two years to respond to his text? Seems only fair . . .

  • What a transparent play for cake. If I were responding to this (which I wouldn’t), I’d want to say, “Whassamatter booboo, did reality turn up?”

    The UBT has a sub program verb checker. For example, Mr Fab didn’t say, “I am sorry I lied….” rather, “I am sorry for the lies I used.”. Just like your ex, “I made bad choices” not “I chose to destroy my family/abuse my kids and spouse.”

    He is sorry. A sorry excuse for a human being, that is. And your friend can eff off to Switzerland. They’ll never understand, and you can’t blame them for not having a frame of reference, but overall, Switzers do more harm than good.

    Door number four. Choose a life.


  • In the voice of Invader Zim’s dog Gir
    “Him got the sadz.”
    I also received an apology of sorts….keep it moving. He is just circling between hoes.

  • If the apology does not contain acceptance of actual crime: I’m sorry I lied and then called you crazy for noticing that I was sucking while neglecting you and my children. I’m sorry my dick mattered more to me than the life you unfairly invested in while I barely showed up. I’m sorry I took years of your life that you didn’t get to live fully or choose. I’m sorry I continued to take and dragged the separation out…

    Yep, it is not an apology. Honestly, even if it was an actual apology I might be inclined to go with #4 because anything else will soften your boundary.

  • Mine X randomly sends me texts, “i miss you” “i am sorry i hurt you.” I don’t respond.

    If he said, “I was a lying, cheating, abusive jerk for 20 years of your life and I don’t deserve half of your retirement” I may believe him, but no way he would give up the money or his victimhood narrative.

    • You hit the bullseye! I’ve gotten those as well and ignore them. One of the last ones I got was “i’m praying for you”. That one really tested my resolve not to respond!

      • Mine gave me that one too…he’s praying for me…then tried to tell me how I have changed, like it is something bad, but my changing is the best the that I have done for me.

        That is what I meant by his victimhood narrative. He still attends the same church we attended as a family and I am sure he has everyone feeling sorry for him because I am so unforgiving. Poor sad sausage. I don’t go try explain myself to them either. Instead, I sold the house and moved away.

        No contact is a blessing!

  • Chump Nation,

    Is it ever okay to break No Contact and send just one teeny tiny “Fuck You, Asshole” ? Because I would be sorely tempted to do so in response to this apology. But I know the complete non-response that lasts the rest of his life sends that message better than the actual words. But oh how I long to do it.

    • Dixie,

      Firstly, don’t take my advice.

      My advice is that if it doesn’t affect your money, or your family then fire away with the insults.

      “Fuck you asshole” is letting him off easy.

      (too many good gifs today)

      • If it makes you feel good then do it. And then block him. But if you’re looking for a response to make you feel good then don’t get sucked in again. Just stay away. For your own sake.

    • I’m never a fan of breaking No Contact to send a “fuck you.” All it means is that they successfully got a reaction. They’ll start poking the bear more often. #justsaynotokibbles

    • Nah, it bugs them more when you don’t care enough to send anything, Keep him on pins & needles waiting for a reply ; ).

  • He’s apologised and he feels better. He feels he’s tried. This is all about him.

    There’s nothing that says ” I’m sorry I did this truly horrible thing. I know you can’t forgive me, but what can I do to try and make recompense. “

    • Exactly!!! This is all about HIM (again).

      Mine actually had the temerity to say, “Have you already lost your feelings for me?” (UBT: “Have I lost my rights to CAKE?”) and when he still got no response from me, he changed it to, “Aren’t we going to fight for US anymore?” (UBT: “Are you seriously quitting dancing for me to pick you?)


      • The very FIRST thing I told the cheating asshole ex was that I did not plan to COMPETE for my own damn husband. These dumb whore ow want to compete but fuck that. If a guy wants to act like I should compete for him, he can go fuck that whore. Insecure psychotic bitch.

  • Dear Chumped but Happier Now,

    I vote for #4. Nada. Crickets, as they say here.

    When I got my lameass non-apology I had to look up the definition of apology to see what my problem was with this distorted effort. Merriam-Webster helped me out.

    APOLOGY: 1. a formal justification 2. an admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret (a public apology) 3. a poor substitute (makeshift)

    Yes, a lot of justification (ie. proof of the reasonableness and correctness of his infidelity (blameshift to Virago) and regret that he might have despoiled his image.

