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Quit Waiting for an Apology

so_sorryI think we should revisit the whole chump phenomenon of needing an apology from your cheater.

It’s so galling. They broke this relationship, this family, and they’re not one bit sorry! Well, they SHOULD be! I demand an apology! And I refuse to heal until I get one! I’ll just turn blue while I wait for closure.

Yeah. Totally self defeating. Let’s examine the whole apology thing.

1) Don’t you have better things to do? Waiting for an apology from your cheater, not feeling like you’re going to put this nightmare to rest until you get one, is giving your cheater an awful lot of power over you. And it’s exactly what they want — centrality. To know that they influence your mental state so much, that they can make you dance if only you get that “apology.” Desperately needing an apology is currency to a disordered person. Hmm. I wonder what you’ll do if I give you this apology. How badly do you need it? Can I come home? Will you lend me some money?

2) What is an apology from a liar? It’s words. It’s bad stock. You need some tangible assets. Cash on the barrelhead, son. We don’t take credit.

Sorry is as sorry does. Only look at their actions. Demand renumeration (a postnup, an uncontested divorce settlement). They balk at that? They aren’t sorry.

3) It’s unjust. So just eat the shit sandwich already. You’re angry that you got chumped. I get it. Part of getting to meh is accepting the injustice. It wasn’t fair. It was wrong. Your trust was sorely abused. You don’t need the apology to know it was unjust. You can accept the injustice and trust your senses without them acknowledging it. Sucks, of course. But the reality doesn’t change.

4) It’s broken. You can’t unring that bell or unfuck that whore. An apology isn’t going to glue together what’s broken. It’s acknowledging responsibility for breakage, that’s it. Figure out what you want. Are you guilty of magical thinking? Do you want things that cannot be put right put right again? (The whore to be unfucked) or do you want a reality check from your cheater acknowledging that they did this. Okay, they admitted it. They feel bad. Not half as bad as you feel. Now what?

5) Stop looking to your cheater to validate you. That’s what the need for an apology is — validation that you mattered. You’re asking the person who hurt you to make this better. This is the  LAST person likely to make it better. If they were invested in making things better they would not have cheated on you, lied about it, gaslighting you, blameshifted, and taken all the power tools and crystal decanters when they left.

Find your comfort elsewhere. Of course you matter. Surround yourself with the people who don’t need a remedial course on that.

6) What are you going to do with a sincere apology? No — REALLY. Assuming you ever get one, what are you going to do with it? Reconcile with them? Second guess yourself? Do the you-are-so-wrong-I’m-glad-you-finally-admitted-it happy dance? Revel in the validation that they Get It? Oh hurrah, the dim person Has Seen the Light!

Newsflash — it was obvious to everyone that running off and abandoning your spouse and three children for some nitwit they connected with on FaceBook was a ruinous, painful decision. It’s only clear to them NOW? What are you supposed to do with that? Are they going to refund you the last 15 years of your life?

Do you want the satisfaction of closing the door in their face? Oh HA! See how it FEELS, sucker! You want to be the powerful person for once?

Then you’re still enmeshed with them. You care what they feel. You still want to “win.”

The name of the game is meh. Don’t care.  They are yesterday’s news.

I’m not being bitter, chumps. A heartfelt apology is a beautiful thing — but notice how the really gruesome things in life don’t get apologized for until ages after the harm was done. The Catholic Church just said sorry to Galileo 500 years after the fact. I’m sure Galileo’s moldering corpse really appreciates it.

Betraying your spouse, inflicting that kind of harm on someone, requires more than an apology. Or buckets of them. It’s a long, slow, humbling grind toward self improvement. Waiting for that character transplant requires a huge investment from the chump — a risk with terrifically bad odds, that I would implore you not to make.

On the off chance that they grow that much character, and spend the required years in therapy — by the time you get an apology, you will be so moved on that it won’t matter. It will be a big shrug. Oh. It’s you. What do you want?

Because they want something. At best, apologizing will be for them, to salve their conscience. At worst, it’s another onslaught of manipulation. This theater you humans call “remorse” has worked in the past. Do a little play-acting and the gates open to the kingdom of cake!

Keep the gates shut. Let them keep their apology. Or accept it in the spirit you received that ugly sweater from Aunt Mildred when you were 13. “Oh, um, thank you.” A well intended, useless item from someone who doesn’t really get you at all. Stuff it in the back of your closet.

This column ran previously. 

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  • Agree. Their apologies are going to be self serving anyways. I personally hate apologies. They come after the person has deliberately screwed you over for their own gain.

    • STBX demanded that I reinstate the kids’ swim lessons (that I pay for), and complained that I had no right to make such “unilateral” decisions. LOL. So I told him I would have considered consulting him on such matters if he had ever apologized for how poorly he treated me when he left me. His answer: “Apologize for what? Apologies are not in the contract!” (The “contract” he refers to is the post nup that I made him sign after the Dday #2.) Fair enough, I have traded my pathetic need for a “sincere” apology for my fat 401k that he can’t touch. Excellent trade!

      Then he threatened to “invoke the contract” and sue me for canceling the kids’ swim lessons (did I mention I pay for them?). This is the third time he has threatened to “invoke the contract” for stipulations that he imagines are in there that protect him. Ha ha. He’s a lawyer and clearly never read what he signed. Move along, loser.

      • OMG! Mine is a lawyer as well and apparently didn’t read the Agreed Order. I keep having to point him to the governing language and he acts like he is SHOCKED that I’m right. I don’t get it. I guess he was too focused on his twu luv ho-worker to worry about little things like his visitation with his child. I shouldn’t be surprised, he did voluntarily give me sole custody.

        • [Sigh] You know what they say. Any attorney who has himself for a client is a fool. My lawyer ex was having an affair with a divorce attorney, who was simultaneously in the middle of divorcing from her husband, another divorce attorney. You’d think he would have picked up some good legal advice from her. Instead, he offered to “kick her to the curb” (his words) when I found out, but then he grieved so hard for schmoopie, I regretted taking him back. Months after STBX stopped contacting her, she sent him a text message: “You have ruined me for all other men.” Poor sucker. Would she still want him now that he is whoring it up with strangers, engaging in S&M at kink munches and dungeons, flirting with bisexuality (for the attention), and offering up that shit sandwich he likes to call an “open marriage”? Perhaps.

          Thanks to CL, STXB has not ruined me for other men, just other narcs. Someday when I’m ready, I’ll date again, but in the meantime, when my friends offer to take me out clubbing so I can get laid, I just say “No thanks, if I wanted to have sex with strangers, I’d still be married.”

          • GorillaPoop,
            The situation you describe is all kinds of messed up! I am laughing in horror and sympathy at your description (of interaction with your manipulative, aggressive STBX), which shows a humorous, resilient outlook on an awful situation.

            Shortly before D-Day #1, while organizing my home files, I opened up a file that showed paperwork on three companies my husband was simultaneously planning to sue–and he’s not a lawyer. I doubt that the people at these companies did anything other than tell my now STBX that they would not tolerate him abusing them. My STBX always wants to ‘invoke the contract, too’–when it’s in his favor.

      • “Invoke the contract!” I’m dying. All I can hear is George Costanza’s father yelling it after “Serenity NOW!”

    • I apologize to myself for putting up with so much abuse from X.

      Meeting his psycho family was a huge red flag, I wish the first meeting had been the last.
      Brit, when you’re ready lets work on our picker and listen to your gut. Thanks**

    • “The Catholic Church just said sorry to Galileo 500 years after the fact. I’m sure Galileo’s moldering corpse really appreciates it.” Just made me laugh so hard.

      You’re so right, CL!!! No need for apologies. Sever. Cut. Purge. Co-parent. Moooooove on. Nothing to see here, folks. nothing to see.

  • I did get an apology on D-Day along with “You didn’t deserve this to happen to you” the next day she was meeting up with arse face.

    An apology from crazy woman would be…

    You keep the house, your pension, savings and have the kids whenever you like…I’ll have the kids that suits your schedule, you don’t need to pay maintenance you’ve done more than enough for us over the last 25 years. You’re a good man and I took that for granted, I’m selfish and will get all i deserve..go and have a wonderful, joy filled life.

    The last bit about having a wonderful, joy filled life I will try my best to do, this is the only thing that I have full control over…keep your apology and shove it up your ARSE!

    • I love the “you didn’t deserve this” tripe.

      Who exactly, aside from cheaters themselves, “deseverves” to be cheated on?

      • I think it’s projection and it’s telling. Frankly, they *DO* think you deserve to be cheated on. You’re a chump. There is a lot of contempt in cheating. To say you don’t “deserve” it is to deny their actual feelings, their justifications they used, the playing you for a fool, the condescension — yes, you deserve it. For Not Sufficiently Appreciating Them. For being trusting. For being dumb and “letting” them get away with it.

        Seen through that lens? It makes sense.

        • Ouch. I never thought of the cheating this way. Entitled and sad sausage, yes, but a direct reflection of contempt for me?

          My STBX has told me numerous times that he is sorry, didn’t mean to hurt me, and he doesn’t deserve me. I just agree that he doesn’t. Plus, if he was really sorry, he wouldn’t be trying to deplete assets and hide income to get out of paying additional support. His words mean nothing.

          • Think back on all the lies your cheater told, ways he devalued during the cheating. They do have contempt for us. It took NC for months, plus finding out all the horrifc things my X had done behind my back to fully understand the level of contempt mine had for me. And he absolutely thinks he deserved to be able to cheat on woefully-deficient wife Tempest.

            • That is a hard pill to swallow. Even though you know in your head that you didn’t deserve it or cause it, it doesn’t keep the sting of rejection from wounding your heart. They suck.

              • It has nothing to do with rejection, really. It’s all about rationalization. I was a very good partner and wife. He didn’t reject ME, he devalued me to give himself permission to hurt me. Only schmucks cheat on good spouses, and he doesnt think of himself that way, ergo if he was cheating then the only logical conclusion in his mind is that I’m awful. It’s revisionist history to suit their agenda and maintain their high opinions of themselves. You weren’t rejected, you were the scapegoat to his self regard.

            • I agree, Tempest. I have never seen a case where the cheater is not trying to pay back the betrayed for some reason. They know they are hurting you and the kids. Underlying all cheating is some resentment and anger toward the faithful spouse.
              Cheaters are evil people. Black and white, right? Unevolved, simplistic, right? We are exaggerating their degree of evil, right?
              Funny, one , virtually, never hears these types of accusations or characterizations from the betrayed. Only cheaters or those who have never been through it do this type of characterization.
              As for apologies, do not hold your breath. As has been mentioned, the type of person capable of cheating is not the type of person who has empathy or much in he way of self reflection.
              I know, for an absolute fact, that I will never get an apology from my XWs, despite the fact that they call me to talk about the kids all the time and act as if we are great friends.

            • This article is right on time. And I realized cheating was a spit in the face. It is an act of aggression. Contempt.

              So, help me. How do you get past the need for revenge? Because that is my biggest hurdle. I want this mofo to suffer. I want him to cry when his eyes pop open in the morning. I want him to know what it is like to have to consciously hope you do not lose your mind.

              I hate it when people say, Oh, he is miserable. No, he’s not. He does not believe he has done anything wrong. He does not believe the rules of fair play apply to him…he is so special, don’t you know?

              • I soooooo am this! ^^^^

                I don’t ever want him back in my life, but I do want him to suffer. I’m learning through CN that might never happen because he doesn’t have real emotions–at all.

              • “How do you get past the need for revenge?” You don’t. At least not for a long while. Instead you separate the kind of person you’re willing to be in action from the thing that feels really good to think about. I considered all kinds of revenge tactics, including publicly humiliating ex and the OW, and having the OW fired. I was willing to entertain the gratification of those thoughts, but I was not willing to entertain the burden on my conscience from enacting them. I find that there is just as much power (or more) in actively choosing NOT to do something as there is in doing it.

              • I think you have to accept at a certain level that you will never get justice. That’s what the revenge fantasy is. I share those feelings, but I find that when I immerse myself in my career search, computer programming work, or hobbies, I tend to forget that need. We all heal at different rates. I’d try to redirect that energy into something that’s going to benefit you like art, or education.

              • I am right there too! If I hear one more time that he is miserable I will throw up. No he is not, he has everything he wants, his “tru luv” living with her not paying any bills but his new truck payment, no responsibilities, her doing everything I did for him. It’s perfect for him. Why would he be miserable. he is free. I want him and her to suffer like I did. I am better off without all that bullshit, but they broke up two 27 year marriages and now act like it’s no big deal. Just asking for a little karma here! 🙂

              • “So, help me. How do you get past the need for revenge? Because that is my biggest hurdle. I want this mofo to suffer. I want him to cry when his eyes pop open in the morning.”

                But this is the same thing as wanting him or her to apologise.

                Best thing you can do is make a good life for yourself and (if you’ve got any) your kids. It’s a long game, but eventually they’ll see the evidence that they just don’t matter to you anymore. This will hurt them more than anything done out of anger today – it’s taken four years but I am watching this play out in my life now.

              • I actually GOT an apology after 2 years. I found it a bit … Annoying really because I was trying to talk to him about something else. He topped it of by extending his hand and that’s when I nearly vomited.

                Nope, didn’t make any difference at all.

              • Me too. Apparently I am still not at Meh where I don’t care if he suffers too or not. Only thing I can relish right now is he was willing to let go of me, a real person who gives her fucking mighty best 110% in the relationship. I play for keeps, homies. And he has let go of all of that for the sake of some strange courtesy of ho-worker groupies.

                Sorry, I don’t accept exchanges or refunds.

              • I’m 2 years out and not past an abstract desire for revenge. I’ve simply decided he’s not worth my effort in any realm. But I’m still plenty angry. Do I hope he gets internal parasites? Yup. Do I hope his 20-year younger GF/AP realizes she should run? Yup. Would I taser him, given half a chance? Yup. When does that desire fade? Someone farther out than me will have to answer. What definitely fades by year 2 is the willingness to lift a finger in the cheater’s direction for either good or bad.

              • Right there with you Kendal K. I think our need for revenge goes away the more we rebuild our life and truly realize it is better than it would have been with our X. Plus most of our cheating exes, are extremely disordered dumbasses. People who are that fucked up don’t tend to all of a sudden make good decisions. I believe one day they will make a choice that ends very painfully for them. We might not be around to see it, but trust me they are their own worst enemy. They can’t escape themselves, so the chaos they create around them will one day overtake them.

            • I had mine actually articulate the words “maybe familiarity does breed contempt” ….oh cheers for that . pity we couldn’t have an adult conversation about your perverse feelings before you planned your scorched earth exit. But hey when you feel so entitled you’re the sort of person to think its OK to take the mattress off the bed and beer out of the fridge as you leave … Yeah I don’t lie awake at night dreaming of an apology . there would be nothing he could say or do to make that shit storm OK.

        • In the words of my narc ex himself, ” it’s a lot easier to ask forgiveness than for permission”, and later after failed wreckoncilliation ” counsellors don’t work for me because I only say whatever makes me look good”.
          And I questioned if he was a narc or just borderline ?? Yikes!

          • Funny, the exhole I was married to used to tell me that all the time: “I’d rather ask for forgiveness than permission.” I should have probably run the first time I heard that. Live and learn I guess. It does seem to be a favorite quote among cheaters so I’m guessing it’s in their handbook!

        • Makes sense. My ex contorted herself into knots trying to come up with ways that I was a bad husband worthy of her cheating. I’m not perfect, as none of us are, but she sure did have a hard time making her case. She learned to keep it vague — no specifics about what was actually wrong, other than she was “crawling out of her skin.” How tragic!

          But as you say, CL, it’s because I had stopped worshiping the amazingness that was her. I’m a chump, so I still adored her, but I’d accepted that she was far from perfect or amazing…because none of us are. I thought this more honest, more mature view of one another was mutual. How wrong I was! Ergo: I “deserved” to be cheated on.

        • CL. You nailed it! After 34 years of being married to the narc..& me getting irritable bowel syndrome from the stress being the marriage police.. He just walked out & never looked back. I’m sure he apologized to his whore for things he couldn’t do for her. I don’t need his apology being it would all be a lie anyway. When I called her a “whore” he said .. she’s not a whore. Yea…we all know that woman that sleep with married men are self respecting and good people. Needing an apology from the evil sociopath is not what I need or care to ever receive

        • “There is a lot of contempt in cheating. To say you don’t “deserve” it is to deny their actual feelings, their justifications they used, the playing you for a fool, the condescension — yes, you deserve it. ”

          And don’t forget the “you didn’t try hard enough (to do whatever)” excuse that gets dredged up.

          You can’t afford to be too nice in this world.

    • I got the same “you didn’t deserve any of this” bullshit, while he also continued cheating. Clearly he DID think I deserved it, otherwise he wouldn’t have done it in the first place. Also, the constant blame-shift (“you need to take responsibility for your role in all of this”) clearly indicates that he thought I brought it on myself, and therefore deserved being cheated on and discarded.

      They’re all the same. If they apologize at all, it’s the minimum amount needed to get you to shut up already. I didn’t shut up about it because I could see right through his apologies (“I’m sorry you got hurt” is not an apology), and he accused me of being unreasonable, unforgiving, and impossible to please.

      I admit that I still hold out for a REAL apology someday, though for the reasons CL gives I need to let it go. All it does is prove that I still have false hope that he’s capable of being a better person than he has thus far demonstrated himself to be. I do NOT want reconciliation. I do want validation that I mattered, and that I didn’t imagine everything that we shared for 10 years. But of course I know that I didn’t matter (to him), and I did imagine a greater level of significance to our life and short marriage than was actually present. I’m working on the validation thing.

      May they all swallow a spider in their sleep.

      • Free Vixen — you have captured my feelings EXACTLY. KK is the female equivalent of your fuckwit. Each of the quotes you attribute to him I heard as well, and I to have false hope that she’s capable of being a better person that she has thus far demonstrated herself to be.

        Nothing beats CN validation. Thanks for giving me mine today.

        • CN validation is powerful. If not for it, I would still be convincing myself that I was unreasonable and overly sensitive. This is where I learned to establish boundaries and hold to them, and how entirely reasonable and normal those boundaries are.

          • Geeze FV. Look into my soul why don’t you. In solitary moments of weakness when my carefully constructed guard is down I quite literally find myself raggedly gasping for breath and agonizing over “Why?” That one word haunts me. I know I am better off on my own. I know I am a good and caring person. I know my love is reciprocated by everyone I value. And yet, somehow I am still suffering because I feel “less than” to a repugnant troll who sees me as human detritus to be scraped off his shoe. Naturally he protests that he “never meant to hurt me or the kids,” can’t summon the insight to figure out why we he put us through all this despair repeatedly, and has spent zero time or effort on soul-searching. Yet he texted me yesterday that he could use some “family time at Christmas!” (Winky smiley face, Santa emoji) The resounding pop you hear is not champagne corks, but me yanking his head out of his ass so I can shove the tree up his pa-rump-pum-pum-pum.

