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Dear Chump Lady, He “can’t remember”

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cakemanDear Chump Lady,

I’ve been reading your site for some time and have found it extremely helpful. I love how you don’t “beat around the shrubbery”, and that kind of directness is what I need now.

I discovered last year, within a weeks time, that my husband was having an emotional affair (EA) with a co-worker for 5 years (they both are government) and a serious porn addiction, of which I had zero knowledge. Boy, I was full of not knowing, wasn’t I? We have been married for 17 years and have known each other for over 20.

After I discovered the EA, I asked him to send a no contact letter and he did. Well, I found out 5 days later that they had set up secret email accounts. I gathered this info and sent it to her husband and that pretty much curtailed the EA.

The porn addiction is a result of PTSD during war time. It still doesn’t stop the blow to your self esteem when your husband is turning you down for sex constantly. I started keeping a calendar and we would generally have sex, if I was lucky, every 60 to 90 days. I had NO idea he was using porn for self gratification and therefore that is why he wouldn’t touch me. Didn’t help when I found out though as my self esteem was way in the sh*tter by now.

Not only did I not have any intimacy in my marriage due to his EA, I also had no intimacy in my marriage due the porn use. Both of these things I had NO IDEA of until I discovered them myself.

Fast forward. We went to marriage counseling which was a flop. I became resentful because I felt like I was doing all the work to “fix” something I didn’t do. He let me do it and that made me even more resentful. After reading your site I lost it one evening and told him I was tired of the trickle truth, the no effort, and the fact that not one fact he has come forward with on his own. I’ve found out EVERYTHING on my own and he won’t own up to it unless I have him dead to rights. 

I let him know the other day that I couldn’t stand not being able to trust him. When I ask him a question about the affair, most likely I already have the answer, and I’m just looking for a hint of truthfulness from him.

Let us fast forward again to this evening. I asked him, point blank, WHO set up the secret email accounts? Was it YOU or was it HER. Now this is not a tough question but he still answered with his coined “I don’t remember”. This does not fly with me anymore so I said, “Well did you log in to the website and use YOUR fingers to create both accounts? If the answer is NO, then she created the account. If the answer is YES then it was you.” Now let us take in to mind that this was last year so the “I don’t remember” is not flying.

My question to you is, Why does he continue to not answer a direct question, even when he knows I know the answer? Again part of the healing comes from not the details but the knowledge that the truth is being told. It is not like I don’t know that he had an affair and the porn addiction. I’m the one who found out for crimminy sake.

He is in counseling now and so am I. I am in it more for my sanity and I hope he gets the help he needs to battle his demons. I don’t think I can stay in this marriage anymore but I keep taking puffs off the hopium pipe. I need someone to tell me, in laymans terms, how I can explain to him why it is I’m really leaving. I’ve told him that I can’t handle anymore trickletruth and I can’t keep digging as I always find something. I need him to come forward with some information of his own before I find it. I know that won’t happen but I’m so sad and frustrated. Please kick some sense in to me.

Thank you and buffering up my backside for the kicking I need. 

Angi

Dear Angi,

You wanted direct, so here it is — your husband is still in his affair.

You can stick your finger in the dyke all you want to —  intercepting his latest secret email addresses, monitoring his porn, calling the OW’s husband — but so long as your husband is doing the You’re Not the Boss of Me tango of entitlement, this “reconciliation” is a non-starter.

He’s going to therapy as the price of admission to eat cake. And he’s sullen and resentful about it, happy to let you do all the heavy lifting on this save the marriage shit.

He’s not having sex with you, most likely, because he’s been getting it somewhere else — the OW. I’m sorry, but people don’t have EAs for FIVE YEARS when they have direct access to one another daily. And continue to have access. They still work together, correct? I didn’t see anything in your letter where he’s found a new job or she left hers. Grown-ups don’t flirt for five years — they have sex. Sex is the preferred form of kibbles.

Look, even in the highly unlikely event that this is “just” an EA, your marriage sucks. Ask yourself if this relationship is acceptable to YOU. It sure doesn’t sound like it, Angi. You’re begging for scraps of dignity from a guy who is clearly checked out emotionally and physically. What’s left to be married to? His military pension? You can get that in the divorce.

My question to you is, Why does he continue to not answer a direct question, even when he knows I know the answer?

Simple. Because he prefers to keep you in the dark.

You know that, it just frustrates the hell out of you and you’d prefer to not listen to his ACTIONS.

His actions are communicating a very clear message — CAKE.

He makes a weak reconciliation gesture and immediately undoes it each and every time, Angi.

Send a NC letter? Okay, and the next day he sets up new secret email accounts.

Go to marriage counseling? Okay, but he won’t do any of the work.

Go to individual counseling? Hey, you don’t get to monitor that and he could be anywhere that afternoon. (“I was at therapy!”) Anyway, whatever he’s doing, he’s still an asshole who “doesn’t remember.” Perhaps he should try past life regression therapy, where he can recall the details of his various double lives under hypnosis. WTFever.

I need someone to tell me, in laymans terms, how I can explain to him why it is I’m really leaving.

You don’t explain it to him. You just DO. You leave. You see a lawyer and don’t tell him boo about that. You line up your ducks and you divorce his ass.

Time to trot out the old Dr. Simon axiom — it’s not that he doesn’t see, he disagrees. He doesn’t need insight that you’re unhappy — HE DOES NOT GIVE A SHIT. His actions clearly demonstrate that. So you need to wake up and act accordingly. No marriage here to save, he’s not in it, time to lawyer up.

Do NOT lawyer up to make him “come to his senses” and do the pick me dance for you. He might well do that — to maintain cake. No, divorce him. If he wants to reconcile after you’ve been awarded a settlement and half his military pension, he can demonstrate his sorry then. I could recommend a post-nup to you, but the guy is having a work place affair in a government job. He may well be fired for it, or subject to a lawsuit. You need to get out and secure that settlement before the worst happens, and if he gets uppity about it, your lawyer deposes his workplace. Get out NOW before the OW’s husband complains to her boss or human resources. Save yourself, Angi!

Why doesn’t he tell you the truth? I can’t keep digging as I always find something. 

You answered yourself. The truth is worse than you know, and he’s going to be goddamned if he tells you that. He’d prefer to avoid the consequences and continue to eat cake at your expense.

Fuck that, Angi. Take back your power today. Call a lawyer.

This column ran previously. 

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I had a cheating ex-wife and short relationship with a cheating ex-gf (the latter having bpd, the former…. Who the f knows?).

    Both of them refused to tell me anything unless I had them dead to rights and the latter always said “well you know everything already, what is there left to say” before calling me a stalker for looking at how she had cheated on me….

    I think it’s a form of manipulation by them (ie what can I get away with, I am enjoying this power game, how do I keep it going) and shame (it is too embarrassing for me to admit this…) that also keeps open the possibility you won’t dump their asses – it’s quite logical for them to keep playing…. The question I had in the end was – why am I letting them play? I already know enough.

    • Just curious – if this column ran previously, then what ever happened to Angi? Does anybody know?

      • Not sure, she responded in comments to the first run of her letter. She may still be checking in and might let us know.

      • I was just getting ready to comment 🙂
        Funny, I read this article again a few days ago. I had an appt with my lawyer today and due to the fact that my soon-to-be-ex-cake-eater thinks I’m not entitled to ANY marital property after 20 years, we will be going in front of a judge.

        He is trying to also get me to drop the “Fault” divorce and make it a “No Fault”…Thanks to Chump Lady, and my constant reading of her articles, daily, I’m at Meh, and so I’m looking forward to the 48% of his TSP, his FERS (retirement), FIGLI (insurance on FERS), 1/2 the marital house (I have my own house now that I bought using my VA), 1/2 of all the vehicles, including his precious race car that I now realized that he took over 40K from our account to outfit, all documented of course 🙂 It has taken me a LONG time to get here and a lot of heartache as once I found 1 rat on the sinking ship, along came 20 more that I found out about. So thank you ALL and Chump Lady too of course. I still lurk here and on the boards 🙂

    • FTSL–it’s ALL manipulation. Cheaters get aroused at deceiving others because it gives them power. If they have a piece of information that they withhold from you (e.g., that they are having an affair), and you take a path of behaving in a way based on the assumption they are being honest, they have made you do something you wouldn’t otherwise have done. POWER. It really is that simple.

      • I also think it pains them to admit such things out of their own mouths. “Yes, I did fuck my coworker.” Or “Yes, I’ve been spending seven hours a day on a porn site.” Once again, they’re like children:”Who broke this vase?” gets a shrug and bewildered “I have NO idea!” from a five year old.

        • Totally agree. My idiot cheater has said multiple times “who would do this to you?” Like it was some rando that attacked me with a machete in the street or something. Uh, stupid face, it was YOU! YOU are a dirty lying cheater! YOU fucked the whoremat. OUR marriage is dead and it’s ALL. YOUR. FAULT. Cognitive dissonance. When your faux reality is shattered you can’t believe the real reality. Well, it COULDN’T BE! My idiot cheater is SUCH. A. NICE. GUY. Guess what. Nice guys don’t fuck people they aren’t married to when they already have a wife to fuck. Poor whoremat with her awful cheating husband. Good thing mine was there for her. To fuck her and cheat with her and make HER life better. Because it’s not enough she had her own cheating husband, now she has two. I asked him how that makes it better for everyone. She’s happy now that she has another cheater? Thank God that she can really rely on a new lying cheater. What a joke.

          • SS, on dday I said to the idiot, “just think, you cheated ON me with her and you cheater ON her with me.” He stood there with this dumbfounded look then it appeared he had a lightbulb moment. That is how he got the nickname idiot!

          • “What kind of guy do you think I am?”

            His response avoids my question, while he defends his “good guy” image.
            It took me a while to come to my senses and realize not what kind of guy I think he is, rather..,
            I know now exactly what kind of guy he is.

            • My Ex (yep ex now) said to me once during questioning, crazy making exchange, “why are you so upset? I didn’t murder anyone”. I remember I left then, walked away and went for a drive before I ended up murdering HIM for that comment alone. So glad those days are long behind me now!!!!

          • If I was not me. And had not experienced this. Da Fuck? Whaddyamean?

            I didn’t get exactly those words, Shelby, but yeah. Similar. Who would? Really. Who would? A good guyear?

            Just like mine. Who was. And is now. But SOOOOOOOO wasn’t.

        • Or my recent experience with my son: “Sweetie, did you pee in the trash can?

          5-year-old: “No mommy!”

          Me: “Are you sure? It wasn’t me, and the dog can’t reach that high.”

          5-year-old: “I don’t remember.”

          Me: “Can you try to remember?”

          5-year-old: “…I guess I do remember. It was a really long time ago, like when I was 3.”

          Me: “I’m pretty sure it’s been less than 2 years since I emptied the trash. Why did you decide to pee in the trash?”

          5-year-old: “I don’t know. I think I was just bored of peeing in the potty.”

          Me: “Ok, well potties are made for pee, and trash cans are made for trash. No more peeing in the trash. I’m going to take the trash can out of your bathroom until I know you won’t pee in it again.”

          5-year-old: “Ok mommy!” (Skips away to play.)

          The similarities between a conversation with the cheater and a conversation with a preschooler never ceases to amaze me. Their logic is about the same.

