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Bye-Bye, Cheater

Dear Chump Lady,

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Why? Because reading your words and reading the words of others have finally given me the kick in the ass that I needed.

I’ve been married for 2.5 years — second marriage — and it’s been one thing after another. We separated after a year of marriage, then reconciled. It was all rainbows and sugar cubes for about seven months post reconciliation. It was soooo sparkly that I wasn’t as careful as I should have been with birth control and I got pregnant. When I was five months pregnant, I discovered his emotional affair. Ha! Snort! Sorry, laughing at myself!

I did the classic chump stuff — cried, asked what I could do to meet his needs so that he didn’t go outside of our marriage, kissed his ass… and of course he said he was sorry and would end things. Like a chump on hopium, I believed him. A few weeks later — on the fucking morning that my dad unexpectedly passed away — my jackass husband decided to tell me the truth, that he was still “talking” to the OW — because she had acute renal failure and was going to DIE!!! Needless to say, I didn’t respond well. My dad had been gone for 6 hours. I was kinda in shock.

Fast forward a month. I let him know that if he was going to continue this relationship, I would file for a legal separation. He “ended” it. Yep, it went underground. But like a stupid chump, I believed him!

I went into labor a month early and had an amazingly healthy son! My jackass was there at the birth, and I would find out later, was texting the OW. He sent her pics of MY son!

A month later, I got a screenshot text from OW. She said she was tired of living a lie. The screenshot was a conversation detailing what he wanted to do to her in bed. He had just left for a weekend trip. I told him we would talk when he got home, but that I didn’t want to talk to him until then.

It’s been 8 weeks since that weekend. For a while, too long, I did the pick me dance. I tried to prove my undying love. And he still couldn’t end it, because he wasn’t sure he could “trust” me. If he gave her up, how did he know I would be the wife he needed me to be? Holy shit. Writing that makes it real — he is so delusional! I spent a lot of time being angry. A lot. Our marriage counselor told me I was going to push him straight to OW.

One morning, a few weeks ago, I opened my eyes and looked at him. The hopium was out of my system and I saw him and our marriage for what it was –– not a sparkly unicorn, but rather a dirty jackass with a carrot duct taped on his head! And that same day, one of my close friends told me to take a step back — that if this were happening to any of our friends, I would be telling her to get the hell out and/or laughing at the melodramatic acting going on! She was right!

Since then, I’ve embraced meh dom, read Chump Lady religiously, and am getting my ducks in a row. I have three children, two from my first marriage and one from this marriage. I used to be a teacher, but quit at his request to be a SAHM. I was afraid of stepping out on my own — 37 years old, no job, three kids, one an infant! Screw that! I applied for public assistance, got a part-time job cleaning houses, and am stashing money aside. I consulted a lawyer and filled out the paperwork. I am saving for the retainer fee. I have detached from jackass, which is driving him nuts!

Oh, and did I forget to mention that a week ago, he went to OW apartment up take her flowers, and walked in on her fucking someone else!?? So now he is scrambling and wants me to agree to work on our marriage — while he still tries to salvage things with her! But I no longer feed him kibbles, and am moving forward with my own life. This is killing him, but bringing me so much strength.

Please let the other chumps know that the best thing they can do for themselves is to get on with their lives. Reclaim who they are. Rediscover who they are. Laugh daily. Take a step back from the drama, and breathe. After they’ve started to reclaim themselves, they can put on their attitude boots, and walk away from the fucked up mess that their cheater made. It’s not the chump’s mess. It’s not up to them to clean it up for the cheater. Walk forward and don’t look back. Don’t. Look. Back. There’s nothing behind you but a huge fucking mess that you did not cause. Whistle a little as you walk away, and know that better days are ahead!

Oh, and I recommend putting “Bye Bye,” by Jodee Messina on their playlist, and singing it daily, loudly, where the cheater can hear them!

Thank you, Chump Lady, for your wisdom and insight!

Jenette (a classic chump)

Dear Jenette,

You are MIGHTY! Boy, you navigated yourself out of that mess admirably. I know you’ve got a ways to go still, but such moxie! Your letter illustrates so perfectly the “fuck it, I’m done” moment. When you’ll do whatever it takes to get that new life. Go on assistance. Clean houses. Suck up another divorce. ANYTHING. Your bravery — and your anger — will serve you well.

Speaking of anger — a pox on your marriage counselor. Your “anger” is going to drive him to the Other Woman? What kind of toxic blameshifting crap is THAT? It’s NORMAL to be angry at someone who has betrayed you — and confesses to it on the day your father died, no less! That MC should be defrocked. A proper professional would’ve asked you what your anger was telling you. What it meant that warning bells and sirens were going off in your head. Not shamed you for it, and threatened you with it. Oh, if you feel anger he won’t Love You Any More. You bad girl! Get back in your place! Bow and scrape for his love. Don’t get uppity.

It’s a classic case of the mindfuck It’s Not What I Did, It’s Your Reaction to It. Shaming chumps for being angry at being betrayed? FUCK that noise.

And what IS it with men texting their mistresses in maternity wards? I keep reading this over and over again. Is there some hidden epidemic of douchebaggery? Is it just the ultimate kibble fest and pick me dance opportunity? Kibble fest in that “Hey look! I fathered a child! Aren’t I special on my special day?” and pick me dance as in “Oh, I had a baby with her, yeah, we share that. But you’re special too, because I’m telling you about it! And your vagina is very special and not all stretched out and gross like hers is. But, we still have this bond, you know. Yet, alas, my family needs me.” And Mr. Cheaterpants pretends to vacillate like Hamlet. Woe! This blessed birth. Woe! My obligations. Meanwhile the OW is having to congratulate him, yet feels threatened as hell. Huge shit sandwich for her. But she gets kibbles, because they share a SECRET. And she’s really special, because even while his wife was giving birth, he was thinking of HER, the OW, the whole time!

Ugh. They each deserve 5 inch episiotomies performed with rusty scissors. You may point out your cheater lacks the proper anatomy, but his head is stuck so far up his ass, they could improvise. Maybe use forceps to remove it. No anesthesia, of course. Just tell him to BREATHE.

As for telling you about his affair on the day your FATHER died? Unbelievable. I suppose in his warped way, he figured this bought him some cover. Well of course she’s upset — her father died!

But really the most stellar of mindfucks in this letter is:

For a while, too long, I did the pick me dance. I tried to prove my undying love. And he still couldn’t end it, because he wasn’t sure he could “trust” me. If he gave her up, how did he know I would be the wife he needed me to be?

Right. You’re the problem. How untrustworthy you are. How can he be assured you will continue the pick me dance with renewed vigor? How will you be the wife he needs you to be if you’re all ANGRY and shit, insisting he keep his commitments?

Jenette, I cannot wait for you to be free of this asshole. There’s a special place in my heart for second marriage chumps, because I was one. It makes infidelity extra painful, because you really do not want to “fail” at two marriages. You “pick me” dance with more gusto, because failure is not an option. They know this. They choose well, those cheaters. He thought he had you stuck. He sold you a bill of goods — be a stay at home mother! We’ll be a family! You bought into this dream, you accepted this vulnerable position and he took it as carte blanche to fuck around on you. IMO, this abuse is deliberate. It’s predatory. That’s why I caution all the single moms out there to fix those pickers as best you can. There are cheaters who prey on single mothers. We’re usually a vulnerable, chumpy bunch.

I fell for one of these sparkly assholes as a single mom, you did too. I also handed mine his ass in a divorce, and you will too. And I gained a life and eventually found real love. And I bet you will too.

Thanks for writing your words of encouragement for other chumps, Jenette. Keep us posted on your progress!

This letter ran previously and I can only assume Jenette is still kicking ass and taking names. Jenette, if you’re reading, you inspire us still! 

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.
  • Wow!!!! What a letter!!! This woman is tough as nails! God I wish I had had more of her wisdom and self-respect in my darkest times. What an asshole that guy is, jeez. These people never cease to amaze me, the entitlement is just mind-boggling. And that dumbass marriage counselor? You’re driving him to the other woman? I was like GOOD! Drive him away! Why would she stay with that dick?

    And the delivery room??? Get outta here, for real? I mean I know it’s real, but damn. And spot-on Tracy, “oh I’ve got a family, but you’re special cause I’m telling you about it”. But I had to stop and laugh my ass of with this: “They each deserve 5 inch episiotomies performed with rusty scissors.” 😀

    • Working in labor and delivery every time there was an episiotomy or a vag tear I would quietly Grit my teeth and bite my lip, reflex reaction. I felt for this Mom. But she was brave, the Doctor did a fantastic job of stitching her poor bottom up again. In time it would heal. BUT, for this guy, & OW ,YES, CL, great suggestion, a huge gapping episiotomy, and funny thing, we are all out of suture material!
      Jenette, YOU are so Mighty. I hope things are going forward for you and your precious children.
      Perhaps you will get back into the teaching profession. If so, I can’t think of a better example for any child, someone amazingly strong, like you!

