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“I’ve changed!” — The Chump Response

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I reckon I’ve read tens of thousands of infidelity stories to date. Maybe hundreds of thousands. (I should crunch the numbers.) And one common recitation I read time and again after D-Day, is when cheaters, threatened with the loss of cake, don unicorn costumes and tell chumps that they’ve changed.

“I’m a new man!” “Let’s make this work! I’m a changed woman!”

Really? Upon discovery of affairs and illicit fuckfests and diverted monies and God knows what else, we are to believe you just had an instantaneous change of heart? Saw the error of your ways and repented? Realized everything you could lose and are committed now?

You’re a different person NOW? Is this Freaky Friday?

Oh, how chumps want to believe it. At the moment of the big devalue to hear that, upon consideration! you have value after all. And all those ugly truths you discovered? The cheater is not that person, but a NEW person you can trust!

If you hear this after D-Day? Here’s your response:

Dear Cheater,

You are not a changed person. Talk to me in five to ten years, after you’ve demonstrated your selfless character. No, I don’t mean stuffing the occasional dollar into the Salvation Army bucket, I mean stop cheating. Parent your children responsibly, support them, delay gratification, be kind to your parents, take ownership of your issues, and hey, maybe adopt a couple orphans or something.

You don’t have five to ten years? Well I don’t have five to ten minutes to put up with your “I’m all better now!” bullshit.

Funny how you realized how much you want me at the exact moment I discovered how much you didn’t.

Funny how your character revolution is completely dependent upon me not enacting any consequences upon you.

You’re changed? No. I’mchanged. The new person here is me. I discovered you played me for a chump. This knowledge has transformed me. Shattered me and put me back together in new ways. And knowing what I know about you now — who you really are, what you did — does not fit in my new life.

Can you change? I hope so. I hope for your soul, for our children’s future, that you can be a better person. But the fact that you’re trying to sell me on bogus, immediate character transplants doesn’t inspire confidence. It makes me think you’re a con.  You wear the humiliation and the shame for awhile and get back to me on that “new person” thing.

Or don’t. Either way, I’m moving on.

Bye.

This column ran previously and newly discovered cheaters are still trying this line on chumps. Hold out for results. 

****

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
    • Yes, I think it should be framed and hung inside the kitchen cupboard to read every morning

    • I’d love versions of this letter tailored for the Marriage Counselor, Sex Addiction Therapist, and Cheater’s Friends/Family – all those folks who want the chump to share in the blame and be exposed to more emotional, financial and legal harm.

    • The Cheater Prayer

      As I lay me down to cheat,
      With my whore upon a sheet,
      If I can LIE well when I wake,
      My Chump will have new cake to bake

      Yep, stitch that one into a sampler.

    • Adopting orphans isn’t evidence of change unfortunately… my cheater ex told me that the young Asian women he talked to 24/7 on his phone/computer “needed a dad & Jesus wants us to take care of widows & orphans. So these young women are my adopted daughters. You are just jealous & mean spirited.” He ended up marrying one who was 26 yrs younger. Now he has her working 12hr days, 7 days a week welding. Never said my ex wasn’t smart, just creepy & deceitful, ha.

    • Blee-
      My cheater actually told me this: a leopard can’t change its spots. I’m guessing referring to the horribleness that was me, thus driving him into homeslice’s arms. Makes him feel better about the narrative he created I suppose.

      • Lost

        You’re NOT the horrible one.
        If cheater X had any courage, any backbone, he would have sat you down and discussed the “problem”

        I’ve read some of your previous posts and the only problem is your Cheater X’s and homeslice’s behaviour, and nothing to do with you and yours.

      • Speaking of leopards and their spots….when ex and I were going thru wreckonciliation/marriage counseling, he constantly expressed his “fear” that I “wasn’t capable of change,” (because clearly I alone was responsible for not only HIS cheating, but for the demise of our marriage). It was ME and all my horribleness that forced him to engage in serial cheating for the entirety of our 26-year marriage. During MC, he would often say, “past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior,” constantly expressing his lack of confidence that I could “change.” Ironically, he was literally speechless when I turned the tables and asked him if that same standard applied to him. The lack of self-awareness is just stunning. Another example which illustrates the same lack of self-awareness: He and I were discussing our daughter’s recent break up with a boyfriend who had treated her shabbily and did not appreciate her, and he asked me what I thought of the break up. I said that I kind of saw it coming, since DD had been doing all the heavy lifting in the relationship. His response? “Yeah, some people just don’t know what it takes to be in a committed relationship.” Yep, he really said that….

        • Wow, SO much wisdom, applied only to others!

          I think this is a great example of ‘It’s not that they don’t understand, it’s that they don’t care’!

          • KarenE,

            I do NOT think it’s always not that they don’t understand, they don’t care”.

            I think some of them are truly disordered and do NOT see any of this applying to THEM.

            THEY are special and entitled. Why would anyone think THEY are doing something “wrong” when they have good reasons!

            They are entitled to happiness! THEY are and others are not really on their radar.

            But if someone “happens” to be hurt, 1) no they aren’t, and 2) if they are hurt it’s not serious and they’ll get over it – classic minimizing -and the harmed party will like the cheater again in time and

            3) it is NOT the cheater’s fault and

            4) it is the chump’s fault.

            This^^ applies to those who SEEM to care b/c THEY are good people!

            They don’t hurt others. THEY JUST WANT TO BE HAPPY….too bad if that comes at a cost to a lot of others.

            Best not to look there.

            • My cheater wanted me to agree to a post-nup that said if I filed, I would “walk away from everything”. I said, “sure, if you will agree that YOU will walk away from everything if you ever cheat again.” You should have seen his face.

              • My husband did the same. In the same ‘conversation’ in which he told me that his AP gave him we’d give times per week for eight weeks. Sometimes cheaters are stupid.

            • Doctors1stwifeandkids, from what you have written, my ex (also a doctor) was exactly the same. The entitlement and delusion of grandeur is beyond belief. He is faultless and my alleged “emotional abuse that he suffered wordlessly for 17 years”, is what drove him to the ho-worker affair (yes they announced their engagement last week…). This comes from a man who, up until only weeks before separating would say to our children “I can only do this job because of the sacrifices your Mum has made for me over the years of studying etc How quickly they rewrite history to make themselves feel faultless.

              • I’m so sorry, Mightier. I too am part of the revisionist history club. It really does help to hear that others have gone through the mindfuckery, but sucks to share commonality with them because it’s about as crazy-making as it gets.

                I have a mother’s day card from Honey that he wrote a note in gushing about what an amazing wife and mother to our 2 (brand new) babies I was, how blessed he was to be married to me, blah blah blah. It was literally only a few months later that he started his affair with HomeWrecker while on the road for work as I was vulnerable and at home with said babies and totally in the dark. I kept that card to remind me how disordered this human being is. Every time I come across it, it gives me the little slap back into reality I need to remember the man I loved and believed in was nothing more than a secretive disordered man-child.

            • Totally agree. They are so damaged and disordered the insight synapses simply don’t fire. Unfortunately that makes them dangerously destructive. A lot of collateral damage happens when the bull is a cheating narc and the china shop is the rest of their family.

              • “So damaged and disordered the insight synapes simply don’t fire.”
                So true. Dangerous and destructive. Yep. My stbx treated our daughter horribly (collateral damage) and she doesn’t want to see him. He makes feeble attempts. At Christmas and her birthday he just sent her a card. No present. That, unfortunately, is the punishment you must pay for pointing out truth to the disordered man-child. You see, she ‘hurt his feelings’ when she told him she didn’t like what he did to our family. Now she must pay.
                He is scum .

        • yeah, ex has no problem finding fault in the behavior of others and then engaging in the exact same behavior. Schmoopie’s ex was such a jerk for cheating on her and she was so kind to take him back. No concept of the irony of his words.

        • Lack of self awareness. Mr. Wandering peen wrote this to me, “Why do you write such things. I can’t talk with you because of the cloud of insults. I wish you could see that… I know I made poor choices and I still wanted to be with you and I didn’t want to let go yet didn’t go forward. I know I screwed up. But as I get these messages from you I wonder that I probably did the right thing.” As if I was sitting there waiting for him. He won’t accept I won’t touch him with a 10 feet pole.

          • I got….”I don’t understand why your so mad, I didn’t do anything “……SMH!!!!

        • Hahaha they do say the funniest things ex.
          “ Tiger W is such an ass, cheating on his pregnant wife? Really?”
          While cheating on me the whole time- we have 3 kids.
          “ this guy is such a phony and full of BS”
          No kidding… 😉

          “ I would die for you”
          But he was more concerned about whooring than safety of his wife and children( sex with no protection )

          • Mine had NO concept of how revolting having umprotected sex with me was after having
            unprotected sex with other women! None. And now, dealing with cervical cancer (thanks to the HPV he gave me – can’t have been anyone else as I have only ever been with him) he is completely unfazed. According to him, I’ll be okay. I’m strong. (Hell yeah. I am. And I will, but thanks dickhead.) Poor widdle delicate flower, Trinket, on the other hand? She’s precious and delicate. No concern for the mother of his children. Never understood my fears about STIs. Fucktard.

            • Same feeling here. The only thought that I cant get out of my mind… Is that he slept with me a couple of days after having unprotected sex.
              Even after marriage “counseling” and this current attempt of “reconciliation”.
              I cant. I dont know how some couples… “get over it”

              • Oh, mine had sex with me and other women on the same day, many times… “get over it” is what you do when you are single again, or – and I do have one maybe even two(? jury is out for a looooong time on the second, he has a long way to go yet) genuine friends whose cheater ACTUALLY got it, and work their butts off to be better men – unicorns – but for every one who did, there are eleventy-thirteen cajillion who are lying to themselves, by desperately believing a now-more-careful/secretive-than-ever-cheater.

                Getting over it never means it never happened. You need remember to not rely on another person to help you ‘get over it’ and start making steps that help you, not “the couple.”

          • Yes, only their discomfort. Our daughter verbalized her discomfort with her dad abandoning us and she “hurt his feelings” so bad he brought her home from a camping trip in the middle of the night. Told her it was her fault he was breaking up with his girlfriend! What a cowardly loser. I hate seeing our kid suffer. I hate what he’s doing to her. He is oblivious.

        • The kicker for me is that I really did try hard to change to please him. What a waste of my time. I guess I can still be glad I improved myself for my own sake but it still hurt that he didn’t appreciate or even notice my efforts.

        • That also reminds me of one night about two weeks after DDay when I had been going nuts trying to figure out where I went wrong and how I could fix it so that he would trust that I really was going to be better and he turned to me and said “have you done any self reflection at all?” It was at that moment that I realized that he hadn’t and I started to really understand that maybe I wasn’t the problem after all.

      • Lost220, I had that happen, too. JAMF flat out told me that I’d never change and always be a terrible wife. Projection at it’s finest.

  • My ex cheater after discovery never apologized or pleaded for my consideration of “he’s changed “
    Just walked away into the owhore’s arms:

    I realize that he can’t & never will change. Their hard wired to be who they are.

    A lying, treacherous person who will stab you in the back regardless of decades of being married to you.

    So very sad on so many levels 😔

    • This is me. But I have turned a corner in the last three weeks. Just over a year out from dday after three months of pick me dancing. I never realised my marriage was a competition. I had my third counseling session through work yesterday. I have one left. I am very calm after having it put to me I didn’t cause him to cheat, it was unacceptable behaviour,I don’t need to dwell on the fact that he didn’t love me whilst I loved him, that I need to focus on what I have now,, the love I have for and get back from my children and family, how much I have achieved, not think about what was and worry about the future, and realise that my home is better and happier and more organised and less chaotic with the negativity he brought. That part upset me yesterday. That my home is better without him rather than with him. But I am good and calm today. And my children look to me as their good happy having it together role model

      • Nini-
        Keep going every day! When we stop trying to figure everything out and accept things for what they are, it gets better. Congratulations on seeing your value.