          • So true. My 5 year old once insisted a big purple bouncing ball about 6 feet diameter came bouncing up the driveway and broke the porch window. He said it with a straight face, all the while holding a baseball bat in his hand. I still smile when I think of it…and then, the similarity when his cheater father received a “gift” delivered to our house by the OW (I guess she was playing hardball too) and cheater brushed it off as “some crazy broad at work who worships me”

            • This is because so many of them having personality disorders they really are children. Children that will never grow up emotionally.

            • Ah, the joys of child mentality. It can be charming in retrospect when it’s a cute kid learning cause and effect and the repercussions of dishonesty. But when it’s an adult, and your SPOUSE, no less?? It’s just pathetic.

          • A lady I used to work with about 16 years ago told me a hilarious story about her then 5 year old son. They were both watching cartoons together and they both dozed off for a little nap. The boy woke up before her but she didn’t think he beat her by that much. She started making dinner in the kitchen and noticed a whole bunch of “white things” in her driveway. She went outside to investigate and saw that the “white things” were actually egg shells strewn about their driveway.

            She asked her son if he did that because she the eggshells she put in the garbage can the day before were miraculously missing. He looked at her and told her no, and with a straight (and serious face) he spun the yarn that a “giant chicken” came into their yard and threw the egg shells on the driveway. He should know because he saw the giant chicken.

            He was so emphatic about it, for a fraction of a second she almost believed his tall tale told through tears and loud sobbing. She punished him (no TV and video games until he told the truth) and a couple of days later he confessed that there was no giant chicken (spoiler alert) and he actually threw the eggshells on the driveway.

            Difference between a 5 year old and a cheater? Not much in this regard but at least the 5 year old told the truth eventually.

            As an aside, no matter how many times I think of that story it makes me laugh a little. 🙂

      • Totally dealing with manipulation today! My Stbx found out yesterday I had filed for divorce and boy did the shit hit the fan! He bombarded me and the kids with texts and emails until after midnight- totally out of character. I shouldn’t have responded at all but finally quit only to wake up to a completely nonsensical text about me needed to take responsibility for my mental illness that I am trying to hide so I don’t pass it on to our children.

        I quit responding. I know rationally that I have struck a nerve and he is really upset because of a loss of control but it is still very hard as a chump in recovery.

        One of the biggest ironies today is him accusing me of going going straight to litigation rather than discussing settlement with him (he left 10 months ago and to say communication has been difficult is a gross understatement plus if you can believe it, I catch him in lies all the time). The irony is that when he left, he went straight to “I am leaving, I want out, I can’t take it anymore after never having said I am not happy, can we talk? Unilateral decision all the way!

        Thanks fellow chumps for all your help as I head down the path to meh! I would like to hug you all!

        • Feelingit
          Congratulations on filing!!!
          It’s an odd process I found. Scary to go through, feels surreal at times but feels right. Go easy on yourself and post here so we can cheer you on! ❤

        • Feeling it… you are mighty.

          Mr. Sparkles was almost a year into his “relationship” with the OW when I finally filed. I had tried to discuss a settlement with him but he didn’t want to… he wanted to keep drinking wine with me, ignore texts from the OW, and fantasize about “wouldn’t it be great if we fell back in love again after the divorce?”. THAT was the moment I knew I had to file. He was/is a sociopath.

          For me, filing was just the first step. He refused to acknowledge service, I was doing it pro se, and he thought I’d give it up. SO, I upped the ante and hired an attorney. And, from that moment on I REFUSED to engage with him by text unless it was about our son. On many occasions throughout the divorce process, he asked to sit down and discuss a “settlement” and I REFUSED. He had his chance. He didn’t take it… so I went with the pre-nup and he walked away with what he brought to the marriage – NOTHING.

          Prepare for the next year being a very very emotional time with your STBX, the court/legal process in general. But if you stay focused and committed and refuse to engage… they sometimes give up (mine did) and now he’s moved on to yet another woman (OW ditched him).

          My divorce was final in December and I think I’m only now starting to realize that it happened and I’m out.

        • Feelingit,
          Stay mighty for yourself and your kids. It is so hard to stay calm when stbx is bombarding you with absurd accusations. Just remember your stbx is fighting his own narcissistic rage, the complete kibble deprivation, and his emergence from cheater fog to the new reality that is your filing.

          Stick with as much no contact as possible and remember we are all here to support you. Thongs will get better!

          • Thanks, this afternoon he sent a text asking if I would like to get together to sign the tax return. I called the accountant and asked him if I could deal with him directly and he said sure. It will drive Styx crazy with more loss of control.

            Last night he texted my 17 year old and said his dad wants to be friends with his homewrecking whore because she is warm and loving and that is the type of people he wants to surround himself with as he dies of als. My 12 year old chimes in- doesn’t he know she is warm and loving because she is a gold digger?

            Then tonight more emails to my 15 year old daughter lying about his whereabouts and telling her she needs to read the 10 commandments about honoring her mother and father. She replies- what about the 5th? He replies Jesus forgives all. I don’t know what religion he follows. He never quoted the Bible in all the years I knew him.

            You all are helping me be strong.

            • Feelingit – I laughed out loud at this post. Not because it is truly funny but because it is so spot on and similar to what I have and am dealing with. My STBX spouts shit all the time that immediately makes me think, “you can’t possibly think that or believe that.”

              He constantly complains about how much divorce is costing and that it is my fault for first hiring my own attorney instead of just using his, then for filing after 8 months of trying for a dissolution only to realize he wouldn’t agree to anything beyond the bare minimum the court would require (and that after he spent months devaluing his business and running up business expenses in order to try and lower his income).

              I spent an hour and a half in court yesterday because he requested an oral hearing to reduce his temporary support. We have a settlement conference scheduled a month away, but he couldn’t wait because he is appalled by the “ridiculous amount he has to pay.” The end result was $27 a month per kid reduction in support.Between the two of us, we probably spent over $1,000 in legal fees for our attorneys to prepare and go to court. Stupid, stupid, stupid…all for temporary support which the final order will correct.

              Patience and document everything is what I just keep repeating in my head.

        • Way to go Feelingit! I’m wishing you well on your path to meh. Always an interesting journey with its ups and downs and twists and turns – but it always heads in the right direction! ?

          • Yes, I wonder every day when will my jaw stop dropping and how many times will I hear my daughter exclaim are you kidding me as she reads an e-mail?

        • The traitor whinged that he wanted to leave, so I wrote him an email with a proposal for a settlement of the farm business. He said he needed to discuss it with his 11 year old son. Then he promptly phoned the whore and discussed it with her while I was picking said son up from school (he didn’t know I was taping the phone and I didn’t tell him what I had heard). Summer hols came and went during which I taught his 3rd son to drive, got him through his driving test and bought him a car. No action from Traitor other than phone calls to whore and escapades. A few weeks after the hols, huge whinge from Traitor, “you haven’t arranged a meeting with accountant and bank manager like you said, blah, blah, fuckity blah…”. That’s because you haven’t discussed with me what you think of my proposal, dearest… I set up the meeting, where we discuss the financials if he took over the farm business on his own. We leave, he refuses to discuss anything afterwards, we drive back in total silence. A couple of weeks later, accountant sends various scenarios and budgets. Traitor refuses to comment or discuss anything with me. A week later I get a letter from a lawyer I had never heard of saying he has been trying to move out for months but sad sausage has no money and I am refusing to accept the relationship is over. A thorough search of the woolshed unearths a pile of letters going back 9 months, he got that lawyer back then, while in MC and wreckonciliation, pretending to be working on the relationship after DDays 1 and 2. My lawyer replies with an offer of settlement and of an immediate advance so Traitor can move out like his lawyer said he wanted to. Traitor is all outraged, says I’ve kicked him off the farm…
          They never take responsibility for anything, not even what they’ve put in writing and through a lawyer. The chump has to do all the lifting and the work, just like they did during the relationship/marriage. It’s just one more way to wear us down and exploit us for as long as they can.
          Good luck with your divorce process, eat well, look after yourself, you need to treat yourself as a top athlete preparing for the Olympics. It’s a long haul.

      • Tempest, I remember you had posted this in previous threads. I can’t even begin to tell you how much this has helped me. xoxoxox

    • Fstl, yes my cheater used the, “Well you know everything already, what is there left to say” line too.

      Then he’d use it again and again once I found something else or he slipped and uttered a trickle truth a second before he realized I didn’t already know that bit of information.

      He also does not, or pretends not to, understand what an emotional affair is.

      He considers cheating to be sex, period.

      He does not understand why he is not allowed to have any female friends, especially in this “day and age.”

      He does not understand what the harm is or the difference is between having a male friend and a female friend … especially when it is a job friendship instead of someone he found at random (at the gym, etc.) and made friends with. He understands why I would have a problem with a female friend he finds that way.

      He claims one of his female friends at work has been there a long time while he just got there and she guides him through the politics of that workplace.

      He also said I was unreasonably jealous of a woman in her sixties when he is in his forties.

      Why is not allowed to talk to female coworkers?

      He wonders what part of the term “platonic friendship” ***I*** don’t understand!

      Of course I got confused and doubted myself.

      Is there really such a thing as a platonic friendship between adult males and females who are sexually oriented towards each other? (Meaning heterosexual woman and man or between homosexuals who are the same gender.)

      If there is, how can a spouse or partner tell the difference between an emotional affair and a platonic friendship?

      • The “trickle truth” I mention above was in relation to physical cheating with people he did not work with. I never discovered physical cheating with a coworker. Not saying it didn’t happen, just that I never found evidence of it.

        • Skinwalker, my husband engaged in an EA that was supposed to end when she moved and quit her job. It actually continued years afterward. He justified that they could keep contact because they were “friends.” They can’t. Once that line has been crossed, there is no friendship.

          That said, we both work outside the home. I have been very aware of male/female relationships. I have had very good male friends and colleagues of all ages. Platonic relationships are definitely possible but there has to be an awareness with every interaction that it stays that way. How does it stay that way? Here are my rules of thumb.

          1. No chemistry. Seriously, none. If I feel any chemistry for a colleague, I avoid him. Any contact is strictly professional and in public.
          2. No flirting. ‘Nuff said.
          3. Absolutely no secrecy. If a person can’t go home and recall the interaction including the feelings to his or her spouse, it’s wrong.

          My two cents is that true EAs are just as devastating and abusive as SA except without the risks of pregnancy and sexual diseases. If he’s truly sorry, you should get full transparency and honest answers to you questions. Healing is a long process. Do not treat this as anything less than a full blown affair. It’s real. It’s painful. You don’t need evidence of physical affair in order to feel the full repercussions of his having an affair. If he hasn’t gone No Contact, it’s still going on. If they still work together, they aren’t NC and the affair is still very much alive. Do not believe he has stopped having feelings for her. That’s thick spackle. Spackle made from crap.

          Good luck.

          • I thought telling me details of his “just friend female coworkers” lives outside of work that they told him was nothing more than a “sign he was just a gossipy washerwoman type.”

