Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

Dear Chump Lady, Why does he want to stay ‘friends’?

cheater_just_friends

This column goes out to JB from yesterday’s post. Who seemed to be suffering a bad case of Bargaining Stage of Let’s-Be-Friends grief. What’s in it for cheaters to remain friends? A lot. You? Not so much.

***

Dear Chump Lady,

My husband has said that he cannot bear the thought of never seeing me again after our divorce.

He wants to remain friends and still visit me. I said his OW, who he admits he might marry one day, and who he is living with now, might not let him. His reply was genuine surprise and he said well I was friends with her before the affair. How nuts is that?

I think his ideal world, the roles would be reversed but with me being the Other Woman. Although I don’t think he would want sex with me as he told me that he didn’t enjoy sex with me anymore and didn’t enjoy kissing me as my mouth felt strange. The truth is I always thought he was a lousy kisser too, but unlike him I am too kind to have said anything.

What goes on inside their head Chump Lady? Are they delusional or just insane?

Denise

Dear Denise,

They’re narcissistic. Which is a kind of delusion of grandiose centrality.

The answer to “let’s be friends” isn’t “your mistress won’t like it” but “HELL NO. My friends don’t cheat on me.”

(Although I’m presuming you just mentioned his OW to poke at him and see what nutty thing he’d say next.)

Why does he want to be friends?

1.) Kibbles. Narcissist need supply, what we here at Chump Lady call “ego kibbles” (or Narcissist ego chow). Once you realize this, their behavior starts to make a weird kind of sense. Ah, they’re trying to maintain kibble supply. The OW is supply, you’re supply, and the rest of the world (and all his invariable dating profiles) are potential supply.

When supply is threatened narcissists get ugly. Remember they have three channel settings to get what they want — rage, charm, and self pity.

Rage: You won’t give me kibbles? YOU SUCK. I’ve always despised you and the way you kiss. HA! I didn’t want your kibbles anyway! My OW kisses better than you do! (Don’t you want to do the pick me dance now?)

Charm: What will I ever do without you? I can’t imagine not seeing you any more! Gee, all those memories…

Self-Pity: Can’t you see how this Hurts Me Too? It pains me that you won’t be my friend, after everything we’ve shared together. You shouldn’t be so angry and bitter. I still love you, just not in that way. This is so difficult for me.

You threatened kibble supply. He needs your “friendship” to get kibbles back.

2.) Impression management. Narcissists care how they are perceived. (People won’t give you kibbles if they don’t like you.) If you’re friends with him, then what he did wasn’t so bad! Why don’t you eat the shit sandwich for his sake?

3.) Setting up the new hypotenuse. As you rightly pointed out, he’d like to line you up as a new OW. Cheaters are lazy, they’d rather go to old kibbles sources than scout new supply. That’s hard. They have to sparkle and give people attention and shit. It’d be much nicer if you’d do the pick me dance to keep him, and just be there for sex. You don’t have any needs or self-respect, do you? You’re not a person with agency. You’re just an extension of him and his needs, so of course you’re on board!

So anyway, Denise, to answer your question — Yes, delusional AND insane.

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.
  • And I’m adding a fourth.

    4.) To avoid consequences. Are you getting a divorce? Hey, let’s be buddies… until that division of assets is final.

    There’s an agenda. That’s not be cynical. That’s examining your life’s evidence dispassionately.

    • Thanks for adding that CL!
      The new chump cannot/won’t even be aware that the is usually a financial component to keeping the relationship in the hopium mode.
      How many of CN learned this the hard way that their friendship phase also included draining of assets? The cheater is always ahead of the game.
      Once the $ is hidden or spent, it is impossible to get it back.
      Find me a cheater that didn’t deplete assets and I will eat my words…

      • Actually my cheater didn’t deplete assets. He even gave me more of the financial share of the house (although I was the higher earner).

        He still did all the ‘let’s be friends’ stuff and wanted me to be godmother to their (eventual) children.

        I think they were too busy trying to take her husband for all they could get than to go after me. From all accounts, her husband had quite a bit of money.

          • Can’t you just see the look on the priest’s face when that little relationship trick is explained to him? They really do think they are so awesome that you’d just LOVE to take on the physical/emotional/spiritual/financial responsibility of their progeny. I mean doesn’t the chump feel HONORED?

