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The Unlikelihood of True Remorse

There’s an article over at HuffPo on how a cheater should tell their spouse they’ve been having an affair. There’s some discussion on tell versus don’t tell. (I’m not going there — duh, TELL. Yes. Of course.) But what interested me about the interview with Dr. Scott Haltzmann is his peculiar warning that cheaters might “break down in sympathy.” Otherwise, I thought his advice on the whole was pretty good — be honest, expect much drama (short of physical violence), express remorse, commit fully to the marriage, and be immediately transparent.

And then I thought…. yes and no one does this.

Not one single cheater I have ever heard of in my years of reading on infidelity boards, or heard about here, or known in real life. Not one single cheating person has behaved that way. And certainly not right out of the starting gate.

I mean, I don’t want to rule them out. I want to believe they exist with the other unicorns in their fairy forest of “post-infidelity marital bliss.” (Read the article for that nugget.) I’ve just never seen one.

What I have seen, after the discovery of an affair — even after it is confessed (versus stumbled on to) — is denial, lying, blameshifting (you drove me to it), minimizing (it was only once), and other sorts of mindfuckery, paramount of which is controlling the narrative. They dribble out the “truth.” They omit. They obfuscate. I’ve never known a single one to say “Tell you about that time I hired a hooker in Phoenix? Oh sure! Her name was Mandi and she came highly recommended on for discerning business travelers. It was a discreet encounter for $399.99 and included….”

Yeah. No. That never happens.

I’ll tell you what else never happens — they don’t “break down in sympathy.”

Break down? Yes. That happens a lot. Do we project sympathy on them? Oh sure. Mine said he was sorry all the time. But when they lose their shit, it’s for THEMSELVES. Oh fuck! I’ve been found out! People might think horribly of me. My chump might divorce me! They will take away my beautiful cake! I need to control this outcome! We assume this freak out is about us, the chumps — it’s not.

Cheating is a narcissistic act, so to assume that upon discovery the cheater is going to lead with humility? That’s nuts. Cheaters disrespect chumps. They don’t prostrate themselves before their betrayed spouses. Cheating is about gaining advantage, getting more kibbles. Why would a cheater want to lose the upper hand, when not forced? To cheat, especially over a period of any duration, you have to be really good at maintaining a double life — at lying with a really straight face. People with that skill set tend not to possess qualities like shame and deference.

But we sure wish they did. I think it’s very difficult for chumps, especially in the early days post D-Day, to discern what they want to see, from what they are actually seeing.

If you want to reconcile, I think what you should take from that interview is the unicorn blueprint. To have a marriage to save, these things must happen. And then watch and see if they happen, and how quickly, and what must you threaten.

If you see a unicorn, let me know.

This column ran previously.

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  • This was one of the biggest mind-fuckeries for me, literally left me opened mouthed and speechless when she raged at me, I guess to deflect and project her shitty character onto me. Why is she angry at me? She’s the one that had the affair! Sure I played some part in the breakdown of my marriage, but ultimately she was the one that cheated and tore our family, finances and lives apart…and she has the audacity to be angry with me?

    Then I found chumplady and it all became so much clearer. My ex just sucks!

    • Same here mine gets angry at me. I’m starting to hate him and it scares me. I saw him at the gym tonight and asked about him having kids over the weekend, of course no straight answer just crap about how I treated him last time he came over uninvited. I shoved him down the path, yes not proud but he carries on like I broke his arm. Anyways conversation if you could call it that was going knowhere as usual and I walked away ‘yeah go on do what you always do and walk away’ flipped him the middle one and kept going, fucker!
      He is 100 percent about him, can’t stand him but thinks that’s a good thing.

      • Got another email re wrecking. Basically says I have told you I will do anything to get back together. Translation, you tell me what to do, like when you suggested I start with saying sorry your dad for being shit and you scoffed at it and I will argue about it all the way and will do very little. Says that he is peaceful and I just breath fire, yes I will flip you the bird when I see you. Then goes on to make threats about leaving town when I get a boyfriend and about the mortgage.
        Charming read. He had 1.5 years to end it before I found out and a further 2 when I thought it was an EA, yep consequences are a bitch.

        • Hugs. Feeling your rage. One asshole does not the world make. Vent here or to friends. But stay away till you cool down a bit and don’t give him the satisfaction of seeing you sweat.

    • +1 – my ex continues to be a douche canoe. Blames me for everything even though I’ve been for the most part NC for over a year. Yup be angry at me because your dick fell out of your pants into a whore who knew he was married which caused him to lose everything (except the whore). They certainly do suck.

      • Yep. Mine cheated on me during my cancer treatment and is angry that everyone who knows the truth is disgusted with him. He doesn’t understand why. Don’t they know that I drove him to cheat! Gross.

        • Ugh, he IS disgusting! He doesn’t understand why people who know the truth are disgusted? When he cheated during your cancer treatment?? That is one disordered dude!

          Hope you’re in good health now.

        • Yes mine cheated during my radiation treatment and my surgery for cancer too. How low can they possibly go. Pure and utter filth. Disgust is not a strong enough word for him. To everyone else he was the dutiful husband ‘supporting’ his wife through her cancer treatment. I am not out of the woods yet but I refuse to protect his reputation any more.

    • Anger is a huge control mechanism, used to project their failing and misdeeds onto you. Anger is a power move, a big weapon in the attempt to maintain the unlevel playing field.

      • and then later in the reconciliation phases, when you know they haven’t been remorseful and haven’t been doing any heavy lifting and you know they destroyed your life and basically “got away with it”, you start to feel the anger that you’ve repressed, and after years of them showering you with contempt, they have to gall to say things like “you are a really angry, bitter person and your anger and bitterness is impacting our marriage”

    • Exactly. why for God sake are they angry with us? It seems almost each and everytime the chump says they were. Makes no sense to a normal person

      • But it does make sense when you see anger is a tool they use, not an emotion they feel.

        • LovedaJackass – A tool they use, not an emotion they feel. Of course! That makes total sense. Just like the tools of bullying and intimidation that go along with it to get you to back down and take it. They are subhuman.

          I am fortunate that my mother-in-law is supportive. She and her husband come to my daughter’s school events and sit with me while her son and pregnant girlfriend sit behind us (how do you bring your pregnant girlfriend to your daughter’s event with your wife sitting 3 rows in front of you? My daughter’s friend’s parents are like, wow – really? They have no sense of shame). And my stbx hates that. He is not happy with that.

          My mother-in-law is dealing with her oldest dying of cancer and here is her son being angry at her for being kind to her grand daughter’s mother.

          His mom told me she left his dad years ago because his dad acted like her son is acting now.

          When I asked stbx about what was going on before he left – first thing – anger. Anger that I didn’t want him to have his ‘hobby’ staying out all night ‘taking pictures’… angry that I was ‘insecure’. Anger as he told me I better not research him or he’ll leave me. Well I knew then it was over. And the research of just the phone records told me all I needed to know.

    • In regards to my XH’s anger and horrible treatment of me before I realized he was cheating, my therapist noted: “My God, he’s treating you like YOU had an affair…with HIS BROTHER!”

      It’s astonishing how they can conjure up a false narrative in their delusional minds and project that shit onto the person that they KNOW they have betrayed. I remember XH telling me that I was “controlling” after he left me. Nothing could have been farther from the truth. And that he wouldn’t tell me where he lived when he left me because he didn’t “trust” me in my “anger”. I just remember standing there feeling like I was in the Twilight Zone.

      Friday is the 4th anniversary of when the the bastard left for his now wifetress. While the Karma bus seems to have missed them completely, I am thankful that God has removed that inauthentic, broken excuse for a human being (and his mother) from my life!

      • My stbxw telling me she didn’t recognize me anymore right before I found out about dday #1 with my best friend of 25 years was actually a projection. Now I see clearly.

        • ODSD,
          How horrible to have your best friend involved in that – like this stuff isn’t hard enough. I’m sorry.

        • My xh cheated with my friend of 40 years. I am still having a hard time wrapping my head around her betrayal. I found out 2/17/15, divorce finalized 8/30/16. How have you dealt with your best friends betrayal?

      • NoKibble-

        This was my husband, exactly. He moved out and into Slut McCunty’s and then acted like I was the cheater. He wasn’t admitting to the cheating and at that point I believed he was staying at a guy friend’s house.
        (The truth came out eventually).
        One night he accused me of cheating. Just came out with “I bet you’ve cheated on me”. Out of the blue. Man I was dumb. It should have been obvious that he was cheating and justifying it aloud to me. But I had cement spackle that day and slathered that shit all over.
        I asked for his address to where he was staying. I was pregnant and he had a habit of disappearing, unable to be reached by phone. He refused to give me a physical address, stating the same reasons you mentioned: I was “angry” and he couldn’t “trust” my actions, citing that I needed to keep “his friend” out of our marital woes.
        Now I know it was because he was never really staying there.
        He never told me out right. I just had to figure it out, from little slips here and there.
        The other day, cheater mentioned that his brother’s dishonesty over the years is unforgivable, and that he’s cutting him out completely from his life.
        Twilight zone.
        I just stared at him.
        He accuses me of being resentful and angry when I try to have an open dialogue regarding his affair. He shuts me down by stone walling or blame shifting. He hates me for not being able to move past his betrayal, yet he wants my shoulder to cry on about how his brother is a liar and shady af, and how he won’t forgive him.
        Is this projection? Is this complete blindness to hypocrisy staring him square in the face? I’m stunned.
        Although it’s becoming clear that cheater is dealing with feeling of abandonment when his friends don’t take him seriously, he’s denying his own role in their position These are same friends that were there (for me) when he abandoned us for his whore.
        ‘He’s become aware that his actions carried a ripple effect and is realizing consequences.’
        Just kidding. He doesn’t realize shit. It’s everyone else’s fault. We are all terrible people who fail to empathize with his suffering.
        Shame on us.
        I do feel like the karma bus has finally arrived.

        • He accuses me of being resentful and angry when I try to have an open dialogue regarding his affair.

          This isn’t meant as a criticism, since God knows we’ve all been there, but one of the hard lessons that we Chumps need to learn is that we cannot have “an open dialogue” with our cheaters about the affairs.

          Cheaters 1) won’t tell you about the affair, and then 2) when they do have to tell you about it, they trickle-truth, and finally, when the truth is out, they blame-shift. None of this is honest communication. Cheating is based on the intent to deceive. People who prefer deception over actual communication are unable to have honest dialogues.

          I think that the desire to have an honest dialogue about the affair is a natural one, but it’s also a desire that may be fueled by hopium. If our cheater tells us the real reason for the affair, then maybe that’s something we can work on.

          If your cheater were really serious about reconciling, they’d tell you the truth without you having to cajole it out of them. They’re not serious and they’re not telling.

          Coming to this realization is a process, but it’s all part of learning to trust that they suck.

          • I realize that I’m not going to get answers. I should have emphasized that. Past tense. I gave up awhile ago.
            I passed on that hopium pipe and am on a strict recovery program. I am just flabbergasted at the audacity to cry to me about his brother’s betrayal whilst not recognizing how his betrayal has affected me.
            It all just validates his narcissism and his sociopathy.
            It’s a reminder of all the reasons I’m on my way out.
            He’s in his own world, which has a marked disconnect with reality. Everyone in his life is seeing it and he’s finding himself completely alone.
            As I said: it appears the karma bus has finally arrived and my maker has given me front row seats in witnessing his demise.

            • It’s like a trick picture where you can see two images. Unfortunately once you’ve seen the devil with horn, it’s hard to go back to seeing the unicorn image without squinting.

              As much of a shit as I think my ex is, I just can’t imagine while a chump is pregnant. That is such a shit show and I’m very sorry that happened to you.

            • My STBX’s step dad met up with a women intending to have an affair about a year and a half ago. He said he didn’t go through with it and STBX’s mum found out and confronted him. He went home and they swept it under the rug as they do everything else. STBX was so angry with him he didn’t speak to have for about 7 months. He only started talking to him because STBX’s mum begged him to let him apologies as it was really hurting them that he didn’t want to talk to them. Fast forward to October just gone and STBX has no problem having an affair when his wife is 8 weeks pregnant. When I brought this up with him I just got the shoulder shrug and crickets. It’s all ok though because he was ‘unhappy’ so it’s really all my fault and he doesn’t deserve to suffer any consequences. Let’s just sweep in under the rug like they do everything else. Umm I don’t think so. I am finally at trust that they suck just got to get through the next part.

        • Yes. My ex had an emotional affair – never was real except in his head so he never got actual physical kibbles, poor duck – and is now living in a van and is feeling fairly heroic about it, I think. We are at the stage where we are going to have date days to ‘see if we are still compatible’. Compatible blergh, I am just waiting to see if I still want the guy in my life. I reached Meh quite quickly; am waiting to see if he wants me, or if it’s the kids, TV, cooking or great showers he misses. It’s GOOD to get to Meh. 😀

          • Artist, if you know that you feel ‘blergh’, and disconnected enough from him to be at Meh, why are you waiting to see if he wants you? Isn’t it enough to know how, at absolute minimum, immature he is? Feeling heroic about living in the van? Having an EA, without caring what impact that might have on you or your relationship, or the kids?

            YOU get to choose what YOU want. And it isn’t sounding like you want him, anymore.

          • I have some ocean front property to sell in North Dakota….good price for you! Since you buy anything…..

            You are not at Meh. You are in delusional world. Unless he is the Elephant Man, adults don’t get together to play Scrabble. They f*ck.

            TRUTH: Men, especially, do not seek out woman for Emotional Affairs. They don’t. They seek out women for sex. Do you think they stare into each other’s eyes and have long meaningful talks?

            Where there is one rat, there are 50 more. Why would you even have him in your life?

            What’s the benefit of being with a cheater?

            • We have kids, so he has to be in my life. He also has to be in my life a little longer as I live in a pretty remote rural Cornish village, and can’t drive yet (been given a car and test is in July 😀 ). I have no illusions that he’s a unicorn – I’m doing this because I have unfinished business with him. He says he wants to try again, I want to hear him and know if he really understands the consequences of what he’s done, and to be honest a few free meals out and a few treats for me are long overdue! Don’t worry guys – I’m hopium free!
              KarenE you misread a little – I’m not waiting to see if he wants me and then fall at his feet, I’m waiting for him to show his true colours; he’s the one who suggested date days – let’s see if he actually does anything about it! And ThisisNot – yes, I know an EA is virtually always a prelude to sex – he admitted it himself. I suppose I’m looking for a bit more ammunition to hammer out what the future looks like. CN has got me out of the fog with a vengeance, he is WAY behind me in coping and he knows it, maybe this is also a little bit of ‘look what you threw away’…

          • With Dday #2, I again went searching for answers and trying to untangle that skein. Is it me, is it him? Is it that damn family of his? I caught him this time early and I don’t think he’s actual had sex with her yet. He’s pursuing her and burning up the texts and expensive dinners. He’s using our 14 y.o. daughter as Schmoopie bait. He’s going to church and obviously praying about it so maybe he’ll make the right decision and realize he wants his wife and family even though he hasn’t worn his wedding ring for a month. He’s still talking to me even though he’s a little distant.

            I’ve been there in the ‘it’s not so bad’ and full on spackle. Again we are looking at this through our own lens and view point. Surely he wouldn’t give up everything in his life for a ho.

            You find yourself frantically searching the internet looking for anything. He’s on a ho high! Poor thing. Once that dopamine wears off, he’s gonna come to his senses. Then he doesn’t. You’re still desparately searching and thinking well that’s not my spouse. He’s really a good guy. He’s not one of those kinds of nasty cheaters.

            When you’re scouring looking for answers, I think you have confirmation bias. You are desparately looking for material that supports what you think is happening and what you think your outcome will be.

            I found a CL article early on and dismissed it. I wasn’t ready to face a reality I hadn’t envisioned. If ArtistFormerlyKnownAsChump is here and posting, the possibility of a different reality might be setting in. That there unicorn is really just an ass.

            • Yep I’m here and posting, and a flag-waving Chump National. I think I realised he was no unicorn shortly after I found Chump Lady. My ex actually NEVER wore his wedding ring – I had one specially made as he has huge hands, and when it broke, he never really bothered to get another one…. this been a long time coming, I think! 😀

      • Haha i had to double check the name nokibbleforu because I thought i wrote it !! “You always controlled me” …opposite. … and me or the kids dont know where he lives with girlfriend…story goes he needs to protect her… snap with MIL bitch

    • Mine was also a complete ass to me. He got ANGRY at me and my friend for finding his dating profile! Like it was somehow MY fault that people found it and then realised that he was a cheater and told me! Seriously?! My fault that his integrity is in the gutter? I found out AFTER everyone already knew he was a cheater and told me! Not my circus, not my barrel of dead monkeys.

      It’s fury that they don’t have control of the situation. That they are being held accountable for their horrible actions and that it isn’t a secret. I guess they do feel shame and know that cheating is wrong and likely to be frowned on by the people in their life. That’s why they hid it in the first place. They just thought that they were so special that no one would discover it and they could keep going on their merry way.

      I am embarrassed that everyone knows I have been screwed over by a cheater. But I really do see the sense behind exposure to all. It HURTS the cheater to have their sparkly reputation damaged. So I say hurt the asshat, take the initial feelings of embarrassment and tell everyone what they have been up to. Get your story out first

    • My X was also enraged at me for finding out about his affair and for initiating the divorce proceeding without wreckonciliation.

