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Dear Chump Lady, Why must cheaters add insult to injury?

Dear Chump Lady,

I am about 5 months out from D-Day. My husband and I were married for 6 years and together for a total of 14 (high school sweethearts we have been dating since we were 15). At the beginning of the year we had a fight regarding our sex life (or lack there of) and after a terrible night of talking where we realistically talked of divorce and how he was checked out of the marriage, we decided to a trial separation for a week.

During that week I confronted him point blank if there was someone else, specifically a coworker of his, he emphatically denied it. We started to see a marriage counselor and “work on our marriage” I began buying books, and playing an unwitting pick me dance. The entire time he wasn’t doing anything to improve himself, the only physical contact he would have was a peck on the lips, etc.

Three weeks later I found a conversation on his phone with the exact coworker I confronted him about (a 20 year old girl with a boyfriend) making plans to take vacation days and meet, meeting at hotels and telling each other they loved each other. I immediately confronted him, was immediately gaslighted. I left 10 minutes later, packed up my two young children (4 and 1) and never went back.

Since the discovery, many other things have come to light including lots of money spent on her, taking our children around her, he even gave her one of our credit cards to use while we were still “happily married”. Another thing that has come to light is that I emotionally abused him for 14 years. He recently told me — and I quote: “You always used to tell me how strong I was, but you broke me by always putting me down.”

I am struggling with the attack on my character, that has NEVER been brought up until he was CAUGHT red handed. My question is this: What the fuck?! Why do cheaters have to add insult to injury, literally?! YOU are the cheater, the one with major character and morality flaws. Why must you tear me down in the wake of your betrayal?! Haven’t you hurt me enough?!

Any input would be greatly appreciated,

Ashley

Well, Ashley, you’re the mean, mean mommy who took the cake away. There are always tears when entitlement gets told no. Did he stomp his feet and un-invite you to his birthday party too?

You must be new here. What’s with the insults? That’s part of the three mindfuck channels: charm, rage, and self-pity. After discovery, your cheater flips through the manipulation arsenal at hand, and those are the go-to moves. Yours just gave you rage (insults) and self-pity (woe! you’re “always” putting him down!) You’ll notice unvarnished honesty and remorse aren’t in the line-up. Yeah, those shows got canceled. I hope in addition to leaving him, you’ve got a good lawyer on retainer too.

Let’s break down the channels so you know what to look for, then we’ll get into the crusty little bits in their brains that makes them do this. (Not that I recommend skein untangling. I don’t.)

Charm. Why can’t we be friends? Let’s sleep together for old time’s sake! Oh hey, do you need help with that? (Answer: bitch cookie. Whatever the gesture, it doesn’t distract from abandoning one’s children.)

Rage. YOU’LL BE VERY SORRY YOU HIRED THAT LAWYER! (Rage is always in shouty all-caps.) NOW OUR CHILDREN WILL HAVE NO COLLEGE FUNDS! (He spent them all on hookers… but never mind.) I WILL DESTROY YOU MEGATRON! (Yeah. Just keep rocking that supervillain thing. It’s a good look.)

Self-pity. Otherwise known as “sad sausage.” How could you do this to me?! You broke me! Your cruel, cruel monogamy forced me to create dating profiles!

See how that works, Ashley? It’s mindfuckery. It’s essentially your cheater flinging poo at you to distract you from unleashing consequences. Were you going to call a lawyer? ZING! “You’re so mean!” Now you stop dialing and defend yourself. “I’m not mean! YOU’re mean!” Blah, blah, blah…. airborne poo…. blah.

Cut the shit and go straight to ACTION. Leave. Lawyer up. Protect yourself and your children.

They hate that.

Now then, why must they be that way? Why the three channels? Why the injury AND the insults?

Because they’re fuckwits, Ashley. That’s really only thing you need to know here. You’re too good for a fuckwit and fuckwits tend to make lousy parents. You will not get a sensible explanation for their cruelty, so do NOT ask for one. “Gee Fuckface McSpendy, why are you giving a credit card to your mistress when you’ve got two pre-schoolers and a wife at home?” has no satisfying answer. Stop looking for it.

They pull this shit because they can. Because they don’t have empathy chips. If there’s any twinge of guilt or icky feelings, they escape it with boobs and Jagermeister, or whatever their preferred drug is. They don’t adult. That’s for the little people, like you.

Why is he insulting you and lying? Because fuckwits like a good narrative in which you’re the bad guy. Impression management conceals their entitlement. And ain’t NOTHING going to touch their entitlement. So… fiction. It works. On people without critical thinking abilities. You don’t want those people in your life anyway.

Ashley, I’m sorry you invested in a fuckwit. It’s a very common human dilemma. But the good news is you’re free of him and happier days are ahead. Turn off his mindfuck channel, and tune into your awesomeness. It’s a really strong signal with great programming.

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.
  • Also, attacks by the cheater on the chump’s character are often part of a plan to muddy the waters for family and friends by creating false equivalencies. “Mistakes were made! On BOTH sides!” You are then are easier to paint as unreasonable when you insist (based on FACTS) that their flaws and yours are not comparable (cheating, lying, and wasting marital assets versus, say, repeatedly asking for help with the laundry). You can’t win that game, so don’t try. Anyone who will fall for that BS is so dumb or so unloving that you’re better off without them in your life. Stay strong! As CL says, better days ahead! ((Ashley))

    • Yep, making you defensive by playing at your conscience keeps you busy spinning your wheels on unverifiable detail, which makes you an easier mark for other manipulations.

      It’s just another form of gaslighting.

      Mental toddlers.

      He already destroyed everything about the relationship that is sacred. Therefore, he has lost the right to have any input about your character, perspectives, and choices — but most especially, character, yours and everyone’s.

      You wouldn’t take plumbing advice from a shoemaker, right? So, don’t take character advice from a person whose behavior reflects a similar lack of expertise in the character arena
      🙂

    • Mine blamed me for the couple of Ddays. I wasn’t, this or I wasn’t that. Come to find out it was not the lack of love and appreciation from me that drove him into the arms of a couple of women. He was active for 30 years sleeping with hundreds of women, couples and God knows what else. It’s sick enough he was fucking strange and taking time, energy and resources from our family for so long but he worked extra hard helping me think I was to blame.

      How dare they! They are sick bastards. There has got to be a special hell for them. If not I think CN should design one.

    • All out of the narcissist play book, and as Nomar said, you simply cannot win this because your husband is not going to look at you , apologize and somehow grow a conscience. . Hate to bring up stuff like this, but false equivalency is where truth goes to die. Off the top of my head, our president pulled this move to make actual self identified Nazis at a rally where things got violent seem OK. “both sides were wrong”.

      Beware of the passive voice, that is used to dump all responsibility. The banality of evil …

    • Agreed and never try to defend the “SMEAR” campaign, my ex Narc husband his mother knew full well what he was up to and did nothing! I have stood strong 18 months now and finally he’s talking spousal support! He’s a real prize!

    • He said ‘it was a FU to you for not respecting him’ …..that’s the way to gain respect meet women off Craigslist and join dogpiling group. Whole lot of respect gained there. 😆

      • Mine told me (right in the wake of his totally destroying our family) that he wanted to be “admired” by me. I told him “the first step to that is you doing something admirable”.

        He also said I was “disrespectful” when I said that I hated moving (7 cross country moves)

      • Ooooh, my STBX met his “soulmate” mistress on Craig’s List personals… just your usual “let’s fuck a stranger site!” Now October 23 is their special day forrreverrrr. It is clearly the place to go for true love.

  • I logged on and read the title, “Why must cheaters add insult to injury?” and I immediately thought, “well, because they have to somehow make YOU the asshole so they can justify what they’ve done”.

    Quite simple, and they all do it, Ashley, sooner or later. It’s part of the Cheater Playbook, that’s all. If you haven’t done so already, spend some time on this blog and see how similar the cheaters are, how similar your story is to others. Over time, the answer to the question of “why” will start to boil down for you: Crappy person with crappy life skills. Habitual liar (not just to you); blames everybody else never themselves; likes to do the same things/go to the same places with Chump and AP; fills the empty hole where their soul should be with alcohol, sex, spending money; reasons for splitting with you are fucking stupid (literally, ha!); and of course character assassination. Do any of these sound familiar to you Ashley?

    “I left 10 minutes later, packed up my two young children (4 and 1) and never went back.” Damn I’m proud of you, woman. Wish I had had that gumption. That’s what’s different about your letter to me, sounds like you called an end to this bullshit a lot sooner than many of us did. Good for you!

          • Mine criticized me because I was excited and happy about buying a new stove. Consequently, I was “boring.” As if that summed up my personality.

            • My character flaw was I came first in my university degree when I was forced to retrain after redundancy. Apparently being top of my course showed I was an awful selfish person who never let anybody else get anything. I am still confused by that.

              • My ex said he wanted to be with someone who didn’t get bored at horse shows (like his married schmoopie coworker).

              • Yes! I went back to school and finished my degree and went on to begin my career. My ex would try to sabotage my success. Instead of realizing that the added income helped our family, he wanted to whine that helping out with the kids took away from “his” time and wanted to put me on a guilt trip for not being home as much as I once was.

        • This is hilarious. Might make a great Friday challenge: what did your ex blame on you, implying moral equivalency to his/her cheating?

          Mine claimed I left the kitchen cabinets open all the time.

          • I worked too hard at a crushingly stressful job. Oh and used the wrong pen in the checkbook register.

            This is CL at her best. Flinging poo. I love it.

            • We both had to sign a document for the bank – it didn’t matter where – we just had to sign. The guy handed me the pen first so I signed at the bottom of the page on the right-hand side since I was sitting on the right, leaving the Twat to sign on the left. He was FURIOUS – FURIOUS, I tell you, because “the man always signs on the left”!

          • Mine said I didn’t initiate sex often enough. Kind of hard to initiate sex when you are alone in the house, which I was ALL THE TIME. To put this in context, he was retired for twelve years while I continued to work so we could have health insurance, although he was eligible for retiree health benefits for the both of us. You would think he could be home when I got off work? Nope. He did expect a home-cooked meal, however. Every night. He chose the menu, of course. So after working 8 hours at a job I hated, I would shop and cook and clean up. On his schedule. And when he was home he was either on his devices (setting up a rendezvous with his AP or trolling Craigslist, Facebook and every website that he could find to aid him in his search for sex partners), raging or drunk. Never asked me about my day, never seemed happy to see me. Nothing. He also made me sleep alone for years; as he sold it to me, I snored. I went through an overnight sleep study, not cheap even with my insurance; they did not see any issues. It turned out the real reason was that it was easier to sneak out late at night, leaving me sleeping alone in an dark, empty, unlocked house while he fucked anyone, and I mean ANYONE, male or female, who would have him. And when he did want sex from me, it was the morning after his “date nights” with Schmoopie and he only wanted me to perform oral sex on HIM to alleviate his hangover. Good times! Sad part is, we are STILL married, not separated; I am sick enough that I am trying to make it work. It’s hard to change your heart after 44 years of loving this man with all I had. Although he is trying himself, I heard these words from him today: You are my blue-balls alleviator. A little more like that depersonalizing, degrading crap and I am OUT, Golden D##k! So, so sorry I didn’t initiate sex with you more often. As he says: My bad!

