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How did you spackle over the incompatibility?

After infidelity, I’m rather skeptical of the old adage “opposites attract.” I’d advise just the opposite really — find someone in your own values tribe.

No two people share everything, of course. My husband’s love of Texas, for example. Tornadoes? Okay. Scorpions? Sure! Ten-year droughts? Bring it! Rat snakes? No worries. Jalapeños? Loves it. Oppressive heat? DEAL with it. Funny hats and pick up trucks? Love. LOVE.

And yet he married me — a pasty Northerner whose favorite flavor might be “milk.” He doesn’t spackle over my Texas antipathy. No, he gallantly and at great personal sacrifice moved us 1500 miles north. (Still in the South. But only just.) So while we don’t share everything in common, we share the big stuff. We’re conscientious, faithful, hyper-nerdy people. Responsible, a bit type-A (okay, we’re control freaks). We keep a clean house and run a pretty tight ship. (He’s better about mail. I’m better about dust.) We both have useless masters degrees (African history, comparative lit). We do our homework. We’ll do your homework. Because of course… we’re both chumps.

On the big ticket items — core values — we’re a match. And let’s face it, our core weaknesses are pretty match-y too — chumpiness.

It works. It stands out in stark contrast to my previous relationships, where I didn’t have a lot of shared values, but by God, I had SPACKLE!

Twenty-something Tracy. “Marriage? I’ve never tried that before! Sure! Is that a car-door on your dining room table? That’s interesting. What an iconoclastic outsider you are! Rejecting the bourgeoisie conformity that demands tidy surface areas! Sign me up for some chaos!”

Thirty-something Tracy. “You cancel plans a lot. I guess that means you’re spontaneous, whereas I am rather controlling about symphony tickets. But no worries. I suppose I’m free on Thursday. Maybe. We’ll keep it open!”

Married to a cheater Tracy (pre-D-day). “Sure, you go off on that hunting weekend with the guys. I’m secure in my independence. I’m cool! You do you! I’m happy here being me. I’ll just go ionize my needs into tiny undetectable particles. Have a great trip!”


Chump Marcus Larzarus made an interesting comment on this phenomena last Friday on the question of “where’s the shame?” He wrote:

So rather than search for the empirical answer to ‘Where is your shame”, NOW I substitute, “Their brains are not wired like ours”. That makes us incompatible. And that is reason enough.

Next Question… How did I overlook (spackle) this incompatibility?

So, CN, tell me about your spackle. How did you overlook the incompatibility?

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 was more social and enjoyed going out to dinner with friends while X was a loner, socially awkward around other people. I attributed his anti social personality as his being more focused on me, maybe a nerd,more of a family man and perhaps even a good thing. He’d make better husband material, at least I wouldn’t need to worry about him cheating. Looking back it was more arrogance, lack of interest in socializing or making friends. He’s weird and never was interested in being a family man.
    Over the years, I eventually became less social, and isolated and lost contact with friends.
    As Cheater became more successful in his career, he became more “social,” suddenly lost his social awkwardness, at the same time as I suspect his cheating began.

    • Same here. I though that him bot being a very social person and a homebody would make him a good husband (and the fact that he was mad at his dad for cheating on his mom). I was more social but became less social to spend time with him at home. I went out of my way to not make plans so he wasn’t sitting at home alone and taking care of the kids himself (I quit my bowling league so he didn’t have to take them 1 night a week). When he said he was leaving me for the 21yr old babysitter he said that she was more outgoing and that Me and I had become boring and didn’t have friends anymore.

      Now that I’m not with him I’m happy to have my life back. I will never make my needs small ever again

      • Your last sentence needs to go on a battle flag all of us chumps can buy and then fly mightily on the days we’re feeling small. Awesome!

    • I can relate to much of that. Ex always said that socializing was too much work because he had to work at impressing people. I told him that if he had to work at it he was trying to make friends with the wrong people. Ex was all about image, however. From his perspective it was only worth making friends with the people who are hard to impress because the rest are losers.

      Ex always was good at impressing people, however, although he didn’t seem to be aware of it. I guess when he discovered that he was capable of seducing other women he decided he could do better than Chumpinrecovery and it was time to move on. From his perspective, Schmoopie is an upgrade because she thinks like he does. They are part of the “elite”. I personally can’t stand to be around the “elite” and have no desire to join that clique.

      • Yes yes yes and more yes. He isolated me to himself, not enjoying any of my or our friends…. until his career (made possible by my years of full time work so he could go back to school forever) suddenly made him more confident and desirable. Now he’s mr social butterfly (with women). So annoying

        • OMG! Are they all the same? How great would it be to warn others? But alas, like children, we learn from experience, not advice.

          • Yes, I did all the work of making friends, entertaining, and maintaining those relationships. Multiple DDays with RonBurgundy over the years, usually beginning with him coming back from an out of town story, saying sheepishly, “I made a friend.” And inevitably an EA or PA ensued as these were always female “friends.” Years later, post-InternWhore affair and divorce, he got caught cheating on her when our youngest called him one night when InternWhoreWife was out of town, and he said he was ” out with friends. ” Our youngest said she knew that was wrong because “Dad doesn’t have any friends.” SMDH.

    • This is me. Socially awkward (or so I thought) That was OK. I accepted it. Thought this is fine. He is an introvert. I am extrovert. His pensiveness and limited conversation I thought of as a challenge and enjoyed our differences. Turns out I got punished for them. Fourteen months out from D-day I’m doing well. House good. Kids happy. Daddy looking miserable in his’i deserve to be happy relationship’. And guess what. I just heard that he lost his job. Managed to have a stable one for 15 years while married. Loses it one year after moving out and I guess realising how little adulting he did while living in a loving home with people who had no idea he was unhappy. This will gave consequences for me I know but I take a little solace from his humiliation

    • Are you sure you didn’t pick up with my partner? You wrote my story right there. And as he became more successful and I became very proud of him he spent his time using Korean prostitutes in massage parlors. Yes that’s why I spent 20 years building his business for him so he could afford massage parlor prostitutes. Chump Lady thank you for having my back

    • Mmm…. ever so similar to me. Over the years as X became more successful in his career his confidence grew, along with the arrogance and narcissistic entitlement.

      Me? I knew he was a rude prick but preferred to live in the lane of stroking his ego. Or, was it that I thought he was just hopeless at socialising. Poor thing. He had potential to improve (or so I thought).

  • I had a lot of friends and very little conflict with them. He had two work only friends and never did a single outing with them outside work.

    He was estranged from his entire family until he needed money to rent a Luv Shack to fuck the Sluterus and I refused to let him use a penny of my money. One of the cruelest things he said was ‘Your Family is Too Small.’ My parents are dead. I have only one sister but our extended family is dozens. Heyyy MeatSlab. Does HER family know you abandoned your family and she has no qualms about fucking married coworkers on lunch break? Some nice Family Values you have there! Elderly Dad should DEFINITELY donate a couple thousand quid to that GoFundMe. Provide a Roof for Sluterus and Wander Dick.

    My ex was also incredibly physically lazy, but would shame me for not being able to walk quickly. Near the end he would simply split with his daughter and walk far ahead in public. I can walk MILES, but not quickly. After subverting my own health for years, I found out I have a missing ACL on the left and a torn meniscus on the right. The orthopedist stated most would be in a wheelchair. I walk fine. I walk slow.

    Cold Slab of Meat preferred to sit in a chair at work and eat on a couch at home. I preferred to do things. After ten am on a Saturday I’m in motion. Though I never asked or expected him to do a damn thing, this often made him angry. Near the end, I repaired an entire leak damaged bathroom floor white he sat on a couch I purchased with my own money texting schmoopie. Then complained my using power tools ‘undermined his masculinity’ . What kind of man knows there is a bathroom leak and chooses to ignore it to text a slut? How is my trying to save my house in your complete abdication of responsibility also a threat to you?

    I also made a crockpot of White Chicken Chili that day. He sat his ample ass on the couch with a bowl and declared it ‘Delicious.’ ‘Enjoy it,’ I said, ‘It’s the Last Meal you’ll have under my roof.’

    Spackle? I laid walls of bricks and then finished them with German Schmear while he munched biscuits from a Mr. Bean lunch pail.

    • I misread coworker as cow-worker. I hate your ex for you after reading the rest. I imagined him as an amalgamation of all of Tracy’s cartoons. Fat, balding, torn and soiled old tanktop barely covering his midrif girth. Sitting and farting on a lovely couch, eating lovely meals. Rubbing his 5 day old stubble while wiping saliva from the corner of his mouth – is it from the meal? Is it from the sexting? Is it caused by the thought of you on your knees in the bathroom, laying tile and flexing the left jaw muscle involuntarily, the one that turns a smile into a scowl when someone hurts you?
      We’ll never know…but I’m so proud of your badassness.

      • LOL some of that is true, but not all. 315 pounds, British, bad teeth that never saw a dentist, 3X T shirt and boxers, too long toenails that could cut a diamond, but never really smelly. After I found out about the Sluterus, I told him I never wanted to see him undressed again, so he took to wearing these bright orange satiny basketball shorts from Walmart that will live in infamy. They got worked into a Twitter thread that was featured in HuffPo. Ha!

        He wasn’t dirty, just sloppy and disheveled. No longer my problem.

        The sight of him stabbing those pudgy fingers into the phone he bought on my dime on my couch under my roof will haunt me forever. “IT’S CANDY CRUSH! IT’S MY FRIEND TONY!’

        So glad to be free.

        • Luz, LOL LOL LOL. I’m so glad to be able to read your stories. As Isak Dinesen said, all sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story. You do it majestically.

    • Wander Dick. ???? Tea may have spurted out my nose when I read that. Rock on with your badass self. You win. ????????

    • Oh, wow. Good for you! I also undermined when I would give up on waiting for him to do a repair and would either hire it out or attempt it myself. As you said, I’m trying to save my house. In the meantime I spackled and spackled. He had NO time to do any of those repairs (one of them took me 10 minutes), and I was WAY too demanding. No time because he was busy with his all important email/skype/text exchanges with schmoopie(s). I am covered in dry spackle, and am chipping it off, bit by bit.

    • Luz, my ex was not physically lazy, but complained that I walked too fast. But, like Cold Slab of Meat, he had (and has) no friends.
      I think the only logic is really entitlement, the explanation, the MECHANISM for evil that Tracy hammers on. Being GOOD is a LOT of work.

    • You nailed it, Luz!!!❤️????
      You perfectly described life with The Evil One, with a few changes. I still have a half-done storage area under my stairs, holes in the sheetrock in various places, leaky sinks, and trashed carpeting from his half-ass attempt at laying cable.

  • I spackled for 34 of 38 years. In every way.
    Lotta spackle.
    Spackled out.
    Finally back to me. Knowing who I am.

    It’s a much better place.

    • Oh my goodness, that is a lot of years! I am so sorry you went through so many tins of spackle.

      • I was 36 years – and I thought our values were identical – hard working, honest, salt of the earth farmers for Pete’s sake – I thought I married John Denver’s country boy – until he wasn’t. Stopped calling himself a farmer – hated that term – he became a “superagribusinessman”. With $$ I had no knowledge of, he looked up cutie college girlfriend and ghosted me 5 years ago.

        And suddenly everything was about money/cash/finances. When it used to be about raking hay, growing corn and raising kids. The complete, total 180 in outlook, philosophy caused me to speculate he must have a terminal illness, brain tumor to behave in such a different manner.

        No, it wasn’t a tumor – it was just the real him bubbling up out of deceitful depths just like the lava in Hawaii.

        And on a beautiful May day such as this, I’m grateful to be putting in a garden, mowing my lawn and trimming trees – before I play “beat the bus” to pick up grandchildren, feed them dinner and run ’em around to their fun activities.

        Guess I was the better grower of all things family and friends all along. Grateful for a second chance at the rest of my life!!

        • Nain – your story is almost identical to mine! And, I’m from a farming family too. Farmer’s values bred into the both of us. I thought we couldn’t have been better matched. Also 36 years. What a small world.

          • Wow! Shechump, I’m sorry. Who would think? Dairy farming leaves little time but our story proves CL’s point-cheating is a conscience choice, she wasn’t jus’ hanging out by the manure pit. It took time; effort and $$ to seek her out. Time he stole from his family. Who wants that kind of person in their life? Plow it under; I say,

        • Wow Nain. Exact same story. This even gives me the shiver. These entitled, evil cheaters even renounced Mother Earth. Well I bought a small farm and am working very hard on it. And expecting my first grandchild. Good luck and many blessings on us chumps of Chump Nation.

    • Langle
      Me 34 years married 2 years dating.
      Same here….I never hated anyone or anything before
      Gave him my youth to be thrown away like trash for a whore

      Evil walks among us ????

      • I cannot imagine it. So many years. And to come out of it like that, being cheated on. You’re right, it’s evil. I’m so sorry for your loss. Hope you are busy gaining a life somewhere. Rest assured karma will find him, and bite his balls off. You can’t be that shitty of a person and get away with it forever. He’ll get his someday – karma will ensure that!

        • I live for this day and hope, hope hope it is true for all of us.

        • Lefthimatrheairport
          Thank you for understanding. Karma did hit him 2 years living with whore ( after I bought him half out of Home & threw him out) the whore died.. hit by car walking.

          He found another woman right after the burial & is now living with her. So very sad that he threw away love, family & a wife who loved him for a cheap piece of ass. May he have nothing but misery in his life for the raw pain he gave me

          Good luck & hugs to you friend ????

      • I have never hated anyone before either and now both he and his serial dater of married men are on that list – I hope this passes for all of us. It’s a heavy burden that we don’t deserve. Hugs.