    Uh huh. The EMAIL (how tender and kind and contrite his methods) was an example of meaning #3: an apology of an apology!!

    • so funny. during my marriage, I used to send the definition of an apology all the time. cuz he would go out and get drunk and come home at 2am every week and then say, “sorry” and then blame me when I was still upset about it.

      I tried to explain that an apology means there’s some sort of wanting to/trying to change and not repeat it in the future

      it’s funny to know others have gone through the same thing. and I totally agree. this guy isn’t really apologizing. no Narcs do. He’s probably doing that cuz 1) things aren’t that great for him finally and 2) so he can say he apologized and she’s such a B that she didn’t accept it (they love to say they did X and yet we didn’t accept it).

      • me three. I sent cheater an article from a counselor’s website on sincere apologies. His response was short and sweet “thanks, good info” and came less than 5 minutes after I sent it. He never attempted anything close to what the article described.

        It took me a quite a while longer to realize that it’s not up to me to help him be a better person. He has to want to be a better person and make the effort himself. So I stopped having those types of discussions with him. I also decided that anything like that might help him hide his true self from the next person he takes advantage of.

        • ByeBye, I shuddered at “thanks, good info”. THAT is exactly how MoFaux would dismiss. If I could just throw up a little bit . . .

        • “It is not up to me to make him a better person.” So true. I tried for years to do this. I kept thinking if only he would see the truth and understand the hurt or consequences, he would stop (drinking and driving, not coming home after work, not taking a day off to spend with kids but then taking days off for trips with friends, etc).

          Bottom line, they are not interested in being better people. They do not care about consequences, only what they want in the moment. They are selfish and manipulating. As far as I am concerned he can rot in who he is. Sucks for my kids but I am no longer trying to speckle it for them.

      • Chubblewub, MoFaux thought ‘sorry’ meant everything was expunged.
        Apologies were scarce but when issued meant ‘WE are DONE with this.’

  • I agree with #4. it’s not sincere. My ex originally said, “let’s keep it amicable” after I found out he was cheating on me with multiple women. He even said that our child will “bounce back” as if divorcing and changing his entire life upside down cuz his dad wanted to go screw around is like falling down and scrapping a knee. He even originally agreed to give me a reimbursement for the STD testing I needed to get done after I found out about his cheating.

    Cut to a month later, after I hired an attorney, any civility was thrown out of the window. He is now saying he doesn’t want to pay me back for the STD testing, he is arguing that he should keep all the furniture in our house (which he lives in) without paying me a cent for it, he is even trying to say I purposely took a lower paying full time job instead of continuing freelancing that paid me about $20K more. (while knowing that I was freelancing when we had 2 incomes, after separating, there’s no way I could have continued freelancing w/out the stability and the benefits). This is the guy who originally offered me $500 for child support though I have my son 80% of the time. My ex is a partner at a law firm who spend more than that on his golf and more than that on his drinking habit a month.

    I have never gotten an apology or even acknowledgement that he was cheating. I have UBER records that show him sleeping over at her house (i hired a PI that confirmed her address as well). He knows I have that but yet he will never admit it cuz he’s a narcissist.

    They will NEVER truly feel bad. They will never apologize (it’s just words and normally followed by a “BUT”)

    I say don’t respond. don’t give him the satisfaction that he has somehow made his peace or apologized. If your kids forgive him, you can’t do anything and it’s probably good for them to forgive their father. But you don’t need to. You just ignore it and he’ll wonder if you even got the text. don’t even acknowledge you got it. keep him wondering. Narcs love knowing that they can send us an email, text, etc. and get us upset. it’s all about control. so just ignore.

    • I second that. If you decide not to reply, don’t even let him know you received it. Just keep your poker face on.

  • Seriuosly, he’s a narcissistic. He isn’t expecting a reply because you and your children are just objects to be used to meet whatever needs he has in the moment: in this case, probably to make him feel better about himself for some reason (which he accomplished simply by writing/delivering his messages) and/or to provide his latest target with proof that he’s not only capable of real, lasting emotional commitment to someone worthy of it, but that whatever sad sausage tale of manipulation/abuse he’s spun about his current partner to justify lying to, cheating on, and hopefully leaving her is really true as well.

    The point is, like everything else he does, it’s all about him getting his needs met, and has absolutely nothing to do with you or your kids.