      • Mine actually didn’t deplete our couple assets, because
        A) that would require planning, which requires thinking about the future, which might be quite depressing because, you know, consequences. Best avoided.
        B) he thought he would probably come back pretty soon, and kids and I would be happily waiting as Plan B. As a matter of fact, he was quite $ generous, trying to maintain Plan B.
        C) he’s passive and lazy. Perhaps if Shmoopie had offered to handle that for him?

        He did end up depleting his OWN assets, w/all that generosity and flying back and forth between Shmoopie and kids. But hey, nobody said he was smart. (Well, except the people who granted him the Ph.D. and the MBA.)
        C)

        • Mine skipped the depleting of assetscand trying to stay friends because he took all he could before we separated. Hundreds of thousands sunk into his failed business and lied about it the whole time. He left when we were a million in debt. No more to get.. rinse and repeat with schmoopie.

        • Oh, and Shmoopy also made good money (I didn’t realize ’til later that he’d had that 2nd affair and Left willingly when I kicked him out, the first year he made more than I did, except for the couple of years I was home w/babies), so that probably kept his $ focus on her. After Shmoops dumped him the second time (for another man both times, of course), he got a new girlfriend from Match w/in a week. It seems either she or her family have quite a lot of $$$, so I bet he’s being pretty good to her!

          They are parasites, but there are different varieties!

      • So far (fingers crossed), STBX has been generous with finances and hasn’t fought me on equitable splits at all.

        I think he is setting everything up to be a sad sausage who “tried so hard to make it right” when I stopped giving him chances and said I was done. That way, he’s not the bad guy who degraded me and betrayed me and lied to me over and over again and refused to go to counseling when I gave him another shot at fixing the marriage; instead, he’s the poor misguided soul who realized his mistakes and tried to win me over, but I was too bitter and angry to let him back in. He’s willing to part with a lot of money to sell that narrative to himself and others, and I’m willing to take that money to let him, at least until the ink is dry on the divorce decree.

      • Totally mind did, too. I never thought in a million years he would drain our savings account and open his own checking out with the money. Never. I was high on hopium for sure.

    • Important forth! My ex called me everyday, leaving messages to see “how I was holding up”, during the divorce proceedings for exactly that reason. More likely to see if I would reconsider keeping the historic home for me and the kids, and hey maybe I didn’t need all of my retirement and pension. He lived off of me for so long – doesn’t that count for something?

    • And to have access to your head space to continue manipulating you. It’s not just never cut off a kibble source, although that’s huge. It’s never cut off someone you have gaslighted into being compliant and subordinate. Power.

      • My abusive cheating ex wanted to be friends. I went full No Contact instead. He began stalking me, I filed two police reports, and I moved away. It’s all about kibbles and control with these nutters.

    • Very true– mine wanted to stay buddies until just about the time when the divorce was final… and he married the OW a month later. Then, he was not allowed to have any contact with me unless absolutely necessary (which suited me just fine– I didn’t want his empty, shabby concept of friendship; I’ve been treated better by strangers).

    • Mine at beginning of divorce…”I couldn’t be mad at you too long, I enjoy your company too much and want to be your friend.” Mine during divorce in which I dared to request reasonable child support and half our stuff…”You are a terrible person and I will never forgive you for this.” Mine throughout the divorce…”We’ll get through this and be great friends, I know it, cause we’re us.” Mine toward end of divorce…[slams door in my face during custody drop off]

      The lesson: cheaters are Bananas with a capital B. This friend request a lot of us get, IMO, is just another attempt to keep us unbalanced and ultimately to get what they want. And if that stops, prepare for the rage channel!

    • Also, you can be a means to connect with the kids, grandkids and other family members who don’t forgive the cheater for what he or she did to you. Getting you to forgive him enough to be friends means they might relent and forgive as well.

  • Delusional, insane AND abusive. Let’s not forget that cheaters often abuse their chumps emotionally, psychologically, financially… Every which way they can gain an advantage.

  • “Friends?” Hell to the NO! X destroyed, or tried to, 25 years of what we created as a family. He risked my life, caused our kids to want to commit suicide, defrauded me out of time, money, my home, and my peace of mind. And he’s not sorry! What he did is still “all my fault.”

    X is not my sworn enemy because I’m too busy to waste energy on POD people, but I will never be “friends” with him or anyone with his lack of character. Never!

