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Character Assassination? Expect It.

liesfabricationsA lot of my Chump Lady mail can be divided into two categories, “I got chumped… what are people going to think?” and “I got chumped… and my cheater is telling people terrible things about me.” Both followed with “And what can I do about that?

Nothing. Sorry, chumps. You can’t do anything about what people think of you, and what people say about you.

Look, I know it’s unjust having your cheater telling bald-faced lies about how controlling, sexless, abusive, hairy-legged, and insane you are. Worse, I know some people whom you once thought cared about you (such as your in-laws) are inclined to believe it. This infidelity crap is a one-two punch — betrayal, and then more lies.

Okay, maybe it’s more like a continuous thug-kicking by a motorcycle gang than a one-two punch. Betrayal, lies, character assassination, gaslighting, alienation, and alimony. Anyway, my point is, leave the impression management to the crazies. You just keep being your mighty self.

Some pointers:

1.) Never let what people might think of you get in the way of protecting yourself. That especially goes for what the cheater thinks. Oh, I might antagonize him if I see a lawyer/move half the money/run a credit report. Hey, your cheater didn’t worry about antagonizing you when he/she cheated on you, so just go ahead and protect yourself. Stop caring about how you’ll be perceived (i.e., bitter, vindictive, selfish, churlish, hasty, etc.) Start caring about reality (i.e., this person is fucking me over).

2.) Speak the truth, but stop at defensiveness. There’s no good way to answer set-up questions like “How long have you been beating your wife?” I don’t beat my wife. “Oh you would say that. Six months? A year? Ever since you met?” The temptation is to raise your voice and really get stroppy. I DON’T BEAT MY WIFE! Stop. You just missed an important clue — your questioner is fully invested in that narrative. You answered the question. They either believe it, or they don’t believe it. In the case of infidelity (and not fictitious wife-beating), the truth is you were chumped. That’s what happened. You don’t need to defend yourself. You didn’t do anything wrong here. Frankly, you don’t have to answer any personal question you don’t want to.

3.) Speak the truth, and realize that your cheater probably got to the narrative first. One way chumps get chumped is when they agree to the “we just grew apart” story, and keeping “private matters private,” they think the cheater is going to play by the same set of rules. You won’t talk smack about them, they won’t talk smack about you. Oh chumps, your cheater has probably been talking smack about you all along. Shaming you into being quiet ensures that their narrative stays on top. That’s why cheaters get so ugly when you do start speaking up — you’re tilting at that balance of power. Disordered people need their impression management so their manipulations (and Sad Sausage story lines) keep working on everyone.

4.) People who believe the worst about you don’t know you. Not really. This might be one of the single most awful things about life post-discovery. People who you thought knew you, really don’t. Their attachments were shallow. It’s hard enough to realize this about a spouse or partner, it’s even more gobsmacking to realize it about your social circle. Well, of course Dorothy got cheated on. She’s frigid. Unlike me. I have sex with my husband! This person doesn’t know the inner workings of your bedroom. Maybe the lie makes them feel superior. Maybe the lie gives them some weird false comfort. Who knows? What matters are the people who do know you, and have your back. Invest your energies there.

5.) People who believe the worst about you probably have a vested interest in believing that crap. You don’t control that. Your in-laws turned on you? Better you be the monster than believe their son or daughter is a lousy person. Not their special Pookykins! Maybe they’ve been believing all the crap said about you for years, and now that the affair has been revealed, they’d have to admit they were mistaken. Why be wrong? Who are you again?

6.) Character is revealed over time. Who we are is revealed every day in every little action and decision. No one is perfect, but the arc of someone’s character — how giving they are of themselves, how considerate, how reciprocal — is perceptible. The people who matter aren’t swayed by your ex’s gossip and trash talk. The shallow people who are? Please, stop caring what they think today.

This column ran previously.

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  • I can still see Mr. Sparkles standing in my kitchen, after the discard but before I filed, and he literally BRAGGED to me about how he told the OW everything. Of course, his version went like this: “I knew she had put spyware on my computer, so I responded to personal ads and visited “those kind” of web sites because I wanted to punish you for spying on me.”

    And – the OW believed it. And – what is more crazy… she didn’t stop to think… wow this is one vindictive motherfucker (assuming she believed him).

    The truth was… I discovered phone numbers on the phone bill that when Googled revealed Craigslist hookers. THAT inspired me to track his online activity. I installed the software and discovered his email password. I logged in to his email and found six months worth of responses to personal ads in his trash folder… indicating he had done all that stuff BEFORE I put the spyware on the computer. And don’t even get me started on his browser history, my eyes are still burning.

    But, he still had me second guessing myself. I had physical proof against his lies and I still doubted myself. That, my friends, is the result of 11 years of mindfucking.

    He’s told his new GF (the OW finally dumped him – and he told everyone SHE cheated on him!)… that I don’t talk to him (or have any interaction with him) because I’m bitter and angry. And, to be honest, that bothers me. But, not enough to give up No Contact and try to untangle that ball of barbed-wire. Nope, she’s going to have to have her own journey into hell. I’m making the popcorn.

    THEY. DON’T. CHANGE. You only control you… change YOUR NARRATIVE!

    • Wow, ICanSee, it takes a special kind of hubris to be paying for hookers on Craigslist and then claim it was “your fault.” Good riddance.

      • Tempest – as you know with Hannibal – their hubris has no bounds. Any normal person would be mortified. He wears it like a badge of honor for which HE is to be pitied… and the women come running like it’s catnip and each one believes he will be different for them. My ex-stepdaughter just came to live with me because the cognitive dissonance was too much for her 19 yo brain.

        • Excellent–a ringing endorsement of your character that your ex-stepdaughter came to live with YOU. Shove it, Mr. Sparkles.

          Loved your analogy of catnip; cheaters play the pity card for extra seductive ability.

          • Tempest, yup with the pity card. Summer’s Eve is playing the pity card two years out from Dday! He has da sadz!

    • “But, he still had me second guessing myself. I had physical proof against his lies and I still doubted myself. That, my friends, is the result of 11 years of mindfucking.”

      This is what I am struggling with right now (except double the number of years). My STBX is dragging out the divorce, but he flips that and blames me. It then takes me about 24 hours to get my head back to the reality. He is the one who never turns in discovery on time and always leaves part of the request unanswered and makes my side ask for it again. He is the one who (after 17 months) still hasn’t even provided his estimate of the value of his business or a number for his income. He just waits for me to propose something and then shoots it down claiming I am totally off base (I’m not). It is impossible to come to a settlement when one side brings nothing to the table. And the court just keeps scheduling settlement conferences every three months…it is like having to stick your head in a blender over and over.

      But back to the original point. All he has to do is accuse me of being the one to drag it out and I start to question if I am. I hate that he can still do that to me. I no longer stay there but I really wish he no longer was able to manipulate me that way for even 24 hours.

      • He is all about image he pretended for 3 months that we were still together to at least two of my friends after he left to live with OW when they asked how I was on several occasions. One cried when she found out because she would have been there for me if she had known. A quiet unassuming woman she shocked me when she offered to drive me down to OW house to confront her and dump Kaa’s stuff. I declined but the offer helped me so much as I felt I had no control over mine and my children’s lives. Talking to an other good friend about worrying that I would be seen to be impolite by not sitting with Kaa at our Son’s graduation. She replied that that wasn’t impolite sleeping with other women was impolite. A sharp 2×4 to the head. I am struggling to find and maintain self confidence but I am finally taking him to court and reading here today worries me as I don’t know what he is going to say. But at least now I am forewarned.

      • GetMeFree… give yourself some time and love yourself some more for all that you already have accomplished. It’s only been 17 months after 22 years… do you know what kind of behavior and mental modification you’re putting yourself through WHILE getting divorced. You are MIGHTY. Don’t let him get in your head… sooner or later, no matter his antics, the divorce will happen and you will have your freedom and all he’ll have are his lies. You win.

      • This is really on topic for me – 18 months out I am still finding out from acquaintances about my supposed character flaws which clearly caused him to leave me; including but not limited to – being controlling – having him under the thumb – a spender- henpecked – insisting on private schools – basically I was intent on making his life a misery. After attending numerous work and social events a few people have now admitted to me ‘It took me a while to realise ‘you werent that bad’…. This was the final piece of the puzzle that I couldnt square up on the discard – I hadnt found out about the smear campaign until I discovered people were avoiding contacting me and it took months more to find out why . This information is by far the worst aspect of this whole shit storm. That I was living with someone – happily so I thought – that was systematically character assassinating me for YEARS behind my back. Family (his) , work colleagues and mutual friends. After the final discard he even tried to go after my remaining friends to accuse me of blackmailing him and extorting money out of. These people dont stop at anything – it makes your head spin.

      • My cheating ex also dragged out the divorce process. He would not provide requested documents, forged car titles and hid his income. The repeated requests cost me a fortune. I ended up with the larger chunk and am now free of the sick Sociopath. Also, during the divorce we attempted mediation, he lied, lied and lied for seven hours. I abruptly walked out as I truly thought that I would have a nervous breakdown. Exactly who was this person I was married to for 35 years?

    • It’s my 36th wedding anniversary today (I wonder what Doctor Narkles is getting me?? Fingers crossed!)

      Apparently we are going to trial to debate if my generous husband should give me ANY spousal support.

      Though the article is very well timed, I struggle with 3 things. One, I struggle a lot with how my inlaws of 35 years could believe I’m such a loser for doing whatever my narcissist husband claims I did. These people were in my life longer than my own father was. It breaks my heart.

      Second, he cut off our youngest child from any college funding AND has not spoken to the other kids in about 7 months.
      It’s like a scorched earth policy I’ll never grasp. (Yes, I get that I won’t get it!)

      Finally, the LIES about me. OMG what type of moron would believe him? I met a jerk in my elevator who informed me that his wife “isn’t fun anymore.” I KNOW HE’S AN ASSHOLE and I just met the guy.

      How could people who KNOW me, believe I was cold/lazy/mean or whatever the man who left ALL of his family, TWICE, says??

      Please let this all be over by next August and please let me be financially secure. I sure am tired of this.

      It’s like going into labor without an epidural AND getting no baby at the end…UGH!

      • PS

        My DOCTOR Narkles (Doctor must be capitalized for full impression value) has violated the court orders, SO FAR, in 3+ ways. Canceling two forms of insurance including life insurance for which I paid (thereby costing him nothing to keep!!) and then he kept the backpay the Army sent. Mind you, the judge specifically, verbally AND in writing, divided it in half. By federal law I’m entitled to half.

        In court he promised to he face to send me my half when he got it but oops, he basically said “fuck you” to the court.

        When does this shitty process end? I am going to have to keep going back to court for this shit head I bred with. OMG I’m stunned that he literally has no shame.

        • Sounds like X. He & my lawyer convinced my to file joint tax return during first year of separation. Rather than sending the return to one our lawyers as discussed, he had it sent to our joint account. Before I got anything, it was gone!
          Worst of all our children in college who received NOTHING from him had to claim his income for another year!
          I don’t think this stuff will end until we see unicorns fly!

          • Same crap with my STBX. The only thing we need to understand is that they have no consciences and are morally bankrupt. Once you truly accept that, the rest starts to make sense. Only way to survive is to get as far away as possible. Someday, they will die alone.

            • This is what really ticks me off. Why do the courts let them get away with this stuff? My ex cleaned out the house and the police just said “well, its a domestic matter”. NO, I was robbed. I had to provide receipts for what I had paid for (I had some), but there was no authority to help me out. The ex just does what she wants and the courts do nothing about it.

              • That first year, my ex hurried up and filed his taxes early (usually has to get an extension every year) and claimed both kids. He also claimed the mortgage interest on the house I was paying for, living in and was awarded me in the divorce settlement.

                Luckily I had a good accountant, a chump also who understood.

                He was audited for that year and the next two. Of course, I was the blame for it.

    • I did wonder why whenever I met her friends they would often ghost me, then after her cheating came out she got so much support and admiration for finally having the guts to leave me as I was so awful apparently. I actually left her, our child lives with me, and I have some truly great friends. The married guy she cheated with dumped her, she’s hates her job, lives in our old house, and is utterly miserable. Me? I can see meh on the horizon (been a year and a half or so).

  • I was at the hairdresser’s a couple of years ago and she asked me if I would step outside as she wanted to speak to me in private. A (male) friend of hers would sometimes stop off at the OK Corrall (the skuzzy bar my ex spent most of his nights at – you know, the one they all come crashing through the window of at closing time) and he had told her how sorry he felt for my ex because “his wife beats him up every night when he comes home from work”! I was so stunned there was a loud thud as my jaw hit the pavement – and then I burst out laughing. It was just so ridiculous. Talk about projection much. The bigger irony is at the end my ex barely made a full week at work so I don’t know when I was supposed to be beating him up. A couple of times I have been introduced to people as “P’s ex” and their jaws drop. I am usually nicely dressed for work so I have no idea what he has been telling them about me, although one thing’s for sure – I look NOTHING like the skanks that hang out at that bar (one of whom he cheated on me with). In the end, screw him. When he re-wrote history in front of people of how “we decided to separate” I would let him have it with both barrels. Actually, I have found I am pretty good at waiting it out now too – whether it be anything to do with the ex (although thankfully we no longer live on the same continent) or even a couple of narcs at work. Karma/truth does eventually come around if you wait long enough!

