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UBT: ‘I hold no animosity for you’

Dear Chump Lady,

I am a chump. I was married for two and a half years before I grew strong enough to leave. After multiple DDays and therapy, I finally got out. Last November, my then-husband became very sick while we were on vacation and I took him to the ER. He was in ICU for a terrible infection and I almost lost him. Twelve hospital days and two surgeries later, we returned home. It took less than two months for me to discover he was fucking my “best friend.” He never came clean about how long it had been going on, or what had really transpired. I pick-me danced and pleaded again, until the work I started to do on myself started to pay off. I kicked him out in March and our divorce was finalized almost one month ago.

I have since earned a promotion, sold my condo I owned before we were married and will pay off the mortgage to our once shared marital home. I turned 30. I exercise, I spend time with friends and I booked a vacation. Read: on paper I am doing awesome.

Yet, I did a really stupid Chump move. I’ve had nightmares and intrusive thoughts of him. Just trying to work itself out in my head- how could I have almost lost him in November to only find out two months later he was cheating on me. I have been trying to make sense of the unfairness through my lenses. I made the chump move of breaking no-contact two days ago and sent him an email. This is what I received in return.

I struggled with how or even if to respond to you. I hold no animosity for you, I actually still care very dearly about you and your well being. I think of that time in the hopsital often. I realized I never saw the side you saw, and can’t imagine how unsettling and scary it must have been. I still will never forget what you did for me. Even in a macro sense I will never forget what you did for me as a person, the things I’ve faced because of you. All the experiences, spanning the range of good and bad. All these negative things I’ve done have hurt you, in ways I probably will never truly grasp. I hope you can understand that you were loved, and still are. That actions don’t always reflect the sincerity of love a person feels. But It does break the trust others have in that love. I broke that, I know very well. I absolutely hate that I am capable of hurting someone so deeply, especially someone I know I valued as much as you.

You deserve love. From yourself and love from someone that will continue to do things that protect and foster that love SlinkyRacoon. You are intelligent, beautiful and strong as hell. I know you will come out from my mistakes a healthier and stronger woman. I hope the best for you SlinkyRacoon. I mean that.”

After reading this, I was finally able to see something. He is a very unhealthy person, and the sense I have been trying to make of his actions will never, ever, make sense to me. Care to fire this one through the UBT? Because, even though I can logically see the errors in his thinking, the heart wants what it wants, and part of me is still stupidly holding onto the fact that I was graced with him saying he “still loves me.”



Dear Slinky,

Boy nothing says “Thank you for saving my life” like fucking your best friend. As wife appliances go, you’re top of the line — like the SubZero wife appliance of appliances.

I’m sorry, Slinky — marriage is not two solid years of therapy, punctuated by trauma and betrayal. Marriage is friendship, sex, and arguing over the TV flipper. People who love you ACT like it. There’s constancy and respect. What you’re describing is someone who’s just escaped a hostage situation.

Google trauma bonds and get back on the No Contact wagon. You can’t reason with someone like this, and you do NOT want his “love”. The only Universal Bullshit Translation you need here is substituting the word “love” for “use.” You’re of USE to him, that’s it. So are lots of people. You’re all interchangeable. There’s just more useful and less useful.

That’s the crux of it, but that’s probably not the UBT you were expecting, so…

I struggled with how or even if to respond to you.

Who are you again? Were we married?

I hold no animosity for you, I actually still care very dearly about you and your well being.

I hold no animosity. Just staggering ingratitude. I actually still care very dearly that you could be of future use to me. Thanks for being in touch!

I think of that time in the hospital often.

I actually never think of it. You can’t pull the IVs from my veins fast enough before I’m off fucking strange. I don’t like to think of my mortality. Vulnerability is for other people — prey.

I realized I never saw the side you saw,

You saw that side? Forget you saw that side. People who see that side send summons, fathers with shotguns, and police cruisers.

I must do better to hide that side. Damn.

and can’t imagine how unsettling and scary it must have been.

You’ve always been prone to hysteria.

I still will never forget what you did for me.

You’re still of use? Even after you saw The Side? Winning!

Even in a macro sense I will never forget what you did for me as a person,

At a view from 10,000 feet you’re just a person. A speck really. And if I got a magnifying glass and a ray of sunshine I could incinerate you. #macrosense

the things I’ve faced because of you.

Yes, the way I bravely faced my mortality by fucking your best friend.

You bring that out in me. Thank you.

All the experiences, spanning the range of good and bad. All these negative things I’ve done have hurt you, in ways I probably will never truly grasp.

And isn’t that the sort of partner you want? Someone incapable of comprehending their heinous behavior?

I hope you can understand that you were loved, and still are.

You were of use — and still are!

That actions don’t always reflect the sincerity of love a person feels.

There are so many ways to say “I love you.” Set your cat on fire! Poison a well! Embezzle pension funds! All just expressions of my deep affinity for you.


But It does break the trust others have in that love.

Which is why I need a steady supply of new chumps.

I broke that, I know very well.

You should see my legal bills.

I absolutely hate that I am capable of hurting someone so deeply, especially someone I know I valued as much as you.

I hate hurting you so much that I abused you for two solid years, never apologized, fucked your best friend, and left you to clean up my chaos.

That’s how much I value you!

You deserve love. From yourself and love from someone that will continue to do things that protect and foster that love SlinkyRacoon.

This is me being Noble. I can maintain this impression management for approximately five minutes, and then I need a fainting sofa. You deserve love, however if you’re still of use to me, and someone actually loves you? I’ll isolate you, tear them down, and rage — until you serve me again.

Because I CARE, Slinky.

You are intelligent, beautiful and strong as hell.

Only Grade A kibble for me.

I know you will come out from my mistakes a healthier and stronger woman. I hope the best for you SlinkyRacoon. I mean that.

I’m not a piece of shit, this is a growth exercise. For you. You’re welcome.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Basically, he’s incapable of loving anyone. “Love” is simply “valuing how someone benefits you.” So you were of benefit to him, and even considering how things ended you were still generally more Beneficial than Not Beneficial to him, on a macro level, so sure – he ‘loves’ you. He regrets that his actions had some consequences that lessened how much you benefited him, but hey, shit happens.

    Blah, blah, blah, he wishes you well (as he currently sees no benefit to you doing badly) blahblahblah, some sweet-sounding platitudes he got from a facebook forward with a picture of a sunset on it. He’s like a wire hanger monkey that you’ve gotten attached to because you were fooled into thinking it was the real thing – that’s all.

  • Slinky,

    You called yourself stupid twice and used chump in a way that seemed disparaging to me once — and your letter was pretty brief.

    I don’t see stupid. I see deceived, manipulated, gaslighted, betrayed, traumatized, and exploited, by two people you should have been able to trust. None of those things boils down to anything negative about you.

    When someone else is cruel and hurtful to you, it’s not your fault. His character failure is not your flaw, and marrying him isn’t a thing you did wrong. Trying therapy before you realized it wouldn’t work isn’t a thing you did wrong. Hindsight shows it was a waste of energy, sure, but it was the greatness of you that tried, not a weakness.

    We all tend to internalize our abusers’ harmful perceptions of us without even realizing we are doing it. Here’s a new narrative for you.

    “I made mistakes I wouldn’t make today because I have a good heart and strong ethics and love and hope. It is excoriatingly painful to go through this, but I’m learning new ways to see manipulators because of the pain, which will help me avoid going through this again. I feel stupid, but I know that’s not true. I’m just hurting and grieving the dream that failed and wishing things were different. But, they’re not. He’s not. She’s not. They’re this. And that’s why I’m working through it and letting it all go.”

    • Wow. I am saving this message, printing it, and going to read it every day. Thank you.

    • Thank you for affirming what us chumps should know but continually doubt. I really needed this today.

    • Thank you, friends! As always, these things I share are gifts others give/gave me when I needed them. We all keep paying them forward and that helps the healing and learning continue on. I love learning from all of you, too. Even after all these years, I still learn more. Bravo Chumptopia!

    • Thank you, Amiisfree. I have saved this message to read over for myself as well. I know cognitively that this is true for myself, but my heart still blames me. Seeing this in words really helps.

  • He vomited some words at you. They don’t mean anything. Gold star for him!!!

    Best to move on. Such a good friend to take your piece of shit cheater/cluster B man child off your hands.

    You have the whole world in front of you! Take your time and look at why you married this guy. He sounds like a parasite- you kick ass!