            • Why?
              This is the biggest trap. I understand completely. Why do murderers slash with glee? Why do thieves take what we worked for? Why do muggers knock people in the back of the head and run?

              Because they can. Because they are not like us. Because if we knew their alien thoughts, we would recoil with horror.

              One thing that might help you, is if you look back, you will probably find where you asserted a boundary with your ex husband. Or you did not mirror back that he was the best thing since sliced bread. When we are not worshipping at the alter of their fabulousness, they are pissed off. They go and find someone who will: kibble, cake, the validation they need because they have no inner meat or morals to not act on every base impulse that slithers across their brain.

              They have to get it from someone else. And for the more shallow ones, they watch TV, and surf the web, and they believe they “deserver” something new and sparkly. Even if they resemble Jabba the Hut.

              Why? will mess you up. Because they are evil. Because they felt an urge or an itch, and said, By God! I am going to scratch it because and insert any entitlement excuse or reason here.

              Look at it this way. I recently went to a craft fair. I was looking at a leather passport holder and one of the sellers was a drop dead, gorgeous man. My type. Hottie Hot Hot. We held eye contact and I was floating. Massive sparks flying.

              I then looked to his left and saw an older woman, sitting there, with a look of hatred and worry, toward me. I said, Who is this? (I am not shy) and he said, sort of in a fake whiter, That is my wife. I walked away from the booth.

              At another vendor table, who should sidle up but Mr. Hottie. He gave me his card. Call me….he said. And smiled. While his wife hawked their wares. He greased his way across the convention floor, back to his booth, back to his booth.

              I threw the card away when I got home. I am so lonely I corner my elderly neighbor. I am so h*rny I longingly think of my high school boyfriend, who is actually a moron as smart as a bag of hair. I am so angry that I grit my teeth at night. The solace of a hot man would do me good.

              But I threw the card away. Why? Because I would never, under pain of torture, be the cause of the soul crushing agony that I know would happen. Never would I mess in another’s marriage, where I would be a criminal, in my opinion.

              These people who put us here…they don’t care about anyone’e needs but their own. To a level we have not fully understand this, as we are still asking WHY?

              They do not stop and consider the massive damage their actions cause. And even if they knew, simply, Ms. Scarlett, they do not give a damn.
              As Ms. C. Lady coined:

              TRUST THAT THEY SUCK.
              That’s why.
              And it is not different from any other criminal act.
              If you can think of cheating that way, it might help you stop focusing on why?

            • Why is useless.
              I know it is natural to want to know, but what answer would satisfy you?
              What matters is what happened.
              I desperately searched for why… brain tumor, depression, mid-life crisis? In the end, why is a waste of time.

            • As if. Glad you told him fuck no. Mine wanted to do all sorts of family time,too. Get together for the holidays, blah,blah, blah. Accommodated him for Thanksgiving and Christmas last year, for the kids. Not this year….wahaha….have fun with your skank whore….do family time with her and her kids. Mine will be with me. All those years of him sitting on his ass while I did all the work, all the bah humbugging he did that always ruined the holidays for the kids and I….share it with her! (Evil grin inserted here!)

      • I got the I’m sorry you got hurt bull too. What, he didn’t realize that fucking another woman in our marital bed with the kids present wasn’t going to hurt me? I saw through that like the garbage it was. Sorry shows, you fool. Continuing your affair and trying to take half of everything while sticking me with your whoring debt does not say sorry.

        And what they forget is that you reap what you sow….all his conniving ways are starting to catch up with him, namely, the IRS, and Child services to name a few….

      • @freevixen I think we may have married the same person down to the same sorry apologies and blameshifting. I’ve never actually put it this succinctly but I agree with pretty much everything you’ve said. We were together for 11 years and know each other as good friends for 15 years … it is a difficult thing to swallow knowing that all that time was some sort of a sick game and that the love you thought was there wasn’t. The red flags are a lot easier to see now if not still hard to accept. I thought I had moved past the need for revenge for him but tonight realizing he has been yet again still lying about things I’m enraged anew. In fact I think whatever cursory care I may have had for him has now permanently vanished. It really is scary to see how masterfully and apathetically they can manipulate everyone around them. Poison!

    • I got the “you didn’t deserve this” too. One of the few honest things she’s ever said to me.

      I agree that it would also be nice if that apology came in the form of waiving spousal support so she can start paying for her own car payments, boob job, and gym memberships, but alas…..that apology only goes so far.

    • Absolutely Mickey, an apology from the traitor would be to walk away with exactly what he brought into the relationship: $12,000 of debt, 4 kids, 2 exes, a fridge, a 25 year old Golf VW, an old desk and a filing cabinet.
      Then for compensation for the 9 years of lies, helping look after his kids, stealing my last few years of fertility, 6 miscarriages with a fuckwit? The whore’s head on a spike.

      • I hate these asses that take away a woman’s ability to have a child, by lying and manipulating through their remaining years. Talk about sucking someone dry. True evil. I hate your ex. Durt did the same thing to me and then knocked up the slut puppet. SMH.

        • This is also a common sick twist. I wished for another child for so long and instead of manning up and telling me how he really felt he did his own thing let me take care of everything kids,house,meals and waited till he was not required to pay any /barely child support and fucked off telling me he had no feelings since the kids were born…20 years Too late for me ? Probably but also hard to trust on top of all the betrayal . its like they bring together every aspect of you life that you dread/fear/regret/betrayal and roll it into one massive mask slipping evil horror movie Hollywood ending …then they get off on your devastated response . I did not even know these people existed let alone slept next to you for 25 years . seeing evil changes your world view.

        • One of his SILs thinks the traitor might do that too…
          Sickening. They should have to compensate us for this. Men can have children until they are doddering old men, with any prostitot as Maree calls her!

  • 6 months into our divorce process, my wife wrote that she was “sorry for (her) behavior last year.”

    She then provided another excuse for her cheating.

    I didn’t respond.

    During the same period of time, she was fucking another woman’s fiancé. I found that out later.

    Their apologies are lies, just like their character.

  • CL you’re spot on with #5 for me. I would like to think I mattered but you’re right when you say that waiting around for that kind of validation is pointless. It is so hard to believe 30 years didn’t count for shit I’ll never understand that and if he came back tomorrow, it would only be because he wants something that benefits him. Trust they suck is true and so hard to internalize at times. CL, thanks for helping us get the message.

  • “At best, apologizing will be for them, to salve their conscience.”

    Yes, my dad who left his wife and four children (this was now about 48 years ago) was about to go under the knife for his serious heart condition. This was about five years ago. There was a true chance he’d die on the table. He called my mom to apologize for what he did to her. My mom was nice and accepted his apology, but when I talked with her, she was like “whatever.” The apology meant nothing to her. It didn’t change anything.

    I could care less if my ex apologizes or not. I know he never will, because with his disordered logic, he’s done nothing wrong because it’s “part of his DNA” to have a million “healthy female friends” that he needs to date, flirt with, text and email while married.

    All his apologies in the past were “I’m sorry I got caught” apologies. I say that because his behavior and actions never changed after he got caught. He just took his behavior farther underground.

    After I found out he went to Canada over ten times to have 100% totally naked lap dances from strippers (and probably more) when I was pregnant with our second child (this 16 years ago), he said he’d “spend the rest of his life making it up to me.” He did NOTHING to make it up to me. And he did NOTHING to reassure me that he was no longer a perverted cheater.

    I do not need an apology from him. I know what he did was wrong. I know I didn’t do anything to deserve the treatment I received from him for 25 years. I know God has seen it all and I’m waiting on Him to hand out judgement (or the karma bus 🙂 ). But what I did wrong was to put-up with this treatment from the very beginning. Ignoring the red flags. Ignoring my gut. Putting up with abuse. That’s all on me, but like my sister said, “What have you learned from this?” I’ve learned a lot! Thanks, CL and CN!

    • Better yet, don’t wait for the Karna bus. We all know what you put out into the universe comes back at you thousand-fold. Take the energy waiting for karma to kick these assholes and funnel it into your empowerment. 🙂

        • I agree, ANC. I’m not waiting around for karma or an apology. I’m baby stepping positive things into my life in order to “get a life.”

          I’m not sure if I totally agree on what you put out there will come back to you. I put a ton of good into my marriage, my kids, his family and friends. Very little good came back to me. Putting all this energy into other people — they just expected more instead of thinking, “Wow. Martha did all these nice thing for me. I’m going to do something nice for Martha.” I now realize if I put good and positive things into my own life, then I’ll reap good because it makes me feel better about myself.

          • The difference is YOU invest in people. It became habit for me to neglect my needs and place everything /everyone above me. Part of my personal work is addressing my needs and having them met. I still invest in people, however I have learned spot the soul suckers and invest in people who also invest in me. Sounds like you are doing the same.

            Cheaters don’t invest anything in people or relationships. They suck up resources and discard, circling back only when they need a prop or more of the chump’s resources.

            • Adding to this…. I do hear you re: putting positive actions out there and getting zip. We put it all out there and gave ourselves to the wrong people sometimes. We also gave to the right people. Those ‘right’ people investments matter. Don’t get hung up on the life balance sheet. We are all in the process of moving forward to create a better, positive life with a better, more selective picker.

              • Martha.

                I am a firm believer that what “you put out into the universe comes back at you thousand-fold” as ANC mentioned. I live by this!

                At the same time, I completely understand what you said about…. “I put a ton of good into my marriage, my kids, his family and friends. Very little good came back to me.”

                What you and I and all chumps “put into the universe” was an investment in a disordered soul. Not knowingly of course, and it did come back to us a thousand fold. The disordered finally showed us who they were. It doesn’t matter how loving or not loving we were. Nothing genuine can come from an investment like that. Nothing.

                I most certainly am NOT saying that we deserved to be cheated on. Nobody deserves this. But you were doomed from the moment you said, “I do”. So was I and all other chumps.

                In the end, it’s all about the “beginning”. We must only invest in someone that is worthy of our love and that love will come back to us a thousand-fold.

                Fix the picker, this is the “beginning” of what you and I and all others should put out in the universe.

              • I love your comment regarding a balance sheet. Life is not about keeping score. Be kind and loving because that is just who you are … not because you want something back. And if giving generously to someone unworthy brings you disrespect, lies, manipulation … the answer is to just give generously to someone different, not to stop giving altogether.

              • Sure Chumped A Lot,

                What you said makes total sense to me and I wholeheartedly agree! I had no idea that I was in a relationship/marriage with someone who was incapable of being reciprocal. I thought if I just “tried harder” that I would eventually get my needs met. No matter what I did, it was never enough. And when I would ask for a need to be met, it was met with contempt and “how dare you” have needs!

                I was just telling this story to my counselor the other day. A few years ago, I told my now ex that I really wanted to spend more time with him and I told him at times I was “jealous” of his job. Mind you, this was a man who told me before we got married that his “busy season” was from the end of the year until April. What his busy season turned into was the whole year round, our entire marriage. Even at one point he was working Saturday and Sunday. A narc needs lots of ho-worker attention, so when he was at work, he was walking around flirting and chatting it up with all the women. No wonder he needed to work each night and the weekends. Anyway… after I told my now ex that I wanted to spend more time with him, the next day he came into our bedroom. I was laying in bed, reading a book. He sat at the bottom of the bed, resting on the footboard. He sat there with a look anger on his face with his arms across his chest. He didn’t say a word. Just sat there. I felt like I was being punished for asking to spend time with him. He managed to put me in my place and I never again asked for him to spend time with me.

                Yes, I’m working on fixing my picker by working on me. I’ll never attract a good person unless I know my worth. I put up with shit from him even before we got married. Including him once pushing me into a cement block wall and yelling in my face. I should have walked away, but……I didn’t. I’ll never put up with anything abusive again for the sake of “tru wuv.”

            • Yes, I totally agree with what you said and what you are doing, ANC. I too invested tons of energy and time into people who just take and give very little in return. And one thing I’ve learned about myself is that it was easier for me to invest time and energy into other people instead of putting the focus on myself, improving myself and working toward my own goals for my life (career, self care, etc.) It was easier for me to be the helper and supporter. This way I was still busy and productive with my life, but didn’t have the fear of failing at goals that I wanted. Now I’m forced to stand on my own two feet, all by myself and work on my life and my goals. I have my kids to still take care of and support, but I no longer have the dead weight of a spouse and his family that sucked up a lot of my time. I now have all the time in the world to get a life of my own choosing and I have no excuse not to pursue my dreams and goals. And if I fail, I will learn from my mistakes and I will try again.

              And yes, I agree about giving to the wrong people and the right people. Lesson learned is to stop giving to the wrong people! And I would never have a balance sheet. As of the last two years, I’ve been off balance with my friendships and family. They’ve been giving to me way more than I’ve been giving to them. But they know I’m not a taker by nature. I’ve just been more in need due to the trauma and divorce.

              • That is so weird you got the ‘death stare’ for no apparent reason too. I would be walking through the room – usually cleaning or doing stuff beneath him on his weekends- and his eyes would bore into me until at one point I said “you look at me like you hate me !? What’s that about ?” One time I remember stating “why do you look like that – I don’t want to wake up one morning and you are half way out the door leaving saying ‘you should have known I felt like this’ . he replied “I don’t know what you’re talking about this is all in your head” ….18 months later he did exactly that down to ‘you should have known ‘ fucking psycho. All the rest of the time together he was as nice as pie planning our future and holidays with kids etc. Beyond disordered. Its like they collect all the info on how they can fuck you over to maximise the devastation. It goes without saying that the financial gutting was absolute to …. $200 in the bank left after 25 years .

            • I imagine them as a cup with a hole in it. No matter how much you fill them up, they are still empty, and in the meantime, you have drained yourself completely.

              • Yes, this is very good and true, and it stings like a bitch. All those gut, warning signs I ignored or hoped meant nothing. I would break up with him and then take him back. Because, you know, I thought I was in a relationship with a human, not a cyborg.

                As my old MeMaw would say:

                You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken shit. I think so many of us had the walnuts, the dill pickles, the celery, the sweet relish, the apples, the mayo and by God! we were going to make that chicken shit in a salad that we could eat.

                The bucket with the hole, as cleverly stated…rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

                So, now….what do we know? The first time a mother fucker charges his cell phone in the garage, or guards his iPad like the Crown jewels, or becomes strangely unavailable at times, or we catch the first whiff of…this does not add up…

                DONE, Mother fucker!!!

                “Never Again.”

  • Yeah, I actually demanded an apology before she left, thinking it would help me heal, deal with co-parenting, etc. Her apology started with “I woke up every day for the last 4 or 5 years dreading having sex with you.” So… yeah. Apologies…. Hmmm.

    So you’re ABSOLUTELY right, CL! Thanks for the clear-as-a-bell articulation of the futility of that endeavor. When we can get over that need to “be right” and have them “get it,” we can move forward. I’ve understood that intellectually for a long time, but there’s a big gap between understanding that and accepting it, really accepting it. I’m getting there.

    PS – (and I’m picking nits) – Remuneration, not renumeration?

    • This is slightly off-topic, but your remark about her “apology” made me think of the tremendous lack of true communication between the sexes when it comes to having sex. When I was doing the Pick-Me Dance, for instance, I was actually dancing for my dream of reality to be true instead of the nightmare it had become. I really did not want to have sex with a moron who had never been that good at it in the first place, and who had betrayed me in the second place. The fact that the OW was willing to lie to him about him being “sexy” and “awesome” was another S-Sandwich for me to eat. You know, it is hard to dance on a full stomach, when all you really want to do is stick a finger down your throat to get rid of the S you have just eaten! I was dancing for my way of life. for my children to not have their home broken up, for none of us to have to deal with a man who followed his pecker wherever it lead, instead of his brain. I was dancing because I thought that was what I was supposed to do. I was dancing because I didn’t want his stupidity to cost us everything we had built up — invested time and money thrown away for sexual dalliance. Our sex life was never going to improve if I had to compete with porno-women who are always ready to engage, never complain, and can fake an orgasm for anyone on any day. I was dancing because he had never listened to what I needed or wanted — even at the beginning of the relationship when I tried to help him make me happier by suggesting he do this instead of that, or touch me here, instead of there. I listened to his suggestions, and tried to make him happier, often following ideas that didn’t hold any special appeal for me, if it made him happy. But somehow that could not be reciprocated, because my needs were evidently not important to him.
      If I had only known then what I know now (wishful thinking, I understand) I would have seen that we were actually doomed from the beginning. He did not care, I did. It was always all about him, and at that time, I didn’t understand that I was just as important as he was. I was an educated, employed, articulate woman, and I could not communicate with my husband about sex. Not because I didn’t try, but because he was not interested in listening.
      He could never apologize, because he has no idea what an empty vessel he is. He understands how to manipulate people with words, but it is always a war tactic he uses to “win” whatever it is he perceives as winning. He can’t be sincere, he has no substance. In the long run the best thing he did for me was be stupid and get caught. That freed me. When I finally grasped that he would never change, it was not a random idiot mistake, but an enduring part of how he was going to think and live his life — I was able to fly, to flee.

      • Wow Portia, Right on about not being able to communicate about sex with the disordered. In hindsight I realize there was never a true intimate partnership. I was very young when I met him and I just thought he was “being a guy”. I would pour my heart out to him. Do wonderful things for him. Plan imaginative and memorable birthday parties that people talked about for years for him. I put up with bland boring vanilla sex forever, until I was then starved of the very same. He somehow convinced me he wasn’t a very sexual person, by not having sex when there were money problems or when he was too stressed out yada yada yada. All the while he was on porn sites or probably cheating. I would try to gently show him to touch me this way instead of that too, but he didn’t even try. I was a gorgeous beautiful sexy woman, but sadly never had an orgasm in 38 years with the man. I enjoyed the sex because of the closeness with him. I think he punished me for that. Yet I am an easily orgasmic woman. I think our bodies tell the truth. Subconsciously I knew I was not safe with him. I recently recalled that I used to have a recurring dream for the first few years in our marriage, that Gaslighter was waving his hand at me out of the sunroof of a limo filled with hookers as it drove off. I would wake up extremely angry, and Gaslighter would just laugh. Our last couple of weeks together I remember finding a picture on his phone of a beautiful girl on his arm. I asked him who it was and he said “oh she’s a stripper I met in a bar and I was counseling her.” Right. Can’t make this shit up. I vaguely remember it I’d heard something like that decades before. WTF? What kinds of guys hang around strippers. And take trophy photographs of themselves with their arm around the stripper? Guys that are fucking strippers!!! All the while he was fucking Shmoopie as well. Ew. Believe it or not I’m still having trouble excepting all of this. I am still so angry. I just want to get past it.

