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tupperware-blue-sandwich-lunch-box-keeper-with-compartments-_1The excuse is often given for cheaters that they are “compartmentalized.” Cheating on you is nothing personal, it’s just that you were in Spouse Compartment, as distinct from the Schmoopie Compartment, and it’s best if the cake slices don’t touch.

The compartmentalization excuse is trotted out in various ways. There is the sad sausage variant — alas, I suffer from this vague psychological malady! My world is fractured! There is the self-satisfied variant in which compartmentalization is a kind of superpower that your feeble brain cannot fathom. Well chump, you have a very simple life, but I am great and complicated! Multi-faceted! Behold my compartments! 

And there is the ham-fisted manipulation of telling a chump they have their very own compartment. Why, you have a compartment ALL TO YOURSELF! I mean really, it’s a kind of respect. It’s only because of the reverence that they have for the Family Compartment that you don’t know about the other (and, I assure you, lesser) compartments.

So what are we to make of compartmentalization?

On the one hand, I’m inclined to believe them. I think the ability to be a serial cheat means you lack empathy and integration. You’re as deep as a Tupperware snack box. I think they truly do not understand that other people connect and bond and feel deeply.

On the other hand, I think compartmentalization is bullshit. It’s a nice word for deceit. I have a box I hide my other lives in. Vacuum sealed for freshness!

What do you think?

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  • Their disordered personality is being a Chameleon, they will change their personality for whatever works in their favor at that time, “Compartmentalize” sounds more refined and sophisticated than scumbag liar or Weasel which is really what they are.

    • Nailed it. They wear a mask for whoever they are with at any given moment. Who they really are is a mystery, but one thing for sure is they lack authenticity and/or depth.

      • I think it’s true they compartmentalise and are fragmented, but it’s no excuse. Like having fangs and claws is no excuse for biting and attacking. We all have the ability to compartmentalise, we do it when we have to in stressful emergency situations, like dealing with horrific injuries and setting aside our terror to deal efficiently with the situation. But we don’t use this ability to keep different aspects of our lives separate to play one against the other.
        I think they naturally tend towards more compartmentalising, that it requires a lot more effort for them not to, but they don’t even try. They are lazy and realise that they have a natural ability to take advantage of others without even trying very hard, so why not? Lazy, opportunistic, lacking in insight and not interested in developing it. It’s easier and more fun to put on this costume or that one and play a part. Chumps make it all too easy for them. We do all the hard work to try and integrate our parts and theirs, we want to help, we spackle without even trying.
        Integrity is hard work, as is a virtuous life. All religions teach us that, it’s a struggle against our selfish, opportunistic inclinations. They take the easy way out and we help them.
        Maybe they were damaged in childhood, but so what? Lots of people were and they don’t act this way. My FOO are waayyy worse than the traitor’s, but I haven’t left a trail of destruction in my wake, taking advantage of people. Intellectually the traitor and I are about the same level of ability, we both had great education opportunities and grew up in peaceful societies. He doesn’t appreciate any of it. Just looks for excuses.

    • Exactly! I think I’ll be a model/writer/golf pro/fisherman/bodybuilder/philanthropist…anything but a husband and a father.

      Good riddance…I couldn’t keep up with who he was trying to reinvent himself to be this week. Sheesh.

  • I think you hit the nail on the head when you said it’s just another excuse for deceit. I think the visual of boxes that they hide their deceit in, is spot on. They compartmentalize, that’s for sure. The scam depends on it.

    • Wow. Those are the exact words Train Wreck said to me when I was completely broken and couldn’t get out of bed. I asked her why isn’t this divorce shattering her world like it is mine. She bragged that she has the ability to compmentalize her feelings and that I need to learn how so I can be a good father to my son. Yeah that’s her reason for compartmentalizing. She is beyond delusional.

      • I hate her. Boot to the head. Sadly, I have m one of those too. I FINALLY drew the line in the sand. Pushed him over it and out the door. Sever. Cut. Purge. No contact. Co-parent as kindly as possible.

      • I got the “I just had a second life, where I escaped to”, which is the same thing using different words. She excluded her beloved children from that life as well, although I found photos she sent to him of our kids (which made me sick, then very, very angry).

        We should rejoice in some sense that they do compartmentalise. Like her, I really wouldn’t want her other icky life touching me or the kids…. and nor would my kids what their sack of shit life touching their’s. She can keep her double life all to her sick little self.

  • My ex’s post d-day vernacular began with the phrase “I don’t know”.

    Moved to “I don’t remember”.

    Progressed and settled on “I compartmentalize”.

    These three inadequate responses were deemed bullshit by my bewildered and battered brain and my only acceptable response became “I’m outa here!”

    • Paula

      And again we see how eerily similar they are. I got exactly the same.
      Oddly he seemed as confused as I was which was another mind fuck as he had made all the choices.

      Honestly I believe he can be fitted in his entirety in to a compartment named;

      “Treacherous. Beware”

      • Oh I just love that handy term. It’s a hallmark of the sex addiction therapy mindfuck. Me: “how could he have prostitutes in the bedroom where my wedding dress is still hanging because he insisted it not be packed away?” Therapist: “compartmentalization. All sex addicts do it. It’s not about you. Now let’s talk about how you made him feel rejected last year.”

        • I hope your reply to her “Now let’s talk about how you made him feel rejected last year” was “let talk about how this will be our last session. I’ll have a new therapist next week”.
          What a terrible therapist. I’d have stopped him/her at “It’s not about you”. Really?? If it’s not about me and my marriage then who the fuck is it about.

          • Exactly Confused. That was the first and last time I met with that PhD level therapist. Unfortunately she wasn’t my therapist; she was his. He kept seeing her while I started seeing an attorney.

              • I got the “you should claim your wife and tell her you want her” from our marriage counsellor. No mention of dealing with her shitty charachter and the MC just accepted (and wanted me to accept) that my X had ended the affair when there was plenty of evidence she hadn’t (nor had she changed jobs where they work). They are still seeing each other to this day.

                Chumps have no place in Marriage counselling until the Cheater fixes their issues (and completely ends the affair for a long period of time). Otherwise there is a very, very large risk the cheater will just cheat again because THEIR issues have not been dealt with. And even if you do manage to lift YOUR efforts to meet their very high requirements… what kind of marriage is that where all you are doing is serving their needs whilst your hurt is just crushed by their narcisisstic suck hole that demands your undying loyalty to their cheating character…

                No thanks. Leave a Cheater get a Life.

      • Mine too said, he was confused at how this could happen. That he didn’t have an answer. He would just stare at me blankly or cry every now and then. You’re right it is another mindfuck, because let’s face it right when we first found out about the cheating all we wanted to know was why, how could this happen? So then it’s so easy to go into chump mode and look to the cheater for answers. We think if we are nice enough, go to therapy, we can help them understand why they made this decision ( we can fix-them) and their compartments. Since we are mostly normal, functioning, attached human beings we don’t know how someone could cheat on their loving spouse. So we assume the cheater just lost there way, which is total bullshit. I had to learn and ACCEPT that cheating on your spouse is a very deliberate, thought out, decision. I used to be the girl who would be crying to my mom and therapist saying, “but I love him”. Now I say, but I love me! I love myself enough not to be with someone who can compartmentalize, lie, cheat, practice perfect deceit and not feel guilty about any of it. We all deserve better than compartmentalized assholes!!

        • I never saw my ex cry in the 23 years we were married until (post D-Day) when I told him I wanted a divorce. I found out the man was a serial cheater and I believe it had been going on our entire marriage… However, he seemed completely dumbfounded and fell apart emotionally at the news of my wanting out. It was like witnessing a child who learns that Santa is not real. He was crushed that I no longer wanted to be his wife! The level of his dysfunction/disorder/whatever was just too much for me to fathom. For someone to be able to intentionally lie to and deceive his wife for years on end and then NOT understand why she would leave him??!! That’s the epitome of fucked up.

    • Paula! I’m glad I’m not the only one who was fed the endless stream of “I don’t knows!” It was maddening! I realized post D-Day how often I heard that as a reply for the little red flags that I felt from the distance I felt during his affair. I sensed the change of things, but I was in such denial and fear of things being on the path to divorce, that I allowed myself to feel that it was just me. I told myself that all MY issues must be the cause for distance. I actually started going to our previous marriage counselor who we only saw for 2 sessions by myself to try and figure out what was happening and what I could do to save our marriage.

      Knowing that I told him I was going to the marriage counselor again because I was so unhappy and wanted to find out how I can change while he was knee deep in two separate affairs gave such anger and strength to know that this man was not someone I wanted to keep being such a toxic force in my life. I have fears for the future (starting over, co-parenting a happy and healthy child, etc.). The folks on this blog are such an inspiration and great community that I find myself here sometimes at 2am when I can’t sleep.

  • My shrink says the only way I’ve survived my child being born 14 weeks premature, a cheating bastard ex-husband, and a mother that is so crazy she puts Joan Crawford or the mom from Carrie to shame is through compartmentalization.

    This month alone:

    No, I won’t drive home from dinner, I’ve had two drinks… Friend drives me home in my car. Friend introduces car to mailbox. Car totaled.

    My child–the preemie one of course, not the almost full term one–has started writing upside down and backwards. We get to go to the neurologist in two weeks. Turns out, that’s a big problem and not her being silly as I once suspected.

    Got a letter yesterday from the IRS saying that Uncle Dad (the ex) claimed our youngest child on his taxes, even though he’s not supposed to. Sure, I have the paperwork backing me up where he’s in the wrong, but that’s probably not going to stop me from getting audited.

    My child has had the little case of strep that could… it just keeps going and going. So she gets to have her tonsils out on January 11th. It will be her 1st major surgery.

    After years of therapy, 2 years ago my doctor said that my mother has what he thinks is probably the worst case of Borderline Personality Disorder he’s ever seen. After years of therapy trying to learn to set boundaries, I finally just cut ties. (This is the woman who filed to take custody away from me because we got into a typical adult mother-daughter argument). After telling her for 2 years to stay away from me and my children, I find out that she had my ex husband drop the kids off at her house during his visitation this past weekend. He is supposed to have supervised visitation where he cannot take the children from his grandmother’s house.

    So, right now, keeping everything in compartments to deal with at an appropriate time is the only thing keeping me sane right now. I have to be a mom. I have a sick kid. I can stew on what utter assholes my ex and mommie dearest are while I’m at the doctor with my child.

    Plus it’s Christmas. I can either choose to dwell on what an absolute bitch it is to have to buy a new car when mine had 4 more payments or I can make cookies with my girls.

    Compartments can be used to house secret families and hoes in different area codes, but they can also keep all of the crap that gut punches us regular people, doing the right things, living honest lives.

    • Kelli — what you’re doing is just plain mightiness. I’m sure not having a car impinges on all the other shit going on. You’re not neglecting your child because you may have an IRS audit. You’re not failing to document Fuckwit’s latest because you had two drinks. Understand? You are STILL coping, still getting up, still facing this shit every. single. day.

      You aren’t hiding in a “compartment.”

      I’m sorry things suck now. (((Hugs)))

      • Thank you! I never knew that being a grown up sucked so hard! This is why they let us drink. #AdultingIsABitch

        When I asked the grandmother why she allowed Uncle Dad to leave with the kids against the court order, she said she couldn’t tell him no. They are his kids.


        So a court of law gave her the right and responsibility to watch him with the children because he sucks at being a parent that much, yet she couldn’t tell him no?! What if he wanted to give the girls margaritas for lunch? Or let them run relay races with scissors all afternoon? Could she say no then?

        And when I asked if she knew where he was taking the kids, she said she didn’t ask. So he could’ve been taking them anywhere. To buy drugs. Booze. Sell them into a human trafficking ring to pay for drugs and booze. The grandmother wouldn’t know. And he’d do just about anything for cash.

        Why can’t the families of these freak shows tell them no?

        Or, if it’s all an act, and she is just lying to me, why do they lie to cover for these freak shows? Surely she knows that either by lying or by idiocy, the court isn’t going to allow her to supervise anymore. So, really, she only hurt herself. Do the families of the freaks not get this?

        And the way I found out that they were at my mother’s? She put a picture of her with my children as her profile picture of Facebook. Classy!

        • I hear you Kelli…I survived parenting with a cheater with no family support due to narc dad and alcoholic BPD mom. I had to limit her access to the kids because she was a dangerous person (drunk driving, literally found a pile of razorblades on the floor of her house when I visited with a toddler). She told her friends that I forbade her from tending the children and had no idea why. Later she said “if people think that you are accusing your father of being a pedophile, I will never forgive you” my dad is not a pedophile and I never said such a thing.

          You will be stuck doing 98% of parenting…sorry…so hard…but worth it. My kids saw right through grandmas crazy shit…they are adults and have nothing to do with her.

          You are mighty !!

        • I have been ghosting this site for a REALLY long time, And Have read atleast a hundered posts and thousands of comments, BUT, I had to create a Login to tell you that you are the f’ing Bomb!!

          Way to make it happen despite the freakin’ nightmare.

          I’m nothin’ if not impressed.

        • I can’t remember if I read it here or in a book or article, but kids who have one sane and consistent parent will be okay. Continue to be that parent. It may not feel like it, but you are strong and mighty!