    Find your equal. Don’t save anyone and leave the sparkly people to themselves.
    It only took me 50 years to learn this lesson – so don’t be hard on yourself!

  • Read his response. Laughed. Me me me more me and than me myself and I.
    I love your condo. Sight unseen.

    • His response makes absolutely no sense. They are so good at spewing crazy bullshit with such conviction that you spend too much time trying to make sense of the nonsensical. Fuckers, fuckers all of them.

      • “I hold no animosity.”
        Full stop.
        He implies he has some reason to feel animosity or anger or hate toward you?
        For what? Finding out that he was cheating.
        So ridiculous.
        Yet I know that I myself – in the state of utter shock after D-day –actually believed some of the rationalizations and BS my cheating husband uttered.
        It’s called blame-shifting and its all part of the cheaters’ delusion that someone/something else made them behave badly.
        Remember, you may wish you had done things differently in your marriage, but you didn’t shag his best friend to “figure it out.”
        Adults talk about and solve problems, or end marriages and then start dating.
        Don’t believe the BS Slinky R.

        • Slinky here. Just needed to reread this post for clarity and I want to share that your comment really helped me tonight.

          • Heya Slinky, nice to see you there. Hope clarity stays! I struggled a lot with the same thing – his betrayal came out of the blue and his EA just wasn’t noticed because everybody trusted him. He came over as an emotionally intelligent, kind and generous guy. When he left he gave me such a sweetly complimentary letter. Although he told me he never badmouthed me (as CL says, about what??), he told me that the AP thought I was ‘some kind of ogre’. (Where would she form that opinion but from his complaints?) Boy did I take that on board. I had a mild mental breakdown that still affects me today. But his actions in concealing, deceiving and trying to trick me showed that a) he DIDN’T see marriage the same way as I did, despite my being convinced he did and b) his actions showed that he was NOT the person he claimed to be/thought he was and that we all assumed he was. Eventually even his own sister said he was emotionally retarded!

            Dear Slinky, the cheating was never your fault. That line in his letter ‘actions don’t always reflect the sincerity of love a person feels’. They DO, Slinky. His words are total gaslighting. And more importantly, actions inevitably reflect the character of the person performing them.

            One of my insights thru my experience is that the ex was very concerned about what I thought of him and it didn’t matter how patient and kind I was to him during our wreckonciliation, if he saw through his amazing powers of reading body-language and ‘feeling my energy’ (because he was SO emotionally intelligent!) that I was upset or angry, he assumed that I was deceiving him. He didn’t see that I was willing to work through my negative emotions and treat him well, that my behaviour was based on good will and trying to re-establish trust. It was all about his centrality, what I thought about him. The whole thing served to show me that he was not and remains a person who I could not trust with my love and actually who I didn’t like all that much.

            Sorry to blabber on – clarity is so precious and has been very hard-won on my part, very much hoping you and I hang on to it! Hugs and a wonderful holiday to you x

  • Yep this is not a person feeling any remorse. This is a person feeling just tickety boo dandy ( sorry just made that phrase up but hope it gets the feeling across). Sitting in his fatuous smug and happy place he can afford to throw out a few niceties. Makes him feel good.

    • Oh the smug. Slinky? Can you just stay mighty? Please? This guy…SMH. I’m so proud of you kicked his ass to the curb just keep walking till Tuesday and Meh!

      • Working on Tuesday. Reading the UBT of his words, and the fact that he aligns love with use, are really helping me.

        • SlinkyRacoon,
          My cheater wrote things JUST like yours. Full of smarmy professions of vagueness and devotion. UGH! Like really bad actors reading a script full of vocabulary words never before seen. I think courtship – to them – is a chance to learn our ways of expressing our emotions and then they spew it out all word-salad-like back to us to try to keep us dispensing kibbles. His condescension is unmitigated gall!
          You ARE Mighty, SR, you got rid of him in a blink! My Dday was 6-7-17 and I’m still in divorce limbo. But I am beautifully NC and enjoying myself more every day he’s not mindf***ing me with such cheaterhetoric.
          Thanks for sharing – you are not the first chump who slipped on NC – these bums are a like a heady drug: fun at first, then it’s a hostage situation. Pick yourself back up, dust off the cheater-slime and tune your picker so that you won’t find another.
          Thanks, Tracy for another fine webisode of UBT fun. I trust that he sucks…and I do not.
          Stay Mighty, CN!!

        • Slinky, he comes across so very smug and shallow. He “knows” he did you wrong, so he knows he must toss out trite words like “you deserve love” and “I hate that I hurt you”, but none of it has penetrated his depths.

          Notice the passive voice of “you were loved and still are”? He didn’t say “I loved you and still do”. It’s a level of detachment that reeks of insincerity.

          Please let go of that part of you that still longs for his “love” and approval. This is a man who doesn’t care. His shallow words are meaningless. Best thing you can do for yourself is stay No Contact for good! Maybe one day he will “truly grasp” how much he hurt you … and maybe not. Not your problem. Eventually, you won’t care one way or the other.

          No Contact is the only way to shrink his importance in your life, and allow you to reclaim dignity, self-respect, confidence, and control. It’s really the only way.

        • As sad as it is Slinky it helps to realize we really are just an appliance. It isn’t personal, only the chump feels it is. Once you see this you will realize that he is empty. CL says ” An Elevator Shaft where the soul should be” it’s very painful I know but once you see it all it is so predictable. You are awesome. It takes a while for it all to sink in. Stay mighty Slinky! ????

        • This has been eye-opening to me too…exchanging “love” in his letter to “use”. I’ve twice in the past three weeks heard my STBX say to others, “You need to use that person for whatever you can get out of them!” The last time he said it (in my presence, this may possibly be his personal mantra) was to his daughter who is aware that we are breaking up and her dad is moving out. I said, “You know, that’s twice now in the last three weeks I’ve heard you say that. I think I’m finally just now getting a true picture of your view of our relationship”. He asked me what I meant and I said, “Just… light bulbs going off. That’s all.”

    • lol – Tickety Boo brings back old memories and love the added ‘Dandy” at the end.
      Completes it.

  • Im still a chump – I had to read and re read the UBT response to not fall for it myself! Why am I so stupid? This sounds exactly like my stbxh, I gotta put the hopium pipe down ????????‍♀️

    • I have a very similar ‘farewell’ letter from the stbx in which he tells me to dance, sing, laugh, paint, etc, get your power back, you are beautiful, strong, graceful, wise blah blah, I love you, I want us to remain forever friends but now I’m off to ‘explore’ the relationship with the OW.

      I marvel now at the effrontery and sheer pretentiousness of it all. I keep it because it says in black and
      white that I did nothing wrong. Not a single shred of regret, remorse, apology, just an avalanche of compliments with what he would like to happen next embedded in it…

      • Mine told me: “Now it’s the time to get your freedom back!”. He left me in the middle of a big construction project with 3 kids because he couldn’t be his “true self” around me.

        • Oh lord, I just heard the “true self” thing two nights ago. And “I need to move on so I can live up to my full potential.” He then proceeded to play video games for four hours. Truly, that is his full potential.

          • I got…’find myself’….’have freedom’. (freedom from wha?)

            Then he moved straight in with his lovey, while still married and divorcing..

            From one long term relationship to a brand new one.

            I’m the one that gained the freedom and it is great!

    • I agree with you Rae44. I fell for it too. I mean, the crux is that he acknowledges his actions hurt her, she’s a good person, and he wishes her the best in life. Kibble throwing, perhaps. But, that’s to me the essence of love, that you want the other person to reach her full potential and you have some humility. Plus, he’s not blame shifting.

      I’m not saying to take him back, because to cheat . . and to cheat with a ‘best friend’ is disgusting. Plus, at 30 years old . . . . him cheating is a lifetime of it. And, at 30 years old, the supply of available men who are not cheaters and are decent guys is alot higher than at 45-55, when the men are looking for 25-35 years old and have alot of baggage/failed marraiges/were cheaters/partiers. With a cheater, what happens after kids or when Menopause looms or hits, and the female body changes so much? Or, he lacks in career or goes through midlife crisis. This young chap is not in for the long haul. He needs to grow up.

      • Ah, the combination of hopium and impression management is a compelling (and noxious) one. As someone who not so recently would have fallen for this drivel but learned to haul myself back from the cliff, allow me to dissect this response a bit:

        “The crux is that he acknowledges his actions hurt her” – In only the most generic sense and with an extremely broad brush stroke. And then he promptly walks it back by insisting his actions may not have matched, but his ‘love’ was sincere (which is all but saying she should focus on this ‘love’ rather than how he actually acted).