      When I stumbled on hundreds of emails between my then-H and his mistress, I started reading all I could about infidelity… Most of what I found was like CL so brilliantly outlined: “his advice on the whole was pretty good — be honest, expect much drama (short of physical violence), express remorse, commit fully to the marriage, and be immediately transparent. And then I thought…. yes and no one does this.” I read so many articles about the things a cheater could do to try and rebuild trust.

      And then I noticed that my highly educated then-husband was doing none of them. Instead, he was trying to lie his way out of this “mistake.” When I kept him accountable and countered his lies with evidence of the opposite of what he was telling me, he went on to threaten me about all the consequences I will face for life if I chose to go ahead with the proceedings and with telling people the reason for my initiating the divorce.

      That is when I switched to written communication and stopped talking to him all together. I am still amazed that it worked, but through a pretty cool twist of Narkido, I obtained a full written confession from him and another one from his mistress about their affair. They were consistent about when the affair started and their poor sausage routine about how they did not mean to hurt anyone. After realizing the enormity of his and his mistress’ mistake in sharing these with me, my X wised up and all our communications are now centered around our custody logistics.

      Written communication is Narctonite, and the best spackle remover there is. It is beyond painful to accept that the person I believed I was married to only existed in my own mind. But I realized along the way that his affair was not my fault. As Sandra Brown puts it “he is sicker than you are smart.” My biggest mistake was to trust him… Now I know better.

      Divorcing a motherF of a high conflict person was a horrid endeavor I don’t wish on my worst enemy… Yes, his suckitude will continue impacting my and our kiddo’s life for the foreseeable future… But I’ll take that any day over being unknowingly married to a cheating lying coward.

      • Love this, “his suckitude will continue impacting my…life…But I will take that any day over being unknowingly married to a cheating lying coward.” Yup.

      • Mine always said his affair was “a mistake” too. They never went looking first! omg!!

  • Yes! The months after DDay I was unable to see what I see now. Blameshifting happened, Minimizing happened and finally, breakdown in sympathy. Yes, for herself. 3 months after DDay it was forced upon me by abusing my chump viewpoint at that time to open up the marriage. That’s just wanting to keep the cake. If I wasn’t able to give her that, it’d be a dealbreaker for her…

    God, what an absolute chump I was back then. Under the pretence that if she’d get her cake she’d be in a better mood, aka, fuck you chump, I want my cake. Thank you RIC for keeping me an extra amount of time in this state of chumpiness.

    No more. Narc begone. Take your cake, I don’t want your crumbs no more.


    • I wonder what would make up a proper narc repellent? Lysol? A well- written pre-nup?

      • No contact is the best repellent; no more kibbles, positive or negative.

        Thing is, you can only apply this repellent after you got bitten. I mean applying the no contact repellent as prevention will also repel all other human beings, even decent ones. Then i’d be like anti-biotics. Kills good germs too… Still, AB’s are also only applied when harm is a coming. hehe. And has a risk of creating AB resistant narcs if it were like that.

        I like the narc repellent analogy.

        The only thing that can actually work I think is trust in your body. Keep it healthy so it can repel any oncoming attacks before they start to surface with symptoms.

        So I’m going to conclude that the best chump protection is a ‘Fix your picker’ and install a ‘Narcdar’.

        • The last two being: Vitamins and exercise, but then for the mind.

        • So it’s more like medical intervention after an anthrax scare?

        • Speaking for me, I’m thinking that one ingredient in Narc Repellent might be learning to say the complete sentence “No.” And, to apply that sentence liberally and when appropriate.

          • Ah yes. That’d perhaps even better. Sometimes it’s so simple. But how do you keep them from manipulating. Always no. Or no contact. Hmmm

            • The best repellant if possible in no contact. Healthier for the Chump and unhealthy for the Cheater/Narc. Cheater then loses his ability to torment, “misinterpret” our words, repeating their version of the conversation to anyone who will listen, making us appear to be mentally unstable, while portraying themselves as the victim.
              Using us as a source of entertainment, laughs, whatever is lost when we ignore them.
              I haven’t spoken to X in over three years, no communication through any one other than our attorneys. Last week I received a text and an e-mail explaining that he deposited the incorrect amount and will send me a check to make up for his error.
              Now, he decides to be courteous? Fuck him, I’m making a copy of his e-mail and text and bringing it to my attorney.

              • Hell yeah Britt. I feel like I’ve gotten a shield ? in front of my heart ♥ the past few weeks.

                Never thought I’d be going to Meh so soon. I thought a couple of years. But 1 month partial separation and I’m not getting f-ed up when she tries something.

                No more hoping, no withdrawal so far. She wants out? Good. Probably cause my kibble went sour.

                I see her for what she is and although it’s not malevolent but incapability, it is what it is. Not good for me!

              • Stay vigilant brit, through your stories on CN, your X and mine seem to have been brothers from a different mother… I am willing to bet that his is a new hovering strategy he is trying out to get kibbles from you…

                Bring this up to your attorney and stay NC!


              • If you have to see them, I like this one as Narc Bug Spray as well:

                “Please understand. This isn’t goodbye. This is I can’t stand you, and stay the fuck away from me.”

              • I’m with you. I’m realising that having contact is dangerous to me in many ways. Need to get house sorted in my name then fuck him off completely. He’s spinning out of control and is making my life hell with threats of financial ruin and dragging my kids into it. They rang me last night and he was ranting about the mortgage in the background. Always has kept me on tender hooks and is now trying the pity play. Need to untangle my life and be free.

        • Love the narcdar! I have always had a trusty “cluster B radar” but since realising the extent of my XH’s narcissism, it’s probably too sensitive now & I see them everywhere, driving their big cars and cutting ahead of others, posting artful selfies and constant updates on their social lives on FB…

      • Vulcan, you hit it dead on. The one and only way to repel a narc is a pre-nup. If the cheater signs it, they are unlikely to be a narc and if they do not sign it, you have repelled a narc!

        • Buyer beware ! My narc father and his narc wife (#3) signed a prenuptial agreement and her comment was it’s not worth the paper it’s written on. These words coming from a woman who spent her years working as a paralegal !

          I’m in favor of a long,careful courtship or as Dr. Helen Fisher calls it “slow love”. Live and learn and pay attention to actions,not words.

      • The pre-nup didn’t scare mine away from marrying me… but it sure worked good when I divorced him 🙂

  • Articles like the one cited are most helpful IMO in showing the *difference* between what’s absolutely necessary as a bare minimum for reconciliation (though far from sufficient), and what a found-out cheater is willing to provide. That contrast can make it easier to see that there just isn’t enough to work with. A puddle anti-freeze when the marriage is dying of thirst, a worn out toothbrush when the marriage needs hammer and tongs.

    • Yes the difference between what they do vs what we actually need. Mine “did all the things” – like transparency, therapy, disclosure, polys, getting a job… but he turned all that into a mindfuckery of image management, blameshifting backed up by absurd psychological diagnoses, score keeping and one upping (I’ve done so much for you! You are just punishing and love being a victim!) revisionism, contempt and entitlement based on him now “being so much healthier” than me because of his therapy. He quit many of the outward cheating behaviors but after a couple years of proving “I am a good guy” he felt entitled to quit working, start seeing women (“but not sexually “) again and told me I didn’t appreciate who he really was if I did not see that those female “friendships” were healthy for him. So he put me through that whole expensive agonizing RIC shitshow just to tell me those things he did were a time limited offer? Once he’s done proving he’s “a good guy” he can stop being one?
      And always throwing at me “I’ve done so much for you!” That felt like a slap. For me? You aren’t doing it because it matters to YOU? You’re just trying to get strokes for all you’ve done? And he resented me for it. He said at the end “I’ve done everything I can do” I said “yes, everything you can do, but not what needs to be done.”

    • Mine said he would do whatever needed do to get back with me. When asked what he would do he could not answer. Basically wanting me to spell it out like his mummy, sorry don’t live on crumbs anymore.

  • My ex to this day continues to deny the affair. Um Hello! You paraded Ho-worker all around our small town, saying “They’re just friends”

    The only halfway confession I got was in the division of marital assets, I had to agree to not sue her for alienation of affection. My response, “What can I get from her, an ugly horse trailer?”

    Unicorns do not exist in my world.

    • Mine too. She was a friend of mine that he did work on her house for her. He still says nothing happened between them until after he left our family. Bullshit!!! Now they are happily living in the land of rainbows and unicorns going on 4 years now. Unicorns (and rainbows) do not exist in my world either!

      • Mine said nothing happened until after he left the family home as well. Such liars! Then through some crack sleuthing I found a 60-page printout of text messages exchanged between them for the eight months prior to our split. The silly, ignorant slut bound the whole thing, put a cover with a heart on it, attached charms with their initials, and gave it to him as a valentine two days after he moved out. It made for some then-heartbreaking, but now-hilarious reading.

        Mine is still with the ignorant slut too, also four years later. But it seems all is not well in paradise—he’s announced far and wide, multiple times that they’ve broken up, only for her to slither back. He doesn’t dare introduce her to our grown kids, and his friends despise her. I love it, they are their own karma. He’s with someone he’d rather be rid of, and she’s with someone who wants to be rid of her. But for kibbles! I hope it lasts until he finally succumbs to terminal erectile dysfunction. (And I hope that day is soon so I can get 100% of his social security.)

        I view the whole thing as a gift–a gift of my life back and an escape from the black hole of doom that was living in a narcissist’s orbit.

    • My ex-cheater kept insisting he didn’t cheat because it was only anal and genital stimulation! He actually wanted kudos for foregoing penile penetration. Said he he held himself back because he wanted to maintain some credibility when he approached me for an open marriage, so he could explore his newly discovered lust for S&M. Something, something, wants to continue sponging off me, mumble, mumble, stay in the house, sleep with me, be a family to our kids, and, oh yeah, “start finally living an authentic life.”..Me: Blink, blink. Get the fuck out of my house. A year later, he’s 41 years old and still living in his parents’ basement. Still insists he didn’t cheat. Tells everyone who will listen that we split because “we argued about sex.” So authentically pathetic. My only desire for him is that the karma bus literally hits him in the next 23 years, and I get a million dollar life insurance payout. My kids will be just fine.

  • ” In most cases, you should tell your spouse you had an affair. It goes without saying that marriages are based on openness, and affairs are based on secrets. Choosing openness is a potent step toward honoring your wedding vows.”

    Needing a 12 step program to honor your wedding vows is seriously twisted- it is just another shit sandwich. As a recovering hopium addict, I ate many trying to avoid withdrawal. These experts are just lacing the shit with more Hopium for their own profit. They give these turds a blameshifting platform! Excuse me while I go throw up.

    • Yes, someone forgot to tell them not to cheat. Because they didn’t really figure that one out on their own. Remedial marriage class 101.

      • Your right. My cheater went to the “college of electrical knowledge” and they didn’t offer that so I should be more forgiving because that is not his fault.

        • Omg- do you remember “sea monkey’s”?
          Inside the package was a little diploma saying you went to the “Crustacean College of Sea Monkey Knowledge”
          I guess they revoked your credentials if you killed them- which everyone did.
          So many floating brine shrimp failures in my life- trying not to see that as a pathetic metaphor for my dead marriage. Lol.

  • 4 months out from DDay and I am still to blame for my wife’s affair ( at least in her mixed up head). I’m also a bad guy as I have never given her the opportunity to explain her shitty actions of an 8 month physical and emotional affair with a co worker while we have two girls under 5. I’m the bad guy to her parents who now say they have no sympathy with me because of how I’ve reacted so coldly and angrily to the affair and how I’m not prepared to reconcile. They believe that I can’t have loved her as I’ve not talked it through “for the sake of the kids”, I found Chumplady within days of DDay thankfully. It opened my eyes that she wasn’t unique, it was in no way my fault and I could expect all the blaneshifting, rage and mindfuckery that came and still comes now. She told me the other day that she is hurting and finding it hard to move on unlike me who she says is not hurting and has moved on. She had the audacity to say that I never loved her otherwise I would have spoken to her, found out what was going through her mind, listen to how I contributed to the affair. Well there is more chance of hell freezing over than me listening to that crap. She is a narcissist and she sucks. I can see her clearly now for what she is. I imagined a different future for my girls but I want them to grow up knowing right from wrong, in a happy and trustful home. I have still to receive any kind of meaningful or genuine apology but to be honest I no longer seek one. I’m not at meh yet but well on my way. Time and in my case grey rock really do work a treat in straightening out your head.

    • I’m genuinely curious – does anyone know of any stories of confession and full disclosure? I have now heard many stories of infidelity from friends / family / colleagues and it’s always been accidentally discovered and minimised, unless it was an exit-the-marriage D-day confession, with lashings of blame for the chump. My friends who have stayed with cheats still cling to the belief it was a one-off, and that they can prevent it recurring by demanding respect (as if that was the cause all along, rather than their partner’s character flaws)

      • I thought I had a unicorn 12 years ago and reconciled. Here I am with schmoopie 2.0 and my sparkly turd. He just can’t help it he has ‘fallen in wuv’. He didn’t want to leave initially. Being banished to the guest bedroom wasn’t the kibbles he needed. Oh he initially told me he had made a huge mistake and didn’t want to lose his family. But he didn’t slow his pursuit of schmoopie either. The cloud on Apple is a bitch if you don’t know you are linked to your wife’s phone and she’s seeing who you’re texting and emailing all the time.

        I told him if he couldn’t stop his inappropriate friendship, he needed to move out (20-something schmoopie told him she only wanted to be friends with him all while enjoying expensive dinners and trips).

        My unicorn ? was a self-centered jackass with a bull horn.

        • I found a research statistic yesterday that a person who cheats is 350% more likely to cheat again than someone who has not cheated.

          • Tempest, this is so true. 350% odds it will happen again.

            I knew I would not trust my partner, again. Ever. The thought of living out my life with someone I would not trust weighed heavier than anything hopium had to offer.

            True remorse is the never ending act of assuring the one you harmed of the sorrow you carry for injuring them the rest of your life. Betrayal is that serious to the human psyche.

            Pass the unicorn, please. I would like to have some with my mashed potatoes and peas before they get cold.

          • I wonder tempest how many of the cheaters, cheater on there “tru luv”. He is with a women that has cheated multiple times on her husband. I often wonder how long it will take before they cheat on each other?

            • From the intel I got (from HIS mother, hihihi!) it took about 14 months before OW dumped narc cheater … for another man. Then later got back together, and a few months later? She dumped him. For the same other man.

              I have to admit this made me smile.

          • And I read yesterday that 98% of relationships founded on infidelity will fail.
            FINGERS CROSSED!

          • I don’t quite get this. If an event has 100% chance of happening, that means it WILL happen, right? Like if there’s 100% chance of rain, it’ll rain. So does a 350% chance of something happening mean it’ll happen 3.5 times?

            Seems like with these cheaters, that’s about right. Maybe even on the low side.

        • Haha! Apple iCloud is my bitch! And saved me thousands of dollars not having to hire a private investigator!?

          • Yes the cloud is a mysterious zone of ‘gotcha fucker’. I’m sure he was befuddled of how I knew what I did. Then about 3 weeks in it was cut off!

      • I’ve seen a unicorn. A woman I worked with had an affair. She really had been unhappy for years and had tried to get her husband to go to MC. She actually did try to work on her marriage pre-affair. When he ignored her, an older man paid her attention. She actually, on her own, did confess, went complete no contact, sees her affair partner and her own actions as disgusting. She gave transparency, etc. She realized after the affair that she should have filed for divorce instead of responding to another man’s advances. She even told me the wife just responded with pity and that made her feel even more shame for what she did to her.
        She’s the only unicorn I’ve ever known. When I had DDay, she was the one telling me my X wasn’t sorry and Sue was the one who told me that his affair was in no way my fault. She was angry on my behalf for how shitty he treated me and how he turned on me. Her husband confirmed her 100% remorseful behavior immediately after she told him what she had done. She actually gave me a lot of insight on what remorse should have looked like. She also helps at church with others going through a Dday and counsels the cheating spouses. She’s the first to call them on their BS. A few months after I filed, she told me that if she had to do something so awful to hurt her husband at least she would use it to help others. She cannot ever go back in time and make right her actions, but she can try to help.prevent others from making her bad choices. But she’s one in a gazillion.
        If I hadn’t known her I would never have believed unicorns exist. The only time I ever saw one.

        • It sounds like she immediately realized the relationship was over and left it rather than begging for forgiveness after the cake.

          I used to wonder how these people can believe they should get a good person back after such an emotional crime, how they can even look a person in the eye after betraying them so viciously. Sounds like she actually had a conscience and realized she should stop hurting the other person.

          I think a true unicorn would only see one reasonable conclusion – to leave the chump with as many resources, and as little damage in their wake, as possible. That’s why you don’t see reconciliations with unicorns. A *real* unicorn would realize that to attempt to reconcile would only further harm the chump, that s/he had killed all that was good in the relationship, and that the only reasonable conclusion is to admit the shameful truth and not ask for anything for him/her self.

      • My perverted freakazoid never fessed up. I had to catch him red handed cruising the internet looking for anything with hair and a hole. Even with evidence in hand he said “you drove me to it.”