            Then I noticed he wasn’t coming to me with stories about male coworkers …

            I don’t know if telling me about this stuff was:

            — A ploy to keep me off track because he reasoned it would disarm me from being suspicious,

            — A sick enjoyment at telling me these stories when I was clueless as to what was really going on,

            — He was so obsessed with them he couldn’t stop talking about them,

            Or all of it or none of it.

            I trust that he sucks.

        • Divorced for 5 years and ex is marrying the OW. He still denies her. She signed for papers My lawyer served him. Ex said that she was a dog walker with same name as the OW. Five years he still denies her even though they are planning a huge wedding his 3rd his 2nd!

          • Seriously. You can’t make this shit up. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at the sheer stupidity of their lies. I’m just glad you’re out of it Cocovoe.

  • I am so grateful my future ex-husband stayed in the house for 9 weeks post D-Day. I found all the evidence, read every email, and lost any love or respect I’d had for him.

    I asked mine if he’d sent any money to scam artists, he said no. I managed to get on his phone & discovered he had. I threw that phone at him and called him a ‘lying sack of shit’. That is my favourite post D-Day moment. When I asked him why he lied about it he said, ’embarrassed Kim’ with such scorn. I realise now he was scornful I had found him out.

    To anybody going through this, make sure you get evidence. He is dragging out the divorce because I am not backing down & this is the only way to maintain some semblance of control. Also, use social media to your advantage. I posted a classy separation notice on Facebook with the date of separation clearly stated, which has come in handy as he has put forth a later date for separation. This is extremely important when it comes to debts accrued. Conversely, you might have one which states an earlier date to reduce your share of assets.

    • Keyword there – EVIDENCE!!

      Oh yes, EVIDENCE! I had a shitload. He had no idea. Most of it came from my informant (his disgruntled staff member that helped me. I know, I was indeed lucky to have an ally). I had photos, receipts, messages, paperwork, you name it. I never told him or confronted him about any of it. Planned my escape while laying low and let him dig his grave deeper and deeper. He dug it nice and deep over the 4months I had to endure in silence before I could leave the country without him suspecting something was up (waited until holiday time). Got on the plane with the kids, left him at the airport, landed in my own country and lawyered up. A month later, when we were due to get on the plane and return to him, my lawyer sent him the papers. Ummm, we’re not coming back, sweetie! Buh-bye now! He was f**ked! #winning #kickedass #gotcustody #roadtriptoMEH

      • That is f*cking AWESOME!!!
        I too had to lay low after DDay, just silently got my ducks in a row and waited him out— he couldn’t stand it any longer waiting on me to blow up, and exposed himself…Being the textbook, unoriginal, classic narcissist he is, he took no blame or accountability for his actions. He left, paid/filed for the divorce himself, but I held out until the money, custody, and stipulations were in place to my satisfaction…He married his OW within 60 days after our divorce was final. They were together a total of five months when they married.

        • Whaaaat?! He got married that soon after the divorce, UnsinkableMolly? Are you sure he wasn’t with her longer than 5months before they got married? Or do you mean they only lasted married 5 months, and then broke up? Ooooh, please say it’s the latter so I can have a good laugh at their expense mwahahaha! That would be delicious karma indeed if they had only lasted 5 months of marriage. Delicious caramel coated karma with toffee popcorn on top. And drizzled in chocolate crackle. With cream!! And honeycomb crumbled over it just for good measure ? (Apologies, I’m trying to go “sugar free”, but all I can think about is sugar! Addiction much? ??)

      • Yeah I’ve read your story a couple of times, left him at the airport and I think it’s the best bed time story for chumps ever!!!

        In fact, I think it might be the toddler equivalent to Good Night Moon because I would ask whomever was telling it to keep repeating it over and over and over!

        ….And she got everything she wanted, including full custody because she left a cheater (at the airport) and gained a life…The End!

        • Haha, thanks cheaterssuck. Perhaps I should write that bedtime story and submit it to CL for all the chumps out there, to read themselves to sleep ? Sorry I have repeated it a few times, haha, incase newbies don’t know my story ?

  • Accept that you will never, ever know the whole truth.

    More importantly, accept that your spouse has so thoroughly destroyed the trust in your marriage that EVEN IF HE TOLD YOU THE WHOLE TRUTH you wouldn’t believe him.

    That’s his fault, not yours.

    • Exactly.

      You will never – ever know the whole truth. Ever.

      I never got the ‘I don’t remember’ stuff. I got blank stares with dark shark like eyes staring back at me ~ sometimes with nothing said but most times ~ ‘I don’t know’ was what he said.

      Oh really? I don’t know? What was he suddenly stupid? Suddenly an amnesiac? Give me a break.

      He knew everything – he just didn’t think I was worth telling it to.

      What an asshole.

      • Definitely! The dead fish glare with an expressionless face and “I don’t know!” used as the default response. Mine also had “I’m trying!” and “you won’t believe me!” True that. Or “this is difficult for me, too!” Yup, no cake for you, sweetums.

        I hope Angi came to a point where she realized she needed to take herself away from the chaos.

        • I did 🙂 When I finally moved out, it took me a year to finally get to NC. He kept hoovering…but once I filed, he turned on the “indignant”…I think he actually thinks that I’ve forgotten or that I don’t have tons of documentation….I just turned my discovery package in to my lawyer yesterday and was marveling at the Universe’s way of telling me that it is almost over (Chump Lady re-running my message yesterday) 🙂 Chaos managed. 🙂 …..Angi

      • Idiot said the “I don’t know,” too. My response was, “well, let me help you out!” GTFO!!! Problem solved.

      • Any time I asked a question that ex didn’t want to answer, he would give me the dead eyed shark stare and say: “I don’t see how that’s relevant.”

        How long have you been having an affair? I don’t see how that’s relevant.

        Did you fuck her? I don’t see how that’s relevant.

        Did you use a condom? I don’t see how that’s relevant.

        Well, all of it is damn relevant when you are the chumped partner whose health has been endangered. He also did not see the relevance of STD testing, even though OW was still sleeping with her husband and god knows who else. What a mindless twit. Did I really spend 20 plus years with someone who is that stupid about basic sexual health care? Shudder….

        • My ex has a standard script of “I don’t remember” until I filed. Then it changed to “you are not entitled to know”. It’s all about power and control.

  • This is a pitch perfect response and so helpful. For any other other Angi’s reading, this leapt out at me:

    “Again part of the healing comes from not the details but the knowledge that the truth is being told.

    I will be a sad cupcake if I have to wait for the truth to heal. My X would rather climb a tree to tell a lie than stand on the ground and tell the truth. Looking back, my stomach rolls with nausea at all the whoopers and detailed lies he sold me. And I imagine I know 10%? Generous guess.

    We have to let any need for honesty or that seductive word “closure” go entirely. They will never provide it. Furthermore, waiting for it kept me sad and sick much longer than if I had cut bait and run like my hair was on fire.

    The grand gesture never came. He was face down in the pig trough, gobbling cake.

  • This is his 13 year old self:
    Son, you need to clean up your room.
    Ok
    Next day. Son, you did not clean up your room. You can’t go out/use gaming/have phone until you do
    Ok
    Next day the same
    At the end of a week you clean up his room and do not follow through with threats
    It is passive aggressiveness behavior and a piss poor coping skill.
    His passive aggressive behavior has you in the “mom” role and he still gets to keep his “toy”
    Are you having any fun because he sure is. I don’t call this a marriage. I call it a kid in a man’s suit thumbing his nose at you.

    • Haha ugh, you totally just described my previous marriage. Cringe! So glad that’s long over.

  • Yes, they are boinking and have been. Whoever invented this ” emotional affair ” whorseshit should have something very bad happen to them. If you must use a euphemism, just say “affair” instead of “boinking whores outside my marriage.”. That kind of nasty talk makes the RIC and everyone pretty much very uncomfortable.

    • Agreed. I was so quick to assume my wife was in an “emotional affair” that I didn’t realize she was already in a physical affair until a year later, several months after I’d already left her and filed for divorce based on her “emotional infidelity.”

      They will work with whatever innocence and respect you assume they have. Best to assume that they have none, because 99.9% of the time, that’s what’s true

    • Anita, agreed. When I was still dancing I read “I love you but I don’t trust you… the complete guide to restoring trust in your relationship” by Mira Kirschenbaum. The first chapter talks all about how she is totally one of us, because her husband had had an “emotional affair.” I was really on the hopium, and really wanted to believe, but it smacked of SO MUCH BULLSHIT. She was basically saying, ok, I’m a chump like you, but really it was not as bad as those real affairs with sex and whatnot because it was just “emotional” and because I’m so great, I got him to recommit to the marriage. Ummm, what? Delusional, your brilliant professor husband was totally fucking that college student. My STBXH pulled the emotional affair card when we were in couples therapy a few months before I found out about the cheating (bc ILYBINILWY, obvi)… he copped to multiple “emotional affairs” with many different women friends that he had never told me about because I “would have gotten jealous” and, you know, he only needed them in the first place because I “wasn’t meeting his needs.”

      “Emotional affair” is just cheater speak for “you’re getting closer, but you don’t know the whole story and I’d like to keep it that way, ya fucking chump.”

      • “Emotional affair” is just cheater speak for “you’re getting closer, but you don’t know the whole story and I’d like to keep it that way, ya fucking chump.”

        This is brilliant, accurate, and succinct!

        • I think in some rare cases, including those with porn addictions, “emotional affair” is cheater speak for “I have Erectile Dysfunction, even with my AP.”

          (But still, that doesn’t preclude other physical contact.)

          • Oh mine used that one on me when I asked him why his disinterest in and supposed inability to perform sex was because he was depressed and from the side effects of the antidepressants …

            … then why did he spend $90 on an AdultFuckFinder membership and money on motel rooms for?

            He sad sausaged me back with, “Well, sometimes I couldn’t perform with them either.”

          • I would say especially in the case of those with porn addiction since all that whacking off to porn seems to cause ED. They get so desensitized that it takes more and more strange and vast quantities of ever weirder porn to get them off. Ick. I am SO glad that all of that is in my rear view mirror.

      • HaHa Rockette, so true! I also think the so-called emotional affair is just the early, predator stage. They want to fuck whoever they’re spending all that time and attention on, but they aren’t quite in yet. They keep calling/texting/joking around with them, because they know this person has no morals, and they’re close to jumping in bed, whether it’s Twu Wuv, or just Hey, We Like Being Filthy!

        • Omg yes so true.. the “predator stage”!! My ex was laying groundwork with so many women. He works in sales for a start up and so would meet all these women “contacts” through networking events and just cold messages on linkedin. I used to always get weird vibes from the “network” women friends he introduced me to… like they were sizing me up. But I trusted him so much and never really thought anything of it… you know, let them crush on him all they want, he’s mine! Now I know my intuition was going crazy because he was totally grooming them and vibing on them super hard. The one he finally struck up his 1.5 year long affair with was just the girl who had the least self respect (and, honestly, she was the ugliest).

          • And yes, he totally called all this groundwork “emotional affairs”. Uggggh the cheater playbook!!!!

          • Cheaters are always grooming someone!
            Don’t feel bad for being trusting, that’s what a good relationship is supposed to be, and normal.

      • Emotional affair” is just cheater speak for “you’re getting closer, but you don’t know the whole story and I’d like to keep it that way, ya fucking chump.