    He already got what he wanted by apologizing. Getting any kind of acknowledgment or reply would just be cake. Him even knowing you thought this much about it would be cake.

    Stop worrying about what kind of cake you have the ingredients to make, what kind would make you look like the baker everyone thinks you should be, and what kind your ex deserves.

    Your ex is sitting at someone elses’s table now, prodding them with crap like this, and expecting to get fed.

    Put the cookbook down. Take off your apron. Walk the fuck out of the kitchen. Watch tv. Read a book. Make some pinecone elves. Knit. Cry. Scream. Dance. Whatever you want. Whatever makes you feel good.

    Me? I’d start by getting a new email address so he couldn’t continue to use or make me party to using someone else anymore.

    • “Stop worrying about what kind of cake you have the ingredients to make, what kind would make you look like the baker everyone thinks you should be, and what kind your ex deserves.”

      This is such a perfect visual to go with the cake metaphor. Seriously! Let’s all grab our chef’s hat and storm off the kitchen and yell “I QUIT”. We know we make the best cakes – let’s go and find someone who deserves it!

  • Wow. The Apology. Or should I write, The “Apology.”
    Tracy really nailed it with option 4. These bozos don’t truly know how to be sorry. If X was truly sorry, he would take some type of major actions to make your life and the kids life better with no expectation of any kind of response or reciprocation.
    The apology I had longed for and fantasized of finally came 6 years out from D-Day and 5 years out from the finalization of my divorce, long after I had moved on with my life. My (new and good) hubby and I had taken my young kids out for dinner, and as we were leaving the restaurant, my cell phone rang. The caller ID said X, so I automatically handed the phone to my son to say goodnight to his biological father and I kept walking out of the restaurant holding hubby’s hand. A few seconds later, my son ran up to me with a confused look on his face and said, “Mommy, it’s for you.” I took the phone and over the loud din of the restaurant I could faintly hear mumbling of incoherent words. I yelled into the phone, “I’m sorry, lots of background noise, I can’t hear you!” The reply, through sobbing, broken breaths, “I wasn’t calling for the kids this time. I was calling for you. I just wanted to tell you how sorry I am for being a terrible husband and a horrible father and person.” Stunned silence on my end, and then finally “Thank you.” Then he began sobbing uncontrollably. I felt kind of bad for him and said, “You know, the children love you anyway.” Then he really let loose with the sobbing and hung up the phone. I tried to call him back and no answer. I really felt like he may have been suicidal at that point. I hate to admit my callousness, but the first thought that ran through my mind was, “Please hang on until the waiting period for suicides has passed” (on the court-ordered life insurance policy I had taken out on him a while back). I know it’s cold and heartless of me, but that is what came to mind.
    He dropped off the face of the earth for a few weeks. No one heard from him. His mother and brother called me in desperation that they could not reach him. Eventually, he resurfaced.
    I really hoped his apology would be the start of a new phase in our “relationship,” one where he might actually pay child support regularly or keep his commitments to the children. The following month, I even let the euphoria in the wake of the apology affect my decision to bail him out of jail for nonpayment of child support, by making my OWN child support payment to the court so they would release him. I bought him lunch and gave him gas money to get home. He had me convinced he was looking for a “real job” working for another architect (as opposed to being self employed) and that he had a third interview lined up for that week. I didn’t want him to miss the interview (and the chance for me to garnish his wages since he refused to “garnish his own wages” as a self employed architect). Surprise surprise, he never got the third interview (if it was even on the table) or the job. And instead of trying to do better with the children, he actually saw them even less and continued with his intermittent, inconsistent relationship. He may have truly meant it at the moment (the apology). But I came to realize that his character is so lacking that it just doesn’t matter. Nothing personal — he is simply incapable of maintaining any kind of healthy relationship and incapable of giving of himself. What is more likely is that he was on the outs that day with OWife and just feeling down and out about his current situation. But the minute he and she made up he was back to ignoring his kids, not paying child support, hitting on my best friend while still married to OWife, etc. etc. Actions speak louder than any words he could ever say.
    Most cheaters are simply incapable of being truly sorry for harm they have caused others. They are only sorry when THEY are affected and hurt. And some cheaters use the “apology” as a way to gain attention (in my X’s case) or even worse, to manipulate others, which is what CBHN’s X appears to be doing: a calculated, measured attempt to communicate with (read: manipulate) his teen/grown children and his Xwife. He probably had to do a Google search to research what an apology looks like. He may have all the words right, but consider the source. He is an imposter.

