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Dear Chump Lady, Is this apology total baloney?

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Dear Chump Lady,

It’s hard to know where to start, but I divorced a serial cheater. Not only did he cheat with multiple women over the course of our 21-year marriage, he was mentally and physically abusive and he possessed this mind-boggling dodge and weave gift that he carries over from his political spin doctor job. No matter what happened, it was never his fault always mine.

I was a broken shell when I dragged myself away and moved in with my mother.

Fast forward through therapy and a few years. I feel better than I ever felt. I met and married the man of my dreams. Yes, he treats me like a princess. I laugh now as much or more than I cried before.

No contact has been wonderful. My emails related to our bills or our children are very brief. I notified the ex-husband that my last name and address had changed so he could send the support payments. I received this masterpiece:

Dear Wormfree,

I had planned to write you regarding the news, which I found out inadvertently.

Congratulations. I wish you all the happiness in the world, which you deserve. I hope the new man in your life appreciates what he has in you.

There are not adequate words to apologize for my conduct and collapse toward the end of the marriage. It was my fault, and my actions were to blame. You tried hard to make things work, on many occasions, and I let many underlying issues, bad choices and pressures knock me off course. Again, it was my fault, and I am to blame for the choices I made and the damage I caused to people I cared for. I hope that I merit forgiveness someday.

Nearly 30 years ago, you came into my life. Early on, we had days of concerts, cats, apartments and credit cards, and later, houses, kids, jobs, and the dogs. Today, there are only a river of happy memories and good times that I look back on, and appreciate all that you did for me on that journey. No one could have done more for me during those years.

While I am sad that things ended as they did between us, and that my actions caused me to lose you, I want you to know I only have the best of intentions and regard for you. I will be as supportive as needed, along with living up to the agreements we reached, from a respectful distance. Remember, that I will always be here for you.

I have worked hard to become a better person since you left, and know I have many more miles to take on that trip. Knowing you are happy, safe and secure is very important to me, and again, I wish you happiness and good luck on the days ahead. You have my love and my respect.

Worm

Several people who have read this “apology” seem to think it’s sincere. I don’t. I think it’s a carefully crafted piece of boohoo, poor me bologna and I’m not buying it. Before I left he told me that for years he had been miserable with me — now it’s a “river of happy memories”?

I think this is complete bullshit but also a very good example of expert manipulation. It’s how he managed to suck me into coming back before, but this time I recognize it for the bullshit that it is and it is some scary stuff.

Hoping to get your perspective,

Wormfree2017

Dear Wormfree2017,

I don’t think it really matters if it’s a sincere Paul-on-the-road-to-Damascus apology or some expertly crafted bullshit. What matters is you’ve moved on. You gained a new life, got a new man, did all the hard, painful work to be mighty — this apology now is fairly pointless. “Worm” lost his centrality long ago. He’s just a dude who writes a check.

But, but… he’s sorry!

Say I wanted a Breyer horse for Christmas in 1974 and I didn’t get one. And NOW I get a Breyer horse — Misty of Chincoteague! Okay… that’s lovely, but I’m a 52-year-old woman who no longer plays with plastic horses.

I can’t go back and be 8 and sufficiently appreciate this. Misty is just going to sit on a shelf and gather dust.

Mr. CL just interjected: “Timing is everything. This apology is like jumping out of an airplane, crashing to the ground, and then releasing your parachute.”

A fine metaphor, except you’d be flattened and probably wouldn’t have the dexterity to operate a parachute… but no matter. Too late, Worm! TOO LATE!

It’s never too late for forgiveness and absolution of sins!  

Okay. I don’t disagree, if you’re the forgiving kind. But I tell everyone here: please don’t predicate your healing on getting an apology from your cheater. Waiting for that Breyer horse keeps you from moving on with your life.  Wormfree2017 — this pisses you off, because you probably fell for something similar in the past. And given that it was mindfuckery before, how would you ever know if it was for real now?

I’d say you don’t have to know. You’re not continuing a relationship with him. And he’s clearly fishing for one with you.

Remember, that I will always be here for you.

Ew.

You know what conveys his apologies?

living up to the agreements we reached, from a respectful distance

Yes. You do that, sir.

Now, I realize it’s a bitch cookie kind of sorry (shouldn’t we all abide by the legal agreement we reached?) but not being a total dick about child support is sporting of him.

Early on, we had days of concerts, cats, apartments and credit cards, and later, houses, kids, jobs, and the dogs.

We had Buicks, hikes, and oven mitts. Clean gutters and credit cards. Tunafish and children. Dogs and dog poop.

DON’T YOU MISS THE CREDIT CARDS, Wormfree2017? Everything you shared together!

I appreciate all that you did for me on that journey. No one could have done more for me during those years.

He appreciates that you were damn fine kibble. So much him.

It’s a Journey down a River of Happy Memories. Yes, he’s the Huck Finn of Self Discovery.

Oh stop snarking, Tracy. Maybe he’s truly sorry. 

Maybe he is. Earmark the checks accordingly.

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Ask Chump Lady

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  • Good synopsis as always, Tracy.

    This would simply merit my all purpose response to anything that isn’t important to me:

    “Oh.”

    • Fuck him and the apology he attempted to ride in on. “River of happy memories” = River of lies and deceit ; “There are not adequate words to apologize for my conduct and collapse toward the end of the marriage.” = “I was only behaving badly at the end the rest of the time I was perfect.”; “Congratulations. I wish you all the happiness in the world, which you deserve. I hope the new man in your life appreciates what he has in you. = “I’m a condescending fuckwit who still thinks I factor into your life.”; “I will be as supportive as needed, along with living up to the agreements we reached,” = I will be arrested if I don’t.”

    • Hummmm . . . is this a genuine apology or not?

      Wormfree states this guy was: 1. a serial cheater. 2. Emotionally & physically abusive. 3. A professional spin doctor.

      In other words, we need to insert phrases like “and through it all, I repeatedly fucked other woman” and “enjoyed mindfucking you” and “physically abusing you.”

      Once these phrases are included, that is, once reality is inserted into his cleverly crafted letter, then we can truly decipher whether or not his apology is genuine.

  • What a fine wife appliance you were. A great Plan B in life to do the adulating. Fantasizing about the way things used to be, you taking care of the kids, dogs/poop, making tuna fish. Him fucking around. Good times, those sure were good times. He’ll always remember them. And he has a sadz now. He has to write that check all by himself. That should be something the appliance deals with.

    He will always be waiting to see if you want to compete for that old position again. He didn’t care for that old appliance. Just thought it was used up. Turns out it was like an old Jeep Wagoneer and actually worth something now. Damn, he lost it. Gave it away for blue book value and didn’t realize it was a classic now worth a whole lot!

    • Yeah, basically this. Or he wants you participate in rehabilitating his image and agree that “yes he was bad then, but he’s a good man now.”

      It doesn’t matter. You gotta stay moved on.

      Also, remember: Just because a drunk regrets his hangover doesn’t mean he’s gonna stop drinking. We all have a few things we do that we fully know we shouldn’t do. You know you should go to bed earlier, spend less time online, exercise more, eat fewer cookies and more salad, volunteer some more, stop those little online impulse buys, or whatever. But are ya gonna? Probably not. So congratulations to him, he’s now figured out that he shouldn’t cheat and be abusive. Is he gonna stop? Probably not. He’ll be all “oh I really shouldn’t but…” and he’ll do it, and then after he’ll be like “damn, I really shouldn’t have but…”

      Just being aware that you did some bad things isn’t enough to actually make you stop doing those bad things, or make you into a good person.