        Be very afraid of me fellow chumps. Like a Voodoo priestess- I have the power to turn good, decent men into deceptive, lying, disgusting perverts.

        • Leaving-
          Perverted freakazoid and “hair and a hole” is just fantastic! Hilarious.

        • “Like a Voodoo priestess- I have the power to turn good, decent men into deceptive, lying, disgusting perverts.”
          Made me spit my tea, thanks for the laugh!

      • Nope. Never seen genuine remorse. Also never seen a one-off affair.

      • I am DDAY+4 so still reeling. I DO believe my wife gave me full disclosure because she also said that she ended the affair to try one last time at our marriage after counseling, but didn’t “feel it”. She actually laid out a timeline, when it started, when it ended, details. Told me all it did was make things worse, she didn’t find what she was looking for, and that she was truly sorry.

        Why do I believe her – because we are NOT reconciling, because we were not in a good place before the affair, and the affair adds so much emotional damage, that neither of us want to attempt reconciliation. So in that respect there was no harm, other than my feelings, to tell me everything

        • Hey Russ… hang in there. You will get through this and CN always has your back.

          What I struggled with the most, after my first D-day, was if Mr. Sparkles was SOOOO unhappy in our marriage (with our life and our family)… then why didn’t he come to me and tell me that? Why did he only tell me AFTER he was caught having online affairs, meeting peeps for massages, and posting his own personal ads online?

          It may be fair to say the marriage was “broken”… but I will not accept that fact gives anyone a free card to fuck around behind the back of their spouse. You may not love me anymore, but by God, you married me and made a commitment to me and our kids and we deserve your respect and honesty. Cheaters don’t think that way… they just skip off looking for THEIR OWN HAPPINESS… at any cost.

          • I 100% agree. I asked her – you came to a point in you life with 2 choices (1) cheat on my husband of 23 years and destroy everything… or (2) tell me husband our marriage is in crisis mode and we need counseling.

            Well the CHEATER just is selfish and chooses the instant gratification than the hard work ahead

        • Beware Russ. My Ex was the same way initially. Then her AP realized the gravy train was not coming in and dumped her. She did a 180 on me. All of a sudden we should try marriage counseling, make a new start, etc. All she was doing was buying time as she had already hired a lawyer, etc. She never had any intention of fixing this. Like my lawyer said “she wants the life she had before, just without you in it”. When she found out the money train wasn’t arriving she became enraged. Yelling at me, threatening me, etc. I went gray rock on her which in hindsight was a good thing. She was trying to get me to react, call the police and have me removed from the house.

          Bottom line: Don’t trust a cheater, look out for yourself!

      • I have a good friend IRL whose husband had a 19 year long affair. He was married to my friend for 26 years. He did confess but only because we surmise the OW started pressuring him that she was tired of being #2. But he did it as a coward, writing a letter and leaving it on the kitchen table for my friend to find when she came home from work one day. Cowardly.

      • My dad had an affair when my brother was 18 months and pregnant with me. My mum says they all went on holiday and the first night while they were in bed he turned to her and told her he’d been having an affair, with Jackie from the bank, they’d usually meet up at her house whenever they could, it had served a purpose but was now over and did mum have any questions? My mum was so tired from being pregnant mum who also worked, was soooo stunned tonhave it just dumped like that so matter of fact that she just lay there unable to find anything to say. So dad took that as no, she didn’t have any questions and said something along the lines of “good. That’s that then, nothing more needs to be said.”

        Mum said he never spoke of it again and neither did she and despite being terribly sad she had us little ones to think of. Time passed.

        For the record. Dad continued to cheat with Jackie, apparently my first teddy bear was from her (until mum found out and burned it), he had multiple other affairs throughout their marriage. He was a violent bully and beat us all so there was no “standing up to him”. Eventually he left and has lived happily ever after with one of his affair partners. Who, when questioned about being worried he’d cheat on her, she said “I don’t care what he does and with whom as long as he comes home to me each night.” A *happy* arrangement for all then.

        I haven’t spoken to him in 18 years.

        So yes I’ve heard of spontaneous confession but it certainly didn’t come with all the other trappings listed above and certainly didn’t mean anything would change. If anything it just magnifies and illustrates my father’s self entitlement.

        • Zhuchi,

          Breaks my heart to hear what a narcissistic monster and bully your father was and glad to read you protected yourself by cutting off all contact.

    • Good for you Jamie. It’s not surprising her parents are supporting her narrative and blaming you. My ex did the same crap when our kids were 2 & 4 years old. His 75 y.o. mom was at our house packing ‘his’ stuff. He had an old dresser in our sons room that our son was using and she’s arguing with me this should go to my ex because it was his before we married. It wasn’t a family heirloom–it was a cheap super store piece.

      The custody agreement was an overnight every Wednesday and every other weekend. Once I moved and set up our small house, I realized all the stuff missing belonging to the kids.

      Trust that they suck and their parents might suck too. That was just devastating to me.

      • Omg 75 y.o. Mom packing! You don’t need to say more. Poor thing mjb.

        She is probably like my mil- always saying to narc “what can I do to help?”

      • OMG! Is the cheater with the 75 year old mom who packs his stuff name Norman Bates by any chance?

        • My ex was an only child, who effectively never moved out. We were living in a duplex that we owned with his, at the time, 85 year old mother. She was a doormat.

    • Umm yes snap to this exactly. I’m bad because I don’t want to work on it. Yeah whatever.

    • “Do it for the kids” is a huge cloud, unfortunately. Even my own parents were cautiously on board with me when I thought we were on the path to patching it up. But you’re right, Jamie. I want my daughter to understand right from wrong, and how you’re supposed to treat people — especially your spouse. Of course you don’t want to tear your family apart. But it’s not like you started the process. Like Nomar said, they don’t leave you much to work with when it comes to “fixing” the marriage. I don’t want my daughter (not quite 18 months old at the time we moved out) to have to witness that struggle.

      • Mine hasn’t even suggested doing it for the kids, he is not that close to them, sad but true. I just make his life easier as I get shit done and he’s deep in debt and the glitter has all blown away from his soul mate romance.

        • Not sure which is worse. Of course I would be sad if my daughter didn’t have her father (I wish he would disappear, but that’s for my own selfish reasons), but having to deal with the explanation/image management duel later? Ugh. Not looking forward to that. So there is that silver lining, at least. That, and your kids have someone stable/sane/present, and you have skills and something real (family) while he just chases these glittery illusions.

    • This is essentially my story exactly. I’m glad you found CL so quickly after D-day. I didn’t find this site for over a year. It would’ve helped me to avoid some MAJOR mistakes that I made.

      Stay strong. You’re completely in the right here.

      One of my biggest struggles has been with accepting that her parents blame me and don’t blame her. It tells me that I was never really in the family.

      I think that a lot of the reason why cheaters are the way they are is because they grow to expect this type of blind acceptance from their families. That isn’t love. Love is being honest, even when it’s tough. It’s caring enough about someone to tell them they fucked up. It isn’t spackling and blame shifting.

      • i have since learned that my ex’s family of origin has been living a lie for 40 years, and his sister is a lying cheater with borderline personality disorder, whom they enable and cover for. So yes, I am worried what disorders they will pass on to my kids.

        • Me too. I see some of my ex’s traits in my kids on occasion and it scares me to death.

    • Good for you! It is hard to be condemned for having a back bone, but if you let her talk and explain, you would next be expected to forgive her (on her terms), and when you didn’t, you’d again be condemned.

      The mistake many of us make is to think that acceding to one request by the cheating spouse, her parents, or friends to prove our reasonable interest in the marriage will satisfy those condemning us, but it won’t. They don’t just want us to listen or to try marriage counseling, they just want us to keep feeding the monster kibbles (often so that they don’t have to).

      You are a model for not taking the bait!

    • Jamie…May I just say well done? Well done, sir. You did exactly what you’re supposed to do and you didn’t let the mind-effery of her and her parent’s guilt trips derail you. You are mighty! Your comment today sets a great example for new chumps with small kids. Yes, your kids will suffer for her actions – nothing you can do about that. But with the part you do have control over, you’ve changed their childhood for the better in the long run because she would do it again when the kids are older and it would be so much more destructive to them. Bravo.

      • True. I’m living that now with 2nd Dday and young schmoopie that’s daughters coach. Well was her coach until she got fired. Can you believe these 2 fuckers screwing around where our kids go to high school? Middle aged old geezer with MD after his name sure is a turn on for some. And of course everyone should be happy for them.

        Should of left after first schmoopie. I didn’t do the kids any favors.

      • Thank you so much. This is exactly ehat I needed to hear. I have small kids and am torn about leaving their beloved (to them, not me) Daddy.
        They think he walks on water. They get so excited when he comes home. When she sees four things in a group, my 2 y.o. will point out (for example) “mommy tree, daddy tree, sister tree, and me tree!”
        How can I break that up? How could I smash that innocence?

        However, taking the long view says staying is worse. She may very well be groomed to be lifetime narc supply for him. Then she’ll grow up and marry a jackass like I did. And the toxic legacy continues. . .

        Also, he is starting to get verbally aggressive. Will it turn physical? I’m not sticking around to find out.

        I’m just so scared.

        • I am so sorry, DifferentlyChumped, this is heartbreaking. If he is getting verbally aggressive I don’t think you have anything to work with if you want to try and reconcile.
          Don’t put up with it, especially if he is verbally aggressive when your children are around. They must never learn to accept this behaviour as normal. Big hugs to you.

        • Be strong for the kids. The way I saw it in my situation was that if she can treat me and the kids like that once (to my knowledge once!) then she can and will do it again. Life is short, why live your life with someone who can betray you in that way and who doesn’t value your worth. You are worth a lot lot more than that. I’m only 4 months out but the kids are starting to settle down and my relationship with them goes from strength to strength. I try to make them feel safe and loved and do my best for them. That’s all we can do. Mine are now 5 and 2 (were 4 and 1 when i discovered the affair) It’s hard, trust me I know as all of us here do. But I know that I want them to grow up in a stress free house (at least with me), where they don’t witness arguments and trust issues and where they see adults treating each other with respect as the norm. If he is becoming verbally aggressive to you then that is a rage reaction to being unmasked as the narcissistic cheater he is. Don’t settle for being someone’s second best. You will get stronger with the passage of time and the clarity that being apart from a liar and manipulator brings.

          • *sniffles* Thank you. My kids are 2 and 5. You are absolutely right that the verbal violence is rage. I have been grey rock for a few months. I realized there is no changing things and there is no chance for wreckonciliation.
            He pretty much disgusts me. It’s hard keeping it under wraps. But next month I am taking the kids out of town for a month so I guess that will serve as a preview of the single mom life.
            Also I am having surgery in Aug and want to stay on his health insurance until then.
            Until then, I am trying to gather evidence (not sure for what exactly) and get my papers in order.
            I just realized this comment probably belongs in the forum. Off I go to find my password. . .

    • Jamie, stay strong. You sound like you are doing very well, applying the Chump Nation learning you’ve done. It saves so much grief to just go grey rock, make the tough decisions and move on. Doesn’t mean you won’t grieve the loss, but at least Cheater gets to stew in her own soup. It can be actually entertaining to watch them get mad when they can no longer manipulate.

      Mine still tries seven years later to make me believe it was my own fault he kept a mistress for 30 years. Bahahaha.

      As for the outlaws…i had some doozies too, the kind who styled it as being all about the kids. These are fossils from a past age who were taught to simply grin and bear it when a spouse cheated. I just walked away chuckling at thier astonishing self righteousness in defending their cheating son. We chumps are nothing but the gene pool for them.

  • My narc stbx blamed me for his affair. I will always remember after finding emails detailing his every action with his slut – he came home from travelling – without any hint of remorse. We were having dinner and he was telling my kids everything I did in the marriage that led him to do what he did. I was numb. The beautiful italian table we sat at having dinner that day – reminded me so much of what he did – I cut it down and now it is a beautiful coffee table. I have no memories attached to that table anymore – just a beautiful piece of furniture.

    Does it make a difference if the ex is a narc and do they behave differently than someone who is “normal”. Do most spouses who have affairs narcs? I would be very curious.

    • Well, I was curious and am curious as well, but even mine, who I thought the world of, has narc traits. Or is a narc, but an intelligent one. I can’t see in her brain if it’s outright malevolent punishment when she tries something, or just plain incapability because she’s emotionally adolescent. Never matured.

      But hey, it doesn’t matter, it’s bad and whatever the reason, it’s time for the chump.

      All this, and everything I heard about or read about on the web seems to point out that at some point, the cheater decided that you, as a partner, were not worthy enough to stay true too. It’s just self-centeredness at best. They unilaterally decided you were in for the pain they caused, whether conscious or because of in-capability. It doesn’t matter in the end.

      Actions speak louder ? than words.

  • “Choosing openness is a potent step toward honoring your wedding vows.”

    That’s one potent step toward cake.

    “To cheat, especially over a period of any duration, you have to be really good at maintaining a double life — at lying with a really straight face. People with that skill set tend not to possess qualities like shame and deference.”

    The reality is that every cheater in fact leads a double life. The openness feeds into the notion it was a mistake, a one time thing and something they had no control over. “She kissed me.” “Our eyes met.” Forgiveness leads to more of the same. Vows, require trust. Breaking vows? Trust they suck.

  • As I have read on here many many times…trust that they suck. It has been 4 1/2 years since D-Day. We were a couple 1/2 of our lives since age 20 and married 17 years. I am divorced and the ex has never told the truth about any of it, the apartment, the calls, the lying, the must work late or overnight, must attend training, and secret calls and rendezvous at the super market. All the things that I uncovered and learned the facts I presents he lied about, all of it. Our sons now ages 18 and 19 were the reason that I wanted to make it work for the 8 months after D day but I finally came to my senses and filed for divorce, the best decision of my life. There is still pain at milestones of my sons lives graduations and off to college, but I don’t know the man I was married to and carried on a double life. The man I loved only existed in my own head, he was never real. The fact is the ex sucks, he puts on a fake ‘good guy’ act and plays ‘super dad’ but he is was he is, only out for himself without an ounce of remorse. Of course I am not perfect, I wasn’t always a pleasure to live with, and he is very good at reminding me that it takes to break a marriage. But, I never had a vote in the affair or the destruction. It was the hardest thing I have ever lived through and at times I am still mad at him, I am angry, and I am so tired of hearing how I must forgive him that it’s the christian thing to do. I am mostly “meh” about him except when my sons do something unkind that reminds me of him like forget my birthday or mothers day. I have worked hard to teach my sons what being a good person is, and when they do things like lie or forget something it hurts. I am wondering if I will ever forgive, I don’t want to hate him anymore. Most of the time I don’t feel anything, is there anything I can do be ‘meh’ all of the time? I

    • I know how you feel where your sons are concerned. My son is 22 now and it hurts me so much when he forgets my birthday or makes some snarky comment to me. He often times treats me just like his father did. I guess that he learned the bad behavior from his dad and he learned that I never stood up to him. Hopefully some day, when our sons are a little older, they will appreciate all that we have done for them and that we were the sane and loving parent.

      • I wonder if you told your son what you told us, he might behave differently?

    • “The man I loved only existed in my own head, he was never real.”

      In a way, it makes it easier to let go of the emotional connection you feel for him once you realize this. At least for me, it does. Every memory no longer seems real anymore. I cannot even conjure up those feelings I had for him in what I thought were special moments. Simply because they are no longer real.

  • When I had to tell him when/how he should be sorry for the things he did/continued to do — big, freaking red flag. The projection thing is so dead on. We can’t understand how someone wouldn’t know such basic wrongs from right, how to be sorry, etc. We do, why don’t they? It takes time to sink in. Hence, the months/years we spend on hopium.

      • My goodness! I had to tell him the same thing. How to be sorry, what to say when I’m sad or upset, etc. Often I’d give him the EXACT words and he’d repeat them.
        Of course, that didn’t sound genuine so it didn’t help.
        I just figured he was on the autism spectrum or had some kind of problem interacting.
        Things are starting to make sense now. . .
        Bless my loving, naive, trusting heart. *eye roll*

        • Yes, you feed them the lines and think that something will sprout, but it’s like watering an already dead plant. Mine said he thought he must have Asperger’s. I’ve seen this claim by Xs posted by other chumps since joining. My cousin has Asperger’s. Moral defects for X are more likely than spectrum, I say…but who knows. X also had a crappy home life growing up (HUGE narc father, passive mother) and likely it was some developmental flaw on the “nurture” side of things. I guess this is why they tell you to not overlook family/family history when finding a mate.

  • Also, I can attest to this coming clean on their own not necessarily meaning squat over being found out. He revealed much about his mindset when he professed in what was supposed to come off as comforting/sympathizing agony that the reason why he finally confessed is that he (HE) just couldn’t take it anymore. After five years. Really. So if you could have just shouldered that burden of yours for longer, then it might have come out later, if ever…? They’re not devoid of guilt per se, just really good at choking it down/ignoring it for as long as possible.

    • If they Confess, it is due to some ulterior motive on their part. I actually think X was looking for kibbles and cake I wasn’t providing, being busy with work, and motherhood, and all that extracurricular stuff . Like the question about the tree in the forest, does it make noise if no one hears it fall? What good is cheating if the spouse doesn’t even notice? Spying, watching their behavior, jealousy, it’s all the same cake to them.