      • My ex is the one who wanted me to be friends with Schmoopie. I don’t think she likes that idea any better than I do seeing as how we have both done our best to avoid each other since DDay. She knows what I think of her, she keeps her distance and that works for me.

        • Good grief. That is bizzare. I guess it’s to make him feel like everything is okay and all is forgiven.
          Even more bizarre, my slutty bastard and his whore wanted to be couple friends with her and her equally unsuspecting husband while he was secretly seeing her and planning to divorce me. They kept trying to get double dates to happen. Stupid fools didn’t realize how lucky they were that I wasn’t interested. I’d have spotted it immediately if I’d ever seen them together. Since I didn’t, it went on for years. I believe it was the thrill of risk they were going for. Their whole silly “relationship” was built on it and crumbled like an overbaked cake when they were busted. No more secrets = no more fun. So much for “true love”. None of these people are capable of real love.

  • Mine couldn’t believe that we wouldn’t still be friends – despite his violence and cheating and spendthrift ways. I kept it “civil” until the divorce was signed because I knew he was more than capable of showing up to court and refusing to sign! When we were at the bank separating our accounts the lady remarked how “civil” we were – that she had divorcing couples who she had to keep separate as they couldn’t stand to be in the same room together. He left first so I told her a few home truths and she just laughed. Now I don’t go out of my way to antagonize him but I don’t answer his emails or phone calls. I don’t want to give him a piece of my mind because he is bipolar and an alcoholic (and, in my opinion BPD as he ticks all the boxes). I believe that he could be capable of committing suicide so I don’t want to push him there. I just pretend he doesn’t exist and that suits me fine! Friends with him? Like you say, my real friends don’t beat the shit out of me or cheat on me.

  • Friends don’t deliberately destroy you and hurt you in such an intimate and humiliating way. That’s an enemy. That’s someone who does not get the privilege of being your friend. He wants to keep his foot in the door in case things with OW don’t work out. Fuck him and the whore he rode in on.

    • If you ever start selling t-shirts with the slogan; “Dear ex-husband, fuck you and the whore you rode in on” with part of the proceeds to go to battered women’s shelters, I’ll buy a couple of dozen of them.

    • That was one of the last things I said to my ex, who wanted to remain friends: “Friends don’t abuse friends.”

  • My X is a first class Cluster B, and led a nasty secret life all 20 plus years of our marriage. When he got too old to maintain his secrets, and DDay’d about 10% of them, and I threw him out, I went NC (one slip up when the dog died an unexpected death:: (hysterical from the vets office) “OMG, shes dead!! (Crying, sobbing). HIM: Gee, I’m sorry. You know, I want to ask you why your lawyer…”. I slammed the phone off. He had been PRACTICING what to say if I ever spoke to him…HIM. HIM. HIM.

    Anyway, this toad is such a kibble seeker, that even after remarrying directly after the divorce, he sat at the end of my long driveway off and on for nearly two years, altho he lived hours away. He expected me to dance and really believed I could never live without his shiny self.

    My brilliant lawyer advised me to ignore all overtures, including this passive stalking, the private eye following me around, and the lying and using he directed to family members. Because she understood: he desperately wanted and needed a reaction, to fill up his kibble bag ( I gave pure gold kibble in the marriage) and to soothe his narcissistic wounds.

    It is pitifully obvious when you know the kibble score. Stay away. Go NC. Starve that assh*le.
    It is the only way.

    • OMG yeeeaaassss, me too!!!
      He left the first of May 2015, divorce was final September 2015. He married Mrs. Dumbass(OW) November 2015. They’re still together to this day, but he’s still poking around my life, always on the fringe.
      I can’t prove anything, but I suspect he’s tracking me. There are many apps that you can use to do it without the other person’s consent.
      He never asks me about myself, how I am, what I’m up to, etc. My instincts are that he already knows but again, can’t prove it.
      I’ll never forget him texting me that his grandfather had died. He hadn’t spoken to his grandfather in over 5 years because grandpa never once acknowledged my DD’s birth nor existence. Anyway, this was right around the time our divorce was final, so I was still chump, so I called him to express sympathy and concern and asked him if he was OK, he became hostile and nasty, saying, “No! Of course I’m not OK! In 5 years, I’m not going to have any family left!”
      When I responded that his true family – me and DD- would always be here, he again became hostile and indignant saying, “I gotta go”. Click.
      Dick. After that, I’ve been cool, bummer, wow grey rock ever since

  • Ugh. Thank you so much for this post, CL. STBX is finally looking to buy a house and move out of my apartment, and out of the blue asked me if I’d consider moving in with him, that he’d be happy to buy a house with an extra bedroom or a basement for me to stay in so that I could “save money and spend more time with the kids”. W to the T to the F? He’s also invited me along to go visit his family with our kids, and has been super nice and friendly and helpful around the house. I’m sitting here wracking my brain trying to figure out what his endgame is.

