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I Don’t Write for You

The Unicorn of ReconciliationDear Chump Lady,

I love the UBT letters.

But, what if a cheater realized their affair was the biggest mistake ever, and they were truly sorry, and that they wanted their spouse back?

What would that look like, exactly? Words, actions, whatever. Use made up characters if you’d like. A physical affair, emotional, or in the case of “Intentions” an options-open affair (or whatever you want to call it). Not sure if there’s a different scenario here based on type.

Yeah, it’s a game of spot the unicorn. And even if it were more like spot the double rainbow, there’s plenty of reasons why the chump should walk away regardless (trust, that relationship is as dead as last week’s roadkill on a Texas highway in August, etc). I know, once a cheater always a cheater. But is that always true? Has there ever been a Fuckwit who was truly remorseful and willing to do whatever it took to get their spouse back?

For grins and giggles, what would true remorse actually look like? What could the cheater say and do for another chance if they truly meant it and were truly remorseful?

Humor Me

Dear Humor Me,

Yeah. I wrote that article. Real Remorse or Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse. It’s not my job to spoon-feed chumps hopium and take them on unicorn safaris. There’s the rest of the interwebs for that. Seriously, that’s 99.99999 percent of the other infidelity resources out there.

Here, the tagline clearly states: LEAVE a cheater, GAIN a life. CN is a sanctuary for sanity, to drop the skein, put down the pipe, and ask yourself (chump-to-chump) if this relationship is acceptable. Cheaters: I don’t write for you.

What?! Whoa?! It’s not all about ME?

No. I’m here dealing with the collateral damage. The little people. The obstacles to happiness. Your children, and other assorted impediments.

What if a cheater realized their affair was the biggest mistake ever, and they were truly sorry, and that they wanted their spouse back?

Then I’d say they weren’t truly sorry. If this person were truly sorry, they wouldn’t feel entitled to getting their spouse back. Fuck what you “want.” That mindset got you into this mess.

I’d further question the use of the word “mistake” to describe intentional, hurtful, damaging behavior.

So, yeah, I’m not feeling the sorry.

And speaking of which — we’re having a real cultural moment of Okay, Have I Sat In the Corner Long Enough? Garrison Keillor, Matt Lauer, Louis C.K. — all apparently staging come backs. They’re all truly sorry and want their careers back.

You know, here’s a radical thought — shove aside and give someone new a shot.

Now, I can’t guarantee that this new person won’t wave their dick around — here’s an even crazier thought — hire a woman! — but I DO know that they haven’t abused their power yet. Or EVER. And isn’t that preferable to you, really? Because there are a lot of crazy talented people out there, and you can be replaced.

So why not recognize you had your moment, you rode that ride, you blew it, and now it’s time to take up macrame. Or obscurity.

Why do you INSIST on coming back?

Same question for cheaters. Why not let your chumps move on without you? What makes you think you’re needed here? Because you WANT it? Not good enough. Humility might be recognizing your chump deserves someone who hasn’t abused their power, someone who can be trusted with intimacy.

I know, once a cheater always a cheater. But is that always true?

For the gazillionth time, I do NOT think Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater. I don’t want to believe that anyone is beyond redemption. With the exception of sociopaths, who are wired wrong and are simply predators. But even the freaks can control it. They know right from wrong, they just choose not to play by those rules. But for other people who are just jerks with lousy life skills — go and sin no more. Learn from it.

I am skeptical that jerks with lousy life skills WILL learn from it — because entitlement feels better than humility. And people prone to escapism (affairs) tend not to be the same people who do the long, hard slog of humility. I also wrote about those odds here. But is it possible? Sure. The guy who wrote Amazing Grace was a slave trader turned abolitionist. However, if he sold me into slavery, I still probably wouldn’t want to sit next to him in a church pew.

Get my point?

What could the cheater say and do for another chance if they truly meant it and were truly remorseful?

Generous divorce settlement.

Okay, I’m being flippant (but really, GENEROUS DIVORCE SETTLEMENT. Don’t fuck up and then make it positively impossible for a chump to divorce you.)

It would be a wily cheater who’d want Chump Lady to write the script to win back a chump.

Can’t do it.

I don’t write for you. 

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • “I’d further question the use of the word “mistake” to describe intentional, hurtful, damaging behavior.”

    “No. I’m here dealing with the collateral damage. The little people. The obstacles to happiness. Your children, and other assorted impediments.”

    “The guy who wrote Amazing Grace was a slave trader turned abolitionist. However, if he sold me into slavery, I still probably wouldn’t want to sit next to him in a church pew.

    Get my point?”

    “GENEROUS DIVORCE SETTLEMENT”

    If I applauded any louder and started yelling I would find myself answering uncomfortable questions.

    Brava!

    • Totally agree. This column is a glorious piece of brilliance. All columns here are brilliant, but this one is especially stellar.

      Nicely done, CL!

        • From the chump perspective, do you really want someone back who has to cheat to realize it was a mistake. Kind of like it taking a drunk driver having a serious accident to make them realize it is not a good idea to drink and drive. We have enough info to take it on faith without testing it.

          • A few years ago at a lecture, I briefly met a woman in Cornwall who told me her husband had left her for his secretary twenty years earlier, after 12 years of marriage. After he had been with the OW for three weeks he came home and begged his wife to have him back, saying he would do anything she asked if she would only forgive his ‘mistake’. She told me that up to that point he had made all the important decisions in their marriage, and called all the shots, and she had been a real doormat, but she told him they could only stay married if she was in charge from then on. He came back, and she decided to move from London to Cornwall – so they did. She said she now decided everything about the children, holidays, even what jobs he should take, and he agreed meekly. In fact they had a completely different marriage. She claimed to be very happy, and said it worked perfectly, and as far as she knew he had never been unfaithful again, and was certainly very kind and attentive to her. It’s a unicorn story, but I reckon it is the only way you COULD take a cheater back. My ex would certainly never have agreed to change that much.

              • Why take some cheating sh*tbag back and have to play marriage police until the day you or your spouse dies ? I’ve got better things to do with my life.

            • We can’t control others. The best way to take back power and control is to understand the illusion and face the painful truth.

              And in fact isn’t this type of thinking typical of the OW/OM? He/she won’t cheat on me. It sounds like delaying/denying the inevitable Knotted.

              • Doingme, “acceptance of the painful truth,” the love you shared with another person who supposively returned the same kind of love to you was a lie, a huge con job.

            • Mine called that ” becoming his bitch”. To be honest I think he secretly wanted to be my bitch. * Wink wink*

  • All of this, and a little more. This also extends to the cheater’s sad ‘woes me’ when a chump won’t happily agree to be their ‘friend’ anymore, post D-Day, divorce, etc. Anyone who feels entitled to be my friend after putting me through that crap can stuff their useless ‘sorrys’ in a sack and fuck right off.

    • My ex still thinks we should be friends. Sent me a message last week and then again this morning. I don’t block him but I don’t answer him either. Let’s see how mad I can drive him (oh sorry, he doesn’t have to be “driven” mad – he already is)!

      • Attie, I got “Other people can move past the dissoultion of a marriage and be civil and this might shock you, even nice to one another, why can’t you?’ I am fierce no contact unless about the children and then it must be via email. Not a text. I answer only what has to do with the children. He thinks it is to be spiteful or punishing. It’s for self preservation. He is toxic. They just can’t stand having someone not believe the bs narrative they spin about themselves. ugh!

            • You are absolutely right. My youngest was 17 when he buggered off so was able to make his own choices where he lived and so on, but the ex still seems to think we should be friends. Yeah, you exposed me to stds (going with a prostitute in Africa), you stole from me and you beat the shit out of me – what’s not to love right. I have to admit, I still can’t get my head around that but whatever …. he’s gone now.

              • Attie,

                Yeah, nothing like asking the Dr. who was our family physician, that I needed both a pregnancy and STD test. Luckily only the fuckwit had the STD. Jesus Christ though, hookers in Africa?!?!? Glad you made it through

        • “They just can’t stand having someone not believe the bs narrative they spin about themselves.”
          This is one reason I can’t be friends with my stbx. I refuse to endorse/enable his story of why we divorced by pretending as if it were simply a rational decision to divorce by two people who “grew apart.”
          That’s setting aside the abusive dynamic in our marriage, as well as the hurtful things he said and did to me.

          • Trying for Mighty

            When we get strong enough to finally say “No, the way you treat me is wrong and I will no longer deny or support what a truly horrible person you have been to me” it scares them. If we as mates start telling our “secrets” of abuse they are screwed. The “friendship” they seek or extend to us is just another for of control and abuse. Stay Strong

            • dldr,
              Thank you. The “friendship” IS another form of abuse…as well as ultimate image management so they can lure another chump into their web! In the past 12 days, I just weathered my son’s wedding and a trip w DD16 where we were both chaperones (!), and I said less than 5 words to f*wit the whole time. I feel like I’m winning the no contact war (even if he has stalled the divorce proceedings). If anyone asks why I have nothing to do with him I tell them it is for self-preservation. He is toxic & misreads anything I say or do, so it is necessary for ME.
              CL & CN, words are inadequate to help me convey the depth of gratitude for helping me to see the Truth and save myself.
              Namasté…away from fuckwits!

              • Well done. My answer to people have been, “I can count on one hand the number of people who have done me harm in my life. He is one of them. It’s simply not healthy of me to maintain contact with someone harmful to my well-being.”

                Particularly when they maintain the relationship with the OW, although he keeps it from the kids, his family and most of his old friendship network. The double life continues…not sure how he justifies that with the OW. I guess they do it in the name of keeping their relationship private until they reach the stage of “coming out,” even though he wrote to her when he left me that he was ready to defend their relationship to the world.

                Perhaps one day I can be friendlier with him, but I assure you that it will never happen as long as she is still in the picture. Any other woman, fine. I accept the relationship is over. But, you bring that woman into our children’s lives, do not ever expect a thing from me, except to protect our children’s value system, teach them to live out good morals, and be good people.

              • OptionNoMore, I always say the OW could cure cancer and she would still be the piece of trash that enabled my kids dad to walk away from them. She is person non grata in my children’s life my children have made that clear. She knows her place and that’s a good thing for her.

              • Hahahaha, Mrs Vain…there it is, right? Why do people think we owe friendship to someone who has betrayed us? I love Tracy’s example: would we trust our wallet with someone who embezzled from us or mugged us? Um, no.

                I think people want us to be friendly or friends with them to reduce their own discomfort. F that!

          • Very smart of you Trying for Mighty. The friend hook serves the cheaters, to maintain their image, triangulate, and assume your willingness to fulfill plan B status.

    • Well said. If he (or she) were truly sorry, wouldn’t they feel so guilty and ashamed for putting their loved one thru hell? This is not “honey, I shrunk your favorite shirt” or “I forgot to pay the light bill”.. .. .. this a man who cared so little about your feelings, who thought so little of you that he was willing to risk everything to have sex with someone else. He wasnt worried about what would happen after the deed was done or IF you found out. He apparently believes in some shape or form that his actions are acceptable on some level.. .. and therefore worthy if forgiveness.. .

      No matter that what he done has completely destroyed his wife. Or that her world is shattered into pieces as if s bomb was casually tossed into the middle of the living room. Or that her heart was careless crushed into a bleeding pulp.. .. .. because he knew it was wrong when he started this thing with someone not his spouse. AND he put hours, days, weeks into making THAT happen instead of focusing and fixing his marriage.

      Why in the world would I want a friend that cared so little about hurting me and ripping my heart to pieces? If you really loved me there is NO way in hell you could have done that in the first place.

      • {{{APPLAUSE!!! / APPLAUSE!!! / APPLAUSE!!!}}}

        My downstairs neighbor just got woke up by all my racket up here.

        MrsVain, ^^^This^^^^! Probably best description ever as to why we ‘leave a cheater’ and get as far away as we can! Am going to print out your comment and carry it with me to remind myself why my new life is soooooo much better. And that cheating does not ‘just happen’….It takes a whole helluva lot of planning and effort.