        All the cheater reddit / fakebook sites provide cheater guidance to lie – Lie – LIE! your ass off when you’re caught cheating. Most likely their chumps have no idea of the extent of their fucking around and are simply fishing around for the truth. And when their chumps do get a hold of any evidence – deny – Deny – DENY!

        At first, it’s to keep their current cheating arrangements and avoid consequences. If that fails, they’ll lay low for awhile and “work” on their marriage – and look for another fuckbuddy later. If that fails and divorce is inevitable, the lies are to keep the lawyers and courts from extracting consequences.

        There are always a couple of cheater assholes regaling in their cleverness, “Man, if she/he ever found out the whole truth, I’d be screwed!

    • Exactly!

      Mine said, “Don’t worry, we haven’t had intercourse.”

      Umm…

      Okay…

      But you tell her everything. She’s the first person you go to when you have anything to share, before talking to your own wife. You fool around to all end, even if I actually believe you haven’t had “intercourse”.

      “Emotional affair”… As if that makes it better. Are we chumps supposed to just accept that? “Oh, just an emotional affair? She’s your soul mate, your go-to gal, but because maybe you haven’t gotten around to putting your dick inside her vagina yet, we’re totally cool. Got it.”

      An emotional affair is still an affair. Sex is only a technicality.

      • Did I write that? It sounds so familiar except that my ex so eloquently said to me (with a straight face after I found out what had been going on under my nose for a couple of years), “Well, I didn’t poke her!” Poke…ugh, cringe… What a dick.

      • On dday I asked ex-cheater if he had f%£ked her. His answer was, “No, not yet.” Even though I was still in shock about finding out about the affair I knew he was lying big time. When I developed a STD a few years later, that one lie out of 100s was confirmed.

  • I remember when my two year old refused to use the potty. He’d hold it in and sure enough he’d secretly poop his pants in a corner.

    What you got is a husband who is a poop his pants adult. You’re not the boss of me pooper. The only difference is your husband poops by cheating on you and wacking off to porn.

    You’re the Poop police in your marriage. How much poop do you need to clean up before the stink kills you.

  • Oh my goodness. We have lived parallel lives. I didn’t leave after the first couple of Ddays either. I so wish I did. From my heart to yours: Hire a kick-ass divorce attorney. Get checked for STDs. Check your credit.

    Don’t say a word to your abuser. If all your words so far have had absolutely no effect, maybe your actions will.

    If he comes crying back to you consider trying again only if: he takes a lie detector test every 6 mos until the end of time or you can trust him again. And, he signs a post nup giving you everything if he cheats again. If he hesitates at all you know he’s not in it.

    Divorce is hard, but life is SO MUCH better on the other side of a bad marriage.

  • I know this ran before, and I would love to know how Angi is doing now. But, without that, a comment.

    This sentence: “I need someone to tell me, in laymans terms, how I can explain to him why it is I’m really leaving.”

    CL pointed out the Dr. Simon thing about how it’s not that they don’t see, it’s that they disagree. That is so true. It’s like when someone speaks a different language and another person speaks their own language louder, as if more volume would magically make their different language understandable.

    Cheaters are on a baseball field and non-cheaters are trying to play basketball on that field. You can’t explain the reason behind your position to a cheater any more than you can bounce a ball on grass or make a basket against a dugout fence. It is to their advantage to refuse to understand you. They gain power AND opportunity.

    The better approach, in the end, is often to pretend you are not fighting it while you explain it to the helpers you need (PI, lawyer, tax accountant, counselor, etc.) to line up your ducks and make sure you leave in a way that maximizes your own well-being.

    In the end, the only things the cheater needs to know are (a) that you are leaving (or why you left, for those who left on the sly to avoid abuse), (b) what will happen next with the kids if kids are involved, and (c) what the legal/financial next steps will be. That’s it. You don’t owe any “why” to a person who has lied this much. And, you don’t have to say anything until you are gone or are, at least, making your strong move.

    The emotional need for the cheater to understand and acknowledge is part of the damaged self worth. Read a bit about complex PTSD – this is a thing. However, you can move forward as if you did have self worth until you start feeling it again, and you actually WILL start feeling it again as you do that.

    As far as the porn thing goes, secret porn is as much an affair as any physical sex or addictive drug because it does the same damage to the relationship and to the porn user. It is insidious. It also puts you at legal risk because it is 100% likely that child porn and other illegal material are transmitting via your device/connection, even if your porn addict isn’t deliberately selecting that content. The only way to protect yourself from that, legally, now that it is out in the world that you know about it, is to get a separate residence as soon as reasonably possible and 100% stop sharing internetm

    This is such a hard place to be – for any of you who are in that space, you have my empathy and support.

    • Love the baseball/basketball analogy! Cheaters are playing a game in which we have no access to the rules, the goals, the structure, or the equipment. Only thing we can do is take our ball and go home.

    • “Cheaters are on a baseball field and non-cheaters are trying to play basketball on that field. You can’t explain the reason behind your position to a cheater any more than you can bounce a ball on grass or make a basket against a dugout fence. It is to their advantage to refuse to understand you. They gain power AND opportunity.”

      I love this. So often I struggled with the HOW DOES HE NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT I’M SAYING?? And this is the answer right here, it’s not that they can’t understand, or even don’t understand, it’s just to their vast advantage to refuse to understand. See also: every fight I’ve ever had with my cheater father. And not about cheating, of course, but it bleeds over, it’s an entire world view of refusing to acknowledge that they are wrong or their actions have caused damage. Feels like yelling at someone to take off the blindfold so they can see the wreckage they caused and watching as they hot glue it to their face. And then he hands you a blindfold and says you’re an idiot, dumb, naive, for not doing the same.

  • Run…. run NOW to your lawyer… the faster you ditch this fucktard, the faster you can heal, stop obsessing, and regain YOUR life.
    It will happen and it will feel yummy, liberated, confident, decadent, and self assured.
    Dont rebound. This is your time.

  • “I don’t remember” might as well say “Of course I know what went on, but I don’t feel like telling you because I don’t like being held accountable, I don’t like feeling bad, and mainly because I don’t have any respect for you.”

    When you love these people, you spackle for them. When the emotions finally drain away though, and you realize just how poorly they’ve treated you, then it’s much easier to let them go.

    • Blindside
      This is so true. They can remember or they could remember if they wanted to but they don’t want to tell you anything you don’t already know because they know it makes them look bad and it lets you see how much they have done to hurt you.
      Mine always could remember eventually if I just kept going and going and asking about the same question from every possible angle.
      He knew (because I kept telling him) that trying ‘not to hurt me’ by not telling me what I wanted to know, was in fact, hurting me more because I needed the truth and if he had any love or respect for me then he would spare me the effort of digging and going crazy from not knowing by giving me chapter and verse. He would agree absolutely with this and then two seconds later we would be back to the ‘I can’t remember’.
      I knew too, in my heart that I would have known the answers to the questions I was asking. I was asking ‘who approached who, who made the first move, how did she know you were available after that first meeting, when did you tell her (them) about us’ and I wanted it all.
      I knew enough eventually to know that my self respect just had to kick in. I had to at least respect myself just a fraction more than he did.

      For me too it’s not just the complete lack of respect, care or kindness that this ‘I don’t remember’ demonstrates but the total and utter absence of any further thought about any of it.
      Since I filed, as far as I can tell he never thinks about it and why would he? He carries on not thinking about me like he did before. My current problem is trying to remember that he is not thinking about me.

      FYI Mine also said that the first affair I had round out about was a four year emotional affair. I went to my GP the next day fearing that this would set off my depression. My GP listened and told me I needed to have STD testing. I argued with her and got upset – she was his GP too, what was she saying?? She calmly repeated the steps she felt I needed to take. I remember her face was so full of compassion and pain and I knew in my gut she was right but I was so afraid to believe it.
      He confessed early 2am the next morning when I woke him up (in the study) to ask if I could text her pretending to be him, I wanted to trick her and she how she talked to him. He refused to give up his phone. I asked ‘are you protecting her rather than your wife of 21 years?’ He just kept refusing before then telling me he had slept with her.
      Turns out she was his third affair, he was on dating websites (just to look) and porn use.

      So ‘I can’t remember’ is easier for them to say than “you know what love, I actually can not be bothered to think about this because it makes me feel like I’ve done something wrong and while I admit you might not like what I did, I’d much rather talk about how I can shut all this rubbish down and we can just get back to how it was before, cos to be honest love this is kind of aggravating and I’ve got better things I could be doing than listening to this shit. I know I’ve been a bit you know, wrong like, but it was a mistake, I’ve said I was sorry hours ago so if you don’t want to drive me away with all this blah blah blah then can we just drop this and get on with our lives?”

      As hard as it is to accept this is who he is, the sooner you do, the sooner you will be on your way to a much lovelier life.

      • Capricorn, well stated. This point stood out (glaringly) for me … “[A]s I can tell he never thinks about it and why would he? He carries on not thinking about me like he did before. My current problem is trying to remember that he is not thinking about me.”

        Heavens, yes. This is a big part of what crushed me (in that “in a heap on the floor” kind of way). So much love, energy, time, thought invested in this human. I risked my life to have our children. And, in his mind, I only amounted to the price of cake. That was my sole value to this jackass.

        Such a hard shift in thinking after more than two decades.

      • So well stated!

        Despite the huge mess they created, they try to avoid conflict in the moment. That’s where these non-responses come from.

        I think that’s why they don’t think of us. It’s “too painful” for them, so they learn to block us out entirely, rather than to face up to what they’ve done. Sometimes NC is all too easy.. because they’re not even trying to contact us. We’re not a priority. Even messages purely about the kids. Not a priority. They’ve distracted themselves with kibbles that make them feel good about themselves.

      • This is so true Capricorn and it reflects my experience with my cheating husband. When I first found about the 4 year affair, he claimed it was a one time hookup. I asked him where he was when it happened and he claimed not to remember. Huge lie. I should have told him then I would not even speak to him again until he revealed at the very least that detail. But I danced and now 2 years later, he had a child with the whore and a possible second child. He didn’t want me to know where because he would have to admit to the full extent of the crap he was doing to me and our 6 children. He always had the line, “I don’t know” handy. But when that was not enough, he would say he was tired of me crying and asking him about his affair. It was my fault then because I asked. Not possibly his fault that he cheated and conceived 2 children with the whore who eventually tried to hit his wife with a bat in front of his children. I say husband because believe it or not I have not filed. I will but I have not found the fight in me yet. Its there, waiting to be ignited. I really really want out but fear has kept me bound to him. Believe me, I know it sounds pitiful. I don’t want to continue living this way.

