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Dear Chump Lady, He butt-dialed me from the OW’s

buttdialDear Chump Lady,

I left my fiancee after finding out he had an affair with a subordinate of his at work. I still haven’t gotten the whole story out of him (to this day, he still sticks by his story that they only “made out a little bit” even though there were nights where he wouldn’t come back home). Through a lot of emotional roller coasters these past 4 months, I feel like I really achieved “Meh.”

Then, last weekend, I get a text from him out of nowhere saying how much he misses me and how he regrets hurting me. When I didn’t respond, he sent me another text saying how I was all he could think about while he was at the hospital. When I didn’t respond to that, he sent another text saying how he’s all alone with no friends and no family in his life.

I caved. I started texting him, cautiously at first, keeping it short — asking why he was in the hospital. Eventually, the conversations turned friendly and nostalgic — back to the days when we we first met. I stupidly got my hopes up for the possibility of a friendship, then a couple hours without a response later, he butt-dials me from the OW’s apartment.

“All alone” my butt! Before I realized what was going on, I heard laughter and giggling, and what sounded like her saying “I love you.” Even though I don’t want him back, it was a harsh reality check that he is still the pathological liar I remember. I sent him one more text of “F*ck you” and he sent a flurry of texts back trying to do damage control.

He said they were “just friends” and that he doesn’t love her, he loves me. He said he was “all alone” because even when they were hanging out, he FELT alone. Yadda Yadda Yadda. I don’t know what happened, but about an hour later, he texted me saying the OW kicked him out of her apartment — that sounds like something a “girlfriend” does — not a “friend.”

Which led me to this thought: I felt like the OW. The girl he texts while he’s with his girlfriend, setting up a lunch date or dinner date. The girl he says “but I really love YOU” as he says “I love you” to his current girlfriend. The girl who causes the fights that end in him being thrown out.

Ugh… Please help me, CL. I need your sassy insight about what I should do. Is friendship really impossible?

Shocked and Confused

Dear Shocked,

Well that depends on exactly how desperate you are for friends. Is it possible? Sure. And I could walk up 6th Street in Austin with $100 bills stuffed in my pockets buying hipsters tequila shots and have a lot of “friends” too. Alternatively, I could get a cardboard cutout figure of Stephen Fry and we could watch Downton Abbey together. More trifle, Stephen? Oh, don’t mind if I do, Tracy. Or I could tell all my deepest secrets to the green scum in my fish aquarium.

It really just boils down to your definition of friend.

Personally, I prefer not to befriend people who promise marriage to me and then fuck their co-workers. But I’m peculiar that way.

If you’d like a quality friendship with someone who cares for you and reciprocates your affections — aim higher. MUCH higher. You’re just a kibble dispenser to this idiot. He has shown you many times over exactly who he is, you’re just refusing to see it. You think there is something there to work with. I don’t know… is there? The philandering. The mindfuckery. The self pity. What exactly is there to miss? The way he looks in a starched shirt?

Have some deal breakers, Shocked. Raise the price on your friendship. Don’t be so easily bought, that all he has to do is pester you with some texts and you’re mush. Standards, woman! STANDARDS!

How’s this for a deal breaker — he CHEATED and he LIED. He abused your trust. If you reward this behavior with your friendship, you’re sending him the clear message that what he did to you Wasn’t That Bad. Which is exactly what he wants — a chump who will take him back and dispense kibbles again and again regardless of his behavior. When things get dicey, he’ll do his little sparkle schtick, and you’re right back in place.

What’s in it for YOU? Feeling like the OW, because unwittingly you ARE the OW? Do you feel special? He’ll fit you in between whatever other piece of tail he’s chasing that day. He’ll reward you with more drama and chaos and he’ll bust your heart into little pieces — because you’ll be expecting a pay off for your loyalty and friendship — and there won’t be one.

You’d get better results with the aquarium scum. So stop being confused and dump this loser for once and for all. When you feel weak, listen to this song by Sister Rosetta Tharpe “Don’t Take Everybody to Be Your Friend.” Repeat as necessary.

This column ran previously. Hey, I’m recovering from the holidays.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I would also add to my own advice, this letter illustrates why no contact is so important. Four months out from the break up? Don’t falter. But also realize you’re not over it yet and have no possible ability to be objective or “friends.” Bargaining stage of grief.

    Stay NC.

    • So true! Also, notice how he dangled pieces of bait until one worked to break the NC. The hospital one worked — “poor me, I was in the hospital! Don’t you want to know whyyyyyy?”

      Mine was a master fisherman. I bit the bait one time, YEARS later, because I wanted to be “a big enough person” to be able to be friends with my ex. He was so convincing. For a time. By about email six he was starting the same horse crap our dear Shocked received. His marriage (#3, I was #1) was struggling and he “needed my help”.

      I told him this behavior is exactly why he and I are divorced and he should never contact me again for any reason, that I thought I could be friends with him but I was clearly wrong, and that there was nothing else to discuss. They never change.

    • Tell all my secrets to the green scum in the aquarium”. Bahahahaha! Good one Tracey!

      • +1. Take it one day at a time…it’s all any of us can do. And when we falter, we come here to the CN for perspective, courage, guidance and love to keep taking those baby steps forward on our journeys.

        Here’s to 2017 being a better year for all of us!!!

    • And holy moly, why in the world would anyone who has been betrayed still have the cheater unblocked on the cell phone? There are no kids involved. This letter shows exactly how a user and manipulator hoovers a chump back with a sad sausage text or two. The chump hold out the first time, maybe the second and then–the hopium kicks in, the codependent voice says “he needs me” and the chump is back to “friendly and nostalgic — back to the days when we we first met.” She says she “stupidly got [her] hopes up for the possibility of a friendship,” when really she want him back. We’ve been there; we know how it goes.

      If chumps want to get to Meh or think they’ve arrived, take a look at the cell phone. Look at the FB friends list, Twitter, Instagram. Whatever. Right after DDay, I put a “Do Not Call or Text” on my phone, but…hopium. I wanted him to call. It took a few months of no contact and hard work on myself to realize not only that Jackass wasn’t what I thought he was. He wasn’t much of anything. He’s a liar, a cheater, a gaslighter and manipulator. He smirked in the face of my pain. I wouldn’t give him one second of my time.

  • Same old, same old. Funny thing though. Cheaters Nevers change. They will never commit to a real marriage, monogamy, integrity, and an honest life because they are incapable. “It’s not that he can’t control his choices, it’s that he won’t.” And that even greater quote, “When someone shows you WHO they are, believe them.” What it boils down to is that we all deserve the fairy tale, it’s just not ever going to happen with someone who is cheating. These people aren’t equals, they are fake humans, Edgar’s in MIB, occasionally throwing a bit of glitter our way. Cheaters are so busy lining up their next piece that nothing can compete (Not a committed spouse, the loving children, or the fairy tale). Move on.

    • I have that “when someone shows you who they are, believe them the FIRST time” quote taped to my fridge. I failed MISERABLY in that regard….

      • Raising my hand too… I failed at learning that “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the FIRST time” lesson for over a decade…

    • They thrive on triangulation. My ex also did it with friends, his sister and others. They like the power of playing people off of each other.
      Drove him bananas when I refused to pick-me dance after d-day. Best choice I ever made.

  • My cheating ex is pulling the same stuff with me right now. And we were together 22 years. It does take time to get over it, and NC is key.