    • Got “don’t show him your anger it will drive him away” shit from MC. I was so confused by that. I now know when something someone says is confusing there is probably something wrong with it. I also got a confession while my mom was dying. I don’t think the timing was an accident. They tell you this shit at times like this because you are already so off balance that they can get away with sucking you into the pick me dance. My mom and I were close so I was losing a good friend. I also lost the person I thought my husband was (best friend) at the same time. I wish him a healthy dose of hell.

      • It’s sickening and you’re right – it’s no accident. Cold, calculated manipulation at it’s lowest. I can’t even fathom how twisted you have to be to take advantage of someone like that. I’m so sorry you had to go through that.

      • I agree about the timing– they admit or trickle truth when you’re not in a position to turn your full wrath on them. My ex decided to tell me that “he wasn’t sure what he wanted” (when I still thought that his affair was an EA and that it was over) and “he still had feelings for her” right as I was about to walk out the door to have dinner with my siblings (which doesn’t happen often since we’re busy, so I was really looking forward to it). I had to take my grief out the door with me (since I sure as hell wasn’t canceling to stay at home and bawl), and we went to an upscale restaurant where I bared my soul to my sibs and couldn’t get more than two bites down. We just had our dinner out a few weeks ago, and thankfully (for those of you still in the thick of the nightmare), we had a good laugh about it.

        What a piece of shit he was; he not only wasn’t human enough to just tell me the full truth upon discovery, but he decided to mess with my head when I was about to go out and enjoy myself, away from the drama that he created. The timing of any confession from cheaters is deliberate– when you’re in public, when one of you is on a trip far away and you’re talking over the phone, when you’re dealing with a real tragedy (sickness or death), etc. It’s part of the playbook.

        • My ex was always playing emotional mind games with me. “I don’t know what I what.” “I don’t know why I still think of her.” “I need some time to think.” Unbeknownst to me, he was still seeing the girlfriend when we were trying to reconcile. He wanted his cake and eat it too. When I finally told him I was ready to move on, he acted slighted and still professed to not be ready to give up on us (all the while cheating on me with her). Now they are like teenagers, going out every night on dates, doing everything together (things he never would do with me in 30 years of marriage). I know he is not worth my time, especially since he slept with me when he got back with her and I saw and heard first hand how he justifies his cheating as the other person’s fault. I feel so betrayed that he is showing her all the love and affection I wanted. I know I am better off but it still hurts to be the one left behind while he is instantly in a relationship.

          • Me too Angela Francis.

            Married 30 years, but guess what one day it does not matter. I didn’t believe what all the CL people were saying. One day I woke up and it did not matter. It was after a week of being weepy. I think I needed to cry out some left over sorrow. I have moments of anger at what a joke he is and I will set the record straight when he tells people we had grown apart.

            You are going to have to feel through the pain to get to the other side. He is so much less and in time you will know it.

    • This is what maternity ward boasting is all about…the sad sack cheater is basically showing his new surrogate mommy “look what I made! Aren’t I clever !!”
      No shit… they are constantly looking for some praise or pat on the back for any “achievement”!!! In this case…my lil swimmers hit a target….never mind poor woman and baby!
      My insane x litterally acted like he should have a medal for hanging the washing out. I think i should have made him a sticker chart and put it on the fridge. Gold star for sitting on the potty!!😂

  • Absolutely delusional! After 10 years of an amazing/wonderful relationship and 7 months of cruelty, gaslighting, threats to hit me, accidentally pushes for me to fall, calling me crazy, pathetic, psychotic, etc…(He went outseas for work, within 5 weeks he fall in love with a married women) I stood up, picked up my personal items to leave him behind for good! It took me almost 2 years to recovered but finally my chump heart and soul is repair with stronger attitude, looking forward for a better future of my own!
    I am thankful to Chump Lady’s Book, itbhelped me out dearly through out this painful process.
    Stay Strong and Positive!

    • Yes. I thought our relationship was good but I was looking through rose colored glasses…but like yours…cruelty, gaslighting, telling me I “deserve to be beaten” (with a tone in his voice hinting that not beating me was because he was such a great guy) but “accidentally” crushed my hand in a door one day. Also told me I was crazy and pathetic.

      If either of these men had an ounce of integrity, they could have said “I have decided to end this marriage, Im sorry it will hurt you and I will be fair as we process through this” (then acted like a decent human who has decided to end a relationship) neither of us would be here telling our stories.

      • Wellll…..I’m not sure that’s a sign of integrity. My STBX said basically just that ” I’m not doing this to hurt you. I’ll make sure you have no debt while we untangle ourselves financially”…. followed by “I just want someone to light up when I come home. I want someone to want to jump my bones when I walk in the door!”. He’s in his 50’s, and not in a Dwayne Johnson sort of way. Integrity would mean making your wife your priority. Not texting a co-worker. Not working out so he can “look good. like nobody would know how old I am”. Is that integrity because he’s not being a financial asshole and did end the relationship by moving out? I think not.

        • My STBX probably thought the same but never actually said the words. You gotta give him some credit for letting his egotistical f#@kedupness be visible. He’s still a pos scumbucket but he let you see what his priority was—HIM.
          He gas lit & lied to me every single day until I made it stop by kicking him out.
          Integrity is not in their vocabulary.

      • I am sorry you went thru it, it is unjustifiable! Those type of “accidents” as they called them are all hiding intentions from them to make is believed we asked for it. I am just glad I am out and you too!
        Peace with us with a stronger and self confidence!

  • ‘Tis a shame so many women keep believing the bullshit lies their cheater tells them, only to be kicked in the face over and over and over and over and over again when they find out they’ve been lied to yet again. At least this gal finally got a clue. Sadly, many never do.

    • That was me. I spent 15.5 years believing he “didn’t mean” to hurt me and that the poor widdle thing was “just confused” he just “didn’t know any different”.. ..I spent 15.5 trying to love him better, teach him how to love and convince him that he had a good thing, a good wife, good home, good kids and a good life. .. .. I chased him down every time he strayed and dragged him home where he belonged. Believing his lies and half truths that he did not mean to hurt me and he did not cheat on me but he was only out drinking because he has a drinking problem (and he really did).. ..

      I honestly thought the world of him and gave him way too much credit. I completely believed he was a good man, a good dad and husband. I forgave and forgot so many offenses that complete left my mind. I was bending over backwards and doing the belly pick me dance from hell. So stressed out I couldn’t think. Doing everything by myself because he said I asked too much from him. So he could eventually run off with the neighborhood party girl meth head who drank with him and abandoned her own kids.

      I was mentally, physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually exhausted. My soul was super tired after 15.5. And yet I couldn’t believe it was over. I did do much for him, how could he just walk away without even a glance back. I hurt so badly. Literally could not breathe and my body in physical pain.

      It took a little over 3 years to heal and find my peace. But it took 15.5 years of getting kicked in the face and having my heart crushed repeatedly before I took that first step. Hopium is the strongest drug in life. It is hard to kill when you are so deep in shit.

      • If there’s a cheater playbook, there’s a chump one too. I remember Dickhead’s mom (she wa a wonderful MIL) saying the maybe he was doing the best he can. This was years ago, maybe the year 3 or 4. I was probably complaining and I immediately felt bad. I thought he loves in his own way and is doing all that he can. It wasn’t that he was doing his best and coming up short, he was just doing enough to get by. Looking back, I think she knew more about his narcissus personality than I ever did.

      • I hear ya, MrsVain. When you look back at how much effort you expended to ‘keep them happy’ and supply yourself with Hopium, it’s galling. Hopium isn’t just the strongest drug in life, it’s damn expensive.

        When the other person is set on destroying the relationship (for whatever reason), you have to choose either the hard work of leaving or the hard work of staying. The irony is most people think the hard work of staying will be finite and the hard work of leaving will be infinite. It’s actually the other way around.

        • That was a truth bomb.

          Holy crap.

          ‘Most people think the hard work of staying will be finite and the hard work of leaving will be infinite. It’s actually the other way around.’

          Mighty.

  • Revealing his affair 6 hours after her father died is a special sort of cruelty. Her pain level was so high that his betrayal would get (at least partially) lost in it. A spouse has to suck keenly to do something this mean. This human has zero redeeming qualities.

    I hope she visits us to give an update sometime.

    • My ex would pull this kind of move to centrality precisely when my attention had to be elsewhere–the last time it happened I’d just arrived at my mother’s after she had a stroke, and I opened up one of his sad sausage “I need your emotional care” texts. By then I’d been reading here long enough I knew just how to interpret this, and totted it up on the imaginary chalkboard I kept inside my head as One More Reason I’m Leaving.