  • Do they all work from the same playbook? I just got an eerily similar text from the XW just last week.

    “I’m sorry for what I did and I have to live with that. The pain I caused you and the kids I feel every day. I am sorry.”

    We are four years post divorce now and she is still shacked up with OM (AP #3). Kids have had zero contact with her for over three and half years now. She contributes absolutely nothing to our kids and can’t understand why they have disowned her.

    I did go with Option #4 by the way.

    • That means ‘look at poor me, I am already punished and I suffer so much, so why can’t you let me off easy?’ Not an apology.
      An apology IMO needs to include full disclosure of the wrong doing, be public, made in front of the extended family and friends, and the cheater needs to make reparations. Repentance or else it’s bullshit.

      • Her lack of genuine remorse or repentance still amazes me. Especially, after spending 26 years of my life with this person. I could never wrap my head around that and eventually gave up trying to reason with insanity. Stupid is as stupid does.

  • Option #4 definitely ——————->

    bye felipe/ felicia

    DEF: When a male or female says their leaving and you could really give two shits that they are. Their name then becomes ‘Felipe,’ ‘Felicia’ a random dude/dudette that nobody is sad to see go.
    Hey, Bye Felipe/Felicia.

    #random #who cares #nobody #weird #unimportant

  • BTW – SORRY that you got caught? These ppl are completely incapable of remorse. Image management for sure and the damage cannot be undone with an apology. My SAxh cheated for 31 years…. such a pro that I was completely blindsided. That train that hit me and my family can’t be fixed with a playbook apology. He has told anyone who cares (not many) that I wouldnt accept his apology therefore I could never ‘forgive’ or get over it. Yep, truly a F’d up man. Now go away, stay away <3

    Save it!

  • Well said, Chump Lady.

    Conscious Uncoupling Muzak makes me feel very stabby.

    Gwyneth and Chris weren’t very good at it either.

  • Men like this LOVE to play the victim and have everyone feel sorry for them. I agree that you should just ignore him. If he truly felt bad, he would have apologized long before now! The closest thing I got to an apology was “I admit that my behavior has been inappropriate but I’m hurting too.”

  • I never got an apology. I did get: “You had the best of me and the worst of me.” And “It (the affair) just started out as sex.” Then I got “you pushed me out” because I didn’t let him come back after the 4th d-day, when I caught him with the same OW. When I told him that he hurt our son, he truly didn’t understand how treating me so terribly, the lying and the financial fidelity hurt our son. Jackass!

  • “If he’s truly sorry that just makes a sad situation that much sadder. He fucked it all up for nothing. And now he has to live with the consequences — as you all did. Now it’s his turn to take a bite from the shit sandwich. He served it. The least he can do is eat it without complaint.”

    2 and 1/2 years from DDay and 2 years from divorce and I always get some wonderful nugget from this site to add to my Chump Nation quotes!! I love you, CL!!

  • So the title of this article should really be ‘He apologised. So what?’

  • My guess for the appology is to find the weakest link for supply.

    Chances are his ‘story’ is not attractive to the women he is dating. When his date asks about his family and finds out they have no contact and live with their mom, it warrents a response. He’s not going to say im a cheater and spent my children’s college funds.

    He will seek out the youngest, most vulnerable for suppy.

    The Limited has attempted to pull me into triangulation through my daughters partner. I saw the ripples and ignore.

    • Doingme,

      “Chances are his ‘story’ is not attractive to the women he is dating. When his date asks about his family and finds out they have no contact and live with their mom, it warrents a response. He’s not going to say im a cheater and spent my children’s college funds.”

      This is exactly what I thought too!!! Image management. Can’t let that new schmoopie see his true self, now can we.

      • Flutter

        Cheaters narrative dries up once they no longer have that intact family.

        And living better happens for chumps in time. People have a difficult time believing he’s this great man when he dumped his granddaughter. They also have a hard time believing I’m a monster when I work all week and devote my time to my lovie, daughters and son.

        And I hate the idea that they circle back. The Limited isn’t doing it because he wants me. That wall is too solid. The way to get me is through the kids. I say nothing. He wants to torture me. He no longer has power over me! I will not triangulate. Sad sad weak pussy chaser has to face himself sooner or later.