  • NC is definitely key since they are like the Pied Piper. When they play that flute you become a non-thinking zombie that just follows behind and goes where-ever you are told to go. This to me is what addiction is all about. It’s hidden but waiting to pop-out at the right moment when your defenses are down. Happened to me again a couple of weeks ago (had no choice but to answer phone-child stuff) and for about 15 minutes I was like “wow – he’s changed” and for the next 15 I thought about CL/CN and their words of wisdom and thought this can’t be right. Sure enough he called back about 30 minutes later, opened his mouth and spewed some of the same old crap. Trust they suck. Trust they suck. Trust they ……

    I’m back to NC since then but still kind of shaken up that I slipped so easily. Thank goodness he doesn’t know and I don’t have to carry that shame around…Hugs to all!

    • My dday was almost 3 years ago and divorce has been final 1 year and my ex STILL sends poor-me, I-miss-your-smile bullshit texts whenever he’s drunk or there is some minor family drama he can attempt to drag me into. Most recent was on our former anniversary in December. Prepare yourself for more of this crap and just ignore it and/or develop your gray rock response. I answer him only if it pertains to our 7 year old.

      I used to get so angry every time. Now I mostly let it roll off. He cannot be a real part of my life due to his own fucked up choices.
      It gets easier dear chumps! Just keep moving forward slowly but surely. Love and healing to you all ❤️

  • Best advice I ever had (and I got it here of course) was, after a DDay, to stop trying to fix it and to stop talking and listen. It was so hard for me to do and I didn’t start fully doing it for about three months but then wow the clouds did part and I saw that he wasn’t who I had thought he was at all. He just wanted to go forward, he calls it ‘being solution focused’ and to not deal with the damage, the consequences or the repercussions if at all possible, ever. He didn’t have any clue why he had done it, he had no idea at all. He didn’t know how to fix it, what I needed, what the boys needed. He was acting as if it was, again in his words ‘a blip’ and we should focus on how we get back together after this.
    Since then he has been silent. No mention of any reading or thinking or therapy that was all promised.
    If you let them they will show you who they are.
    It is so shocking to me now the gap between how I thought he would be based on my past experience of him and how he has actually been.
    Now I think he is actually fine. I will carry on doing all the house and boys. He will go back to Asia and work. We will be divorced but he will continue supporting the boys.
    All that’s left is the gradual disappearing of the mirage that I thought was a marriage.
    He will be fine. Ex wife and boys st home. New opportunities abroad as a single man.
    I’m still stunned.

    • “It is so shocking to me now the gap between how I thought he would be based on my past experience of him and how he has actually been.”

      When he was involved with OW, blaming me for everything and verbally assaulting me with scathing attacks as a ploy to get me to “throw him out” thus end the marriage with me as the villain, I was SO CERTAIN (to the point of not even questioning it) that if he later chose to return, it would happen with GENEROUS helpings of contrition, decency, kindness, regret, reassurances and everything else I needed to heal from the experience.

      Why did I think this? I guess from the RIC stories I sought out…The Catholic tv channel had a marriage reconciliation show and I watched it smoking hopium that their stories would be mine.

      When, after 2 years of abject neglect and abuse, he returned and simply pretended nothing happened, I was shocked. I approached him about it and he said he “wasnt ready to talk about it yet” and acted like the timid forest creature spoken of here. When he returned, he bought a big-ass house putting us DEEP in debt and that was in 2007 …so the crash happens in 2008 and we then owned a huge house worth $100,000 less than we paid for it so any divorce now would be harder than it would have been earlier.

      and him pretending that he had done nothing wrong to me…well, that reinflicted pain that hurt about 90% as much as when he did it in the first place and when a year or so went by and I figured he was “ready to talk” oh chumps, you see this coming…of course his response was “how can you bring up distant past now?” oh they play all angles.

      If I had any idea how I would have been played, I would have packed his bags on the day I got the “I never loved you” my smaller house with almost paid off car, but no because I smoked hopium.

      • This is the worst. 2 years later and things are more complicated and worse for me and the kids financially to get divorced. I’m pissed that I believed his lies and took him back. What a colossal piece of shit. It sucks to come to terms with the reality that someone you loved and spent over 20 years with is simply NOT a good person.

        • Agreed! The hardest part is the internal questioning, self-berating and self-doubt on how you didn’t see any/all of this before you ever got involved with this person? And how you could have ever have made such a poor decision to even get involved with someone like this?

          But, eventually, you come to realize that it was THEIR choices that brought you to this point in your life together, and the best thing you can do…for both your self and your sanity…it to RUN away from them as fast and as far as possible and start a new life for yourself!!

    • Oh, the logic. Imagine if your house flooded and your spouse said don’t bother to clean up, or remove the mold, or investigate the cause of the flooding and how it might be avoided again. “Let’s just move back honey! Be solution focused! The mud will dry eventually!”

    • Luziana

      That is a great link. Clear article and very chilling. It’s so hard to believe unless you have lived it, then it’s as if someone has just solved a puzzle right in front of your eyes.

      • It is a great article. This alone is a gem: “The whole crux of Narcissism is living as one pleases without any accountability.”

    • It is so impossible to explain to people who have never experienced this what it is like. Chump is such an accurate word. Most people would describe me as strong, but seeing myself in this article definitely makes me feel insecure and weak. I don’t like it.

    • I remember actually saying to my husband on D-day that I was “sick and tired of being the OW in his life.” This is the first time I’ve seen that phenomenon addressed here. Guess I’m not alone in having felt that way!

  • What you’re going through is actually really common. After I left my ex, he quickly took up with OW #2, and would periodically send me text messages begging me to work things out. Keep in my mind that in my case as in yours it’s all just words; not one single genuine action behind them.

    My former sister-in-law said OW#2 would catch him sending these texts from time to time and they would have a huge blow up. While that was admittedly satisfying to some degree, it felt degrading because I had been his wife and we were still technically married on paper at the time this was going on, though separated and waiting on the divorce to go through. This was one of the many reasons I went No Contact… He couldn’t drag me into his drama anymore.

  • Narcissists don’t seem to have the ability to be alone. They always have to have a relationship (whether good or bad) on standby. If they can get us to serve in that role, then they think that’s great. In those rare moments when my stbxw was honest with me, she’d express her fear of being alone. That’s probably why she kept (and used) other options while we were married. Just in case I no longer satisfied her, which apparently at some point she decided I was not. And that fear of being alone is why she’s upset that I’ve told her that we won’t be friends after the divorce is final. We’ll discuss things for the kids, but that’s it. I will no longer be “an option.” I’m no longer the financial and emotional safety net that I basically served as during the course of our marriage.

    We were married for several years. She’s still with her married OM, and I’m sure she’s already lining up others to date once she moves out (there are plenty of times now where she doesn’t come home from work for hours and won’t tell anybody where she was, so it’s probably already going on). But now it’s the OM’s turn to play marriage police.

    For me, I want no part of another relationship and can’t even envision going on a date any time in the near future. It’ll be months. I’d like to have time to mourn, let my life settle down a bit, and then maybe when I’m feeling better, I’ll look stick my head out the door again.

    • I am 100% with you on not wanting to date, etc. Been there. Done that. I’ll foster dogs instead. Waiting on mediation day.

    • Agree. The thought of linking my life to someone else or even dating holds no appeal for me. Granted, I am still trying to get divorced, but we have been separated for 13 months now. The extent of the lies and cheating that has come out in that time makes me want to shower from the inside out.

