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Dear Chump Lady, He wants me back

Hi Chump Lady,

Thanks in large part to a daily diet of your advice, things have gotten pretty good for me recently. I’m almost at my 2 year No Contact anniversary, during which time I recovered my sanity, made new friends and reconnected with old, started doing well at my job, bought a house, and have been thoroughly enjoying raising my wonderful now 3-year-old daughter. A year ago I started dating someone, and while he has some career uncertainty and immaturity issues, I’m hoping he will grow up a bit and resolve (we are both 30, but I’ve just taken on a lot more responsibility in my life than he ever has before), things are going generally well with him. He is kind and loving and devoted to me and my daughter. I have created this life from scratch and it suits me.

For background: My ex-husband cheated on me for 1.5 years with some needy young girl he met through work, beginning right around when I got pregnant and continuing until I found out — our daughter was 9 months old. Then came the pick me dance, the wreckonciliation, the blaming me for driving him into her arms. I finally told him to fuck off almost 2 years ago. It was hell for a while. You know. Your advice has always been spot on.

Because we have a 3-year-old daughter, NC means minimal contact. I adhere strictly to gray rock. He hasn’t really tried anything to get closer, and the one time he did, I shut that shit down hard. Of all the injustices, the one I cling to is that he took my baby away from me for half her life. Fucking half her life!! John Cena would kill the bastard who did that. As far as I saw it, he was lucky to be alive.

And now. After two years of barely talking, he wants it all back. I’ve been softening a little toward him because I’m just less angry now, and I think for our daughter’s sake it’s worth it to be a little less distant. But I think he saw that as an in. He asked for 15 minutes to talk the other day and I said ok, because I thought maybe he would apologize (for real) and ask if we could maybe do more things together for our daughter’s sake. Instead, he apologized (for real) and asked if there was any way in hell tiny sliver of a chance that I would consider giving it another shot, because if there was, he was committed 100% this time.

And there is a part of me that is really entertaining this. Like actually, really entertaining this. He says he hasn’t talked to the girl her cheated on me with in over a year. He says he’s dated other people but never for very long. He says he has gone through so much therapy and can’t believe what a massive, immature, baby-man, asshole he was to me at a time that I was so vulnerable. He says he’s grown up, and he is so ashamed of all the pain he put me through. Etc. etc.

I told him, excuse me for being cynical, but I think he just realized that his other options didn’t pan out the way he wanted. I told him I really needed time and space and also I wasn’t going to break up with my boyfriend because of this. But then I didn’t tell him there was no chance. The thing is, he is offering me the thing I have pined for most since our separation: my daughter, 100% of the time. And ever since this came up 2 days ago, all of my old feelings for him, our plans for our future together, everything that was good has been kind of flooding back.

He said he would respect that I needed space. Today happens to be the 7-year anniversary of the day we met, though, and so this morning I got a long, heartfelt email from him, basically saying how much he loves me and has always loved me and can’t believe how thoroughly horrible he was. Again I’m torn, because I feel very strongly for him and it feels great to finally have an apology, but also like WTF, you chose this, stop invading my life!!

I would immensely appreciate any advice or clarity related to two things.

(1) What am I missing here? I’m cynical and yet falling for it. I have always wanted a life where I can come home to my daughter after work every day, and spend every weekend with her. He wants to offer this to me AND another chance at a relationship that has been my phantom limb for 2 years now. But I have a NEW LIFE NOW, BECAUSE HE IS SHITTY. There are so many parts of my new life I don’t want to just abandon. I love my boyfriend, my new house and neighborhood, my neighbors and new friends, my badass new self. I created this because he is a consummate douchebag. I hope he has changed, but to go back to him would feel like such a regression.

(2) What do I tell my boyfriend? I haven’t seen him since this went down 2 days ago. Our relationship is refreshingly unvarnished, and I have mandated honesty above everything else. I can’t keep this from him. But how to tell him that my ex wants it all back and I’m apparently taking a wait-and-see approach? I can’t do that to him. I’m thinking of telling him about it and saying I need space to get my head on straight. But then I feel like that is just effectively leaving the door open for my ex to ingratiate himself further.

Sincerely,

WTF WHY NOW?!

Dear WTF,

Um. NO. Just hell to the NO, NO, NO, climb-Lady-Liberty-protest-to-the-sky-NOOOOO-remain-immovable-until-they-haul-you-away-NOOOO!!!!!

If you thought I was going to be fair and balanced about this, like oh maybe I see a glimmer of hope here, is that a scented unicorn I smell? No.

WTF, he’s hoovering. He wants something. (They always do.) How does a cynical crone like me know? BECAUSE HE TOLD YOU. He couldn’t just express his regrets and therapy insights — no. In the span of minutes, he wants a FULL RECONCILIATION.

Instead, he apologized (for real) and asked if there was any way in hell tiny sliver of a chance that I would consider giving it another shot, because if there was, he was committed 100% this time.

Let’s unspackle that statement.

Spackle version: You don’t have to be totally onboard. Only a tiny sliver of you has to consent! He’ll do the rest! He’ll be 100 percent to your 0.0000000001! percent! It will be lopsided in YOUR favor for once! He’ll SHOW you! He’ll be that wonderful guy you once believed in… because THERAPY! And the basis for throwing your new life away for him, when 99.99999999 percent of you doubts him and 0.0000000001 believes in him? He promised. You can believe him… because SORRY!

What this is: Bullshit. Real remorse doesn’t batter-ram your boundaries. He couldn’t just apologize and leave it there — he thinks offering you the wonderfulness of him IS an apology. You won the pick me dance! Collect your prize! And it’s not just a sorry, pathetic man who cheated on his PREGNANT WIFE — he’s Mr. Hundred Percent Committed… Now. Take his word for it.

WTF, I don’t believe in unicorns. I do, however, believe in horse trading.

Maybe you still want him, maybe you don’t. But what you do want is your daughter. So, I’d say to Mr. Sorry Now, “Show me your sorry. You want to do something for me that would compensate for my pain, make a gesture that could begin to measure up against being cheated on while pregnant, having my health risked, our daughter’s health risked, the humiliation of having to fight for my marriage at the most vulnerable time of my whole life? Give me full-custody of our daughter. You get standard visitation of every-other-weekend.”

There’s an injustice he could right this instant. Will he do something selfless? Will he sacrifice? Will he RISK?

And you can even be magnanimous. You won’t increase his child support, or make him pay support if he doesn’t pay it now. You just want your daughter back. Losing her wasn’t fair. He can fix that.

And then, tell him, if he makes that PURE gesture, you can then judge if it’s him you want, or just your daughter back. Because, gosh, otherwise it seems like he’s holding her hostage for cake.

Try that. Either, you’ll get full custody, or you’ll know immediately how deep his “sorry” is.

Now to your other questions.

(1) What am I missing here? I’m cynical and yet falling for it. I have always wanted a life where I can come home to my daughter after work every day, and spend every weekend with her. He wants to offer this to me AND another chance at a relationship that has been my phantom limb for 2 years now. But I have a NEW LIFE NOW, BECAUSE HE IS SHITTY. There are so many parts of my new life I don’t want to just abandon. I love my boyfriend, my new house and neighborhood, my neighbors and new friends, my badass new self. I created this because he is a consummate douchebag. I hope he has changed, but to go back to him would feel like such a regression.

It would be a regression. You don’t have a new life because he is shitty, you have a new life because you are awesome. He’s not awesome. He’s shitty. You’re a bad match.

If by “phantom limb” you mean gangrenous limb that needed amputating before its poisons killed you, sure, miss that.

(2) What do I tell my boyfriend? I haven’t seen him since this went down 2 days ago. Our relationship is refreshingly unvarnished, and I have mandated honesty above everything else. I can’t keep this from him. But how to tell him that my ex wants it all back and I’m apparently taking a wait-and-see approach? I can’t do that to him. I’m thinking of telling him about it and saying I need space to get my head on straight. But then I feel like that is just effectively leaving the door open for my ex to ingratiate himself further.

You tell your boyfriend you’re breaking up with him. Because you respect him too much to be a cake eater with his heart. And you’re not ready for a good partner. You need to work on yourself some more. Because you’re having issues with discernment.

On the one hand we have a devoted, honest, loving man who has some maturity issues in his 20s, as compared to a proven LIAR, CHEAT, and ABANDONER OF PREGNANT WOMEN.

Coin flip? It’s just so hard to choose. Kind person who is GOOD TO MY DAUGHTER, or a rancid turd king who holds my daughter hostage by his shitty life choices?

WTF — set this nice guy free and work on yourself. Your ex cannot “ingratiate” himself unless he’s got something to work with — and I don’t mean your daughter. I mean your heart. Clearly, you haven’t achieved Trust That He Sucks. He really, really sucks. I encourage you not to get your teeth kicked in again, but some people are drawn to the Suck.

You’re rocking the new life. Please keep rocking it. Don’t slow down to pick up a loser.

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.
  • It seems like this a good time to EXPLOIT the situation. Get back the money she’s paid in this mess. Get a written full disclosure. Then say hell to the no.

    • This letter writer desperately needs therapy. The fact she’d consider taking him back is literally insane.

      • Hey. We’ve all been there. Maybe what you mean is, the letter writer needs to be reminded that she’s a person worth better than a cheater? That she needs someone who really is on her side, and not to settle?

        I don’t think it’s insane to miss the illusion now and then. Heck, I wake up craving the cigarettes I quit thirty years ago, and those were also a nasty-smelling, expensive habit that would have killed me if I’d continued with them. Doesn’t mean I’m going to give my money to the evil tobacco companies and be complicit in their mass murder, just means some part of me forgets how good it is not to be addicted any more.

  • Amen to all that

    I asked my ex to show me fair and her remorse by agreeing kids arrangements and money arrangements (with a post nup) and then, having shown me how sorry she is, maybe we could then talk.

    Within weeks I got a proposal asking for almost full custody of kids and 100% of assets plus a life of spousal support (she earns a HUGE amount of money herself). That’s how sorry she was.

    I agree – this is a Hoover. Stay Sane. Stay NC/LC.

    • How dare you require her to make good on her (obviously empty) word, FSTL. Funny how they expect you to swallow it, too, shows how much they think of themselves and their ability to charm. I think this is one of their blindspots.

    • Yep, the ol’ charm/self-pity/rage cycle appears again. He has dished out charm and self-pity. If he doesn’t get what he wants, rage is next. It may not look like overt thrashing, but there will certainly be consequences for not saying yes to this slanted offer from the ex. Because, entitlement!

  • Reading this gave me an image of Satan standing at the gates of Hell inviting you in……NO!!! JUST NO!

  • “Real remorse doesn’t batter-ram your boundaries!”

    ^^^THIS^^^

    Off to my court trial to kill off this marriage with the boundary jumper!

    #idontbeleiveinunicorns

      • Well, day one was spent in the conference room writing out what we do agree on. Which surprisingly is more than I thought.

        With 1 of his 10 character witnesses showing up at 4:30 so we went into the courtroom for 30 minutes to listen to what a great dad he is.
        Of course he just turned in his dissipation rebuttal today and is claiming all the charges made in smoopsie’s town were work related or for the benefit of his home. Yeah right. Who goes grocery shopping 3 towns over and drives 50 minutes home. He’s such a liar… it just kills me that he thinks he can lie about everything

        Next court date is Thursday and then the final trial isn’t until the end of August (which happens to fall on fuckwits birthday 🤣. Just the birthday present I think he deserves!

        • I still have trouble grasping the fact that he still lies about everything. My therapist says he believes his own lies because that’s how he feels better about himself. How the fuck does that work? A person knows when they are lying. A rational person does. He lied under oath and said “I don’t recall” many times. Then he called a mutual friend and said he aced the deposition. Every other person in the room knew he was lying. Total narcissist.

    • @Got-a-brain good luck at trial! I also had to go to a week-long trial. It was really hard but I survived (it’s only a week out of a long life and WAY better than DDay, false wreconciliation, pick me dancing, my daughter’s suicide attempts and OD’s, and a list of other horrors). The judge saw right through the narcissistic lies X told. I came out way better than I had even hoped. It felt great!

      Sending strength 😘😘😘😘

      • MC99, my trial starts tomorrow and I’ve been following your story. I hope mine turns out as well as yours.

  • You had me at Rancid Turd King. I’d be afraid that if the ex got the pip that he’d then try for full custody, seeing how much it means to her. I’d be wary of exposing my Archilles/”showing him my ass” as Al Swearingen used to say. Stay Strong WWN, I feel sad about CL’s piece of advice to break up with the new boyfriend, but she’s usually right.

    • Well, I feel sad about it too, but would YOU want to be with anyone who would two years down the road from divorce, consider going back to their cheating ex? Would you want to be Plan B or play Wait and See? Golden Rule.

      To be in this situation, tells me you aren’t emotionally available for a relationship. YET. You may get there. But to do it now, is messing with someone’s heart. A good someone. This is why I tell folks it’s not okay to self medicate with other people.

      • Oh no, I totally see your point Tracy and you are completely right, I just know that unfortunately would be in the same boat more than likely, with my crumpled picker, when really if I had any sense at all I would just be like, “Hell to the no!” and enjoying my new life with the nice guy. Hopium is a bastard.

        • I’m a little worried since she describes him as having immaturity issues her picker may not be fixed yet either. Better to let him go honestly than string him along.

          • Twice, that’s exactly what I thought. When she immediately expressed reservations about his personality in her letter, I thought, “Why are you dating him? He doesn’t sound like a good match for you.” I think that breaking up with the boyfriend is spot on.