        Thank you, Tracy, for this most excellent post! And all of CN for their insightful comments.

        Love all y’all!!!

        • awww. thank you. i am so glad that i am able to make sense and help someone else thru this sludge. it literally took me 3 years to heal and find my peace. that first year i literally could not breathe and my heart physically hurt. .. BUT it is soo much brighter on the other side. i printed out many things to remind myself that i just did not want to live that way.

      • MrsVain, “…he put hours, days, weeks into making THAT happen instead of focusing and fixing his marriage”. YES! And this is what really irritates me.

        He said, “We grew apart”, “You knew this relationship wasn’t going to work.” My response, “Of course we grew apart. Instead of working on our relationship, you were working on a new one. And YOU made sure it wouldn’t work by having an affair. That’s a deal breaker for me.” It drives me insane when he white-washes what happened with his friends and family, but he’s a narc, so that’s how it goes. Working on no contact.

        • i recently found out that is the story wasband is spinning also.. .. he says “it was not my fault. it was not his fault. we just ‘grew apart'”.. … um NO!!! i was in a fog over the death of my firstborn who was 25 years old and emotionally unavailable. running on auto pilot (and did a damn good job at it also) while he was staying out all night drinking his “feelings” away and hooking up with the neighborhood crack/meth whore.. .. when he found someone who drinks as much as he does, and doesnt think anything wrong with drinking and using drugs, he thought he found someone “BETTER” and more fun then i was.. .. . too bad she literally beats the shit out of him now, has put him in the hospital and tried to kill him, slashes his tires and breaks his windshield, steals his van and leaves him stranded, plus makes fun of him and belittles him in front of her and his friends.. .. but right so much funner then i ever was.. .. haha

          yep, if he had put as much time into me and he was putting into getting her, we would still be together. we did not “grow apart” he forced us apart with every little thing he said and did.
          #karma

          • Ugh! That’s horrible! Gee, the Karma bus not only ran Wasband over, it backed up a number of times and spun the tires on him.

            We’re better off without these douche nozzles.

      • So true Mrs.Vain! If he had put in even half the effort that he had put into working out or the time that he is now spending on the OW grooming that relationship, we would have been in a much better spot. He basically ignored me for the last two years. Like I’ve said before, the marriage didn’t fail – he failed. I still wanted to make things work and I was still in love with him. He can go to hell.

        • same here. wasband was too busy looking for someone who would not and did not hold him accountable for the shitty things he did/does and said/say.. .. i mean who doesnt want a 42 years old that drinks and parties with the 18 and 21 years old.. . *eyes rolls*

          But i loved him all the way until the end (and then some). it took me a while to accept that i meant absoluately NOTHING to him. and all those years meant nothing to him.. . i honestly think wasband does not even know what he had and lost. me on the other hand am doing so much better. i laugh more. i smile more. i enjoy my ‘boring” life with my children and grand children.

      • MrsVain, yes! This is what I keep telling my husband. He was texting another woman who wanted to sleep with him. Doesn’t appear that they got that far but it still hurts just as much as if they had. But all my husband thinks is that if he didn’t sleep with her then it’s forgivable because “it’s just talking.” Problem is he was willing to gut me so this woman could give him an ego boost. He destroyed our marriage over a flirtation, he didn’t even get sex out of it. That’s how little I meant to him.

      • “Why in the world would I want a friend that cared so little about hurting me and ripping my heart to pieces? If you really loved me there is NO way in hell you could have done that in the first place.”

        @MrsVain ^^THIS^^ is exactly it! And to add on: If they were actually the people we thought they were, there is also NO way in hell they could have treated us like that in the first place. Honorable people do not treat people they claim to love that way.

        • ironically one of the things he said to me as he was running out the door and into his meth whores arms was that i “did not treat him right”.. .. . even with all that was going on, i had to laugh at that one. At least I wasnt running off and fucking other men.. .. so right. i KNEW it was NOT ME who wasnt “treating him right” but the other way around. .. .. it was the start of realizing he was and is a piece of shit.

          I point those out to my sons after they have their once a year conversation with him (wasbands choice, not mine. i just stopped chasing him down to remind him he has 2 boys that loved him and needed his attention).. .. they will tell me what biodad tells them, and i calmly point out that they need to remember how a good man acts. i remind them that a good honorable people do not treat people they claim to love that way.. and remind them that they deserve more then just empty promises.

      • @MrsVain – “No matter that what he done has completely destroyed his wife. Or that her world is shattered into pieces as if s bomb was casually tossed into the middle of the living room. Or that her heart was careless crushed into a bleeding pulp.. .. .. because he knew it was wrong when he started this thing with someone not his spouse. AND he put hours, days, weeks into making THAT happen instead of focusing and fixing his marriage.

        Why in the world would I want a friend that cared so little about hurting me and ripping my heart to pieces? If you really loved me there is NO way in hell you could have done that in the first place.”

        ABSO-EFFING-LUTELY spot on! I needed to read this today, thank you for articulating this so perfectly.

      • It makes me wonder what people think a “friend” is. I have a pretty strict definition of friendship. I have lots of people I am “friendly” with, but not that many friends that I would trust without question.

    • Well said Katydidnt! Right after the X told me that he wanted a divorce, he said that he wanted to send on good terms unlike the relationships with his first ex-wife (2 adult children). He said twice. Finally the second time, I looked at him and said let’s be honest. After the divorce, we will never see each other again. Whether or not, we are friends is the the least of my worries. All I’m concerned about is my mental well-being. That shut him up. D-day was 3 weeks later.

      Friendship my ass – you couldn’t even make me a true friend while we were married. Why the fuck do you care now? Fucking disordered piece of shit.

      • Mine told everyone we were parting as friends. Told me I was important to him and still wanted me in his life. Since he moved out 2.5 weeks ago…crickets. Fine by me…just one more lie to add to all the others he’s told me.

        • Oh, the lies, The X said he just wanted to alone. He already had the next lady cued up and ready to go. He even looked at me straight on when he said it. And I believed him. I was so stupid. After D-day, I never trusted him again, in actions or words.

          • Mine looked me straight in the eye too. I swear I almost believed him because it was so honest looking. Sheesh. I didn’t stand a chance.

      • Oh, well said: “Friendship my ass – you couldn’t even make me a true friend while we were married. Why the fuck do you care now? Fucking disordered piece of shit.”

    • WTF? Be your friend?

      a) “Don’t I deserve happiness?’ Errrr. No. No one ‘deserves’ anything. Happiness has to be sacrificed, earned and paid for just like everything else. I know that it was somehow part of your fantasy that I would be okay with your betrayal. You convinced yourself that everyone would be happier without you &/or we would be happy for you that you were finally ‘happy.’ I know you don’t get this, but this was a self-serving fantasy. Your former wife and children were real people, with real feelings and real devastated lives now suffering from PTSD due to your choices. We wish you all the happiness you deserve.

      b) I know your expectation is that I will be groovy and that we will be this cool, groovy couple that co-parents together. I know that society puts pressure on us Chumps to be groovy, too. Nope. Fuck you. I’m not groovy with anyone I don’t trust. Society and it’s expectations can go fuck themselves. No apologies on that.

      c) “I thought we could be friends.” Nope. Nada. I’m kinda picky about who I am friends with. You don’t make the cut.

      d) “Do I not get credit for the good times?” Ummm. If your best friend shot you, would they still be your best friend? Or would they be the fucker that shot you? You tell me.

      Just my thoughts.

  • I agree. There is no rebuilding that would EVER soothe your soul! See it as opportunity. Out of the shitstorm comes an opportunity to realise a dream that lay sleeping. I love your Aunt! Let’s make those walls sing! As loud as a Hallelujah choir, bring back the joy! As usual thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  • I hate when people call cheating a mistake. A mistake is forgetting to pick up milk at the grocery store. Cheating is a series of deliberate choices. Choices that are made to satisfy the cheater without giving much thought to the chump. How do you mistakenly fall naked on top of someone else’s genitals?

    Can a cheater be remorseful for making a choice like that? I make room for that possibility but all too often they are remorseful only for the consequences that are levied against them after that choice. If they were truly sorry, they would honor the chump’s choices and let them move on with a fair settlement without a fight or the ensuing drama. How often do we read about that here?

    Hard pass on the spot the unicorn story. I prefer to live in reality, know my worth and enforce my boundaries which is what we all learn here.

    • Yea, mistake denotes a kind of ignorance of the situation or context–like, it’s a mistake to swim in a rip tide when you are not familiar with the ocean. But when you’re a surfer, swimming in a riptide is a bad choice. Everyone knows on some level that infidelity is wrong–at least from a surface social standpoint. No mistakes here.

    • I listened to Freakonomics last week, too, Bow Tie. Great podcast. There is much in our current culture that reflects facets of our chump experiences here…including the utter failure of people to comprehend the effects of so many types of abuse and the entitlement it stems from. I used to be amazed at the sheer numbers of us who have worn the entitlement bootprint. Not anymore. Fortunately, we have Tracy – who speaks to us, for us and with us to challenge the fuckwit narratives.
      Chump on!!

  • Absolutely love it! To the exact point!
    You can only be sorry for something you didn’t mean to do. Between love bombing and climbing between the sheets there was ample opportunity to reflect. They didn’t do it. Within that timescale there is no reflection, only me, me, me! Doesn’t feel so good once they get it to keep… No of course it doesn’t.

    Sorry! I didn’t mean to gaslight the fuck out of you and almost send you insane. Sorry! I didn’t mean to tell you those lies after lies. Sorry! I spent all your inheritance and denied the children what should have been theirs. Sorry! I abused the life out of you and watched you turn into a shell of yourself. The list is endless.

    You cannot be sorry for something you meant to do. Let them be sorry… to someone who gives a fuck!! Take them back and it’s an invitation to abuse you!

    ❤️

    • Betsy, you are so right. Somehow we are supposed to just forget about all those “mistakes”. Mine will NEVER be genuinely sorry, I know this. He was having WAY too much fun sneaking around with the OW, meeting up with her/them all over the world for their fuckfests, while I held down the fort, doing boring adult stuff.

      He spent hours and hours over millions of words to her via various means of communication, but couldn’t lift a finger to help me prepare for family gatherings without deep resentment.

      And, of course, denied everything when asked point blank if he was having an affair.

      He did all of what he did with full licence and knowledge. He KNEW he was lying, he KNEW he was risking my health….and did it anyway. Hardly a mistake, hardly an accident.

      And, somehow, a magic wand is supposed to make me feel better because he said he was sorry.

      • I’m sure the cheater gets a lot of satisfaction from sneaking around with the new shiny who strokes his ego (among other things). It makes me wonder, after the affair is discovered, and the cheater has been kicked to the curb, is the new shiny still that attractive? Has she become less exciting because being with her no longer brings the thrill of sneaking and cheating? Not that this matters to me, but to him (being a bored narc), I have to believe this relationship became a little less sparkly. His new shiny is married with three kids, so I guess there is still some excitement. I hope her husband finds out, that would bring a lot more excitement! LOL!

        • Depends on the cheater. Cheatlanta is pretty committed to proving he was right to cheat.

          He would put up with Schmooplanta even if she turned out to be a smelly turd on a stick just to keep from having to admit a mistake.

  • Yeah, also a cheater can give you a “generous” divorce settlement (what’s the price of destroying your family and future? IMO nothing is ever enough, but I digress)… and then throw it back in your face when all is said and done. So even cooperating with a divorce and doing his due diligence isn’t enough of a sign, IMO. Entitled fuckwits will always act entitled, long after the ink has dried on those decrees.

  • What’s done can’t be undone.

    ..the cheated on spouse will never have that full, innocent trust.
    ..the cheater will never regain that honor of knowing he/she never cheated on his/her spouse. The cheater only cheats him/herself in the end.