      • That’s true, Anita. There was a lot of moping, more than usual (we each had our bad days, and I thought it was part of marriage to allow that to each other and try to be there for the other person when things are off for them) and that’s when the confession happened. Was it a test to see how much I cared? I’m not sure. But when they open themselves up and it’s that bad, you can see what a gaping black hole they are. They want/need kibbles, but nothing will fill them.

        • Yes, Chump on it. Mine claimed he felt guilt (right) and that he “wanted a divorce”. He didn’t want a divorce or he would have gotten a damn divorce. Trust me, he enjoyed the kibble/cake stage of our marriage more than he ever enjoyed the marriage OR sneaking around with the whore. Despite how wondrous he and she thought that she was, it wasn’t enough cause it had to be supplemented by ME. Ugh. Loser.

          • This insight could be a whole column: the thrill of the affair PLUS the groveling, shattered spouse comprise quite the layer cake. No wonder cheaters do so little to right the situation. Neither are enough on their own; together it’s a whole lot of attention.

            • Yes, it does. And being normal myself I never could understand the Cake Theory until I found Chump Lady. X loved all the attention. I think 95% of them do. I don’t really think it’s an accident a lot of them get caught. I really don’t. The thrill of the secret fucks probably wears off pretty quickly, so it’s on to bigger and better (to them). They think they are hot shit running with tramps when it’s a secret, but how much greater do they think they are when they are running with tramps and their wife knows, and they lie about it and the wife stays with them. If this isn’t an ego fest I don’t know what is.

              • Yep, looking back I realize when I was directing my attention off him is when an “oops” moment would occur with X and he’d get caught cheating again. It’s really not that hard to keep this a secret if you REALLY want to. So therefore i assume it was intentional.
                I remember a story on an RIC site where the cheater had acted really remorseful, the chump was going to remarry him, and guess what? He leaves his cell in the car with her and his whore texts him right at that moment. Uh huh, accident my ass. They have to keep that cake going any way they can.

      • This 100%. I thought that the fact my cheater narc told me BEFORE he fucked OW #! meant he was essentially an honest person. Turns out he thought I’d agree to it, because that’s what his previous long-term chump had done. Wouldn’t that have been perfect? Kibbles, cake, and permission to step out? Then because he had been honest, I thought that seeing that I did NOT agree to that, and seeing how devastated I was, he wouldn’t do it. But of COURSE he did! Your wife is a wreck, you’re causing it; carry on!

        Affair #2 he thought he was hiding very very well; took me about two weeks to figure it out, another week to confirm, another week to talk to a lawyer before confronting.

        And when I confronted (very gently; timid forest creature and all!)? He spewed blame and criticized everything I’d ever been or done.

        At least that was finally all the confirmation I needed. Not hard to trust that he sucked after that, no matter how painful, or how much I missed him … or the person I thought he was.

        • I think mine thought I would approve of the situation, him running with the whore, too. Yes, they really do think they are that special. And to top it off, he was not even any good in bed.

        • KaernE, mine did the almost the same thing. Tried to bully me into agreeing to him having sex with his ex, blaming it on me being “asexual”. When that didn’t work, he did it anyway and “came clean” because his son phoned me looking for him and he wasn’t were he’d said he was going. I phoned the ex who said she didn’t know where he was, then he phoned me 15mins later to “come clean” and say he’d been with her all day and was going to stay. So he’s Mr Honesty, don’t you know! No remorse or pretense of remorse ever.
          After blaming me for being asexual, the next excuse was that I hurt him so much because of the way I grieved my miscarriages. He would never let me hurt him like this again, tremulous voice and crocodile tears, still cheating.
          Spontaneous confession? Just another mindfuck for the chump

        • KarenE, if what he said was true and timeline was accurate, my X’s “confession” “before” anything happened was actually after it started. At the time it seemed like a heartfelt and vulnerable thing for him to tell me that he was looking online at women/pay-for services and felt horrible about it. We had a talk, there was reassurance, thought it was a bonding moment. But he had already started…and continued for four more years before the real(?) confession happened.

  • My unicorn has devil horns.

    Post discovery of his affair and pre-divorce when I just wanted to talk about us ~ all I got was… You just want to rub my nose in my ‘mistakes’. Mistakes? Oh, that’s what they are called.

    Yep, devil horns. My unicorn has devil horns. I’ve seen them.

    • People that are truly sorry do expect to have their noses rubbed in their Mistakes. And they don’t cry about it, either. It’s called Adulting. Not Adultery.

      • He constsntly accuses me of “rubbing his nose in it”. With ANY mistake I brought up.
        I believed him and felt bad. Not amymore!!

    • I got the “you want to rub my nose in it” and you just want to shame me. Uh no, the therapists said I need to process the fact that my perception of the last 10 years of my life have not been reality. Quintessential blame shift. They truly are all the same.

      • I think being very open w/couples about what it would take to actually repair the relationship after cheating would be a HUGE step forward for many marriage counsellors. To be able to explain what CL has above, and about GINR, then help people figure out for themselves whether their cheating partner is willing to do those things, and is actually doing those things, and is likely to continue to do them – that would be super helpful to chumps.

        I think most chumps, going into MC, are puffing on that hopium pipe and carrying in their big bucket of spackle. So this would be a great way to open their eyes to their reality.

  • My therapist said to look for “openness, brokenness and humility” . . .and I did not see that. He faked a bit of it pretty well but I finally caught on . . .

    • Therapist should have told you to look for the door (metaphorically speaking).

      • Bingo, Tempest. That’s why I would like to be a part of a movement to educate and enlighten within the therapy world for “sex addiction.” Instead of CSATs we need CLTs!!!!

  • I don’t post often, but read the posts weekly. What I LOVE about this site and community is the REALITY and candid discussion. Cheaters never admit the affair, they ALWAYS shift blame to you….bad marriage, unhappy, too controlling, only live once, yada, yada, yada. These are deeply flawed people who have no sense of boundaries, commitment, right and wrong. It is a pathetic way to live your life.

    My father was a serial cheater. Cheated on my mother, cheated with many women until he found one of those women who sunk her teeth in and wouldn’t let go. What happened to that marriage? He cheated on her many times, they seperate later in life and he died alone at a young age. Fast forward years later and I married a more educated version of my father. He also found a woman on the prowl, his secretary, who sunk her teeth in and he walked out of our marriage. There was a lot of blameshifting on me–I had no idea there were any problems in the marriage. History does repeat itself and I’ve come to the conclusion that I would rather be alone the rest of my life, in reality, than to be living in a marriage with a fundamentally flawed man. They don’t and never will acknowledge their wrongdoing or apologize and if they do, don’t believe it, it is not real. I believe I have reached meh. Does it still hurt occasionally or do I have a sad moment, of course. But, after I wasted 12 years of my life with what I can simply characterize as a bad man, I am bound and determine to NOT waste another second, minute and hour feeling sad or trying to dissect what is no more complex then I made a terrible choice and mistake in ever getting involved with this bad, bad man. Meh feels great!

    • Hopeful – thanks for sharing!

      Your post is a reminder to me of why I’m not quite ready to date again. Divorce was final in December, and Mr. Sparkles left in 2014… but I have really been working on FIXING MY PICKER.

      I have to own that I ignored red flags when I met Mr. Sparkles… heck, not only ignored, but probably burned in the fire place. He was so charming and loving and attentive that I wanted to BELIEVE I was different.

      I’ve taken a hard look at why I settled for crumbs when, in CL’s words, my stock trades very highly. I’m employed, own my home, have a 401K, being the sane parent, and mostly no contact and definitely gray rock. BUT… now I understand that boogeymen do exist 🙂

      I look now at his new GF (the OW ditched him cuz he cheater on her, funny that)… and she is 44… never married… no kids… 2 dogs, 2 cats… owns her own modest home… and I wonder… WHY is she settling for a man who walked out on TWO MARRIAGES… has 5 kids… debt up to his eyeballs… no friends… and yet she thinks she found a Unicorn.

      I don’t want to be her ever again. EVER.

      So, maybe I will be single for a while… or a long while… but every minute without Mr. Sparkles is a better minute.

      • You forgot to say… you are MIghty!! So many good points here. Why ‘settle’?

      • Wow. What could she possibly be thinking?

        That’s it right there. I remember when I fell in love with x – I was a 33-year-old single mother with a house and a career and a beautiful little girl. He was perfect “for me.” It never ever occurred to me that he wasn’t who I believed him to be…even now I can’t believe it. I wanted it so much I made up a whole version of him. Anyway, I can understand this new woman thinking it will be different. I just feel sorry for her and the children. You sound amazing and I’m glad those sparkles are fading into history.

        • THIS: I wanted it so much I made up a whole version of him.

          Well said, Roaring.

      • ICSTMC, I was that Girl Friend, except 42 years old. Why did I settle? He played the sad sausage single dad who adored his children and had been treated so unfairly in his first divorce (the divorce that actually hadn’t even happened). He sang the reverse sexism song so well…
        He seemed like a catch, a man who wasn’t afraid of commitment, put me on a pedestal for the first year. I couldn’t believe my luck. I remember telling my workmates how wonderful he was. They adored him too…

        • I’m scared for her, Kiwichump. I want to show her his personal ads… the escorts he booked on Craigslist. I want her to ask the kids what they witnessed (5 are ages 19-25). I want to tell her to run and not look back. But I know it wouldn’t matter, she’ll have to learn it on her own just like we all did.

  • As always, right on the money. Mine NEVER admitted anything. I literally had to shove the proof under his nose and then got some lame shoulder shrugging blame shifting and then would always turn the narrative to that I was sick because normal people don’t snoop! It was infuriating. I wouldn’t have had to snoop if you weren’t a lying cheater. Ahhh but that reality is not theirs. So glad that drama is out of my life. It still makes my blood boil though.

    • Beachgirl – are you talking about my STBX???? They are pieces of crap for sure. oldest trick in the world to tell somebody they are crazy. Mine moved out – no he ran out – and moved right in with her. I hired a PI and the PI told me the address. I drove to the address they weren’t there. I called him and told him I just wanted to deliver his guns, and could I leave the guns in front of the door?Boy did that piss him off! And now the asswipe is blaming me left and right. Whatever, may he rot in hell, while I will live my life happily.

  • You are spot on Chump Lady!! My ex upon discoveries (notice the s at the end) was so sorry every time. We went to counseling where he “confessed” and cried. He desperately wanted to save our marriage and would do anything and work for the rest of his life to prove to me that he was a man of his word. His confession consisted of “I don’t know why”, “It was never physical” “She was just a friend that I spoke to too much” He was so open and honest !! Those confessions were followed by exclamations of love and devotion to me.
    Being the chump I am, I fell for those deep platitudes on 3 separate occasions. His mindfuckery was some of the worse because he made me believe that he had truly changed and really cared about me. The fourth D-day was the last. You can fool this chump 3 times, but 4 is the limit!!! 🙂

    • We must have been married to the same guy Chump chick. You described my life with deadcheaterturd to a T!!!! How unoriginal they all are!!!

    • Chumpchick…..rule of thumb= If I have to babysit you ….so you don’t cheat on me- fuck off!

    • I have always had a threshold of three. A person, for some reason, can usually get two strikes with me for most things. That Austin Powers scene where the guy has to answer any question if he’s asked three times had me in stitches. 😉

      • Amiisfree, thank you for the perfect thing to say when people ask why we got divorced: I have always had a threshold of three.


  • Projection, projection, projection. It’s what kept me in limbo because I spent way too long projecting myself onto her. She is not me……and I am not her.

    Taking this a step further, we aren’t the only ones who project. They do that to us as well. After D-day, my ex made accusations that she thought I was fooling around with my co-workers, hiding money from her, and looking to screw her over. Maybe that was an attempt at blame shifting and not projection, but she was also genuinely surprised at how devastated I was about her affair. That really shocked me… could she possibly be surprised at my reaction to the whole thing? What else did she expect?

    I look back at that now and think that she was projecting onto me. She didn’t give a rat’s ass, so she assumed that I didn’t either. She was comfortable destroying our lives, so she thought I (and the kids) would be ok with it too. It was all just so terribly misguided.

    • “I look back at that now and think that she was projecting onto me. She didn’t give a rat’s ass, so she assumed that I didn’t either.”

      OMG yes…I never put it into such a succinct phrase but yes.

      I think at some point, he actually developed a rather detailed interior narrative…that we had each been cheating for a while and we had quietly come to a consensus decision to not discuss it since we both “understood”.

      When he had returned from military deployment and (based on world crisis) he was again deployed sooner than expected, he told me to go ahead and have sex with others if I needed to. My trusting monogamous self thought he was being considerate of the forced celibacy his career had inflicted on me. I jumped at the chance to reassure him of my loyalty…I now see that what he was saying was “I fuck around so you may as well too”

      I had shared with him that a guy at work was making advances…he thought I was telling him that I was involved and that “16 hour shift” at work included 12 hours of work and 4 hours fucking. (Actually, it WAS 16 hours of work…if I had known that day, stumbling out of the hospital too exhausted to think that my commitment to my patients and family budget {I made some good coin} would be used as an excuse for him to fuck around, I might have thrown myself under a bus).

      So the day he got caught after I read his love letter to Susan and he was “coming clean” (didnt happen) I asked him it if was physical and he said “Yes” (likely expecting me to snicker and say “yea, I remember that, the first side fuck, it was so hot”) but instead I reacted in gutwrenching horror and profound pain…so he (within like 4 seconds) recanted “no, it wasnt physical, it wasnt” and he never gave up that lie, ever.

      Just like you said, he didnt give a rats ass and thus assumed I didnt either…while I was totally committed and forever puzzled by his distance and hostility while I tried everything to enrich our marriage.

      From what I have pieced together, he likely had a rather extensive history of sidefucks…so much so that by the time he realize that cheating was actually one sided, he had SO MUCH to confess vs hide that confessing would never be an option.

      There was a brief window of unicorndom when I was SO desperate to reconcile I might have actually tried to fix it even with a “I cheated for 20 yrs” confession if I thought his desire to fix it were real, but that was brief…mostly if I had gotten that sort of confession I would react with rage and disgust and divorce.

      So he fucked himself into a dark, uncomfortable corner which wasnt fun to live in. He made cage rattling comments about breaking up in the year before he died…I think he hated the untenable position he was in and thought that divorce would be better than lying every day.

      I cant imagine what it was like when God debriefed him and showed him the pain caused by his long-held assumption that I was also a cheater. Had to suck.

      • Unicornnomore, these guys are something else. I too wonder about his debriefing with the man upstairs. Hopefully he knows he can’t pull the wool over his eyes, but I wouldn’t put it past him! I know people here will think awful of me, but during his funeral mass they were sprinkling the holy water over the casket then they had the burning incense they use. I couldn’t help but think that maybe they should have just poured the water into the casket and attached the burning incense to the under belly of the casket! This guy was going to NEED all the help he could get! I know, I know, not very nice to be thinking that in church, but Lord knows I just couldn’t help myself! Besides, the idea of a burning casket at the alter of a Catholic Church was a bit fantasy and macabre!

        • I find the idea of Purgatory so very comforting. While on Earth, he got away with a LOT of shit and God will not be tricked or mocked. I hope they both get a good cleansing.

          Did you help with some of his logistics in the end? That would be something…Im facing that with my BPD mom….she was horrible to me for years, but as she is now demented, I will likely have to arrange some of her logistics.

          • Unicornnomore, yes I did all the logistics of moving from Georgia back to No. Va. so he could be near our kids. Took care of hospitalization, hospice, his every little need which included feeding him, changing him like a baby, renting a handicap ramp (not cheap) so he could be moved outside if he wished, giving meds on time and many sleepless nights. Once he passed I payed for his funeral and arranged burial at the national cemetery. No stone left unturned for him. It was a beautiful funeral, but what bothers me most is I know in my heart that if it had been me in his position I know I would not have been given even the slightest of care he received. I’m not trying to be ugly. I just know how he is! To his credit, every time I did something for him that he was unable to do for himself he would tell me “I’m sorry”. I got tired of hearing that so often, but I think he came to a bit of realization that I was, in the end, the one woman who truly loved him, warts and all. I did my best for him. Do I have some resentment and regret, yes. But I did what I thought I should and what I could and I hope he was somewhat grateful. I know of one other poster here who is kind enough to be paying for her cheaters care and I can understand why she does it. That was my other alternative to place him in a home, but I just couldn’t walk away. Not after 41 years!

            • You are a good woman, Roberta and Im proud to know you. Im not certain of what I would have done in your sitch, I don’t want to claim virtue I haven’t earned and say for sure I would have done the same, but based on my history, I probably would have. Please find peace in it. Please be proud of yourself.

    • “She didn’t give a rat’s ass, so she assumed I didn’t either”. I got the same thing! Genuine shock by how devastated I was. Followed by, “KathleenK, if I found out that you had done this to me, I would forgive you just like that (finger snap)”. Looking back I think that is one of the most chilling things he said to me.
      Complete disregard and disconnect from me – could not have cared less. There was NOTHING to work with there. And now I am on that twisty turny path to meh. ?