        “She’s a good person” – No, he acknowledges she was a fantastic kibble source. People don’t stab people in the back whom they consider good people. Also, his opinion on what makes a good person is about as relevant as a cockroach’s opinion on climate change.

        “He wishes her the best in life” – Similarly, you don’t stab people in the back whom you wish well in life. I see it as more a breezy “don’t hate me too hard” and “don’t count on me to be the person who loves you” combined with “but hey, I’m down for kibble anytime you want to throw me some!”

        “Humility” – He has image management, not humility.

        In summary? This is an excellent practice in paying no attention to the words and instead looking at the truth of what a person’s ACTIONS say.

    • I fell for it too. He wishes her the best, isn’t blame shifting, and is accepting that he did something terribly wrong. He’s “come a long way” from the worst of the cheaters. But, be suspect because it’s probably kibbles or a rare day when he went to church on Sunday.

      At 30 years young, he’s not in the for the long haul of a lifetime relationship if he’s cheating with Slinky’s best friend. Slinky doesn’t have a baby carrying body nor menopause hot flashes/dryness/vaginal atrophy. Bet Slinky doesn’t stick around for those calamities, as she stuck around for him in the ICU. At 30 years young, leave him be to continue to grow up. Slinky is also young, and the availability of young, more capable men is large. Just pick wisely.

      • I fell for it, too … to the point where I felt like the “narc” through some things he said to me. So if I think I’m better for him than the AP is, then doesn’t that make me NPD? If I get hysterical and in a rage and go bananas over what he did, doesn’t that make me NPD? If I am trying to fix the solution, doesn’t that make me controlling, and hence, NPD? Did he leave because all along it was me who was NPD? So I asked a “friend”, and she said, “No, you’re not … you’re something else” and then wouldn’t elaborate. (I think she was alluding to “anxiety”, which I can see that I have … so her lack of clarification just made me more anxious.)

        So I still questioned whether my actions are me being a true chump or am I the NPD? I ask the psychotherapist, who met both of us at one point, and she said, “No, definitely not.” Basically, you can fight and fight for something because you truly imagine it will be wonderful for both of you, he will be happy, the other person is harming him, you see possibilities, and you’re willing to do the dirty work, and endure some hardship to both get through it … the motivation isn’t for self-gain, it is for unselfish gain.

        And then you talk once more to him, one too many times, and he says that his relationship with the AP is okay, but it’s hard work, and you think, oh shit … he’s growing up, he’s not an NPD anymore, he’s doing the hard work with her … and it sets you in a tailspin. And then you realize that he’s still drinking, he looks like shit, people still think the two of them are assholes … and you feel better, and then you start feeling sad again that the man you love is perceived as an asshole, and you try to fix that … and on it goes.

        The lesson here? No contact is the best way … the outcome is the same, without the painful process. The only take-away is that I dug deep inside me with all this craziness. Rejection really hurts, and you wish your “partner” had actually cared that you were the type that wouldn’t handle this well.

        • Champ – No Contact is the way to truth and light no doubt. BUT… if you do find yourself in contact with the X and they are “spewing” about how the new relationship is hard work… they are doing a couple of things: 1. trying to show you they have evolved (they haven’t)… 2. trying to legitimize the new relationship (it began with lies it will end with lies)… 3. seeing if you’d be interested in fucking the new shiny “him” model… 4. they have the sadz and again… want to see if you’d fuck them again to make his boo boo better.

          THEY. DO. NOT. CHANGE.

          • Thank you for this. It’s very helpful to get feedback … I was just told by a “friend” that I was seeking external validation … well, aren’t we all. Where would we be without validation (which is hearing, acknowledging, and giving feedback to someone’s thoughts, it isn’t necessarily agreement with someone’s thoughts). I realized I’ve been starved of any sort of validation from my upbringing and from my few relationships. That’s why this site is so helpful because people understand that people need feedback … people on this site don’t roll their eyes and say, “Oh, get over him, move on.” (which a girlfriend just did and said … the rolling of eyes was a real trigger for me because my ex would do that if I tried to talk to him (prior to D-day).

            • I am sorry – your “friend” and your “girlfriend” suck, just as your ex does. What sort of friends see and hear your pain and say you are just looking for validation or just move on? You are hurt because you made your heart vulnerable to someone who said they loved you, and they smashed it. You NEED the support and validation and listening ear of trusted others to help you find yourself and rebuild again. I am glad you are finding it here. It would be great if you could also find a professional you could also work with who could help you figure out how your long distance past and your ex experience collide, which I’m pretty sure happens to all of us. I have found it great to be able to do this intense stuff with a person I am paying and so I feel I have the right to go over and over things with until I feel like they are done. Perhaps as you resolve some stuff, you will also be able to find some friends who are kind to your heart as well. You are mighty and you deserve better.

              • Chumpful … thank you! I can’t afford the therapist I had been seeing, and I’d like to stick with her because she knows my story (and has met him). When ex first left, he offered to pay for a therapist for me …(who does that!?) I was suspicious and said no because I thought he might be building a case against me. I also know it fit his story he told Schmoopie … that I was crazy (we have known each other for years, I didn’t gel with her … I now know why … and she was happy to believe this about me). Also, he probably felt I would be devastated without him, and I would need help living without his fabulous self.

                So, that said, I’ve been working instead on the financial side of things and through that I’m feeling better and in more control. Some anniversaries and events are coming up, and I’m feeling sad these days, but I’ve planned events to look forward to.

                One of the friends has a family situation that is beyond stupid and no better than my own, and I’ve been listening to her and supporting her for a long time, without rolling my eyes at her. I’m taking a much-needed break from that dynamic and trying to clear my mind.

            • If you haven’t already… read about the barbed-wire experiment… CL references it in the archives AND in her new book. I get that you need external validation, we all do… it is a human need. BUT… you choose where to seek it. Don’t seek it from a barb-wired monkey. You are worth more than that.

        • I get it. This is a “high performing” cheater/narcissist who mastered double speak. How about instead of passive voice . . . “I love you more than you believe.” Personally, I don’t believe you love me. So, love must be at 1%, not 100%

      • meant to write “Bet Slinky’s EX doesn’t stick around for those calamities, as she stuck around for him in the ICU

      • “He wishes her the best, isn’t blame shifting.”

        Seriously? Look at this sentence: “I hope you can understand that you were loved, and still are.” Passive voice. He doesn’t say he loves her. Just that he hopes she can “understand” that she was loved.” By whom? And how much is a declaration of love worth, albeit indirect and passive, from a man fucking your best friend? If that’s love, I think I’ll just get another cat.

        And “I absolutely hate that I am capable of hurting someone so deeply, especially someone I know I valued as much as you.” This looks like it’s remorseful and not blame shifting, but I, I, I, I. He doesn’t hate that he hurt Slinky, he hates that he is a fucking sociopath, “capable of hurting someone so deeply,” especially someone he “values” (read “can use”).

        The whole thing is word salad, full of convoluted syntax, passive voice, and chockfull of first person pronouns. When you see convoluted syntax (sentence structure), that is usually a sign that someone is obscuring or twisting or disguising the truth. Normal English syntax is Subject-Verb-Object. I hurt you by doing X. I love you as much as I can love anybody but I do terrible things to people. Straightforward.

        Stop looking at or listening to their words. What they do speaks the truth. He’s a liar. A cheater. Someone capable not only of betraying Slinky, but of doing so in a way that does maximum damage to her life. He’s also an ungrateful, despicable loser. Action matter, not word salad.

        • Syntax, yes.
          I also explain clarity to students with subject-verb-object, but also with “agent and action,” or “who’s doing what to whom.” And who’s doing what to whom makes for a handy guide to decoding word salad–or so I’ve found with my stbx’s missives.

        • Thank you for pointing this out. I noticed the passive voice as well.

          It looks as if he’s not blame-shifting, but he’s certainly not owning his shit. Even though he says, “I absolutely hate that I am capable of hurting someone so deeply, especially someone I know I valued as much as you,” he’s not doing the one thing that he needs to do if he’s sincerely owning his actions: apologizing.

          For any Chump who gets a bunch of words from Cheater, look for the magic words, “I’m sorry.” There should be no “I’m sorry I hurt you, but…” There should be “I’m sorry I hurt you. I should have been honest.” You shouldn’t see any excuses. Excuses are blame-shifting.