      • “Just being aware that you did some bad things isn’t enough to actually make you stop doing those bad things, or make you into a good person.”

        Amen. My ex-wife hasn’t even made it to the point of acknowledging she did “bad things” (see blame shifting). Even if by some miracle she achieved such enlightenment, there’s a much larger leap of self awareness necessary to come to terms with her bad character. Then there’s the Herculean task of actual character transformation. Not happening. You can’t get there from here.

    • Twiceachump, I love the Jeep reference! Had my XJ for 10 years until someone crashed into me and totaled it; and boy, I still miss and value that old Jeep! I put way more love into it than the amount of money their insurance paid out 😢
      So glad this poster finally knows her value and sees through the bullshit. I read the apology thinking it might have been as sincere as it gets, and honestly, something I’d probably fall for; but it is truly another form of fishing and trying to create importance of something everyone else has well moved past. Best to stay Meh.

  • Just taking a step back from this letter, and seeing the bigger picture… I can’t help but wonder – what was the point in that? Why was writing that in-depth letter, at that point in time necessary? In what way is it even appropriate? You’ve moved on, you’ve remarried, your happy. Seemingly, the past is in the past for you. So why would he bother to write that letter?

    The only thing that occurs is that that letter isn’t about you. It’s about him. It’s not appropriate for your ex to write a letter like that, at this point in time. He could have just passed on his congratulations, his warm wishes, whatever. But no, that letter is all about dragging the past up and taking you back in time – to a point of consciousness that involves him. What a dick.

      • Agree with all of the above.
        Dickiness and centrality!

        If my stbx wrote this I would be disgusted that he would think I CARED about his congratulations?!
        That he would think I was waiting around for his acknowledgement of my new life? ewww

        AND that “credit cards” inclusion was a jab for certain. Like, do you all not have CC’s now? Did he lose his credit, declare bankruptcy…..because YOU spent all the money, cost him money?
        idk….struck me really strange, accusatory and WRONG.

        • It was absolutely a dig. He used to accuse me of causing all of the debt because I didn’t earn enough. I wasn’t in debt at all before I met him and since I’ve been gone, no debt. He was the big spender not me.

          • The debt seems like part of the cheater package! Reading your reply just made me realise that when my ex was still around, we had more than twice the income and always massive credit card debt. Now I have half the income and no credit card debt, but apparently our past money problems were my fault. Glad you are free of this jerk, Wornfree.

          • Boy does that one hit a cord with me. Ex was good at making money but he was also good at spending it. He always bought the most expensive clothing and accessories. He bought new TV and other gadgets for himself. I let him buy and maintain an airplane. He bought new furniture for the new house without even consulting me. He bought new toys for the airplane, etc. etc. When I wanted to put AC in the bedrooms, including the kids rooms so they could get some relief too, he got pissy about the expense. For 13 years my income post tax matched what we spent on the nannies. As far as he was concerned there was no point to me working at all. He couldn’t see the long term value of me keeping my hand in my career so I wouldn’t lose my place and I could eventually be making money when we didn’t need the nanny anymore. My own sense of accomplishment and wellbeing didn’t figure into it at all of course because there was nothing in it for him there. I went down to four days a week so I could have more time for family. He later used this against me as slacking off when it was originally his idea as a compromise to not quitting outright. When he was working for the bank he considered our income to be his because he made a lot more than me and he made the spending decisions. When I brought in family money from inheritance, property related tax breaks, etc. that was our money and we had equal say in spending it. When he quit his job at the bank then I was inadequate because I didn’t make as he had been making. When I started putting in extra hours so I could get the raises and promotions (which I did) then I wasn’t giving him enough attention so of course he had to go find it elsewhere. Before he worked for the bank and before we had children, I was making more than him for a number of years. I never pulled the “I make more so it’s all my money” crap. During our brief stint in reconciliation the MC asked if we fought about money. We said no which was true. I think now that we should have been fighting about it. The fact that we didn’t just highlights what a doormat I was.

            Sorry for the rant. Couldn’t help myself.

            • Absolutely true! Since we separated in February and Dday was discovered a month later, not my first with her or second or… My stbxw has charged up atleast 30,000 with a loan and credit cards to my knowledge! She told me that she needed to live a little since she has always cared too much for everyone else all this time. Pshh, please. I can’t wait for my divorce to be done, all that “fun” is hitting the fan now! It’s all on her. For me, I’m enjoying my new life, rid of her toxic narc ways! It’s so clear to me now that she was always this way, now stepping back. How did I not see it after 17 years?! Because I’m a chump, trained in a way. But now my life is getting better and I don’t have any new debt, kinda funny!

          • What a fucking asshole. I could see my cheater doing some bs like this. Little digs. Pulling your attention back on him. Thinking that you care about his 30-year-too-late apology. Sounding like he is really happy for you (he’s not). Image management up to wazoo. Gross.

            And PS. It took me a really long time to see through bs like this as my cheater was so so so so so good at it. If you met him, you’d say he was a great guy who made the right choice to leave his wife and kids. THAT’S how good he is at all this mindfuckery.

          • The first thing that comes to my mind is he wants something from you. Be on your guard because he isn’t going to show you his cards yet. I caught the sentence about what you agreed on. Did he maybe get a higher paying job or a promotion or something he is trying to keep under wraps? I don’t know how old kids are but usually when there is a jump in pay you can go back to court and get more money. You might want to keep your eyes open without him knowing. If you find out that is what it is go for it. Get to your attorney for modification and do not feel bad about it or let anyone try to talk you out of it. It is your for your kids and they deserve every penny. It has nothing to do with your financial situation now or marriage. He didn’t send this because he has nothing better to do. He wants something. He might think you already know but this business about what you agreed to raises a big red flag. Good luck.

          • “He used to accuse me of causing all of the debt because I didn’t earn enough.”

            What a tool.

      • Exactly what I thought, Pecan. It’s ALL about centrality with this fuckwit. “Wait, she moved on? She’s HAPPY without me? Oh…maybe she just needs a reminder of how wonderful I am so she can mourn the loss of wonderful me instead of living her wonderful-me-free life.”

        • Hi Beth!
          I have another thought about this from my own experience. I don’t think the letter has anything to do with her. I think it’s about how her new husband will think of him. I learned in my own life that when someone new came into my life, my ex seemed to want “the new guy” to think well of him, “the old guy”. It has nothing to do with treating me with respect. It has to do with his narc need to impress to the new guy, and create some doubt about all the horrible truths she might have told the new guy about him (the old guy).

          • Good insight!

            A month ago, my ex told me, “When you start dating, I want to meet him and make sure he’s good enough for you. We can all go out for coffee or something.” Um. No. Not going to happen.

            I thought my ex wanted to scare the new guy off, but maybe he wanted to polish his image so the new guy thinks well of him. DDay was two months ago, so of course, I’m a long way off from a new guy. Odd the ex would bring that up so soon.

            • Mine just wanted to make a show of being civil to my new guy in order to try and shame me into being civil to Schmoopie. Not going to happen. I am happy to keep ignoring Schmoopie’s existence as much as I am able. That’s as civil as it gets thanks.

          • My take on this is slightly different. I think it’s the Worm trying to get between Wormfree and her new man by letting the new fellow know he was there first and he can be back later. Asserting his priority, as it were. Kind of like lifting his leg on her to claim his territorial rights.

            Thanks for the memories, my ass.

          • Hi Diane! 🙂 Yes, I can see that. It would be just another way of trying to achieve centrality except with the new guy instead of the ex. Lucky for you, your “new guy” is much too smart to fall for such nonsense.

