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Dear Chump Lady, Why do cheaters all do the same stupid shit?

Hey Chump Lady,

My wife had an affair for a year with a married man. When she told me, she then blamed me for all the bad things I am. Seven months later she decides that we are going to separate as I have been too controlling. When I pressed her on how, she gave me what I believe are petty examples.

Anyhow, it seems to me that moving out is a major power struggle as she says she now taking control of her life. Please tell how she so easily carried on an affair if I was that controlling? I feel the real issue is that I won’t let her sweep it under the rug. By her moving out, she gets her space. In that space she can continue to ignore her own problems and continue to blame me. She’ll see no personal growth and continue to make mistakes.

I guess I will be better off for it, but I tire of her blaming me and talking shit to her friends. Why do all cheaters do the same stupid shit? Why do they all have a set of rules for them and a set for everybody else?



Dear Alex,

You’ve got a case of Untangling the Skein of Fuckupedness. Why is she doing this? Why does she think that? How can she be so oblivious/uncaring/deceitful/amoral/irresponsible…

Put down the skein, Alex. Trust that she sucks. Even though she cheated on you for a year and blamed you for it, you still gave her a shot at reconciliation for seven whole months. Your reward? She refused to be be accountable and moved out.

Next, in perfect chump fashion (BTDT, wear the crown…), you are railing at her, engaging in the “major power struggle” to get her to be accountable.

What you see as expecting a modicum of human decency, she sees as “controlling.” Yeah, that’s totally infuriating. However, she’s right in a way — you are trying to control an outcome you cannot control — her decency. Instead of asking yourself if this moral midget is the right woman for you, you’re trying to salvage the relationship. WHY? What did you think you had to work with here? The blameshifting? The pettiness? Her terrific spinach lasagna?

I can answer your WHY WHY WHY questions (she sucks), but the real WHY, is why you, or any of us chumps, engage in battles of accountability with cheaters. When someone refuses to be accountable? BOOM, unleash the boundaries.

“I’m sorry, we don’t appear to want the same things out of life. I want a faithful partner who respects me, and you want a place to park your ass while you create Tinder profiles. Yeah, I don’t see this working out. Here’s some Hefty bags for the immediate removal of your possessions.”

But, but!

“And if you act now, I’ll throw in some twist-ties.”

Trust me, this is a far more effective strategy than those counseled by the Reconciliation Industrial Complex — to wait patiently while she comes out of the “affair fog,” to not make any decisions for 6 months, to eat the immense shit sandwich of your pain lest your pain frighten her, to do a brutal self-assessment of your inadequacies, which drove her to cheat…

NO. The only question to ask yourself when presented with an utterly remorseless cheater is — is this relationship acceptable to me? And then, if the answer is NO, NO, IT IS NOT — accept the truth of your answer AND accept the truth of the other person. You want better AND they will not give you better. They may be incapable of it, they may not want to, it doesn’t matter. Either way, this shit remains unacceptable. We cannot fix other people. We just have ourselves and what we will tolerate.

Now then, you wanted me to answer a few questions.

I guess I will be better off for it,

Oh, you totally will.

but I tire of her blaming me and talking shit to her friends.

Well, that’s what cheaters do. But it won’t matter, because you can’t hear her when you go no contact, and her friends aren’t your friends.

Why do all cheaters do the same stupid shit? 

Because there are only so many ways to manipulate a person.

Why do they all have a set of rules for them and a set for everybody else?

Because entitlement feels great (if you have no empathy) and it is Good to Be King (or Queen).

Think about it — why is all the Stupid Shit Cheaters Say so damn similar? Why is there a script? Why is their behavior, even as chaotic and self destructive as it is, so predictable? Because there are only so many moves on the chessboard.

You do a Bad Thing and don’t want to be accountable?



Project it on to your chump.

Flip the channels — rage, charm, self-pity (which are all just kinds of deflection).

And when all that fails? Live in an alternative reality. One where your superiority is preserved and you’re free from all the controlling, horrid little people who Expect Things.

Alex, do you want to live in her Bizarro World?

She’ll see no personal growth and continue to make mistakes.

Her human potential is not your problem, Alex. In Bizarro World, every day is a carnival of fuckwit obliviousness.

Live in the truth and stay no contact. Better days ahead.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I agree Alex, how on earth could that cheater carry on a 365 DAY affair if you were “so controlling”.. yep got that here too!
    ???? end of.

    Cheaters have NO CHARACTER and they’re all about looks and personality (disorders). Oh and what they can get out of the chump… money shelter food etc.

    The smear campaign … I couldn’t believe it either! Like WTF! I was the faithful one! Working 24 7 etc.
    But indeed what’s advised is NO CONTACT and RISE ABOVE ALL THE SHYTE. Be yourself and only yourself in a non combative way.

    Walk away from all the rumours and you can sit back and watch as it all totally bites the cheater on the ass as they CANNOT control themselves and simply go on cheating on the next and the next and so on. I think the ex from here is beyond 7 exes now.

    Ahhhh the best revenge is LIVING THE GOOD LIFE.
    I had potential partners beating my door down after separation LOLOLOLOLOL. Ex had ummmm who cares!

    I’ve dated one. Kept that one. Love is grand when it’s actually reciprocated. ????

    Love you Chumplady.

    • I got the opposite. I wasn’t controlling enough. I let him have female friends because I trusted him and thought he loved me and was emotionally mature enough to handle himself around other women. I was so naïve. He only went physical towards the end, but he had so many emotional affairs before that and I had no idea how much damage those “friendships” were doing to my marriage. I allowed that to happen because I trusted him and had faith in him. Of course he didn’t recognize any of that. He thought my not playing marriage police meant that I didn’t care. Leave it to him to find the most negative interpretation of anything I did in order to justify his unjustifiable behavior. I bet Schmoopie has him on a tight leash. We’ll see how long it takes before he gets tired of that.

      • My XW told me that the fact that I trusted her when she went on work trips – that I wasn’t jealous, or possessive, or controlling – proved that I didn’t really love her. Sure enough, AP-cum-fiancé is a coworker, so I guess maybe in a way she was giving me fair warning.

        She’s got a headful of cognitive dissonance from being raised in a conservative Catholic country (Italy) and then landing in pretty hard-core feminist circles (US academia). I don’t know if she’ll ever work through the contradiction, as I have declined her suggestion that we go to couples’ counseling to “get closure on our marriage”.

        • Her cognitive dissonance isn’t between conservative values and feminism. Her dissonance is between ‘I keep doing bad things’ and ‘I’m not a bad person’. She’s struggling to make those two fit together. Of course, they won’t, because only the first is true.

        • Involuntary Georgian,
          Oh hell no. My ex suggested counseling for “closure” and I just didn’t respond. They have the attention of gnats so just wait it out and she’ll pass on to the next crazy.

          And as far as working through the contradiction, most adults are capable of doing that. Narcs will use anything as an excuse for bad behavior. For years Dr. Clueless blamed bad behavior on his parent’s divorce and his first wife’s cheating. Oh, the irony.

          Narc also went on academic trip after trip after trip. I wasn’t jealous. It’s work (I thought). I’m comfortable and confident in who I am and THAT made him nuts. He truly thinks love is being jealous.

          I read an article this morning about narcissists and it mentioned something like, they only ‘love’ people who worship them. Once a person stands up for him/herself, or disagrees with the narc even slightly, they think that isn’t love. Pathetic morons.

          I’ll have to see the smug face of Dr. Clueless tonight at a forum. Y’all give me strength not to hurl!

        • Please do not throw your money away on MC!!!

          My XHusbsnd ( Minister ) found us a MC and booked the appointments himself!!!

          Dear God … just more abuse and picking away at the skein. And in the end I think he just wanted to prove what a good guy he is and be able to say that he “tried”.

          In fact he kept saying “ I just can’t keep trying” Lucky!!!

          Like when his dick lead him off to greener pastures – it was a magnetic force and he didn’t have the super human strength to try to keep it from happening I guess.
          As if everything just kept happening and he was helpless to stop it.

          Please don’t buy into this. Each little action is a decision made against saving your marriage. Damage done.

          Maybe invest in some personal therapy. Money much better spent!!!

          • Oh, the marriage is already over: no worry that MC will prolong it. I think it’s amusing that NOW she wants us to go to counseling together, when she refused it while we were married. AP’s wife got the same flat refusal from him when she found out about the affair.

            Amusing, XW and AP have been in couples’ counseling from the day they mutually jettisoned their spouses, because of the “difficult circumstances” surrounding the genesis of their relationship (this according to my daughter; I don’t speak to XW really at all). I guess they weren’t so foggy that they didn’t realize that kicking off a relationship with dual adultery was going to leave a bit of a cloud.

      • @Chumpinrecovery, I read my thoughts in your words. My ex had no real male friends and I assumed that he could handle his female ones maturely (little did I know that his “white knight narcissism” was reeling all the ladies in). I “allowed” him to have those friendships (all these women would profess “your husband is so nice – he listens to all my problems”) as a means to fulfill his needs outside the marriage (I have worked in male-dominated workplaces my entire life so I have a number of close male friends – none of whom I propositioned). I thought me being the better wife was not to continuously police his moves but it turns out I should have – all these women he triangulated me with all “connected to him, understood him in a way I couldn’t and weren’t so demanding”. Yeah, because heaven forbid, a wife would watch a connection with her spouse.

  • Gosh!! This stuff never changes. I’m nearly 8 years down the road from D-day. 5 years since I finally dumped my cheating Ex. Well and truly past it. But reading Alex’s letter confirmed, these cheating personality disordered freaks never change. They will always exist. We must always be alert.

    Better days ahead for you Alex!

    • I know exactly these types are nothing more than sluts and they don’t care about anyone else!

    • Exactly cheaters DONT CARE about anybody else they are low life scum and I just walked away from mine I’m not putting up with lies and betrayal!

    • I love it Chump Lady and that one took me forever to sink in. I tried desperately to change the cheater! DOESNT work you can only control what you do!that was hard for me to accept because I want to help and fix everyone, but I’m not God! So I went back to church that has helped me immensely!????

      • so true!! I am guilty of the same ‘fixing’ problem. I heard someone say we overly empathic types could have an ’empathic personality disorder’ where we feel sorry for and even try to fix assholes, haha. Assholes got a right to be who they are! I was told to get a 3-legged dog instead, great advice. Yes, this is all in God’s hands now, and He will chose to fix, or not.

        • I am a big “fixer” too. My therapist says the only reason we stayed married so long (20 years) was because of my “over-competence” as a wife and partner. How ironic. I beat myself up for staying 2 years after first of many D-Days, because I listened to the RIC and really thought “we could get through it and be stronger” WHAT A CROCK OF PURE SHIT!

          Alex – cut your losses now and GET OUT. You don’t mention kids, so consider yourself fortunate if you never have to speak to her again. Trust that they suck. It is your life, don’t waste another minute trying to figure her out. She is manipulative and only out for herself. Don’t walk – RUN.