      • Amen Portia. These idiots can’t seem to reconcile the moaning, ooooh baby, breast-implanted, botoxed porn stars with reality. He thought women should act that way in real life with him, but never connected the dots that to get that reaction HE would have to become a spectacular lover instead of a three-thrust disappointment.

      • Sex is just that — sex. It’s not about “making love.” It’s all an act, just like they are actors in real life.

        My ex actually said to me once, “It’s sometimes easier to masturbate than to have sex with you.” Well of course it is when your wife has “needs”. No lie that his idea of great sex is to grab at my breasts, grab my private parts, put my hand on his private part and then for me to come on top of him and do all the work. And I guess all the while he can think of the ho-workers he talked to that day.

        Another nice sex comment he made to me — “Now that you dropped a couple of pounds, I’ll have sex with you.” Yes, I went from the *obese* weight of 130 and went down to 120. Then my body was acceptable to him.

      • Sex with my X could be great, but it was always like auditioning for a porn movie, not any real emotional connection. Any lack of enthusiasm (of which I was guilty for years because I did not feel safe with him after chronic and acute emotional abuse), was harshly graded by him (implicitly) and used as grounds to cheat. After all, his Ashley Madison byline was “in pursuit of passion and excitement.” fucker.

        • He is a monster, Tempest. I wish you could have “graded” his testicles with a real cheese grader.

          You know, when I tried online dating, and men would demand, “Send me a full body shot!”- that felt like a porn audition to me, too. Or being graded as livestock at an auction.


          • Thanks,Kendall–he is a monster, and now I have ample evidence of it. We have a daughter who was probably 16 when he sexually harassed a 22-year old graduate student, and then started downgrading her work when she refused to sleep with him. That was the last cornerpiece I needed to know that I was married to a charming, high-functioning, slippery sociopath. Women are objects, and accessories to him. I refused to be either, and I had to be taken down.

            Grating his testicles with a cheese grater? Hmm…you just gave me my new revenge fantasy. Thanks!

      • And your beautiful writing and thoughts display a true catch, a prize, someone to be cherished.

        He can go fuck off and I hope he gets anal warts and has to live in a dumpster.

        Your unpacking of what you were dancing for made me tear up. I know. My ex is not even that cute, and I was chasing him like he was. Why? I was hysterical and in shock that he had betrayed us so BIG. Not a one night stand…but thousands of dollars and hundreds of lies.

        This crime, this peculiar human rights violation, makes us insane, for a bit or a while. I believe being attacked or robbed would be easier to process. We would have straight forward sympathy. Not the old canned “You are better off!!!” or “There are plenty of fish in the sea!!!” Hardee Har Har

        Yeah, those are real knee slappers. Now, I shall go and take Ativan until I lose consciousness, asshole.

        Portia, beautiful writing and exquisitely stated. He does not deserve to shine your shoes.

      • Great comment, Portia. x told everyone and sundry, that I was frigid and withholding, and that was the reason that he had to cheat. He doesn’t tell them he was using me like a blow up doll. It makes me so angry that he would do that to me, that I was pick me dancing like crazy after D-Day 1 and he was just being his usual a**hole self and “shopping” for my replacement and being cold and distant right before D-Day 2. Who the hell wants to have sex under those conditions, but I did it anyway. If I had known he was going to use that damn excuse, I would have not had sex with him at all and saved my dignity.

        • Flutterby–who the hell cares what he thinks or says? Anyone who thinks his excuses are a justification for his cheating can go to hell; you’re well-rid of them. Cheaters will find ANYTHING to justify their behavior. They’ll even make shit up (gasp!). Mine knew that if he stopped having sex with me I’d suspect his untrustworthy ass of cheating, so he continued to screw me 4 times a week during his affair with gradwhore. But I’m sure he told her I was not enthusiastic, and I wasn’t—because he was treating me like crap during his affair (even though I didn’t find out why for 8 years). I remember once having sex with him during that time thinking, “Why am I doing this? I don’t even like him anymore.”

          They cultivate the toxic soup that becomes the marriage, then criticize us for responding (normally) to the toxicity by withdrawing from them (even if we keep servicing them). There’s very little to recommend cheaters, once you find out who they are.

          • Wow…

            “They cultivate the toxic soup that becomes the marriage, then criticize us for responding (normally) to the toxicity by withdrawing from them (even if we keep servicing them). There’s very little to recommend cheaters, once you find out who they are.”

            That could have saved me thousands of dollars in therapy.

          • Tempest, “They cultivate the toxic soup that becomes the marriage, then criticize us for responding (normally) to the toxicity by withdrawing from them (even if we keep servicing them). There’s very little to recommend cheaters, once you find out who they are.”
            Thanks for putting that thought into words, especially responding to the toxicity and withdrawing from them. It is so true, what is there to recommend the cheaters, not one damn thing.

  • There will never be an apology from my x. Like so many have said, he’s disordered, incapable of apologizing. This is my third Christmas on my own and it’s getting better. I see meh. I’m at the point where whatever apology is needed is from me to myself….the ability to forgive myself for living and being complicit in the mess, for not holding boundaries, for devaluing myself to prop up his sparkly ass. I’ve said my goodbyes to my past life and my past self. I move forward with intention and authenticity. So at this point, no apology needed. I can validate myself.

    • Wow Outwest, I applaud your strength. This is my 3rd Christmas on my own too. I’ll be spending it with my adult sons in Mexico City, plus New Years and my 60th ?in Cuba. What freaks me out the most is starting over at 60… he stole 38 years of my life.

      • No, Chump Change—you lived those 38 years with integrity. He stole bits and pieces of the memories and investment of those years, to be sure, but salvage the bits you want to remember.

      • And Mexico City is hot hot hot! You will love it. You can also get your dental work done for half.
        (I have to save money).
        It is a cosmopolitan, happening city. Be sure and try the Mayan hot chocolate and the churros!
        Oh boy, and then Cuba- you are going to have so much fun!!! 🙂

      • Chump Change,

        Oh, how I dream of Cuba! I majored in Spanish 30 years ago and am still proficient enough. Went to Spain last spring. My kids are younger so we are headed out west to visit family for a week. Travel has been high on my list since moving on. I still am looking for a travel companion. Have fun!

      • Or think of it as getting a new shot at life! Mine buggered off when I was 51 (I’m 58 now). My kids are grown and for the first time in over 30 years I only have to think about myself! And it is wonderful. I have been on quite a few “solos” holidays (including Cuba) and I LOVE them. You get to meet so many interesting people. I suppose it helps that I am not looking for another man in my life and am enjoying being single, but then I suppose that is just when someone shows up (and that’s fine too). So enjoy your time Chump Change – and in all honesty you will probably have more fun than your cheater ever will. Enjoy Cuba!

    • Well said, Out West. That’s what I’m working on. Apologizing to myself and validating myself. Stay warm! We are freezing in NY, too!

    • Amen Out West! I have to work on forgiving myself too. Forgiveness for the first mistake of marrying a psychopath and breeding with him (I’ve apologized profusely to my kids about what a shitty dad they have) and for the second mistake of marrying the narc musician who nearly bankrupted me. Working on fixing my picker and absorbing the wisdom of people like you here at CN.

      • Peace,

        My picker is a bit off. I had a crazy date in the spring and realized I am not ready for “romance” I’d love a good solid friendship with a member of the opposite sex. Keep fighting the good fight. we are going to make it.

  • Thank you for this today.
    I did not get an “uncontested” settlement. I got cheated on for most of my 20 yr relationship, and then left for the latest schmoopie. My divorce settled because he knew he couldn’t win and that’s the only reason. Being fair and accepting certain defeat are not the same thing.
    My adult kids are no contact with him. They want nothing to do with him or her (she has young kids) and now…..almost 2 years later that the kids have not miraculously come around he has begun telling me he’s sorry. He says he’s not sorry that it ended ( we “grew apart”) he’s sorry he “did things the way he did and that it hurt us.” and now he’s made a life with her, would like to be okay with me and restore his relationship with our kids.
    It’s all bullshit. I’ll stay not talking to you….thanks anyway. He says time can heal us…..ummmmm, no.
    I responded to these emails by saying that I didn’t need time, I needed his absence. That our kids are grown and it’s not my job to be his PR rep. That’s his mess to clean up. I’m not okay with him, nor do I want to be.
    It’s like being okay with the person that intentionally burned down your house.
    I have a great life now….peaceful. Great kids, great new Labrador puppy, awesome boyfriend, amazing family…and there’s over a billion people on this planet, if I need a friend I’ll find one of them.
    No thanks Satan….we ain’t okay.
    On a side note….I waited so long for him to be sorry. When I read it in his email all I could think is “what a fucking liar”.

    • “It’s not my job to be his PR rep” with the kids. Exactly!

      Today is my son’s 15th birthday. All week I struggled to not text STBX and suggest that he pick son up from school (early dismissal day) to take him to lunch. I will not invite him for dinner when we have our family celebration, so this would’ve given him a time to celebrate with son. I did not do it though. STBX sent me a text just yesterday asking when he could stop at the house to drop off son’s present. His actions just proves that spending time with his son on his birthday is not a priority. My stepping in and arranging something would only continue to sugarcoat the reality to my kids of who their father really is. I would rather have them deal with it head on then live under an illusion.

      • On our don’t first birthday post-separation, my ex texted me the day before to ask what he should get for him; maybe a sweater? Yeah, ’cause 13 year old boys dream of sweaters. And of course your ex will help you figure this one out, as usual! (I didn’t.). Then very late the next day (he was out of town for work – where Schmoopie was!), he texted ‘happy birthday’ to him. TEXTED.

        Of course now, in ‘let me fix what I destroyed’ mode, he claims the day our son was born was the happiest of his life. (You can imagine how our daughter felt about that! At last she was able to laugh!)

        • Last year on son’s birthday (just 2 weeks after he packed up and left), he simply left his present in the house for him while we were at school/work. So, I guess stopping by for 20 minutes is an improvement.

    • Yes, Paintwidow. I got an uncontested settlement lickety split. It had absolutely nothing to do with him feeling a moment of remorse. He just wanted to freely move on to his boyfriend and he was terrified of what I might broadcast to the world if he didn’t do what I “suggested” he do.

      • You are lucky. Under terms of divorce, the jointly owned residence (where ex lives) is to be sold and divided 50/50. Ex and her lawyer offered me 50% of my equity as a buyout (because i should think of the kids and this is the house they grew up in (and where ex “entertained”)! When i said NO, i want my half my own lawyer told me I should be willing to negotiate. I told lawyer I simply want what I am entitled to, and not being a Chump again. So now everyone thinks I am being unreasonable. Too bad, just sell the house.

        • Good for you. You are owed more than half, in my opinion, given the fraud perpetrated. But certainly insist on your half. She is worried about her own convenience, not the kids.

          • And watch for lawyers being lazy and wanting you to “settle” for what makes them have to work less.

            It is your choice! Not theirs.

        • Yeah when your ass is already gaping from the reaming you got from these lowlife then your lawyer wants you to bend over more and keep givingbin to these POS ‘s
          Been there still there I want them to please get hit from that frigging slow karma bus already !!!

    • And that is the crux of it–after such a horrible trauma, we want VALIDATION of our pain. That’s why Switzerland friends hurt so much. Why therapists who ask, “What did you contribute to cause him/her to cheat?” hurt. It’s why friends who tell us to “get over it” hurt so much. Why society’s implicit acceptance of infidelity as a minor transgression, hurts so much.

      But you will NEVER get validation of your pain from a cheater. First step toward real healing is realizing that, and moving on without an apology.

      I have been on this site for over 2 years; I could tell you basic details of about 100 chumps’ divorces/breakuups (yeah, I know–working on that “get a life” thing). Want to know how many have received an honest-to-goodness apology and acceptance from the cheater that it was their fault? ONE.

      • “It’s why friends who tell us to “get over it” hurt so much. Why society’s implicit acceptance of infidelity as a minor transgression, hurts so much”.
        Tempest I am really starting to despair of where society is heading with the acceptance of infidelity as if it is just like making your breakfast, having a shower etc because it is being accepted as a normal path to take. At the moment here in Australia we have a very prominent 41 year old television presenter/newsreader who has just left his wife of 21 years and their 3 children for a 28 year old side piece. I can tell you it has become open season on his soon to be ex wife. The comments of how ugly she is and he was wise to dump her for the younger side piece. It is gut wrenching for this decent woman to not only lose what she thought was her life and husband but to be ridiculed for her appearance in the press which by the way is lovely is totally beyond me. Key board warriors are some of the cruelest people around. I am finding that people today and I don’t mean any specific age group do not seem to understand the effort that goes into creating a long and enduring relationship. I also find that once a woman’s body starts to show any sign of wear or aging, it is out with the old and in with the new. It saddens me so much that society in general is so, so shallow and going to hell in a hand basket.

        • Yeah, that shit happened to Patraeus’ wife here, too . And look at fucking Patreus, Fucking guy looks like shit, no muscle tone and a fucked up face and dental work.
          Wtf, was his 60 plus wife supposed to look like a somatic NPD 30 year old?

          • Don’t get me started. Petraeus was recently considered for Secretary of State! And his AP started complaining on TV that she has had to face consequences for her actions. Waaaah! So many injustices and ironies rolled into one.

          • I thought that, too! Patraeus looks like the weasel that he is inside. Holly, his wife, was mocked for her looks, which are pretty normal for her age, and at least she looks happy. Probably because she’s lead a life she can be proud of!
            Why is society becoming so shallow? The media machine, I suppose. I am proud to say I’ve never seen the show about the “K’s’, and that type of stuff. I didn’t want to listen to a bunch of shallow crap, my time is too precious to me!

            • “Patraeus looks like the weasel that he is inside.

              FreeWoman, once they show who they really are, we the good and decent people can actually look at these people and see the poison within oozing out. I recently saw a photo of the ex and I could not believe how old and tired and nasty he looked. He was almost sneering at the camera. I showed my sister the photo because once she did actually really like my ex and she could not believe how tired and old he looked. I think that living in all the heat in SE Asia that he has to endure now, together with having sex with a very young woman and put up with 2 screaming kids who belong to others and the filth must be weighing him down somewhat. He is living the dream now and it is showing in his appearance. Good luck with that I say.

              • Well let’s not forget our President-elect cheated numerous times God Bless American, just does not matter what or who you hurt in the process. Sad, so very sad.

              • You make a good point Newme! JFK was so beloved by the Nation, yet we all know he had numerous affairs while everyone looked the other way. Has there been a President in the last century who wasn’t an adulterer? And yet we entrust these men with the welfare of our Country. Very sad.

        • And I liked Karl! I appreciated the thing where he wore the same suit on air for a year to highlight how unfairly his female colleagues were treated. But apparently he is a ” feminist” only up to the point where he has a perky food blogger as a “best friend”.His wife has been castigated for choosing to pause her career in journalism to be a SAHM- but if she had been working she would have been villified for being selfish and neglecting her family. We have some gutter press here in Aus

          • moominmamma, I also liked Karl but I always thought something was amiss. Put it like this, I thought he was not genuine and I was correct. Karl is an actor after all. Sad situation for all concerned except Karl who brought this on himself.

          • His feminism sounds either like (a) impression management without any deeply-held beliefs, and/or (b) a seduction line.

      • “Why society’s implicit acceptance of infidelity as a minor transgression, hurts so much.”

        Amen to that. Seriously. I thought about that part so damn much. It’s like it’s almost expected after a certain number of years.

        • And by men (women?) of a certain age and in certain professions.
          Like a “mid-life crisis” with a bonus.

  • Apology? Ha! That would mean that my ex actually admitted he did something wrong! He is so full blown narcissist he would lie to a preacher on his deathbed.

    • Yeah, my narc sat in MC with our pastor for about two months and lied to our pastor over and over again. Didn’t bat an eye. Completely calm and cool (as usual) while telling lies. I’m convinced he’s so pathological that he could pass a lie detector test while lying. In my entire life, I’ve never met anyone who has acted calm and cool when most people in the world would be freaking out. Like when our thre year old daughter went missing on a beach in NJ, surrounded by tons of people and the big ocean. I was hysterical and crying. He was like “whatever” and “no big deal”. Completely emotionless. Just another instance I can look back as evidence that there’s something wrong with him.

        • MissDeltaGirl,

          Oh, yes we found her! A lady who was sitting by our beach blanket saw that I was panicking and going over to the lifeguard. She came over and said, “Your daughter is by your blanket.” My daughter was close by all the time, playing with a new friend she met which we knew about. But when we looked where she was last playing (not very far away), she was gone! That was one of the scariest days of my life.

          And like I said, absolutely NO REACTION from my now ex-husband. I was screaming and yelling her name and he was totally silent. Cool as a cucumber. That is not normal behavior for when a child is missing.

          • Martha, this is an odd question, but did your ex husband have a low to almost non existence of body odor? Like no smell?
            They have found that most sociopaths do not have body odor. Isn’t that bizarre?

            One evolutionary biologist opined that they are such super predators, they have no smell so they can sneak up and attack. As mammals, we would not “catch” their smell. We would be vulnerable and not hear them coming.

            Now, ain’t that some scary stuff?????

            • Kendal K,

              Wow, never thought about it, but I’d say my ex didn’t really have his own scent. All I can remember smelling is his deodorant. He never smelled stinky ever. The only time he smelled bad to me is when he’d cut the grass and it was hot out. Or if he came back from a short camping trip and smelled out-doorsy or like a campfire.

              That’s some crazy, scary stuff if it’s true! My ex is definitely a predator of women. I have no doubt about it in my mind. He kept track of only FEMALE former ho-workers and wished them a Happy Birthday each year — putting the feelers out to see if they were available. He once accidentally forgot to log-off his gmail and I saw one Happy Birthday email to a former ho-worker and he said to her, “I miss you so much!!” And then the last time was an HB email to a ho-worker. Lots of flirting and flattery. He then met her out for their secret before work coffee date and he then found out that she was getting a divorce. He then kept track of when her divorce would be final and he went in for the kill by asking her out on a late night drinks date, all the while telling me tons of lies in order to go on this date. But yeah, she was just a “friend.” If that isn’t predatory behavior, I don’t know what is!!

            • Weird! Mine definitely did not stink (in the physical sense at least) and was almost OCD about deodorant. Hmmmm.