      • Just what I needed to read today. 2 weeks out from dday and whilst I know that we will all be better off without him, it’s hard not to dwell on the fact that he just doesn’t love me back.

        • Sorry you recently went through this shitstorm
          Turns out you can’t make someone love and value you
          Turns out if this is the way he “loves” someone, I’m not interested in that shallowness
          Turns out the only person you can control is yourself
          Ive come a long way from the emotional devistation, the humiliation, the loneliness
          It’s a true shit sandwich, they put you in a bad spot
          It’s a long process to recover from the abuse, like a grief process.
          It takes as long as it’s going to take, there are no short cuts
          We face the uncertainty of life without Him or Her, the loneliness of being alone, the stigma of “failure”
          There is loneliness, but I had loneliness when I was with him
          After almost theee years I see the patches of blue sky
          I am a lot wiser for the experience, I have learned that there is a way out of hell
          Turns out my cheater did this with his first marriage, ugh
          Be patient with yourself, take care of you, detach, love who YOU are
          Hugs
          LIS

          • “It’s a long process to recover from the abuse, like a grief process.
            It takes as long as it’s going to take, there are no short cuts”.
            These are wise words that all of us chumps should carry with us at all times. Thank you, LIS.

            • I wrote a poem a while back for chumps called ‘We, the Disillusioned’. Seems fitting to share in this thread on the subject, and I hope it resonates and helps someone struggling with this particular type of grief.

              Too bad you can’t move on, Dear.
              It’s not as though someone died.
              It’s a trifle – not a tragedy –
              That you loved someone who lied.

              Yes there’s pain, but not as with death.
              Look, starving children die in scores!
              Who are you to languish so long
              In those mother’s grief-filled corridors?

              Husbands depart and return not from work,
              Stolen from life without warning.
              Who are you to weep bitterly as the widow
              As though you could grasp her mourning?

              …We, the disillusioned, take issue
              With the constraints of those who believe
              A set of rules exist for our pain, by comparison,
              And that we lack the legitimacy to grieve.

              Yet we know pain this pervasive can only be found
              Lying somewhere in the chasm between
              Surgery while awake and aware,
              And an ever-repeating bad dream.

              So don’t apologize, dear one, or feel any shame
              For languishing at suffering’s table.
              Let no one diminish your place or its reason…
              You’ll rise and depart once you’re able.

              So to those who’ve been betrayed, let us speak our own language.
              Let us be helpful, and teach it to others.
              We’ll know each other by our matching scars –
              A firebrand of sisters and brothers.

              We will never tell you ‘your suffering doesn’t measure up’,
              Stealing any fraction of peace you can derive.
              Seek, instead, those who know just what it feels like
              To mourn someone who is still alive.

              https://honeyandthehomewrecker.com/2016/08/05/we-the-disillusioned/

        • I knew for some time my ex husband didn’t love me back but I chose to ignore the red flags! 17 months out of D day and working hard to get my life back on track

        • ((Hugs)) and strength to you. I’m just over 2 years out and doing much better on my own, but the first year was pure hell. It’s NOT worth going back, no matter how much it hurts right now to be without them. Love YOURSELF.

      • Nini1912:

        You have an excellent counselor! Nipped it in the bud in 3 short sessions! Too many of them buy into the mindset that we chumps bear responsibility for our spouse’s behavior, and we have to do the Double Down Dance if the marriage has any hope of repair.

      • I have had this same realization Nini and it’s taken me a year to fully get to it. I mean at first I realized the house was less chaotic and in general less stressed, but what I have noticed lately is even the plants are doing better! I had the hardest time keeping plants alive. I always thought it was me, but now I believe the constant negativity kept them from growing. Also, we had major issues with our elderly cat going to the bathroom in inappropriate places. It was not uncommon to walk through the front door to find a poo right in front of it. And it was always my problem to fix, but the ex never liked my solutions. Now a year later, the cat still has some issues but not one poo has been in front of the door since he left!

        It took me a year to see that I was a mess while he was in the home and he was causing it! I was constantly stressed which caused a short fuse. I yelled. I was frustrated. And he told me because of those things I was a bad person. He told our daughter because I yelled I was a bad person. As a result, I felt like a bad person. A year later I realize, yelling does not make you a bad person. Being stressed does not make you a bad person. It’s a cry for help that he never answered. He had me in a constant cycle of trying to please him and then him finding something else wrong all the time. I was never going to win.

        I still yell sometimes. The cat still makes messes. But it is so much less stressful now. I don’t feel bad about yelling sometimes. I’m a mom after all and sometimes you get sick of asking the same question over and over. The house has more harmony. Like I said, even the plants are thriving.

        • Cancer Ch I too yelled a lot when he was there. The house was stressed and he kept chiding me for yelling and if things went wrong I got stressed because I stopped asking him to do things as he did nothing. Just put the kids to bed and feel asleep for an hour, and then finished off his night on the computer. Not time spent with me or doing anything of value to the house. Come Friday evening when he got home from work it was down tools, I’ve worked all week and have the weekend to enjoy. Nothing about tackling the garden or cutting the grass or painting walls or fixing a broken shelf. I did all that. Or my dad. Fools we were. He’d stand in my kitchen with a cup of tea and grin at my 68 year old father cutting our grass with no guilt. I had guilt but I was a stay at home mum to 5 children so I had all that stuff to do too. My house was tense and stressed and he threw that back at me endlessly. Now after finding out about the secret friend of offer ten years that turned physical the last two years I understand he didn’t invest emotionally in my family or is for a very long time, and although their friendship became physical only in the last two years, he was unfaithful to be emotionally for a very long time. And I keep that in my head when I get pangs of sorrow over my marriage. Marriages involve communication, trust, respect and understanding. He gave me none of that

          • Same Nini, same! He made sure to keep me in a constant state of turmoil and stress, then blamed me for having a short fuse because I was stressed out. I stopped asking him to do things long ago because it was a losing battle. His free time was his own time. But he expected me to use my free time to do things for him. And if I didn’t, he would make sure to lay on the guilt trip. Which left me feeling like an awful and selfish person. The mindfuck he had on me is unbelievable. He did not lift a finger to do any childcare, housework or yard work or anything that would improve our home or property. The whole last year before he walked out, me and our 11 year old son cut the grass because he refused to even do that. Cutting grass was seriously the only chore that asked him to do and he even stopped doing that. Turns out he was just so wrapped up in a relationship with his internet girlfriend, he couldn’t be bothered to do the one thing I asked of him. And stupid, chumpy me allowed it and picked up the slack yet again. Since he’s been gone, my house is so peaceful. Doesn’t mean I don’t get irritated with my son, doesn’t mean I still don’t get stressed sometimes, but overall it’s a much more peaceful existence.

            • Mine actually mowed the lawn (once a month) and raked (once a year) but day to day stuff? Nope. Regularly forgot to take the garbage to the curb for pick up. If he changed the garbage in the house he would never remember to replace the bag.

              Most nights he sat on the couch watching TV and doing whatever on his computer. No one was allowed to talk to him or bother him so he could “decompress” from the day at work. I worked a FT job too and never got to decompress.

              But I think the biggest thing for me was that on the rare occasion that I got him to unload the dishwasher, everything would be put back in the wrong place. For a week I would struggle when making dinner because I couldn’t find the right tools. If I asked him where he put them he would say he didn’t know and then he would say that my complaining is why he didn’t help with things. My 7 year old was more capable at putting dishes away than he was.

              I would also get angry because items were lost regularly. We could never find pencils for homework. Papers were missing. Of course it was all my fault because I was so unorganized. Since he left, rarely anything goes missing.

              • I remember one morning calling the kids to get up (teens). We have a very long school/work commute. Called twice. No response. Yelled the 3rd time because they have a train to catch. So the Twat yells (from his horizontal position in bed) “do you have to yell every morning like a witch?” To which I reply “no, not at all, I’m ready for work and I’m off so YOU get the kids to school”. At which point he leaps out of bed and screams the house down at the kids to get the f…. up! Mustn’t let the Twat be late for work must we!

              • It’s called intentional incompetence. An otherwise intelligent and competent adult, not wanting to be bothered with mundane household chores will:
                Do them just frequently enough to say he tried but wasn’t appreciated.
                Do them poorly enough to make you regret you asked.
                Promise to act then refuse to do anything until reminded repeatedly, then accuse you of nagging.
                Actually increase the work required by leaving partially dried laundry in a wet mildewed heap, leaving wet towels on the unmade bed, ignoring spills until they harden on the floor and counters, leaving dishes in the sink in fetid water until it attracts insects, leaving burnable items on the stove, dumping wet trash in an unlined trash can….
                Use household chores as a passive-aggressive tool for displaying utter contempt for your needs.

                Such a STBX (hopefully STBX) can’t be expected to have any respect for YOU, because s/he has no respect for herself/himself.

                It took a while for me to see this. Our first one bedroom apartment was easy to clean; I didn’t realize I was doing all the cleaning. Later, in a bigger apartment, I started to notice there was an imbalance in the mess-making and the mess-cleaning. It wasn’t until he went back to school (lived on campus during the week, came home weekends) that I started to realize he was living in a trash filled pesthole and I wasn’t. But even then I spackled and said he was sooo busy studying that he just didn’t have time for simple cleaning (sink, toilet, trash, clothes). Funny, he always had time for entertainment.

                He never changed. He just told me that I was at least as big a slob as he was (not true), and that I just had to face facts and admit we lived in a dirty house.

                One more thing… His response to my turning on the vacuum was to turn the TV volume up. But heaven forbid I should try to vacuum when he was still in bed.., until mid-afternoon.

                He just didn’t want to be wakened. Thank heavens I finally woke up.

        • It’s funny you talk about the plants I love it, mine is more personal but I had constipation for YEARS, nothing worked until I went out on my own! 17 months and my body is clearer than ever and I’m losing weight!😀

        • Cancer Chump! Wow! I was reluctant to move my eldest daughter’s 17 year old cat, who has always hated people, to my new home. She had also started to poo (a lot!!!) inside. Ewww. She had moved twice before, and disappeared for 3 months after the first move, which was only across the road, and 6 after the second! This time, she is sticking right with me. I am more a dog person, and have two dogs that she never really bonded with before (was the previous labrador’s best mate though.) This cat lay in the middle of the room as I had a party with about 40 people attending about a month after moving house. No inside defaecation, comes and sleeps under my favourite armchair when I sit there and hangs around all the time now. She is so damn content. Weird. But not. And he is such an animal person. Hooked his latest Schmoopie online because he posted profile pics on the dating sites with our dogs….

      • Same here. I was hurt terribly. Then thought about how things should have been. But I know I did everything I could to make it work while he is living with his girlfriend while still married.

        • I know all about that mine was also living with the New Shmoopie while still married! No laws against this in Lefty Canada. Then had the nerve to lie to our two kids he wasn’t unfaithful until the Legal Separation. Again all lies as I applied and paid for the legal separation after realizing the POS doesn’t even protect himself!😩🇨🇦

    • I am in the same boat Kathleen. To take it one step further, cheater said in the beginning when I was begging him to stay, cheater actually said, “Once a cheater always a cheater”. Why did I still need 1000 plus 2x 4’s to figure it out.

      I wonder if he would be willing to tell that to whore but it doesn’t matter as she is a cheater too. I doubt he mentions that to the judge today either.