  • An interesting thing happened to me this morning. I went out with a recent friend, a chump also but long ago. I asked her to take me out as I had a really bad day yesterday and she was happy to take us out for a coffee.
    She is slim, single, super bubbly and since we have ‘discovered’ each other as neighbours and chumps we have been going out most weeks to chat.
    She makes me laugh, she is brazen and strong and very confident. Makes me feel like a fat, slow, librarian type figure from the fifties (I’m actually not) but she is a great shot of fun and energy.
    Well. Today I was sitting there listening to her and odd phrases kept popping into my mind like ‘she is telling you who she is’ ‘she’s ‘sparkly’ ‘warning’. I had some ‘red flag’ feelings. Or what I assume are red flag feelings being a bit chumpy here. She talks of being ‘harsh, unforgiving, not caring what people think, not hearing no, how to flutter and act a bit hopeless to get others to do for her’.
    Now I am at home feeling a bit shaken. I feel like I’ve just met a narc. I feel like prey. But I wonder if I’m being ridiculous.
    I’m going scale back a bit with her just because it’s such a strong gut feeling especially ‘they tell you who they are’.
    But just wonder if anyone else has any thoughts on this?
    Just to say all of my previous friendships (as well as my marriage) have been lopsided. I’ m the listener and giver, they give me not much back.
    Can this be a new emergent picker?

    • I think your picker is getting fixed. You should pay attention to how you feel when you leave her presence. You feel “shaken.” That is not how a friendship should make you feel. She makes you feel like a 50s librarian. And you are not.

      Reading this site, and absorbing all the ideas does change you. It makes you savvy to people who are dangerous or sketchy.

      The friend just told you that she manipulates….acts helpless to get things. Do you want to be manipulated? By anyone?

      A funny thing…I recently made a new friend. She is old fashioned, no nonsense and country. But she is kind, honest and a good listener. She dresses from a mindset of comfort rather than style…who cares?
      When I leave her house, I feel happy, calm, validated and inspired. Encouraged.

      Would the world find her sparkly and gorgeous? No. But she is authentic. I, too can fall into the trap of being the listener and it can become lopsided. It was amazing to me my new friend listened to me with patience. She is a chump from 15 years ago. She is so Meh, they need a new definition for Meh. They share custody of their dog, Spike and her ex drops him off. I said, Do you feel nervous seeing him? And she laughed said, No, I don’t even register him as anything other than Spike’s driver!

      Pull back from this woman, and see how she reacts. See if she cycles through rage, self pity and charm. Her actions will show you the path of your new friendship (not her words).

    • Hey Capricorn!

      We know at least, at least, one in twenty is a narcissist. So, yah, it’s really possible that slim and bubbly is a narcissist.

      I think we can handle them, now, after our crash courses in living intimately with the self-centered. Right now, my two responses to narcissists are, avoid when possible. When not possible to avoid, confront. When they lie or manipulate, call them out. Always (try to) use detachment.

    • We all know how our own cheaters we’re trying to do whatever it took to gain victim status in the relationship… me wonders if Ms Sparkily was more the cheater than the chump in her dynamic but changed the narrative because it worked for her.

        • ^ Unicornnomore, I think you are TOTALLY on the money with the “changed the narrative” observation. Miss Plastic Parts has completely rewritten history regarding her affair with Cheater o’Mine.

    • Capricorn – what wonderful insights you are experiencing! Always always listen to your gut feeling. I bet you are right on the mark with her. The best thing is – you are fixing your picker! I am very fearful about the state of my picker and am ready to get pretty serious about it. It’s so ingrained in me to love the beauty and sparkles though!

    • Capricorn–collectively, I think all the things your friend said are indeed red flags. One of her items–not caring what people think–gave me pause for a minute, because that can be a healthy thing. Almost all artists who go against the grain have it, Rosa Parks and virtually any activist who challenges authority has it. Having been a people-pleaser much of my life, I hope I now have it when it comes to standing up for my principles and exerting boundaries. ChumpLady herself got kicked off multiple reconciliation sites and had much opprobrium launched at her for simply being the lone voice saying infidelity is emotional abuse caused by empathy-challenged people with character disorders. She didn’t care what the prevailing Reconciliation Industrial Complex thought (and of course we all here think that is an excellent thing.)

      What makes the “not caring what people think” alarming in your friend’s case is that she is using it for manipulation & to get what she wants, not to stand up for principles or to challenge existing doctrine. You are right to be cautious, and she admitted to at least 2 of the 3 channels of manipulation.

    • Not long after my marriage finally tanked, I made a new friend I later realized was a narcissist. I agree with others who say to listen to your gut. In my case, I hadn’t found CN yet and was still convinced that the problem in my marriage was that X is in the closet, not that he’s a narcissist (it’s actually both, but it took me a long time to figure that out).

      So I was still hugely vulnerable to the wiles of a narcissist, and even after I started to learn more about it here, it never occurred to me–until after the swift and brutal discard–that my picker needed to watch out for friends as well as potential new partners. Lots of hard introspection has made me realize that I’ve crossed paths with more than a few narcissists in my life and seem to attract them and find them attractive as well, a tendency I am definitely working on fixing. I would definitely proceed with caution!

      • Watch out for friends, your parents, siblings, co-workers, the boss at work and most politicians…

    • You know her better than anyone, so only you will be able to decide. However:

      1. I would want more information about this “getting people to do what she wants.” To wit: One day at Home Depot, I could not find an employee anywhere and I needed help. So I started sort of “sashaying” down the main aisle, with a sort of perplexed look as I stopped and read sign after sign. Magically, an employee appeared. I straightened up and asked my question. — Was that manipulative? yes. And some of you may think it’s devious, but … I’m OK with it, as I am pretty self-sufficient, but, yes, sometimes i want someone stronger than me to lift the heavy thing. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.

      2. I had (have) a friend who, some years ago, said something to me about being willing to come to a dinner party if she didn’t have anything better to do. — Offensive, right? — I am still friends with her, but she got bumped back a few levels in my circles of friends. I’ll go out and be chatty, but I do not rely on her anymore, for anything.

      3. I have another good friend who is just not very deep. I like her a lot, we’ve travelled together and like a lot of the same things. But she & I never talk about anything important. That’s just who she is, so that’s what our friendship is.

      and finally

      4. About a year after Dday, I had a lovely little fling while I was traveling. Pretty much every other thing he said was a trigger to me. Was he honest? How could I use the stuff he was saying to peer into the future and prevent future heartache? — It was all an effort to keep from getting hurt again. I did break it off, for a variety of reasons, but in hindsight I think I was overly sensitive to triggers and red flags. And I know I won’t make any friends by saying this, but I made the mistake of sharing too much here (forums) at CN while that was happening and one chump in particular really freaked me out and amped up my already heightened sense of Danger! Danger!! I do think that guy wasn’t right for me, but I do think I overreacted to some of his stuff because *I* was too sensitive at the time.

      We are all raw from what happened and want to “fix our pickers” and not let it happen again. But what I have learned is that, if actions continue to support undesirable behavior (more so than words — maybe this is her way of thinking she sounds “strong,” or maybe she has coped to chumpdom badly by figuring if the world was shitty to her, she’ll be shitty back — who knows?), then I distance myself from that person. Maybe not carve them out entirely but … distance. Boundaries. I’m stronger now than I was then, so I can take a little jostling while I’m waiting for the situation to sort itself out — I can be braver now and still know I’m not getting chumped.