    • As if his father-in-law dying was just a reminder…”hey, speaking of dead people…you think you’ve got it rough? Well, my OW is about to die too.” As if he wouldn’t have brought it up if the father hadn’t conveniently died and given him a conversational opening. Who does that!?! What. An. Asshat.

    • This type of cruelty seems to be common.

      I find out my mother is in the ICU and I’m in the bedroom sobbing and the asshat comes in to announce he doesn’t love me anymore.
      I should have left. him right then. He was having an emotional affair but she rejected him.

      I leave to go to my mother’s funeral overseas. I find out he is cheating on me and all the while he is texting me, skyping me, and going on like our marriage is fine.

  • Ok…the guardian angels delivered you today…this is a letter I need to read three times a day. I WANT to feel like this! My heart and head are in agreement with this, but the pain from the knife wounds is really hurting. This letter gave me some pain relief….early Thanksgiving!!

    Please tar and feather that “therapist” for me. Your APPROPRIATE RESPONSE AND EMOTIONS are going to drive him away?!!! I’ll take a side of pitchforks and torches with that, please. Husband, OW, and therapist in the same car, then Thelma and Louise drive ‘em away.

    Made my day to read about him walking in on Twu Wuv in bed with Not Him!!!

  • When I read the quote “For a while, too long, I did the pick me dance. I tried to prove my undying love. And he still couldn’t end it, because he wasn’t sure he could “trust” me. If he gave her up, how did he know I would be the wife he needed me to be?”, I was transfixed. Indeed as CL says this is the most stellar of mindfucks. The words popped from the page and took me right back to the first D-day when I heard those same-said words. And I too found out my STBXH was back to texting the OW when I was two weeks post-partum, dealing with a c-section that wouldn’t close and two days out from my newborn having open heart surgery while three hours away from my other two children who were sick from flu. And here I was in the midst of all that, crushed that he was still communicating with her because he couldn’t trust me with his love. 🤮

    Like Jenette, I’m grateful that when I found out that eight years later when he was back with the same-said OW, I had the strength to leave and stop dancing. Strength largely found in CL’s writing and in CN’s cheering me on whenever the mindfuckery caused me to second-guess myself. 🙏

    • @Kibbled Again, also transfixed. I also got the “I don’t know if I can trust you again with my heart” line. A new appendix to the Cheater Playbook? I didn’t respond “It’s obvious I couldn’t trust you with mine but I’m willing to try” because like many other times I was so flummoxed and confused over his nonsense that I couldn’t think straight. As it happens once he’d left and went to a pub where she was a barmaid to see her, he discovered her actual boyfriend that he knew nothing about was there too… and despite 5 months of dangling after her, she eventually made it clear she didn’t want him as a partner, or as clearly as she ever said anything without leaving loopholes all over.
      So I suppose now he’s back to his porn sites, which was one of my deal-breakers. I’d rather be on my own, thank you very much. 😂

      • Artist..yes “confused over his nonsense”. All I got was drivel and nonsense. He made no sense. Each problem with me contradicted the other. He was acting so crazy I was concerned for my safety.

        I’m so glad I now see him for the fool he is. He is embarrassing.

        • @Spoonriver haha yes!! He is embarrassing and he knows it, as he told me he was afraid I would despise him. But I don’t judge, he’s just another manbaby, that I’m glad is no longer close to me. I’m not even embarrassed that I chosen him more than once and pick-me danced, as I still thought he was the man I thought he was when I married him.
          Chumps, make no mistake, we are mighty. We see the real.

          • The word ’embarrassing’ was how I described Cheater to the OW when she made a lunatic phone call to me (after they moved in together) to say how cruel she thought I was. I just laughed and told her to promise not to,send him back.

            How was I cruel? I threw out the Tardis (yes a child’s toy) that Cheater had bought on the Internet and hand painted like a 10 year old would. Still makes me laugh.

      • I also got “You broke my heart because you didn’t believe in me”

        No sh*t sherlock. You’re a lying liar. People tend to not believe in you when you constantly lie.

      • @ArtistFormerlyKnownAsChump – Once again, it’s like another CN compatriot is living my life and reading my thoughts.

    • (((((Kibbled Again))))
      Reading Chumps posts today is making me soooo angry. I wish I could hug each and everyone.
      So, hugs to you Mighty Lady and I want to invite ALL Chumps into a great big ((((((Group Hug))))
      And a most amassive ❤️((((((CL))))))❤️ HUG for being who she is and for what she does for each and every Chump.
      CL, I felt so sad when I read all that you said about understanding how a second marriage Chump feels. My heart soon felt so much lighter and happier when I realize how you have come out of all of this mindfuckery and heartache, and at the place you, and your son, are at now.
      MIGHTY! MIGHTY!
      Stronger words fail me, so I will stop! 😊

      • Peacekeeper – thank you for always spreading the love and the hugs to all of us at CN.
        I also love the outrage you feel on our behalf!!!! YOU are mighty and are a wonderful voice here. Thank you❤️

    • I got the trust line too.

      He wanted someone who never got angry over anything. He couldn’t trust I could be that person. But hey no mention of how I couldn’t trust him to not cheat on me or be there for me during cancer. WTF?
      And I bought that line! I’m going to blame the massive amounts of chemicals that were being pumped into my body and the immense fear of being left alone during a very traumatic time. So I went on the offensive, did my best to be calm and cater her to him. Started making him coffee every day, etc. And guess what? He then tells me to stop. That I was trying to make him feel guilty.

      OY! Um, maybe you feel guilty because you are a giant douchebag!

      • Preach CC!

        He wanted someone who never got angry over anything. He couldn’t trust I could be that person.

        Yeah, how dare we get angry. And if we are too civil or even kind, what is truly our motivation? I got “stop being the good ‘parent’ here of me”. Jeebus – someone had to be an adult at that point.

        • Oh my giddy aunt.. .. .. wasband favorite line was he didn’t tell me because I would get MAD.. .. the last time he told me that I responded with “damn right I would get mad that my husband is out fucking some other chick while I am at home with our children. Who would not get mad at that!!!!”

          • Oh god! That was my X’s line for lying too. “I lied because I feared your reaction.”

            If your gut is telling you that someone will not be happy with your actions then it is your actions that are wrong NOT THE PERSON’S REACTION!!

            It’s taken me 2 years, but now I am finally at the point where I am angry at all this BS that was thrown in my direction. And what pisses me off even more, is that there are people that believe his BS. That I actually deserved to be left during cancer. What the hell kind of behavior ever deserves that?!

            • Non CC. People just want an easy answer. It’s too hard to believe that a person could be so self centered and cruel.

            • Yep same line… as he delivered the ILYBINILWY . I recoiled as we were actually cuddling inBED. And HE acted offended and said “i knew this would happen so I didn’t tell you before” . That was the start of a few weeks of delusional conversations “maybe familiarity breeds contempt” …”i haven’t had any feelings for you since the kids were norn (20 years)” and the whopper …”sex was just biological ” then after making sure i was as devastated as humanly possible ( and had drained all our finances) walked out. Cold heartless premeditated evil ( did i mention all our 5 pet rabbits died the same week he left ?)
              Tastefully MIL sent an e birthday card to DD ( now an adult ) coinciding with the exact day her “father” left us with an animation of rabbits coming out of a top hat….there are no words …

        • Ex would tell me I was a rage addict if I got upset. But after breaking away from 9 months of emotional torture by him and his sex addict therapists, I started responding with yup, I rage about you f’ing prisitutes in our home which seems like a completely appropriate response.

        • I also got similar lines. When my STBXH took the kids away on his own Daddy weekend, he actually let the OW join him and the kids for a day. I had no idea she was in the picture, thought he had ended his EA (which turns out was more than that) five months before. I freaked out in him. He asked me for patience and forgiveness. Like the pick me idiot I was, I granted him just that. A week later I learned of a weekend away that had taken place with her. I thought he was with his best friend. He even missed his daughter’s birthday that weekend. I freaked out on him again. He had the nerve to say, “I know you will never let me live this down.” Ummm…I don’t have a right to be upset? I keep discovering things that you have done, and the trickle truth is killing my spirit, and you want to use it against to the justify walking away. Yeah, sure, the problem isn’t your cheating, the problem is that all I do is criticize you. Asshole!

          • Oh god, the trickle truth will be the death of me! My STBXH has got me trained to “fill in the blanks” of his vague nonsense. I realized I have been doing it all these years and I always give him the benefit of the doubt because I fill in with the best case scenario.
            Not anymore though. That ship has sailed.