    • I can so relate to the projection! My ex was irrationally jealous at times. At one point he made a scene at my cousin’s wedding over an old family friend who I had kissed as a teenager (at the time of the wedding I was in my late 30’s!). Then after d-day the said things like “I thought you would be relieved because now you have an excuse to leave me,” and “I assumed you had been unfaithful many times and even thought I should get paternity tests” for our two sons. WTF??? REALLY? He thought I would be relieved to know I’d been unwittingly sharing an unprotected dick for 2 years??? Relieved to know that a man we jokingly referred to as Dudley Doright was in fact a selfish asshole who could carry on a double life with no one the wiser? But it wasn’t until recently that I learned that in addition to fucking his howorker (now wife) for the last 2 years of our marriage, he also fucked 7 other women over the course of our 16 year marriage, starting when I was trying to conceive. So when he was flying into rages over other men flirting with me and accusing me of not being sufficiently sexually attracted to him, HE was the one who had already cheated many times. And narc that he is, he couldn’t imagine that I would behave any differently.

    • Blindside, I agree that they project onto us as well. My ex was telling me I felt all these things that I didn’t feel. He didn’t know how I felt because he would never really talk to me about feelings at all. In over 30+ years. But then assumed I felt the same way he did. Argh.

      • Nowdeadcheater NEVER ever asked me how I felt about anything. Anything he cared about with regard to me (which was very little) he assumed he already knew.

        He also had a habit if bringing up important topics in a very subtle, obtuse, distant manner being very unclear about what the goal of the conversation was or what was being considered then much later he would say “We talked about that, you told me that you wanted to _____” …alas, it was just another method of blameshifting.

        • My ex, in most conversations about his cheating and horrendous behavior, would usually early on say to me “I know what you think” or “I know how you feel.” This way the conversation was detoured from talking about his actions to me trying to explain my thoughts and feelings. I found myself trying to explain, defend, and convince him of what my thoughts and feelings really were. This is how he put me on the defensive. It completely shifted the focus from his suckiness one to my issues (which he created.)

          The last time he did this to me I simply stated that since he so adamantly knew what I felt and thought, my participation in any conversation with him was redundant and unnecessary.

          Then I was the bitch who wouldn’t talk to him. Just no hope at all. No contact has saved me from him.

        • Mine would play songs over and over and over. I thought he just liked the songs!! He told me later I should have been listening to the lyrics. Huh? That is the way to communicate important matters in what alternative universe?

    • “She didn’t give a rat’s ass, so she assumed that I didn’t either. She was comfortable destroying our lives, so she thought I (and the kids) would be ok with it too.”

      After the ILYBINILWY bomb, I gave my H three weeks to get his head together, get into counseling, and recommit to our marriage. I went and stayed with my Dad out of state (stupid move – he was with his whore the entire time – whore even cooked in my kitchen).

      When I came back, H let me walk into a half emptied house. I called him at work, he came over afterward told me he wanted a divorce. A few weeks later, he brought a realtor by to list the house and told me: “You’re really handling this better than I expected. I guess you must be dating someone else.” That was the last time I tried nicing him back into our marriage, shortly thereafter he accused me of being “angry”.

  • My STBX told his AP (of 15 mo) that he was a good liar and wouldn’t get caught. He also told her he felt bad about “conning” me our entire 11year marriage. Told HER…not me. 4 years after Dday, he still denies and minimizes. Early after Dday, he did become physically abusive. He would tell me, “It’s not you…I’m mad at myself”. I’m going no contact soon.

    • Somanytears it is amazing how these narcs can be so “different yet the same.” Mine was the exact opposite when he told me about the cheating- he said things like you are so stupid for not seeing it. I was so open about it. I am sure the kids knew, I sat here and texted her at the kitchen counter. They just didn’t say anything. (That’s because they had know idea- they had trust like me) He went on to say he had a secret bank account and I was so dumb I didn’t notice. Truth, I knew he had the account but I would never think to check it for nefarious activity because I trusted him.

      Yes I was a chump and now the only things I trust are that he sucks and he lies.

      • By the way this cheater who claimed to be so open and obvious, is now pleading the fifth concerning the adultery. Strange how there are so few tracks when he claims to have been so in your face and any idiot should have seen it.

  • X didn’t show any remorse, apparently because he “didn’t do anything wrong.”. His position was that since I didn’t catch him mid-fuck with the whore, I couldn’t prove it and it didn’t happen. So what, I don’t have to prove it. I know it and that is good enough for me. More people have been tripped up by that Emotional Affair mythology than I care to think about.

    Yes, X and whore really won some prizes, in each other….

    • Mine admitted to fucking the circus clown ~ after I saw them together.

      Then when I wanted him to change the reason for the divorce to ‘adultery’ instead of how he was saying we just couldn’t get along, he said ~ you can’t prove adultery. I told him the hell I couldn’t ~ I could subpoena both of them in front of the judge because he admitted to it.

      Turns out it was cheaper to get rid of him and my attorney said the courts don’t care about adultery in Texas. So, I didn’t press the issue. It would have been way too expensive just to have different words on the divorce decree. I decided to save money and just wave buh bye to the asshole.

      • Unfortunate the marriage “contract”- is the ONLY contract that is allowed to be pissed on and broken in a court of law with no legal fallout. Why that is……I do not know.

  • I caught my cheater 6 years before his last exit affair. I think there were probably more, but I caught the “first one” that I know of. He was in the shower and his cell phone dinged. To be honest, I was not suspicious of this affair, he really was not acting differently, or I was too pre-occupied with law school to notice, but anyway, it dinged and for some reason, I looked at it. The message was “I am here at this wedding but all I can think about is being with you.” I called the number immediately, a female answered. I asked who it was, she wouldn’t tell me and hung up. I literally ripped the shower curtain down and confronted him. At first denial, but then, it all came out. The reason I tell this story is he expressed remorse, he fully committed to the marriage, and he was transparent, somewhat. I kicked him out for about a month and I know that he contacted her still during some of that time, but when I allowed him to come home he committed to the marriage (I thought) became transparent, was remorseful, never gaslighted or blameshifted or rewrote history, that fucker really was a great actor. Because, guess what, he didn’t actually commit, he wasn’t remorseful, because he did it again. And this time, he told me about the affair and I immediately kicked him out. Now, I still would have taken him back don’t get me wrong, but I did kick him out, and he was not remorseful and he did blameshift and gaslight. So the first time (that I know) was one behavior, the kind Tracy says she never hears of, the second time-not so much.

    • Respectfully, I doubt the first time you caught him was the first time… if it was, I strongly advise you play the lottery with that kind of luck. But I get it – we all do – we want to believe that because our love for them was real, their love for us was too.

      The thing about remorse, to me, is that if it ONLY FOLLOWS getting caught, then it is never genuine. It is a reaction.

      Case in point… my son forgot to do a homework assignment. He wrote his teacher a note and immediately TOLD HER FIRST that he didn’t do it but that he was going to do it that very day. He didn’t wait for her to “catch him”. Owning his mistake when it happened was the first step to showing his remorse.

      Cheaters, not so much. Did your fella come right home after the first time he fucked the little damsel at a wedding who couldn’t stop thinking about him… and confess to you that THIS HAPPENED and I’m so sorry and IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN? Nope, he wanted Cake… until he got caught.

      I’m so glad you are away from him and his cheater lies… you deserve so much more than a Unicorn.

    • chumpity, I can just hear him saying that he cheated again because you didn’t forgive him the first time. It’s never their fault.

      • Oh its never their fault. But I did truly forgive him. The reasons why he cheated were all about me and not about him and his flawed character of course. I didn’t help around the house (yes we both did the chores around the house not just him) I let myself get fat (I had gained maybe 15 pounds since the last episode) I didn’t help with the kids (I did everything with them and for them) I wouldn’t stop drinking ( I had like two glasses of wine some nights WITH HIM) all of those reasons were why he had to stick his dick in a twice married (who was still married) whore with 4 kids. Yet three months before all of this shit was said, he gave me a mothers day card “Everything wonderful that I have in my life is because of you, thank you for my life and my family” Hmmm not one peep about any of that shit, no showing that he was unhappy, no talking about it., no trying to work on it, he cheated instead. Fuckhead, its your shitty character that is the issue.

        • “Everything wonderful that I have in my life is because of you, thank you for my life and my family” Hmmm not one peep about any of that shit, no showing that he was unhappy, no talking about it., no trying to work on it, he cheated instead. Fuckhead, its your shitty character that is the issue”

          I got something similar for Valentine’s Day 4 months before he left me for his whore. “You are the best thing that has ever happened to me. I love you more than you can imagine.”

          Mine never acted unhappy. We had a vacation planned for the month after he left. A month before he left me, he kept asking if I could get us a different flight through a city where he could run a marathon. It was on an award ticket, so it was tough but I did it. He was elated.

          I don’t understand the mindfuckery. If you were planning on leaving, why have me jump through hoops.

  • “I’ve never known a single one to say “Tell you about that time I hired a hooker in Phoenix? Oh sure! Her name was Mandi and she came highly recommended on for discerning business travelers. It was a discreet encounter for $399.99 and included…”

    Yeah, I’d bet my right arm that STBX hasn’t shared his hooker habit with his new girlfriend, nor did he share it with me.

    I had the unfortunate obligation to spend 2 days with him for our oldest daughters freshman orientation at college….. and wait for it…. I’m pretty sure he went to see a hooker (thank god that’s not my problem anymore). My son was staying in his room and our daughter in mine. I saw him in the hall and he said he was “going to the library” to buy merchandise. My son came to my room and we all sat and watched a movie. About an hour later he calls and asks if our son is with me. Keep in mind campus was literally 120 seconds from our hotel. He said, “I couldn’t find the library, so I’ll just stop on my way out of town tomorrow.” Now of course I can prove nothing… but my gut tells me I am right. Why not take our son with… since he was supposedly buying the merchandise for him. He didn’t oversee his suitcase packing the night before, and my son literally brought sweatpants to a southern state.

    Anyway, just goes to show cheaters do not change their spots! Remorse, yeah… not likely.

    • During marriage to nowdeadcheater, we took our (then) little kids to San Francisco. It was late and we were trying to get to sleep but the kids were acting like kids and NDC became so angered by the situation that he stormed out and was gone for a while. I assumed he was sitting in a bar telling the next guy over how much we sucked, but that is the one time I question if maybe he ran off to pay for a blowjob. ew.

  • Mine told me I was mad & had post-natal dementia (WTAF?), despite the fact I was back at work, running our home, filling out his tax returns & looking after a baby & two small children while he was staying in 5 star hotels in Paris on business each week, bonking his work colleague.

    He persisted in telling me I was mad until I had actual proof (used a private detective). He lied to me and tried to blame me all the way through my desperate attempt to reconcile using a couples counsellor – which was one of the biggest horror shows of my entire life – and continues to lie constantly to me & our children some 14 years on from D day. He is incapable of telling the truth & feels NO remorse whatsoever. “Break down in sympathy” – don’t make me laugh!

  • At least, my cheater was cruelly “honest”. He said: I sleep well at night knowing that everything I did to you is in response to what you have done to me. When I asked what did I do, I got silence….

    • OK – blood boiling now. I am so sorry you had to listen to that sentence.

    • Nothing to say in response should say it all. Couldn’t make it up on the fly. I’m sure mine is creating all sorts of narratives to whoever will listen. Whatever it takes to make what they’ve done play into their fantasy that they’re good people. It makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, but it also makes me want to laugh in their delusional faces.

  • Good for you Jamie, impressed.
    Took me a full year to realise I was being played,
    4 years on I am still cast as the villain by him.
    No apology has ever come my way, his behaviour has got worse and worse.
    How I wish I had gone grey rock at the beginning.

  • Pervy Pants blames me for voyeurism, exhibitionism, paying web cam hoes and fishing disease infested fuck buddies on the internet.

    I wasn’t sexy enough. I did not dress like a pole dancer while I was making his meat loaf and washing his ugly brown socks. They lie to themselves. That’s what makes them what they are.

  • No Unicorn here, just an ass with a pole scotched taped to his head.

    My son was 3 when I discovered Mr. Sparkles had been arranging for “massages” with women from Craigslist. Women in their mid-50’s willing to “rim” his hairy ass while laying back on their thrift store duvets. Good times.

    But, when I really started to look back – you know, at the time he came home from our vacation to Mexico with crabs… and he said it must’ve been from the blankets on the bed. Yup, can’t make this shit up.

    Never – never did he shed a tear. Looks of shock and dismay? All day long. Blameshifting – “you spend too much time with our son”… Mindfuckery – “WE need to fix US”… Discard – “I’ve met someone who makes me feel like I didn’t think I could feel again (and she doesn’t know I’m still surfing Adult Friend Finder for women, couples and groups).

    But remorse… nope, not gonna find that in Mr. Sparkles no matter how dig you deep. It isn’t there.

    So now that he is getting ready to move in with the new GF (met her at the gym after the OW dumped him – wait, change that, probably BEFORE)… and I think… do I care?… should I tell her… and I know it wouldn’t matter. She’ll see someday – he ain’t no Unicorn.

    Rock on Chump Nation – TRUST THAT THEY SUCK.

  • Cheaters are usually narcs and they will lie even when the truth will suffice. It just comes with the territory.
    My cheater did come clean about screwing his Schmoopie right after arriving home from a three day “business” trip, but I believe she threatened to tell me if he didn’t! Now bear in mind I did not get any real answers as to why or any real details other than he was “in love” with her after being balls deep in her for three days! Yeah, right!!!! Then I got very little info. You know the old trickle truth. His whore was just as bad. She would send me his sexts and texts with her side of these edited out. She says it was her “sword of truth” and I should have a large glass of water to swallow the bitter pill I was about to eat! Yuck! Liars, cheaters all of them. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you know they cheated and lied then there is nothing to work with! Get your legal ducks in a row (swiftly), pack your personal items and get the Hell away from them. Go get a sane peaceful life. They never are going to really change. Mine kept me on the back burner and I ended up nursing him and holding his hand to his last breath. He KNEW I would, he counted on it. I made sure his kids were there too. I NEVER got any solid answers, he took that to his grave. They all do. They are a complete waste and life suck of your time! Get lawyered up, get packed, get out and STAY out! You will and can live a better more fulfilling authentic life without a master manipulator. No partner (use that term loosely) is worth giving up your peace of mind. If you stay or get sucked back in then you become a pawn in a game you find is chaotic and exhausting. And they will inevitably destroy you, your finances and your health! Let them go!

  • When I confronted her about her affair, the thing she seemed the most upset about was that she hasn’t covered her tracks better.

    As galling as this was, in hindsight, I’m kind of glad about it.

    Because what would it have really meant if she had immediately broken down in tears of remorse and regret? What does it mean when someone goes on with their lies and deception right until the moment they are uncovered and THEN suddenly says that they’re sorry? Really it just means the same thing. They’re just sorry they got caught.

    I’m kind of glad that she made it easy for me and didn’t even pretend that it was anything different. Most honest damn thing she had done in a long while.

    • True story… I found a new personal ad he had posted online where he used a picture of himself from our wedding day. I had mistakenly taken his iPad instead of my son’s on a trip and there it was. When I called him to confront him, his only response was: “You didn’t take my iPad by mistake.”

      I shudder to think I slept next to this monster for another 2 years.

  • Mike B, you should be grateful that you saw through the BS so fast and got out. My only regret is that I did not move fast enough to get the heck out of the marriage. I had one foot in reality, but the “other” hopium side of me had one eye to him coming to his senses! It never happened. The divorce went through and I heard NOTHING until HIS life started to fall apart. I became useful again! God I was dumb! Could still kick myself. I also advise anyone who can to put a lot of distance between you and the cheater. They aren’t known for working too hard at making thier way back if it involves real work because they will latch onto easy, low hanging fruit usually. Make yourself scarce and unavailable as possible!

    • I know the “I could kick myself, I should have gotten as far from him as possible” inner argument.

      I would NOT try to talk or guilt a chump into staying/submitting to abuse (like I did) or tending him at his death (like you) we chose what we chose and can hold our heads high when we meet our maker. Neither of the men we were married to deserved the decency they got from us at the end. I don’t think we should feel shame or beat ourselves up for some form of stupidity, sometimes we have the chance to give a person more mercy than they deserve and sometimes its good to give it.

      • Yes, what is the Bible says about being very kind to your enemies is lot pouring hot coals on thier heads. The truth! They already hate themselves and they wither away in that self loathing. My cheater had little or nothing to say at the end of his life. I sat for days with an empty vessel. I realized he had been just that all his life, an empty shell. He had to be around good people to mirror some sort of personality because he possessed none. It’s very sad to watch a narc age or die. Once you leave them the man/woman you married essentially “dies”. That persona floats away and is replaced with the mirror of the new supply. They talk, think and are interested in what the new supply has to offer. If no new supply exists then there is nothing behind that mask of substance. It really is sad!

        • For a long time I didnt understand the Bible verse MT 16:25 “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it” until I saw Nowdeadcheater and my parents get to the ends of their lives. They lived only for themselves and living such selfish lives brought destruction. Others I know/knew were generous, kind, helpful and lived full, contented lives.