            WWN, being single is really great. Are there times when I wish I had a partner? Of course. However, being single and really living my life for me is far better than compromising who I am for someone else just to be in a relationship. Be single for a while. You won’t regret it. Then, when some time has passed and you have created more emotional distance from your ex-cheater, you can think about dating again. However, you may find that you are very happy just as you are. It’s one of those secrets that the dating/wedding industries hope you don’t find out! 🙂

          • Twiceachump, thought this too, perhaps spackling on new boyfriends strengths and weaknesses.

        • Same. Mine really REALLY sucks and my situation besides the the new SO and the turd hinting or wanting back is exactly the same.
          Basically strangers now and know how crap she is but there is always that voice in the back of my head that says “well of she was to prove how sorry she is……”
          I hope if that day ever comes I have the strength to shut it up. It seems of course once you move on they want back in and right now i already made the decision not to subject another to my broken self fully. I hear about her “friends” from my kids and she had a bf so while she is guy hoping the ladies I hangwith are not around my kids so i dont have the air of moving on cheaters seem to hate to see. I’d put money on he sees WTF serious about someone and that old scenario plays out.
          If I were you I’d do like I would if i even entertain the thought those lose and risks the chester would hsve to do to prove how sorry they are would only make me consider thinking about maybe talking about taking them back. Not a guarantee return at all. Not even close

      • CL – you are so right! No, it is not OK to self medicate with other people! I know I am not ready to get involved with someone else, so I don’t even attempt. I flirt, but don’t follow up! I miss going out with a guy, but getting involved nope.

        • Yes and the fact that she would even consider dumping new guy and riding off into the sunset with ex cheater turd after one sappy conversation shows she has issues with emotional attachments too. Who does that? People who see people as objects, that’s who.

          Dump the boyfriend is the first thing I was thinking and CL is spot on there.

          • Feelingit, I left a more detailed comment below but would like to clarify: I took very seriously my obligation not to self-medicate with others or treat people as objects.
            After a year of therapy, family, friends, and lots of introspection, I had a close friend who I trusted say something along the lines of: “what are you waiting for? A relationship isn’t about being perfect but about being honest and growing together.” I took that to heart and I think it has been a good decision to date. My boyfriend and I are very honest and have grown a lot together. This is the first time I have ever felt that I was not doing right by him. And as you will see below, I have decided that I think this was a big enough red flag on my end that we should part ways.

            I also never considered immediately dumping my boyfriend in order to make way for the cheater. I feel absolutely zero romantic feelings for my ex. I think I indulged in the fantasy that I had shortly after the break up, that maybe it was possible he would change and be the man I wanted him to be for me and my daughter. After seeing him and reading the email saying basically everything I hoped for back them, it just seemed so tantalizingly close. I wrote to CL knowing she and CN would bring me back to center.

            I have also addressed below why asking for full custody is not an option I want to pursue. It would be too disruptive for my daughter, and I feel like it would be using her as a pawn in a game she did NOT ask for and doesn’t understand. So reconciliation with cheater ex was really the only option in my mind that read “viable.” And it isn’t, for all the reasons here, but initially it really felt like it might be.

            I do really appreciate all the opinions, even the ones that are tough to read. I think there is a lot of truth here. But I don’t appreciate being reduced to a “cake eater” or someone who would use people as objects. I think it is very clear that I am absolutely NOT going to do that.

      • Absolutely agree. Shoe on other foot, how would YOU feel if he were even contemplating getting back together with a cheating X. Obviously you aren’t all in so let him go to find someone who can be all in. At this point, even if an angel came down and informed me Xhole had true remorse, I still wouldn’t take him back. I would be glad for my son’s sakes, but that’s it. See if he’ll give you that full custody with specific visitation and see how remorseful he is. But let your boyfriend go. He deserves somebody all in.

        • This post bothered me so much and I couldn’t put my finger on it until I came back from my morning walk. He hasn’t learned a thing. If he knew you had a boyfriend, he hit on you anyway. If he didn’t know, he should have asked first before proceeding to hit on you. But he doesn’t care. He doesn’t care for your relationship at all because he still doesn’t respect monogamy. What kind of lowlife hits on another person in a committed relationship? One who only cares about what he or she wants, regardless of who gets hurt. Engaging or entertaining him is a form of emotional infidelity. He wants you to become a lowlife like him. Please see his hoovering for what it is.

          • Excellent point. If he respected her or the stability of his child’s life, he’d apologize and leave. He’d take notice of how she’d rebuilt her life and read that as his cue to exit.

          • Sugar Plum, yes!! I have been feeling all sorts of gross about why he thought he could come in and ask for a second chance at our relationship when he KNOWS I have a boyfriend. He even said that in his speech. I know you have a boyfriend, but…

            “What kind of lowlife hits on another person in a committed relationship?” Exactly! This is one of the biggest, if not the main reason, I’m shutting him down. It’s all a game to him. It has been hard to see things clearly but I’m getting there.

            I really thought when he asked for 15 minutes he would just sincerely apologize. I was completely surprised that he wanted a second chance, I have seen no indication that he would ever want that. I mean, I knew he wanted absolution, because who wouldn’t, but this second chance thing took me completely by surprise. A good person who had changed WOULD just apologize and not ask for anything in return.

            • But I also thought I would never take back my cheating ex even if he groveled. I was very surprised at my own reaction. Hence the letter.

            • And I’d like to clarify that when I said “This is one of the biggest, if not the main reason, I’m shutting him down.” – I think I was referring to shutting him down this specific time, and to the part of my brain that had still hoped for a unicorn. CN has brought me back to reality that the main reason to get away from him is and should always be that he already showed his character to be shit. But for the hopeful part of me, this is conclusive proof that there is nothing to work with.

              • Good. Cut him off from kibbkes. But also take the insight you got from this experience. Talk with your boyfriend. I think CN is right, the fact that you had the reaction that you did, you’re not healed enough to be in a relationship just eight now. Later, but not now. My X tried to Hoover, and he tried to hug me. My immediate reaction was to throw up, almost on him. And that was only a few months, not years. When you are healed, you won’t even care for an apology. And anything remotely resembling hoovering will completely disgust you. Little ones make it harder to go complete NC, but you can still detach and heal.

      • Tracy, I was REALLY happy to see you advise she break up with her boyfriend for the reasons you describe. Sometimes we’re just not ready to be in a relationship yet and need (more) therapy/healing on ourselves first, and that’s okay.

        Considering allowing the abuser back into our lives? Holy Communist parade of red flags, Batman.

  • Our first instincts are often correct. Your first instinct was that his other options didn’t pan out and that’s why he was knocking at your door and you would be correct. That’s not a cynical view; that’s reality.

    Go ahead and ask him for full custody of your daughter and tell him it’s a deal you want sealed by the court. Sorry is as sorry does. What’s the worst that can happen? You find out he’s really not that sorry. I think deep down you probably already know that.

    You did the hard part. Put his channel back on very low as I know you can’t mute it completely since you have a daughter. Keep your correspondence with him about your daughter. Period. And forget about doing things together. I always think that sends a horribly confusing message to the kids but obviously this would be difficult for you as well. He blew up the family when he cheated on his pregnant wife. You reacted accordingly.

    You’ve gotten through hell. Keep on going and don’t look back.

  • “He said he would respect that I needed space. Today happens to be the 7-year anniversary of the day we met, though, and so this morning I got a long, heartfelt email from him, basically saying how much he loves me and has always loved me and can’t believe how thoroughly horrible he was. Again I’m torn, because I feel very strongly for him and it feels great to finally have an apology, but also like WTF, you chose this, stop invading my life!!”

    Also, unpack this. He doesn’t respect that you need space because he sent you that email on a day where he is COUNTING on you to feel gooey and squashily sentimental and he SET YOU UP to feel that way.

    Yeah, tell your boyfriend that you are not going to entertain being a cake-eater and it’s better for you go away, grow up some more (and really learn how to enforce boundaries) because you are not ready for a relationship.

    I didn’t see that you state you got divorced. Did I overlook it? That would be another way for your Unicorn to prove he is serious. Grant you a divorce so you really and truly can potentially commit to a relationship in the future.

    While this is a sad situation for the great guy you need to stop seeing (and you), it’s also an opportunity to really and truly figure out what sort of person you are going to be in the future.

    You picked up some bad habits along the way. Doesn’t matter if you got them from your husband, came with them (but he acted on his worse impulses first) or whatever. You need to work further on yourself.

    You can do come through this though and be exponentially more awesome than you are now.

    • “He said he would respect that I needed space. Today happens to be the 7-year anniversary of the day we met, though, and so this morning I got a long, heartfelt email from him…”

      Seriously, I’m just hearing John Mulaney in my head. “You know, like a liar.”

      • Bwahahahahaha! John Mulaney’s words & voice are phenomenal. He does a great “NO” also!
        Ftw!

    • I’m with Cupcakes on this one. Last night I started reading The Covert Passive-Aggressive Narcissist by Debbie Mirza: ( https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37660370-the-covert-passive-aggressive-narcissist ) and I’m learning a LOT. Anyway, based on the book (and my own bitter experience) the date your X chose for the “heartfelt” email sounds like a massive red flag. It seems to be a thing for the Narctastic among us to choose a meaningful place or date to either trigger you or reel you in. You need to do what you need to do, but I hope you don’t fall for it. I say this as someone who is still miles from Meh, and way earlier in the process than you are. Of course there’s part of me that still wishes desperately for a “real” apology and path to reconciliation, but my stomach tells me that it would never be anything more than another illusion.

      • “An illusion” is right. Mr. FantasticPants just wants what he has always had. One in the hand, and two in the bush. He is after that triangle, etc. The beautiful wife, child, and mistress (or two). Cause he’s…like that. Shut. that. SHIT. down. Do ask for full custody though, most Narcs can’t do babies/toddlers/children because it is truly hard work (and children will figure their shit out).

    • And, if you do put your “family” back together again, can you trust him? What if you get PG again… is that pregnancy going to be fill with doubts as to his whereabouts 24/7? And do you want to go through the “tell me where you are/I must have full access to your electronics all the time/why were you gone so long” routine because he already demonstrated big time he can’t be trusted?

      What kind of life will you have always wondering what’s going on?

      Get full custody.
      Get grey rock again.
      Get on with your life.

    • Agreed. Though apparently easier said than to actually do. I’m at the end of just over a year of pick-me dancing. My husband has gone back to his mistress every other month like clockwork. He has emotionally abused the minds of his wife and 2 young kids. He keeps weaselling his way back with promises of changes and a pile of apologies. I feel like a total idiot. I’m trying to stay away from him now. Listing the house today and looking to move to a nearby city where I have lots of available family. I feel so low right now. Don’t risk taking him back!

      • CanuckChumped— hang in there! Better days are ahead. I too spent 18 weeks in the hell of false wreconciliation where X said he was committed but kept seeing his AP. Those weeks almost broke me. It has been three years (divorced 18 months ago) and I’m grey rock almost all the time as X chooses to see our child 3-5 hours a month. I’m still traumatized by what happened during the false wreconciliation. If I had been a stronger person who had not suffered 26 years of narcissistic abuse, I may have immediately gone NC on DDay 1 and filed for divorce. My mental health would be a lot better today. So, I feel you pain and I’m sharing this for those of you who are in false wreconciliation. There is a huge personal cost for that.

        • You hit on an interesting point, Mother & Canuck: about the length of time endured in pick me dancing/wreckinciliation. There should be a formula that CL develops that “the longer you did the pick me dancing, the longer it will take to heal and get to meh someday”. Anyone who did longer than a month in pick me dancing, be super kind and good to yourself. (This is not to say those who did less don’t deserve to be good to themselves). But those folks who endured long sentences of pick me dancing endured heightened, Defcon Level 1 abuse. This is where The Disordered really revel. Do not beat yourself up if you don’t feel close to meh. Your job is to get the hell away from Cheater and start to detox and heal. That long in pick me dancing messes with your brain, your chemistry, your make-up. Practice extreme self care and look out for YOU and your kids, if you have them.

      • Canuck Chumped, don’t beat yourself up. We’ve all been there. Look at it this way: you tried to save your marriage, but it couldn’t be done all.by.yourself. He’s the one that went back to the mistress repeatedly. You were generous and he threw your generosity in your face.

        Good luck with your move.

        • Oh yes, I think most of is have been there, beating yourself up by trying, I’d leave MC in tears and say to my wife “why are we doing this? Let just call it quits”, & she said to me “but I want to save us”, unbeknownst to me she was still seeing the married man. So cruel. But I’m glad I tried and I was genuine, takes a long time to heal. Good luck.

  • Please, please, please don’t let that asshole sink you again. Everything you have worked SOOOO hard for after the lying SOB cheated on you when you were pregnant. Cheating on a pregnant (or sick) woman is about the lowest of the low. He can’t get any lower so what would stop him cheating next time. My Twat wanted about after 3 weeks – I told him to fuck off and pushed through the divorce, although admittedly my kids were older. He left in January 2010. Divorced December 2011. Would you think he would leave me alone – I mean, after all, he is living “the dream” with Schmoopie. He regularly contacts me at work and last Friday, at 4 a.m.!!!!! I get a text message from him asking for a recipe and wanting to know how I am!!!!! 4.am. and I have to get up for work. I was going to rip him a new one but decided that what he really wanted was either an “in” by my giving him the recipe or “attention” by my ripping him a new one, so I just ignored him. Please, I beg you, don’t take that flying turd back.