          • D20 crunched her car and we considered leaving it as-is, but I decided that we would put in an insurance claim and I would walk her through the whole process as a learning opportunity. I apologized that she only had one parent to teach her stuff and she said

            “no one has 2 good parents, some of her friends are lucky to have one good one, some had no good ones” wow, that was enlightening

          • It’s a quote from Tracy. It’s gotten me through many fearful times worrying about I f my now adult kiddos would be okay through this nightmare. The evidence is slow to appear, but now almost 5 years out from telling cheater-ex I was done, my kids have insight and coping skills that most their age don’t have. Keep being the sane parent…it pays off!!!!

            • Thank you for posting that. I worry about my adult kiddos. Cheater has hurt them both with his lack of remorse and blame shifting. He’s horrible. And hurtful. I will be the sane parent. We are not yet divorced. Eight months in from discovery. The blank stare is what both the kids got.

        • Kelli,
          I am so glad you found CL!
          Do you have any support nearby?
          Good friend, family member or church family?

          I have often wondered – are Battered women/men Shelters available to help victims of this form of abuse?

          Stay strong!

          • Hi Nyra,

            Sorry I am so slow to return. My mornings are my quiet time, and yesterday was so busy.

            I have a great support system. My dad is awesome. We talk pretty much everyday. My stepmom is my attorney. My grandmother keeps my children for me while I work. I’ve been really lucky in that regard.

            Thank you to everyone who commented. Yesterday was a rough day, and even though January will be the 3rd anniversary of when I first separated from the now ex husband, there are still days when I could cheerfully cause him bodily harm. Those days are few and far between, but they still pop up from time to time. They always happen when he does something to hurt my girls either through direct action, like taking the girls to Mommie Dearest’s, or negligence, like not paying his court ordered half of a $1,000 medical procedure, making me pay all of it.

            That’s not to say that I am not Meh, because I think I am. I haven’t spoken to Uncle Dad in person in over a year. His grandmother picks up and drops off the girls. I haven’t even texted him since June. So I hear from the girls that daddy did something or daddy got a new this or that, and that’s nice is all that comes to mind. My opinion is that he is someone else’s problem. And I’m so happy for that.

            I wish all of the new chumps out there a merry Christmas. This is the club no one wants to join but the one whose members are the best people. So very loving and kind. My best advice is to take care of you. The rest works itself out, eventually. But only you can take care of you.

            And always find a way to laugh at the situation. For me, I have to find a way to laugh, even if it’s in a sick Cards Against Humanity kind of way. With all of the karma credit I have saved up, I fantasize about what I might could get away with…


            • Kelli, it’s great to know you have a swell support system. It makes such a huge difference. CN is one of the best support system I have ever come across and I’m trully grateful for everyone’s comments and have learned SO much to take back and apply to my own healing process. I hope someday I can give back as much as well.

              I’m also banking on my Karma Credit and put my wish out there – ‘Hey Universe, there’s got to be someone out there who will appreciate me for who I am. Bring it on!’ 😛

    • Where I live, this is called prioritization. Leaving losers on the bottom of the list is ok in my book. ?

      • And this is how the cheater prioritized chumps as well. At the bottom.

        You are a badass Kelli!

      • Yes! It is taking me a long time to train myself to prioritize me. And to kick STBX off the list altogether. I am getting there, though.

      • Hear, hear Golfgrrl! Kelli you are the perfect illustration that compartmentalisation is a useful ability in the hands of good people. It’s all about the choices we make. That defines our character. Big hug to you, brave Mum.

    • Agree with you on compartments as “storage solutions.” They serve as a means to put aside all the garbage in our lives to focus on the NOW. In the sage words of Scarlett O’Hara, “I’ll think about that tomorrow.”

      Way to be a responsible badass, Kelli!

  • Living most if my life with a serial cheater I believed he couldn’t plan. So I had to do all the planning. Then there were complaints. I believed he was dependent upon me to organize just about everything.

    Isn’t it about delegating responsibilities to the spouse. We are doing all the heavy lifting while they lead a double life. And they have to be sure our paths don’t cross with the multiple women they’ve cheated with over the years.

    So while our energy is drained taking care of everything they use their resources to lead a double life.

    Everything is calculating to avoid this overlap. So leading a double life isn’t so much about compartmentalizing, it’s more about The Narcissis ability to manipulate and use others for their needs. This is where the narrative comes in; where are each person in their life has an assigned role. If it’s not played well by the victim, they are devalued and discarded.

    • Yes… role. Mine was always on about how I did not understand my role. Asshole he is.

  • In my new life I have a special compartment for the cheaters I used to know. It’s called the trash can.

  • What do I think?

    I think I want to send Chump Lady a diamond necklace for so perfectly elocuting the Kunty Kibbler’s fucked up rationale for her own behavior.

    I heard the self-satisfying variation of ‘compartmentalization’ over and over and over again: “I am able to compartmentalize my life – whatever I’m doing has nothing whatsoever to do with the responsibility I have toward this family. I’ve made my decision — I’m staying here. That should be enough to prove to you that I’m committed to this marriage. If you have trouble understanding and accepting that, then maybe you should get some counseling or something and start reflecting on your own issues.”

    (Once I posted as my Facebook status: “When did the word ‘compartmentalize’ become a thing?” and she hit the roof.)

    In typical Chump fashion, I often went away for a while and analyzed those words, trying to see if there was any grain of truth that I could latch onto in order to keep the family intact. Looking back on it now I’m ashamed that I wasn’t instantly able to recognize it as the steaming pile of bullshit that it was.

    I’ll go a bit further than Tracy did and call the lack of depth “The Lunchables Mindset.” With a Tupperware snack box there’s always the possibility that there are good, healthy components intermingling within the container. With a Lunchables pack, it’s just different bits of garbage passing for sustanance, giving immediate gratification but ultimately poisoning the system it’s feeding.

    • You nailed it, UX. I got the same thing from my cheater wife. Not so much that the tendency to compartmentalize was a superpower so much as a medical, quasi-scientific excuse, on par with blood type or a slow metabolism. A doctor’s note for infidelity. And our problem as a couple, in her view, was mainly my refusal to recognize and accept this biological quirk. How very unfair, almost discriminatory if me. I must be f*cked up, indeed. And yes, I was also told I needed counseling for my intolerance and rigidity.

      But I’m not buying it. Cheating always comes down to choice, and in the end cheaters always choose themselves over family.

      My ex and the AP she married? Slimy boloney paired with rubbery orange cheese substitute, to be sure.

      • Nomar — I’ve often wondered if you’re in the Boston area like I am? If so, we need to go out, hoist a few and compare stories.

        • Ux, unfortunately I havent lived in Beantown since before Buckner let one through the wickets, though I try to get up there for a game at Fenway every couple of years. Hoist one for me on opening day!

        • Like that is such a bad thing? “The bourgeoisie were the politically progressive social class who supported the principles of constitutional government and of natural right, against the Law of Privilege and the claims of rule by divine right that the nobles and prelates had autonomously exercised during the feudal order.”

        • My ex seethed at the notion that she might be bourgeois or middle class. It threatened her specialness, I think. Minivans, fidelity, and saving for retirement all set her off. Even though in fact she was a hillbilly grifter and could only aspire to being bourgeois.

          • The ones who scoff at saving for retirement, minivans, fidelity and dabble in spiritual connections and affairs are called bohemian bourgeois in France, or bo-bos…

      • Perfectly said! “But I’m not buying it. Cheating always comes down to choice, and in the end cheaters always choose themselves over family.”

    • UX, my serial cheater husband said exactly the same during our wreckonciliation in the summer. His willingness to keep the family was something I should have been tremendously grateful for, and the chump I was I also latched onto it. Now when he knows divorce is inevitable he still maintains that his cheating was nothing against me. His ability to compartmentalise allowed him to keep things separately. Family compartment no. 1974. He then goes on to explain that he was like this all his life: work, projects, travel, family, sex, love affair, child, interests… He even offered yesterday to give me his honest opinion on my next guy (nonexistent but I guess he is trying to guilt-trip me implying that I also have somebody) because he feels people and can determine if they are fake or not, right or wrong. Brrr…I guess I will have to prepare a compartment for him now…a sarcofagus…in a pyramid.

    • Gaslighting red flag #1…

      You: OW, that hurts! Stop it!

      Asshole: It’s your fault that it hurts. If you were good enough, it wouldn’t hurt you.

      You: You don’t seem to care that it hurts.

      Asshole: You need therapy. Your not-good-enoughness is cramping my style. Go deal with your issues by yourself and if you become good enough maybe I will start treating you better. Maybe.

      • Omg! We sat in marriage counseling and he looked sincerely at the counselor and said I needed therapy because I was so off track from my Catholic values. ( I had stopped ignoring red flags.) When I found burner phone, I threw in the towel.

  • Compartmentalization is Cake.

    “It is an unconscious psychological defense mechanism used to avoid cognitive dissonance, or the mental discomfort and anxiety caused by a person’s having conflicting values, cognitions, emotions, beliefs, etc. within themselves.”

    By doing so, they now could have their schmoopie pie and not feel awful for doing so. Cheaters do this to justify their yummy factor. Cake!

    • Also, its “unconscious” to the cheater because deceit is so well ingrained in their character. This cannot be fixed.

      • SureChumped…yes, I think my lateH was one of the least self-aware people I ever knew. I believe most of his horrible behavior was so unconscious and ingrained that he didnt even realize what he was doing until after he did it. He seemed to see himself as a victim of unseen forces that put him in awful spots.

        Looking back with 20/20 hindsight I think he built carefully tended family/work compartments. He would flip out almost every time there was a work event that he was expected to take me to. So even though I learned of his serial cheating with a very brief comment form a former mentor of his, ALL of the stuff from the past now makes sense in a totally new way.

        • Sure and Unicornomore

          My STBXH uses his ability to compartmentalise as an excuse. He uses it to explain what he has done to himself. He can’t seem to quite ‘get’ why or how he did what he did. By using this as an excuse then yes he can stay a good guy. He didn’t mean to hurt me, he has always loved me, it wasn’t about ‘us’. There was the other place that existed in his brain solely for the affair partners and stuff. Solved!
          It took me ages to unscramble as much of this as I could before I saw it for the bullshit it is.
          I used to actually try to think about it as if it was a real thing. How come when you FaceTimed me and were with them it didn’t breach the compartment? How come when you came home fresh from her bed you didn’t think it had anything to do with me or us? How fucking strong are these ‘compartments’. Hours I wasted thinking about it.
          In the end I just decided he maybe can detach his thoughts, behaviour, ethics, soul from each other but I don’t want to be with someone who can do this.
          But he still likes this explanation to explain him to himself. Definitely the cognitive dissonance thing I think but that’s probably me being naive. It’s just control, power and entitlement. The holy trinity of cheaters.

          • As I posted below, I think the compartmentalization excuse is just that–an excuse. They get off on the deceit, so the affairs can’t really be “separate” from family life. Facetiming your spouse when the AP is nearby is not “compartmentalization;” it’s a mindfuck that arouses the cheater.

          • Cap, my exwife took it a step further. She took her sorry excuse of compartmentalizing and spun it into a blameshift on me. Talk about a mind-fuck.

            i.e., When I was asking her how could she have done this, yet again? Her response was, “Rob, I feel like we are both living 2 lives”.

            I was like NO Effing way did she just say this. But I did say “**”WE”** are not living 2 lives, you are the one living 2 lives!”

            My life only included her and the kids. Her life involved a married man with kids. Her secondary life was me and the kids. That’s 2 lives you twat!

            • Sure
              Sorry! So much of what you say is terrible but also somehow funny at the same time.
              She’s the hockey players head out of the framed photo right??

              Just yesterday he asked why I am returning to work so soon. He is being generous in the divorce. I wasted five minutes of my life saying I needed to feel safe and steady and self sufficient for obvious reasons (read BECAUSE I CAN’T TRUST YOU YOU MORON). He just replied ‘well it seems odd but if you are sure……’
              literally like that with the row of dots. As if I’m overreacting or being a drama queen about the whole ‘misunderstanding’ and affair stuff.

              This is why I tend to take screen shots if his replies and questions or write them down. To keep reminding myself it’s really not me. They are truly inexplicable even to themselves. But why would they want to spend a nanosecond on self reflection when there is so much CAKE out there.

              • Yes it is funny. I laugh when i tell these stories. And yes, she cut her AP hockey photo out of my pic. Twat again! Lol

                Im sure eventually you will find humor in your story also. Thats all thats left!

                Your example above just confirms how he lacks empathy. He will never undetstand that the trust is broken.

          • I am trying to comprehend all the BS and crazy making my spouse does. He can lie and tell me he loves me while he’s saying “I love you sweetie” to another woman. Told him to quite saying it to me because to him it means nothing. It’s just words according to him and he doesn’t really love the OW. He can talk to me on the phone and turn around and call and text her all day long. But then says he doesn’t want a divorce. I’m still trying to understand how cheaters can compartmentalize all this crap and keep it separated between us two. Has to be a special talent – no empathy except for themselves. I feel like I’m the crazy person the way my mind spins. I am definitely a chump – but learning slowly.