              • I think there is something to it. Mine did not have body smells either. Even if he was sweating like a hog, there was no B.O. smell.

                I have a terrible problem, and have to put on deodorant at night, or I have a smell in the morning, even after my evening shower. It is just second nature now (Clinque works best!) to put it on. He never smelled….days and days of not showering (what a Prince) and no body odor.

                But he never did. It would be fascinating for others who had partners who were sociopathic to see if they also had low to no odor. An unscientific poll.

              • That is so weird you got the ‘death stare’ for no apparent reason too. I would be walking through the room – usually cleaning or doing stuff beneath him on his weekends- and his eyes would bore into me until at one point I said “you look at me like you hate me !? What’s that about ?” One time I remember stating “why do you look like that – I don’t want to wake up one morning and you are half way out the door leaving saying ‘you should have known I felt like this’ . he replied “I don’t know what you’re talking about this is all in your head” ….18 months later he did exactly that down to ‘you should have known ‘ fucking psycho. All the rest of the time together he was as nice as pie planning our future and holidays with kids etc. Beyond disordered. Its like they collect all the info on how they can fuck you over to maximise the devastation. It goes without saying that the financial gutting was absolute to …. $200 in the bank left after 25 years .

            • I was married for nearly 30 years to a man with no body odor who only took 2 sink baths a week.

              He never confessed to cheating despite physical evidence. When pressed hard for an apology the best I got was, “I’m sorry I made you mad.”

              Lack of an apology speaks volumes. It says:

              1. I am not sorry.
              2. I am not interested in genuine reconciliation.
              3. I am unrepentant and the fear of God is not in me.

            • Re: the article and “the tells”

              During the last year of marriage when XH was hving an affair with OW behind my back, one day he and I were driving into town. He suddenly decided to take an alley to our destination instead of the main road, as a shortcut. He exclaimed loudly, “I’m going to cheat!”

              I got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I thought cheating means you are having sex with someone other than your spouse so why didn’t he just say he was going to take a shortcut?

              I now realize it was “the tells” and he really was cheating. 7

      • THIS! Gaslighter was always so cool under extremely stressful situations. I never saw him show fear when it would have been appropriate. I had actually felt respect for him for being able to take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’ when most men would cave and be a puddle on the floor. Now I understand his cold coolness and lack of emotion is a sign of deep pathology. They have no feelings, they have No Conscience. They easily lie cheat and steal to get what they want in the moment. I’m finally beginning to understand with therapy that this is their MO, it will not change. They don’t worry about the consequences of their actions, they truly don’t care. They will just bob and weave and figure something else out. I feel like I’m living in the twilight zone after being married to this man for nearly 4 decades. Still reeling, still dealing with the legal repercussions of his actions (not even regarding the divorce which has been in limbo) How many fucking lawyers can he pay? He’s robbing Peter to pay Paul stalling paying defense arts. I need to muster up the courage to push this divorce forward and legally get away from this dangerous man.

        • Chump change

          I thought my STBX was great as he never worried like I did, never seemed to get anxious, was always sure things would work out. I felt like a neurotic mess next to him with my lists and my organisation and my control. With the lovely gift of hindsight I can see that he floated around in our lives but never actually did anything. He went to work but never did any of the hands on parenting stuff or organising family stuff, remembering and organising birthday parties, getting xmas done, getting eye and teeth appointments etc.
          Now I look back and see how little space I took up and how much I WORKED.
          All those things were as you say a sign of deep pathology. A lack of investment, a lack of caring, a lack of being there.
          Thanks for your post. It helped me see that every fault I castigated myself for was really me just trying to make the centre hold. It’s not my character that is flawed. It’s his.

          • Yes, Chump Change and Capricorn,

            What you wrote was me, too. Capricorn, I could have written word for word what you wrote. That was my life, too, and like you ex, my ex went to work. He did very little else. Didn’t really offer to do anything else. I took care of EVERYTHING like you wrote out. In my mind, I thought that if I took care of everything, he’d find time for me. Well, that just freed up more time for ho-workers and working more at night and on the weekends. If he cared, he would have been more involved and helped out.

            I can’t tell you how many times the kids and I (and this was just a few years ago, so they were already tweens and teens) would be sitting on our bed. I would be in bed, reading a book. And the kids would come in and they would be all talkative and cute. This wouldn’t happen every night, so when it did happen, I dropped everything to enjoy their company and to talk with them. So their dad would come in and see that we were talking and having fun or being silly; just random stuff. He’d grab his book and go down the hall into the loft and read his book by himself. He wouldn’t engage with us or join in the family time. I never once mentioned it to him, because of course he’d turn it back on me and say he “couldn’t do anything right!!” To me, it was strange that he didn’t want to be with us. Our kids a great and they can be so funny and fun to talk with. His loss. I lost out on so much with he “working”, but I don’t think he cares. As long as his needs were being met, that’s all that matters.

            • And you know what else I just realised. I apologise to my kids and feel totally guilty for marrying the guy in the first place!!! My eldest had to tell me to stop freaking apologising for not seeing clearly what he was. I felt totally guilty for my bad choice of spouse. Genuinely awful and still do. I try to be so much for them as I feel I should have seen him sooner. I still wrestle with it. Try to stop and try to stop apologising for not seeing it coming and protecting them. But I apologised often and with meaning and tried to make it up to them.
              Aaarrggghhh. So frustrating

              • Oh, Capricorn. You shouldn’t apologize. You didn’t know! I didn’t know either. I’m trying so hard to forgive myself for ignoring the red flags and what my gut was telling me. But when you are with a charming guy that love bombed you in the beginning, they are like a drug. Our brain gets addicted to them. I swear I never knew people and relationships like this existed until I came to CL and started readings lots of books and blogs. So, now we know and we can use that knowledge to better ourselves and to fix our picker. (((HUGS))) to you, Capricorn.

              • @capricorn I’m still in the divorce process and my kids are still very young but this is exactly how I feel. I want to apologize to them everyday for making such a poor choice in a husband and father for them. My boys are such wonderful kids and their father and his family so unbelievably dynsfuctional. I’m so sorry for not having seen or paying attention to the red flags for making the relationship last this long.

            • And what a super chump I was. He went off to work in Asia after the financial crash as he worked in financial stuff (that used to make me smile as he was so appalling with our money). He was abroad for six years visiting home every now and then. Missing birthdays Christmas Easter illnesses summer holidays school plays all of it. And I just thought he was so sacrificing for the financial benefit of being able to pay for the boys education. We were a team. And all the snide comments and looks from people who would look as me as if to say ‘ are you mad letting your husband out of sight for so long in Asia too. Wow’. I felt secure and trusting. We talked about the dangers to us as a couple. We kept in touch multiple times daily.
              Ah well. They were right. He wasn’t interested in us at all. Kills me that the boys see this too. With my history it’s almost too much. My choice of partner led to their experience of a non interested or vested parent.
              He still makes me feel that the only reason they are not close is that I held them too close to me! Well if you choose to fuck off to Asia for six years then pardon me for being their ONLY parent.

              • Capricorn,

                That’s so awful he was gone all that time and missed out on so much. It’s sad that we don’t see the truth until we are out of the relationship. I had lots of signs or things that didn’t feel right to me, but I trusted his words. I failed to observe his actions and daily behaviors.

                And don’t take on his blaming you for not having a close relationship with your kids. That’s ALL on him! My ex didn’t miss out on as much as yours, but he CHOSE to miss out on a lot. And he didn’t even mind that he was missing out on a lot. I hope his job and those ho-workers are around when he’s in a diaper some day and he needs someone to help him out. Kids know who was the involved parent most of the time. You can’t fool kids!

          • Cap,

            The space thing is interesting. When I packed my ex’s shit up, 15 black garbage bags came out of the master closet…I remember packing his coats out of the front hall, actually I threw them in a heap on the foyer floor. Four of us in the house, but only his coats were allowed in the front hall, the rest of us used the closet in the back. We also were not allowed in the study which had ten years of magazines in stacks all over the floor. His narcissistic ways took way too much real estate. It is so nice to walk into every room of the house and see me and the kids living in space and our personalities….

      • Martha, your comment about your ex’s lack of empathy resonates with me. I watched my ex sit stone cold on many occasions when most people would have been emotional. I was always very emotional and when we were young, I appreciated that he didn’t fall apart in an emergency. He was a rock to me, I used to tell people he kept me grounded. But he seemed to get colder and colder as time went on. I remember once a bird hit our window and broke it’s neck, but it was still alive. I brought it inside and put it in a shoebox with a rag to keep it warm and stroke it as it was dying. He was yelling at me, “it’s just a damn bird!” What kind of person does that? He yelled at my 4 year old for crying when he broke his arm. He hated displays of emotion and the longer I was married to him, the more I smothered my emotions until I felt dead inside. Occasionally I would explode from stuffing so much, and he would tell people I was crazy.

        • Oh, Lyn. That’s such a sad story about the bird. I would have done the same thing. That’s something a normal, caring person would do — try to comfort the bird.

          I totally understand what you said about your ex being your rock and keeping you grounded. When I was young, I was always told, “You are too sensitive.” Or you are “too emotional.” As if being sensitive or emotional is a bad thing! But when my parent told me this, I took it as if it was something bad about me. Something I needed to change. And people who can remain calm and cool under pressure I guess is perfect behavior? Not necessarily.

          I have seen my ex act “off” so many times over the years. And the grand finales were when he was robotic with our son when our son, daughter and myself were bawling — he was cold as ice. Robotic/monotone voice with the repetitive, “I understand, son.” “I understand, son.” This is what he said to every thing my son sad. And then a few months later, I once again am sobbing and shaking uncontrollably and he’s calm and cold. And his lying mom is sitting there acting the same way. To me, they are monsters. They are wolves in sheep clothing. I now realize that all their charm and niceness is all fake. The truth of who they truly are is the lying, manipulation and deception. They are all “I love you”, hugs, and kisses as long as I was towing the line and falling into place — just be a chump and do all the work. Once you start to in-chump yourself, the mask falls and you see who they were all along.

          • Yep same thing here
            she sat 3 kids (7,12,13) on the couch one sunday night and told them she was leaving
            living in her own apertment with her new ikea stuff she bought but it was too small for you kids only mommy and you stay here with dad …buh bye
            Left for 4 months and then wanted half custody for money
            But absolutely unmoving stone cold callous when she tells them and actually smiled when she talked about her new Ikea furniture while the kids were shell shocked
            I will never have that moment erased when she obliterated their world for a POS her best friends psycho hubby who the best friend was desprately trying to divorce and confided every personal thing to my ex including strategy of getting away from his insanity
            He was arrested and charged threatening death and she still thought he was worth destroying her family for
            They are completely dead inside they are robotic

        • Much of their empathy is feigned (mine has several articles that are sympathetic to animals’ pain, but cares very little about either my or our children’s pain from his actions).

          Out of my loneliness and pain from years of emotional abuse, I started rescuing betta fish. I would pass them in the pet store, gasping for breath because of ammonia poisoning or bacterial infections and I developed an obsession about saving them. One that I successfully rehabilitated then swam into the mesh to reduce the water flow of the filter. I was highly distressed that I had saved this fish, only to have it swim into its own death. When I cried, X coldly returned my hug and said, “I guess you’re just this side of eccentric.” One of my only indications that I was in an unwitting pick-me-dance.

          • I think this cyborg was jealous of you. Eccentric? No, that’s a damn fine thing to do. Those poor fish are trapped in those tiny teeny bowls.

            You are a nurturer, who cares about even the smallest life. He did not care about BIG life, you and the marriage.

            There was no chance of connecting with someone who has no soul.

  • Perhaps the most va
    Unable education I received from Chump Lady concerns understanding personality disorders. It was something I never thought of and once I educated myself on that I knew there was never going to be an apology better than the one I got. It was the “I’m sorry you got hurt.” You know, not sorry for what he did, just how I reacted to it. That stymied me for a long time. For him it was a heartfelt apology. For me it was word salad….until I read enough here to understand that he is incapable of feeling remorse for his actions. His inability to feel remorse does not excuse his actions. He knew exactly what he was doing. But now that I understand that he is disordered I can accept that there will never be a real apology. For me that was a big leap in my healing.

    • Like, we are IMMERSED in cheater speak and culture. We’re pretty good at this now. We practically have degrees in cheaterology–and chumpology, too. We use these to help others.

      I am amazed at the things I know now that I never knew or even thought of before. I’m actually pretty grateful for the experience. I think it’s useful in so many ways.

      • “We practically have degrees in cheaterology–and chumpology”.
        Sometimes having the “degree” isn’t all that. I have a couple of coworkers that are giving me a master’s degree, that I didn’t ask for. One threw her serial cheater out after 35 years, he “had” a new shmoopie, “he left schmoopie after she found out (not)”, a 27 year old “one night stand” child and possibly other children thrown in-between the marriage. She will not call him names, basically telling me that I should not call him names, the only names that I have said to her are cheater and a terrible person, no f*ckwit, f*cktard, asswipe, m*therf*er, none of the good ones anyway. She is in some kind of magical place where her cheater is not like the others, he goes to Mass regularly now, after all.

        The other is a crash course in how a work place “romance” starts. The longing looks, the batting of the eyelashes, the obvious “favorite”, the secretary, the secretary of all things, but she is “bright”.

        The first coworker had a rude awakening lately, I don’t know if she is a narc also or if she picked up narc fleas. The bosses wife likes to bake, lately all she bakes is jam packed full of an ingredient that the first coworker cannot eat without getting really sick. It’s kind of obvious because the bosses wife is nothing if not proper, but she continues to send baked goods that coworker one cannot eat. Coworker one says that that is rude, because bosses wife is excluding her. Coworker one says that she has “an in with the boss” and she is not above using it, but coworker one thinks she is totally moral and upright. I think bosses wife has seen that she is a problem and wife is hoping to poison her.

        Coworker one has “no Problem” with coworker two’s bullsh*t, because “it is not our business”. It’s like working in a nightmare. I finally just decided that whatever these people are doing, they are going to do, and no amount of reality is going to matter.

  • Here’s a thought. What if you got the apology and you still feel like shit?!? You can’t rely on the person that broke you to fix you. That’s your job, and it can happen if you work really hard to mend yourself.

    • Good point Anchorlady, you can’t count on the one that broke you to fix you, they don’t have it in them to fix anything outside of themselves. They don’t even “see” you as a real person, you were an appliance, like the fridge or toaster. You served a perverted purpose and when your purpose is done you are broken and you should be thrown away and replaced. What you feel, what you felt, the place (spouse or significant other) you took for granted has been vacated and the x is “shopping” for a replacement part. These things are pods, they go about replacement without regard to anyone or anythings feelings, wants or needs, they are the only ones that matter and if you get in the way, you will be replaced.

  • It took me a very long time to come to terms with accepting that X was an imposter and untrustworthy.
    He’s a liar and a fraud, not even close to who I thought he was.
    They’re incapable of a sincere apology. In their minds they’re perfect and do nothing wrong.
    Cheating and lying is wrong, they know it’s wrong, in their minds it’s justified by our shortcomings and to living up to their standards. Some perceived injustice they’ve suffered from us drove them to cheat.
    Another thing that I struggled with was looking for X’s approval. It wasn’t until I found CN that I learned I was looking for approval from a pathological liar.
    Approval from a pathological liar has no value.

  • I am ‘lucky’. So far the divorce process is smooth and generous. I will trust that when it is final in Feb/March next year but so far so good.

    I have had many, many apologies. Many.
    Problem is when I ask him what for. Then he gets into difficulties. I think he wants to be sorry, he can see it has been a shitstorm of pain for me and the boys but he just can’t ‘feel’ it if you get what I mean.

    He doesn’t want to divorce. He misses the boys. He can see in practical terms how his life has changed but when it comes to connecting the emotional dots there is no functioning wiring.

    So I do have apologies but they feel hollow even though his actions suggest true remorse.

    It’s all painful and sad and for what??

    • The only reason he is upset about the pain he caused is because HE has to see it, because it affects HIM. Trust me on this. During wreckconciliation, STBX would say “when are you going to get over this? It hurts me to see you sad.”

      • Ug, Louisvilleflower, that rings a bell here too. We had a circus of a wreckonciliation week, during which, after about three apparently-heartfelt “I’m sorry’s” he said “I can’t keep apologizing for this, it makes me feel guilty”. Which seemed like a bizarre response to me. And when I’d express how incredibly hurtful this last year has been, he’d reply “well don’t you think it’s been hard on me too??” I think that’s why wreckonciliation didn’t work…it was so obvious to me that his only empathy was for his own pain.

      • If I had a penny for every time he’s said “you make me feel guilty” I’d be able to pay my lawyer in cash. It seems my very presence in his life makes him feel guilty, and so does pointing out the truth. It is so obvious to me but clear as mud for him. Capricorn, you’re dead on – he just has no functional wiring to connect the emotional dots. Hollow apologies indeed.

        • We make them feel guilty (a bit, for a few minutes, until they can get mad at us instead), because they ARE GUILTY. And our very existence, our refusal to reconcile and tell them again how great they, are reminds them of that.

    • They will never “feel” what we have felt for the simple reason that they aren’t the ones that were *genuinely* invested in the marriage and the family like we were. They did motions at best.

      It is impossible for them to feel the deep pain of betrayal and the intact family exploding because they were not *genuinely* emotionally invested and committed like we were. They were *genuinely* emotionally invested in the OW/OM. That is why we will never get a *genuine* apology. They don’t have the capacity to understand this. What they do understand is what they did was warranted or justified. This is as deep as they can go which is pretty shallow.

      This is all so painful and sad because for them, living in the moment/s of deceit trumped all else. This is all mired from entitlement, selfishness, lack of impulse control and the ability to suppress empathy.

      • So true Sure. x contacts me only when I post pics on fb of our young adult children, I usually comment about how they are a blessing to me. His purpose is to try to make me get “the kids” to speak to him. I don’t respond. I spackled for all of my kids lives, so that they could have a relationship with him. He fired me from the job, now it’s all up to him and them to figure it out. My D keeps in touch with him, but gives him hell, and my S speaks to him rarely, if at all, for most of the year. x just “cannot imagine why they won’t speak to him, why they won’t just be ok with the way things are now”. x has no concept of the pain that he caused. x had choices, he chose to not man the f*ck up and leave in a dignified way, he chose to cheat, he chose to lie and now he is reaping the rewards of his choices. And I am not going to help him in any way whatsoever, he chose this and now he is the one that has to “fix” it for himself, too much work for him but that is not my problem anymore. The kids are grown and they have “choices” now and if x can’t handle that then that’s his problem to fix, he caused it all anyway.