    Cheating is way more than just sex and exposing you and your spouse to another person’s toxic flora. It’s sneaking around, lying, financial, blameshiftint…entitlement.

    If the chump was that bad (say had 15 cats alcoholic..overspent ). The cure would be to suggest counseling for the spouse and, if that didn’t work…to divorce.

    So for the cheater … they’d have to completely turn about and spend every day humbly making it up…probably for twice as long as they cheated for it to be a distant memory. And most cheaters are too entitled for that.

    What can be a going forward remedy is the cheater humbly

  • Oh! I had one of those genuine unicorns, my spackle was just enough to believe that – right up to when he did it again 10 years later…

    Re-reading his ‘remorseful love letters’ of the first Dday with CL’s advice – they were no such thing at all – pile of poo that I believed. Wish I had got out first time.

    • Same here! I kicked him out 13 years ago and should have never taken him back. I thought I had a unicorn too, what with him saying and acting like one. This was one of his gems: “Don’t listen to what I say because it means nothing. Only actions truly mean something, and I’ll demonstrate it.” He sure did for a couple of years, before turning back into an ass.

      Beware, people.

      Unicorns don’t exist – they’re just asses with nice headgear.

  • Cheating is not a mistake. It is an act of self entitled douchery.

    I have 2 exes and I believe them both to be sociopaths. Yeah, I need to fix my picker. Both are Ivy League educated and successful high income earners. Women are always there trying to get a piece of their lifestyle and both of these cheaters didn’t think twice about taking advantage of their wealth to cheat on me multiple times with various women. Both exes pleaded for me to take them back feigning remorse. But in reality, they wanted to contain my story from others finding out. Both asked me to go to therapy with them, but therapy was simply impression management. Neither truly felt remorse because both kept cheating and lying despite their woeful apologies.

    Cheaters will write a sad story to you, but it is bullshit and manipulative crap only to serve them. I agree, real remorse from a cheater is letting you go with a big fat settlement.

    • I’d argue that the big fat settlement is also impression management.

      I got a very decent settlement but I learned quickly that cheater ex expected me to keep quiet about his indiscretions so he could paint a picture of me being a bully. “Of course I left her during cancer but i could not be in that situation any longer and I did give her a good settlement.”

      When he found out that I told people what really happened, he raged. Now the settlement was unfair. I pulled one over on him. Blah, blah, blah.

      Settlement or not, they are not remorseful. If they were they would co-parent effectively. They would treat you with respect instead of continuously lying about every situation.
      And their “generosity” is used to capture a new target. Every action they take is for a purpose.

      • My ex was super generous w/$ after I kicked him out when I discovered Affair #2. He said it was because he wanted the kids to stay in their home, etc. Much later, when he saw I would never let him come back, he wanted a lot of that ‘generosity’ back. (Thank heaven’s for laws and all that!)

        I think he was generous because he thought he was coming back once the shine wore off the affair. Didn’t want the house sold, or the kids or I pissed off. He wanted his plan B working smoothly!

        He had some reason to believe we’d be Plan B. After all, that’s how it went, around his 1st affair!

        And now? Now he doesn’t even want to pay the minimum child support the law obliges.

        Definitely an ass w/good headgear.

        • KarenE,
          I think my stbxh is playing the same game, except that he isn’t complying with the temporary orders & won’t do anything to move the divorce forward, but he’ll pay alimony & child support right now. I’m sure he thinks that I’ll just “come around again”, as I did 27 years ago when he SHOWED ME WHO HE WAS THE FIRST TIME. Bad news, cheater, I’m not the same näive young fool I was then. I an MIGHTY and no one’s Plan B.

  • If you get divorced, you should get your fair share anyway. Why should you be grateful for anything less. It sounds like you should be grateful for anything. I know women who are grateful for losers, why ie addicts whatever. When people say he/she pays for kids, your supposed to provide for them. A Swedish friend says my ex has issues, no he stole from me but he didn’t steal from you, so who did he really care about, alcohol, drug, don’t forget prostitutes. She gets on my fucking nerves, never mind her husbands issues, bit that’s her choice

  • Here’s the deal- “sorry” only happens when the fuckwit gets caught and finds the consequences unpleasant. If they were never discovered they would have continued merrily along on Planet Me.

    If it was genuine then the sorry would come without the discovery. The fuckwit would realize how harmful they are being, stop the behaviors well ahead of the destruction, and focus all their energy to being the spouse they should have been all along and water the grass at home instead of looking for the greener pasture. The chump at home would not have their world blown up but instead would only see that they have a wonderful spouse who seems to have recently turned up the heat on appreciation for their shared life.

    Yeah, that second one doesn’t happen. Because kibbles. It feels so good to cheat and lie and steal the candy and pull one over on the chump. It is only when the bell has been rung that the cheater even considers that they are about to lose it all.

    Yep, you blew it fuckwit. Live with the sound of the bell echo and let the rest of us get on with our lives.

    • Great summary, Now I.C. The time for fuckwits’ stunning realization of what they were contemplating was BEFORE the actions. So many actions. Planned out, with lies and burner phones and everything. Realization after getting caught is meaningless if you’re looking for the sign of an actual change of heart.

      Some damage is permanent. That’s the hard truth. You will never trust that person the same way you did. That person isn’t even the person you thought you knew. As much as I wish I could give my only child her original family back (and have it for myself), that ship has not only sailed, it’s over the horizon and has been deliberately smashed to pieces on some bitch’s nightstand.

  • I honestly believed that my ex-husband apologies and tears were real. Then the reality hit me, if he really loved me why cheat? Why be such a dick to me and treat me like shit? Well all for him to feel better about this cheating. Pick a fight with me so we would have a huge argument so he can feel better about leaving, guess what I saw through that and never gave in. No Dorothy there is no “yellow brick road” and no Unicorn. You just move on and leave the cheater behind.

    • It’s worth remembering that before anyone can cheat, they have to devalue their partner. They have to be willing to say to the Schmoopie (for example) that “spouse doesn’t understand me” or “we don’t have sex” or “spouse gained a lot of weight or stopped caring about being attractive.” Because who says to the AP, “I love my spouse, who is amazing, very attractive, lots of fun, super smart, hard working and kind”?

      Nobody says that. And cheaters have to tell themselves that they don’t have to live up to their promises, that what they want in the moment is more important than their promises, their partner, the kids, their financial future, their partner’s health.

  • So many of us here know its much,much more than the act of cheating. These are people who were cruel. They were cruel for a very long time. Why? Because they are cruel people.
    That is why we can never go back. It is not acceptable.

  • Sing it, sister! I come here every morning with my cup of coffee for my daily dose of inspiration, and you never disappoint.
    I think one of the hardest things for me is the fact that he has done these horrible things to me, yet he tries to make it all about him. Poor him! He is sad! He is lonely! He is losing his family because of me! What about him? Tears! Can’t we be friends? The kids are so confused.
    I can’t even get the knife out of my back so I can start healing. And he expects me to help HIM? My entire marriage has been a lie. A cruel, twisted, intentional lie.
    I get an instant blood pressure headache every time he tells me “I didn’t do anything to YOU!” Its Crazy!!!! GET OUT!!!!!

  • I think problem #1 we all have is: how do we know the cheater is sincere? I realize CL wrote that blog about the difference between real remorse and fake remorse, but many people are really skilled actors. They fooled us once, at least for a while, why couldn’t they do it again? This blog is overflowing with stories with multiple D-days, serial cheating, people lying through their teeth in marriage counseling, etc. The odds are overwhelming that this cheater is not sorry.
    The second problem is that a cheater might be sorry at one point in time, but there is no guarantee that will continue. Six months in, will the cheater still want to do the hard work to be a better spouse? Again, these are people with a proven track record of NOT keeping their commitments. How do you trust someone who had that trust, and betrayed it?

    • It all comes down to the fact that they really don’t care.
      They don’t care about you. They don’t care about the next person.
      They don’t care about people.
      They pride themselves in it.
      It is their secret power.
      Yes they are that twisted.

      • I actually believe this. My cheater abandoned his first wife (I wrote it off as a bad choice in wife picking because according to him she was so manipulative) then he abandoned me and our kids and then he dropped AP like a hot potato for some reason 6 months later. He doesn’t give a fuck.

        • My cheater cheated on his first wife, and I too wrote it off as a bad match. Fast forward 8 years, and my cheater has cheated on me (at least two times in the past 4.5 years that I KNOW of). DDay was almost two months ago, and he moved out 2.5 weeks ago. I wonder how long he’ll hang on to his married employee AP.

          • Yes. I feel it’s worth a chat with previous partners if you can.
            Though if the previous partners are like us they will want to run a mile at the mention of these cheaters names.
            I’m sure with our new BS filters some of us would not have been the second wife or husband.

      • Monika, I THOUGHT mine was remorseful early on. Now I really doubt it because he’s such a skilled actor and liar.

        He too then turned into “the biggest dick he had been yet.”

        • Yes I think they are remorseful if they think they can still manipulate us. If we stand our ground and keep to our boundaries, their true self shows through.

    • In 2007 ex had an emotional affair that came close to becoming physical. In that case she was the aggressor but he was tempted and did not want to blow her off. When I eventually confronted him about the time he was spending with her instead of me and the kids he seemed genuinely sorry for having caused me pain an anxiety. He stopped spending time with her but she continued to contact him. After a few months e expressed annoyance over her continued contact and cut her off completely. I thought we were good. Eight years later he says he regretted not having gone physical with that affair, like he had missed some golden opportunity or something. Then he made sure not to pass up the next opportunity and the rest is history. Sorry now doesn’t mean not letting it happen again later and still being open to finding “the one” in spite of the commitments and promises made to the faithful spouse.

      • Cheater Twins Unite! Form of…..lying petulant children!

        Yes, my fuckwit had the EA back in 07-08. I blew the lid off that one and the cockroach OW ran away into the darkness. In 2017 the fuckwit abandoned me for OW#2 and sent me an e-mail goodbye. 28 years married. All my fault according to him.

        When I saw him after the poofing he declared that he “felt a lot of shame” about OW#1. Not shame that he had the affair, but shame that he hadn’t just gone ahead and left me and his young teenage daughters back in 2008. He actually said that. Poor baby missed his golden opportunity alright.

        So anyone wondering if you have a unicorn, you simply do not. Even the sweetest sorriest ones who seem to work on it can later turn on their heel and declare they never ever loved you and it is all your fault. They simply rewrite history where necessary and deny any responsibility for their shit decisions.

        Let the APs have ’em.

        • Jesus Christ. Ex had an emotional affair with a side kiss in 2008. Said he was preyed upon by a woman at a temp job who went after married men. I got a hold of her on FB and she too scurried away like a bug under a lifted rock. Come 2016 again on an out of town temp assignment he cheated. Now he had Tinder to help him. Completely unapologetic as well. Got told the marriage was over, but he wanted to stay in live on the first floor of our home for 6 months and see if I got my “shit” together. I was granted permission to see other people while he continued to see his OW. I didn’t need 6 minutes. Out of the windows his belongings with. Only thing he felt was anger that I dared to get a lawyer, get him out of the house, took custody and awarded support. His Tinder Trash took him in after 3 day and and have been together since. Except for when she is kicking him out or he is unsure of the relationship and is freaking out to his teenage daughter about it. Unicorns do not exist. Cheaters don’t change even if it is 10 years between betrayals. Proceed at your own risk

  • I thank my lucky stars every day that she was one of the ones who cheats and abandons the moment shes found out. I wouldve done the pick me dance for months, wouldve been her foot stool. My life might suck right now, but at least its not the type of suck where Im white knuckling the sheets over my head every morning wondering if that duplicitous coward is talking to “him” at work today and running off to some conference room to carry on that oh-so-hot-and-totally-not-sad affair sex.