        • Anne, I met a three legged dog last Friday. Really. It is 200% 1000% fine.

    • Why do all cheaters do the same stupid shit?
      Because there are only so many ways to manipulate a person.

      YES! This. This forever. I wonder constantly how it is that someone in the Sichuan province and Brooklyn New York who have never met can use the exact same lies, excuses, and phrases. We chumps refer to these ism’s as coming from the Cheater’s Handbook as a joke, but I have legitimately wondered at times if some nefarious publishing company holds the rights to this shit. But CL is right, as usual. There are tried and true ways of manipulating the trusting, and cheaters have learned it by nothing more than cultural observation.

  • “When someone refuses to be accountable? BOOM, unleash the boundaries.”

    I wish I’d followed these wise words a LONG time ago. I’m not sure why I thought I could ‘love’ him into being a decent person.

    I used to think boundaries were so unloving. Yeah, that didn’t work out too well for me! ???? Lesson learned!! ????

    • Aussie, that is a million dollar question: why do chumps think they can love the cheaters into decency? WHY? When I look back at the shit I put up with, not just signs and symptoms of cheating, but other abuse I cringe in shame and boil with anger at myself. A bitchslapping cousin says it was my pride and desire to maintain a married status.

      Well, dear Alex, it is far better to leave a cheater and gain a life. And I AM proud of doing this.

      • When you first find out about the affair, you’re in that state of denial. You can’t in a million years believe that the person you married would betray you in the worst way possible. You fool yourself into believing that it was a momentary lapse of judgement on the cheaters part… and so you continue in denial bringing forth all the DDAYS until you discover Chump Lady and wake the fuck up… at least that’s how my story went.

        • Absolutely, we are in denial that the cheater lacks decency, that they do not share our values and morals. We take in the cultural narrative; they were unhappy, they are confused, in a ‘fog’, immature, don’t communicate well, having a mid-life crisis ….

          Once we understand that they do not love as we do, do not commit to relationships as we do, do not value what we had together as we do, are not honest people, THEN we can trust that they suck, and cut them loose.

          • It really is hard to wrap your head around this part at first, that they do not experience love like we do. They are shallow, their connections are shallow. I can’t remember where I read this, no doubt here at CN, but cheaters ‘love’ is experienced as admiration to them. If they aren’t receiving admiration as they expect they are entitled to, then they don’t feel loved. I had never thought about it in this way.

            Entitlement, self centered, they don’t view life with the same lens a chump does. They may decide after Dday that the chump provides better attention and kibbles as they realize the consequences about to be imposed will cost them big (wife, kids, friends/family kibbles will disappear/change). But the quality of the chumps kibbles are very low to them, they are not new and sparkly. They will always seek a higher kibble feed.

            I now see how he’s been this way all along. He’s this way in every aspect of his life too. Right now he is showering his young schmoopie with gifts and trips. She feels like the love bombing is love. And really, I guess she’s just as shallow as he is. They are both takers in life. Maybe this thang will last a while for them both. It wasn’t enough for me and will never be.

            I trust he sucks. I trust she sucks. I need to enjoy my children and protect them from these 2 idiots.

            • I’m seeing more and more that my cheater is drawn to selfish entitled women who are like him. I’m too practical, have been frugal, am honest with our financial status and he doesn’t like it. Even though it has landed him in a pretty sweet spot financially. He wants someone who takes what she wants no matter the cost or who gets hurt. Well, have fun with a high-maintenance slut. I just cry over the example my kids will see.

        • Agreed me too except I wasn’t covering up for him, I was angry as hell that he dragged out the marriage that long. Just be a man and tell me the truth!

          • Carol,
            When cheater’s family found out what he did, they were disgusted. They lived the three months of reconciliation and two more DDAYS with me. I leaned on them heavily, and this not coming out and being a man, this “deliberate” pain he put me through, is what made them change their relationship with him. Yes, be a man and tell the truth but “real” men don’t put the person they love through this. I married a boy hoping he would one day turn into a man… not gonna happen

            • Pret, you are a little luckier than I was with your in-laws: fuckwit’s family was so awful that I am still in a daze about their behavior. They were downright cruel!

              BIL#6 actually stole things from a weekend home we shared in a way that I got the blame. BIL#4 said “get your things out of here and never come back, you never did anything for us, never paid anything.”

              When BIL#6 got arrested I dropped everything and spent a month helping SIL. I lent money to BILs#1, 5, 6 and 8 and got chumped on all payments from all of them (my stupid fault). I cared for my bedridden MIL from spoon feeding and therapy to bathing and getting her shit under my nails. Not to mention helping with expenses that were never shared by all BILs. Cooking, maintenance, thoughtful presents, etc.

              Anyway, I “obeyed” BIL#4 and called a truck and took every damn thing I ever put into the shared weekend home and donated it all to charity. I heard they put a huge padlock on the gate… hahaha. What a clan of bastards.

              • Clearwaters,

                Bastards indeed! It makes me wonder if I’m looking back now, was it really worth it for Cheater? I sure hope so. I’m 8 months out from final DDay, living in another state and I’m lucky enough to still be close to his brother and sister. As a matter fact, I’m hoping that once he remarries his “soulmate” they will gravitate to her family and my daughter and I will resume spending holidays with his family… at this point, they would rather be with me than him! He hasn’t seen them since Christmas Eve… hope it was worth it!

            • OMG! It’s like I wrote this. My ex husband’s family have been so good to me through all this ordeal. They were so.angry at him after all he has done to all of us. I feel the same way. I was married to a man child. This guy is regressing if anything. I just couldn’t do it anymore. We just got divorced just last week. He posted in FB how sad he was and everyone else is just so concerned. It makesme.sick.

        • Pret- you are so right. I blamed it on PTSD from the military. PTSD doesn’t make your penis fall into a vagina. Took me a long time to make peace with that. I made excuses for him, even claiming homeslice was a skilled seductress and it was all her fault. Yes, she sucks because she knew he was married however he had the responsibility to do the right thing. His wants were more important than my feelings and our kid’s feelings.

          • I blamed it on his mother trying to have aborted him. Because she was suffering so much at the hands of her husband. I used to wonder why she put up with so much shit, she was an excellent accountant and could have supported her sons. But throw the first stone….

          • PTSD …. I attributed my X’s odd behavior to that too. I “decided” he was in horrible emotional pain.
            Naw, it was just low character rising to the top. I was grasping at any outside reasons to understand Xs developing self-centeredness and his verbal cruelty of my family. Now I understand he was attacking me by proxy by picking on my kids and parents.
            What a colossal asshole.

            • Attack by proxy. That sent chills up my spine. I wondered for years why the ex attacked my family. I thot it was an isolation tactic, but this makes sense.

        • Oh, yes the denial. When I asked my wife if she was having an affair, she answered “You don’t want to ask me that” – and for months and months I really thought “Maybe she isn’t having an affair. Maybe she is just not answering out of principle.” Willful self-delusion is a powerful force, in us as well as in the cheaters.

        • That is how my story went as well. When I met Chump Lady and Chump Nation, everything, all the dynamics of entitled narcissists, became crystal clear. Dynamics that are as old as the hills. We learn how to be decent to other people, but we don’t learn how to demand that people be decent with us and how to draw the line at abuse, any kind of abuse.

        • Agreed 200% mine would laugh and call me a stupid bitch behind my back while I was out getting dinner stuff prepared. It was unreal my kids overheard him.

      • ClearWaters:

        It’s been 5 1/2 years since D-Day and 2 1/2 years since my divorce was finalized.

        While my life today — the single life I was forced to create when XH firebombed our 40-year marriage and left me for his married Howorker — is peaceful and mostly fulfilling (I’m still fine-tuning), I read columns like today’s and wonder why the hell I wasted the first 6 months of our 3-year separation trying to salvage the marriage?

        Why didn’t I say, “I’m sorry, we don’t appear to want the same things out of life. I want a faithful partner who respects me, and you want a maid, babysitter, laundress, cook, scheduler, travel agent, medical assistant, and income contributor while you fuck every vag within a 10-mile radius. Yeah, I don’t see this working out. Here’s some Hefty bags for the immediate removal of your possessions.”

        And NO, those conditions were NOT acceptable to me, but I still tried to singlehanded keep the Titanic afloat! Why, why, why?

        Then, ding ding ding! Something you said in your response today really hit a nerve… “A bitchslapping cousin says it was my pride and desire to maintain a married status.”

        Yes, this! 100% this!

        Yes, I WAS proud of my 40-year relationship… Yes, I WAS proud of my “married” status… in a world when relationships seem so disposable, it looked like XH and I had beaten the odds and would carry the ball all the way to the end zone. After all, we were already planning our retirement!

        But I found out that our marriage was just as disposable as all the others, and nope, no way, I just couldn’t let that happen! I had to fight to keep what’s mine! I then proceeded to do EVERYTHING wrong in my efforts to get him to see the light, to change, to be sorry… and even worse, to convince him that I was good enough for him. Of course, none of it worked because he’d already made his choice months before – and I wasn’t it.

        So he kept moving forward, and “we” were history. I then felt even worse about myself because I’d begged and I’d Pick Me danced, and he must have seen me as a pathetic, desperate, needy, foolish castoff. And, I still ended up alone and divorced (horrors, I’m a “DEEVORSAY”), with my self-respect and self-confidence in the toilet. It’s been a difficult journey to reclaim those (I’m still fine-tuning), but I know Tuesday is coming.

        Thanks for your comment… it helped to illuminate a truth I wasn’t willing to see.

        • Yes this^^^. I worked hard the last 3 years (married 30+) and ended up wearing myself out, Sunk cost. I can say at least I tried. But the cost to my heart, self esteem and head has been huge. I would have liked to been like some of the other Chumps and moved on immediately. He was a master of manipulation and cruelty. I still have moments when I can’t square this guy with the one I married. he’s quiet the actor.

          • Spoonriver: That is precisely what our marriage counselor told me after XH walked out of what would become our last therapy session… that he was a “poser”… an “actor“.

        • Not sure if pride was really a factor. More of a rather naive belief in his being a good guy deep down. Well, he isn’t nor was he ever. Still rebuilding, but much calmer than I have been in the 20 years with him. No longer my circus, no longer my monkeys. Life is good as it is.

          • This was my error; overtime I came to know he was negative, unhappy and self-centered, but I still believed he had a good heart. I believed, for example, that he really did love his kids.

            Nope, none of it. Rotten to the core.

            • I think for me it was a little bit of pride in having a marriage that had lasted 20 years when so many around us failed, and also that I thought deep down he was a decent person.

              I was raised to believe that we should recognize the good in everyone, that there is a bit of the divine in all of us, but totally ignored the signs of evil in him (and some others I’ve encountered in life). I am so hurt that the cheater saw this in me and took advantage of it. Sad to say, but I’m not sure I will fully trust anyone again.