    • Omg! I have to block X because he also sends me random messages at all hours along the lines of the following: “how are you,” “what books are you reading,” “I hope you are ok,” …..from his bed with golddigging whore whom he is still living with 4 years after he first met her! WTF????? sick sick sick
      I have to keep him blocked on my phone except for the few hours a month when my daughter is with him. 🤯🤯🤯🤯

      • I keep my phone on during the night because I use it as an alarm and because my kids no longer live at home. And hell why should I have to turn the damn thing off. As for blocking him, if I block him on the mobile he will call on the house phone (which is louder) and makes me jump out of my skin. He is in the States and I’m in France so 4 a.m. my time would be around 10 pm his time. He’s probably drunk anyway. But I get probably an email or call at work about once a month. I don’t answer the emails and if I recognize the phone number I don’t answer it, but I’m not always looking at my work phone. He is mentally deranged but I keep all the messages and so on just in case. One of the weirdest ones I got was “yeeeh, letz adopt a kibble (child) – we never had a little girl. Let’s got for it, Weeee!!!” Drunk as a skunk – although that one made me laugh!

  • WTF – The choice is not the ex or the current boyfriend. That’s a set-up for a potential pick-me dance that you have started. Not fair to the boyfriend.

    The choice needs to be ex or YOU. Who are you going to choose?

    Choose you and the new life you have carved out for yourself. Negotiate more time with your daughter. Give him no cake.

    It’s great that you’ve got a new relationship. However, maybe that’s not the one or your never would consider going back to your ex. You just aren’t there yet, and that’s okay.

    The idea that it will be worth reconciling in order to be with your daughter more often may be an illusion. What will be the emotional cost in taking up with a cheater again? Will you be the mommy you want to be when you’re buried in mindfuckery?

    • That’s a whole other post, worth writing. You take him back and get “intact family.” But what are you modeling? Would you want your daughter to accept this? Is having her worth the devalue that’s coming? What’s the great risk that she witnesses that?

        • Ditto. I stayed years too long with an emotional abuser to give our kids an “intact family.” I cannot recover financially, and now have three adult sons who feel worthless, and treat women like appliances. Their father continues to abuse them emotionally and financially.

          • Ditto for me as well. Golden D##k has treated our family as disposable since I was pregnant with our first child over 40 years ago. Our three children grew up seeing the pick-me dance and me spackling their entire lives. Fast forward to the present: oldest child divorced twice, both his wives cheated (he’s too much like me); married middle son has serious boundary issues with women and has confessed to one EA (I suspect more, including physical affairs); youngest son has had a rocky 10-year marriage due to inappropriate contact with other women, although he swears he has never been unfaithful. My point is, children don’t listen to your words, they watch and learn from your BEHAVIOR and ACTIONS. I am in therapy and know that I failed them in a very profound way by staying with a drunken, cheating liar. My shame and guilt know no bounds. The impact has even hit the next generation as the two youngest have children of their own. Please don’t let this happen to you. Model strength to your child, even if you don’t feel strong inside. You and your child deserve so much more than a life with a cheater.

      • Please CL write a post on this? Please!! I have been struggling and suffering for over a year with my sole motivation being to keep my family in tact. I can’t seem to get past the fact that my kids are going to be coming from a broken home. I keep taking him back. I am listing the house today as a way to hopefully stop this painful cycle of him coming and going between his family and his mistress. We have two young children. He does not seem to be aware or care that his emotional abuse of me is also hurting his own two children. I struggle to get out of bed every morning. He is with her right now. I’m trying to list the house today. I need to except the fact that our family will no longer be intact. I feel so scared and weak. Thank you for your column and your posts. They help me get through the day.

        • Canuck: my kids were 10 and 15 when the false wreconciliation was going on. They became marriage policewomen too. They were good at it and caught X. They were then subject to X’s rage channel, blameshifting, gaslighting. It was so abusuve. My 15 year old tried to kill herself. My 10 year old developed panic attacks. The fallout has been horrendous. Literally devastating. Go and get your kids into trauma counseling as soon as possible.

        • Intact means absolutely nothing……. it comes to the lying, cheating, and playing a spouse for a fool that these low moral people put us through. Better for kids to come from a ‘broken’ family than to live in one. You do them no favours allowing kids to be immersed in this bullshit.

          Often the drive to ‘keep intact’ is just a fear of the unknown. Yes accept it. Yes feel weak and scared, that is ok. But get your kids and yourself out of this sick, sick life. The other side is quite manageable. It is tough sometimes too, but it is SANE and MORAL.

        • It is not better for your kids to live with abuse than to have separated parents. Trust me on that. The harm to kids from a ‘broken home’ comes from the abuse and fighting between parents (especially before separation) not from the status of living with parents who have separated.

          I grew up with a father who was physically violent. My sisters and I all live with the mental and emotional damage that caused. All of us have struggled with self esteem, relationships and other issues from our damaging childhood. I think that I rushed into marriage with an older narcissist because I was desperate for love and mistook his love bombing for something real. I didn’t leave for too long because a part of me believed that my father and ex-husband were right and maybe I was awful (I’m not) or that his emotional abuse wasn’t real abuse because he was rarely violent.

          The worst was that I stayed with an emotionally abusive covert narcissist for too long and that really harmed my kids. All if them have been adversely affected by their father’s verbal and emotional cruelty to both them and me. They have anxiety issues. My middle daughter ended up suicidal (many attempts and hospitalisation). My biggest regret is not leaving the ex years before to protect my kids better. My kids are so much better since I left my ex and they see him very infrequently. My daughter’s mental health has improved enormously. Though she still has depression and anxiety, she is no longer suicidal or cutting.

          Seeing abuse and living with it every day is harming your children. Abusers always escalate. It will not get better. I am so sorry to have to say all of this, but please learn from my mistakes and my mother’s. Please don’t give the facade of an intact family a higher value than your kids’ mental, emotional and physical safety.

          You are mighty and are doing the right thing for your kidd by trying to end your relationship with an abusive cheater.

        • Almost ten years out and you know what? My intact family has always been intact. After FucktardX walked out, we realized our family is so much better off without the disordered. We are just minus the one who would choose to destroy us, over and over and over again. He’s still the man who stole their college savings, who allowed our family home to be foreclosed on, who vandalized said home, who spent two years harassing and intimidating me during the divorce, who spent years dissipating assets while sneaking around, who was never home, who walked out on financial obligations regarding his children. Oh, and someone who was comfortably fucking his racquetball partner for two years while his wife (and kids) were holding down the fort. Living with someone who is leading a double life is hell. Our family is intact and now knows our worth; we are stronger now than we ever were. It has taught us valuable lessons too. We no longer tolerate BS from any of the disordered in our lives and we live! We travel, vacation together, and know that partnering up with another is a gift only when it is reciprocated.

        • I had that feeling as well about the ‘broken home.’ But, when I gave it more thought, I realized we actually have a more ‘whole’ home now, because there is no longer the attention-getting, life-draining, alcoholic narcissist at it’s center. It’s like the kids and I get to relate to each other normally, in peace, without the distractions caused by the fuckwit. Fuckwit left the building, and we’re better off, even thriving, because of it.

        • Your family isn’t “intact” now. You know it is not. Your kids know dad isn’t around (whether or not they know why). The only person who is benefiting from the “intact” illusion is your cheating husband.

          But once I left, I found the “intact” illusion had not been nearly as strong as I thought. Almost everyone else knew the kids’ dad never chipped in or turned up at their events. They knew who worked full time and ran the house full time. They didn’t know he gave his business card to waitresses 25 years his junior, but they knew he was a lousy husband and father.

          Finally, your fear is not entirely misplaced, it is just that you are only seeing part of the picture. Once you leave your marriage, there will be some people who use that as a reason to look down on you or exclude you. My experience suggests they are the folks who live in great fear of their own marriages collapsing. Your kids will sometimes resent having to draw awkward pictures of “my family” at school or watch how happily a friend hangs out with both parents at home. Yet, people you’d never guess were on their second marriage will come out of the woodwork to say, “Buck up, you will do fine! Let me know how I can help.” And the stuff your kids will “miss” about the “intact” family were things they aren’t getting right now anyway.

          Inner peace, integrity, and opportunity for a better future is better than “intact” for both you and your kids.

        • Dearest Canuck. PLEASE release yourself from the fantasy of the “intact” family. Admittedly the picture is pretty: Smiling family + obligatory golden retriever (wearing festive bandana) in front of a roaring fire; strolling languidly through a pumpkin patch; having a red, white and blue picnic on the 4th of July.

          Sadly, a Pinterest life looks real pretty but has the substance of Cheetos and cotton candy.

          And while you are training for the Intact Award your sweet children are watching you endorse and ratify his bullshit which at some unstated level makes the bullshit less objectionable.

          DON’T DO IT. Pinterest is for inspiration, not aspiration.

        • You and your children are an intact family.
          “Intact” to me means emotional health!
          So my STBXH can’t belong.

      • I know someone who took back a cheater and ended up pregnant with HIV. She dodged bullets the first time they broke up, but not the 2nd time.

        Seriously, people, NEVER take back a cheater. Get the fuck out of Dodge and stay gone. You risk way too much by playing Twister with an alligator. The gator always wins, one way or another.

        • Amen to this: Get the fuck out of Dodge and stay gone!

          I actually will have nightmares about this: in my nightmare, I’m still married or I come home and Cheater is in my house.

          That’s awful about your acquaintance, Caro.

          These people get WORSE with age!! We are ALL aging, even Cheaters, they are not exempt, just because they have Peter Pan complexes. Stay the hell away from them, once you’re out!!!!

      • I can tell you first hand how the reunite the family choice goes. I did it. From 2002 -2005 I was going through a divorce from the father of my two girls. I spent the previous decade pick me “square-dancing” with Medusa. I’d cut off one head, another would appear or two or three more. My daughters were 11 and 7. I finally realized I couldn’t do it anymore I was exhausted, depressed and tired of being a detective and having the same cheating scenarios just continuing with different people. I left him to live in my big beautiful home and moved myself and girls into a tiny 2 bedroom apartment. But then, like you I was only seeing my girls half the time and there were no rules, no accountability AND I had to continue paying the mortgage on the house I left as well as all my bills for my place AND he tried to file child support and even alimony against me as he always had worked “under the table” (I always worked two and three jobs while getting my degree so I could get a really good job that paid all our bills and provided all of us with health insurance). I couldn’t see spending only half my children’s life with them and having his godawful alcoholic mother and biker girlfriend or her sister or any of the other women he was “seeing” take care of them instead of me (because he wasn’t doing it- they were). I put the divorce on hold and tried to work it out with him so I could reverse that whole bad country song where I had lost everything and now was getting it all back – INCLUDING THE LYING CHEATING NARCISSTIC husband. I thought I could do it. Especially after my mother passed away suddenly. I felt that I needed us to be altogether and it would be so much better for my girls. It was and it wasn’t. I got my girls 100 % of the time again, I got my house and I got the now definitely less sparkly turd who definitely had not changed his ways. I decided to tough it out until my youngest graduated from high school – after all it was only 7-8 years more and then I could start a new life. Turns out I couldn’t do it. I tried. I had withdrawn the complaint in divorce, stopped being sick about all the lost money in attorneys fees and resigned myself to living out my self imposed sentence for the sake of the happiness of my girls. Three years into my sentence it was clear my girls were NOT happier. I was defeated and depressed and dead inside. And my husband? He had his live in maid, cook, caregiver, source of income, children and the appearance of being a good family man back – oh yes and cake lots and lots of cake – all kinds of round the clock cake. Except for this time I didn’t care if he choked on the cake. I knew I had to leave and I did but only after my girls were like what are you waiting for? It took 3 more years of expensive divorce proceedings, filing bankruptcy moving a couple of times till he vacated the house and a lot of stress and tears and anger. This time I confronted as many of the “extras” in my marriage whenever and wherever I came across them – supermarkets, restaurants, walking on the street, at the gym – you name it. I had a lot of poison to spew until I finally went no contact 4 years ago. I do not care anymore I’m at MEH with their father – but I took the road less traveled to get there and there’s a reason it’s less traveled – it leads nowhere but to PTSD. Chump Lady gave you sound advice. Don’t do it. Definitely do what you can to get more time with your kids but if not honestly grey rock to meh. “Never look back it takes away from the now”

    • Yep, this ex is totally selfish. Someone once told me that if a cheater really had changed into a non-cheater, s/he would be too embarrassed to ask to be with you again because the cruelty of what s/he had done to you would haunt him/her so deeply that it would never seem reasonable to even ask you to take a risk like that again.

      • Absolutely, Amiisfree. True remorse means respecting boundaries, leaving the person you wronged alone and unbothered, and being an exemplary person somewhere else to someone else while regretting your never-to-be-repeated shitty actions until the day you die.

        This jerkwad is just hoovering for cake.

      • ^^^^^THIS^^^^
        IF a cheater could change…
        but it’s still about THEM…what they want…until they don’t want it again…or want more or strange or younger or richer or…

      • My ex narcopath tries to Hoover me back after he broke up with ow.

        I recall messaging him (broke nc hoping for a true apology and sadly got the fake naugahaude remorse) and texted him:

        “How dare you even ask to be friends with me when you knew how devastated I have been…..”

        Then my anger kicked in and I was totally done.

  • So he came sniffing back around for some kibbles and you took it as he is a changed man?!?

    No, he doesn’t have anyone to look after his sorry ass and be the grown up and you look like you are doing well…

    Say goodbye to your new house, your new boyfriend and your new found freedom if you take this route. Oh, and enjoy being the marriage police 100% of the time too.

    I speak from experience here. He will now know that you will tolerate this kind of shit behaviour and he will push your boundaries even further after the love bombing is over.

    You are chasing a rainbow. This life you want does not exist with him because he sucks as a human being!

    I agree about new boyfriend. Don’t hurt him and don’t lead him on. You are really young and you need to do some more “me” work before you commit to anyone else ( yeah – I screwed that all up too ).

    Keep us posted and keep up the grey rock!

  • This is me, but without the boyfriend. I know I’m not ready to be with anyone. Maybe ever again, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish.

    You’ve answered my questions about my ex wanting to play “happy family” again, so thank you for that. Moving on and NOT looking back.