    • Me too Leftovers….Mine ran the minute I caught him in the affair. Good thing too, otherwise I’m sure I would have worn out some dance shoes pick me dancing. So glad I didn’t have to humiliate myself any further than I did, which was quite a bit. Ugh, these people are horrible spouses. I don’t even know why they bother getting married. They can’t be true to anyone. They torture every one who tries to love them and they couldn’t care less who they destroy. And from where I’m standing my cheater XH and schmoopie seem to be living the good life years later. The karma bus never did show up. Well, let’s just say it sure hasn’t yet.

      • Im not holding out hope for the karma bus. Shes a petite cute blonde in a male-dominated office who has zero social life or hobbies or kids who Im certain gets her ego kibble rocks off daily. And, admittedly, from what I can tell, shes I guess good at her job. She will rise right to the top. Probably marry this guy. They will talk about work all goddamn day. Probably buy a nice big house and fill their empty heads with material thing points.

        Hey, as long as I can be happier in my new life, Ill feel like I won…something.

        • You won the chance to find a life partner who is not a liar and a cheater. Who will cherish you and your heart. Who will live up to her vows.

          Oh, you male chumps, just because someone is a “petite blonde” or beautiful doesn’t mean the mythical “karma bus” won’t roll around. First of all, we all get older. As a 67-year old woman, I’ll tell you that I don’t turn heads like I did 30 years ago or 20 years ago. What happens over time is that what a person is on the inside starts to show on the outside. By that, I mean that there’s a beauty that isn’t physical and disordered people can’t fake that. They just can’t. The karma bus is nothing more than the fact that people are either moving in one direction or the other. They are either becoming wiser and kinder and healthier emotionally or they are moving in the other direction. Standing still isn’t an option; standing still is by defining not growing, not learning. I had a grandfather who was disordered. He abandoned 3 wives, 7 children and 2 stepchildren. He was a miserable son of a bitch by the time he was 70. I’m pretty sure he got worse from there, but thankfully I had no contact with him.

          The outside package might be pretty, but what’s inside is rotting.

          • Couldn’t love your response more. I’m 48 and a new chump. Your words give me hope because I truly believe that what people are in the inside will eventually come to the surface. And as I always say, “it’s easy to be pretty when you’re young”. Thank you so much for this 🙂

  • I was a chump who gave my ex a second chance. And he pulled the same crap 20 years later. So I knew if she dumped him or ended up alone, eventually I’d get a knock on the door. So I was a royal pain during our negotiations. I even squirted him with a hose. I stopped keeping our crumbling marriage a secret like he wanted. I didn’t make it easy like the first time. Gotta burn those bridges so they know the street is only running one way. But even I sometimes think oh yeah we can be friends. But no. No one gaslights me and gets nice nice back. No.

    • Trudy, Same story here. Repeater cheater. Our first couple of years of marriage, divorce papers served, but I gave him a second chance. I didn’t discover evidence of more until 26 years later…after kids, “Boy Scout leader” turns out to not have changed at all. Ugh! If I don’t check in here to the REALITY, it is easy to forget and consider being friendly “for the kids’ sake”, but I know to return to this Truth Well to rehydrate my chumpy spirit and see him for what he truly is. No contact is my superpower.

      • Funny lots of stories like that. Woman saying how perfect their relationship is after the affair….but I feel they are being fooled!

  • Remorse is in action, not words.
    Change is in self-imposed boundaries and limits that make a repeat nearly impossible.

    Though I’m not a religious person, I really loved this show Morgan Freeman did. https://m.imdb.com/title/tt5623594/

    In this episode, there is a man who used to be part of a skinhead group. He didn’t wait for someone to tell him what to do to change. He saw in himself, the ugly truth of who he was. He removed himself completely from that influence. To me, this guy is what true remorse and change look like.

    In hindsight I see cheater didn’t (and doesn’t) give 2 shits about the kind of person he is. He thinks who he is is great. He was good at faking remorse, and humility, and of course, blame shifting and gaslighting.

    Personally I am no longer okay with anyone who is willing to be advantaged at my expense. I don’t spackle that shit anymore. Calculated advantage, like betrayal, is not a mistake… it’s self-importance. The source of how one wants to treat others comes from the kind of person one desires to be.

    Cheaters are really good at making it seem as though their desire not to hurt the affair partner is an indication of their good character. This only indicates their willingness to abandon commitments for shiny and new. Like all new and novel things, the shine will wear off, and they will repeat the same pattern. Their commitment and loyalty are to what feels good in the moment. There’s no depth of character; there’s only compartmentalized views to keep themselves from seeing the big picture, and the truth of who they really are.

    Change requires acknowledging you are shitty; which IMO is precisely what the cheater is running away from with an affair. They need someone to tell them how awesome they are, because they can’t stomach that they are shitty, providing little possibility for change.

  • True remorse would require humility. Cheaters don’t do that very well. Entitlement and humility don’t mix.

    • CIR,

      And for our very successful, (aparently) awesome, sparkly, hardworking cheaters, they absolutely do not feel humility or remorse for our lowly selves.

      I’ve finally starting to look back and see how it appeared how we were a team and a lovely couple but that it was honestly very one sided the whole time. Entitlement. I could never say to him the things he said to me. I could never demand of him what he would passive aggressively demanded of me. I slowly but surely became “less” than him. Because he was walking around entitled the whole damn time, and my easy-to-get-along-with-self wanted him to be happy. Entitled. Always more entitled. No wonder he was so entitled to cheat. Asshole.

  • Don’t know if this is allowed, but this is a British site called Mumsnet (the user names are very clever):
    Do men ever regret their ‘midlife crisis’ affairs? (74 Posts)

    Just that really – it’s such a common occurrence, I’d be interested in how it tends to pan out in the fullness of time.

    I have known four men who have had mid-life affairs. The only one who ever regretted it as far as I can see was the one who had the crap beaten out of him by his girlfriend’s husband.

    Mine regretted it. When he was sad and lonely and no one would speak to him (his words)

    But it was too late for me. The hurt was too deep.
    Luckily he was able to take up with OW “again” as she was apparently the only person who’d give him the time of day (again, his words)
    Should be satisfying. But just depressing. A family destroyed for that.

    Guy I worked with who bitterly regretted it. The v young girlfriend swindled him out of a house (overseas) after he told his wife of 30 years that he was leaving her and moving to live in said house with girlfriend . Ex wife took him to the cleaners, he’s been left with nothing and his kids arent talking to him.

    Yes, my friend’s Dad left his wife of 20 years for a woman 20 years younger. He said he regretted it every day once he had gotten to know the ow properly.
    Same story for a couple of family friends.

    I’ve been wondering this for a while. From the examples above it seems they might sometimes regret it because of what they lost (money, kids etc) but not because of any moral sensibility or a sense that they have really erred. More just like a child who is disappointed because they have broken a favourite toy.

    DH’s friend doesn’t regret it, says they are soul mates envy bleugh. I was kind of hoping it would go wrong as it was such a cliche and he really hurt his ex but it’s been about 10 years now.

    I agree @rhubarbtea; mine seems to be sad because it’s been crap for him… no clue the devastation he’s wreaked for us.
    It’s also been fuelled because I’ve now met someone else….. 🙄

    Interesting responses – keep them coming. I’m asking because my ex who had a classic midlife ‘event’ when he was knocking on the door of the BIG 5-0 seems to have moved from the initial smugness to appearing just a tad pitiful and needy.

    Dh has met a few v successful late 40s men at his sport who have dumped wives their own age for early 30 something women. Who all want babies (no shit) much to the reluctance of the men. So they are back in the world of sleepless nights and nappies as their ex wives have nice cinema trips with teens and get their lives back.

    My dh did (not whilst married to me and I’m not the OW).
    He hasn’t got over the hurt he caused. He is a very sad man (and not for himself).

    No – they regret getting caught and possibly losing comfort zone of the family home, with Wifey in the nest making sure all runs smoothly.

    Or they regret it if the OW they ran off with fleeces them, or does something inconvenient like wanting a baby.

    Their sadness is for themselves if the new life isn’t as shiny as they expected it to be

    & Some men are just bored and have fallen out of love with their wife. Time to trade her in for a new younger and firmer-bodied model.

    My dad married the OW, no regrets they’ve been happily together for 22 years now. now that he’s getting on him years he talks about them as if it were the Greatest Love Story of all time. Errrr no..

    Men can be entirely ruthless in pursuit of who and what they want, whilst women sit there and ponder. I guess some would hope these men would regret it but in reality that’s certainly not always the case

    My research also seems to suggest that in these cases, although the OW may be younger, men tend to ‘affair down’ – i.e take up with someone generally less attractive, intelligent, talented etc etc. What do we think about that?
    I love the nappies v nice cinema trips with teens comparison – brought a smile to my face.

    My research also seems to suggest that in these cases, although the OW may be younger, men tend to ‘affair down’ – i.e take up with someone generally less attractive, intelligent, talented etc

    She’s younger – that’s all that matters. I suppose less intelligent =. less demands of him. Doesn’t trump youth tho

    For a short while maybe. However, younger often means young kids of her own (or a desire for one/some!) – at a time when the bloke has long since forgotten the gutty side of parenting little people.

    My research also seems to suggest that in these cases, although the OW may be younger, men tend to ‘affair down’ – i.e take up with someone generally less attractive, intelligent, talented etc etc. What
    do we think about that?

    Oh yes. My charming exH said the girl he cheated on me with was stupid. Which he said made him feel clever. When we were together he had a chip on his shoulder because I have a degree and he didn’t have O Levels and he often told me resentfully that I was smarter than him. Like it was some kind of competition hmm. Anyway, to join the cliche, she’s 20 years younger than him and their baby was born last month. Mid life crisis bingo anyone?

    Your research?

    Frankly I don’t care if my ExW is having a bad time of it. She cheated….she can deal with the consiquences. BTW it’s not only men who have a midlife crisis!!!!

    Yes, sorry. I did consider saying ‘people’ rather than ‘men’ in my original question as I am also aware (from my research) that women can experience similar.
    As with most things, there are facts and statistics around this ‘phenomenon’ and, for whatever reason, and the data does lean towards ‘affairing down’. Sorry to apply my ‘geekiness’ to this discussion. 😂

    I ended my marriage because I knew I would end up having an affair otherwise (I’m a woman). I only wish I had spoken up sooner, when maybe marriage counselling could have helped, when as it was, it was too late. When you are talking about someone who has an affair, you are talking about someone who values their own desires over respect for their spouse. You are talking about someone who is willing to lie time and again to their spouse.

    Is it any wonder that these people only regret what impacts themselves, rather than regretting the hurt they have caused to others?

    I think they regret getting caught and that their home life has changed. I wonder do they regret hurting the spouse or the kids though? I doubt it.

    I don’t know any men who had a mid life crisis affair. I do, however, know three women who did. Two regret it bitterly but their husbands both moved on and have happy lives. The third is with their other man and actually are very well suited although while people don’t like the way they got together. But she’s had to have shit loads of counselling because for a long time she had this niggle in her head “if he was prepared to sleep with me when I was still married (he was single) might he not do it again to me?”

    My friend’s DH ran off with another married woman, she is super- controlling and was determined to have him. It is fairly obvious now that they are married that he is frightened of her. Thst would be fine but my friend’s DC are frightened of her as well and are forced to play happy families every second weekend. At least three lives fucked because DH couldn’t keep his dick in his pants.
    Friend is very happy with new man, tho worried about her DC.

  • I am at my pre-trial now, waiting for my attorney to return from talking with the judge. I would still be under the covers if it was not for CL and CN. I feel that I have taken back my power, even though infidelity means nothing in NY.

    To newly-minted chumps, do not think for ONE second that your cheater will not try to leave you destitute. I never thought in a million years my husband of 15 years would financially rape me to be with his MOW who left her husband as well.

    LISTEN to CL and to CN!!!!!!!! Take back your power!!!!

  • Cheating is not a mistake. It is a choice. A choice to lie and betray the spouse. I mistake is adding wrong and bouncing a check. Cheaters use the mistake excuse to justify for their disgusting choice.