          “I absolutely hate that I am capable of hurting someone so deeply, especially someone I know I valued as much as you” means, “I recognize that I am a sociopath. I will hurt people when I believe I’m entitled to do so.”

          The tl;dr version of this letter is as follows: “I’m a narcissistic asshole.”

        • Ding, ding, ding!! Exactly. Cheaters use passive syntax to deflect responsibility from their actions.

          “Mistakes were made.” vomit.

          • Tempest, “mistakes were made”.

            Mine said “This is a tragedy for everyone”.

            Uh, Yes, yes it is. AND YOU CAUSED IT!! A fully avoidable “tragedy”.

            He can’t even own up and say he made mistakes. Word salad.

        • I am a former high school English teacher, but because I was caught up in this crazy, I forgot the basics of syntax. It’s AMAZING how the brain rewires a string of mixed messages into the ones we hope to receive. I am so thankful to be free of this manipulation in my every day life, and for this community for calling it what it is- bullshit.

  • SlinkyRacoon (what a name 🙂 !), you’re not doing awesome “on paper,” you’re doing awesome, period. Don’t let one little slip-up derail you; lucky for you, he didn’t try to slither back into your life! It’s natural to shake your first at the unfairness of it all, we’ve all been there.
    From your description — being responsible and financially sound, getting in shape, 30 years old — you can, and will, do much better than this lout. There really are plenty of good men in the world who won’t treat you this way.

    • And women. There are people of both genders that can have “Agency”. I use CL Lexicon as godspell.

  • I bet this jackass nearly had to return to the hospital for a dislocated shoulder garnered from patting himself on the back so excessively. He admitted he made mistakes, he explained he always loved her, he complimented her strength–wow, I bet he thinks he’s a real hero.

    He might “hope the best” for his EX, but he’s out taking all the best for himself.

    Slinky, please remember that if he didn’t talk a good game, you’d never have fallen for him. The thing is that now you see through his bullshit, but he is such an egomaniac he still thinks a few vague words about having done hurtful things and a passing reference to your beauty will clear the slate.

    Your EX’s response is a great example of the continuing con. I think letting go of this style of idiot must be much harder than the version I had, who peppered his communications with obscenities and predictions that I would burn in hell for divorcing him when I’d made a promise to God not to. It is a lot easier to walk away from the flaming turd than the one that is still decorating itself with glitter.

    I hope that vacation you booked is great. You deserve it.

    • Man, it’s so easy to be conned when you’ve fallen for it again and again. Glad for this support group otherwise I could be back in the cycle.

      • This is a call to study up on con artists and how they work. You were indeed conned, but you’ve come out OK. Now is the time to fix your picker and make sure you are never conned again–not by boyfriends, friends (your BFF is another loser), employers, and relatives. I’d start with Dr. George Simon’s blog on manipulative people. He’s also got a great book. Read and learn. It’s what changed my life, learning here what Jackass really is and the importance of spotting these people.

      • I have the problem, SlinkyRacoon. I’m too trusting and too eager to accept that someone is telling the truth.

    • Favorite line — “It is a lot easier to walk away from the flaming turd than the one that is still decorating itself with glitter.” Perfectly stated! 🙂

  • Did you catch the passive phrasing? He didn’t say “I still love you!” No, “you were loved” is the closest pass.

    The whole thing is phrased that way and it caught my eye cause stupid ex used to do that too. He referred to himself in third person and his mother the queen narcissist did it too. Like saying “Grandma got a good deal on this” when handing my daughter a garage sale Christmas present.

    I can laugh at it now thank god but really it’s messed up and very telling about their way of thinking don’t you think

    • I missed the passive phrasing, because my chump ways have me automatically entering active words. Good catch.

      • I love this syntax thread..

        x said, “I loved you WILDLY”.

        At first I thought it sounded weird, then I thought it was a good thing, and now, I’m disgusted that I even fell for it it. Wildly?? He was NEVER wild with me in bed or out.

        Hollow words.
        And, past tense, for sure.

        • On odd phrasing. .my narcissistic ex when commenting to my daughter on the tragedy of ALL 5 of our pet rabbits been poisoned to death…. it was “deeply sad. ” felt that was particularly odd phrasing at the time …the “sad” event also coincided with his surprise exit week from our 3 kids and 25 year relationship. .. maybe he was sad… for what though…?

          • Well now you know who poisoned them. At least he didn’t serve them up to and your daughter afterwards in an attempt to cash in on the life insurance.

            So glad you’re no longer in his orbit.

            • Ha.. funny thing noshitcupcakes when i was in the throes of uncontrollable distress after our ‘therapy session’ I was in a state to do anything after he said some really cruel things and then left me in the car to drive 30km on a freeway. Apparently he then proceeded to call a mutual friend worried i was going to kill myself to frame himself as the worried husband….then he went straight off to have drinks with the rest of his cronies. Soooo concerned. I really think he thought it was a strong possiblity and im sure i was close myself. But after he had been gone a few weeks i got a message from him saying he wanted me to refund him paying MY life insurance policy (i didn’t even know i had one) now nearly 3 years later with all the shit thats happened i believe he was betting on me killing myself and he could collect on it.

              • I have no doubt he was hoping to cash in on tormenting you to the point of suicide. I don’t suppose Lord of the Bar Stools got himself arrested for drunken driving – ever?

  • That is some letter. I bet he had your former best friend “help” him write it. So now you know what both of them think about you and you can continue to leave them far behind.

    I’m glad you’re rid of him, and her!

  • Have you ever noticed the feeling of patronizing superiority seems to be the universal characteristic of cheaters?

    Their playbooks first 2 chapters must be

    1. Tell them you care for, and value them
    2. Imply the problem is – they don’t love themselves

    • I got….”the problem is whodoesthat is you have no self esteem ”
      Funny thing ….i thought i would be the judge of that !! Even in the depths of finding out the lies and smear campaign i felt pretty good about myself! !

  • My stbxh told me recently that he will always love me and will do anything to help me…..but he can’t explain his affair, when I said pick howorker or me and he moved out…how does that mean love?? 28 yrs and 3 kids later….
    I have come to realize with lots of 2×4’s that cheaters are so messed up in the head and the way they lie and betray, even those so close to them, is astounding.
    I can only hope that Karma bites them both one day

    • …and don’t gloss over the use of ‘you’ either…I counted 16 times.

      The adulterer can’t function (manipulate) properly without having US- the chump- divert our conscious focus inward. Their use of the word ‘you’ is their appliance ON switch.
      WE learn how to condition our brains to go into “dump mode” when we hear the word ‘you’ forming on their lips. And then we have to ID which channel we’re watching.

      from Saving Private Ryan (opening scene)
      Visualize the shell-shocked Captain Miller on the Dog Green sector of Normandy beach, stunned with his hearing attenuated to near zero from a mortar round exploding near him. All he can do is see the lips move of the people that are trying to communicate with him while he tries to regain his focus. Like being underwater.

      I want to manually install an attenuation circuit in my operating system that does that. In electronics it’s called a band-pass filter. When I’m blessed with the unwanted visit from xw, I can flip the switch and my audio circuits go silent. My brains sees the visual, but there’s no sound. Also shuts down the tongue and keyboard circuits for at least 24 hours for a reset.


  • In 2009 my EX dropped dead in the emergency room of a heart attack. I was the only one in the room and we did the TV drama thing where I run out of the room calling for help, they jump on his bed beating his chest and shock him three times, all the while counting off the seconds to call him … Before we went to the ER I had given him a few baby aspirins because I was afraid the pain in his shoulder blades was not a pulled muscle but heart problems. turned out that saved his life.

    He was grateful to me for taking care of him thru the 3 days in ICU and then the week hospital stay. He was nice while recovering for a few weeks because I complied with his request to never leave his side in case he has another heart attack. But as he felt better he started to blame me for his health problems. He looked in great shape but genetics were against him, but it must have been my cooking, my harsh personality, my ugly looks.

    In 2014 when I found the girlfriend, I was shocked I had put up with so much from him because he needed me to take care of him and it was what wives do. Turns out my health had gone down hill so much from the abuse that I was the one in real trouble by the time he left. He went thru 4 girlfriends while we were divorcing and then remarried the year after we were divorced. H found another appliance to take care of him. Replaced that easy, makes my and my kids head spin.

    I get how confusing it is to take care of them and nurture them to find you are caring for the snake in your garden.