      • Dear feeling it,
        My heart always goes out to you and to Kathleen, ( as well as all CN Chumps).
        Your stories have become familiar to me. I am always rooting for you, ( as all Chumps).
        You will remember my cheater did stay after my pick me dancing, ( my feet and my heart still hurt). I believe the reason he stayed is because he lacked the courage to tell OW that his pesky wife appliance was in first trimester pregnancy, cause hey OW already felt so bad about taking him away from our tiny just turned three year old.
        Time went on. To my knowledge he did not cheat again. But, the narc character, that personality, they continued to dwell in my house, could not help but affect my precious daughters and myself.
        I guess I am trying to say that it is best that your and Kathleen’s cheater left. Here comes that damn “but” word again, but whether they stay or they go, there always remains the scars from the original DDay and all that follows afterward.
        The fact that some Chumps reach a land called MEH is so uplifting, even glimpses of it as a tiny fleck of hope are so heart rendering. The journey, shared by CL, CN, a strong, unwavering hand reached out 24/7, arms to hold us up, ears and eyes to see us, and love to understand that each case is different, each has its own pain and sorrow.
        We are not here to judge each other, but to understand, and we do just that. We are blessed.

        I have not been reading CL as I usually do ( family happenings), and have been wondering how things are going for you.
        I did read that fuckwit’s lawyer sent a low low offer of settlement and the struggle continues.
        You mention going to court again today.
        I hope you feel CN’s presence there beside you feelingit, I am there, you can feel my breath on your shoulder whispering words of encouragement and hope!!
        Stay strong, Mighty Lady!
        Truth is on your side!

        (((((Feelingit)))))

        ((((Kathleen))))))

        • Peacekeeper
          Again thank you for uplifting & encouraging words. Only someone who experiences the betrayal in their marriage can understand the deep despair & pain the cheaters inflict on us.

          But if we keep a positive attitude & take one day at a time..we will be fine. Even though some days are still difficult I come here to CN to my friends & find good people.

          Bless you ❤️

      • I know all about the Judge mine also lied in his AFFIDAVIT and didn’t tell his lawyer or the judge all the dirty little details. So I informed them and the judge agreed it’s fikthy but not illegal!

    • Me too, Kathleen. He never said he was sorry for hurting me and the kids. Just sorry there were consequences, which of course are all my fault. Fucker.

      • Mother Chumper,
        Sorry you were on the receiving end in the blame game.
        I never got a sorry from ex-husband nor ex-boyfriend. From ex-boyfriend, I got in an email, ‘I’m trying to do better. I don’t want to talk to you right now.’ Interpretation: ‘I am trying to do better for my new supply as I want to impress her (as if him being better for her helps me–how?)’ and ‘I don’t want to talk to you ever again because I have found more enticing supply and I don’t you to be around to tell anyone I know the truth about me lying, manipulating, insulting you, etc.’

      • Yup I know exactly I gave mine a NO more cheating boundary on his 50th birthday after taking him out for a lovely dinner which he never thanked me for! He went ballistic after the boundary was set!

    • Exactly Kathleen I had the same cheater issues this guy is a psycho without and conscience even abandoned the dog!😩

      • Mine drove off on our moving day, Carol, and left me with one of his farm dogs. No warning, just, you can have that dog.

        I have moved her to my new smallholding, and had her desexed, vaccinated, microchipped, and turned into a perfectly spoiled pet, to go alongside my ridiculous little lapdog. They are best buds. My huge flock of 15 sheep are mustered by her, and she is the happiest pooch, so loving. She was the winner in that abandonment moment 😉 Me too!

    • I am starting to think that the only ones who do that are the ones who are 100% confident that the AP won’t leave them. In most cases they either end up leaving the AP when they fail to live up to expectations or they are surprised when the AP leaves them after all.

      It is the ones who have doubts who put on the fake unicorn costumes in order to hedge their bets.

  • I never got this either. I did however, get invited to do the Pick Me Dance several times in the form of – “Do you want me to change my mind?”

    • Me too, exactly what I got. Basically, he felt entitled to cheat and leave me for the homewrecker because I sucked so bad at being his wife. I was totally encouraged to try to change his mind, then got a smug “too little too late” when he left. Boggles the mind, how badly he treated me, and how I lay down and took it.
      He doesn’t think he needs to change, he thinks he’s wonderful the way he is. The biggest thing that helped me through it was watching him lie to her as much as he did to me during the pick me dancing. That made it loud and clear to me that it was all about him and his suckiness, and nothing to do with me, or her either.

      • Oh yeah, Struggle, they all think they are a gift to the universe, the rules of decency do not apply to them, and they are entitled to whatever they want, right now.

        I think it was a huge shock after the kids and I left, and after schmoopie dumped cheater ex, that there weren’t legions of nubile young women lining up to have a go at him. Gee I can’t imagine why not. Picture an oily, pervy, fat version of Mr. Rodgers. Yuck!

        An of course, it was all my fault.😅

        • Mr. Rogers…😇 My kids loved him, growing up, even when he “wasn’t cool.” When the new trailer (movie is titled Won’t You Be My Neighbor?) came up on screen on our last movie night out, my adult son, teary-eyed, shared that he’d want to see it. The kids and I spent so much time together and there were so many good memories. Mr. Rogers, Barney, Harry Potter…😌 So, of course, we are looking forward to the movie because we spent time so much time together watching him. He was a maverick in early childhood education, recognized that “play is children’s work,” and had a great big heart. Everything our cheaters lacked.

  • So much easier to look good than to actually BE good.

    XH was soooo out of orbit from goodness that he showed up for our court hearing as though we were friends meeting for lunch. He got really pissed off when I turned away and my lawyers did not greet him either (no ego kibbles).

    Then, in front of lawyers and the court mediator, he had the gall to say that chump here could trust him. I asked him how one went about trusting a cheater. He put on his best altar-boy expression and cried out “But I am NOT a cheater!”.

    So chump here asked him if (latest flatterfuck’s name) was an extragalactic mirage. Snorts and snickers heard all around the room and his lawyer, a young girl that he thought he could boss around, looks down in shame.

    So much for change. Thinking about why I spackled and put up with abuse has changed ME.

      • When we went to sign the final papers (here in France it’s in a private room) I was all very composed and on the face of it superficially friendly. I went in (in private) and signed first, then when I came out he went in – and I whooped the air and did a happy dance. Everybody burst out laughing – then I was all statesman like and demure when he came back out. I just wanted everyone to see what I really felt!

        • Super Attie! I know how you felt. It’s not revenge, it’s contentement and libération after slavery.

    • Sounds like X !
      He plays the innocent Mr Nice Guy card & acts all friendly while he’s lying, cheating & stealing (he has a certain way of talking when he’s playing different rolls in his manipulation attempts). While we were separated (I was giving him time to prove himself), I had to call him about taxes. While on the phone he quickly puts on this roll & for some reason informs me that he’s not doing “those things” anymore (although he was pushing me to file for divorce as soon as I crossed the border–I knew he was playing the poor guy whose wife suddenly up & left him for everyone watching his performance there). So,I called him out on it & asked him straight if that meant he’s being faithful to me.
      He does not answer my question (because that would be a “No, and by the way I’m going to keep all the tax return money), but immediately starts sputtering as he changes scripts & character rolls. He becomes the tough offended guy & tells me how I am the cause of all the stress in his life….As we all know, chumps cause stress ( by demanding truth & accountability) that’s why there are cheaters out there. Everything is our fault!

    • In court, my husband (now ex-husband) told the Court that he loved me and then proceeded to falsely accuse me of stealing from him.

  • Yup, you wear the shame Narkles the Clown because it’s not mine to wear. It doesn’t fit me…..it’s too big.

    Also, a special request….
    If I support the nation on Patreon after my next paycheck on Friday, can we dissolve a unicorn in a vat of acid instead of the mist?
    #BitterBunny #HairTwigs #StillLaughing

  • They do not change. Let them take their lying cheating asses with them. Actions speak volumes.

    When you still believe you’ll note changes made for the OW and doubt yourself. Stop. It’s the mask adjustment of idealization for the OW.

    Don’t forget he/she wants to pull you into the fantasy. Narcissists are the con artists of reinvention.

    And if they didn’t pick you it was a long time coming. Duplicity takes energy. Keep in mind what you lost. Make a list.

    Cowards will leave and never look back. It takes going through the pain to finally see the light and have clarity.

    Change the record from I wasn’t good enough to I deserved better. One day they will be in the rear view mirror living in harmony with their equal. Where they take the disorder is a blessing.

    You’ll find authentic people and love yourself. Tuesday comes.

    • Doing me,

      Thank you for providing this comforting advice. I need to keep telling myself to stop telling myself that I wasn’t good enough and tell myself way more often that I deserved/deserve better! My exes might be living with their equal in harmony and happier with my replacements and ‘doing’ better, as in earning more money, being more popular, etc. but I can’t do anything about that fact. I had to give up the foolish hope that my exes would wake up one morning, realized that they loved, liked, or at least respected me, and treat me better.

      • Realizing that they never loved you is a hard pill to swallow. But no matter what it looks like on the outside they don’t love the AP either. And are really good at making people believe their life is great when in reality it’s all shit on the inside. Hold your head high! You are worthy of so much more. You are genuine he is not. You have class, he is classless. Walk away from that garbage knowing you won, because life without a cheater is so so much better.

      • RSW

        Equals in character. Two bottom feeders who lie and cheat. Money?

        Doing without to me is much better than tolerating abuse. Don’t need that.

        Fill the void of addiction with things you want for yourself. Run thst race!

        • Prison Chump, Doing Me, and Chump in Recovery,

          Many of the sage, concise statements on Chump Lady stay in my mind. I say them to myself over and over. Seeing them and hearing them have helped me recover. I am sad to relinquish the illusion of a great ‘going concern’ relationship, but people here make living reality, not the fantasy, bearable.

          • I repeat the advice to myself often as well and to others when I think it will help. I am by no means wise but I do want to pay it forward as much as possible. This community has helped me so so much.

    • “When you still believe you’ll note changes made for the OW and doubt yourself. Stop. It’s the mask adjustment of idealization for the OW.”

      I have to remind myself of this often. It’s hard to witness their changes for the OW, especially when they are ones you had been asking them to make for years. But I do see the cracks. I see old patterns that she probably doesn’t realize are there yet. I remind myself that it took 3 years to see any red flags and she is in year one. And I also realize that any issues she does see are more than likely being blamed on me.

      • This is all a good reminder to me too. I occasionally even have fleeting moments of pity (they don’t last long) for Schmoopie because I don’t think she has any idea what she is getting herself into. It has been about two years since they started their affair and they are still a couple. It took about five years before his mask slipped even the tiniest bit for me, however, and many more years of slow decline before he thoroughly devalued me, cheated on me and discarded me. We were a couple for 25 years (not including the year still married after DDay). I would be surprised if their relationship lasts as long and if it does, I doubt it will be healthy or happy.

      • Honestly Cancer Chump,it’s as if we never existed. We are the ones who keep them in our thoughts. That’s giving your power to an illusion.

        My daughter said it best after two years out, “They never mention you at all.”

        The key is to take your power back one day at a time. Reframe that shit.

        They are going on vacations.
        To
        They are racking up debt.

        They bought new vehicles.
        To
        Racking up more debt.

        He now has a lap dog and a grandchild (hers)
        To
        He hates being tied down to a dog. He wants to look young. Kids tie him down.

        No one wants me.
        To
        I know what I want in a relationship.

        The biggest changes they make is where they sleep. And what did she get? An old washed up narcissist who wets the bed, can’t get it up and has no earning power.

        Embracing where he landed freed me. I’m not a skank. That’s what he got. Congratulate yourself for saying ENOUGH! Hooray for seeing it honestly. We get out and are free!

        • (I think I meant that to go elsewhere. But while I’m here, it’s always true that “changing” for the affair partner is the reset button for the relationship cycle. To hook the AP in, they have to idealize, love bomb, and all that goes with over-valuation. It may take years to get to the next stage in a visible way. But looking from the outside in, people won’t be able to see it (the Chump won’t see it) anymore than other people could see the cheating, gaslighting, false promises and manipulation that went on when the cheater was married to the Chump.