              • I felt compelled to believe that my ex-boyfriend ‘had a good heart’ in spite of repeatedly hurting me even after So told him that these things hurt me! Eight months later, somecof my friends and relatives still seem to want to place ‘blame’ on me with statements like, ‘Bur he’/S a nice guy,’ and ‘Maybe he didn’t lie really you.’ I didn’t say that he should be burned at the stake, but I am sick of these people telling me that I didn’t observe what I clearly observed and is factual. I have decided to reduce contact with these people even if it means I have only a few friends.

              • Someone told me recently sometimes after a divorce you have to start all over again and delete the contacts. I was down because a lot of my friends and family defend the stbx and someone even sent a wedding invitation addressed only to him to my house. It hurt because we’ve know her since she was a teenager and she had no reason to be ugly to me. It was like a weight lifted when I heard that. I finally sent her a pm and told her send any further communication to his address, congrats on wedding. My own grandmother said I’m hateful because I asked her to quit calling me talking about him, but oh well. I’m not worrying anymore about people who don’t care about me.

              • This so totally…spackled all over the bad bits and projected the goodness of his ‘intentions ” that apparently were the opposite of what i thought. Fast forward 21 years and all those bad behavior s were all true. He even had the nerve to say “I’m not who you think I am” one time out of the blue which i put down as a random comment….as usual . Should have totally Grilled him on that creepy disclosure on the spot.

          • Rockstarwife.

            It is so good to see you standing up for yourself! I hope you are feeling better because you sound strong! I think maybe you need new friends if they are questioning your perceptions and arguing how your boyfriend made you feel. And distance yourself from those relatives too.

        • I’ve studied quite a bit about biases in the last few years as I’ve worked toward my bachelor’s degree, and there are actually numerous applications to both the cheater and chump mindset. I wrote about some of cheater biases on my blog, but I want to address the chumps today who I hear beating themselves up over believing the gaslighting or minimizing the cheater’s actions in order to preserve the status quo.

          There is a cognitive bias referred to as ‘normalcy bias’. The basic idea is that when months and years go by without incident, our minds become accustomed to comfort and safety. We unconsciously begin to believe that since a disaster has never occurred, it never WILL occur. It results in the inability of people to process something negative that they have not experienced before or cope with a disaster once it occurs. They also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious explanation for the disaster.

          Chumps, the 9/11 commission identified one of the biggest intelligence failures as coming from ‘a failure to imagine that the attacks could even happen.’ We were all lulled into complacency because of normalcy bias, as many of us were in our marriages. I just want to point out to all of those you weren’t imagining that an attack from within would destroy your family, you are not alone. And, you are NOT an idiot. You were biased in a certain way, and now you aren’t. All we can do now is try to help those still stuck in their bias see the truth of their situation so they can protect themselves in the future.

          Be kind to yourself – you weren’t stupid. The mind forms many of these kinds of biases unconsciously, which is why many of us feel like we’ve ‘woken up’ from a delusion once we’ve been forced to change our mindset about our spouses. Yes, in a way it feels like we’ve been robbed of our innocence, but as for me, I’d rather be wiser about the world than suffer treachery of this kind ever again.

          • ” 9/11 commission identified one of the biggest intelligence failures as coming from ‘a failure to imagine that the attacks could even happen.’ We were all lulled into complacency because of normalcy bias, as many of us were in our marriages.”

            Yes. Just yes.

          • honeyandthehomewrecker,

            Your normalcy bias description is so profound and I think that is a HUGE part of why I cannot get past the horror that has occurred. I truly believed that my husband would NEVER cheat, and after 25 years of nothing even coming close to giving me reason to believe otherwise, the revelation of his infidelity decimated my entire world and sense of reality. I cannot believe that I was living with a stranger nearly the entirety of my adult life. With the instantaneous removal of him from my life after his abrupt abandonment and immediate replacement of me, I still struggle to even determine my own identity. This “new normal” is nothing that I ever fathomed.

            • Still I Rise,

              I get it.
              After my 35 year marriage to THE DOCTOR ended 18 months ago (divorce final last month) and the unraveling of his long term massive deceit and how he discarded me AND our children, “hope you’ve moved on…”

              just left me reeling. I must have been living with a stranger and deeply loving a man I did not know, since I was 19.

              Wow…just, wow…

              but I will say this. I get it NOW.

              And the person who came to their senses is ME. Anyone who can inflict so much pain on the 4 people who loved him the most, and appear or actually be utterly remorseless,

              is NOT someone I could ever feel safe around. Or even like, to be honest. And so, the man I “lost” is a man I lost, and the man who is my “wasband”

              is not a man I want in my life. I only pray my children somehow survive this long term with their self esteems intact.

              Which of course, the DOCTOR will never know or ask about or ever, ever, dare think HE might have done something “suboptimal” (a favorite minimizing phrase of his).

              I’m close to believing in my heart and head, that I am glad he’s out of my life. I just cannot wait till all the legal and financial issues are truly fully resolved and I won’t have to trust him with anything again.

              He has to be admired or he will discard and it matters NOT, that his behavior is not admirable. I actually believe He’s a bad man.

              And yeah, there are times that embarrasses me. But I’m getting better

        • Sandals,

          Did you copy my story down to the very timeline?!!
          Fuckwit actually tried to reconcile (he had finally done some math) and his arguments were “I miss your cooking” or “Don’t you miss your little bunny?” (barf). Not a word about me. If it hadn’t been for CL and CN I would be moved by this manipulative “tenderness”. Not a glimpse of true remorse.

          Since I decided to go NC he flipped the rage button. So much for “little bunny”

          But, as for our pride in holding things together with the best of intentions, as CL says to us chumps, “you will never be smug again”.

          It is far less work to look good than to be good. You just have to act to look good. Being good hurts.

          • OMG…the reconciliation reasons… Right around New Years, my cheater claimed he broke up with his Schmoopie. But he lies, so it might have been that she broke up with him. Regardless, he wanted to talk to me and I reluctantly agreed. He told me he wanted to reconcile because… ‘he missed the farm’, ‘he missed being outside’ (he had moved out and was living in an apartment), and ‘the kids wouldn’t see the dog everyday’. WTF!!! Not once did he mention he wanted to reconcile because he loved me or missed me or that he loved or missed his kids!! I countered with a list of boundaries and demands that I would need before I’d ever consider a reconciliation attempt. Needless to say, he reconciled with his Craigslist Schmoopie. I’ve since gone no contact (as much as possible with kids) and we’ve been divorced 2 months.

            • Yes. Mine wanted to reconcile because otherwise “The lawyers will get it all” with a variation of “The lawyers will get everything we’ve worked so hard for”. Not an “I love you” or an “I’m sorry” in sight. Asshole.

          • What is it about these posts… i got “I will miss yr cooking” …after 21 years he was serious@@@@ there are too many parallel things these fuckwits tell us that make us crazy.

        • Same story for me 40 years and desperately not wanting to be a divorce statistic. Used to wake up in bed at night wondering that the fuck happened to my life, could not accept he’d just quit our marriage without trying. My vows meant something, I was in it for better or worse, forsaking all others. One of my faults was not being able to watch any violence on TV, or anything with children suffering. My bad! Only in early stages of divorce all very hard, never thought it would happen.

          • Sounds so much like my experience. Apparently my fear of scuba diving and lack of mountain climbing ability (and the fact that I was ok with him doing these things without me!) were really bad character flaws of mine. How could anyone be expected to live with someone like that!! At the end, he came to a few counseling sessions for show, never put in any effort. Wouldn’t even sleep in our bed…no explanation. Wouldn’t admit to the OW. Just came home from Army orders overseas, completely checked out of our marriage (and now I know, in a year long relationship with a Singaporean woman–who scuba dives). Apparently he thought marriage vows were just the obligatory serious part before a fun, expensive, dress up party. I too never thought it would happen. I thought he was better than that.

          • I know exactly me too mine was messing with every Howorker he could find. The joke was onME!

        • Yes, Red Sandals, I have been married 41 years and am keenly reading the comments of long term married members of CN. I have been twisting for four years. Adultery has been denied (I don’t believe that), but internet cheating has been verified and screen shot. When I started reading here three years ago I recognized my husband’s character and behaviors. He’s in counseling, but I refused to go with him other than the first session so he could not lie his way out.

        • I have often wondered if pride was my problem. I am so ashamed of how I begged, danced, and bargained. However, some of that is a normal biological process. We were actually bonded to our spouses. I am reading The Journey from Abandonement to Healing and it explains a lot of the biology behind our reactions. I am sure it made my ex despise me, but I feel relieved knowing that I really couldn’t help it. It is normal. Of course CN has helped validate that too.

      • Me too even though it’s been insanely difficult financially I’m not putting up with lies, sneaking around and affairs!

  • Fantastic response, Chump Lady! I’m one who kicked my ex out on D day and I ended my marriage immediately. This was years ago and I wasn’t aware of any forums on infidelity. I went on instinct and based on what I’d seen on D day, I KNEW that he truly sucked.

    My big mistake was that I didn’t go no contact immediately. He pulled a major pity play on me to the point where he was trying to paint himself as being the victim. For months, he was in my face 24/7 begging me to take him back, promising me that he’d changed, etc. I had absolutely no intention of doing anything with him, other than to divorce myself from him, but I would have done myself a huge favor and spared myself from all of his drama if I had just gone no contact immediately.

    Based on his persistence and the way he was “acting”, one might think he was a remorseful serial cheater. Oh no! He was still actively courting other women as he was begging me to take him back. After a few months of his pity play drama, I did go no contact and that will never change.

    Alex, if she suddenly starts to act “remoseful”, either before or after her move, don’t buy it. My guess is she will continue to do her thing because that’s what they do. Trust that she sucks and trust that she will continue to suck. No contact is the only way to go. It is truly the best gift you can give yourself.

    • Yeah, mine was reaching out repeatedly to me to connect all while having “amazing sex” with someone else. Which he posted on an open online chat forum ???? Fucking moron.

    • My ex also did the same. Begging, crying, pleading, flowers. I was the love of his life, he wanted to spend the rest of his life holding me, I was his best friend, he “fucking loved me!!!”, telling me to stop being so stubborn and bullheaded and stand by him “through these difficult times…” (his cheating)

      Meanwhile, behind the scenes, POFing like a mofo, hookups left right and centre, he bragged online to his friends about his life being a “revolving door or women”.

      I had no idea he was doing this. The betrayal, when I found out, was immense and put me in therapy. My therapist said that was the more manipulative behaviour she had seen in a long time.

      Broke nc a few weeks ago. I called him out on that behaviour. He’s not sorry. In fact, he blames me. Said if I hadn’t “run out on him” in the first place none of that would have happened and we would have still been together.

      No remorse. Absolutely astounding.

      • I got no remorse ever. Everything was my fault or my oldest son’s fault. The astounding part is that during a few weeks period where we talked about reconciling. I got lectured about what I needed to do if he was going to take me back.
        It’s mind boggling that I allowed it to happen…….I sign the divorce papers on Friday!!!!!