    Your life sounds like it is on the right track, keep writing down 3 things you are grateful for each day and your heart will catch up and joy will come.

    • You have such insight into this dynamic, where when they are in need they use and use like parasites but the person who becomes sick from the abuse and lack of love and caring is the Chump.

      I love your last line. It’s absolutely true.

  • I think my eyes are stuck from rolling back in my head.

    That guy is a real piece of work. You deserve SOOO much better, Slinky Raccoon

  • That serial killer that was on The Dating Game was very good looking and sounded good too. His ACTIONS were what revealed his true self…’s been said a million times around here..when the subtitles don’t match the actions on the screen…..RUN!!!!

  • The problem isn’t that he was a snake (snakes eat rodents!) or a rat (rats feed owls & snakes), it’s that he was a prion-induced disease. Kuru of the heart.

    Unlike real prion diseases (CWD, CJD, scrapie, etc.), you were able to get rid of him and you’re recovering.

    Don’t beat yourself up for having fallen for him. He courted you after all. He didn’t tell you outright that he was an entitled immature jerk who liked betraying others.

  • My ex admitted he had sex with my best friend on day and a great number of other coworker hook ups. For me, I didn’t fight or flight. I literally froze. It’s been 1 1/2 years since I heard him admit it. I hope you can get passed the rationalizing and mindfuck and go directly back to taking good care of yourself. Life is so precious and even more worth it since you got rid of the idiot. You have so much more life to live. I wish you peace as you move ahead. Xo sweet

  • This sounds familiar, sadly. I’ve done the pick-me dance for so long … I wouldn’t recommend it.

    “I hold no animosity for you…” This implies he feels you did something wrong, but he doesn’t hate you for it. So, see? It’s not his fault.

    “I realized I never saw the side you saw…” [this is probably a re-work of what Affair Partner told him when she couldn’t get access to him in hospital], and can’t imagine how unsettling and scary it must have been. [Again, AP probably said, ‘Oh, it must have been awful for you in hospital, and so scary for you’. He’s actually saying, “I was a brave person to have gone through that trauma. I must have looked awful lying there … oh, how could someone endure seeing Meeeeeee like that.”]

    “…macro sense… as a person” … [He’s trying to use his words here to be superior.]

    “But it does break the trust others have in that love. I broke that, I know very well.” [and he did it on purpose to drive you away, and he’s reminding you of that, because you’re ready to trust again and he’s boinking someone else]

    “You deserve love.” [Please find it in someone else because I’m tied up now and you’re making me have to feel guilty.]

    “You are intelligent…” [You’re too smart for me, and you see through me … you are a threat. I like my women dumber than me.]

    “… beautiful” [I’m a covert narc … I’m not looking for a trophy wife … The next one could look like a platypus but if she had a bank balance bigger than yours, she’s in!!!]

    ” … and strong as hell.” [I have, however, noticed how you’ve been exercising, and I’m a little afraid of you. Please fall in love with someone else, and go easy on me in court.]

    “I hope the best for you…” [Why kiss when a handshake will do?]

    I was on the receiving end of this type of shit at first … and I still tried and tried … I wanted him to realize what he had done, and I wanted him to love me (I still do and am struggling with it). The most I accomplished was proving I wasn’t a loser financially [he thought I was], and I got what I wanted in that regard. It’s still not enough for him, though, to have fixed something that he hadn’t liked in me, and what I realized is that the more you improve yourself, and the more solutions you come up with to fix your relationship with him, the more you back him into a corner because he has no answers for you, he can’t fight back because you have the solution to everything, and he tries every tactic to drive you away while still keeping you as an option (including saying he loves you more, but can’t hurt AP, or completely going cold and wanting to be friends forever, telling you you’re more like a sister, etc., etc.). The more you talk to him, the worse it gets because it’s so much cognitive dissonance coming at you, and the result is that you finish talking for the day and he leaves you (abandons you yet again) by yourself, and he goes off to AP to “feewwwl bedder”. He has someone to go to … you don’t, because you’re wanting to figure out yourself. He doesn’t want to figure himself out … he wants to escape, mask, pretend.

    Then you read on the RIC sites that by talking too much to him, you’ve driven him away … so you go through that in your mind, and you try another tactic, and on it goes. It is really, really difficult to watch a person you love disintegrate in front of your eyes, and it’s conflicting to know exactly what he is, know that it’s not something you need to be around, but to still understand and want to make him healthy. That’s not so much a trauma bond as it is just trying to suppress your natural reaction to someone in distress. A “narc” is in distress … their minds don’t turn off … they are always thinking of how to get around situations … and you want to quiet their mind, but you can’t fix it, just like you can’t fix a brain injury without long-term, indepth therapy, and in doing so, in trying to help them, you do damage to your own mind..

    • You can’t fix disordered people. Psychologists will tell you they are resistant to therapy. If you haven’t stopped this cycle of abuse, you might look into a therapist who works on trauma bonds.

      • Yeah … I did do reading on trauma bonds … I think what it was is that initially I didn’t look on it as abuse and/or neglect, then I did, then he switched his tactic to be Mr. Nice Guy and all of a sudden I was perfect, which I didn’t recognize as abuse. And so the cycle continued. I’ve stopped trying to “fix him” … my point was that in trying to fix someone, it can make you feel like you’re the controller, you’re superior, and then you start wondering if you’re the one with NPD because you think you’re better than the AP. I was just commenting on how the blameshifting can really make you feel responsible for what went wrong.

    • “It is really, really difficult to watch a person you love disintegrate in front of your eyes, and it’s conflicting to know exactly what he is, know that it’s not something you need to be around, but to still understand and want to make him healthy. That’s not so much a trauma bond as it is just try.”

      This is so true. And it’s made harder for me in that I have two kids with my fuckwit and I want them to have a healthy dad (I never had one… which my therapist says contributed to my chumpiness… yay).

      STBX dumps all this “you are loved… I hope we can be friends” nonsense on me and it’s such a mindfuck. I can SEE that – but my stupid heart is like “hey… maybe?” Then he pivots and he’s nasty and cold and dismissive.

      18 days until he moves out (allegedly). I know the space will help me get my head back on straight and disconnect from his manipulative fuckery.

      • Yes, the space will be a revelation of unfuckedness!

        Adaira, I got all that wanting to be friends forever, I got ‘I never want to lose this new honesty between us’, when I’d been away hiking by myself for a couple of days, complete NC, and told him he didn’t deserve my friendship, I soon got ‘I’ve realised I love you, want you, remembered what we once were’ etc. It was all shallow knee-jerk reactions to my slow, unsteady progress towards telling him to leave. There didn’t seem to be any depth of emotion or brave, honest self-examination. I learned not to trust anything he said about what he wanted or about me as he couldn’t see either clearly. I chose to believe that rather than that he’s that selfish and deceitful, but it doesn’t matter either way as I’m approaching Meh ???? hope he’s soon gone! X

    • “You are intelligent…” [You’re too smart for me, and you see through me … you are a threat. I like my women dumber than me]


  • What a mucky mess he is. You didn’t “lose” your cheater when he almost died. He left when he betrayed you. Enjoy your new, trauma free life – make the very most of yourself – for that is all there is of you!

  • Slinky, jump back on the NC wagon. Pain shopping is not good for you (I know from experience).

    Three weeks after the X told me that he wanted a divorce, he suffered a life-threatening anaphylactic shock from mold. He later told me that his heart stopped while enroute to the ER. In 19 years, I had been through 5 scares with him and one, 3 years ago while house shopping, that required an ambulance run to the hospital.

    Long story short, this happened two days after D-Day which included me throwing a beer bottle at his truck. The truck nor he were harmed. I was not present when his allergic reaction started (just his family) and I was denied access to him at the hospital. That whole time, he never once considered my feelings as a wife or a person. It didn’t matter that I drove 85 mph to get the hospital because it never entered my mind that my place wasn’t beside him or that I wasn’t welcome. I just reacted as a wife who was terrified that her husband was dead. None of it mattered. I was treated like some pyscho bitch who was going to kill him while he laid in hospital bed, and even worse, I was treated like was a nobody. Like a complete stranger by him and his family. That’s a day I will never forget.

    I shouldn’t have but days later I sent him a text that was all kibbles for him. I told him that whole episode told me more than I wanted to know. It told me that I didn’t matter to him. He didn’t care if I was worried, he didn’t reach out to me for comfort….he made me realize that I wasn’t worth fighting for in his eyes. I told him that’s a pain beyond words and one he will never understand.