    My STBX also said he made a huge mistake with Skankella. He said if he could turn back time he would have handled things differently. And also said that he only went away with her(for 5 years) because she liked to have fun. Excuse me for being the adult and taking care of the family and picking up my granddaughter. If he could turn back time I am sure he would have been more careful not to get caught. He made a clear choice to betray me and his children and did not give a dam until his chump of a wife ruined his fun.

  • These CL blog posts have been so very timely recently for me, eerily so, and better than any useless therapy (like I had this morning).

    So after almost 2 years of affair-la-la-land and “I don’t regret it” STBxW now suddenly does. But as others have written above. It’s all about them. How everyone hates them, me, the kids, their parents, my family, even the OM (according to STBxW!). Lines of lines of self-pity and I just can’t bring myself to care anymore (it’s been 15 months since D-Day). Though there was a bit too (as many others also said) about how we should go to couples therapy to make things more ‘pleasant’

    What could a cheater do to show real remorse?
    * Well actions are always better than words. So they can think of all the time and effort they put into their affair and give at least double that to rebuilding trust with their spouse, kids and everyone else.
    * They can certainly sign off on any divorce agreement put under their nose.

    But the trust? Pheww I just don’t think it’s possible from where I sit in my own infidelity timeline. Can we really believe they’ll never do anything like that again (past behaviours are the clearest indication of future behaviours)? Can we really believe they’ll never, simply never ever have contact with the AP(s) and all the assorted enablers who came into their lives around the affair(s)?

    I think only DD6 still believes in unicorns

  • “Why not let your chumps move on without you? What makes you think you’re needed here? Because you WANT it? Not good enough. Humility might be recognizing your chump deserves someone who hasn’t abused their power, someone who can be trusted with intimacy.” Yes, a thousand times.

    My ex cheater is a CPA and has been the financial manager for a couple big manufacturing operations over the years so he totally gets the concept of running a cost/benefit analysis. Obviously to his mind the benefit of fucking strange more than outweighed the cost of hurting his wife and kids on a variety of levels. And the gain of winning at the game of deception (“I fooled them ALL into thinking I’m a great guy”) was worth the risk of losing everything he worked for – his family, his friends, his lifestyle and his reputation in the community. I am not a CPA but I’ve learned a few things from living with one for so many years. I LOVE my cheater free life. I love having autonomy. I love having the relationship with my kids that I want to have without the pressure of keeping the peace between father and children. I don’t miss him. I don’t miss the emotional abuse or the stress of trying to please someone who was determined not to be pleased so he’d have an excuse to cheat. I don’t miss the financial stress caused by not knowing where the money was going (strippers and more strippers). Not that I think my ex is capable of humility or wants me back on any level but if he did, the best he could hope for from me at this point is cordiality instead of no contact. MY cost/benefit analysis is that the benefit of having him back in my life will never outweigh the cost of giving up everything that I’ve have built for myself over the past six years. He’s not worth it but I am.

    • Same here, Beth. Only mine cant hope for cordiality. He will not get a single word I am not mandated to provide, and it will be as surgical as possible- at best. Or, he can have intimidating cold lawyer tone full of terrifying hints at what more I can expose. His choice.

      • Facepalm,
        I’m with you. I refuse to raise the emotional temperature by 1° when I see him: no smiles, no warmth, nada, zilch. I like to think I wouldn’t spit on him if he were on fire, but I love my kids, so I never say that in their earshot. I was such a chump, I truly believed nothing could affect my love for him. But he did. He left a mushroom could-shaped void where it once was. It’s gone. And I’ve never been better!

      • Facepalm,

        I love it! “He will not get a single word that I am not mandated to provide and it will be as surgical possible”. Exactly!!!!

    • Beth, my last psycho actually told me that he performed a cost/benefit analysis on the issue and thought “at the time” it was worth the risk. All I needed to know. There is an empty dark spot at the core of him where a soul should be.

      • Wow… that is really blatant disrespect, Jojobee. I’d say it’s more of a black hole than a dark empty spot where his soul is supposed to be. I’m really glad that is all you needed to know. Good riddance.

  • Here’s what a ‘unicorn’ looks like (though spoiler alert–I did not know Hannibal was a cheater until 8 years after this story, at which point I dumped the lying ass):

    2006: After we have been together 16 years, with 2 children age 5 & 10, Hannibal Lecher has a tawdry, several-month affair with a graduate student. They plot for a number of months to be together & he takes her with him to a conference in Mexico. From said conference, he calls me to ask for a divorce and LETS HER LISTEN TO THE CONVERSATION. I ask him if there is someone else, and he denies it. I believe him (faceplant).

    He had already been devaluing me for months, so initially I say, “You’re the one asking for a divorce? That’s rich!” and contact a lawyer. That very day, a friend (also a clinical psychologist, and thus an expert, no?) walks into my office. I angrily confide in her and she tells me I cannot divorce because my children will suffer immensely. She tells me how her children fell apart after her divorce–drugs, teenage pregnancy, anxiety.

    In the meantime, Hannibal has contacted his own friend, who tells him he would be a fool to divorce me, and he reaches out to see “if we have anything left.” I steel myself to patch up the marriage for the sake of my children. I even remember having dinner, putting my hand on his leg and saying, “I will always love you,” knowing full well I don’t love him even a smidgeon at that moment. [I am unaware of his gradwhore affair. He dumped her to stay in the marriage, though I don’t find this out until 2014.]

    Is Hannibal remorseful over his transgressions? Does he bend over backwards to help more with the children so that I can get more than 5.5 hours sleep a night? Is he solicitous and loving to me? Noooooo…he writes me a demand letter so vile that Datdamwuf (who is one psychologically tough woman) couldn’t even finish reading it when I sent it to her last year, after finding it in my email records. He doesn’t even bother to write “Dear Tempest” at the top–it is a list of sexual demands that include having sex with other people in front of him, wearing sexy underwear all the time so that I am “ready” whenever he wants me, then the letter details all my perceived flaws (e.g., I can’t pack only a carry-on bag to go to Europe for a 2.5 week trip).

    My initial reaction upon reading the letter is to tell him to GTFO. Then I think back to my friend’s admonitions about how my children will be affected, literally dig my fingernails into my hands and sob that I have to tell him I will “consider” his demands (thinking surely, surely, this is a mid-life crisis and he will come to his senses soon).

    Does he come to his senses? Nooooo…instead he secretly creates an Adult Friend Finder profile for me, complete with a picture he took of me in lingerie (though he crops off my head to post on the website, his only attempt at discretion). Then wants to sit with me as I respond to AFF men and couples who would like to hook up with me. I, of course, find a reason why each offer is not desirable to me, and eventually Hannibal gives up and creates his own dating files (again, I don’t find out for another 8 years).

    In the time between ‘reconciling’ and D-day in 2014 (a sexual harassment suit brings his affair with gradwhore to my attention), he continues to have affairs, to treat me with contempt much of the time. As a result of the longstanding (but often subtle) emotional abuse, by 2011 I have catapulted into a clinical depression despite being a normally happy and optimistic person. By 2014, Hannibal has another very-serious affair (still unknown to me until after I divorce him in 2015), and the devalue is so harsh that I find myself thinking of suicide every day.

    That is what a unicorn looks like, folks; cheaters are not remorseful. Taking them back only increases their game and their chutzpah. Once they have sampled novel genitals, they realize they have Options, and the chump should dance even harder to keep them or they will find even more Options. And doing that ‘pick-me’ dance (even if unwittingly because the chump is ignorant of the affairs) comes at our expense.

    Not only are unicorns mythical creatures, they have horns that will impale you. Do not be tricked by their cute visage and long waving manes. You are safer living next to a toxic waste dump than reconciling with a cheater, or frankly, anyone who requires that you give up your self-respect to be in a relationship with them. Don’t be me.

    • I don’t know what is worse, what is asked of us in order to hold our marriages together or what OWs (and OM’s?) are willing to do in order to “win” our spouses away from us. If they are making these demands of us, then they must have good reason to think that they can get it elsewhere if we are not willing to comply. It’s sickening all around.

    • Divorce doesn’t cause children to fall apart (drugs,teenage pregnancy,anxiety,depression,the list goes on and on). Having a narcissistic monster of a parent works a treat.

      A younger family member (only twenty-five years old-talk about an unfinished life) succumbed to drug addiction last week and died from an overdose. His father died in a tragic accident when A. was only twelve. His mother quickly remarried much to A.’s and his younger sister J.’s distress. J. was in counseling for years and A. wrestled with his demons. My extended wASP family criticized the kids for not “moving on” with their lives and for being “self-pitying”. I saw the writing on the wall. Their mother was having an affair before my second cousin’s bizarre car accident (wrong place, wrong time scenario) and quickly replaced her husband with another, children in tow.

      Here’s how to behave when you and your spouse divorce. Pay any child support you owe without whingeing and be a parent to your children. Call them every day if you don’t see them every day. Don’t move out of state or across the country. Show up and listen to them. It’s not about you and your needs.

      • I’m very sorry for your family member’s death.

        And I completely agree with you that divorce doesn’t have to cause children to fall apart; having a narc parent is more likely to cause that. Sadly, I didn’t have that knowledge in 2006, or I’d have saved myself (and my children) 8 years of toxicity.

        • Thank you Tempest and Tracy for educating us about the true nature of cheaters and their narcissistic abuse. When we know better we can hopefully be more discerning in dealing with others as we move forward.

          • As a teacher there was a time when children who came from two parent homes ,while not the norm , tended to be more settled students ( not necessarily better but they didn’t show many behavioural issues). These days I find that it is the children from two parent homes who are showing up serious problems.
            Children from single parent homes now seems far more stable.
            This takes me to what CL said about being the sane parent.
            I think that society is being more honest about these situations. Increasingly parents who abandon their families are the ones now left to hold the shame, not the parent left holding the responsibility. People are waking up to three fact that the whole multiple partner life is a sick farce. People are realising that the problem is and always was the cheater. This gives those families abandoned by these cowards validation that previously they did not have.
            My two children are the top of their class. For the most part they are doing okay emotionally but I take the long view. As with any trauma it will come back to haunt them and I will be there till the end so that this cycle can be broken.

    • Thank you TEMPEST ,

      too late ,i am you , only worse , i am still here with my narcissist.when i caught him cheating at 10 years in , i gave him a second chance , like many here , and of course he only became “THE BEST” at lying and plotting and planning , never stopped cheating . and became the nice kind guy , while he carried on his secret sex life .(an addict) the “RIC” kept me in and out of therapy over many years , but i never had a caring therapist , that said “this guy sounds like a sex addicted narcissist” not one person ,not one therapist , and no one ever told on him , none of his AP or AP spouses .but i believed his lies , he even fooled a polygrapher ,who said he passed his test . he believes his own lies .WTF i did not have a chance . and on an above post , someone said “don’t ever think they won’t cheat you out of everything in court” ,that worried me , when i found out the truth about giving him a second chance , that he repaid me for my love and devotion , by gaslighting me into physical illness ,and now retired , and not enough income to afford 2 living spaces . so at this point i only have karma and the vengeance of God , but if something bad happened to him ,he would blame me . he is just a worthless bag of skin ,no soul ,no feelings . repulsedandbreathless

      • Repulsed–please explore your options. Living an honest life eating ramen noodles as the mainstay of your diet is preferable to the slow, toxic burn from living with a cheater. See if you can get a consult with a women’s shelter or community counseling center for cheap or subsidized housing if you get divorced. Also check whether your country/state takes into account his cheating as a way to get you a better settlement. Fuck what the cheater thinks, or what he blames you for. Doesn’t matter; be done with him. Hugs.

    • OMG.

      What the hell did you marry, Tempest? Is that narcissist or malignant or sociopathic, seriously!