  • This is timely for me personally, and probably all of Chump Nation. Holidays seem to bring out the insincerity in my STBX (and probably all the other narc fucks out there) like nobody’s business. I got an unsolicited apology yesterday via text. “I am sorry.” I briefly wondered which of the millions of shitty shitty things he did that he was apologizing for, or, if it was something new. I quickly realized that thinking about it at all was a waste of time, so I deleted it and went back to thinking about the hot firefighters I had just dropped off “Toys for Tots” with – a much better use of brain power.
    Beware of Xmas/New Year’s apologies. Holidays can be a hard time for chumps, especially the newly chomped. You may think you want one, so re-read this colum ad nauseum.

    • Louisvilleflower: of course the best response is no response, but….the alternative is, “Yes, you are sorry–a sorry excuse for a human being.”

    • My narc cheater was a firefighter. Please trust me….you don’t want that.
      I can think of very few firefighter wives that haven’t been cheated on…..js.
      I know, it’s a delicious daydream.
      My current boyfriend is a welder, makes barn doors and stalls for all the rich horses. He’s super hot and a non cheater/ chump as well.
      You know what hot is to me? Somebody that won’t fuck me over.

      • I have learned from CN to avoid firefighters, police officers, professors, executives, and from my own experience, doctors.
        I like to look though. After living with a narc for 20+ years, I am discovering that HE is what was wrong with my libido!

          • OMG @ElleB I thought it might just have been me. I can’t believe how good post cheater sex is. Actually connecting with someone who is responsive and communicates and reciprocates.

            • Mmm…yes! So good to be with a man who inspires me emotionally and mentally, a man I respect and admire, who isn’t an entitled, avoidant, passive-aggressive child. Lord knows I tried with the Coward, and I felt guilty for not feeling more into him than I did. But Boyfriend? MEE-YOW. A Domestic God with a happy disposition who is good at a lot of things, and who has a really strong (not arrogant, just self-confident) ego.


              • If I ever date again, I want a Domestic God who also knows how to cook dinner once in awhile. Man, I slaved over my ex and what did that get me after 20 years of doing just about everything? “You never took good care of me.” To this day I can’t believe he had the nerve to say that to me. But the disordered mind likes to rewrite history.

              • Martha–that’s page 3 of the Cheater Handbook. They all say that.

                The RIC site I frequented said that a lot of these guys project their guilt onto us. That might be one explanation. Or, they really just are SO self-absorbed that they have NO idea how much effort we put into taking care of them. None whatsoever. Because THEY did not take care of US. So they don’t appreciate the effort. The only thing they know is that they have an itch and it needs scratching so therefore you’re lacking. It blows your mind until you realize they are ludicrous in so many different ways and that you’re just better off not trying to make sense of the bullshit. Because there is no sense to it. They’re entitled little brats–like children who piss and moan that you never do anything for them, meanwhile you’re working 40 and commuting 10 hours a week, paying for the roof over their heads, cleaning their home, buying them clothes, etc. I don’t blame teens, it’s part of being a child. But an allegedly grown-up cheater? Ugh. Gross.

              • That’s interesting, Stephanie. I never knew that was in the Cheaters Handbook (I’d sure like to get a copy of that! haha) and that they all say that.

                My sister said, “Martha, he said that to you, because he knew saying that would hurt you.” I believe that, too.

                But then like you said, he also could be projecting his guilt onto me. He did that to me a few times in the past with other things. And the rest that you said makes sense to.

                It’s just crazy, because never in a million years would I saw to my ex that he “never took good care of us.” He did take good care of us financially. He worked hard at work and I thanked him for this continually throughout our marriage. I would be nuts to say he didn’t take good care of us. That’s it. He’s nuts. lol. 🙂

              • I was constantly thanking The Coward for working hard for his family. It made him mad. He said I saw him as nothing but a paycheck. (That’s also from the Handbook, btw.) Funny thing is, and this is just occurring to me as I type, NOT ONCE did he thank me for doing the same. NOT. ONCE. And he kept his money to himself for the most part, and spent thousands of dollars a month on what HE wanted, even though I did not want that. Truth is he never took good care of me, and he knows it. He actually did say to me, as I’ve written on this thread, that he was “not a good husband” but it was because he never loved me. So there you go.


            • Yes, yes, yes! (That’s what she said!)
              To be with someone who is a generous lover, who pays attention to your responses and remembers what you like… mind blowing.
              It has also made me realize that when STBX told me “I am not sexually attracted to you anymore,” and he said that a lot after DDay 1, what I internalized was “I am not sexually attractive to anyone.” Getting my groove back has been awesome.

              • They all have the same script. I wrote this one down:

                “If you had taken care of your man, this would not have happened!!!”
                Screamed this at me.

                Now, less than three months before, he said to me, (and this is shitty as well)

                “Hell, I get two blow jobs a day whether I want them or not.”

                There is no line of sanity to grab onto with these jokers. That is why the WHY? question is like decoding a toddlers Pokemon game. It is all uttering of garble gook.

        • I ditto the executives. Stay away from them! Especially as they climb higher on the ladder of “success.”

          So, what are the “good” careers to go after? lol 😉

          • A man who cares about making a living rather than making a name for himself.
            I think careers where there is an imbalance of power dynamic at play attract cheaters. My STBX is a doctor- OW were mostly nurses and dietitians. Executives-support staff. Professors- students or younger colleagues.
            And also, careers where people seek adrenaline rushes- police officers, firefighters, emts. Cheating is at least partially about risk.

            • Very interesting analysis. Makes sense. Ex-MIL’s doctor that she works for, OWife was the receptionist at his practice. And she’s the attractive, flirty type. She went to a big name concert with my ex-MIL and she was all flirty with Big Name and even kissed him which I thought was really inappropriate considering he is a married man. Ex-MIL didn’t think her flirtatious behavior was wrong at all and even went so far to say that the receptionist was “fun!” No big surprise when I heard that she was the OW who broke-up a marriage with a bucket load of kids.

              • When my STBX started his own practice, I was concerned that he would be working so closely with women in his office and talked to him about it. He reassured me that the relationship was professional, and I think it was. Of course, he already had had affairs and was engaged in one with a hospital nurse at the time. He distracted me by taking me to dinner with his office staff and their husbands, “to reassure” me that things were on the up and up. Bait and switch.

                I grew up as the kid of a doctor in a small town. My dad was one of very few doctors who didn’t cheat on his wife. It was completely normalized.

          • Whoops, airline pilots, on the list of professions one should avoid.
            For obvious reasons, visits different cities all over the world, “layovers”

            Not all airline pilots but a many are. I remember when he first got hired by a major airline and we received the monthly pilot newsletter.
            One newsletter arrived with profiles of middle aged pilots who were running for positions in their union. Included was a family photo of each one, each one had college aged children or older with a fresh faced new young wife young enough to bee their daughter holding their newborn with a toddler standing beside them.
            I should have listened to my intuition, friends and people I worked with not to marry him.

      • Same here! Firefighters can’t seem to keep their hoses to themselves! And what is the deal with so many OWomen who are nurses?

  • IMHO, in order to get a true, sincere and genuine apology, the cheater would have to have the capacity to look at the betrayal through our lenses.

    If they ever had the capacity to “look through our lenses”, they wouldn’t of cheated now would they.

    They don’t have the capacity to be empathetic. Period.

  • It took me over 5 years to stop wanting and needing that apology that never came.

    That is my meh.

    It feels like being let out of prison, able to see the sky and sun and breathe fresh air.

    It was a life or death struggle to get here but it is the best feeling in the world.

    • Rebecca

      Yes, it was like getting out of prison. I’ve never thought about an apology or expected one. If the time ever came I would ignore. Nothing he could ever say would matter to me.

  • I am careful to avoid apologizing unless I actually feel remorse AND I am willing to be accountable for my choice/behavior AND I am motivated to seek out a solution that will remedy what I did for the short AND long term. Any apology that doesn’t contain these components is a waste of energy.

    Over time, I have learned that if I have to ask a person who is apologizing to me for any of these things after the apology, the apology is already suspect. If the response is anything less than immediate and total willingness to give all three components is insincere.

    Insincere apologies are useless. They are a punch in the face followed by fear of being seen as bad followed by a punch in the face followed by fear of being seen as bad… Repeat, ad infinitum.

    A person who is focused in her own needs will use apology words while trying to persuade me to see her situation differently.

    A person who is empathetic and remorseful for hurting me will focus on my needs and use apology words as part of statements that are focused on resolving my pain now AND avoiding the source of that pain in the future.

    It took me YEARS of therapy to grasp this. CL is spot on. It doesn’t matter how many tears flow, how much discomfort the other person seems to feel, etc. What matters is action. It is NOT an apology unless it is focused on YOU and offers short and long term remedy. That’s not selfish, it’s just honest.

    It may be true that you should apologize, too, but that isn’t part of my apology. If I am not committed to changing my future choices so they won’t hurt you regardless of whether you respond in kind, then I am not accepting full responsibility for myself and my choices.

    Apologies aren’t contingent and they aren’t leverage points. Apologizing isn’t a damned negotiation. It’s an act of love and a gift of empathy, pure, unpolluted, and offered freely.

    • Amisisfree, great post. I was just remembering as I read it that my ex kept telling me how my despair and heart break was making him feel horrible and guilty. That’s the closest I think he could come to an apology. He seemed completely amazed that what he did affected me so deeply. He was mostly upset about how bad my grief made him feel. I’ve long since decided he just wasn’t wired the same way I am. He never had much capacity for empathy. On the other hand, I think I had too much.

    • Yes, VERY good post.

      This should be read over and over before any chump hears or accepts any sort of apology. Then read GladItsOver’s post below, as well, because you’re not going to get a real apology from a cheater. Good to know what category the faux apology falls into. It’s a fun exercise to detach and examine the empty words for what they are.

    • This is probably the clearest, most concise and profound “instruction” on sincere apology I’ve ever read. Thank you for this. I copied and pasted into a document for me to save so I can re-read whenever I need to be reminded what remorse actually looks like.

    • Glad I can help. I am super grateful for the help some very smart therapists have given me over the years, and it is with great joy that I pay that help forward. I am blessed to be a part of this great community! The mutual support is an incredible gift.

  • My EX conceives of an apology as an automatic “do-over.” If he “apologized,” then I was obligated to forgive and forget everything immediately. This amazing sleight of hand meant that he could always cast me as the villain because he apologized, but I was not “Christian” enough to forgive him completely and absolutely (for things which, as he explained, were not his fault anyway.)

    That’s the problem with the world, you see, we are just not “Christian” like he is. I cannot even count the number of churches he has cycled through. He presents himself as an eager member, plays his games with the good folks he meets, discovers the church isn’t “Christian” enough (i.e. peopled entirely by chumps willing to help him in anyway he asks and forgive him of any crime or misdemeanor), and then moves down the road to the next building with a cross on the door.

    To unchump yourself, you’ve got to abandon the notion of verbal/written apologies and learn to focus solely on actions. Trust (and forgive when appropriate) people whose actions are truthful and kind. Keep your distance from the other sort of people–boundaries, boundaries, boundaries!

    • My “Christian” ex-husband was all, “So you are bringing this up again? This event that I apologized for years ago!” Well, yes. I’m bringing up past events that you apologized years ago, because you continue to do the same thing (lie and cheat), but in different ways. There’s a pattern to your behavior. It you were truly sorry for what you did to me, you would stop doing it. So you were never sorry in the first place. You were sorry you got caught.

      And to my evil, lying ex-MIL, who pointed her finger in my face and said to me, “The problem with YOU is that you can’t forgive and can’t forget.” I did forgive. Over and over and over again! But there’s no where in the Bible that we are told to forget.

      • Christians are easy targets for narcissistic people to manipulate & gaslight:
        Christians are to forgive someone 70×70 times therefore…
        God is the god of second chances therefore..
        Christians are to demonstrate God’s grace therefore…
        Christians are not to judge others..

        They see the church as another entitlement program:
        God loves me therefore…
        God forgives me therefore…
        Everyone sins therefore…

        To narcisst forgiveness, grace and mercy means that they are off the hook – no repentance necessary. Its up to others to forgive and therefore be happy for them because they have been saved from their sins & forgiven. They are now freed from the burden of taking any responsibility for the pain and sufferings they’ve inflicted upon others.
        If others feel hurt or go NC it is because they are guilty of being bitter and full of unforgiveness

        • That’s so spot on, Nyra.

          One thing I’ve learned and it could possibly from Divorce Minister, but there’s this thing called repentance and turning away from your sin.

          My ex has blamed his sin on me, so he can’t possibly be repentant. And he couldn’t have been repentant in the past, because he continually kept sinning the same sin.

          Only God knows the long term repercussions of this. Only God sees my exes heart and I’m leaving it at that.

  • “Oh. It’s you. What do you want?”

    I will admit that I have nursed this fantasy…

    of what it would have been like if we had split and husband1.0 had stopped by my new place (great place with tall, charming partner) …of course I was skinny and had my best jeans on that day and he was there to pick up the kids (cause in this fantasy, they weren’t all grown up since I left when I should have left) and when I see him I turn to go tell the kids their dad is here and when he walks towards me, I see this look of deep yearning and regret on his face because he sees that Im adorable and amazing and quite a catch but now I am with this great guy and he is dating some loserchick and in this magical moment it all becomes perfectly clear and I say to him:

    “______, what do you want?” with a tone of voice that clearly displays that I don’t give a rats ass what it is that he wants….and I turn away and he is reminded of that perfect curve in my butt that is significantly better than it should be for a woman my age and he knows he will never again touch my fabulous butt.

    but alas, this is the fantasy where I come to my senses like 10 years ago and he lives to see me create my new life and my kids adjust perfectly to a step dad (who is thrilled to plan for 3 extra college educations for kids he didn’t sire). Im sure in this fantasy there are no taxes to pay or toilets to clean either….

    and this fantasy isn’t very Meh…it also isn’t how it worked out. My life is good though even never getting that perfect moment of deep regret from him in a way that I could see it on his face. CL is right on this point and we would all do well to not spend too much time in this particular fantasy.

    • The fact that I spent so much time concocting such an unrealistic fantasy is indicative of how dysfunctional that whole mode of thinking is…please file it under “Don’t do this:”

      • Every day. Makes me feel like a bad person to wish he was gone, but ohhh life would be so much easier.

        No more divorce attorneys, would actually get more financially in social security than support. Then there is the life insurance policy. Not to mention that he would no longer be able to try and manipulate the kids with text messages (and no actions). I have all the responsibility anyways. Life would just be easier without the stupid mind games he likes to play.

        • Of course, without having to find my way through this crappy maze, I wouldn’t be learning how not to be a chump. Painful as it is…

      • Yes one way for me to mentally disassociate myself from the disordered is telling myself and others that my ex is “dead” to me and my kids. Better dead than alive , really.

    • This cracks me up unicornomore!

      My sister texted me a picture of my butt (clad in my size 0 jeans) that she apparently took as I was photographing her daughter’s wedding :). Her caption read, ‘satan can see it but he can NO LONGER touch it!’ <3

      Just what I needed after the day of festivities! 😀

      CL is correct! These PODS (Kar Marie! 🙂 <3 ) are not worth our time or energy!

      Rock on CN!!!!

  • I didn’t want an apology. I wanted an explanation. Finally I realized I would never get one and even if I did, it would involve lying, gaslighting and manipulation, just as Jackass’s denials did. (“I never went on Facebook. Remember I made that account last year to check on DD17.” “Then why does FB say you made the account a month ago? And MOW friended you the next day? And it shows you check in on mobile, not my laptop?”

    Once I saw what he was, I couldn’t unsee it. And I sure didn’t want to lay my head on a pillow next to his.

    • Loved
      Your post made me think that there is some basic wiring failure in all of this. Mine can apologise but he is never quite sure how to phrase what it is exactly he is sorry for. The same with him trying to explain to me how or why he carried on his three affairs. The same when I confront him with actual physical proof of something that he has just denied. He looks at me and I can see that he has no idea what I am getting at. As if he has said the right words basically in the right order and put some kind of expression on his face but it’s like watching a robot rubber face trying to emote. Odd.
      And the other thing that strikes me is that the affairs and the divorce are all I think about really, what has happened and how to deal with stuff both physical and psychological. But he doesn’t. It’s not on his mind at all unless he is contacting me. Then he will throw out the usual hooks, how am I, how are the boys, sorry – but I know that after that he has gone right back to whatever is in front of him.
      It’s not compartmentalisation it’s much deeper – it’s like children before they get the idea of object permanence- so for him if he is not actually looking at stuff it doesn’t really exist.
      So ‘apologies’ when you know this is true just don’t have any weight at all. It is just word salad from them.

      • I get this. Mine will throw out statements that he has obviously repeated in his head to justify the things he has done. He has no idea just how stupid and disordered they sound.

        I started making a list of them so I can re-read them whenever I start to question whether what he has done is really as bad as it is (probably him gaslighting me in some way so that I feel guilty for having such hard boundaries when it comes to him). No contact (beyond arranging times to see the kids) is critical for me.

        • I did this too. Kept hoards of his texts on my phone to remind me how bonkers he is and sounds. Once I stopped talking and let him speak it was INCREDIBLE what rubbish came out of his mouth. Sad though it took me over 20 years to get this – over talking much……

          • My brain was a mass of confusion at times. My brain actually hurt for a good year after the discard. And it wasn’t a headache. My brain was heavy and it hurt. And I remember it feeling this way at times when I’d be having an endless discussion with the ex about his “healthy female friends” or something else he was lying about.

            Since no longer having his voice in my head and no longer having to listen to his voice or his lying liar words, my brain is no longer confused. There’s peace in my brain and that’s a really good thing!

        • It almost felt like all of my XH’s apologies were cut and pasted. He always used the same bullshit excuses in his “apologies”…
          A few of his classics were, “Being apart from you has been a real eye-opener”, ” I took you for granted,” (yet he kept doing that over and over again!), and “I just couldn’t believe that you loved me that much.” (notice he didn’t say how much he loved ME).

          He used these phrases every time and none of it was sincere and it was all BULLSHIT just to try to get me to fall for wreckonciling with him each time.

    • I know what you mean, Cap. What kind of apology are you supposed to get from that? Ain’t gonna happen, and if it does, it ain’t gonna mean anything.

      I used to think “yeah, she’s a sociopath, but she’s my sociopath.” Now I’m just pissed off, at myself for putting up with it, I guess.

    • I got the “sorry”, not that it mattered. Why? Because there is a huge difference between being sorry and acting sorry. Like you, I did not want an apology. What I so desperately wanted and never received was an explanation as to how in the hell he could so easily destroy the life we had worked so hard all those years to create. I truly was dumb founded that our family meant so little to him. My kids tell me X is constantly apologizing to them and I am quite sure he is sorry. The problem is he isn’t sorry for what he did, he is sorry for the consequences that came with what he did.