    • The lies they tell are so crazy and oftentimes hurtful as hell. My X, many years ago was cheating and gave me an STD right before I got pregnant. I ended up passing out in the middle of the street and an ambulance was called, thank God! It was an ectopic pregnancy and my fallopian tube had ruptured. I ended up in the hospital for 13 days because I then ran a fever. We broke up after I found out why I’d lost my baby. Because X didnt want people judging him negatively, he told his version of events to do damage control. A few months after I’d lost the baby, a man I didn’t even know accosted me. He was yelling at me and telling ME what a crazy bitch I was, how he’d heard all about me, how I better stop spreading lies about X or I’m gonna end up getting my ass kicked. Don’t know or care what this nutjob’s malfunction was. But I finally found out that X was telling everyone that 1) I was the one that cheated, 2) I was so crazy I made up being pregnant, but even though I wasn’t pregnant, it was somebody else’s baby (see 1), and 3) I was so crazy that I was making up horrible lies about him trying to get people to come after HIM!
      Stupid me, he love bombed me for a few years and I finally forgave him and gave him another chance. We ended up getting married 10 years later and divorced 20 years later for cheating. At least now, his family and our real friends know me well enough to laugh at him when he makes up lies. Uhggg, I had a real hard time forgiving myself after I divorced him. I mean, damn, he showed me who he really was but I didn’t listen to his initial actions and fell for the years of love bombing. Lesson learned.

    • Aggie, i started with my dental hygienist of 30 years, putting a cap on his lies. I told her to double glove as he was getting tested for HIV. And I didn’t stop there. Living in a small town has some advantages especially when his customer base depended on his reputation. The town gossip a friend from high school and a few others were told of him ‘mistakenly’ acceding child porn.

      He used to BRAG about me to his customers to give him credibility. Even his own mother and sister are disgusted by the classless pig he ended up with.

      I’m past that now. The truth is in my history of being a good mother, always kind to others and being a hard working goal orientated individual with morals.

      On the other hand his narrative of never getting anywhere with ME is laughable three years out as he’s a fuckimg sixty year old who has nothing but a pig. How silly he sounds future faking to anyone with comin sense.

      He invested in dance lessons, hahahahaha. He can dance. Funny as fuckimg hell. Twirl the cunt, lol. #lookwhosedancingnow #Spinthatfucker.

  • Good reminder! I needed to hear this as I just learned from my lawyer the Narc is requesting we go to mediation without lawyers because he keeps not abiding by the parenting, making unilateral decisions, leaving me off or removing my name from doctors records and adding the OW (my old neighbor) as their mom, alienating me from my children, slandering me, etc. Bitch please! I think a judge needs to hear the shit he is doing and decide. The last time we went to a mediator, she gave him a voice and listened to some of his crap (not all but some) and it empowered him. All the while “friends” do superficial awkward dance around me and shun me when possible. Interesting thing happens after 4 years, D-Day and you’ve found MEH with these situations…….you find yourself not giving a shit about superficial twits and holding your head high and mighty!

    The social shaming got to me for so long. On so many levels it was worse than the messy divorce. Now, in meh I find myself being able to sniff out superficial bitches, Narcs, douchebags, etc. and hone in on good people. It’s the best feeling being able to read bad and good people and navagate through them confidently instead of trying to prove my self worth to unworthy people.
    One word to describe that feeling: FREEDOM!

    Thanks again for reminder CL! You get used to fighting with a Narc but the calls from your lawyer are still nerve racking. Reading reminders like this are important because it reminds me that I’m not crazy! I’m not what he claims I am! I’m a good mother! I’m a good and loving person! It reminds me of how to fight and why! That fucker is not going to steal my identity.

    • “…leaving me off or removing my name from doctors records and adding the OW (my old neighbor) as their mom…”


      Yes, I think a judge needs to hear about that. That is unbelievably shocking. I hope you have irrefutable proof of this to offer a judge so he/she can throw the book at him. I’ve lived through some terrible things, have read even worse things on this very site, but something about the balls it takes to do this has set me off. It would be funny in its outrageousness if it wasn’t so despicable.

      Nail that bastard Southern Chump. I can tell from some of your other comments that you are a great mom. I applaud your ability to rise above the social shaming – so mighty and hope your confidence carries you through the courts while your cheater reveals the depths of his lies. Keep us informed.

      • FWIW, my son’s crazy father *traveled to Texas* apparently with the sole purpose of changing the emergency contact form at my son’s high school. (He lived 1500 miles away). I found out when my son got injured, I was out of state, and the school never called my husband. (Who was originally on the form — he’d been scratched out, for Mr. Crazy.)

        Ostensibly, he showed up for a “Back to School” night. Spent 10 awkward surprise minutes with my son in a high school auditorium and then ghosted again.

        Had to bring my court order to the school and shut that emergency contact shit down. Just one bit of crazy in a VERY long history of crazy.

        I did not go to court over it — the end was in sight — but if you’re early in the game with a disordered fuckwit — YES, DOCUMENT THIS. And get it in front of a judge. AND if you have sole decision making, or education decisions, or custody — make sure the school has a copy of your order and a note in your file. (Ask me how I know..)

        • X contacted all my son’s high school teachers and his school counselor informing them of my mental instability and his concern for our son especially while he was working out of town.
          X had also contacted other band parents asking if our son could stay with them if our son had to get away from me.
          I had a minor fender bender in the school parking lot, afterwards other school and band parents I usually chatted with began to be cool towards me. I thought they had things on their mind. A few months afterwards I heard that X told everyone I was drunk driving the afternoon I was in the minor accident in the school parking lot. Fortunately I had a police report which documents that I wasn’t under the influence. I almost didn’t wait for the police to come that day. He’s apparently convincing and since then my circle of friends has shrunk tremendously. Anyone who would believe his absurd lies about me isn’t worth knowing.

          • Wow Brit, that is heinous. I mean, seriously fucked up. I’m glad you’re so mighty about it because you’re right – anyone who believes his shit isn’t worth having in your circle. Big hugs to you. {{}}

        • Here is a kicker — I have to Co-Parent with this Douchebag and all decisions are joint. When we went through our D the whole co-parenting concept was becoming more popular especially within the legal system because “it’s what’s best for the kids”.???? Sure, it’s great for the kids when a parent doesn’t have a character disorder. As you know, it’s absolute hell for those dealing with a disordered person. I was an absolute Chump on D-day. At the time, I was just happy to be out. The aftermath with a psychopathic Narc is what has been so difficult. I made sure several things were in our parenting plan such as I am the primary parent and to keep everything in writing but within the first week he proved he wasn’t going to follow it. And it has been hell ever since documenting every damn thing. The Silver lining – I have used my parenting plan to my advantage every chance I can. The school has a copy, the doctor has a copy, etc. After he tried to move our kids to a different school without my knowledge and I found out from the kids, I approached both school systems and they immediately noted his behavior and shut him down. Luckily, the more crap he pulls like this the more notes I request people make in their system (doctors, school, extracurricular activities). Whatever extra advise you can give would be greatly appreciated because this is like a full time job documenting all this stuff and making sure he doesn’t come in and change it (like what happened with the doctors records).

          • Sorry for your struggle Southern Chump. You’re doing the right thing by shutting his crap down with the schools and doctors and keeping records. The other thing to shut down is that whole notion of “co-parenting” that attorneys, judges and others like to throw at you. I’m currently in mediation with my ex regarding college expenses since the Illinois courts continue to stick their nose into my business even though my son is “emancipated”. When the mediator tried the co-parenting/look-what-example-you’re-setting-for-your-kids I calmly told her I didn’t appreciate it and that it was he who sued me three times to discontinue/reduce child support and lost, threatened me repeatedly with more legal action, belittled everything I do as custodial parent (exact words “boohoo you wanted them to live with you), texted me that their religious activities are my responsibility, openly trash talked me to his ho-wife and sister. I showed her the stack of emails and texts. Then I asked her if she had anything else to say about co-parenting or if we could move on.

            I think the institution of “no-fault” divorce lets these people think that there wasn’t fault and that both parties behave honorably in the best interests of the children. In my experience, typically the Chump is the only one following that notion.

      • There is nothing they won’t do. When my girls were little there dental visits occurred on Ex’s time one summer (he only had them two weeks a summer and that only lasted two summers). He was across the country, so I contacted a local dentist office there to arrange care. It turned out that after their check-ups they each needed a cavity filled. He never paid a dime for anything, but I didn’t want them to have to wait for care, so I sent the dentist a check to pre-pay the amount for the work. He canceled their next appt. and the dentist refunded the money to him! He literally stole the fillings right out of his kids’ mouths! Then he instructed them to lie to me about it. When I found out six months later at their next check-up and contacted the DA where he lives, they refused to prosecute even though I could show the paper trail because, “Since you two used to be married, we consider this a private matter.” I kid you not. Apparently, if you were once married to someone they have an unlimited right to steal from you forever.

        • That is insane!! They refunded the money to the wrong customer!!!! That’s a business screw up!!

          I had a doctor’s office do something similar, I wanted to pay off MY account and they applied the payment to my husband’s account. We were married at the time and it was so hard to get them to apply the money where I paid it!!! It could have affected MY credit score and MY name so i wanted that money applied a specific way. It’s terrible customer service. Married people (or separated or divorced) are still individuals!

          • Had a similar problem with IRS. As his name was always first on past returns, the IRS called him the “primary” taxpayer on the divorce year and applied ALL estimated payments to him. I tried to explain that we were “co taxpayers” and I also told them it is 2017! I actually made more money than he did also.

        • Just last week, I inquired about a reimbursement check that never came. Seems that they sent it to my STBX at my address (but his mail was being forwarded to his new address). Even though I am the one who filled out the form and requested it, they just defaulted to the father’s name. He cashed that check and didn’t say a word. It was to reimburse me for my costs of driving my kid to/from school when busing wasn’t available. We were separated physically and financially the entire time so it really was at my cost. These people have absolutely no conscience.

    • Under NO circumstances should you agree to mediate without your lawyer present. Also, do not agree to a non-lawyer mediator. The mediator should be all business and everything should be included in the judge’s order. Without the specific language being in the order itself (judge can incorporate it), it cannot form the basis of a contempt motion.

      If the mediator is not to your standards, tell your lawyer you want a new mediator. It is not the role of the mediator to decide who is the “good guy”, so do not let that person insert themselves in issues that are not relevant to the finances and the agreed upon visitation/child support.

      Your X’s GF should have zero involvement or say in any issue relating to your children. She should also be nowhere near the actual mediation. Most competent mediators never allow their presence.

      • I second Violet’s post. Absolutely no mediation without your lawyer and make sure you have a trained, certified mediator approved by your attorney. Mediators are by definition supposed to be neutral. Your attorney should have some experience with local mediators and know who is good and who isn’t. Honestly, mediation with fuckwits should be avoided if possible. Mediation is one of those things that is better in theory than in practice. It requires two rational people willing to participate in give and take instead of trying to win at all costs. How often does that happen in a *normal* divorce much less when you’re divorcing a lying, cheating fuckwit?!

        • Agreed ladies and I’m not even considering Mediation anymore. I’m requesting we go straight to court with lawyers and everything ON RECORD.

          The problem with the legal system is half of those in the system are narcs so the mediator prided herself on “thinking she could help or change him” and disregarded the real issues at hand. They look at you as a notch in their belt and try to find the weakest link to work that person to make them break. She saw that person as me and tried to make me agree to have open conversations with him on the phone for over 4 hours….WTF?!? NO BUT HELL NO!!!! I had to keep fighting her attempts off, she would even word it in different ways. Finally at the end of the day when she was tired, she recommended we go to a communications coach. I should have been diserning and wise enough to walk out in the beginning but I wasn’t. I pulled a major Chump move and stayed. She saw it like blood in the water. But, on the bright side, I played the game so I wouldn’t have to go back to mediation and could go straight to court because I knew my x would not abide whatever agreements we made anyway.

          Great thing is I kept all my and his communication in writing ????. Take that, fucker!!!! I’m sure the judge will have some interesting things to say about what he has and hasn’t done in writing.

          • Good for you! So glad you are not trying mediation with this disordered fuckwit again, and the last mediator sounds super unprofessional and incompetent. My lawyer shot down the mediator proposed by narc’s lawyer, and preposed our own. I got really lucky as this mediator was a retired family court judge that obviously had obvious experience with narc’s like this. He didn’t let narc get away with any narratives or “poor me” pity tactics, or just plain BS! I was nauseous, I was so nervous, but I stood up to his lawyer and after about an hour, she excused herself from the mediation and left narc to fend for himself, until the proposed settlement was penned without her input! ???? So, I got pretty much everything I asked for, and I left feeling so much better. Since this was a retired judge, he had us sign off on everything agreed to so ex couldn’t play “take-back” later.

            The legal stuff is so anxiety causing! I hated every minute of it! I think you are mighty as hell and your decision to get this in front of a judge is definitely a wise move. Best of luck to you!! ????

    • Removing your name from doctor’s records? That’s got to be illegal.

      • It is! He used the excuse that the insurance did it. Great thing they make video cameras in our phones and I recorded my conversation.

        • I recorded the interaction with the doctors office. Since I was in the room I can use it for my benefit.

  • The truth is, this is why NC is a blessing. Even if no one else believes you, if you’re free of the mindfuck, it’s so much easier to believe who you are for yourself. It still sucks when others don’t believe the truth, but if you’ve rediscovered your security it’s easier to handle.

    • No contact is the wonder drug. I am thankful that my children are young adults and I do not have to comparent with STBX. I empathize with the Chumps with children; it must be so hard. Brené Brown’s research on shame and vulnerability has really helped me let go of my feelings of shame and perfectionism AND letting go of what people think. I am living within my integrity now!