        • Me 26yrs together.
          He started cheating after 3.
          Serial cheater with co-workers. Met people off sex sites too…although he claimed he never went ahead with anything….yeah right!
          Only found out 3 yrs ago after he forgot to delete an email!
          2 lovely children are still totally oblivious whilst I am lining up all my ducks.
          Revenge will be very sweet…
          I spackled for over 20years to a complete narcissists. And now I feel like a fool. But an angry fool who is now using that very fuel to gain a life. In 12 MTHS I am out of here and he hasn’t got a clue …
          The little unicorn is about to get eaten up and chewed up and spat out by a bloody massive lioness.
          Feel awful ” living a lie” whilst I sort myself out but hey….he lived it for over 20yrs…
          Karma….is coming….

          Big hugs to all….and line up all your ducks before they are aware….spackle way if You still need to ensure your end game leaves you secure…..

          I never thought I had the strength to get through these few years whilst getting me back & future secure….after the trauma of finding out my marriage was a lie and my husband a complete fraud…..but look at me now. Game on. I have me back.

          I gave up my life my career etcetc to raise two lovely children, but not before supporting him financially mentally etc through 2 career changes…..

          Bastard. Taker.

          • Oh yes…and poor love couldn’t wear his wedding ring because of his eczema…

            How stupid could I get???????

            • Blame the r.i.c.industry for further spackling after d day…

              How stupid could I get?

              That very industry prolonged my pain in an unequal relationship …. Increased my spackling…
              Whilst he carried on messing with his 25yr old co-worker behind my back….His version of ” working on our marriage”

              Why was I born this stupid?

              Got raised in a family whose view was ” treat people as you would want to be treated.”
              And look what happened…

              I married someone who did not share the same moral upbringing…
              No. His upbringing was self before others….

              All the red flags were flying for years….but owing to my moral compass I was in denial…

              Never again

              Everything in me has been recalibrated……….just wish I had followed mh gut instinct all those years ago…


              If it hadn’t been for this website I would still be spackling away…..spackle…spackle….spackle…..

              • Lioness – ‘In 12 MTHS I am out of here and he hasn’t got a clue …’

                I’m with you. I was also feeling shitty for keeping my ‘divorce activities’ a secret from him. When I served him the papers, right out of the blue….he was shocked (shocked, I tell you!) and said….’what am I supposed to think of this? I never knew anything!”. Ha! Like I CARED what he thought? Well, it was pretty sweet and glad I kept it all from him and stayed 10 steps ahead of him all the way through.

                Good luck on the next 12 months, but too bad you can’t speed it up.

            • Lioness Chump – Mine couldn’t have a wedding ring because he was a mechanic.

            • Haha mine wore his ring for 18 years then it gave him a rash. Fool I was! Said he had it with him bc it was on his key chain. Millennial whore must have asked him to take it off.

  • OH GODDDD! Sooooo.much.spackle.
    I don’t even know where to start, to be honest.

    STBX had 10 jobs in the last 11 years.
    Spackle = He just couldn’t find his niche, his dream job.

    He did barely anything to help around the house. Spackle = He works hard at his job (even though he worked about 15 hours less than me each week).

    He always walked 5 paces ahead of me – when we were going for a walk together.
    Spackle = He doesn’t realise how fit he is and how unfit I am. It must be hard for him to slow down for me.

    He broke it off 6 weeks before our wedding (only for a few hours).
    Spackle = He just got cold feet.

    He lost his wedding ring. At home. Sitting on the lounge. 6 years later – still couldn’t find an adequate replacement.
    Spackle = He loved that ring. Poor man. Nothing compares.

    He left his wife and children for another woman.
    Spackle = Maybe this is his biggest cry for help!

    What the actual f*ck. Never EVER again.

  • We were always different politically. I remember being pregnant with our older daughter and so excited she would be born during the administration of our first African American president. He was sure that administration meant that racism in America was officially over. I took our older daughter to the midnight rally to see who I thought would be our first woman president. He voted for Gary Johnson.

    • My husband exactly. Voted Obama then Johnson. “Good” men let us down.

      • Mm-hm, ‘cuz they’re only good at APPEARING good. One of my crappy exes was proud to wear his self-proclaimed ‘feminist’ badge, and it was a big thing that attracted me to him at first. It wasn’t until after the relationship ended in cheating flames that I realized he treated women like crap and is one of the LAST people who qualifies as ‘feminist’. I think he realized it attracted a certain type of female and manipulated that for all he could.

  • If the two of us were the only two people in a room and I was talking, he often wouldn’t answer me- why? I had to actually say his name so he would know I was talking to HIM. You can’t get more nonhuman than that.

    • Oh geez. Mine would ignore me too!!! And he did the same when we visited his mother about 4 times a year. I would pipe up and tell him to please answer her!!!

      Ahhhh young schmoopie is in for quite the treat when the shine starts to dull her!!

      • He would always say ‘what’ so I repeated what I just said, sometimes twice, classic gas lighting and generally fucked up. No problem hearing or comprehending just head fuck games.
        Became normal!,, Freaks me out now when I talk to people who listen, consider and take me seriously. Cheers to normal.

    • yes. this.
      He would call it ‘multitasking’. He can listen to me at the same time as leaving the room to go do something else. I’d say where did you go? Are you listening? He’d say well now since you said that now I’m NOT! As soon as you ask me if I’m listening I’M GOING TO STOP.
      F him.

      • Mine would ignore me too. I just figured he was going deaf but no, it really was the ultimate F YOU!

  • I bought the “opposites attract” bullshit.

    For example (one of dozens I could give): “I’m too aggressive and domineering, and her laid-back easiness balances me out.”

    WRONG. That was spackle.

    Turns out, I am hard working and have goals. My cheating ex is lazy and content to coast on the achievements of others. True in school, relationships, family, career, household, finances, spirituality—you name it.

    Bad match. Even without her cheating, I should have left. Instead of staying for 22 years, during which time I almost killed myself with over-work pulling her through life—and in the process constantly devaluing and undermining the qualities that make me who I am.

    So much happier in the new life I gained by leaving her, with a wonderful partner who also works hard and loves to accomplish things.

    I was 46 years old before I knew what it feels like to be appreciated in a relationship. Know what? It feels AWESOME. When there are challenges, they involve inspiring each other to do more and be better versions of ourselves. When you find someone with whom your values fit, the spackle dries up in its bucket, unused.

    • I went to therapy by myself early in the relationship. He would not come with me. Didn’t need therapy. Couldn’t find time, etc.

      I was very frustrated that I always had to ask him multiple times to do something. Or that he would never discuss issues. One therapist said you are a “doer” , he is not. She gave me different ways to approach things with him. No matter how I asked I got the same result from him. Finally the therapist said to me that it was up to me to say when I had enough. I went to another therapist. Got the same result. I wish they said “Leave, he will never change” Because apparently I needed someone to be that blunt with me.

      I stayed 6 more years after that until HE discarded me and by that time I was shell of myself.

    • Ding ding!

      I had a phrase for this: “I am the sail, he is the keel.” I charged ahead on things and he provided stability.

      Nope, he was just a bunch of lead.

      • Lol at the keel image—Classic chump spackle! They only **appear** to be of no use! Their real contribution is below the surface! Unseen! Deep!

        HA! As you said, they are lead, dead weight dragged along by the sail. Rid of that burden, a ship can positively dance across the waves.

        • The green sludge like seaweed that accumulates at the propeller. Slows you down in a race.

          Eventually you have to put your boat “in irons” -which involves coming to a complete stand still until you can free yourself from the tangle.

          From now on I will view that monsterous octopus of green weeds as “the skien”.
          Better to let it float off to the the muck at the bottom than hold on to it while it gets larger and holds me back !

    • Wow Nomar, I went through the same thing that you did although for 16 years rather than 22.

      I used semi truck loads of spackle with my Ex and in the end I was only fooling myself. To the public who only knew her public persona she was and is “Miss Sweetie Pie”. To those family and close friends, they all saw who she really was except me until Dday.
      The person that I thought she was and spackled for constantly never really existed except in my mind.

      My new wife appreciates me and is very much like me and both of us are very happy as are you. I just wish I’d never spackled and bailed out a few years into my marriage to my Ex, I wouldn’t have been miserable for over a decade in my younger years.

      • Why is it so hard for people to see the snake in someone just because they smile and have bright blue eyes and a breezy manner?

        You’re right: the good person never existed. My shrink told me the psychological problems the lead someone to be a serial cheater and maintain a double life for years develop at the very beginning of adulthood, not middle age. Rather, the psych problems usually develop with an ability to mask, and what we witness is them is actually the loss of that ability to project a false self. They lose their mask with age the way others lose their hair.

          • My stbx lost hair and teeth. And then pointed out my wrinkles. At least I have hair and teeth. And our daughter. And the house. And the dogs.

            One day he put his false teeth on the table to take a nap. He woke up and it was gone. Well, the puppy had it in the back yard all chewed up. I don’t have to worry the dog will chew up my false teeth.

        • What you said Nomar, they can’t maintain the mask as they age. Did I spackle some stuff? Sure, but in a normal relationship there is always going to be things about one another you deal with because overall it’s good. I over did that on a couple of counts too much.

    • “I was 46 years old before I knew what it feels like to be appreciated in a relationship. Know what? It feels AWESOME. When there are challenges, they involve inspiring each other to do more and be better versions of ourselves. When you find someone with whom your values fit, the spackle dries up in its bucket, unused.”

      This here is beautiful, Nomar. Well said. I 100% agree!

  • I think we were compatible in a terrible sort of way when we got together. We were both terrified of vulnerability and real intimacy. We were comfortable in selfish, shallow mental spaces. We both escaped into TV and books and video games to avoid dealing with our FOO issues.

    The difference is that I let events in my life mold and change me. I realized how important family is after a death in the family. I made my marriage my priority over everything else, trying to single-handedly forge that relationship that would stand the test of time. I realized that I didn’t want my children to be like me, so I started trying to change.

    Mr. Justification was impervious to it all. I think that he’s so damaged and so contemptuous of any kind of vulnerability that he may simply be incapable of change. I hope that’s not true. I hope something happens that breaks his heart open so he can heal, like his cheating did for me.

    • This describes a relationship I had for 11 years. I didn’t marry him but I was fully invested. When we met, I had no idea what emotional intimacy was but I knew what sex was so that’s pretty much all we did – have sex and entertain ourselves. He was mechanically unbelievable in bed but totally vacant. It was years before I noticed. At some point, I grew up. I started to realize that something more could exist between two people. I pushed. He cheated. It finally ended.

      [Three years in therapy later, I thought I was fully healed, ready for a new relationship, knew what I wanted, etc. I wanted real intimacy and I knew how to spot it. I had NO IDEA that narcissists really existed and that they could fake it so brilliantly. So here I am. Sigh.]

      • I feel exactly the same.
        No intimacy. Just sex.
        Never heard loving words….just “sexual” words…..
        All very mechanical and to be honest -cold.
        I did start to feel very much like a wife appliance……
        ….turns out…that’s exactly what he was using me for in-between affairs and sex sites.
        Ho hum.

    • NotToday – that was beautiful. Thanks for your emotional honesty. Everyone has issues, but what defines us is how we handle them. You chose adulting (good for you!). Mr. Justification chose cake and…well, justification.

  • I spackled a lot. Looking back, I must have had no self respect at all. Or I was simply blinded by his bright, sparkling eyes. In the future, I will try very hard to recognize integrity, kindness, and loyalty and choose them over charm. I will try to stick to people with more common values.

    • RecoveringChump

      At 57 my therapist told me the Limited NEVER respected me. This was within an hour, the very first session. Why was that a shock to me?

      I don’t believe it’s a lack of self respect on your part. It’s in hindsight we realize what we were dealing with. The Limited knew my vulnerabilities and used them against me. They really do mirror our good qualities.

      • They really do mirror our good qualities.

        Absolutely. I think they mimic them back to us, and the world at large, in the hope of one day magically possessing said qualities. Sort of fake it til ya make it osmosis.

  • This is so so weird! I have been thinking about this for the last couple of days and the phrase unequally yoked kept coming to mind.
    And also i was woken from a horrible nightmare with x and ow and in the dream i realized how much they are alike. They are both whiny crybabies.
    Actually I’ve never met the ow and i hope i never do. But i do no my x is not like me. I think he is more like and actual ass. So yeah we are pretty unequally yoked.

    • “Unequally yoked” is EXACTLY the phrase to describe ex and me.

  • I’m an introvert & he’s an extrovert. A few times over the years he’d ask me what we had in common…I’d say absolutely nothing, that opposites attract.
    He’s a foot taller and would walk ahead of me. (Funny that he didn’t pull that during our engagement.)
    About a year into our marriage he’d avoid being home. The last couple years I’d call him out on it – especially on the kid’s birthdays. He’d always have some excuse about having to run errands.
    The AP was a coworker of his. He says they have the same personality. I hope so, lol! He’s one of those people that talk so much that they ramble on and on and on….(his mom is the same way). The funny thing is: he can’t stand his mom! The irony!

    • What is with “walking ahead of me”? Once, in Washington D.C. with our small boys, I actually held back with one son as he walked ahead with the other. I said let’s wait and see how long it takes for him to realize we’re not there…. true to form, he didn’t look back to check on his “family” for at least a quarter mile! Other times, while walking alone with him on the trail, he was the “walking police”. ONLY HE could determine the pace that we would walk. Yes, trust that they suck (and always did).

      • “ONLY HE could determine the pace that we would walk”

        What a controlling jerk !

      • For them to walk ahead of me, they’d have to be an Olympic-level racewalker, haha! I can usually outpace men!

    • Oh god the walking ahead! That alone has got to be a HUGE red flag! Ex is quite tall, so of course, with his long legs, walked faster than I was ABLE to. So he’d often just forge on ahead. So rude. And of course kept doing it no matter what I said.

      When the kids were in the ‘in-between’ age when they’re too big to carry but too small to walk very fast, he actually told me very seriously that for him it was ‘torture’ to walk at the pace of a 5 year old and a 6 year old. I remember thinking ‘ that is not normal. There is something wrong with this man.’