      For many years, I forgave his bad behavior unrelated to infidelity because I thought that was what I was supposed to do. After his cheating was revealed, I began to understand that my willingness to forgive was actually being used against me. Our relationship was a cycle of bad behavior, apologies, forgiveness and, of course, a return to that same behavior. Apologies without action are nothing more than empty calories for the soul. They may taste delightful, but they in no way nourish us or rectify the damage done. The only thing these empty apologies do is make the cheater feel better and what is the point in that? I am long past the need now for either an apology or an explanation. “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.

  • Who are we kidding? Any apology would be something along the lines of the “I love you but I’m not in love with you” line. “I’m sorry, but I’m not really sorry.”

    • His words exactly a year before I filed. It was Valentines Day. When I googled it brought me straight to CL. The beginning of my detective work….

      • The ILYBNILWY line? Oh, that’s universal for everyone I think. That was the opening line I got too. Then I too started digging , and lo and behold, I found a multi-year affair.

        Anyone who gets the ILYBNILWY line should just head right down to the local marriage police academy and sign up, cause you’re about to find out some really mortifying and shitty stuff about your spouse.

        • Hear hear! I think this is probably the number one indicator that someone is having an affair, or has at least started pursuing another person (which is an affair, in my opinion). I heard this very thing, too, which is what led me to uncover the affair. I’m very grateful he said this to me – I would have probably plugged along, clueless, otherwise.

  • I received an apology and an explanation. Apology-“I’m soooooooooo sorry.” Explanation-“It just happened.” Yep, made me all so nice and toasty inside-NOT!!!

  • Sorry that you don’t appreciate I’m sorry. Do you know how hard it is for a cheater to say sorry, but that sorry has limits. The sorry from a cheater must not have follow up questions, that sorry must be taken as a profound reflection of the immense and positive trait of a cheater. The “sorry” is about the cheater and not you.

    Sorry is a five letter word and it’s a special five letter word similar to other five letter words like “horny”….. ” greed”…..”money”…. “cheat”…”false” and “stink”

    Most cheaters are only “sorry” they got caught.

    To my ex-wife’s shock I gave her a seven letter response….”fuck off”

  • I recently got an apology from Ex-H #1, who (long story short) had not exactly cheated, but who bailed on our 12-year relationship because of the sparkles of another woman. Everything we talk about happening with the Karma Bus happened to him, all within a short time frame after I left. The other woman didn’t pan out, then he lost his job because of her, he had a slew of dating disasters for a long while, he went broke, lost friends…the whole nine yards.

    I moved out and moved on with a precision that Chump Nation would be proud of – lol! We have now been over for twelve years, exactly as long as our relationship lasted. Two months ago, he got my number off a mutual acquaintance and proceeded to text me a long, rambling, kinda sweet and humble apology for being a moron. He included all those things we chumps in the early days wish they would say, such gems as “life isn’t life without you, you were the best thing in the world and I fucked it up, I will love you until the day I die and I don’t care if you never return that in any way, I don’t want anything from you except to say this because I should have said how sorry I was a long time ago, a day doesn’t go by where I don’t think about how I could do something so horrible to someone so wonderful, I think of you all the time, I am sorry every day, I will be sorry every day forever” and on and on and on. On a personal note, I believe this apology was quite sincere.

    So, couple of points here. It took him TWELVE YEARS to say those things, in spite of the Karma Bus running him over, then backing up and running him over again – several times! Would you want to wait TWELVE YEARS for something like this before you moved on with your life? Would you be able to hang in for twelve years while they figure out how great you are and you start to live because you got “closure?” To this I say “fuck, naw.” Life doesn’t wait for you to live it. You can’t get that time back.

    Furthermore, Tracy is spot-on with her estimation that if you move on with your life and don’t spend time waiting for a grand gesture of apology, you will be in a much better place if you eventually GET that apology. I didn’t need an apology. I have moved forward and had a kick-ass life without him. I was able to receive his apology with grace, and took it in the spirit it was intended without it affecting my life. He apologized, I said Hey Thanks, had a momentary thought of “well, that’s nice,” was able to feel an actual pity for him and where his choices have landed him, and then I WENT ABOUT MY DAY. Haven’t thought of it since until reading this today.

    Meh. It is absolutely wonderful at Meh.

  • I got a few apologies, as did our kids, but they all followed the Special Narc Apology patterns.

    There were the ‘I’m sorry you got hurt’ type. Unbelievably, our daughter, 12 years old at the time, totally saw through this one when her father tried it on her!

    There were the ‘I’m sorry, but I have no idea what to respond when you ask what I’m sorry for’ type. And it’s cousin, ‘I’m sorry, but I’m going to be really resentful if you make me say what it is I’m apologizing for’.

    I actually sent him some info about making a proper apology, when he was trying to repair his relationship with the kids. He wrote an apology letter to the kids, with the help of the family therapist he was seeing with then, that somehow managed to include the required components (stating what he had done wrong, recognizing the harm his behaviour caused, expressing remorse and stating what he would do to repair and make sure these kinds of things never happened again) while STILL minimizing both his behaviours and the harms done.

    I did get one apology from him I believe was sincere; he said he regretted what he had done and wished he could go back and change it. But this was so clearly about the consequences his choices had FOR HIM that I consider that more an apology to himself than to me or the kids. That’s another type of Special Narc Apology.

    And the one that keeps on giving; after he apologized to me and the kids, he felt completely entitled to our forgiving everything and going back to doing what HE wanted and having the kind of relationship that HE wanted. Hey, he APOLOGIZED! So now that we still don’t have much to do with him, WE are in the wrong. Mostly me, of course. The reason our relationship is over is that I’m bitter and self-righteous, not because he was an unpleasant, selfish, occasionally violent, repeat cheater. And the reason the kids haven’t rushed back into his arms and his life is because I am alienating them, not because he made selfish choices throughout his parenting life, was really difficult to live with and often mean, then betrayed their mother, lied to them, and prioritized his work and OW over spending any significant amount of time with them for over a year. Nope, the problem isn’t what he did, it’s our reaction to it.

    So I got the apologies; they brought no satisfaction and changed nothing. And they so CLEARLY didn’t mean what means when I apologize to someone.

    Maybe we should make a Narc Apology Guidebook, so newbies can easily recognize the ones they get.

    • YUCK. They just don’t get it. Something in them doesn’t exist–doesn’t click, even when given a template. It just doesn’t compute. They are not wired right. There’s a short in the circuit.

  • I never got anything close to an apology, all I got was blame. For a long time I ached for him to wake up and realize what he’d done…and I had this fantasy scene in my head where I was laying on my death bed and he came with hat in hand to tell me he was sorry. It’s laughable to me now, thinking back on my fantasy.

    My ex started speaking to me like a robot, devoid of all emotion, pretty soon after we separated. I suppose he was using the “gray rock” technique. Whatever. I responded in kind, because there’s no sense trying to talk sense to a rock.

    Just as a cautionary tale for those who are still longing for that apology…a good friend of mine finally got her wish a couple of years after her ex abandoned her for a woman in his office. Low and behold he showed up on my friend’s doorstep a few years later and gifted her with “the hoped for apology.” She said at first she felt some resolution, but after awhile it wore off. When she thought of all the lies she’d lived with, she remembered that his words meant nothing. They were just words. She admitted that his long awaited apology didn’t satisfy her.

    Follow Chumplady’s advice. Move towards meh and leave them behind.

  • I never got an apology from my ex and I do not want one. Nothing can undo what his lying, cheating, scheming, scamming, theft, oh the list is too long to put on paper. He has gone and I never want to see him again or hear his voice. There was a time when I longed for my daughter and son to tell me that they were sorry for how they have treated me but I have moved on from that now. They will not make contact with me in this life time of that I am sure. So I had to drop the fantasy and get real and get on with it and I have. I have arrived at meh but I had to be dragged kicking and screaming to this wonderful place. Has it been worth the agony of the journey, yes it has. Life is good and I hope each and every Chump will be able to say those words in due course. Chumps, keep heading towards the door that is open in front of you and do not look back at the door that has closed behind you.

    • Good for you, Maree! You sound so much stronger now. My new mantra is, “no sense chasing after people trying to have a relationship. If they wanted a relationship, they’d meet you half way.” This goes for our children too. After awhile you get tired of being a doormat.

      • Thanks Lyn. You will appreciate the following quotes – “You will never have to chase what wants to stay with you” &/or “Never make someone a priority when they make you an option” !! I think every Chump here with get and understand both of those quotes.

        • Maree,
          Do you think your children are angling for his money? Or do you think that they have been poisoned by his bad character?
          It makes me dislike your children! They need a good smack for deserting you.

          • Kendal K, sadly I do not think my (our) children will get a thing from the ex. I understand that he has made sure that the prostitute and her 2 kids get everything he has and lets get real, she can perform tricks that I can not, so therefore her hidden talents alone will ensure she is remunerated accordingly. It is hard to believe that everything I set out to ensure my kids would be well looked after has changed and now a 3rd world prostitute who was born when the ex was 41 years old and he is now 64 will get everything. Not much I can do now but still hard to wrap my head around.

            • I know you were a devoted mother by the fact that you still mention your children lovingly despite their choice to be estranged. As you know I’m in a similar situation with my son. It would be wonderful if my son and I reconciled but I doubt very much we will ever have a close relationship or any relationship. . Sadly I’ve watched him in recent years become more like his father.
              Maybe our children will mature enough to appreciate us.
              I hope were alive when it happens.
              You sound great by the way..
              Take care of yourself
              Gayna xo

    • Maree, you are a good mother. I think that sometimes the cheating parent has too much influence in their children’s lives, and no matter that they have one sane, dependable, loving parent, sometimes the cheater’s hooks run too deep. But you were a good mum and still are, even if it’s only by leaving them be and by being strong and happy and healthy yourself.


      • Stephanie, I appreciate your support and yes, I still am a good mother but we do not always get in life what we feel we deserve. Trust me, I am leaving my children be, because I want them to be happy, healthy adults. If they ever want to see me again they will be very proud to see their dear old mum is still their dear old mum. Believe it or not, I do know my kids well and I think deep down they really do love me but they also know that I am very hurt by many things and they no longer want to see or hear that hurt, so they have pulled away. I get it.

  • I still want the apology, but needing it to move on is a different dilemma.

    The first is a feeling, at this time I can’t control it – the second is an emotional or mental block for my future life, something I can and will do something about.

    Meh, – I’m taking it easy on myself. You guys should too.

  • Early on I think I wanted an apology, but then I realized it would be more lies. Up to the affair I got cards from him overflowing with effusive praise and how I was the best thing that ever happened to him. HE WAS HAVING SEX WITH SOMEONE ELSE.

    So no an apology from a cheater would be a worthless waste of words and my time. Making amends in a big way is the only remedy for what he did.

  • I must admit this was my extra weak Chump Achilles heel, desperately wanting the apology. I think for 1-2 years post blow up I thought it would have mattered, even though my party line I showed to the public was that it did not matter. I think my assumption was if she had apologized, it would have been less excruciating seeing her and I would not feel as intensely angry Many wasted brain cycles there.

    I do think where the abstract idea of an apology is a factor is when people implied I should 1) forgive her and 2) move on. Not sure why others thought they would feel better if I did, and why moving on requires forgiveness. Forgiveness requires an apology, an apology the cheater is incapable of giving, an apology that will never be uttered, and you, dear Chump, luckily don’t need it.

  • I received two apologies … one mattered and one did not. I will share both.

    “I don’t know why I did those things to you.” Cheater [That was as close as he got. Notice he is still being extremely vague … still hanging on like death to trickle truth tactics.]

    “I am sorry, Dixie, that I put you through 20 years of hell … of trying to reconcile to a bad situation with a bad person who didn’t give a shit for you or your needs. I am sorry that I didn’t set you free so that you could happily walk out that door and back into the warm embrace of an authentic life. I promise to you that I will never do such a thing again and I will spend the rest of my life making it up to you.” Dixie

    Yes, I apologized to myself and then I forgave myself. Sounds dumb, but it was a true turning point for me. All the energy I was spending kicking myself for being so chumpy is now much more positively directed!

    • NOT stupid.

      I will not forgive The Coward. But it was important to me to forgive myself, for any way I was imperfect, but mostly for not believing in my own worth and for giving my love to someone who didn’t deserve it. For trusting him, I forgive myself.

      So your apology is NOT stupid and I actually think it belongs in a chapter on exercises to overcome the betrayal.

    • Dixie, this is beautiful. You are so right — even if the cheaters apologize, it’s nothing more than hot air that means nothing. But forgiving OURSELVES for remaining with the cheater, apologizing to OURSELVES for putting our very own self through hell….. that’s the real thing. That counts.

  • I think this is where the difference between awareness and insight collide. Sure, they may be aware they fucked up. They are feeling consequences and can “see” you are hurt. The biggie comes that they have absolutely NO insight of the depth of the damage it caused, nor have the ability to change their character. An apology would simply be for their own personal gain.
    I could not conceive of living a life without insight.

  • My ex becomes “sorry” every time he splits with a new piece. But I know the game now.

    I could have saved myself years of trouble if I’d believed my eyes the first time his mask slipped. I’d confronted him about an online flirtation. He initially apologized, but when I said it wasn’t okay, he said:

    “I said I was sorry. I wasn’t, though.”

    In that moment his face was completely different. It was as if he was a complete stranger. He was telling me and showing me exactly who I was, but I chose to believe the false apology instead.

    Big mistake.

    • Yes, the moment the mask slips and we see their true face. Shortly after Dday, I confronted now-ex in the hallway of our home and said that I had been a good wife and did not deserve to be treated the way he was treating me. I will never forget the way he looked at me then…. his face actually changed into something I didn’t recognize, a cold stare of complete hatred, a blank soulless look to his eyes. It was as if he had literally changed into a demon. He hissed that, “Oh yeah, you were such a great wife and I am such a horrible person, well, it isn’t that simple.” Even his voice was different, just pure icy hatred and contempt. It scared me so much I retreated into the bedroom and closed the door.

      I’ll never forget that brief glimpse into his TRUE self. He hides it well, but I saw him for what he really is.

      • Mine too…just onea couch. He was squeezing an empty water bottle and had such rage on his face. I was so afraid…it was why I demanded my key back…and then bolted the doors every single minute. (He is a cop and can pick standard locks in his sleep.)

        A few weeks after he left he tried to break into the house…the deadbolt HE INSTALLED prevented it. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  • An apology without action is worthless. The cheater needs to accept100% responsibility for the cheating. And make amends in a manner that is meaningful for the chump.

  • Apology and Forgiveness — I would also like to eat hot fudge sundae’s everyday and not get fat. I have about the same chance of getting either, I believe.

    I had plenty of false apologies — I was able to see that the apology was designed to benefit my x’s and use me some more. I was told I was cold and unforgiving. Yeah, not exactly.

    I have received apologies from people who were sincere — we had a disagreement, I now see I misinterpreted something, or blew it out of proportion, I really miss you and appreciate you and don’t want to lose you, please accept my apology for doing/being ______. I’ve also made a few of those apologies. It can be done, but it is RARELY SINCERE. It must be sincere, or it will not work.

    My malignant narc father is the king of the non-apology. Apologizing would include him admitting that he made a mistake — and that will never happen in this lifetime. So I know, he will die without apologizing. He was actually the one who taught me how to move on with my life, and get to meh — not by anything he did, but by learning to accept that he was what he was, and would never be what I wanted him to be. It was a long and hard journey for me, and I had to realize that I was doing more harm to myself by holding on to my anger than he could ever do to me. His time of hurting me came early in my life, in the first 18 years, and I kept his ability to upset me alive for another 18 years, because I confused forgiveness with accepting that what he did was alright. Nothing he did was alright. I do not accept or overlook any of the things he did that were clearly wrong. But I decided he was not going to continue to upset me, and I CHANGED MY LIFE. I went low-contact with him. He does not have my phone number. He did not get to participate in the raising of my children. I do not answer the long, complex letters he sends me. If he sends something for a family occasion, I acknowledge it and thank him for that thing. I am polite, but distant.

    My father is 85 years old, and he is not in good health. Not one of his five children go to visit him in his home. He can only see us if he comes over to my mother’s house, and for very limited bits of time. He has chosen this, his choices keep him in a cold and lonely prison of his own making. I have accepted that he is incapable of change. I don’t even get mad anymore, although after I see him I am often annoyed. I shrug it off and reaffirm my decision not to ever live my life making the choices he has made. I call my mother, and my siblings, and my children, and my friends, and I take real interest in their lives, and I love them without telling them how to live their lives. This is what happens to a malignant narcissist when he gets old and all the sparkle wears off. He truly cannot help himself, and it is all his own fault. I don’t need him to tell me that, because it is obvious. An apology would be redundant, and if by chance he chokes one out on his death bed — I won’t believe it then, either. He is only sorry that he is not living the life he perceives he “deserves”. Entitled, to the end.

    • Portia,
      My father was similar, and not repentent to the day he died. He was a high-achieving, public-figure narc who had the gall the cheat on his wife (my mother) while she was dying of ovarian cancer. His OW actually wrote him letters to my parents’ house, which is how my mother discovered the affair just months before she died. It was the most heartbreaking moment of my life to have my terminally ill mother sobbing in my arms after learning her husband of 40 years had betrayed her.

      My sister, bless her, went straight to the OW and threatened her with all sorts of nasty consequences if she didn’t back out of the picture. Father ended up getting remarried to someone else (an old acquaintance of my parents) just six months after Mom’s death.

      At his wedding, in his speech to guests, my father said he and his new bride had always “admired each other” and I wondered if they had been lovers all along. He was a nasty arrogant piece of work.

      Strangely, eight years ago when he himself was terminally ill, I looked after his care. I was alone with him when he died, and to be honest, I was totally shocked to find myself incapable of shedding a single tear. I felt an evil force had finally stood down.

      • I admire your strength — looking after his care when you knew exactly what he had done and how he had lived. I wonder where the OW and his bride in waiting were when he found he was terminally ill? Oh, they had other appointments? How surprising!