    • What an idiot. Inserting himself all of a sudden into her world. This fool thinks he still matters to her, that he is still central. Jerk.

    • Offthecrazytrain

      These types of letters represent the cheater taking stock of where they ended up in my opinion. You will note he ‘already’knew she had moved (on).

      The Limited’s parting words were that he couldn’t get anywhere with me. Moreover, we get past them don’t we? And now I ask myself the questions and have the answers; not about him, for myself.

      Where did I get over the past few years?
      Appreciation for all that I have carried me through the struggles. Good friends, a nice home, and the ability to save for the future come to mind.

      Was it worth it?
      Fuck yeah, facing the pain and living free from toxic abuse is awesome.

      The memories fade and we create without a care.

      My therapist said it best. He’s dumb.
      We land in a better place.

    • Yes! Completely agree — it’s all about him. He’s trying to get the moth to come to the flame. He’s hoping you’ll say you forgive him. This is just another sorry ass manipulative tactic. So what if he’s actually developed a genuine sense of morality and is feeling guilty?? Let him look for validation elsewhere. Enjoy your new life!

  • I like Mr CL’s metaphor. What good is a squashed repentant jackass?

    Dear Free (leaving the worm out), this letter looks like an exercise in regret, not remorse. GINR. If I received something like that I would feel so sad. Better not.

    • Good point…regret doesnt always equal remorse.

      I never got a real apology from Nowdeadcheater, but when I told the story of a friend who is a Medium (occasionally getting messages from Beyond) explaining to me that she got a message from him about HOW MUCH LOVE he feels for me now, CL described them as post mortem Switzerland Friends.

      Well that is fine, he can sit in Purgatory and use love as a verb all day long…I don’t give a fuck. I still live on the space/time continuum where a hoard of OWs still remember the tingle of his dick and Im still mad, so good on you and be sorry….I got my life to live over here…as does WormFree.

  • I have friends who divorced amicably. 6 years ago. They worked to raise their daughter together but separate. It was all fine and good until the mom had a breakdown and now blames dad for wrongs. They’re headed back to court. It’s not good. Why? They never really broke up. They never really moved on.

    My Ex’s affairs sent me spinning out of her orbit. I would still be wondering “why?” If I never found out.

    I’ve got huge boundaries. And I’m checking IDs at the door. Switzerland friend? Out.

    I see my X often at kid events. It’s easier every time. She could write a letter like the above and I wouldn’t care (that’s not entirely true).

    My point? She’s still in my life and will be at some level. But at such a insignificant amount compared to before.

    Keep walking your new path. Congratulations on a new life. Maybe say, “Thanks for the apology bud, but you keep on going that way”.

    • This idea of “breaking up” is a really good point–important for the adults as well as kids. You can’t “move on” if you don’t “move on.” I agree that folks that stay besties after divorce are asking for trouble down the road–also, I think it disallows kids to accept the divorce. Most kids on some level will always want their folks back together and hold out hope. This kind of super friendly relationship doesn’t allow the kids to have closure, mourn, and move on either.

      My ex wanted this kind of besties relationship (have his cake and eat it too scenario), I went as no contact as I could while sharing a minor daughter–for lots of reasons, one of which was her mental health. People remark all the time how great and well adjusted she seems. Yea well I’m much happier and she holds zero idea that mom and dad will ever get together again. We mourned, we moved on.

      Your other points are salient too. I’m very much the same–strong boundaries, it gets easier, close to meh, and goodbye Swiss friends!

  • The total, total A-hole cheating boyfriend of my senior year in high school contacted me 9 years later with similar sentiments after seeing me on “Oprah”. NINE YEARS LATER? Newly divorced he was, and rather than “reach out to new people” he wanted to reconnect with me because of that river of happy memories….(WTF?! We have very different memories).

    You may be angry because you feel MANIPULATED.

    The most important point is that YOU CAN’T TELL IF HE IS SINCERE BECAUSE HE IS A LIAR.

    LIAR LIAR LIAR LIAR LIAR.

  • Maybe he’s doing a 12 step program and has to ask for forgiveness? Who cares? Too little, way too late. The best response is no response. I’m sure all the cheating was just him “getting the love he deserved, right? Give him what he deserves now.

    • I agree – no reponse is the best reponse. I’m only 4 months from divorce and 6 months from D-day. If I ever got a letter from x (highly doubtful), I would never respond. Sorry, the time for changing was before we were divorced and the time to cheat was never.

  • “You have my love and respect.”

    Yes, because nothing says love and respect like serial cheating and exposing your “love” to sexually transmitted diseases. I think that’s all you need to know about his sincerity. You are correct Wormfree in labeling this as BS and being a little creeped out by it. He admits to inadvertently finding out about your marriage which has stalker written all over it. Sounds like the worm wants to worm his way back into your life and he’s hoping that since you’re happy now you will let your guard down and allow that nonsense.

    Keep moving forward in your happy life and leave the worm in the dirt where he belongs!

  • Wormfree,
    I notice he did not include an apology for the hurt he caused you…it seems a bit shallow without that.

    • He also didnt mention any hurt he caused the kids or ask how they were. And, in typical remorseless cheater form, he never offers specifics of the behavior he is so sad about. Probably bc its not the flinging his dick around like a rabid un-neutered dog, but the getting sloppy and getting caught that he is really upset about.

    • Hah! Guess what? The words “I’m sorry I cheated and beat you up” will never come out of his mouth. He’ll say he’s sorry but if you ask him what exactly he’s sorry for, you get crickets…..

      • He’ll say he’s sorry but if you ask him what exactly he’s sorry for, you get crickets…..

        I couldn’t agree more!

        • Yup, this one is my ex’s favourite tactic. When he isn’t getting anywhere w/his usual manipulations, and he knows an apology is deserved, he gives these extremely vague ones. When we were together, I projected all sorts of meaning onto those vague apologies, and spackled.

          This is also what drove the kids nuts. When they started refusing to see him, after his cheating, then abandoning them, he did start apologizing. So little actual content!

          And the proof his apologies were fake? Now it’s MY fault they again stopped seeing him.

          • LOL. One time my ex threw a bottle at me that exploded everywhere during a narcissitic rage moment. Later he told me “I regret how heated things got.” That’s the ANTI APOLOGY!!!

            I’ve thought alot on what true apologies look like. I believe that the words are mere gateways into the restorative action that actually serves as the apology. You need both. If I ever threw a bottle at someone, I would be shocked and devastated and immediately tell them I was sorry for such a horrible act, I can’t justify it, and then spend whatever time necessary showing them I was sorry and making it up to them.

            But that apology action part is a kind of self-improvement work that most cheaters just are not game for.

  • Although most of us wait for, want that apology, I agree with you I’d be pissed because you’re right it’s total manipulation. I also have a master manipulator ex who has made me fall for shit in the past only to get burned. Apologies from these disgusting cheats means nothing. Not only is it not sincere, you’re spot on about that one, why is he trying to stay present in your new life? Manipulator at work! He’s like woah wait a second what about me?! You’re mine and belong to me! You can’t be happy! I’m not! Wtf! Let’s pretend for a second he is sincere, no apology can erase everything he did. So it doesn’t matter anyway. If he wants to apologize let him apologize with bigger checks for the kids he didn’t think about when he was destroying your family. Anyway sorry,this struck a chord and I’m pissed for you! Don’t look back or waste one more minute on that asshole! Enjoy your new life!

      • Yes!! It’s simultaneously a dig (“You were hiding this from me Ms. High and Mighty…but maybe you didn’t want me knowing you were dating someone else, just in case?”) and a coy threat (“I have ways of knowing what is going on in your life, wouldn’t you like to know how?”), while pretending to not be keeping tabs (“inadvertently”). Gross.