        • That’s exactly it. Early on I remarked to ex that he was the one who cheated so why did I feel like I was the one who had to beg him to take me back. He agreed that was messed up, but it didn’t change anything. Eventually I stopped pick me dancing because I did have some pride, but I still smoked the hopium for a while leaving the door open a lot longer than I should have thinking that he would eventually get his head out of his ass, er come to his senses and come home. I eventually initiated the divorce when I realized his head was too far gone to ever find its way back.

          • Oh, and then he later remarked to our daughter that I didn’t fight hard enough for him. Why play the game when you know it’s rigged.

            • No matter what you do, you lose.
              Example and huge red flag that I ignored; he accidentally hit a curb while driving and proceeded to yell at me for not watching where he was driving……people wonder why we’re so bitter…..

              • Mine would yell at me if I pointed something out while he was driving, something to be careful of, then yell at me if I didn’t.

                Ya can’t win w/these folks; you are to blame for EVERYTHING!

              • Oh no, WormFree! If only you had been watching him carefully enough, his dick wouldn’t have wandered into that vagina (Assuming those were the other parts involved, here)! It’s ALL YOUR FAULT!

            • You don’t have to fight for someone who wants you. The issue is clearly his. So is the loss.

      • Mine too ZERO remorse nothing a 53 year old half bald man, lol. It’s unreal and two schoolaged kids he makes me want to VOMIT, lol

    • CC007, same story here. He packed up and left on DDay and went totally silent. About 2 months went by and he started blowing up my phone day and night begging for forgiveness and for me to take him back. I’ve wished so many times since then that I had just maintained NC, but instead I engaged and took 2 more months of additional drama and abuse. I never entertained any thoughts of getting back together, but I was civil and supportive to him because he seemed remorseful and like he wanted to get his life together. I thought it was the right thing to do for our kids. Many of our friends thought he was on the right track too and encouraged me to wait it out, but deep down, I didn’t trust him–he’d already shown me that I couldn’t. And turns out I was right because while pulling out all the stops in showing me that he’s a “better man” now he was also kindling a relationship with a new OW on the side. Glad I trusted my gut and not what he or anyone else was saying. These people truly do suck.

      • Mine was on Tinder while professing his undying love and wanting to come back to me and the kids. When asked about it he was looking for ‘friends’ which is partly true as he is not manly enough to have male friends. Anyways that sealed the deal for me. He still tries to run bs about how he went on Tinder because I gave him no hope, yep my fault, oh and it was just a few dates because he was lonely,,,seriously dude if you where a real man you would stay single, work on yourself, make friends with your wanking hand and do everything in your power to make right. Just not good enough.

    • Agreed the only bad part is if you have kids they are caught in the middle!

  • As far as her shit-talking you to her friends goes – just ignore it. If any of it gets back to you, tell the person – “well, apparently she was ‘free’ enough to have a year-long affair behind my back so I’d say I was pretty shit at ‘controlling’ things.”

    If the rumor is about some other failing of yours, just say “well considering that all of this only came out *after* I caught her cheating, you should probably consider the possibility that she’s just trying to make her adultery look better now that it’s public.”

    If *she* tells you that you were a bad husband, you say “well, we’re getting divorced now, so you can tell it to your lawyer – now take the rest of your stuff out of the house or I’m dumping it on your new lawn.” Once she has all her stuff out of the house, just say “this isn’t my problem any more. Tell it to your lawyer.”

  • My ex used to “disappear” for 3 days at a time, I was not entitled to know where he was. That’s some type of entitlement isn’t it. The ow used to tell my ex, how she used to abuse me (ex said he didn’t care at the time). I hope there’s a special hell for these people. Making a new life for yourself, is their special hell. Apparently I was supposed to deal with the ow, she dumped her kids, is a alcoholic, stalks people, junkie. She actually asked me to feel sorry for her. You would have to feel sorry for someone who wanted to be with my ex. I think she has been on chump lady! She been very pissed off recently. I haven’t lived with my ex for 5 years in may, time to celebrate ????!

    • Not for three days at a time – but we did have a night apart a week (his suggestion – I’m such a chump). When I realised I wasn’t allowed to even “ask” where, or with whom, I knew I was done.

  • Alex, you said, “She’ll see no personal growth and continue to make mistakes.”

    These were not mistakes Alex. Those were deliberate actions she repeated for a YEAR. She chose to lie and deceive.

    And you have no idea how many dates (fuckimg strange) she went on until she found the current fuckbuddy. The disordered live a single life while married. What you know already is enough to dump her ass. You have nothing to work with.

    • The disordered live a single life while married.

      This sums it all up in one sentence.

      I often wonder why they bother to get married, but the truth is that they cannot be responsible adults and need a home base. A chump do do the hard lifting.

      I will never be the parent to a partner again. My own children are more grown up than he is!!!

      • You are so right Lucky! That’s all these disordered cheaters want is a grown up at home to do all adulting so they can do whatever they want. My ex husband was more than content to sit by and watch me do all the heavy lifting in our family, relationship, and home. After DDay when he walked out, I swore to myself that I’d never be some grown-ass man’s mommy again! My 12 year old is more mature and self-sufficient than his 40 year old father could ever hope to be!

          • So right! I came to the same conclusion! They wanted the chump to do all the heavy lifting and hard adulting while they sat on their asses, had fun and avoided responsibility. As long as we were ignorant and happily played our parts then they were happy to keep us as the ‘official’ partner. Once we find out and are angry, hurt and less of a good wife appliance – happy schmoopie is the easier relationship to maintain for them. And they are all so lazy and responsibility avoiding…

    • Excellent point.
      Please remember that all of this was intentional.
      This was done to you, on purpose.

      • Reminds me of an article that gave me a LOT of peace and validation… (quoting Katherine Schafler regarding affairs)

        Their decision utterly devastates the ones closest to them, it causes an elective traumatic event.

        You can’t avoid most traumas in life, affairs are an exception to that rule.

        Let me say it again, affairs are traumatic, and the very nature of trauma is that it impacts and infiltrates every aspect of a person’s life. This include’s a person’s physical health, emotional safety, job performance, sense of confidence, traumatic events impact everything. This is tragically what many people don’t understand before engaging in what might appear to be ‘harmless’ behaviors, like flirting with a work colleague, reconnecting with an ex, etc.

        Infidelities don’t just happen, they’re a series of small but powerful choices that cumulatively result in deeply destructive betrayals.

        • This articulates so well how I have felt during my recovery…all those tiny little powerful choices that evolved into a deeply destructive betrayal of the relationship that should have been the most intimate, fulfilling relationship of my entire life.

    • “She will see no personal growth…..”

      I also struggle with this sentiment for my ex. Part of the initial attraction was his lost boy needing someone to “save” him.
      For a while, he allowed me to pretend that I was saving him with my love. But then he got bored and decided to implement all sorts of fun mental torture on me just to see how far he could push my boundaries and drive me insane.

      I eyeballed him a few days ago, walking downtown, with some new woman and his youngest son. Things looked mighty frosty between the two but hey …. not my problem anymore.

      He is stuck in his life and just repeats the same cycle over and over just with different women.

      In our very last conversation, I told him that he needs to wake up and see all the good in his life. He has parents that love him and are always there for him, children that are looking to him to lead (with something other than his dick), women falling all over themselves to love him and bring him up in the world, a decent job, bills are paid, and an ok house….. and he still grumbles….

      I cannot save him. And he is not interested in his own personal growth. If it doesn’t feel good right.this.minute, he’s not interested, and no one is the boss of him…

      So, I need to refocus on the positive people in my life who are focused on their personal growth and ask me along on their journey….

      But, my heart still aches for him.

    • “The disordered live a single life while married.” Pure gold, Doingme. I wish I’d had this hanging over the couch in my living room to read every day. Then every interaction would have made sense. I so grateful to be free of that life-sucking cheater.

      Great humor today, Tracy. You just keep getting better.

    • Exactly it’s horrible and there are decent people who will love you and be faithful!

  • I believe the similarities boil down to a spiritual reality. Cheating is downright demonic, evil. Yes, evil is not original.

    • Yah, and the more they cheat, the more evil they become, geometrically.

    • It is evil. The look in his eyes the last few time I saw him was disturbing. His eyes were black and empty of any humanity. Dead eyes. were they there all the time? It’s like he let evil in and it showed.

      Was he always evil? How did I and many other people miss it.

      • No Spoonriver, he wasn’t always evil. He may have been weak, but at first, he wasn’t evil. He become progressively worse, however, with each act of infidelity, until he reached a point of no return, and became evil.

      • SR, yes their disturbed, hollow eyes…

        I will never forget them on final DD. Once you see them for who they are, they cannot hide it.

        Truly disordered individuals.

    • I remember telling my Cheater that he was Godless. That he should know that no matter what he had done, God loved him and held him, and that with the knowledge of this love sustaining him, that he could look at himself and not disintegrate spiritually.


      • I was lucky, mine is a God fearing man. He left me and was baptized because God loved him more than me (his words not mine). Look at the facts, He was healthy, in love, good looking, very well off financially and starting a new passionate life even married again. Me, I had cancer, no job (sahm) was living in poverty and well 20 years with the disordered had taken its toll on me (that was my fault). Who looks like the favored one on the surface….

        He is stupid, I was happy for 20 years just having a family and kids. He was miserable and restless. I would hate to live like that, he never got inner peace.

        But this being said, it took a lot of work to get to the place where I could see that. The pain of feeling abandoned by my EX and then God was horrible, soul crushing and was almost more than I could handle. Lucky for me only my EX abandoned me, God stayed by my side the whole time.

        • He made a deal with the devil, that’s what makes him seem favored in the short therm. There will be a price to pay in the long run, however, while you get eternal glory.

        • TheBestMe – Someone explained to me (an atheist) that it’s a fallacy to equate God and Santa. If you’re good and pray every night, he doesn’t give you a pony. If you go to church, he doesn’t cure your cancer. Good things and bad things happen to people, but if you lead a moral life and take care of one another, fewer bad things happen. God created the universe and everything in it and should be praised with no expectation of special favors in return. God offers love, guidance, and support through the hard times.

          The idea of bargaining with God or using your success as proof of God’s love suggests that ultimately you have the power and control in the relationship.

          That you are as God.

          I don’t know, that seems kinda narcissistic.

          • Actually there are a great many supposedly “Christian” churches in the U.S. that teach Prosperity Doctrine that is exactly that. Being “good” (including writing the preacher big checks) will bring you prosperity, good fortune, good health and good luck.

            I know because my Ex goes to one of these churches and “God has blessed her union with OM and look how they have prospered”. It sounds like the Ex here is going to one of those places as well.

            • Yep, my narc ex attends a prosperity church with his Christian counselor schmoopie, too. False gospels are deceptively attractive to those who use deception as a weapon. What a terrible irony!

        • I don’t want to seem Glib, TBM, but maybe God felt you deserved the best life for you, and swooshed Ex away, lifting a burden from your life. Ex sounds great on paper: day to day, as you know – not so much. And he’ll never be happy, he sounds ungrateful for a start.