            • You are worth 20,000 million times more than that …please stop GET OUT NOW ! You deserve more always have always will!

            • Oldcrone sweetheart, you have already had ENOUGH of that depersonalising, degrading crap, haven’t you? I spent 23 years excusing the stbx’s behaviour because although he was a wierdo, he was MY wierdo and yes I loved him and my heart still twinges when I think of him in his caravan missing home life. But SHIT! Ain’t Crying is right – you and I and every sweet Chump here is worth more. I’m 52 this year and I’m not spending another year focusing on him. However precarious life would be if you leave or kick him out, it will be YOUR life and not his enabling prop for his cruel, disrespectful, abusive treatment of you.
              Look squarely and fearlessly at yourself, darling Oldcrone. Do you like what he’s turned you into? There is ALWAYS enough time to recover the person you were before he did that, life is lived one moment at a time, spend the rest of your life loving yourself and becoming the incredible person you are meant to be. Many many hugs to you today xxx

              • AFKAC – what a tenderly crafted post. Such a loving expression of why our precious oldcrone must not waste even a fraction of a second more with her sadistically abusive husband.

                Oldcrone – there is huge population of chumps who are in our late 50’s and 60’s who clenched our teeth and dove into the cold uncertain water of liberation. It is terrifying but this I promise, the bracing contact with that icy water is necessary to wake you to possibilities ahead.

                CN is the tribe of truth so what we declare is so. You have a beautiful life on the other side of this suffering. Please trust us and more importantly, trust your strong and brave self, and dive,

            • oh my , you are so abused! don’t confuse love with this relationship. seek therapy to find out why you live like this. please. abused women’s shelter, therapy, read up on abuse and trauma bonds.

            • Dear oldcrone,
              Are you sure we weren’t both with the same guy? Maybe we were. With mine for 12 years, he retired early without even discussing it with me while I continued to work 60 hours a week in a very stressful job. He vacationed alone frequently, and then I made the mistake of buying a vacation home with him 6 hours away. He was there constantly “alone” while I worked. Then came my Grandchildren (he’s the second husband) Well, he didn’t like the attention being given to anyone else so he started raging at me drunk for a year until I finally left. Now he talks about how happy he is to be free. And of course, none of this is his fault, he tells everyone that “we’re just too different” and has all the sympathy. Total mind screw.

          • I didn’t scratch his back. Of course, I offered to scratch his back many, many times, and he always said no thanks.

          • I didn’t pack him a lunch once for work a few months ago. Seriously. This was after Dday #6 or so in 6 months.

      • Lol, my Ex said that we had no money not because she blew my $10,000 bonus on furniture unbeknownst to me until I came home from a business trip and saw it and the bill. Rather that I spent $50 on a video game !!

        • My sin was that I insisted on NOT doing his payroll for his business anymore and instead hired a company to do it. Our stupid accountants showed me how to do his payroll; a couple years later I wanted us to interview for a new accountant as I couldn’t stand the ones we had, and I was the one who had to deal with them, not my ex. Come to find out that they were making mistakes doing our taxes AND I was doing payroll all wrong, and that I could face fines and jail time for the mistakes I was making! I was NOT a bookkeeper, I was a full-time RN in a Recovery Room! What did I know about payroll? I drew a line in the sand, I wasn’t doing it any longer. Well, a year later when I confronted him about the cheating, he threw in my face that because of ME, we had to pay ADP $25 a month for doing his payroll (3 employees). What about all the money he spent on porn, hotel rooms, phone sex calls, bars, etc? Jeez…

      • Mine actually tried to say during an argument that it was my use of personal pronouns overheard when making plans to meet my best friend for lunch that belittled and made him feel small–that’s why he had to hire an $800 an hour fetish prostitute. What offensive pronouns did this? I said to her, “Well, if you aren’t sure whrer you want to eat right now just come to my house and we can decide when you get here.” He said I should have said “our house” or “my husband and my house.” WTF? Why would I say “our” in a conversation that he wasn’t in? It would have made it sound like “our” referred to her and I. And the second? Just awkward during a quick casual conversation clarifying plans. But there I go again, acting like this is something worth parsing. That was his “defense” of the aforementioned hooker usage. You can’t make this shit up. They are incredible.

        • Oh, and the icing showcasing the fuckwitted non-logic? The hooker specialized in allowing “muscle worship of her bodybuilder physique and dominating in wrestling. But my personal pronouns emasculated him.

          • I’m dying 😂😂😂😂. I apparently emasculated by doing everything for 15 years. Not because I insisted, however, but because if I didn’t, nothing would ever have been done. Poor baby. Barf.

            • No ways man. In my case it was my ‘barrelling dominance’ that makes him turn inward and it had been a problem from day one of meeting him even though despite this hideous side to me we were together for 14 years, for a house together, had a daughter etc. He also wanted to do more but I wouldn’t let him. Er what clean fridge, pay car tax, sort out re-mortgage, do his VAT return, scrub the BBQ grill, de-scale the kettle, file the bills. Get f*cked. I am have just booked window cleaner today I think two years after we argued and I gave him this one job to do. It’s beneath him as he is a creative and needs to create.

            • That was me too. I gave up on asking the King of Procrastination to do anything or it ended up half-done two weeks too late. In MC I said I was sad because it was always me that reached out to text or message him. He said that he never got a chance because I always got my text in first. The counsellor suggested that I quit texting him to let him get his oar in first. That didn’t last long… Actually I think she was widely letting me see that he was just disengaged.

              • mine was fixing everything with the black duct tape. After he moved out I told him that he’s trying to run from the mess in his head and attempts to fix his life with this duct tape
                Just a few days later he came to see the kids, and he noticed that I was about to install a new light on the terrace. He insisted on fixing it for me. The fuses went off, the lamp burnt and the switch is plastered to the wall with, yes, a generous amount of a black duct tape. I told to myself that this was the last thing I let him fuck up in my life

          • LOL……Jojobee. That is hysterical!!!
            You really, really can’t make this shit up.
            We sound like lunatics just bringing this up! Unbelievable.

            • I know. I don’t know how they can say that crap with a straight face. It is so crazy that even to say it to people would make them think you must be making it up.

        • Omg, I totally forgot about how “disrespectful” I could be with pronouns. Probably because no one else in the two years since I kicked cheater out has ever had a problem with my totally normal use of pronouns. But I absolutely remember how easily he could make me feel deeply ashamed about ever forgetting to use “our”, and how I would practically trip over myself to make it up to him. I am so glad those days are done and gone, and that I now know better than to ever allow anyone to manipulate me like that ever again. ((All of CN))

          • Ex got very upset with my pronoun usage years ago when we were at elementary school parent teacher conferences.

            He complained later, “It was disrespectful when you told the teacher that YOU read with our son.”

            So I said, “Well… when did YOU last read with him?”

            Crickets.

            Apparently image management was even important to him in front of the grade 3 teacher.

          • I apparently wished mine dead but the use of the wrong pronoun! Once he overheard me joke to one of our teenage kids that I would get them back for something by moving in with them when I am old and cranky.

            By not saying “we,” I mortally offended him and apparently was wishing him dead. He told me I should never imagine outliving him, because if I did, it meant I wanted him dead. Nevermind that I am fourteen years younger, in better health and female people statistically live longer than men. (I am female.). He then told ne that he would outlive me and that was what I should plan for and refer to in conversations. (Clearly it was okay for him to imagine me dead!)

            So much narcissistic anger over one joking pronoun. Such a tosser!

        • FYI on the pronoun issue, you are exactly right. Pronoun usage involves “deixis,” which just means that the context of the conversation determines the meaning (as in whose house). So in a two-person conversation, it would always be “me” and “you” unless the two of you were talking about your whole families.

          BUT. You broke the cheater “centrality” rule. You referred to yourself as a separate person, in a conversation! When he is central! And he doesn’t see you as a person, but a spouse appliance!

          • How severely disordered are these men! Imagine feeling so fragile that you fly into a rage over your wife using a particular pronoun that suggests they have lives and thoughts of their own, and aren’t enmeshed slaves.

      • That’s funny–it was the opposite for me! I wouldn’t pay the monthly rental fee from the waste company because we had perfectly good trash cans, but he didn’t like having to haul them out to the curb!

        • Sorry – have to chime in. Mine said he was hurt that I complained too much when he wiggled/fidgeted in bed before falling asleep every night.

      • Mine said I didn’t understand him because I didn’t ride a motorbike. Gave me some far-fetched speech about how bikers are all part of some sacred brotherhood, Sons of Anarchy style. I actually think he may have undiagnosed mental health issues.

        Here’s the thing: When we married, he didn’t ride a motorbike. He got his license about 5 years ago. More importantly, the skank he is currently screwing doesn’t ride one either. I’m wondering how that’s working out for him.

        • I’m new here. My first comment. But this us exactly what I needed today, after another crying spell where I literally could feel big far L on my forehead.
          Mine said I could never understood him ( he somehow survived 17 yeras though). In fact, only Lemmy could have. If he was alive, that is. Lemmy, the deceased frontman of heavy metal band Motorhead.

          • Lamia, I am sorry you feel so awful. We all understand your pain, and we are real living and breathing people. There is only one crazy person in your situation and that is the person who is only understood by a dead guy, with whom he presumably had no contact. Hang in there. It will get better.

            • On the day I kicked him out he actually only left with one bag of clothes and the biography of Lemmy. When I asked him 2 weeks later when he is planning to move out he acted all surprised. He thought he did…
              It’s still very raw, I’m not as fine as I sound. Not at all really. But after reading on how to save my marriage for the last two months, crying myself to sleep every night and waking up miracously hoping to spot a unicorn I think I need to start doing something different in order to save my sanity. You guys are great. I want to be just like you

              • Lamia, we’ve all been where you are. Can’t save a marriage by yourself. Better days are coming!

              • Hi Lamia, both sad that you have to be here and happy that you found Chump Nation. Check in often, the pain will go away and we have your back, Chump Nation is mighty and so are you! Hugs to you xxx

              • All of the shot they put you through will make you cry while you’re grieving the loss of “what could have/should have been”. It’s a tough road to travel, but it’s worth it.
                Eventually, the absolute ridiculous insanity of all of their BS will make you LAUGH so hard you cry. You won’t believe you put up with an instant of it, let alone tried so hard to hold on to it.
                I still shake my head in wonder that anyone at all believed anything that came out of my ex’s mouth. I’m 10 years out from divorce and 11 out from the first Dday and it’s a wonderful life.

              • Oh, honey. You don’t know it yet, but he’s done you a huge favor. This is not a grown man you are dealing with.

              • We’ve all been there, been you. You can do this. It may take months, years even…but you will find your strength that’s hiding below all the pain you presently feel. Places like this, where we chumps gather, are literally filled with yous and mes and us’ and thems. Get into IC for you have been traumatized. You have been abused. Reach out to a trusted friend or family member, build yourself a team of asskickers that’ll tell you when you’re crazy, hold you when you are falling apart, make sure you are clean, fed, and caring for yourself and your children if you have any. You are mighty even though you don’t feel it right now. You have reserves you haven’t even tapped yet, and that will come with time. You are loved and wanted by people that matter. And your fuckwit? Girl, it’s a blessing. I finally see it now. You are on the cusp of terrifying change and loss, but also great promise and true, honest living to your values. And when you feel like you can’t go on, just can’t do it? Come here, we are here.