    • so glad you have made the hard decisions… again… and re-proved that you are a mighty person of solid moral character. I’m sure you’re feeling incredibly sad and shaky now, anyone would be, it’s damn hard when a person you loved completely offers the thing you wanted so much for yourself and for your child… but you know it’s all rubbish.

      Best of good luck, you are a wise decision-maker!

  • Chump Lady has given you superb advice – I hope you follow it! As far as your “feelings flooding back”, that’s *addiction*. You have been conditioned (by him) to get a flood of endorphins when he pays attention to you. He’s just exploiting that. It’s like a pusher adding dope to the coffee at an AlAnon meeting.

    Don’t trust that flood of feelings, it’s not real – it’s addiction. I’ve been there; I was with a loser forany years, and if I were to list the details of what all he did to me, you would think surely I was making it up. And for a long, long time after I got out, if I saw him somewhere, I’d get a flutter in my chest, feel warm all over, the whole bit. And it felt good, but I fought it back. When Chump Lady talks about “Meh”, this is why. You have to think of yourself as a recovering addict. You won’t be Meh about everything forever, but until you reach Meh, you’re not really free…and you’re not really ready for another relationship, either.

    • I think this is ME right now. Addicted. (“As far as your “feelings flooding back”, that’s *addiction*. You have been conditioned (by him) to get a flood of endorphins when he pays attention to you. He’s just exploiting that.”) <—— THIS

      I’m having such a hard time letting go, not wanting to be without my daughter full time and feeling happy to have attention from the person who has repeatedly hurt me. It’s sick! I start therapy today to try and unpack it.

  • WTF, Chump Lady, nailed the final nail of reasoning with “the wonderfulness of him IS an apology.” Eewww.

    And my Very First thoughts while reading your letter were with your boyfriend. I don’t think you truely love him the way you wanted to be loved by ex-h.

    I think you are wasting your soul on this matter, but at least try to barter what CL suggested. That should be THE ULTIMATE litmus test.

  • Even if he means it now he will regress again later. You met only seven years ago. You haven’t been in a relationship that long. You got out early when there weren’t as many years and history to get over as there were for many of us. Keep it that way. Don’t make it harder on yourself because there is no way it would be forever if you took him back, but it could be a really long time of him holding you down and hurting you before you got free again and gaining that freedom again would hurt even more than the last time. There are many on here whose ex’s cheated early on, reconciled and then seemed to be all in for a number of years before cheating again and in many cases discarding again. Do you want to go through this again in your late 40’s? That is what will happen with this guy. He might be totally devoted for a few years but then he will get bored again because he doesn’t have the emotional maturity to remain committed. He’ll sneak around having affairs for a few years telling you you’re crazy when you suspect and then eventually he will find his “soul mate” (the one he hasn’t found yet after a couple of years of looking so he’s going back to plan B) and he will discard you again telling you it’s your fault because you never really forgave him.

    Sometimes I am jealous of all of you with those hoovering ex’s but post’s like this remind me of how lucky I am to not be faced with these kinds of what if’s. It is so clear to see when it is somebody else, but I know that if it were me I would also be sorely tempted if I thought he was sincere and ex is good at faking sincere.

    • In the first year after KAOS (Kicked his Ass Out on the Street) Day, I had so many conversations with divorced women whose husbands ‘wanted them back.’ Was it gratifying, I would ask. They would all say yes, although they rejected the attempt, it was gratifying to think that he regretted his choices.

      I was jealous. My husband was perfectly happy without me. 🙁

      Now I know that if he begged me to come back, it would not be gratifying at all. It would be a ploy and a scheme for his own gratification. You are exactly right, Chumpinrecovery.

      GAH! Thank you CN!!

      • My EX never asked to come back either. He ranted and raved that I should be apologizing to him for asking for a divorce and begging him to come back. In fact, he told me if I didn’t get on my knees and apologize, I’d go to hell. Needless to say, this demand was not appealing, but it was fantastic for reassuring me I’d made the right decision.

    • Chumpinrecovery – i did not get the hooverimg ex either and sooo glad. Once he was caught after DD2 he was trying to ghost me. He wrote me some sad sausage note, refused to face me and disapeared into his affarir partners and then new girfriends he’s likely been grooming for some time. Within about 6 months he was already on a second girfriend (told the other one he wanted to get married then she dumped him bc he is a loser) and god know how many sloppy seconds he’s had. His dirty and a loser with no future. I’m glad he poofed!

    • This is so true.

      When D-Day #1 happened 13 years ago while we were dating, I kicked him out and went totally NC. He came back full on unicorn saying and doing all the right things. I didn’t know about narcissism then.

      When D-Day #2 rolled about last November, I did the wreckonciliation and pick me dance for a couple of months until I found CL.

      Cheaters don’t change. They might think they have changed at that moment, but they never truly do. I’ve learnt in the future to never to give a cheater any second chances. Ever.

      • This: “Cheaters don’t change. They might think they have changed at that moment, but they never truly do.”

        Mine said all the words I craved to hear but after denying, lying and blameshifting for 6 months post DDay 1. When I heard him say the words I wanted to hear, and saw him cry and beg to not break up the family, I gave in too easily and quickly. Shortly after, while in the wreckonciliation bliss and thanking the providence for this horrid experience because “we both came out stronger and in love and appreciation of each other”, I started noticing little blips here and there. Like his words and actions did not match. He would still give me “the story of family” but act in a weird way. I caught him texting the OW when he said all their communication had stopped. He justified it by saying that she sent him a happy birthday text and he was politely saying thank you. Or another time I was still marriage policing and found his recent text to his male friend about “whores going astray these days”.

        After busting him again, and asking why he did it after all those promises, his response was that he had thought that this (family) was what he wanted at the time so he promised to be a good husband. He said he THOUGHT that he was done with women, but then, you know, life happened again.

        Cheaters cheat. Period.

  • I think he’s jealous of your new life. I also think he’s luring you back in to set you up and screw around on you and dump you again.
    My XH had secret affair under cover for years. Now he’s remarried and he tries to get near me any chance he can get.
    Something in them is just broken and they are filled with hate to betray you/me as they do. It’s not love. I believe deep down it’s just some kind of hatred for all women and no respect.
    Keep bounties and look after best interest for you and your daughter. These “men” will never grow up and be responsible. He knows what you want and he’s just playing you. Think ahead and then don’t forget how he last treated you.
    You will probably meet another man that you would marry and have more children with and include your daughter. You have a lot to gain moving ahead than going back to a known idiot.

    • I’d put it another way. WTF, you walked away. You got a house. You got new friends, a new life. Presumably you’re divorced And that looks like a cozy set up for a cheater.

      Look what he gets:
      1. A woman making enough money to be the sole breadwinner in the home, with child support.
      2. An end to child support.
      3. An end to single parenting on his custody time.
      4. Sex with a woman he finds attractive.
      5. Someone willing to take him back in spite of the fact that SHE’S DATING SOMEONE ELSE. He sets up a pick-me dance with daughter as a prize.
      6. Someone willing to take him back in spite of the fact that he something incredibly shitty and selfish to her at her most vulnerable time, pregnancy.

      What you get:
      1. A cheater.
      2. A chance to pick up all his parenting responsibility while he plays golf or whatever.
      3. 100% time with DD but at the expense of her witnessing emotional abuse and cheating.
      4. Someone who will get half your house if you have to divorce him again.
      5. A guy who still tramples over your boundaries.

      What’s the upside here? And why is it OK for him just to SAY that he’s 100% in? What has he actually DONE to show his new regard for you?

      Think of this also: One thing I figured out about Jackass is that he LOVED to step in between a woman and her husband. That was obvious in his relation to Wife#2, in several affairs he had with married women, and in how he talked about MOW in the same way he talked about the others. It may be that Cheater wants to knock Boyfriend out of the picture and then you, WTF, will end up as the wife appliance. Listen to CL. And I know you won’t like the advice about Boyfriend, but if you loved him, you wouldn’t even be entertaining taking Cheater back. The fact that you are even thinking about this means you should stop seeing everyone and fix your picker. The next step on your journey is to learn you can make it without a man to lean on.

  • There was a post on this…..actually probably a few.
    The ones that hoover.
    I’m going to thank every star in the sky that I am basically ghosted.
    I find this to be an interesting phenomenon because I can say with 98% certainty that my ex would never try to schmooze me….unless he needed something (by something I dont mean cake…..I mean reduced alimony).
    I have spent the last three years telling him what a piece of shit he is, no way he would ever have the stones to call me when he had the sadz.

    • I had a friend call me on my Birthday and told me that EX posted this joke on his Facebook page (I have him blocked) I got such a kick out of it because it is so true.

      A woman would not go out with her EX husband because she thought he was after HIS money.

      Asshat

      • The trope about the gold digging ex wife makes me so mad. I made 3-5 times my ex-husband’s salary, owned the houses and made a large retirement nest egg before we married, and supported our rock and roll lifestyle for the entirety of our whopping five year relationship. I found out he had been dating throughout our two year marriage, but when I demand a divorce he threatens to sue me for alimony, for appreciation of the assets during the marriage, etc. unless I pay HIM to go away. It’s just as bad as the bitter dudes I dated afterwards – she gave up her career, moved around the country, and raised our kids; how dare she expect I support her lazy ass NOW? It’s infuriating.

        • Me too 2nd Gen. I brought all the savings to the marriage and it all went into the house – which we split when he left. I made just a little more than him (couple 100$) but he ran off and left me with all the debts, to the tune of about $500,000. Paid bugger all for our 2 kids, who lived with me. He now, on a disability pension (bipolar) makes as much as me in pension as I do in salary. I know he’s going through his money at a rate of knots (Schmoopie had to go back to work). I’m just waiting for the day he calls me (at 4 a.m.?) and asks to borrow money because he’s having “a few financial difficulties”. That’ll be fun.

    • PaintWidow, same here.

      One thing I always found peculiar while married was his acceptance of other men who cheated then remarried. One was a raging asshole whom he once worked with and idolized. And the other was a man who cheated on X’s cousin. X thought his cousin was a bitch, and is more close with the cheater and second wife.

      X has always needed someone to hate at all times, and he has always hated women. As the person who had the audacity to call foul on his selfish behavior – and the woman who knows EXACTLY who is behind that mask – I fit the bill.

  • I think that you have to make him jump through hoops. Like, therapy (non-negotiable, preferably with one who calls BS) and tell you EXACTLY WHY he thought Strange was a better solution to honest conversations etc.

    If he doesn’t want to do that? Can’t do that? You have got your answer.

    This is worth watching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zBRfUWkPDI

  • I really think these bastards cant stand to see you *winning.*
    It is like some personal assault to them. They must worm their way back in and destroy you.
    I know i may sound dramatic but i truly believe these freaks are that destructive by nature. Your success,no matter how well deserved, equals their losing. It is *never* about you. It is never about you and them and *love*.
    It is about their fucked up ego and securing their rightful place as lord and master of all humanity. (Ok so maybe that statement is a little dramatic) but not much!

    • True, if he can hoover her back he ‘wins’. And who knows if he really had all that therapy. She is taking the word of a known liar on that.

      If he loved her so dearly he wouldn’t have had the heart to screw around on her when she was pregnant. His ‘love’ is a different sort of ‘love.’ The kind that permits deceit and treachery.

    • KK has a photo she uses as her profile pic on FB sometimes: it’s an ad for a rearview mirror decal that says “Objects in Mirror Are Losing.”

      To your point, this is exactly how some of these fuckwits see life in general — either they are first/ahead/winning or they’re not, and if they’re not, there’s hell to pay by someone. More often than not, they intend it to be paid by the person who knows firsthand what horrid evil lies behind the mask.

  • My sister, friend, and I have a saying that we use in regards to our exes. Whenever they start acting nice and our silly brains start pining for what was we say to each other “wait a few day”. Inevitably they do something selfish, horrible, and ridiculous before too long.

    Also, beware the bait and switch! I can’t tell you how many times my ex has acted nice to then deliver mean. I’d shut this shit down asap, maybe a short note saying you want majority custody if he’s really sorry, but don’t hold your breath.

    Idk that you have to break up with your boyfriend, maybe chump lady is right, but idk any person with genuine feelings who wouldn’t be brought to knees over this kind of event. I would never say yes to my X but if he pulled a stunt like this (and it IS a stunt) I would be messed up for weeks. I am three years out too. It may not exactly be that you are considering his offer, there may be other feelings brewing beneath the surface. I would be angry…really really angry. And very very sad. I say tell your boyfriend what happened and that it messed you up in the head. See how he responds. This is an interesting point in your relationship, you seem dubious about him and his maturity level, this is a real even in your real life, see how he handles it.

  • You’re suffering from a potentially life-threatening case of the “I wish things were different”s. Ex comes along with a big bottle of snake oil medicine for your condition and says “Things can be different!”

    He’s telling you what you want to hear to get what he wants to get. That’s as deep and meaningful as this goes. You’ve been down this road and know that cheaters like to get things but they don’t like to keep things. Once he gets you back, the shine will wear off about 3 times as fast for him this time around, and he’ll go right back to pursuing that which he wants to get but doesn’t want to keep.

    You know better.

    Also, I 100% agree with CL that you need to let go of the boyfriend. Just because you love him doesn’t mean it’s moral or just to keep him in a relationship in which he doesn’t realize the extent to which he’s plugging the hole in your heart. You should take the time to heal that hole instead of relying on a human plug and risking transmitting the hole to his heart.

    I think you’re on the right path and your instincts are serving you well. Listen to your instincts instead of your desire and you’ll be OK.

  • My kids dad also did this. He was very emotionally and financially abusive to me while our kids were younger.

    I did a midnight move on him when youngest was 8 months old because I was so worried for my safety (he had guns).