    And then you give me #2 and #4, and I’m like, “Oh, yeah, that’s why. No more untangling for me today.” On to getting a life.

    • Continued fishing for cake! Won’t you like to live in the same house so that you can continue to do all the work of keeping a home for him and raising the children when it is supposed to be his time/responsibility? The balls of it.

    • Oh, FFS. They are all the same. Mine keeps asking me not to buy a new house and to stay in his. Since I have determined we can’t be a couple, he says we can just be “roomies” so he can help me and our daughter with errands and household chores. Naturally, he assures me his motives are completely altruistic and not at all about continued access in order to manipulate me and get kibble. Puh-lease.
      Just try reminding your stbx that you won’t be having sex with him and will be dating other guys and possibly having sex with them in your room. That should stop him in his tracks. His reaction will be pure comedy gold, too.

    • its called mindfuck. my ex was a master at it. I’ll be nice and ‘let you come along’ as long ad you know your place. His dad did this with his mother. he and the OW, ow now wife would bring his mom and the OW would rub all over his dad and show his mom how much they owned, houses, boats ect. had all this money to entertain the kids. his mom lived in public housing and sometimes in psych wards with nothing. she was bipolar also.

      he was determined to do this to me. OH HELL NO!!!

      this is a sadistic way to cause you the most optimal pain.

  • The friendship was part of the marriage. No marriage, we’re not friends. Why would I want him as a friend? He’s a serial cheater. A naïve schmoopie for the sex and pick me dance adoration to win Dr. Cheaterpants. A good ex wife to do the adulting with kids, family, and home. Life just doesn’t get any better than that if you’re a disordered fuckwit. And it amazes me they can find a schmoopie that will tolerate that too. But they do affair down with someone weak or as disordered as they are.

  • This is great and very timely. After 2 1/2 years of me trying to get divorced, he’s still filing motions and not complying with discovery. Then wanting to engage in friendly text conversations. I have flat out told him we are not friends, my friends do not treat me the way you have, but he overlooks that and keeps on. Even to my cold shoulder he still seems to not “get it”. This helps a lot, since they all seem to do the same things-it’s uncanny. I’m with CL, don’t be friends, there is nothing in it for us. Even being “friends” only during the divorce process does not work. Why not let them show the court exactly who they are? Once you don’t do whatever they want, they rage anyway. Everything is all about them, and I refuse to live my life revolving around him for one more second, or teach my kids that their lives are secondary to his.

    • I got this too. In the early days, I had to see him to exchange DD, he would call or text afterwards asking me, “why the cold shoulder? Why the business-like attitude?” I responded that he was no longer someone I wanted to be friendly with, nor cordial with.
      He flipped to the rage channel and began yelling and screaming in which I hung up.

    • Mine does this. Doesn’t pay bills but expects me to be friendly and civil after 18 years of narcissistic abuse and countless affairs/prostitutes. Expects our kids to carry on like nothing is wrong since he moved out to be with OW. He is WEIRD. But judging by posts on this blog, he is straight out of the serial cheater playbook. I’m fascinated how similar these people are!

  • Oh. I did report this to our Sheriff and neighbors, who kept an eye out for him. He never did anything more than to sit passively at a place he could not even see the house. Isn’t that weird?

    If anything more direct had occured, we were prepared with photos, etc to charge him. And he knows I am really good with my gun.

    Stalking can be dangerous.