  • A couple things stand out for me in this:

    – if the communication wreaks of a bad hallmark movie with its waxing poetic language, it is not sincere, it is a feeble attempt at mimicking human emotion and thought (which NPDs have to do because they lack true emotionally understanding)

    – if the communication comes AFTER you are married or have obviously moved on, it is unnecessary and inappropriate and an attempt at HOOVERING

    – you are no longer responsible to put any emotionally energy into communications like this, even if you are co-parenting, just file it away and keep cashing those timely support checks he promises

    – keep it as a reminder of the bullet you dodged by getting away from someone who is still reliving the deliciousness of the destruction of your marriage (consider sociopaths who keep souvenirs from their victims to relive the events of abuse)

    – apologies do not excuse abuse

    Count your blessings on this one… be glad you have your super new life minus one fuckwit and keep it that way!

    • I agree that it sounds much more like a “bad hallmark movie” than sincere remorse; more of a “feeble attempt at mimicking human emotion.”
      Good description, ICSTMC!

      An apology letter that demonstrated true empathy (most narcs can imitate it but don’t really feel it) would have been more specific about transgressions.

      Referencing his “bad choices” and “conduct” are arms length token gestures that show no grasp of the searing pain he caused or the severity of the multiple betrayals, both in terms of the serial nature of the cheating and the requisite thousands of lies he told in order to pull off his double life.

      I can see where some people might be taken in, which is frustrating when the telltale signs of NPD are so clear to those of us who unfortunately learned the hard way how to spot it. Narcs are indeed image management pros!

  • Best thing would be to do what you’ve been doing. Like CL says. You’ve moved on and are happy so keep moving forward. I can’t inagine what I’d do if i got a letter like that. Ofcourse it makes you think and want to dissect it and wonder if it’s sincere and you can’t unread it. But in the end, does it impact your progress?

    Hopefully not and you keep being badass And Happy.

  • These are the lines of a jerk…

    “I let many underlying issues, bad choices and pressures knock me off course. ”
    Let? The mask slipped. Dark evil underneath.

    “I hope that I merit forgiveness someday.”
    Oh, keep your trap shut. You never gonna get it, as En Vogue sang in their 90s song.

    “here are only a river of happy memories and good times that I look back on,”
    Abuse, STD checks for me!

    “I want you to know I only have the best of intentions and regard for you”
    That’s why I lied to you. I had to protect you. #myintentions

    “Remember, that I will always be here for you.”
    …and so will all the bacteria and flora of all my fuck buddies.

    “know I have many more miles to take on that trip”
    See id. 5 douchebag lines above. That’s probably less than 10%! You have come a long way, Baby! Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

  • The thing that jumps out at me about this “apology” aside from the brass balls it takes to try to push any of his bullshit into your current happy life, is that it is a perfect illustration of Dr. Simon’s nugget of wisdom…..It’s not that they don’t see, it’s that they disagree. He knew exactly how damaging, hurtful and painful to you his behavior was at the time. He chose to do it anyway. Your suffering at his hands was perfectly acceptable to him. You were useful to him. He was central in your life.

    Now you have the gall to have found happiness with another man. Worm can no longer be central, so let’s see if he can rattle you a bit, maybe get a kibble of attention, maybe make you nostalgic for the illusion he crafted to keep you in line in the past. Hey it worked before! And maybe he could make you think you are missing out on the new and improved Worm. Hey, more kibbles! He is just that much more awesome now! He is busily polishing this new image of a reforming bad boy. Enough mea culpas and maybe all will be forgiven and he can get back to being a consequence free shithead in his head.

    Meanwhile, he can tell himself you are missing out on a better man. Gag!

  • OMG I love this!

    “Mr. CL just interjected: “Timing is everything. This apology is like jumping out of an airplane, crashing to the ground, and then releasing your parachute.”

    Seeing that douche canoe contacted me this weekend to say that we should probably try to come to some sort of fair agreement because it’s costing us $10,000 every time we walk into the court room.” We are 5 trial dates in, Ive had to compel taxes and other documents, hire a financial expert to go over the 300k in taxes he failed to tell me about for 5 years, subpoena employments records, and NOW he thinks we should “come to an agreement that is fair for the BOTH of us, because I probably won’t be happy with the outcome in the court room!”

    Yes, timing is everything! This might have been a good idea back in 2015, but waiting until you’ve spent every last dime and have me walking away with life crushing debt if we do it “fair” now, is really bad fucking timing!

  • I’d say burn it but you should probably toss it into the “stuff I keep in case he ever drags me back to court but otherwise ignore” file.

    Political spin doctor? Chilling. I am.sure that every single move is calculated, guaranteed.

  • The letter is like all reconciliation efforts–it might be sincere, but given the apologizer’s history of lying, the recipient cannot trust the effort. Maybe he had an epiphany, maybe he is dating someone new and wants to showcase his reformation as part of his new web of manipulation, maybe he told one of the kids he’d apologize to you, maybe his therapist suggested it as a step in his “journey,” maybe (given the political career) he expects his EX might be contacted by an employer or a journalist, maybe he lives in one of the states with new marijuana laws and he wrote it while high.

    But since you aren’t the marriage police any more, you don’t need to investigate it. File it with your court documents as it acknowledges fiduciary responsibilities. And then go have a lovely time with your new and trustworthy spouse!

    If you never hear a word more about the letter, you can grant it the potential of “truthiness.” If you hear directly or indirectly that he expected a response (maybe even a “thank you”), then you’ll know all you need to about his “reformation.”

  • The first line makes the entire letter b.s. He’s zinged you for not telling him you were getting married. He actually writes a decent apology paragraph (to cover up the bitter zing in the first line) but follows it with truck-loads of self-pity. It’s an invitation to come closer so he can slap you. That’s what narcissistic people do, they draw you in with puppy dog eyes, then slap you.

  • I would bet my retirement account that the apology is NOT real! He has one heck of an opinion of himself and felt sure Wormfree was spending every day of her life thinking of him and missing him. This “apology” is hitting all the highlights and shouts ‘Remember me! Think about all the fun we had (when you believed every word I said and every lie I told). Misty watercolor memories dammit! Me! Me! I had to be better than any new-husband-come-lately who is treating you like a princess!’

    Just delete the message and forget he ever sent it, because by asking a bunch of people their opinion of it – just by giving it any thought at all – you’re giving him exactly what he hoped for. Stay mighty, it’s the best revenge.

    • I see your point Linny, but I think of the discussion of the letter as a public service. While I’m so certain all of the communications from stbxh are bs that I probably file even the very, very few non-bs ones under bs (better safe than sorry!), I often can’t put my finger on WHY it’s not honest. This dissection really helps me give me a clearer perspective on this type of very covert manipulation, and I so need it!! Thanks WormFree, CL and CN for my daily shot of clarity!

  • YES, YES, AND YES!!!!! He could be sorry, but who cares in the end. Finally breaking free of the manipulation is an amazing feeling. This is a finely crafted piece of manipulation is for sure an A++ effort. I particularly find the “I’ll always be here for you” line amusing. The pathetic hoovering is almost laughable if you didn’t have to walk through fire to once and for all realize that it is indeed pathetic. I told my “Wasband” at one point before extreme no contact I couldn’t wait until he was nothing more than a check in the mail to me. Once I ran the gauntlet of family and divorce court, with him digging his heels in the whole way (while setting up house with his piece of Tinder Trash) he then began demanding we be friends because the kids want it that way. Um, yeah ok. Good for you for seeing this letter for the selfish manipulative, kindling it is.