      • My mom’s cheater told her ‘I carry 80% of the conversations’ and that she had ‘given up on life and was broken’. Neither of which are remotely true. When she tries to have a conversation about his shortcomings, namely texting another woman over 100 times a day for 6 straight months, she carries the entire conversation and he is oddly mute. Once you see this as nothing more than predictable cheater behavior, their criticisms sure lose their power and their sting.

      • I didn’t like ketchup. That made me “controlling” even though he didn’t like ketchup either. But apparently me not liking it made him insecure because if “he ever did want to try it, it would make him feel bad.”

        Yes, said post D-day.

      • Mine said the final straw for him was that I didn’t spontaneously hike Mt. Fuji when we visited Tokyo in 2015. LOL

        • Haha talking about final straws. .when i asked what the hell was wrong with him after giving me prolonged silent treatment he raged that “THIS IS THE STRAW THAT BROKE THE CAMELS BACK…BUT IT WAS GOING TO BREAK ANYWAY” (followed up with “I’m divorcing you”)
          I didnt understand it at the time but it was his mask slipping that he had planned leaving all along and was waiting till i was completely exasperated so he could say i pushed him over the edge…up until that everything was mostly just fine ! And THAT is why they are fucked in the head….

      • Mine complained for years after he divorced his first wife that “she didn’t save him the chicken thigh”, which was his favorite piece.

      • In 26 years I never pickes out a chair comfortable enough for him to relax in!🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯. He’s a 7 figure earning corporate attorney with two doctorates….. but apparently unable to hit swipe on amazon for a recliner! Fucking POS! He SUCKS sweaty donkey balls.

      • Me getting into Mensa made him feel uncomfortable.
        I let my hair fall everywhere (I gave birth, duh).
        I grade papers in the evening.
        I don’t show interest in our daughter (yeah, right).
        Etc.

      • I left a laundry basket… in the laundry room …on laundry day….fucking bitch that I am

        He got so mad, he drop kicked it across the house

        • I’ve gone through similar behavior, it sucks, it’s scary and YOU DID NOT DESERVE IT! So sorry that you had to go through that. You are worth so much more than that.

    • Second this, notStruggling. And the real mindf*ck Ashley is when you begin to realize that this way of being – for which the tip of the iceberg is this blameshifting rationalization (insults etc) – didn’t begin with his cheating being exposed. That behavior is a mere symptom of a core defect that’s been there all along, right in front of you. All along there’s been an underlying disconnect from reality within this person and a replacement of it with an invented narrative.

      You’ll start to recall red flag indicators of it that you dismissed without much thought at the time because the only correct conclusions about them weren’t available to you. The correct conclusions wouldn’t have fit any of the categories you had for what people can be inside. The flags themselves were briefly puzzling but you quickly went back to the conclusion about who he was that you had already settled and projected onto him (spackling). For instance, you’ll recall the time he shocked you when he was a little too friendly with those girls at the beer tent at the local fair. That wasn’t “like him” but maybe he was a little tipsy and just “being a guy”. But then there was that other girl you had a weird feeling about with him back in high school. And oh yeah that time he was standing like right next to that waitress when you arrived to meet him at the restaurant. And then more recollections about her. The pieces will come together seemingly from out of nowhere over time. Or the time he “borrowed” his best friend’s boat “just so the kids could have some fun” and right after seeming to sincerely apologize to him for not asking, or refilling the gas (leaving it empty when the friend’s family guests arrived) he soon began privately ripping on his friend for even being mad and convicting him of all sorts of personal wrongs that made it feel like justifiable payback to have borrowed his boat without permission.

      And on and on the seemingly small red flags will come back to light and pile up. And you’ll realize eventually these flags are essentially all are the same. They all have the same entitlement, same dishonor of things of meaning, same self-justification, same deceitful evasions. And with enough of them you’ll realize that This Is Who He Is.

      It will be difficult to hold onto the moments of clarity when you know this for certain because you’ll also remember “the good times” which “couldn’t have been faked”. Avoid the simplistic white wash conclusion that so many try to sell about such good times and good attributes like “People are a ‘mix’ of good and bad…nobody is perfect…” No. Nobody is perfect. But that means next to nothing. Ted Bundy once volunteered at a suicide hotline. He went to law school. He had friends and “a life” outside of raping and butchering innocent beloved daughters and sisters and girlfriends. None of the “good” matters if even to oneself it doesn’t trump their hunger for evil. You are what you are when tested. Period. It makes no difference if you are cheerfully fun and “giving” when being so is what suits you at the time. It only matters that you are deceitful and betraying whenever being so suits you, even when it costs to those same people you previously were giving toward. Such a person is saying by their actions that these others don’t matter, don’t supercede even their shallow immediate wants. This is what defines what you truly are. The rest is just a different form of you doing whatever felt alright for now and sold an effective image which enabled you to exploit more later. You are what you hide. That is what’s precious to you. If you hide little or nothing, then and only then you are what is seen.

      You’ll realize that you yourself could never endure the guilt of being both like he did – of appearing one way while harboring another way. You’ll be baffled at the almost split personality it would require to live life this way, and be this way so naturally, and not explode. And then it settles finally in you. He is fundamentally different inside. Permanently different. Deeply Different. He is not making “mistakes”. Not a mix of attributes both good and bad. But a completely different operating system. One whose false exterior deals superficially with actual reality, but whose true interior creates and maintains an altered invented reality. And it’s that one who rules all else. That one can never actually connect to anyone else beyond the level of current utility. It’s literally stunning when you see this fully for the first time. It’s a schema or category of human reality you never had available to yourself before to identify people but it makes all the previously indecipherable contradictory facts perfectly consistent – without any spackling. You’ll realize he was never what you had invented him as being after he presented the mere trappings of being so. He is instead the creature that is hidden inside him (the unsubmitted infantile ego). Given this and your growing understanding of how actually simple this creature really is (ranting toddler with adult appetites) you’ll have all the tools you’ll ever need to answer questions like “why’s he lying, insulting, attacking, etc?”

      • Nicely reasoned out, TKO. I do believe there’s a truth here, especially for those who feel better than others, and entitled to everything. How do these people develop? That’s what I’d like to know! The ones I’ve encountered are unusually charming and even ‘giving’ when you first meet them.

        Current utility, indeed. Find someone else to use, I’m too busy directing my own life.

      • Actually with my husband I replayed everything for years and just found that I was completely blindsided because I WAS. There wasn’t any hazy question marks or self-deludedness. He just covered himself very very well. I truly believe that even he didn’t realize how screwed-up he was.

        • Ditto! X is a master manipulator and at deception. He also gradually increased the dysfunction over 26 years together. Not my fault. I had NO idea. None. And I’m a very successful litigator and auspicious by nature.

          • Completely agree it wasn’t our fault. I hope it’s clear I’m not suggesting that. But whether there were signs you could only understand later after coming to finally recognize what it is they are as people, or no signs at all (holy crap what a cunning monster!), the larger point is they were this deceptive thing all along – beginning long before you met them. That’s the mind blowing part – how you saw and believed so thoroughly something that was not actually there. And this thing that was there is a type so unknown to all normal people that they can only really begin to accept its nature and existence after being forced to by experiencing it first hand. No book or class or expert training can fully impart the reality of what this is. Without experiencing it and then realizing that you experienced it, you’d almost never believe it’s really a thing. It’s subtlety. It’s cunning. It’s oddness. It’s contradictions. It’s impenetrability. It’s charm. And ultimately, it’s pathetic simplicity. I had no idea either. I was even looking for signs of character flaws and saw the opposite. They are so good at the act because they believe the act themselves. In my case I did have signs. But I had no way of understanding them as signs. No idea that people can actually be so seemingly alive outside but dead inside. But once you finally know what a chameleon can do, you are both stunned that such a thing actually exists and so much more able from then on to discern when and how they do it.

            • Do you really think they believe their lies?
              For X, I’ve come to believe it’s another part of his act.

              • Yes. Not the lies they tell when caught and running, those they fully consciously know are lies. Those they justify. Those lies are necessary. Those lies keep the peace. Those lies are a favor they do for you. Those lies are their right, because…the whole thing was their right. And so on. But the lies about who they are – these are the lies they believe. The lies about being a victim. In short, the lies that establish their false self, the lies of delusion, these they believe against all evidence.

            • TKO, you nailed it. I didn’t know what a red flag was, but now of course I do. Little red flags, kinda pink flags, I blinked & missed them the early years. Thanks for the way you put this. I’m pasting it in my journal!

      • TKO. This is perfect what you described here.
        I’ve done so much research to try to understand why my father seemingly couldn’t stand to be around me and I had to come to the conclusion that his reality is something I’d view as alien. They really are!!
        When I met my partner (together 14 years but never married) I thought I’d finally meet someone who gave a shit about me. Our relationship is now in a coma. I’m plotting a way out. I’m now seeing all of these things you pointed out. How I wasted my life on someone who used me to take care of him. I feel let down, devastated, taken advantage of. The realization is brutally hard to admit.
        (I have to find the time to write my story on the forum.)

        • Together 10 years. I feel the same about the past 10. I am trying to see positive things. A little difficult when you have been engaged for 5 years, just sold your house- waited till the kids graduated high school- move in with him, open a business with him and 2 months later he doesn’t want to be in a relationship. Yup he was “emotionally attached” to someone else.

      • Do you think they’ve always been this way their whole lives, or did they gradually change over time into this person they had to hide? My STBX is well-liked by everyone (we both are) which is why this is so unbelievable for people to comprehend.

        They haven’t seen him be cruel when blame shifting – I hadn’t either until DDay.

        • I believe this is lifelong. It is born of a developmental failing (due mostly to environmental causes) at a point when healthy normal development causes others to move out from their normal narcissistic toddlerdom into the richer fuller experiences and realities offered only by their developing prefrontal cortex. It is the submission of the ego-centric infantile impulses, tactics, and rewards for something which offers more. The transition is not guaranteed and requires support, modeling and consequences. The elements of character and empathy for example, which provide such powerfully enduring reward potential for the child, must be learned and believed and bound to favorable emotion in order to become integrated into identity. When this successfully occurs, thought comes to govern and guide emotions. When this doesn’t happen, you are left with a growing conceptual ability governed and put to use by the original unruly emotional self-centered core. That growing intellect then is bent to an unnatural purpose – to serve the toddler self. Not by discerning reality for it, but by manipulating those others out there in “reality” to come to heal. Socialization outside the family, say a fellow kindergartener calling them out for stealing their toy, teach them that their raw display of their emotional will does not “work”. Others learn that these things are wrong, and begin to develop the skills for processing that, but these people learn merely that the tactics must improve. This is when they begin the lifelong thought patterns that become an almost automated falsification of what they really are in the service of what they want, and what they want is not influenced for the better by the powerful rewards of an identity linked to empathy, decency, character or the security of the social contract.

      • “You’ll realize he was never what you had invented him as being after he presented the mere trappings of being so. He is instead the creature that is hidden inside him (the unsubmitted infantile ego).”

        They absolutely depend on us not realizing who they really are. They know their true natures would be repellent to their victims, so keep that part of themselves hidden as long as possible. We become somewhat complicit in our own deception by ignoring their little mask drops and missteps during the course of our intimate relationships with them. CL calls this “spackling”; my psychologist calls it “rationalization.”