    • Agreed DM! The fact that they all say the same things, behave the exact same way, absolutely annihilate the one they have vowed to hold dear . . . it’s like they were all given the same script from the Devil to follow. I absolutely believe it is 100% evil.

  • Alex-

    Expecting decent behavior from a cheater is like getting into a battle of wits with the epically unarmed. It’s a fools game in either scenario. Beside untangling the skein of fuckedupness, you’re projecting your decent behaviors on her. It’s pointless.

    Go no contact because as soon as she realizes there might be consequences, the charm, pity and rage channels will flip.

  • Yeah, I got the ‘controlling’ line, too. And I was ‘judgmental’.

    My fuckwit spent the last 9 years of our marriage running all over the world and within the states working away from home, including exotic Middle Eastern locales. He was gone repeatedly for months while I took care of everything back home. Pets, kids, home, finances, everything. I didn’t complain and was the perfect accommodating Chump.

    In 2008 I had taken him back after an EA (probably PA too) and so I was vigilant about taking the temperature of the marriage and was an expert pick-me dancer. He assured me repeatedly that all the running around was not about me but was simply about him making hay while the sun shone on his career. He had a great existence with all the fun and none of the responsibility while he was gone, and when he was home I performed the pick me polka with scratch cooking, great loving, and ate the shit sandwiches he served up daily by ignoring me peppered with his petulance and occasional rages.

    A year ago he left me by sudden abandonment while I was away on a business trip, and sent me an e-mail as the notice that my life was over. We were married 28 years and all I deserved in his mind was an e-mail.

    The sparkletwat is a 25 YO co-worker, our daughter’s age.

    After all those horrid behaviors he still screamed at me that I was controlling and judgmental and it was all my fault. He continues to declare it was all my fault as he abandoned his daughters and moved to Europe to be with Schmoops. He will miss both daughters’ various college graduations this summer.

    Simply, they are disordered. As CL says, their opinion is meaningless and you might as well get advice from the homeless dude in a tinfoil hat.

  • “Dear Chump Lady, Why do cheaters all do the same stupid shit?”

    Because they are stupid and they think you (the chump) are stupid.
    It’s like a 3 year old pushing the boundaries, but when they are confronted with the punishment (serving divorce papers) they suddenly realize that they’ve gone too far.

    • This, exactly. If you have solid boundaries, they feel unloved. If you always give them the benefit of the doubt, then they are contemptuous of you for being “weak.”

      I started to really detach once I realized that he would always treat me as badly as I would let him, and that marriage with him would be a never-ending battle to maintain my dignity and self-esteem even as he tore it down. I don’t want to live like that, so I won’t.

      • “I started to really detach once I realized that he would always treat me as badly as I would let him, and that marriage with him would be a never-ending battle to maintain my dignity and self-esteem even as he tore it down. I don’t want to live like that, so I won’t.”

        This – exactly this.

      • Yes. This exactly for me too. What a humiliating way to go out since I was most assuredly the stronger, competent one in this marriage.

  • Thanks, CL! Though I’ve become mighty (mostly with the help of CL & CN!), I still come here for wise words that act as a booster shot to keep me strong. Today’s advice to Alex is a reminder to me. That’s why I still come here to read, and why I eagerly became a “Patron” of your blog. Also I’m all about paying it forward so that others in pain may find this sanctuary of understanding and healing.

  • Alex, I could have written this letter word for word a few years ago. I was too controlling according to my XW too. So controlling in fact that she could do whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted, with whoever she wanted. So controlling that she carried on a relationship outside of our marriage for years.

    Control? Hell, I didn’t even have any influence over her.

    I struggled with the skein for a long time too. And all I ended up ever being was a lightening rod for all of her problems. Trouble at work? My fault. Trouble with her friends? My fault. The kitchen counter’s messy? My fault. She’s gaining weight? My fault.

    You have nothing to work with, so as hard as it is to do, you should move on. Trust us when we say that you’ll be much happier (and I cannot begin to tell you how much less stress you’ll have in your life).

    • Same here!

      I’m the controlling one yet she gets to do whatever the hell she likes. Oh and yes, it’s all my fault too.

      I’m in the process of moving on. Just biding my time to ruin her summer with the idiot and to make sure he doesn’t get to spend any time around our children. Pieces are falling into place. If it all works out I’ll have a lovely story to tell and a fitting end to 20 years of gaslighting, etc.

      We can do this Alex. I came here 6 months ago and hated everything I saw. So negative. So depressing. I sooo wanted to reconcile. Just finished CL’s book and back here again and now it all makes sense. The person who said they threw out their spouse on D-Day and went NC had exactly the right idea.

    • Blindside – Your “faults” are hilarious and so so familiar. It was my fault he didn’t get a raise, had a cavity, didn’t like his niece. You name it. And I was labeled “judgmental” when he threw tantrums and punched his fist on a wall. Yes, idiot. That was a stupid thing to do. No, I didn’t think it was ok. You’re a moron.

      Thank the stars I don’t have to babysit that man-child any more! Gone is the black hole of happiness.

      And, tomorrow is Tuesday.

      • What is it with the punching thing….walls tables furniture…. everything had a dent in it. I suppose its the not so subtle threat your face is next.

    • On the flip side, my X *was* a control freak, and I managed to keep my privates, private.

      I, on the other hand, was not controlling–let him stay out at graduate student parties until 5 a.m., go for drinks with students after seminar classes, head off to international conferences while I held down the fort at home. Was he grateful and loyal in return? Noooo….his main source of fuckbuddies came from the graduate student pool and conference colleagues.

      “You’re too controlling,” is just a way cheaters deflect their bad behavior onto us.

      • Amen T,

        They flip the narrative. Whatever they say is usually the opposite of the truth. If they’re breathing, they’re lying ????.

  • Their mental growth stopped at age 6. With a real child there are lessons learned and growth. With the disordered there is permanent 6 year old behavior. There’s nothing you can do about it except leave the circus behind.

  • Be strong, Alex. It sounds like you know who YOU are–you are not controlling. Hold onto what you know about yourself, discover what ther character traits you may have not known you have (such as personal resilience, ability to grow, etc.), and fuck all what she claims you are.

      • Ecactly. Almost no chump is controlling. Inherent in being a chump is being so in love and/or laid back (or subconsciously purposefully ignorant) about a cheater’s flaws, and patient and supportive about his/her dreams and desires. Many of us made huge life changes to please our cheater’s whims, all for naught.

        Cheaters on the other hand…controlling is their middle name. Often subtlety at first, and then outright manipulative when the chump starts to catch on.

        • Wow. So well said. I was just lamenting on this the other day. I put up with so much and made sacrifices because I thought it was worth it. All for naught. This is why I don’t know if I could ever get married again because I don’t think I could give so much of myself to another person again and I think you need to be able to do that in order to have a successful marriage. Ex never got that.

          • Chumpinrecovery, same here….”Because I don’t think I could give so much of myself to another person again.”

            • How about marrying someone who doesn’t require you to ‘give so much of yourself’, someone who lets you give LESS and sacrifice LESS, because THEY are also giving, sacrificing, investing in the relationship!

              And a relationship that grows gradually, so we give a bit, and receive a bit and give, and receive, bit by bit investing more AS WE SEE that there is reciprocity, and are re-fueled by that reciprocity, instead of being love-bombed into a huge up-front investment. Doesn’t that sound more do-able?

              • Except that in my case ex was reciprocating in the beginning and only gradually stopped. I think I was ramping up the kindness and the sacrifices while he was ramping his down. When I got married I was all in, he wasn’t but that didn’t become obvious until many years later. When I married him I was so confident in his love for me. The red flags didn’t start to appear until after we were good and married. What it all comes down to is that he didn’t follow through on his vows. Marriage means something to me and I can’t risk making those kinds of promises again.

              • KarenE – that does sound like the right way to form a lasting relationship. I hope I can find someone willing to try it that way, and that I am willing to be ok with that too. I know there is hope, but right now it feels so far out of reach.

          • Chumpinrecovery, my feelings exactly! I feel this experience (at nearly 60, I was 54 when he left) has left me emptied of the capacity to tolerate anymore bullshit. Having dealt with so much disorder, sometimes I think my ‘dial’ is on overdrive, so that at the first sign of self-absorption, inconsiderateness, obsession, or whatever character deficit, I would blow a gasket, or become depressed or shut down. I’m just not up for another person’s baggage. This, I say, knowing I’ve got my own, which is enough for me to handle!

  • I had one particularly testy knot in my skein that I picked at for about 7 years…I would be driving along and think “why why why?”. I was simply NOT ready to face the truth od him sucking THAT much

    “but but but, he bought a dog from a shelter, there must be good in him!!”

    “Why did he tell me he was divorcing me because I was a bad wife, but then he didnt leave?”

    The truth was that he sucked THAT much. He was THAT mean and THAT selfish and willing to inflict any amount of pain on me to spare himself the discomfort of admitting what he did.

    and it took me about 8 years to get to the point of understanding

    • This!!!!!!

      I just couldn’t face it. Consciously I knew he was a POS but I couldn’t bring myself to HURT him!!!!

      I’ve been picking at mine for 6 years now!!!

      I think I’m almost to the point of leaving. I just can’t do it anymore.

      For all appearances sake we are doing well but I know he spends his time sexting with prostitutes and viewing porn but I’m the bad one because his reason for doing that is that I don’t pay any attention to him. Poor baby!

      • Sunflower gaze, you deserve so much more than this revolting troll! You deserve peace, serenity, and to feel cared for and valued by EVERYONE you allow in to your previous life!

      • Sunflower Gaze-
        I’m sorry but your cheater is doing more than just sexting prostitutes and looking at porn.
        The act of trying to make everything in your marriage look perfect from the outside is all just image management for the outside world while he does his dirty on the down low……ask me how I know. I spent almost 20 years in that toxic relationship hell. #IT.SUCKS.

        You deserve SO MUCH MORE and it is out there but you need to leave.

        You are merely existing and going through the motions of life as long as you stay with the cheater.
        You are a character in his theater of drama where he controls the narrative. Break free & LIVE life on your terms. There are 7 billion people on the planet & that assclown is not the only man.

        I’m not saying it is easy BUT it is worthwhile.
        If I can do it, anyone can.
        I have the pain tolerance of a gnat (no offense to gnats) and I survived the brutal anguish to come out better on the other side

  • Chump: “The ship is sinking, give me a life raft!”
    Cheater: “Oh stop being so controlling!”

    Chump: “You spent $10,000. from OUR account at a strip club!”
    Cheater: “Stop trying to control me!”

    Chump: “Why the hell do we have a bill for STD testing!”
    Cheater: “Stop spying on me, you are so controlling!”

    Chump: “No, I will not agree to cancel our child’s IEP meeting so you can spend the night with your smoopsie!”
    Cheater: “Why do you think that you have to control every situation! You are not my mother/father. I am an adult!”

    In my opinion accusations of being controlling are one of the hallmark of gaslighting, and ironically … control!