        I don’t think I will cry either, but if I do it will be for myself, for losing the father I yearned for and never had. I cannot shed tears for him. I understand that he did not have a good life, he grew up in hard circumstances, and his parents were no gift. But he had the opportunity to break through the hard scrabble existence and he was smart enough to get an education and to build the structure for a better life. He was just incapable of letting real life and joy into the structure. It was all about how it looked from the outside and ignoring the pain on the inside. He was never truly happy, and he made sure his wife and his children could not be happy either. He never could praise anyone’s accomplishments, but his own. Nothing any of us did was ever quite good enough. He was convinced that left to our own devices, we would all be frolicking in the gutter, that without following his specific directions, we could never be successful in our own right. My mother earned a doctorate of her own, and every one of the 5 children went to college — one has an AS and 10 years of military training, the other four completed bachelors degrees, and I, the oldest of the five completed my MA. We all work, we all see to it that my mother’s needs are taken care of. But there is no pride, no words of congratulations, nothing but should haves and could haves. He stole happiness from everyone he ever had contact with, and painted himself into a desolate corner with his malignant words.
        I hope your mother realized that she was better off without his betraying ass before she died. At least she died knowing the truth about him. That was a hard thing to stand, I am sure, but the truth is much easier to deal with than a false sense of security.

        • Portia,
          My dying mother whispered to me “get away from him or he will kill you, too”. She was only 67 and had suffered with his narcissicism for 40 years. She was of the generation who stayed “for the sake of the family”.

          His second wife predeceased him and he was left a bitter shell of a man. This was why I went to help out in his last days. I do have enough humanity to be kind even to a wicked human. Why…I guess I never knew what made him that way.

          The part about us kids never being good enough – so true! I was a failure to him because I never went to medical school. My brother who became an executive of a fortune 500 company…complete failure as a son! On his deathbed I witnessed him tell my brother what a disappointing son he was. I laughed about it all afterward with my brother, but I could see the hurt in his eyes. Imagine a father like that.

          • I think we may be related —- sisters in sorrow!

            I told my mother she needed to divorce him before he killed her. She stayed married for 40 years, to get the children raised, and because she was afraid of what he would do. Your poor mother — whispering for you to save yourself, wondering if you had the ability to get away in time, realizing her time was done. That breaks my heart.

            Those words — how disappointed he was, because he was such a great man, and expected more of HIS children. It is almost like he was a vampire, hoping he could suck the lifeblood out of you and your brother, and use it to keep his empty shell alive, as if belittling you could somehow empower him. I expect much the same from my father, although he does have a maudlin streak, and may start crying crocodile tears to elicit our sympathy. I don’t plan on telling him it is alright, or it doesn’t matter anymore, because it is not alright, and it will always matter. Of course it hurt to hear those words, even though they are not true. I never cared for being accused of things I didn’t do, either, even though I knew they were not true. I just believe a parent should protect and uphold their children, not drag them down. It seems unnatural.

            • Portia,
              I visited my older sister recently, and the topic of Dad came up. She was the one who spat in his face and went no contact after Mom’s death. I stuck around and played civil with the second wife….why?… Because I am mercenary enough to not let the family fortune fall into the wrong hands. I always wonder about myself, and my ability to emotionally detach, but still show kindness. I played dumb with his scheming new wife and her salivating spawn for 16 years until she died. Then when Dad was left alone, he managed to spend a LOT of money on himself (at age 86, go figure). OK, so that was his choice, his money (well actually not…the money came from my maternal grandmother, but he had control until he died).

              The bottom line is, and this actually happened, about two weeks before he died, I confronted him about how badly he had treated us, and shamed him into admitting he knew it was wrong. He asked what he could do to mitigate. I said, write cheques here and now to the people you truly know deserve that money. So, he wrote large cheques to each of his three kids, to the point where 90%’of his estate was paid out prior to death. As his financial manager, I had prepared his portfolio for his demise by liquidating his stocks and bonds.

              My words to him were…do you love me? Yes of course! OK then Dad do you want me to lose my rightful inheritance to your second wife’s kids? No! OK then pay it out now to,save us a huge long legal challenge from all the greedy hangers-on. He suddenly saw how his use of money as a manipulative tool was going to destroy his grandchildren’s legacy. So, appealing to his grandiosity actually worked.

              The outlaws were so pissed when the will was read and they got a pittance each.

  • Portia, I always read your comments with great interest and this one has struck a chord with me for some reason. You see, I am being treated the same way your father is being treated by my 2 adult children. I was almost a single mother raising them and at times it was a very lonely existence for me but I knew that I brought them into the world and I was going to make sure they had a good life and mostly they did. Together we laughed a lot and my son even commented on that quite some time ago. I did everything a single parent does but I did have a husband who was absent both physically and emotionally. Now our kids love him and have welcomed and embraced his 3rd world prostitute into the family and I do not exist. I have apologised for me perceived wrong doings but to no avail. I will no longer beg for my family because that is what I have done in the past. So, I live alone with a handful of very decent and close people in my life. I deserve the treatment and respect that the prostitute is getting but I never will. Am I being entitled, to the end? I don’t know but I do know that I have earned the respect I am not getting. Sorry for the rant.

    • Life was not always roses when I was bringing up my sons. I was the parent who held them accountable, who insisted they have goals and a plan to accomplish those goals. I was the one who said NO, a lot, because I didn’t have the money to buy whatever they wanted. I wouldn’t have even if I did have the money. Their dad could be Good Time Daddy and take them on vacations, buy them expensive things I could not afford. It was tough.

      When their dad finally remarried, he married a much younger Asian woman. She wanted a green card and security. He wanted a live-in servant who was not well educated and could not ask hard, intelligent questions. My son’s were not happy with his choice. However, they decided to keep the peace with their father, and she plays the “I am a caring stepmother” game with them. They realize most of it is fake, but they are happy that she “takes care” of many of their father’s needs, so that he does not call on them.

      My sons will be 27 and 30 this spring. They have not married, or started a family yet. They have gone through some minor betrayals by so-called friends and girlfriends, but nothing like the betrayal their father perpetuated on me. They have grown up enough to realize some truths about how hard it was/is to be a good parent, how life is not easy and that sometimes saying no is the best way to say I love you. It is a journey. I have not always liked what my children do or say, but I have always loved them. I would think you could say the same about their feelings for me, although some days I am sure it would have been very hard for them to tell me that they loved me, because they were angry with me about something.

      My advice to you is keep the lines of communication open, but do not pursue your children. Let them figure it out. Chances are this third world late life relationship will not work out, and chances are their dad will make more stupid and inconsiderate mistakes. No one does what he did if they are thinking with the brain in the head. He obviously was thinking with the other head. Your children may just want to pretend what he has done has some semblance of normal. It will be hard to do. Eventually, they should come to some hard realizations.

      If they do not — keep living in Meh. Sometimes you have to go low/no contact with people who may be related to you but do not have your best interests at heart. It is VERY hard to do, but it can be done. If they come back, the bad times will become vague memories of a hard time you endured. If they don’t — concentrate on the future you have built for yourself. You cannot change the past, or change anyone’s mind but your own. Don’t bring up the past if they show up. Their presence will speak volumes. I am sure I am not the only member of Chump Nation who prays for us all. We are a damaged group, but we are survivors, and we are becoming realists. Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. I choose to alter a saying my mother used when I was growing up. She said the Good Lord loves children and fools. I believe she just left out chumps by accident. We aren’t fools, but we were fooled. It is a subtle but important difference. Enjoy the holidays in your new Mehland. Life can be very sweet and good.

      • By the way — I don’t think you are entitled. You expect to be treated with respect, and have every right to. Nothing wrong with that. My dad is entitled because he thinks he is the only one who deserves respect and adulation and worship and on and on ad nauseam. He was given many opportunities to “change”. Not just by me, but by my siblings and mother, and yet he perpetuated the conflict that occurred in the second 18 years of my life when he fueled my anger and I allowed him to. I thought he was capable of change.

        It was when I accepted that he did not want to change, and furthermore could not change, saw no reason to change — however you want to put it, that I was finally free of the obligation to convince him that he should change for HIS OWN GOOD, and the health and welfare of his family. It took a lot of study about disordered individuals, and heartbreak and frustration for me to get the point. I am a stubborn woman, and I hated to “give in.” But I actually gave myself a new perspective and a much better life. When I realized that I was not responsible for the conduct and thinking of disordered people, I was truly liberated.

        You cannot control your children’s thoughts or actions. You can only hope that the seeds you planted when they were small will sometime bloom. It may take a long time for the shoots to push through the soil — your ex certainly piled up a lot of dirt!! Be glad that you saved your soul and improved your life. Hopefully, your children will have a similar awakening.

        • Portia, thank you for your response. I stated that I ‘deserve’ the treatment and respect that the prostitute is getting. I will clarify that statement by saying that I do not ‘deserve’ anything but I certainly did earn what I feel I am not getting from my children. I was the mother to them that I always wanted and never had. Sometimes with the best intentions our actions come back to bite us on the bum and no matter what we do and how hard we work it simply isn’t enough. Just my luck !! 🙂

        • Portia, you have the soul of a poet, a philosopher, and a really good counselor. Always enjoy hearing your perspective. 🙂

  • My cheating now-STBX managed my expectations sharply downward from D-Day #1. (He had started managing downward from close to the beginning of our relationship, but the abuse escalated at a much steeper rate after D-Day #1.)On this day, shortly after now-STBX attended a psychotherapy appointment with me that I had booked a week earlier to discuss challenges in my graduate program, I told my now-STBX that I thought that forgiveness was important. He looked at me and said, ‘I forgive you.’ A year later, he told me that he was not sorry for that affair (or any others) because ‘It helped me understand myself.’ (I consider meditation, reading self-help books, talking to friends when I want to better understand myself. I don’t think, ‘I’ll pay a prostitute to have sex with me so that I can understand me,’ or ‘I’ll rob a bank to become more self-aware.’ After hearing the opposite of an apology, I was irritated enough to empty a laundry basket onto the floor. He then told the Court that I had cornered him and attempted to sexually assault him. When he doesn’t get his way (i.e., ‘Hand over all the assets and the kids, Chump’), he takes me to court on false allegations of something heinous. We may get into the Guinness Book of World Records for most times someone has taken his spouse/ex to court on false allegations.

  • Disordered people only apologize for three reasons, none of which are sincere:

    1. Almost always, the apology is just revisionist image control. Cheaters really believe they are noble, mature, good-hearted people, and they want everyone else to buy into the delusion. They even want YOU to believe this bullshit, and expect the fake apology to do the trick.
    2. If the apology is given on a public forum like Facebook, it’s not only to make the cheater look better, but probably to manipulatively push some OW/OM into the pick-me dance.
    3. They are trying to butter you up for a good screwing that’s coming down the line.

    As for the rest, even if an insincere apology spills out of your cheater’s lips, it means nothing. The truth is, deep down inside, the cheater HATES you and feels deep contempt for you. Because a disordered person by definition can never accept responsibility for any wrongdoing, they must twist reality to turn you into the bad guy. And they believe this twisted version of the facts, they really do.

    Closest thing to an apology I ever got from my ex was a text, “I am sorry for things.”

    • Great to hear from you again, GIO!

      And those are words of wisdom. If you get an apology, see if you can match it to one of those three categories. Shouldn’t be too hard, right?

      You struck a chord with me, too. I forgot that The Coward probably hates me. And, like Yoda said, I believe that hate came from fear. Cheating (not just with The Twat, but also when he joined Adult Friend Finder and Ashley Madison, and any other time he cheated before that) was a big, giant “FUCK YOU” to me. So, you’re right. He’s not sorry–he fears/hates me. Especially because I’m doing so well without him.

  • I got was I thought was a “sincere apology email” from my cheating Peter Pan, only to discover later that the OW had written it for him!

    • WTH?

      Why would she agree to do that?

      Wait–it makes her the better person, right? She can brush her hands off now.

      Hey–I SAID I was SORRY!

      • Actually, she was and still is, a real nut case. Too complicated to explain here, but suffice to say she had already talked him into attempting to poison me so they could sail off together with my life insurance. He had also told her he would get my other assets, which was not true. So, when I put the cops on to them, they tried to make it look like a love affair, not the evil plan it was. I think the apology letter was part of the window dressing.

        The more I hear about the ex, the more I believe he was a real Dolly Dimple who did whatever his latest beotch demanded.

  • I also got the “Sorry you are feeling hurt” and “Sorry you found out” talk. When D day happened I asked “Why” and his response was “I was bored”. So, he was bored frequently I guess and sex with someone (anyone) was a way to relieve boredom. I must admit I was beyond shattered and for a couple of years really only slept walked in my roles of mother, friend, etc. Then after a couple of years, I found Chump Nation and this really helped me reframe everything. First, I went NC and that helped my head to start to clear. Then I started reading and Tracy’s book was a big help. I also read “Psychopath Free” and started watching videos about Psychopaths and Narcissists. These really helped me to understand what had happened and to see that I wasn’t the one who was crazy. I was then angry for a couple of years that I had allowed myself to be so badly used. I obsessed on revenge thoughts.

    Now, I think I am moving to a new stage (maybe this is a form of meh). I attend a Buddhist meditation group (also go to church) and the last few sessions we have meditated on compassion for those we love and then for those who have hurt us. It is a way of seeing the other as delusional, lost, as creating bad seeds in their lives. It is a step away from personal anger (which I now realize ties us to another) to wishing them to be free of suffering, as you wish this for all living beings. This has really helped me to no longer obsess with what has happened in the past. I have applied this meditation to people who also hurt me when I first separated and it has also helped me to be free of any emotions in that area. So, now I am seeing people who hurt me as misguided, lost souls and I am not entangled in any of their life dramas. For me, meditation and prayer have made all the difference. I can’t believe I am saying this, but I am actually grateful that all of this happened to me. I am a much different person.

  • The words, the words, the meaningless words. Now two-plus years down the road, I’d be hard-pressed to remember if he ever apologized or not. I do remember he used the passive-tense, no-blame-here remark, “I’m sorry you got hurt.” Never the active-tense, “I’m sorry *I HURT YOU*.” As if he & I were standing a corner and a bus came along and ran me over, but not him, instead of that he was the one driving the bus.

    He did, during the DDay revelation say, “I’m such an asshole” when I started shriek-sobbing at his news (and these words I do remember: “I’ve never loved you the way a man should love the woman he’s married to, and I never have, and therefore I don’t think we’re worth trying to save.”). Like a dopey chump, I mumbled, “You aren’t an asshole….” — Now, THAT? I wish I could take THAT back.

    And I, too, waited for the Karma bus, but it kept me looking backward and at him, instead of forward and focused on myself. I looked around and saw other people who had done what he did, leaving a longterm marriage for a much younger AP, who were now and still very happy together and had to accept that sometimes in Life, really shitty things happen — or, in most of our circumstances, good things happen but in shitty ways and at inopportune times.

    • Oh lordy the passive voice is such a cop-out. I’ve got the “I’m sorry this has been so hard on you” business too. I said at one point “You’ve crossed a line!” And a few weeks later, he Passive-Morphed that phrase into a constant excuse: “But a line has been crossed. I don’t have to be accountable to you anymore”. Like the driver-less bus you are describing! Only worse because now somehow I am responsible for putting the bus on the road without a driver???? We did not cross this “line” together, you frickin long-jumped across it like your ass was on fire, buddy!

      • Yeah, I have to say, I’m really proud of myself for never having brought up a remark he’d made early on in the relationship regarding infidelity: “It’s always out there, but it boils down to making a choice. There always comes a time when you make that choice.” — Like your cheater, they crossed a line or made a choice, and yet somehow never own up to it. — Honestly, even more than the betrayal and loss of love, I think I most resent the spineless cowardice he exhibited in those final days. Sad sausage, indeed. And the Switzerland friends fell for it, hook, line & sinker.

    • Gosh, so many similarities in our stories.

      Or, maybe that’s just a chapter in the Handbook.

      The Coward is king of being passive-aggressive. I believe he’s a covert narc. He never really mustered a real apology (may have weakly said the words at one point, but knew better than to dwell on something he didn’t believe.) But he told me repeatedly, with those shark eyes, “I never loved you. I’m sorry, but I never loved you.” And, “I was a terrible husband. But I never loved you.”

      I begged him to never tell the kids that he never loved me. I think it would break their hearts.

      And, speaking of regrets, having spent time on a RIC site before CL launched, I told him that I would always love him. I regret that, because it wasn’t true.

    • “(and these words I do remember: “I’ve never loved you the way a man should love the woman he’s married to, and I never have, and therefore I don’t think we’re worth trying to save.”)”
      My ex told me almost those exact same words. Over and over again. Funny, though, that up until Dday, he was still telling me he loved me, he was happy, he would never want a divorce.

  • Oh, disordered fuckwit is sorry as all get out, knows what he did was bad and wrong and stupid, wishes more than anything he could take it all back, do it right, fix it. No way, man. Now that I’m out and I see what I got free of, I wouldn’t do anything different now. I’m *glad* he cheated and shocked me into action. Otherwise I’d still be stuck with that loser. No apologies necessary!

  • *Raises hand* I am guilty of sending CL one of those letters, “why I am so stuck on him apologizing??? Halp!!!” And I think the perspective just comes with time. I agree with all of what CL wrote here, but it took me some time and accumulated new experiences to come to this conclusion. Now I understand that waiting for that sincere apology that (usually) never comes keeps you in the victim position. It is NOT empowering. Today, I don’t need an apology. Frankly, if I got one, I’d mostly feel irritation. It would have meant something to me THEN, not now when I’ve moved past it and this person is not only irrelevant to my life, but unwanted.

    Completely unrelated to my cheater, I got a Facebook message request from my college boyfriend a couple days ago, who was pretty much the original asshole in my life. 20 years too late, he offers a half-baked apology, but typical of him, IT IS ALL ABOUT HIM. He was vomiting his regret on me, and it felt more like an act of aggression than one of contrition. Now he feels bad because I “look like you did back then,” and believe me, he does not. He regrets not appreciating a woman who reads actual books. He misses me and loves me and wishes I missed him. He offered his “sincere friendship.” I was so nonplussed by the whole thing and didn’t reply. That is meh. Jerko, I have plenty of people in my life now that didn’t need 20 years of me ignoring them to appreciate me.

    • Yeah, this experience has made me a much better boundary-drawer in ALL walks of life! I also had old boyfriends crawl out of the woodwork after my divorce, and I was just like, “Nope, nope, … yeah you are definitely a nope….” One guy I did really like a lot, I friended but he just wanted to rehash and rehash and rehash the old days when he ended up having a daughter with a crazy lunatic woman — I never really did know what happened there, and I can vouch for the woman’s whackadoodle nature — but he was so stuck on things that happened twenty years ago. — So in some ways, that was good for me, too, because I thought to myself, I do not ever want to be THIS guy, still lamenting “how things went down” twenty years down the road!! Gotta keep moving forward, it’s the only way.