      I’d wait & see, personally. I, personally, was overly sensitive for a long time — still am, with men especially. It’s OK to be sparkly and, as Tempest said, to “not care what people think.” But maybe it’s all guff, maybe she’s trying to talk herself into being that person so SHE doesn’t get hurt again. Be aware, yeah, but…. (my two cents).

      • Thanks so much (again) for all the thoughtful comments. I think I am very sensitive at the moment NW and am so afraid of being ‘chumped’ again by a friend or anyone else. I do enjoy her company but think I will be just a bit wary. I’m thinking that getting the hang of this boundaries thing takes a while to perfect. Its as if I was swimming in clear blue water one day but now have to confront all shapes and sizes of ‘nasties’ in the water. Is it a dolphin or a shark? Time will tell. I guess that’s another thing I have on my side – time. No need to make any kind of hasty decision.

        • I’m sorry to say I tend to be a very black & white person. Either someone is “good” or they are “bad.” They are either “narcissistic” or they are not.

          Alas, life is rarely so simple. SO many of my friends are basically good people but they have their flaws. Me, too. (Shocking, I know. 😉 ) This is part of what makes me think I won’t ever allow myself to feel as connected to another person I as felt toward XH. A part of me, even if it’s microscopic, will always be waiting for the “only human” part of them to jump out and bite me on the ass. — I agree, though; Life is a lot more complicated since Dday. It’s all on shifting sands.

          • Of course nobody’s perfect, but some are less perfect than others. We all make mistakes, we’re all selfish at some point (due to stress, triggers, goals), but there is a difference between making a mistake that is acknowledged or explained, vs. making systematic mistakes of selfishness or dishonesty. I find some of my friends’ quirks quite endearing (as I hope they find mine); protracted dishonesty–not so much.

            • P.S. I think the “shifting sands” really means that we now know one’s life is not predictable and can blow up in our faces in a nanosecond. Feeling life is predictable reduces stress; we can no longer believe that entirely.

        • I think it’s enough to be aware that you can enjoy someone’s company without becoming emotionally involved.

    • Capricorn,
      Did this friend choose you? Or did you choose this friend?

      I had a somewhat similar experience. A woman befriended me (sought me out) right after dday. I was visibly shattered and extremely vulnerable. She seemed very empathetic and we talked deeply, for months. But slowly everytime we met the conversation was almost always entirely about her issues. I gave and gave and gave, because I am a chump and that is what seemed normal to me.

      However, a year later something happened between our kids and I respectfully tried to bring it to her attention and set a boudary, and she reacted with explosive rage. She refused to accept any responsibilty and blameshifted. Then immediately she switched to self pity. It shocked me and made me really think about what kind of person she is, based on her actions. I also reviewed her relationship with other people, particularly her kids and spouse, and saw that they are all experiencing extreme anxiety.

      I think narcs are very perceptive at seeing vulnerable chumps. And if someone is pursuing you for friendship I would be wary. I plan to do the choosing from now on.

      Try setting a boundary/discussing an issue with this woman and see how she reacts. Does she listen respectfully. Does she acknowledge and take responsibilty?

    • I’d say your “Picker” is great; this new friend is a user. She’ll chatter and talk about stuff, but mostly herself. She’ll be there for you as long as you’re not too much trouble.

      Enjoy her conversation, going for coffee, etc., but don’t get too caught up in her life. I’m willing to bet she’s got a lot of drama happening and she’ll inevitably turn to you to solve her problems and you’ll be all too happy to get up to your neck in them.

      You’re right–don’t get too involved.

  • Dear Shocked and Confused,

    Charles Manson had potential too.

    Check your picker and trust your spidey-sense.

    Round pegs can fit in square holes, doesn’t mean they belong there.

    You deserve so much more (note to self daily.)


  • Well, I guess the one good thing about my lying, cheating, STBXH giving me Herpes is I hate his guts and never want to see him again.

    • Lisa Lisa
      Amazing how low we have to set the bar to suggest something is ‘good’ here and only good in the sense that it helps against something even worse.

      • Yeah, it woke me right the hell up, though. This site has saved me, too! Who the hell was that girl that accepted the unacceptable? Who tolerated the intolerable? She’s gone now and I am mighty! Got me a good lawyer, too 🙂

    • LisaLisa,
      I was also left with a gift to from my X, more serious than herpes. It is a peculiar hell. I am sorry. I understand your hate, intimately. I have fantasies of chaining up my X in a basement and torturing him. Detailed fantasies. And the OW is there too. With a bicycle lock, like those metal U shaped one, around her neck, chained to a pole. I believe she was the “carrier”.
      So, I know hate.
      I want to let it go, but I will never forgive him. The sun could melt, dogs could talk, and cats could do calculus and I will still hate him.
      I want to say to him: Are you not nervous, having someone as smart, dedicated and well funded as me hate you so ferociously?
      I would be. He should be. The only thing he has going for him is I am healthy, well off and have some things to live for and have no desire to go on the run or do prison time. If those things go……that fuck boy needs to run for the hills.

      • Carmela,

        I am so sorry. The damage they can do with their betrayals is just plain evil. I hope you and I both get to the point where they aren’t making us feel evil, too, anymore.

        Mine had a “special” one for the last 2 years, but on when I discovered her in November, I also found messages with lots of other side women. So I don’t know if special skank gave it to him, but I know she has no idea about the others. I figure the best punishment for special skank is him. She can have him and his cheating on her is what she gets for fucking around with a married man. They can have each other. I am moving on. I wish you peace.

        • Lisa Lisa, I hope that peace comes.I have studied it from every angle: spiritually, philosophically, logically. I have meditated, prayed, begged for peace. It does not come. I *believe* it is because he is so unrepentant and brutal. If he showed any type of remorse, or apologized, my heart would soften. Being this -infuriated- is very new to me. I have forgiven people for egregious wrongs. This is a different animal.

          I detest the way it feels, like my heart was hijacked. I think: Shouldn’t he be punished? Why should he get away with this? I look at various types of evil in the universe that is not punished, from child and animal abuse, to murder victims, and I say: See? Evil just exists. You can’t fix it. You are not the cosmic avenger. Let it go.

          But yet….he intentionally deceived me, used me and harmed me, both physically, mentally, sexually and financially. He stole from me, gave me a disease and brought a whore to my vacation home.

          She left many packets of opened creamer and sugar hidden in drawers and I had a massive rat/mouse infestation. The place had just been renovated- brand spanking new and there was rat poop in my new kitchen that I paid for and designed. Brand new appliances, new hardwoods, new big windows and rat poop. She left a pair of her sunglasses and filthy panties in a kitchen drawer…so I would know. You see?

          If I had ever wronged him, or been mean to him, then I could let it go easily. But I treated him with utter respect, love, kindness! He left 10K cash in one of my cabinets, and I never touched a penny, helped him with his business and he steals from me.

          I could go on and on. I have never encountered this type of person…a person who fakes loves and then was planning a brutal discard.

          My hope is that life will kick him in the teeth. I also hope that going completely NC will ease the desire to ruin his life. I have stopped talking to anyone who can “update” me on his antics. I am going black out. If he died, I would not know.

          Cheating is primitive….jungle stuff. I scratch my head at these cheaters & OW who act like it is a big joke, playing around with someone’s life. Run across the wrong person, who has nothing to lose, and it can quickly turn into a tragedy. The biggest mistake of their life.

          • Carmela–very astute. What the OW did to you with the panties and the sugar packs, etc. is pure evil. I would not treat a moth the way that woman treated you. And for what? A sense of power and vindictiveness.