            • According to my STBX why does love have to be all or nothing one thing with me? Um because you are my motherfucking HUSBAND and you don’t love your wife in more than just one way. You love her like a wife you fucking douche canoe! I’m your GD WIFE! I don’t GAF about your whore! You don’t LOVE her! You idiot! I hate him so much sometimes. And then I just feel sorry for how fucked up this has gotten. It’s like he has no idea that it’s REAL FUCKING LIFE! I’m not s lifetime movie! I am a HUMAN FUCKING BEING! He says he loves me and cares for me. But he’s IN LOVE with the whoremat. No you aren’t. You FUCKED UP and now you have to SAY you love her because you have no other choice! You know you aren’t trust worthy anymore and you have no choice. You RUINED and threw away your real life for some fucked up idiotic fantasyland bullshit and now you have NO CHOICE but to say you love her. Because if you don’t that is just TOO FUCKED UP for words that you destroyed me, yourself and our life over NOTHING! (I know I wasn’t at meh not EVEN CLOSE but I’d managed to numb myself today and now I’m in tears AGAIN! This is such fucked up bullshit!)

  • My now ex used to say he was able to still love me because he compartmentalized. He didn’t need to shut off his feelings he just didn’t think about it when he was with OW. He went on to say that’s how he “fell in love” with OW by considering her a separate life. He said he does this in all aspects of his life and it has helped him get through tough times & he wishes he “wasn’t built that way”. I guess me and the kids were one of his tough times. ?

    • Katbug….^^same^^.
      I was going to post on this today but you did it for me.
      My ex exactly….I can’t believe I bought that shit.

    • Sounds like X! He created very difficult situations for the family and blamed me for all the stress in his life. I figure I was the stress in his life because I represented the home and family compartment that was struggling because of his choices. I was also the one he was lying to, cheating on and stealing from. I suppose it would be terribly stressful to have to face the victim of your deceit everyday.

  • I think the excuse applies to chumps, as well, or at least it did to me. I put the cheating and many other negative traits of my then-wife in one compartment, and insisted that my “real” wife wasn’t those things. She was just “going through something.” Her whack-a-mole schtick to keep me guessing while she fucked another man actually WAS “vague psychological malady.”

    So, I believed that if she stopped cheating and I somehow “fixed” what was wrong, then that cheating compartment would be closed, and we could “get back” to how we were.

    But you can’t compartmentalize a person. My wife was ALL of these things, including a cheating piece of trash. You don’t get to pick only a spouse’s good traits and ignore the bad, especially when the bad is so destructive.

    • JC, I just replied to UXWorld and was reading further comments when this thought struck me. And you said it already. We do the same somehow. Not to that extent of course. We chumps would have been caught instantly even with our white lies. But we have this amazing ability to deny the existing reality, to attribute the cheaters’ horrendous manipulations, secrecy and lies to their FOO’s or stress or inability to handle routine life’ – anything but seeing them for what they are- this is also a form of compartmentalisation and avoiding that cognitive dissonance. The alternative is pain and pain is not sexy. So they served this to us and we played their game of separation. I know many wives who settled in those compartments willingly and accepted their cheating husbands. The society sees them as wives. They are the mothers. The official partners. Go to family functions together. Keep the face. Live in compartments. Not for me. The cheater is amazed how I can say no to this perfect sparkle he is. He told me the other day I will never be over him and he can get me back whenever he wishes. I guess my 12 years of pretzelizing and an attempt at wreconciliation give him the right to think so..

      • “He told me the other day I will never be over him and he can get me back whenever he wishes.”

        Disordered people believe this. That is why they often Hoover on back to try to reclaim their lost property when they are between better offers. Other versions of their tripe, usually before or at the time their chump has finally had enough include “You’ll never find anyone as good as me again” or “No one will ever want/put up with you.”

        The idea that they can’t run the show anymore doesn’t even occur to them.

        • I agree with you, Survivor. I think that after my STBX left, he wanted nobody to ‘ever want/put up with (Chump)’ while he had sex with every man, woman, prostitute who would allow it. Now he seems mad that I have a stable, loving partner who treats me like royalty every day. I didn’t ask for Karma (by any definition), but I think that I got at least one form of it. STBX tries to make people think that I cheated on STBX with my current partner although I never did (projection much?) STBX has a pretty new (younger) girlfriend who is supposedly quite wealthy. If he is so happy with her and his new life (as he claims), why does he keep harassing me? I suspect that he’s also upset that I respond politely to his new girlfriend instead of playing the pick me dance with her. H–l hath no fury as a narc scorned (or even not worshiped constantly).

          • He keeps harassing you because he thinks he can. These creatures view people like chattel. In his twisted mind you still answer to him and your current partner is poaching on his territory. Bummer.

        • ^^Yes…Another version: “No one will ever love you like I do.”
          All I could think was, *I’ll do my damnedest to make sure of that.*

    • Yes, what you’re describing is apackling. It feels like a survival technique until you stop buying their bullshit (and get off the hopium) and realize you’re just making excuses for them.

      Divorce is the only sane option because your acceptance just enables them. In essence, you are facilitating cake. You have to leave and end their game of triangulation. I told cheater x that one of the three of us had to do the right thing; I guess it’s going to be me.

      • Good call. Giving the disordered a boundary reset is probably like opening Pandora’s Box.

      • I love that! I may borrow it. One of the three of us has to do the right thing!

      • STBX was perplexed when I confronted him about leaving. He was livid and kept saying, “Wow, just like that..”

        In my mind I say, “Well, you discarded me first – just like that. I’m just returning the favor, asshole.”

        I realized that we were all just pawns in his sick game when i found out it wasn’t just a single triangulation – it was multiple triangles and the Schmoopie herself was being triangulated with another ho-worker..

  • “Fragmented” is another way to see them. Like in the Harry Potter series with Lord Voldemort, they break off pieces of themselves to live. Compartmentalize is too nice of a word than the horrific reality.

      • I’m convinced JK Rowling was in an abusive relationship, because the horcruxes just nails it. A bit of internet sleuthing revealed that she was — the father of her daughter. Domestic violence, the whole mess. She gets it.

    • I was thinking of you, DM, because the Jesus cheaters seem to have one of the most easily visible (? maybe not) manifestations of compartmentalization. Way back when I was a teenager, I knew a Jesus cheater, and I was just beginning to wrestle with issues of faith and spirituality. But I didn’t understand how he could be a cheater and still report to church every Sunday morning to usher and to nod his head to the sermons preaching against behaviors he practiced regularly.

      • Ah yes. Fr Sparkles McFrisky, who had an affair with a divorced lady in our parish and who compartmentalised it very nicely, right up until she made a formal complaint to the bishop.

        Fr McFrisky lied to me and everyone else about it, and tried to involve me in the investigation as a sympathetic witness. ‘Why is everyone so upset about this little thing that happened 3 years ago? I’ve been celibate ever since’, etc.

        I got involved in the investigation, all right. But not as a sympathetic witness. Still awaiting the outcome, which may be as late as March next year.

        It was such a kick in the teeth, because he had sold himself to everyone, including me, as super righteous. But don’t they all …

        • Fr Sparckles McFrisky! You just made me spit my coffee, Lola, thank you for the belly laugh!

  • My own sister relies on this little rationalization technique in her efforts to “help” me maintain a friendship with ex that she feels would be a good outcome after 30 years of serious lies … er … compartmentalizing on his part. He falls neatly into her “friendly brother-in-law” compartment, which is fine by me as long as she finds a way to quit asking about him every time we talk.

    I am quite sure that he did indeed compartmentalize as his method of keeping his story straight with each of his targets. Because I am not the only person he was lying to and cheating on … he has never honest and loving with anyone. Ever. It made walking away very simple for him as none of his other relationships suffered any “spillover” effects. They were already neatly separate modules … like at IKEA! Wife on aisle 2. Boyfriend on aisle 6. Tennis ho over in the marketplace. The same “allen wrench” fit them all. Love those Swedish meatballs and lingonberry sauce!!

    • ???

      Exactly this. How else to explain his brilliant organisation at keeping four women on the go in various states of involvement in four different countries. Country compartments maybe??

      Wish he had a ‘finances’ compartment instead of a blind spot. Then we might have been better off now…..

    • Yes Dixie, I lived that too. And someone said earlier how their ex freaked out when he had to bring his wife to a work function. I know it’s a lie and ann excuse…but they absolutely do compartmentalize. His mom and brothers, the Fire Hall, he used to volunteer at Church…a lot, his job, thE boys and me, the people he rode bikes with, golf league. Sunday was Church, and a Men’s hockey league, Monday was Fire Dept, Tues was Bicycling, Wed was Golf, Thurs was Red Cross, …I used to joke that he didn’t have time to cheat. Then I saw his e-mails and texts. The only people I know are the Fire Dept families, b/c it looks good to have a wife, to be a Service Member. And then there were the gay friends. How the hell did I raise two great kids with all this shit going on? I was too busy, and fulfilled by my kids to care. And so I guess I “compartmentalized”/lied (to) myself.

  • Huh…I was told, ‘We put all of you in boxes and shut the lid till we want you…some of you are just harder to put the lid on.’

    …just wow…

    • So chumps are just jack-in-the-boxes who keep popping up? At least Satan was honest in his objectification of people. Sheesh.

      • Most wonderful Tempest 🙂

        That statement was made to me by the tandem riding playboy…along with another little gem, quite telling I’d say, it was – ‘You are all the same really, it does help if you have a nice smile though.’ …huh…just wow. Move away baby man, please.

        …all satan ever did was meow…amplified with breaking my bones…rage on asshole, over there, with someone else!

        I am soooo happy to be free, living my peaceful little unassuming life with Beau the Monster Killer and our warm little gas fired fireplace in our happy little house in the beautiful nature filled country side 🙂

        • Oh, JeepTess, however could you have let that asshat go? I assume you got the lid to your box in the divorce, as life sounds much better now.

          • Survivor 🙂

            I got the drop on the asshat yes :0) Stopped that shit before it got very far.

            I did get the lid to my box from satan 🙂 and the house! Hehehehe! Sold that baby and moved away from his hellish presence. Life is good, very peaceful now. No toxic gas bags hangin round wantin attention.

            I wish this for all chumps! No one deserves to waste their lives on the these disordered entitled idiots. There outta be a law! Treating someone like this should be a criminal offense! SMH…all they really need to do is tell the truth and step away, destroying loved ones should be punishable by law.

            • Good Job, JeepTess. You are mighty! I wanted the house badly, but in the end opted for the blessing of distance and peace. It’s amazing how quickly life gets better once the shitstain is finally out of the picture.

              • Thank you Survivor! You are mighty too!!!

                Yes! Distance and no contact are paramount in healing! Not breathing their air no doubt helps too! Toxic gas.

                I will have been divorced 1 year this February 4th!!!! YA for me! That helps a lot too, just knowing where you stand financially is huge. I know we all struggle with financial worries along with the simply scared to step out of our marriages. When they are no longer safe though, we gotta go! No other choice.

        • JeepTess, that was a chilling statement. I immediately thought of coffins for boxes. He is so cold and evil.

          • kiwichump, he truly is. Thank goodness Beau and I are outta there! Poof! Gone!

            He knows where I am, he showed up here the day the transfer was in the paper (couldn’t stop it, damn it, matter of public record) but he stayed in his vehicle out on the road. He knows I will call the police. He was arrested for DV. He was aquitted because I didn’t appear…but, he got the message! Mess with me and I will call! Evil, disordered, lying, cheating, abusing coward! Caught me in my driveway unfortunately. Sat out there blowing kisses at me!

            But! We are free of him for the rest of our days! 🙂

  • I believe that compartmentalism and intellectualization are incestuous siblings. Really the same. Yes, for Kelli a healthy response to deal with the day to day shit. For my ex, who fancies himself as the most brilliant man in the world, compartmentalism was his ‘socially appropriate’ crutch that allowed him to continuously abuse me financially, emotionally and every now and then get a physical jab in. I think the phrase ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you’ illustrates compartmentalism very well…a red flag. Any way, I’m not wired that way, my compartments bleed into one another and I like myself much better this way!

    • So true, Out West. Compartmentalization and intellectualizing are both desperate attempts to control and justify out-of-control, unjustifiable behavior, and to deny that there are any consequences to that behavior. “Why are you acting all hurt? I KONW this doesn’t affect you because, look, the ice cream isn’t even touching the cake! Besides, this very fancy dish (ME!) is supposed to be served a la mode! Your tastes clearly aren’t refined enough to know that. That’s why I never told you about the side dish. Cake, cake, cake, every way you slice it!”

  • Cheaters seem to thrive on ‘labelling’: they (1) get a satisfying, sophisticated label to describe disordered behavior (in this case, ‘compartmentalization’), then (2) spend a lot of time repeating and defending the label. This is a ‘war’ tactic: getting the enemy to fight at place that gives no real advantage.

    This behaviour throws chumps off the trail of nailing cheaters where it counts: calling out irresponsibility, lying, et cetera.

    • Yes, this whole topic falls under figuring out the skein. Chumps feel like they need to know why. They need an explanation. I get it. But really, what possible reason makes sense? Honest people of character have integrity and don’t cheat.

  • Totally agree with your assessments, Tracy. Compartmentalization is just another word for detachment or avoidance. Most of us chumps have learned it as a survival skill – one mountain at a time, right.

    But just as it can be used for good, it can be used for evil – deceit, self-indulgence,gratification, pursuit of cake.

    Funny, cheaters love to use compartmentalization as an excuse & why it ‘meant nothing’. But try turning the tables on them & see how well that flies. It only ‘means nothing’ when THEY do it.

  • I heard…”I never thought of her when I was (intimately) with you!” I said “and I am sure you didn’t think of me when you were (intimately) with her.” Him “no I didn’t ….”
    As if it were a good thing to compartmentalize!!