      • Gosh…mine did the walking behind on his own a lot…..when I was Infront with the kids…think it was so he was free to look around and make passes unencumbered!
        Then if he ever walked ahead with the kids it was always holding their hand never mine. I could have been 2 miles behind B4 he noticed…
        Also when we tried wreconcilation … He started holding my hand when walking. My 13yr old daughter was so shocked because that was her place! Funny that. It spoke volumes to me.

        • Yep! So they could gawk at others.

          I always hated when a guy would check me out while walking with his girl or family. Pig!

      • Yep. And one time at the river I was trying to water ski. He ended up with the boat over by some rocks and the current was taking me into the rocks. He was driving the boat and being a jerk to show off to his friend what a jerk he could be. I didn’t flinch. I didn’t act scared. I just got myself in position. I thought, go ahead and put me in the rocks….. At the last minute he pulled out. They love being cruel.

      • It’s only ‘torture’ for them because they can’t stand for anyone else to have a say or be in control!! Classic sign of an entitled abuser.

    • Yup, my ex walked ahead of the family too. Especially towards the end. I am also a fast walker so he had to go really fast to get ahead of me. I felt like he was embarrassed to be seen with me and even his own kids. It turns out I was right. It was only after it all blew up that he started to care about being a Dad again because people would think he was an asshole if he didn’t. Image management instincts kicked in.

    • (raises hand for the “walking story”). During wreckonciliation we had a date downtown during an icy winter day. We were standing on the corner and he proceeded to cross the street and left me behind to cross 6 lanes of traffic in a sloppy Midwest winter. Once he reached the other side he just stared as I struggled to navigate in heels. That image is seared in my memory as a clear indication of how self centered he now was. It was a turning point for me as I evaluated whether I wanted to be married to this man (because the man I married no longer existed).

    • Fucktard X did the walking three paces ahead thing too. Plus, he always wanted me to carry his shit. “Here, put this in your purse.”

      • I was half his weight, 125 to his 250 throughout our marriage. When we’d go to a store & pay, he’d grab the light bags and leave me to carry the heavy ones. Occasionally once we’d exited the store, he’d grab a bag from me. I asked him why one time. He said “because it makes me look bad when you carry the heavy stuff.” I’m willing to bet some of his coworkers saw us leaving a store and razzed him about it.

        • Fucktard would load the grocery cart with things he wanted, then stand smirking until I paid. When I was a starving student and he was an employed professional. That should have flipped my switch, but I’d already become a spackling pro.

      • Another walking behind him survivor here.

        I never liked that and always wondered WTF?

  • Recently I discovered he went on a vacation with Nanthony in March of 2013, well over a year before Dday in May of 2014.

    Four years out and still the evidence of his disturbing behavior surfaces, not that it matters.

    What I spackled the most and what kept me stuck was I believed he loved me. Monsters can’t love. Sociopaths can’t love. Covert narcissists can’t love.

    He never read anything. Not a book or a newspaper. He couldn’t hold a conversation. Not once in our time together did he have one male friend. My lawyer asked what was wrong with him during the divorce. I was her last client. She’d been both s judge and attorney and it was apparent to her with a few interactions. A sickness so deep and obvious.

    Thankfully, because of this nation I’ve worked on myself and know my value. My daughter says I’m too picky. What she doesn’t understand is that I put my needs first. I picked me. It’s a good thing.

    • Here’s to being picky. People should be very choosy who they share their free time, beds, bank accounts and lives with.

      Know your worth !

    • You don’t settle for trash. That is very very important – probably the most important thing of all!

  • Me: you should really try actually taking your resume to places or maybe going back to school.. I mean you have been unemployed for 3+ years its kind of expensive to support 2 people.
    Him: I think I’m depressed… No your not supportive enough.. I’m not depressed maybe you should get some help… Can you send my resume out for me… That job is just way too far I would have to take 2 busses!
    Me: maybe I am not supportive enough.. I have to be more understanding. I’ll just work extra hours and weekends to make ends meet. Maybe there really is something wrong with me its my fault he is like this. He’s not neglecting me by spending hours on the xbox, computer and his phone. Those women really are just his friends.. And that one who messaged me is really just jealous! Oh.. And that gay chat room I found out he was on .. He really just needs someone to talk to.. He couldn’t possibly be cheating he said he wasn’t and we have always been honest with each other!

    Ugh I think about the years of spackle and I kick myself. It must have taken cement to get me to ignore that! Thank you chumplady and chump nation for helping me to see the light after discard!

  • Initially, I used self-criticism to spackle our differences. I told myself that the interests and attitudes that he had and that I did not share would stretch me. I’d be a better, broader person for learning to appreciate the things he loved. Why I didn’t expect him to do the same simply baffles me now.

    In all fairness to the younger me, however, most of my spackling came a couple years after the wedding as I discovered that so many of the things I had understood about him were lies. For example, while dating I believed his story about moving from one job to another to improve his opportunities. I thought he was such a go-getter, leveraging his way forward without familial support. Over time, I learned that every single job he’d had since college had ended with him being fired or offered a chance to resign to prevent being fired. What I thought was intrepid leveraging to a new and better job had just been him bullying a letter of recommendation out of the former employer to cover their own internal lapses. (“Dated one of our students while employed as her instructor, sure we’ll give you a great letter of recommendation to an out-of-state job if you leave quietly.”)

    My can of spackle started small, but by the time I left I was buying that stuff in five gallon drums.

  • Seriously my life was a Paula Abdul song.

    I like rock & roll, he liked classical.
    I liked movies, he liked books.
    I liked beer, he liked wine.
    I liked sports, he liked to sulk when I watched sport any sport.
    I liked to help people, he liked to boast that people had been helped by allowing me to do so.
    I liked to save, he liked to spend, clothing, skin care, dinners out with other people.

    How did I spackle this, people would comment that we were a good match that my tom boy outlook on life balanced his feminine ways. I had lived the love bomb phase that was underpinned with a whole load of grooming ultimately playing on my insecurities, he was raised in the church so he is not a blokey bloke, I had twisted thinking because I had been raised in a broken home unlike him that was still living with his narc father and head in the sand mother at 23. He also used showing a liking to the things I liked as a way of convincing me that we were in fact a good match. He even used my dysfunctional relationship with my own narc mother to draw a parallel between the two of us in the early days, so every time he dropped the ball in our relatonship I was programmed to pick it up and run with it. He may not have been into sport but he sure knew how to run a game. I would still be spackling if D’day had not happened 41/2 years ago. But to my surprise even after that I was till expected to spackle because I did it so well. I guess I can say it was my unwillingness to spackle that ultimately ended our marriage.

  • He’s busy.
    He’s stressed.
    He feels the weight of being the provider.
    He’s competitive.
    He works so hard for our family.
    He’s just really extroverted and social.
    He’s not sure how to deal with his father’s death.
    He’s having a midlife crisis.
    He is struggling with the natural aging process.
    Maybe he has a brain tumor or early-onset dementia!

    But, no.

    He’s just a complete dick. Always was, still is, and forever will be.

    You know how chumps are often guided toward making lists of the awful things? There were so many of those that it’s impossible. Pretty stunning to realize, now.

    Meanwhile, I raised kids alone, lost my dad, had several miscarriages, had two surgeries, found no sympathy, and managed everything alone. The good news there is that the transition to single life has not been rough.

    It’s strange to think of how much I sucked up to save the marriage when I am worlds happier and healthier without that guy in my daily life.

    He literally ruined everything: holidays, kids’ sports, any gift given or received, all celebrations, days that end in y—you name it, he infected it with the black goo of his random rage.

    There was a whole lot I did not know—such as the constant texting/sexting even in the presence of the kids, even on Christmas, etc.—but what I directly observed and experienced was more than enough to justify leaving. Indeed, I see now that I had plenty of reason to dump him when we were still dating, and I should have.

    But, no rewriting the past. Very glad for a future free of all that.

  • Oh, and absolutely yes to the self-criticism. I was too easy on him, but way to hard on myself.

    Maybe I am too insecure.
    Maybe I am too jealous.
    Maybe I should be more patient.
    Maybe I should be quieter, more outgoing, more confident, less confident, thinner, tanner, happier, what have you.

    But no. He’s just a dick. Always was, still is, forever will be.

    • Cashmere, I made the same excuses, and was much too easy on him and hard on myself.
      Blamed myself for his mood swings, his ignoring me, his moping around.
      If only.., I had thanked him for working out and admired his muscles, had complemented him more, been more sensitive, the list is endless.
      I’ve come to the same conclusion with my Cheater, socially awkward? he’s just a dick, always was and forever will be.

      • Clearly, we all have the same cheater. They must be clones. They get worse and worse. So glad for CN, CL and freedom!

  • I didn’t spackle anything in the beginning. He is a mirroring shape shifter. We would even say sentences at the same time. Same words. I’d laugh and say omg we have the same brain. Hed say Yeah we do! I think he had me figured out and he served me a reflection of myself that made me feel extremely comfortable and safe and formed a bond with me very quickly.
    My family loved him. He loved my family. We got engaged.
    Now the shift starts.
    1.Suddenly he’s saying racist slurs and hate. To the point that I’m really concerned especially in his line of work. I remember thinking SHIT! I can’t be with a racist. And I felt scared for the public. He explained this away as me being sheltered.
    2.Now he’s not so sure he believes in God, heaven, and just abandons all his beliefs. Now he says he doesn’t care what he does in this life bc there are no consequences if you get away with it.
    3.He sold himself as an animal lover. I could never be with someone thats not. Now he is savagely beating our dog. “if you don’t listen and you disobey you get hurt. assholes deserve a beating” I took it as a warning. Now I was scared.
    4.Now he refuses to walk next to me. I’m short and I don’t have long strides. My parents saw us one day out. They told me later they were shocked to see me running behind him trying to catch up. That i looked like a little sister that he was forced to take out. A loyal dog that was unaware of how bad this was.

    Before we were married… invites sent out… I read a quote:
    Marry the guy you would be proud to have as your son. I panicked. I thought oh my god i would not be proud to call him my son. Spackle.
    Here’s where I go wrong. I married the guy that he used to be. The one I loved that existed between these episodes. A year after we were married he was cheating and abusing me. I hung in trying to reason with a crazy person. I miss the guy I fell in love with. He was amazing.

    • Same.
      I don’t believe X was ever the man I married though. It was another lie to get what he wanted.

      • In my case the transformation was gradual over 20+ years. I still struggle with whether he changed or was always the way he is now. He said once shortly after DDay that he didn’t know who he was anymore. Me neither. I guess he always had the personality traits that would lead to where we are now, but the negative aspects of that took a long time to fully manifest.

        • I tend to think X’s mask started slipping so much over the years that he didn’t have the energy to put it on or couldn’t remember or figure out which mask to put on!!

          I asked X who he was shortly after DDay. I got the same answer you did. X didn’t know. So, I told him that the kids & I would leave for awhile so he could figure it out.

          He figured out how to rewrite history & never asked us to come. back. He is now mirroring the howorker/now wife. Doing practically everything he told me he hated.

          • I so relate. In the fall, my husband told me twice that he felt like he was having an identity crisis. When I asked him what that meant, he told me it was like he had two sides of him and the selfish side is just taking over. Just before Christmas, he told me that he was having a crisis of faith (and figures that he always has been having one). He said that he knew the teachings of the Church (Catholic) were good for people as a whole but that he didn’t really feel that they were relevant to him personally. He even said that his buddy (his biggest enabler in his affair) even called him a chameleon as he changes with whoever he was with. The friend was referring to the way my husband was acting now that he was with this woman more and more. Well, he left just after Christmas for good to be with this woman. He says that for the first time in his life he has found someone he can be his real self with. Really? In 43 years he couldn’t be his real self? He need this woman to do that? And he doesn’t think he could benefit from counselling? Give me a break.

        • Chumpinrecovery, same here, slow changes over 12 years and then they accelarated after he convinced me to marry him. Part of that is a very slow erosion of our boundaries, if they went faster we’d have kicked them to the curb. Exasshole wasn’t stupid.

          • That is so true!
            I thought I was imagining things or being a critical whenever I noticed things early on. I guess that’s how I spackled.
            When I realized he’d cheated repeatedly, I knew my other concerns had not been my imagination or a critical spirit.

      • I miss the facade of my exes during their love bombing phase.

        • Interesting.

          My husband was like this too.

          After D-day I was like “who the fuck is THIS!?”

          Then after we separated he ended up going to treatment.
          At treatment they had them make lists of who they wanted to be and who they thought they were now.

          He said it was very eye-opening. He realized that even though he thought he was an excellent husband and father and had been “villified” and “misunderstood” his actions didn’t line up with that at all. He realized he was a terrible husband and an unstable father.

          Without the help of the supervisors and programs at treatment I doubt he would have ever seen it.

  • Off topic, but what is it with cheaters and walking ahead?

    My last narc had his own take… When walking side by side – or even hand-in-hand, he’d run me (or try) off the sidewalk, or into a lamppost, or other people. It was like he had no concept of sharing space nicely.

    Chumpy me would adroitly call this out and course correct (thinking I was displaying good boundaries – pah!)

    But in hindsight – SPACKLE!

    • I think it’s covert disrespect. Just enough to be effective but still in the realm of plausible deniability. Dickface’s comfort zone. He wanted to name our boat plausible deniability. I’m not joking.

    • I honestly think it’s a way to put you in your place and reinforce the inequality of the relationship. They want to see if we’ll put up with it. Every narc I’ve dated has done it, and every non-narc has walked beside me. Not a coincidence, methinks.

        • Another take could be that if he shows respect, admiration, affection or love in public….it flies in the face of the smear campaign he has running behind your back.

          I was approached by so, so many that they knew we were having all sorts of trouble, that we never got along, or that I was such a control freak and never liked pda.

          News to me. It was him reinforcing the image he was presenting of me as the cold, crazy, unlovable bitch. Who wants to hold hands with someone they don’t get along with??