        Without our spackling, the disordered would not be able to deceive so freely. But without prior education and knowledge of a psychopath’s tactics, there was no way we could explain our partners’ strange lapses of behavior.

        These people are deceivers of the highest order.

      • TKO I read your post and it feels like it is speaking right to me. Piercing through the fog and helping me make some sense of the shitstorm I am in. Thank you.

        • Only because I’ve been there too. You WILL come through and you will be more wise on the nature of human defect than just about anyone you know. This whole blog is filled with the same few essential truths, stated in a variety of ways. It’s uncanny how we have all experienced basically the same shitstorm.

      • So true! Even five years on I have moments where I recall things that now point to the premorbid character traits (eg remembered than when we were first dating he later admitted he was also still seeing another girl and deliberately had us meet)

    • I know exactly and the drinking he was always pissed at night, I believe a functioning alcoholic! He makes good money and I think that’s how he traps them. He works on their cars, he’s a good mechanic and full of shit!

    • I didn’t get off the sofa to meet him at the door when he came back from working away once. Last October. When he was already balls deep in his affair. No mention of the probably hundreds of times I did meet him at the door, stayed up until 1 and 2am to wait for him, made him a coffee as soon as he walked in or waved him off down the street crying until I couldn’t see him anymore. But yeah. I didn’t get off the sofa that one time at 11.30pm, and it made him feel ‘this big’.

    • Mine said that I wouldn’t let him drive. That I always had to drive.

      Uhhhh he had a job where he drives all the time every day and thought he wanted a break from driving. And he had road rage so he scared the sh@t out of me when he drove.

  • Those comments about being emotionally abused come straight from the cheater handbook. It stops you dead in your tracks Ashley. Cheaters develop a narrative for the OW; its full of pitiful anguish and they tell anyone who will listen. It’s what pathetic cowards do.

    Smart girl Ashley. Lawyer up and serve up those consequences.

    • When I dared criticize OW for presenting my daughter to her family without me knowing she existed, my dear husband told me: “you don’t know what I told her about you”.
      Errrr, no, but it’s pretty easy to guess I am a crazy mean loveless wife and a negligent mom with no interest for her daughter.

    • DoingMe,
      I’ve noticed similarities in our stories; the high intelligence and cunningly subtle abuse from the exholes.

      And like our newest member, him accusing me of abusing him. I researched ‘reactive abuse’ which helped me with the accusation- because there was some truth to it, but I just didn’t feel it was fair to say I’d been abusive.

      After all, he was the incestous, thieving, intimacy witholder. He was the one I supported through AOD rehab. He had at minimum 11 one nighters and a couple affairs that I knew of, the hidden credit card debt of 50gr plus, the one who was sanctioned and fired for theft from multiple jobs including a govt role, the year and a half online gambling and ignoring me/barely acknowledging me…. I’ll stop, my fingers getting sore!

      Point being, with all that dysfunction of course I was going to react: I think it was very natural! But certainly not prolonged and insidious abuse.

      Still makes me angry

      • AwakeningDreamer

        Let’s just say we never overreacted. And how should one react to the repeated abuse? And here we are together in a better place.

    • Agreed I served mine at work hevwent ballistic and finally 18 months later he’s talking spousal support! He left me alone, jobless and to eat from a food bank! Thank God I had some life skills from having been on my own years back and got a job!

  • The cheater as nomar said does like to attack the chumps character. My STBX told my skanky cousin that I could not keep jobs. I never cleaned or did anything around the house. That I stole money from him etc. He even had the balls to tell her about my health issues while I was going through menopause. She knew it all. And to add insult to injury he blamed me for his cheating. I did not give him enough attention. I did not go away enough with him. He thought I was cheating on him.
    What he failed to tell the skank that I paid all the bills. He would keep over half his pay. I did all the work around the house. And he refused to put me on his health insurance.
    Stay strong hold your ground. Your life will be better with out the cheater in it.

    • Yes I got that also blamed for his cheating I was supposed to keep him happy sexually every week as I was a stay at home mom, 13 years that was my job! But he didn’t satisfy me but that was just OK, not his fault!

    • X told me that my own kids didn’t love me – only HE did. Not my mom either. Nope she didn’t love me. It was an attempt to separate me from the ‘herd” and keep X as the only input of information.

      Of course everything was my fault. I misread our commitment, the timeline, the nature of his relationships. It was stupid ME.

  • You are mighty Ashley. I look back over the past 11 months and wish I had done what you did, leave! There is no reasoning with a fuckwit. My cheater (after 28 yrs) flips thru those channels so easily, depending on the mood and circumstances. My attorney contacted his, rage. I am putting up boundaries then it turns to charm and manipulation. I have heard every excuse and he repeats himself often. It has taken me this long to ignore them…sometimes they give me a good belly laugh….in front of him too!!!

    Hang in there Ashley. You already took the hardest first step….walking away!

    • Agreed I’m so DONE with mine I’m still in shock the smear campaign! The fact that he lives inside our Family home with the new SLUT it’s not illegal in Canada!

  • Ashley, like CL states he is a Fuckwit. He is showing his true colors now. Please, if you are not divorce yet ask your lawyer to give you a refund for all the money he used to to payoff OW expenses (maybe your joint account). My EX was using cards under his name but using my credit. My pitbull lawyer took money from his retirement and we paid off credit cards that I didn’t use. There are so many kind of abuse. Emotional, financial & sometimes physical. They are EVIL! HUGS & KEEP VISITING CL!

    • I know exactly mine was using our Family budget money to keep the first affair slut happy! She was a drug addict, sneaking out at night for a fix while he slept, lol. Then during the day she was a chain smoker and drinking cold white wine on our budget money! Until I kicked her out!

  • Also, I wonder if his attack on your character is his attempt to spread the stink in the hopes it will make him “stink” less to himself. Or it could just be as Nomar says…a play to manage others’ perceptions.

  • I’m a big advocate of No contact, the path to the truth and the light or going grey rock when you have to interact with a fuckwit. The thing about that is that even thou you have switched off having a conversation with the fuckwit they will keep trying to have one with you.

    Read CL’s assssment of the three channels. Then play the game of listening to your cheater and what words they use and they speak. Don’t react, just listen and see which of the channels they are on. See if you can pick it out. Eventually you can see the switch abut to flip and you can call it right before it happens.

    Please know you annoy alone. You can do this. You can totally rock your own world by being mighty and learning to love yourself enough to walk away from a relationship where the other person does not respect, value or love you (no matter what they say, pay attention to actions)

    We’ll be here for you if you need help understanding, venting or advice.

    • Are not instead of annoy
      I would never I play anyone here for help was annoying.
      My apologies.

    • NOT mine, 18 months out of D day and he has NEVER contacted me! Although I know the cost is affecting him as now my lawyer said he wants to talk spousal support as things are getting costly and he wants me to agree to sell the house!

  • Many times chumps are completely left in the dark about the second and third narrative cheaters spin about them. I found out about DECADES of xh’s fairytale spinning after the fact.

    Accusations of neglect and abuses, his armchair diagnosis including “real evidence” he produced, which was highly edited email communications and snippets of secret voice recordings, were meant to bolster his sob story.

    They will never see the “light” and stop the narrative. Once they have given themselves permission to start alternative facts, they don’t come back to truth.

    • You’ve got that right. In my case, cheater ex actually went around telling people I was a hooker! And was believed, by lots of people. It still blows my mind because I have never dressed that way, or acted that way and have always looked like your average school marm. But there are people who are willing to believe the worst of others no matter how out there it seems. I finally had to chalk it up to crazy is as crazy does. There seems to be a substantial amount of folks who have a tenuous grip on reality and like it that way. Whatever…….Not my circus, not my monkeys.

    • Wow, Magneto, he put a lot of work into his character asassination of you! Someone needs a new hobby.

  • Hi
    I don’t cmment often, my time line line means the moderator monster comes out. You are five months out ; I am six and it all sucks.
    Believe what you see not what he says .its hard but the way to truth is to listen to what they DO.! Read these pages and realise nothing you are experiencing is new – they all play from the same play book. It truly does suck but it is survivable.one day at a time

  • “reasons for splitting with you are fucking stupid (literally, ha!)” Best line ever. Ashley, be glad that you found out so early. I understand how hard it is to deal with the lies that spew out of their mouths (to justify what they have done). What I still find hard to believe is how they ALL seem to use the exact same playbook. Did anyone else get the “black eyes” looking up at you when you tried to confront them? It was almost like he was possessed.

    • The Black Eyes…..
      Seriously the most bone chilling thing I have ever seen. Straight out of an Insidious movie. His whorepie had them too. Coal black dead eyes.
      I shudder to think about it.

      • Yes! There’s a dissociation going on in their brain. I actually said to my STBXH as he insisted that he needed a girlfriend, not a divorce, “I think you’ve lost your mind.” He was so utterly convinced this was the answer, and honestly I think he had no recollection of certain things he’d done (like texting the wannabe girlfriend from the backseat of the car while I drove us all home from family vacation). Totally disordered.

        It’s been 9 months, the fling with the “passion romance” girlfriend is over, and he is facing his own soul. Not an evil man, but what a mindf*ck it’s been.

    • How weird! My STBX’s eyes are light blue but I will never forget the cold, devoid of humanity black eyes that stared right back at me when I co fronted him. I have never seen that face, that look before.

        • Precisely! THE EYES combined with a contorted face that not only did not look like him, but also seemed to be other than human. (While emulating Scooby Doo’s “Ruh Roh!” due to his horror of being caught and confronted). Guess that’s what happens when their masks fall off.

          • Yup. My Sinister Minister x had the black, soul-less shark eyes too.

            Naturally his eyes are a soft grey – so it was quite shocking!

            And his head would roll back and forth and he would bellow, rant and rave like a thing possessed.

            He once admitted that he had periods in which he blacked out or forgot what had happened. He actually seamed shocked and scared at what I told him he had done.

            • We have security cameras that record everything now. When he flips the script, I just play it right back. Then he “interprets” what he just said he didn’t say. I need a Fuckwit to English translation, apparently.

    • Early in my marriage I really met the person, or entity, I married. I had done something to displease him and he turned cold, like not human cold. It is hard to describe, it made me feel how an baby would feel being abandoned in the wilderness. It was life and death. It terrified me so much I worked hard the rest of my marriage to never have that experience again. Now I know what I should have done is walk out and never look back, normal people don’t turn their love, their humanity, off like water at a tap.

      • Yes. I agree with you on this. His attitude would turn and it terrified me to the core for some reason. The first time this happened was 2 years into our relationship but I was blinded by love, desperate to have children and alone. Now I’m 14 years in. Future faked into accepting not being married, not having children and dealing with a sexting hooker problem.

    • Search for reptillian eyes of a psychopath and you’ll find it is a thing 😳. It’s scary. I still think many of us were lucky to get away with our lives.

      • It’s the look of being possessed by demons. I’m not kidding. It’s literally the eyes of someone demon possessed, possessed by evil, by the devil. I’ve heard it described (no offence to goats) as like the eyes of a goat, the same sort of look.