            “Being this -infuriated- is very new to me.” I’m with you on that. Two years out and the deep,dark rage has disappeared, most of the grief and pain has disappeared, but I have to acknowledge I am left with a cold core of hatred for my X. No-Contact has allowed a clarity of how deliberate, how cruel, his actions were toward me–the person he admitted served as his emotional rock, the mother of his children, the loyal partner of 24 years (19 married). And he remains remorseless and more engaged in blameshifting than taking responsibility (even though it cost him a relationship with one daughter).

            How can we not hate that level of evil? It is a cognitive and moral repudiation of their persistent actions, with those actions directed against US. The hatred does not eat at me the way it did year 1, but has become dispositional, activated only when I have some occasion to think about X. Then I move on to my normal daily activities.

          • Carmela, peace will come if you keep up the amazing NC. It is SO much to contend with, I know. I’ve been there, the absolute howling-at-the-moon rage that comes with being treated so poorly. My cheater did all that he did when I was carrying his child, and when I was miscarrying. There’s part of you that screams, WHO DOES THIS? But people do, and somehow, you learn to live again and even be happy in a world where personal injustices like these occur and go unpunished. But I just kept telling myself, would I trade places with him? No, I wouldn’t. Being these people is punishment enough, because no one can stay close to and happy with someone who treats people like they do. Everyone they are close to either leaves, gets discarded, or lives in hell, no matter how it looks from the outside.

            Eventually, time and new experiences give you distance and perspective, and as CL says, the walls in your house will sing with joy. Everything you are feeling is natural, but put you and your happiness first. Hugs to you.

          • Trust that life will kick him in the teeth. You don’t have to do a thing. Eventually, disordered people fuck up their own lives and by then no one cares.

  • I used to work with a lady who said, “when people show you who they are….believe them.”

    You’ll have less friends with standards but they will be actual friends.

  • My ex said he wanted to be like Garth Brooks. Garth Brooks cheated on his ex Sandy with Tricia Yearwood and now they all live on the same piece of property and are neighbors and he’s amazing friends with the ex and they co parent the kids like champs….life is grand.
    When I started asking for shit I deserved in the divorce and told the AP that we were still sleeping together and he was cheating on her…..where did Garth go?? He started pick me dancing for her, I was public enemy #1, and we are NC.
    He showed me who he is…a bunch of times….and I believe him.

    • Hah!!! My ex harbored a fantasy about a relative’s open living arrangement, wanting one just like that for himself … years he thought of it, only to find out from me that it wasn’t open at all, he had based it on what he thought, not what was actually true. Sounds like your ex is making stuff up, or reading trash magazines.

      With apologies to Garth fans …

      From what I can see from what seem like reliable sources (and I may be wrong), Garth cheated on his wife Sandy 13 months into their marriage, but they reconciled. He doesn’t say with whom he cheated. He has said that when he met Trish, having been married to Sandy, it felt like he was meeting his wife (I guess whom he felt should be his wife, Trish, not Sandy). He said he tried to make his marriage work with Sandy for 14 more years, but ultimately he asked himself what he wanted in life (and, surprise, surprise, it wasn’t Sandy). It doesn’t say Sandy lives on the same property, just that she’s a businesswoman and has never remarried.

      Sounds like Garth was distracted during his marriage to Sandy … and then did that lovely selfish thing cheaters do … Gee, what do I want in life? I know!!! I want kibbles!!! Poor me, I’ve tried so hard to make this work … (including not bothering to call Sandy from the road for 3 or 4 days … you know, being on the road takes its toll … it’s a tough life memorizing all those lyrics and chords and concert schedules and …. shit! What’s my home phone number???)

      My ex did something similar … implying he wanted out 2 years into our relationship, and surprise, surprise, the OW was around back then, but he stuck it out with me (until he stuck it into her) … what a great guy, he is, eh? What a martyr, what a victim!!!

  • I would block that jerk’s phone number on my phone, block his email address or indicate it as spam, remove any way possible for him to communicate! This guy is a total cake eater!

    He does not want “friendship.” He wants someone to molly coddle him while getting laid!

    I am so sorry that you went through this. You were smart to call off the engagement. But this guy is just slimy! My ex bounced back after our divorce was final and his OW kicked him out–and I was stupid enough to put him up (let him sleep in the couch). Huge mistake–played me like a fiddle all the while contacting OW and “making up with her! Ugh. Kicking him out a 2nd time was harder–he felt entitled!

  • You cannot “be friends” with a disordered cheater. To them, “friend” means Plan B. They have lots of “friends.” Just friends, right? If you watch carefully, they cycle through those “friends” to see who has the most to offer at the time, and move that “friend” to the front of the line. When that “friend’s” resources are depleted or another “friend” appears better situated, off they go.

    The Fucktard didn’t understand why I wouldn’t be friends with him after he lied to me, cheated on me, stole from me, messed with my career, and broke my heart. The answer was no. No. NO. When he blew up his own life years later, he still thought I should be there for him. Nope. Those Cluster B’s really do have a way of circling back around to revictimize those they have used before. Don’t be easy pickings.

  • Isn’t it funny how the tech these assholes rely on to get their jolies often undoes them? I caught Mr Fab because he left his FB im open, so there was twenty pages of junior high school level sweet nothings to print. You can’t argue with blue and white…

    Fast forward several years, we are pretty much NC, Kiddo lives with me, but is visiting with him for a few weeks in the summer. And he lends her his old phone, complete with an additional four years of schmoopie schmaltzery, annnnnd……pictures. Of Schmoopie (at that time, Kiddo’s aunt).

    Soooo, a couple years of therapy, Kiddo finally speaks to him about it, face to face. She had also found his stash, he is a dealer. His first words, “Your nosiness has made Schmoopie really uncomfortable, she doesn’t like knowing you have seen those pictures.”. Because compared to Schmoopie feeling a little embarrassed at Kiddo seeing all of her (saggy, apparently) glories, fucking your kid’s uncle/ neice’s father and lying about it for six years all while,playing happy families/neighbors is perfectly okay?

    When she told me this, I just said, “Sounds like Twu Wuv. Pass the ketchup, please.” I think the penny may have finally dropped for Kiddo.

    I am not a shrink, but cheating is part of a larger, sociopathic and narcissistic clusterfuck. What feels like surprise after surprise, during all the revelations: after a while you realize that is just the denial dissolving. Kiddo asked, “When did Dad become such a manipulative, delusional asshole?” I had to say he never wasn’t, but that since I stopped playing along, I wasn’t worth the effort, and that that pick me dance was over long ago.

    “He’s never gonna pick me over Schmoopie, is he, Mom?”
    “Nope, he will choose himself.”
    “Pass the ketchup.”

    Love to all Chump Nation. Every day, on step closer to Meh.

    • While adaptive in the long run, I find this whole kids-figuring-it-out immensely sad. Can’t go back to Eden after a bite of the apple.

      When I was 4 and went to my father’s office–him trim, in suit & tie, with the Mad Men-era slicked back hair, I remember thinking he was the most handsome dad in all the world. Fast forward a few years, after I’d seen him hold my mother’s throat up against the wall, received numerous harsh spankings from him, started to note that his criticisms far outnumbered his statements of praise, and I knew I was out of Eden. It felt so much better when I had thought he was the most handsome dad ever.

      • I also miss the naivete. I know it’s not adaptive but it sure made for a more reassuring and comforting existence, to believe the world is like that. I can never remember if it’s the red pill or the blue pill (Matrix) but sometimes I feel like Joey Pants: I just want to sit down with Hugo Weaving and eat a fake steak. — Alas, this way is better but it certainly is harder.