          The other thing mine did was not lock my car when we would go somewhere. He not only always locked his car, he had one of those low jack type bars that locked the steering wheel. Even if we were literally going to his parents house and parking in their driveway.

          My car? He would hope out, slam the door unlocked and walk away without a backwards glance. I called him on it and he said…nobody wants yourcar or stuff. (I had a really nice Subaru) I said…next time we go in your car, I am leaving it unlocked. He admitted it was stupid what he did, but he also made sure from that point on, we never took my car out together again.

          It’s all about appearances and what they’ve told others and themselves. You are dirt. You don’t deserve respect. Must keep illusion of your are the bad guy going.

    • Oh my gosh- I stumbled in the gutters or over tree roots and rocky planters in heels while he pranced along beside me, his stupid man-heel dress shoes clackity clacking gleefully as he plowed me into lamp posts and bystanders. Just total cluelessness and utter disregard for another human’s sense of comfort.

  • “He literally ruined everything: holidays, kids’ sports, any gift given or received, all celebrations, days that end in y—you name it, he infected it with the black goo of his random rage.”

    Every single outing ever included a constant undertone of fear…when will he get mad ? What will make him mad? How mean will he get when he is mad? How can I avoid him getting mad?

    No matter how lightly I walked or tried to smooth out everything in his path, something annoyed him and off he went. Deep in his being somewhere, he felt like being that abusive to his family was his birthright.

    I was WAY WAY too optimistic…I thought he would be better if he 1) understood my pain 2) achieved some of his goals 3) blah blah. In the end, HE was the one who told me all the time that we had nothin gin common and would likely break up after the kids left the house.

    Very often, my spackle was literal. I maintained the houses and he knew I would fix anything he broke. Hole in wall…there I was with a putty knife and bucket o’spackle. He and the boys took a chunk out of a wall moving an appliance and he told them, “never mind, your mother will fix it”. I did. (facepalm)

    • “I thought he would be better if he 1) understood my pain 2) achieved some of his goals” This

    • I was always on edge on every outing, as well. I never knew when something would set him off. I was in a constant state of hyper awareness. No wonder I got sick. No wonder I started hiding in my house and not going out with him. That was one of the places where I “failed” according to him – I wouldn’t go out and socialize with him. Well, who wants to go to a bar where he might get into a fight? Or where he gets so drunk that I have to haul him home? Or where he embarrasses me? Heck, he’d even publicly grope me when we went grocery shopping! And he did not care at all how his behavior affected others. One time we were in the cereal aisle at the grocery store and he was using the F word and there was a mother standing there with her kid. I was horrified. I said, “Please don’t use that word around that child.” And he got mad at ME. “Oh, he’s heard it before.”

      • That was mine too. I HATED going anywhere with him. He was actually physically thrown out of a bar on his ass for pouring his beer over a woman’s head – he told me about it – I wasn’t there. And try going to a nice restaurant and having him fart really loud then look at me and say “what? You got something to say about it?”

        • Attie, they’re so disgusting, mine would fart then look around as if it wasn’t him then laugh hysterically, for added entertainment he’d fart in confined areas such as airplanes and blame someone else. I’d be disgusted that someone could be so rude and inconsiderate while gagging, he’d act as if he too was offended. Then a few weeks later he’d ask if I remembered that time on the airplane or in the elevator and start laughing while telling me it was him.
          The first time he did this was on our honeymoon, looking back this should have been a glaring red flag and I should have taken seriously.

        • Oh, mine would do the farting thing, too. Soooo embarrassing. You know you’re with a disordered fuckwit when you have to explain basic common courtesy to them.

      • Do you think he hated himself and wanted you to hate him too? Sometimes I think Cheatlanta hated his life because he hated himself. It was like he was on a mission to make me hate him. If I hated him, I would leave him and it would be my fault for breaking up the family. Success!!!!!

        Path of least resistance for him was ‘just be a dick.’

        • No, Chumplanta, I don’t think he hated himself at all. He was being a super prick to you so that you would leave HIM. They call these people COWARDS. They don’t have the balls to leave respectfully so they just get meaner and meaner until you leave so they can blame you for everything. It’s called sociopathic. IMHO, these people think the world of themselves and they want everyone to kowtow to them because they are special like that.

          • Thanks Chumptopia! You are right. Cowardice was the main course. He also had insecurity for Breakfast every morning.

  • Spackled over her being an extrovert. No, all extroverts don’t need multiple nights at bars during the week!

    I married another extrovert, and she is kind to this introvert recognizing that I am sometimes just done with people for the day.

    • Yep. “He’s just a people person, needs to be around others”. Well yeah. To see what he can take from them. Ugh!

    • Could have written these words exactly! My ex shamed me for being a introvert constantly. I’m actually quite social, I just don’t like staying out until 4 am on a Tuesday night, thanks.

  • I didn’t have to spackle.
    My mother did it for me, always giving reasons for his behavior or helping with the kids when he was “working out of town.” (I do appreciate her help but she never felt he should be accountable for his actions)

    I totally own that I bought the mirroring hook, line and sinker, but spackle is my mother’s speciality! There isn’t a bad situation she can’t spackle by minimizing and telling you how much worse it could be and how thankful you should be for whatever shitty thing has happened in your life.

    • That’s really shitty. I’m so sorry your mother is like that–I’m sure it helped keep you stuck in bad situations with your ex(es)!

  • So many cheaters, so little time …

    He works so hard.
    He’s got a good job.
    He goes to church.
    He’s got Aspergers. Or Cushing’s syndrome. Or something.
    He’s depressed.
    His family go to church.
    He’s just never met the right woman.
    We looked at houses sometimes when we were out walking – that must mean he’s really planning to marry me.
    He’s tired.
    He likes my cooking.
    He hasn’t got any kids already.

    I could go on, but it’s too awful for words. Back up the spackle truck, right here. (beep. beep. beep.)

  • Does anyone know if chump lady’s talk will be available on YouTube?

  • D-day #1: Found phone numbers on the bill that tracked back to Craiglist hookers and dates I was taking our 2yo son to parties, playdates, etc.

    Spackle: I’m focusing too much on my son and not enough on my marriage (forget that I work full-time and manage the house and budget.)

    D-day #2: Installed Spyware on his computer and found six months of emails in his trash folder where he was looking for bi, group, couple, or women hook-ups. He used a picture of himself from our son’s baptism day (cropped us out).

    Spackle: I can fix this. I want my marriage and I want my son to have an intact family. Lets go to counseling!

    D-day #3: I’m leaving for a weekend away to visit friends (he used to come along). I see his iPad and look at the browser history and find he has a personal ad and is using a picture of himself from our wedding day for it.

    Spackle: I can live in a sexless marriage (because I’m not fucking my husband anymore)… but surely, he’ll come to love me again if I just TRY HARDER.

    D-day #4: He left me and our son for a younger woman with two kids.

    NO SPACKLE – I found Chump Lady and Chump Nation, channeled my righteous anger and filed. AND, I had a great laugh when the OW found out he was cheating on her!

    Wonder what the newest GF has to spackle? I’m guessing it starts with the huge mortgage she just signed after only 18 months of knowing him.

    Rock On Chump Nation!

      • Yes – he was too lazy to take selfies 🙂

        I’m sure the psychopath in him enjoyed watching women nod understandingly as he explained it was a photo from when he was a “best man” for a friend (neither of which he has ever done/had.)

  • “Sign me up for some chaos!”
    “You cancel plans a lot. I guess that means you’re spontaneous, whereas I am rather controlling”
    “Sure, you go off on that hunting weekend with the guys. I’ll just go ionize my needs into tiny undetectable particles”


    Oh my god the chaos! It seemed there was never a calm moment in our house when stripperfucker was around. My job in the marriage morphed into being the battering ram to shield the kids from the constant unpredictability of moods swings.

    When he was upset about something there was no discussion… like “hey, you know Jane (oldest daughter), I’m kind of upset your car is messy. I need you to come clean it” No, instead the door flies open and things are being whipped toward the sink from outside in the garage. “Oh hey, yeah, don’t mind me standing here as you start whipping shit across the room… and that coffee mug that just missed hitting me in the head!” Sure, sometimes we all lose our shit, (SPACKLE), but what I’ve come to realize is that losing your shit is few and far between for normal human beings.

    The big lesson I’ve walked away with is this…. there is a difference between human imperfection and patterned behavior. Giving a pass for an out of the ordinary outburst, normal human forgiveness; Giving a pass for a pattern of behavior that scares the shit out of everyone around…SPACKLE! Cheaters love to blur the lines by focusing on your lack of forgiveness, bitterness, controlling nature, etc, and ignoring that they just threw a coffee mug at your head! It’s not my behavior that is the problem, it’s your response to it!

    Update on my 3 year long divorce: Discovery finally closed last week! … which means I get access to records.

    1) He literally had 6 pages of witnesses listed to testify to “the best interest of the children” and the “observations” made by 6 pages of people “as to my interactions with the children.” Oh, I’m glad these people think they can assess my parenting skills by observing me for 5 minutes picking my child up from a workout, or at the end of the school day. Ironically they are all people I am not friendly to because they are cheater apologists.
    Custody isn’t even on the table (or is it?) since we signed a parenting agreement 2 years ago. My attorney’s office thought it was super weird that he sent a bunch of pictures of him and the kids with his discovery. Ironically, many of them are pictures I took of him and the kids! Super weird! I suspect he’s gearing up to contest custody and paint me as a “bad mother”, which of course is his MO

    2) More charges for adult friend finder on his credit card statements. I actually feel kinda bad for his girlfriend, but there’s also an odd satisfaction knowing that leopards don’t change their spots.

    3) I talked to him 2 weeks ago about financial stuff, and he lulled me into believing he wants to settle out of court… and then he went in for the jugular! Uh, I should have known! When you are divorcing the disordered, never expect them to take the rational course of action. You WILL be punished for having the self respect to leave a cheater!

    • Got-a-brain.
      Sorry you are experiencing this.
      One thing I might add is you will also be punished for NOT leaving a cheater/liar. Do what is best to rightfully protect you/your family.

    • Don’t believe anything they say. Set your own course and just stick to it. My ex did the same thing with pretending to be reasonable, only to spring something completely different at the last minute. And don’t bother bringing these actions to the family court judges, because they do not care even if the ex and their attorney break the law.

      Post divorce positive side is that last time I was called for Jury Duty I told them on the questionnaire their justice system is a total joke and briefly explained my divorce experience. Even had a judge try and lecture me about how I was wrong. Told him politely that based on my personal experience, when people can break the law and the court does nothing about it, why should I have any faith in your joke of a system. I was sent home immediately.

      • Three cheers for honesty. I’ve sat there during jury selection and heard some of those self-righteous judges lecture people on why their attitudes are wrong. Good for you for staying strong and true to your convictions and experience. Gaslighting from the judge!

      • Wish I could have been there! That would have been awesome to see!

        • It was in front of the rest of the prospective jurors who just sat there in horror that I was saying all this! The judge kept saying how he couldn’t believe I felt this way and this was my civic duty, blah, blah, blah. I told him he has my name, go look up the case. As I told him, when there is a law written on the books, but a judge can just set that aside at will, how is that justice? I follow the law, but get punished? I even asked him why he doesn’t have to follow the law, but I do? Why can’t I just set aside things I don’t like even if they are written into the legal code? The clerk told me on the way out I was lucky he didn’t hold me in contempt. I just said, “well, we are supposed to tell the truth, aren’t we?”

          Seriously, my divorce eliminated all faith I had in the legal system.

    • I subpoenaed Adult Friend Finder too… can’t imagine how many lawyers they have on staff there 🙂

  • When we got together we were both rebuilding our lives. He looked like he was working so hard at overcoming and doing the right thing. We had a beautiful baby girl. One night I was tired so I made soup and sandwiches for dinner. He came in the kitchen incensed that I would serve him this pathetic dinner. He grabbed the soup can and threw it at the floor denting the linoleum. Right then I knew. But we had a child. He wasn’t abusive in an overt way, but who he really is was just under the surface. It came out here and there and made my skin crawl. When he started up with his 22 y.o coworker 12 years later, the cold beast fully emerged and the true nightmare began. I realized he’d been cheating for who knows how long. But, as he informed me one day before we split: “I always come home to you.” Not this time. Get out.

    I hear he’s miserable. They are fighting. He is drinking. He’s also dragging his feet in this divorce. The final signing should have been 6 months ago.

    What’s funny is he got bigger toy hauler and Razr vehicle for camping. Lots of camping stuff. She doesn’t like camping.

    • Mine through a saucepan at me from the kitchen door. It hit the hob and smashed it. When I went to get a new hob he claimed he “dropped” the saucepan – yeah, from a distance of about 6 feet!

    • If he’s refusing to sign and you have not filed yet, file. That will set a court deadline he cannot ignore. Jedi Hugs!

  • We weren’t sexually excited for one another. We told ourselves we didn’t marry for sex, we married Bc we fell in love with each other’s brain. ????????‍♀️ *SPACKLE*.
    I hated the way he kissed. I. Did. Not. Enjoy. At all. I just decided our relationship was beyond the teenaged hyper over sexualization most people “needed” to feel like they were in a normal relationship. We were evolved people. *SPACKLE*.
    We were married 18 years and together 20 years. During that time we had TWO 4-year sexless droughts. That’s a total of 8 years. Again we bragged we were evolved relationship mogals who didn’t need that kind of silliness. *SPACKLE*.
    We were however, new Christians who clung to our growing faith and then leaning on that faith as the reason we didn’t crave sex. We belonged wholly to God. *SPACKLE.*
    We were better buisiness partners than married partners. That is actually NOT SPACKLE. It’s probably the truest of any statement that describes our 20 year togetherness.
    Now he’s run off with a 20 year younger than he kibbles dish. So he can use her up and all she has to offer his success. And when he’s done with her she will also sit back and look at all the sparkling she did over herself like I am now.
    They deserve each other.
    I’m headed toward my Tuesday and the full relief of meh is right around that corner…..
    Here I come, not looking back. Only forward thinking for me.