    • “The pathetic hoovering is almost laughable if you didn’t have to walk through fire to once and for all realize that it is indeed pathetic.”

      I got my fake apology novels several months after the d-day disappearance act. I wanted to know why and get an apology for so long…but when I finally got them, I could finally SEE.
      I had been shaken awake to who he really was with d-day and has months of nightmares as all the lies and red flags unraveled from my memories; counseling and research to help me come to terms with it all. The fire was rough, but as soon as I read those letters….I could see what he was doing all along and what i had read into it all before.

  • I honestly think Narc-types sometimes believe their own BS in the moment they say it. But, it’s all about them and you being of use to them, even if as an audience for impression-management. They shape-shift according to their feelings and ego needs of the moment and only mimic real humans in the process.

    • I agree. My EX often totally believed what he said when he was saying it. He wasn’t a great actor, and I could see the difference between his generic bull-shit and his sincere bull-shit. I hadn’t thought about this before you mentioned it, but that was part of why I took so long and felt so guilty about leaving. I struggled with his mystifying ability to be sincere and a liar all at once. (Ironically, one of his long-standing descriptions of himself is that he is a very truthful person.)

      • Yes! The cognitive dissonance between what he was saying and what I was seeing – thus gas-lighting, intentional or not – very nearly led to a breakdown until I got away for a few day’s walking by myself. He kept saying that he ‘valued the honesty between us’, after years of dishonesty, he said. What I saw was years of miscommunication but I finally realised he had indeed been dishonest and it was when he said he was ‘taking off all the masks’ that it all came tumbling down. Switzer friend said he’d never lied to me. It seems he and some of his friends, don’t see breaking a promise of no contact as lying, or hiding the fact that he wanted to phone the OW but chickened out as he’d left his phone right by my chair. Apparently it’s only a lie if I ask a direct question which he can answer yes or no!

  • I just like how they harken back to old memories as if to assert that there was “good” too, and they were a part of it. Rather than claim some shared ownership of that alleged good, a real apology would point out how, for the victim, those memories have largely become torments. They were the falsification of meaning and connection, not a representation of it. If not actual falsifications, then convenient circumstances for the serial cheater, as superficial as they were enjoyable, detached from any enduring meaning. Cheaters don’t grasp this. And in failing to grasp it, they reveal the shallow insincerity of any of their points made in reference to them. It amazes me, as it should amaze the cheater, that they don’t grasp the current meaning of such memories – that in spite of them, they were nonetheless able to pursue their betrayals, deceptions, and destruction…not “just” of the other person, but of these memories as well. Untroubled, they wax nostalgically about these things they destroyed. It’s as if no one informed them they are supposed to appear regretful with regard to the memories too, else they’ll look manipulative – so they blunder on. Not even for the sake of such things which they themselves were part of and supposedly held dearly within their own hearts were they able to conduct themselves with decency. This is what such memories should scream to them. But instead they reveal how little these things actually meant when having trashed them they can guiltlessly reminisce. It’s like reminiscing about a pet baby bunny, all cute and cuddly, which you later killed with a hammer. Who would believe any apology constructed around such glaring tone deafness?

    • Yes. My stbx seemed to be reassured when I agreed that yes, we were happy once. But not sad that we didn’t continue to be happy, or sad that he’d taken away any chance of that. Maybe he was just wanting to know that he hadn’t made a mistake from the start? Just don’t want to go there 😬😁

    • Such a great point. And I can imagine hell freezing over before most cheaters even begin to grasp what you are saying, let alone account for it in their apologies.

  • If I received this letter, my first impulse as a Chump with a capital C would be to at least acknowledge it, even though I know the Mightiest thing would be to just ignore it. But I would worry about hurting the cheater’s feelings! Yes, I still have a ways to go in shedding my chumpy shell. Reminds me of a guy I dated in my early 30’s. I broke up with him, and he sent me a really nasty letter about how horrible I was. I didn’t reply, because what was the point? So two weeks later, he called me in a rage because I hadn’t even acknowledged his letter. And pathetically, I felt bad, like I had actually done something wrong!! So I have a long legacy of chumpiness to overcome…

  • “Today, there are only a river of happy memories and good times that I look back on.” WT-Frick? What is it with cheaters and turning everything into some overwrought piece of narcissistic bad poetry? “A river of happy memories.” Hah! Somehow they manage to turn even their acts of massive hurt and betrayal into something about their own personal feelings, and in the most revolting melodramatic language.
    And notice how when they add something that is meant as a compliment to the chump, it’s really an insult about how you’re a good piece of machinery in their vehicle of self-discovery. Not that you have feelings, or wants of your own, but you were an important stepping stone for their own lives.
    “…and [I] appreciate all that you did for me on that journey.”
    You’re like the fuel injector in the car, without which I couldn’t have gotten very far down the road. But, like the fuel injector, I don’t really care what impact it had on you.

    • Good analogy. We got them where they are in terms of the good things and places. They got themselves where they are in terms of consequences.

      Sayonara to being anyone’s appliance.

  • I completely understand, wormfree, why this letter infuriates you. It reeks of entitlement and centrality, couched in what might look to the uninitiated like positives. What I see in his letter is a big fat entitled “I” (I’ve seen these same moves in similar letters from my very-soon–next week in fact–to-be-ex.)

    He feels entitled to judge who you are and to dispense his noblesse to you, as if what he has decided is true about you is the last word, and he sits in judgement and in moral authority over your new husband: “I hope the new man in your life appreciates what he has in you.” This is his move to establish his centrality, while appearing to offer homage to and appreciation of your good qualites.

    He can’t even accept responsibility while saying he’s responsible. In the first and last sentences it is “my [his] fault” but in-between those sentences the agency shifts to “many underlying issues, bad choices, and pressures”–his? yours? the universe’s?–that “knock[ed] me [him] off course.” It’s as if he couldn’t bring himself to accept responsibility without also wriggling out from under it.

    He sees you in relation to him, and appreciates you not for yourself, but for “all that you did for me [him] on that journey. No one could have done more for me [him] during those years.” Could there be a more clear expression that it’s all about him?

    • I forgot to add…is it “wormfree” because he’s like WormTongue in LOTR? Or Sauron’s mouthpiece?

    • he sits in judgement and in moral authority over your new husband: “I hope the new man in your life appreciates what he has in you.”

      I don’t know why, but this reminds me of when my ex told me (within days of DDay when we were supposed to be reconciling). “If you decide to start dating somebody, let me check him out first to make sure he is good enough for you”. How noble of him to be so protective. As if he was a good judge of how to treat me right. These were the kinds of pronouncements that had me convinced that he was seriously losing his mind.

      • “If you decide to start dating somebody, let me check him out first to make sure he is good enough for you”

        I got this exact same comment a month after DDay when he was almost out of the house. (Posted above about it.)

        NOT going to happen!

        • Wow! They want to check out any new guy in your life, to be sure …. that the new guy is at least 1000% better then they were?

          That’s like 3 day old garbage wanting to check that your food is fresh, so you don’t get sick.

  • I have a beautiful new minimal contact life.
    Last week I got engaged to the greatest guy, he’s moving in with me and my non modifiable alimony and life is great.
    Then out of nowhere my ex had his mistress contact me over some tax form issue and I felt my zen draining. They try to act like because we all landed on our feet it was okay to firebomb my family.
    Hearing anything from that camp brings some PTSD flashback of my life being blown up, makes me very “anxious”.
    I needed this today.
    It’s been four years, a million shallow apologies.
    I read here everyday still, but not out of desperate need anymore, more now just because I find it comforting and perhaps I can help someone else.
    Today was desperate need. Why can’t they just go crawl under their rock and leave me the fuck alone?