        • cmh2015

          Don’t be hard on yourself. You will get there. Sometimes it just takes time to get your head around it all to the point where you are ready to jump. With six children you have a lot of responsibility and probably a great deal of fear and anxiety. I know I did. Still do.
          She tried to hit you with a bat?? WTF??
          You sound from this post to be in a very bad situation. Do you have help around you? I have been coming here for nine months and have read everything in the archieves at least once and the book, and I post in the forum. You have done the hard part already though. Living with this man has been hurting you far worse than the divorce will. A cheater free life is a gift you deserve. We all do. You don’t sound pitiful AT ALL. You are hurting and afraid. This is the most awful position to find yourself in. I’ve been through a bit in my life but this is by far the worst. Do not be hard on yourself. Love yourself. You are a mom of six. I bet they adore you. Find memories of who you were before you met fuckwit. Find her. Let her out.
          You can do it. We are here to help you. People here pulled me out and have helped every step of the way. There are agencies that will help if you are afraid of him. Get help from everyone who offers.
          Huge hugs to you. ❤

          • That means more than you know. Thank you. Yes, she tried to hit me with a bat, pipe and hammer on Christmas Day. Then she attempted to hit me with her car. She pled guilty to menacing and received 2 years probation and a restraining order. She is needless to say, mentally unstable. She is evil to top it off so a very dangerous combo. I have been with my husband since I was 14, married at 21 so I know I have to discover who I am outside of him. The last 3-4 years have been really really difficult and I have been severely depressed (7th child was stillborn a few months after I found out he had a child with someone else). I attempted to reconcile out of desperation really. I knew I deserved better but I was so broken. Then when my son died I could not imagine losing again. I just held on when I should have let go. I too have been on just about every reconciliation site and read books and we even went to MC. But you cannot reconcile with someone who isn’t truly remorseful and will not stop the behavior. I believe he is still seeing her to this day. But since I have found CL, I have found such hope that I can make it without him. That cheating is inexcusable. I read the archives every night. I am going to divorce him. He never deserved me (not the first affair). He has always been emotionally abusive, sometimes physically. I will leave him. I am closer now than I have ever been. He works away from home for 3 weeks a month and I have so much anxiety when it’s time for him to return. I know its over for me. I just have to make it official. Thank you for your kind words.

            • cmh2015

              The thing is we have all been where you are. I was out of my mind with shock and fear and pain. I had no clue which way was up and I had a tiny fraction of what you have had to deal with. Please ask people to help. I don’t have any family but have three sons. I had two people who helped me out so many times. It’s really not you. It is all on him. He sounds like one of the malignant ones. Who would let his wife and the mother of his children suffer like this? A monster. I’m so sorry for your loss of the baby. I don’t really know what to say except that as much as you fear divorce and everything else it is NOTHING compared to what you have already survived. So you definitely are strong enough. Get help. Come here. You can ask Tempest for my email in the forum.
              We are all here for you. It hurts a lot no question about it but it is better on the other side of divorce.
              I’ll be thinking of you and sending positive thoughts.
              The real true you is still in there. She’s waiting. ❤

            • Cmh2015–Just sent you a huge package of FIGHT by Priority Mail; should arrive by Saturday (I had some fight left over from my divorce).

              Your husband is a sociopath; you have nothing to work with. It is very frightening to have 6 children to raise by yourself (most likely) after a divorce, but I urge you to copy all the financials asap, run a credit check so you know all the assets (even ones your H may have hidden). Then, start interviewing all the top lawyers in your town so that he can’t hire one of them (it will be a conflict of interest). Once those ducks are lined up, FILE and make sure all the credit cards, banks, stock accounts, retirement accounts know that the assets are now frozen. If you want any chance of getting marital assets sufficient to support your family, given that your H has two other illegitimate children, you need to act NOW.

              I know this is hard; we’ve all been through the emotional misery and the horror of having to put one foot in front of another during the misery. This makes taking the initiative to divorce his sorry ass even more overwhelming, but thankfully, you have Chump Nation to prop you up when you need it (register for the forums–top R–for additional advice and support). Email me at tempest.ariel2014@gmail.com and I’ll put you in touch with Capricorn. Sending huge hugs your way.

              • Tempest, thank you for your advice. I have taken some steps but I know I still have a ways to go. After I found out about the first child, I did put him on child support even though we were still trying to reconcile. I went to see a lawyer because I was not sure what was going to happen and he advised me that any child support the crazy evil woman received would reduce the amount my children did if I eventually divorced. I’m so glad I did take that step because she filed for child support shortly afterward. I filed pro se and he agreed to the amount. It was just “on paper” meaning he did not actually pay it but it protected my income. But after Christmas Day, I went back and had it income deducted because I knew it was over. I told him it was so the OW couldn’t get it and it would stay in our household. She does not work and the amount he would have had to pay her was astronomical and would have no doubt put us in bankruptcy. I have also copied all financial statements- debts, insurance, retirement accounts and have them stored at my office at work. In addition to all the other horrible things, he has a serious gambling habit that has put us deeply in debt. I know I am going to divorce him. I have the attorney already. I just have to somehow make myself go to his office and pay the retainer. I saved the money and set it aside without his knowledge. On Christmas Day when the shewolf tried to hit me with a baseball bat and run over me, my husband and father of my 7 kids hit me right in my face. Right in front of the OW, his parents, our children, his brother and other family members of his. I could not believe it. He blamed me that she tried to attack me. He was mad because the truth finally came out that he had been seeing her all along and never stopped. So he hit me in the face. I had her arrested but I should have had him arrested too. I was just in shock and couldn’t believe that he treated me like that. I had always imagined that if it ever came to that where I was face to face with the woman, he would stand up for me and tell her I was the one he loved. He did just the opposite. He pushed me around his parents yard while she tried to hit me with a bat, hammer, and pipe. If it weren’t for his brother and father, I would have been hit by her car. He wouldn’t even tell her to leave. My children were screaming and crying because they thought she was going to kill me. I feel so guilty that they had to experience that, and on Christmas Day at that. I knew that day that it was over for me. I am emailing you tonight and will also join the forums. I am so glad I found CL. It has been a blessing to me.

        • Please know you are in good company. I haven’t divorced my husband after I found out via std that he cheated… In fact I’m happy as hell. Why? Because four months ago I had no emotional foundation for my two very little ones, no job, no self worth, no idea how I was going to survive. I was completely lost. Now? I am a mother fully to my children, seeking employment, getting my affairs in order and having a steadfast plan that will set me free. He is still here, acting like everything is back to the way it was before he and his whore ruined my life and deprived my children of a functional home environment… But I’m not. I’m far away in a place I’ve yet to envelope. My heart is there, setting up shop while I get the financial wherewithal for the rest of me and my children to leave, never looking back.
          It’s amazing how easy it is to pretend when the outcome is just getting “out”.

  • This is such a great letter and perfect response. Why is it so hard for us chumps to save ourselves more heartache? Haven’t figured that one out yet , just know my little brain hears all these beautiful words and I fall on my face.

  • “I don’t remember” might as well say “Of course I know what went on, but I don’t feel like telling you because I don’t like being held accountable, I don’t like feeling bad, and mainly because I don’t have any respect for you.”

    Yup. When I remember how much I tried to be respected by someone who cared rocks for me … its humiliating to think how little I respected myself by tolerating it.

    Trying to get a character disordered person be a human being, is way, way, way beyond my control pay grade, and I am responsible for not accepting this reality.

  • My Ex was the King of EAs. Had them scattered around the world and loved getting an international buffet of kibbles. When I finally had enough of the lies and mindfuckery, I quietly lined up my ducks and hired the best lawyer in town. As I was serving him his favorite meal on our 20th anniversary, I wished him a Happy Anniversary and said, “Oh by the way, you will be served with divorce papers tomorrow morning…enjoy you dinner!” I still relish that memory.

    When your house is on fire, just get out. It’s not the time to figure out what caused it. Just save yourself.

  • Get a real life, Angi. You deserve one.

    Ah. The ‘I don’t remember’ excuse. So convenient. My STBX didn’t remember how long he was seeing OW1.

    It was his standard answer even for dumb things. Like once I asked what his wedding song was for his first wife. I don’t remember. Or when I asked if he had been dating her when his grandfather passed away. I don’t remember. Or who had filed for the divorce. I don’t remember.

    They had divorced a few years before we starts dating. The thought he was just young and naive and was repressing stuff he didn’t want to deal with.

    Now I know better.

  • When they do remember they will rewrite it. x’s affair went from 10 years to 5 years to “a one time piece of ass”. Don’t get hung up on admissions. From the sounds of it your marriage sucked regardless of what he remembers.

    • newday

      “From the sounds of it your marriage sucked regardless of what he remembers”

      YES!!! Eventually I got to this realisation. Regardless of what he “remembered = what admission I could dig out about things he knew I already knew” he sucked as a person, husband and father.

      Well said. Wish I had got this sooner!!

      • Me too. Even after D-Day it took me a while to come to that realization as I had been spackling for years. My therapist and friend from work kept pointing out how badly I had been treated even before the affairs and then I would chide myself for misrepresenting him to them when all I told them was the truth.

  • Mine had too many whores to count, and guess how many he copped to? None…. Even after pictures on social media, my friends ratting him out, never, ever an admission. I finally decided I didn’t need his admission, I needed to face what had been staring me in the face since almost day one, he’s a lying whore, who cares about no one, and this was no longer good enough for me.

  • Porn ✅
    Adult hook-up sites ✅
    Forced into the truth only because it’s staring him in the face ✅
    Making excuses for porn behavior ✅ (btw, porn use is not a symptom of PTSD)

    My ex was exactly the same. In hindsight I can’t believe I was so chumpie. I’ll tell you if you keep fast forwarding what you’ll get…
    Thousands spent on strip clubs and call girls, mountains of lies (which btw will be your fault because you are impossible to talk to… barf), the humiliation of going to your doctor yet again as a married woman asking for STD testing. A dysfunctional degree in self-learned detective work, and a case of “am I going crazy”.

    Run and don’t look back! It was the smartest thing I ever did.

    • I’m copying a response I made above 🙂 Imachump=Angi 🙂
      Funny, I read this article again a few days ago. I had an appt with my lawyer today and due to the fact that my soon-to-be-ex-cake-eater thinks I’m not entitled to ANY marital property after 20 years, we will be going in front of a judge.

      He is trying to also get me to drop the “Fault” divorce and make it a “No Fault”…Thanks to Chump Lady, and my constant reading of her articles, daily, I’m at Meh, and so I’m looking forward to the 48% of his TSP, his FERS (retirement), FIGLI (insurance on FERS), 1/2 the marital house (I have my own house now that I bought using my VA), 1/2 of all the vehicles, including his precious race car that I now realized that he took over 40K from our account to outfit, all documented of course 🙂 It has taken me a LONG time to get here and a lot of heartache as once I found 1 rat on the sinking ship, along came 20 more that I found out about. So thank you ALL and Chump Lady too of course. I still lurk here and on the boards 🙂

  • This column first ran in October 2014. Angi, wherever you, hope you’ve found peace and happiness (preferably away from this cheating PoS).

    • My first thought when I finished reading the post. I hope Angi left. I hope she’s happy in a cheater-free life.

  • I know this column ran before, but it’s worth running again because Cheaters work from the same playbook. If you’re a new Chump and have stumbled onto this site, I am sure that Angi’s situation rings loud and clear to you.

    Here is the hard truth about so-called “emotional affairs.” Grown-ups have sex. CL is right: no one stays platonic for 5 years. If your cheater says it’s just an EA, you know your cheater is lying. This is the trickle truth. They admit only to what you already know.

    Now comes another hard truth. People have affairs because they can. This is a profound statement. People have affairs because they feel entitled to have the affair. They aren’t having an affair because they’re fundamentally unhappy in the marriage. If they were unhappy, they’d let you know, and if the two of you can’t work things out, then you’d divorce. It would be painful but honest.