  • My ex MIL is a very smart lady, a psychologist. She knows her son is a POS, but wants to maintain relations with her only child. However, she still has dinner with me regularly and recently came on vacation with us (myself, kids and my parents.) it’s hard to see the mental gymnastics she does to stay in touch with her POS son and the replacement wife. But I am the same old good DIL I’ve always been. My character is consistent.

    I got very lucky with my MIL.

    • THIS: My character is consistent.

      Yup… and that is why the truth does will out eventually.

    • You did get lucky with your MIL. After 36 years my MIL told me two weeks after D-day that she wished the best for me and maybe we’d see each other around sometime. I was gobsmacked. No wonder her son has such an easy time discarding of people.

  • A thought: this is where “act as if” can come in pretty handy. You may not be able to literally stop caring what they think right at first. The insanity of betrayal is like that.

    You can make your choices as though you didn’t care what they think, though, then refer to CL’s excellent descriptions of cheater responses to any consequences (charm, rage, self-pity, image management, total self-interest, etc.) as you assess the cheater’s responses to your choices. In time, as you mindfully live the corrective experiences that change your understanding of the gaslighting and the true nature of the chameleon, your heart will follow your head.

  • Unsaid here explicitly, but the theme that runs throughout —

    Cheaters have their own version of reality and it’s grounded in fuckedupedness — that’s what gave them the justification to cheat in the first place. It only stands to reason that they’d continue to push their delusional narrative, first to their cheating partners during the cheating, then to the rest of the world post-discovery.

    The only thing you can control is what you do, what you say and how you react. With truth and genuine integrity on your side, facing the character assassination becomes easier.

    • Well said UXWorld. I think where I struggled the most after the discard was that I KNEW I wasn’t the woman he was portraying me to be. My kid knew it. My adult stepchildren knew it. My family and friends knew it fiercely.

      But, because the one person I loved more than anyone else in the world knew it too – but didn’t VALUE IT and then lied about me on top of it – I kept falling into the well of wanting to still convince him that I was worthy of his love and respect. And, I wanted the OW to know that I was a good person too. Twisted, right? I cared what two cheaters thought more than my own network of people.

      Your sanity definitely starts to return when you put yourself first and look at who is still in your life after the implosion. You only control you. Let the flying monkeys do what they will.

      The irony, often is, that if the new victim scratch the surface of our X’s just even a little, they’d likely find a long line of people more than willing to tell them the truth. But, it the midst of being lovebombed, no one is looking for the truth. His new GF and I actually worked in the same small company about 10 years ago… and know many of the same people. She hasn’t connected the dots yet, but maybe someday she will.

  • The cheater that I left at the airport definitely got his narrative out there first to uphold his image of the “good family man” and “victim” of my “evil plans” to leave him and take the kids with me. And it’s still the only narrative his family has to work with, because I’ve not been able to get the real story across to them – I don’t speak their language.

    Whatsmore, he’s the apple of his mother’s eye. So, I’m the bad one who broke up the family by leaving. For all I know, he’s told them I left because I’m selfish and want everything my own way. No way would he have told them he was actually cheating on me with hookers and gave me, the mother of his two children, an STD.

    It used to really bother me that they don’t know the truth. But I’m slowly letting it go now. I’ve come to realise that I know the truth, and everybody that truly knows me knows what kind of person I am, and that I must have had a very good reason to leave. It’s sad that his family still don’t know, and that they feel sorry FOR HIM because he’s lost his children. One day I will let them know – I’m going to get a translator to translate a letter from me to them. Until then, I’m the “bad one” in all this.

    • I don’t know that I would bother LHATA, I think I would just let it go. You don’t need a relationship with them anyway, and any contact is contact. Also, I believe, unless you are willing to send them your health records, they are not going to believe you anyway and you will look crazier for even reaching out. Just my opinion, best of luck!

      • CCC – yes, I do agree with you. And that’s why I haven’t sent them a letter up until now, for those reasons you outlined.

        But I sometimes feel terrible that his mother is sitting way over there in that other country, clueless to what really happened. She thinks I just left her son and broke his heart. She’s elderly, and a very lovely person. She was always super lovely to me. I sometimes feel that I owe her an explanation, because she is never going to get the truth from him. And it upsets me that she’s in the dark. But, I think she knew me well enough to know that I wouldn’t have left unless it was something major.

        Arghhh, makes me mad to think she is another innocent victim in all this – she doesn’t get to see her grandchildren now, because of the distance between countries, language barrier, and the fact that I can’t simply take the kids and go visit her – because if the f**kwit knew I was there, he would fly to his home country while we are there visiting and cause some shit (like, attempt to keep the kids in his home country/try to stop us from leaving again). There’s some international child custody issues at play here, so I cannot risk being in his home country (non-Hague convention) and some sh*t like that going down. Not worth it.

        His poor mother. I feel so sorry for her. It’s part of what kept me with him for longer than I should have been – I kept considering her feelings, and how it would affect her once I left. My whole family love her and also feel sorry that she’s missing out. And…the f**kwit blames ME for her not being able to see the kids. Yup, I’m sure you saw that one coming, hahaha…typical narc that he is!

        • left him at the airport,

          You have such a kind heart.
          Your post resignates with love for your children and for their fraternal grandmother.
          You speak so fondly of her.
          A Mother’s heart knows, somehow, the character of each of her children.
          To you, and to her Granchildren she was loving and showed she cared.
          For safety reasons you can’t allow or provide contact with her, far too dangerous.
          Is there anyway your children could write to her and send pictures to her regularly? (Just light, sending love to her notes).
          As a Grandmother myself, if this were me, it would make me feel sad, but I think I would clutch these precious momentous to my heart and I would feel comforted that my Grandchildren cared and loved and were thinking of me.
          One day, as she is elderly, it will be too late.
          Rat’s ass, the cheater, doesn’t even consider his own children’s feelings, let alone the lovely person who brought him into this world. Again, there is a very good chance she knows his true character.
          left him at the airport, your journey has been very very difficult. To me, and I am sure, to all CN, your strength of character shines through n all of your posts.

          I am sorry for all your struggles and I send you and your precious children many (((((((hugs!)))))

          • left him at the airport

            Perhaps the children sending their Grandmother a picture with an I love you ( universal language) message is too dangerous in your circumstances.
            I am so sorry, I can see that this is troublesome to your heart.
            Please remind yourself none of this is your fault.
            You are a very caring lady.


  • My cheater went and told his entire family that _I_ was the one cheating…. because i hooked up with a guy on line 7 months after i moved out… which was 8 mo ths after i filed. The whole time he was fucking the whore is caught him with (I had pictures!!! I sent those pictures TO HIS SISTER AT THE TIME I CAUGHT HIM… which was months before I moved out). Still…. the family belives his version…that he didn’t hook up with Whore Face until after cruel Chumpy was riding some other guys dick. He even denies the skank in the photo is Whore Face…. even though it clearly looks just like her and now they’ve even met her.

    Worst part is… he’s selling this story to my eight year old who is too young to u understand it’s all lies. So now my 8 year old thinks Mommy is the cheater. I’m so upset. Of course I tried to correct the story but he heard lying daddy’s version first….

  • By far Number 3 (#3) was the biggest one of them all for me. My x had been talking smack about me for years to several of her friends (she made all my friends disappear). At one of the hearings she actually tried to make the argument that I was a bad person because I had no friends. What she did not know is that the second we separated all my friends came back.

    Number 6 (#6) is the most important one for sure. It is what made my daughter see the light over time. She went from an almost brain washed child by her mother who was trying to convince her she was sexually and physically abused by me to realizing that everything her mother told her was a lie. My daughter used her own memories to put the puzzle together and watched how I was dealing with things and finally realized the truth to the point she really wants nothing to do with her mother anymore. Judge tried to order my daughter to go back to her mother 50% of the time and she refused (she is about to turn 14). Judge did not know what to do so he gave me temporary custody and order the two of them to see a therapist together. Well that went down hill and the judge is suppose to see them at the end of this month. My guess is I will get full custody. Not sure what the judge can do, I am not in contempt of court because its not me and I doubt he is going to put a 14 year old in jail because she doesn’t want to see her mother due to the brain washing that goes on 24/7 at her moms house.

    Oh did I mention that when my daughter is with me full time her grades where fantastic and she made honor role 🙂 what a difference being away from the mind job makes!

    • Lothos–haunting that your X would try to convince your daughter that you had abused her. I’m sure it must have been an emotional battle to wait it out until your daughter realized the truth. I hope you get full custody next go-round.

      Most courts will accept a 14-year old’s wishes about visitation with a parent (if you have any trouble on that front, I have a letter that may help; just post that you need it).

      • Honestly I could use the letter. Back in February of this year before the trial even started the judge said she was a 13 year old child and she should not have a say (contrary to Maryland Law). The judge also blocked the Best Interest Attorney from asking his client questions. Despite the recommendations from the BIA and the Therapist saying that I should get custody the judge ordered nothing to change and kept the 50/50 custody. Two days after that decision my daughter told the therapist, her mother and the attorneys that she was no longer going to see her mother despite the order from the judge.

        There is a lot more than happened from that point till today but this really hasn’t changed and the same judge will get to see my daughter again and he can explain to her why he keeps not listening to her.

        So any help offered is needed as this has been going on over 4 years now. Courts are so RELUCTANT to take kids away from moms no matter what the reasons.

        Thank you 🙂

        • My X told me he was going to do what ever it took not to pay child support and he did.
          I’m a Mom who was close to my son until X moved out. X who while our son was growing up was distant and had little to do with our son suddenly showered him with attention. X demonized me, bribed our son, telling him they would live like college room mates if our son decided to move to his apartment permanently.
          I was appalled, 15-16 year old boys need a Dad not a college room mate.
          Eventually the judge granted my son emancipation. My son was able to stay at his father’s apartment alone while X “traveled” for work. Reality, X lived with his AP while our son had the apartment and freedom to do as he pleased. X was supposed to bring our son to therapy per the judge request X said our son didn’t want to go. Judge told him to take our son to a therapist, scheduled next hearing, he still hadn’t taken him to a therapist and it was dismissed. Fighting to have my son was becoming hopeless as well as expensive and I was getting no where.
          Son’s grades plummeted, he went from an Advanced placement student with all A’s to in danger of failing classes and in danger of not graduating. He dropped all his school activities, including band, became EMO and hung out with a totally different crowd. I bought in photos to show the judge but they didn’t seem to phase her. He isn’t her son..
          Lothos, you might ask if emancipation is an option for you and your daughter.

        • Although asking your daughter to compromise is unattractive in many ways, perhaps she could articulate a starting position she is willing to try. She might agree to meet her mother for coffee after school once a week, etc. Demonstrating a willingness to cooperate with the judge’s perspective that her mother should have some time, might help your daughter retain the big thing she wants–i.e. to live full time with you. Ideally, any visits your daughter has with her mother should be at places she can get herself to and from–the more she can be in control of the visits and exert the ability to end them when the “hour” is up or earlier if she needs to, the better. Neutral territory–i.e. not her mother’s house–is probably also preferable.

          I think your position with the judge needs to be that you respect your EX wife’s desire to have a continuing relationship with her child, but as your daughter grows toward adulthood, you see your responsibility to be helping your daughter maintain her own boundaries and agency while she shapes that relationship.

          If your daughter is adamant about not seeing her mother, then I’d recommend continuing to let the courts be the bad guy–if they try to make her do it, try to model sympathy for her plight and being respectful of the law (not because you agree with the court order but because you want her to know that following the law is exactly how you are protecting your own time with her). Parenting a teenager is tough, and down the road there are places where you are going to have to be the bad guy. No sense in making this one of them if you don’t need to!

          • Emancipation: Not sure this is a good option. Under Maryland law if my daughter files for that it is for her to become responsible for all of her own actions and decisions as if she was an adult. In essence cut me off from knowing about her school work and medical information.

            Compromise: My daughter did offer options such as a dinner with her mother during the week and she was willing to see her mother every other weekend. Court shrugged that off.

            Both Therapist (yes there are two now) made it clear that what my daughter needs is for me to support her decisions so she does not feel like she is standing alone. Both Therapist also came to the same conclusion that she should be with me full time and see her mother ever other weekend.

            My fingers are crossed that the judge will listen to her this time.

            • Lothos–sadly, courts are going to do what they think is best, even when experts (like the therapists) state otherwise. Fourteen year olds should not be forced to see a parent they consider toxic, just because a bunch of disinterested adults in the court system have bought the nonsense that “children need two parents.” Children need one sane parent, and as much distance from a toxic one as they can muster. Get the two therapists to write letters stating their views that your daughter should have limited contact with her mother, if that is indeed what daughter wishes.

              Parents can be abusive in ways other than physical violence, and courts need to start recognizing that children’s judgments often have merit at recognizing toxicity. Children should also not be made to feel helpless by having their anxieties ignored. Good luck; please keep us posted on your custody outcome.

              • Both therapist have been subpoenaed for the hearing at the end of this month and will tell the judge in person.

        • Courage and kudos to your kiddo-mine and I had a similar situation. Send that letter. (My Kiddo just graduated HS with honors, it can be done!)

        • It will be on its way to you by the end of the week; just need to alter it slightly to fit your circumstances. Good luck!

  • I don’t think anyone bar his family who’s behaviour he has emulated in many ways, believe the lies he is telling about me. I’m sure there are people who have never met me that do but I don’t care about them.

    It is the friends who chose to see what he did as a mistake and not as the serious betrayal and abuse that it was. These are usually the ones peddling forgiveness and getting over it.