    If someone can convince you that advocating for YOURSELF is in fact controlling, and that your attempts to make decisions about your own life, (by gathering information and understanding things that are of interest to you) is an infringement on their rights, then they have gained control over you and have paralyzed you from making choices in your own best interest. Trust me, you’ll get a lot of this during the divorce process! “No you can not have access to my financial records, stop trying to track my every move!” They create a narrative that your self advocacy is an attempt to control them. Fine, let that be their narrative, no need to defend yourself! Let your attorney “be controlling” for you!

    “My right to swing my arms in any direction ends where your nose begins. Your right to swing your arm in any direction end where my nose begins”

    • “…I am an adult!”

      Not really. Not only are they mentally children they are the worst, most ill behaved children. Incorrigible.

      • “She tells me off more than my mother did”

        Ex’s opening statement whenever we met new people…. or friends of his.

  • I’m in the middle of this chumpy rollercoaster. As I’ve posted before, married for ten years to a serial cheater. It’s always my fault. He says he has a fight or flight reaction and since he doesn’t want to discuss anything as an adult, or be prepared that someone isn’t always going to agree with the bizarre things he says, he drops trou with the first woman that has crosses or has crossed his path previously.
    We had a long talk yesterday but after talking in circles, he left because he was frustrated with ME. I don’t compromise, I’m controlling and don’t accept feedback from anyone. He’s battered me down with so much criticism, I continue to blame myself. What if somehow I could have been more accommodating???
    His friends apparently tell him that obviously since he’s so unhappy with me, he should leave.
    He’s in therapy for himself now, as of 1 week ago. He says he is working on his issues for himself and he doesn’t think that even when he’s “good”, that this relationship is going to be right for him.
    At some point he decided he didn’t like me anymore. I feel like it could be considered more like “hate”. But he acknowledged that yes, he really didn’t like me as of “recently”.
    I think I could not be more pathetic. I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle. But I cannot imagine not seeing my kids half the time. My kids would completely freak out as he’s never around and treats them terribly when he is. I’m so lost..

    • You need to get away from this disordered freak. Find a lawyer and get your ducks in a row. Get divorced. Work with your lawyer to get as much placement with the kids as you can. He may or may not resist depending on the circumstances. Try presenting it as you doing him a favor by not making him take the kids half of the time. Document everything. If your kids are old enough they may have some say in custody. If he gets 50/50 placement that will diminish child support, but the fact is he probably won’t be able to handle parenting and the kids will be with you most of the time anyway because he doesn’t follow through. Document everything if it might help you to get full custody later. You can’t go on like this. You deserve better.

      • That’s exactly what happened to me. 50/50 court order but she lives with me. He pays a pittance in support because of the income disparity and still plays the victim. My lawyer says he’s seeing this happen more and more.

    • AllieCat

      The talking in circles is their forte. You can talk and spin forever and they won’t get it. It just wears you out. They are indecisive, weak, immoral, entitled, monsters. I wish we could put them all on a small Island and let then prey on each other.

    • Its not hate its contempt and its the only thing these evil bastards truly feel for anyone. I am so sorry you are going thru this.

    • So are you willing to stay together as roommates for the children’s sake? I got that offer but declined. I have wondered since if that could have worked

      • Cheater. Messaged me on Saturday about ‘a path home’. Messaged this morning about ‘ reconciling’. It’s been three years. I did not reply. I’ve moved on.

        The thought of going back there made my stomach lurch. I’m having so much fun! Fun I could never have with him around.

        The thought of him repulses me and he is like a stranger I met in a dark alley who robbed me. I want nothing to do with him.

        Besides I’m 200% sure that he’s got his harem in full swing!

        I put it down to a moment of self pity on his part. Because had he ever thought of how the children and I felt we would not be where we are.

        My children are still in pain. Last night my daughter cried a flood of tears clutching a family photo. Saying that she misses her family.

        That pain is what plagues me and makes me angry. But the relationship between he and I? That I don’t grieve.

    • Alliecat–

      If he’s a serial cheater, you don’t have a lot to work with. Dollars to doughnuts he’s tried therapy before and it didn’t stick. For him to change, he has to want to change. Going to therapy is a way to dangle hopium in front of you so you’ll let him carry on.

      Staying married for the kids isn’t helpful when they’re having a dysfunctional situation modeled as their normal. It sounds as if he treats them badly, and most of the time he’s gone. You don’t want your kids to internal that dynamic as the normal married relationship. Even if they know in their heads, they’ve had to live a different life.. Start lining your ducks up. See a lawyer. Start journaling how many nights he’s out, how many times you take the kids to soccer practice, play rehearsal, the doctor’s, etc. Your goal is to show that you are an active parent. This may not change the custody arrangements initially, as most states are 50/50.

      However, if a parent is very disordered, then they typically find ways to weasel out of having the kids on their nights. That’s why family scheduling software (Our Family Wizard) works so well. You have a calendar and then all communication about kid pick-ups and drop-offs are documented. Parenting is work, and a lot of these cheaters aren’t interested in investing time in anyone other than themselves. OFW saves the correspondence and the calendar reflects that you had the kids on “his” night. After a few months, you may start to see a pattern where he starts off adhering to the schedule, but then starts begging off.

      Another thing you can do to line up your ducks is to get your kids into counseling, especially if they’ve grown up with their father being mean to them. Additional documentation from a therapist may also tilt the balance from the normal 50/50 split.

      Good luck!

  • “Controlling” is another word for making them act like an adult and face consequences.
    These disordered cheaters are all emotional children and the poor chump is emotionally their mommy or daddy wether they know it or not.
    Just like a kid throws a tantrum at mean old mom and dad when they are forced to face consequences for their actions, ditto the disordered.

    The other tough thing is that you live the cheater and have invested a lot with them. The poor chump thinks that the cheater is a way better person than they really are. Breaking this and realizing that they aren’t and we’re never who you thought they were is one of the hardest things to face.

    • “The poor chump thinks that the cheater is a way better person than they really are.”
      One of the hardest things to face.
      So true.

      • Agree 100%.

        Some of us are more in love with who we think they are rather than who they actually are.

    • Just remember next time you worry about what she thinks of you, that you wouldn’t take seriously the judgment of a misbehaving first grader.

      Nor would you let said brat be in the drivers seat in any aspect of your life.

    • Hang in there, buddy. It’s that cognitive dissonance–their absolute refusal to see what is, because they must cling on to their own special reality…the one where they are the good guy, the put-upon one, the martyr, the wronged party. It is so frustrating, especially when you are so deep in the grief of losing your relationship despite trying so hard to save it!! It’s not fair to you, or to any one of us. The knowledge that they all try to manipulate us in similar ways is comforting. It proves that they really are kidding themselves in an age-old cop out. And that we, the chumps, are the ones who have the best shot at escape and finding happiness. At least we are self aware, and aware of reality.

      My ex refused to even acknowledge the existence of an affair. AP was “just a friend.” Despite receipts, notes, and pictorial evidence of sex acts (all of which I stumbled into and did NOT go looking for). He was living with her before our divorce was final, married to her last month, and I just found out she’s pregnant. I guess they must still just be friends. The lies still hurt me so much. I wish I could yell and scream and somehow get through to him sometimes. But the fact that I can’t is a hard pill to swallow. We will get there!

      Know that you and your feelings are real and valid. She is kidding herself because the reality of her horrible, weak, disloyal actions are too much for her to acknowledge right now. In fact, she may never be able to be honest with herself…I highly doubt my ex will ever examine himself enough to see what he’s done. It’s too hard. Rest in the knowledge that you have the strength to look inward. I think real happiness in this life is really only possible for people who can do that.

      • “I highly doubt my ex will ever examine himself enough to see what he’s done. It’s too hard.” Yup, this too. Normal people don’t sneak around on their spouses or walk out and abandon their families. Fucktard was—apparently!—an amazingly gifted actor for many years. I believed in him for quite a while until Dday and his double life surfaced. He had us fooled with the Good Husband/Father bit and most of our small group of friends/acquaintances were shocked when they learned of his infidelity (although he had over the years isolated us more and more from others as this made it easier for him to lead a double life). It is hard to have a good relationship/marriage when your spouse is busy pursuing others. And it was only*after* I knew about Schmoopie that Fucktard had an ever growing list of why we weren’t suited to one another. Crap decisions and crap justifications. Fucktard was good at assuming the beliefs of others —like a chameleon, he simply adopted others’ beliefs, it was as if he had very few thoughts of his own. He was also a bit insecure, always wanted to be in the spotlight, like that mattered more than just being a good person. He was uncomfortable with our successes too (the kids and I) and he competed against us. At the same time he was very successful, though he did not have many close friends, at his career-and hobbies-but there was always a shallowness to him. Like he had secrets or was holding back. He once stated that he could easily be happy alone, and that he liked doing things by himself. I overlooked these red flags, and made excuses for his lack of reciprocity and engagement. He grew less joyful every year at the end, was mean, and seemed burdened by spending time with family. Holidays, birthdays, anything we wanted to celebrate became a chore. I truly believed he had something physically or mentally wrong. We were young when we met and while he seemed unsure of what he wanted, I knew I wanted a family, marriage, a good job, and to eventually build a house of our own. We had it all. Thing was, his dream obviously was never the same as mine.

  • FucktardX still thinks he can control the narrative, that I will have any kind of relationship with him, this years after blowing up our marriage of twenty years with an affair…. These people are fucking delusional. Funny thing, my gut knew something was off, like our entire relationship I felt off balance (we had everything, good jobs, beautiful children, our dream home) and it wasn’t until X gave me that ILYBINILWY line that I knew someone else existed. It was a lightbulb moment for sure and explained many things. There is NO saving a marriage after infidelity. It’s a thousand and one small decisions to destroy someone. My advice? Cut your losses, pack up those hefty bags, protect yourself financially, and move on to your better life.

    • Drew i have the same story. I always knew there was something wrong. But i also believed we were in love. Abuse and love just dont go together. Once the mask slipped i knew he was never the person i thought. Those things simply couldnt coexist.

  • They always say the same things! Mine told her parents and friends I was manipulative, controlling, only cared about money. She moved out to “get space”.

    Guess I too was pretty shitty at being controlling since she made more than I thought she did and was spending $1.5k a month behind my back out of another bank account. That and the whole having an affair for 3 months before I found out.

    • Oh yes I only cared about money too, that’s why I spent 13 years with a disability worker / slash musician, eye roll.

      • I got that too. I was all about money even though he was the one putting us in financial jeopardy with his crazy out of control spending and refusal to work. He also blew 500k of our life savings in his failing business. My reward—getting dumped because I took 5 paycheques(to help pay for us to live) from the business for him after almost a year of making nothing. Smdh

      • If caring about money means I had a budget and didn’t spend frivolously then yes I guess I did care about money haha. Sorry I didn’t buy stupid shit that I would never use. I still find stuff around the house that she bought and then put away and never used. Still has price tags on it. To craigslist it goes!

        • That Guy, I was an “outrageous spender” too, until everyone reminded him that one of his favorites jabs at me was frustration with how frugal I am. Oh no!