    He doesn’t care, Slinky. That husband you thought you had is gone. Take back yourself, protect your worth and value. Yes, you have both. Treasure them for this day forward.

    • Did he and his family forget that you were legally next of kin, and in charge of the plug at that point?

  • Chump Lady, every week you remind me as just how much of a lifesaver you are. Chump Nation, I love you.

    Slinky Racoon: words, words, absurd words, ridiculous words. They do not represent ANY kind of reality. Your ex is just the pitiful little deluded man behind the curtain, making it up as he goes along. Words about feelings – HIS feelings. Let’s keep our eye on ACTIONS people.

    Keep doing what you are doing and brush those words off you like the lint of your old life that they are.

  • They love it when we are still invested, trying to sort it out, make sense, find the narrative that will spare us from the truth of who he is and what he did to us. They just love it.

  • Dear Slinky,
    I can completely see how easy it is to fall for this letter as a touching acknowledgment and apology from your cheater. Beware! It took me a year of pick me dancing before I learned to recognize the bullshit.

    First of all, a sincere apology should not be prompted by the victim but by the cheater. We shouldn’t be fishing for an apology from our cheaters to finally get it. For it to be real, it is on them to make the move. He should have made the first move long ago.

    Second, feeling bad about something is not the same thing as being sorry.

    Third, truly acknowledging what one has done wrong comes from a process of self-reflection. The result is that the person can identify exactly where they went wrong and what they did wrong. If they are vague about it or speak in the third person/generalities, it is not authentic. They are still seeking to get off easy by “kinda” admitting to being wrong without actually saying what they did wrong.

    It should sound something like this:

    “I am sorry for having deceived you for years. I acknowledge that I carried on an inappropriate relationship with and slept with your best friend. What I did was horrifyingly wrong. I lied to you. I took pleasure in knowing that I manipulated your trust. I was ignorant to the pain I caused you. I demonstrated gross immaturity in my reaction to resentments that I carried towards you by unfairly justifying my immoral actions against you. I cheated. What I did was extremely selfish. You did nothing that deserved such treatment. You are not at fault. I was disrespectful and dishonourable. The implications of my betrayal has caused you trauma and has been an offence to our families and friends. It is an embarrassment to my parents, who raised me with better morals that I chose to ignore. What I did disrespected women as I used both you and a woman you trusted to satisfy my own needs and insecurities. I do not expect your forgiveness. I seek professional treatment to better understand why I became this sort of man of dishonour. I feel shame that I understand I should feel in light of what I have done and that the right thing is to face it rather than bury it in the escapism of an affair. I cannot expect that I will ever be able to make it up to you. I don’t deserve your time or energy. Please know that I am deeply sorry for what I have done and that I am taking steps to become a better person that I can face in the mirror each day. My hope is that you find some peace in knowing that I know I screwed up something that I know was supposed to be good. I hurt you when you were good to me. You will have my admiration and respect going forward, and I ensure that I will always take full responsibility for what I did to you and our relationship in the future to come.”

    You don’t owe him a thing. You do not have to accept this cliched garbage of a letter from a coward who did not even have the decency to provide a face-to-face apology. He provides a “truthy” kind of email, as CL spoke to the other day. He believes himself to be sincere as he composes the message, but it is a superficial sincerity that reflects the whim of the moment. He knows he should feel sorry and acknowledge something, but he’s going to do it in the easiest way possible. I’d bet my pension that if you pushed back in any way, he’d turn on you in a heartbeat. How dare you not accept his apology you bitter woman who is never satisfied and just doesn’t know how to be happy!

    You deserve MORE. Don’t settle for anything less. You did enough settling throughout the marriage.

    • I’m now no contact again, but I did receive something from him along these lines … however, the punch line was that he’s not going to make the same mistakes with Schmoopie. Ouch.

      So to me, a unicorn would be something like the following:

      Me: You left me when this [insert tragedy] was happening in my life.
      Ex: I know that now. At the time I was selfish, and I am recognizing that in me now. I wasn’t caring or aware of how it was impacting you. I was feeling threatened that it would impact my own happiness. It was cruel to do that to you, to anyone. I am embarrassed, but I want to talk about it with you. So tell me now what you went through, in your own words, and we can change the ending to a happier one.
      [We talk]
      Ex: Okay, so what can I do, we do, to get through this tragedy that’s still happening in your, our lives?

      That’s what I think a unicorn is, and that’s what I have been listening hard for amongst the apologies he flings my way, but I haven’t heard it (hence No Contact) …. someone who actually isn’t just working on themselves and recognizing he/she hurt you, but wanting to relive those events, and understand them, and work through them with you, not with the next person. Someone who’s willing to live through the painful discussions, not just pour another drink, or send an apology and then go live their grand life thinking they’ve done the work on themselves. That’s too shallow for me.

      The only ones, it seems, who are capable of being unicorns are us chumps … you don’t have any depth to you until you’ve hit bottom.


      Thank you for the letter I hoped to receive. Everything about this comment will stay with me for decades. This will never come from him, but will be what I need to tell myself about what kind of partner I expect in the future. And more importantly, it’s the kind of words I would say if I were in those shoes. I will keep my wits and morals about me to ensure I stay true to being kind and faithful to others. This is a letter my morals would make me write, but that I never will. Because I don’t do people like I have been done.

      Thank you for taking the time to post. This was the response Hopium dreamed of.

  • Two months before X left he scheduled shoulder surgery which left him debilitated for weeks. I took care of him constantly, and helped him with his physical therapy. As soon as he was somewhat recovered, he left me for a (former) friend of mine!! I could not have been a more devoted wife and he had been badmouthing me for months. People who would do such things are not worth our time.

    • I am sorry to read that your story is that painful. But we are MIGHTY and we leave these motherfuckers behind. In their distortion and round about ways. We know we deserve honesty- first and foremost with ourselves. That is the hardest part and yet, the one worth learning for.

  • Ultimately, they are who they are.

    What we need to do is work on our sense of self to the extent that this BS slides off us like Teflon.

    We should never have been attracted to such selfishness. My marriage ended JUST as this video says: when I could not bear the lopsided energy one way street and set upon a collision course trying to MAKE him meet my needs.
    What he said to OW is very telling on this: ‘I don’t love my wife any more, SHE doesn’t care about me’.

    So what is it about US that drew us into [lets call a thing a thing, people!] destructive relationships?

    That is on us. Why did I make my needs so small that he could set whatever agenda he could? I don’t want to be like this any more and will do whatever work it takes to grow.

    I NEVER want anyone like my husband in my life again. Not because he is hateful (I will always love him), but because he is toxic in a relationship. I look at his latest appliance, how nice she is, how giving, how lucky she thinks she is, how she looks at him like God (just as he likes it) …. and know that he is there because she is of use to him. And there is not a single thing I could say! Not only is it not my fight, but she wouldn’t even begin to understand what I was trying to say – just like I didn’t know.

    • I’m with you on this! I don’t accept the “totally not your fault” response.

      Because it WAS my fault for falling, staying and sparkling. I OWN my bad choices and the consequences.

      He couldn’t have abused me if I didn’t allow it. Lesson learned.

      • And for this ONE PUBLIC SERVICE Chumplady deserves $10 every time someone logs onto this site.

        It wasn’t my therapist who got through the concept of narcissism (he eventually lost his temper, shouting HE IS A NARCISSIST! HE IS NEVER GOING TO CHANGE!), using people, me being of use, a few manipulative words to keep the supply going,

        it was Chumplady. This site opened my eyes.

        And I don’t think that she encourages the split black and white narrative she is accused of.

        It was Chumplady who wrote ‘Get over it’. She is the one who encourages how are the walls of your house singing and to list how we have grown.

        We just need to remember the meta analysis that it is CHUMPS that do better out of this sh*storm. Why? Because we are prepared to learn from this pain.

      • This is SO true. We didn’t cause their cheating, but yes, our tolerance of their behavior prior to being caught is indeed completely on us.

  • CL… every day you give us such wonderful nuggets and euphemisms 🙂

    This is the bell ringer for me (and I hope everyone here who might be slipping back into to Chumpdom)…

    “What you’re describing is someone who’s just escaped a hostage situation.”

    That right there describes the last SEVEN years of my marriage… SEVEN YEARS. There was no reciprocity. There was no friendship. There was no love. There WAS manipulation… lies… cheating… blameshifting… gaslighting… ABUSE of every kind.