          Keys: (1) Their relationships follow a cycle. (2) Many things we can’t see determine the duration of the cycle, including how much the Chump is willing to tolerate and whether the cheater is interested in changing out the spouse appliance, often after kids are out of school and there’s no child support to pay. (3) Image is everything, so what people see is subject to impression management. (4) Impression management was often going on in the original marriage unbeknownst to the chump. (5) When Chumps look at the Cheaters, the APs or subsequent victims, they are looking at what the Cheater wants them to see.

    • Found this quote and put it on my office wall

      “If you are willing to look at another person’s behavior toward you as a reflection of the state of their relationship with themselves rather than a statement about your value as a person, then you will, over a period of time cease to react at all.” – Yogi Bhajan

      This quote would have been hard to consider a few months ago when I was so wounded. But now it is a good reminder to me that I do not control or cause others behavior.

      • Truth! X completely lost it when our son clung to life after a horrific accident. He is incapable of authenticity. I too feel sorry for those who will never know real love.

      • Spoon river,

        You bring up some good points. I used to feel awful that my boyfriend treated me worse than his abusive, adulterous ex-wife as his treatment of me made me think, ‘He must think I’m a real piece of garbage.’ Now more often I think, ‘He’s really messed up. He doesn’t appreciate the partner who would die for him but worships the partner who abuses and cheats on him. He is doubly messed up!’

        • And the goal, “over time” is not to think about him or his XW at all.

          And may I say that my own suspicion is that you were fed a lot of BS and impression management about the XW, unless you heard about his cruelty to her, which I have zero doubt of, based on his treatment of YOU. Jackass talked about his XW as if she was the female equivalent of Charlie Manson crossed with a mob money launderer. I don’t doubt the relationship was dysfunctional and that she behaved badly before and after the divorce. But I heard a lot of lurid stories about her but never saw any evidence in her behavior that what he said was accurate.

        • I agree with LovedaJackass. My ex completely vilified his ex, mother to his daughter. She was a crazy drug addict and he had to rescue his daughter from her. Come to find out after I kicked him to the curb that she prosecuted him for domestic violence and he lost, did 22 months in jail for it. So in cases of these disordered people they twist everything around to serve their purpose. Chances are he was the evil abusive one and she was the victim.

  • My ex had actually ended it with his AP when I found out about affair . I found her reply text telling him how special there time was together and she understood that he wanted to save his marriage. Seeing this text I lost my shit and he said our marriage would never work as I couldn’t forget about affair. I’ve moved out and she turned up on his door step 3 weeks later as her husband found out and kicked her out. They are now “blissfully” married.
    Go figure!!

    • Freewill- mine got engaged to homeslice 5 months before we were even divorced. While living with her he still emailed about wreckonciliation. They got married in Vegas and are having another wedding next Saturday—-just keep my alimony coming. We all dodged not only a bullet but an arsenal of artillery. Life is good on the other side.

      • I hear you Deadweight. We separated in the January and he was engaged in the July. Never told our daughters he was engaged or that he’s married ? And wonders why his kids don’t speak to him!
        Of course it’s all my fault – he’s going really hard the ” child alienation” BS
        I suppose self reflection doesn’t enter into their thought process. Easier to blame someone else.
        Hoping it’s good on the other side. I’m sure it will be great when I get there 😊

      • Mine has resumed of late messaging about reconciling…all while still having other women.

        I don’t ever reply but am contemplating cautioning him that it is bordering on harassment.

        • I would tell him his messages are unwanted. And to stop sending them. Then block for clarity and peace of mind. The disordered are toxic.

          • It’s traditional text. He pays. Already blocked him otherwise. I use these texts to document.
            Once children are of age it will be delete, block or change my number.

  • What if its of the same vain and they are asking for a chance to be in their son’s life? To give them the chance to prove themselves. How can I know if he has really changed if he lives 600 miles away?

    Quick recap ex narc is an alcoholic and abused me mentally and physically on top of cheating. Right now I have a P.O. and he has no visitation rights. And no boundaries because he keeps emailing me.

    I told him he has to complete a battery intervention course that the P.O. requires and we shall see. But that’s just not enough for me. To complicate matters he has a young daughter and my five year old misses her very much.

    Any advice or insight would be appreciated.

    • PrisonChump, I cannot tell you what I think you want to hear.

      But if you were my sister, I would say RUN.

      And I would help you come up with an age appropriate explanation for your child as to why they weren’t going to see the little girl again for a long time.

      And I would get you a good therapist to help you realise that life on your own, even for years, is a thousand times more preferable than allowing a violent, abusive, alcoholic cheater anywhere near you or your child EVER AGAIN.

      • I know you’re right Lola. He has me so screwed up in the head right now. Saying things like boys need their father. And he now sees how his father abandoning him really affected him and he doesn’t want the same thing for his son.

        Also his daughter calls me mom since I had her from 2 to 7 yrs of age. I feel terrible for severing communication with her. She doesn’t live with him she lives with his sister. She texts me on occassion and I respond to her.

        I have blocked his phone number and try to grey rock him when he emails. I know life without him is a million times better. I dont want him back and I dont want him around me or my little boy. I just want to know I am doing the right thing when it comes to the children…

        • PrisonChump,

          Given what you have said about your husband, I don’t believe that he is the kind of man you want grooming your son for adulthood. We all know that children learn from example and your ex doesn’t seem to have the skill set for that. I guess my thought is, you wouldn’t hire a babysitter/caregiver that advertised that they were abusive alcoholics. Abandonment is tough on kids, it hurts in places we can’t even see. But I think it’s almost better to handle the abandonment and disappointment all at once, then slowly over time. You and I both know he wants involvement now because that is what he is supposed to do. Over time he will find other things to do that are more important then time with your son. I think those periodic disappointments hurt even more. Death by a thousand cuts. Love, love, love your son. Seek therapy for both of you and know that someday the thing that will make you angry is that you didn’t leave sooner. ((Hugs))

          • Yes that is my biggest fear Vicki. He wants to be in his life now, image management? Not sure, but I dont see him really sticking it out. And once something better comes along he will ghost my son. And hurt him all over again.

            I’m going no contact again. Life was good then. Change my email and possibly my phone number.

            • PrisonChump, even small kids can really benefit from therapy to help them process their grief and losses – play therapy is very helpful at that age.

              First your son needs to learn to be a person, and one sane parent is fine for that. Then he also needs to learn to be a man, but a real one, a caring, responsible, respectful man. It’s not your ex who’s going to teach him that stuff, for sure!

              You can fill that ‘man-shaped’ void in your son’s life with other, healthy male models. Family and friends, coaches, teachers ….

              And would I be right in understanding that his e-mails are violations of the PO? Set a boundary; either report this NOW, or tell him that if he ever contacts you again in ANY way, you will report him for breach of the PO.

              Give your little man an extra hug from Chump Nation!

              • Let me get this …his father not being in his life messed him up and now he wants his messed up self to be the example for your sons.

                I don’t know .I don’t know.

                Your sentimentality is strong. No judgement . Just fact.

                What advice your you give a friend.

                Where did we go so wrong that men and women barely have any respect for each other?

              • Mandie101, I know. I know. But I’m a chump! That’s why I am here and that’s what I am working on everyday.

        • You have set very reasonable measurable boundaries. That he batters against his only form of contact arguing instead of doing the very simple task you set forth as first step (doing the class)… shows there’s no cheese down that hole.

          Stay strong. He’s still a turd.
          Kids need strong role models. Letting an abusive asshat back into his life because he emailed a lot isn’t showing your son isn’t modelling anything he needs.

        • Maybe he should have thought about that whole “kids need their father” thing before he repeatedly stuck his dick in some strange? Before he took the next drink? Before he took his fists to their mother? Words mean nothing. Make him prove over time, repeatedly, and in all domains that he is a good man before you expose the most precious part of your, your child, to him. Your child deserves better, and you are the only one who can see to it that he GETS better.

        • PrisonChump-
          Let him make the decisions about what he is willing to do. Telling him he needs to go to treatment or whatever without him driving the process will not yield the results you hope for. People have to want to change. And honestly, that’s too hard for most people. It requires a lot of introspection and accountability that people aren’t willing to do for the long term.

          Can he be a good father? I don’t know, however you must stay in mama bear mode and make sure the kids are safe, loved and protected. My ex has used our now adult children as pawns-the mindfuck on them has been tremendous and they are older and able to see it somewhat. Young kids just want the parent to love them and sacrifice their own wellness to be loved.

        • Dear Prison Chump,

          Stop talking to him. STOP. STOP.

          Let him show the world that he is decent enough for a second chance. STOP TALKING TO HIM. You can’t get passed Chumphood if you are ingesting massive amounts of gaslighting and manipulation by a highly disordered felon. Protect your kiddo and yourself.

          • Thank you Loveda, I have completely shut him off again. He is disordered and he knows just how to get in my head. No more. Changed my email and blocked all calls and texts.

      • Maybe think of your ex as a sugar addiction. She’s going to be in withdrawal for a while and want the love bombing/ sugar bombing. But after she gets used to whole foods/ real love, she’ll be okay. She just needs to get through the withdrawal stage.

    • Thank you everyone! I need to hear everyone say what I have been thinking the whole time. I feel strong again. Love you Chump Nation and Tracy!

      Now off to work to earn that bacon. PS BaconBitch was the runner up for my CN name. XO!

    • Lundy Bancroft has co-written a book based on his research that batterers rarely make good parents. If you grant your X any visitation time at all, make sure it is supervised visitation; do NOT allow him to see your daughter alone. Abusive people don’t stop being abusive, they simply find a new target.

      • Truth. Bio Dad was an unemployed alcoholic, abusive both physically and mentally, mostly to Mom but there were times he seemed to enjoy picking on my sis… 😔 Court ordered him visitation and to get back at Mom he pimped us girls out for money. When we got home we told our folks (stepDad was a good man) that we were never visiting that man again. Twenty five years later we told our parents why.

        • Drew I am so very sorry that happened to you and your sister. It’s so terrible, my heart is breaking for you. I hope you have been able to heal from that. I too was the victim of sexual assault as a child by a family member.
          All I want more than anything is to protect my son and do the right thing. I sincerely appreciate you opening up and sharing. Thank you.

    • PrisonChump:

      I wholeheartedly agree with Lola Granola… there is no way the man you describe should be part of your daughter’s life. There is absolutely no track record of good behavior, compliance, permanent change. Keeping that distance between you (not just the 600 physical miles, but going as zero contact as possible) ensures your safety.

  • STBX is just starting to show signs of remorse to his three teenage boys (who don’t talk to him) – 11 months since Dday. I want to believe he can change, for the boys’ sake, but he is still living with the AP. Is it possible for him to be sorry for ‘everything’ and stay with her? My sons are struggling with that. I don’t care. I never want him back. But can he actually claim to be sorry if they are still together?

    • He isn’t sorry, AussieChump.

      And that’s not remorse… he’s getting flack for not having a relationship with his sons. That makes him look bad. He must fix that immediately.

      It’s not for them. It’s for him.

      • Aussie, I second Insist’s post. He is not sorry – it’s all impression management. Ultimately, throughout their lives, your sons will make their own decisions about him. Just teach them be wary of words. Teach them to watch actions and words and if the two don’t match – believe the actions. It is just so easy to say “sorry”. Also, it is concerning to hear you say “I want to believe he can change, for the boys’ sake”. Often we see what we want to see, especially if he is using the right words which he will because he is a manipulator. My X came after the kids hard when they stopped talking to him. But his actions did NOT match his words and they did not fall for it.
        At first I was sad (in a way) about the lack of relationship, but I realize they are wiser and more equipped to live healthy lives.