    I reasonate soooo much with the analyzing and trying to see if there is a way to keep him, to keep the family together.
    I dealt with a 10 month ‘affair’ and then a 3 1/2 year wreckonciliation. Then it came
    Out that he was working with her again, but never spoke to her and avoided her, hated her, because of what he had done a couple years prior, he had confessed that during wreckonciliation he had another physical encounter with her (but not sex!!) and then lied to me about all of it for the next couple years!

    And sadly, the trust is gone. The unfaithfulness burned this relationship down. The compartmentalization is not something that can be sustained even in ones own mind…and of course it’s living a lie.

    I remember saying, ‘you may compartmentalize , and not think of me at all when you were with her, but I am just as real, just as faithful to you, here with the kids and our home, while you just choose to block me out!’

    It’s such a lie, compartmentalizing. Like not thinking of the damage a drug is doing when taking it..just only take it for the damaging high… only ignoring reality.

    • Cake! I agree with it being a lie. Your family does not get the best of you or even all of you when you are giving yourself away to others.

  • I don’t think it’s an either/or. I think the ability to be a serial cheat means you lack empathy and integration AND I think the compartmentalization that makes it possible is bullshit.

    Deceit is cruel and calculated. Any person who cares deeply for you would not be able to do it to you.

    The ability to concentrate on one thing at a time while living a functional life that isn’t harmful to others isn’t compartmentalizing in my mind. That’s just focus. You aren’t deciding other things aren’t true anymore. Your ethics and personality don’t change while you focus. You don’t have to lie to get away with focusing. You’re just setting other things aside while you deal with this thing.

    Compartmentalizing is disordered because each compartment is so separate from the other that things go terribly wrong if two compartments are open at the same time. It would be like carrying compounds that will explode if they touch in a box inside two glass jars and hoping you don’t trip.

    • Deceit is cruel and calculated.

      See also: Insidious, Evil.

      I got the “compartmentalizing” excuse too; it’s just pure bullshit. The reddit/adultery sites instruct specifically on techniques for keeping the affairs going as long as possible before getting caught. They pride themselves on how smart their lies are and how stupid their wives/husbands are for believing their lies.

      We (her family) would be out at dinner together and she’d ignore us to spend the evening on her phone giggling with her boyfriend (who was in-turn ignoring his family). I’d politely ask her to put the phone away and she’d get pissy with me. It wasn’t compartmentalizing, it was purposefully being rude. It was an excuse to punish me for being “mean” to her while putting her piece-of-shit-asshole-boyfriend on a pedestal.


  • If compartmentalization involves keeping things in separate boxes, then lies and gaslighting are the packing tape. That’s how you keep the chump seeing what’s in the other boxes.

    Like most others, I think compartmentalization is solely a defense mechanism to keep the cheater from thinking too long or hard about what they are doing. It’s a way to avoid guilt. Somewhere in their mind, they know what they’re doing is wrong (otherwise, why hide an affair). “Compartmentalizing” just helps them to not think about their spouses and families while they’re off screwing around.

  • I think compartmentalizing goes hand in hand with “You aren’t the boss of me.” It’s a way of saying that the people doing the compartmentalizing have the right to have a separate, and secret, life away from the partner.

    • This!!!! If I dared to complain about his drinking, gambling, or his choosing to spend his time elsewhere, STBX gave me the distinct impression that he was going to prove that I was not the boss of him. He then just stopped telling me what he doing and I was the one who was the bad person for even getting upset with him.

      • SoundsVERY familiar!
        Did you get accused of nagging, too? Like, for showing that you care about your partner’s well-being and health?
        Now that I’m in a healthier relationship, I realize how sick that was! My new man is impressed that I care, and even thanks me. So much better.

      • Yes! And mine even said “if you keep telling me not to, well, that will just make me do it more”. I was flabbergasted! I mean, what? Are you four years old?

  • My cheater said he felt like he was stuck in a video game. Said he could see himself doing nasty wrong things but didn’t think it was him doing those things. Like it was another game player he was watching??? I was like really -Wtf does that mean?

    No It was you -asshole. Nobody else – just you lying, deceiving, gas lighting me to the point that I thought I was the crazy one. Then when i couldnt be fooled by his lies anymore he went behind my back and told everyone I was very jealous and he had to walk on eggshells or I would leave him. Poor sad sausage. He failed to tell everyone that he was cheating on me. He conveniently left that little nugget of truth out.

    For years I saw him compartmentalize his life. Family, friends, work, projects but I didn’t know cheating and gaslighting his wife was in a compartment also. I thought I was special.

    Nope – cake is special though. Now he’s trying to buy his teenagers love and keep all the flying monkeys on board. And he can compartmentalize all the people he’s lied to – karma’s a bitch and I’m so happy to be away from his crazy circus. I bet he’s loving that new video game!

    • My STBX has said he can’t believe it was him that did it and that he’s not even sure what’s real anymore and that when he said the words outloudbhe couldn’t believe it was him that was saying it and that it all sounded like something off of Jerry Springer. Well yeah! It does! And it all turned you into a bad person and a lying piece of shit! You have to live with yourself now! Hopefully it was the best sex ever and she is he greatest person you’ve ever met because you sold your fucking soul to be with her. He can’t even stomach himself anymore.

  • Today’s post and yesterdays are right on the money for me at the moment.

    It is Christmas and the anniversary of when my hell began, this week during a conversation with a dear friend who is forced to have connection with cheater as she is married to the family, we discussed this concept of compartmentalisation as an ability to cheat and then pretend that it never happened. Cheater even used it as an outright excuse when asked how he had cheated for 8 years with multiple partners and still maintained a marriage, his involvement at church etc. His response was not to address me directly but to reference how he had explained it to the elder at church. “I told (insert name of idiot here) that I compartmentalised it”. That was it, that was the extent of the justification for keeping this homosexual affairs hidden for 8 years and denying to my face being with someone else on many occasions.

    So what does compartmentalisation now look like for cheater? It looks like a man with a duel personality.
    For cheater, the gay man who cheated and the upright Christian he professes to be, do not mix. So they run parrallel, as the Christian he will not acknowledge that he is gay, homosexual or bi, these are things he cannot say, because to say them with his mouth is to confess it with his heart, for him to be gay means he cannot be Christian and because that is the mask he has spent a lifetime perfecting he cannot allow it to be replaced by something that will require starting from scratch. So they are two halves of the whole that he does his best not to allow to touch, but they do cross over. As a result, he has two personas,
    He has one personality for church and the people he is trying to impress, he is the nice guy the loving father and husband, he loves everyone and is so sweet he could give you a cavity just by sitting next to him. It’s all about the show, looking the part, for most cheaters, it’s about looking like the good guy, the Disney dad. For my cheater, it is also about looking straight. The second personality is for those who he perceives as being less than him or if they are on the out because they have openly challenged his bullshit, they get the nasty, entitled, shmuck who acts like a baby and throws silent little hissy fits when he can’t have his own way. Because he cannot win them over he does not care how he treats them and often sets it up so those who are seeing mr nice guy, are left thinking that poor cheater is hard done by and mistreated because all these nasty people are being so horrible to him. As an example the cheater I know now is the person that members of his family have always known and this had caused a rift between them. I didn’t know this when I began my relationship him. He sucked me into thinking he was the good guy and that for some unknown reason they just didn’t like him and this made him feel bad. So little miss fix it to the rescue I set about inviting these people over for meals to bridge the gap and eventually they were avoidant enough that I gave up. But because of my attempts, the feeling I took on was that they did not like me and when I spoke of this to cheater he alluded to it being my fault, l lived for almost two decades thinking these people did not like me. Now I know that they do not like him, his behaviour, his ambiguity, his manipulation and control, it had nothing to do with me. But I had owned the lack in his character to be able to relate to these people, his own family.
    OMG,OMG,OMG,OMG, typing this it has just struck me.
    They think they compartmentalise but they do not, they project it onto others to deal with, their unspoken emotion and anger, and guilt, it is all the stuff we chumps who have been sent crazy, are trying to process without success because we can’t, it isn’t ours. It almost seeps out of their pores. It’s the mood we just can’t pick, the gaslighting, the walking on eggshells, its the desperate need for clarity in the midst of confusion when with them. It’s the constant drama, and the inability to hold down a job. That’s why he is an asshole to all those who challenge him, he cannot control how they see or feel about him, this disengages the mask he uses to prevent people from seeing the real him. Once that mask moves all that nasty emotional yuk comes spilling out like the junk from a kids closet after they are asked to clean their room.

    oh my, Light Bulb Moment.

    • I agree. My STBX tends to spew the worst when something out of his control happens or he is exposed or feels he is wronged. I used to be the target of his spewing, but now I do.not.engage in that shit anymore.

      • GMF. I hear you! I was the one that got the spewing…..I allowed that for a short time, then shut that crap right down. He is a toddler wearing men’s clothing.

  • One other thing.
    It is those who work in jobs that require great mental stamina, who can come home putting work aside so they can fully engage with their families and friend on all levels. Who truly do compartmentalise.

  • Hey, we all compartmentalize! But all of our littles boxes have windows and doors to each other. I like to keep my work separate from my home life. My kids’ activities are not part of my mindset for my patients. I don’t share confidential information about my clients to my children nor will I broadcast my kids’ home address and personal stuff to all and sundry. My colleagues know I have a family. My kids know where I work and how to contact me.

    Sometimes like Kelli I set up separate mindsets to deal with stress from one part of my life to be able to carry on sanely. An example would be dealing with my x’s alcoholism without bringing all the sordid details to my workplace. Although in retrospect asking for help from employee assistance programs would have been a godsend.

    Like a normal feeling caring being I do not drain finances, affection and time away from my family by deceit. Decent human beings can have “separate” lives but those activities are not hidden.

    • I also think it’s about not having a life that contradicts itself. If I am a school teacher on weekdays, but a pedophile on the weekends and I get caught and try to insist that I did nothing wrong because I’ve only been an upright school teacher =mindf*ck. You never have one set of standards for one area and then another set for a different area. That argument is so screwed up (hence the “skein” if you will) that it’s just best to walk away.

      • “You never have one set of standards for one area and then another set for a different area.” Exactly, Kay. As someone earlier commented, for us there are windows in our boxes/compartments.
        We may need to focus on something specific, but there’s a little thing called integrity that flows freely through all of our boxes in a uniform manner.

        • Whoops! That “someone” is right above us: WJAC (Had left my computer for a while and didn’t realize I was on the same thread.)

    • Was just another chump

      I agree that we all compartmentalise to some extent but the big difference for me is that I KNOW I’M DOING IT!!
      I often think ‘I’ve had a rough day with clients, must be sure to mentally turn that page before I get home so I don’t inflict all that tension on the kids’. Then I decide how best to bleed off some of my stress by exercising, talking with a colleague, taking a quick walk with music or whatever.

      I have different relationships with many people and manage to keep them all straight but am aware when conflicts arise and can think about how to handle it.

      In contrast my cheater speaks as if his two worlds were COMPLETELY separate. How he was with each of his three affair partners and with me was a totally walled of separate universe.

      He also speaks of it as if this was for our benefit.

      It is as if he had multiple personalities that were entirely under their own control (or they were all controlled by his sneaky penis that was like the master puppeteer). Nothing to do with him.

      • LOL the sneaky penis puppeteer!
        I think Chumps like to do good, help people, and show love. The sneaky cheaters are on a life-long kibble hunt. If spouse gets hurt? Mere collateral damage, too bad for them. Must look for more kibbles….

    • I think you are spot on. We all do compartmentalize portions of our lives. However none of us employ ‘situational ethics’ in each of those compartments. We mean what we say and we do what we say. The ethically challenged cheaters CHANGE their so-called ethics to each compartment resulting in entitlement and all the other crap they project onto those around them because they can never BE wrong or DO bad things. Trust.that.they.suck.

    • I think there is a distinction between boundaries (which are normal and appropriate) and this type of compartmentalization we have been discussing. I initiated the lining-up-ducks phase of my divorce like… 14 weeks after I started a new job. My coworkers were nice, but I didn’t know them well so I didn’t really tell anyone what was going on until I had to or it came up in such a way that it could be simple stated as a fact. I don’t feel like this is compartmentalization as much as a very appropriate boundary. These people didn’t really know me and it seemed inappropriate to mention something so personal when we were all in the getting to know you phase. I also have appropriate boundaries at home. If I come across a famous name in my work, I do not tell my friends about this. This of course appropriate from a legal perspective (HIPPA etc), but from a professional perspective. These are normal appropriate boundaries that we have in our lives simply because they are normal and healthy. I know when it is time to leave work behind, I know the difference between a close personal relationship and casual acquaintance and treat the relationships differently. I don’t tell my mother about my sex life, I don’t tell my roommate about my family’s financial situation. Different relationships, different boundaries.