      HORRIBLE. ‘Women are objects solely for my benefit, and I don’t like them at all’

  • I thought my ex was truly sorry. There were certainly a lot of tears, much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Many promises that it would never happen again, that the relationship with the OW was over. Spoiler alert: It wasn’t.

    These manipulative, lying, disordered freaks are pretty good at making the faux remorse look real – as long as we chumps are there helping with our bucket of spackle. As soon as I stopped spackling and started insisting on a bit more, the whole thing fell apart.

    I don’t think “once a cheater, always a cheater” but I do think “once a cheater, *probably* always a cheater.” The work is too hard for people like this. The humility takes too much effort. The entitlement and the side chicks just feel too good in comparison. Maybe less than 5% can pull their heads out of their asses. I gave mine six months before determining mine wasn’t one of the 5%. It was probably six months too long.

    • The most important and most devastating information you get from a cheater

      …. is that there is no attachment. Wife, OW …. THINGS available and to be used for the sole purpose of.

      Keep them both in line with lies. That’s it.

      Getting this information – the significance of it, that I meant very little, really – nearly killed me. I honestly thought I would die from the pain.

  • From my own experience, I think you have to be careful, and extremely skeptical, about believing you’re seeing “true remorse”. After DD1, I THOUGHT I saw true remorse. He apologized, went to MC for a long time, did everything I asked of him, etc. He seemingly bent over backwards to change and not lose me (& believe me, I admittingly put him through he’ll making sure he proved it).

    After Dday2 12 years and 2 innocent kids brought into the mix later, I discovered he just did what he had to do at the time to not lose his cake – period! He even admitted this once he was out the door & living with ow. You know, when he had nothing to lose anymore.

    So because of my personal experience, I don’t have much faith in truly remorseful cheater, or in one ever really changing. As is often said here, people don’t usually change their character. I now believe they can give the appearance of remorse & change, in a desperate attempt to maintain cake & such, but don’t ever truly change. I will never again believe in unicorns.

  • “But, what if a cheater realized their affair was the biggest mistake ever, and they were truly sorry, and that they wanted their spouse back?”

    You mean, what if after experiencing the consequences of their actions, they decided that the consequences really suck, and they’d like to stop experiencing them? Well, bummer for them, but so what? “Wow, I thought that cheating on my husband with the pool boy was gonna be great, but now that I’m actually thinking about divorce it looks way less fun – what a mistake.” “Boy, I thought leaving my wife and kids for a grad student would be awesome, but it turns out that child support sucks, and the grad student is always ditching me to play Pokemon Go – also she won’t do my laundry.”

    Feeling bad about consequences doesn’t absolve a person from what they did. It doesn’t mean that they’ve become more honest or reliable. It just means that, once again, when the going got tough, they backed out and tried to find an easier way.

  • A one-time event I can get past. If he takes steps to let me know he screwed up and is remorseful and wants to make it right.
    I have a friend who cheated on his wife like this.
    He had a friend that his wife didn’t like but she put up with him because he was related to him through marriage. She was aware that he’d never really be out of the picture and she trusted her husband.
    One day he stopped at the friend’s house to say hi and ended up getting very drunk with him and another friend. At some point a woman showed up (could have been a prostitute for all he knew). It’s not an excuse but the woman came on to him and his friends egged him on and he ended up having sex with her. I felt sorry for him because I think his friend’s totally peer pressured him on purpose to wreck havoc in his life. He was a grown man in his 30’s but he’s not the confrontational, alpha male at all. He was the only one that was married and he’s nerdy and a sweetheart with a caregiving personality.
    He woke up the next day and went home and told his wife what had happened. She was upset but she forgave him because she knew he wasn’t the type to do that but she told him that the friendship was over or they were. He stopped being friends with him. They still see each other at family events but that’s it.

    • I could have forgiven ex his cheating, but I couldn’t forgive his refusal to stop. The devalue was also hard to forgive.

      • Yes. I get that. I feel the same way.
        When you look back and realize that he was getting off on putting one over on you. There’s no coming back from that.

        • “When you look back and realize that he was getting off on putting one over on you. There’s no coming back from that.”

          It’s sick, isn’t it? When he wasn’t faking remorse, mine was making it obvious how pleased he was with himself for pulling one over on me. I still don’t get it (step away from the skein, Adaira!).

          • I used to confuse his snide smile and shark eyes with love filled relief that I’d forgiven his latest transgression. Now I know that it was how pleased he was with himself for looking me in the face and making a fool out of me.

        • Hmmmm Sunflower, I’d argue that he WAS “the sort of person to do that.” Because he IS a person who DID THAT. So, if his friends had urged him to sexually molest a child would he have? Peer pressure for a man in his thirties is a pathetic excuse. If it is true he is so infernally weak that he should not be in an adult relationship. My guess is it isn’t true. The real problem isn’t that he had friends of low character. The real problem is that he is a person of low character–that is why he had those friends. The alcohol and their urging didn’t make him fuck that woman–his low character did–they just gave him a handy excuse to get away with it, and to actually have people feel sorry for him and make excuses for him–even the wife he harmed so terribly.

          • Yes Jojobee I get what you’re saying and I’m not trying to defend the guy. He did a horrible wrong to his wife and she let him know it and he took it because he knew she was right.
            He had remorse and he made amends that’s all that anyone can do to make it up to someone they’ve hurt.
            When dealing with these personality disordered types we have to look at the sum of a host of behaviors not a 1 time incident. We both know we spackled a host of shit to arrive here. If I was this friend’s (he’s really my husband’s friend) wife I would have forgiven him too. This incident happened over 10 years ago. I obviously don’t know for absolute surety that he isn’t a narc. I don’t live with him nor know him all that well but in my dealings with him and with all I’ve learned on this website and elsewhere on personality disordered people he isn’t one of them. He’s an idiot with weak boundaries but not a narc.

              • YES! I don’t believe in “one time” get out of consequences free cards. The fact is, how many times do you have to do something horrific before people should believe you are horrible? I know that I couldn’t hurt someone I loved so horribly even one time. The attitude that “once” (that you know of ) is okay reinforces the cheater narrative that infidelity doesn’t REALLY hurt anyone. It really isn’t so bad. And I will not reinforce this in our culture. I know I would rather take 50 physical beatings than go through infidelity again, but NO ONE would argue that I should let myself be physically assaulted even once. This “it was just once means you can forgive him AND carry on the relationship” doesn’t sit well with me. I mean, even if it is absolutely true and he is honestly truly remorseful and repentant, that doesn’t change her hurt. It doesn’t de-traumatize her. I am a Christian and I believe in redemption, but, I also think it is going to be better for everyone if he truly learns his lesson, to go be a better husband to someone else. That person won’t carry this trauma. His ex-wife will then have the chance to also be with someone who hasn’t assaulted her soul, risked her life with possible STDs, and shown her that at someone else’s urging she means absolutely nothing to him. That’s all it took for him to disregard his vows, let her know she was completely disposable, possibly expose her to lethal diseases–three beers and a “Yeah man, go ahead and do it.” Whether he is sorry or not, he is not husband material.

    • You mean that’s what he told his wife!
      Please. He did what he did. He had sex with a woman who was not his wife. If she is not your wife, don’t have sex with her. How hard is that?
      A 30something year old man giving into peer pressure like that? He is weak and he will fail her again and again because he is weak.

      • I can believe he won’t do that again.But the issue is that once I found out my bf/husband had cheated even if it just once.Even he turn into the most perfect Archangel Gabriel himself.I find it very hard to feel remotely sexually attracted to him again.Would you believe it if I tell you some peope actually believe that if you fail to forgive your cheater.That means you not actually love him in the first place?

  • The writer asks for the secret code for what authentic remorse would look like. What it would say, how it would look. No doubt to employ it against a chump. How telling this is. Remorse, actual remorse, would never ask such a thing. It would never want to. But this writer is absolutely clueless to this fact. Even more so, it would never ask for such a thing “for giggles”. What aspect precisely, about any of their “mistakes” or eventual “remorse”, could possibly be related in any way to giggles? This writer is incredibly obtuse and yet clearly thinks otherwise. There’s a smarminess about the whole request that just says “I’m so smart, watch me get my ammunition for my chump right from the very person who purports to protect them”. He thinks he is selling his request so expertly.

    He thinks he is looking down, god-like, upon the mouse he manipulates in a maze, while so clearly he is the mouse upon whom we are all looking. What an interestingly pathetic thing he is. Incapable of the thing which would simply be second nature to us – remorse. Incapable of seeing himself literally unworthy of us. Incapable of realizing how transparent he is at precisely the moment he thinks himself most slick and enticing.

    • I’m with you, TKO. Everything after “but”, is bullshit.
      CL’s last line is where it’s at.
      One thing remains clear- after we experience these people, their games, tactics, mindfucks-
      all of it has a recognizable “scent”. Roadkill doesn’t even begin to match it.

  • To have someone cheat on you, then tell you that YOU are the horrible one because you are unforgiving is a tough spot to be in.

    He told the kids that I refused family counseling to reunite us. They were furious with me over that one.

    I agree, if they had any shred of decency they would not expect us to reconcile. They would be happy if we would, but not dare demand it or try to shame us into it.

  • PREACH. Excellent post.

    Reconciliation was never an option for me. I divorced him. I knew the marriage that I cherished was gone forever, and even if I stayed with him, he wasn’t “him” anymore. It would be a whole different marriage, one I didn’t want. This might all sound strong, but make no mistake, I am grieving the loss of my husband and marriage like hell. I am in excruciating pain every day. The rage burns a hole in my chest.

    ANYWAY, I clicked on the link to the ‘Real Remorse? Or Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse?’ post mentioned on this post, and found that really interesting. My ex-husband actually DOES fit the vast majority of the Real Remorse characteristics. (not that I’m willing to give him much credit for that–too little too late).

    But I’m curious about something, even if a cheater fits the “real remorse” description… if they stayed with the affair partner (like I said we are divorced so it’s not an “affair” anymore), do you think that is a sign that it is NOT real remorse? In my mind, if he were truly remorseful, he would want to end that relationship and put this behind him, and work toward living a better and more honest life. I can’t help but feel that as long as he stays with her, this was still all worth it to him. OR–do these cheaters stay with the affair partner after we leave/divorce them, just because they know that skank is all they have left now, so they may as well stay together?

    Just curious for opinions on this. Sorry if I’m off topic. Perhaps I should have actually posted this on the comments of the remorse blog post! That one is a few years old, so I wasn’t sure if anyone would see my comment. 🙂

    • I think this topic is relevant and I get where you are coming from. The fact that ex is still with Slutface is an insult to me. He clearly isn’t sorry for anything. That being said, we are divorced, I initiated it, sort of and after several months of pick me dancing, and, at this point, I no longer feel that I have the right to demand an end to their relationship. Although I will never respect it as a legitimate relationship, it is really no longer my business who he chooses to fuck.

      In your case your ex may in fact still be with her just because he doesn’t feel he has any other options. You chose to divorce him and go gain a life so look forward not back. Who he is with is no longer your problem. Don’ t make it your problem. Same with whether or not he is really sorry regardless of who is or isn’t in his life.

      • Right, I agree, not a legitimate relationship. And I also feel like it’s an insult. Great advice though–you’re right, it really isn’t my business or my problem anymore. Sometimes I FEEL like it is, because it effects my teenage son (refuses to be around OW, so ex just lives two separate lives). But really, that is between them.

    • The fact that my ex was chasing down his OW less than 12 hours after divorce was decided upon told me all I needed to know about his level of remorse. We were still living together (he refused to move out) and I was trying to gray rock but holy shit it was painful. At one point I was like “Please be decent – don’t do this while you’re still living here. Don’t flaunt it in front of my face.” His reply? “I’m moving on. This is what healthy people do. You should too.”

      THIS IS WHAT HEALTHY PEOPLE DO. Lmfao. That right there shows you what kind of internal changes he made via therapy (zilch) and what kind of person he intends to be going forward.