            • That is spot on chumping. Trickly truth! For all his questionable behaviour i was programmed on default setting “benefit of the doubt” and “what would jesus do” explainations. Most of the last 3 years has been finding out the reality was “what would satan do”

    • I read that line, too, and cringed inside. My ex sociopath told me we wouldn’t get back together until I worked on my anger issues. Anger issues? I asked him if he could ever for one moment imagine wearing my shoes and finding out how I was lied to, disrespected, cheated on with multitudes of women including the one I always suspected but lead to believe otherwise and literally changed my entire life for him only to find out it was all one big lie from day one? I told him, my reaction was very normal and there was a genesis to my anger. How did he respond? He stormed away and went radio silent. I might add right prior to this conversation he was fearful of me looking at his phone (previous discoveries proved he would fuck me and then immediately go text any number of women in his bathroom). Again, CL proves cheaters suck and and they all play from the same disordered playbook and blame shift their shitty behavior onto us.

      Jenette inspires me, though. She definitely was in a worse situation than mine and she picked herself back up. I need to follow her kickass lead.

      • Yep. I am also one with anger issues. I was never allowed to be angry. Not at a health care bill that was high and not at him for doing something wrong. Backing out of the garage he hit my car and drove off and called me from the road that my car was hit. I had to be somewhere and got angry. He felt I was completely irrational for my reaction.

        I am so tired of all the bullshit he told me. He said he could not engage in marriage counseling for the following reasons:
        1. it is brainwashing
        2. He felt he needed to make an unchangeable commitment to be with me for the rest of his life before starting.
        3. He was too worried that our marriage would only end up in a mediocre place instead of allowing him to experience full happiness.
        4. He was worried that we would learn tools that would prevent us from fighting, but my deep down anger issues would still exist.

        He never addressed how his action so often caused me to be angry. Him being late. Him lieing (yep, he lied so often — his way of avoiding conflict and when caught it was just me overreacting to a white lie). Him making cruel jokes. Him making fun of the clothes I wore.
        Sometimes when he did something bad and knew he would not get away with it, he provoked me to get really angry, so he could shift blame and focus on me.

        Oh. And of course. The cheating. My reaction the problem. Because I could not let go. Because I asked him questions. And told him how much I was hurt and did not deserve it. What I got from him?

        „You are always blaming me. You do not address your share in our marriage demise. I did not deserve how you treated me either.“

        I am angry today at his bullshit.

        • I think we were married to the same person right down to the making fun of my clothes and trying to provoke me to anger (to the point of yelling in my face “Do you want to hit me?”). Btw – I never hit him, ever.

          • My cheaterpants told me that I was an ‘angry woman.’ I mean, Really?!? He LET me catch him cheating (because it would be soooo much easier on him) and then had the balls to tell me that ‘I took it too hard.’ Right then and there I knew he wasn’t a real person. He acted like he had no idea how terribly hurtful it would be for a spouse to catch him cheating. And since he’s incapable of human feelings, I doubt very much if he’d be that hurt if someone did it to him. He’d just run right out nine minutes later and move on to the newest victim.

            • A month after Dday, and a week before he moved out, my ex came home from work in a bad mood and said, “I feel like all this is just too easy for you!” Like his transgressions should be my burden. In hindsight, I’m glad I was able to put up a good front and not feed him kibbles. On the inside, I was just going through the motions of life, not really mentally present.

              Looking back on all the times he came home late (between midnight and 2:00am) with excuses of “babysitting” his co-workers at the bar because they were getting too drunk, having to drive his boss home, or those times he’d ignore my text messages as I guess I didn’t deserve a response, and other stupid lies, I get so disgusted. There’s no telling how many women he was with while we were together. Then I think about all the times he and I traveled without the other (which was more often than not), again, who was he with? How many? It makes me ill.

              • Yes. I was also always amazed how many co-workers he needed to drive home at times. And why he so often failed to or forgot to look at his watch and came home late. I mean once he told me he was late because he missed the exit front he highway and had to take the long way. This was from his regular commute that he did every day for years…

              • You got the “I had to drive a co-worker home” excuse too, inescapable?? Now that I think about it, it’s a really dumb excuse as I have NEVER ONCE had to drive a co-worker home from a bar. Aaaaand I still bought it. Oh boy, he must have gotten lots of kibbles from me!

            • Gee, how ironic we are all “angry people.” LOL!

              Our exes are all crazy and they made us crazy. It’s that simple. I’m thankful I won’t be participating in nonsensical conversations with a delusional non-culpable asshat this Thanksgiving. And if the crazy conversation didn’t take place on Thanksgiving, it would surely happen the next day. Any holiday was always shitty because the cheater made sure of it. Again, no surprise there. That’s what cheaters do!

          • I got criticism for what clothes i was wearing…Apparently he would prefer i dress in things his mum would wear. ..creepy.

    • And the corollary to “I don’t know if I can trust you with my heart” is what I got: “In order for me to stay, you will have to make some changes.” Say whaaaaaat? Assholio is a lying cheater with anger issues, but I’m the one who needs to change??? That was a big wake-up call for me.

      • ^^^Same. Got the “how will I trust you” line delivered right along with the corollary of an actual list of required changes. Fell for it like a codependent idiot. To top it off, the MC fell for it too and focused on all the ways I needed to change in order to keep him. Eventually CL got through and now the only changes I’m willing to make are for myself and my kids. After what I’ve been through, everyone else can just fuck right off.

      • My perverted X gave me a handwritten, numbered list of changes I “had to make”, starting with,” You must stop being angry and causing me to walk on eggshells”, continued for two pages and ended with, “we must start including my exwife, including inviting her to the beach house”.

        I wrote my responses on his list, including a lot of expletives and “are you out of your f’ing mind?’s”. And gave it back.

        At the end of the marriage, when he was confessing 22 years of abuses and lies, I handed it to him. His mouth dropped, his eyes popped and he stuttered,”I wrote this and gave it to you? I really was out of my mind!!” A very rare moment of clarity. That list was mind boggling.

        I have it in The File.

  • The perfect illustration of a massively overblown sense of personal entitlement is a cheater operating from a position of assumption that s/he is going to end up with [at least] 1 of the 2+ people that s/he is screwing over, and therefore everyone needs to prove his/her worthiness to win points in hopes of being a chosen one.

    Behold the cheater’s incredible desirability! So superior! Now with that new douchebag smell!

    Once you see it for what it is, you can’t unsee it. That’s step one toward a lifetime of finding these people so ridiculous that they become hilarious to you.

    Cheaters’ ridiculous BS statements make me laugh. It’s not a joyful laughter… but it’s still cleansing because it is good to be able to see that crap for the ridiculous self-serving BS it is.

  • When your gut is telling you something is going on, believe it. More than likely they are cheating.

    Don’t believe a single thing they tell you. Because you are a good person you mistakenly give them the benefit of the doubt. And they take advantage of that. They take advantage of your trust and your goodness.

    • I was so busy being a good little wife, mother,and mother to be, my gut never told me a damn thing!
      DDay was the ultimate telling me event!
      Damn!

  • Count me among the delivery room chumps. Instead of walking the halls with me while I was trying to get labor started, he stayed in the room and texted her. He looked at his newborn son with cool detachment. When I sent him home to “get some rest” after being up most of the night, he went home and chatted with OW, sent her pictures of my son. She told him what a wonderful father he was and how she couldn’t wait to meet my newborn baby. She texted me congratulations and nursing tips while pressing STBX on a timeline for when he was going to leave us for her.

    I told him later that he could have slept with every woman in the state, and it would not have been as big a betrayal as typing “I love you!” to another woman while I lay there with our newborn in my arms.

    • @NotToday – all, I can say is “wow”. I am so thankful to read this and know that like you, we are both out of dealing with that mindfuck (particularly on what was supposed to be one of the most blessed days of your life).

      • *raises hand* Another delivery room chump here. Proves that these particular fuckwits are a special kind of fucked up. All the more reason to run the hell away from them and don’t look back. Mine was texting OW about 12 hours after I pushed our perfect baby girl out of my vagina. Nice. ChumpLady, I’m now 1.5 years out of this violation of the most sacred of days, and I can look back and chuckle/shake my head after reading your perfect response. Thank you for this. It is golden, and offers so much healing for those of us in this very special club of Delivery Room Chumps.

  • So much of this hits home, they really follow the same limited number of scripts.

    The therapist is a piece of work. Her anger is going to drive him into the arms of the OW? How can it do that, he’s already there and presumably got there without her anger “causing” it.

    Kudos to that lady for having the grit to get it done. Three kids, no job but having determination to get her and the littles out of that effed up situation. Would that we were all even half as mighty as she is.

      • Me too. I really really hated that line. My STBX used this on me as well, but luckily my therapist is wonderful and helps me with tips and tricks against these mindfucks.

  • You’re doing all the right things – but please, don’t believe the “he walked in on her with another man” lie. Unless you know it for an absolute certainty, assume it is what he feels will convince you be is absolutely done with her, so it is ‘safe’ for you to give him another chance (and save him some child support). Even if it did happen, there is always another sparkly ho around the corner. Stay mighty – and Congratulations on reclaiming your true self.

    • This also went through my head. Liars lie. Whether it’s true or not, though, the most important thing is that he is looking at her taillights! Yeah!