  • Where can I get a cardboard cutout of Stephen Fry???!!!!! You know even a cardboard cutout of Stephen Fry would be entertaining.

    I wish I’d had a cardboard cutout of X instead of the real thing. At least then I’d always know where its pecker was.

  • So talking to my almost 21 year old he was talking about how his view of his father has changed. He also knows (I wonder how….) to watch and listen. So he was having a conversation with his dad and his dad was listening and nodding and it was a fairly deep conversation apparently. So son says he pauses for a response and what comes is something like “so giraffe eyebrows, funny about those huh. “. Son sighs and realised that something similar always happened before but he didn’t really notice.
    Then son says. It’s like dad is wearing those fake gasses with eyes painted on the lenses themselves. So he could be asleep back there but we can see his eyes and assume there are all kinds of human things going on behind them. Only dad has the set where the eyelids blink every now and then…..

    Could have been so sad right? but we laughed so hard I couldn’t stand up. I am guessing that’s going to be a joke with legs.

  • What is with this friendship theme? Is there a bullshit feeder that tells you you must be friends with your x?
    “I got my hopes up for the possibility of a friendship. Is friendship really impossible?”
    You want to be friends with this POS?
    I don’t know, but I choose my friends for whom they are, by what we can learn and support each other. People that I’m on the same page with.
    Why would you want to be friends with a cheater and a liar? I think only you can answer this question. Is the position of power that he has? Fancy lifestyle? Find out WHAT and then go get THAT, not a guy that sees you as a funny little thing when he gets bored.

    • I do think the “let’s be friends” bullshit is another tool in the narcissist’s toolbox of manipulations and just another page from their ridiculously predictable playbook. My X tried it first as part of his charm offensive when he was trying to convince me to stay married but live separately as friends, like lots of couples do!

      When it became clear that wasn’t happening, he wanted to stay “friends” as part of his image management–oh, we just drifted apart but we’re still friends, why, haven’t you seen me out mowing her lawn, if you have, please post about it on Facebook so everyone will see what a great guy I am! Which someone did, clueless to the fact that he was repeatedly showing up at my house unannounced and without my permission, a habit that devolved into borderline stalking as the divorce negotiations progressed.

      After a long period of staying stuck on the rage channel because I wouldn’t be friends with him, followed through with the divorce, and got a fair settlement, he is now back to the whole “let’s be friends” crap. The motivation this time (and there’s always an angle) is to use my refusal of his invitation to have a friendly family holiday dinner together with our children as an opportunity to turn me into the villain, with him in the role of the victim of course–oh poor me, Mom is so mean and unreasonable, she refuses to get along.

      I hope the OP was able to see that attempts to be friends with you is part of the narcissist’s playbook and that no real friendship with them is possible.

  • With friends like these, who needs enemies? Agree with CL that this illustrates the importance of NC. And NC is blocking that person’s number, not just not contacting them. It’s cutting off as many avenues of contact as is possible. It’s deleting anything that comes through before you read it. It’s a proactive, defensive stance assuming the other person is going to be an asshole and try to contact you.

    I know that for myself, until I actually blocked that number, I was not really NC. I was secretly hoping he would contact me or “apologize.” I really wasn’t free until I made that decision. And my life has been 100% better since I made that call about what people I didn’t want in my life anymore.

    Stay strong everyone!

  • Sounds as though the Shocked’s ex-fiance has no qualms about repeatedly using Shocked. I hope that Shocked can detach herself from him long enough to appreciate the beauty of life without him. As I have kids with my STBX, I have to deal with abusive cheater to some extent. I am working on keeping the time to the minimum possible to do what I need to do for the kids and me. When I ask STBX for something that the kids need (e.g., permission to let the kids get assessment or treatment from a medical provider as we have joint legal custody), it’s very tempting to get into a text ‘discussion’ in which he falsely accuses me of doing something illegal/heinous or insults me and then I defend myself. I have spent way too much time dealing with attacks from my abusive STBX. More than two years since separation, I am still training myself to instead focus on good things and things over which I have control. The sooner we extract ourselves from the relationships in which we are constantly manipulated by selfish people who have no conscience the better.

    • Joint legal custodu – that must suck! I feel for you.
      Is it possible to just go ahead with the medical treatment without his permission? And send him the bill, of course! So he knows he is involved.

      I have custody of my son, but for his medical condition he expects me to beg him for his approval, money etc. I have no intention! I’d rather eat sandwiches for lunch for the rest of my life than ask him for anything!

    • Joint legal custody – that must suck! I feel for you.
      Is it possible to just go ahead with the medical treatment without his permission? And send him the bill, of course! So he knows he is involved.

      I have custody of my son, but for his medical condition he expects me to beg him for his approval, money etc. I have no intention! I’d rather eat sandwiches for lunch for the rest of my life than ask him for anything!

  • As usual, today’s column has been percolating through my brain while I’m going about my morning To-Do list. It seems several columns recently have been more about friends than cheaters (which is fine, by the way, as I’ve often said I sometimes think it’s the betrayal of my friends in ADDITION [and reaction] to XH’s behavior that has me more depressed overall about the state of humanity). But all this got me to thinking about friendship. — Forgive the length, I have an icy driveway I really don’t want to chisel, so I am procrastinating a bit.

    When we were little kids, friendship was easy. Frequently, I think, we were told other people were our friends, by well-meaning adults — parents, teachers, neighbors. “You and Sally are the same age, so you can be friends now!” That’s all it took: being born in the same time period, roughly.

    This is a warped concept of friendship, though, isn’t it? I had several “friends” in childhood who were terribly terribly mean to me. A chump, even back then, but who bucks against their parents. “He’s not my FRIEND! He’s MEAN!!” I would say. My parents would encourage me to try harder. Hmm.

    Fast forward about four or five decades and here we are. Harder to make friends, especially if you’re at all hermity, reclusive, introverted (raises hand). Even if I meet someone I think is interesting, either it’s hard to coordinate activities or “they’re really not into you.” I can’t tell anymore, truly, but I don’t try as hard since the divorce. I have two dogs who ALWAYS return my calls. 🙂

    So that swings us back around to remaining friends with someone who broke our heart… and then some. It seems a shame to one day, out of the blue sometimes, have nothing further to do with someone we’ve spent decades of our lives with. What a WASTE, right? Here’s the person I invested in. He knows me. I know him (hahahahahhahahahhaahahahaha — Psych!!). Just throw that away?? But… but… but….

    XH left me once, early in our relationship, after we’d been going out for about two years. He had this idealized attitude toward this girl named Amy he’d known before he & I started dating. I knew she didn’t feel about him the way he felt about her, and besides, way back then, I was young & fit & beautiful – he wants to leave? Fine, fucker, Seeya!! — Still, though, I thought I could be “mature” and be friends with him. He’d come over to the house and we’d watch a movie together. After he would leave, I would cry, sometimes for a very long time. — Things didn’t work out with Amy so he asked to come back, I said yes, and then he left me again fifteen years later for a 25 year old girl who looks REMARKABLY like Amy did way back then.

    The point is: Friendship is a weird concept. What is it, really? People who share the same values, the same interests, someone who “gets” you, someone you WANT to spend your time with because being with them enriches your life. — NOT Kathy Mihalski, my sixth-grade “friend” who used to hide my bicycle every time it was time for me to go home because it was funny to her that I would end up in trouble with my dad for being late. As the saying goes (an oldie but a goodie!): With friends like that, who needs enemas?