      • I made the same request of my STBX while we were still living together and got the same response. They really are all the same.

        Last night, after an annoying conversation about something, he said that “you really don’t understand human nature, do you?” To which I replied: “If you mean that I don’t understand how someone could repeatedly lie, cheat, abuse, and then continue to be disrespectful and inconsiderate and be okay with those behaviors, than yes, you are right, I don’t understand that.” For once, he didn’t have an answer.

        • Ah, gaslighting. I got quite a bit of that as well. “My friends don’t understand why you feel this way! My therapist thinks you’re on a high horse and need to come down! Any future boyfriends are going to think you’re weird!” That last one was in response to my request that we both hold off on introducing the kids to anybody new for at least six months. Apparently taking it slow is “weird.”

          All I said in reply was “Well you have more recent dating experience than me, so I’ll take your word for it.”

        • So sorry that you have been through this hell, too. Living together (mine also refused to move out) was torture. I am free now and the divorce is nearly finalized but I am still so scarred and broken from the abuse.

            • “THIS IS WHAT HEALTHY PEOPLE DO???” Omfg. Where would I even start with that, lol. The things these people say. We had to continue living together for about a month after D-Day, and although he walked around as if he was sad and in shock, I knew he still spent all his time texting with her. That was a rough month. All this shit you guys mentioned… “move on,” “it’s human nature…” Puke. Hugs to both of you.

              • They think they are the shit and their shit don’t stink. They believe every single word that comes out of their own mouths. They are legends in their minds .
                And we dear chumps are shit. So pull your stumps up pack up the shit show and leave.
                They won’t change. They don’t want to change. Especially when they find someone who will be in a relationship with them. In their minds how can they be wrong when someone wants to be with them.
                Shut the show down every time! You don’t want to be with them and that is enough chumps. That is enough.

    • Beckiesue–my guess is that your cheater would not have continued to show “real” remorse if you had stayed with him. Some of them are such convincing manipulators and liars, and do have social awareness, that they can feign remorse and angst until they win back what they want. But the mask eventually drops again. Are there a few who maybe, maybe, are truly remorseful? Perhaps, but I bet it’s under 1%.

      • I would bet you’re right about that percentage, Tempest. I think, generally, people who are capable of cheating are not the same people capable of feeling true remorse. I think you’re right that he would not have continued to show the remorse if we had stayed together. I am pretty certain that once we got to hashing things out, in therapy or on our own, he would have started with the blame. The things I did that led him there. And that’s where I would have flipped my shit and caught a DV charge. JK (maybe).

    • The most important and most devastating information you get from a cheater

      …. is that there is no attachment. Wife, OW …. THINGS available and to be used for the sole purpose of.

      Keep them both in line with lies. That’s it.

      Getting this information – the significance of it, that I, ‘we’, meant very little, really – nearly killed me. I honestly thought I would die from the pain.

      They stay with their affair partner and the next unsuspecting gf, and the next, because she is of use. They don’t know how to connect IMO. It isn’t any different for any of the women in the sequence (wife included)

      • Oh, how deeply I can relate to this, Patsy. This realization made me feel like I was just disposable. Things weren’t “perfect” anymore, so I was shoved aside for something shiny and new. I thought I would die from the pain too. I still do feel that. Every day.

        You are exactly right though. They cycle through their “useful partners” and think nothing of it.

    • Very interesting question, Beckiesue. For me, if he is still with the AP then he isn’t remorseful. True remorse would require a level of introspection into why he treated his wife so badly that wouldn’t be possible while he was with another partner. A cheater who was really remorseful would understand that they weren’t good relationship material for ANYONE until they had done a serious amount of work on themselves. Being alone is HARD (as we know all too well), but IMO it would be necessary in order to truly understand the consequences of what they did.

      • Ah. I think you totally nailed it here, Beth. This is exactly how I feel about it. Exactly.

        Even as the chump, not the cheater, I feel like it is so important that I spend time alone, before entertaining the idea of dating. Sure, I don’t have to do that same introspection and work on myself that he does on himself. But, I am deeply wounded, shaken up, and guarded right now. I know I need time to heal, re-evaluate what I want for my life, etc.

        Regardless of how remorseful he claims to be, I don’t buy it, as long as he is with her. And I think it will be impossible for him to do any work on himself, as long as he is with her. Because, just as you mentioned, he doesn’t want to be alone. Thanks for your input!

        • And I totally agree with you on the Chump needing some time alone too. No, there’s not as much work to be done, but I think having the time alone to evaluate what you want you life to look like going forward is critical. I’ve been divorced for almost three years and the time alone has been priceless to me – I’ve learned so many things about myself during this time, the most valuable one being that I am just fine on my own so there’s no rush to find a partner.

    • If he is subjecting your children to the AP–no, there is NO remorse. If he is making them have a “relationship” with someone who exploded their life…. He is not sorry. If he thinks the sort of person who would ruin their family for ego or sex, is fit to be around them…. He is not sorry. If he is thereby training them to either be a doomat, or, be left…He is definitely not sorry.

      • AMEN, Jojobee. I agree, completely. My son is 16, and refuses to be around AP. Luckily, as of right now, ex-husband is respecting that. So he just lives two completely separate lives, since he can’t spend time with them together. But even though my son doesn’t have to see her, it still hurts him that his dad is continuing his relationship with her. He’s a wise kid, and I think even he feels confused about why he stays with her, when apparently this was the worst mistake he’s ever made, and he’s SO sorry for blowing our family to bits. (By the way, I do just want to be sure to mention that I do not express my opinions about this to my son. I am very careful about that. These are just comments he has made to me). I don’t know how long ex-husband plans to live totally separate lives. I cannot imagine being in a serious relationship with someone I couldn’t have my son around. That’s absurd to me. Instant deal breaker. But I guess nothing should surprise me about this man anymore.

        Anyway, you’re right about all of this, Jojobee. It’s so wrong to subject children to this person who destroyed their family. What message does it send, to force them to have a relationship with that person? And then I think some (especially older kids, maybe?) feel like they are betraying the chump parent. Such a heavy burden for kiddos to carry. Ugh.

    • And anyway, whether the remorse is real or not, the massive ethical differences between you remain the same. That person is still a person who was willing to be that mean in the first place. If the person is ever going to become capable of changing at such a root systemic level that all core behavior will transform into a different ethical construct, it will only happen in an environment of solitude. You can’t give anyone else enough of yourself that a relationship is reasonable if you’re changing yourself that profoundly, in my view.

      Real remorse for a person who wanted to change that profoundly would probably look like 10+ years single with a very nice dog and a few close friends for company and a solid solo sex life without any porn.

      • Amiisfree, hahaha. A very nice dog and no porn. Well put! I couldn’t agree more!

        You’re absolutely right, though. Cheating represents such a significant character flaw. In many cases, probably too significant to be capable of much transformation. This is one of the reasons I was not willing to consider reconciliation. When you are struck with the painful realization that your core values are so different from this person’s, I don’t know how it’s possible to sustain a relationship with them.

      • “[A]very nice dog and a few close friends for company and a solid solo sex life without any porn”. If it were five dogs instead of “a” dog that would be an accurate description of my life. Hahahaha

    • If they were remorseful they would be disgusted by the AP because that person sleeps with cheaters and destroys marriages.

  • My cheater XH gave me a generous divorce settlement, more than he was legally bound to and I still wouldn’t forgive him. Once the trust is gone, it’s gone. He looked me in the eye for months and lied his ass off to me. Not to mention the emails I saw where him and schmoopie made fun of my pain. Fuck them both forever and always. I believe he thinks that I am Plan B. He can think whatever he wants. I think I deserve better; a husband who isn’t a cheater and a liar.

    • Mine also gave me a fair settlement and yeah, that doesn’t make it all ok. It just makes him less of a dick than he could have been. I am sure it helps with the image management with others though.

  • CL-I just love this response!! You have an absolutely uncanny ability to get to the heart of the matter and lay it out in a truly meaningful cut to the chase way. I know most of us have wondered what would be good enough to give it a go again. As for me, he never asked and I neither did I. Was it pride, lack of empathy, self protection-don’t know don’t care. All I know is my heart wouldn’t let me and thank me for that! Once cold-cocked by him, never expose myself again. Hugs all. We all deserve it.😎🦋🦋🦋🦋🦋

  • P.S. And a giant middle-finger-up to the faux remorse of Garrison Keillor, Louis I promise-never-to-jack-off-in-front-of-a-victim-again C.K., or Matt I promise-never-again-to-bend-a-colleague-over-a-chair-and-rape-her Lauer. Lauer should be in prison for his misdeeds. Funny how they claim they should be allowed to re-boot their careers when they did not permit their victims to re-boot their psychological health. Take down the lot of them.

  • I feel like the questions asked in this letter are beside the point: it’s not the cheating, it’s the character disorder. And as CL brilliantly points out, if your partner is asking for reconciliation, it’s a sure sign of the level of entitlement you find in people with personality disorders, the vast majority of whom are incapable of change.

    A person who truly loved you and was capable of genuine remorse would leave the decision to reconcile entirely in your hands and gracefully let go if you decide that cheating is a bridge too far. In fact, any reasonable person would expect their partner to leave after they discovered infidelity.

    • “A person who truly loved you and was capable of genuine remorse would leave the decision to reconcile entirely in your hands and gracefully let go if you decide that cheating is a bridge too far.”

      This is true, in some cases. In the case of people like BoyMan, who are constitutionally incapable of taking responsibility for anything, leaving the decision up to the chump can also be just another manifestation of passivity and cowardice.

      During the year of wreckonciliation it soon became clear that BM was willing to ride along to “see where it goes” if I was up for it, but also would have been just as happy to go his separate way with the narrative of “we tried to work things out, but she just couldn’t get past it.”

      So, it turns out he got both: A year of yummy, yummy cake and pick-me dancing, culminating in a nice sad-sausage story–either to use on Skankbag herself or whichever Skankbag 2.0 has come along in the meantime. (I have no idea who or what he’s shagging these days. I wish I didn’t care, but at least I don’t have any reason to know.)

  • Unicorns-a symbol of innocence and chastity. Possessing the divine power that nurtures all living things. To suggest that a cheater, any cheater can be likened to such a beast is ludicrous.

    But I believe in true unicorns. They are before me every day in each post shared here. We, as CN, nurture our children and each other. We believed in our spouses and our marriages until we discovered the truth. Yet, we still keep trying to move forward each and every day facing the hard stuff and trying to overcome and be better, stronger people.

    Just my 2 cents worth.

  • ChumpDiva I hope you were able to enjoy your son’s wedding. I still wrestle with hoping when the time comes my children elope so I don’t have to deal with him in that particular situation, lol. No contact can’t be beat! I don’t know where I would be had I not found CL and the CN. The insight, bravery, camaraderie, and advice I have gotten over the past 2 years have beenv invaluable. I went from DDay#2 in Sept 2016 to Divorce Day in July and CL and CN got me through it all. Stay Mighty!

    • dldr, thanks for asking. It was a BEAUTIFUL wedding and I was so happy to see my son happy! I ignored his father and didn’t allow my hurt to be an issue that day. I was disappointed that my son didn’t have the (fake) family we once thought we had, but you know what? Neither did my new daughter-in-law….for different reasons. Her mother died in April 2017, my Dday (#3!!) was 2 months later exactly. Her father remarried 13 months after his wife died, which was 5 months before the wedding. Nothing is perfect and we each have our own stories. StbX hung out w his family & I mine, so it wasn’t a big obvious thing. I think Divine Source takes care of the details if I do the next right thing. You will likely find your own path when that time comes for you. I wasn’t rude, but I paid less attention to him than the sand on the beach. Mighty feels damned good and Meh can’t be far behind!
      I agree: CL & CN can take all the credit! This community is life-saving, spirit-salvaging! Thanks for your support & wisdom, dldr!