    I did not date for 3 years afterwards because I was so traumatised that I had chosen such an awful human being to father my children.

    I was low contact with him because of the kids and finally after 3 years met a guy I went to school with, and we dated for a month. It was great to FEEL again and this guy was fun, but it was never going to work with him.

    Immediately after breaking up, my ex swooped in and asked me for a reconciliation. He was so sorry for drinking too much and not paying attention to the kids and I. Apparently I was the best thing that ever happened to him and he would be 100% invested in our relationship. See me happy with another guy just ate him up inside.

    I told him I would think about it. But the voice in the back of my head was screaming a big “no” and sniggering at me that I would be an idiot to go back.

    At this point, ex still had not signed our separation agreement so we had nothing legal. He agreed with the terms but would not actually sign it.

    Yes, he paid the child support I proposed, but he was uninvolved in our children’s lives unless I pushed the issue (which in hindsight I should not have done and later hurt me when we actually went to court).

    My life was going really well and I had just bought a new car and other than that payment and my cheap rent, was living debt free after i had to file for bankruptcy while living with him, who was making 50k at the time.

    He had lost his job or quit, who knows, so when he asked for reconciliation, he was unemployed. Had stopped paying child support. I offered him use of my older car to transport the kids (his vehicle didn’t have enough seats).

    Bottom line was: I told him no. I didn’t get in to the reason with him as that would just enrage him. I just said “no thanks, I’m good”.

    He bitched and moaned for a few weeks until I fixed his POF profile and unleashed him on the world, but I had met someone new and then a few weeks later, so did he. Ironically, we kept matching on POF until I blocked him. Ew.

    This is what happened after I said no and started dating someone else: he was LIVID.

    The weekend’s he agreed to watch the kids while I was working to support them (cause he had no job anymore to provide cs) and was driving my old car, he told me to fuck off. That I was lying about working and if I can go off and have my “fun” then so can he.

    He was ditching his kids to date his new gf who lived 2 hours away and they would go golfing. Ask: how can an unemployed guy even get a date and how can afford golf?

    When new guy and I decided to move in together he really lost his mind. I told him at drop off. Kids are in my car and he is screaming swear words at me calling me every name in the book. Drove away spinning gravel.

    After kids and I were settled in with new guy, ex had the kids for the weekend. I called him to arrange pick up and he laughed “is your new bf in jail yet?”
    I was confused. He had taken the kids to the police and CAS was involved because he was alleging that my new bf was beating my young son. So ensued an abuse investigation which was cleared and the children returned to me along with a comment from the CAS worker that “your ex clearly has an agenda of some sort and you need to get a lawyer….”

    So began our court battles. He used the children to try and hurt me on purpose. It was awful. The kids see him 4 days a month.

    Point of this is: CL is right and as soon as you refuse this offer (please refuse it), he will go into rage mode and you will question why you ever even considered it.

    And I would be leery of asking him to change the custody arrangement. As much as that would benefit your daughter to be with you more of the time, you are showing him exactly how to hurt you. It’s a catch22. That’s when he would do something stupid like repeatedly take you back to court and try to switch custody to HIM 100%.

    I am very, very glad I did not take him back and I watch the hell he puts his golfing girlfriend through and am thankful that I am not dealing with his shit on a day- to -day basis anymore.

    • Chumpedincanada—-wow! That is a harrowing past. I hope you and your children and living peacefully now.

    • Chumpedincanada what a slimy rotten nasty little man. Thank you for sharing your story. Its so important to know what these people actually are capable of. And they all are. Every last one!!!!

  • Gosh, when you were pregnant that should have been the highlight of his life. Why would he have been chasing other women then? For normal people that is the best time of their marriage. He threw you under the bus then.

    I think you want to see your child 100% of the time, that would be the main goal here. But if you are policing a proven cheater and listening into his phone calls, and fretting when he comes home late, I wonder how this will pan out? Will your health suffer from the worry? Will your nerves suffer? Will the household be tense for your little one? Reality would set in awfully fast if he moved back. Do you 100% trust him?

    Lots to think about.

    If they are capable of doing this to you, they are capable of doing this to you.

    • It’s the Maya Angelou rule: When people tell you who they are, believe it the first time.

    • My question to myself was and is: do I want my children, especially my daughter, to think THAT is what “love” was (betrayal, sneaking, stealing from the family, bringing skanky MOW around the family/home, disrespect, porn, gaslighting, raging, pouting, fuming, and mom/wife as southeast distributor of unicorn spackle)?
      No.
      Hell to the NO.

      WTF, would you advise your daughter to take her partner back because…emotions? Would you start a business with the guy who mugged you? Think hard, sisterfriend.

  • The fantasy of him being who you thought he was, cause he prob never was that person, is partly what’s pulling you back to him. I wish you had more time with your daughter but at the cost of your mental health and sanity and well being? Sucks he ruined the family unit. But you’re in a really good place right now. Something a lot of people here are still struggling to do. The possibility of him is unknown. The reality of who you wanna be is in your control. Don’t lose that.

  • I’ve lived this nightmare ….marriage explosion after 20 years. 3 years of listening to what a shitty wife person I was. Me raising the kids. Suddenly my ex chose to come back after three years living the high life. He had bankrupted our family business….I had to bail my Home out of leans that were close to foreclosure. he wanted to be an intact family. what’s that Japanese thing where they fix the broken bowls with gold … he kept sending me that quote. that was going to be our marriage. I’ve got three children what would I be modelling to them the man who wouldn’t pay child support wants to come back and be their daddy after sleeping with many women….and gutting our business so gross.
    I didn’t take him back and I’m living on my own and raising my 3 kids on my own he doesn’t even see them once a week ….for a couple hours ….he still doesn’t pay child support …this month he was able to muster $37.50
    That will feed them.
    As hard as it is (and it is). I am living a life that honours me. Unlike the 20 years we were together.

    Once a chump- now I’m whole hearted me

    • KINTSUGI (Filling crack in pottery with precious metal). Just after my DDay, he said he would sell our sailboat (which he contaminated with the Lower Companion) and I proposed a new sailboat with the name “KINTSUGI”…..I feel
      like a idiot about that now….

  • My thought is what about your daughter? All she’s known is how it is now. If you did get back together, she’d be the one very hurt if things went south again and he left you (which most probably would happen). Would you risk her heart, too? I’d be so terrified she’d be damaged by her father by his obvious ability to neglect and abandon his own child. Not worth it to set her up for abuse she’d remember.

  • Your ex sees your awesome life and wants back in.

    Tell him No and go back to the hardline… legal custody arrangements and minimal contact. (You’ll see how much he’s “changed” when he doesn’t get what he wants.)

    And for goodness’ sake, let the boyfriend go. You cannot be raising your partner; he’s either a grown-ass man or not. He sounds like a “nice guy” but that’s not good enough. Get more stable in yourself and fix your picker… no more projects. No one truly respects a partner who’s a project. (It’s at least a large part of why you’re able to consider dropping him for a candy-seeking fuckwit of an ex.)

  • Don’t talk to him except about your child and stop on old feelings. I’m 4 years out and yes we all here wished we had perfect families. I’m 57 and I was divorced the day before my 25th wedding anniversary.
    Don’t even think that these men don’t know what they are doing to you.
    There are so many women who have a couple of children with these rotten marriages and stay only to be dumped in what is now called grey divorce.
    It’s harder to get your self back after all those years. I thought we had a good marriage and he was just too tired for sex. He drove 2 hours for work and put in 10 hours of work a day. So it was easy for me to lie to myself when I felt other things were wrong also. Why didn’t he have date nights for us. “Too tired”.
    They will destroy you and your children piece by piece.
    Mine was showing up at the nursing home my father was in. I would just leave and come back another time. Showed up at funeral. Pall bearer so I had to shake his hand while he gave me the biggest smile and creeped me out.
    The last time was at my daughters funeral. My daughter just turned 21 and shot herself one month ago.I had to fight his lawsuit he placed on me. He wanted to divide our daughter by having her cremated. I wanted her buried whole and a place to be buried beside her. Can you imagine having a lawsuit placed on you immediately after her death.
    My XH successfully filled my children’s heads with garbage where they were afraid to talk to me.
    My daughter stated to me that he supported my other daughter and his new wife’s children but wouldn’t help her out in any way. She was broke and scared. Her last meal was peanut butter because she didn’t have money for food.
    Mind you my husband was an Aerospace engineer and inherited almost 1 million tax free cash and an only child.
    Stay away but rig it so you can get your daughter away from him.

    • Oh Beetle, I’m so so sorry. You are SO strong to walk through that hell and still say no to that bastard. Sending you huge hugs from France!

      • Thank you. My heart has been handed from the abuse but something with my daughters death took that out of me. I’m on medicine. But it still hurts of course. I believe in God and Heaven. I have gotten sweet things from my daughter. One morning I woke up when I heard her say Mom. Another my sister had said she dreamed I was in a boat with her and we were both smiling and laughing. Unknown to my sister I had bought a pretty canoe to sit on a shelve. I just have to see things differently now and remember all the sweet times.

        • I don’t have the right words for what happened to your daughter. I had a very dear young friend who was like a daughter to me. She either shot herself or someone else did. There is no pain like it and I can’t imagine what it would be for you, bringing the girl into the world and then losing her that way. Big hugs for you. But I’m in awe that you are so clear-minded about your X.

      • Beetle, Oh my god. What you have been through I cannot imagine. Wishing you and your beloved daughter peace. Beetle, I am in awe that you can get out of bed in the morning and just function. Besides that you can empathize with other people here in CN, share your story and offer advice. Thank you so very much. When I read stories like yours and think about other chumps her, ie., Tessie etc., I just wish you all LOVE. I want everything good and happy for you all.

    • I’m sorry about your daughter. I hope your ex finds himself alone with nothing but peanut butter to eat some day.

    • Beetle…. there are no words adequate to describe the sorrow I feel for you and your precious daughter who died. You have my deepest condolences. 😭😭😭

      • Thank you. I was in Marshall’s shopping Saturday night and a sweet song came on and I couldn’t stop crying. Two women came over and one wrapped her arms around me and prayed for me.
        I told her thank you and about my daughters death.
        You will always find a friend to help you out.

    • I’m so very sorry. Words fail me. I hope he finds himself alone, helpless, despairing and no one cares.

      I doubt it will come to that, but at the very least, I hope he loses every penny to people who don’t love him, like him and wouldn’t spit on him if his hair were on fire.

      • Thank you. I can’t believe he turned out the way he has. You would never guess how sweet he was when I married him. That’s a big part why I married him. Everybody thought he was genuine.

    • I am so sorry to read about your daughter’s passing. How very devastating. My condolences.

      I hope you have love and support around you.

    • Beetle, I am so sorry for your daughter’s death, your pain and the horrible situation your ex put you through. Dear God… I can’t imagine the mind that would fight you over her body. That is beyond disgusting. You are my hero of the day for getting through what you’ve been through. I hope your ex rots in Hell.

    • Hugs, Beetle. My heart hurts for you. This is the club no one should belong to. You are so right that losing a child takes something from us, something vital. I can tell you that life changes forever from that moment on. I can also tell you that it is possible to build a good life afterwards. There will be healing, but the new life will be different. There will be tough times, especially around holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries. Those are the times to be especially gentle with yourself. Grieving is like peeling the proverbial onion. We deal with what we can at the moment, then we rest. When we are ready, we peel another layer. It’s a long process.

      I am so sorry her father is being a dick. Sorry to say it’s their natural state. Take care of yourself.

  • Thank you for the response CL and CN! I have much more clarity on the issue. And to think, earlier this morning before he post I was actually reading old emails and daydreaming about how it would work if we got back together.

    Everything you’re all saying is so true. Even the conversation we had seemed somehow strategic on his part. I’ve always spackled it that he gets robotic when we discussed feelings, so it just comes out like buzzwords… but yea, HE GETS ROBOTIC ABOUT FEELING AND SPOUTS BUZZWORDS. I don’t know how much of a 2×4 I actually need.

    To answer a question earlier, yes we are divorced. I filed after going NC and he was reasonable about the whole thing and it went through no issues. To be fair I didn’t make it hard for him, but then again it was a short relationship (relatively speaking) and so we just took our stuff and went home. My attorney advised me that, given that there was nothing to suggest he would be a bad father or endanger our daughter, I would be looking at a costly legal battle to go for more custody at the outset, and I was likely to be rewarded with only a nominal bit more. I chose not to fight.

    So I don’t know that I want to ask to alter the custody arrangement. My daughter is used to things the way they are, and it seems like I would be using her in my own game and unnessarily depriving her of a father that she really loves. I get it that it would show just how remorseful he is (read: he’s not), but I also think there are other factors at play that would make him fight back pretty hard against that. I also genuinely have no concerns with his parenting. From what I know, my daughter is well adjusted and he’s a good dad.

    For the boyfriend. This was the toughest to hear. I was immediately repelled by the insinuation in some of the comments that I was maybe eating cake or had developed “bad habits.” I mean for real, I never asked for this!! But then, I always said the only reason I was dating was because I was 100% done with my ex, and it was my choice. Now I see I was just reacting to the fact that my ex was 100% done. Which is personally disappointing. I am also now seeing in sharp relief what a phantom hypotenuse my ex has been in my present relationship. I have been unintentionally comparing him to the good part of what I had with my ex, and finding my new boyfriend doesn’t measure up. It’s not ok. So I think this is the wake up call that I probably started dating too early, and need to focus on myself again.

    • This is so smart. It’s hard. But if you approach boyfriend honestly, it can be a huge growing experience for both of you. Good for you.