    • Sadly, I didn’t get out right away. I fought and scrabbled and danced the pick-me-dance with the worst of them. You’d think that her total lack of remorse would have been a clue that it was time to cut and run, but in truth, I think that it was so remarkable that at first I couldn’t believe it.

      Like I said, I was glad for it in hindsight (as much as one could be glad for something like that), but it took some time to sink in.

  • “. . . Dr. Scott Haltzman, author of ‘The Secrets of Surviving Infidelity’…”

    The secret is leaving that screwed up shit behind.

  • These cheaters that you speak of that fans remorse……they exist???
    I was discarded for the new schmoopie… chit chat, just ice cold ” I’m out” after 20 years and two kids together.
    I was devastated( which he loved….cake!!) I pick me danced my ass off for 4 months ( even more cake!!!) and then I got a good atty and ended that shit, now I am the enemy!!! To speak to him you would think I lied and cheated the entirety of our marriage. I seriously do not get this. I do not want to have anything to do with him EVER again, but I find it infuriating that he’s managed to spin it in that fucked up head of his that he’s the victim of his AWFUL ex wife.
    Kids don’t speak to him? Must be because I’ve told them awful shit about him.
    He cheated? Must be because I was was inadequate.
    He was unhappy? Probably because I just sucked and not because he didn’t put one ounce of effort into the marriage……because, well….me.
    I know better, I’m the enemy because I know who he is and he can’t fake it here anymore. I know too much, so I had to go.
    I know with whom I deal, but it still just has me gripping the sides of my chair that he can actually put any of this shit on me.
    I never got the wanting to stay repentant cheater, some of us don’t.
    Hurts like hell, but at least I wasn’t sucked in by fake remorse.

    • “I find it infuriating that he’s managed to spin it in that fucked up head of his that he’s the victim of his AWFUL ex wife”.

      My new husbands XW abandoned him and went running after greener grass. He was devastated, so much so he only had one date in 12 years. I married him 14 years after she dumped him. We arrived at their daughters HS grad and we were treated like pariahs. To an onlooker, I was the OW and H was a cheater…yea, if you want to ignore the space/time continuum we all live on.

      It was, however, the polite south and I found the nicest chattiest ladies in the group of moms to tell the real story to…Im sure everyone heard it by that night.

      Just to pick a bone here…my husband paid every single dime of his daughters private school tuition (in addition to her CS which was about twice the required amt). The XW had them add EVERY expense…his check covered every lunch, book, activity, senior jacket or whatever. This also covered 2 parent tickets to the senior awards dinner, which XW and her new H used (leaving us to purchase additional tickets) so while they were treating us like shit, they were literally eating food we paid for. They are beyond petty, and no, she never showed remorse, only anger.

    • Paintwidow- I get you on wishing there had been even a hint of remorse. Mine was never sorry a bit nor did he try to fake it, the closest he ever got was “I wish I would have done it in a different order.”

  • This could not have come at a better time. I just posted to the forum a very relevant situation I’m going though with my XW. Thank you for the cold dash of reality and reminders! Thankfully I have earned a phd in narcissistic behaviors and feel well-equipped to handle the Hoover that’s happening and see it clearly for what it is.

    • At this point even if XW actually DID feel genuine deep remorse that is proportional to what she did to me and our children, even if she DID move heaven and earth to “win me back”–in short, even if she DID have a brain transplant–she would would always be the person who hurt me more than anyone else has in my life. She would always be the person who had and thus, I believe, STILL HAS THE CAPACITY to hurt me like she did. Even if I were to take her back and manage to live with her, I would never be able to live with myself.

      But all this is mere fantasy, far-fetched hypotheticals. The bottom line is, it’s too little, and much much too late. The damage is too deep and if I am going to take another chance with love and a committed relationship it will be with someone who has not hurt me. It’s as obvious and simple as that.

      • “She would always be the person who had and thus, I believe, STILL HAS THE CAPACITY to hurt me like she did.”

        This was a fact totally lost on me when I snorted hopium… that even if he changed direction, he would still be the person who was mean and selfish enough to have done all this in the first place. He had clearly shown himself to be a terrible partner and I just refused to see it.

      • David, it was exactly this realization that set me free of my missing my ex after I kicked him out. One day, longing for him, I stopped and thought; what would it take, for me to be OK taking him back? I thought about true remorse, true repairing, true loyalty and appreciation and caring ….

        That’s when I realized that, not only would he never do those things (he doesn’t have it in him, it would require that whole personality transplant thing!), but even those things would not make it possible for me to love and trust him again, and allow me to invest in the marriage again.

        The only thing that might have worked was a time machine, so he could go back and not do what he did (twice).

  • I remember reading this article previously – not when it first ran but about 8 or 9 months out from my DDay. I wasn’t prepared for gaining a life yet and was very much invested in my spackle. My X claimed up and down that he told me that he was having an affair, when really I had been snooping around, found bits and bobs of evidence and then I confronted with a two-legged stool argument that he was indeed, having an affair. He trickle truthed me for many months after that. He blameshifted, he gaslighted, he projected. One of his favorite phrases was that he was only sorry that he told me. Never mentioned, ever, that he was sorry for what he had done.

    When I read this article, I was strung out on hopium and I was half believing my X’s narrative of everything. I had started to doubt my own reality and was believing his version of how the truth came out. I thought, “Yeah, he “told” me the truth. He confessed. He’s truly remorseful. He really wants this marriage. He is a UNICORN! Yay!”

    No, my X is just sorry that he told me about his affair because then consequences started coming and if we’re going to be honest, he didn’t really tell me. I confronted and he gave me a small trail of breadcrumbs to the truth. Even now, I’m not exactly sure what all went on, but I do know that even at the time of divorce, 3 years after DDay, he was still in love with her and he told me so and he informed me that he might well end up with her. I said “Bully for you. Hope that makes you happy. I’ve done everything I could possibly do to make you happy and let’s face it, I’m not right for you.”

    Just talked to the X last night as there are still a few loose ends to tie up. After 12 years of bending myself into a pretzel and vanquishing any needs I’ve had, I finally heard what I needed to hear and that was that he misses me so much because I gave him everything I had and then some. The fact that I don’t miss him at all speaks volumes. Chumps get nothing, cheaters get everything, until you leave.

    • Wow. Sometimes this is what I think I want to hear too from asswipe. As our teenage son was struggling with the split last year, I told him ‘there’s something in life that dad needs that’s not in being married to me’. I’m a giver and he’s a taker. I’ve always known this but I’m not sure why I’ve settled for this for almost 20 years. Old geezer looks like he haz a sadz these days as I think young schmoopie bowed out once the house and family came to me and there was little money left over for their fun.

      Tempest really struck a nerve yesterday when she said she was happy her ex and young schmoopie were still together–this way she doesn’t have to feel sorry for him!!

      • I’m probably still in the angry phase of divorcing, but I fell all over my X for 12 years because he played the please feel sorry for me card and I totally get that. It kills me in any way to see someone in pain. I want to swoop in and help!

        However, I’m at the point with my X now that I see very clearly the results of the things that he has chosen in life. I do not feel sorry for him anymore. He has used up that reserve. Sure, his sad sausage routine still tugs a little at my heart strings, but then I remember the costs. The cost of staying with him and pick me dancing for years. I had no self respect left. The cost of being married to him has been so monumental that my feel bad reserve for him is completely turned off. I also disassociate feeling bad for him with being able to do anything for him now. That helps. I can feel bad for you, but I can’t do anything about it. So sorry.

        • Yep my ex was always a victim in life. He went through 3 bosses and each and every one of them sucked according to him. They didn’t get him and how smart he was. Didn’t jump on his ideas. He was always miserable at work and became disengaged. A lot of days he didn’t even go to work. If I asked him how works was today, he’d shoot me a nasty look and let me know I shouldn’t judge him because he didn’t go in (and I didn’t even know he didn’t go).

          Always looking for something to occupy his time. When he volunteered to coach sports for our kids, I thought this was great for him. Then it started here too. No one understood how much he knew and didn’t value his opinion. We would initially jump in to a team and volunteer a lot of time, donate a lot of money, then when he didn’t feel like he was getting the recognition he deserved, he’d cut it all off cold turkey. I really couldn’t understand it while I lived it. Now I know it’s the lovely discard.

          He was volunteering at our kids school for my 14 y.o. daughter’s sport. One of the assistants was a 20 something damsel in distress. Why no one ever thinks about her on the team. We started including her in things and giving her stuff (and now I know why).

          What a tool to do this in your kids school. I’m quite sure he felt entitled to the twu wuvs. I have no doubt he was giving her the sad sausage about how mean his wife was and the misery he had to endure. She told him he was a great dad 🙂 And now you know the rest of the story….

          • Not sure where the initial sentence came from aboout my comment awaiting moderation!

  • It’s also hard to know what is True Remorse…and them telling us what we want to hear so THEY can move on. I am only DD+4. And almost immediately it started in with blame shifting, she wasn’t feeling affectionate, all that bullshit. At which point I said there is NEVER justification to CHEAT. I told her all cheaters feel Entitled. If all these things were wrong, then the result should have been “we need to see a counselor” – after 23 years didn’t I deserve that? And I said – “are you sorry the affair didn’t work” or “sorry you hurt me”. We are not attempting reconciliation. She ended the affair 6 months ago to work on our marriage after we finally did see a counselor. I honestly do think she tried but said she didn’t feel it. And I thought we were heading down a “peaceful” separation until DDAY. But after DDAY, because we had already decided to separate, she gave me full disclosure. A few days later she has deeply apologized, but part of me thinks she is just doing it because she knows I am in pain, and that she still feels justified. I will never know, but cheaters are selfish people, and selfish people do not know they are selfish.

  • I’m someone who spent years in relationships with selfish people–starting with my mother and ending with my XH the substance abuser. Yesterday, I was talking to my therapist about my suspicion that I like the Very Kind Man more than I thought I did a few months ago. Now, don’t get me wrong: I like him a lot. But I’ve been paying more attention to how I feel as part of this relationship, not so much to him as a male person in my life. And what I figured out is how comfortable I am with him. One of the things that brought this insight home to me was attending the wedding of his DD. I’ve been to 2 or 3 weddings as the spouse or GF of the bride or groom’s father, and I’ve never really enjoyed myself, even when the spouse/BF and I were picking up the tab. There was always tension. There was always the sense that I didn’t belong. There was always something. For a long time, I thought that had to do with ex-wives and their issues, but now I see it’s more fundamental. I had and still have a very cordial relationship with XH’s first wife, and I get along well enough with the VKM’s ex-wife. What’s different is VKM and me. Never, ever did a man at such a wedding come up to me and ask, “Are you OK? Is everyone treating you well? Do you need anything?” That’s the VKM for you. For me, I was no longer looking around to protect my turf. It didn’t really matter what anyone did or said. I’m comfortable. I’m in a relationship that’s comfortable, with a man who cares that I am treated well, safe.

    And here’s the kicker: My therapists says, “If you are not comfortable in a relationship, you shouldn’t be in it.” That, right there. I’m 65 and comfortable in a relationship for the first time. Took me a long time to get there, and thank God for therapy and CL and Chump Nation, for Dr. George Simon and everyone else who had a hand in fixing my picker.

    The problem, then, with reconciliation is that there is not way to be “comfortable.” When we are betrayed, we are dealing with people willing to lie, to cheat, to obfuscate, to blame shift, to manipulate, to gaslight us. To do things to make us doubt our sanity and our worth. The only way out of that is out. I’ve said here before that divorce is not the magic bullet. As AllOutofKibble says [and I paraphrase], “No contact is the path to peace and truth and the light.” The first thing we need is to get comfortable again, with ourselves. To get off the hopium and the gaslighting and manipulation and the abuse so we can see if there is anything to work with. It’s hard to know that while you are being brainwashed by someone holding onto cake and calling that “reconciliation.”

    • Great insight, as always. Something to reflect on.

      It really IS nice to be treated well after being treated so poorly–but I like your approach. How do I FEEL in the relationship (IN it as opposed to ABOUT it.)

      And what a great observation–that your partner was emotionally astute enough to hone in on what’s important at this sort of function. Maybe this is a testament to your communication skills? (Yours and his?) He is very empathic, it seems. He listens to you. Very good! You DESERVE a great relationship. I don’t use that word in any way but very deliberately. You’ve earned a good relationship.

    • yes…52 and in the first safe relationship I have ever known. I hate that it took this long.

  • Hi all, I have a 1st world problem I want to share pertaining to this.

    I am five years out from the infidelity/narcissism shitshow demise of my marriage. I am about 6 months into a great relationship. Hooray for me.

    Yesterday my girlfriend and I had a misunderstanding/argument powered by lack of sleep and stress. I just spoke on the phone with her and she offered me a heartfelt and genuine apology.

    Five years out, getting real apologies absolutely blows my mind, still a novelty. I do not look for them, and I often owe them, but oh my god,

    These damn cheaters are hopeless.

    • Isn’t it amazing? One of the first “mini-relationships” (short lived, didn’t work out) I was in after divorce, we were eating dinner and she was cutting up some food and putting it on a plate. I assumed it was for her. She handed the plate to me. I was astounded. She was astounded that I was astounded. I explained to her that this would never have happened with my XW–such a casually selfless and kind gesture. It was a real epiphany for me. I will never go back.

      • Hah. I love that! My boyfriend is frequently astounded that I’m astounded. We both were married to very selfish people, and we each appreciate thoughtfulness, even when it comes easily to each other by nature.
        It’s so good to be treated so well, but also to recognize it and appreciate it!

  • My stbxh said, in response to schmoopie’s husband telling me about the affair: what a mess. That was the extent of the remorse. And that if we divorced he’d never have another relationship because he was damaged goods and no one would want him. He still has the sadz – only for himself.

    I told him to keep hitting on women without integrity. He seemed to do pretty well with them.

  • Well, I had the sort of cheater who was itching to give me the details once the secret was out (I honestly think he was tired of keeping it all secret, and I have a hunch that OW was, too.) So he spilled a lot of details with that blank look/shark eyes, and an occasional puffed chest. He was pretty proud of himself, actually, but also a little bit afraid of OW, too.

    THAT was a mind-fuck. I really think he had sort of done this kind of split in his head. Now, this is a concept I learned on a RIC site, so maybe it’s full of crap, but it seems legit. The blonde OW took on all the features of good and sexy, while I became the red-headed matron. This is even though she’s older than I am. But I became the mom/secretary/appliance (even sexually), and SHE was the angel/lover/fantasy. She was his sexual confidante, and he attempted to make me his therapist/mommy mentor. In an effort to ascertain as many details as he would give, I agreed to take on that role for a bit as long as he fed me what I wanted. I’m one of those who wants to know everything.

    So he trickle-truthed me. Or, was it the truth? I’ll never know. He hinted that he’d cheated before her, and we could agree that he had been trying to do so for years with a series of blonde women known to me, none of whom (to my knowledge) ever returned his ardent and open admiration. When he stopped giving me details, I cut him off–but mostly to protect myself from pain.

    I don’t think he has EVER had ANY sympathy/empathy for what he put me through, and I really believe that he feels entitled to have done what he did to our kids. He deserves to be happy, after all, by his rationale. He DID break down and cry, and I did see him struggle, but I really believe this was all about the consequences he would face himself as a result of the [passive intended] situation he found himself in.

    Does he have regrets now? My guess is yes, but, again, not for hurting me. I don’t think he ever loved me. He said so, explicitly, over and over again upon exiting the family.

    Did he blameshift? Not much. Not to me, but I’m sure to her, he did. I’m sure I’m guilty of a lot of things. Ultimately it was up to him to cheat or not. I’m sure he omitted important details during his confessions.

    None of that matters. I don’t trust him. I don’t respect him. I’m not attracted to his character. He’s weak and a coward in my eyes. Maybe she sees it differently, though I think that for now, at least until/unless something better comes along for either of them, they really can’t afford to be choosy.

    We’ve pretty much ghosted each other, anyway. I like it that way. I’m very grateful to have had the Runaway Husband type instead of the desperate cake-eating chronic liar type of ex. It hurt like a mother-fucker to have that Band-Aid ripped off so fast, but it really has been for the best.

    My heart goes out to all of you–it’s never without pain.

    • I mean, it’s not completely absurd- different cakes from different sources after all.

  • I am eight years out. Eight. A confession would have been amazing. Instead, the OW, “my friend,” (who needs enemies) told me. Via text. Six weeks after he ended it with her. While I was at a mutual friend’s birthday party. The ex and I had been having a period of hysterical bonding even though I had NO IDEA he had been fucking my friend for the previous oh, about 18 months! You see, I had recognised we had hit a tough point in our almost 25 years together, so I talked with him, cajoled him. “Is there something amiss? I feel like something is a little off,” etc. “Nope, not really, I just think you are working too hard, and need to cut your hours back when you can.” So, after much discussion, I quit my job. The first one I had had outside of our farming business for nearly twenty years. So, we were that “young couple in love” having a blast, working together again (we had always worked together since the birth of our eldest – very happily) and shagging all over the show, laughing, just so damn happy. He breathed a sigh of relief and thought, “fuck, I dodged a bullet.” Then she told. He should have. He knows that.