    • Well, they can forgive and they can get over it.
      They can leave you alone.
      You did nothing wrong!
      Just dwell on yourself and your precious little ones.
      There are good people in this world, with brains as well as hearts. Those people will see the truth. It is right in front of their eyes.
      To those who see the truth and chose to ignore it, step over them. Piles of shit that they are.
      Keep on being mighty!

  • I guess there are cases where the cheater did not trash their spouse. Of all the people I know this is not the case. Once caught, I went through her phone and social media….. there is not a single person she/we know, who was not told how much I sucked! They lie to make them selves feel better and keep themselves looking good to the public. All in all just shows how truly pathetic they are!

    • Like CL says, they have to maintain their “good image”. It’s all about impression management!

      I left the f**kwit I bred with, and am well away from him now in my home country with the kids. He only video calls the kids once a fortnight, if that. Lazy punk. And when he does, it’s often while he’s out at a “business dinner meeting”, in which he proceeds to show off our kids to his business clients (which drives me insane!!!). Why does he do this?…… To keep up the facade to potential business partners that he has an intact family living overseas, while he works hard in another country. The “good, dependable man” image. He uses this tactic often, to dupe would-be investors into thinking he’s a stand up guy. And it seems to work (?! Why???!).

      I wasn’t aware of this little scheme of his until lately. Yeah, it took me a while to figure it out. But now that I know why he video calls while in the presence of clients, I’ve put a stop to it. Little bitch has since got his panties in a knot over it (oh no, I ruined his narrative! And took away cake) and has retaliated by halting all child support. A truely classy businessman ????????

  • This hits so close to home today. During the divorce I got full custody of my kids while my wife gets supervised visitation for a few hours a week. Of course I am the one who does criminal conduct with children and she was saved by the man that she married after knowing only a few weeks on the day the divorce was filed. Yet lots of people believe her. I am still gobsmacked by that.

    • This! Stbxh has 7 supervised hours per week with our 3 children (who are 4, 3 and 2). That statement alone should be enough for people to see through his lies.

      He cheated wit multiple partners, abandoned us with nothing, abused me repeatedly. Yet he says that I was the cheater, I kicked him out and / or I was abusive. My “favorite” lie of his is that he was never married / has no kids and he just left a girlfriend because she was abusive……

  • Thankfully I have my own set of friends who never really had much to do with my ex. He tried to look sad and beaten down for awhile to advance the zany narrative that I was a twisted bitter soul who had my vagina sewn shut just to spite him- but fringe friends and mutual acquaintances started making snide comments eventually that it would probably be impossible for me to be as wretched as my press was due to all the boundless joy on my face and all the the incessant smiling I was doing.
    It was hard not to feel relentless positivity after the initial divorce pain wore off.
    I notice his new girlfriend seems a little melancholy now.

    • I was fortunate too, that I had a whole set of girlfriends that weren’t part of “our” life. He was so busy looking for his “soul mate” he didn’t make any close friendships. The few couples that we were friendly with well I have written them off mostly “Switzerland People”.
      My in laws have passed away, save for his only sister that he never really bothered with, she has been supportive of me but to be honest I don’t really want to continue with that relationship. She lives 3,000 miles away so again fortunate. I have pretty much decided that I want a separate life without any connection to him,his family or anyone that new us as a couple. I have moved to another town so this makes it a bit easier to start fresh aegain. I have family here and my “girlfriends” live within a half hour drive. I’m on my way to ‘meh’ and everyday it gets a bit easier. I was terrified when this happened 4 months ago at 72 I though my life was over but now I see there’s a whole new chapter. I am so grateful for this site and the support you all have provided. ????????????

        • That’s nice of you to say! One of my friends is 90 a widow, drives herself to the cottage where she stays for the summer just had her second hip replacement 6 months ago and back at the cottage! Another friend, was abandoned at age 70 and now at 80 is driving to visit her kids 700 miles away! The rest of us are the “kids” in this group of 12 women. We are all strong women who have been friends for almost 20 years. We’ve collectively survived all kinds of adversities; the death of good husbands, abandoned by assholes, lost kids and grandkids and fortunes and we have survived. These are my Heros. We support each other and just keep on keeping on! Who knows what lays ahead for any of us, I just know there’s no time to waste over assholes that don’t deserve us! Just keeping pushing forward and know your worth! RLots of hugs! ????????????

          • And THIS gives me hope … just when I start really wrestling with an overall disgust with humanity.

            There are not enough words to express my gratitude. I hope you don’t mind, but I’m copying this … for when things become unbearably gloomy. This will serve as a reminder that beautiful souls exist in this world.

            (((Hugs to you and your Heroes!)))

            • hugs back to you! ???? Just found these little guys, what fun, hope this is a hug and not a groper, yikes!

          • That sounds so great to me!! Thank you for sharing your positive attitude and joy lyndaloo!!

          • “Who knows what lays ahead for any of us, I just know there’s no time to waste over assholes that don’t deserve us!”

            On a thread filled with quotable wisdom, *this* is the thought I am taking away with me today, and maybe taping up on the ‘fridge. Thanks, Lyndaloo, for sharing your inspiring story and telling us about your wonderful group of friends. Feels like I just got a booster shot.

          • Thank you for posting such a positive message! I hope to have/find/keep (new and old) friends as wonderful as yours Lloo!
            May we all be blessed this way as we move forward through our heartaches and messes of all kinds. It lifted my heavy heart to read it’s possible to have such friends, when right now I often feel isolated and alone. ????

      • Woo-hoo, Lyndaloo!! Go and write yourself an amazing new chapter! Feeling very inspired by your words ????????

        • Left, thanks I’m writing that chapter as fast as I can. LOL ???? have a lot of catching up to do!

    • Yeah, we ended up with two separate set of friends anyway…so I got all the ones who were our “mutual” friends. He got OW and her group of friends.

  • ‘I Don’t Care Anymore’
    Phil Collins

    Sing it loud, sing it proud!!

  • Classic post.

    You’ve gotta let go of what others think about you, especially your stbx-in-laws.

    My EW eventually gave my ex-in-laws a white-washed version of the truth, six months after my divorce was finalized. EW had to do this, in order to “legitimize” her almost 2-year hidden relationship with her OM.

    And for me, do you know what it resulted in? A couple of out-of-nowhere, weak emails from my former SIL and cousin-in-law, trying to “rekindle a friendship” without at all mentioning my EW’s partial confession. I even met my former cousin-in-law for lunch, which was awkward and pointless.

    And since then, I haven’t heard from any of them. The door opened a crack, they got a glimpse of the truth, felt only sorry enough to briefly check in on me, and then realized they were too invested in their relationships with my EW to put in any sustained effort or self-reflection. Then they shut the door again.

    What a waste of emotional effort on my part.

    The truth will set YOU free. It doesn’t set others free if they don’t want it to.

    • The slander is very painful. I can see it in people’s eyes that I bump into in the area. My favorite saying is “Be careful trying to harm someone’s life with lies, when yours can be destroyed by the TRUTH. ”
      Also, being dropped by exinlaws? How about your ex mil traveling with her son and the whore to Italy while we are still married? Needless to say the 31 and 33 year old sons have never seen any vacation photos. The trip is never discussed with them.

  • Most of the negotiations for our recent divorce occurred while I was in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy with our 4th child. Strangely, my then-husband began speaking about our unborn child’s father in the third person (and as if he were not the father). This was a major shock and insult to me, as he was the only man I’d even kissed since we were teenagers (and we were litigating an at fault divorce for HIS adultery).

    Later, well after the divorce was finalized, I discovered that my ex-husband had installed a high-tech GPS tracking device that attached the computer of my car to his smartphone. This technology enabled my ex-husband to know in real time EXACTLY where I was, the speed I was driving, how many red lights I caught, etc. He always seemed to know where I was, and he was constantly “bumping into me” all over our town.

    The period of being newly divorced, caring for 3 young children and a newborn, and enduring the stalking abuse was one of the hardest things I have experienced.

    I called the police as soon as I discovered the GPS device, and the detective assigned to the case called my ex-husband and asked him how long he had been tracking me.

    My ex-husband lied to the detective and told him that he had to put a GPS device in my car earlier in our marriage because he was sure I was cheating on him. He then claimed to have completely forgotten about the GPS device that he paid a monthly fee for and sent him a text message alert every time I started my car. Complete Projection! Who lies to the cops about their faithful, pregnant wife cheating on them?!?!?

    Oh, and we just got the subpoenaed records back from the GPS company. Turns out ex-husband didn’t install the GPS until just before the divorce was finalized. If Mr. Duplicity’s lips are moving, he is lying. Terrifying.

    • Tempest’s post below mentioned circles in Hell, which reminded me of Dante’s Inferno. Your X belongs in the lowest circles of the Inferno. Just when you think these disordered assholes can’t do or say something worse ….. you read something like this.

      I’m so sorry — for you and for your little ones. (((Hugs))) to you — I genuinely hope life brings you calm waters for many years to come.

    • How terrifying! Its amazing how they can twist anything to make it sound benign! These asshats work off of plausible deniability. Good for you for following through on proof!

    • Mine put a GPS device on my car as well! I reported it to the police but they said that because we were still married (albeit going through the divorce process) it wasn’t illegal to do.

      I feel confident the Fuckwit had it on my car for months, if not years, so that he could know where I was i.e. when I was on my way home from work, etc. so that he could easily carry out his cheating with multiple women.

      They are un-fucking-believeable!

  • When I first saw today’s title I thought “well this doesn’t really apply to me” because as far as I can tell STBX hasn’t been going around telling family, mutual friends, and acquaintances bad things about me. The people who used to care about me still do, even if some have divided loyalties because they still care about him too (even if they are disturbed by his behavior). I am fortunate this way. As a result, I have refrained from telling everyone we know about the details of our divorce. I am still protecting his reputation to a point, although I do make it clear that leaving was his idea.

    The parts of this article that did resonate with me, however, mostly have to do with my own image management. I do care what other people think. Part of the reason I refrain from outing him is that I care about my own image. I don’t want to be viewed as the bitter, angry ex. I know I have a right to be angry, but I also know that those who don’t have first hand experience with infidelity can’t truly understand. The real issue, however is that I still care what he thinks. This is crazy. Why should I care what he thinks? Early on, he saw me telling my family and one friend about the infidelity as a personal attack. He made me feel guilty for telling anybody. Recently, when I talked to his Mom about the business details of the divorce (placement plans, the intent to keep me and the kids in the house etc.) because I thought she might want to know, he got upset. He is paranoid about my “girl’s nights out” because he assumes I am trashing him to them (I have told them we are divorcing, but I haven’t told them about Schmoopie). He also assumes I am trashing Schmoopie to friends and family which isn’t true. I have trashed her to him (a mistake because it just makes him defensive of her), but around other people, even those in the know, I generally avoid acknowledging her existence altogether. As a result of his paranoia, I have stopped talking to his family about the divorce at all, even when they want to talk about it. I just tell them I need to change the subject. Why do I care so much about his reputation, and why do I care what he thinks of me. Why is it so important to me not to offend him? I guess there are several reasons. First of all, the final marriage agreement hasn’t been signed yet. So far he is giving me what I need, but that could change if he decides to get nasty, so I need to play nice. There is also the fear that if I do start telling too many people the truth, he will start telling people bad things about me and he would feel justified because he is just “defending” himself and his actions. He feels guilty unless somebody else calls him out, then he gets defensive and suddenly I am the enemy. I think the biggest reason, however, is that I don’t want to give him ammunition to justify his actions to himself. I don’t want him to feel good about the choices he’s made. “See how terribly she treats me? Thank god I’m not stuck with her anymore. I can’t trust her”. I don’t want to give him “evidence” that “Chumpinrecovery didn’t really love me”. He may think all of that anyway, but I don’t want him to have tangible evidence to back it up. When I am at meh, I won’t care about that anymore. Ironically, when that happens, I will no longer care enough to tell people the truth about him either.

    • Chumpinrecovery

      Hey everyone! I’m back, divorced and ready for stage two ‘ the journey to meh’

      I completely get your situation. My EX (I think I might never tire of reading that) is a ‘nice’ guy and this didn’t change. He cheated with at least three others over four years, basically had a double life. When confronted he eventually fessed up to quite a bit. This is a really difficult mindfuck to deal with. How can you confront someone who agrees with you. I was right about everything. He was wrong, he was the bad guy, he had let everyone down. I told everyone and he didn’t particularly like it but didn’t try to change the narrative. He agreed to all the divorce terms, didn’t hire a lawyer, provided information about finances, promised to support me and the boys for as long as he could. It’s a really clever defence when you think about it. How could I be angry? He agreed that he had hurt me, it was unforgivable, the divorce was necessary, I should get everything I ask for, he still loves me and thinks I am still the best person he knows. It’s exhausting then because you have to constantly defend against it. I have 25 years of knowing him, loving him, thinking of him this way so it’s really tricky to keep in mind what he had done and who he really is. I had to just be entirely focused and nice to keep this thing rolling on to the divorce decree absolute. Any minute I expected him to suddenly realise I was offended by his presence and his entitlement at pretending everything was fine and just disappear or disagree or just change. Its hard to remember that they are the bad guy when they are being so ‘nice’. I know what he is capable of, so I can never trust him but he appears so benign. I feel like it makes him more dangerous not less. I felt like I had to maintain the moral high ground here and I too wanted to help him maintain a good image of himself going forward if it kept him pliable. He thinks of himself as a ‘good’ man, a good husband and father. How he justifies the cheating in his own mind I don’t know as all I ever got was word salad. As long as he thought we would respect him for ‘doing the right thing when caught’ then that was what I was happy to suggest. How he lives with himself is his business. I just leverage what he thinks we think of him to my advantage. Anyway. That’s my 2 cents.
      Wow do I sound cold and Machiavellian ? I hope so. I was. In between the fits of crying and depression. ????