    • He SAYS he’s sorry to our daughters all the time., but he married the pregnant OW right away and now spends his time with his new wife and new baby.

      Our kids know the age difference is inappropriate and never wanted a half brother, but the obstacle they really cannot overcome is the broken trust.

      They don’t believe anything he says, count on him for nothing, and are completely ashamed of him. They have told him this directly many times. He thought they would all act like one big happy family, but our kids ate having none of that.

      He led a fake and phony double life, and our kids feel betrayed by him.

    • Do they feel anything ??? Today after 2.5 yrs I was walking through town and found myself in direct line with the ex fucktard. It was busy so i ducked into a shop…he was also heading into. He hadnt seen me by then so i looked in horror as his girlfriend of 2.5 probably plus at least 6 months from before he actually left us..Anyway. … she was unremarkable in real life. I had only seen a Facebook post for 2 seconds but the real crazy was that around the corner of the shopping isle i came within inches of them both and eyeballed my ex without even breaking my pace …walked right on .no expression. He looked ashamed. It was traumatic. I had not actually seen him in 2.5 years in person except for once. This is after 25 years together and 3 kids. It was surreal. I am still in shock as i write this. I wonder when i am going to fully get over this wanker

      • Whodoesthat-
        Ugghh! So sorry you had to see the wanker. I dread that day being up close to Douchebag McGee.
        Maybe process why you had a visceral response to his presence. Was it sadness, hate, contempt, etc? I wish you had been with your tribe when this happened. I imagine this was really stressful and I’m sorry for that!

        • 220 deadweight… you are right. ..processing processing. …I seriously feel like half of me wanted to hug him half of me wanted to stab him. I felt mostly sad and outrage for my adult kids who were cut off via email a few weeks ago. With a weird “regret” mentally on all his “wasted youth ” and bad financial decisions. ..ie making us bankrupt. It was the type of day i really thought i should have gone back to bed as soon as i woke up. Has anyone else had a weird premonition before something bad happened to do with their ex?

      • I think, and hope, that you’ll find that on the other side of the shaky part of the aftermath of this collision, a switch will begin to flip.

        It was really profound for me, that first unanticipated bumping into him in person with someone new post-divorce. It really shook me up right afterward, but then over the next couple of days, something big shifted. I had dreaded it for a long time, rhen it happened, I surfed through it pretty well, and some confidence grew as a result. My fingers are crossed that you have a similar experience.

        Also, I don’t think the way you feel/felt has to mean that you aren’t over him. Your nervous system is responding to a recognized threat, at least on some level. That’s a reasonable reaction.

        • Thank s amiis i appreciate the observation. I think the shock of the overnight walkout and not seeing a sign of him for sooo long in a completely different context was just insane. And to combine that with the asian ‘girl’ friend in a place where we used to go was just shit. Anyway i will wait for the ‘transition ‘ godness knows i need to move on @ @!

    • Sorry… they’re hardly ever truly sorry for what they’ve done (vs. being sorry for getting caught).

      Real, permanent, life-altering change is incredibly difficult to accomplish (extramarital affairs not withstanding), and 99% of the cheaters out there don’t have the intestinal fortitude to take the steps necessary. It’s too hard, it’s too inconvenient, and hell, it’s certainly no fun!

      SAYING they’re sorry to your face, on FaceTime or over the phone doesn’t mean they’re sorry.

      WRITING that they’re sorry in a letter, card, text, instant message or email doesn’t make it true.

      You won’t find “Sorry” on Snapchat, Instagram or http://www.AshleyMadison.com.

      Nope, it’s all about ACTIONS.

      * How about proactively terminating an affair (especially when the chump can be a witness to the discard of the AP)?

      * How about being completely transparent (starting with sharing all computer/email/phone passwords, and ending with whatever measures — electronic or otherwise — the betrayed spouse needs to restore trust)?

      * How about moving to a new town to put physical distance between them and the AP?

      * How about finding a new job so they no longer work with the AP?

      * How about voluntarily enrolling in an intensive individual therapy program (vs. a superficial weekend at a “Mens Retreat”)?

      * How about faithfully going to marriage counseling with a therapist who holds them accountable (and doesn’t buy into the RIC)?

      Now, these are some signs that true remorse and behavioral changes MIGHT be in play.

      • BTW, my XH did ACT as if he was interested in changing, but it was all for impression management purposes.

        Yeah, he did the Men’s Retreat schtick and came home proclaiming he was a “changed man”… Nope, that didn’t stick. He just took his serial cheating underground.

        Yeah, he agreed to individual intensive therapy… He went to 3 appointments and quit.

        Yeah, he agreed to marriage counseling… He fired 3 non-RIC therapists in a row before bailing out entirely.

        Change? Umm, too hard, not interested.

        • Reminds me of a distant family member with serious emotional problems and deviant behavior in the ’70s attending est (Erhard Seminars Training) over a weekend and declaring himself radically changed. Change doesn’t happen in three days. He tried to recruit other family members to join. A friend roomed with one of Werner’s daughters at university-a very troubled young woman. With the wisdom of hindsight,my friend suspected sexual abuse.

          Lundy Bancroft addresses the commitment required for lasting change in any reputable batterers program-two or three years of hard work. Not two or three anger management classes or two or three months with a therapist. Years.

      • Naah–once a cheater, always a cheater. All those things get you is a constant occupation of Marriage Police. They have abused your trust. Once trust is broken it can never be replaced or repaired; it’s like an exquisite crystal vase that can only be discarded.

        Save yourself the trouble of Pickme Dancing.

  • THEY. DON’T. CHANGE.

    My XH went from me to the final adultery partner (for 18 months until she discovered him cheating) and then rolled right into a new relationship and just bought a house with the woman (after dating for 18 months)… when exactly did he do the self work required to truly change behavior???

    Not gonna happen.

    • Agreed. They don’t change or even take the time to process. Their big black hole of need demands they REPLACE so they are NOT ALONE.

      My ex very craftily had new supply lined when he knew he was going to get dumped (because we ALL dump him) and is in a new relationship within 1-3 weeks.

      When the woman who dumps him goes off the deep end and has a nervous breakdown due to being replaced in such a short time, he is all baffled and “whaaaaat?” And pulls the :YOU broke up with ME and I have a right to move on and be happy with someone new who won’t run out on me.”

      He then parades new supply to all his family and screws them while his boys are home for visitation.

      They never change. Or even make one lick of effort to.

  • The other half of this problem is that we chumps are usually so demoralised that we are craving even the crumbs of change.

    We are WILLING them to be different, preferably overnight, with every ounce of terrified willpower we have left.

    Because otherwise Everyone Will Find Out! We will be Alone and Unloved! We will be Single! Poor! Pitied!

    But once you take back your power – once you say no to this bullshit – then you see the real Cheater, in all their horrible glory.

    But you also start to see yourself, which can be equally scary. How many of us stayed in bad relationships out of fear of the unknown, or of what the neighbours would say?

    This is Gaining a Life – yes, it’s scary, but it’s also the most exciting and rewarding thing you will ever do.

    • “We are WILLING them to be different, preferably overnight, with every ounce of terrified willpower we have left.

      Because otherwise Everyone Will Find Out! We will be Alone and Unloved! We will be Single! Poor! Pitied!”

      Yes, Lola, this was me after D-Day #1. “Craving the crumbs of change” as you put it.

      The Python said he “wasn’t in his right mind” during that affair.

      I went all in for wreckonciliation.

      After D-Day #2, I realized he never was and still isn’t in his right mind. Disordered AND demented.

      I have a ways to go, but I’m much more mighty now. Looking forward to freedom from fuckedupness!

    • “so demoralized that we are craving even the crumbs of change.” Exactly. I actually used an analogy (in front of ex and Psychiatrist) that I felt like a dog that gets mistreated and then you give the dog a treat and all is forgiven/ forgotten. (And I come along wagging my tail!). At this time: no idea ex was having an affair, no idea he was filling for divorce, no idea of what a Sociopath even was, and after 35 years was not even given the courtesy of a conversation! Thank you CN and CL for saving my life.

  • I never got an apology. All I got from him was I would not have seen her if you would have gone away with me more. You didn’t make me feel loved. I thought you would not care. Why I was paying all the bills, keeping the house clean and being an adult. He screwed my cousin. Even 1.5 yrs after Dday he still tells our children I pushed him to screwing a ho. Typical cheater crap.

    • You “pushed him to screwing a ho?” Wow, you have some mighty superpowers there, forcing an adult man into a sexual situation he didn’t want but was powerless to prevent in the face of the spell you could conjure! And I’m guessing you weren’t even physically present at the time, ever more powerful… Imagine if you would just harness that power for good instead of forcing your spouse to cheat? Seriously, so sorry you were married to a big weakling man-baby who won’t even take responsibility for his own literal fuck-ups.

  • I think I might have the ultimate “But I’ve changed! I’m a new man!” cheater. I’ll write a letter to submit to CL later on today (I’ve been meaning to for a long while, I’ve just been paralyzed with disbelief.)

    So anyway, my cheater decided to enroll in graduate school – to become a LICENSED PROFESSIONAL COUNSELOR. 😳

    He’s already finished the first year of coursework. By all outward appearances he’s a bona fide unicorn. And yet…

    There’s just something that doesn’t sit well with me. I see him making these wonderful public efforts to reinvent himself. Private efforts? Not so much. Not at all, actually. He’s not even in counseling himsel! But hey, he says he wants to make changes and he’s trying, so shouldn’t I wait patiently on him while he gets there? Blah, blah, blah, words, words, words.

    Anyway, that’s the mind**** I’ve been caught in.

    • I’m a psychologist, and the trainees who frighten me are the ones who want to become therapists because they need to fix themselves but are too afraid or oblivious or lazy or entitled to do their own work first.

      • This. We all have our stuff, but this is definitely a profession where it’s important to complete enough of your own work FIRST before you can even know if it’s possible that it’s right for you, in my opinion.

    • One of my XH’x cheater brothers, who completely encouraged him to have affair, end marriage and “Gotta be happy!” is a life long cheater, woman hater and has been investigated most of his adult life for molestation, shady business deals and refusing to pay his original child support – has become a licensed psychologist!

      He dated (ie: lived off) his divorcee clientele for decades, getting the boot when he was caught cheating with the next one, until he found a really wealthy one to marry.

      I never knew psychologists could date their clients. He is a real nightmare. So glad those people will never darken my doorway again.

      • I mean it. He was a true chump predator, probably still is. I advise chumps to be extremely diligent in who you trust post discovery.

      • Where I live, they can lose their licenses and face huge fines for dating clients or even attendees at support group meetings they run.

    • Hahaha! Talk about a wolf in sheep’s clothing!
      During my first (and only) attempt at RC, we found out our counselor was cheating with a patient. Since he confessed and went for help before he was busted he got to keep his license. After DD2 my ex said, “I’ve started going back to see our old marriage counselor for therapy. He totally understands my issues.” “Hmm,” I said, “you two should probably talk about forming a mutual admiration society.” They still meet regularly as far as I know. Last time I asked my ex, he mumbled sadly, “I just don’t have anyone else that I can talk to other than him (counselor).” “What about your AP? You work and live with her.” “That’s part of the reason why I need therapy, I think,” he replied. “Good luck with your thoughts,” I said, “they’re probably just about as stable as your new relationship.”

  • Oh, the promises to change.