    • Good plan, WTF. What you are experiencing is a classic Hoover maneuver. Been there, resisted that. I think cheaters get nostalgic when they realize that life was easier with their chump, and they look and see that their chump has once again become the strong independent person they initially admired (before systematically reducing them). And hey, they can save money on child support. The best response is no response. You’ll thank yourself the rest of your life.

    • “Now I see I was just reacting to the fact that my ex was 100% done. Which is personally disappointing.”

      It’s a moment of insight and clarity. The fact that you now recognize that dating isn’t the best thing for you right now and that you have to work on YOU and do so is why you are a vein of gold. Sure, you’re going to have to wash some of the grit off but you are the real deal!

      Your ex-husband? Pyrite.

      Besides, you want to be the best you possible for yourself, your daughter and any other future relationship. You are dating him, not promising him a lifetime of fantasy. Better for you both to feel sorrow now than fury later.

      Good luck to you!

    • I think the imaginary hypotenuse is a really good insight. No one can compete with a fantasy and the sparkles of your ex were his hook, his illusion. The truth is the man abused you. He cheated on you while pregnant, and goaded you into a postpartum pick-me dance. Then he gaslighted you and BLAMED you for his abuse. It’s sick. He deserves nothing from you.

      Look, he may actually “feel” sorta feelings for you, or whatever approximate warm fuzzies. But he is someone who can NEVER be trusted with your vulnerability. And that is the the #1 thing we need from a partner — safety.

      Whatever you thought he was, or could be, the disordered shit, the abuse, should eclipse it.

      If the “sparkles” (or narc-les) still shine through? That’s a problem for therapy. Real people don’t compare to sparkles.

    • Oh honey. You Miss the Lie. Again, we’ve all been there.

      I think your picker is healing a bit, in that you picked up the danger signs early on with your boyfriend. One of the dangers now is that when you break up – and I hope you do this, for his sake, quickly – your ex will think you’re opening the door for him to come back into your life.

      So keep it very discreet if you can, and above all, BE READY for a full frontal attack when he knows you are alone and/or vulnerable.

      So now we need to get the newly-single you BULLETPROOF. Some things that will help:

      – Stay busy. Stay occupied. Stay focused.
      – Where are your friends? You need a good network around you of people in real life who have your back.
      – Focus on repairing YOU, and being an amazing mom.
      – Get some professional help from a kickass therapist who will be firmly on YOUR side. Those boundaries need a lot of work.
      – New hobby, new pet, new outfit – new something, anything, to stop you weakening when you feel especially ‘single’.
      – Don’t date. Really, don’t even look. We are talking months of work here, if not a couple of years. It doesn’t grow over (!), and you don’t get cobwebs, and when the time is really right, you will make a much better future choice.

      Thank you Tracy for a magnificent response – a masterclass in what to do when you Miss the Lie.

    • This is my first time here. I chose this thread as my first to read. People, I understand what you are saying, and dont disagree that it would be too risky for her to return to someone who had show such insensitivity and overt betrayal to her, pregnant or not. I imagine all of us her have had that betrayal.
      But her pain about her child is real and to be able to have her family back, speaks to a core pain that a betrayal such as what happened to WTF, and most of us brings. Betrayal carries with it so, so many losses – like a domino effect and at the very end if the fall is that our innocent children suffer, and we suffer to see them suffer.
      I cry so deeply in my heart when my children cry for their daddy. They dont understand why he cant be with us. I cant be honest with them. They have to adjust, grieve, like I do. But it hurts to see them hurt. It hurts more to be away from them when he has them. It hurts so deeply that it could not be what I so deeply wanted and needed it to be. Yes, denial/bargaining , anger, sadness then acceptance are the stages of grief. But grief is not linear. The grief due to what has happened to our children as a result of betrayal can easily pop us back into the denial/bargaining phase.
      All this to say, WTF, I have the deepest compassion to why you were feeling the way you were and I have deep empathy for you. I am glad you have this forum to help move you back from denial/bargaining back to anger and then hopefully soon back to acceptance.
      I just wanted to write to say that It is understandable that you felt that way, please stay on track, see some of the hard words as just helping you move back into acceptance and be proud of yourself for how far you have come. You need never look back!

  • Except for my daughter, if I could go back to the seven year mark of my relationship, if I knew then what I know now, I would have left. He had a “study partner” from a junior college class at our three year mark. I felt something was up…he denied….much later admitted only to being attracted to her. Last October for my 20 year wedding anniversary, I found out he met his soul mate on Craigslist in the Casual Sex ads. I heard “I’ve always been attracted to Asian women but never acted on it because my parents wouldn’t have approved.” From a 53 year old teenager. As I said, but for my daughter I wish I had jumped ship at 3 or 7 year mark. Also, there is NO HEALTHY MARRIAGE FOR YOU TO GO BACK TO. When someone has an affair, it’s like the Death Star blowing up your home planet. You made it to a new planet and are thriving! I think the true gift in this situation is the revelation that you are not ready for your new boyfriend. Work on yourself; do the right, kind, respectful thing by him. If you and he are meant to be, he will be there when you are healed.

    • PS…True story about some close friends of mine:
      On the way to Laura’s wedding, Rob realized much he loved his friend Laura. He said nothing
      to her until after her divorce, two years after the wedding. They have now been married many years and had four children together, who are now in their 20’s. (I needed to hear this story myself today).
      I am now 54 and have been with my Craigslist human shopper for half my life. I am so thankful I have my daughter, but am wishing I had left when College Girl showed up three years in. Hindsight HURTS….wreckonciliation is a siren song to eradicate the pain, but in the end the definition of insanity (doing the same thing and expecting different results) is a great guiding principle.

  • What’s happened is he’s realized like most of these losers do after they’ve destroyed, walked out and abandoned their wife and kids for some younger whore that the grass isn’t greener on the other side. Oh life isn’t great with the 23 year olds? What? You have nothing in common except sex? You’re sick of people making fun of you behind your back because you look ridiculous trying to relive your 20’s and you don’t look like a respectable person/ business man? Oh my oh my how they finally see this. They want to take their break from marriage be free for awhile have some fun sleep with any young whore who they can get while we the chumped has been broken, crying doing everything we can to get back to somewhat the person we used to be and get happy again, then they want to come back and get us back! They try to sell us this life the one we wanted with them before but after they have tarnished their image to us so we can never trust them and to know hey your my back up plan because the new life didn’t work out for me so I guess I’ll take you back. Well thanks but no thanks. Don’t play second fiddle as tempting as it may be. His words mean nothing. He will cheat on you again. He will leave you again for another younger skank. He will wait until your comfortable of course and he thinks he has you in the bag then trust me he will rip your heart out again! I let mine do this a few times and it sucks and sets me back every time! It’s been 3 years and I still have not dated anyone else because I get set back and have to start all over again! Stay in your new life! Do you really want to be with someone knowing you were the plan b second choice to some skanks? It’s hard because you remember the “old” him the one you loved, the intact family life you always wanted but just keep reminding yourself of the pain and misery he caused you because he decided little whores were better than his wife and child!

    • Cathy, ❤️❤️❤️ to you. I am going to copy and read your post every day. I am seven months out from DDay. STBXH moves out in FEB. He has made NO reconciliation overtures whatsoever and it seems like an impossibility to me, but reading posts like yours help ME let go.

        • Velvet, I would guess he still has that fuzzy feeling with the Skank. Give it time, he’ll come sniffing back like the rabid old dog that he is!

      • He will! You can bet on that! But don’t make the same mistakes I did so you only get set back! Stay strong you deserve someone who loves you and wants to spend their life making you happy and will grow old with you not throw you aside when some skank gives them attention! We all do! As Maya Angelou says “ when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time”

  • —Nothing is more attractive to cheaters than someone who not only escaped their evil clutches but is also very clearly happier and healthier without them.

    —Screws up their image management royally if you are obviously thriving in their absence. You were supposed to be a train wreck forever, but there you are with a nice life that you palpably enjoy, and far more than you ever enjoyed life with them.

    —They figure that the discard has nothing to do with ownership. They should both get to discard and get to own you forever. Rocking independent life? Oh, they will be back to try to prove that they own you always.

    —Fucks come and go, but harems are forever. They work hard to keep that pool of current, former, and potential future partner appliances always ready to hop to serve them. One who is clearly getting away might need a little bit of more focused manipulation for a bit, but nbd—she’ll be back in line in a blink.

    —The ones who truly see behind the mask and work to get away and stay away are their enemies forever, and should be destroyed if at all possible.

    Given the progress already made toward exit, I think now it is key to stick with the path and the program. No contact or gray rock, only necessary and factual communication about kiddo, shut down paths that allow messing with you. No chats. Certainly no heart-to-hearts. (Never forget that you are always going to be one heart short of the necessary requirements for those when dealing with him.)

    Definitely concerning that he can still play you so readily. I think those with little ones are especially vulnerable for exactly the reasons you cite: wanting the real family with kids always present.

    But you can’t have a real family with a cheater, and you are a real and complete family without him.

    Realistically, a guy who can’t be faithful during his wife’s pregnancy will not stick with you during any of the challenges that regular life (aging, illness, raising kids, bills, tragedies) brings.

    I vote for honesty with the boyfriend, though I think he should get some input into what happens next in your relationship, especially since he is part of the life of your family, now.

    • Agree with everything you said in your reply, especially:

      —Fucks come and go, but harems are forever. They work hard to keep that pool of current, former, and potential future partner appliances always ready to hop to serve them. One who is clearly getting away might need a little bit of more focused manipulation for a bit, but nbd—she’ll be back in line in a blink.

      I’ve seen this first hand. It’s sad that some in the harem have such low self-esteem and respect for themselves that they allow themselves to be used. My ex went back to an old skank he had been using for years. She’s local, divorced with kids. He fucks her and several other women in town because he has money and they lack respect for themselves. I don’t think any of them know about each other either, but he brilliantly makes them all feel they are special and the only one.

      I ran away once I realized how much I was being deceived. He still hovers regularly, too. I wish he wasn’t a scumbag because when it was great, life felt amazing. Alas, however, it was all a big fake mind fuck and he constantly placed my health at risk because of his infidelity which is unforgivable.

  • What a nice ego trip for the poster’s ex, if she were to leave her current boyfriend and new life for ex…and after she does, guess what? Discard. It will happen again.
    I never wanted to be a part-time parent either. It fucking kills me sending my kid off and then hearing all the stories, from the other house, when he comes back.
    My ex has repeatedly dangled my kid in front of me to keep me from moving on; nevermind he’s remarried to the ho I left him over and they were expecting a child last year that she couldn’t carry to term.
    He rubs all the wonderful family trips in my face, to show me how he’s a “changed man” and I could have had all this glamour and awesomeness of being with him if I’d have just given him one more chance. Bullshit. He ain’t changed-he still texts me nostalgic half apologies that could be considered crossing lines for a married man, even though I am the mother of his kid. He’s making sure he’s stays center in my life, and that I don’t move on and that I regret leaving him. I don’t. I’m glad I quit the bullshit. I’m so thankful for the beauty in my current life and that I never have to go back to that. I asked for space too when deciding if I wanted to go back after divorce. I had a boyfriend after my ex, who I ended up dumping because he was toxic and incompatible with me. I dumped him for me, and not to go back to my ex. I took 2 years to be entirely single, because I didn’t want to rebound into something familiar. He told me he would too. He was remarried less than a year later. I’m thankful he didn’t try as hard as he could to get me back. My ex overlaps relationships-can’t be alone. Sounds like the poster is having commitment issues with her current, and using ex as an excuse to stay in limbo. Don’t eat cake. Dont become your ex. Shit or get….

  • RUN, RUN, RUN TO YOUR THERAPIST FOR A SESSION. DO NOT THROW THE LIFE YOU FOUGHT FOR BE TAKEN OVER AGAIN. I AM SHAKING READING THIS. LIKE AN ALCOHOLIC WATCHING ANOTHER ALCOHOLIC RUIN YEARS OF SOBRIETY DON’T DO IT PLEASE!!!!!

    • ^^Amen to this!!! Emergency session with your therapist, stat. And then to start figuring out why you’re settling with an immature boyfriend who needs any type of mothering-ish caretaking at all from you. You’re at risk right now of derailing all of the years of mighty cheater-free life progress you’ve made. Be extremely careful and get back to business-only Low Contact ASAP. Hugs!

    • WTF, I agree with the all-caps writer. I feel like we are watching a horror movie and you are the heroine and we all are the audience *screaming*: Don’t Go In That Haunted House!!!!

  • Cheaters are expert illusionists!! Whether they are painting the illusion to the affair partner how miserable they are in their marriage to the hateful spouse. OR painting the illusion of how sweet life would be for you if you just take them back. They can’t deal with the reality, so illusions are what they live and die by. PLEASE don’t fall for it, stick to the reality- which is this: he betrayed you in the worst possible way while you were pregnant with his child. That REALITY will never change

  • If you do want to keep your boyfriend make that choice now and never look back. Never be tempted by your ex ever again and be grateful for your boyfriend. If you can’t do that then yes, break up with the boyfriend. If you do choose him don’t bother telling him that you were ever tempted by your ex. You might not mean it that way but he may think he needs to pick me dance and eventually he will grow tired of that and resent you for it.