    • He was vomiting his regret on me…

      You nailed it. And that’s why I don’t want an apology from a pathetic coward. Keep your regret to yourself, please. I don’t owe you any relief, and I don’t want to clean it off myself.


      • So true. At somepoint you feel, ” Don”t BURDEN me with your remorse. Be an adult, own and shoulder it yourself.” It’s just an attempt to gain your sympathy, as if they”re the injured party.

  • I got an apology after I was a single Dad for five years, got divorced, did ALL the work including the sale of the family home which allowed her to move away and buy a new home. All this five long years after she blew up our family by cheating with family (family fucker 101).

    By the time she acknowledged (out of the blue) that I was not the monster she tried to create in her mind, that she was horrible for what she did, and appreciated all the work I did to land the burning plane safely for all of us; I didn’t matter to me one bit.

    I didn’t feel a thing. I did, however know for sure that she was apologizing only to make herself feel better, not me.

    I had her in my sights and could have pulled the FU beyotch trigger, but instead simple said “Everyone is on their own evolutionary journey”. No point in bitch-slapping her whatsoever. Thank god that nutcase is gone, gone, gone. The new life kicks ass over the one I had with her.

  • What kind of man leaves to be with OW and leaves everything behind? Leaves the newly built home, furniture, everything. And gives sole custody to wife of an 18 month old without even a whimper. Just walked away. Poof.

    • Someone very, very broken. You will one day realize you are better off that he’s not pretending to be a whole human being.

    • Same thing happened to me only my child was older. Just POOF! I never really spoke to him again even though we had a minor son. I never expected an apology nor did I get one. What he did was beyond the realm of any apology. My road block to “meh” is that I’m waiting for karma. I want him to feel pain like that which he inflicted on his family. I hate him.

      • The Coward is a vanisher, as well. Part of it is because I refuse to have anything to do with him. My children are adults. If I want to know what their plans are, I ask them. Their father and I have no relationship, and haven’t since he moved away.

        Don’t worry about karma. Your desire for it will fade in due time once you focus on your life. I’m almost all the way there, 5+ years out. I don’t really wish for anything bad to happen to him because I’m concerned in an almost superstitious way that those desires will reflect on me. So I let it go. I will say that I still am curious to know if their life is so wonderful, but I really don’t know, and I’m good with that.

        I am convinced that their karma is living under the smothering blanket of constant self-doubt and inability to be truly, truly happy the way I would describe happiness. You know, the fruits of an honorable life and good relationships, and being satisfied with one’s occupation, whatever it is. Also inner peace. You know? The Coward has none of that, and that’s sort of sad. He will always live under that. I would hate that life. That’s his karma. It may or may not involve some grand collision. It may just be a slow suffocation of misery and personal failure and regret. Sad.

  • I figured it out on my own. I know who I am. I know what he is. I now see that he was always that way. Sometimes I even feel sorry for him, he’s such a mess. I used to love him, but now I see him differently, and I cannot love someone I don’t respect.

    I DGAF if he’s sorry, and I’m pretty sure any sorry would have nothing to do with how he hurt our kids and me. That’s because someone who would do as he did and carry on for years cannot be sorry the way I would be sorry if I had done that to my family. So what would it mean, anyway? I don’t care to untangle it.

    And I don’t need it. I already know that he was wrong–don’t need him to tell me that. His sorry changes nothing–nothing at all. I picked myself up on my own, brushed myself off, survived humiliation and loneliness and got stronger, have an even better relationship with my kids than before he left, and now am in love with a really good man who, to my great delight and wonder, has a solid character and soul (which is sexy as all get-out!!)

    So, nope. Sorry is as sorry does. I don’t need to forgive The Coward, but I have forgiven myself for any transgressions, for most of my short-comings.

    I don’t need a sorry because I already know it wasn’t me. I’ve moved on.

    • Love this post Stephanie! One of the reasons I still show up here is to read empowered posts like yours (and to support and encourage the newly chumped). It’s so great when you get to that point where you wonder, why did I ever care if this shitty human being apologized? Keep on being joyful 🙂 And I agree, good character is SO sexy.

    • Tell it! Skankboy said he was “soooooooo sorry.” Told me I was a “wonderful woman.”….blah, blah, blah. Told me I “look really good.”….I said “I feel good.” Didn’t finish that sentence since I tossed your sorry ass out. The only truth out of his skanky mouth was “I didn’t even try.” Beyond that, don’t want to see him, hear him, hear about him,..nadda, zero, zip! I’m 18 months out and am getting a life and learning that I’m pretty okey dokey!

  • I got a half-assed apology when I told my ex I wanted a divorce. Then he was Oh-So-Sorry… tears and all. His apology clearly came with strings. It was an attempt to worm his way back into my good graces and keep the comfortable-for-him status quo of “happily married”… When I made it clear I wasn’t interested in forgiving and taking him back, he immediately turned Nasty. In public he played “Sad Sausage” to anyone who would listen — bemoaning about how mean I was for not forgiving him and giving him another chance. After all he said he was sorry!!! He conveniently omitted the parts about how I discovered he was a serial cheater, that he was verbally and emotionally abusive, and that he had a serious drinking problem. Yep, his “apology” came a little too late and it was not sincerely remorseful. I was all tapped out on giving chances and his words were absolutely meaningless to me.

    I just saw him recently (we’ve been divorced almost 6 yrs now) and he is pathetic. I cringe at the thought of what it would be if I was still with him. I truly pity his current wife. My life is SO good without him!!

  • I think that sometimes people get hung up on the apology because they want validation that they were not crazy and were right about everything all along. So many of us suffer through months or years of gaslighting, spackling, trickle truth, blameshifting and so on down the line that we crave a moment of clarity and honesty where we are finally released from the vigilance of trying to unravel everything and just understand that our Cheater was a horrible fuckwit, that he/she did ABC and we are right to be sad, hurt and devastated. To this day, I would bet you some serious money that my ExH would look you in the eye and tell you that he the Howorker were “just friends” up until he moved out. I would love to have him say “Yes, I was fucking her all along. You were right and I lied to you.”

    But the thing is they can’t do it. Controlling the narrative and lying to themselves and everyone else is just a part of them. So the apology comes out not quite right. All versions that we have heard above… I sort of got an apology. The day after I served him with papers he came home, shook his head and cried and said “I’m sorry.” But he also said he was proud of me and didn’t really fight me on anything. He knew it was over and best to just put a bullet in it and move on. My ExH is a fucked up asshole, but he’s not as bad as some. He knows that he is a horrible person and he treated me horribly, he just doesn’t care about it enough to not do the horrible things.

    All the comments about letting actions speak for themselves is something that I’m really focusing on for future relationships. I am dipping my toe in the water of some dating and I have been thinking about how to deal with the issue of “exclusivity” (not that I am ready for an exclusive relationship… YIKES!). But a few weeks back it dawned on me “actions speak louder than words”. It doesn’t matter what the guy SAYS to me, because my husband said he loved me and wanted to make our marriage work. It matters what he does. I knew my ExH was cheating… all of his actions told me this. I chose to believe his words for a long time.

    • “…he just doesn’t care about it enough to not do the horrible things.” That’s it in a nutshell. Short of having a lobotomy or a miracle occurring, I don’t expect my ex to suddenly have an epiphany and genuinely start caring about the negative affects that his actions have on others.

  • Back in the pitch-black, dark days after Dday, I used to pray all the time that the Lord rip open my ex’s heart so he could feel the pain and terror that I was feeling, and that the Lord tear open ex’s eyes so that he could see the evil of his actions and the foolhardiness of everything he chose to do.

    These days, I admit, it would be nice to know that ex actually realized he threw away the best thing he ever had, that he felt genuine remorse for the pain he inflicted on me and many others, and that he truly grasped how he fucked up his own life. But it’s not something I think about much and I know it will never, ever happen. And even if by some miracle, ex DID want to give me a true, genuine apology….. why would I want it now? It wouldn’t mean anything. Nothing can change the things he did, nothing can restore the time I wasted, nothing can erase the agonizing pain and loss I suffered through. Fuck any apology he might ever offer, he can keep it to himself.

    Funny, I just realized that today is the seventh anniversary of my last Dday. Life is so much better now.

  • I get apologies from my ex-husband all of the time–almost daily (we are not in NC yet, but it’s a goal of mine.) The problem is that, I don’t think he is truly sorry. Sure, he’s sorry he got caught, and sorry that I am not there to care for him and cook him nice dinners. He’s sad that he’s alone. But I remind him almost every time that I LEFT BECAUSE OF WHAT YOU DID. And he knows that.

    So in my opinion, apologies don’t change the past. Even if you get them, you are still in the same spot–your significant other is a liar and a cheat.

  • There’s no closure. No apologies. They’re not sorry.
    We weren’t married but together for 7 years.
    They don’t allow closure.
    I’ve had to fabricate my own.
    I’m better but not there yet.
    You’re right, they are what they are. Liar. Cheater.

  • This is a big virtual Hug and Smile to all the people who responded to my SOS when the OW told me to jump off a bridge.
    I was so upset by her goading me to commit suicide that I could not think about it. So, I printed all of your wonderful responses and I have them on my desk. When I start to feel bad, I read over them again. It makes me feel so great.

    I DID dodge a bullet. As I read more responses, I saw how pathetic she is. Hysterical. She does sound like a raving, illiterate…..insane monster.
    One of my friends was so incensed by the text, she started digging. Guess what? All of you on CN have amazing intuition.
    This OW lost custody of three little boys for severe chid abuse with severe bodily harm. Babies under the age of 5. That evil vibe in that text is real. She is vicious and violent. She has a criminal history for THEFT. She is unemployed and “parties” all day.

    This is what he devastated and blew up our lives over. I have never had a speeding ticket. I have worked since I was 15. I used to make him roast chicken and homemade mashed potatoes, with lemon poppy seed cake and cream cheese frosting. I used to sort out his banking problems. I washed his clothes. I would stare at him with love. I kept my nephew who has Downs about 2 days a week and overnight for my sister. She also sent a text (it was too painful to acknowledge) about how my nephew was “ugly cute” for a “retard”. I am not on FB. She had only spoken to me twice, less than 5 seconds. I guess she was researching my family.

    Goading me to commit suicide and making fun of my Down’s nephew made me consider suing her or doing something. But I have decided to let it go, based on all the great advice. She would probably love the drama of all it. If she could read the complaint.

    He left me for that horrific, mean monster. I have been binge reading all of the article on this site. Thank you, each person, and especially Ms. C Lady for helping me with the feelings that horrible text generated. It is subsiding with each day. I have NO contact with either of those demons.

    I changed my number.

    • Cheaters NEVER EVER trade up.

      When you think you’ve seen a trade up? You don’t know the full story. Because they NEVER trade up.

      You were too good for him and he feared being found out for a fraud. Instead of being inspired to improve himself to keep up with you, he traded you in for someone who wouldn’t make him feel inferior.

      Of course, one should never lower themselves to keep a coward like that. But now you know how small and pathetic he really is–exactly what he feared.

      You keep your head high and keep living by your high standards. You are a catch. He didn’t know how to keep you.

  • Only sorry he got caught. He plays the victim. Blameshifts it all back to me. Left me a note that said it’s my fault if we don’t have any semblance of a normal family. It’s on my shoulders. Really? You fucked your girlfriend in our home. You blamed our daughter for me divorcing you. You are a cheater and a liar and morally bankrupt. And it’s my fault??? No contact really is the way to go.
    My soon to be ex is a narc. I can’t wait to be done. I do worry about looking back and hoping for Karma for him. His. AP is pretty shitty herself.

  • Interesting take on trading up. I agree 100%. Also when I read about cheater hating me and absolutely no respect for me. Agree with that too. This website and the book – they saved me. First time I read the book I was – this is ME. MY LIFE. MY CHEATER!! TY CN. ❤️️

    • Seems like it’s working, too! I wonder how your cheater fits his giant balls into his pants with that attitude. Really? YOUR fault? Your daughter’s fault?
      He thought that argument would stick but something tells me you’re a different woman than you were before. You’ve got a spine. That’s awesome!

      • Thanks Stephanie! Words of encouragement are appreciated. 7 months out from D day after a 32 year marriage. Still hard to process. No contact is key!

  • Thanks, CL, for re-posting this item about waiting for apologies.I find this topic just as illuminating as the older discussions on forgiveness.

    I will not hold my breath for sincere apologies from my abusive parents, bully ex-bosses, liar ex-boyfriends, unreliable fake friends. If they were of decent character in the first place, they would not have done the things they did for such a long duration. I trust that they suck and have always been what they are. Instead, I will move forward and vow to do my best to not let people jerk me around anymore; fix my picker and enforce firm boundaries. I/we deserve better. I so appreciate you and your stories, CN!

  • Hi
    4 weeks in limited contact but some because we have kids.
    Any thoughts on how to reply to this email I got from him this morning.

    If u had me back , we could have all the finances in one account! (He has a lot of debt in his name)
    We could do everything together ( He has been an a hole to me for 8 months during EA, and no help around home and little with the kids)
    Make decisions together
    I wouldn’t be on speaking terms with your parents (My Dad hates him because he was a flaky drunk years ago, he is somewhat better now and sober 4 years)
    But I think that’s decided!!
    I would cease any conversation with katja!, and u could email her to get her version of things!( Other woman EA overseas, Skype hoe 8 months under my nose at home contacting her. I have no intention of speaking with her, ain’t got no time for that shit, seriously, drama)
    I would want u to stop drinking in the house so much ( I have been using alcohol to de stress never drunk but moody)
    And if there’s the hint of argument both of us learn to stop, or walk out of the house! ( I used to leave because he would hound the shit it of me and argue with me in bed about anything and nothing)
    I could have more work now as I have a car
    So we could finish painting, and carpet! ( I have been busting my ass on weekends painting, including ceilings)
    I love u, I miss u,and the kids at home! and wish to be close beside u in time !

    He left out the other woman who is local that he spends his days off work going for ‘walks’ with while I’m at work, other bitch mentioned is EA Skype hoe overseas.
    Replies please, feeling so heart broken and devalued by this drivel.

      • Fairies and butterflies it has not been and yes I can see it is about cake, me and the kids rock.
        I replied that I was getting councelling and would think about it, whateva.
        He replied ‘thats great im getting councelling next week also.
        Goodo, need less contact as feel ill most of the time and am shredding weight. I know I will look back in a few years and think, thank god thats over. I am strong.

    • Lady Batshit: It does hurt when they dangle hopes of what we could have had before us. But write down all the crappy things he’s done throughout the marriage, and during his PAs/EAs.

      They don’t change. He can promise fairies and butterflies and rainbows, but unless that’s what you had before, it ain’t gonna happen. File his plea, and ignore him. Hugs.

      • Tempest is right, Lady Batshit.

        Trust me, it will be more of the same only worse if you let him back in. And it won’t take long for his behaviors to escalate.

        One that truly loves you, wouldn’t be able to hurt you because it would hurt them to hurt you. These disordered monsters do not feel love. They are unable to love anyone but themselves. We are just objects to them.

        Yes, ignore him.

  • Gaining strength from reading through this site. Seven months after discovering my husband’s emotional and webcam based affair with a porn ho. Like – this idiot really feel for the porn ho and thought she really liked him (didn’t realize she was just saying kind things because she was making big money off of him). When she vanished from the internet (i.e. made a new account and didn’t care enough to tell her stupid a$$ her new screen name), he tried to fall in love with other porn hoes (spending more money), visited a massage parlor and got a blow job, and even tried to find local whores for a hook up (didn’t happen, but not for his lack of trying). When I found out, he melted like a butterfly. Now he is in counseling and “trying” and apologizes like there is no tomorrow.

    However, it is finally becoming clear that he is incapable of a healthy, loving relationship. I didn’t realize how much I was carrying him and the load of our marriage over the years. When children came along (we have three), I was just focused on survival and doing what had to be done. After d-day I stepped back and realized I had been dragging him along and he was not at all giving and supportive in the relationship. Sure, he gives money (I also work), but that is all he is good for. The kids adore him and to the rest of the world he is the sweetest, nicest man to ever exist.

    Yesterday I told him to write down everything I would get in his wonderful “recommitment” to our marriage, and it better be superior to what a judge would award me. I was appalled that this man could not come up with reasonable ways to show he cared. I wrote my own list of ways he could show love as a comparison. His list was laughable (I will hold your hand in public, I will give you six hours a week for yourself, I will give you $250 a month to spend on yourself). First – did I mention I work? How in the H*** are you ‘giving me money’ when I make my own and we have a joint account? How is holding my hand and giving me six hours a week “to myself” providing something. I read him my list and showed him the gulf between us. He then asked for a chance to re-write his list – and it got worse! Really, your offer to show you love me, are remorseful, and want to provide appropriate restitution is to agree to cook dinner for the kids a few nights a week and take me out on a date two times a month. Really?

    I am trying to get the strength to file for divorce. It is so hard though, mainly because I know how hard it is going to be on the kids. The LOVE their father, even though I do 80% of the work in raising them, they are so attached to him (the oldest is 11, the youngest is 9). I put my husband out the house a few weeks ago being frustrated at his lack of emotion and ability to show remorse and the kids cried for hours, when he showed up a few hours later and rang the doorbell, the kids rejoiced and jumped up and down at daddy being back home. We don’t “ugly fight”, we have conversations and rarely even raise our voice, so the kids don’t really understand the extent of our issues. They see an intact home with a loving mom and dad.

    I feel absolutely trapped. If I free myself from this marriage in which I get nothing, I am ripping my kids’ father away. Of course he would still see them, but they want him around to tuck them in at night and to read them stories and to do fun things. He is useful when it comes to me trying to be two places at once, so I know when I file for divorce, they will have to cut out some of their activities – I just can’t be two places at one time. What is the point of divorce if I still have to see him every single day for him to tuck the kids in at night and if I still have to coordinate pick up/drop off. It would basically be our regular life, just without the ring and now all the bills would be in my name. I can see how emotionally life gets easier, but it feels like it would get harder in every other way.

    And, I already know everyone is going to look at me as the issue. “Oh, he is just so sweet.” and “Oh my gosh, he was trying so hard, going to a counselor weekly, joining a porn/sex addict support group. He did everything possible and it wasn’t enough.”

    I am actually wondering if it is better to just tough it out for the next few years until they are older and then leave. Ugh, I hate this! Especially when he has the “apology” game wrapped up so tight. Oh, those apologies are so ‘wonderful’ – “I am nothing. I cannot believe I was so stupid to hurt you in this way. I will spend the rest of my life making it up to you!” And then when I ask what he plans on doing his response is holding my hand in public and paying me $50 every time he tells a lie!

    Ugh!!!! Help!!!

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