    • I thought that also! You weren’t there. He wants you to think he hates OW, mine tried that too, and I never believed him either

    • “He walked in on her with another man” ? And ?! That is not your problem, truth or lie. Buh bye cheater-don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out ! So proud of all the chumps that don’t have to deal with this nonsense anymore, especially during the holidays. Happy Thanksgiving to all the Americans ! No “Throat Punch Thursday” for us tomorrow,just a day surrounding ourselves with folks that actually love and appreciate us .

  • “And what IS it with men texting their mistresses in maternity wards? I keep reading this over and over again. Is there some hidden epidemic of douchebaggery?”

    Mine did this as well. The pic I have of him holding our second daughter for the first time, he’s barely smiling. Not the image a proud, loving father you’d picture. It all made sense 2 months later when he confessed he wanted to separate b/c he wasn’t “happy” and had already cheated a couple times with 2 different women. A week later I snoop and find the current ows email he left us for. His confession was even a manufactured lie. I found he had left out an old g/f he cheated with b/c “he didn’t want to drag her into this.” These men and the ow who KNOW wifey is pregnant are the lowest scum of the earth. Barely human.

    • CK, my ex didn’t cheat until 16 years later (my poor oldest son 😢) but I did come home with our newborn, after a week in hospital, to find the SAME dishes in the sink now covered in green fur. Which, I can’t remember, but have no doubt I had to clean up. Biiig red flag!

      • Like your, mine was not a cheater when the kids were born, but the signs were there that this man did not love me as he should have. My daughter was born almost two months early and in NICU for 28 days. Two weekds after her birth, I’m pumping breast milk seven times a day, healing from a c-section, chasing a 2 year old and trying to be at the hospital three times a day to kangaroo the baby and attempt to get her to nurse. He decides to gobaway on a boys weekend. Leaves me post-partum to party one last weekend before the baby comes home. A piece of me died that weekend, but because I had had a terrible second trimester and knew I had been such a bitch to himbthose months, I felt bad. I didn’t want to look like a bitch and say no to his fun. What man leaves a postpartum wife in those circumstances to go have fun with the guys?

        • A self-focused fucker, that’s who.

          Mine had taken a job in another city and our plan was for me to move after delivery. This was back in the day before cell phones and I asked him to wear a beeper in case I went into labor. After a week or so he told me a beeper was kind of a pain to remember and to wear. Lolz. Like that little beeper was more effort than my huge 30 pound belly, incontinence, sciatica. What man moves to another city while his wife is pregnant and doesn’t care if he misses the birth?

          • Mine does:) I feel we are in the cheater olympics. Mine has started first with trying to convince me to go back to my home country for delivery because, you know, every woman needs her own mom at that time. When I firmly refused he then made sure to make my life hell trying to convince me to stop working and move to his family apartment in another city (we used it on weekends and it was a 3 hr drive from where we lived). Because he could not sleep normally from my tossing and turning and waking up ten times to go to the toilet and you know, he needs to put bread on the table. He once actually took off for a week saying that he will sleep in a hotel because he needs to attend a conference in town and needs silence and good sleep to prepare. SMH! I cried myself to sleep every night that week at 7 months pregnant. Then he convinced his own mom to come over from overseas where she lived and be with me during delivery. And he went skiing in Erope during my pre-planned c-section returning when the baby was 10 days old and nameless. His friends took me to and from hospital and his mom was taking care of me post surgery. He was bragging to everybody about his superb organizational skills.

  • Jenette is going to be a major success. She is a Mother Nature with Atlas strength. I hope she does a Tedtalk-zillions need her story.

  • Oh wow. Texting the OW while you were in labor. I’m so amazed when a woman with a brand new baby gets herself away. And jealous. Way to go warrior!!!
    I hadn’t married my cheater yet. He left me there after the c-section and when they came around to do my son’s birth certificate, he wasn’t there to sign a Declaration of Paternity and his name isn’t even on his son’s birth certificate. In days before cell phones, he didn’t answer the page and was nowhere to be found. A month later I found out he’d been with his OW. 23 and alone in a state far away from any family, brand new baby and he says if I marry him, he’ll be better, we’ll move back to where my family is… and so I did. 20 years and who knows how many affairs later, I finally had the balls to leave him.
    Father Unknown on that document.. to this day. A constant reminder of who my ex is.

    • Many times in my life I have had the discussion with an expecting mom about how her desire to get a man formally named as the father so she can hold him accountable as a parent may be less advantageous than allowing him to stay off of the paperwork so he can’t easily lay claim as the father. It is one of my less popular viewpoints, but I tend to think it can be better to struggle without help than to struggle with help from a harmful and/or dangerous person who feels you owe him/her because of the support.

      Still, one must always adjust for one’s own situation.

      • THIS! If you are dealing with anyone dangerous, involved in criminal acts, or so ludicrously irresponsible/without a conscience that they will never pay support or be a reliable presence for the child it is so much better and easier if they are not involved at all. If they have a legal right they will dip in and out of your and your child’s lives just to assert power and centrality. They will delight in making you miserable and thwarting any plan you make. Yes they could establish paternity later–but most are lazy and would not want to spend the money to do so. Let useless people fade away as they want to.

  • I can’t believe he said those things, but at the same time, I can.

    Thank goodness for behavior after D-Day. It’s so liberating. I feel like w/ most of what I read from former chumps, it wasn’t the actual cheating that ended the relationship – it was the sickening behavior and entitled attitude they displayed after the fact. My STBXH said we’d ‘get through this because I have faith in your forgiving nature’. Yep. Code for: ‘roll over and play dead’ veiled as a compliment. Bonus-they can keep creeping and use your paranoia against you.

    Creature couldn’t put his own self interest to rest. He couldn’t listen to me be upset because it ‘hurt’ him. He lashed out when I wasn’t warm & accommodating as I had always been.

    Like a true chump, I apologized after he told me he felt I was trying to make him feel bad. This fucker had the nerve to say, “I don’t accept your apology.” He had the nerve to tell me the stress from not knowing where I stood was stopping his beard from growing. HAHAHA!!!

    Life hack: sneaking out while your spouse sleeps so you can drive drunk & go visit hookers does wonders for facial hair!

    Plot and get out of there, lady. It sucks and it’s hard but you WILL come out on top.

    • „… does wonders for your hair“ made me laugh. I was actually grinning to myself, because my cheater is getting bald. He, the one who always bragged about his wonderful hair, is getting bald. No other man in the family is losing hair, so it must hurt him particularly bad… and it only started to show this year. Karma is a bitch. I guess.

      • The Twat is losing his hair in 2 points. The middle bit is all still there but above each temple it is disappearing so he looks like a vampire. Normally I couldn’t care less but he used to brag about his hair and say mine was a mess. Hey, at least I still have mine!

        • My Ex had terrible thinning at the top of his head, so he cultivated a combover of majestic proportions. He quit going to his regular barber when the man suggested that he try cutting the extra hair and changing his cut style. I saw him out of the shower (when he didn’t normally let me see) and the excess hair reached from his left ear all the way to his clavicle) and I think the barber was right. Gosh, some guys are so vain!

  • George Simon says that the top two priorities of manipulative people are (a) power and (b) impression management. But I’m convinced there is a third: avoiding responsibility for their actions. This is why they snivel when caught and have “explanations” for their crappy behavior (mid-life crisis! stressed by work! I thought you didn’t love me!). It’s also why blameshifting is the top quiver in their arsenal (including “this marriage is failing because you can’t forgive me”). Lying, of course, is a prime way to avoid responsibility (as well as maintain your power–you can convince someone else to do something they otherwise wouldn’t).

    • Rock on, Tempest! Great reply. I love how studious we chumps are.
      If fixing the picker is key, a list like this certainly gets the party started.
      Also helpful for any future dating profiles. Imagine reading this on Tinder-
      “Do not message me if:
      -you love power;
      -managing your image to friends/family is how you spend your free time;
      -lying and blameshifting is a hobby for you.”

  • Even though your marriage wasn’t as long as some of us here the pain is still unbelievable. Your young enough to rebuild a cheater free life. Take care of yourself & your kids. Good luck to you .🍀

    • Dearest Kathleen, if we are still alive and breathing we are ALL still “young enough” to rebuild a life in my opinion! 😘❤️😘

  • “Anger gets shit done.”

    The quote is from ‘Amercan Gods’ which I recently binged watched. The quote stuck with me, because I think the anger propelled me into action when I discovered his multiple affairs and STD.

    18 months post divorce, 50 years old, and I’m decorating my new house. Sometimes I step back and smile and the peace, love, and beauty that are now in my life. They have replaced a human slug that feeds on lies and deception. I had to get angry to slay that slug, so I could live in sunshine.

    Anger get shit done.