    But cheaters like being married and having an affair. To them, it isn’t about either marriage or the affair; it’s about having both. Hey, they get two women (or two men) competing for the cheater’s attention! Woohoo!

    So this leads to the hardest truth. You don’t have to explain yourself to your cheater. Just file. I advise seeing a lawyer, getting your ducks lined up, and then filing. I don’t believe in using filing as a kind of threat to get the cheater to wake up and smell the coffee, mostly because I think that if you have to use threats to “save” the marriage, the marriage is already over.

    Just file. Go No Contact, and learn to live your life in an environment where there’s no drama and no need to become the ace investigator. Eventually, you’ll start to relax, and you’ll then be open and available for the kind of relationship you deserve.

    • I actually think that a few, very few, very passive and low-libido people will have affairs that are ‘only’ emotional. They want kibbles way more than how much they want sex! And if they’re not actually interested in sex, they can use their ‘virtue’ as a married person as an excuse not to have it.

      BUT, I also think that EAs are an excellent reason to divorce. Your partner is supposed to be putting their time, energy, and emotion into YOUR relationship. Friends are supposed to be people who are less central to your life than your life partner, and your partner should be able to know pretty much everything about your friendships.

      Selfishness and lack of reciprocity are great reasons to divorce, and they’re what EAs show.

      • Exactly this.

        If someone is investing their emotional energy in a relationship outside the marriage, then they’re not investing that time into their marriage. That’s unacceptable.

      • Jackass loves the chase and the triangle with the unwitting spouse. So he always drags out the EA aspect in order to get more juice from the affair.

  • CL has this great section in her book (egads – there are so many to choose from!)… where she is talking about therapists. And in this particular session she is with her Cheater and her pitbull therapist and her Cheater is saying he “can’t remember” where he was on Christmas… and the therapist replies “I’m a Jew… even I remember where I was on Christmas”… and then the therapist says to CL… “THIS IS WHO HE IS… HE IS TELLING YOU WHO HE IS.”

    Angi – he is telling you who he is. You have no super powers to change that. You’ve sunk 17 years into this relationship. Don’t make it 18.

    Document EVERYTHING YOU HAVE. Get with a lawyer who knows how to go after GOVERNMENT PENSIONS and get yours. Then, get on with your Cheater free life.

    • Tracy,
      I attended a seminar by Dr. George Simon and he used this example during the lecture but alas without the emphatic swear word !

  • Angi,

    You are unfortunately still at a very chumpy stage where you think you can control the situation and make him “come to his senses” and love you again.

    You are still feeling him out based on your own values. You expect that there is some sort of remorse in there somewhere and a guy who wants to reconcile with you.

    That guy dies not exist and never existed.

    You cannot control him. You cannot make him love you and give up his cake.

    You only control you, your actions, and what YOU want.

    The words that finally had an effect on me were from a book I was reading on narcissists that went something like, “Not everyone feels. Some people are not like you and don’t feel empathy or remorse.” Know those words and believe them. He doesn’t give a shit about you, your marriage, or whatever it is you might want or need.

    If you need real love and compassion and intimacy and understanding, you are not going to find it there with him. It is time to get out and go look for that elsewhere. Move on.

    I know how hard that is. I kept making excuses for mine too. Oh, he has a bad lower back and is in pain. Oh, how could I have been so mean to accuse him of things when he is in pain?

    Truth is, he was playing me like s fiddle. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t in pain when he was getting blow jobs from all his whores!

    It started out innocently enough. I found out about the affair he was having. I became so focused on that one affair that I didn’t look further and wider. Mine had a porn addiction too, and believe me when I say, if they’re watching oodles of porn they are also screwing oodles of real women too. Their appetite is way too high to be having “just an emotional affair” with one woman.

    If you can’t get yourself out of this without knowing he is screwing women for sure, go find your evidence. But quit complaining to him. Just quietly break into his technology. Look for his accounts on Ashley Madison. Hire a PI or discreetly follow him yourself. Check with his therapist’s office to see if he’s actually been showing up, and for how long.

    Does he “work late” a lot? Hmmm.

    It will be painful, but if you need proof that you shouldn’t be feeling sorry for him because of PTSD and trying to control the situation, then go get more proof that he’s a bastard. More proof exists. Trust me. And it’s true you will never find it all. But you will likely find enough to convince yourself to get out.

    Good luck, and hang in there!

    • “I became so focused on that one affair that I didn’t look further and wider.”

      I didn’t either (initially). But, honestly, the one affair is so bad and feels like the end of the world. When you still think the asshat is working under at least a similar value system, there’s no reason to look anywhere else. Of course there couldn’t be more … it was already rock-bottom.

      Then you find out there IS more and you start tugging on that string … then the mother of all paradigm shifts occurs in your head. That’s when you find out that there is no “rock bottom” — just a gaping black hole.

  • Although it has already been noted, it won’t hurt to reiterate: PTSD does not cause porn use. I don’t know of any disease which causes porn use, although porn use can cause some serious problems — including ED, an ever escalating mental addiction to more extreme forms of porn, and choosing self gratification over true intimacy with a live partner. It also completely distorts perception — for how a real woman looks and how she thinks and whether she desires a partner mentally and/or physically. A tremendous amount of time can be wasted seeking porn and more porn — it can interfere with productive, paying work, and sleep — and if practiced “on the job” can result in termination of the paycheck entirely. Porn is not “just good dirty fun” — porn is destructive and disrespectful, and leads the addicted user deeper into an delusional world of demented thinking.
    In addition to not wanting to stay on the “marriage police” force any longer because you have more than enough evidence, and you will always find more — there is a disgust level that you can live without, and it is a great waste of your time. I unfortunately stayed on the “force” too long and saw some things I will never be able to un-see. It makes me wonder if I will ever be able to trust again — because I had no idea that a man could hate a woman that much and still want to have some form of perverted sex with her, or watch some form of violent perverted sex — and call that entertainment. Silly me, I thought sex was about comfort and attraction and mutual intimacy! What was I thinking????

    At any rate — what anyone who finds herself/himself in this situation needs to know is if it has gone this far there is no turning back. You will never return to that idealized time of “when we first met” or “when things were so good.” We were dreaming hopium induced dreams of what we wanted things to be at that time, and fooling ourselves. We have to grow up and stop trying to fix other people. We have to understand what a real relationship looks like and feels like, and quit deluding ourselves that Mr/Ms Perfect is out there. Reconciliation is a nice concept — but if your world is destroyed, does the insurance check ever actually reconcile your loss? Not even close. Lost time, lost love, lost innocence. You never get any of that back.

    • I’ve mentioned this before but in addition to having a really vile porn addiction my ex kept a detailed spread sheet of porn star “statistics” that was well over a thousand lines long when I came across it. It had names, date of birth, home town, measurements, what web sites he found them on and whether they did men, women and anal. I can’t think about it without cringing and wanting to take a shower. It was so strange to me that he wanted to know and kept track of so many details of so many women and yet clearly saw them as nothing but objects. And the hours and hours he must have spent finding that information and recording it. For what? What sort of sick satisfaction did he get from it? When I really let myself think about what that meant, I knew it was over with no hope of redemption.

      • Yup. I found out about the descent into porn–and really sleazy dive strip clubs–long before the affairs. Can’t win against that. They can view literally thousands of images in a very small amount of time, to say nothing of vids. Unless I figured out a way to have screens implanted in my torso, and a mouse trailing from my navel, I was not going to claim his attention at all, ever. Sigh. Very sad.

  • I think the biggest sign of cheating is the disengagement. Spouse was always off doing something else (even present physically he was checked out) and our sex life was crap. I was so grateful when I got it (sex starved in a marriage is a red flag) but my gut those last two years was telling me that things were not okay (that ick factor). That right there is proof of an affair, I just did not make the connection. His porn use was a symptom of his convuluted thinking and entitlement, with the added benefit of not having to please another human being.

    • Bingo!

      The disengagement happens gradually. That’s what makes it harder to spot at first. Eventually, you look back and realize how “off” things are.

      Changing clothes is another red flag. Toward the end, I realized that his laundry pile was always bigger than mine and our kids combined! Sorry, if you work in a casual office were you can wear a tshirt and shorts to work and you STILL think you need to change when you come home, something’s going on.

  • Heavy porn use is a huge red flag. I discovered my ex had a wicked addiction in 2009 and chummy me spent the next several years trying to get him “help”. Problem was he didnt want help. As everyone here has said the porn use escalated to real life cheating, sex hook up sites and it just got worse and worse. By the end the sex hook up sites he was on got sicker and sicker in terms of what he was posting and looking for (I’m too embarrassed to even describe the vile things I discovered). I’m no prude, I thought we had a healthy sex life but you simply can’t compete when this is what you’re dealing with.

    We get so caught up in the “why”. Bad childhood, PTSD, impulse control issues, blah blah blah. In the words of CL who cares about why, is this the horse you want to be dragging down the road for the rest of your life? No no no. The reality is regardless of why these sick fucks do this stuff it isn’t healthy for us to live with it and I have yet to hear of the rare unicorn that gets help and it sticks. it took me a long time to accept HE LIKED LIVING THIS WAY AND BEING THIS PERSON- HE DID NOT WANT TO CHANGE!

    Run now, run fast, don’t look back.

  • Yeah, the “I don’t remember.” He pretends he doesn’t because that’d mean he’d have to take some responsibility. Like an adult.

    If you don’t “remember remember” you can’t tell the “truth truth” so you don’t have to feel real “guilt guilt.”

    Seems like he’s trying to get you to acclimate in stages because more shit is in the pipeline.

  • This letter could have been written by me.

    I left my ex after years of financial abuse and improprieties with coworkers (he claimed it was an emotional affair) and “porn” addiction. I could never get a confession out of him and I now realized I was refusing to believe the truth – I’d married a sociopath who didn’t mind using me and the kids.

    I’m multilingual, multidegreed, attractive and involved in the community. I love to cook and value family. Our three children are beautiful. I and our children made the perfect cover for normalcy and he probably would never have divorced me as I raised his status.

    It was a lonely, nearly sexless 16 year marriage wrought with financial shenanigans. (You can’t lie away an IRS tax lien on your house or credit cards you didn’t know you had.)

    I finally left thinking I couldn’t live one more day that way. I still was a chump and thought, well he’s bad with money, but he’s a good dad and we must be incompatible as things never “mesh”. I paid for the divorce and gave him 50/50 custody. Big, big mistake.

    One year out, I was contacted by the emotional-affair-only’s husband and discovered the affair was very sexual – for 8 years. I realized the porn addiction of, “I call escorts and massage parlors, Craig’s list, etc. and hang up to masterbate after talking to them” was not a porn addiction but a double life. I just couldn’t believe he’d do THAT while married. THAT sort of shiftiness only happens in Hollywood, right? The OW didn’t realize she wasn’t the only one and that her services are free in comparison.

    Three years out, I’ve discovered more lies – they don’t stop, and I’m amazed I was married so long to such filth. It took me pulling away to get there. My children are vulnerable and I’m fighting to minimize exposure. He went ballistic when I started discovering the truth, threatened suicide, stalking, etc. his torment of me ceased as I now respond via my attorney and police reports. Logic and empathy don’t work on these guys but consequences do. He’s moved on to another sucker.