      • What you said resonates with me too. My Ex was so benign, didn’t bad mouth me, didn’t hire a lawyer, let me “run the shit show” of our divorce and custody mediation, child support is garnished from his paycheck and he even notified child support when he changed jobs. It’s terrifying to see this person who seems so…benign…but yet I remember him telling me bold-faced lies, laughing with OW all day at work when I finally figured it all out, when he maxed out our one credit card to pay for a hotel room, being a huge disappoint of a father to the beautiful boy we created. I see who he is and I also know what “benign” people are capable of. I don’t know what’s scarier, the observable bat-shit crazy or people like this.

        • conniered

          I’m the same. What is worst, the person who can’t hide their malevolence or the ones who can?
          I don’t want to get lured into a false sense of security but it’s incredibly difficult if he keeps agreeing to everything and being responsible. I just trust that he sucks. That’s my one immovable boundary.

          • Welcome back Capricorn and congratulations on your divorce.
            The settlemet speaks for itself.

            I’m no contact three years with a bump last August. Going to a wedding soon and the Limited and the whore will probably attend. In my opinion it’s difficult to maintain image control while sitting next to a classless whore no one likes. I can just imagine the whispers, “eww he’s fucking that?” A pig with lipstick with Mr Dickless.

          • Welcome back Cappy. Your statement about benign cheaters is spot on. I had one too and you must trust that they suck. They are DARVO masters and convincing to those who have no idea what that person really is capable of doing.

      • I missed you Capricorn, your wit, your knowledge, your compassion.

        You were busy doing battle. You will always have scars, but your sword is down, your arm is raised in victory.
        Victory is never sweet, but still, victory.
        I love and respect you Capricorn and am happy you are back home, in CN, in all of our hearts, where you belong.
        But, damn, the requirements to join, be a part of, CN, are rugged.
        I hope and pray the worst part is over for you Capricorn.

        Now, for you, most important, on to MEH,
        There are others here to guide you, not me, but still each one of you lighten my load and bring smiles and hope to my heart.

        Xxxxxx to you and your Boys. Each one of you has earned the title, MIGHTY!!!!

        • Peacekeeper
          I can’t tell you how hard it was to be away. Just had to choose my battles.
          Thank you for all your kind words. I store them all in my little positive vault for ammunition in the dark difficult days.
          It is the worst thing I have ever been through but honestly chumps are the most incredible people, inspiring and empathic.
          I’m not anywhere near Meh yet however much I feel I have recovered or tell myself I am. My biggest task now is to give myself time and not to expect too much, to recognise the trauma that this is and heal s-l-o-w-l-y. Fingers crossed. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

      • Capricorn, My situation was somewhat similar. He announced he wanted a divorce and confessed he was in love with someone else and she loved him. No warning signs, was serving me breakfast on a tray a day earlier and telling me how wonderful the garden looked. Like you I have ran the whole show. He agreed to everything didn’t get a lawyer just went along. He wrote a letter to my kids recounting the last 40 years and praising everyone including me ‘how proud he was of everyone blah blah blah’. I think that he thinks this is his penance for being a naughty boy and thus forgives his betrayal. I believe he truly is a man boy and never grew up. He’s like a kid always looking for the bigger piece of candy, always wanting to have more of everything. If he confesses ‘mommy will forgive him” and he can live with himself. These narcs only think about themselves not the damage to you or the rest of the family. I’m sure he thinks well I gave her everything she wanted so I paid my dues. Good luck to you going forward you have his number so you’ll be fine! ????????????????

  • Many years ago I was given this piece of advice “don’t worry what people think, if only you knew how little they do” . It’s really tough when you hear about the lies or imagine what awful things the cheater is saying about you. The fact is, decent people know the truth and are so caught up in their own lives and worries, they really don’t give your problems that much consideration. The crazies that do, well who cares what they think. It’s a lot tougher when you have kids and the cheater wants to poison their young minds. I think all you can do is tell them the truth and then let it go. Kids are smart and they know who is lying and who is telling the truth, the cheaters usually fuck up their relationship with the kids too. Remember they’re the sick ones and it may take time but eventually people, including their own family, see them for what they are. The havoc these assholes effect on everyone else is nothing short of criminal. Hugs to all of you chumps that have to co-parent with these morons, I know it’s not easy! ????????????

  • CL, great post. Newly Chumped read #1 again. Do not back down and don’t worry about anything but moving the legal process forward. This is not where you “character” shows anyway beyond smart and courageous for filing. If you have a vindictive ex, his or her character will show through in the process (noncompliance, lack of discovery, lying on the stand, legal games and wasted money…ask me how I know!)

    My Ex’s narrative (full revisionist history and many lies) to our kids is still what got to me and I hated that he told them he was secretly miserable for years, that he was a good guy for staying and trying, blah, blah, blah.

    If questions come from kids, I recommend answering straight as they come to you- no embellishment or character assassination from you is needed. Stick to behaviors… “Yes, he was unfaithful, apparently over many, many years, and no, I did not know.”

    My version of the story ultimately comes simply from how they saw me live every day, which matches how they see me now. I know to them it means Dad is a liar and Mom consistently loves and shows us that love daily.

    I am not sure I will ever have the chance, nor do I want to tell them all that I have learned about him because it would hurt them too much. They know enough and have been through enough pain due to his betrayal of me and the family. I’ll live with that as my version of the “high road” because knowing the depths of his depravity from my vantage point is still just the tip of the iceberg. It still won’t be the truth! I just let it go and focus on living today. Insert Phil Collins “I don’t Care anymore” song here.

    We only control ourselves- and that is actually good news! Why waste time on things you have zero control over? Keep the focus on what, and who, truly matter in life. It’s a blessing to be given a clean slate where the liars and weak-kneed family disappear. It hurts less when you see it as a gift and clarity and the truth to live authentically are what freedom is born of!

  • My X talked very badly about me for many months before the final discard. While I was genuinely worried for his well-being, catering to his whims, nursing him after shoulder surgery, he was secretly alienating me from his family and all the people in our social circle. You cannot do anything about it. Once I realized what he had done it was too late. So I am building a whole new life and social circle and it’s hard because I’m not all that gregarious, but also great and very empowering. Not one of those people chose to come to me to verify his stories, which hurts. I think he revels in his ability to destroy relationships as he kept encouraging me to reach out to his sister, who I loved dearly, even though when I did she ignored me. He knew it hurt me. It’s really sick.

  • “That’s why cheaters get so ugly when you do start speaking up — you’re tilting at that balance of power.”

    Yep, lived through this. “Why are you telling people about this? Quit talking to your friends about me. People don’t need to know. You’re making me look bad.” My answer, in essence, was, “I’m telling my friends about what is going on in my life. You’re sharing stuff about me with AP so suck it up and shut up.” I then got to live with the hurt feelings and sulking. There’s no winning so go ahead and share what you need to share.

    • Bepositive, I am living through the Split-Soul Cheater’s ugliness now. Heading into litigation.

      He tried hoovering, charm and self pity (with my mom as well), threats and rage. This is so fascinating to watch when you are now educated on cheater channels and have the right concepts and operational vocabulary. Let’s see which one is next. He really can’t surprise me anymore, can he…

  • The only people who believe the lies that X spews are his grown children and his work friends or associates. No loss there. They HAVE to keep their relationship going because they have financial skin in the game. Step son works for his dad…step daughter always had her hand out for big daddy’s money or help…friends and associates do business with X and get deep discounts and a lot of trading action. So it is no rocket science there. But I KNOW that THEY KNOW the truth…they just placate X regarding the lies because of their own poor character and do not consider me as being any “measurable loss” to them.

  • I think this easily makes the Top Ten list of best posts because of its relevance. As many of us found, the next circle of hell after finding out about the cheating is having other people believe we were partly to blame, or that the marriage broke up with 50% fault on each side.

    Our anger at what the cheaters did to us propels us away from them emotionally, but we don’t have as strong a mechanism for propelling us away from the hurt of Switzerland friends–they were our friends! they didn’t do anything cruel to us! As a result, there is a slow burn of pain from re-victimization when public opinion shifts to “well, the marriage must have been bad, chump must have been flawed, for the cheater to step outside the relationship for satisfaction.” And this stage of recovery is more frustrating because the Switzerland friends and those who believe the cheater lies appear to be sane and fair. As CL says, though, people who buy the lies have a vested interest in doing so.

    Practically, then, what can a chump do? First, tell people, lots of people, that your spouse cheated and some minimal details to support it (“credit card charge for Craigslist hookers”). This will inoculate some friends against the cheater’s inevitable lies and character assassination. Do this even if (or especially if you are trying to wreckoncile).

    As soon as you detect any Switzerlandness or waffling from a friend, in-laws, drop them. Trust me on this; any continued contact just exposes you to more mindfuckery when you are already reeling. Start with a clean slate of friends who fully support you and validate your pain. If this means starting afresh (and I highly recommend setting up & attending chump meetups in your area), do it. Trying to maintain Switzerland or tepid friends is just leaving the wound open. I tried to maintain a wishy-washy friendship with one couple for professional reasons (and, I admit, because it irritates my X), but I end up feeling dirty after each encounter with them. Time to cut the cord.

    • Tempest – you nailed it. Know your own boundaries. Anybody who waffles doesn’t have a place in your recovery. I was/am blessed by an amazing support system of friends and family who never doubted my truth. Never.

      And, I have discovered angels elsewhere… the woman working at the post office counter listening to KLOVE listened to me rant… the man next to me on the airplane (turns out he was a chump too)… my Pastor… I told my story until I didn’t need to anymore because it became more and more a part of my past with each passing day.

      I still struggle, and I may not be where I want to be, but I sure as hell am not where I was… and his narrative doesn’t change that fact.

      • ICanSeeTheMehComing,

        “I have discovered angels elsewhere”
        These words are so true,
        Yesterday I was feeling so down, so tearful over recent sudden tragic loss of my daughter’s young husband.
        Cheater can’t stand tears, tells us all to buckle up.
        I was sitting alone in a small public area, just to get away by myself, had a coffee and a bagel, sunglasses on. Tears were sliding down my cheeks. Suddenly a young woman, 2 tables over from me caught my eye. “Are you ok.?”She asked. I told her what had happened, it all just poured up.
        She got up quickly from her table and quickly approached me. “I don’t even know you”, she said, ” but I just have to give you a big hug.”
        I had felt so alone, but a complete stranger’s embrace brought so much happiness to my heart.
        Cheaters don’t possess such endearing characteristics, but there really are angels out there, there really are!

        Hugs to you dear ICanSeeTheMehComing, I am so glad there are angels in your world too!

        • Peacekeeper, this brought tears to my eyes. So good to know the world is full of kind people.
          Hugs to you.

    • Tempest! In a way Switzerland friends are even worse, if you lived with a narc, it was probably you who drove the friendship. So, if your friends decide to go Switzerland, you feel doubly bereft. I totally agree with you, drop them like a hot potatoe. WHen we are emotionally so vulnerable, we cannot afford to keep downers around.

      • Taking back my life required dumping much of my family. I asked for nothing after years of giving. They gave nothing. Not a single phone call to see how I was doing.

        It hurt for a long time. And yet the expectation was that I maintained my role as the selfless giver. Cutting the cord was the best medicine. I sat with my son last thanksgiving with a 21 pound turkey. We enjoyed the leftovers. Fuck being an afterthought to the shallow.

        • “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”

          Where did this come from? I didn’t write this?

          • There’s new spam software. Occasionally a comment will wind up in the moderation queue or the spam filter. Nothing to be alarmed by. Eventually, if they’re in moderation, I’ll see them there and approve.

              • DoingMe – lol, you are as paranoid as I would be.
                I would also hate winding up in the Spam barrel.
                Glad for the explanation.

  • At this point nothing that he says about me can surprise me. But you know what? I never cared much about what people think about me, they don’t pay my bills. The “friends” who pretended to be Swiss, they are no longer my friends, nor his as he ghosts them too. So, unless you have children, just ignore and laugh it off, because as CL stated you have no control over other people’s thoughts or actions. Just live your life, one day at a time, as difficult as it may be at first.

  • I have no idea “everything” my ex has said about me, but the things I have heard second hand are horrendous! I can’t believe people believe everything they hear, no matter how awful!

    If it weren’t for him I would have aborted my oldest daughter – heard it from my own daughter mouth and from my ex SIL.

    I’m a gold digger. Not sure how exactly that works after 18 years of marriage, we were both broke as hell when we got married. – heard it from ex SIL and friend. the guy I’m currently dating also got an Anonymous FB message from an account that was no longer active, saying, “you’re only her boy toy, she’s a gold digger. You don’t make enough money for her.” My gut says my STBX was somehow involved.

    I have a mental/ attachment disorder from living with my mothers abusive second husband for 2 years of my life age (3 to 5). 1… attachment at that age has already been formed, 2… I sought therapy because he had me convinced I was nuts. I’m not nuts… he is! – Though I haven’t heard this from anyone else, I’d give my left arm and bet it’s part of his narrative.

    I’m whoring myself out…. Because I did online dating A Year after I filed. He’s been whoring himself out for years! – Told to me by my ex SIL
    on my way with the kids to my sisters for thanksgiving. It occurred to me then that the only time she reached out was to relay hurtful information. I made the decision I would no longer respond to her texts. I just don’t need the stress.

    Oh, and here’s the best one! I’m the cheater! – told to me by my daughter.