    • Oh yes the stalkino. Mine hid in the dark in our house and hid his truck behind the shop( this was before I changed the locks as I had been told I couldn’t do so as he stilled owned half of the house). He came out raging at me when I walked in. I sure as hell changed the locks after the 2 hour interview with the DV detective… f#ck him

      • The Twat was living with the Skank but the divorce hadn’t gone through yet, nor had I been able to buy him out of the house yet because the divorce was still pending. One Sunday morning, about 18 months after he left, I was in bed and there was a loud knock on my bedroom door and he walked in. I shot out of bed and screamed at him that he had no right to just walk in like that. I might not have been alone (I was but hell, he gets to live his life so why shouldn’t I get to live mine). I was seeing someone at the time but he wasn’t there with me. Can you imagine THAT scene! The Twat’s response “well I knocked”! Yeah, like I wanna be his friend!

  • I actually did try to be friends with my ex for a short time. It only served to clarify the importance of not being friends with my ex.

    As a chump partner, I had been a very reliable friend to him as well as a vocal admirer and a deep well of support and encouragement. Of course he wanted to keep all of that. Who wouldn’t?

    There were three big problems with that.

    One, he wasn’t any of those things for me.

    Two, he had no respect for my healthy boundaries, so he kept pressing to discuss inappropriate topics.

    Three, he had been deceptive, broken numerous agreements, laughed in the face of my pain, and in many other ways done me great harm, and he really never showed genuinely selfless remorse. All the tears of remorse were about himself – how bad HE felt, how HE didn’t want people to hate him, how HE deserved to be happy, etc. So, not only did he have nothing good to offer me, he also had been acutely harmful to me.

    Boiling it down and removing all excuses and justifications, I realized that I was trying to be friends with him for one main reason: I wanted to be one of those people who could be friends with their ex. Upon introspection, I found that I was not that person. Contact with him was hurtful and damaging and it served as a roadblock between me and the best things life had to offer me.

    Of course he wanted the best of me back. The best of me is a really good thing. I finally realized, he was undeserving of that.

    It took some time for me to realize that his choice to betray me (on multiple topics, not just sex and love) was a clear statement that he didn’t sufficiently value what I was offering as a partner, at least not such that he was motivated to keep it safe by being a good partner. Words are pretty, but his actions told the real story

    Just like when a small child breaks a toy and has to accept that it can’t be fixed, he broke “us” and it couldn’t be fixed. Unlike a small child, he had no capacity to learn and grow emotionally, so he was unable to fully grasp the inevitability of losing that he had broken. Again, he is terribly immature and has no boundaries.

    My life became so much better for it once that ended. Doesn’t matter to me what happened to him, because he was finally truly gone and I was finly truly at peace. Once I stopped worrying about how he might feel, I won my own friendship back, and that was a good thing.

    I don’t judge people who stay friends with cheating exes, but it sure wasn’t for me. Maybe you’ll see yourself in this story somewhere.

  • my ex, said can we be friends, f… off, i said. I came to the conclusion, my ex is liking watching a car crash, its like the cliche, if you dont remenber the past you are condemed to repeat it.

  • Agreed! No need to be friends with someone that showed you lacked of respect, love, trust, honesty, etc… it took me almost 6 months to finally go meh!!! He kept lying over and over, he came delusional. Even though I loved him deeply I couldn’t stay with him knowing he broke our intangible agreement of love.

  • Why do they want to stay friends? Besides the obvious — Impression Management — it allows them to conveniently skip over all of the chaos they created between “I do” & “Goodbye”.

    If my XH can sweetly say, “Yes, Red and I are divorced, BUT WE’RE FRIENDS”, then all is apparently well in his world. There’s no need to climb down into the dark abyss he created and be accountable for any of it.

    • P.S. I’ve been Zero Contact for almost 5 years and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in my adult life. So, not only are we NOT friends, I’ve spun him completely out of my solar system. If he couldn’t die — at least giving me the respect and kind words that the average widow receives — I can do my best to erase him.

      • ^^^^^^ THIS. Yep, did that too, just erased him from my life and memory as much as possible. It’s a weird trick but it works for me. I can recall family memories with my kids without really thinking at all about my ex who was front and center in the memory we are talking about. I refer to him as “your dad” when he comes up with my kids which isn’t often since my son has a very marginal relationship with him and my daughter doesn’t have one at all. He is simply a card board place holder in my mind.

        I do like your image of spinning him out of the solar system, leaving him free floating in endless space where no one can hear him yammer on about miserable I made him. 😀

      • I literally photoshopped my STBXH out of our last family vacation photos. I can now proudly hang them on the walls of my narc-free home.