    • “Hearing anything from that camp brings some PTSD flashback of my life being blown up, makes me very “anxious”.”

      I am strugging with this too. Ex abandoned our small children, running away to hide when I finally found out. Ive been meeting up w his mom and helping her maintain a relationship w her grandbabies. But then ex showed back up months later, prefaced w a series of bullshit poetic faux-pologies and super subtle digs, all for his mom’s sake. She took him in and continues to enable his avoidance of all responsibility. I care about her and of course I will always do what is in my kids best interest regardless of what or whom I am uncomfortable with, but yeah….hearing from that camp stirs up some intense flashbacks. Its hard for me to reach out or instigate visits with her now bc its like forcing my hand into a beehive. I want far, far away from him and and i dont want him to have access to any tiny info about me.

      • I feel you. I ended up stopping interacting with stbx’s family without really intending to, because it was just too much. Chumpy me feels a little guilty, and that I could’ve done it in a more grown-up way (sending an email with my best wishes to the family, and explaining that they have full access to grandkids via their father, so I feel the need to step back…in fact, maybe I will still send the email with Christmas as an excuse). Maybe you could do something similar now that the kids’ father has benevolently returned from who-knows-where and can facilitate time with his mom? Either she will be understanding of how painful this is for you right now (empathy points, you can always pick up again later when you feel safer) or she won’t, and then she is really not someone who is safe for you right now. You have been hurt extremely badly, you deserve to protect yourself and give yourself time and space to heal. You don’t have to put her desire to see her grandkids above your need to feel safe and at peace (or at least working on getting there). It’s not mean, it’s practical, rational and understandable. At least to rational people, and that’s the perspective I’m trying to learn to work from!

  • What I learned from this letter was that the marriage changed for the worse when you got rid of the cats and got dogs. Key Takeaway!

  • I found an email like this my now-ex had written to an ex girlfriend when we were together. For years he had occasionally bemoaned how terrible and controlling she was, told me how devastated she was when he finally had enough and moved on, and that he had no desire to ever see or communicate with her again. That is, until he ground our relationship to dust and suddenly the “river of happy memories” came flooding back! He just had to reach out to her and wax nostalgic about baseball games and piggy-back rides, and revealed the pain he had been in that caused him to behave as he did. There was nothing overtly Hoovery in the message, but that’s what it was. She wisely ignored him, and I later found out he contacted her mom and had lunch with her (the mom) to try to get to the ex. Once again, her instincts for “no contact” were excellent.

    Now things aren’t going so well with ex’s OW and their child, and I can sense him beginning to pick at the edges of an email like this. It’s not that he’s being insincere, it’s that he’s an unstable idiot with no coping skills. He only has fond feelings toward others when he’s not in the process of destroying them. Currently he’s in the process of destroying the OW, and so I look shiny and wonderful again, just like his ex-girlfriend looked shiny and wonderful again while we were together. As CL says, it doesn’t matter if this apology is sincere, because sincerity to them is relative and fungible. Truth to them is ever-shifting. So sure, appreciate the sencerity of his moment, but don’t count on it lasting any longer than his next “truth.”

    • Hmm. Whoever he is with is awful when he is still in the picture and the ones he is no longer around are awesome. What does that say about him? I doubt he will ever be able to make the connection.

    • WOW! Yes, on everything you wrote! These unstable disordered idiots return to ex’s for immediate spikes in their kibbles. My ex always goes back to the same woman. I have never met her, but I believe she must have the lowest self esteem of anyone. He uses her time and time again. His phone records reveal she is just one of many he seeks for kibbles and to feed his starved ego because the women with self respect don’t take his shit. She, however, will spread her legs, make his meals and take what little drool he offers her all while he is courting 4 or more others at the same time. He gives her just enough daily attention by text or maybe a night or two a week to keep her strung along. She has no idea he got another local woman pregnant…

      It just goes to show how words have very little meaning to a cheater and are used to manipulate.

      • I find that very sad… and think about it,, you just described many chumps… post D Day # 1…breadcrumbs, spackle…sunk costs, wishful thinking.. and yes, it does not matter who it is..these people are liars and cheaters.. whether it’s a wife or a girlfriend, it matters not…

    • This. Exactly what my STBX did when he crushed our marriage. He reached out to an old girlfriend of his and spend hours on the phone with her going down happy memory lane.
      So infuriating that nothing that they do is unique and so predictable because of it.
      I actually took the liberty to text her that the only reason he reached out was, because I set him free after he cheated for 3 years.

  • A lot of us would at some point appreciate the closure, sincere or not. I’d keep it in my evidence pile so that someday our children will see the truth and the apology to their mother by his own hand.

    This guy will always be the shit. But for one shining moment, at least, he owned up to it.

    So it’s all good, Wormfree!

    • Except that he didn’t actually own up! At no point does he say WHAT he did wrong, much less how wrong it was! He doesn’t mention that while they were making those lovely memories, he was ALREADY cheating. ‘The choices I made and the damage I caused’, my ass! Which choices? What damage.

      It’s all ‘look at me, aren’t I wonderful?’ bullshit.

  • My sociopath ex would write me a lame apology just like this…though he used the word apology in his letter, he never expressed remorse nor conveyed how he understood the crushing damage and hurt he caused me. Even when he sucked me back in when I believed maybe he had true remorse and loved me, it was all a scam. He continued to lie, cheat and mentally abuse me.

    Words mean nothing no matter how beautifully and heartfelt they may seem. Actions mean everything.

    A chronic cheater and liar will not change ever. There is no amount of therapy that will change him/her. Impression management is what they are after.

  • It is quite possible that he meant every word when he wrote it but that doesn’t mean those sentiments will last. Maybe he thought he meant it when he said his vows too and look how that turned out. My ex was always complaining that I didn’t spend enough money on clothing, hair styling, etc. One day during the recession he said “Chumpinrecovery, I know I used to complain a lot about your not dressing nice enough but you are low maintenance and that is a good thing. Don’t ever change”. I thought he finally got it. Nope. It was just a moment of temporary lucidity. Not long after the complaints resumed and it was just another excuse to cheat. I sense the same thing with this letter, temporary lucidity from someone who is totally off his rocker most of the time.

    In this case, it is telling that Wormfee fell for a similar letter before and it turned out badly. I had a relationship with a highly manipulative person in college. The first summer break when we were apart he sent me a really sweet letter telling me he missed me and wanted to treat me better. That letter reeled me in again the next Fall. The second summer apart I got another very similar letter following another year of abuse. This time I sent back a scathing response and did not go back. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. A scathing response might not be a good idea in this case as there are still support checks coming. Probably best to just ignore it altogether. As CL said, it doesn’t matter whether or not he means it, this time.

  • It’s really easy for Worm to be sorry now, isn’t it.

    Except I don’t think he really is; impression management motivates his letter. Also notice the 27 I-s and me-s in the letter. Just because they are couched in surface structures of apology doesn’t negate the self-absorption.

    Plus, Worm’s “Remember, that I will always be here for you.” Ha, ha, ha!! What would that really look like if Wormfree sought out Worm in a crisis? This:
    Road Runner

    • Ding, ding, ding! Well-said and excellent demo, T! I couldn’t help but notice the cacti for which I know of a good use.

    • I love the Road Runner. But, yes, my X was faster than Road Runner. The first sign of emotional stress and he was gone.

    • T,

      “Just because they are couched in surface structures of apology doesn’t negate the self-absorption.”