    And, I think if we honestly look back at the “end”… very few of us were actually in loving and caring marriages. We were surviving hostage situations… for the kids… for the family… for the 401K… for fear. And I, for one, NEVER want to feel that way again.

    You’ve got this Slinky… stop looking back at one bad decision in your life. Keep moving forward He’ll be nothing to you in the macrosense or microsense in time 🙂

    • ???????? My macro-sense is showing me the best life without his hostage takeover.

      I wanted to be married in my late 20s, have kids by my early 30s, and raise them in a house full of respect and love. And, goddamn, if he didn’t fit that plan, I was going to MAKE HIM, after all. He is a firefighter, me a school teacher- it’s all textbook! Look at how together our life is!

      So glad to have left the hostage situation of my own ideals. No one deserves to consistently be STD tested in a marriage once they find the tip of the iceberg. It’s a fallacy, and it’s a facade. To my own journey without said “hero.”

  • The fact this dirtball even struggled to reply after hurting you so much is telling….telling that he is still an asshole and only thinks about himself.

    He is toxic. Reading his letter tells me he just gave himself a pat on the back and cleared his conscience, what little was there, and in fact, he didn’t even need to clear his conscience because he debated on whether to even reply.

  • Thank you for running this letter, CL!

    I know a lot of chumps have asked for CN to UBT their Cheaters’ Sad Sausage messages in hopes that there’s a unicorn lurking among the word salad greens.

    My own CheaterX sent me two Sad Sausage messages: one on voicemail, saying that Schmoopie had turned weird after I moved out of the marital home and really weird after they married, and she was going to divorce CheaterX and move in with the Boyfriend. The other was a long-winded excuse about how he had Chiari malformation that caused disassociative identity disorder. The voice memo (not a message–he sent the memo to my work email!) also mentioned that the mental health specialists he was seeing thought that he might have ADD or Borderline Personality Disorder, but he was convinced he had DID. He concluded the 20+ minute memo with a dramatic “Can you forgive me?”

    If I’d not been reading CL and the wisdom of Chump Nation, I’d have thought that he was truly repentant. Look! A unicorn!

    But he never said he was sorry, that he regretted how he treated me. Nope. Instead he shifted the blame to his disorder and wanted me to forgive him.

    I didn’t respond to either message.

    • You’re a stronger person than I was. I was Amazon Chump and bought all the books about Sex Addiction, SAA, Raised By Narcissistic Parents, Narcisstic Personality Disorders (and ways to cope), and encouraged him to read them. Kept an eye on his efforts. Did he write today? What about tomorrow? Why did he not read the chapter I highlighted for him that may be helpful?

      Then I grew up, gave up, and kicked his ass out. And yet, still to this day (hence the post) I am STILL asking “why?”

      CL said it right. I was of use. It’s time to stop asking why so much and accept I married a really unhealthy person. I won’t label him as NPD or anything else. He is unhealthy and I was of use.

      There is my “why.”

  • Dear Slinky, Thank you for making your letter from Mr. “Macro Sense” available for the UBT.

    I just know it’s exactly what sparkledick would write to me if I ever slipped from NC into kibble-giving mode.

    I hope the UBT output has helped you, it certainly helped me remain firmly in NC.
    …. nothing says “Thank you for saving my life” like fucking your best friend. As wife appliances go, you’re top of the line — like the SubZero wife appliance of appliances.

    Take care!

    • Thank you for appreciating my share. I was on day 12 of reoccurring dreams (catching them in January) and intrusive thoughts. I couldn’t sleep. I even had therapy on Tuesday, which was before I emailed him, and I couldn’t get out of the cycle.

      To read CN’s comments (along with CL’s cold hard truth), I hope to finally sleep tonight.

      I am glad to know my share helped another strong person out there. You are a GODDAMN WARRIOR!

  • My cheater XH was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer while we were married. I took care of a gravely ill man for two years and he almost died a couple of times during treatment. He coded one night in the hospital and they told me not to expect him to live through the night. His oncologist told him to go home and ‘get his affairs in order.’ It was the most terrifying time. I never left his side and he called me his ‘Nurse Angel.’ After a miraculous recovery he insisted we renew our wedding vows on our anniversary. Five months later I caught him fucking skank woman at the Econo Lodge. After that he dumped my ass and now they’re they’re living the good life. I quit believing in anything after that. I certainly quit believing in love.

    • What a fucking dick.

      I will never understand the mentality of the disordered. He probably would tell you that his near-death experience was an eye-opener for him. My X treated his like it was his pass to do want whatever the fuck he wanted even if it meant hurting me.

      Hugs to you!!!!

      • Yep. Mine turned the death of our nephew in Afghanistan into his excuse. Apparently this hard knock of mortality meant he needed to “live his truth,” whereas my response to our nephew’s death was to look hard at my former beliefs about service to the country, and then to develop a new course on the writing of veterans of the war.

    • Chumptopia
      What a disgusting horrible man! Karma will get him eventually… you just take care of yourself. Your a wonderful woman!! God Bless you. He’s not good enough for you! Remember that ????????????????????????

    • Mine also had terminal cancer! I was his caregiver for years and the free money for his life extending therapies. He said I was the very best of women…all while having his secret dating profile and spending my money to prey on single women. I saved his life on three occasions simply because I was there. He loved me so much that he was compelled to take as much money and free services from me as possible while actively looking for a replacement. I was of use. If he’d found someone willing to take on a terminally ill man and pay for everything as well as looking after him – I bet I would have been ditched in a heartbeat. Hugs to you. The level of f*ckupedness is strong with these using and abusing exholes.

  • You’re still of use even after you saw the side? Winning!
    This pretty much sums these parasites up.
    And if you’re not still of use? Shrug…
    Fucking vacuous holes of nothingness.

  • You would feel like responding ‘you are an adulterous backstabbing con and liar. I do not want, nor value your opinions’. But it would not be worth it to respond, he would only say something like ‘sorry you are so bitter I wish you only the best’. Silence is the best response.

  • The first line “I hold no animosity for you” says it all. Opening salvo to throw you off, implying that YOU are the offending party and how noble he is! AND isn’t the expression “to hold animosity TOWARD” someone? Pretentious DUMBASS!

  • I can’t stand when I read the “you’ll come out stronger” statements. As CL stated, this isn’t a life lesson to better ourselves. We aren’t better off because our spouses put us through this. They have no right to claim this experience benefitted us in any way.

    • I made the stupid mistake of telling the X that I wanted to get through this and come out better on the other side. He used my words against me and told a friend that he probably did me a favor by divorcing because I would be happier with him. I just shook my head – he will never learn.

      None of what the cheater X did was more me – the cheating, the divorce, the selling of our house for a good profit for him and me – none of it. Not once did he think about me and my happiness, sorrow or pain. Just like our marriage, the divorce was all about him. Good riddance.

      • After my DDay#1, I told myself we would come out of this stronger and a better couple for it. She said the same thing. I bought into the RIC. After DDay#2, I saw how stupid that was of me. I think she still thinks her two affairs will make us stronger. How oblivious.

    • He forgot to ask if I was feeling weak, and if having my husband secretly fuck my best friend would be the medicine the doctor ordered.

      Good thing I was lucky for him so I could learn how to become so much stronger!

    • Fooled twice

      Exactly… thank you, but no thank you.
      Was I asked if I wanted to be part of a mindfucking gaslighting charade before I said “ I do?”
      Am I a better person? I doubt.
      The list of the stuff I lost is never ending ….

      Have I learned a lot? Yes.

      Would I exchange all that knowledge for the 15 years with a loving, faithful, decent man?

      In a heartbeat.

      • That’s something I think about every day. I’d trade almost anything in a heartbeat to have spent the last 17 years with someone who would have had my back when times got tough. My kids are probably the only thing I wouldn’t trade.

    • Fooled Twice…I completely agree with you. I can’t stand the phrase ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ Nothing and I mean NOTHING good came out of being betrayed by the person who I thought loved me and had my back. Yes I did pretty much get to Meh and my walls sing again but it was a long, hard slog. However, I will never get over the fact that someone you believe in can do this much damage. Whatever lesson I learned I didn’t need to learn it. That people are lying, thieving, cheating pieces of shit? Who needs to learn that lesson? And how many times??

  • I just finished reading the email Slinky received from her cheating ex. I haven’t read the rest of her letter, or CL’s response yet, but I can’t wait to see how well it matches mine.