    • There’s a Friday challenge… how many of us endured sexless marriages because of our cheaters… and what excuses did they use?!?

      • This would be a great Friday challenge! My XH withheld sexual intercourse but continued to want oral sex during phony wreckonciliation. He was being faithful to the undiscovered AP I guess. He told me when I asked/begged for sex that he “wasn’t ready to make that kind of commitment yet.” That was after 25 years married and my discovery of his profile. I told him I didn’t want to get an STD and he assured me he had stopped dating. I didn’t find out about AP1 for over 2 years because he was living and working out of state. Argh! I so wanted to believe his lies. I got the STD anyway! Very emotionally abusive.

        • “Commitment”? You’re FUCKING MARRIED. There is no commitment about it!

          “Fuck off out of my house then!”

        • I was yelled at for snooping around and finding his profile.

          Mhm… how stupid do you have to be, to post your pic with a description “ Honesty is my main drive” and expect that it will be hidden forever?
          I just googled it- no need for an expensive spy ????️‍♀️ actions….
          Beyond stupidity…

  • He (#2) was fairly young and unformed when we got together (he was 22 I was 27 and had already been married). So the differences in our personalities and morals wasn’t noticeable. As soon as he started growing older, his narcissitic personality started to come through, but for me it was like the frog in the pot of hot water… I jsut spackled and held onto the ideal of the younger version of him, back when he treated me nicely and attentively.
    As for #3….well, that was a huge rebound mistake and thank goodness the marriage only lasted 9 months (lived together around 9 months prior). That one was a narcissist sociopath and I spotted it before things got too out of hand.
    My boyfriend now is a great guy with matching morals. We differ on political and societal views to an extent, but he’s young and is still moderately unformed. And I will NEVER get married again, and it’s my….problem solved!

  • My ex and I weren’t completely compatible. I’m an introvert, he’s an extrovert. I’m a homebody, he has to constantly be out doing something. He’s very popular, I have a handful of close friends scattered across the country. But I got bombarded with a constant barrage of comments about how good he was for me, how he’d help me break out of my shell, get me out of the house and out into the world more, and introduce me to a bigger social circle.

    We liked the same kinds of music, books, and movies. And we had a lot of shared values, political leanings, and philosophical beliefs. Which is all important. But I got so sick of sitting around bored and wishing I was home with a book while we were out with all his friends, where he could hold court and be the center of attention.

    I spackled it on thick because I thought that maybe it really was good for my social health to be dragged out to all these crowded places, around all these people who thought he was the best thing ever. None of them really wanted to get to know me as a unique person though, they just wanted to know me as an extension of my ex.

    • It’s hard out there for us introverts. And the disordered get off on making us uncomfortable, so yeah, we end up getting dragged to lots of shit we don’t really want to go to, and then they throw shade on us for expressing the need to be our authentic, solitude-loving selves. Ugh. I know I am so much happier having peaceful, quiet solitude in my home and getting to be the architect of my own destiny once again.

    • OMG, this happened all the time…when I married cheater Myers Briges was really big and my profile came back as an extrovert and his as an introvert. This was the biggest load of crap.

      I love my own company and solitude. I enjoy time alone as being with people all the time just wears me out. But during my marriage I was often dragged out to social events with cheaters work collegues and then his sport team and it was awful as he would go of and be the social butterfly and I would become wall paper. This would lead to my being frustrated and anxious which often lead to arguments. Sadly after D’Day I found that most of this was to help sell his claims of being straight, he would just trot out the wife. Cheater cannot be alone, needs constantly to be the center of attention and is always networking to create new circles of relationships to feed off.

  • I started sparkling early. When he confessed to me he’d used a prostitute only 5 months into our relationship (whilst withholding sex from me) I rationalized that if I got annoyed with him then he would be reluctant to be honest with me about these things in the future. I also said to myself that, at least if he has to pay for it, he is probably too incompetent to pick someone up to cheat with voluntarily. Oh, and that I shouldn’t be uptight – that accepting this was part of being liberal.
    It is comical now I look back, I am actually laughing at myself for the ludicrousness of it all, although, of course, I am also very sad for that young self. It was only the beginning, of course, of a 20 years of hyper-spackle, until I could do it no longer. Now the spackle has crumbled off I see the real ugliness of it, and it is truly horrible. Not feeling close to meh at the moment.

  • He:
    Staunch republican
    Catholic (although converted to Judaism for me – now he’s Christian again for the babysitter slut)
    Small town – hates big cities
    Hates being in public
    Wants to retire and become a hermit (so he told me)
    Father cheated on 2 marriages

    Jewish (pretty religious family)
    Large city girl
    Love going out and being in public (even if it’s just a movie theater which he wouldn’t go to because he needs his beer nearby)
    Want to retire and travel
    Parents still together at 53 years

    I don’t know how I buried this for so long. I finally feel free to be me!

  • I guess that was the problem. There are in fact a lot of core values that we do share. The ones we don’t didn’t become apparent until years after we got married and some not until after we had kids. I know I am fundamentally the same person I have always been (just older and wiser) and I never hid any part of my true self. He married me anyway. I don’t know if he hid his true personality or if he just changed over the years. I guess I spackled because I had made a commitment to him and I figured that we didn’t need to agree on everything. I did not try to change or “fix” him, I accepted him is spite of our differences. Hey, we still have XYZ in common and isn’t that enough? I did that for him because I thought he was doing the same for me and that made it all worth it. It turns out I was wrong about that. Accepting others as they are is one of my core values that he evidently doesn’t share. His core value is “everything has to be perfect or it’s no good”.

    The thing is, I don’t think he really has much in common with Schmoopie either other than both being willing to fuck other people’s spouses and tear families apart for personal gain. They are also both control freaks and image is everything. Maybe that’s enough.

  • He was a man in his sixties…but you’d never know it except by his appearance:
    He was always secretive…I am an open book.
    He was lazy to the max…I am task and detail driven.
    He always lied by omission…I always knew there was far more being hidden than his version of “truth”.
    He threw money around like it was confetti…I tried to plan my spending and especially…savings.
    He thought that being able to “service” huge debt was the same as being successful…I thought it was frightening.
    He did not plan for anything further out than a week…I planned for years ahead.
    He always had his face jammed into a computer searching for adult “entertainment”…I used my computer to learn “how to’s”. and research practical topics for our lives.
    He was obsessed with gourmet food…I would eat pretty much whatever was simple and practical.
    He could never stay on task…I would finish tasks and take the initiative to start a new one.
    He was never satisfied…I always saw the glass as being half full.
    He detested yard work…I found it quite enjoyable.
    He was extremely wasteful…I was always practical.
    He would take no responsibility for failures…I would examine my part for them.
    He was happy living in disorganized filth…I worked even harder to have a clean environment.
    He was always high or drunk on something…I was always sober.
    He was always looking for excitement…I was always looking for peace.
    He had ZERO empathy…I was always compassionate…even to him.
    He was anti-social except at work (where the women are)…I wanted to enjoy my friends and family from time to time.
    He had many addictions (the kind that can kill you)…I am far more cautious with my health.
    He thought that sex was just about orgasms…I thought it should be about an expression of love.
    He thought that Biblical knowledge meant that he was “saved”…I thought that the walk should represent the talk.
    He detested exercise and thought it was a waste of time…I thought it was a basic foundation for good health and mental well being.
    He though that he was smart/intelligent…I thought he lacked basic common sense and was impulsive.
    He thought I should always take up his slack…I thought it was good training for the day that I would be totally on my own.
    He thought that his lifestyle and freedom were boyishly charming…I thought he belonged in a Juvenile Detention Center.
    He thought he could rule me with fear and intimidation…I thought he seriously underestimated my worth and would never cower.
    He thought that I should spend hours and hours daily listening to his rambling thoughts…I thought he was in serious need of a Psychiatrist.
    He thought I would always forgive him…I thought he should go on alone to his well earned journey towards Hell.

    Other than that, we were a perfect match…like darkness together with light….and it is no wonder Meh came on the day he left. NOT. A. TEAR. SHED.

    • Amen, Sweetz. I see a lot of myself and the cowardly cheater in your list.

      I too, seemed to reach Meh in record time. The pain ended, the truth was revealed, the sky parted, and then I was free and launched into the life I had been in training for all of my marriage—alone and free.

      Stay strong! Hugs.

  • Let’s see, I, too, fell into the “we’re not that compatible but that doesn’t matter” camp. I loved to be active, and be outside. She…just sat on the couch watching TV for hours. But, as the CL says, it was different values — or, to be more precise, her bad character and selfishness — that really make things unworkable.
    She couldn’t seem to hold a job anywhere, getting fired for this or that. I just said she was poorly understood.
    She never wanted to take a job that actually involved real work, or would pay more than peanuts. For the first three years we were were married (with no kids), she never managed to earn much more in her white collar job than she could’ve made working part time at McDonald’s. She somehow never seemed to work 40 hours a week, either. I just said that she was a struggling writer, and eventually she would pay the bills. (never happened, by the way). She switched careers to sales, but again spent only 2 or 3 hours at day actually working. I said she just needed to get into her groove.
    There were all the lies she told, about anything and everything. I just told myself that they were just stupid exaggerations and embellishments, and wouldn’t hurt anyone.
    Then there were all the e-mail’s I found 3 months into our marriage, in which she talked about all manner of racy and inappropriate subjects with several men she worked with. I told myself she was young and naive, and was just trying to be nice to these guys.
    When I got shitty birthday and Christmas presents, I said to myself she was just a lousy gift giver.
    When she always tried to insist we spend every holiday with her family instead of mine, and was always trying to rush my parents out of the house when they visited, I said that she was just harried and rushed.
    When she forgot our anniversary, I told myself it was human to forget. Then she forgot it again…I don’t know what I used for spackle that time.
    After D-day, when she would say she wanted to go to MC, or be almost-not-mean, I told myself she was turning the corner and going to be a new person. Nope.
    It was a great day when I quit making excuses for that lout.

  • Oh my goodness. Where do I even start? I was a nerdy bookworm with strong Christian family values who valued honesty, integrity, good manners, and respect. I was ultra responsible and tried to always do the right thing. What did I marry? A bad boy. The quintessential bad boy who smoked, drank, cussed, got into fights, lied, was horrible with money, rude, condescending, a bigot and a racist. He didn’t get along with my family, would chase down random people who cut him off in traffic, had no idea how to behave in respectable company, and the rare times he did, I was always on edge that he would say something outrageous to embarrass me (which usually happened). He groped me in public, always had scuzzy people in his garage, was arrested for DUI twice and once for terroristic threats against his own brother, brought a gun to a 4th of July party to sell it, then it fell out of his shorts’ pocket and went off, shooting a 12-yr-old girl (she’s fine now) who was standing right next to our daughter.

    I spackled like crazy. “Oh, he has potential; I will lead by example. If I can just try to control his behavior (pardon me while I laugh hysterically), then it will be fine.”

    “He had a hard childhood. His father abused him, even threw him down the stairs. He has a good heart, and that’s all that matters.”

    “He has PTSD from serving in the First Gulf War. I can’t imagine the things he saw, so I’ll let his behavior slide.”

    “He’s going through a lot of stress right now. It will be fine in a few days.” (Until we repeated the cycle again and again and again!)

    “He’s used to hanging around criminal low-lifes. That’s what he is most comfortable with. I get that.”

    “We were just brought up differently. He just doesn’t know how to properly behave.”


    Thing is? I think the whore is exactly like him, which is why they probably got together in the first place. With her, he can cuss, get drunk, smoke like a chimney (they smoke in the house with the kids), steal stuff, lie, swindle people out of money, yell at and abuse her kids (he abused his sons from his first marriage and I tried to protect them, but wasn’t always successful as I technically wasn’t their mother). I’m sure there’s much more.

    I am SO GLAD to be out of that.

    • Mine groped me in public too…I thought that he was engaging in some version of juvenile foreplay and that we’d be having sex later at home. Nope. Never. He just wanted to try and embarrass me. I learned to tell him to stop with the “bait and switch” or “lost leader” tactics.

      He’d always say: “Sex is sex, and love is love”. But I got neither…those things were reserved for all his fantasies or the women that he was in pursuit with.

      • Sweetz, that is just evil and wrong. Sex is sex, and love is love? What the hell?

        RE: groping… I would tell mine to stop and he’d say, “Oh, get used to it. I’m going to be like this when we’re 80.” or “I’m just messing around. You don’t need to get so upset.” It was always my fault that I didn’t like strangers watching me get my breasts squeezed or my butt groped. Sometimes, he’d even come behind me and act like we were “doing it” in public. SO EMBARRASSING.

        • Mine would say the exact same thing…that he’d still be like this when he was OLD…and he already WAS old. He’d also get me to give him blow jobs in the back room of his store during the first four years when we ran it together…that way, he’d be unable to have sex with me later when we’d get home. It was all about the excitement of doing something “naughty” in between customers. He’d get that sudden “urge” whenever he had just interacted with a “hot” woman customer.
          Eventually, I opened up my own store in another town. That stopped his blow jobs…with me anyway. It also permanently stopped all the groping that was crude and highly unwelcome.

          Once, I decided to grab his belt and started unbuckling it in front of some customers…to give him a taste of the embarrassment that he was giving me. That toned it down a few notches lol!

    • Yes! Mine worked with the public, but could not have a conversation with my family. I wondered how can this man, who interviews people at work all day, not be able to Talk to my family or friends civilly. He would wander off down their driveway, or into their workshops or basements. Creeped everyone out.

      SO many times I would try to talk to him on the way to an occasion…….ask him to please look at people and speak to them, and not leave the room. Useless waste of time and my nerves to even have tried. Years of misery.