          Such an idiot it’s embarrassing. I cannot believe I used to walk around with that guy.

          • Mine worked two jobs ‘for the family’ and pissed it away on bullshit. What man needs 70 t shirts,20 pairs of shorts, $200 jogging headphones. He is not a high earner. While chumpy me in the corner, worked, looked after our kids, he was only home two nights a week and did pretty much everything in regards to house maintainence.
            A year out and im enjoying being the captain of my own ship.

  • How are they all the same weird asshole robot? I admit this is a conundrum that really creeps me out. There are only so many moves on the chessboard. I guess the difference is we can learn to play a better game and they are incapable of learning.

    If you look at a cheater you can see the same pattern. Over and over and over. They evolve no new moves. And when they cant win by charm or deceit they throw a big fit and smash everything and run away. Why not just be “decent” and try to play fair? My theory is because they just aren’t decent. They know they should be but they also know they just aren’t.

    Everything is self preservation. Saying that they were never happy=self preservation. Everything is about keeping their true self under wraps. When you look at it that way you can see why its all so petty. The truth is they just aren’t decent people. And they never were. And they knew it the whole time.

    • You’re right…they do know it the whole time. They aren’t decent so they have to surround themselves with decent people or natural consequences kick in and NO ONE wants to be around them. They use us to appear “normal” to their workplace, friends, family, etc. when we remove ourselves from their lives is when the facade of who they are starts to crumble and they come begging and remorseful because they NEED us to appear normal while they continue their destructive behavior.

      I have long since said to his face “I know I am your stable foundation” and I was OK with that because that’s what you do in relationships – you create security and love and STABILITY. These disordered jerks use us for that because they otherwise would appear to be the soul less robots they are. The hardest thing for chumps to get over is that we don’t owe that foundation to them or anyone…it has to be earned and it’s earned through reciprocity. If you evaluate all the relationships in your life you’ll probably see that most of the solid ones have earned this right through reciprocity. Know your worth and know the worth of others you choose to share your life with.

      • Cheater Wife had a double life. One circle of decent monogamy friends and another circle of the pro-adultery club. A different reality and views for each set. She did this twice ! Once in 2011 and then again in 2017. A whole new set of people ! Craziness.

    • Leave,
      The similarities are what creep me out too. Like androids with the exact same upload.


  • Mine didn’t accuse me of being controlling but he accused me of always having to have my way. I gave him his way most of the time, but when it really mattered I held my boundaries and that was me having to have my way. He was just upset because he wasn’t always able to control me every time. He wasn’t able to control the kids either and that was my fault too because I didn’t control them for him. Either Schmoopie is an even bigger doormat than I was or someday he is going to discover that he doesn’t control her either.

  • Sorry, Alex, you don’t have anything to work with here.

    Your wife was cheating on you for a year that you know of, and now she’s moved out because you’re “controlling.”

    In Cheater-speak, she’s moved out because she doesn’t want to be hampered by having you around when she wants to be with her AP. Notice that she said she’s moving out and not that she wants a divorce? That’s because being married carries loads of advantages. She has you as Plan B. You’re the faithful Spouse Appliance. Besides, she has access to the joint account while she’s in her little fantasy fuckpad. She’s also able to get loads of kibbles. She’s triangulating big time, hoping you’ll dance that Pick-Me dance.

    Cut her loose. I know that you want to save her from her “mistakes,” but having an affair isn’t a mistake. It’s a series of deliberate choices. I’m not sure if she’s someone who likes to surf Tinder for an affair partner, but she had to decide to be available for an affair. She had to make the choice to engage in clandestine meetings (lying where she was). She had to make the choice to fuck someone else.

    These aren’t mistakes. A mistake is when you try to do the right thing but inadvertently do the wrong thing. She knew going in that an affair is the wrong thing. She felt entitled to have one anyway, and now she’s blameshifting so she doesn’t, in her own mind, have to take any responsibility.

    Alex, let her go. Get a good lawyer, protect your finances so she can’t clear you out, and file for divorce. In a way, it’s convenient that she’s moved out.

    Then get some therapy so that you don’t immediately turn around and find yourself attracted to the same kind of person. After all, you two have been together for a while, and it’s natural to fall into the same kind of pattern when it’s been your normal for a few years.

    Best of luck!

    • Choose your therapist very carefully !

      A high school friend extricated herself from her marriage to a narc, was in therapy and wasted seven years on another man baby.

      Find one who understands what narcissistic abuse is. Ask the question “In your opinion, what causes somebody to cheat ?” If the therapist starts quoting Esther Perel, John Gottman or claims that it takes two people to ruin a marriage, run and do not look back. Keep interviewing and select wisely.

      • “In your opinion, what causes somebody to cheat ?”

        Thanks! That’s a great question to try and remember if I go look for another therapist

  • Good Lord, Alex, a lot of what your soon-to-be-ex said was EXACTLY what mine said. They really do all use the same script!
    I also was told I was “controlling;” like you said, I wondered how controlling I could be if she carried on 3 affairs without me knowing.
    Like you, the charge of controlling was also first hurled at me once she had been caught; the real problem was that I had told her she had to end all contact with this piece of crap. Oh, that was just too much!
    She also ditched me for the other guy after we were supposed to be working it out.
    Like you, I got the humiliation of hearing how awful I was from other people. She trash talked me to every woman she knew.

    As we apparently were married to clones of the same woman, let me tell you what is most likely going to follow.
    First, she’s moving out so you can have the affair free from your interference, and from public shame. It has nothing to do with how good or bad of a husband you are. What’s more, it’s a way for her to try and keep you on the hook while trying things with the other man.
    If you haven’t already, chuck her shit out, just like the CL says. Then, while she’s enjoying this awesome new life, lawyer.the.hell.up. Trust me, she certainly will. But be ready for the next phase.
    If and when the Greatest Love Ever fizzles — as it probably will after a few weeks — she’ll try to come back. If she’s like my ex, she’ll even present a list of demands as the price of enjoying her wonderfulness. This is your queue to completely shut the door. You are no one’s “plan B.” You gave it 7 months, and she spat it back in your face; no one will blame you for walking away.

    Stop worrying about whether she’s going to enjoy “personal growth” or have a miraculous character transformation while she’s playing out this Eat, Pray Love fantasy (man, I hate that book, but I digress). That’s not your problem any more. You can’t make someone be faithful. If it makes you feel better, if she’s going to have any self-reflection at all, it’s going to be in a couple of years when she’s lonely and bitter about her own foolish choices.

    Trust me, things really don’t get better, and they start getting better the day you completely cut out f*ckwits like her.

    • Sorry, that was supposed to say “things DO get better.” My thoughts got ahead of my typing 🙂 .

    • “if she’s going to have any self-reflection at all, it’s going to be in a couple of years when she’s lonely and bitter about her own foolish choices”

      I can almost guarantee that one — my wife’s older sister had an affair, got found out, her H threw her out wanting immediate divorce, she ran off “free” to her married lover who obviously now wanted nothing to do with her, so she continued the single 40’s partying lifestyle for 2 more years until she realised (and she told me this) that her ex H was 1,000 times better than any of the other guys she dated and now “the single life sucks” — oh her teenage children found out afterwards that the divorce was due to her affair and didn’t speak to her for 3 years and still hate her for it — I believe it’s called karma

  • Alex, cheaters are just not that original. It’s very hard for us chumps to understand or find reasons for the cheating, the cheaters mind set and all of the excuses they come up with for their shitty behavior. I tried for a few years after my divorce to understand what the heck happened and to put the past in perspective once and for all. Nothing made sense for my ex husbands behavior and I am not any more enlightened years later. All I did was waste my time thinking about it. Ditch your desire for answers and understanding. It truly is a waste of your time. Let her self destruct and move on with your life. You get a do-over and so you are lucky. She still has to live with herself and her poor decisions. Hopefully, she hates what she sees in the mirror.

    • If she is like my ex she will never look in the “mirror” as she is too afraid of what she might see. Better to be oblivious to her own suckitude and run off with Schmoopie who is not yet aware of who she really is (despite what should be obvious red flags but the Schmoopies are usually equally disordered).

      • I know it’s hard to accept but they just don’t change, or gain any understanding about themselves or their behaviour.

        8 years after divorcing cheaterpants I bumped into him at a shapping centre/mall and we went for a coffee (bad idea I know, but he seemed very contrite)

        The first thing he said to me was that “he knew it was all his fault and he should have known better”. I began to think that he had been engaging in some self-reflection, but that hope was dashed when he went on to say “but if you hadn’t been so XYZ (insert anything you like here) I wouldn’t have done it.”

        So, it was a facade of accountability, and deep down he still wasn’t taking responsibility for his actions. His floosie must be of the same mindset with a capacity for self-delusion that is breathtaking.

        I thanked him for the coffee and left.

  • I just got another lame non apology text from my ex cheater. I think the scariest thing is how they rewrite history to dodge accountability and make themselves look like victim or hero of the story. He never mentions once, that the reason we couldn’t reconcile our marriage, is because he refused to give up contact with OW, its always some other “reason” even though he told me to move on and had been sharing a new lease with A.P. for 2 years.
    I did move on, which is the ultimate reason why wreckonciliation didn’t work out.
    Best decision ever. He stills feels entitled to drop in and bring up the past whenever he feels like it, to see if I’ll take the drama bait, even though he’s been remarried to her for a year.
    I thought about replying with actual facts, but I got shit to do. It’s been 5 years. If he still doesn’t get it, he won’t ever get it.
    No contact is truly best. It’s a nice way to remove yourself from the bullshit.

    • Have you considered forwarding the emails to his wife? Make it her problem.

      • Traffic – That’s exactly what EMC’s cheater ex wants.

        He’s still sniffing around because he wants the drama, the centrality, and the wonderful fun of triangulation by starting a shit fight between his schmoops (new wife appliance) and his chumped ex.

        After 4 years together (?) and a year of marriage to the kibble supply, the “you must worship me” may have been called out once or twice and the disordered behaviour is losing its effect.

        Why the hell is cheater ex still hanging around 5 years post divorce (?)

        EMC is correct – stay No Contact ‘coz she has more important shit to do.
        (Sorry, I’ve run out of bananas to throw to the monkey from that circus)


    So, UBT needed here. I’m sure you have seen this lately but it was just recently posted on a friends facebook page. As ladies of color they are very pissed off by her remarks as am I. I recommended you and your work to them. Changing the dialog about cheaters one at a time.

    Go to it Chump Lady! The next generation of Chumps needs you help.

    • Eeeh… I’m not even sure it’s worth the effort.

      1. She makes very clear that she’s a Kept Woman who sees being with a man as Work, and therefore would be happy to share the work with someone else. That’s not really a situation that applies to most chumps.

      2. Poly relationships aren’t for most people, but they’re fine for some. Telling men that they should be honestly poly if they want to be poly isn’t really at odds with the Chump Lady philosophy. I’ve got no problem with honest poly folk – I mean, I probably wouldn’t marry one, but they’re welcome to find their own happiness.