    Although there was some stuff that he “remembered” later (ie, trickle truth) he also agreed to be completely transparent immediately – he was astounded I didn’t kick him out immediately – huh, I did three times in the next two years, the pain was excruciating, even when he was “doing all the right things.” I had access to his phone, and he was a technophobe back then, so they had never used email, or social media. It was all his phone. I watched like a hawk. No burner phone, etc, he was disgusted in himself. He volunteered information at odd moments – not often, but I recall the first time. Obviously we had done a fuck load of talking, I had asked a ton of awful questions, and even though he would squirm, he answered. How, what, where, when, etc. Then one day, a few weeks after D-day, we were shifting sheep, and he said, out of the blue, “oh, God, I’ve just remembered something. Um, it isn’t very nice – none of this shit is.” To which I replied, “yep, you better tell me then.” I braced, and he told me about a thing they did on one hookup in a lodge at the back of our farm. It wasn’t terrible. She appears to have been fairly vanilla – which in itself raised alarm bells (liar, liar???) But, I had known this about her, as I know a few people she has slept with over the decades, and it was a common complaint! But what they did that day (while I was at work, ugh) was about as racy as they got.

    So, in some respects, I had a unicorn. It was like he had a mental meltdown, you know, one where you fuck a friend for over a year, and then, pouff! He was back. (Riiiiight. Cooooool. Bummmmer, Wowww.) The guy I respected and loved to distraction. He worked his arse off! He read the literature, he went to the therapy, he did the homework. He empathised, he was really pissed at himself for the pain he caused. But, the thing is, after a few years, you realise more than ever that it is ruined. Your love story is fucked. He didn’t treasure you like you treasured him and the relationship itself. You were a disposable thing that had no fucking feelings while he had his stupid fucking “breakdown.” Nyuh-uh. Buddy. Life doesn’t work like that, you don’t shove anything back in Pandora’s box – or mine for that matter! I am sad every day. I was when we were together, and I am now we are apart (my call.) And I accept that I probably will be for most of the rest of my life. But, I have other shit to achieve, and nothing was getting any better for me while I stayed with that person who didn’t love me enough, made me feel not good enough. Despite his protestations that it wasn’t that, that is what his affair made me feel. Me. The most loyal and loving person he has ever known. He chose that for me. For us, For himself. Only, he put it in the opposite order. Him. The rest was just collateral damage. Fucktard.

    • I’m sorry for your pain. I thought my ex and I were best friends. I knew he was ‘high maintenance’ and yes, he had left before. But said he had learned his lesson. Me and the kids were all he ever wanted. We would watch other marriages implode and would say ‘not us, who is that selfish to do this to their kids?’.

      I really think my ex thinks he’s in love with these schmoopies. He wants to keep me and the kids on the side, but run off into the sunset for love. I know now it doesn’t really matter HOW he does it, what rationale he gives himself, but it is who he is and he will continue to do this.

      It’s mind boggling that a ‘friend’ would participate in this crazy. Yes she lost so she sure wanted to punish him for it. Where are these 2 fuckers now?

      • I’m also sorry for all the pain caused by all of this selfish bullshit, to all loving chumps, MJB. Whether it is a pattern of behaviour, or a brain explosion (hmmm, bloody slow burn!) This guy had been my rock for 25 years. Great partner, great dad, we had the most wonderful home births and babymoons, etc, we worked together all day, every day, and loved it, so much fun. He appeared to be highly emotionally intelligent, etc. We also had a lot of marriages tip over around us. Quite a few to cheating. He used to just roll his eyes at the stupidity. Usually men. But some women. We know just one couple who are still together after starting as an affair. One. Of many who thought they had found twu wuv. He just thought these people were deluded and lacked the maturity to be honest and live adult lives. Until it was his turn. Perfect storm of stupid circumstances, then I reintroduce his cheating ex GF to our lives. I took pity on her. My old school friend. So he makes himself the latest dick of the decade in having an affair with her, knowing full well he didn’t love her, but thinking maybe he ‘deserved’ some ‘fun.’ WTF? Where did the guy with the high EQ go? It still blows my mind that he ignored consequences and everything he knew and believed in. Until he woke up and tried to extricate himself from the mire. Too damn late buddy. Two diseases and a narcissistic, angry rejected whore later. Soooooooo worth it. He deserved it alright.

        I get the disordered. I get the ones who showed signs. The high maintenance ones. The angry, or entitled. The flirty or sleazy. Yaddah yaddah yaddah. But this guy was still sweet and loving. He appeared to care. He was still kind. We made plans for our future. We SEEMED to be still communicating. He just managed compartmentalisation like a boss! It scared him how good he was at the deception. Not one person suspected in well over a year of fucking a person we all knew! He parked his car in exactly the spot I last saw it in. Topped up fuel to the same level. Ensured the house was as I left it. I never found so much as a stray hair! He learned how to delete, delete, delete. Even though I never thought to check phone, phone bill, or odometer in his car (she lived a 6 hour round trip away from us,) He continued to show disdain for her both in public, and to me. Without being over the top. Everyone knew he didn’t like her, but only tolerated her because I tucked her under my wing, trying to help her.

        • Wow, that is scary! He was SOOOOO good at the deception! I can understand why you never felt really safe with him again.

    • I love that you loved and respected yourself enough to leave. That you deserve more than being “not good enough.”

      Every time I read about your story, I am shocked again by the fact that his affair was with your “friend.” It’s possible, I think, that one reason you couldn’t get past the affair is that it was such a betrayal on multiple levels, from urging you to quit your job to choosing your friend as the AP to violating your home space so that the two of them had secrets from you, together (such a terrible violation) and sullied not only the marriage but so many safe spaces. You were really mighty to try to reconcile and even mightier to know your worth.

      • Cheers, LAJ. There are are sickening amount of affairs-with-“friends’. And yeah. A lot of what you said. The disrespect is unbelievable, but then throw in bareback sex after decades of discussions about safe sex, not to ever have any kind of sex without protection, you know, if you’re ever gonna be a selfish arse, at least don’t put the other partner’s health at risk. Right?

        My thesis is a Geography one. About how space has fluidity of meaning, and how emotion, affect, identity and materialities of home are mutually constituted. It isn’t about me. No real autoethnography involved, but my interest in this research is definitely informed by my own experience. And I have had AMAZING respondents who have shared fabulous insights into their own stories. So yeah. None of my safe spaces are safe anymore. None. Including mental spaces (eg sleep and dreams/nightmares.) Heaps of room for further research!

    • Horses- can I yell Amen from the back row? I’m 15 years out and still married to him. The truth is that the truths he he discloses eventually don’t add up when it all trickles out. So when you’re finally feeling like you would be mightier without his weight, you tell him this and tell him you’re finished. Please leave. What does he do? Begs to try counseling together (why do I need counseling again?), begs for the children’s sake, repeats the same lies, and, finally, adds more truths that start adding up. He didn’t see the need to hash it all over again or hurt you with those truths.

      I’m unhappy in this marriage. I have no idea if I have the real story or not. Actually, it almost doesn’t matter. I know that I have a husband that will lie his ass off to cover it at the expense of everything else. You hit it on the head. I gave him my heart, cherished him above all others, honored my covenants while he spit on them, kicked them, crapped all over them, rewrote them, and lied about all of it for 15 years. Mostly lies of omission so he sleeps well at night. But not always. It took years for my brain and heart to agree that Pandora’s box will never be returned the way I innocently believed in it. Most days I can’t even find the hope that was supposedly left.

      Thanks for sharing your story. I appreciate another person that didn’t understand at the outset how it would feel further down the road when I stubbornly stayed. Does it matter that it was only the one woman or that he never slept with her? Does it count that he’s been actively faithful 99% of the time since then? He wants to believe it cancels out his infidelity. Without full disclosure, without complete honesty. As active Christians, I want to sit him down and go over the steps of repentance like a little child then ask him what steps he skipped. But it doesn’t matter. He want repenting much as he claimed he was.

      I feel cheated out of the marriage I thought I had, believed we could attain since he claimed he’d told me everything but didn’t achieve because he was lying. Hope springs eternal, it’s true, but I’ve lost hope for an honest, vulnerable marriage.

      Thanks for sharing your story.

      • Onemoreday, I am sorry. I hope it isn’t for too many more days. I feel your deep pain.

        I think I knew, the night I was told, that EVERYTHING had changed. Forever. I remember hearing those very words in my head. Until I saw his reaction when I told him I knew, perhaps I still thought it wasn’t? His confirmation of her (smug) confession … hmmm. I never saw myself as someone who would stay. I am a pretty fierce individual. But when he deflated and said he would pack a bag and leave that night, and that he was devastated at what he did? Yeah, I caved. He really did try hard. To tell me it all. To be better. To try to make it up to me, somehow. I suppose I thought one day, “two to five years” from then, we would be happy again. If we did the work. But it never leaves. And that is why leave a cheater, gain a life is such good advice.

        And no. If he didn’t have sex with her, it doesn’t matter. If he was sharing things with another woman that were promised to you, that’s cheating.

        Mine liked to occasionally say, when VERY frustrated, something along the lines of, “I know it is horrific, but I was faithful for 27 of those years.” Bitch cookie for you, then. And the reality is – and I remind him! – he actually did something he lied about in the first couple of years of our relationship, he told me a partial truth. He thinks this ‘doesn’t count’ for some bizarre reason. But as I have tried to educate him, it does. It set him up to think lying is okay. He still gets angry if I ‘use that error of judgement’ – it was so much more than that – against him. And tries to make me feel like I am unreasonable. It almost works. But I am not quite that stupid.

        As I have said to him, ‘no matter how honest you have been, how hard you have worked since, I can’t ever know it all. No one can know the nuanced intimacies, the small moments in other people’s interactions with each other. Those moments were stolen from me. From us. And they hurt exponentially more than a bit of average sex. Those intimacies. Those shared secrets and quiet, close emotional moments. And you can’t get them back.’ He repeated often, very, very sadly that he knew that, and that no one who cheats is ever owed forgiveness or to keep a relationship with the person they cheated on. He totally owns that he broke my heart, and is embarrassed, devastated and sorry. And that I will never be who I once was. Great. Lovely to have your sympathy. But that changes nothing. I was right in the beginning. Cheating is non-negotiable. To me. To most people who haven’t agreed otherwise (polyamory, etc.)

        I am not Christian, but have a deeply Christian friend in the process of divorce right now. Her husband was caught in an “emotional affair” six and a half years ago. He did not do the work, and tried to quiet her down. It has taken her this long to accept that after 34 years of marriage, this is not what she wants. Fighting religious teachings about accepting his behaviour – eating ever larger servings of shit sandwiches, all the while smiling and serving- is not for her. And she also now accepts that there was probably more than one, and likely sexual affairs. No evidence, just a dose of reality about a man who behaves this way.

        All the best in gathering strength, and finding some future joy and peace, onemoreday xxx.

    • Horsesrcumin,

      You are truly mighty! This is the first post I have read that resonates a lot for me. I know someone that was in a long term affair and is stayin with the person. I don’t know how people do it knowing they were betrayed in such a terrible way. Thank you for your post!!! Would love to get in contact with you.

  • The stories are so painful. I really recommend watching the last episode of ‘Dr. Foster’ season one.

    It’s very satisfying from a justice perspective.

  • My X could look me right in the eye and not blink, twitch or anything and tell me he was not cheating and he wanted to be with me FOREVER>>>>>then 30 minutes later say the same thing to his howorker. Blew my mind and scared the shit out of me at the same time!

    • +1

      Blew me away that the xhole could do that too, Newme. Heck, he would even text the howorker and I the same damn messages. There is no way to understand their fuckedupness!!

  • I have to give credit where credit was due. STBX never even pretended to be a Unicorn. He was being such a great guy to even entertain the idea of MC to try and reconcile when I was “the harder choice” and he had “nothing to lose” by leaving me for Schmoopie. Then I started to imply that perhaps he should be the one begging me to stay and that leaving me wasn’t likely to lead to long term happiness either and well, that was the end of that. If I wasn’t willing to be sympathetic to his pain and take the full blame for the breakdown of our marriage, well then, how could he possibly be expected to reconcile?

  • Nine months after dday we are still together working on reconciliation.

    When I read yesterday’s column on Hopium, I thought CL had been reading my mind. How depressing. Some of my thoughts exactly:

    Let’s just give it a year! I owe it to us to try! 
    OMG he went to therapy! We’re good now! 
    That boundary you had? It can wait. 
    And the big one

    Today, we’re looking for a Unicorn, and so of course I think my H might be one. He did do all those things in the article right from the beginning, not perfectly, but close. I found the evidence of his affair and confronted him in an email, sent while he was alone at a large public event. I told him I knew he was cheating, but didn’t tell him anything else I knew. (I had lots of evidence: graphic emails, condoms, a woman’s shirt, boner pills bought in another state when he was not with me) I offered him two choices; if you want to be with someone else, go tonight and don’t ever come back, or, if you want to stay with me come straight home and start talking. No guarantees, you still might lose me, but I’ll give you a shot.

    He left the event early, came home immediately, got on his knees, apologized and started talking. He volunteered a lot that I knew, a lot that I didn’t know, answered my questions, went transparent, and mostly told the truth. He wrote his AP the next day and told her no more contact, although they hadn’t been physically together for several months and he had quit responding to her email a couple of months before. There was some trickle truth and there were some lies. I kept a list and after a couple of weeks I challenged him with all the lies he had told me, told him what I knew and that I didn’t think this was going to work. That night he woke me up at 3:00 AM and did a full confession of everything from strip clubs, lap dances, nude beaches, porn and a prostitute 4 years earlier that there is no way I ever would have learned about. So okay, it took a couple of weeks and some pushing for the full truth to come out. He has never blamed me, has owned the affair and all the rest, takes responsibility for the problems in our marriage, has repeatedly apologized, and answers all my questions, with all the details, like going to a sleazy brothel in a foreign country, picking out a hooker, taking her back to his hotel, and what they did, including the fact that she didn’t like it when he went down on her (Who does that?). It was $200 plus cab fare for the night.

    So here we are nine months later, going strong, with lots of ups and some downs. Maybe he is a unicorn, or maybe that horn is just a strap-on. I could leave at any time, but so far, I choose to stay.

      • Roaring, you made me think about this again. Every so often I do a pro/con list. Here are a few reasons that I came up with just now.

        Time of Life: We’re older, 68, and retired several years from two demanding full time careers. We worked hard together for years (45) to get to this point where we can enjoy our life, travel, eat great food, drink good wine, and do what we want, both individually and together. I love our life and I’ll be damned if I want his stupid affair screw up my nice life.

        Financial: If we divorce I’d get a least half of our assets and current income. I’d be set up pretty well. But if he dies before I do and we are not married, I would lose my right to his pension. It can’t be given in a divorce settlement after he is no longer living. That would be a substantial drop in my standard of living. I’d still be okay, but I’m a bit greedy.

        Him: I like him. I like being with him. We have fun, he is kind and attentive (always has been) and we’re good for at least one full on belly laugh every day. There are things l like doing as a couple that I probably would not do alone.

        Sex: He is my only option and he knows my body well. He is a generous and good lover and I would miss that. I still think he is hot. There are not too many other paunchy old men who appeal to me.

        I think he is sincere: He had no time to read a Huff Post article about how he should act when I confronted him. His instinct was to do it mostly right and he continues to do it mostly right…not perfectly…but mostly. He has been learning a lot about himself and working on changing all those icky parts, including some assholey things that go way back.

        The kids: We have adult kids who do not know. He has always been a great dad. It would break their hearts to know what an asshole their father has been. This part is about protecting them, not him.

        The affair: For him, it was only about sex. He did not care for her or love her and he had already ended it before I found out. I have emails to her where he told her how much he loved his wife. (I know…sick). He didn’t even like her very much, she was just an accommodating pussy. I know there is no chance he would go back to her.

      • My thoughts, exactly…..didn’t love the OW, didn’t even like her……I suppose only he will ever know if that’s true or not, but I do know that someone who loves and respects their spouse does not sleep with and have an ongoing relationship with someone else. Perhaps I’m being simplistic, but that is what I believe. I also believe that it is difficult to put a price on respect, and even more difficult to justify all of the reasons for tolerating disrespect. Just my opinion.

    • DWD I am praying for you. I hope he is the Unicorn. You have tremendous strength.

      • Thanks for the prayers RussV. Yep, I am strong and I will be fine, whatever happens. Sometimes I think leaving would have been easier. This pain at this point in my life is not what I signed up for.

  • i think that the only way to stop feeling like you’re being blamed for everything is to stop listening to their bullshit. people say that the best revenge is to live a good life. i agree with this but don’t do it expecting that your ex will secretly be struggling with remorse when they see how well you’ve moved on. they respond to situations like this by finding more people to fuck around with. i really believe that there is no true revenge in this case and, although it’s very hard to do, it’s worth trying to spend less time focusing on that urge as it can be a big, pointless time-suck.

    having said that, there are still times when i’d like to break the ap’s knees.

    • Well, I finally got tired of the blame shifting and justification. I told my STBX that there is NEVER justification or a reason for cheating. That you need to OWN IT and stop pretending to be the victim. They need to be put in their place sometimes

      • Actually, Russ, she doesn’t need to own it and stop pretending to be the victim. She can do whatever the fuck she wants, and she will, believe me.

        YOU need to decide what is acceptable to you, what kind of relationship you want to be in, with what kind of partner.