        • Evil is real. Until we acknowledge it, we can’t properly fight it. We best fight it by getting the hell away and telling the TRUTH about it, rather than some glossed over politeness. You can’t fight lies with accommodation and “high road” behavior. You can only fight it with the truth. I know that now.

    • I found out about his same sex relationships. When I confronted him, he deliberately broke my hand. Just silently squeezing both of them with a dead expression; his bright blue eyes turned solid black; and when we felt the bones in my hand break the most malicious smirk
      I’ve ever seen. When the bones started moving in my other hand he stopped just short of breaking it too. It was the most frightening thing up to that point in a long series of frightening things. That was the point I could no longer spackle how bad he was.

        • He has everyone convinced I was the abuser. There was so much evil I can’t put on here. That was only 1 thing. I moved but he found me and I moved again. It’s diabolical how much he gets away with. I’ve never lived the life he accused me of. No one has ever seen me behave that way, but everyone believes the craziest lies.

    • OMG, yes! Those soulless, empty, black eyes! That is one of the things I distinctly remember from D-day. I had looked into those eyes for almost 20 years and had never seen what I saw staring back at me that day. I commented on that to several of the friends who helped me through my devastation and grief. It was like I was looking at a stranger. So creepy! But very interesting that it seems another commonality between these freaks.

      • Once a Chump
        Thanks for the reminder of those black eyes. I need to remember always. I would have not believed it had I not seen it myself. It’s like they are possessed. It was both heartbreaking and frightening.

    • No I got the head DOWN he was so ashamed and his Mother told me, I was brought to a SAFE place where he was ordered to pay my rent! He literally dumped me and my daughter here, dead of freezing Winter and walked away! Canadian winters are cold!😩🇨🇦

    • YES. had a huge blow up with XH just before going to Newcastle to see CL and he had dead shark eyes! All his rage exposed, his huge amount of resentment- I’m not sure what he resents me for- existing?” Cos you’re so fucking perfect” he screamed at me.
      Well thank you, yes I am. Perfectly done with you

  • Get copies of those credit card statements the OW was using! Get any and all financial documents and copy them. Get the best lawyer you can find. Very important! Be glad you are young and did not take years. Some of the people here spent 20, 30 and 40 years with this. Good for you.

  • Lucky you – you got the rare cheater who is sexually faithful to the affair partner, leaving the spouse to wonder what’s going on.

    It totally sucks and really plays with the chumps head but beats a life-threatening STF anyday.

    I wish I had known that it was cheating and not something wrong with me! Just another thing to swallow, spit out and keep moving away from them.

    • Yes this. We still had relations after ex started up with Schmoopie 1.0 but it became less successful. I didn’t know what was causing it. I thought it might be some medical condition or his depression (that he would never admit to) or maybe I was becoming too unattractive (based on some of the horrible things he said to me). A short while after he started up with Schmoopie 2.0 he pretty much lost interest altogether and I had to work really hard to seduce him and only managed to succeed a handful of times. I thought it was all because I had the nerve to accidently wear a pair of pants that had a stain on them one day (after I had been up all night tending to a sick child and wasn’t paying attention to what I put on) and that turned him off for good . His reaction when he saw me in the pants was to get angry and say “is that supposed to turn me on?” Now I know what was really going on. He was getting his rocks off elsewhere and simply didn’t have anything left for me. It had nothing to do with the damn pants.

      • Exactly and I agree I knew that the reason he was no longer touching me was because he had several others on the side!

        • Mine as so scared after the affair ended with the drug addict we had his blood tested for a YEAR I knew then he was honest for the first time and had not protected himself! Had the odacity to come back into the Family home with a possible STD!

          • He slept in the basement for a year and I slept in a locked bedroom with my daughter just unreal a 53 year old man!😩

      • Chumps, it’s not our ‘job’ to turn them on! I fell for that for a long time. Marriage, or any serious relationship, is all mutual. Them trying to make us own shame for stains on pants, bad hair days, tending to a child, being tired and cranky, etc etc… it’s part of the frog slowly boiling! Like we’re supposed to think ‘holy crap! I’d better up my seduction game!’
        The longer I live, the more I believe that sexual attraction is based on – admiration, and respect. That is sexy.

  • I have been trying to compile the full list of horrific things my partner said about me, our relationship (which of course had been awful ‘for years’) just to get that shit out of my head, write it down so I can read it back in 20 years and frankly ask myself why I am still so utterly devastated. Well, I’m devastated because I truly deeply loved my partner, thought he did the same but yeah we are all here for a reason and it appears that someone around Dec 2016 I ended up being referred to in a poem to OW as ‘got a sticky hand in the situation’. Go figure. So the only reason I haven’t posted on this thread about the horrible things he said is I’ll need another friggin year to write them all up. It really fucking smarts though don’t get me wrong, I hear you. I mean it really smarts. As many times as I tell myself not to listen as if the infidelity isn’t bad enough having the ‘additional extras’ about how crap your life together was that get thrown are just beyond painful. I can say I truly cannot understand how someone can knowingly do that to someone they supposedly loved but I hope I never would understand it. It is venom. I’ve had myself lying on the floor with my friends saying that I was an awful partner (christ, of course I wasn’t perfect but who the fuck is), I am a crap mum, my daughter is going to love this woman more than me because she’s prettier, younger, funnier, more interesting, more together. Yeah of course she’s more together she hasn’t just been shat upon from a great height. I should add here that my partner had been doing this for over a year but waited until a week after my dad’s funeral to drop the bombshell. How bloody kind of them both. And yes the few times we have talked and I have mentioned what I call the ‘inconvenient truth’ I get it both barrels, without fail, and told that he no longer has to go along with my revisionist version of events. I have taken comfort in the fact I am not alone in having to have dealt with this horror but by god is it painful in extremis. Love this site, so glad I found it – a little chuckle among the trauma.

    • Rachael, many of us on here went through what you have and know how very hard it is.
      I’m 7 years from Dday and divorce and my Ex also has totally rewritten history that now I was the cheater and I was abusive and that somehow even though she fought me tooth and nail in court for custody (and she won) that I “abandoned” her and the kids.

      It’s all BS and luckily my kids know it but former Switzerland friends still buy it and treat me like the devil when they see me. It hurts badly (hence why Bearing False Witness is one of the Ten Commandments). Just know that your ex is a disordered asshole and will never change. The OW will eventually experience the same thing that you did, so she’ll get hers. Meanwhile while in pain you are away from him and can start a new life without him in it.

      It gets better, I promise. Five years after my Dday and divorce I was getting a pizza and met a fellow chump, fell in love, got married and both of us have never been happier. Good Luck !!

  • Cheaters love to say they were abused by the chump. It kills two birds with one stone. The chump is demonized and discredited, and the cheater gets to claim victimhood and be showered in concern kibbles.

    When I dumped him, my ex was secretly messaging a woman in another state, grooming her and raking in attention and concern kibbles by claiming to be abused, controlled, trapped, terrorized, and isolated. The woman bought the story and was even in contact with a domestic violence advocacy group on the cheater’s behalf.

    I’m not sure what his agenda was. Whether he was just using her for attention and kibbles, or angling for money “to escape” with, or maybe she was a prospective new chump to mooch off of while he “recovered”.

    He used all of the “RIC sanctioned Relationship Policing” tactics that he enthusiastically agreed to when he pledged to do “whatever it took” to regain my trust as proof of being controlled and isolated against his will.

    So, the phone GPS tracker, account passwords, checking in, not going out with “the guys”, etc… were all turned around and used as ammunition against me and proof that I was controlling, isolating, and abusing him.

    Fuck that guy for taking domestic violence resources away from real victims and co-opting real suffering to manipulate people.

    • OMG you just reminded me of something from 1997. While lining up my ducks in early February 1997, I was looking for some sort of CL site to help me, I was in a rough state of mind. I came across a posting, and saw my brother’s email address. He was writing absolute bull shit about his life, trying to get women to feel sorry for him and his marriage. My sister-in-law was paralyzed after neck surgery when she was about 33; they had a 4 year old son. So she was about 46 and he was 49 when I read this drivel. He said his wife had a male friend who she often met for lunch, and that my brother was “Specifically NOT invited” to join them. Insinuating that she was having an affair. I really didn’t care much for SIL, but the poor woman was partially paralyzed, could barely walk only with braces, her arms and hands she could move but her fingers were contracted into a curled-up position. Her son was her life. She’s written published stories about their relationship. No way was she cheating, how could she? She also worked full-time a very well-known multinational conglomerate company. He wrote this crap all for kibbles. Many women replied to him, offering their sympathy. I could vomit thinking back on it. He traveled all throughout the country for his company, and I was convinced at the time he cheated on her. They are now late 60s, she’s confined to a wheelchair and has a home health person attending to her physical needs, and believe me, she still works, from home. I wonder if she ever knew what was going on. It’s sad to think you only have one life to live, and it’s with someone who is so disrespectful.

  • The “smear campaign” was happening long before I found out. Our mutual friends see it now… the comments he would make to them…him showing up alone at functions we both were invited to but he didnt inform me. That way he could tell our friends I was “having issues”….
    The best smear campaign was him telling his whore that I was a crack addict and would leave our daughters for days while I binged …
    The only drug I took was his bullshit. Daily. The whore told me this herself. I was the PTA Co President…Girl Scout Mom…Prom committee…. you name it…I was there. Crack House President was not on my list of accomplishments.

    I swear Cheaters are born on an alien planet and then come down and do an invasion of the body snatchers thing. Their “soul purpose” is so slither into our lives and destroy us unwittingly so they can take over the planet.

    Their MO are all the same. It’s in their body snatching training manuals.

    Two clap Fist Pump for you for leaving ASAP. You just saved you and your children so much suffering my leaving.

    Lawyer up… strap in…and get ready for the Intergalactic Game of Fuckery.
    Every time he tries to manipulate you…think of the video game where you shoot at aliens. Or PacMan…chomp chomp chomp ….

    • I was at the hairdresser’s one day when she asked to speak to me outside. A friend of hers who used to frequent the shit hole bar the Twat used to virtually live in had stopped by to chat to her. Anyway this friend commented to my hairdresser what a shame it was for Twat because “Attie used to attack him every night when he got home from work”. My jaw just dropped and then I roared laughing. The hairdresser turned to her friend and just said “I think you have your answer there don’t you”. Aaaaarrrgh

  • Ashley, you had to be the bad guy. Otherwise, what would the other woman think? Their relationship would have been partly built on the ‘sad sausage’ story of the sexless partner. If he actually told the truth about you, that you were a loving wife who tried every possible thing to fix any problems in your marriage, the other woman would know there was something wrong with him. They NEED you to be bad to feel ok about what they have done/are doing. I’m sorry. They’re both assholes and you deserve better.

    Hugs to you 💜

    • In my case, the main AP was a neighbor that knew how nice and caring I really was. She was very aware, as she and her family were the recipients of my helpful and generous nature over the 10+ years they were together. Shit, AFTER DDay I actually bailed her oldest son out of jail (using my money, not household funds). Chump of the year? It almost hurts more to know that she knew me, let me help her and buy things for a poor, struggling “single” mother and her kids (with money I earned, ‘cause he was a skin flint unless the money spent was for him) while all the time she was fucking Golden D##k behind my back, in my house and in my bed. I say “my” bed, as Golden D##k refused to sleep in the bed with me for years. She saw how well I treated him too, so I am really not sure what he could possibly have said to her to justify anything. But, as long as the goodies kept coming her way she probably didn’t care. Maybe he spun some stories for all his other fuck-buddies, at this point I don’t really care.