    –He would enter therapy to address that ongoing childhood sexual abuse that he had literally never once mentioned until I thin an hour of being found out by our kids, with no possibility of wriggling out of it. Was there childhood abuse, for real? I will never know for sure, but when I ran it past a therapist friend and asked her whether she thought it was the truth or a manipulation, she very wisely pointed out that it was absolutely a manipulation, whether true or not. She nailed it. He never really entered therapy, of course. Pretty sure he went once or twice, was asked a few tough questions, and ghosted fast. In any case, this sudden commitment to working hard on fixing his issues–pathological lying, inability to pass up any sexual opportunity, alcohol abuse, anger management, emptiness at his core–was just another lie, just another manipulation, just another way to exploit my empathy, just more of the same.

    –Ah, and the promises to the kids! He would become the kind of guy with nothing to hide. He would have a phone that could be handed to any person of decent morals at any time without embarrassment. He would take fabulous care of them forever, and he would absolutely be stellar to mom. I would keep my home, have a fast and painless divorce, be left in a stellar financial position. Alas, no shred of truth in any of that, either. Still the porn addict, including to the “pocket porn” the phone keeps always in reach. Still hiding and lying. Still gives them stuff, but not wisely or with a generous spirit at all. Instead, all giving is intended to keep the recipients in line. Things do not come with strings attached, but with chains attached, and he loves the sound of the manacles clicking closed around the wrists of the latest victims, and is enraged that the kids manage to take stuff while mostly avoiding the chains, though I see the emotional toll. As for taking care of mom, well, I guess if “taking care of” means dragging out the divorce, stalking me, deposing me, and insisting that I should suddenly be earning an impressively large salary (after over fifteen years as a stay at home mom who spent countless hours per week working for our business without pay) so that he can dodge maintenance counts as “taking care,” then, yeah.

    –He would do anything at all to reconcile with me. Except end his extramarital relationships, control his drinking, stop lying, start being a real dad, express any remorse, or take responsibility for his own actions and their consequences. He would never, ever say a word against me. Except to the assorted AP’s, his family, his colleagues, random bar patrons, and the kids, who–bless them forever–shut him down whenever he attempts to start down the path of my allegedly vast collection of deep dark secrets. The kids, of course, know exactly how I spent my days, and find the notion that anything diabolical was ever afoot with me utterly laughable. Really hard to work up any sort of decent evil plot while running through the sprinkler, practicing spelling words, or trying to get through a tongue twister of a Dr. Seuss book without a single goof. They saw too much to be persuaded that all wrong things flow from me, but that doesn’t stop cheater from trying that, again and again. As for the rest, I suppose they believe whatever. Likely, the well poisoning began long ago. I’ll never know, and that is ok with me.

    –He would absolutely (whenever he wasn’t doing his all to reconcile with me) make this latest relationship healthy and wonderful, because it would be the source of all of the happiness that the fact of my existence had heretofore made impossible for him. They would build it on a better foundation. It would be true love. They would be healthy companions. Except, somehow, he had broken up with her, though they continued to cohabit. But for sure it would be healthy and beautiful and perfect and a perpetual happiness machine. In fact as soon as the divorce is over–in maybe another decade or two–they would get going on that bliss. Yup. Slight difficulty with the kids, of course. Bit awkward that the DD has seen the OW’s sexts and compromising photos. Sort of takes some of the joyful innocence out of the white dress and forsaking all others and throw the bouquet deal that DD contends that OW has a flat ass, and is in the position to have an informed opinion on that. Also somewhat problematic that both kids refer to OW as, variously, a slut, a whore, and a kid, and dad as a child molester. But, hey, every relationship faces some hurdles. Nothing to see here. Anyway, the real point is that he would absolutely be a good partner and have a healthy relationship from dday forward. With someone. Maybe several someones. And, hey, do you think that random girl has a thong on under that dress? Pretty breezy today. What were we taking about?

    The thing about trusting that they suck is this: they absolutely do suck and are incapable of change, and this is true whether you trust that it is true or not, so do yourself a favor and simply take it on faith that they suck and always will. You’ll save yourself lots of trouble, that way, and free yourself to put your time and energy to far better use.

    I promise.

    • Thank you Cashmere. That brought tears to my eyes. They really do suck! You are so incredible! There are many parallels in our story and it makes me feel empowered.

    • ” he loves the sound of the manacles clicking closed around the wrists of the latest victims”

      ^^^This^^^

    • “Was there childhood abuse, for real? I will never know for sure, but when I ran it past a therapist friend and asked her whether she thought it was the truth or a manipulation, she very wisely pointed out that it was absolutely a manipulation, whether true or not. She nailed it.”

      Here, in a nutshell, is one of the mindfucks they serve that we pick up: Even if they, however belatedly and reluctantly, tell the truth, that truth can “absolutely” be a manipulation. So it’s not just true or not true. It’s the context of the truth.

  • My ex started dating shortly after I asked him to move out. This was 3 years after DDay when I found out about a 25 year old mistress. That one dumped him long ago.

    But, marital counseling and private counseling on his part, makes him think he has changed. And yeah, he does some yoga and meditation now so he’s a new man. Those are his WORDS….

    His ACTIONS are:
    1. Texting his children Christmas morning to not meet him at church because he was going with his new “family”. (We we’re still married then but he was dating new gal with a small child.)
    2. Seeing his children about once a month but telling them he couldn’t afford to take them out to lunch after church.
    3. Spending his savings that was earmarked for children’s college on trips with his new “family”.
    4. Buying an engagement ring for her 23 hours after our divorce was finalized with the rest of college funds.

    Me? My half of college savings is untouched, waiting to be used when kiddos head off next year and the year after.
    Bought a new home after the marital home sold to live with the children and we are making new memories here.

    I think I have changed more than him.

    • He spent the college fund! How infuriating!

      Since my stbx is the account holder for daughters 529 plan, I know he’s used funds for himself. Daughter started college this year. Middle child’s computer crapped out, so he went and bought himself a new one with college funds, then gave his old computer to daughter. It was a qualified withdraw covered under plan, but supposed to benifit college kid, not him!

      He also relishes hanging paying her tuition over her head. “If you don’t do x,y, z I’m not paying for your college”

      Same with other 2 kids who aren’t in college yet. He wants to move, so he is using paying for college to manipulate their choice of schools. He’s saying “you have to go to one of these colleges or I’m not paying.”

      It’s crap that college funds don’t actually belong to the kids, and divorced parents can just take those funds and use it for manipulation, especially when it’s in 1 parents name alone.

      • That is some low down fucked up shit! Have your daughter and other kids start looking into scholarships and grants so they don’t have to deal with his horrible manipulation. Worse comes to worse they get a loan and pay for college themselves. First step into adulthood and it will empower them. My oldest who is about to finish her undergrad this Friday did it all on her own and is walking away debt free and heading into grad school 100% paid for by the school. Maybe suggest that your daughter make an appointment with a college counselor to see what her options are. Best of luck.

  • All I got from my XH that final DDay was, “So, are you done?”

    Me, “Yep.”

    And I went and filed.

  • I got an entire reconciliation timeline on a spreadsheet. When we did discovery in my divorce, the financial records showed that this was a bet hedge, in case he did not get his overseas contract renewed. Within days of the spreadsheet, the contract was renewed, and he continued to pay Schmoopie thousands of dollars during the unicorn period. Even the next year, before the discovery answers were due, he also said he did not want a divorce. Because just as CL says, he did not want the consequences. You just need to cut bait and move on, because it will not get better with a narcopath. Part of their ego boost comes from showing that the rules of life do not apply to them. My donkey with a carrot also owes a massive amount of taxes to the IRS and the state. He has charged off several creditors. Public Storage even auctioned off his things. All while he was avoiding coming back into the country and taking vacation after vacation overseas. An AP that wants a freak like this is disordered and desperate. You do not want them anywhere near your life.

  • I was so brainwashed into believing everything was my fault by that point, that cheater didn’t even bother right off the bat, to claim he’d changed. It was “Well if you change and work on your issues maybe we can make this work. If not, it will be a sad day for our children.”

    It’s pathetic to even think that I fell for that crap (believing I was the issue). He was right in one sense, once I did the work on myself, I was unwilling to put up with that shit and be manipulated with his choice to hurt our kids … read not “my” choice – “his” consequences.

    I pick me danced hard, but then I realized I didn’t like the song that was playing, and I decided to walk off the dance floor.

    • This was my experience…his refusal to admit he was ever wrong about anything caused his offense (replete with many accusations about my supposed suckiness) was so loud and pervasive that there was too much going on to ever discuss his misdeeds.

      I have shared that my cheater didnt seem to lie as much as others, he never once (if memory serves) promised that he changed.

  • Mine didn’t want me back and never said he’d changed. In fact he told me that it was over and it would just happen again if we didn’t separate. That was probably the only time I’ve ever believed anything he said.

    But now? NOW he can’t talk enough about how much he’s “changed”. As far as I know he was still with AP up until this past Christmas (and about 15 months after D-day and discard). Now though, he’s moved onto someone new and has already started playing happy family with her and her daughter and our son. He introduced my son to her within 2-3 weeks of them meeting. Every time I need to email him about an issue and provide any sort of resistance to his bullshit he goes on about how he’s “not the man he used to be” and he’s “changed”. It’s all bullshit. So you went to therapy once a week for a year? You think that makes you NOT a selfish asshole? You couldn’t even wait a couple months before introducing our child to a woman you barely know! How’s that in his best interest?? No, he hasn’t changed, and he won’t.

  • Here’s the proof many of us received that the “Change” wasn’t real.

    As soon as I said, “I don’t believe you’ve changed and I’m not giving you another chance….”

    Cheater flipped the channel from self pity and promises back to rage.

    Yep, he had changed all right. For about 30 seconds, and then it was straight back to: None of this is my fault; I had to cheat because it was twu wuv; if you had only been more (fill in this blank a thousand fucking times) I wouldn’t have been forced to (a thousand fucking more); blahblahblah.

    I still get the “I’ve Changed” speech every once in awhile when we have to talk about the kids, but now it doesn’t bother me so much, because a year later, it’s so completely and ridiculously proven that he is the same cookie cutter asshole.

    LOL He would so hate to read this — because he thinks he’s some never before seen flavor of “special.” Stupid fucker.

  • Mine did a variation of this…before I found out he had cheated. First he comes home after a year away on orders, then inexplicable coldness, then ILYBINILWY, then please come back, then continued inexplicable coldness, D Day, pick me dance, and finally a text the day before my birthday telling me to go ahead with the divorce.

    I should have realized, though, that the half-hearted effort he put into “working on it” was simply him trying to make sure my copies of his sex photos got deleted…in the Army, you can still get a major career roadblock with adultery charges (UCMJ rules). Luckily I never deleted them, but luckily for him I never did send them to his commander. But they were much-needed leverage in a very bitter asset battle! Jesus. It was a very enlightening experience.

  • My cheater actually never said she had changed, or would change. In fact, she said she had in fact re-evaluated her opinion of ME. She said “I think I gave up on you too soon.”
    In her storyline, she didn’t leave me for the other guy, she decided — totally independent of that — that I was an insufficiently attractive husband who was mean because he wouldn’t let her continue her affair. (Never mind that her AP was fat, bald, and pretty ugly). A month later, when she was unable to move in with Captain D-bag because his wife was still there, and she was lonely and broke, I suddenly became at least an “acceptable” husband, at least on a temporary basis. However, she had stipulations that I had to change (not her, me), including that I should allow her to go to the singles bar without me, no questions asked.
    When she told me that, and included all the requirements she had for what I needed to do, I actually laughed out loud. Oh, that was a good one.
    What is it that the Chump Lady says? “You may suck, but that doesn’t mean you deserve to be cheated on,” or something like that. Well, maybe I do suck 🙂 , but that doesn’t mean I needed to change. For what it’s worth, I thought all that time I spent working at a job I hated to support her professional writing pipe dream, taking her on expensive vacations, moving hundreds of miles to be near her family, etc. would’ve counted for something.
    Honestly, I think I got the better deal than those of you who heard that your cheater “changed.” I had an easy out; it wasn’t hard to tell her “no, I’m not interested in this ridiculous one-sided deal.”