      • I had to have the talk, too! “Please don’t do or say anything outrageous.” And that didn’t always guarantee he’d listen.

        You know you’re with a disordered fuckwit when you have to tell them how to behave in public or around family. He’d even act out with his own family, so it wasn’t just his hatred of not fitting in with mine.

  • Well, my biggest spackle was to assume that whatever was wrong between us must be my fault as he was perfect and I was imperfect.

    He was so reasonable, and I was so unreasonable. Gah. No wonder I went into a depression.

    Never again.

      • ^This^ everything was my fault, he was perfect, I had faults, including the time I was getting ready to take his jacket to the cleaners, while emptying his pockets I found receipts for porn during a business trip from a hotel in Reno. I asked him about it. He got angry and blamed me, it was my fault for “snooping.”
        He was perfect, just ask him.

        One of the many questionable things he did or said which I spackled, or ignored to keep the peace
        and maintain our image of the happy family.

  • My eternal spackle that covered everything was:

    he had a really traumatic childhood.
    He is shy.

    Therefore, if I love him enough and understand him enough, he will heal, appreciate me and my time will come.

    What I got was:

    [IC] – Patsy, do you realise that his affair is the final, hurtfully unacceptable part of a pattern?

    • I totally relate. 🙁 Just because someone had a traumatic childhood doesn’t mean they get to go around traumatizing other people!

  • We were both extroverts but because he always had to be the centre of attention my needs became smaller and smaller. He gaslighted me into believing nobody liked me and I became a shell of the vibrant lady I was. By the end of the marriage I was just sitting in my office staring out the window .. 36 years of abuse and gaslighting does that. I am back and enjoying life as it is. Sometimes the grief returns for a moment.but I’m mostly at meh

  • Basically told myself I could become the partner he wanted if I diminished myself enough.

    Doesn’t work folks.

    The last person I was seeing wasn’t a cheater, but he has unacheivable standards. He believes relationships should just work without trying. They should just work. Even when you try to make them not work, they should anyway.

    But that’s not reality. That’s perfection. He was looking for perfection. And that doesn’t exist. So he gets frustrated when his partners falter and never reach his ridiculous standards. But dear god did I try.

        • No, not a cheater, just impossible standards. I think it’s his way of avoiding actual relationships. He wants them, but he’s scared of them, so he has insane standards and then has an excuse to run when no one can meet them.

  • My own family never had time for me or interest in me… least he paid attention to me.

    He seemed to be ‘on my side’.

    Our kids had an ‘intact family’

    His flexible work hours helped us with care of our children

    His father had criminal tendencies, so he needed my ‘help’ morally as he was raised in a crazy family

    He had many traumas in his youth, so I had to be ‘compassionate’ toward his flaws

    lots of spackle

  • He was my first boyfriend. Made me feel beautiful and wanted. Little did I know that he was a master manipulator.

    He only acts that way because he’s protective of me. (Let the isolation begin)

    I have to ask to go out with my friends and tell him times and places because he worries about me. (Isolating me + keeping tabs so he knew where he should avoid and how long he could have the random hos in the house before I got home)

    He doesn’t lie to me. He only lies to everyone else. (I was spackling hardcore at that point.)

  • I spackled for both the cheating XH and X boyfriend. Neither one of them had a friend in the world and they were both older men. Both were super secretive about their pasts. Now I know why, they had so many skeletons in their closets that if they opened their mouth, bones would fly out. Both very charming and the love bombing was intense. Both very shallow and vapid. Never again.

  • He only showed a rogue toothless grin at our beach wedding (“He’s not emotional like you, Laura. Everybody handles that stuff differently.”); He’d add random women to his FB and then stalk them/like and/or comment on all their boob-a-licious pics (“He’s a realtor… He’s just networking for clients. EVERY woman puts those stupid duck lips kissy face pics up… that’s not his fault.”); He left on our first wedding anniversary to play overseas with his band for a month (“Don’t go! Please, please, DON’T. GO!!!”) …he went anyway (“He still loves me… this will be good for us. He needs the money and it’ll look good on his resume. Then he can get more gigs and help me more –any!–financially.”); I caught him fraternizing with a cutie on our anniversary and asked him about it. “You’re so uptight!!! Nobody reads in to that stuff like you do!” (…maybe I am an uptight, jealous freak…).

    I could go on and on and on…

  • Things don’t change. Ex asshat moved to eastern Europe this spring, where 25YO Schmoopie lives. He is using that as his base and is taking work in the Middle East as he has done before. Using Schmoops to take care of his pets and other adult responsibilities I am sure.

    (Side bar—Hope she enjoys constant Skype mutual-masturbation requests from the asshat, that is all he has to offer when he is away and he won’t like it when she declines because she realizes those calls are absolutely monitored, especially from the Middle East. So she will get to watch him whip around his hairy old junk at the will of Rosy Palm and pretend it turns her on while she furtively steals glances at whatever is on TV. Ask me how I know. Blech.)

    But, from far off lands the asshat has reached out. Recent text to eldest daughter, “I am bored.”

    I have the ability to be content with choices and accept things. I make decisions quickly and stick to those choices without agonizing about the what-ifs. I work at appreciating what I have. I always spackled over my X’s lack of initiative by saying it was how he was raised but that he was a calming influence to my desire to move forward quickly on things. I did not know that he was just building up a huge pile of resentments and what-ifs over 31 years that he could clobber me with. God forbid that he open his fucking mouth and say any of it.

    Asshat always had anxiety and doubted his choices, thus the ILYBINILWY and the I never loved you” bullshit I endured. And now he has made his big move in life, put a nuke in everything that was real and good to chase pervertishly young ass in far off places, and the fucker is “bored.”

    Leaky bucket gonna leak. I trust he sucks.

  • Sitting here reading my Daily Chump Dose. I was pleasantly surprised Tracy. Be sure to have the pork belly if in the Circular Que (‘Key’). I love Oz and the Aussies. And I’m serious about a Cheezy Western and a bowl with at the Texas Tavern! Holla Girl when you next visit the ‘Noke’. Lunch is on me. Hubby should like it too because…Texas!

    Obviously, I guess spackling was a daily drill for us all. I’m going to come back to this article and list what CN is stating here where I can identify exact comparisons. I didn’t do the Gains/Losses exercise on paper but it’s all here now for the harvesting. So many similarities among us chumps when it comes to this. Work smart not hard Yeh?

    The financial spackling was the worst for me. More Chrysler equivalent Bailouts than anything else. God, the money that I gave up for The Dragon’s indiscretions. I spackled to “keep the peace”. Bandaids on a carotid hemorrhage.

    The imperceptible subtle and progressive nature of of glaring/not so glaring differences developing over time is what slayed me. The sex was intense and plentiful in the beginning. I’d thought I’d married a Nympho. I’m only 9 months out from Dday so I’m sure that with more time and ‘Finding Me’ I’ll recall a lot more evidence with more Hopium Sobriety. The Dragon was a master manipulator, liar and cover-up specialist.

    Clothing, Shoes, make up, hair & nails possessed vs. Functional attire
    Saver vs Spender
    Cleaner vs Slob
    Cook vs Take Away (That’s Aussie-speak BTW!!)
    Needy vs Supplier
    Spiritual vs Stoic
    ….on and on it goes

    But guess what!? While reading this very blog, I get an e-mail from the paralegal, the Final Decree has been sent to the judge. Won’t be long now!

    And THIS, after I got a Hoovering/Love Bombing text LAST NIGHT mirroring everything I’d said or wrote to her over the last 9 months. No Remorse. No I’m sorry I hurt you.
    Swearing undying love for me forever, first and ONLY True Wuv ranking, and finally ending in,…” I love you ML and always will. You are the only man for me.” The juicy give away was her explaining the “just friends” status of 6 of her lovers of which only 5 were explained. The one she left out I conclude is who she’s targeted (or living with) now. Don’t know. Don’t care. In the infamous words of Agent Smith, my ‘program’ is now Me! ME! ME! (Must OVER RIDE CHUMP self-sacrificial programming).

    There’s some Cosmic ordered goings on and timing happening. I get to hang out with a new lady friend’s son (12) tomorrow and Wednesday. His Dad is in FL. We’re both into martial arts, playing guitar, live music, food, healthy eating. But I’v Friend Zoned her and ALL Women in my path for a 1 year recoup period.

    So yeah. I’m discarding opposites attract string theory.

  • My spackle was pretty much the fact that he wasn’t beating me, so he was great!

    Nevermind that a few weeks after we were married, I took him aside and asked him to please get along with my teenage son, that I knew son was being a butthead, but he was 16 and he’d get over it. Cheaters response was that “he didn’t care.”

    Nevermind that he took a shitty bartending job after retiring from the military because “no one was interested in hiring a veteran and that it was really more of a curse in the job market. What did I know?

    Nevermind that he let two brand new screen doors sit in the hallway of my house, for a year and a half, not wanting to install them because he didn’t want to invest anything into a house we didn’t own ( it’s my inheritance).

    Nevermind that whenever any of my kids acted like teenagers and had moments of disrespect and laziness, that was enough for him to hold grudges against them for being normal. His sons could do no wrong, however.

    And even when he stood in my living room, looked me straight in the eye, and actually TOLD me if I didn’t start putting out more, he would find someone else… I never believed he would. I just though got he was so frustrated, trying to get me to DO something about the dysfunction in that area that I was experiencing and totally making it MY responsibility and not OUR responsibility…. believing I was a bad wife, that he was the best thing ever and why couldn’t I be intimate with him…. and realize only last summer after our divorce, that he’d already been fucking strange and intuitively I knew it.

    I’m an amazing spackler.

    When I go to the eye doctor, and she wants me to see double for the tests, she has to crank that puppy way high to keep me seeing double. My eyes are so used to forcing myself to focus, that she really has to work to keep me from doing it.

    That’s the kind of sparkling ability I have. It’s fucking amazing.

  • I didn’t. I’m not a spackler, people pleaser type. I’m a blunt take no prisoners type. And in fact, my ex and I were incredibly compatible in practically every way. (He was into baseball. I hate baseball. But we both liked hockey.) Not everyone who’s cheated on is the same personality.

    • I don’t think the point is that all chumps have the same personality. I think the point is that chumps tend (more often than not) to share some traits, including the ability to look directly at evidence of deep relationship problems and recharacterize it as something else, usually something we can control and fix (we can’t). AKA spackle. One step to “gaining a life” is realizing when we engage in this behavior and how it usually makes relationship problems worse. Then wean ourselves away from it.

      If you never spackle, that is a tremendously healthy place to be. But most of us struggle to reach such a place, whether introverts or extroverts or city mice or country.

      • Yah. Chumps will even use the term “relationship problems” instead of “Cheater’s got low character” problem.

    • I don’t think most of the spackling is about personalities or compatibility of interests.

      The spackling in my case was about shared values and whether he had an actual heart. I, for example, greatly valued raising healthy happy kids, preferably within a healthy happy intact family. He SAID he valued that early on, and I spackled a lot to be able to continue to believe that.. But his later behaviour, over more than 10 years, showed that wasn’t true at all. Even after I kicked him out following Affair #2, I assumed that, deep down, he loved his kids and valued his relationship with them, that he would be thinking about how to sustain that relationship and help them through the hard period of our divorce. NOPE.

    • I didn’t spackle either.

      He did a pretty good job of gaslighting to the point where I spent years trying to see what I missed. What signs were there.
      There simply weren’t any. A little scary for me.

  • We had a lot in common, but in hindsight it’s clear to me that we missed each other on the big items (family values, commitment, etc). The most glaring red flag that I somehow didn’t give enough weight to (i.e., I spackled) was that my wife seemed to not care at all about her friend’s and family’s own infidelity. A close work friend of hers slept with two married men at their law firm within a six month window, blowing up one of the young families while the other remained undiscovered. I was appalled. My wife’s response was, eh we’re all human. They’re still best friends. Same sort of response/rug-sweeping when we discussed her own father’s infidelity (which led to an affair birth of a daughter born within a few weeks of his other daughter. The “illegitimate” child was given up for adoption, found her biological parents in her 20s, and killed herself at age 30). My wife said, He was young, it happens.

    On D-day, when I was in fetal position crying on the bathroom floor, my wife stood leaning against the door sill and said “I’m sorry you’re so sad, but everybody cheats, Devastated New Mom.” She’s obviously wrong, but I suppose when you surround yourself with cheaters, it can seem that way.

  • In college, strangers would approach me to ask why I was dating the ex and told me his nickname on campus was “The Prince of Darkness.” I didn’t take that as the warning it was. You don’t spackle harder than that!

    Oh, his ex-girlfriend is crazy? Oh, his dad abandoned the family when he was a kid? Poor baby. Never mind the stories that strangers would go out of their way to share, or how often he stood me up because of another “emergency.”

    And this was at the BEGINNING of the relationship. The honeymoon phase.

    I wish I’d listened to the warnings and ran. Would’ve saved myself a decade of heartache and trauma. Hell yeah, I spackled. Never again. I see that shit from ten miles away now.

  • This is an important question I need to spend more time thinking about. Off the top of my head I can say….

    – Oh he’s working full-time…sort of. He’s brilliant, but the academic market is just terrible. No, he hasn’t considered applying to other kinds of meantime (x 6 years and 0 interviews).
    – He has to do all this international travel to strengthen his application materials. No, I don’t mind staying home and watching our kid…Isn’t that funny that he was out drinking till 4 a.m. with his colleagues and missed his plane? He really needs to relax given the pressures at home….
    – He’s not empathic but he’s soooooo sensitive.
    – He’s not looking down on you/me/everyone.
    – It’s ok that the doesn’t support me in my work–it’s too painful for him right now. Someday he will!
    – It’s ok that he doesn’t support me re. my health–I’ll take care of it.
    – That’s right, he’s the writer/producer in the family. I’ll just tend to our child over here….
    – Yeah, we’ve decided to focus our resources on him since I’m less ambitious.
    – He’s a socialist so that means he has good values.
    – He married me and had a kid with me–that makes him a white ally!
    – It’s ok that he doesn’t speak back to his family’s racism–I can handle it.
    – I don’t mind when he tells me not to sing.
    – He doesn’t express his love or compliment me anymore, but that doesn’t mean he loves me any less.