        (Of course, it took me 14 years and his 2nd affair to figure this out …. Maybe I just hope a few other Chumps can learn from my mistakes….)

  • I am so thankful I found this group. I thought I was alone and was sucked into believing everything in the “affair” books about how marriages “could even be stronger” after an affair and honest repair work, etc. What a crock of shit that was!! We are getting ready to tell the kids this weekend that our marriage is over. Not looking forward to it, but I am so tired of the total BS over the last two years, it will be a relief. He cheated on me for almost two years with AP, and then over the last two months started cheating on me and the first AP! AP-1 sent me an email as a heads up- how f-ing crazy is that? Has been lying to me for 18 months that “it was over” that I am who he wants to stay with, I win in the Pros and cons list, etc. But he just stopped seeing AP-1 a couple months ago, and is hot and heavy with AP-2 now. I am filing as soon as I am able. He is such a loser! Total cake deal that he does not want to give up! I am beating myself up for falling for all his crap. I’ve had enough and I will play the game until the divorce is finalized, but after that- NC.

    • For every person who believes in unicorns, a read of today’s column should verify what we already know, deep down inside. The numbers are staggering, and the chances of a cheater reforming are, not to be cliche, slim and none. It is a gift of self respect to walk away. Nobody wins in this game. If the AP “wins”, all she gets is someone who eventually cheat on her. If the wife “wins” all she gets is more of the same behavior. Leopards really don’t change their spots, they just move on to a greener jungle. Though intellectually I do realize that there are good men out there, realistically I also realize that they are not by any means the majority. Even the best of us have been fooled at one time or another. The victory only comes by not tolerating the mistreatment, and walking away. I didn’t have children years ago when I went through it, but I can say that my first reaction after infidelity would probably lean more towards visions of homicide, rather than abject denial.

  • Why do they even care what we think? Why try so hard to hide the truth even after it’s well and truly over? They seem to enjoy hurting us so thoroughly, leaving us broken and broke. So why don’t they also revel in telling the truth and rubbing our noses in it? My opinion of my ex couldn’t be any lower – why does he even try to lie? Does he think that denying his cheating despite the photo evidence, and telling me the cat must have given me an STD, not him, could somehow redeem my view of him? “Oh I see! Of course. The cat. Ok I like you again.” Why does he still try to justify himself after running off with the nanny and marrying her 3 months later, 3 days after the divorce papers went through?

    • It’s all image control, they need to look good, at all times! Admitting to their shitty behaviour would make them look bad. It’s one of the reasons many cheater narcs get so angry and hateful, when THEY were the ones who fucked up; they can’t stand that we see them for who they really are.

      (Although some actually do tell the truth and then some, rub it in, especially if they have discarded the Chump, or the Chump has walked away from them. They love the drama, and they LOVE knowing they’re hurting the chump. Any kibbles are better than no kibbles!)

    • They enjoy seeing the pain they have caused us. It makes them feel omnipotent and superior to have the ability to hurt someone who loves and cares about them. Our pain is their gain. They don’t tell us the truth about their cheating because they hate to lose a harem member and that is often what happens when they are caught cheating on their spouse – they lose their chief harem member. They hide the truth from us because they know we want it and it makes them feel powerful to withhold something that we want. They will leave tiny little tidbits and crumbs of truth for us because they know it will only make us want more – which they will take great pleasure in denying us. Making a ridiculous statement like the one about getting an STD from a cat means that they do not take responsibility or accountability for their actions. They are superior and entitled to do what they want and do not owe an explanation to anyone. He has a false image to protect so anything he does wrong must be someone else’s fault – this is why he is still trying to justify what he has done. If he has run off to marry the nanny, it must be because his wife made the marriage impossible for him to survive in and the nanny rescued him with her true love. The truth is that he will begin cheating on and abusing the nanny at any moment, if he has not already.

      • Or she will abuse him… He is increasingly disabled. But she, as I’ve learned since, was having affairs with several married men including the 80 yr old man across the street whose wife was in a nursing home and died during the course of their ‘relationship’… and MY FATHER! whom she flirted with. Brilliant move on my ex’s part to marry her. I’m sure she will spend the next two decades devotedly nursing him as he falls apart.

  • He knows that “pussy” doesn’t actually refer to “cat,” right?

    Someone’s “pussy” gave you an STD.



  • I’m sorry, I’m not trying to minimize your pain. I know how shocked you must be feeling. Reeling, even.

    It’s just that that asshole is such a fucking awful cliche. The nanny? Oh come on. WTF?

    • No it’s ok – I’m slowly reaching the point where I can laugh at all this and I’m looking forward to selling soap opera rights.

  • CL, I think there are people who do behave contritely, but they don’t end up on infidelity boards.

    Also, I think this kind of contrite behavior is probably more likely from someone who didn’t have some kind of ongoing thing that involved a lot of covering up. If someone is really sorry, they are likely to stop the behavior and confess sooner than most people do.

  • “be honest, expect much drama (short of physical violence), express remorse, commit fully to the marriage, and be immediately transparent”

    I did the above…Seven years ago I had an affair that lasted less than four weeks and I told my husband myself. We were in a really bad place in our marriage (he was verbally abusive & miserable) and I had been begging him to go to counseling but he refused instead he told me to get a job (I had my own business) or he’d divorce me. So I got a job and ended up having an affair. Our marriage problems were no excuse for my behavior and I totally regret it. In hindsight when he said no to counseling I should have gone on my own and then made decisions about whether to stay or go. I never thought I would cheat it just wasn’t who I was or how I behaved but I did frankly I’m still shocked.

    It took us a year and a half to reconcile after counseling, a separation and divorce papers filed. I didn’t want to end our marriage and I was willing to do anything to make it work. He agreed to reconcile but on the condition that we don’t go to anymore counseling I agreed because it was he wanted. So unfortunately, we just brushed all that stuff under the carpet and moved on.

    Everything was wonderful for about 2 years then the patterns (old arguments about money etc) returned and we were drifting apart I tried everything I could think of to connect but he it wasn’t working. Finally last year I said we need help and he agreed to counseling so we started in October with a great counselor but my husband was checked out so he wasn’t doing any of the things our counselor recommended.

    Again I tried everything to connect and reach him in some way…I was going to my own counselor, our therapy, reading books & blogs. I was telling him I loved him but if he wanted to end the marriage that I loved him enough to let him go but he wouldn’t move in any direction.

    Every week he would say “I don’t know what I want to do” and once he even said “the grass may be greener” our therapist disagreed and told him he needed to make an effort. I was lost I didn’t want to give up but my friends kept saying to me he’s telling you what he wants you’re just not listening.

    His behavior and lack of effort made no sense until I found the text message which led to all the IM’s he and his 25 year old assistant (he’s 50 and our oldest daughter is 20) were sending thru work. I brought all of them to our therapy session where I outed him. Our therapist asked if there was any way I could get past this and I said yes if he would do all the things he was supposed to be doing the last 7 months. Our therapist ask my husband what he wanted to do and he said I don’t want to hurt our girls and I’m afraid. Not really a Unicorn response.

    I gave him time to get his head out of his ass and become a Unicorn but alas that is not happening so we separated 3 weeks ago and we will be getting divorced after 24 years of marriage 26 together. I am devastated and heartbroken…raging but not acting out.

    • Unicorn,
      Did he ever reference your affair as “payback” for his? I have heard of that happening.

      This may not be popular advice, and you are brave for posting you had an affair on here.

      But- if you want a shot at saving your marriage, I would go no contact. I would let the 25 year old (could you actually get past that? It shows an unattractive mindset in him) newness wear off. When he wants to go home and have a hot meal and watch a Red Box and she wants to hit the latest bar at 12AM- the thrill might wear off.

      Being 50 “up at the club” is not fun.

      I would not beg or plead your worth. If he wanted to be with you or valued the marriage, he would not be sleeping with a 25 year old or any other woman.

      Having to strategize to keep someone is a dead end. Because you had an affair, he may feel you don’t have any moral ground to object. To save yourself further pain, just disconnect. Believe me- you don’t want to have a front row seat of watching him cavort with a 25 year old.

      I wish you peace.

      • The only way my STBX pervert can get a 25 year old- is to wave some cash at her. He’s not attractive……he has a personality like an eggplant………and he has erectile dysfunction.

        He had better keep his coffers filled up …….if wants to get laid. Normal women wouldn’t want him.

      • This is not a Test, thank you for your kind reply. “Payback” was the first thing I thought and I asked him but he said no it didn’t have anything to do with me…he certainly could have used that excuse and made me the scapegoat but he didn’t.

        I said in therapy maybe I deserved this but our therapist said no one deserves this but you may understand it. Ironically I don’t.

        You’re right…I don’t want to be with someone who think it’s ok to sleep with a 25 year old especially since our daughters are 20,18 & 16 and he says he’s not ashamed of her age which completely astounds me.

        Rationally I know what you’re saying make sense and disconnecting is the right decision for me to be healthy which is what I’m doing but emotionally I’m not there yet it will take time.

        I wish you peace as well.

    • Lets be clear. Cheating is NEVER a mere “marriage problem.” It’s a moral deficiency problem on the cheater’s behalf. No marriage counselor can fix that.

      • Leavingthecrapbehind, what is a STBX? I need an acronym dictionary for this site…your comment about yours made me laugh.

        Mine has no cash and ED as well but maybe the 25 year old helped him with that I don’t know I didn’t ask. The less details I know the better for me.

        You are absolutely right cheating is NOT a marriage problem. Having marriage problems meant I should have dealt with the issues or left the marriage NOT had an affair. Believe me I am not making any excuses for my behavior, I totally regret it and I would NEVER do that again.

        I do think it’s possible to heal from anything if both spouses are willing to do the work, be honest, vulnerable and open. The marriage counselor is only there to help provide insight and perspective and hopefully provide a broader view. That said no marriage counselor can fix anything if two people aren’t willing to both put the work in…and it’s hard work.

        My husband has no interest so I need to let go and move on.

        Thanks for your comments.

  • The nasty phone call I got from the stripper/prostitute “OW” was a true blessing. She didn’t intend it to be, she was blackmailing my ex, he didn’t pay her the $15,000 she wanted, so she called me and ratted him out. Her parting words were “there are others”.

    A bolt of lightening hit me at the moment I made sense of what she was telling me and there was no going back for me. He wasn’t home when it happened, but he knew she was going to call me and he ran like a coward. He finally came home, hours later, because he had no where else to go.

    The first thing the jackass said to me when he saw me was “I’ve ruined your life, haven’t I?” He said this with a very sick SMILE on his face. I kicked him out immediately and started playing detective. There were others indeed, all strippers, but probably neighbors, friends, who knows?

    We didn’t have children and he had manipulated me into allowing him to be “self-employed” in a home-based business. I cannot even begin to say how much that cost me over the five years we were married. He never made a profit. He handled the finances. My bad, and he got me good financially.

    D Day was a Saturday and by mid week the next week, I had met with a lawyer, had the locks changed on the house and I had an appointment with my doctor for STD testing (clean, thank God) and a very good IC. I also closed down all of our joint accounts. He had picked them clean with his prostitute habit and there was $100 left. I got two fifty dollar bills and gave him one and told him to either make it last or get a f’ing job.

    He was all over the place emotionally. Acting remorseful, pleading, begging, and then he would become very nasty. I wouldn’t take phone calls from him, so this was all over email. He was not allowed in the house and I packed up all of his shit in hefty garbage can bags, put them in the garage and then sent him an email advising if he didn’t pick his stuff up by stated time, the Goodwill would pick it up. I also told him to leave the garage remote when he left.

    I spoke to his ex-wife. She was so sorry this happened to me, too. Hmm. He’d told me she was the cheater. No, he was the cheater – over and over, according to her. But this was good and I went for a legal annulment, based on fraud, and it was granted by the judge. This meant he had no claim to my 401K, no alimony or support. He got a big fat nothing and walked away with the clothes on his back and all of his credit card debt.

    He’s quite obviously suffering from some combination of the Cluster B spectrum. He lived a double life. I had absolutely no clue. He was nice to my face – always. He was always telling me how much he loved me. Sure – why not! I was the only thing keeping him from bankruptcy! And I was the chump who paid his alimony to the first wife and who let him live the life of Riley.

    I thought I loved him. I fell completely out of love with him the minute the prostitute told me what he’d been up to. I knew I’d been chumped and I haven’t spoken to him in almost nine years. He tried for over a year after the annulment and then he found some other chump and she gave him everything she had without even being married to him. Last I heard, they both declared bankruptcy.

    • ChumpChange- I feel your strength in your clear and strong writing! You are Wonder Woman mighty. You rocked it with decisive and pro active change.

      I am so sorry this happened to you. I wish my love had disappeared in that instant. However, I never had hope. I jumped straight to murderous rage. I never entertained forgiving him. I wanted to beat him with a threaded pipe and then pour acid on his face.

      You escaped, and this is what counts. These disordered mutants escalate in their deviant behaviors. You, on the other hand, are obviously the cat’s pajamas. He can go lie in a sewage drain. Blue skies ahead for you.

      • Thank you so much, This is not a test. I also felt incredible anger at what he did to me. Anger at myself, too. I had to keep a very cool head and think very clearly because I knew what I wanted (legal annulment) and he kept trying to get in my face to stop me. He was even writing me poems and sending them by email.

        I’m not a cold person, but when his mask came off on D day, I saw who he really is. And it was very scary. He kept trying to suck me into his pity play, as if he was the victim! He is a very extremely manipulative covert narcissist. No thank you!

        I’m sorry for what you went though, too. The one thing my IC told me was that anger is very good as it helps prevent a serious depression from developing. Besides – we have every right to be very, very angry. I worry for the betrayed spouses who aren’t able to get there. It would help them much more than tears.

        • Same here! Pervy Pants said “You deserved it.”

          Who on God’s green earth deserves to be cheated on, lied to, and deceived? Who?
          I wouldn’t do that to my worse enemy.

          • No one deserves it. I don’t even consider my ex to be a part of the human race. He lacks the things that differentiates humans from wild animals – a conscience, empathy, moral code, etc. The worst part is that if anyone asked him what happened, he turned me into the bad guy.

            I never lost any sleep over what others, including any members of his family thought about me or chose to believe (his lies). I know the truth and that is good enough for me and the people who matter to me know what really happened.

            Glad you made it out on the other side of this nightmare. Big hugs!

    • So glad you didn’t waste more precious time and money on so called “marriage counseling” with a monster like that.

      My STX pervert was hosed for $17,000 in an internet scam with an alleged woman from a foreign country. He kept sending “her” money……..she sent him a naked pic or two and a thousand excuses why she couldn’t “webcam” with him. She couldn’t webcam with him because……she was a he! And….it was a scam. The seventeen grand was pilfered from our retirement savings.

      In the mean time, our daughter needed financial help to get through college and our house was falling apart at the seams. The Perv spent thousands and thousands on webcam hoes, hook ups and porn.
      So glad to be rid of that vile man!

  • It goes back to the foundation truth:

    It’s not that they do not see. It is that they DISAGREE.

    People don’t experience remorse for actions they believe are fundamentally justified. In their wicked, rotten hearts, cheating is their right, by God!

    When they get focused on their next pleasure source, I believe we (the faithful partners) fade into a background presence, like a haze on a hot day, and we sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher to them.

    Wah Wa Wah Wa Waa Wah

    All that matters is their needs. I found some emails I have no memory of frantically writing to the Putrid where I kept stating:

    I am a human being! I am real!

    How sad, how pathetic of me….but some ancient part of me realized he did not see me as such. I even attached a photo to shake him into acknowledging my pain.

    P.S. It did not work.

  • Hi Chump Lady, I remember you wrote about John Profumo once. Do you think he had true remorse? I didn’t have much luck googling for info on his life after the scandal.

  • When someone is truly sorry, these 5 things will happen:

    1. They take full accountability for their actions and decisions
    2. They do not make excuses
    3. They do not shift the blame
    4. They acknowledge the effect it had on you
    5. They do not expect your forgiveness

    If you don’t have all five, you don’t have a genuine apology.
    If you accept insincerity, you more pain, more lies, more cheating.

  • I am at D-Day#2/3. So far, so stressed. I’m on 2 hour sleep jags and intermittently force feeding myself.
    The infidelity diet works better than a Bermudan Spa.
    I’ve well and truly entered the Devalue and Discard phase. Dumped hard during our anniversary week as we kicked over into our 15th year.
    Blamed it all on me (everything that was wrong in the marriage). Strangely no mention ever of unhappiness prior to the dramatic anger-filled (him) leaving to get his “space” noting he forgot to mention the OW.

    He did breakdown in tears several times but it is a misnomer to call it breaking down in sympathy as per the article here.
    It’s guilt induced. It is to make you feel sorry for them, it is not because they’re sorry for the pain they are inflicting.
    They appropriate your pain to make themselves the central figure of grief and masking their self pity.
    That shit works!!
    Him: walking out the door crying telling me I had “broken him”. Me: I did what I suspect all nice chumps do and hurled myself into therapy 2 weeks ago feeling I had done all the wrong. Bought stock in Kleenex pretty much too.
    I experienced: Distancing. Stonewalling. Projecting. Hostility. Aggressive questioning. Avoidant. Discarding.

    Discovering the affair was liberation!

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