  • Ashley-they do it because they can. Because re-writing history “justifies” what they’ve done in their tiny little brains and the OW or OM just laps that shit up because that makes them special! That means they can rescue the asshats from their very terrible lives. It’s all in the cheater handbook; chapter and verse.

    Someone suggested you read the archives just to demonstrate how unoriginal your stbx is and I second that suggestion. Get the little ones to bed and have a good read.

    By my calculation you are just 29 or 30. You were way smarter than me to just walk away as soon as you found out, with two children in tow. You are a mighty warrior with your whole life ahead of you! You got this! If, or more to the point, when he comes sniffing around to try to hoover you back in stay on your mighty course. That should happen right around the time he figures out that paying child support will be part of his life for the next 17 years.

    Lawyer up and act with swift and blinding justice while his head is all full of twu wuv schmoopie plans. Get the settlement you need and move on with what I am sure will be your mighty life. Chump Nation has your back!

  • Ashley-
    You have been given a gift. And congrats on the courage to leave the fuckwit so quickly. Like someone else said, you learned a lot quicker than a lot of us. I truly believe by you not playing the pick me dance, going to marriage counseling, etc., you have saved yourself from a lot of additional heartache. We ate the lies because we were hungry…you didn’t, so well done.

    NC is best…cheaters do go through the same script. The script is ALL about them.

    This is how any contact from Douchebag McGee has pretty much gone; I don’t talk to him, but the
    ( ) are what I would say if I did.

    I’ll help you get the house ready for sale (no the fuck you won’t)

    All I ever wanted was for you to love me (so….you fucked your co-worker?), I hope whoever is in your heart now makes you happy considering how quickly you moved on (even though you got engaged before we were divorced and married to #4 less than 4 months after we were divorced? Um, sure)

    You are the worst human EVER. Truly. I hope karma finds you (so I am right up there with Hitler? I am that bad? Truly fuck off…..)

    Congrats again on taking your two kids and not subjecting yourself to the mindfuck. That’s some badassery there!

  • Ashley, quite simply they don’t have the ability to answer a direct question with a direct answer. I believe equivocate is the correct term form what they do.
    Me- When will you be paying me the settlement you agreed to pay me?
    The Worm- I just bought tires for our son and I gave him spending money!
    See how that works? You get an answer to a different question that shows them in a positive light.
    Once you recognize the “throwing poo” technique, it’s a whole new world!
    The counter technique is to repeat the question over and over and over until you get the answer. It really does work.
    It happens via email only cause I do not engage with the Worm unless I have to…..

  • It’s a tell. Whatever he accuses you of doing or being is what he has done, or wishes to do.

    He sucks. You don’t. Therefore you and your reputation must be destroyed as you have the power to shine a very bright light on what he has been doing under some very dark rocks.

    Don’t bother replying to him. Carefully note it down, dig around a bit and provide your attorney with still more evidence of how he robbed you and the kids of money (spent on Howorker) and have him held accountable for it. Literally.

    It’s not easy but you can do it and you will be better for having done so.

    Bonus points if you start therapy. Judges like that, ditto for any “how to co-parent” classes your state recommends or mandates. Get hopping on those. You want to make it clear that you are the same parent.

    • That is great advice! Especially the co-parenting classes. “See judge, I am trying to be reasonable. I don’t know what douchebag McGee is talking about.” Also, I didn’t think of it, but contact your local domestic violence shelter and get on record as having been a client. It has the added virtue of also being TRUE, because you were abused with lies, deceit, financial scamming, and if he slept with you even once after he started fucking her (and I guarantee he did), physical/sexual abuse by exposing you to STD’s. Jesus, that should be STANDARD CHUMP ADVICE. If we went to DV programs (which are also in place for psychological/emotional/financial abuse and actually starting reporting this shit and telling the truth about it–maybe the narrative that cheating is “harmless” and “normal” would change. I used to be a DV sexual assault counselor and this NEVER occurred to me! That’s how deeply inculcated in our culture the RIC narrative is. EPIPHANY time.

      • I was provided with DV support from a specialty group (and offered ongoing support): they sheltered my pets whilst I was trying to avoid homelessness.

        Further, Australia Post provides a free POBoX for one year and 6months mail redirection in cases of DV.

  • I always feel better here knowing I’m not alone.

    When I found out Cheaterturd wasn’t only sleeping around and lying to me for a decade plus but was ALSO disparaging me with every lie he could think of it was doubly devastating. According to him I was the cheater, controlling, old, dried up sexually, mean to him, well the list was long. The truth was I was a good wife, supported him through continual unemployment, supported his expensive hobbies, and basically handled our life because he couldn’t be bothered with such trivial things as adulthood. So the bad mouthing was another stab to the heart. After he died and I had to close his estate I found all of it. In one email exchange with one of his many OW (that he had been boning in his truck while I was working during the day) that he wanted to thank her for “all she had done for him”! It made me want to barf. I had towed the line with him for years and here he was thanking her. I guess blow jobs in the middle of the day while they were both cheating on their spouses is worthy of thanks. Unlike his faithful wife that provided our income, home, well our entire life. These assholes know no loyalty.

    • In their minds the perfect blow job is the only way to show love and devotion. It’s all they understand. The rest is just background noise.

  • Didn’t you know Ashley? It’s always your fault……after all, everyone knows that not being your spouse’s Prince Charming or Cinderella means they get to sleep with other people and hide/spend away money. Just remember to always accept blame for it all, otherwise they might have to look in a mirror — and we definitely can’t have that!

    Sarc machine off now.

  • How amazing it was for me to discover everything for 17 years had been all my fault! If only I knew that I had that power I would have used it more wisely. Deflection is their way of feeling better about all the shit they put you through. It’s hard at first to wade through it. In the end you wonder how you didn’t see their bs sooner.

  • Even if you’re in a no-fault state, be sure to charge that 20 year old with adultery in your divorce complaint so that she gets served… and give her boyfriend a jingle if you can find him (bet he’s all over her FB page).

    I know this is petty stuff compared to the mountain you are about to climb, but it will feel good 🙂

    And, I know the rest of CN will tell you the really important things (like document, file first, custody order and child support – for during the divorce process)… CONSEQUENCES.

    Also – read up on GRAY ROCK… it saved my life and my sanity.

    • Yes! This is one of my biggest regrets. XW wouldn’t leave the house until the divorce was final, and I thought filing under unreconcilable differences would make that happen faster and with less drama. Well, it didn’t. Oh, how I wish I had filed for divorce due to infidelity and named her asshat as well. It wouldn’t have changed the settlement, but it at least would have been one last ‘fuck both of you’ recorded for posterity.

    • THIS ^^. And have them served at home so if they have a spouse or mommy living there many questions will ensue about why that sheriff came by with a subpoena.

    • Yep and even if you have to file no fault divorce have your lawyer depose her for her statement about using your credit cards. Schmoopies often turn on the cheater when their “good name” starts getting dragged through the mud.

    • I definitely advise zero contact. However….

      Although my Ex’s non-U.S. citizen whore moved here shortly after we separated, she had been living for years with Mommy and Daddy in her home country in Asia (surprise, surprise, 26 year old college educated Snowflake can’t hold a job, was completely financially dependent on parents). Her dad is both a conservative Christian and a prominent man in his industry, and has a pretty substantial internet presence.

      It felt amazing to send him a letter with an explanation of what REALLY happened and copies of my emails to his daughter, telling her that I found her sex pictures and begging her to stay away from my husband. I sent it the last week I was legally married to my Ex, and I made it clear I wanted nothing from the man, just for him to hear the truth. So even though my marriage was over, my Ex and his whore couldn’t control the whole narrative.

      I later received a nasty email from her about it. Ah well. Too bad for Snowflake.

  • It’s amazing how the MO is always the same with cheating lunatics. Like somebody handed them a script to follow, every story is almost an exact duplicate of the next. Some take it farther than others, but it always starts at the same place.

    My ex cried abuse all over social media and to the judge. Had stats for how many men are victims of domestic violence, and how demasculating it was, but he was a VICTIM for YEARS. . . and he’s 6’8″. I’m 5’8″ on a good day. SMH.

    • Pulled this from his YouTube playlist-“Feminist Liars Twist Stats”,clip from the crockumentary “Red Pill”, the list goes on and on. Quite the victim. Somebody pass him a box of tissues.

  • This phenomenon has been the thing that has kept me from seeing things clearly way too often. After a cruel, entitled, mind-blowing abandonment and getting an e-mail toodle-loo from the asshat after 3 decades of marriage, I was still stuck wondering how I screwed it all up. No mystery; he TOLD me I screwed up the marriage. In no uncertain terms, I was 100% at fault and I am Controlling and Judgmental and the Worst Person Ever. I am the one who put the nuclear bomb in our relationship, not him.

    His AT LEAST two affairs? Him working away from home 70% of the time in the last 10 years? His completely ignoring me and treating me with contempt while he was home? His daily lies to me (by omission) and declaration that he wanted to be with me the rest of his life just 6 weeks before Poof Day? Oh, no, none of that is on him, that was also clearly my fault. I am so cold, you see. He couldn’t tell me anything. He “couldn’t be vulnerable” with me. The bullshit was piled very high.

    The more time and distance that passes I can see things much better, but that blowout and announcement that I was THE CAUSE of all evil in his world was and continues to be painful. He can’t admit he is choosing this, he can’t admit he is a complete jerk, it will never be his fault. So out come the swinging fists and stupid lists of every thing I did wrong to him. He is a cartoon.

    • I bet your list would be just as long and no matter how many things go on his list “You cheated on me and abandoned me for a skank” isn’t one of them. That one alone outweighs anything that could possibly go on his list.

  • Playing today on the Mindfuck Channel…

    9:00 a.m – You always used to tell me how strong I was, but you broke me by always putting me down.”

    10:00 a.m. – I love but I’m not in Love with you.

    11:00 a.m. – I need you to need me, but you’re too needy

    12:00 p.m. – I didn’t betray our kids, I betrayed you

    1;00 p.m. – Lets be friends for the sake of the kids (while I drain their college funds and bank accounts)

    2;00 p.m. – Victim. My feelings made me a victim, my actions made you the perpetrator. Season 1 eEpisode 1

    3:00 p.m. – Victim. It’s not my behavior, it’s your response to it. SEason 1, episode 2

    4:00 p.m – DARVO (deny, attack, reverse victim / offender)

    5:00 p.m – Financial Infidelity: An entitlement story

    6:00 p.m. – Hidden Rage. When Destroying A Family Is Not Enough Season 2 episode 1

    7:00 p.m. Hidden Rage: Charm and the Smear Campaign. Season 2, Episode 2

    8:00 p.m. – Submitting “Disneyland Parent” Photos to the Court, and other Impression Management Strategies.

    9:00 p.m. – OFF AIR

  • MO is it. They are all so much alike it’s scary. Do they recognize each other – do they have a secret handshake? Mine is a cerebral narc. I hate to praise him for anything, but he is really good at it!!