      The compartmentalization these Assholes do is not normal boundaries. It’s creating an existence so that they don’t have to face up to their horrible behavior. It’s justifying horrible behavior as something that “just happened” or is necessary because they “don’t want to hurt you.” It enables them to think that they are not really hurting anyone since in their fucked up minds the things they do here (with AP) have nothing to do with home life. But of course it does, they just choose not believe that… ’cause they are crazy.

      sighhh… I start so many of my stories with “Ok, so long story short, my exH is crazy, so this story makes no sense, but anyway…”

  • I was talking to my cousin about this the other day – she has been a marriage and couples therapist for over 30 years, and she is convinced compartmentalization as a way to “normalize” vastly opposing bits of reality is a real cognitive phenomenon, and one men are able to do better than women. Whether or not this is part of some internal wiring with a genetic predisposition is interesting to consider. I once saw a lecture on why men and women think, or at least seem to think, differently, and one explanation was that for centuries men in battle had to learn to compartmentalize their thoughts and feelings in order to survive war. You can’t feel your feelings, question your actions, and harden yourself at the same time. So the men who learned to stuff all that away in some part of their brain survived better than those who didn’t, and it become deeply internalized, and then unconscious. The war survivors were these “tougher” ones who came back to their villages to reproduce the next generation. Is it possible these tendencies became part of the male hard-wiring over time? Don’t know if this has any validity, but I thought it was interesting. Not that any of this is an excuse for cheating or some kind of sick,smug justification that cheaters trot out – definitely not! But I think the ability to compartmentalize is real and an absolutely necessary tool of the cheater playbook.

    • So when you get told …’I do everything for you guys ‘ with a bitter look on his face …and I’m thinking yes and your point is ?? I now realise that’s where the bitterness and justification kicks in that he was not ‘on the same team ‘ like life is hard when you chose private school for 3 kids and insisted no downsizing for housing …fast forward to end of schooling TO THE DAY… And ‘ kids love you but I’m out ….” He did his bit apparently ….just forgot to tell chump. Talk about compartmentalize…. His best explaination was ‘I thought u were a mind reader’ . by the way… About the mortgage …you all have to find somewhere else to live …. Cheers dad

  • The words I heard frequently were “I just need this for me.” It meant that the lid to my compartment was being slammed shut so she could go out with friends, go out alone, meet up with the other guy, etc. Basically remove me completely from her social life. I always wondered why we couldn’t do things as a couple. The posts from these last two days explain a lot of her behavior.

    • Anyone who puts “I” “need” and “me” together in a six word sentence and can’t even define “this” is not worth your time. I’m sorry IDD, that woman is in a relationship of one.

  • I spent a lot of time trying to understand my cheater narc while we were together, and quite a bit after I kicked him out, too. Recently I’ve reached the conclusion that all these things may be true; his low capacity for empathy is probably a combo of genetics and a hugely fucked-up upbringing, his lack of emotional intelligence is impressive, his ability to shut out things he doesn’t want to think about (kids, what kids? Oh, THOSE kids! They’ll be fine.) is highly developed, he hasn’t even developed object permanence, etc etc.

    But the most important realization was FINALLY FINALLY understanding that this is WHO HE IS. It’s not a problematic way of coping in a fundamentally good person. He isn’t the asshole with a heart of gold. He isn’t clueless but well-intentioned. These aren’t problems he isn’t aware of, that will change once he ‘gets’ it …. This is WHO HE IS.

    And because he takes zero responsibility for any of it, every consequence is someone else’s fault, he WILL NEVER CHANGE.

    I actually feel sorry for him, some of the time, now. He’s scrambled back onto his feet in other ways after a few rough years, but his kids can’t stand to spend any significant amount of time with him, and I know that hurts him.

    But the reality is, we can’t have people like this in our lives. We can’t be married to them, we can’t let them be our real parents or friends, we can’t work for them. I don’t hate my ex, and I’m not angry at him anymore (except sometimes when I see how it hurts my kids not to have a caring father), but I now, finally, understand who he IS, and that I can’t have people like that in my life.

    • Hardest thing to let go was projecting values onto my STBX. Accepting WHO HE IS means giving up hope that he will ever be responsible or caring enough to put those he claimed to love first in his life.

        • KarenE, I so much want to say this myself. My mind gets it. My heart still hopes that if he gets the insight he’ll change. But he is WHO HE IS.

      • Exactly…its The cognitive dissonance that keeps you in the thought process ‘ I can’t believe he did that … X’ because it does not aligh with your own morals or judgements . as long as your lives were going in the same direction there is no conflict . now there is a ‘dissonance ‘ it takes all your brain power to put the pieces together . and even though they are telling you all that , their actions tell you otherwise . if they compartmentalize what’s in it for them is . ‘get out of paying the mortgage…..’ But you lot have to find somewhere else to live is a logical way to process what’s normal for them . so yes a six year old who is trying to prove ‘your not the boss of me’ pretty much sums up who your dealing with .

    • KarenE
      Your posts are always so brilliant. I am coming to the same conclusion about my cheater. It’s beginning to seem sad. I found myself yesterday sort of idly hoping he would find someone else so that I didn’t have to think about him anymore. On some level I still feel responsible for him – all those years of keeping him, the home and family ship afloat. But really he showed me he was quite capable of taking care of his needs thank you very much without any input from me.
      It felt an odd thought. So many here struggle with the OW and here am I hoping someone will come in and take him over possibly because I think he might then wander off and not bother with us much anymore. I’m not sure what to feel about these thoughts.

      • Thanks, Capricorn. And btw, your wish for your ex is spot on; Schmoopie dumped my ex (for another man, of course), and he turned the spotlight back on the kids and I. Not easy, and not fun! And I feel sad for him, but sad they way I would for an unhappy minotaur. You can feel sorry for their unhappiness, but you can’t have one living in your house!

        So when he got back together with Schmoops, I knew it right away; his attention shifted away again. Then she dumped him again (again for …) but he went on Match and had a new ‘serious girlfriend’ in a WEEK, so that is good! I hope she makes him very very very happy, it keeps him from bothering us too much,

        • KarenE,
          I had to laugh at your ‘object permanence’ comment. I wonder if your ex would get it.
          I get the idea of feeling sorry for cheater/abuser once in a while but not being able to keep him/her in the house. Once in a very long while, for a second, I feel sorry for my abuser as I think that being him is probably a constant nightmare–kind of like a life-long case of severe psiriasis or migraines or heartburn.

  • Even though I find compartmentalization very much an excuse thrown at chumps, {*&(*&^%&E*%$@#!!!} you may be doing yourself a disservice to reject this the concept entirely.

    Do good people do bad things? No one wants to believe they are bad. So we string together elaborate set of if/then statements and basically wind up excusing pretty much about anything we want to do. Does this make it ok or acceptable? No at all. This is why your personal boundaries need to be guarded with such care.

    Very good people can do atrocious things, you just need to make sure you’re not the one suffering the consequences of these poor choices over and again. Accepting this duplicity sure beats trying to reprogram every positive memory you have of a cheater. Look for actions, decide if those actions are acceptable for you. Move out of the way of the train wreck, step off the rails, chumps, when you see it coming.

    • I think if you do atrocious things, you can no longer be a “very good” person. And if you were a “good person” and did something atrocious, then you stop the harmful action, try to rectify the situation and show remorse.

      Ergo, 99% of cheaters are not and were not “very good” people, IMHO.

      • Agree. I know longer hold out hope that STBX is a good person who has just messed up. You are spot on that if they were, then they would show remorse and do everything to ensure that they changed behavior to keep from causing further harm.

    • And speaking of the train wreck, this was one of my big, huge problems in the marriage. I am careful, I plan for the future, I love feeling secure.
      No matter what I did, for over thirty years, he would cause the train wrecks. I could never relax! All kinds of things, from OW (plural), to massive overspending.
      What is the point of marriage to these people? It makes life harder! I need someone who lives values similar to mine, not just mouths them, and does the opposite behind my back!

    • Magneto, I don’t think good people do big bad things, and I don’t think good people consistently do small and medium sized bad things. I know circumstances have a big impact on the choices we make, for good and ill (as Zimbardo documents so well), but I have to say, once I was over about age 23, there is nothing in my life that I am ashamed of doing, or that, most importantly, I wouldn’t want everybody I know knowing about. And even when I was younger than that, immature and not that smart about a lot of things, there was very little that I did that I would go back and change if I could.

      My biggest indicator that my ex is an asshole and not a good person is that the consequences of his decisions fall consistently much more heavily on OTHER PEOPLE, especially those who loved him sincerely. That is the quintessence of bad, for me.

  • I don’t understand any of it at all. I can now look back and see it, label his behavior, his ability to “compartmentalize” or disconnect–his indifference, lack of empathy, cruelty, rage, control, lies. I can separate myself more and more from his intentional willingness to do harm to the people he purported to love. Now that I am on the outside looking at his behavior, which I only see sparingly through emails and small interactions through shared custody of our handicapped son, it seems like he is playing a game of “Whack-o-Mole” with the constant consequences of his behavior. Lawyers, OW, shared, parent time, alimony, his family members, work, my boundaries, all of which he was not “planning on”. Bummer…..

  • “My love for her is separate from my love for you” …”I need to have both of you in my life”… “You need to let me be with her so I can decide who I love more”… “I’ve been googling polyamory and monogamish. There are ways to make these things work”… “Our soul contract is over”… He had only just met her!
    These are all from emails from the stupidest man in the world. When I showed them to my divorce attorney, he looked like he had just hacked up a cat turd.
    After a handful of weeks, my compartmentalizer hub decided SHE was worth throwing away 25 years of a pretty wonderful marriage. It’s been a year since I melted on the floor on Dday, a year of tears, is how I describe it. He really never saw her again as she lives 3000 miles away – and I filed for divorce, which he’s stalling in many ways, now by hopping on a boat to CHINA. Anything to run. Regrets? I think he’s feeling that, but he’s so messed up. I will never forget the betrayals, the deceit, the song he wrote for her, the burner phone I found-the dead look in his eyes, and the delusion that this 4 times married sociopath who breaks up marriages as sport is his SOULMATE. I have a great therapist, great friends, and an attny who can deal with a high conflict narcissist. All is good in my world. Including the joys of a 9 month old grandson. If these spouses only knew their selfish actions have so much far reaching pain, would they rethink that line they crossed? I bet not. More compartmentalization. I’ve been 100% no contact since Sept 19. He’s emailed/texted/called/even come over and I’ve not succumbed, not one time. Now he’s on that slow boat to China and has FINALLY sent the first real apology acknowledging my pain. Do I trust his motivation? NOPE. Not at all. I think he realizes that I might have a little secret about him he really doesn’t want exposed. And I do. Hopefully, it will help in divorce negotiations. Thank you to Chumplady, thank you to you guys and your comments. You have no idea how you’ve given me strength in my darkest moments. On to 2017!

    • Our stbx’s wrote almost word for word the same thing. He wouldn’t do any reading on the effects of cheating because they always “bash the cheater” , but, boy, he read everything he could about polyamory and decided that was for him! Problem was, he already had the girlfriend and only confessed when she had to bring him home and our kids were already home from school. So, polyamory, nope…lying, cheating asshole, you betcha!

      How he “needed” her in his life. How she was helping him save our marriage. How he could love the 2 of us because he could compartmentalize. Oh, yeah, and how evolved he was and how provincial and backwards I was for not buying into polyamory. God, every time they open their mouths it just more elaborate bullshit.

      No empathy for me and the kids, but we needed to “be there and be supportive of him- cause (boo fucking woo) he was HURTING! No contact and CL/CN has saved me.

  • The cake slices DO touch; compartmentalization is bullshit (no matter what the cheater claims). And here’s how we all know: DEVALUATION. Once they embark on their affairs, we suffer the consequences–not only with less time, less help around the house/with children, less affection, less conversation, but also with the mental comparison with the **new,** !!sparkly!! AP who has No Flaws compared to the well-worn spouse who sometimes forgets to pick up his/her shoes or who leaves the cereal box on the counter after breakfast.

    We’ve all felt the devaluation, the irritation that the cheater is not with Schmoopie at the present moment, and so takes it out on his/her family. In fact, thinking back on the periods of most horrible treatment in the marriage is what allowed me to tell my PI when to search for evidence of affairs.

    Sometimes the comparison with Schmoopie is favorable (once after sex, mine creepily said, “You have a really fit body for someone your age.” It made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end because my gut knew it stemmed from some comparison, but D-day hadn’t hit so I didn’t know the comparison was based on treachery.) But most of the time the comparison is unfavorable, and hence the devalue. We are not as __________ as the AP–fill in the blank: as young as, as adoring as, as sexually adventurous as, as rich as, as big-chested as, …… And they deserve to have as ________ as.

    Furthermore, some of these cheaters make a real effort to introduce their affair partners into family life, sometimes in really sick ways, like asking the honest spouse to befriend the AP because “they need help.” The cake slices touch; they are not compartmentalized. When cheaters say things like that, it’s just more post-hoc justification to explain how they could injure the people closest to them.

    • Yup. Happened to me A LOT. Really a sick mindset to do that to your spouse and then watch the interaction. I never suspected the fuckbuddies because he was so well compartmentalize aka deceitful motherfucker. The fuckbuddies could never look me in the eyes when we were engaging in a conversation. I thought it was weird, but didn’t waste time analyzing it because I had NO IDEA I was being punked for decades!

      It’s a d’oh! moment for the chumps when the pieces fall into place like a Tetris game. Dang! These compartmentalize cheaters are sick fuckers.

    • Tempest.

      This is absolutely spot on. They claim otherwise but as you say ‘the cake slices DO touch’ and in many cases the cheater Makes Them Touch.

      I think we all know it too. We are all talking about normal life and keeping each area a bit separated work, family, acquaintances, deep friendships but we have an overarching ethical sense and a sense of honesty, loyalty and fair play.