    (***Karma Police is on the radio as I’m typing this…***)

    • Mine admitted to saying outrageous things that I knew weren’t true just to see if I’d argue the point because he claimed I argued too much.

      Huh. I thought it was ‘discussing’

      I figured out eventually that that was what he was doing and I refused to take the bait… deciding I’d pick my battles and in the meantime, devaluing myself by making myself less for his sake.

      But really… only a narc does that kind of crap.

  • Spackle? What Spackle?

    When I met my STBXH he was fucking a married howorker. When I discovered it 3 months later after lie upon lie about their relationship, he said, “It was fine cause she wanted it, too.” I bought it though it never sat well with me.

    When we returned home from our honeymoon, I caught him talking on the phone to his ex-girlfriend. He said, “I’ve been talking to her but didn’t tell u till now cause u would’ve been mad.” Ok, I thought, maybe I was being unreasonable.

    I cant believe all the years of lies, secrets and deception which were blamed on me for, “I knew u would be mad if I was friends with her, etc, etc.”

    I just returned home from his deposition. My attorney had him read the love letter I found to his married howorker. Years and years of lying to me about their relationship.

    I ignored red flags at the beginning of our courtship and now 15 years of marriage later, our relationship has come full circle. It’s ending just the way it started, with lies upon lies.

    I spackled for years thinking it was me, but now I see we just don’t have the same values – integrity, morals, values, commitment to marriage, and good character in general.

    It still hurts me that he is so in love with this married younger woman. I’m not sure what their relationship holds, but I have to believe it is not me and comes down to basic core beliefs and being a good person.

    • I doubt he is capable of ‘love’. A person who has the capacity to love can’t look someone they live with in the eye and lie to them over and over. Their idea of love is not a healthy or normal concept.

  • If I think about it, there are a few flags I could have paid more attention to:

    *He lied over little things, which grew to bigger things—but I never really called him out on it until false reconciliation.
    *He was always the knight in shining armor—helping out female friends and listening/offering relationship advice.
    * he did not have any male friends except two best friends from high school; nor engage in any hobbies/fun things
    * he did not like most of my friends, so I became isolated over time—until I was hired at the same workplace! Then most of our friends were from work/had kids the same age. One spackle episode– non work friend invited us over for game night. Ex refused to go! I was so upset, but I went anyway. I remember feeling awful, it took half the night to relax and have fun. They became good friends and we did game night there for 11 years! Ex told daughter after divorce he hated game nights (really? With all the hysterical laughing? Revisionist history, or simply a sign of his compartmentalizing which he did for 12 years.)
    * he spent hours making homemade meals for us (he loves us! In reality, avoiding interacting with me)
    * for sorta incompatibility: I am an extroverted introvert, he is an extrovert; I love outdoor activities, he hates hiking and camping cuz bugs, etc.

    In the end, I realize he was a taker, and I was a giver.

    I thank my lucky starts that I have finally found another giver just like me.

    • That knight in shining armor shit didn’t start until several years in. When it did, I thought at first he was just being “helpful.”

      Then it started to feel uncomfortable. When he called someone his “work wife” it hurt. She supposedly lived with a boyfriend, but now I wonder if that was even true?

      • yup, he had a work wife, too. They did not have an affair (she became a good friend over time), but he did have an affair (emotional at the very least) with one of the “damsels’ at work.

  • This made me think back to our first vacation together, as we started to get to know each other. I asked what he thought we had in common and he said, “Well, we’re both wearing light-blue jeans.”

    I was hugely insulted at the time. I actually believed that we shared the same values – for example, we both had great relationships with our siblings. (Truth: He had only ONE friend – his brother, who lived several states away.) I thought we had strong bonds with our daughters – though mine was a decade younger than his. (Truth: His daughter was the one who told me he was cheating on me; she called him a “dog.”)

    I believed he – because he was highly disciplined when it came to working out and keeping order around his house – was making me a better person. Truth: My sister and close friends told me I was becoming a “shell of my former self.” My co-workers, in private, asked me what was going on as I’d seemingly lost my joy and confidence.

    I thought we had feminism in common – until he announced one day that “we” would be fine if I moved to his small city, where I had zero job opportunities, and “took a pay cut.” I thought we both had compassion for other people until he got testy when I gave a small amount of money to a Kickstarter account to help a co-worker fund an expensive adoption.

    He was right: The only thing we had in common was those light-colored jeans. Which I no longer own.

  • Because the sex was amazing, at first, best I had ever had.
    Because he was the first man in years that who I felt saw me, before the verbal abuse and manipulation started.
    Because we had kids and I still bought into the idea that it would be best for the kids is we stayed together.
    Because I loved the idea of getting the 50th wedding anniversary when so many didn’t.
    Because my only examples from older women in my family were ‘stand by your man’ bullshit.
    Because I had no idea how good of a liar narc stbx was.
    Because I was so very afraid of being alone.
    Because I bought into the RIC.
    Because I didn’t want to become a statistic.
    Because I was really good at doing the pick me dance.
    Because I actually loved the fuckwit.
    Because I had to win, I had to be right.
    Because in some ways I let him and that one is the hardest one to get over.

    • Janna, BRAVE AND HONEST. Well done – I love your list!

      I think these ones are all the hardest ones to face, and they’re all examples of the flawed thinking chumps engage in on a daily basis:

      Flawed thinking: “Because I loved the idea of getting the 50th wedding anniversary when so many didn’t.”

      Antidote: Is it a competition? Is it a race? Who are we racing against? What are we trying to prove? Do we get to win a car? If not, what do you actually win? What does this say about how you view marriage?

      Flawed thinking: “Because I was so very afraid of being alone.”

      Antidote: Why? Keep asking yourself why about this one. You find all sorts of interesting answers. The great temptation with this one is to try to medicate with other people – to rush into meetups and social groups, all with the idea of Meeting Someone and finding a replacement part for the hole in your heart. This will almost inevitably lead to a string of dating disasters, until you learn to be on your own and not freak out. Being on your own helps you to fix your picker much faster.

      Flawed thinking: “Because I didn’t want to become a statistic.”

      Antidote: Everyone is a statistic of some kind. I am aiming to be the statistic of the Happy and Fulfilled Person Who Is Doing What She Loves. You could aim to be the Female Dog Owner statistic. Or the Gay Republican. Or the Local Government Representative. Or the Small Business Owner. Or the Mature College Graduate. Being a statistic is like being a human being. It doesn’t mean any more, or any less.

      Flawed thinking: “Because I had to win, I had to be right.”

      Antidote: Mmmyyyesss. Indeed. This is about you and you, rather than you and the cheater. Where did this way of living come from? How does it reward you? Are the rewards worth it? Is there another way of handling life that doesn’t, say, involve cutting off your nose to spite your face?

      Flawed thinking: “Because in some ways I let him and that one is the hardest one to get over.”

      Antidote: It might be time to look at this one gently, and to stop being quite so hard on yourself. We were all enablers – pretty much every last chump here – until we learned better. For some of us, it was a long hard journey with multiple mistakes, faux reconciliation, fuck-buddying, financial plundering, and a million other things. The best thing is that you have insight into this one, and because it’s often the last horrible fact we have to face, you’ve taken a huge step forward by facing it publicly.

      Go Jenna. Thank you for giving me such food for thought today!

      • This was a fantastic and thoughtful breakdown, Lola Granola. Thank you.

  • I spackled over a core values issue after our second date. smh

    We lived in towns that were pretty far apart.

    He came to my town for the first date, I went to his for the second. It was after dark when I left to drive home from that second date (it wasn’t that late, and we hadn’t had sex yet so neither of us was exhausted from that); he said to call him when I got home so he’d know I got there safely.

    I called, and clearly woke him from a deep sleep. A red flag tried to wave itself in front of me. I ignored it. I would NEVER tell someone I’d be worried about them and awaiting their phone call if it wasn’t true. If I wasn’t worried, I wouldn’t tell someone I was. If I was genuinely concerned, I would not be ABLE to sleep until I heard they’d arrived safely because the worry would keep me wide awake.

    That he was sound asleep revealed dishonesty – he could not possibly have been very concerned about me if he was that deeply asleep. I suspect now that he had actually gone to bed. My spackle story was that he had his phone nearby on the couch, watching TV, but nodded off. As dead to the world as he was, I now highly doubt that – he was probably in bed for the night.

    I value integrity. He didn’t, and I should have picked up on that from the second date. But he was love-bombing me and I was getting sucked in so I overlooked this important clue to who he really was. SPACKLE!

  • Mine bitterly complained that I was an abusive name caller. (I think what he meant was I was not allowed to call him out on his &*(&^*^& – ever.) So I quit cold turkey. Bad habit anyway.

    I didn’t make ANY name calling or references, like “don’t be foolish”, but I also didn’t call him any endearments, either.

    I also bought the RIC tome of actions ONLY; not saying what I was going to do, but just take action and DO it – the spouse will certainly notice!!!! Only ONE time, in jest I ALMOST said “Don’t be dumb!”, but I bit the word off in my mouth! Close call!

    Ten full calendar months later, in counseling, mind you I had been COLD TURKEY for 41 weeks, when the counselor asked about the “name calling”, xh welled up in self pity and said: “It’s been a little better!” bottom lip sticking out in self pity.

    My bleeping jaw HIT. THE. FLOOR. That’s when the spackle fell from the ceiling, there was absolutely no way for me to win in this relationship. You can’t work with someone who will not self reflect or see nor admit the truth. It was always going to be me defending myself against allegations, no matter what I did.

    P.S. When he said this in the counseling session, I sputtered in disbelief, reminded him that I had not called him anything but by his first name for 10 months, asked him if he even noticed, he shook his head an INSISTED that I had.

  • We shared a lot of the same political and spiritual beliefs, but…..
    He was a taker, I am a giver.

    He never plans for the future, I have healthy retirement savings (which he threatened to sue me for half of + alimony even though we were not married)

    He switches jobs frequently. He had six in the 10 years we were together. Before we got together, he moved every two years. I enjoy stable, reliable employment and moving up the ranks.
    He never graduated high school (got a GED) and disparaged young people. I am a college graduate, work in higher ed and believe youth are our future and the work I do will contribute to that future.

    He doesn’t mind living in a dump. Plus he is a borderline hoarder. So much crap makes me twitchy.

    If I insisted he help out with house cleaning, cooking, dishes or yard work, he acted so put out. Hello! I work full-time, too asshat. We had separate bathrooms and he only cleaned his when we had company. And I was so mean for making him do that. The only chore he contributed to regularly was laundry. He wanted a bitch cookie for that.

    I could go on for quite a while…I am a master spackler.

    Meanwhile, he left me for a conservative Jesus cheater who loves country music. Nothing wrong with being a conservative Christian who loves country music, but that is so not him. But I guess they do have the lack of integrity thing in common.

  • I allowed myself to be convinced I should pay attention to his words and not his actions. My gut instinct when I first met him was that he was trouble and I didn’t like him. But I allowed myself to be flattered and charmed into thinking I’d been mistaken. Three weeks into dating, I broke up with him because my gut instinct was gnawing at me and I could tell reciprocity was lacking. But I allowed myself to be convinced my inner voice was about ‘my issues,’ not about him, and from that point on I stubbornly stuck to a narrative that he was good, full of potential (albeit a little delayed in blooming), and just needed some TLC to turn into a worthwhile investment.

    Of course, years later I learned it was never going to pan out into a worthwhile investment and I’d invested in a cheating, narcissistic, back-stabbing, ‘poor victim’ charlatan. Several important lessons there: 1) Listen to my gut instincts. They’re telling me something for a REASON, no matter what pretty words the other person has to deflect them. 2) Don’t become caught up in ‘potential’. That equals codependence and leads down ultimately very ugly roads. 3) Don’t assume someone is good to start. Begin with a neutral plane and let them show their true nature to you, slowly, over time. Trust what they show you about themselves (don’t justify it with an alternative narrative). 4) Actions, not words. Look at what is clearly evident and REAL, even if it’s painful, not at what is distracting and spackly.

    • I broke up with my ex as well when we were engaged– I had a moment of clarity when I thought that what we wanted (bright lights, big city vs. small town, family-oriented) was too different. Unfortunately, he blubbered his way back into my life, and I’m grateful that I at least got my three kids out of it because otherwise, I made a huge mistake.

    • Kibbleshopflop, you just articulated my EXACT experience. Thank you.

    • “Don’t assume someone is good to start. Begin with a neutral plane and let them show their true nature to you, slowly, over time. Trust what they show you about themselves (don’t justify it with an alternative narrative). “

      I will post it on my wall????

  • After I stopped bending my whole life to do exactly what he wanted, he thought I was selfish and lazy. Want to work out for 2-3 hours a day, 6 days a week? No? Why ever not? Will you come to the gym with me and keep me company? No? Why ever not???!!!
    If I wanted to stay on the shore and read a book, I was too lazy and boring for not rough housing in the water. If I wanted to go out for dinner on a weekend, I was spendthrift. If I didn’t want to go watch adoringly and hold wrenches for him while he worked on his $110,000 airplane, I wasn’t investing in our relationship.
    I never begrudged my Ex the time and freedom to do all of these things, even with friends. I never held it against him that he didn’t do anything I felt like doing, or if he did, he moped along grudgingly until it was over.
    Selfish, selfish man. I should have at least seen the red flag while I watched him pose in the mirrors to admire his stupid glamor muscles all those nights in the gym.