  • They do it because they don’t have adult coping skills. “When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” Their tools are charm, rage, and self-pity, and so every situation is upended into a narrative requiring one of those three methods. If your ex only has a hammer, he has to turn you into a nail.

    • My daughter once told me about a social theory called: the Madonna or Whore complex. Basically it means when you’re in you’re in but woe betide if you’re not… look out! your the worst. You’re painted as the villain. Figuratively, the whore no less.

      • This is funny. I looked up Madonna Whore Complex years ago after I read something about it on a relationship forum.

        In wikipedia, it lists this guy that wrote a prominent book on the subject. It turns out that he had the very rare name of my husband’s father. Just a weird coincidence I am sure. In fact, his father was my favorite member of his family and I seriously doubt he ever cheated on anyone.

        But he did always accurately guess my husband’s behaviour.

  • After word got out that Judas had a fuck phone, people were going up to him asking “Did you really get a phone behind LadyStrange’s back?” Well he had to fess up to it otherwise he would be calling my son a liar. (It was my 19-year-old son who found the phone and in turn told me about it.) To save face, dipshit decided to send out a mass text explaining to ‘everyone’ that I was this horrible wife and because of MY cheating 16 years prior (which never happened) he couldn’t get past that and has lived in such pain for the past 16 years and needed someone to ‘talk’ to. At the end of the text he basically told everyone that if they didn’t “SIDE” with him they could fuck off.
    It was quite comical actually. He just made a COMPLETE ASS of himself. And the people who knew the both of us…. ya well I’m quite sure they knew what he was trying to do.
    He didn’t send the text to me personally, but it was forwarded to me from my (19 year old) son’s X girlfriend! Who does that? Cheating pieces of shit – that’s who.

  • Oh yes… The Victim!. Poor me. You have abused me! Don’t you love the story that cheating arseholes need to sprout.

    It really does your head in because reality is just the opposite. You can’t make sense of any of this.

    You know the truth. Trust your truth. You don’t need what they have to offer -pure bullshit at the highest level.

    • I think they do it to put you on the defensive so you are too busy either defending yourself or preferably trying to figure out what you did wrong and “fix” it to call them out on their bad behavior and expect them to do anything about fixing themselves. Anything to deflect from actually having to face or even acknowledge their own character flaws.

  • Ashley – this is your column question and every answer points to the same response. It’s what they do because it’s who they are.

    I was married for 36 years to high school sweetheart. I thought I knew him completely but in this morning’s post Tracy distills a cheater’s character down to their behavior on those 3 channels – charm, rage and self-pity. That’s all they’ve got. No Netflix, No Ted-Talks, and certainly not the premium channel of Chump Nation.

    I am now 7 lucky years out from under all of the narcissistic nonsense and can say with the confidence of being this old – the ONLY response to his channels is to go “Test Pattern” on him.

  • Lucky for me, mine got that all out of his system relatively early and then backed off. It was brutal at the time, however. He didn’t lay it on me on DDay. On DDay it almost seemed like he cared and that there was a possibility that we could work it out with proper communication and professional help. He agreed to at least put things on “hold” with Schmoopie while we worked on our marriage. I was hopeful. Five days later we had our first session with the MC. I thought we would go in and listen to each other and work on that whole communication thing so that we could fix whatever misunderstanding it was that “made” him go off chasing strange. Nope. That whole session was all about him ranting about everything that was wrong with me and how hard it was for him to live in such a loveless marriage with the cold fish incompetent wife. The problems in our marriage had nothing to do with Schmoopie. His philandering was a result not a cause. The most hurtful thing he said to me was “there are some things you just can’t fix”. I was floored. Sure, before the session I had done some self-reflection and thought of a few things that perhaps I could have done better and that might maybe have contributed to him feeling neglected or unloved however unintentionally on my part. Those weren’t the things he mentioned, however. His complaints caught me completely off guard because most of them made no sense. Some were based on half truths out of context, others seemed to be completely made up out of thin air. Very few of them were anything he had ever mentioned or complained to me about before. He had fooled himself into thinking the worst of me to justify his lousy behavior. It was a total mind fuck for me as I scrambled to make sense of it all and figure out if there was any truth to it. How could I have made him so miserable when I was trying so hard to please him? This continued off and on for weeks. Some days it seemed he was coming around and was almost lucid, but then he would be in contact with Schmoopie again (surprise, he thought “on hold” meant only the physical part) and suddenly I was the problem again. It’s like he was just grasping at whatever straws he could to make me inadequate as a wife. Many of the things he said completely contradicted each other and then he would deny having said the things he had said the day before. I seriously thought he was losing his mind. Eventually, he moved out because I had a nasty habit of throwing fits every time he went off to see her. He ended reconciliation so he could go back to fucking her. He did eventually get tired of blaming me, however. Now the narrative is that we just grew apart and it’s just one of those things. He fell in love with someone else. He still loved me but she “meant the world to him” because she is so incredibly amazing. Who could blame him? These things happen. Vows, what vows? What’s that got to do with anything? He did eventually tell me that none of this was my fault but that may have just been during one of his brief moments of lucidity. I doubt he actually believes that most of the time.

    • Chilling chilling chilling and oddly comforting how I could have written so much of your story.
      ❤️ to you.

      • Same here, but my wife of 13 years, apparently I didn’t “worship” her enough, the married bus driver she was sleeping with did, until he dumped her, sigh…better news is my daughter got her best school report ever yesterday, our 2nd year of me solo parenting so I’m very proud of her and myself.

  • I get it. I remember thinking, if I couldn’t see him for who he really is then maybe I can’t see myself clearly either. One accusation I got- “NOTHING will ever be good enough for you and you’ll never be satisfied.” This from a liar cheat who has spent his whole life chasing money, status and whores. So I had to get to the point of really internalizing how much he sucks by realizing who he really is. I also found out that he’d been blaming me to his coworkers his entire career for all kinds of stuff. He even went so far that when he broke up his 10 year work partnership (so that he could promote his whore secretary to be his new partner) he blamed me to his old partner saying I insisted that should happen. When I found out I was like, “wow- surely people can’t believe all that shit!” But I think they often do because they aren’t thinking and they don’t care.
    I think the comment about projection is correct about what they accuses us of. Once I accepted what a rotten douche nozzle he really is and that I gave zero fucks about what he, his family, his coworkers and friends and especially the “whore with a heart of gold” believe about me, I could reflect very clearly about what was good enough and satisfying for me and I realized that HE was the “nothing” in his original insult.

  • Yup, when confronted about the 2nd affair, quite gently and politely (and in public; he’s a scary guy!), my ex first tried to gaslight (I don’t have time to have an affair! And have you seen this person you’re accusing me about? She’s not that attractive!), then proceeded to tell me what an awful person and terrible wife I was.

    I was flabbergasted. YOU are fucking around AGAIN, YOU are an incredibly difficult person to live with on so many levels, YOU have received my love and TONS of support for your beloved career all this time, etc etc chumpiness and more chumpiness, And now YOU are pissed at ME?

    The weirdest part is that this raging doesn’t preclude their later trying the charm and the self-pity. Really, you think I’m that awful and impossible to live with, but now want me back? And are sooooo sad to have lost me and the life we had together? That doesn’t even make sense.

    At least that totally confirmed that there was no way forward in that relationship. It was OVER.

    Sorry you had to go through this, Ashley. I hope there’s some comfort in knowing this is standard operating procedure for these fuckwits. And that they ARE fuckwits.

    Unfortunately, the ‘it’s all your fault’ continues entirely unabated after divorce. Be prepared for YOU being the reason his kids later want nothing to do with him. Sigh.

    • they call you crazy…but leave the children in your care.

      They leave cause they don’t love you…but they harrass you to come home.

      In a few years there will be a pandemic of old persons haunted by their selfish choices. Adultery never ends well.

  • I’m sure they do it because it makes them feel better to blame someone else. The correct response, which takes a cool head and massive self control, so don’t feel bad if you can’t muster it the first time, is to calmly reply, “I never did that and you know it. This is not my fault.”

    • I did just this. “I’m sorry I had the affair but you….”. I shut that shit down immediately. I told him I was in a chair, in a counselor’s office, once a week, twice a month, for our entire 27 years together, willing and available to talk about anything and everything. You have ZERO credibility on this “unhappy for years” BS.
      He called to apologize the next day, saying he wished he had spoken up before getting involved with the affair….welp, you can’t undo the affair.
      Cheating on a willing partner is like throwing away a diamond and picking up dog doo. Good luck problem-solving in your future romantic endeavors.

  • Why add insult to injury? Well, think about it – if you intentionally injured someone, would you really balk at insulting them? Are there many people you would happily punch in the face, but wouldn’t call an asshole? You’re thinking “If I hurt someone I’d feel terrible about it and would be apologizing – not calling them a fat shitstain!” Well, yes, but you also wouldn’t have intentionally punched the person in the first place!

    Someone who eats hamburger will also probably eat steak. Someone who would shoplift would probably also cheat on their taxes. Someone who’d punch you would probably also kick you. Someone who would lie to you and cheat on you would probably also insult you and mistreat you in other ways. It just wasn’t convenient for them to do it before.

    • “INTENTIONALLY”
      That is a key word here isn’t it?
      None of the harm they do to others is accidental or unintentional. Lacking empathy is not excuse!
      If someone is willing to disrespect you in one way, they’re doing so in other ways as well. They only care about themselves & their image

    • Running someone over in your sports car then suing them for being in the crosswalk with the green light going their way.

  • Be careful. Once their mask drops the real them surfaces. Any contact with them allows them an opportunity to abuse you further, and play with your emotions.

    Low contact is needed for your emotional health from now on.

    He will hoover, he may even in time pretend to take some blame if he thinks it will service him. People who are capable of this lie/cheat behaviour are very manipulative. They try to use your better nature to screw you in many ways!

    Once he sees the support payments he will have to pay for the kids he likely will try to reconcile, stay clear of him. Trust that he sucks and always will. The fact that he was capable of this treachery tells you all you need to know.

    Sorry, it’s a hard club to be in. But it’s real and lots of us do just fine after the dust settles. Life with them is hard, life without them can be a bit hard too. But it’s much better to live in honesty and morality.

  • You know who throws poo while chattering mad gibberish? Monkeys in the zoo. Sure a human can see what’s going on and maybe even comprehend some of it but humans also know better than to get in the monkey house and play along.

    So stop already. Let em fling but keep well away from it. In fact every time you think of it tell yourself “beneath me.” Every single time. Eventually your brain will create a new neural pathway and you will no longer be reacting to the poo flinging nonsense.

  • Let me add that this isn’t a temporary state, either. Your cheater, Ashley, has simply revealed who is truly is. My proof of that is in my ex-cheater. We have been divorced for over five years now, and despite the fact that I am grey rock with him and stay out of his life as much as is humanly possible considering we have three kids together, I am still subject to two of the three channels that CL talks about.

    My ex flips between charm and rage, depending on whichever one he thinks will work on me. I think he gave up “sad sausage” a while ago because it would make him look bad. He’s in a terrible marriage with the OW, but he wants me to think that life is just blissful (even though I really, really don’t care… I just want him to leave me alone). Acting all “woe is me” would contradict the facade he hopes he’s managing.