    • Torrei Hart cannot speak for all women of color and I don’t know what flea flew into her ear, lodged into her brain and had her coming up with that flea-brained idea. I think a woman would appreciate the TRUTH that would allow her to make decisions for her life based on what is real and not some cheater assigned role-play. What Torrei Hart said is ridiculous – as if women of color are devoid of any sense of self-worth and are willing to put up with any shit just to have a man. As if she has taken a poll of ALL women of color. Lawd! Save me from stupid people with a microphone. She needs to have several seats and a piping hot cup of STFU.

  • For some very strange reason, in human culture – opposites attract. An empathetic person will always tend to locate a more entitled partner. Why this is? – I don’t know.

    As positive as this relationship dynamic can be in a healthy relationship, when the loyalty wheels come off, and an entitlement attitude leads to abusive attitude – it never fares well for the empathetic chump side of the relationship equation. At least not at first, during discovery, bomb drop and personal recovery.

    Let me assure you that there is light at the end of the tunnel, if you do the personal work involved in self care and recovery. When you let go of the rear view mirror and look directly into the windshield your
    road straightens out. It does not happen overnight, I wish I could bottle that potion up and sell it, BUT there is a healthier, more self confident and positive ex chump life waiting for you here. On the other side.

    We sit on the edge of “Meh ville” and we welcome you with lots of advice and experience.

    • After Dday my sister-in-law (a chump herself) tells me that when Cheater Wife first brought me around her family she thought: “oh look Cheater found someone to take care of her like her parents have been doing since forever”

      Chumps take care of people out of love and goodness, the disordered take advantage of this. Like moths to a flame.

      • I think this is a common dynamic and a reason why cheaters stay with their chumps.

        Basically, the chump provides for them something they don’t want to provide for themselves so they are willing to manipulate the chump into staying in the relationship post d-day simply because to them, living a fake double life is easier than having to do their own chores.

    • So how do you explain the Schmoopies who are usually entitled themselves.

      • If you are referring to affair partners, OW and OM, you are talking about TWO entitled people trying to form a “loving, trusting” union.
        — This is the root cause reason that affair relationships and marriages have a less than 5% chance of long term success. You CAN’T build a house on swampland. I’m not just saying that to feel superior or spiteful. The long term prospects have got to be awful.

        I’m not saying that either entitled person will really regret or change their behavior. It is a shock when I hear about how surprised cheaters are to find out they have been cheated on and lied to.

        {I am perpetually amazed at the willingness of affair partners to deem each other “soul mates” and abandon spouses, children, friends, families and jobs on a crush. I often wonder WHAT it is they tell each other to convince them and themselves that the AFFAIR is the true love of their lives. Do you think they actually believe that (*&(%*& as it dumps out of their mouths?}

        • *** It is NO shock when….

          I don’t wonder too much about my xh and his cheater mistress, I have always had a fascination with people who do things like this to their families – and what they tell themselves to really make it O.K. to do these things.

          Lo and behold, it happened to me after a 30 year relationship with a partner I Never thought could do such a thing. I STILL am no closer to understanding why.

        • Magneto – “You can’t build a house on swampland.” Preach!

          And swamps are the perfect places for these lizard people.

  • @Alex….. I just tell myself now that I don’t need to understand it, I just need to get away from it. I can’t fix her and she’ll never be truly remorseful. Their brains are different and they just don’t work properly. I think of her as a falling tree. That tree is going to fall no matter what, so I just need to put my focus and energy on getting away from it. I don’t need to understand why the tree is falling- I just need to save my life.

  • It was wierd. When me and XH were separated I was a confused mess. I didn’t know yet what kind of person i was dealing with. But I would have this 6th sense about when he would try to contact me. Like I could read him. When he needed taxes done, needed to know about some bill. Etc. i was stupid enough to oblige him too! (The pick me game sucks!). Then after we divorced it was the same way. I could kind of read what he was going to do. There were 4 things he wanted (very materialistic). He always wanted a Chevy Suburban and he wanted me to drive that big ole thing around (no kids, no neeed for one). 2 months after divorce was final schmoopie was driving around in a big ole suburban! Lol. Next was a new motorcycle. About 3 weeks after that he had a brand new Harley! Next he wanted a new house on 2 acres with a huge workshop space, sold the house we lived in and him and schmoopie moved into his dream house. Last but not least. He wanted a Chevy avalanche and I heard schmoopie just sold her falling down dump house and he bought one. lol. Between him and schmoopie they make less than me an XH made together and she had 2 kids to pay for! He has NO regard for how he’s going to pay for anything! And never did. 52 years old and has a 30 year $140,000 mortgage. He bought me out of our house and we had to refinance so many times it barely had any equity. Now I don’t even care anymore what he buys. He’ll do the same thing he did to us, run us so far in debt he won’t know what to do. We were married for 21 years and I truly think the only reasons we made it that long were that i made an ok salary and basically let him get what he wanted (stupid me and way to easy going) and my parents had a little $ and were able to help us have a nice life and bail us out once in a while. (We didn’t have kids). Im no longer in contact and don’t care but you know the grapevine. Sooner or later people always want to inform you of things! And i must say i am going to get a little giggle when the Karma bus runs him over. Sounds like it may be sooner than later

    • A lot of wants there WWoman. Same thing with them; two people with four vehicles. That’s four cars to insure, pay taxes on, maintain, inspect, and fill with gas. Oh well we know those investments are all for image.

  • My ex said all the same crap about me to whoever would listen. He even had an online journal when the concept was brand new and he used it to tell heinously untrue stories about me to the entire planet and detail his wild spending on his collectibles of choice right before he owed a spousal support payment.

    (I used it to inform enforcement of the spousal support agreement.)

    At some point over ten years ago, we were back in touch for a short time, and I told him I had read it and didn’t appreciate his lies and asked him to delete it. He apologized and deleted it.

    A couple of days ago, I googled him out of curiosity, something I do from time to time to reassure myself that he still lives thousands of miles away. He has a new blog. He hasn’t told fresh lies about me or his other four + exes (yet), but he did spew total fabrications about his childhood, things I know to be patently false — an enormous “poor me”.

    They are all the same, cheaters, and they just don’t change with time. It has been almost 20 years and he is still the same sympathy-gleaning liar he was as a college freshman..

  • “continue to make mistakes.”

    ^^^this. As far as she’s concerned she isn’t making a mistake. That’s how she can so easily throw her husband under a bus.

    Sad but true.

  • Alex,

    You love your wife and don’t want to believe she’s an asshole. That doesn’t make her any less of an asshole. I will be pass some hard-learned wisdom onto you – once your partner checks out of the relationship, they never truly check all the way back in, if they were ever checked in at all. While there may be that rare case of the cheating being a one-off, a mistake, a unicorn that truly is invested and just lost their way, for the most part, that isn’t the story.

    People who refuse to take any responsibility for their choices and/or behavior are not good people. They are not safe people. If you were all powerful and all controlling, how could she cheat? Why would she feel free to move out? As long as you try to look at your problem through the cheater narrative, you will continue to ask “why did this happen” instead of “how do I extricate myself from this clusterfuck?” I had to regain my own thoughts and my own voice in order to ask myself the right questions to get me unstuck. CL and CN are the Cheater-Speak Plague Antibiotic. It will help you reframe the narrative and your thinking and regain some clarity. That’s why going no contact is so important. Cheaters like to keep you sick with the plague by re-infecting you with their cheaterspeak in order to keep you weak and sick and the hook.

    Your wife is not a victim of your control, she just plays one on TV. All of these cheaters accuse us of somehow “making” them cheat. I call bullshit. If we really had power over them, why would we choose to “make” them do anything that would hurt us? We might be naïve, but we’re not stupid or masochists. Not only should you let her go, you should help her by packing her crap, sitting it outside and changing the locks. After all, don’t you want her to be happy? 🙂

  • Alex,

    Go into the forum, and follow the posts of UXWorld. His cheater pulls the same stunts, and he tolerated it for a longer time than you did. UXWorld is still active here, still working through those issues, and is a decent, personable guy who picked a bad spouse.

    Part of what’s going on in your case is that she wants you to fight for her. Don’t.

    “I want my own place.”

    “All right. How soon can you get your stuff out of here?”

    “Aren’t you upset I’m leaving?”

    “I’m upset that you cheated. Now that you’ve done that, I’m fine with your leaving. Bye bye.”

    You wrote:
    “By her moving out, she gets her space. In that space she can continue to ignore her own problems and continue to blame me.”

    And why is this is your problem? Let her go out into the big bad world, have affairs with other married men, or get remarried and cheat on her new husband. Not your problem.

    Hugs. Strength. Peace.

  • Because the banality of evil and their egos blind them all in the same ways that provoke the same justifications and actions.

  • Chump Lady,
    Can we have a bring our faults to the alter kind of post? I keep seeing fellow chumps with their outrageous sins, wouldn’t scuba dive, would not watch violent tv etc. Mine was loving dogs too much. I would even dig out my court paperwork for the actual wording in the discovery revealing my love of dogs. I feel it would help me to lay this sin down one final time along with the other chumps. We could then do some cyber singing and hold up our cell phones with the flashlight app on to mark the occasion of why our ex’s had to cheat because of our sins. I don’t want to carry the mark of “unhealthy and broken” that has been placed on me by the ex. You do such great cartoons, the alter would be such a great visual for me.

  • Literal freaking cookie cutter of my ex
    Currently in the self pity phase (after two months of pick me and gas lighting) I wish I found this blog earlier so I could have trusted gut and left.

    I’m in shock the similar sayings and actions of cheaters.

  • “ The only question to ask yourself when presented with an utterly remorseless cheater is — is this relationship acceptable to me”

    Well said Chump Lady.

    And my hopium pipe was so strong that I always answered with a wistful smile and said, “yes”. “It is acceptable to me because I love him and he loves me and he’s a good person (beside this) and so on and so on and so on.”

    Rinse and repeat. Many, many times. I could have sorted his ‘bad behaviour’ into a colour wash (online correspondence), dark wash (flirtations), hot wash (full blown affairs).

    What I should have done is far different than what I did do. And in the end he left. Ha! I didn’t even get the satisfaction of kicking his ass to the curb. Why? Probably for a lot of reasons…lack of boundaries, fear of this, fear of that, hopium addiction and so on.

    Time I will never, ever get back. Sonanyone listening – read and believe the words written hear rather than the words out of your cheater’s mouth.

    End the relationship. Set them free to grow and change (they probably won’t). Divorce them. And if they actually do change – remarry them.

    See – I’m still so very addicted. I’m making myself laugh. Because I still have a reconciliation plan beyond divorce.

    Wonderful. I’m human. And I can own my own stuff. I have enough of my own issues to untangle. I don’t need to spend anytime untangling the skein that belongs to anyone else.

    I’ve been set free. He opened my cage doors – isn’t he a saint?!

  • Chumplady,

    This is a gem!

    Succinct, to the point, clear, concise.

    Hard for RICers, cheaters, and chumps to argue against all the points you make.

    Excellent work

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