  • OMG I spackle all kinds of people, not just my ex husband. Recently I was saying about a ‘church leader’ type woman that I had met, how non-competitive she was! How impressive that she didn’t try to get her message or “care” across to people by button-holing them. Later I found out she is devoid of empathy or compassion – you see how I did that? Oh yes, I’ve been so good at this all my life! I married my ex-husband and because he was not as abusive as my father had been I was thrilled! “This is still WAAAAY better than what I grew up in”- I’d tell myself whenever things got rough (which was often). And he had no compassion or empathy EVER (I knew him 23 years), but I’d tell myself how amazing he was because he just “saw things like they were”! He didn’t “waste” time on people, like I did. And because I was always talking to the kids about things – like their treatment of a friend that I did not find very empathetic…. I loved how their father never ever had any discussions with them about those types of things, and they just adored him. I felt like I was waaaay too SENSITIVE. An over-reactor – you know – right? I “noticed” things…. and he never did. But then again, I was told that I was too sensitive when I grew up in my awful family of origin anyway. …. So hard to write all this – esp since my 3 adult children have estranged themselves from me now… for years. They love their (remarried) dad tho! I just won’t let people treat me like a piece of crap anymore – and esp NOT my kids. So…. I’ve got a new life now and its my own. I don’t allow bad treatment from anyone – I am friendly and not angry, but I have boundaries.

  • There are many things I could contribute about our incompatibility here, but this is the biggest one that stands out to me and that I should have thought much harder about: how we view family. I did not want to move away from my parents and siblings. I love the area I grew up in. It’s a great place to raise a family, and it’s very affordable. My ex was more than happy to move wherever away from his family as long as it was to a big city. He wanted the fancy, expensive metropolitan life (did I mention that I’m a teacher, not a CEO or a partner in a powerful law firm?), and he didn’t care if we had family near us or not.

    This also tells a great deal about how I am super practical and he just isn’t. He wanted to up and move to a big city without any real plan or any REAL JOBS. If the guy had a degree in a job that guaranteed a big salary and had job leads, maybe I would have considered it. But, he didn’t– he just wanted to move away and figure it out from there. On a side note, he came from money, and I came from a middle-class background that involved hand-me-down clothes, no vacations, and driving old clunkers into the ground, which I am glad for because I think it made me much better prepared for life than he is. The idea of moving to a big city without a plan made me have heart palpitations. The fact that he spent his life being insulated by his money gave him no such qualms. It’s kind of ridiculous how incompatible we were.

    He also didn’t care if we had kids or not. He was happy to have them if I wanted them but equally fine with not having them. I think it’s a good idea to be with someone who really feels strongly about creating a family (or not) with you. Having kids is a huge life decision, and the fact that he was so meh about them should have been a huge red flag to me since I always wanted to have children and count the births of my three kids as the three happiest days of my life. I cried and felt like I was witnessing miracles when they were born, and he had to be woken up for their births.

    Our relationship was being held together by spackle. ‘Nuff said.

    • Oh my…
      My H was so pro- family…
      Nothing was more important than having family with kids and comfortable house.
      “ yes, we decided that family is our priority”
      Mhm… hold on… I ended up being a SAHM for some time while trying to run my business from home, and making all plans AROUND our kids and his need, while HE WAS working hard, business trips etc.- ALL for the family…. right.

      Chump as I was- guilted in not having enough “ family values”, not being ambitious enough, not being fit enough, smart enough, looking good enough ( all that while taking care of the house, kids, business and obtaining 2 degrees)…..

      Ugh… be careful what you wish for lol
      I have a charming family man, who felt entitled to fucking hookers, putting life of his wife and unborn children into jeopardy, who was so “ frustrated” that a constant “ dining and seeing” other women was a tiny bit of his life ( and he actually believed that only fucking was an issue,,,, because “ he was never taking time from the family”

  • Complain that he wasn’t having enough sex. When I made the first move, he deliberately put his elbow in my face and kept it there until I desisted.

    Insisted that we go to his family for big holiday occasions, but when I invited my parents for a casual BBQ he refused to come out of the bedroom.

    Criticized my decisions re: my son, but when I tried to have discussions about his son and various quandaries, refused to discuss the issues and deflected to criticizing my son again. (Very helpful–not.)

    Criticized my housekeeping, but refused to do anything to assist in the family housekeeping areas. He would occasionally do the dishes, but got all irritated and butt-hurt when I just said “yeah, it looks great”. He wanted major applause.


  • I could blame so much on his traumatic childhood and toxic family. But eventually as time went on I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t becoming more of a man. I always felt like I was waiting for him to grow up. He had a great wife and kids, successful career yet the drinking got worse and he destroyed everything. Yeah I spackled way too much. I could psycho analyze him all day but if he won’t do anything about it what do you do? Trust he sucks!

    Thank you Chump Lady for showing us the BS that goes along with these cheaters.

    • Yeah “waiting till he grew up”!@ how others can describe what you were feeling subconsciously is so spooky !!

  • Small lies, little lies. The kind where you find out by accident it’s a lie and scratch your head. Looking back that is the thing I spackled that should have been a big trigger. Therein lies the seeds of gaslighting. I have an old friend who did the same thing, in fact I recall our discussing why our spouses would lie about inconsequential things. We concluded they had FOO issues where their parents punished them for any little thing. We were wrong. It’s part of the pattern. It’s a clue there are bigger lies, consequential lies – but you aren’t paying attention because you’ve been lulled by the little lies into believing it’s some FOO, poor things… The more they fool you, the the more confident they get – the worse the gaslighting and lying becomes. Then you finally get it.

    • I did this too! Little lies. Little inconsistencies in his stories. Things didn’t add up. I thought the same thing. His upbringing was to blame. I’m just remembering one of the lies he told me when we were dating. It was one of the bigger ones, so I’m not sure why I didn’t just run the other way except to say that I had been lulled in. I didn’t even try to bring it up and question the lie, I just took it and went on. I was afraid of him and of losing him. Ugh.

  • Mr.Fantastic Tinder Man was always traveling nearby states by car & always “tired” because of the long hours driving. It was difficult to go out, walk to the park etc because it was too hot during weekends. I was greatful for all his “sacrifices” so I never insisted to go out with me & my kid to run errands or walk at the mall, groceries, play out side etc. Because he paid all the bills there was no $ to go out until next pay check or whatever financial crisis of the month. I
    was grateful because we had a roof, food, love etc & I sparcle for over a decade. After divorce he texted me for some “beewax” & told me the we “grew apart” (verbatim) & we fall in the routine?!! As we speak the “pleather” in my couch is peel off in the spot where his head & butt were because he was 24/7 watching TV & ’80 movies ( the same movie 2x a week) & texting whorenation. Me now: going out with my kid to dinner, planning mini get aways etc. Mr. Cheaterpants now is watching movies in a living room at his place with KID during his weekends & playing Sugar Daddy with “girlfriend/AP/ since she lives in another time zone. Can not wait to see them 24/7 living together ??!! ???? ????????

  • I’m just wondering how African History is useless as a masters degree.

  • Another thing my cheater XH did is try as hard as he could to isolate me from friends and family, although I did resist some of that. He had to go everywhere with me, glued to my side. Until he wasn’t. It was almost overnight. After he ran almost everyone in my life off he left. Talk about lonely. There’s a steep lesson to be learned with cheater narcs.

    • Chumptopia, cheater isolated me from all my friends that I knew before him. Cheater insisted we do everything together then suddenly he didn’t.
      Neighborhood friends, or neighbors I thought were my friends are now Cheater’s friends.
      It’s much cooler to be friends with an airline pilot than the boring stay at home, PTA, volunteer mom who over the years, shuttled their kids back and forth to school, babysat when they were called in to work or during a family crisis, hosted baby showers, took care of them when they were sick, ran their daycare business without pay when they needed time off.
      I was stunned that the day after Cheater moved out these neighbors were having breakfast cheater, having cheater over for dinner, going out on weekends with cheater to nightclubs, car races, out to dinner with Cheater. These neighbors would then tell me what a great guy cheater is, how much fun they have going out with cheater. They also told me Cheater did nothing wrong, he just wanted someone he has more in common with, so Brit, why don’t you get a life???
      Sure, it’s not their 20 year marriage and life as they’ve known it to be for the last 20 plus years imploding before their eyes.
      They go home to their husband and kids all under one roof, kids are secure, they know they have medical insurance and know their bills will be paid. So Brit, what’s the big deal??? get a life.
      After the initial shock, and disappointment then realization, and wake up.., I don’t want anything to do with people who can be this shallow. We don’t share the same values. It’s like trash taking itself out, good riddance.
      They deserve to be friends with Cheater, evidently they’re of the same tribe.
      I’d rather be lonely, than wasting my time with a group of shallow pretentious people who have no integrity. It’s been a hard lesson but I’m fixing my picker when it comes to all relationships.

  • I never met any of his friends from work except maybe in the parking lot dropping him off food or cigarettes. The few mutual men friends he had ditched him quickly, and most women we were friends with together always preferred me.
    Every time he hit up a friend or even an acquaintance for a job, or money, I was embarrassed, but spackled anyway .
    Every time he would stay behind at a party or gathering so I could take autistic DD home back to her comfort zone, I spackled.
    Every time he lost or quit a job, I spackled.
    Every time I went to sell plasma, or pawn jewelry, or sell for gas and groceries when he would sit home on his ass and spend it, I spackled.
    Every time he lied, I spackled.
    Every time he was harsh to my sons, I spackled.
    Every time he over drafted our joint account, I spackled.
    Every time he would stay out all night, I spackled.
    He was exhausting with emotionally, financially, and mentally.
    Three years out now, thank God!
    Keep moving forward.

    • He sounds like skankboy! Thank goodness they are in our rearview mirror! xoxoxoxox!

  • THE WALKING! I got to the point that I refused to go hiking or walking with Asshat anymore, as he has longer legs and refused to slow down, often claiming that he wasn’t getting a proper workout if he slowed down for me. Total power move.

  • Oh, he’s never home for dinner! Recruiting requires such gruilling hours! He’s so mean and treats me like a maid he doesn’t like, but he’s under SO much stress! Spackle!

  • My story pales to everyone else’s because I’m much younger, but here is my experience:

    Spackling emotional abuse such as stonewalling as being a “cultural difference” between him and I – I knew that people from his home country were a bit more “reserved”, but figured it was related to that/not being overly “touchy feely”.

    Joke’s on me. I put up with that shit for almost a year before I gave him the flick. I suspect he was cheating on me, I never hung around long enough to find out, nor did I particularly care.

    Ironically enough, my current boyfriend is someone who is from almost exactly the same country (they are neighbouring – and they share very similar cultural norms) and the difference is night and day. He is reserved, sure, but in private he is a wonderful, thoughtful, considerate man – everything I could have asked for, and 100x more.

    • Congrats!
      Being a bastard has nothing to do with a country of origin… another bs they try to feed us with

  • We were very much alike.

    Values( all discussed and agreed on; difference- I was living them, he was a big “ wanna live them fantasy unicorn” creature)


    Approach to sex( what I didn’t know is that for the next x years I will become anxious sex deprived confused chump)

    Family( kids home family first- all checked; well, it worked for him, but whenever he was busy, work was finding the place on the top of his priorities, which simply meant- sacrifices were for chumps)

    Friends- both introverts ( but somehow I was always to find a group of friends, socialize and crave for that vs H, who “never had time for friends” and was uncomfortable with socializing with other guys)

    My family loves this devoted, successful, intelligent family man.
    Prostitutes, abuse, emotional/mind games, gaslighting… ugh, nope- it’s reserved for me.
    Lucky chump.

    Not to mention the sparkles ✨ of incredible and thoughtful things done to me ( always witnessed by an amazed crowd)

    • We went through the marriage preparation course through the Catholic Church, understanding that this was a sacramental bond made before God for life. We shared those values. We shared the same faith. We shared the same idea of family. We shared similar interests in travelling, dining out, dinner parties, wine, live music.

      As the adulting increased in our relationship, house, kids, sick parents, increased career demands, lay-off (for him), returning to full-time university studies (for him for three years supported by me), son with autism. He seemed to struggle more and more. I got harder and harder, frustrated with him, feeling like I had to do it myself if it was going to get done. He felt emasculated, he says. I became too strong, he says. I became too controlling, he says.

      Now he thinks we never had anything in common. I’m coming to realize that there is some truth to that. Because, at the end of the day, we sure as hell don’t share common values. My value system does not condone cheating for over a year and ultimately abandoning my family for the other woman. His does.

      It doesn’t really matter how much people think they have in common, what matters is the value system. People balance each other out with shared and differing interests. Those are interests; they often evolve as life changes. No couple who has been married 50+ years will tell you that what kept them together was their love of baseball, or that they’d both visited Germany, or they both hate seafood.

      Their success rests in that they shared a value system that marriage must reign supreme. That you stick it out through thick and thin, understanding that the only way to the light is through the darkness, you listen to one another or get professional help when you struggle to do so, you tell each other what’s going on inside, you cut each other some slack, you don’t do things you have to lie about later, you honour one another’s dignity even when you can’t stand them in the moment, you GROW UP as you GROW OLD!

  • My X was a misunderstood artist. He thrived on it. Still does to this day. He feeds on puzzled looks, wrong questions and the general sense of dumbfoundedness that he evokes. I spackled this misunderstood thing my entire relationship with him. I was just sure that it was me that just really didn’t “get” him and that if I would just try harder, eventually there would come a time when I would “get” him and we could be misunderstood together. Well, ex-girlfriend had always “gotten” him and when they reconnected after a 12 year hiatus (we were in year 7 of marriage) they were able to do the misunderstood thing to their respective spouses and in her case, children. Sigh….

    I spackled a lot because I was sure that I was the stupid one. I had no faith in my own abilities to do anything (even though I did do everything) without him. It really was the craziest thing. The thought of being so blindly in love with someone else just frightens the hell out of me.

  • He’s the pastor. I must be [insert spackle here…paranoid/delusional/crazy/depressed/wrong].

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