  • I’d text back something vague and distracted like “ok, thanks”

    Then text your grocery shopping list

    Then text, “oh sorry that wasn’t for you” followed by silence

  • Definitely option 4. After Dday #1 Dodo bought an I’m sorry card and just signed his name. Talk about lacking thought. I have no words. I totally forgot about it until reading the comments. I bet if I go digging I could find it. 14 months later he was gone for good. Haven’t seen him since. How can someone actually think that buying a card is any kind of apology?

  • option 4, for sure. these crying apologies to the kids scream manipulation to me.

    things are improving for you without him. he had his chance to appreciate you and he totally fucked it up. let him suffer.

  • Ex never Really Apologized. It was all a cover to shift the blame back to me.

    And even if he did, what does it matter? It doesn’t change anything. Facts are facts. It took a while, but I finally realized that for me, my marriage ended the day the ex contacted some whore with the intent of fucking her. It took a long period of time for the actual physical divorce to happen, but guess what, that is how I number the days of my former marriage. I even tell people we were married that number of years. For example, five years, not eight, or however many it legally lasted. Made the ex mad as hell, believe that.

  • One more thing, in my opinion. There are no Do Overs in life. This is something ex did not understand. Looking back he will say I’m harsh and unforgiving, blah blah blah, but in actuality I was waaaayyy too forgiving about the adultery. What this got me was more and worsening levels of betrayal. He did this because he was always counting on further forgiveness.

    Like I said, there are no do overs. Once it’s done, no word or action can be undone. You can only try a different action to try to put things right again, but the original action is still there, hanging in space till the end of eternity. So even though I didn’t know it at the time, ex contacting whore was the irrevocable, irreversible action that ended the marriage. The outcome of that contact doesn’t matter, the action of the contact is the point where the damage occurred.

    I like a book called the Butterfly Effect by Andy Andrews. It was kind of life changing in that I see actions differently after I read it. Every single thing you do matters. In the era of do overs and don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, it was a revelation. You never know what the consequences of any action will be.

  • I also think that the “Every single thing you do matters ” concept has helped me in my life and the decisions I make. Things don’t just happen randomly, for the most part. Every current event is the result of decisions made in the past. I no longer divide things into important and unimportant. You never really know which thing you do will be the one that will change your life. I wish I’d realized this earlier. Like the loser first husband who I wasted years on, that all started with one second, where I decided to start a relationship with him or walk away. I knew even then I should walk away, but didn’t. I paid dearly for that choice, many many many times.

    • Anita, I had the same moment… I remember hesitating after he asked me to get back together with him after a breakup when we were young. My love for him overrode the gnawing feeling in my stomach that night. I’ve often wished I could have that moment back.

  • I used to long for an apology, or even some acknowledgement how how much he’d hurt me but it never came. All I got was blame and guilt heaped on me until I thought I would suffocate. It took me awhile to throw off that heavy blanket of shame. Chumplady helped me realize I didn’t deserve it, and I didn’t have to live with it. I don’t expect to ever get an apology, I got very few even when we were married. They were rarely sincere anyway.

  • Same here, Lyn. Cheater and I broke up relatively early in our relationship and he behaved like a real jackass. I had doubts about his character at that time. But he always covered his true self up with Mr. Good Guy so I basically ignored them. I didn’t realize then that Liar was his default setting.

    • Right, ex’s version of an apology was ” I didn’t know this would hurt you. I never meant to hurt you. ”

      Really, asswipe? I had specifically told him what he was doing was hurting me. Unless you are a swinger I guess, fucking some whore behind your wife’s back hurts her. And YOU KNOW IT whether she tells you or not.

  • I just remembered… MINE (Catholic convert) told me that GOD had forgiven him.
    – Apparently in confessional.

    (Implying it didn’t matter if I knew what he did – because GOD knew and forgave him already.)
    …………uuum. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means….

    • Mine told me not only that Jesus had forgiven him, but that he had forgiven himself, so why was I taking so long to get over his 20 years of cheating?

  • Is he a drinker? The crying voice mails and text to you makes me wonder if he was drunk. But whatever, there is no reason for you to respond to him and my recommendation is that you delete the text and forget about it.

  • I never got any real apology from my ex and I doubt I ever will. Closest thing he ever texted me was “I’m sorry for things.” I admit that I would still like to get a real, sincere apology, but since I know he is not capable of that and it wouldn’t change anything anyway, I would settle for him showing his “remorse” by actually paying me all the child support arrears he owes me.

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