      This is it, you couldn’t have described it better. Couched in surface structure of apology. And that’s why it can be so confusing because the surface structure can look so real and the words read so well. But beneath it all are the I’s and me’s.

      Thank you.

  • 1. “Mistakes were made” – read it, I think you’ll appreciate it

    2. “Remember, that I will always be here for you.”…no he won’t. Was he there for you before? When you were married? No. So why would you think he would be now?

    I hope you just don’t respond, at all. It’ll drive him nuts to think that you are having too much fun laughing with your new husband who treats you like a princess to give one iota of concern to his dumbass pseudo apology email.

  • “I’ll always be there for you” made me gag as well. “Noble” and safe to say when the probability of being taken up on his offer is zilch. Colossal presumption and patronizing conceit that you would ever turn to him or that he had something to give. Does he think he’s Jesus or Dolly Parton?

  • Let me get this straight. 1) You’ve been divorced for years from your abuser, and 2) You’ve had the good fortune of having met and married a new life partner.

    At this point, given all you know about your sociopathic ex, why on God’s green Earth would such a letter register anything but a wry chuckle? That letter should have passed through a shredder faster than a Banksy at auction. Get on with living your wonderful, authentic life!

    • Ah, well. We chumps have been through the mind blender and, quite frankly, it fucks our heads up.
      The Worm was a master at head games. He used my empathy and compassion for his own use and amusement. I had a hard time making decisions. I was always second guessing myself. Months after I left I would have panic attacks triggered by the slightest thing.
      While I recognize the bullshit now, I still feel the need for validation. Someday maybe I won’t need that validation security blanket. Until then, I come here…..

      • We do need reassurance that we’re not the ones misinterpreting, that our perceptions aren’t coloured by the pain and anger.

        And besides, it’s always SUPER instructive to other Chumps, reading this crap and dissecting it. SO much easier to see clearly, when it’s not hitting our own buttons.

      • I like your point about reassurance. Jackasses aren’t going to stop the impression management and their attempts to revise history just because a few years or decades have passed. Therefore, you (and many of the rest of us) need to keeping reminding and reassuring ourselves of the truth.

        My marriage ended 7 years ago. My EX and I are NC. Yet, he wrote a condolence letter to my mother last month after a relative he barely knew passed away (he would have heard about it from our kids). He’s still trying to co-opt my mother into revising her opinion of him! I can imagine many people on the fringes of our marriage who would be moved by this kind of gesture. My mother, however, is not one of them. She doesn’t get “meh.” She doesn’t want “meh.” She’d prefer for him to just curl up and die. Fortunately, I have convinced my mother of the value of NC–she’s not taking the bait.

        • When my mom died my ex sent a condolence card to my sister! When my sister-in-law died he wrote a very nice letter to my brother. But he got drunk at my dad’s funeral and also at his dad’s funeral apparently. I guess there’s no point trying to figure them out is there.

  • I was literally thinking about this today. I have a new lady and she is great and kind and everything my cheating ex is not.
    She makes it easy to help with my Moving on which was in full swing before but she of course had doubts and worries that if the ex came back or wanted to reconcile id drop her and do so. she been cheated on too and while my ex and I do not speak our kids keep us in contact so she came up a lot.
    If this was a year ago she might not be wrong. but that was last year. like me.cl said its all in the timing. and that time has past.
    I agree with all here. definatley more about his personal regret than remorse but whst do you expect from a abusive sociopath?
    this might be sincere but who cares? too little too late. glad you’re at the point you can see that!

  • What he wants is a yeah, I forgive you, I’m sorry too and you were great to me too. Square off everything nicely. Nice to know that the narcs never quite settle until they have everything sorted and the best thing you can do is never give them that gratification.

    Not that I ever would I don’t think but I received something like this down the line I would just respond saying, I think you sent this to the wrong person.

    All self gratification.

  • What’s he got to lose?

    You KNOW he’s a cheater, he letting you know he’ll cheat with YOU!

    Mindfuck.

    Love your new, richly deserved life & collect the checks, period.

  • Throw it in the trash.
    Good riddance fucktard.
    Too late to redeem with moi.
    Put that doctor spin on the next chump.

    (He’s probably getting ready for a political career. Wants to clean up messy past with a contemporaneous email. )

  • Sounds like he wanted to avail himself of the opportunity to insert himself into her new life and remind her what she is missing now that he finally “sees the light”. This is an attempt to get her to question her move forward and possibly make her regret doing so…cuz you know, all the rivers of great memories and such. He is probably indulging himself to a twelve step program and checking off his “to do list” to make himself feel like a changed man…and/or to convince a “new mark” that he is authentic. What better way to get into a woman’s pants than to show her that he is humble and can appreciate learning from his past mistakes and is trying to make amends?

    If he were a changed man, he would have figured out that the best thing he could have done was to leave her alone to enjoy her new husband and life. Too little, too late….but hey, maybe he will “always be there” for her new husband too? Maybe he and her new hubby can sit roasting Smores around a fire pit and he can bring up all those rivers of good memories to share with him too? Maybe he can validate her worth as if her new husband were blind to it?

    At any rate, I’d save the letter to give to my kids in the event that he decides to go onto a new smear campaign when she answers him with crickets.

  • I tried to read the letter as objective as possible, and w/o knowing all the backstory, it’s hard to tell if he was being sincere.

    In my case, I no longer wait for an apology from her that will never arrive. I just assume she’s choosing to blame me as the reason for the failed marriage, and that her cheating was necessary to justify leaving the marriage, the children, and all material possessions to clean up after her.

    For some of us, we still need to understand the “why” in order to have full closure, similar to how we try to ask “why” someone died, or “why” someone ran away.

    Personally, I’d like to eventually get an apology like this, even if I have to read between the lines of what she was trying to convey. I don’t think getting a letter like this will trigger any past emotions (there is no going back, IMO), but I would like to see if one day, she owns up to her mistakes.

    • Be careful of that ‘reading between the lines’. I thought that was what I was doing with him, for so many years. No, what I was doing was projecting MY values onto him, assuming his good intentions, and spackling, for both myself and our kids.

      No more reading between the lines for me. I hear the words, and I watch the behavior. Then I ask peopleto clarify what the words mean, and I believe the behavior.

  • I got an emaillike this from an abusive, manipulative ex boyfriend several years after I left him. It almost made me retch on my keyboard. While I’d reached a level of forgiveness or understanding that helped me heal from our damaging relationship, I did not expect or want him to participate in that healing. Just like in your letter, he referenced his happy memories and apologized for being an asshole. But to me it is/was just more manipulation. Those memories are toxic to me and claiming how “happy” we were sharing everything when it was an abusive, totally dysfunctional situation is trying to pass off shit as roses. He’s trying to gaslight your past and it’s BS. In my case, it made me angry even that he thought I was still dependent on him in that he assumed I was waiting for an apology. What he really wanted was for me to “forgive” him but I had/have no intention of involving him in my healing. Narcissistic abusers have no place in that!

    • This is really poignant. Just one more effort to control another person. If you’ve wronged someone, you apologize when it happens and immediately try to make amends. You don’t come back years later when the person has moved on and is happy and do you stupid amends. This is one of my major problems with some 12 step programs. They hinge so much on amends, but sometimes trying to make amends only leads to more pain for your victim. Sometimes, real amends is acknowledging that you hurt this person but they are better now, and you should not bother them. If you want to honor them, donate to a charity you’d think they’d like or something. Anonymously send them a Costco gift card. Keep living your best life. Whatever. But stay gone.