    My stomach is roiling from the nausea caused by this entitled, deluded douchebag’s words, and by the subtext of his email: the two of them were part of one another’s spiritual journeys, journeys that (cue music from a Lifetime movie) sometimes included painful lessons, but they were strengthened and made wise by learning them, and so, really, his betrayal held a truly awesome gift!!!! Celebrate the gift!!!

    I think most of us have learned that evil people will try to get away with pulling all kinds of shit by convincing their victims that it was all part of their full, rich, journey through life. A convenient reinterpretation of events, and the evil one gets to take CREDIT for their victim’s personal growth through suffering, not blame or responsibility for their own actions. “I know you will come out from my -mistakes- a healthier and stronger woman”.

    Slinky, I hope breaking the no contact rule was a one-time lapse in judgment for you because you are well rid of this awful turd.

  • Man… cheaters and their use of the passive voice: “That actions don’t always reflect the sincerity of love a person feels. But It does break the trust others have in that love.”

    I just can’t take responsibility. Things were done! I had nothing to do with it!

  • SMUG is the one word that best describes my XH. I’m sure everyone at CN has seen this same expression on their cheater’s faces and in their actions. I remind myself that SMUG says it all: Selfish, Ugly, Mean, Gleeful. Once you’ve seen this side of them, you realize that they are not capable of loving anyone but themselves. In the new movie “The Wife” with Glenn Close, the ex-wife is quoted as saying “Thank you for taking him off my hands.” May we all come to believe this! I do now.

  • I received something very similar when I first initiated NC, so I understand how you feel.

    All those “compliments” about you being strong and intelligent are facts, but those are not the things he’s looking for in a partner. My cheater said the OW is “being bullied” at work because people found out about their relationship, he can’t leave her because she’s the “victim” (and he’s her saviour). He doesn’t want a strong and intelligent woman… you make him feel weak and small. In their twisted mind it’s ok to hurt you “because you are stronger and you can survive without me (but OW can’t)”.

    I maintained NC after those messages and soon he started raging at me, saying his relationship with OW hasn’t been great because he “hasn’t move on completely”, I am so cold I moved on so quickly (not true… I was a mess), I “gave” him depression and I am the emotional black hole (hahaha).

    Don’t fall for it. As soon as you re-enter the conversation you will find nothing but more abusive/hurtful messages (because it’s never his fault). He’s not sorry, he probably wants to triangulate you against the OW to get something out of her, you are just a tool he uses to punish her.

  • When Slinky’s cheater said she deserved to be loved, I didn’t think cheater meant by HIM, no he meant by some other man.

  • There’s a reason for that old saw “the best revenge is living well.” It sounds like Slinky is determined to make that so whether or not she’s faking it until she makes it. I mean to get to that point you do have to fake it for awhile before it takes hold and you really believe it. Slinky don’t beat yourself up for reaching out or even softening when you read or heard something from your ex that momentarily made you feel better. Maybe that’s an important part of your journey and now you’re recognizing that you’re wiser now when it comes to really checking in with your intuition. So now you’re maybe able to think “how do I feel?” more than “how does my ex make me feel?” That’s a huge step forward. I mean, it sounds like you didn’t buy his shit anyway or else why would you send Chumplady the letter? She’s not known for being a champion for epistles from sanctimonious douchenozzles.

  • Oh Slinky. We have all smoked the hopium pipe, and lived on crumbs – ‘He said the word ‘love’ in passing!’

    The husband you thought you had, never existed. He is a predator in a human costume. You weren’t to know that at the time.

    But you DO know it now. He has shown you, by his actions, who he is.

    No Contact is the shortest and safest way out of this mess in your head. DEEP No Contact, that removes him and anyone even remotely connected with him, from your life. You don’t need third parties giving you updates. No Facebook, no nothing.

    He is dead to you. Grieve the loss of The Lie – the marriage you thought you had. Good, deep grieving, because this loss is real. You are absolutely entitled to mourn this loss, and it will help you move on faster as well.

    You have a wonderful future ahead of you; it’s just you feel hollow and wobbly right now. This will pass.

  • I love the UBT. I have read so many of these that I’ve finally developed my own UBT in my head. I am so much wiser these days…I wouldn’t trade the clarity for anything, even my lovely youthful contentment. Life is GOOD on the other side. I hardly ever comment, have to make up a new user name because I forget, haha, but I check in just about every day…you guys rock. Seriously. I laugh every time I visit and get an infusion of hilarious courage. WE really are flipping the script on this whole infidelity thing…how outrageous it is that we are expected to accept even one iota of responsibility for the horrible behavior of our partners? Fuckwits, lol. God knows, I’m not perfect, but I am an adult…and I have sucked it up and done what needed to be done, without manipulating people, without lying and gaslighting. 6 years out from DDay for me, I’m finally feeling like late Monday night. Thanks everyone.

  • I got horrible deja vu experiences reading this. This could have been my fuckwit who wrote this. No remorse. All about him. Trying to look generous.
    It makes me sick how much of the same breed they are.

  • Slinky, you called yourself stupid, and I GET this. I beat myself up for a year after we split for “being an f***ing idiot.” Being “stupid” was about the worst thing I thought I could be. I am really smart — Ph.D. and all. I am also known for “having great common sense.” So how the hell could I let this person infiltrate my family, use me, and then blow my world up?? Well…she’s just that good at manipulation, and I was that vulnerable. LadyLiar is an A-list scam artist, what with all that practice during her drug-using and drug-dealing days before we met. You are NOT stupid. You are a caring human being who was targeted by a narcissist. No (more) contact. Stay mighty. ((hugs))

  • This letter from cheaterpants to Slinky is not based on any true depth of feeling. It is just stringing together obvious words and not understanding that the person can see through insincere expressions. No worries about falling off the NC wagon – you are human and can get back up again. From his letter, cheaterpants seems t be emotionally undeveloped or disingenuous or both. I love your name BTW.

  • When I read something like this letter it becomes visual to me. I see you two in a large room. Him on one side and you on the other. In between are a couple of tvs, a sofa, a recliner, a pool table, a refrigerator, a stove, a bike, and various boxes. You can barely see each other. You ask him why, or how could he, and he just give you the vaguest answer possible. What he wants is for you to turn around, open the door and leave. It was quiet. No yelling, just his usual bullshit. You got no answers but he got what he wanted. You gave him no drama, you just left. From another room his latest schmoopie comes in, they discuss how easy it was to get rid of you, and she does not realize that at some point in the future she will become another appliance in the room.

  • I have nothing but the utmost respect for the UBT’s deciphering abilities, but taking into account that narcs have zero empathy, I have a different interpretation of the following from the letter:

    “I think of that time in the hospital often. I realized I never saw the side you saw, and can’t imagine how unsettling and scary it must have been.”

    My interpretation: “I often try to imagine how I must have looked, lying there, and you sitting devotedly by my bedside. My infirmity was so unsettling and scary, but I missed out on all that cake because I was regrettably unconscious.”

  • “I hold no animosity for you.”

    HE hurt YOU and destroyed your marriage. Yet, now he’s writing that you somehow did something he should be angry over. That you somehow hurt HIM.

    This isn’t an apology, this is revisionist bullshit. Please block him and let him die alone. What an asshole.

  • What he did was totally and utterly crap, however I think it’s easy to pick apart ‘every ‘ word /phrase and lose the sentiment and sometimes people aren’t good at picking the right word ‘animosity’ for instance was a poor choice. Ok he’s acted like a total scumbag and that would be the end of that for me too, but I’ve seen way worse responses, or none at all. I’m pretty sure he knows from this how much he has hurt the poster and how badly and why any trust went and short of writing the responses/apologies ourselves that we would ‘like’ to get , if we want one at all, I think it’s pretty rare that we couldn’t pull virtually every one of these kinds of notes apart through the UBT. He knows he’s totally fucked up, he blames himself, hasn’t tried to lay it on her in any way, it doesn’t change the situation at all but I think the responses are harsh and I don’t actually think in that situation would make me feel any better about it all

  • Vicky,
    You are still on hopium.
    Hoping these people are really ok, but had a bit of a “blip”.

  • Vicky,

    It always surprises and saddens me when people are quick to give abusers the benefit of the doubt after the abuser has razed the fields and salted the earth. You project too much humanity onto inhumane behavior.

    “I’ve seen worse responses.”

    Just because Ted Bundy left his victims for dead doesn’t mean we should lower our standards for all the other evil out there.

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