  • I sure hope Jenette gives us and update about her MIGHTY self! Oh, I sure wish I would have “done a Jenette” when my ex was having an affair when I was pregnant with our second born (this was way back in 1999). I cried every single day throughout that pregnancy and even after she was born. My body was screaming to me that he was having an affair, but I couldn’t prove it. And he controlled the bank accounts, so I couldn’t just withdraw money to pay a Private Eye to get me evidence (I should have borrowed it from my mom!!!).

    My ex was cold and detached in the labor room. I can still “see” him sitting against the wall, under a clock, while I laid in bed in the beginning stages of labor. He didn’t show up by my bed until it was time to push and then he got to play the role of Caring Husband and Doting Dad when the nurses and doctor showed up. When they weren’t around, he didn’t give a shit about me or more care. The next day he yelled and screamed at me as I lay in bed, because he didn’t want her to be named Natalie anymore. He said and I quote, “YOU got name XYZ (son)!!! I SHOULD BE ABLE TO NAME DAUGHTER!!” Not true about son, but whatever. So he chose a name I didn’t even like and he spelled it in the non-traditional way. He told me a FEMALE from work spelled it that way. One month after our daughter was born, he got fired from his job. I now have no doubt in my mind that he was screwing a co-worker and got fired for it (he’s in management and he was the head of his department). I also would not be the least bit surprised that my daughter is named after the whore from work that he was fucking. I hope there’s a special place in hell for men who cheat on their pregnant wives.

    • Martha, your post gave me chills.

      “My ex was cold and detached in the labor room. I can still “see” him sitting against the wall, under a clock, while I laid in bed in the beginning stages of labor. He didn’t show up by my bed until it was time to push and then he got to play the role of Caring Husband and Doting Dad when the nurses and doctor showed up. When they weren’t around, he didn’t give a shit about me or more care.”

      Yes, this, exactly! Slouched and bored and obviously wanting to be somewhere else, but suddenly all smiles and, “What can I do to help?” when there were people in the room. I’ll never, ever forget when he leaned over to look at our son right after they put him on my chest. I told my baby, “Here’s your daddy,” and STBX replied with a cool and disinterested, “Hey, buddy.” Like he had just met someone’s dog. Or a friend’s kid. I felt a hatred for him in that moment that is still with me.

      Similar to your story, OW actually helped pick my son’s name, unbeknownst to me. I still can’t believe how many of us have similar stories.

      Big hugs to you. I’m so sorry for what he did to you. He was supposed to have your back, and he ran like a little bitch because he can’t handle life. You are mighty, and wonderful, and you are better off without him.

      • NotToday, I’m so sorry you have such sad and hurtful memories too. Especially from a time in your life that should have been the most joyous. I have so many horrible stories from the time I was pregnant with our daughter and many months afterwards. He was just so cruel and selfish at times, but turned into Mr. Wonderful anytime anyone else was around. And that just adds to the abuse, because no one else sees it. And I didn’t tell anyone at the time, so I looked like the one who was making up stories after D-day hit. Thank God for my family and also CL and CN!! We all have shared such similar things and it validating in a very sad way that so many of us have been hurt so much by these horrible people. Big hugs right back to you, NotToday. I hope you have a really nice Thanksgiving. 🙂

    • @Martha – Oh jeebus. That cold detachment. I remember struggling to get up a slippery walk on Christmas Day while having contractions every four minutes apart. He walked twenty feet ahead and would not even wait while I waited for the contraction to subside. Cool indifference as I birthed the baby and then for the following month while I sat by my baby’s bed in the NICU. But yes, forever yes, to the impression management with his parents and the doctors!

  • **raises hand**

    Second marriage Chump here too. First one was a beater, second was a cheater. I was so desensitized by the first to realize all the bullshit I put up with from the second. I was just glad he wasn’t beating me and I thought that was enough.

    2 years after D-Day and 7 weeks after a custody trial where we STILL are waiting for a decision from the judge….and I’m still stinging from all of it.

    • Second marriage chump here, too. Both left me for howorkers. I’m 46 years old, and I feel ashamed I have failed at 2 marriages. I doubt I will ever trust again. It does give me some hope when I read stories from male chumps. Maybe there are some good ones out there somewhere 😔

      • You can trust YOU. Trust yourself to have values, to pay attention to what people do, not what they say. Trust yourself not to fall for lovebombing or ignore red flags. Work on becoming someone who can spot a disordered person. Like CL, who got the real deal on the 3rd try.

        • Thank u! There was love bombing and there were red flags. The night I met him he said, “You are the girl I am going to marry.” Amongst many red flags, the one that stands out the most is that he was fucking a married coworker when I met him and didn’t think anything of it.
          Thank u LAJ for the reminders and thank u Thrive for the hugs.
          I’m so thankful for u all XO

    • Yup. Me too. Cheater ex # 1, a beater and a cheater. Cheater ex # 2 a cheater. Having been through it once, I learned what not to do and did handle things better the second time around. After that I threw in the towel.

      I am so much happier on my own.

  • There are cheaters who prey on single mothers, I think my ex is one of them. The two women I caught him talking to were both single mothers in difficult situations. The one he is with has four children, not a lifestyle he wanted with me. Add our two kids and his future married life with her will be highly complicated.

    • Both of my STBX APs were single moms with crappy jobs. He enjoyed the power dynamic or providing for them. Cause it always ticked him off i made more then he did and he just craved admiration.

      • My STBXH OW is a woman who does not have custody of her three kids. There was a peace bond issued against her when she was arrested for assaulting her husband. She had spent two years making her husband do a pick me dance while she was cheating on him, partying all night, leaving the kids at home. A woman once reported her on a bunch of cheater and homewrecker websites as being a married woman sleeping with her boyfriend. Once the assault and arrest took place, the marriage officially ended. The kids stayed with him while she went to her parents and took six weeks to make arrangements to see the kids. Her first weekend with her kids, she spent with her parents at their cottage up north. She got into a major accident with the kids that totalled the car and sent everyone to hospital (luckily all were okay). So, she called a boyfriend to drive the 4.5 hours north to pick her up and left the kids for their father to drive up north to get them. Don’t know why she didn’t wait to get a rental and drive her own family home, instead she left the kids after the trauma of an accident that flipped the vehicle. Then, this woman allowed my husband to join her children and her parents at that cottage for a weekend, where he passed himself off as a divorced man.

        Yet, his lovebombing emails to her are filled with all kinds of praise for how lucky her kids are to have her as their mom. He wants to buy them Christmas gifts (yet the asshole never bought his own kids’ Xmas presents). Tells her how much he hates her ex-husband for taking the kids from her. Calls him a fake (???). He defended her to me multiple times. She’s a victim of a controlling husband. They were separated and but living in separate bedrooms when she was dating that guy whose “ex-girlfriend” wrote those reports because she was jealous. Her husband even knew she was dating this guy. She’s not a bad mom for allowing him to spend the weekend with her family when he was married because she thought we were separated (Hey buddy, what about the whole year before that when you two were involved?). She’s really a good person who has just made some bad decisions in her life.

        And then there is the alcohol advisor she sees that he mentions in the email. Really? And, you think I have problems? I don’t want to disparage people with an addiction who are truly living honest and authentic lives in their recovery. But this is a woman who cheated no her own husband, and was cheating with mine for over a year and a half who is an alcoholic without custody of her children and a record for assault. Somehow, I’m the bad character in this scenario. The controlling and critical wife.

        Yeah, he’s preying all right. I silly, stupid woman – with her breast implants and heavy make-up who sees psychics regularly and talks about how everything is written in the cosmos. A really good person who has just made some bad decisions in her life (um…like having an affair with my cheating, lying husband).

        • OptionNoMore – your Mightyness is showing! 😉 What is it with this ‘separated so ok’ thing?? One of the reasons I pushed for divorce when my ex would have bumbled along because it was too much trouble was that any man I liked who wanted to court me (yes, I don’t want to date, I want to be courted and wooed, another deal breaker that broke), who insisted on sex when I was still married, would not be the man I want. That shows no integrity and no commitment. I’m old fashioned and I love it!

  • Wow, my story is so similar to Janette’s. I found out about OW in May 2016, not even 2 years after I married X. We had 2 children under three at that point. I pick-me danced some, but my guard was up after D-day. I investigated and found more OWs, one of which was around the time of my daughter’s birth—and yes, he disappeared “to sit in the parking lot” while I was in labor.

    Mostly I stayed that year because I struggled with the reality of 50/50 custody. Even though X wanted nothing to do with helping me raise our kids while we were married, I knew he’d want 50/50 if I left. (Punishment for leaving. Impression management. Straight up entitlement.) Also it was my second marriage and who wants to fail twice?

    Just short of a year after D-day (a year of lies, gaslighting, abuse, etc.) my dad died. X went into a rage that I, my father’s only child, was spending too much time planning the funeral. I said fuck you, gave my dad a beautiful ceremony, and left X within a month. I’d finally found behavior egregious enough I couldn’t spackle.