    Anyway, my ex still acts like a spoiled toddler, and he is working hard to destroy his relationship with his kids. Five years later, one of our children no longer visits him or has any contact with him, and the other two are becoming more distant and sometimes are outwardly annoyed at having to visit him. This is who he really is– he doesn’t want to raise the children; he IS the child. This is also who your ex is, despite your shared history, despite the fact that you were childhood sweethearts.

    I’m sorry to say that he buried his true self until now, so while it’s astounding that this person whom you thought was in your corner not only cheated on you but continues to make your life difficult, what’s really astounding is that he was likely playing a part all those years. Why did he do that? Who knows. I can only speculate that my ex wanted to appear normal and do things to make his parents proud of him, and marrying me allowed him to do that. I spent 17 years with him and wish that he had revealed his true self to me long ago; we could have parted on better terms, and maybe I could have found a man who really loved me and was genuinely excited to become a father. However, I am grateful that I got away sooner rather than later. At least I can now live my life in a calmer and happier way on my terms, even if that means that I will remain single. Single on my own is infinitely better than paired up with dysfunction.

  • Let me start by saying YOU ARE MIGHTY. Congratulations on getting out of there right away! You and your children have a much better life ahead of you. Do not engage with him. He will try to reestablish the kibble supply. JUST SAY NO.

  • I know the personal attack my ex narcopath said to me rang in my ears for many months after dday. Fucked my head up pretty good.

    Now 11 months clear of that fuckwit I can see clearly again and disabuse myself of the notion that I am somehow to blame.

    Ex: we just need to learn to communicate.
    REALITY: I am praised at work for my communication skills. I am clear and concise and consider all viewpoints. Friends and family are baffled at this accusation.

    Ex: when we work as a team, we work well, we just need to put the work in.
    REALITY: (his ex wife laughed at this “that fucker doesn’t know the meaning of teamwork”, was her exactly comment). Teamwork was me doing everything for the kids, the pets, the house and for him while he sat in his underwear watching tv drinking beer.
    I was the team.

    Ex: I had to talk to her, you don’t like any of my other friends….
    REALITY: the only OTHER friends he had were a husband and wife couple whom he had a threesome with. Whom I met, and the husband grabbed my ass and kissed my neck and they all stood there laughing, while I was embarrassed and horrified. Played friends with them until ex revealed a threesome with them, and then when the couple separated, ex and wife would go and fuck. But it didn’t count. Ex was too drunk to finish.

    Ex: I didn’t tell you because I knew you would get upset. It was just a visit with her. Nothing happened. So what if i text my friend that I love her and she is my bestie. Don’t you ever text your Friends? Don’t you ever tell your friends you love them?
    REALITY: see above. She was his comfort fuck. Word salad.

    Ex: I fucked up. Please. Just talk to me. Can you stick with me through these hard times? C ant we be a family again?
    REALITY: This was our 5th attempt at reconciliation. Who fucked it up? Oh. Right. You did, asshole.

    Ex: I was lonely and bored. You broke up with me. Am I supposed to read your mind that you would call me again? I thought it was over. I just want to have someone to wake up to and hold and kiss and hug.
    REALITY: Hoover attempt didn’t work. Therefore immediately fuck new strange to feel better.

    Ex: But I just fucking love you so much and want to marry you and hold you forever.
    REALITY: he didn’t love me or he wouldnt be with other women. He was having an affair while he said this.

    Ex: Fine. I get it. You don’t want to talk to me. Here’s just one piece of advice for your next relationship: don’t run out on them.
    REALITY: I sure as shit ran. I escaped! He was a bad investment. I simply cut my losses (ok, not simply…) Woohoo and now I’m free.

    Ex: I thought you were strong.
    REALITY: I left your sorry ass and thought I would die. But here I am. And my life is growing exponentially without you.

    Above are examples of the 3 mindfuck channels and I let it screw me up for a long time. Time and healing bring clarity. However, I cried and cried over these comments.

    • “I left your sorry ass and thought I would die. But here I am. And my life is growing exponentially without you.”

      BUT HERE I AM.

      New chumps, take note. There is an “other side” where you will look back in amazement at your super human strength. Thank you for this poignant line, CIC.

    • Understood. Hug!I am a person that seeks very little external validation. My opinion not myself is not based on how others see me. But my cheater said some of the same shit and it made me question. The reason was because despite the words I thought they were coming from a place ultimately of caring and love. But nah! Eventually I sussed that he was just one of those people who could only feel good about himself of he made others feel bad about themselves. Matter of fact when I would blast him for his deceitful cheating ways he’d be pretty well behaved for a while and horny. Alas! I’ve no interest in the drama oof such a life.
      Change your record. Talk to yourself out loud and tell her the things you want to hear. I’m four years out. And back to listening to me talking about and to me !
      I’ll start you off….you are stronger than you know and in due course you will see this for yourself. God bless you and keep you in his embrace.

  • We are similar ages. Reading his comments about your character took my breath away because I struggled with a very similar narrative. I had to sit through a pro/con list of both me and the OW. My pro list had 2 items. A grand total of 2. It haunted me for a long, long time until I realized (likely through therapy, self-help reading, Chump Nation) that I didn’t have to accept his opinion as truth. Just because HE felt that way did not make it reality. Do I think I have more than 2 “pros” on my list? Yes. Does the entire rest of the world reflect that back at me? Yes. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but that’s all it is. An opinion. Do not give him the power or honor of accepting his bullshit as truth.

    Stay STRONG in your no contact / gray rock. We’ve got your back.

    • When my daughter was in first grade, they had an assignment where they had to put sentences into either the FACT or OPINION column. At the time I was 49 years old, and realized my whole life I was putting other people’s opinions of me in the FACT column!!!! I was delighted to learn such a valuable life lesson from my first grade daughter’s homework! To this day I have mental FACT and OPINION columns for incoming info….

  • Wow- all I can say is thank you for every comment and word of encouragement from all of you! I am a long way from being ok over my marriage being over. Some days I feel like my head is barely above water, and I have two little people who are relying on me more than ever. Thank you CN for posting my question and your awesome response is going to sustain me for a long time to come!

    • I’m glad you found CL when you did! As you’ve seen just from today’s comments, Cheaters play from the same playbook.
      You’re going through a painfully stressful time (PTS even). The best thing you can do for your kiddos is to take good care of yourself!

  • Mine said I nagged & didn’t appreciate him enough

    Then told my adult son I stole $ from him from his wallet, slept with a guy (I didn’t even know him then) I hadn’t seen in years, tried to poison him. To top the cake …told OWhore I smelled!

    So very disgusting.. I hate him forever 😈

  • Oh lawd. That sounds like my ex’s mantra. I put him down. I nagged. I treated him like a child. I’m shocked my eyes aren’t permanently rolled upwards.

    I think it’s all part of the profile of the cheater. Their sick minds truly believe this because they create scenarios where they can feel like the victim and justify their bad behavior. They fuck up consistently, on little things like not getting the correct items on the shopping list to big things like forgetting birthdays or even bigger things like going MIA on a special day, and when we point out their fuck ups, no matter whether its calmly or with anger, then we are victimizing them, putting them down. We are the mean ones.

    • AuntieMame

      That’s exactly right! Breaking up our home & family
      wasn’t enough, they have to slander us in the most
      humiliating way. They treat the OWhore like the wife & us like whores:

      After they leave we are left with the carnage & broken hearts. He never looked back! 😢

  • There is no end to the mind fuck they will put you through even when you divorce. It seems they aren’t satisfied just dragging you through the dirt to the OW and family and friends, but they keep popping up at odd times to turn the knife in your heart. Someone on CN said it best, “ you always stay in their Rolodex”. Excellent reason to move far away and change your phone number!

  • Ugh. My STBX gave me the “I never felt you loved me enough” and said “something” was missing from a relationship since day one. Apparently this was enough justification for all kinds of infidelity and abuse. I was a great wife and supported him through so much s***, so it’s incredibly maddening when it gets thrown back on you with vague, flimsy, insulting justifications. We were together for 13 years, married over 5. The logical part of me still wants a real reason, but agree with CL that a real reason will never come.

  • Right after d-day my x tried and tried to get me to talk about “things i had done.”
    I was more concerned about the fact that he was living with another(married) women while we were still married.
    If you don’t “discuss the things you have done” it forces the cheater to discuss it for you. And prepare yourself: that shit is going to be stupid.
    And i mean the stupidist shit you’ve ever heard come out of another “humans” mouth.

  • I winder how many of the men betrayeds got hit with accusations that they were emotionally unavailable or some other reference to this stereotype that men are not as emotionally evolved as their cheating wives. Or, the controlling/abusive accusations? These are often the “go to” accusations that a lot of guys say they heard.
    I think the betrayed women face some different accusations that the cheating husbands use to try to paint them in a bad light and justify the cheating. But, for a lot of guys, when they first hear this stuff about lack of emotional depth or that they were some type of ogre, I think they buy into it. And, I think the general public may ascribe some validity to the accusations.
    So, it sucks when you were a decent , non-abusive type to have to contend with both the self doubt and the public’s impression of you.

    • Valid points. Cheaters pull cliches. Frigid wife, emotionally unavailable husband. Men cheat for sex alone and women for emotional connection. Nope. It all boils down to lack of impulse control/ self control. They want what they want when they want. In children we try to curb it. In adults it’s just dangerous.
      My cheater would be like a rabid dog if ever he heard the word ‘no’ from me.
      I think most of all he hated that he could not control me and said as much : I have no control over anything… especially not you.’

      • Yes, that whole “women cheat for love vs men for sex” is a lot of baloney, belying the fact that, in many cases, women’s sex drives eclipse men’s by a long shot ( Particularly as men age and T levels drop.) It is a hold over of a number of factors: Some men being threatened by women’s greater capacity in this area ( multi orgasmic females vs guys requiring recovery time) and the shame our culture has put on women for expressing sexual desire.

  • These cheaters are all members of the ATVNTP Club. Always The Victim Never The Perp. I know the acronym doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue but you get used to it. (My mother and younger sister are founding members of ATVNTP, so it’s been around for years, in my mind.) I had no idea the club was this big until I joined CN.
    You all continue to astonish and inspire me with your strength and dignity, your courage and self-control. Thank you.

  • Two personal favorites come to mind:

    On our honeymoon in Mexico, after a really fun excursion day, we returned back to the hotel to enjoy a nightcap in the hot tub. He was so withdrawn and quiet that I asked if something was wrong. He told me that he had been LIVID with me ALL DAY because he had a DREAM the night before that I cheated on him. Oh the irony!!! And I had no clue he was mad at me at all. Is that gaslighting or projection or insanity?

    The final discard reason was because I didn’t jump in the lake. Yep. I didn’t bring a swimming suit because he had “no details” on what we were doing with his family that weekend. The fact that I wasn’t prepared (setting me up to fail per usual) and refused to jump in the lake and then have to sit around in sopping denim shorts and wet underwear was the “last straw” for him and ended my 14 year marriage.

    As for him, good luck with the latest soulmate after screwing the bosses’ wife for 2 years didn’t work out.

    Yes, easy to trust that they all suck.

  • FIGJAM started telling me two weeks after D-Day, ‘I’ve been defending you to everyone.’ I replied, ‘What are you defending me about? I don’t need defending. I haven’t done anything wrong.’ What the fuck is he telling people I did that he now needs to defend me for …??? Complete mindfuck.

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