    I don’t know why there’s a drive to be friends with people who treat us badly. Investment, maybe. Guilt. Some warped ideas about ‘maturity.’ Dopamine, maybe oxytocin….

    Break the addiction. Say “No” to bad friends.

    • Break the addiction, indeed. I’m finding a desire to break the addiction in multiple areas of life.

      (Warning–rant coming). I put an offer on a house I liked. I found the house myself, constructed the contract myself, and then offered effectively a full-price offer, minus the 3% the seller could save by not paying a real estate agent on my side. Their counteroffer came back FULL price, with an argument about how the seller’s real estate agent deserved double commission, an insistence I accept a 40+ year old house ‘As Is’ (rather than the caveats I’d added that the seller pays if there are foundation or infestation problems). In addition, they had neglected to inform me there is a lien against the house for $80K in back taxes!!

      I issued an ultimatum to sign my original agreement within 24 hours or it’s off the table, but frankly I am tempted to cut and run because none of this seems fair or ethical to me. Am I going too far in requiring integrity even from people I do business with? Have I become a moralistic nut job? Is the real estate agent’s Darwinian approach to business standard, and I should just accept a lack of transparency in business dealings? Advice/thoughts welcome.

      • Tempest
        I don’t have much to offer really. I was a bit of a moralistic nut job even before I knew I was a chump. I believe the term used around me was ‘puritan’ as in work hard and pleasure is wrong or unnecessary. Hmm that made me think about friends as above in NW’s post and why I have never had many lol.
        IMO you did the right thing with the original contract in 24 hours. Puts down a clear marker exactly where you wanted it. Amazingly awesome that you are doing all these things solo.
        I am a bit moralistic and fond of ethical behaviour. I have always been this way. I once dobbed in a whole chemistry class because someone had stolen the test and everyone knew what was coming. I just have a strong sense of fairness. My cheater actually said this in his letter he wrote to break it off with two OW’s (recycling is good right…..) and I quote ‘Cap has been my rock, my support and my moral compass and my best friend for all these 22 years’. Hmmm I guess he ignored the compass pretty well.

        One other thought springs to my mind. I am an idiot who likes things ‘right’ so if I felt that the house purchase felt tarnished in some way I would not proceed (but see nut job reference above).
        I have turned down perfectly good houses because I didn’t like the people who had lived in it before. I felt their vibes would carry through.

        I may be old fashioned but I like having a strong set of ethics. I feel that they are necessary and in a therapy context protect people from harm. Being chumped has suddenly made me feel that I am very much in a minority in seeing infidelity as harm. I suddenly feel the need to establish if people around me or who I have dealings with are or have been cheats. I was just wondering this morning how I can find out if my (male) physiotherapist has ever cheated! Might be a tad over doing it at the moment.

        I am almost certain that none of this mindless rambling will have helped you at all. I think I feel I owe you so much for all your help lately I really wanted to help but don’t know the answer!
        I’m posting this because its taken ages even though it makes me seem bonkers :-)))

        • Thank you, Capricorn–your answer has helped a lot. My gut is screaming “danger” right now. I have now seen several red flags of ethics and fairness in this transaction, and my desire is to withdraw my offer entirely. I admit, in part, to administer a lesson to the real estate agent (the ‘Puritan’ in me, perhaps), but mainly because I will not trust any other document from her that crosses my desk. Time to bail, I think.

          And this just in–just as I had decided to withdraw my offer on the house, I received a long email from the real estate agent that the seller was withdrawing her offer, filled with patronizing insinuations that I don’t know what I’m doing, and rationalizations for the lack of transparency on part of the seller/real estate agent. My gut was right, and I should have followed it immediately instead of second guessing myself. Relief, at least, that the issue is over.

          • Tempest.
            I think the fact that your instinct kicked in and you listened is pretty impressive. I wouldn’t chide yourself for not acting on it immediately because IMO that’s your kind/benefit of the doubt/ hopeful/glass half full, side.
            I think if you were ‘harder’ or less trusting rather than appropriately discerning that would be terrible as it would mean that the inner core of your genuine kindness and empathy had been dealt a death blow by your cheater ex. He’s taken so much from you already. It’s good that he hasn’t taken your heart of gold.

          • Tempest,

            I’m relieved on your behalf. In spite of it being a house you wanted, the situation sounds fraught with pitfalls, most of which you probably never even knew about. Let’s face it, how many of us have sold a car or house with a little glitchy problem we’d rather not mention?

            Also, I have direct sympathy, as well, since the selling of my own house last year (god, was it really only last year?) was kind of a nightmare. The short version is that I sold it to my neighbors who (I thought) wanted to use it as an office for the wife, or maybe a B&B. These were the only neighbors I’d’ve considered myself friends with (antisocial me) — we chatted on one another’s driveways, I was always invited to their (many) parties, I bike along when they took their daughter to the park (at the daughter’s insistence, and I am NOT a kid person! so it was her choice!). — Sorry, I said “short story.” —

            Anyway, they had some weird tax thing so they had to close by a certain date. No problem…. UNTIL they gave me the contract (no agents for either of us). Hey, she’s an attorney, so it should be good…, right????? Umm, no. I thought I should at least run it by an attorney so I used my other friend’s real estate attorney and he said it was all wrong, from the type of form she used, to the various terms (such as “escrow” and … other stuff — I’ve repressed it). As soon as I — very gingerly — offered her a corrected version, prepared by an actual real estate attorney, she turned into a lunatic and stopped speaking to me. It was the exact same monies, only with rearranged distributions. All future communications went through the husband. — At the end, I hadn’t heard from them in response to several emails about items on the appraisal, so I thought maybe they’d changed their minds — I was sort of changing my mind, too, so I thought, OK, well, good, and sent them another email asking if the deal was off since I hadn’t heard from them? Ten minutes later, there’s a knock on the door. It’s the husband, who reports his wife is “freaking out” because I’m backing out of the deal. Umm, WHO didn’t respond to previous emails???

            There’s a lot more fun stuff in there, too, about them turning my beloved home of fifteen years into some sort of public use space, which was SUCH an innovative concept that the local paper featured a story about it, and another friend posted the link to my FB page… and there’s XH’s ugly mug right in the middle of the front page photograph, there he is, teaching Bartending classes in the kitchen he & I remodeled together back when I thought he actually loved me….

            ANYWAYYYYYYY. for future reference, NO, I do not think it’s unreasonable to expect ethical behavior from professionals. I’m a veterinarian, and I take it very seriously that people are frequently forced to put their trust in me (I work in ER), so I do everything I can to be as upfront and transparent as possible. — Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we were all like that? I think so.

            • Wow, NWB, what a nightmare. I remembered the story of X in your old house, but didn’t realize the backdrop of the story. I realize business can bring out the worst in people, and I know you must have been diplomatic in replacing the incorrect form with the correct contract. Thank goodness you don’t have to have any further dealings with them now that you are hundreds of miles away. I just wonder how people can be so un-self aware, and so un-aware of how they are perceived based on sketchy behavior? I have as strong self-preservation instincts as anyone, but could never preserve myself by deceiving someone else.

              Now that I have indicated to the real estate agent that I have backed out of the deal because of her lack of transparency and ethics, I’m sure the real estate agent thinks I am (a) judgmental; (b) naive & over my head in real estate dealings. I might have been tempted to blame myself, too, except that an offer I had put on a previous house (but did not sell my house in time to meet the contingency) was smooth & joyful because both parties were honest. This whole tainted transaction was a reminder that I cannot control what other people think or do, and if I behave ethically, I have permission to not care what other people think.