    • You don’t suck, and you don’t deserve to be cheated on. All you’re guilty of is being taken in by a lying cheater. I’m glad you’re free of this POS.

  • I agreed to meet with POP about 6 months after I had removed him from my life. He ‘was sober/a new man’ blah blah.

    It was a very boring time we had together because it became evident he was trying to run his scam under that guise. Literally within 30 minutes of our meeting at the agreed location, his phone started going off. He claimed they were ‘annoying’ Face Book notifications from relatives. Yeah, right. It obviously was a very paranoid woman trying to throw a net over him.

    It got worse for **him** from there. I wasn’t buying any of it.

    So, if I may make an alteration to a line in CL’s post, I would change it as such:

    Funny how you realized how much you want me at the exact moment I discovered how much **I didn’t want you**

  • It’s not true that people can’t change; they can but it takes YEARS with concerted effort to do so. (I have chronic anxiety…it’s better, but only because I worked on it with a therapist For YEARS…but I still get crazy anxious every once in a while and can be hard to be around.)
    When the cheater says s/he’s changed, take that to mean they’ve changed their mask or ‘the game’ (of getting whatever they immediately want with no consequences.) It’s so tempting to think that the cheater has changed…and that they WANT to change. For You. It’s that whole Beauty and the Beast fantasy–he’s a monster but YOUR love CHANGED HIM into a human being. But the thing is: that’s a fantasy, and if you find your furniture talking to you, you have bigger problems.

  • Xhole’s response was never “I’ve changed” because…perfection. We (only me) tried “wreckconciliation” for a few months, but he never changed a thing. He was still texting her, meeting her, and screwing her.

    But he was really happy to point out the “bad” changes in me. I didn’t trust him anymore, I used more curse words, I tried to check his phone, I gave him questioning looks, etc. He just didn’t know “if he could live like this.”

    Well, the best change came when Dday 2 hit and I realized there was nothing to work with. I changed that day, pulled my head out, and found an attorney. Best change I have ever made.

  • It is the whole beauty and the beast fantasy. I think anyone can change for the better. And maybe my x has. And maybe it was my fault because i was kinda a bitch too.
    But when i think about how truly monstrous he was it stops me in my tracks.
    I can’t get past that. And i don’t think i ever should get past that.
    I think that is what it is all about.

  • Mine would never even bother with that because his shtick is that he didn’t do anything wrong. He has never done humility (even fake humility) well. He won’t even pretend to take responsibility for his actions. At least that saves me the trouble of being sucked in by a fake unicorn. Evidently he did plenty of faking for “years” before DDay when he apparently didn’t feel like my husband but was still sending me love notes, telling me he loved me and making love to me. How could I possibly have missed how “unhappy” he was? Maybe he is a changed man after all. He gave me my freedom and no longer pretends to love me.

  • When someone tells me that they have ‘changed’….I always want to say ‘changed into what?’ Cheater XH never showed a drop of remorse to me and the only ‘sorry’s’ I got were forced at my insistence. Good thing I live in the land of Meh now. I’ll never forgive him in a million years for what he put me through, although he has done everything (except dump the ugly whore) he can to get me to forgive him. Pfffttt
    He’ll cheat on her too given half a chance but he’s gotten a little long in the tooth for all of that. He’s old and icky now.

  • Sure he changed. His version of “But, I’ve changed” was to get sneakier and take his kibble dispenser hunt farther underground.

  • Here’s one way we know how hard it is for people to change:

    We were manipulated, lied to, gaslighted and abused in multiple ways by a cheater, and still we clung to a disordered person, a marriage with 3 or more people in it, and a tank of hopium.

    We cried ourselves to sleep and night and still wailed “But I love him!” Or her.

    We spackled bad behavior, ignored red flags, and made excuses when the truth was in front of us.

    We wrote resumes for unemployed cheaters, made special meals, tried to heat up the bedroom, lost weight, cut or grew our hair. Whatever we thought it would take.

    We reconciled. We pick-me danced. Or we pined for months. We pain shopped on Facebook. We wrote letters and text and emails asking for “closure” or explanations or child support. Even in “no contact,” we had secret fantasies that the cheater would see our worth and change.

    But whether we left or were discarded without another word, we at some point said “Enough.” And later on, with the smokescreen of cheaterspeak and gaslighting dissipated, we came to see, slowly and painfully, that our life was not what we thought it was. Even if we leave 10 minutes into D-Day, the process of “gaining a life” is slow and often painful. We KNOW that is work. We know how hard it is, how long it takes.

    So why do we think cheater can change on a dime? Because fundamentally, we don’t see the truth that Dr. George Simon gives us about disordered people. It’s not that they don’t SEE our worth. It’s that they disagree. So they aren’t reconciling because they have an epiphany, other than that brought on by contemplating child support and losing half their stuff or the complications that ensue when the AP finds out a divorce is in the works. They reconcile to keep cake. Or they discard us to keep cake, because they are just changing appliances. It’s all about the disorder. It’s not about us.

  • “Funny how you realized how much you want me at the exact moment I discovered how much you didn’t.” This line is perfect!

    After a few years of going back and forth with my loser ex, the countless screaming matches, the dead silence for weeks, the verbal, emotional and mental abuse all the while he was having an EA and then a physical affair with the howorker, the first words out of his mouth in every argument was “Go ahead and file for divorce.”

    So I did. The day he got the papers in the mail, I came home from work and found him sitting on the sofa with the papers in his hands. His response: “Don’t you think we could have talked about this first?” Are you serious????? That was all I tried to do for years. He never discussed anything. Ever. He believed he could put his head in the sand and things would just go away.

    Three months later, the kids and I left. Almost 7 years later the divorce was finalized. In fact it will be a year this summer. Damn Narcs do all they can to hold on and drag things out.

    Best decision I ever made!

  • True dat, Chump Lady!

    My ex underwent a miraculous “change” when I filed for divorce. Complete with crocodile tears and promises to be the husband I deserved. I, however, was already to the point that I was over and done with his BS. He begged and pleaded for one more chance to prove himself because I was “the love of his life.” It was one of the hardest things I’ve done, but I stood my ground and said I no longer wanted to be married and that he had used up all of his chances. Told him maybe in a few years if he got psychological help and kept on the straight and narrow that we could revisit a possible relationship.

    I fully did not believe he would change and he quickly proved me right! He went to ONE session with a therapist (by himself) and was so proud of himself. Blabbered on to me that he understood why I was upset and that WE both had work to do to save our marriage, etc. He expected me to immediately welcome him back with open arms and drop the divorce! Well, when that didn’t happen his reaction was to flip to full-blown I-hate-you Rage channel – all of those declarations of love and change were gone and forgotten in a matter of moments. He embarked on a smear campaign and did everything he could to make our divorce a drawn-out battle. That was all I needed as confirmation that I had made the right decision. Definitely NOT a unicorn….

      • D-Day #1 was discovering my husband of 20 years was contacting multiple women via the internet trying to hook up with them. D-Day #2 (after promising he’d stop) was finding out that he was still at it – just got better at hiding it. That was The Last Straw for me. Icing on the cake was finding out during our divorce that his “habit” was going on our entire marriage (23 years). Lots of puzzle pieces fell into place after that discovery. He was a Grand Master Liar and I was a Grand Master Chump…

  • I have the opposite issue, I have one who genuinely is so very very sorry, says he is ashamed at what he did(emotional only as far as I’m aware) but he wrote longing songs, recorded them , all done in our house when I was out and massively went OTT on texting) problem is I’m so shocked to the core, I simply don’t feel the same, I’ve tried but 18 months down the line from finding out by accident as I came across the pile of hidden stuff (and it happened 11 years before that over a year or so) I feel as steaming mad as ever!!

    • Vicky, if this is not what you want, then leave. You make the call. Don’t stay because you feel you have to.

  • They don’t change. It’s who they are. They scammed you at the beginning of your relationship. They didn’t become this horrible person. They were a horrible person at the beginning they just donned a mask and tricked you. And they are very good at it. Sometimes they even temporarily convince themselves.

  • Wow-my head is swimming with this site! Is there EVER a happy-ish ending?? To start, I’m not here for myself, I’ve been married for 5 years (1 child), I don’t have any gut feelings or bad intuition about my husband. I’m simply here because I have a friend/coworker dating a married man who’s leaving his wife and kid any day now (riiight) and my research into many articles and stories to talk some sense into her eventually led me to this website. She has one kid with him and another due in 3 months. I think she’s an idiot but she’s a friend nonetheless. I’ve been reading through a lot of these topics and learned all about cake, unicorns, and kibble. All makes sense to me. But DAMN. I get the impression that if someone cheats, there is ZERO chance that they can redeem themselves, ever. I get that its RARE, but I just read one story where the cheater apparently passed the rawhide test (whatever it’s called) and has been making amends for 3 years, and he’s STILL wrong. He’s been celibate according to the wife for 4 years per her wishes, and by him abiding by it, he’s at FAULT. Wow. I understand the point of this website it to give support to those who choose to Leave vs. Reconcile, but give it up! Nothing in this world is absolute, and yes, some cheaters DO feel remorse, and Do love their spouses, and Do want it make it right for them again. After reading some of these stories/responses, it sounds like nobody is immune to cheating! I don’t have any juicy personal stories to tell, but I do know for a fact that my father cheated on my mother during the marriage. This was before smartphones, facebook, texting, etc. He told her himself. They worked it out. I never asked the details. I would have never guessed it by the way they act around each other. They still hold hands, make fun of each other, and act all gooey around each other. They’ve been married for 40 years. Does that make them wrong for staying together? Chumps? Idiots? I realize that every word is dissected on this website, but the plain story is-one person did something wrong, made amends, and two people are happy again. Marriage is about keeping vows to each other, not leaving when things get too hairy or when some website promotes it. If you can’t stick to your vows, don’t get married. Yes, one person broke their vows (since CL loves to dissect words) , but they also made up for it. My parents gave me and my sibling everything we wanted, always made us feel love, and very recently when talking about my own role as a mother, I noted how I couldn’t find anything wrong with the way my parents raised me. Thank God they worked together through the hard times instead of giving up. Unicorns exist, even though this goes against the teachings of some people.

    • P.S., also aware that people that people like me that disagree are called “trolls”. Still trying to figure out that exact definition.

      • “Marriage is about keeping vows to each other”

        I think you answered your own question.

        “ I realize that every word is dissected on this website, but the plain story is-one person did something wrong, made amends, and two people are happy again. “

        Not many do make amends. It’s rare, as you acknowledge.

        “they also made up for it.”

        Not many of us have this experience. And why live a life always wondering if you are good enough?

        “Unicorns exist,”

        No, cheaters hate consequences.

        You miss the point of all of this. This isn’t about the cheater but what is acceptable to the betrayed spouse. The humiliation of learning you have to reapply for your job as the husband/wife (aka the pick me dance). The devaluation of everything you did for a relationship you were so invested in just to learn your partner wasn’t so invested that they could easily throw you under a bus just to fuck a piece of strange.

        I wish your friend well. I really do but reconciliation is difficult.

        Ask your mother how she felt being the marriage police and working really hard at being good enough for all those years.

        Peace

      • Definition of an internet troll: is a person who does discord on the internet by starting quarrels or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off topic messages in an online community with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional responce or of otherwise disrupting normal, on-topic discussion, often for the troll’ s amusement.

        Shoe seems to fit!

      • If you have been betrayed, sometimes over and over for years, it’s likely you aren’t going to understand. A very high percentage of the cheaters we read about here have some form of character disorder. They don’t just cheat; they lie, gaslight, manipulate, cover up their behaviors, and blame shift their shadiness and lack of character onto the spouse.