    Take it from me, believe the worst. Get out. Take no prisoners when you do. You’re not being mean by protecting yourself and your kids.

    • “Take it from me, believe the worst. Get out.”

      I have lived (and though separated, still living in some ways) through a very similar hell and I agree with this statement 100%.

      There is nothing to work with these bottomless pits who call themselves human.

  • I believe she got married for life. She is holding on to the man she thought she married. Applying the same standards she agreed to and he had changed the rules. She wants him to fix it. He doesn’t care.

    When I read this letter- I hear bartering with herself. Who can grasp when your trying so hard that someone blames you for everything. Do you try harder? Yes. Surely they must be like me and ‘truly care’ about our years together. Like he’d say, ‘ it’s not ptsd honey- I’m a disordered fuck and I don’t derserve you.’

    Like myself- the shift was subtle at first… a little less sex, a little more distance, A LOT more excuses on his end. Otherwise, things were good. As long as I didn’t press. I wanted my relationship to stand the test of time. I was focused on doing my part. A life together. I accepted ‘excuses’ because it helped me stay in. Then he’d through me a, ‘you’re my world, stop being so insecure.’

    Even if I secretly obsessed on the math being off- he KNEW I was loyal. He loved that. I didn’t know it was so he could take advantage of it.
    Pretty soon I was having ‘talks’ with him. I was ‘checking’ facts. His phone was locked, etc. He too got caught in ‘just flirty’ behavior. ‘Why look at me’, he’d say – ‘can you blame her? It’s your fault – you helped me get famous.’

    Deeper and deeper I sank while his desire to ‘pretend’ to be a good human was less and less. But I clutched my image of him harder, how do I get back there? I obsessed. He just HAD to care. Why do all this if you don’t care? My logic not his. He said we had the same values- but actions never showed it. Like this lady- his ‘change’ in behavior was excused by ‘my ex ruined me, my parents were shit, my coach did stuff to me.’ I immediately back off and comfort him. I was s chump. But a loyal chump who wanted to help my man.

    One day after my cancer diagnosis we were up on the lake hanging out on a boat. He was ignoring me. As if I wasn’t there. I got emotional. Talking about all our plans and me getting better. He ignored me. I began crying – I said ‘I need you- put yourself in my shoes’ – he turned and said, ‘why would I want to do that? I said, ‘ how can you be so cruel? – I’ve been there for you hundreds of times.’ He said ‘shut the fuck up! I’m not going to bring you anywhere if you keep ruining my good time’.

    That night while in the lake house- I got into his phone at 2 am by watching him type in his code. We had had a deal it would remain un locked as part of his agreement of transparency. But when confronted he said – ‘that doesn’t work for me anymore.’ I found so many things that I began shaking and had a panic attack. He had multiple women, secret web browser apps, porn, dick pics, dating apps, and was telling all his friends I was abusive and what a troll I was. How amazing he was for me during my illness. Chicks even praised him about what a catch he was. Ugh!!!!!

    One of his friends even said, ‘chumpy doesn’t seem like that at all- she even has been there for me in my recent break up even during her cancer’. His response was, ‘she’s trying to be better’ … wtf? Who was this polar opposite person and where was my man? What was real- what was fake? I knew it that moment he was a sociopath. Playing 15 people at a time. Sick.

    I tested him the next day, I did everything to ask him questions slyly. What struck me in that moment Was- I might not live. I might not be able to survive this. I was healthy – don’t have health care when diagnosed – I had no more money. Cancer/radiation treatment was thousands a day. I had burned through all own savings/money and he said paying bills for the house was all he’d do. I would literally be on the street if I left. Especially since he’d be tainting all our friends. I didn’t know was he was tired of hiding it all but had put some logger on his phone to see when it was accessed- when we got back he secretly found out I knew. The next few days he secretly packed stuff while I was at the doctors. I thought ‘ let me get through this and live, and I’m gone… but I need to play nice till I’m through treatment.

    I had a bad feeling one day 3 days later. He was overly affectionate -loving, acting his old self. That set off alarms for me. He’d ask me to drive him to his gym. I said ok and told him I was going grocery shopping. But I didn’t I went back home. I knew something was up. He showed up 10 minutes later in an uber and was furious I was there. He yelled, ‘your a liar – not even running errands.’ I said, ‘ I know your cheating’ . He’s said, ‘I’m just a flirt’- I said, ‘your dick has been inside these whores without protection, and I could die from that with my blood cells crashed – that’s not ‘flirting’. He proceeded to tell me he didn’t give a fuck. He proceeded to grab Pre packed bags from a hall closet and tell me it was all my fault and remind me how I fucked up his plans to sneak out and never come back…. I saw within an hour he was on social media making date plans with more woman. Who was this person? I’ll NEVER understand that evil…

    If she stayed- he life never gets better. Because he Was ALWAYS this person. The ‘good guy’ she married was the imposter.

    • Oh my, Chumptothe9thdegree,

      He’s a pure monster.

      This is exactly the kind of complete disregard for your humanity and safety on every level. The entitlement to your body, who cares if it kills you????

      Mindfuckery.

      • Hath, So true- it’s hard for me to not tell the world his true self. He is so adored by many. It stings. I’m not close to meh- I still want him to get his just due, be exposed, have his ass beat…I have had a hard time facing that I was with s man who claimed to love me but wished me dead. Who could be both fun and evil. I want to tell his fans who he is- but in trying to just let it go….

        • Tell as many people who will listen; he deserves a tarnished image (and a resting place in the NJ Pine Barrens). You can still let go after you tell people. If nothing else, you might be able to forewarn another victim.

          • Tempest, I fantasize about it daily. I do, but I haven’t taken action. Maybe I’m too weak. I really want to tell people but who would believe Mr. Perfect is so dark under his pretty face? It’s still hard for me to grasp…if you have any great social media post ideas for inspiration – I’d be glad to hear it.

    • His cruelty absolutely stuns me. My friend, you have my admiration for your inner strength. I shudder to think there are so many people who deliberately choose to ruthlessly harm people they have supposedly loved in a way we chumps would never do to people we loathed. You are a champion!

      • Gonna, I do not feel like a champion. But thank you. Maybe in time I will. But I’m still in the darkness. I have a long way to go to thrive. We still have unresolved legal matters- though after I went NC – he has finally stopped texting me. I have bad dreams about him nightly. Which sucks. He has withheld some of my things in an attempt to force me to contact him. I don’t get these people… I never will.

        • Hugs and strength to you. I know it doesn’t feel great right now. I had nightmares for almost 2 years. I know it feels like they get into every pore and you just want to purge everything of them from body/mind/spirit.

          Trust that he sucks. You are a champion!

    • Every time I read Chump Lady, it seems I discover a new low in cheater behavior and lack of character!

      ******
      “Why look at me’, he’d say – ‘can you blame her? It’s your fault – you helped me get famous.’”

      ******

      It’s your fault????? This doozy brings me to Sub-Basement 20 below Disordered Fuckwit Hell!

    • Ugh, that’s heartbreaking.

      But you’re absolutely right. It’s not that they changed into this person. This is who they’ve been all along, and we didn’t see it until D-Day.

    • Chumpedtothe9thDegree,
      Wow, just wow. The abuse you suffered makes me feel like weeping. This is pure evil. Like serial-killer evil– psychopath.

      Are you free?

      • I’m not with him but we still have legal aspect to settle. I can’t say I’m free – esp. since he and I still have belongings to settle too. It feels like a purgatory hell.

  • They can’t remember what they did with the affair partner two weeks ago, but you can bet your ass they remember every single real or imagined annoyance and fight they’ve ever had with their chump, going back years and years.

    “I don’t remember” is cheaterspeak for “I don’t wanna tell!” We all deserve the truth. If it’s being withheld, time to get the hell out.

    • Painfully true. The STBX glosses over his extramarital activities, but has perfect recall of that one time, seventeen years ago, when I declined to do something he wanted to do. Gosh, aren’t I the powerful one? Snort.

      • The selective memory function in a these assholes is on hyper-drive.

        Mine also had an impeccable memory — except when it came to anything that might put him in the position of needing to take accountability. Then suddenly he was the Scarecrow and I was the Wicked Witch for not believing him.

        Of course, we all know the ending to the story — he was actually the pathetic little man behind the curtain. 😉

        Nope. Don’t miss the mindfuck.

      • Cashmere
        That’s so funny, painful but funny. Does your head in (not sure if you will know what that means you write so beautifully!).

    • You are correct. My STBX can’t remember anything about anything even not related to his affairs (see my post below) with the exception of a handful of incidents that he used to build up enough grudges against me to give himself permission to have an affair. Those things he claims proves I didn’t love him (like time I didn’t make as much noise making love as another couple he overheard while we were on vacation). His brain is completely consumed with Schmoopie 2.0 and every perceived wrong on my part in our 25 years together. No room for anything else.

      • CIR, XH of 25 years did the same thing. 3 years out — schmoopie isn’t so amazing to him anymore — he’s already cheated on her many times.

  • I didn’t get “I can’t remember”, I got nothing but denials— even when I quoted word-for-word the emails and texts I had copied and saved (I did not show him the actual documents), he claimed they were “just words”, but didn’t deny saying them, idiot- by him admitting that he did type/text those things to his OW, I could admit them to a court as evidence. To this day, he still denies everything.

    • I came to hate the word “just” …

      It was “just flirting” became “it was just one time,” which became “it was just a few months” and eventually “it was just a few women” as I found more and more hard evidence.

      It was “just” a little porn became “it was just a couple of days a week” became “It’s just porn – so what if it is every day at work.”

      Yeah, well, it’s JUST a divorce, asshole.

      • OMG yes. His cheaterness actually said to me, with no apparent sense of irony, that he had “only” had four affairs, and one of them was “only” emotional, and two of the OWs he “only” screwed a few times. Inexplicably, this did not improve my attitude toward him in the least. Snort.

        And, of course, they were all sexual (insofar as what he does can truly be considered sexual as opposed to mechanical), and there many, many more. I would guess at least 20. More if you count the courtship. Could be way more. Will never know for sure, and do not give a flying flip. I know what he is, finally, and that is enough.

        • “Inexplicably, this did not improve my attitude toward him in the least. Snort.”

          This statement is perfect. 🙂

      • “just”…”only”…”a bit”…”kinda”…”maybe”….etc., etc. etc.

        Minimization.

        I have learned to immediately identify (and hate) minimization, also…and it’s cousin, the half-truth.

        “She’s just a friend” demonstrates both (minimization/half truth) quite nicely in less than 5 words!

  • “I can’t remember” means

    I don’t want to tell you, because I don’t want you to know how I set these things up. Because I am still doing it. If not with this current person than with others. If not this exact moment, then as soon as I can manage it. I don’t want you to understand any of my methods, because I have absolutely no intention of stopping this behavior. I like it. I may be grudgingly stopped at the moment while your attention is on me, but I fully intend to get back to my favorite hobby as soon as possible. I could no more go the rest of my life without doing this than you could go your whole life without ever eating another dessert. Not gonna happen. Deal with it, wench.