      If you are having an affair you know it is wrong and you know you are coming up with reasons to justify what you are doing. Every time you look your spouse in the eye you still know all of it. It is another choice not to ‘know’. To keep the secret. And then some cheaters (very few) crack. They confess. They cannot keep it up. But most carry on for years. I think it must get easier and easier.
      The very first time they cross over that line that everybody knows is there is the only difficult part. That first time. Once they are over they have shown us who they truly are. Keeping up a double life requires so much more than a compartment. It involves a lack of integrity, honesty and compassion.

    • “The cake slices DO touch; compartmentalization is bullshit (no matter what the cheater claims). And here’s how we all know”

      Having the cake slices touch adds to the excitement for the cheaters. There is not one ounce of ‘unconsciousness’ at is subtle when WE are unaware. A condom on top of the trash outside, bringing the OW to the hospital to see your newborn child, explaining away crabs, and glancing down a road with a smirk as you drive by. It’s all about taking pride in the con; devaluing gives them a rush. It’s controlled and purposefull. It becomes blatent and cruel when attention shifts from their needs to our own. Look what I can do to make you dance comes after years of enjoying every moment they got away with living as an imposter.

  • This compartmentalization is how they manage the wrong they do to us. It’s why my cheater ex never wanted to discuss what he did to me, he couldn’t keep it in its own box if he actually had to talk about. I would literally catch him doing something one day, wish to discuss it the next and was screamed at “why are you always dragging the past around Beachgirl? What is your problem, you really are mental!”. What a convenient way they live, do horrible things, put them away in the appropriate box and then accuse whoever dare cross the two worlds and label US as crazy. This also means they don’t have to acknowledge they aren’t nice people that just happened to do horrible things, it would mean having to acknowledge that they are monsters, plain and simple.

    • Nailed it, Beach Girl. They are insidious soul-suckers who occasionally manage to mirror niceness, not the other way around. It’s part of the traitor-tango. They have to be nice periodically to keep their chump tottering and off balance and hoping that the good side might prevail. The public mask is so friendly and alluring, no one would ever guess that behind it there’s a snake coiled to strike at home.

    • Beachgirl, same here. We are mental, confused, have to deal with our own issues, inconfident, insecure, jelous, unable to let the past go even though it repeats in cycles with added frequency and speed….so now we are are past DDays and wreckonciliation and politely and coldly discussing divorce terms. Meanwhile, when he slips and falls into the offensive, I can now better control myself and instead of becoming defensive and reactive and trying yet again to convince him that I DID love him and I did not want to control him , etc. I now label him the same way he always did to me.
      “I did not mean to hurt you. I just had separated you from the affairs to keep your respect. I do this separation with everything in my life: jobs, friends, projects, family members,etc.” I add, “and women that you fuck behind my back. This is called compartmentalization in cheatersspeak.”

      “You should examine your own issues. You were always controlling, jelous, insecure. Try to understand yourself why you keep attracting people like me. Because deep down you are a masochist and you need this kind of life experience. Maybe you should accept it and allow the sadist me give you pleasure by fucking other women in front of you!” – Mindfuckery.

      After he said all the right things during a 2-month wreconciliation, then was “I never said that our chemistry was back and sex was good. I never cried. I did not promise to stop cheating. Plus, it’s not about sex! It’s about discovering different personalities through sex or not necessarily. I am an open person. Unlike you, a dogmatic black and white limited in thinking petty creature.” – More mindfuckery and gaslighting.

      “I never loved you. You could never spark me. I felt bored with you. We never clicked. I only married because I was under my mother’s pressure. I agree with you that divorce is the right thing for us.” – devalue and discard.

      Some insight here: mom lived in one country, he in another and I was in the third. Mom actually told him to not speed up the marriage after we met through work in my country and he told her that I would not wait for him and do the long distance relationship. I guess he realized he would not be able to sustain it so he love bombed me to speed up the fabulous adventure wedding that he planned with lots of grandeur and I fully implemented alone to the delight of many guests from many countries. A 2-week wild adventure tourism culminated in the church ceremony in the middle of nowhere on the top of a 2000m high hill and a deep forest wedding party in traditional costumes. And chump me was totally swept off her feet with such grandiose wedding which proved “how much he loved me” so I put him on the pedestal and worshipped for 12 years. Now I realize he was the lead actor in that wedding he attended as a guest. And during the wreckonciliation he came up with another grandiouse idea to have another adventure marriage which we actually started planning! Brr! See my dance?

      This labeling is fun! He realizes I cracked him up finally and he now left all further attempts to wreckoncile. He would have kept our marriage as is for the sake of our son and continue cake eating. He really does not see why I can’t accept this. I lack common sense- he always told me that. The only guilt feeling he has is in relation to our son. The cheater was hurt with his own parents’ divorce after which his mom moved him to another country to live with uncle during high school years. While both mom and dad stayed behind and proceeded to their second marriages which were even more disastrous. He felt abandonded and not loved. His emotional development stalled at 14. Now when I talk to a 47 year old body I see a teen inside and we don’t speak the same language. Before the body used to distruct me. When you speak with a very smart and analytical 47 year old you kind of expect an adequate speak. Once I realized who he is it became easier to not take things he says now personally. I read or heard somewhere to think of yourself as a non-stick teflon frying pan and just imagine sunny side-ups (insults) not sticking and falling off of your skin. I try to enact this now. It’s challenging when you have a compassionate fix-it-all nature and always tried hard. But now it’s just a finite number of sunny side-ups a day wasted since noone eats them anymore.

      • Oh. My. God. LTC! What a monster!!! I’m so sorry you had to endure those devaluing statements.

        Not sure if anyone here is familiar with the work of Byron Katie. She says when we project anger/negativity towards someone else, it is usually an expression of what we loathe in ourselves. In this perspective every cruel word a narc or cheater projects is actually the anger they feel towards themselves. Nobody needs to be the receiving end of such violent self hatred!!!

  • My cheater can be whatever he wants to be depending on who is watching him. However, his favourite thing to be is Knight in Shining Armour. He truly believes this which makes him delusional. Here’s the rub; you CANNOT be a Knight in Shining Armour and a cheater. Those two things a mutually exclusive.

    The minds of cheaters are fraught with these kinds of delusions. I consider compartmentalization another excuse and a symptom of a fractured mind. My cheater knew what he was doing was wrong, but he just didn’t care enough to stop. That’s not compartmentalization, that’s shitty character. He wasn’t attached to anything except his dick and even that was weak.

    Every cheater that I have met has ALWAYS had a weakness about them that truly showed in how they treated others and in their relationships with family, co-workers, etc. Every single one that I’ve met. Maybe that’s just me, but I highly doubt it. These cheater types operate under a delusion that somehow they are special, that life’s rules don’t apply to them and that they shouldn’t be held accountable because they had a case of the sads.

    • I agree, thensome. I’ve found that when they are sharing even little stories that are unrelated (I think) to actual cheating, things “happen” to them, or within their vicinity. They don’t own it. In my experience, they are responsible for nothing…except their sparkly.

    • Mine told me yesterday he was perfect. And yes, he was always excellent in managing public opinion in front of friends, family and colleagues. If course chump me helped by fully obeying his rules. So now those people who knew us as a couple are sooo surprised because he always made an impression he loved me a lot.

      Now this is really funny, chumps. He NEVER told me he loved me. I attributed this to “he is just this way, he can’t express his feelings and hopefully one day he will after he deals with his FOO issues”. Then in the second year of our marriage when distancing, devaluing and criticising started, I felt off with him all the time. But whenever I tried to address an issue with him he turned it around and I became the insecure and jelous and needing to deal with my own problems. However, in public he was always generous with showing affection, hugging me, praising my cooking skills, etc. So all friends were under this impression that he loved me very much. And so whenever I had an off feeling with him which was almost always, I tried to recall how my friends thought that he loved me and I convinced myself that it was really me jelous, insecure and with mind problems…talk about gaslighting…

  • Reading today’s blog by Chump Lady right after yesterday’s interview with Dr. Simon has made me realize that I’ve carried a fundamental error in my thinking. I had always assumed that he compartmentalized his life to allow him to not see what he was doing, to block the feelings of guilt and shame that a normal person would experience, so he could keep on doing what he wanted to do. In other word, compartments were about HIM. Simon’s reminder that “it’s not that they don’t see, it’s that they don’t agree” (or as another poster explained it – “It’s not that they don’t see, it’s that they don’t care”) changes everything. I now understand that compartmentalization is not about the cheater – it’s about keeping me, the chump, and the AP, and the kids, and the friends, and all the other “compartments” separate from each other so there is no communication, sharing, exchange of info that would blow up his grand schemes. Compartmentalization doesn’t protect him from guilt, it makes him feel powerful, a real master of the universe. Look at all the little people he controls and he’s the only one that knows everything. If the peasants knew what he knows they might withhold their kibbles. With compartmentalization he gets to keep it all. It’s not a self-protective act for a narc, it’s another tool of manipulation.

    • Cheryl, THIS!!!! It makes them feel powerful, smarter than the rest of us. OW and I were comparing notes and both came to realize the cute “smirk” he would give us wasn’t cute, it was chilling in hindsight because it displayed his arrogance. the control of information and distorting our reality is a huge ego boost! They are truly sick!

    • Cheryl,

      This ^^^^^^^^ x2 million!!

      I know xhole felt so powerful to know everything while playing mind games to keep me in the dark. Unfortunately for him, I found an unknown compartment, opened it, and the OW fell out! Grand scheme blown up!!

      Lots of triggers during this holiday season. Wishing the best for all us Chumps as we navigate through it all!!

  • I am in the camp with many others here that it’s both deliberate and unconscious. Deadfool and I had moments where I truly believe he didn’t see the problem with putting me in the “caretaker wife” compartment. I had been saying (pre-DDay) how we didn’t feel like a couple because he never kissed me or looked at me when I went to kiss him (always just a peck on the lips), he never initiated sex, and he never touched me outside of the sex I initiated. He was genuinely incredulous while saying, “But babe! We mesh in so many other ways!” I couldn’t believe it. His face was actually a little crushed when I said, “I don’t need another friend to watch Marvel movies with. I need a husband.”

    Yet he would also do the mindfuck channel flipping through rage, self-pity, and charm (though he was light on the charm) post DDay and I’d NEVER seen him angry before that. So it was clear his little house of cards was falling and he was losing control. Control that he clearly had to be deliberate in exacting, because of all the complex lies and maneuvers needed to keep it all together.

    He jumped right on the “compartments” bandwagon as soon as he heard about it, it was such a handy way of explaining his actions.

    I love the Lunchables term used by another poster (UXWorld?) because the compartments are filled with expensive, toxic waste and made for chumps too harried to stop and realize that cheese and crackers doesn’t need to be this complicated and over-marketed.

  • It also seems that compartmentalization is only necessary when you’re separating the BAD parts of your life, and, frankly, I resent that I was some inconvenience for him that needed to be kept away from the other good stuff he had going on.

    In my job as an ER vet, I need compartmentalization. I have to walk out of exam rooms where I just euthanized a beloved fifteen year old dog, the family weeping and sobbing, … right into another room with a happy new puppy exam! Ta-DAH!!! It’s anathema to me to think about carrying this attitude into my personal relationships. XH had his fingerprint all over my world, in a good way — I felt grounded and safe and connected.

    I think to compartmentalize in personal relationships takes a special kind of disordered individual. — And, as I said at the beginning, if I was perceived as such a negative part of his life that I needed a little box to be closed into? I’m better off without him, for this among many reasons.

    • Thank you for saying this. My STBX claims med school taught him to compartmentalize and he couldn’t help but have it overflow into his personal life. I know he is full of it, but your validation helps.

      • It’s totally different. It’s my JOB to have to take care of all the patients I see in a day. Some will be happy, some will be sad. With few exceptions (especially in ER med), I have little emotional connection to these families, other than that I want what’s best for their pets and have empathy when it’s bad news.

        My personal life, my friendships, my marriage were all very different from this. I LOVE the people in my life. My love for them overflows into nearly everything I do. At the very least, my thoughts and considerations of them and their feelings play into a part of every decision I might make that would potentially impact them (especially, but not exclusively, in a hurtful way).

        I always thought XH thought it was nice when I would come down to the restaurant for a meal or a glass of wine — that way he could have all of his “happy” things in the same place at the same time! Now, in hindsight, I think (from his perspective), I was a blight on his day. A reminder of that “other life” he had to participate in when he wasn’t there in the shiny, techno-synth-pop world of a bunch of young pretty people that defined his workplace.

        But, no, Louisville, your STBX can’t use that excuse. It’s different.

    • Well hello from another member of the veterinary profession- except I don’t do emergency, just general small animal practice.My ex used to claim that I lacked empathy, because I could manage to do what you describe- take a breath and move on between patients. That was one of the reasons he had to seek comfort elsewhere. He once told me how all his family had been greatly concerned when we had our first daughter, because they thought she would suffer from my ” failure to empathise”. And it’s true, I have never been able to empathise with his desire to have one or two affairs running at all times during our marriage. He currently has 2 girlfriends on the go and is telling them lies to keep them away from e ach other at Christmas. And my 14 yo daughter came into my bed last night because she had a nightmare and i could fix it, and for that I will put up with having an elbow in my spleen all night.

      • Hi, Doc! —

        See? We just can’t win. Either they’re compartmentalizing and it’s OK, or we are and it’s not. — Yes, I’m sure your ability to compassionately care for multiple patients in a given day is EXACTLY why he had to stick his dick in someone else.

        These guys (and gals). Man. I wish I had that much blind obedience to my own sense of awesomeness and how anything at odds with that must mean there’s something wrong with THEM, not me.