        And when people say snarky things against CL, it’s like walking into her home and pooping on the floor. You can disagree. You can “stand for marriage” even if someone is married to a psychopath who tries to kill her and the kids. You can “stand for marriage” even if the cheater brings home AIDS or herpes or HPV. You can “stand for marriage” even after the cheater has sex with the AP in the marital bed or empties the college fun to take the AP on a trip to Barcelona. That’s your choice, if you are ever on the receiving end of betrayal. No one here will hound you in your home or inbox or Facebook to leave a cheater, gain a life. But people who stay here long enough to post and read the archives are already pretty far down the road. And many of them can barely get out of bed to brush their teeth because the pain is like nothing I’ve ever experienced, including watching loved ones die.

        If you don’t know, maybe it’s better not to judge. I truly hope you never know. And please don’t poop on the floor.

        • *If you have not been betrayed…sorry….typo…

          And depending on your age, your mother may have been like mine. She may not have seen she had a choice. Or maybe your father was the product of another time when men felt entitled and getting caught was actually a consequences. Or maybe you see your parents’ family life through a film of denial and projection. That might explain why our site triggers you. In any case, I’m sure there are RIC sites who will have just what you are looking for.

      • Well Delphina80 — All I can say is this: If this shit ever happens to you, you will understand why site exists.

    • Hi delphina 180- please, tell us again how our life experiences are wrong. You know SOOO much more than us about the things that happened TO US. Jesus, you have balls the size of Uluru to come here and tell us about marriage vows. We KEPT our marriage vows,some of us despite years and years of lies and emotional abuse and our partners NEVER made any kinds of amends.Many of us went through betrayal not once but many. many times,. THAT is what this whole post is about, so if you have missed that then honestly?You are not very bright.Do you know how many chumps contribute to this site? But you think because you have ONE STORY about a maybe unicorn where you don’t know many details that that somehow means that ALL our shared experience IS WRONG?take a long walk off a short pier, you judgemental sanctimonious cow, go walk on water somewhere else.

    • Denial is one of the most powerful defenses any of us have to protect against pain. If you’ve been researching about infidelity in an attempt to “change” someone else’s behavior then perhaps there’s a deeper personal issue here for you? We can’t change other people no matter how much we care about them, but you probably know that already.
      My denial for the lying and cheating behavior of my ex was so powerful that I never saw it – until I did. In the blink of an eye I faced reality. Now I’m not saying you have a cheating spouse or that your dad continued to cheat on your mom, but to study your friend’s situation so carefully, to give great consideration to the truth of your parent’s marriage and the implications of your father’s cheating and your dismay that there are no happy outcomes from all the stories on this site suggests you are grappling with a sense of vulnerability and a perceived threat -or else why would you be searching for anyone else’s experience of a romantic happily ever after following infidelity.

    • Well, this site isn’t meant for you.

      Imagine that you have a spouse that is taking on the heavy lifting of building a life, whatever that might be. Raising kids, dealing with the aging parents, working the steady job, handling the chores, paying the bills, etc. A spouse who is exhausted from doing the heavy lifting alone, because you’ve been giving the best of yourself and your time to someone else. A spouse that doesn’t realize there is a competition for the position, so date night is often sweat pants and Netflix instead of fine dining and moonlit beaches. But because you’re such a great guy or gal, you feel entitled to have no-strings elicit sex on the side. Your pursuit of happiness is more important that anyone else’s. You crave new relationship energy. No nagging, no responsibilities, just fun and ego fluff.

      Suddenly you have been found out and have to choose. Stay with the spouse with angry eyes? Stay with recriminations, soul searching, therapy, distrust? Stay with responsibilities and sweatpants? Or stick with exotic vacations, no responsibilities, and no-strings sex?

      How on earth would a selfish person go from having two people “love” him or her to just barely being tolerated by one? To go from doing almost nothing for the relationship to pulling his weight or more? To go from complete freedom to constant surveillance? It’s inconceivable.

      So yeah, we don’t believe in reconcilation happily-ever-after around here. The sort of person that feels entitled to cheat has poor mate value. Leave a cheater, get a better life.

      I’m glad it worked out for your parents. I wonder, though, if you were to have a frank and honest discussion with your mom – about being the marriage police, always wondering if/when the shoe was going to drop again, about the stigma attached to women of divorce, about how vulnerable a woman and children of her generation were without a husband, about how women are conditioned to sacrifice more of themselves in order to keep a “happy” home – well, I wonder whether she might have a different story to tell you about the state of the union.

      • Welp! Not sure what you want us to say happily married of five years other of one. Think you should hit a bereavement site and tell them they are taking it way too hard cause you got an aunt who got over the death of her son lickety-split!

        You kind of turned me off with your cheating friend story. Think the wife would benefit more from advice from this site than your friend. The ow is your friend right? The one with the children for the married man? Her. Yea. Birds of a feather and all that jazz.

        Your conclusion having read about these sick cheaters is that chumps aren’t being forgiving enough? Did I get that right? That they should take their vows seriously and…well I don’t know! I really don’t know! STD anyone?

        Wishing your parents continued companionship!

    • “leaving when things get too hairy”. It was my ex that did that, not me. I desperately wanted to reconcile, but I couldn’t do it alone and I wasn’t willing to humiliate myself either. He wasn’t willing to do any work himself. He took the lazy, cowardly way out and ran off with Schmoopie. If he had been a willing partner in reconciliation and willing to acknowledge the part he played in deteriorating our marriage and admit that he was wrong to cheat and showed any compassion for me and my pain, then I absolutely would have reconciled. The best offer I got was his suggestion to have an “open marriage”. I was not willing to accept a marriage that was just on paper. I wanted the real thing. I wanted what he promised me on our wedding day.

    • “Is there EVER a happy-ish ending??”

      Lots. People leave unfaithful spouses and find happiness all the time.

      “I get the impression that if someone cheats, there is ZERO chance that they can redeem themselves, ever.”

      Not zero, just low. Look at it this way. If your husband hit you, you might be able to forgive him, and sure, maybe he’d never do it again. However, you’d never feel quite as safe around him afterwards. Especially every time he got angry – you’d still know in the back of your head what he might do again. And also, statistically, chances are pretty good that he will do it again – because that’s just how these things always go.

      “Nothing in this world is absolute,”
      No, but some things are pretty likely. Cheaters making good is up there with it really being a Nigerian prince that’s emailing you.

      ” and yes, some cheaters DO feel remorse,”

      I feel remorse every time I have a hangover. I’m also going to an all-you-can-drink Margarita party this weekend. I can assure you I’ll feel remorse in the morning. Doesn’t mean I’m not drinking those margaritas. Also, with cheaters, remorse is generally just being sorry they were caught, so they can get around it by resolving not to be caught again.

      ” and Do love their spouses,”
      They just don’t love them enough to be faithful.

      ” and Do want it make it right for them again.”
      How? Also, wishing you could un-fuck someone doesn’t mean you didn’t fuck them. Wishing that there weren’t consequences to your actions doesn’t actually mean much at the end of the day.

      “After reading some of these stories/responses, it sounds like nobody is immune to cheating!”

      The website for supporting people that have been cheated on has a lot of people that have been cheated on, yes. However, you’ll note that even in that select group none of the chumps cheated, so it seems like it’s not that common after all.

      ” I do know for a fact that my father cheated on my mother during the marriage… I never asked the details. I would have never guessed it by the way they act around each other.”

      Seeing as you’re their kid, there might be a lot you don’t know about how your mom really feels.

      “Marriage is about keeping vows to each other… If you can’t stick to your vows, don’t get married.”
      That includes faithfulness, you know.

      “Yes, one person broke their vows (since CL loves to dissect words)”
      Yes, if you’re going to be technical about it, one party DID break their wedding vows, but… like… do we have to be so technical?

      “… but they also made up for it.”
      How? Seriously, how?

      “My parents gave me and my sibling everything we wanted, always made us feel love, and very recently when talking about my own role as a mother, I noted how I couldn’t find anything wrong with the way my parents raised me.”

      Congrats, but you wouldn’t be the first kid whose mother pushed down a lot of misery, grief, and bad treatment in order to give a kid a happy childhood – that doesn’t mean that she couldn’t have been happier, or that you couldn’t have been just as decently raised by divorced parents.

      “Thank God they worked together through the hard times instead of giving up.”

      Out of curiosity, how much misery should your mom have gone through to give you your idyllic childhood? Where would have been the turning point where you would have said “Mom, you shouldn’t put up with this just so I don’t have to deal with anything unpleasant.” Just wondering.

    • couple of things:

      your Dad admitted to your Mom that he cheated. I’ve read very few accounts here where cheaters have done that.

      Most the people here have gone through multiple discovery days- multiple adultery. They (like your mother) stayed with a cheater, but were burned yet again. Their graciousness and forgiving ways were taken advantage of. If your dad never cheated again- excellent ! So many of us wish it would have happened for us. P.S. who knows what your mom really thinks inside her head- what residual pain she carries each day.

      Third- if you ever get cheated on your perspective will change very quickly. You will come back to this website. We welcome you and we will try to help you.

  • My cheater is in “recovery” and goes to SA meetings. His narrative now is he’s doing good. However I still can check his email- and log and behold – more craigslist ads hook up sites dating sites etc. Also his narrative is that “he is going to work on himself and see why he has ‘expectations’ of people”. IE- me. His narrative is how “sick” “damaged” and “controlling” I am and that I “threw myself at him”. Oh okay…. hmm well considering he told me he loved ME one month into our 3 year relationship and I waited months until I felt it to say it back… oh and I guess I’m really difficult and sick bc hey I was trying to control him by having him actually try to be a decent man- not pay attention to women and fuck prostitutes. Guess that makes me “sick” in recovery language. No matter what he will always be the martyr. It’s such the skein that in one breath he’s “better” while still on prostitution web sites. Being in SA is just another way he can hide his own sickness and pathology.

    • I know people who have genuinely benefited from SA, because they have been ruthlessly honest to the group, and the group calls them out when they hear bullshit.

      The SA group is only as good as its members. If they are all just affirming each other in their backsliding, it’s useless.

  • Yup. I got an email over a year ago staying that after attending one AA meeting and learning that the body needs 3 to 4 days to detox he was a changed man…..right. He likes to blame everything on alcohol as not to face the demon that resides in him.

  • Here’s a handy fill-in-the-blank for when a cheater comes at you with the “I’ve changed!” line:

    – I’ve changed…the OW’s name in my phone to a man’s name so you won’t get suspicious.
    – I’ve changed…the sheets on our bed so you won’t notice the new stains.
    – I’ve changed…the password on my phone so you can’t access it.
    – I’ve changed…my schedule so that I can fit in more covert fuckfests.
    – I’ve changed…the amount of respect I have for you. You believe me? Chump.

    Now, here are appropriate CN-approved responses. Hey cheater, guess what *I’ve* changed:

    – I’ve changed…the locks. Go bunk with schmoopie.
    – I’ve changed…the Netflix password. Sorry that you won’t be able to watch the finale of “Sons of Anarchy” on my dime.
    – I’ve changed…from consulting the RIC at 3 am to consulting an attorney.
    – I’ve changed…from caring about what you think.
    – I’ve changed…the kind of treatment I’m willing to accept.
    – I’ve changed…from confused to enlightened.
    – I’ve changed…from devastated to angry to raging to determined to exhausted to relieved to completely done with you.

    • That’s great Free Vix. Reminds me of a Lucinda Williams song, “I changed the locks”. I highly recommend it and “Greenville”. She has gotten me thru tough days just like CL and CN.

  • Ask the counselor. ..RIC… or ask your cheater what changed them from a self-absorbed degenerate to a person of honor and integrity. Watch them sputter. You won’t get an answer.

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