    I’m trying to deceive my ex by lying and saying my daughters jaw surgery isn’t covered by insurance so I can take the money and go get a boob job! WTF! How does someone’s mind even make that shit up! – told to me by my daughter

    I was such a bad mom my ex pored his little heart into work because he just couldn’t be around me. That’s why he wasn’t present in our kids lives when they were little. Actually, he was at the office trolling Craig’s list, but alas, I really think he beleives his own lies!

    We are in a small community where he and his family are well known (I didn’t grow up here, he did). They know pretty much everyone, and at this point I’m just the local leper … shunned. I am working on not giving a fuck, but it is really, really, really hard. I suck at impression management, I just wear my heart on my sleeve. I despise being “fake” and I know that doesn’t help me, because I won’t play the part of the consciously uncoupled couple, who beams with overflowing forgiveness, grace and talk about my ex’s great qualities. Barf ????

    Thank god for CN… I need an outlet for truth, and no one in my town would believe for a minute the TRUTH.

    I don’t know how to reach MEH on this particular subject, but I’m trying!

    • I’m in a small community as well — and my STBX walks on rainbows here too. The added stress is damn near unbearable. I’m working my ass off to scorch earth this place … it will be at least a year, regretfully — but, I keep focusing on the light at the end of that tunnel.

      Your X is a royal asshole, especially for using your daughter to hurt you. So unimaginably cruel. I’m so sorry you and your daughter have to suffer this asshole.

      • Thanks Jesssmom! I too had also become very isolated during the course of our marriage. He didn’t get along with my small family (it’s only my sister and dad, both who live pretty far), so my they stopped coming around. My life revolved around his family and work associates. Of course now I see my errors in those choices.

        How awful that you have to deal with the cheaters sympathy ploy and you are left with the “bad spouse” reputation. It really irks me that people don’t see past their own perceptions to what is going on below the surface. I swear cheaters play a head game with other people’s sympathy! It’s like they know how to hook their sympathy and then orchestrate and steer it in whatever direction they’d like to go. Also, if someone did know the truth about his behavior, he also has the “I feel so aweful about what I did I just can’t live with myself” narrative.

        Well I know how awful being cheated on as an isolated spouse (or any spouse) is, so I clearly see the mindfuck you are going through!

        • Gees, I’m on my cell… please ignore my fat fingering, poor grammar and spelling errors

        • >>”I swear cheaters play a head game with other people’s sympathy!”

          Oh my goodness, yes. One of the things I had to slowly wrap my head around is that STBX uses good human qualities as weapons.
          – Trust him? He’ll betray you.
          – Take accountability seriously? He’ll reconstruct everything as your fault.
          – Have empathy? He’ll make himself the victim in every scenario just to get the attention.
          – Love him? He’ll use you as a doormat and expect you to keep loving him.
          – Have good character? He’ll mirror those traits to others while telling them that he’s the only one with those traits.
          – Love your kids? He’ll use them (and your role as a mother) against you.

          It’s all upside-down and backwards. No wonder it’s so darned hard to see it. We fell down the rabbit hole and didn’t know it.

          (And, no worries about the grammar, etc. I have the same problem — just about daily. LOL!)

    • That’s just unbelievable that so many people in your community could possibly believe all of those lies. Even before my marriage exploded, I would have been suspicious of anybody telling me that kind of stuff about an ex and I would question their motivations. Especially if I knew the person. I guess you are the only one in your community who has “Got-a-brain”.

      How old is your daughter? She should know you both intimately. Hopefully she will be able to figure out the truth someday when the things he says about you just don’t add up when compared to what she has observed.

      • Im not naïve to the fact that he holds more social value than I do. He’s a very successful business man, and has made a lot of people a lot of money. People love to be on the good side of the powerful, I know this, though I despise it! When you are working from what’s on the surface, he looks like a generous guy. Under the surface there is 10 years of excessive porn, hook-up sites, strippers and prostitutes, church interventions, sex-addiction intensive couples weekends, and tons of gaslighting… but people don’t see that. They see a guy who provided well for his family, (and the community) and a stay at home mom who (insert some flaw that justifies his behavior).

        Unfortunately while I danced the pick me all these years, I upheld his reputation, as I’m sure all sad chumps do. Smoking The hopium pipe had me believing that his community reputation might somehow transfer to his personal life, so I just kept my mouth shut about the reality of my life and my marriage. Yes, I was that chump, and I own that I played into his reputional narrative. You live and you learn ☹️

        Our oldest daughter is 18, middle 16 and our son 14. I try to be as upfront with them about his lies as I can, without injecting my own enraged emotion into the situation. As much as “I” hate him, my children should be able to form their own opinions about who he is. If they disparag him, love him, or whatever, I validate THEIR feelings and keep my own to myself.

        • “Social Value” Ugh! That sounds like when adults act like they are in middle school. People like that want to hang with the popular crowd no matter how mean, shallow or fake they really are. That’s why everyone wants to believe your Ex. They’re shallow and stupid.

          This one hits a nerve with me because I feel that is what STBX is doing. He wanted to impress the popular people and he felt Schmoopie would make him look better. She isn’t really any more attractive than me, but she wears more expensive clothes and her hair isn’t messy. She also hangs with the popular kids (she lives in the upper crust part of town). She is a fake just like him and knows how to be “charming”. I personally found her arrogant and condescending when I met her before D-Day, but maybe that was just my intuition kicking in. Evidently she has lots of friends. Of course she also has five kids, four still at home and no job. She lives off what she can get out of her Ex. I wonder what will happen if/when the money runs out and she can’t afford to stay there? Will she ditch STBX in favor of a richer man, or will he leave her when she is forced to move? Or maybe he will go broke trying to keep her in the style to which she has grown accustomed until the money runs out and then she will leave.

          Such a shallow way to live. It’s disturbing that STBX has decided to be that sort of person. I don’t think he was always that way or he never would have deigned to marry me in the first place. It makes me so sad.

          And more on topic, although he hasn’t said mean things about me to the people we both know (who he mostly just avoids anyway), I can’t help but wonder what he has said about me to the people he hangs with now to make them all think that having an affair with Schmoopie and leaving his wife makes him a great guy to have in your social circle.

          • “Social Value” Ugh! That sounds like when adults act like they are in middle school. People like that want to hang with the popular crowd no matter how mean, shallow or fake they really are. That’s why everyone wants to believe your Ex. They’re shallow and stupid”

            YES! ^^^^this^^^^^. Perfectly said!

            And….. I can’t stand fake! Yet it hurts to know fake wins out over character.

    • Got-a-brain- YOU have a multitude of brains,
      All those people, they Got-none.

      Hold your head high girl.
      Come to CN, we got your back!
      YOU are way above them, YOU are truth!

  • I’ve been working very hard on this point (ignoring the naysayers) — it really is awful to be painted as such a horrible person.

    My STBX pulled the ultimate character assassination of me when, of all things, he tried to kill himself. It is an act that immediately garners sympathy – pity – concern. Since I was leaving him, the predominant perception was that I must have been horrifically cruel to push a seemingly stable man to this.

    It is such a huge mindfuck when a disordered, rage-filled person (like my STBX) does something like this. STBX did it as “punishment” because I had discovered decades of cheating and lies, called him out on them, and was holding him accountable. The mask had dropped and there was nothing left but rage.

    My reputation’s only saving grace was that he left two, rage-filled letters for me. This led a couple of officials (police and mental health) to warn me to get an order of protection because he flagged for homicidality.

    But, most people don’t know about the P.O. or that I was warned he was dangerous. Most people don’t know the back story. I have some social media acquaintances and a couple of long distance friends … but, not too surprisingly, I had become a very isolated person during the course of our marriage. So, whatever crap he’s been spewing all of these years — that is what people know and what they accept. Then, understandably, most people just don’t consider a person could do something as horrible as this to punish another (especially when kids are involved).

    So, the accepted (and perpetuated) narrative is that I was a horrible, evil woman who drove her STBX to try to kill himself. And, on the flip-side, he’s come out smelling like a rose-filled pity buffet.

    Ironic as hell. I’m the “bad guy” — yet he broke me down for 20+ years, insidiously. Until there was nothing left. Yes, I cracked. But, for me, “cracking” meant realizing that no person deserved to be treated the way he was treating me and telling him I wanted a divorce. And even then, I still loved him. Even then, I was doing everything I could to ease the transition — because of our kids.

    A Couple of Lessons Learned.
    1. Don’t give your love, time, or energy to those whom hurt you repeatedly. When it’s repeated harm, it’s purposeful harm.
    2. Try to get ahead of the narrative. If you can’t, then you’ll need to try to get perspective — as I’m trying to do (still). I will be printing CL’s response to help keep a healthier perspective moving forward.

  • I guess the best thing a person can do in this situation is just be the best person they can be, tell the truth when confronted, be genuine and hope that the truth will be clear to the people who really know you and know that the things said about you just don’t add up. Easier said than done and it has to be especially difficult when the lies are believed in spite of all evidence to the contrary. Not much to be done about that except to do as many have advocated here and avoid the people who fall for the lies. When children are involved, you just have to do your best to be the sane parent and hope they are smart enough to figure it out eventually.

  • I’m not going to pretend. The lies he told after and the fact that my ex-SIL, who was my friend before I even started dating my XH, hurt just as much as the cheating. I knew she would support him, take him in, and be his sister. I get that. It’s family. But to go around and talk shit about me to my friends and other people who know me, it hurt a lot. I thought better of her, especially since she had been cheated on to. Everyone told me she would do it, but I gave her too much credit. Just like I did her brother and she Chumped me too.

    I’m a fighter by nature. And I wanted so bad to fight, to argue with her, to force the truth on her. But my good ol’ common sense won out. She won’t listen. My fight will only feed into his lies that I was the crazy and irrational one. I had to face I lost that ‘family’ too and just move on.

    I took her off my social networks and I’m moving on. She can say what she wants to whomever she wants. They will believe her or they won’t.

  • The best move: stop caring what people say about you. That doesn’t mean remaining silent.

    When someone suggests you “just grew apart,” you reply, “No, Jackass had an affair with MOW.”
    And they say, “Well, he’s a good guy so I’m sure he had a reason…”
    You say, “Believe what you want.” And walk away. You’ve just identified someone who doesn’t have your best interest at heart.

    • I’m so glad to hear you say this piece of advice. A friend who knows I have had trouble with POSH and that we were separated flat out said “well if I were you I wouldn’t have put up with raising a baby alone either” I responded by saying “No it was his choice to leave. I didn’t have a say in the matter”. She looked at me funny and said “oh he just decided to leave? I was assuming he cheated.”. It was like a knife through my heart since I’m only 9 months from DDay. For a brief second I thought about lying (because I am still mortified and embarrassed that I was cheated on while I was pregnant) but then I thought….FUCK HIM. I’m not keeping his secrets. So I said “yes he did. then he made the choice to leave”. And you know what….I actually wasnt that embarrassed. It was nice to finally say outloud that cheating was his choice. NOT MINE!

    • One of his female fans told me by the pool, well it is not nice to speak badly about an ex, after I told her that he moved right in to the OW ‘s house. I told her, well it is not nice to cheat either.

  • And Jesssmom’s point about isolation is important. The best way to combat the false narratives is to prevent becoming isolated in the first place. Maintain your other relationships, tell the truth to the people who love you. And speak up about abuse. Silence and isolation are your enemies.

    • LaJ:

      Yes. Your advice is pure gold.

      The worst part (in hindsight) is that I didn’t even realize it was happening. When I sort of did, I would chastise myself for being too focused on myself and my needs. ….. ah, damn.

      This kind of abuse is so insidious and multifaceted — which is why this advice is so important.

  • I am so sick of people judging those who are bitter and angry..Being bitter and angry is not a disease or something to be avoided at all costs..Someone who is bitter and angry at how cheating affects his/her life is normal..IMO being jaded after being cheated on isn’t a toxic personality trait ..It is what it is..These are emotions people feel after being betrayed..Moving thru these feelings takes a lot of time, similar to moving thru the feelings of losing somebody to death..The feelings of loss and emptiness/regret come and go for the rest of our lives..With time we learn to manage them in healthy or unhealthy ways..

    • Me too. Hasn’t anyone ever heard of the phrase “once bitten, twice shy”? This would most certainly apply to those who have been cheated on. Why wouldn’t we be angry, bitter, and/or lost on even the whole human race for a while? And it’s our prerogative how much we come back from it or if at all. This is a horrific assault to interpersonal relationships. I tend to write off the people who put us down as bitter and angry as having a hard time with sympathy or uncomfortable with raw, negative emotion. To them I say: *ANGRYVENGEFULSHRIEKING*

  • It is beyond hard to know you are being unjustifiably bad-mouthed by the selfish shit that you were fool enough to marry & have children with.

    I tell myself that the friends who believe his shit are not worth having, but it does hurt and I have to invoke every ounce of dignity I possess not to lower myself to his standards of muck spreading.

    If there is any karma in the world, I am due 15 unbelievably fantastic years at some point!!!!!

  • I’m so grateful that I was able to go total no contact with the cheater and everybody connected to him. He actually started his character assassination campaign against me on social media while I was in the process of dumping him. Literally. He was getting dumped by me on one of his phones while furiously posting and texting about how crazy and abusive I was on his other phone.

    It’s all out of sight and out of mind. I don’t talk to his friends, family, and coworkers. And I don’t connect with them online or through local social groups and events. If I was talked about behind my back, it’s nothing I could control and none of the people involved have anything to do with my life now. He doesnt have the power or connections to cause any trouble for me so let him say what he wants.