              I also insinuated to the agent that, when they do not get the price they want for their house in the spring, do not call me. That ship has sailed.

            • NW
              I’m not going to presume anything about your childhood but that’s where I got my loner self from. Constantly had to watch out for the mood and act accordingly. I developed an exceptionally sensitive radar for other people’s mood. And managing it to avoid trouble. My greatest gift is being able to detect if words match feelings.
              I’m a great therapist I think. My true comfortable easy self. But generally with others I’m rubbish. Constantly watching and scanning for trouble, hints that what is being said doesn’t ring true. Exhausting. It’s much easier on my own.
              But I like my own company a lot! Difference between people who enjoy being alone and are comfortable. Loners. And people who don’t want to be alone but can’t fit in. Pseudo loners.
              So when my cheater cheated it was so painful. What did I miss??? How did all my radars not go off. My only answer so far is that he genuinely believes what he is saying at the time. He does love me when he is with me. He also loved the OW when with them.
              I do not want another relationship except with myself. I hate the thought of another man anywhere near me at the moment. I feel vulnerable and angry.
              You are hard on yourself antisocial, hermit like. Etc.
              We are party’s of one. Not weird but self sufficient, good in our own skin, intellectual non joiners (my favourite phrase ever….!). I say no to gatherings, I say no to parties, I don’t like them. Too much for me and my big reception disk to process.
              I like books and pjs and quiet and more quiet. I just feel happy then.
              Takes all sorts.

              • I’ll respond to both you (Capricorn) and Tempest, because it’s late and I’ve just said goodbye to a houseful of people (book club!).

                Capricorn: Presume away. ACOA (Adult Child of an Alcoholic), loner child, very good at “taking the temperature of the room” at all times. — Yes, XH believed his own lies. And, my own marriage-story, I chalked up SO many things to other very reasonable reasons: youth, lack of experience (life, sexual, etc.), then later work obligations, even strong work ethic (he’s there so MUCH!!! he is COMMITTED!!!).

                In some ways, I’m very proud that I had no idea XH was falling in love with someone else right under my nose. I trusted him. And should I ever venture down that road again (into relationship-ness), I plan to trust again. I’m not interested in policing a relationship. If a man (or woman) can’t control himself (herself), then I am in no way interested in being responsible for reining them in.

                Tempest: I don’t think there are many people who occupy the niche you & I (and a few others) have come to represent in the world. I still trust and love. I still think people are basically good. But all my systems are on alert, at all times. And if it turns out you fucked with me — god help you if you did it intentionally and with foresight — then no one can save you. It may be as simple as a cold-hearted walk-away (rather than making a big scene) but it is irreversible, non-negotiable. I will not explain, discuss or justify. The answer is simply No. We are a rare breed. I am done explaining. And god help them if then insinuate that I am stupid, or less-than.

                … That’s all. I am weary. And perhaps a bit intoxicated. So I’m off to snuggle some furry beasts. G’night, all.

      • Tempest, if I were you, I’d look at other houses. Walk away. If they chase you down the sidewalk and agree to your deal, that might be fine. But you don’t need to deal with assholes. Don’t give their agent a double commission to take you for a ride. You’ll need proof that the title is clear, like that the back taxes will be paid out of escrow funds. You’ll want that inspection and any contingencies it shows. I’ve seen homes sold “AS IS” that got mysteriously trashed after buyer had a good look see. Those people don’t pass the smell test because they smell bad. If dealing with them for a short time makes you want a shower, imagine litigating with them for years.

        • You’re absolutely right, Survivor. The real estate agent did not pass the smell test, despite her seemingly stellar exterior (where have we all seen that before?). That wench effectively bilked a 77-year old widow who owes $81K in back taxes out of a full price offer, because of the agent’s greed at getting a 6% commission. Evil sometimes resides in a professional demeanor.

      • Sounds way too complicated (a little unethical to boot) and the 80K back taxes is disturbing. Stick to your guns or maybe just back out all together.

    • NW
      IMO it all comes down to wanting to be liked/loved/part of a tribe. When we are young our parents use our ability to make and keep friends as a useful gauge as to our sociability/likeability which, if high, makes everybody’s life easier. If we don’t make friends easily or don’t seem to want them then I think this can make parents worry and they will put extra efforts into making sure they find the niche that their child will fit into. As we get older we make friends primarily through proximity mainly (college, work, school gates) and also through hobbies and shared interests. Friendship is seen as a measure of social and psychological health. I was going to go on here but….
      you recommended the book F*ck Feelings which I ordered.

      When my cheater did his thing I ordered two books:
      Solitude by Anthony Storr
      Party of One – the loners manifesto

      I love them. Party of One is mighty for ‘hermity, reclusive, introverted’ types. Enjoy :-))

      • I’m an extrovert, but interested in the insights in those books.

        “Party of One” sounds like what many of us may be doing New Year’s Eve. See all you Party of One-ers in the forums!

        • I’m going to a fancy restaurant — supposedly the best in town — on the suggestion of a local wine guy. He & his wife are going, with some friends, and they invited me along. — Very nice, right? I’m already pre-anxious about being a fifth wheel that I went looking for my Xanax today. It’ll be fine. What will happen is what always happens: the first fifteen minutes will go well, then I’ll say something really stupid/awkward/inappropriate then spend the rest of the night trying to hide at the bottom of a wine glass. Taxi!!

          • You will not have to hide in your wine glass!! Go, have fun, be your witty, authentic self, and legitimize that coupledom is not needed for good company!

      • I haven’t read either of those, so thanks for the recommendation.

        I also think my parents just wanted me out of the house, so they foisted me on “friends” in the neighborhood. God knows, if they were looking for some sort of hope or validation about their little book nerd, they were probably disappointed every time my report card came back with “plays well with others” always checked a few ticks lower than everything else. 🙂 Oh well, that focus comes in mighty handy when someone’s dog comes into my clinic after having been run over by a car. It takes all kinds to make the world go ’round.

  • The Evil One/exh#2 sent me three text messages, 2 phone calls, and even left a voicemail one Monday night a few weeks ago. I missed all of it until the next morning as I was rushing to get ready for work and DD ready for school. I was about to reply explaining that i hadnt heard my phone the night before, and was about to reply when i thought of all those nights he was AWOL for 12+++ hours and wouldn’t reply to my texts or phone calls, so I went along my day…

    His reason for the barrage of texts and calls? He heard a 9 y-o little girl had died in a car crash on a road near my house on the Friday before and was checking with me to make sure it wasnt our daughter.

    I then find out that just after texting me Monday night, he had contacted my best friend on Facebook messenger and she assured him all was well that night.

    So then i was so glad I didnt respond…he, of course, got pissed that i didnt respond and tried to bait me further by sending a text along the lines of how he had to hear from someone else that our daughter was fine…fucking idiot…

  • Yes! CL can save you $ & therapy sections. I was a passive reader for a year here. All stories are so familiar that it made me feel that I am not crazy. I started writing. Now I feel more confidence with you guys. Now I just started my divorce process. Mr. Cheaters pants does have $ for the retation fee. Who paid for it? MOI … For worst Mr. Cheaters is @ home & I am out of town. My kid has a cell phone so he doesn’t have to talk to me however he asks for me to tell me something stupid about the mail or something. Once the divorce
    is final my strategy will be “parent wizard program” = do not talk to me MOFO ?

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