  • After 34 years married, he said “ our marriage ran its course”.
    But he was f—king the whore for 2 years when I caught them together. What exactly is “ ran its course” even mean?
    Evil sociopath 👿

    • Kathleen, if my UBT training has worked at all “our marriage had run its course” means you have outlived your usefulness as a wife appliance to a disordered fake-human. ((((Kathleen)))) hugs to you!

      • ChumpDiva
        Yes… once as he was removing items from the garage – I was crying.. I asked him “why didn’t you leave for whore years ago Instead of putting me thru all of this pain”. His answer “I had patience “. What does THAT mean??

        Never knew I could hate someone so much 😪

        • Hugs, Kathleen – like my X, you had a bad husband and probably a horrible person. He had patience to wait out whatever he was waiting out. Your pain (my pain) is not relevant to them. They just don’t care. I don’t hate people but the X comes very close. He used me as a wife, a stepparent and as an adult. And I tried the best I could in all those roles only to realize that it was all for nothing. I’m sure you were the best wife you could be – it was just all for the wrong person.

          If you haven’t yet, read the free library over at Psychopath Free. Those articles helped me see the situation a bit clearer. I’m checking out her book at the library. Now that I have the pieces in front of me, I need to find out how to put things together to move forward. I’m tired of romanticizing him. He doesn’t deserve it.

          • MissBailey
            Thank you for your kind words..unfortunately you are correct. I’m so angry for ignoring the red flags. I was terrified of losing the love of my life, my marriage & my home. But I was getting physically & mentally sick..so I kicked him out & divorced him. The whore he left me for died last year & he quickly moved into
            another woman’s home. I’m divorced
            3 years & I’m trying very hard to get to meh.

            Don’t know if I ever will 😒
            (((Hugs)) to you 💕💕

        • Holy Moly Kathleen — and you aren’t in jail for murder after him saying “I had patience”? What a psycho. That is one of the worst Cheater responses ever. SO sorry you had to experience that.

    • I was told (when I found out about the OW) “We had a good run.” I long for the day when the karma bus has a good run over his sorry ass.

  • Me, too, Patsy! As I dug into the skein of fuckedupness and sought any inkling that he had thought about me and how his actions might affect me, I found…nothing. He even said, “I wasn’t thinking of you” during this affair.
    That. Killed. Me. The pain was excruciating and I crawled here to CL daily to help me recover. It worked! That blaze of pain was the “refiner’s fire” that forged the golden death of the love I had felt for him for 31 years. I am FREE. Not yet divorced because…fuckwit…but emotionally free from the toxic trauma bonds that held me to him and my spackled memories of our lives together. Day by day, I am able to see clearly the red flags I missed and those I ignored and desperately tried to dye blue.
    New Chumps: take this flame of HOPE – true hope, not hopium! – and find yourselves underneath all that crap they fling at you. YOU are worth 10,000 of their disordered, pain-inflicting asses! Find your mighty way to meh here, in this safe healing place for chumps. Welcome to the club not one of us ever wanted to join. We are here for YOU.

  • We all know cheaters have so many playbooks to enable their cheating. Why would Chump Lady write a perfect playbook for them to deceive chumps into letting them back? Imagine what a dangerous document that would be and all the cheaters’ forums that would end up on!

  • Okay, CN – one last thought – as I’ve spent my entire day off reading & responding and absorbing ALL y’all’s wisdom.
    Re:
    “And speaking of which — we’re having a real cultural moment of Okay, Have I Sat In the Corner Long Enough? Garrison Keillor, Matt Lauer, Louis C.K. — all apparently staging come backs. They’re all truly sorry and want their careers back.”

    A mutual friend tried to tell me last week what a “nice guy” cheater is. I told him that that might be so, but it doesn’t make him a good husband to me.
    Later, while rehashing with some friends, I found a better, much more accurate way to express my reply:
    “I used to laugh at Bill Cosby, too. I doubt if Camille is laughing today.”

      • There’s no way you can convince me that she didn’t know. If that is true, she isn’t any better than her husband. Not.one.bit.

    • I get this alot because my ex is a “nice” guy, and mostly I just shrug my shoulders and walk away from the conversation because, for me, meh is about not engaging in any analysis of him. But, from time to time I will indulge in explaining to another the difference between “nice” and “good.” I tell them: When an old lady crossing the street drops groceries and attempts to pick them up, a “nice” person may slow down their car, shout at her “I hope you’re all right…you missed an orange over there…nice sweater!” And then drive away and carry about with their day. A good person will stop their car, help her collect her groceries, walk her across the street, and even maybe ensure she gets home safely. They will do this even if they’re late for an appointment or even if they don’t want to or even if they gripe about it. They will do it because it is the right thing to do, and good people do the right thing. Good people are not always nice–and some nice people are also good–but if I have a choice between the two I’ll take good any day of the week.

  • In some ways their unicorn-ness is irrelevant. Let’s say, for argument’s sake, cheater displayed all actions of one who is truly remorseful–did the whole thing, wrote and signed a post nup, did personal therapy, gave the chump space and time to heal, supported their pain, etc. Even under those conditions, one still has to live with the uncertainty of a repeat offense and the larger painful monster of betrayal.

    No matter how unicorn-y someone got, I’m quite sure I would never be able to trust after a betrayal so large.

  • True remorsefulness is directly related to the losses suffered by the cheater, otherwise known as self inflicted consequences.

    The higher the financial loss the greater the con.
    Um, the crap shoot AP sparkle wore off; sustainability is work; they’re remorseful.

    A double rainbow; adouble life; a double edge sword. It’s as arbitrary as remorse. Let’s call it what it is, abuse.

  • Nope if they can cheat even one time they have zero respect for you! They made a commitment till death do us part and BLEW IT!

  • Trigger alert–this post is from an OWhore. Only reason it’s not being deleted is because that would also delete HomeBound’s astute reply below. –Tempest

    Oh how nice it would be if there was a man that was truly remorseful. It just isn’t realistic. I sat and listened as the married man I was seeing cried his eyes out to his wife, saying his and my affair was the worst mistake he ever made, she tried kicking him out but he fought hard to save his marriage. He did everything she asked him to, and made it look as if I was out of the picture… but all that changed was that the calls he made to me were made via calling app that couldn’t be tracked on his cell bill and we made sure to only meet at lunch time during work hours and on his business trips. He continued on with me for another five years before I finally walked away. Needless to say, his wife never found out that I was still in the picture and honestly, I kept thinking what a stupid fool she was. Glad to be out of that circus but seriously, cheaters do NOT change!

      • On the contrary, you guys….this person and those like her…are actually very helpful in a very unintentioned way. Hear me out.

        When I read the initial letter from HumorMe, I instantaneously thought…this is My Cheater as well as another guy I dated later. They would do recon. The truly disordered, yet highly intelligent ones, will find out what the opposition is saying, and tailor their behavior and responses to the info they collect.

        This guy wants to know “How To Do It”. He wants to have a checklist of the way he needs to proceed in order to get it over on….whomever it is he is conning at the moment.

        Notice the Charm Offensive? He is flattering CL and CN with a wink and a nudge and a dimpled smile….Just Humor Me….we’re all friends here, right? If he can come off all non-threatening…just everybody sitting around shooting the shit, right?

        My Cheater was exactly like this. So was the next guy I dated. Second guy never got past the….write down for me what you like, don’t like and what your dealbreakrs are, though. Cheater would be relentless….

        Tell me what you like about me. I would extoll virtues and then I’d get…but WHY do you love me? Would get confused because….wtf?

        It was so that he could hone his skill at mimicing what normal people find attractive.

        Tiffany and those like her…they come here and read in order to find out how to behave “next time”. Just like HumorMe did. They want a listing of how we found out, what we did, how we did it and what to avoid in the future.

        I find their behavior fascinating, to be honest. They know they’re not normal, functioning humans, so they lurk and spy and hope to copy what we do in order to seem like one of us.

        The thing about Tiffany here and those like her, is that they may have been dumped in some instances, what they are after is reading about how the victims nevr truly recover.

        I have spoken to one of my Cheater’s gfs and she said rather bluntly that she enjoyed the idea of me and Cheater staying together, because she knew I would never recovr the trust in him and that she was free to dance off to another relationship whioe I was left with the wreckage that was my marriage.

        I asked her what she had against ME. She said it wasn’t so much me personally, that it was that Cheater had lied to her and promised so many things…and when I “won” him back, she could not think of a more deserving punishment for him than to stay in a blasted out marriage.

        Tiffany isn’t being helpful intentionally, but she is giving a glimpse of what we can keep reminding ourselves of every time a Cheater says they’e sorry. They tell EVERYONE lies. Everyone. The APs, their families, their friends if the have any, their kids and US.

        Tiffany enjoyed and still does enjoy, the idea that she was powerful enough to destroy more than a few lives to the point that nobody will ever forget her name.

        I don’t get all name call-y about people like her, because it gives them power. My Cheater may have had a partner in crime, but it was still HIM that betrayed me and my family. Giving APs so much energy and thought…gives them power.

        HumorMe is doing this same thing. He is looking for a solid scheme to gain back the power he had over his….wife….girlfriend….kids….family….co workers….whomever it is that has caught onto his usual repertoire. That clearly ain’t working and he’s one of the smart ones who has gone recon.

    • Tiffany,

      You kept thinking what a stupid fool she was ?! How foolish,selfish and cruel are you ?!

      Get a therapist to deal with your personality disorder.

    • Hate to break your rose colored Tiffany glasses..
      But a lot of cheaters hide their mistresses while making grandiose promises to them of a future fantasy life. You bought into his fantastic future. Apps that can’t be traced, sharing an email account but only writing emails in the draft mode so as never to send over the Internet… mistresses being told to cut their social media, …in the shadows..clandestine meet ups he doesn’t tell the wife or kid. How did it make you feel…plain b? You’d never trust him…an some seasoned mistresses try to control the cheater. Which eventually leads him either trying to go back home or eventually leaving the mistress.

      Go to a counselor and figure out why you allowed yourself to be used and that you needed a man’s attention so much that you were willing to hurt him, his wife, and kids.

    • Oh Tiffany! You are so smart and wise! You who threw away 5 more years on a selfish narcissist who used you for Kibbles!

      We all know you waited at the end of your rope for every one of his pathetic little phone calls and nuggets of kibble for you.

    • You carried on for 5 years after watching him portray dramatic remorse to his wife? FOOL. Not his wife YOU. All that changed was more deception to his wife except YOU had full knowledge this man was a cake eating fuckhead who used you for a cum bucket for another 5 years . Hope he did not have children with his wife as they pay dearly for the circus you enabled and could walk from.
      EVIL Bitch. You have no credit your contribution is void.
      What are you doing here seriously, WHORES do NOT change

    • “Needless to say, his wife never found out that I was still in the picture and honestly, I kept thinking what a stupid fool she was.”

      Lucky you to never have anyone love and trust you to that degree. You should lead with that story to everyone you know and meet. Take pride in your willingness to schtup a married man and participate in lying to his wife.

      Awesome!

  • If my cheater was truly remorseful he would leave his extremely immature toxic AP in the knowledge he has that I would never take him back and stop gas-lighting, lying and giving false hope and promises to his 8 and 10 yr old children. He would put them first not himself and double life . Fuck its sad to witness. I thought he would be a good dad because he never had one. Turns out he does not care “for people” full stop.
    He has said “Sorry to let you down like this”. Our home town is just pain, “I’ll just go away”.
    Wish he would but he hasn’t. 2.5 years of escalating abuse – never mentioned leaving just ask for more power to abuse me and kids because he has options.

  • It’s the entitlement. It’s always the entitlement. Entitlement to cheat. Entitlement to come home. Entitlement to pretend it was possibly a little slip up. Entitlement to never, ever swim in the deep end of humility and express through words and actions over many, many years, regret, sorrow, and full responsibility.

    No. After it’s all said and done, s/he will always believe that it was AT LEAST partly responsible for the affair.

    I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth.

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