    Before ex, I was in an abusive yet addictive relationship (we were never officially a couple, he made that very clear) with someone I have referred to for years as “Butthead”. He was highly manipulative and I was very naïve and I was hung up on him for about a year and a half. The real reason I spent a semester abroad was because I knew I needed distance to get over him. In the meantime ex came along. When I got back to college for my senior year ex was a long distance relationship. It was only a couple of months old. Meanwhile Butthead, who I had been hung up on for so long, lived in the room right next door and was up to his old tricks trying to seduce me. For a brief moment one day I was tempted. Then he did something that reminded me of who he really was and I thought of how my then boyfriend was able to make me feel so loved even from halfway across the country. I told Butthead no way (did NOT sleep with him), chose my ex and never looked back. I was never tempted again, even the slightest (and that wasn’t the last time he tried). My mistake was in telling my ex that I had been tempted for that brief moment. I thought I was telling him how great he was. It was because of him that I was finally able to throw off the shackles of Butthead and move on. In my mind there was no pick me dance. Nobody was better than ex. I thought that is what I was telling him. I called him my prince for years. Ex perceived it differently. He thought my brief moment of temptation meant there was competition. Apparently he thought he did need to pick me dance and apparently he was dancing for years. I thought he was good to me because he loved me but he was good to me because he thought he had to fight for me. Evidently he thought I had spent our 25 years together pining for Butthead even though I rarely mentioned him and if I did it was in derogatory terms and Ex was my prince for rescuing me from a bad situation. My first clue about ex’s perception of this was a couple of years before DDay when he suddenly wanted butt sex and I refused. He complained “you did it for Butthead”. Huh? I never did that for Butthead even though he had wanted it too. After DDay he said “I wish I hadn’t been so nice to you, maybe then I would have gotten better out of you like Butthead did”. Huh? He complained that he had to wear condoms for a number of years but butthead got condom free sex. Also not true, Butthead had to wear them too and complained incessantly about it. I regret ever telling ex I had been tempted in that moment or even telling him that Butthead had ever existed at all. Our marriage might have ended the same way, but ex would not have been able to use it as justification for his own shitty behavior.

  • BTW, do not tell ex that you are or have split up with your boyfriend. That will seem like an opening to the ex.

    It will be hard because if/when you split up with your boyfriend, you will feel even more vulnerable heightening the risk of going back to your ex-husband. You need to line up some very solid support to navigate these emotional rapids. Might consider a few sessions with a therapist to hold your hand through all this. Good luck!

  • Please I beg of you NOT to let him back in your life. I remember the last wreckoncilation with Cheaterturd, he literally stared me in the eye and went into an hour long speech about how he was ready to be the man I needed, had learned from his mistakes, wanted to be worthy of me and would prove to the world he was changed, he loved me and only me. I mean I was buying this “act” as he was the most convincing liar you ever met. Imagine how crushed I was to learn mere HOURS later he was arranging a sex hook up with one of the women he meet on a sex hook up site. I shouldn’t have been surprised at this point but he really almost had me convinced. They are expert liars, master manipulators, they do not change. RUN LIKE HE IS TRYING TO MURDER YOU (because he is)!

  • WTF Why now,

    Chump lady suggested, “Give me full-custody of our daughter. You get standard visitation of every-other-weekend.”

    Brilliant. I couldn’t agree more. See if he is willing to do right by you, and do what is best for your daughter.

    After that, Chump lady suggested “You tell your boyfriend you’re breaking up with him. Because you respect him too much to be a cake eater with his heart. And you’re not ready for a good partner. You need to work on yourself some more. Because you’re having issues with discernment.”

    I respectfully disagree with this. Here’s why:

    1) Your ex has just offered you the thing that is your biggest fantasy, full time with your daughter. Of course that offer is tempting, even if he’s attached to it. That doesn’t mean that you have discernment issues, it means that you recognize your own desires and are open to ideas that can help you achieve them. If you had discernment issues, you’d have agreed immediately and let your ex moved in with you that night.

    One of the biggest problems with getting over being chumped is that as a chump, we often put the needs of others before our own needs. That is right and proper when it comes to children, because that’s our job as parents. But learning to recognize our own needs is a big part of the transition from chump to mighty. You know just what you want, full time daughter, and were just offered it. If you were still a chump, you’d make some argument like, “I don’t trust my ex anymore, but I’m taking him back because it’s best for my daughter.” You didn’t go there at all, which shows how far you’ve come.

    2) We are all imperfect human beings. Well, some more than others (like your ex). Ex lied and cheated on his pregnant wife. That’s very bad, you should run away, and you did. Good for you. Your nice boyfriend has some career uncertainty and immaturity issues – you should stay with him or leave him based on his character and those issues, not because your ex opened a can of worms. And you clearly still have some work to do on really getting who your ex is, based on those feelings you mentioned in the letter. But you can do that work while dating him, as long as you’re honest about it. One of the standard chump nation dictums is that you should fix your picker before dating again, but for some people (myself and CKoL, for example) it is easier to heal ourselves when dating or in a relationship with someone nice than while single, and if that describes you, there’s no reason to compromise your healing process by dumping a nice boyfriend.

    My recommendation is to ask ex for full custody, with the explanation that you need to figure out whether it’s the full time with your daughter you crave, or having your old family back together. That’s probably the best way to spin it to him to get him to agree. Then, sit down with nice boyfriend, and have a long deep discussion about your feelings about ex, him, and daughter. If the two of you come to the conclusion that the best solution is to continue dating while he works on his immaturity and employment issues, and you work on your feelings about ex, that would be a great outcome.

    You may also find that if nice bf finds that your ex is starting to creep back into the picture, he may decide to man up, stabilize his work situation, be less immature, and work towards deepening your relationship. Or he might get scared away and back off. Either result will reveal more about his character, and help you make the best decision for the future.

    My only worry is that by having an honest discussion with your boyfriend, you’ll be triangulating him and your ex, and as we all know, that’s not something that good people do. That said, you’re not married to him, and the whole point of dating is that it is kind of an open ended pick-me dance where you and the other party are deciding whether the two of you are right for each other. In that circumstance, triangulation is kind of all right, a single person can casually date multiple people to see who is a good fit, but should be honest and open with all of them.

    Finally, about that part of you that is entertaining taking your ex back. Look at the paragraph you wrote. Every sentence you use to support the argument begins with “He said …” All the evidence you have is spoken words from him, a demonstrated liar and cheater. If there should be ANY chance at reconciliation, you should demand to see actions. not just hear words. If he’s really a unicorn, he will wait you out, he’ll do what you ask, and continue to work for reconciliation. My strong suspicion is that when it comes down to it, he’ll bail on the actions, and you’ll end up feeling stupid and weak for having allowed a glimmer of hope to grow in your thoughts.

    Good luck. And remember that all your choices are about helping you and your daughter have full, wonderful lives.

    Hugs. Strength. Peace.
    aeronaut

  • Dear WTF,
    I was married for many years and have been divorced for almost 5 years. It took me a very long time to get divorced because of all the wreckonciliation attempts and continued lying on my XH’s part. Fortunately, our children are all adults now and my XH lives on the opposite coast. I have no idea who he is with and I have always told the children not to tell me anything about him. I am pretty good at NC.
    But he tries to get me back once a year by email. He expresses minimal remorse and reminds me of the life we built together, our vows and promises, our now forgotten plans for the future. Most recently, our house (which had to be sold due to the divorce) came back on the market and he wanted us to buy it again and be a family again. No phone calls or in-person visit or anything to plead his case. Just emails that I have filtered out but still check in case they have to do with the kids or his alimony payments.
    I have learned that if I respond briefly and say only, “I hear you, or I’ll think about it” he love-bombs me a little more. By email. I have learned that he is not serious about me and he does not love me. So I have printed the words, “Actions speak louder than words” on cards all over my house and life. And guess what? It never goes any further. He ghosts me then. He just needed some kibble. I sometimes laugh out loud as I look online after getting one of these fake “trying to get me back notices” and Surprise! He’s back on match.com, trying to find someone new. I’ve been contacted because someone else has dumped him! I think it actually rebuilds his confidence, thinking I am still out there waiting and hoping he’ll come back. I’m not. I accept that I’ll have to see him again for any weddings or graduations. But he doesn’t want me back. He never valued what he had. He won’t change but I have.

  • 7 years, huh.

    Yah, sure, take him back and watch it be 27 YEARS GONE when you find out the has been covertly boinking every sweet young thang at work and he announces you are the problem with his life and you are a horrible This and a horrible That. Watch him waste your entire life instead of just the early days.

    There are lots of stories here about the Chump who took back the cheater with promises and apologies only to have it all blow up again with proclamations of how YOU are so inadequate that you caused it all to happen. I took back my cheater, only to have it blow up in spectacular fashion 9 years after OW#1.

    He has shown you he is a snake, don’t pick him up again so he can bite you. It makes you the fool who picked up the snake, because it will never ever be his fault. He is simply a stupid snake.

    NO!!!!

    Please embrace the life you have created from the ashes and don’t let this turd anywhere near it.

  • Been there, done that, bought the Tshirt. I wreckonciled once with Whiny Passive Aggressive Man-Child. Suddenly he was there, weeping with shame and remorse, promising me everything I had dreamed of, giving me back the old life from which I had been exiled.

    I fell for it.

    Don’t make the same mistake. Within six months we were going through a kind of mini-version of the old break-up all over again. At some point (he had deliberately left the timeline vague) I realized how humiliatingly close his blow-up with Schmoopie and his first romantic ovetures to me actually were. He didn’t want me, really–he just didn’t want to be alone.

    And I think there was a kind of ego-investment in “Can I get her back?” Once he’d proved that to himself, my value started to plummet right back down.

    Nothing beats the bitterness of spackling and pretending that second time around, while this little voice you are trying so hard to smother says, “Yes, it’s happening AGAIN.”

    D-Day 2 I remember saying, “Why didn’t you just leave me alone last year?” I couldn’t believe that all his words and tears and promises had added up to exactly nothing. I said, “Who is it this time?” and before he could stop himself HE SMIRKED. “I haven’t done anything,” he said primly, but being one of those MORAL NICE GUY cheaters all that meant was he was still at the stage of the “emotional affair.” You know, thinking about someone else all the time, devaluing me, picking fights, moping, witholding sex, under his bullshit delusion that that makes him somehow better than if they had actually fucked.

    I will never forget that smirk.

    When you suddenly hear from your ex “out of the blue”? Chances are it just means they’ve just split up with latest Schmoopie.

    Don’t put yourself and your daughter through that. Stay MIGHTY!

    • “I haven’t done anything,” he said primly, but being one of those MORAL NICE GUY cheaters all that meant was he was still at the stage of the “emotional affair.” You know, thinking about someone else all the time, devaluing me, picking fights, moping, witholding sex, under his bullshit delusion that that makes him somehow better than if they had actually fucked.

      I will never forget that smirk.”

      I could have written this, word for word, about Jackass. Exactly the same guy.

  • “I told him, excuse me for being cynical, but I think he just realized that his other options didn’t pan out the way he wanted.”

    You nailed it! Write it on your bathroom mirror if you must, use it as your wallpaper on your computer and phone – but never, ever dismiss that out of hand.

    He cheated and left when you were pregnant. He didn’t stop cheating on you when you two had an infant, you found out about it.

    He doesn’t want you, he wants the fantastic life you have built since then for yourself and your daughter.

    I would consider discussing what happened with your boyfriend because he deserves to know what happened, that you were tempted (he IS the father of your child and I bet you had dizzying fantasies of a happy first/only marriage family at birthdays, vacations, etc.) and then I would seek therapy for myself. To sort through your issues and be a better person and parent. Yes, even a partner if that is in the cards.

  • He’s a liar. You know what liars do? They lie. They lie every time their mouth moves. Why would you EVER give him a second opportunity to hurt you again?

    Don’t do this. For the love of God, your child, your sanity, and your self-respect … don’t do this. NEVER give someone a 2nd chance to betray you and destroy your life.

  • Of course he wants back in. You have an awesome house in an awesome neighborhood, of course Cheaters want access to that and live rent free.

    He’s with your daughter so much now to 1) Eat Cake (as CL started) and 2) he’s already told you – “nobody else good has come along”. You watch how quickly he drops your daughter and visitation once he secures a TRUE, new permanent victim. In order to fully lock up a new victim, he won’t be able to be bothered with little kids and their needs. And then you’ll have her 100% (or very close), anyway.

  • Funny, just recently I was thinking, “I wonder when he will be back?” because he’s run out of money or new exciting toys or shoulders to cry on. Not because we had a relationship, anything but not that would bring him back. I’m just sorry when I have to run into him occasionally. Blech, you know better. Where’s that list of the little indignaties he pit you through on a daily, if not hourly basis? Read it or make it now.

    I would like to say, though, be careful of using your child as a tool. Even if you are 100% pure (and I don’t mistrust you but there’s ten ways to see everything), he could use your child to get at you. Really work that through before you put it out there at all, for your child’s sake.

    You had feelings for a reptile. We do it. Now keep on moving. And full disclosure for your new guy. And while you are at it, maybe a good hard look at him- you already picked one cheater.

  • Near the end of my rope with the marriage, x presented himself as husband 2.0, personality changed within 24 hours to be the husband I needed, helpful and able to have actual conversations rather than demands and rages. This was a huge change from his normal channel-surfing personality (rage and self pity, I didn’t rate charm anymore by then). I watched but waited to verify. Sure enough, it was just another ploy attempting to get me to sign off on a home equity loan. But the sad sausage backfired, because I saw that he could treat me well for 10 days in a row, and realized that for several years he just didn’t care about me or our marriage enough to make the effort.

    Good job seeing through your own desires and stopping your own spackling. Good luck moving ahead with your family.

  • As someone who’s been in therapy for years, trust me when I say: it takes WAY MORE than a year and a half to change yourself with therapy. Question: is he still in therapy? Probably not, but on the off chance he is, suggest you have a joint session with the therapist and air all your concerns and observe his reactions (and his therapists, because his therapist, although unbiased, is primarily concerned for his patient, not you.).
    Also, if you haven’t tried therapy, you should. This is a great topic to discuss: Why am I still in love with someone who doesn’t deserve to sniff the tire tracks of the truck that takes my clothes to the laundry? I realize you have a child with this person and that is more than just a logistical bond.
    Give yourself time. It’s only been 2 days. You told him you needed time and he only waited 2 DAYS before reaching out to you. Do you know who also does that? Salesmen! (Don’t let them walk out of the store to think about it! Get them to buy now!)
    If you can’t give yourself time to decide, give it to yourself for your child. Kids don’t need the drama of having daddy move out, to move back in, to move out again…. And you might be thinking: but he only had one GF. That you know of. And he messed around while you were pregnant? Your ex isn’t husband material, he’s a cliche.
    Keep breathing and best of luck to you.