  • My STBX compartmentalized sexual positions. After D-Day #1 but before separation, he sent me a manual of several hundred sexual positions. He told me which he had used on his AP at the time and told me ‘the rest are for you (Chump)’ as if I should feel lucky that I ‘got the lion’s share of sexual positions.’ Guess he thought that I would feel flattered that I had won the pick me dance (I was not playing). I am not sure which positions he reserved for the prostitutes he had been using. He probably didn’t think about what was reserved for them because he didn’t think of them (or any of us) as human. Can’t wait until the day a decade from now (when kids are grown) that I can almost completely cut off contact with him.

    • Jesus, compartmentalization with illustrations??
      Nice of him to provide you with those, because the mental pictures of your spouse fucking someone else aren’t enough…

      • After receiving the sexual position manual I did not request, I asked STBX to tell me a joke (hostage syndrome?), so he described how his AP cleaned out a certain orifice while he ‘serviced’ her. I was speechless–and nauseated.

  • I’m angry today — headed to yet another deposition and $5,000 day in legal fees and costs. You ask “what do I think?”

    The answer is: Bullshit. The motherfucker is an evil sociopath and this is another excuse.

    • MotherChumper,
      I feel your pain. I just dropped several thousand this week to defend myself from an evil sociopath (after having already funded private college tuition for a few attorney’s kids). My kids will get virtually no financial support for post-secondary education/training from their parents because I will be financially demolished by my STBX and my STBX would rather spend money on prostitutes, cocaine, and vacations with whoever he is dating at the moment instead of our kids. (He says that I am the unfit parent and that he should have all custody of our kids.) May you prevail in court and everywhere else!

  • My STBX was introduced to the excuse of compartmentalization by the counselor we saw. When she used that term to define his behavior, it completely legitimized it. He says it goes back to his medical training – that he had to learn to compartmentalize patient cases and emotions in order to be a physician. So, his task from the counselor was to try to “reintegrate.”
    What a fucking waste of time and money counseling was.

    • They see what they want to see, don’t they? During our one and only MC session (to which I dragged him, kicking and screaming), the MC said at one point something about how men typically experience these sorts of midlife crises, usually around age 40 (XH) and then a second one around age 50. — Per a mutual friend, his takeaway message was not what the counselor was suggesting, which was that it was normal he was FEELING these things but that he had the power to resist, but instead “He said it’s normal that I’m doing this now and I’ll probably do it again in another ten years.” — I hope Schmoopie is preparing herself for her inevitable ejection in another 7 or 8 years…..

      I was grateful to have gone to counseling with XH (just that once) because it really clarified so many things, sitting on that couch with him.

      • My oldest son told me he was afraid there was something he might have inherited from his father to make him go crazy and lose his marbles in mid-life too. I told him that as long as he could talk about his feelings and be willing to get counseling if he needed it that he would be okay.

        • The fact that he can talk to you about his fears shows that he has a good heart and a good relationship with you. He can hold his dad as an example of how not to act.

        • Lyn.
          My boys all worried about this too. Was this something genetic they would have to watch out for? Is this who they might become?
          It led to lots of interesting conversations around situational ethics. And the articles over on Infidelity Help Group were invaluable.

      • My STBX is only 34 but I really feel his age was freaking him out. He always looked young but now he looks his age and I think seeing people with kids and being adults freaked him out. He doesn’t have a great job we live in a small place we don’t have A LOT but we had enough and it feels like he had a freak out over his lost youth. Is this ALL there is?! Where has my youth gone?! My mom was diagnosed with stage four cancer and then all this happened. I know there’s “no midlife crisis” but this has all the hallmarks of one. What a total SHIT SHOW!

    • Louisvilleflower,
      Here too. Marriage counselor barely had the word off her lips when he jumped all over that shit…..”yep! That’s me, that’s why I did it…..feel free to forgive me.”
      Says as a firefighter/ paramedic he had to disassociate to cope……Fuck him.
      Now he’s in the compartment of people I have no contact with.

      • Haha, Paintwidow! I love that compartment…It’s my one tightly sealed box with no windows.

      • One does not compartmentalize one’s character or values. I am a nurse, did forensic nursing years ago. Yes, I left work at work when I went home, but NEVER did it affect my character or values. F*&^ those lying cheaters!

        • Prior to finding out about cheating, I presumed that he was a good doctor. But how good of a doctor can you be when you aren’t a good person?
          I have been with him since college- so through the whole med school, training and practice journey. My sisters point out that he never once said that his motivation for becoming a doctor was to help people. I think he got into medicine for prestige and money. I feel sorry for his patients.

        • “One does not compartmentalize one’s character or values.”

          Applause, NMSB!!! Standing ovation!

          • Exactly. Character informs actions in a wide range of situations and settings. That’s what makes it character, as opposed to a whim or a convenient/comfortable position.

            Having the various aspects of your life motivated by a common set of values (say, compassion, or personal responsibility) tends to make those aspects integrated, and gives the person acting on their values one of integrity. Cheaters’ actions, on the other hand, are not integrated (the extreme example being the double life), and therefore typically cheaters lack integrity, QED.

  • Compartmentalization might be a reason, but it’s no excuse. I do believe some people do this, but they also still know right from wrong. Just because they might not be thinking of their partner when they’re cheating (my cheater freely admitted he didn’t consider my feelings at all when he was doing those things), does NOT mean they don’t know this behavior is wrong. They do it anyway because their desires at the moment are more important than you. We all compartmentalize to some degree, which is how we can work when undergoing personal stress, or leave work at work, etc but it doesn’t mean we all forget that how we act in one area of our lives affects other parts. Or that we abandon our morals and values. People ultimately do what they want to do. Compartmentalization simply means they disable empathy when it suits them. GREAT life skill, cheaters. Please lose my number.

  • Ha ha! Depth of a tupperware box! Good one!
    What I think? I call them sub-humans! Unable to experience feelings of love. Any kind of feelings, any kind of love.
    Compartments? Sure, I believe it, it fits with how they view people: as objects.
    Lack of empathy is just another “explanation” for their sub-human behaviour.
    These are predators, they know exactly what they are doing and they enjoy it!

  • Compartmentalization to me is not a word that masks problems or is a crutch for our disordered cheaters… it is a problem. My cheatin’ ex somehow navigated 4 or 5 years of a double life with here also-married boyfriend without losing her marbles, and I know she is the queen of compartmentalization.

    It is a survival tactic for sociopaths that makes lying easier. One set of truths in world A, another in world b, and they have nothing to do with one another. That is simply fucked up.

    • Every time I see your picture,( is that your avatar?), it makes me smile and feel happy! Just NO – to all the BS, nuff said.

    • I hear that, Chumpion. For 4 years after D-Day 1 he managed to hold that veil closed while maintaining an even more underground double life. And for what? We are still getting divorced, it’s just 4 years farther down the road and there’s more pain heaped on top of what was already nearly unbearable because of rapid-fire D-Days 2-4. What do they get out of keeping us around unless it’s just pure, evil, meanness? He clearly had no intention of changing his behavior, and his moral corruption just swirled around me and the kids like toxic waste in a whirlpool. Only a sociopath could knowingly do that to someone they claim to love while proclaiming their own innocence and indicting his wife and kids for their (justified) suspicions. WT literal F?

      • They keep us around as long as they can because we are useful to them. And divorce is complicated and expensive. And then who would wash their socks? And give them bait to lure affair partners? It’s unfathomable to normal people, but the disordered feel entitled to delegate their life’s chores so they can do whatever they want, and their chump is their designated delegee.

        I am so sorry. It does get a lot better when you’re clear of that crazy making nonsense.

  • Some of these guys use multiple means of compartmentalization for their lying B.S., such as “Well I’m mentally unbalanced and saaaddddd”, and mine used the description of a “wall” between his two lives which he could very easily scale at any time to meet his selfish needs.

    If he were the psychological anomaly that he claims to be (i.e. I’m just so mentally compromised that I have to cheat! For years! Repeatedly and don’t know any better! It’s a mistake!), then he wouldn’t even see a wall there.
    His “disorder” shows clear and calculated decision making. If he can build a wall while simultaneously demanding sympathy from everyone around me, he is indeed messed up but not in the way that he thinks.
    He’s a bona-fide sociopath.

    • A wall! Mine said there was “a switch” he literally turned on and off, in which one world faded completely from awareness. As he had not been diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, I begged to differ. And I agree with you, that’s sociopathic. Because they don’t “dissociate” they make a choice to flip that switch or scale that wall. Poor sausages.

  • My therapist uses the term compartmentalization to describe how my ex was able to do what he did. It was the perfect description for his behavior but it was never used as a defense. She uses it to describe his ability to not think about me or our kids when he was butt fucking strippers and giving them half his take home pay. As in, “I will stuff my wife and kids in their compartments, nail the lids shut and not think about them while I’m frolicking in my stripper compartment”. I do believe that is what he did. He would simply not think about unpleasantness like how he was hurting his wife and children while he was doing what he wanted to do. He allowed himself to forget our existence since we were safely locked away in his “family” compartment. It’s not that he didn’t know it was wrong. He did. He simply chose not to think about it. Compartmentalization wasn’t a justification or a rationalization, it was a method of operation.

    • No. This excuse does not stand for me. There is no forgetting there, only deliberate choices. These sub-humans view other people as objects. God forbid if object wife would find out AND kick his ass to the curb! God forbid if mistress x would move on with her life! This explains entitlement! Forgetting? No f-ing way!

  • Yes! And because HE didn’t feel the devastation of his shitty behavior, it didn’t exist.

  • I must have asked my ex a hundred times, “How could you?!” Not in the rhetorical sense, but in the very real sense of , “How does a human being lie to and risk the life of another person for more than a decade without having your mind/conscience/soul explode?” The real answer, of course, is that he didn’t have any of those things, but the short term explanation was this “compartmentalization” thing.

    “I NEVER thought of one of you when I was with the other,” he kept saying. Except that he texted her constantly, even while out on dates and weekends away with me. So that b.s. clearly doesn’t hold up! Compartmentalization is just one more cheater mindfuck.

  • Growing up in the sixties and seventies my sisters and I loved the Hollywood version of love: Rock Hudson and Doris Day, Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Even Lady and the Tramp could share spaghetti without conflict! I think that’s partly why I am such a chump today. We internalized that the roguish cad could be tamed “by the love of a good woman,” that “love can conquer all.” What bullshit. In real life it doesn’t work out that way. Rock Hudson was secretly gay. Sandra and Bobby divorced. He fathered a child outside of their marriage. God only knows how many husbands Elizabeth Taylor had or why she remarried Burton after a spectacular divorce.

    I bring this up because I now realize I was programmed for chumpiness in childhood and embraced it eagerly by marrying a guy who was always just a little…off…out of touch…distant…a cheater. After 24 years of marriage and the gut punch of D-Day 1, I thought I had become a former chump with eyes wide open, but still willing to work on a marriage that had become messy and unpredictable because it was all part and parcel of the bigger picture: kids, a home, retirement, companionship in our dotage. We went to marriage counselling, talked and talked, there were oceans of tears from cheater, and even an apology or two. Even (shudder) sex. But there was still that little piece of him that was just…off. Because in addition to all this public soul-searching, he was managing to get lap dances before coming home after counseling sessions (I’m late because I stopped to do some thinking, about US.) He trolled Craig’s List while I was sleeping next to him. He found time to plan hook-ups while travelling on business, and he travelled a LOT. For four more years he earnestly declared himself a changed man, but there was still that sense of “offness.”

    So was he skilled at compartmentalizing? No. He was skilled at LYING. The thrill would not have been there for him if he couldn’t get sympathy fucked by spreading stories of how boring his wife is, always doing something with the kids or working, always cleaning, always planning shit, the dim sexless dullard. “She’s sleeping right next to me now, but I am SO lonely!“ And the kids! My God, needy little bastards who appreciate nothing! “I work my fingers to the bone to give them everything a kid could want! Everything!” So no, he didn’t compartmentalize to spare us. If anything, he compartmentalized to put one over on his marks. He villainized us so THEY wouldn’t know he was not a sad sausage but a two-faced, lying pig who had virtually no identity beyond what we gave him with our love and validation. Through four years of wreckonciliation he just kept right on shaking that can of Yahoo Shmoopie until it inevitably burst and sprayed all over everything I cherish. I learned all this because his password to all the dating sites was my initials and my birthday. He typed them in every time he trolled for sex with every OW. And I typed them in right before I hacked his computer and downloaded all his conversations for my lawyer. Compartmentalize THAT motherfucker.

    • You deplete me.

      “Compartmentalize THAT motherfucker.”

      OMG I hope I live long enough to put that on his headstone.

    • This times 100! I attempted wreckonciliation for a year before it all blew up. Come to realize now he cheated for most of our 14 years together. In many forms and ways. When you speak of how he could be next to you in bed emailing OW and proclaiming how awful I was, I think was the worst for me. I was nothing but loving and supportive throughout all his issues and problems and self created messes. I think that was the worst betrayal for me. Cheat on me – fine. But smear MY character to make yourself look better – just makes me furious every time I think about it. How he made me seem pathetic and useless to get THEM to buy into what he was selling. Sick disordered compartmentalized fuckers, all of them.

      • Beachgirl, that has been the hardest thing to reconcile in my brain too. I asked him once what I did to deserve that level of hatred, and his answer was sort of a surprised look and then he said, “You didn’t do anything, It wasn’t hatred, I was just caught up in the moment.” He was saying anything that could justify his cheating, and in that moment I had ceased to be real for him.