    • Ex narcopath did this. After 5th dday, he moved on very quickly with another woman. Even though I left him, I was devastated. And, like the asshole he is, he made sure to do everything possible to rub my face in it. Took her on our vacations. Had her doing the same activities with his kids, that I did, etc. I was no contact with him, but still in touch with his sons and exwife, so I heard all about it.

      After they broke up, ex narcopath hoovered me, and I was curious to hear what he had to say.

      He did the same trip down memory lane: “do you remember that time….? Those were happy memories…..blah, blah, blah. ”

      At the time, I cried remembering those memories with him. They were some of my favorite memories, too.

      But the next day, he got back with her, and then his boys blabbed to her that we spoke on the phone and she dumped him for good.

      He desperately called me begging to talk. BEGGING to see me. Come for tea. Please. PLEASE!

      But I had taken the few days to really think about things. And his behavior was disgusting. Everything CL says about these abusive narc cheaters is so true.

      He sent a final desperate text asking me to remember our better times. I responded that I wished I had never met him and all of those memories are tarnished now and I pray to forget.

      No contact all the way. Once you see the manipulation you simply cannot play anymore. …..

      (And sadly, those “happy memories” we spend endlessly analyzing, trying to figure out if, when he said he loved me, was it real or fake? So they aren’t happy anymore.)

  • Timing is everything, for sure. Well crafted & well timed ; what better time to be sorry & hope for her happiness than when she already, actually *is*? 🙄
    What he is actually sorry for, like so many before him, is his own, permanent loss. Not her gain. Big diff.
    Is it appropriate for an old spouse or lover to wax poetic at his ex’s new marriage? Nope. Congratulations, best wishes. Stop. But it becomes all about him/ them from there. Try to squeeze a few more kibbles out of his chump.
    I hope she didn’t reply.

  • I’m convinced that my stbx wife won’t be making any kind of “apology”, written or otherwise, but I’m very curious as to what she would even say. This is someone who said to me, after I caught her affair and was clearly devastated and was abandoned and was facing financial ruin and homelessness and had an attorney sicked on me, that she was “going through some stuff, too.” Poor baby.

    I imagine once she’s out of “the fog” (where clandestine monsters like her reside), if she somehow sees her life suffering in some way (doubtful), she might reach out to set up her version of an apology letter: a business lunch. She’d tell me she “wasn’t thinking straight” or some such minimized bullshit, then proceed to sour the rest of the “meeting” by reminding me of all the things I’ve done wrong, as if rehashing DDay+1 where I received her master class in Blame-shifting 101. She doesn’t have a humble bone in her body, even during low periods.

    • Leftovers,

      Mine does’t have a humble bone either BUT he appears like a humble and modest and appreciative guy. All he could say in the ONLY conversation we had after he left was “This is a tragedy” over and over.

      And when I asked him if he was sorry, he said “For what?” (he still denies the affair)

      I spouted off a long list of things like– For hurting me, for walking out on our family, for blowing up our marriage, for hurting our kids……..and he said…….as I was sobbing and crying….

      “You just yelled at me, you can’t expect me to show my emotions NOW but of course I’m sad and sorry.”

      It’s been two months, never heard another peep about any sorry. Yeah, he’s not the slightest bit sorry.

  • This sentence stands out:

    “No one could have done more for me during those years.”

    Not a word about what he did for you. Or what exactly he did TO you. An apology might be “I lied to you about X. About Y. About Z and A, B, C. I gaslighted you about 1. About 2. And 3-259.” And so on.

  • It doesn’t matter whether he meant it or not.

    You’ve moved on. He’s trying to stake a claim in your new life. That’s silly. Don’t even reply with an, “Okay, thanks.” He knows where to send the checks. Awesome.

  • When I read the apology letter, I was reminded of the philosophical concept of “enlightened self-interest”, which contends that helping further the interests of others is the best way of furthering our own. I give the guy a teensy-weensy bit of credit for taking responsibility for his (vaguely alluded to) actions, and maybe Wormfree2017 can have a teensy-weensy bit of satisfaction from that, but his letter smacks a lot more of self-interest than enlightenment.

    Wormfree2017 knows him best. She can and should be as cynical about cheater’s sincerity and motivations as she needs to be, and she sure doesn’t need to respond to him. In her shoes, I’d think “Well, bless his heart”, then toss the letter into the shredder.

  • Just tear up the letter and ignore him. He’s just trying to cause trouble in your new happiness by messing with your mind.

    He’s hoping that time will fade your memories of his abuse and maybe let him occupy a small bit of your attention. Don’t let him gaslight you….again.

  • So glad that you’ve gotten away from him. I wish you the best for your new life!

    As for him and his letter – all I see is “me” and “I”. Let him float away on his river of BS. Don’t look back.

    • I like this “river of BS” as opposed to his “river of happy memories”. I had a BF like this – total reinvention of the experience like a hallmark movie.

  • Agree with CL. It doesn’t matter if it’s sincere or image rehab or gaslighting or otherwise. An email like this deserves a brief eye roll, maybe a light chuckle, then a delete.

    But let there be no doubt, this is about him, not you. Good people who have wronged other good people let them marinate in their happiness as it arrives, not inject themselves into the sauce. Even if it is sincere, it’s a “get it off my chest” email. Total self serving.

  • I thank you all so much for your insight and comments. I really appreciate each and every one of you, Chumplady and this site for being there in the wee hours of the morning on sleepless nights.
    It really helps to know there are others who have lived though or are living through the same nightmare.
    I’m so thankful I’m in a place of joy now!
    Life can and does get better if you step away from the crazy!

  • Oh please! If he were sorry he would have stuck to the facts: thanks for update. Will comply. Bye.

    Not some long over due apology-ish.
    And no….he’s not sorry. I’m sure chump expressed her pain over the course of her relationship. Is he sorry for ignoring her pain and being a jerk anyways? Cause they are not sorry for hurting anyone.

  • He’s a lot nicer than my ex. Who after 5 years still sends me things condemning me, my family and friends. He still brags that the kids choose him.

    I recently phoned his lawyer, and I actually got through. I told him I have to communicate because I pay support and half of tuition. But my ex can put anything he has to say to me in the mail, I want there to be no more electronic communication. HIS lawyer agreed and said he would tell him this. So far, so good.

  • I could literally underline the passages that show he makes it all about him.

    At least he’s making good on keeping those checks coming…

  • Apologies are fine, but in the end they don’t change anything that happened in the past. Nothing can make up for the awful things that went on, so if it was me, I’d take it at face value and file in the my “Whatevs” file, and forget about it:)

  • 143 Comments snarking on this serial cheating dumbass! Ha! Love it! Oh how I wish cheaters would read these comments, but alas, it’s the proverbial talking to a radiator.

    So glad I have a soul and can actually enjoy this snark! You guys are AWESOME!!!!

  • Trying to work out dick-heads true intentions is torturous. Glad you’ve moved on, Worm Free. I’m now off to google Misty of Chincoteague!

  • ‘Mistakes were made.’

    Uh huh. They sure were. I love Chump Nation, because it is the best kind of group therapy – you can see your own bullshit happening to other people, and then you see the light.

    A friend who did an awful thing to me, exposing her full narcissistic traits, wrote me a gushy card recently about what a swell party I was. I tore it up and threw it away because I was able to recognize it as image management, pure and simple.

    No fucking more.

  • I was feeling a bit emotional this evening, so I scanned through the archives. I feel better now!
    But wow, his letter is riddled with (almost) word for word quotes from my X pre-divorce. It didn’t make sense because in the midst of his apologies, he continued his running around and ignoring the kids and me.
    We now are required contact only about the children. I think if I ever get another letter from him, I’ll just return it unopened. No more sticking my head in the blender.

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