  • I think that one of the take-aways from this post is that Chumps should get their narrative out there early and often.

    For those Chumps who’ve wondered about whether they should come clean with the kids about their Cheater parent, this post serves as a reminder that Cheater Mom or Cheater Dad will have no compunction against lying to the children about the real cheater in the family. Cheaters lie and liars cheat.

    And what to do about it when you hear about the lies? There’s nothing you really can do. Bonus if you are able to laugh at the absurdity.

    In my own case, my CheaterX didn’t claim I was cheating on him. No, Schmoopie apparently accused CheaterX of cheating on her with me (rofl!), and then told everyone when she filed for divorce the same thing. I heard of this from a mutual acquaintance. I laughed and said that no way was I EVER going to go back to CheaterX. Anyone stupid enough to cheat with Schmoopie was too stupid for me to be married to!

    However, Schmoopie’s and CheaterX’s social circles don’t overlap mine at all. I could not give a flying fuck what either of them say. Everyone knows that Schmoopie’s working on Husband #4, and that the man is currently married. They may feel sorry for CheaterX, who’s now circulating the story that he cheated because he’s mentally ill.

    It’s clear that both of them like to create drama in their own ways. That’s really what all the lies are about, anyway.

    Me? I’m glad I’m out of it.

  • To help show that this is simply a part of the cheater M.O. …

    My dad, the serial cheater, told his second wife he wanted a divorce and that she had three days to get her and her three kids out of the house. Having nowhere to go, the second wife packed her kids up and moved several states away to her mother’s house. The following day — dad’s OW moved in with us.

    About three decades later, going through old storage items after my dad’s most recent divorce for another OW, I find the divorce decree from his second marriage. Keep in mind, she had to move several states away (no job, three kids …), so she couldn’t return for the divorce hearing.

    In the decree, my dad had claimed that SHE was abusive to him and had cheated. Granted, I didn’t like her at all … but, these were complete fabrications (well, projections). And, he got these lies on legal record. So sick and horrible.

  • I think I’m somewhat of an exception here perhaps because I’m a guy and / or perhaps because I live in a “very” small town? For some reason that I don’t understand Princess YogaPants has kept a very low profile even since she ran off over a year ago. A lot of people including some of my own relatives don’t even know that we are split. Her social media profile which used to be full of pictures of her adventures and lots of updates is essentially silent on where she is and what she’s doing. Her relationship status is blank and until she blocked me I believe she still had me listed as husband. On my side as soon as I stopped dancing the Pick Me salsa I show as “separated” with a back-dated date to DDay.

    To my knowledge she’s said nothing bad about me to anyone. Now “I” know that I’m one heck of a great guy but you would think that she’d be trying to justify chasing off after Senor Moneybags. It’s almost as if she’s ashamed of him / herself. Who knows? Fortunately for me a number of months after she ran off, she was tagged in vacation photos and the metaphorical cat was let out of the bag and my mouth was freed. It was such a relief to be able to talk to the neighbours and friends about what happened and especially to my children who had only vague ideas that their mother had a new guy.

    When I talk to people now I try to be factual (“she got a better offer”) and I have found that people are universally kind to me. If people ask for details I gladly provide them. I don’t know how people are treating her – but then, perhaps I’m closer to meh than I might have thought. I don’t even know if she is still chasing after her Schmoopie, if she finally caught him or if she just spends the evenings alone wondering WTF happened.

    • I think that it’s wise to refrain from details, while also being honest. Most people don’t want the details of your marriage dumped on them. If you can spin humor out of it, then you are obviously not the bitter ex. However, for a lot of Chumps, it’s hard not to relate every moment.

      Therapists and family members are there for the total gory details. Colleagues and regular friends get the annotated version. Practice responses like, “Yeah, I filed after I found she was looking for better offers. At least she’s now free to pick up on them” or “Ah yes, well, it turns out that I didn’t much like his girlfriend–now maybe if I had….” There’s nothing like a bit of a snark to show that 1) you’re divorced because your ex cheated and 2) you don’t give a damn about your Cheater because their character is on par with the stuff that sticks to the bottom of your shoe.

  • The evil things x has done after dday are worse than the cheating. The character assaults, the continued attempts at “revenge ” are more hurtful. But they are a constant reminder of who he really is. It’s hard to get past knowing he is telling these things to anyone who will listen. But at the end of the day it doesn’t matter if they believe him or not. I know the truth.

  • My ex prefers to save face and act like nothing has changed. It’s all about image preservation for him. While I feel left holding his secrets which drives me up a wall. I just want yo shout out, “I survived being with a narcissistic, serial cheater, a chronic liar, who preffered to gaslight and manipulate over actually caring about me. A man who put my life at risk on multiple occassions, almost lost us our house, and I finally found the courage to divorce him!” Then I worry about that getting back to my elementary aged children. Ugh.

  • I can honestly say that I really do not care much what people think of me. I live in the town I grew up in and have the history of the place. He’s from out of state. He isn’t going to convince anyone I’m a bitch, people already know that. I’m strangely comfortable with it.

    My friends and my family know better and they’ve got my back. The rest just don’t matter to me.

  • I have no idea the narrative deadcheater put out about me… I know with some folks (like his parents) he talked me up to increase his respectability, but I’m sure when it suited him to talk me down, he did that too.

    Sometimes character assasination comes in how they treat us, not just in the words they say. My new husband’s xw ran off in search of greener grass many years ago then tried to wreckoncile after she had burned the bridges. The fact that he declined her pitch at wreckonciling (of course) made the split all his fault.

    Their daughter graduated from HS (valedictorian) from a private school where my H paid every penny of tuition. We arrived for the grad and were treated like vermin by the Xw. To a casual observer, we might easily have been mistaken for “cheater/OWifetress combo” never mind we didn’t start dating until they were div for 12 years.

    I am a respected member of my community and unaccustomed to being treated like that. I made friendly with some of the other moms and made sure to get our truth out to just the right gossips.

  • In my case, I have no idea what narrative he is playing to inlaws and friends. All I know is DDay was when I was 7 months pregnant. I have not heard nor has anyone responded to my communication since then. Not even after my daughter was born. Everyone (from his side) cut all communication with me. This use to REALLY bother me. It hurts my feelings so bad because I loved his family. And I felt responsible and guilty that my daughter will not know his side of the family. My daughter is 6 months old and the only people she has met are the grandparents (no aunts, uncles, cousin, or great grandmother). But I have learned to realize it is NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY to build my daughters relationship with that side of the family. That is his responsibility as her father. I actually count my blessings now that I don’t have much interaction.

  • Yep. The one two punch. They cheat and everyone accuses you of horrible shit because the cheater was way out in front of the narrative.

    I was accused of not letting him see his children. (They weren’t his and if they had been, would have been by-products of cheating 5 and 3 years before d-day).

    A mutual friend (not anymore) told me how nice exhole was to have left me the house. And that the car was actually his and I had stolen it. I informed mutual that, indeed, exhole was most generous in leaving me the house we were renting from my mother…. and the car that my father cosigned for me before I was married? Did he mean that car? Lol

    • I believe some of my phrasing was… “and those kids are as much his as that house is..”

  • My ex had been throwing me under the bus for years. If he received any type of invite for couples/family events, he would come home and say ‘I told them I’d have to check with you first’, but then follow up by saying he couldn’t stand them and he had no intention of doing anything with them.

    We do have some friends that know he moved out and filed for divorce when our kids were little. But he denied schmoopie 1.0 then. No one, including me, could understand what was happening. I let him come back about 8 months later when the kids and I had already moved, settled, and the divorce was almost final. I was younger, we work in the same corporation, I had lost weight and had serious attention from the opposite sex. I should have finished it off then.

    Now that he’s left again for schmoopie 2.0 (our teenaged daughter’s coach), I have followed advice I’ve read here in the posting from CL & CN along the way. I state matter of factly and non-accusatory, ‘there’s something in life he needs that’s not being married to me. He left for someone else. It would have been great if he hadn’t tried to pursue this while being married to me’.

    I think it’s ultra soft. I am more worried about our kids and how this affects them. I’ve only made these statements to the people very close to our family that wouldn’t get off on spreading the dirt about us. I realize I am just done with his sorry arse.

    One close, former mutual friend and I had lunch a few months after Dday and I was settling down from the crazy. I told her I suspect people either think I’m a horrible wife since this supposedly great guy cheated and left or people felt sorry for me. I don’t like wearing either of those hats. She said most people would think he’s the ass-period for doing this to his wife and family.

  • My ex MIL had been cheated on and abandoned by her own husband, my ex’s father. She suffered miserably for 20 years because of it and she clung to her son (my then husband) in her misery. Daily phone calls to her son asking for advice, weekly lessons with therapists and happiness gurus, moving four times a year because each new apartment was the special one that was going to make her happy. This went on for 20 years (=80 apartments). Then her own son, who had been her rock through all this, cheated on me and ran off! He behaved exactly as his father had. But no -it’s all different! Her son’s behavior was a completely different situation because I was a horrible person who had in fact driven him away, and that’s not at all the same as her own situation where she had been an innocent victim. According to her I really hated my husband and wanted him gone so he really had no choice but to cheat on me (for five years) and to leave (even though he only left after I threw out the woman whom he was cheating with). Also I was suffering an injury due to pregnancy and was in a wheelchair and therefore I was “useless”. And anyway, I was white, and white women are evil. On and on. Then… my ex changed his mind and returned, and I chumpily took him back. We wreckonciled in a tearful renewal of vows front of friends and family. Though under the condition that his mother needed to be very far away from us. Suddenly ex-MIL’s whole narrative fell apart. So she came up with a new one. See, I had to stay married to look good for work. (Seriously?) I had to keep my husband forcibly locked up in a box. (I’m struggling to picture the logistics of this). It was all my fault that he was no longer calling his mother every day any more (not true). She broke into our house and started screaming “SHE LOCKS HIM IN A BOX! SHE LOCKS HIM IN A BOX!” while our children cried and rolled around on the floor with their hands over their ears until I called the police. Two days later my ex ran off again… and slowly I’m coming to realize that this is for the best. I predict that his mother will, unfortunately, never find happiness. I wish I could be happy about it. But it’s just tragedy all around.

    • Wow. Multi-generational spackling. That sounds rough ChompingChump. Hope you’re taking good care of yourself. It’s sad when people’s own trauma makes them less and not more compassionate toward others.

      • Thanks, K. I’m trying to learn a lesson. I dread the day when I become a MIL! hopefully I will retain some sanity.

  • My ex FOR SURE ran a smear campaign on me behind my back two months before he read me the “I want a divorce” letter. He told all his co-workers (and I’m sure others!) that I was “crazy.” And he did all this while we were in marriage counseling with our pastor (my ex-pastor the liar and cheater supporter!). He was one person in front of my face and then a whole other person behind my back. I will never ever forget what he did to me and I’m trying my best to turn this pathological liar, serial cheater and serial adulterer over to God. Oh, and my ex is a very holy Christian man of course. Lots of Christian “works.” I’m living my life and I don’t care what his friends, co-workers or family thinks about me! I know the truth! And most importantly, GOD KNOWS THE TRUTH, and God know ALL the truth!! God knows way more than I do and the liar/cheater/adulterer is in God’s hands now. He’ll deal with him and what he did to me for 24 years. I’m counting on it!

  • I don’t know if my ex went on a smear campaign with any of his friends or co-workers. I imagine he did. I know for sure he told the whore multiple lies. But that is to be expected.

    Honestly, I haven’t had ANYONE defend him and what he’s done. I barely talk to his family. After it happened, I texted my mother-in-law to let her know. But she knows what her son is – he’s just like his dad (her ex-husband) who is a piece of crap. Ex’s family knows what he is. As far as his friends? I have no idea what he’s told them. Nor do I care. I am not friends with them nor do I want to be.

    So all in all, I think I’ve been fairly lucky in this aspect of whole debacle. I know others can’t say the same and I’m so sorry and angry for what you have to deal with.

  • Admittedly, I got the leg up on -no holds barred-flat out telling people that my husband left me to “explore his vaginal options.”
    It was made very clear who my authentic friends were after that. Others just drifted away into the wind.
    After years of emotional abuse, mostly in the form of public shaming/humiliation, I became a shell of myself. I couldn’t make a decision without thinking about how HE would react. For example: He agrees we should buy only organic food, but also the lowest cost per unit item? When organic food is at least twice the cost of conventional? How exactly does that work? Do I buy the western family brand or the Horizon organic brand Mac and cheese? Oh wait. Now he wants me to make it from scratch to save money. (Even though it would cost more for all the ingredients to make Mac and cheese… Hence the convenience of it in a box)
    If I don’t do the right thing, then I get a lecture on how little awareness I have in regards to spending money.
    It is crazy. If I have habits he doesn’t approve of (like having a glass of wine or two in the evening) despite him indulging in the same activities but in a manner which is far more questionable (drinks during lunch break at work, and before picking up our son from preschool) he lectures me in a whining, begging tone, IN FRONT OF OUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY about how I’m not supposed to be drinking (I’m not?) And how one glass is enough. And how if I’ve had ANY alcohol, I’m drunk.
    It’s so embarrassing. He insists on painting me as a neglectful alcoholic and every time he does it, I want to walk, no run in the other direction and hide. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I hide from everyone and go off on my own because I’m mortified.
    Truth is, I enjoy my wine. It is a way I reward myself for not ripping off any heads, after a long day of toddlers and a bitchy cheater.
    When I ask our friends what they think in private, they’ve all said that they don’t see a problem with my drinking, but definitely see a problem with his, and absolutely find it appalling that he’d embarrass me the way he does.
    Just recently he declared he wasn’t going to give me any more $$ for groceries because I bought a bottle of red wine. (first in months, for dinner with guests). He literally said this, beer in hand. I stared at him, disgustedly as his bloated silouette stood there in front of me, blocking my sun.
    Ducks are lining, still a few waywards I need to get in line before I make my move.
    And then there’s this: He’s 46 and thinks, no is sure, he’s going to be the next Nirvana with his three piece. He is remarkable in how much confidence and love he has for himself, despite his obvious flaws, and sub par musical “talents”.
    He’s a joke.