        But we are real Beachgirl, our pain is real, and I want you to know that you are not alone in that. Hugs to you, honey.

      • Beachgirl, cheaters’ smear campaigns make the whole traumatic experience a double-decker s–t sandwich, don’t they? Sorry you are part of the Smear Campaign Target Clib as well as the Chump Club. You have good company.

    • Your initals and birthday as a supersecret password used to troll for women online? Let’s put aside how very classy the dude is not. Maybe he really just wanted something he could easily remember that none of his whores would guess. Maybe he figured that would be the last thing you’d think to try if you were looking to bust his ass. Maybe he thought someone might actually buy the idea that it really was you out there shopping for women while pretending to be him. But it does show he was thinking outside the box. No compartments here!

    • Snap! he didn’t troll the internet- he didn’t have to, he could find willing bushpigs anywhere-but other than that, yep, that’s my boy too. And as I’ve mentioned before, he always convinced them that I was a terrible cook, as well as boring, cold, sexless etc etc.And the ” she’s right next to me, but I’m lonely”- yup he used that one too, in a long sad text to OW2 that ended in her reassuring him that she would cook a lamb casserole for him, after they had finished boinking of course.

    • You Deplete Me, that is next level!! Your bday. What a schmuck. Please let his dick fall off.

      • Because ħe could NEVER forget my birthday, doncha know, but other numbers are haaaard to remember, because math. At least he didn’t use one of my kids’. I seriously would have had to go all spider monkey on his cheating ass.

        • I’m voting for going “all medieval on his ass,” Pulp Fiction style. Using your spouse’s personal info to unlock sites you use to net cheating partners is pretty damn low.

    • This times one million! Chumps and the story of their cheater continue to shock me every. single. day.

      Why do we marry people who are little bit “off’? I did and so many others here at CN did.

      I never went into my marriage wanting to change him. I loved the guy that I first fell in love with. But then the mean guy showed up a year later. The distant man. The withholding man. The “working” man. Then nice guy came back with a bit of “off” rubbed in. Out came the spackle, always hoping to get back to Prince Charming. As I’ve learned the hard way. Prince Charming is usually a narcissist that will gut you with Cinderella’s broken glass slipper.

    • Oh God yeah, the password thing. My ex used our kids’ initials and birthdays for his passwords on his “secret” accounts. So disgusting…

  • Feeling a bit lost and anxious atm. 5 weeks in trying minimal contact but not so great as we have kids.
    I asked he leave after finding out about 8 month long distance EA and pos local PA, dont want to know more details, just enough to know my trust has gone.
    Anyway he keeps sending smutty txts to me. Think he is trying to guage my willingness to dance for him or get a shag in.
    Either way it sucks, as in need of a shag as I am, I cant go there.
    He acts like its a big game and I will get over in time and have him back, again.

    • Keep NC and block texts. Set up email as the only means to communicate. This should only address the business of raising kids. Use your support network for everything else and know life will get better without a Cheater in it. What helped me most was righteous anger. I was not going to waste one more moment caring for someone who could so easily betray me. Every second, minute, hour, day, year, he chose to sneak around killed my hope for a future together. Life is hard enough….

      • Exactly THIS —> “Life is hard enough”

        Makes me think about how there are so much more real-life problems that we can encounter in the future – raising children, coping with aging parents, degenerative disease, etc. and STBX chooses to create his own problems. Give me a break! Other people are fighting off Cancer, etc. for God’s sake and you are choosing to f*ck your own family just for the hell of it.

        Just. Puh-lease.

        • My STBX. We had a little life but a good one! And he’s moved out to the whoremat’s apartment with her rape child by someone else. He has texted this woman for a few months and met with her a dozen times(?) before he moved in. And now he says he doesn’t even feel the same way about her as he did a few weeks ago and that they are living as roommates. I could have fucking stabbed him when he sent me “I want a life without the drama and stress and feeling out of sorts and that it’s all topsy turvy and like I have no real control over anything” that this morning. I chewed his ass off but apparently that wasn’t him complaining and wanting pity it was to show he’s not happy. Well guess what MOTHERFUCKER! This is ALL YOUR FAULT!
          Trying to keep NC but it’s only been a few days since he moved and I still love him so I keep getting sucked back in even though I know better!

    • Hi Lady Batshit —

      You are being mighty is what it looks like to me. You acted promptly, and got him out of the house. Nicely done!!!

      The next steps are to get a good therapist and a good lawyer.

      You have avoided the pick-me dance, which is huge!!

      Even though it’s not completely no contact, it is reduced contact, do you feel better? When James Bond left our marital home, I immediately felt a sense of dread left. (My mom said the evil he brought into our home had left.) We are no contact now, except for divorce details, and I feel better every day. It has been over a year and a half since handsome left, so it has taken a good length of time.

      I have my list of hoops he would have to jump before I would consider reconciling, but he won’t even take the first step: remorse, so, moving on.

      You are right, it is not a big game, and if you prepare yourself, and get support, you will not get over it, and he will not get you back again.

      • Thank you long timechump and QueenMother
        We went through this 3 years ago, with the same suspected PA work colleague. When we wreckoncilled I danced hard, wish I had found CL then because I don’t think I would be here now.
        I made it clear if he ever had contact with her again I would break up with him, we are not married, too conventional for him but 13 years two kids 11 and 9.
        Anyways turns out he has been going for ‘walks’ with this skank on his days off while I’m at work. Like I said I don’t want all the details but think I will be contacting her husband in the New Year for a chat.
        We do not have the money for lawyers but I did manage to see a lovely one who gave me an hour of her time for nothing, usually 350$ an hour mind you, she basically said we are even and there is no point in selling the house as we only bought it 1.5 years ago and there is no equity.
        He has been making noise about getting something out of it because he is more than broke, anyways I am paying it now from my account and will hopefully be in the position by the end of 2017 to refinance in my name. It took me a long time to drag him along to even save for a place of our own, he has major attitude problems about money and banks etc and likes to launch into embarrassing tirades about corruption and how fake the system is,,, soo don’t miss that especially at 7 am when I’m packing school lunches.
        I see it like this, not being married is good, cheaper than divorce, no court ordered child plan as he is staying with male co worker who he thinks has mental issues,, too funny.
        I get 250 per week child maintenance although knowing what a drop kick he is he will probably elect for the dead beat status at some point.
        If we wreckonciled well gee I would get to help him pay his debts, he is crap with money spends it on clothes and in 5 years if we made it that far we would have equity in the house I would have to sell it to give him some coin, he’ll no!, yes I need to cut my losses as really 13 years with him has been like pushing shit up hill in a wheelbarrow with a flat tyre and as much as I do love him and thought we would go thru life together, he would tell me he wanted to grow old with me, this was the straw the broke the camels back. I need to stay strong read txt or emails, come back later reply or delete not get tangled in the fucked up web, soo many great things I want to do in life that are positive, these people just roll around in the shallow end.I think he can’t stand the thought of me finding someone else. I am no where near ready but sometimes I just want to say hey this is so and so…. enter tall protective decent male in my life.
        He recently said I could start emailing his OS EA older married, no kids to get some resolve,,, ummm yeah no thanks, how does fuck the fuck off sound to that!
        I told him they are fucked up and wanted no part of their pathetic drama.
        Got to stay ? Peace
        Oh and this constant gem ‘why are you angry’ lucky I haven’t burnt all his shit, most of which is still in the house, going into garage soon when I can gather the energy.

    • Lady Badshit, please don’t break no contact. I wish I found this site earlier. 5 months into the DDay of what I thought was a long distance emotional affair turned out to be emotional and physical for 12 years plus multiple PAs since his love lived in another country and he also needed sex and cake. I was distanced since the 2nd year of our marriage and was just a convenience and a punch bag for his nasty mood and comments. I gave in to his 180 degree turnaround and broke no contact while he did not even show the remorse- he righteously defended himself that he needed to go through that long lasting EPA to find himself and that it did not have anything to do with me. It’s ok that he was secrerly planning to live with her and her daughter after she woukd have informed her chump husband and agreed to change countries for my husband. It’s also ok that when she chose her career over him the cheater decided to compartmentalize his life into even more srtuctured one: live with her for 6 months and with me and our son for 6 months. I danced for him even when he told me these horrendous things because I was already happy that he was TALKING to me. You see we did not even do that during our marriage. We were known as this sweet couple matched on all levels to each other but this was a facade. All his life was a secret. I never knew how much he made, what other projects he had, i was informed abt his upcoming business trips a day in advance and sometimes he would be unwilling to tell me where he was going. I begged him to text me he arrived safely and he never did. A simple question of how was your day could turn into a fight as he would call me controlling and wanting to know everything. So his telling me details of his planned life with the AP was sufficient to start a crazy dance- he finally trusted me and was willing to talk! He also said that himself how much he “appreciated that he could talk to me finally after me being passive-agressive, controlling, insecure and jelous all our life”. Plus he changed his attitude towards household chores, started cleaning and cooking with me. And most importantly, he became a real Dad for our son doing activities together, setting some structure, encouraging excercise and homework etc. A couple of jazz bar dates that followed with some family road trips here and there, and I was back to my old caring and loving self, working hard on our marriage. Well, once he broke me down again I noticed the change in attitude and behaviour. All of a sudden he would say a phrase totally contradicting to what we had discussed and agreed on in terms of our future and I would pick up on it and it would develop into a fight. Or almost develop, since I was still on eggshells around him trying desperately to maintain him at this stage.

      Don’t break no contact please. Wreckonciliation does not work. It’s another illusion that we create and latch onto to save the remnants of what we thought was our mariage.
      Now, 4 months later, he is again 180 degrees gone back to what he is. Cynical and cold. Totally fine with the divorce (in summer he cried and pleaded with me to give it a chance and not hurt our son). Now he is telling me that since I disrespectfully spoke with him after he did not remember my birthday (for the 12th year in a row!), he cannot tolerate this kind of disrespect and inobedience towards his persona. So his resolve to save the marriage lasted until this first and I think premeditated screw up since he realized he can’t really be that perfect husband he showed to me during the 2 months of wreckonciliation. And the texts in his phone revealed a new siren – his former colleauge he told me he had chemistry with. He is now onto a project to wreck her second marriage which she deserves frankly.
      We are now back to divalue and discard stage with me – I am so familiar with this! Only now I don’t take it personally and I know what’s going on. But it’s still nerve wrecking and I still cry. And he is cold and indifferent and amazed why I cry when he graciously agreed to grant me a divorce.
      Keep it as is. No contact. They CAN change. But they will NOT because they don’t want to. As KarenE said earlier, he is WHO HE IS and I am trying to wrap my head around it.

      Be mighty. I am trying to be now.

  • Ex lived a compartmentalized life. Work in one box. Family in another. Friends in one. Racquetball in another.Extracurricular in one. Porn in another. He was also disengaged throughout most our marrige. Aloof. We dated for eight years (red flag #2437), lovebombing’s a thing with crazies and after we married I still felt a distance. The disordered live lives that never overlap. Once we started to become part of a community, part of a group, or make friends, he would pull away. Our family was an island, isolated, with him at center making brief Sparkley appearances in our lives. He was our world though. As time passed, all those cracks started to appear. CL is correct when she says it all collapses. They cannot be chameleons for long. I never really knew who ex was or what he believed because he mirrored my own thoughts, beliefs, and values so well. The difference is…I live those; he pretends to. He doesn’t know what he wants because there is always something better around the next corner. He’s just short of winning. On Dday ex stated, “Everything about MY life is good except for YOU.” And in that moment I recognized that I, and our children, and the life we had together, was the one good thing but he will never understand this. He hands money to our children for the holidays, trots them out to Disney parent two times a year, and yet waxes on and on about his new, better life with his new appliance. The vacations he’s taking and the houses he’s bought and the car he drives. Things, not people. He’s not much interested in others’ lives either…. Actions, Chumps. Pay attention to those. One thing life revolves around the disordered and what they want always takes precedence. Ex’s choices over the years reflected that, he always did hurtful things when it was something I wanted or felt was important and it was the memory of these little choices that propelled me forward. That and blowing up our family.Who wants to be around someone who sabatoges those he claims to “love?”

  • My cheater cheated with the same AP for 6 years. What.the.Fuck.


    Sometimes I think I have the secret answer as to why Bourbon was invented.

    • flattenedchump :O)

      Love your name! I feel it! 🙂

      …you know…I almost sent thank you cards to satan’s ows last year 😀 He is their problem now. Good Luck with that ows! 🙂

      Bourbon 🙂 Hehehehehe! That’s hilarious! Thank you for the belly laugh!

      You got this! Trust me, it gets better and better the further away from the cheater you get 🙂

    • Flattened, if it makes you feel better, mine was with his AP for 15 years. Of which 12 we were married. So technically he was with her longer than with me. And he had multiple mini affairs here and there. Just like his AP had him for a long time, plus many younger fuckers, or career-advancement fuckers and a chump husband. As far as I know she is still with her husband. According to mine, their affair is over. But I don’t care anymore. He is now after another married woman. Mindfuckery is sexy…available chicks don’t excite him anymore. He needs a challenge. I can’t give him that. Good riddance.

  • STBX told me, “Please – just stop thinking about her! Can’t we just talk about US??”

    Yeah, go burry your head up your ass CeliA, there is nothing going on here, tut-tut, move along. And bake me that Cake already.


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