  • “it’s not okay to self medicate with other people.” This is gold. I wonder what percentage of relationships are based on anything but this. Honestly, I believe most people are just looking for a soft place to land.

    Yeah, letter writer needs to allow boyfriend to go free – he is still maturing, she needs to fix her picker, 3 year-old needs some stability with just her and her mom.

  • WTF, I think you just invented a new thing here at CN: the phantom hypotenuse: “I am also now seeing in sharp relief what a phantom hypotenuse my ex has been in my present relationship.” So this little boundary violation really showed you about where you are, overall. It’s why I didn’t date for 2 full years after Jackass decamped, although we weren’t married and were past the point of kids. I had to get to the point where I wouldn’t WANT him back, for any reason.

    No phantom hypotenuse!

  • It’s a game. You’re always supposed to be the loser. If you look content without them, then it’s their job to put you in your “place”. Which is on your knees, in tears.

    Model Mighty for your child. Mightiness means being solid with yourself solo.

    I don’t know about giving up the boyfriend. If you haven’t had serious conversations about your future together, and you feel he’s keeping a wall up between you and your X, maybe it’s ok for today. It’s just a question of fairness. He has a right to know that you don’t feel as confident in this relationship as he may feel.

  • Excuse me but how much could this sad sausage have been through during a measly two years of therapy ?! A personality disordered person needs years of counseling with a talented counselor who skillfully calls them on their sh*t ,like Dr. George Simon would.

    Please don’t cave to this manipulator.

  • WTF,
    I am presuming that your X clearly knows that you have had a new boyfriend for the last year??? And you have never indicated or made comments to the X about having any dissatisfaction with this new man???
    If this is the case:
    1. Your X still has the cheater mentality because he sees absolutely nothing wrong with trying to snatch a woman (you) away from another man that you are in a current relationship with…AND he has the audacity to think you might be game for this too. He has ZERO respect for you and your boyfriend.
    2. Your X feels entitled. Because you two have a little girl, he thinks that this fact should override any consideration for the new life you struggled to rebuild…that you should just drop everything because HE wants you to…like he still owns you because you share a daughter.
    3. He now makes promises…but in the last two years, where were the ACTIONS that clearly showed his authentic change and restitution to you to indicate that those promises have some solid basis?
    4. Tell him that it will be interesting to see what his character will look like five years from now…and, if you are not still with someone else, then you and he might talk about it THEN.
    5. Do not be flattered that he wants you back as plan B. Apparently, you became plan B once the shiny wore off, because cheating was higher on the top of his list than you or the baby. This is NO compliment coming from a man like him, since all it really means is that he has no one else to boink for the time being…or maybe he got burned (who cares) or misses having a full time appliance. See how many women he continues to cycle through during the next five years. Or not.
    6. Keep moving forward…keep your house and friends…keep improving the new you and loving your daughter. That son of a bitch can just damn well wait if he is REALLY serious and thinks you worth it.

    Classic Hoovering tactic. Interesting how that works…but not surprising.

  • WTF, you cannot be sure he is sorry! He can be telling you anything for his own selfish reasons and you have no way or knowing the real reason. I know two different ladies whose husband are cheaters. Both of these guys went back home and they took them back. One guy came back because he and his OW he was cheating with broke up. The other guy went back because he said he couldn’t afford to support two households. It is anyone guess what these two told their wives. You have no way of knowing if he has another reason he won’t reveal. You have made a new life for yourself. Think about how you feel if this happens again. The fact he did this while you were pregnant and with a new born speaks,volumes. You said the baby was nine months old when you found out. That tells me it would still be going on today had you not discovered it. Some of the ladies on this thread lived with cheating and in the dark for 20, 30, and some 40 years. I hope that is not what you want for your life.

  • A few thoughts,

    1. There are a few comments on here that reek of envy. Basically, this guy came crawling back and handed her the power, his nuts in a bag. It’s BETTER than the apology that so many have craved and never gotten. Of course she shouldn’t take him back (why buy back the damaged fruit you already returned, when the man supermarket is full of shiny man apples? You already have the delicious pie that is your daughter.). I see a few on here who are very eager to call you a cake eater for dating whoever you want (even if he’s imperfect … personally I think you should play the field and enjoy it) AND getting the crawl back from Fucktard. It’s jealously. Disregard.

    2. String along the conversation and see what you can get. Say, move within walking distance of my house for the benefit of our daughter. See how seriously he takes that. Don’t give him any answers. Keep the power. Revel in it.

    • Best to go no contact. I don’t think we chumps are very good at holding power over others. That’s playing with fire and we tend to get burned. Our mighty comes from taking control of our own lives and making something of that, not from having power over others.

      As for the boyfriend, I don’t think she has done him any foul at this point. I don’t know what their level of commitment was, but whatever it was she needs to assess whether or not that level is still appropriate. If not she may need to talk to her boyfriend about that and what they both want out of the relationship at this time. That might not mean breaking up depending on the circumstances.

    • Not jealousy – I think sadness, maybe, at their discard. It’s easy to say, ‘I wish they had come back begging,’ but deep down I don’t think anyone really wants this.

      Also, playing the field is one thing, but medicating with people is another. Cake eating is an easy habit to acquire, and I think it’s a good warning to all of us.

      Forgive me for saying this, but you sound like a man! And perhaps a man who believes women see everything in terms of a self-seeking manipulative exchange of power. I am sorry if this has been your experience of women, but it’s not true of all of us, despite what they say on the MGTOW websites.

      Stringing along the conversation to see what you can get is a really unwholesome and exploitative approach that would reduce WTF to the pathetic level of her cheater. No one here thinks that’s a good idea.

    • 1. Giving someone a packet of lies because you want something from them is not “giving them the power.” It’s just manipulating them so that you get what you want. Letting him mess with her head and heart isn’t going to help her at all.

      2. I’d suggest getting better custody and child support if she wants something from this – having him move next door would give him too much access to her life.

      • He’s not actually going to move nearby. This guy is going to change his mind by next week. I’m saying set a high requirement, and consider it an intelligent, chump-building win when he fails to deliver (exactly as predicted).

        This guy isn’t that bright, thus he’s playable. She’s got another 15 years of dealing with him ahead of her no matter what she does right now. Start building up power and wins and go for his assets. Show him what he’s dealing with.

        Lola – I’m a woman in my 30s, raised by a chump from my earliest memories, and you are right – I absolutely assess the world like a man.

        OP – enjoy the boyfriend. Tell him what your ex is up to, but shut down any guilt you feel. It’s ok to date him even if you know he’s not future husband material. Enjoy the sex and dinners and companionship.

  • Immediately after the settlement agreement was signed he sad sausaged me with, I think about you all the time.

    A year later i heard he cried all the time and was severly depressed.

    In fact I have no doubt he thinks about the independence he lost. The family get togethers and holidays I put love and thought into. The years of memories we shared and the forgiveness.

    And the shame is his cross to bear for the rest of his life as far as I’m Concerned.

    What an affair says is this: I am not loyal, respectful, or kind. I have the ability to lie, cheat, spend marital money on others, and expose My spouse to STD’s. THats not immaturity; it’s a lack of values and a character disorder.

    THe devil you know is the DEVIL.

    • AMEN above and BLESS YOU FOR SHARING!
      Chump Lady, what about a “What An Affair Says” column? 10,000 Pyramid, Infidelity Version? It helps me immensely to listen to “what an affair says” when that Chump fog of denial and mindfuck starts gathering…

  • Yeh. My xWw texted me, “I done you wrong. Would you take me back”? Sent the same text 50 minutes later. Crickets. (Both times)

    I laughed to myself and thought, No Thanks, I’m better off without you. I have to keep reminding myself of her actions in the final days before she abandoned me. She lorded over me self confident of her new tru wuv while I begged her on my knees to come back. I prematurely offered her the gift of R-Twice!. Thank God in the heavens she turned me down.

    Once I learned of her need for secrecy/control/Power, her lies and manipulation plus the sick thrills of her covert activities, I could fathom that the game lost all attraction for her once exposed. CL endoctrinated me with the why’s of crazy. I had no idea she was that fucked up. My eyes were opened and it became impossible to ‘un-see’ the real her.

    I was somewhat lucky because we worked out a deal of sorts that benefits me. My circle of friends and family rallied around me and upheld me to get some distance via NC. ANOTHER THANK YOU GOD for helping me to master NC over the past 10 months. I never want to do the pick me nightmare again. I can’t survive that again.

    When I was packing my things I found further evidence of the long term nature of her double life which only served to Steele my jolt into reality. Like so many here and on SI, I began to see the futility and pain involved in wreckoncilliation. I don’t want her back. Nothing to work with. Period. I’m definitely better off alone. And No Way In Hell am I ready for ‘a relationship’. I’ve got nothing to offer. I want to see Marcus Lazarus rise again from the dead. I think I’ll fall head over heels with me this segment of my life.

  • Don’t fall for it. You are the backup plan since the relationship with his schmoopie failed. You are the second place finisher. You are the leftover choice. Until the next one comes along. He is not sorry he cheated and hurt you. If he was, he would have stopped. H
    e is sorry he lost his family and wants it back since schmoopie isn;t a choice. Ask yourself this….would he be asking you this if he the affair became a successfull relationship? You bet your ass he wouldnt!!!!

    • Exactly Gray. What he wants back isn’t an intact family. He wants to reap the benefits of what she accomplished.

      Cheaters know exactly what we want; we married them. And he throws in the hook that he’s dated and matured. No, he couldn’t duplicate what he threw away.

      A man who gives a fuck about his child respects their mother. He abandoned her when she needed him the most. It two years? Fuck him, he’s an abuser and user.

  • Derail: I just had an ex reach out to me out of nowhere after almost twenty years. I cc’d his wife in my response. On a scale of Hitler to Hitler Who Steals Other People’s Lunches from the Office Fridge Then Returns the Sandwich With a Single Bite Taken Out of It, how terrible am I? I know it’s a drama diva move, but I feel in my gut that if I had only blocked him, he would have started “reaching out” in other channels and like his wife deserved to know, even if my gut is way the heck off and it’s totally innocent.

    I have no interest in speaking to him, even as a friend. He cheated on me, and I am past angry… just sad I wasted both of our time by trying to make it work.

    • Aunt Podger, I love you. But you knew that already.

      Well done. Light touchpaper, and retire.

  • Years ago, a friend, who was a recovering alcoholic told me a story. Her ex and her were both alcoholics. She got sober first and left him eventually. About a year after she left, he went into a program and got clean. Several months later, he showed up, asking her to reunite. She said to me she wouldn’t because she knew he hadn’t really changed. I asked her how she knew and she said, “If he’d changed, he would understand why we can’t reunite, makes his amends, and want to move on to a healthy fresh start.”

  • CL was drop dead serious when she said that WTF needed to break up with her BF based on her response to her XHs hoovering. That is a really bold and I see why she gave that advise..I would encourage WTF to consider the reason CL said that but I would temper my response a bit.

    Chumps dont choose this shit, we simply do the best we can in it.
    Most of us dreamed that the cheater would come to their senses, repent, return and make it all better.

    It would be so disorienting to have the person who you loved and hoped better from to come around and say this stuff…I dont blame anyone for having a moment of bewilderment.

    For me, the issue is how long and seriously did she consider this? Was it a moment where a thousand things went through her mind? I think it is good to make a serious adult, reasoned, unflappable decision that such foolhardiness is totally out of the question and boundaries need to go UP UP UP

    This is what his next version of hoovering looks like, duly noted.

    When I started dating my now husband, I could tell he was REALLY hurt by his divorce and he had a very open and tender heart towards me and I felt from the very beginning that I needed to be very respectful to not hurt or toy with him…that is ideally how we should treat everyone. WTFs BF deserves to be treated with consideration and respect and to know what sort of relationship he is in, but she can process this with him in a healthy way

  • WTF – of course he wants your badass awesome back! He ain’t got none for himself. I’d call him a cunt but it looks like he lacks the depth, and the warmth! Pay him no mind and keep rocking you ❤️❤️❤️❤️ To you and your strength. Now drove away from his bull-shit like “toodle loo motherfucker!”
    It’s our time fuckers xoxo

  • He hasn’t changed one bit. A decent man doesn’t send love letters to another man’s woman, ex or no ex. He’s trying to get you to cheat on your current bf. I don’t think you need something like this in your life.

  • Dear WTF

    I understand that you may still be connected to the outcome of one solid family where your daughter and her father all live under the same roof & where respect and trust is central to your relationship.

    Most, it would appear, will believe the odds are so low or non existent, but I sense you are feeling very torn. My adage is to sit tight for a while with no clear decision or plan, other than to keep the current access arrangements the same with your X. Yes he has apologised but that is only a minute part of the picture. He gets 1point only.

    Next, he wants you back, immediately. This is minus 1point as he should realise that this cannot happen without a considerable amount of time passing by. I’ll throw in say 2yrs of courtship and proving he can put you and his daughter first. (Ie. not entitled without hard, hard, work from him)

    I believe this will flush out the truth for you. The moment you get a whiff of his immaturity & perhaps total bullshit artistry you will have your answer.

    So, put tight boundaries on him earning his way back.

    I do hope this helps you to not feel pressured into making a hasty decision right now, other than to demand impeccable treatment from him and any other person for that matter as you are no doormat.

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