    • He literally said this, beer in hand. I stared at him, disgustedly as his bloated silouette stood there in front of me, blocking my sun.

      That was poetic! (And hilarious, and also made your point).

    • Oh FedUpChump, it’s amazing you’ve lasted any length of time with this asshole. It’s unbelievable how entitled these fuckwits are and how deep our barrel of spackle is. Get those pretty little ducks lined up and leave him. He’s so full of himself I bet he doesn’t see it coming. And I’m sure you are ready for the shitstorm that will follow.

      I knew my asshat wasn’t reciprocal in the relationship. I told myself and some friends and family he was high maintenance but blah, blah, blah. One year out and I can look back over the last 20 years with him and pick out many moments that should have been a red flag to leave before and between 2 different schmoopies.

      The putdowns escalated but always in the form of a joke. One administrative assistant he had that saw under the mask, once said to me ‘I always thought you must be a saint’. The statement took me by surprise. My ex was Mr. Personality and Popularity, never met a stranger, had the ‘gift of gab’ and could talk to a rock, everybody thinks he’s a great guy.

      When I found out about schmoopie 2.0 (our teenaged daughter’s 20 something year old assistant soccer coach), it was like a double edged sword. I was devastated thinking about how my life as a wife of a doctor, my kids lives, future as a family unit was gone forever and also at the same time giddy with glee as I had a get out of jail free card in my pocket now. I thought schmoopie is one lucky, lucky girl!

  • I also remember a friend calling me from a party exhole was at with Owife. Told me exhole had been saying, to anyone that would hold still long enough to hear it, that I was “in whoring around.” I was at a bridal shower (10 girls stuffing wedding invitation envelopes and watching romcoms)…. He was WITH the mistress and telling everyone that I was whoring around. … … .. Yep. *face/desk*

  • I walked calmly away from a cheating husband of 29 years. In the divorce, I asked for only what was legally mine, 50% of the accumulated assets. I gave him little grief, I just literally left my home and possessions behind, and took the possessions I could fit into two suitcases. I moved far away, knowing instinctively there would be lots of impression management going on by “Charles and Camilla” as I call the ex & OW. Hell, Camilla even wormed her way into my sons’ graces.

    So why did it shock me when, about two years after our divorce was final, I got an absolutely scathing diatribe via FB messenger from an ex BIL (who had been gone from the family over 30 years!) accusing me of “taking the family fortune” and “stealing MIL’s jewellery and absconding to,a foreign country”. No better rubbish was ever written, but it MUST have come from C&C and their merry little band of Switzerland friends.

    I have to return and face that circus next week for the first time in eight years… For son’s wedding. I am NOT looking forward to having to spend five days being grey rock, especially in the company of my present partner. I intend to simply say to the ex “you are a complete shit” if he dares come near me for an impression-management greeting. I have warned my partner about my intent. Good thing I don’t enjoy drinking!

    • Oh, the urge to put a picture of self on Facebook in the hugest Liberace-style fur coat obtainable, and massive and obviously fake jewellery. I am sure you can think of an appropriate caption.

      I think a really long cigarette holder is also called for.

      As for the family fortunes, draping yourself across the bonnet of a 1974 Ford Escort in this ensemble should send the right message. Especially if it’s up on blocks in someone’s front yard.

      • Lol, Lola. I did one better. After the FB shaming attempt, I sent a legal letter to the ex telling him that unless I received a written apology from his ex-BIL, I would reopen the support claim that I had signed off way back when. Of course my threat held no legal substance, but I did get the apology…written in a pathetic scrawled note, posted to me in Uk from New Zealand.

        My conclusion? These bullies who bad mouth us are like little worms in the mud. They are nobodies. The fact they even bother talking about us means we are awesome enough to be taken notice of.

  • Marci having read your comments before on how your son and his fiancé intend to treat you at the wedding I send you huge hugs and hope this goes well for you.

    • Thanks…I’ll be relieved when it’s all over and I can retreat to my quiet life!

  • I wish I could know the stories ex-douchecanoe must have told OW. Homegirl is dumber than a box of rocks. She tried to tell me ***in the same conversation*** that I never had sex with ex-Douchecanoe which is why I should have known there was trouble and why he left me. BUT she also told me that I used him for sex to get pregnant and made him feel like a breedmare. Nevermind that a breedmare is a female horse, but how can it be both? How can I both simultaneously use him for sex and never have sex with him? How is that even possible? And that idiot believed it all?

    I guarantee ex-douchecanoe was not expecting me to blab about his affair. I think he was trying to leave me without the affair coming out, he lied about it when I asked directly the first few times. Took me like 3 hours to figure out there was an affair going on and the name of the woman, email her husband, and find out everything I could about her life (which admittedly isn’t much, but I know her entire family’s addresses and contact info were I to ever need it). After pick me dancing for a few weeks I wised up and posted that shit on facebook, tagging them in it. It was a “Congratulations on your affair and your decisions to leave your spouses and be together. Wishing you all the happiness you deserve! You are a match made in heaven!” He told me later when I asked why he was so mad at me that I was supposed to have been nicer to him and not so hostile. Yeah, you have an affair and then leave me for the OW, breaking up our family, take my house from me, move OW in, send my cats to a shelter without me knowing, and I’m supposed to be “nice and not hostile.” Dude. You seriously underestimated me.

    I know I wasn’t an awful wife though, because if I was the horrible person he claimed I was to OW then he should have known I was behaving exactly the way I always behaved. The fact that he was “surprised” by me being a total bitch just shows how out of character it was for me.

    OW seemed to believe I was a raging bitch so she was unsurprised and layed low most of the time. But Ex seemed totally perplexed.

  • yes, yes, yes, yes, yes to every single point. i wish i’d found chump lady sooner.

  • I needed this today. I just saw my MIL for the first time in 15 months since my world imploded and it was awkward, uncomfortable and left me in tears. My in-laws profess to be devout Catholics who never miss Mass. Yet, when their son/brother had an affair with a married mother who lives 1500 miles and who he believes is the love of his life, my in-laws chose to ignore the affair and focus on his narrative that he was unhappy with me which is why he divorced me. They welcomed the mistress (who is still married) into their home on Father’s Day for a family wedding 6 wks after our divorce was final. And yet, I am the crazy one, the mean one, the evil one, the out of control one, etc. I wish I could get over it but I’m not there yet. It makes me sad that my kids grandparents can be so cruel to me when I am the one raising their grandchildren and rebuilding the lives that their Dad destroyed.

    • The inlaws always take the cake when it comes to character assassination. Morals and principles are to be applied to other people. You know, those far away bad people that you hear about on TV. Our own dear flesh and blood could never do any wrong.

    • So many hugs. They sound horrid and were maskwearers like their son.

    • Gotta say – for too many people, church is like an extension of themselves. Church exists for them to validate their fuckupedness.

      This is not the case for everyone who is involved in a church, nor for all churches. Church has on the whole been great for me, and to me. But that’s because it’s NOT an extension of myself, and I don’t expect it to validate my fuckupedness. I go there because I need help and encouragement to live a good life, and I get it. And I need to be reminded that I screw up from time to time and need forgiveness, and I get that too.

      This means that I play by the rules of the church, not the other way round. But as I say, there are plenty who don’t, and who just ignore the inconvenient bits when they get in the way of Family Business, or anything else that’s more important to them than God.

    • Jenny,
      Words fail me of how I could possibly make your heart feel lighter.
      Your cheater’s family are blind to the truth.
      But, you live the truth, you are the truth.
      Hold your head high, Jenny, you are above them.
      Their blindness to the truth is their sin, not your’s.

      Many (((((hugs)))) to you!

  • Fuckface told everyone I was a swinger, and although he had been in on it, it wasn’t his scene, so he left. Seriously have no idea why he would make up this shit….projection much.

  • Ughhh…so initially I was the one who said lets keep this between us. Of course he agreed and said he wouldnt bring his ‘girl’ (shes 17 yrs younger) around our friends til after the divorce was final. That didnt last long.. he took her to the home of someone I considered my bestie (we are no longer friends).

    Kept my mouth shut for a bit (even when he locked me out of our home for 2 weeks)….kept defending him etc

    Today I found out that he is telling our friends (I use that term loosely) that Im not paying my half of the bills. I provided the bank statement to show that I am paying my half and I will be blasting it on social media as well. Im sick of his lies and BS!

    He is the one who filed for divorce but is now dragging his feet…but yet he tells everyone that Im holding on and wont provide my paperwork (been filed for 2 months!).

    Y’all its really hard to have a battle with someone who is so utterly unprepared ????

  • I too lived in many small communities during my marriage and Cheaters are often very much a big part of them, volunteering, working, and…trolling. Don’t think for one minute that these people are unnoticed and unjudged. We all knew who was stepping out…the truth eventually surfaces. Most people are busy, leading their own lives, and while many are “nice” to these people, many chose not to engage beyond a surface level. Also, there are beautiful children involved, active in their community as well, and they have no control over the shit hand they’re dealt. When it came to kindness though, we were all in, and it was always directed to the faithful spouse and the kids, before, during, and after the divorce.

  • Yep, I’ve had to face this too. He blocked any of our mutual friends likely to take my side on Facebook very quickly (wonder why?). I wisely went NC shortly after he moved out, but I know I’ve been trashed behind my back, considering some of the things he said to my face.

    He accused me of being a controlling bitch who had ruined his life and never let him do anything (so not true – turn that right round!). He also accused me of cheating on HIM and giving him genital warts. Funny he has them and I don’t. (I’ve not let him anywhere near me since they first appeared and I had myself checked at my last PAP test – I’m all clear). He told the OW woman we had no sex life – that’s true, but see previous point! I did too much housework and paid for everything – basically because he was lazy and left me stuck with all the bills he couldn’t / wouldn’t pay! I also trapped him into marriage (his idea, I never pressured him).

    He even told my dad that I’m “not sweetness and light to live with” and that “you don’t know her”. To which my dad replied, “er, I lived with her for 21 years, so yes, I do know her!”. Bless you Dad.

    Luckily, most people around me know me well enough not to believe his crap, and anyone who does believe him isn’t worth my time. It’s easy to keep your story straight when it’s the truth, but liars always slip up eventually.

  • CL knows well how they get us to share the blame for their betrayal: “One way chumps get chumped is when they agree to the “we just grew apart” story”. So they cheat and win because it’s easy for the cheater to start from half of the blame to finish with the total erosion of all the fault on the other side. Everybody forgets who cheated, they just look at the wrongs in the marriage.
    In my country (where honestly I think infidelity was invented) they usually have another way of sharing at least half of the blame of the infidelity, they say: “well, you two just didn’t get along together”. It makes people feel better, they can stay neutral because both cheater and cheated are guilty. They may also think that as long as they “get along” with their partner their relationship is safe. They don’t need to bother understanding the cause of cheating.
    When my sister told me this Switzerland “get along together” story I told her how we actually had often periods of harmony and cheerful fun together. We got along together when he was about to ask me money for his stupid business, when I had to give him money he would lend to his relatives and friends, when he had purchased something he couldn’t afford too big to hide or store anywhere, when I paid bills, mortgage, clothes and private schools and also before going on expensive trips or restaurants I had organized and paid. My sister saw in that moment some similarities with her own marriage (she’s using our father’s finances to keep her husband happy too), she never said anymore the “grow apart” or “get along together” stuff again.

    (P.S. *Italy* if you are wondering which country.)

  • All this. I was told a couple days ago that I “abandoned my family for two and a half years” because…wait for it, I went back to work full time then entered law school. I dared to do these terrible things to better our life. And as we proceed through divorce, the list grows. I just vent to my sister and ignore him. I figured people who know me would never buy this stuff. Also, mostly I think these guys save the worst for our ears because if they were to lob these insults by other people who know us they might get confronted.

    Sure, I ignore it but it has been truly traumatizing to be treated this way. I’ll never understand what drives this kind of vitriol.

  • I can only imagine what my cheater said about me ~ when he told me I was a saint.

    I wouldn’t think he would tell the OW or his friends for that matter that I was a saint ~ LOL He wouldn’t want them to think he was nuts for cheating and abandoning a saint would he? LOL

    When I discovered his exit affair, he called and apologized to me saying it was wrong and in the next breath wanted me to promise not to stalk the OW or come by her house because she had done nothing wrong ~ he initiated it and he pursued her. I laughed and said, I don’t have to promise you a damn thing ~ and she slept with my husband, so yes what she did was wrong. He agreed…. ???

    Anyway, who knows what he told her and his friends about me. Who cares.

    I know who he is and that’s all that matters.

  • my STBX told his mom that i was lying her and everything’s my fault. she confronted himabout the OW. what he doesn’t know is i’ve had my mother in law on my side all the time. he’s been telling his mom that he was almost starving living in Dallas but duh, he can afford to buy concert tickets for him and OW that cost almost $600. his mom was really pissed off with him lying.

    oh and he never sends me any money for his child either. i shoulder all the costs of daycare, etc. he does have money to go on fishing trips and get steak and seafood dinner for his OW.

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