    Fast forward almost 2 years. I faught hard and the kids are with me except for alternate weekends. X is the same angry, bipolar, unhappy person he always was. Turns out that’s really who he is; not my fault. Ha.

    After 2 years of misery (year one with X and year 2 fighting for custody), I am back. CL says the walls will sing. Literally, I sing. I just find myself humming sometimes for no reason whatsoever. My kids are also happy. Neither of those things would have happened if I’d stayed.

    Good luck to all you Chumps navigating this shit sandwich. Don’t give up your dignity and values to stay with someone who has neither. You’ll find yourself so much stronger on the other side.

  • What I would tell every woman: Never, ever give up a job because some man “requests” or “demands” it. Never sign over your car or sign over or sell your house if you already own one. Never give him money for grad school, a new car, his child support or a boat he wants to buy. Make sure you have exit money if you need it. Job #1 for you is to make sure you have the resources to survive if anything happens in the marriage, from job closings to infidelity to death. I suppose this can go for men, too, when a cheating wife runs up so many credit card bills that H has to take a second job, but so often it’s women staying home with the kids and a faux husband making sure they can’t afford to leave.

    • Agree!! And if it is your choice to be a SAHM or SAHF, make sure some of the marital income is getting diverted into a 401K in YOUR name only. Parenting is hard work, and worth some retirement funds being thrown into your perks.

    • Great advice for real. Be a strong woman who can support herself if need be.
      And, if you ever get an inheritance, it’s yours alone, as long as you put it in a separate account, and never put anyone else’s name on it. A caring partner won’t be bothered by this, your relative left it for YOU, and you alone get to decide how to care for the generous gift. Just put it away, and keep it for a rainy day.

    • My ex wanted me to give up my career to be a SAHM and I refused. Thank God. Of course that was one of the excuses he gave for leaving me for a SAHM with five kids of her own. I have no doubt he would have left me anyway, however, because I wouldn’t have SAHMed to his satisfaction if I had given up my career.

      • Same here. My cheater even dared to faint surprise when after our kids were born, I refused to stay home. I was baffled, because I had told him all along that I liked working and that my career was important to me. He just shrugged his shoulders and said:”I just thought you would change your mind once the kids are there.”

        • Wow! Exactly the same for me and my ex said those exact same words shortly after our daughter was born after never having brought it up before.

          • I’m reluctant to date men whose ex-wives stayed at home. Nothing against the ex-wives, but most of the men I’ve met don’t seem to grasp the concept of a woman who is committed to a career she loves and who has interests/goals/friends outside of the relationship. The idea of women as equal partners who have agency? Completely foreign to most of them.

            Cheating ex-boyfriend once said, “We’ll be fine if you move to my city and take a pay cut.” First, why on Earth would I take a pay cut and move to a small city where there are no jobs in my field? That would have meant making myself extremely vulnerable and staking my future on a guy who already cheated on me.

            A good friend of mine quit her high-paying, amazing job to become a stay-at-home mom in her second marriage and take care of her husband’s children and hers. He divorced her one year later, totally out of the blue. It took her two years to find a job that was comparable to the one she had.

  • I too was told by our quack LMFT that my anger/confrontation/shaming was driving jerkwad into the arms of the OW. Whom he never stoppped communicating with btw. It was my second marriage too, so as C.L. accurately describes, I was so afraid to “fail” and felt like such damaged goods. Now, when I think about the advice of the “therapist” to “go on dates”, try to “remember what brought you together in the first place” and not deal with the betrayal, I feel rage. Rage at the cheater, rage at the “therapist” both who were putting all the ownership on me and brushing all of his betrayal under the rug. These “therapists” do so much damage it is sickening. I can remember trying so hard not to “shame” him. He deserved a whole shit-ton of shame and a lot of other nasty things directed at him. Thank God our wreckonsiliation only lasted a cringe-worthy month. Now, I understand and trust that he sucks thanks to C.L. & C.N. But God that anger can get me when I least expect it; so hard. Trying to take care of myself, my kids and make that central in my life with the goal of a new life in meh-ville. Sometimes I am awesome, mighty; some days not so much. I hope since this was a re-run Jeanette is happily at meh, my admiration to her for being in such a difficult situation and turning it around so fast. I am thankful for all who share their stories and advice, it has been a life saver that has pulled me through many a dark day over these last several months. Hugs to all in C.N. & wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    • Good! We should do everything we can to drive them into the arms of the OW/OM, so that we can make a quicker getaway. Once Hannibal Lecher realized I was indeed going to divorce his sorry ass, he stopped bugging me and convinced his final OW to leave her husband for him. It made for a quicker divorce because she would not have been happy if he had dragged it out once she exited her marriage.

      OneWay–I’m sorry you’re still struggling. Being a de-facto single parent is never easy, especially when you’re still dealing with the emotional fallout from infidelity. Social support is key–both online friends (like us, as we get it) and IRL friends you can call when things are bad. Hugs!

  • I was a second-marriage-chump too.
    I met The Evil One online in a local resident chat room within 6 weeks from my divorce with exh1 was final, its all a blur now, but back then I remember thinking how it was “divine intervention”, he was “my angel” come to rescue me… Puke.
    Exh1 had wore me down so damn much I didn’t have any sense of boundaries, or backbone to know better…
    Anyway, 13 years later from that, he left, and I’ve been cheater-free for 3.5 years now.
    I hope Jennette is too by now!!!
    So thankful, grateful, blessed this Thanksgiving season!!!

    • Oh yes. Me too.

      Worn out by previous cheaters, and failing to recognize the next one every time, because he was heaven-sent to SAVE ME from the horror of singleness.

      Once I learned to be single, the horror vanished, and so did the desire to date cheaters.

  • I was a second marriage chump and 48 at the time I remarried. At that time me and the cheater agreed that ‘no matter what, we were going to make this marriage work.’ Little did I know what a weak and foolish man he was. He’s the biggest piece of shit I’ve ever met. He almost died of cancer while we were married and I took care of his sick and dying ass for two years. After he miraculously recovered he insisted we renew our wedding vows. Five months later I catch him fucking the ugliest skank in the world at the Econo Lodge. And he wonders why I hate him so. He missed a perfectly good opportunity to die while we were married. It would have been a helluva lot easier on me.

  • Got the same shit from the cheaters playbook
    “You are overreacting!” “Grow up!” “Get over it! Everybody is cheating” (she was fucking another cheater at work with two small kids). “Our marriage was over 10 years ago, I just accelerated the inevitable”.
    Still a year and a half after divorcing her sadass, she keeps calling me a liar, a douchbag, an angry asshole, an asshat and blames me for everything, especially after I went greyrock (have two kids and can’t cut her off completely).

    What is the most mind boggling for me is how these people can hide so well who they really are for so many years?
    We been married for 14 years and I never heard even one foul word coming out of her mouth during all these years, only how much she loves me and what a blessing I am in her life.
    I feel like I lived with a total stranger who I didn’t know at all.

    • Yes, they really are capable of hiding who they are for years. I think most cheaters send up red flags, but some DO NOT. My first cheater gave lots of red flags. After that divorce I was super careful. I stayed single for ten years. I vetted dates like the CIA. My next husband was a model husband. Caring, thoughtful, home by five every night, volunteering, going to mass faithfully–oh, and fucking fetish prostitutes to the tune of $800 an hour on the occasional work trip. I never would have known. There were no signs. If the universe hadn’t intervened and revealed incontrovertible proof in a way that no one could have foreseen–I’d probably still be getting chumped.

      • Jojobee,

        I can echo everything you said. This was my second marriage (the first one was only 3 years), waited exactly 10 years like you.
        When met her I thought that was it, “Loving,caring and thoughtful. Proper in every way.”, didn’t see any signs at all, even in a hindsight.
        In a million years would not imagine that she is capable of lying, deceiving and fucking somebody else while telling me how much she loves me every day till the last day.
        After the D-Day, the only thing that came out of her mouth was ” Fuck you, you are an asshole and you deserve it”.
        Was totally blindsided, hence the screen name. How do you explain something like this?
        Can not wrap my head around.

        • This sounds like the OW my STBX cheated with. The nicest woman you can think to meet. That is why we became friends. But then approaching and fucking my STBX behind my back for years.

        • “How do you explain something like this ?” There is only one word-sociopath. As I go forward with my life, I remind myself every day that approximately 10-15% of the world’s population have personality disorders (narcissist,borderline,antisocial). If I cross paths with them, I distance myself.

          • Couldn’t agree more Sucker Punched. The anger they display once caught is frightening. It’s like the mask is off and the devil is revealed. Truly. No pun intended. It’s not normal.

            • Blindsided Chump- I choked up reading your post as I often wonder this, too, but I know in my heart of hearts that this would’ve happened regardless. It is who they are. It comes down to values and character. There was nothing u could’ve done to prevent it. It says everything about her, NOT u.
              I would cherish someone like u who had the same values as me. There are plenty of good women out there. Trust me. U deserve better!