  • This was how my five years of reconciliation looked. I kept digging and I kept finding things that he didn’t tell me. When confronted there was some lame excuse and I spackled like crazy. He would watch me get spun up about something but instead of stopping the twisting in the beginning by asking what was wrong he would wait until I had blown my top. Later he said what did it matter he was going to “get my wrath” either way so might as well wait. The point was if he had of said something in the beginning I wouldn’t have had such mental anguish. I finally couldn’t take it anymore and stated self destructing with alcohol. It was only after I was out that I realized how f’ed up and selfish his attitude really was. He was mentally torturing me but he’s such a nice guy. What a mindfuck. I don’t miss it at all. Get out he’s not sorry. Please save yourself the years that he will keep playing games at your mental expense.

    • Wow Sketchyokgirl, I am so sorry for the pain you endured, but happy you are out of that mindfuck!

  • It is possible that he really doesn’t remember because his brain is so addled from living a double life for so long. That doesn’t make it ok, but it might actually be true.

    My STBX can’t remember anything anymore. He used to be very organized and conscientious and never forgot to do anything he was supposed to do or forgot events. He was highly reliable. Those were some of the things I loved about him. Once he started up affair number 1, however, he started to get scatter brained. In the last month or two before D-Day he was needing reminders about kids events and volunteer obligations etc. That was not like him. Before D-Day I was starting to seriously worry about his mental health. Actually, I still think he has gone nuts, but now I have a better idea of why that happened. He now says he can’t remember much of anything since he was 12. I guess it’s no wonder he can’t remember the details form the affair with Schmoopie 1.0 or any of the positives from our 25 year relationship. His brain has turned to mush from trying to manage his double life (and maintain kibbles) – even post D-day. Cake is expensive.

    Anyway, it doesn’t really matter because they all suck anyway. If they really can’t remember it is because they made themselves stupid through their own actions.

    • Chumpinrecovery

      Perhaps they are at an age now where they have made so many unethical decisions and chosen to behave entirely selfishly so many times that the number of memories that they can recall that have NOT been tainted by their crappiness have shrunk to a few. So in choosing to only remember things that reflect well on them they have few choices. The longer they go on, the more people of character they alienate, the older they get, the more the mask slips it’s no wonder they ‘don’t remember’ anything.

      • And alternate explanation could be that cheaters are liars, there is evidence that lies are encoded differently than real/true memories across our neural networks. When liars make up a story, they create a weaker memory trace for that story than the memory trace that exist for a real/truthful story. Then the liars have to make up more lies to cover the initial lie… This lead to a web of weaker memory traces for each of the lies that came afterwards…

        In contrast, when one tells the truth, the original trace is more robust and no new lies have to be made up, leading to better, richer memory traces of that original memory and how other memories are encoded around that memory trace…

        I think I remember reading here on CN a while ago something along the lines of “one lie might be a mistake, but two lies is deception, and three+ lies is a lifestyle…” The more they lie, the more liars and cheaters will have no problem with truthiness, and become masters at mindfuckery by vagueness (like “I don’t remember” or other gems as outlined in a previous post – https://www.chumplady.com/2017/01/lies-are-exhausting/)

        Once a chump learns more about the way their cheater functions, the more they can really see their cheater for who s/he is: an adulterer who lied to you intentionally to carry an affair behind your back… When is that kind of person ever a good choice as a life partner? IMHO, it’s best to leave the cheater and build a better life!

  • I always got “I don’t know”. He didn’t know who approached who first. He didn’t know what would make him happy. He didn’t know why he did it. He didn’t know why she was still contacting him after he supposedly ended it. He was just full of “I don’t knows”. I finally told him “I don’t know either and I tired of trying to figure your puzzle and mystery story. However, I do know I refuse to live like this anymore.” I never got any satisfying answers and I’m okay with that. Because, I am living a drama free and peaceful life (not perfect). Which is worth not having any of the answers I once though I desperately needed.

    • I got a lot of “I don’t know” too.

      Why are you going to the park at midnight?
      IDK
      Who are you talking to on the phone?
      IDK
      Who’s “hers” leftovers are these in our fridge?
      IDK
      What’s this receipt for a ring on Amazon?
      IDK
      Where did this blanket and pillows come from?

      Those he said I bought. I DID NOT. Salmon pink. Not a chance. Color must have reminded him of the vagina he IDK fell into at the park.

  • “I don’t remember” and “I don’t know” both have the same underlying meaning.
    “I DON’T WANT TO TELL YOU!”

  • I graduated from this mindset at the advice of my lawyer. The stake was my son’s custody.
    For him I had kept my mouth shut. I had the evidence, I knew some of the truth.
    As the idea to keep my horses was seeping in, I was able to see more and more of the truth – the truth that has been staring in my face the whole time! How he played me. How he was laughing at me. How he hated me. Eventually, it did not matter what proof I had. I KNEW and I divorced his ass.
    I didn’t need to prove him anything. Didn’t expect anything from telling his friends (among the disappointments, there were 2 nice surprises).
    The reality is that my life changed at 180 degrees and I had plenty to think and worry about. It would have been insane to think about him and his crap.
    This takes effort. This takes will. But it is the shortest, safest way out. On the other side, things will be better.

  • It’s called “Control”. The bastards love to know they have it over you. Even after you start the divorce proceedings they go to new levels of “controlling” the dialogue, scenarios and outcomes. That’s why cuttingvthe cords is so important.

    For myself No contact is the best way other than on issues directly relating to children and in my case a business we run together (yes it sucks but we have a third partner who makes it bearable). For a millisecond after I kicked him to the curb and he was out I hoped that he would take responsibility and be accountable. Nope nope nope. Remember everything is about them.
    Trust that they suck.

    Oh he’s homeless. Poor sausage IGNORE.
    Oh his raging because I’m defaming him. Poor sausage IGNORE.
    Oh I’m looking “beautiful Darling. Gag Gag. IGNORE.

    Spam emails and trolling from Monster-in-law. IGNORE.

    NO CONTACT
    NO CONTACT
    NO CONTACT

    Starving them of the kibble supply is the only way to go.
    DO NOT ENGAGE THESE DISORDERED FUCKWITS.
    REMEMBER THIS IS THEIR NORMAL.

    And you know I feel andcsee MEH coming.
    The karma bus isn’t far off either. But he’s to busy manipulating everyone else to notice.

    Love Chump Lady for sharing all her experiences and passing on her great wisdom to us.

    Thank you Thank you
    ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

  • I have been divorced for 22 months as a result of finding evidence of cheating. Despite intensive and extensive confrontation, XH never confessed to the evidence, discovered in 2015. As part of the interrogation, I questioned him about suspected cheating in 1981. I was diagnosed with the crabs after he visited me at college when we were dating. I had never confronted him about it, despite knowing that crabs were an STD. I didn’t want to believe at the time that he was capable of cheating and I could not imagine my life without him. The only time we even broached the subject was when I came home from college and gave him a bottle of Kwell shampoo after he asked me for sex. I said “Use this first” and nothing more was said, However, in 2015 I was finally ready for that confrontation. At first he denied it, saying I had given him the crabs because I was away at college with all those boys. I said, “No, you were the one who came to my room singing “The Itch.” After protesting that it was “ancient history” with some denials and a smirk or two, he FINALLY ADMITTED HE CHEATED ON ME in 1981. Then, I wanted all the details – what did she look like, what was she wearing, what kind of underwear was she wearing, how many sex acts, what were the positions, where did they meet, where did they have sex, did they meet again? He then claimed that he was so drunk that he did not remember ANYTHING regarding the encounter, He actually said, “I don’t know if she was white, black or mexican.” He claimed to not remember what she looked like, where they met, what she wore, where they had sex or the positions. I said, “Well if you were that drunk how could you even maintain an erection and know how to use it? Did she take advantage of you?” He indicated that her taking advantage of him was a possibility. The bottom line is that he saw himself as superior and me as inferior, and he had no desire for a relationship or even a level playing field with someone he regarded as inferior. It is like the cheater and the OW are the cool kids on the playground and the chump is the nerd that they take great pleaure in excluding from their clique.

  • Chumtacular, WE are the cool kids on the block. We have dignity, honor, respect from others and more importantly, ourselves! For me, when we meet our maker, (whatever deity one believes in or not) I can stand before them and say “I was an honest, loving, caring person, I made mistakes and *I* own them!
    Oh, wait, that would make me normal!

    • nomoreskankboy,

      I understand what you are saying and I agree.

      After finding physical evidence of his cheating, I told XH, “You believe that you are madly in love and in a beautiful, passionate sexual relationship but in reality you are committing adultery with a whore. No righteous woman would have sex with a married man and she knew you were married, so that makes her a whore. If you do not confess and repent for your adultery, you will burn in hell for all of eternity.”

      I have actually imagined XH being thrown into the lake of fire on Judgment Day as he is yelling, “I’ve done nothing wrong!”

      In response to my request for him to confess and repent he has:

      1. Looked up to heaven and pleaded, “God, please tell her I didn’t cheat.”

      2. Put his hand on The Bible and swore he didn’t cheat.

      3. Told me earnestly that only he and God know he didn’t cheat.

  • just wanted to add my 2c to the 5-year-emotional-affair and ptsd-porn-addiction bit. i don’t have anything new to say, just wanted to increase the weight of the argument.

    – he’s keeping you on the leash so that he can maintain some “normality” in his life.
    – porn helps him with this as he doesn’t want to have sex with you but doesn’t have 100% access to the ow.
    – he’s been having sex with the ow for years. i doubt he waited longer than a few hours, never mind 5 years(!).
    – porn addiction, lying, fucking somebody else is abusive behaviour directly squarely at you.

    • Ken_doll, I also believe Cheaters are sabatoging themselves (and their lives) in many, many, small and big, ways. It’s true that we are not thought of; they just aren’t programmed to think of others (except as highly successful cover stories). The sex is muddied too because the disordered want new/strange/wtf-ever, because they are incapable of moving towards authenticity/intimacy. Sex isn’t love. IMHO, I think they get one thing right, US, but then they blow this too and consistently choose CRAP (opposite what we would choose). So, while their actions are abusive, even towards us (and way off what is considered “normal” behavior in a healthy person), the crap is what they have, day in and day out. That and their inability to be authentic. This defines them, not us, and it will be their legacy. That right there is Karma enough for me.

      • Drew, I guess it’s not enough ‘karma’ for me that this is who we finally see & accept they are. It makes me pissed that every life my ex touches will get a sexually transmitted disease as he lives to wear no protection with strange p*#%y. He will hurt and become abusive to every women he dates eventually. He will ruin and Sabatage good people. That is a high price to pay for society. Especially knowing his entire life will be rinse, wash, repeat. Hundreds of lives, children, and all who encounter his charade, will Pay a price.
        Because he’s a damn good imposter of a good human- and he is not capable to grow. He didn’t come with those parts. We are simply easy prey for them.
        Karma doesn’t cover this ☝️ one. He needs to go to hell and burn ?

        I’d like a bus. 60mph… into him kind of justice…

  • My ex followed the ” I can’t remember” and “I don’t know” script until I filed for divorce.
    Then it changed to ” You are not entitled to know” which was actually very helpful to me. I
    finally saw him for what he was. I put down the rope and stopped dancing.

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