              • Thank you AlmosttoMeh,

                Reading the CL’s book and finding this community lifted the heavy and dark fog I was in after finding out what she was doing ( it was by sheer chance, went to setup parental controls on kid’s new phones and looked at our phone records. Saw hundreds of text messages a day between her and him for over two months).
                Now after redin your all stories I know what happened to me is not unique.
                Was 15 years old and my sister was 5 years old when my father caught our mother cheating on him at our house.
                She left us and we didn’t see or heard from her till the day she died 35 years later. My father raised us.
                Thought I was very careful choosing my mate and my x knew the story.
                I told her before we got married if she ever feels that she doesn’t want to be with me anymore to tell me and we will go our separate ways, because cheating will be the worse for me.
                She new this will be a deal breaker for me and she still did it.
                Sneaked behind my back and lied to my face, knowing how much it will hurt me.
                Never thought that my kids and I will be going thru the same thing as my Dad , I and my sister did.
                You said “It comes down to values and character. ”
                This is the part I can’t comprehend.
                For 14 years she exhibited the values I was looking for in a spouse, but after the DDay she was like a totally different person over night.
                Like Gobble said “The anger they display once caught is frightening.” and it is indeed. She looked at me with such dead eyes that it was scary and I don’t get scared easily.
                Have a really hard time reconciling between these two personalities and this is what keeps me from Meh a year and half after got her out of my life.

              • BlindsidedCHMP, please read about narcissists and other cluster B disordered people. They can be experts at finding out and pretending to share your values and likes or dislikes. It’s called mirroring.

                Your ex pretended to share your values because that’s what she mirrored. If she had been with a guy with different values, those would have been her apparent values.

                She lied and tricked you. She might even have tricked herself for a while. Cheaters who are cluster B personalities are chameleons with no reality underneath, other than lack of character. They are so scared or hollow that they have to wear masks to exist. However, they can be convincing. It’s not your fault that you were deceived. You are a person of conviction who could not expected that level of deception.

          • Blindsided Chump- I echo everything u said about not being able to reconcile the two people. No one can believe my XH could do this as well. He is a Boy Scout leader and such a nice guy. The hell he has put me through over the past year leads me to believe he was wearing a mask for 15+ years of our marriage. I have done a lot of reading and yes, they can hide their true selves for years. Hard to believe and that is what makes us chumps!

            • Thank you all for your support, insights and advice.
              I know that eventually I will need to find a way to stop thinking about this and just except the fact that the person I was married to concealed her true self from me, my family and friends and who she is now that is who she is for real:
              Vile and spineless liar who didn’t had the guts to tell me to my face how she really feels, if she even can feel anything and I lived a lie fro the last 14 years.
              CL is absolutely right, with cheaters it is all about image managing.
              She was so worry that other people will find out what a filthy deed she did that I was able to wrap the divorce in only two months. Thank God for that, I would off gone crazy if she would dragged it any longer.
              As soon as the divorce was final I let know everyone I knew what she did, including the kids.

              • Blindsided Chump- everything u r saying I have said to myself, too. Very similar situations. My XH was cheating with a coworker who was also married with 2 small children. She left her husband for mine. Her husband and I were both blindsided and are still just devastated.
                I told many people though (including my 12 year old twins) and I don’t regret it. I think it made him angrier toward me, but I don’t care, I had to tell my truth. I couldn’t let others believe his narrative that we “just grew apart.”
                I’m glad u spoke your truth, too!
                She doesn’t deserve u!

              • She has several narratives, depends on the audience.

                “We just grew apart.”
                “He never loved me.”
                “He made up it up and it was just a friend from work.”
                “It was just an emotional affair and he overreacts.”

                These are the few I heard.

  • After 34 years of marriage and DD3, a highly aggressive cancer diagnosis, with possible mastication, gave me the strength to kick my lying serial cheater out.

    I told family and friends; lifted his tight narcissistic mask and exposed him for what he is. He did not like “looking bad” or my taking away his “family man image”.

    He asked me to take him back and go to marriage counseling (even though we’d beem down that road multiple times). He’d take care of me if I was willing to change (cue pick me dance). He said he had broken it off with his Backpage massage parlor whore du jour (he hadn’t, more lies).

    He showed up, uninvited, after a 2nd grueling cancer surgery. I was on heavy painkillers, still in bed recovering from surgery, when he “informed me” that he would definitely not be taking care of me during my cancer journey. His reason, I wasn’t changing fast enough.

    NO CONTACT and a divorce summons is what he got from me.

    That was almost 3 years ago. I steeled my spine, successfully fought cancer and him in long, contentious divorce and have maintained 100% no contact.

    I can’t believe I put up with his drama, lies and manipulation for so long. I’ve re-learned to trust my gut and myself.

    Life truly gets better after leaving a cheater! I’m so grateful to be sipping from the beautiful cup of life, sans cheater, this Thanksgiving. Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving CN!

  • @ FreeNow – WOW, sounds similar to my story. Im sorry you had to go through cancer journey and fight for your life while divorcing. OF course he walked away when you needed him, but my guess is you are stronger than ever NOT depending on him for anything. What an AH!

    I always say first he broke my heart, then my mind and finally my body. Its a longer process when you have decades of this crap. Its proven fact that stress makes us get sick or Secrets make you sick rather. I covered for my cheater, smoked lots of hopium, did pick me dance too many times to count for over 3 decades too. UGH. My reasons for staying have all be written on CN/CL , keeping my family together had been my driving force. When I had the ah ha moment 4 years ago, he HATED me exposing him. BRAVO to me! Everyone was shocked to know of the man behind the mask. Divorce was nothing short of HELL!!!!

    The drama, lies, promises, manipulation, blame shifting, projecting, etc …… GONE!

    God bless you sister and Im glad to hear you are well and cheater free! I LOVE it too and Thankful this year for PEACE, JOY, and HAPPINESS.

    Happy Thanksgiving

  • Jeez. I got the same bullshit. After catching him in a three year affair he said if I couldn’t trust him he wouldn’t be able to stay with me. So I tried. Catch him on dating sites, many dating sites, my fault I didn’t trust him when it was only curiosity. Catch him sexting another woman, my fault I didn’t trust him, she’s a friend. I’m still workout no thru getting over the anger at myself for putting up with him all those years. Life is to wonderful to spend that way. Asswipe be gone.

  • Thank you Fireball! I’m sorry you had a similar, long-term cheater.

    I’m so grateful to say I didn’t go through post cheater journey alone. I have a sister who put her own life on hold for months to be with me. She propped me up, told me the truth, hugged and clue-by-foured me as necessary to keep me above water.

    She made me recite at least 3 things/people I was grateful for every morning. She made me laugh through the heartbreak, tears by the bucket load and fighting an exposed, raged narcissist.

    She turned me onto CL & CN as she had been down a similar path ahead of me. I read so many stories, laughed at CL’s snark and found a community that I needed to pull out of the deep mental narcissistic fog and place me on a pathway of healing, health and love.

    I’m eternally grateful for my sister, an oncologist and therapist who went above and beyond in care. Also a tribe of lifetime family and friends who stepped up and into the deep waters of trauma, grief and pain with me.

    Gratitude 🙏 and the empathy and compassion of people I’m close to and some I’ve never met, pulled me up and helped me to truly live again.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all and thank you for sharing your journeys, wisdom, pain, survival and thriving.

  • Hi, you have to be careful, the cheater”facts” often changes, she “cheated” on him, is he expecting sympathy or pick me dance, or lying, ow often have how can I say it politely looser standards, so it could be true, unfortunately you have no way of knowing. The thing to think of when he’s with her is he thinking of you. Incidentally why di he tell you he took her flowers, he sounds emotional abusive, good luck

  • Thamksgiving was a trigger holiday for me. In 2016, cheater ex-boyfriend and I made the two-hour drive to my parents from my place. He was all whiny and weird, accusing me of planning to break up with him. I was baffled, as we’d spent the previous evening making a Swedish princess cake from scratch for his birthday (my idea – he is Swedish and that’s his favorite cake). He took pics and proudly sent them to his family.

    When we got to my parents, he gave me the silent treatment, which was a blast for everyone involved – my nieces, my daughter, my parents, my aunts and uncles, etc. The man is in his 50s.

    But maybe he was picking up on something that even I didn’t realize. Just a few months earlier, I had found out about his cheating and I pretty much despised him by this point.

    When we got back to my house on Thanksgiving evening, he got upset and left in the middle of the night to make the five-hour drive back to his house. Who does that?? (He left me a message the next day, saying how much he missed me.)

    This year is so much better without his adolescent drama. Hej do, cheater!

  • There has to be a special place in HELL for men who cheat on their pregnant wives!

    Hang in there, Jenette! Way to go!!

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