  • When Dickhead told me that he thought it was best to get divorced, the conversation was less than 10 minutes. That’s how much I rated. A couple days later when I asked about a possible separation (denied), he mentioned that he wanted us to part on better terms than first ex-wife (they were married 3 years, 2 kids). He said that they ended hating each other by end and that he didn’t want that for us. He mentioned it again a couple days later (stressing that he really meant it) when I tried to get some answers and explanations out of him.

    My response to the whole shitshow was I was probably never going to see again so whether or not we were on good terms was not important to me. What was important was my mental health and how I got through all of this confusion.

    I didn’t know at the time that there was an exit affair lined up (still with her today, as far as I know) and he had cheated the previous 3 months. I didn’t find that out later until 3 weeks later. However, that helped explain his very dismissive behavior during that time. He stopped texting me, calling, was treating me like a roommate and would say it was work stress when I inquired how he was doing.

    If I had gone along with his program, I have no idea what would have happened. But I know this, he was dismissive of me, he didn’t want to talk about the whys, he didn’t even give the respect or courtesy to tell me what happened or how his feelings had changed. I got nothing but I was expected to go along with his program. Fuck that shit!!

    I know now that he’s disordered, very selfish (always knew that), lacks compassion and empathy even for his children, only cares about his feelings and doesn’t give a shit how his actions affect others, and makes piss poor choices when it comes to job longevity.

    They aren’t worth the mindfuck and not they sure as hell aren’t worth your time, your emotions or your love.

    • To add: during the 18 year marriage, he never made me or our marriage. Hell, he wasn’t even really a friend. Yet, he cares how we ended up? That’s the disordered thinking. That’s image management. That trying to keep the fork for cake eating. Nope, he didn’t consider it important to be my friend when it mattered most and I sure as hell do want to be his friend now. And yep, we ended on very bad terms.

        • He claims that he never will get married. He also said he never cheated. To this day, he acts like he’s not with anyone (it’s a figment of my imagination). On the day of the 10- minute divorce talk, he had the gall to look at me and say that he was wanted to alone after the divorce. The last three sentences were all lies which says he’s probably lying about getting married.

      • He cares, because ending the marriage could impact his image. He needs you to be nice to claim that this was a mutual decision.
        Mine also had an affair lined up. To speak of an exit affair is completely dishonest in my case considering the affair went on years before he took the courage to tell me how unhappy he was. Like you, he wanted me to just accept his decision to leave the marriage without giving me any reasons other than his unhappiness, he did not want to discuss anything, he got annoyed when I asked why, he blamed me for being impossible to live with… blablabla…

        I later learned he found the courage to end it with me, because the OW gave him an ultimatum. And new is better than old, I guess. When I found out about the affair in April of this year, he essentially told me that the OW was already divorced. I only recently learned that this was a lie. They started the divorce AFTER I called her husband. They were married and living together like any normal married couple. I never understood why he lied to me about that. I am assuming that this was for his image management, he never once admitted that the affair was the reason for why he wanted to break up with me. He still to this day claims that the affair was happening completely independent of our relationship. I think, he wanted to pretend that these two did not plot a life together and approached both of us spouses to end things simultaneously. Because this would have shown the world how heinous their actions actually were.

        They like image management.

        • I’ve said multiple times, and this probably applies to you as will. Anything the Dickhead said or did was all about him. There’s wasn’t a damn thing he did for me pre-divorce and during the divorce. I did say to him, in a fit of anger, that this divorce was all about him, just like our damn marriage. My presence or my feelings was of absolutely no concern.

        • Image management for them extends to the APs as well because if they are involved with a low life that reflects badly on them. My ex tries really hard to present Schmoopie as not a selfish self centered home wrecking slut. I’m not buying it. I am not sure who, if anybody, is. Mostly people who don’t know me I suspect.

          One that ticked me off was when I came back from a boy scout camping trip with my boys and ex asked if I had mentioned Schmoopie’s name to their leader as a reason for our divorce. He was concerned because she was a former leader of Schmoopie’s son too. I don’t know if he was concerned about his reputation or hers as he broke up her family too. I had to bite my tongue to keep from replying with “life sure is simpler when you don’t go around doing things you don’t want anybody to find out about.”

          • Haha… this for sure. Mine is thinking I am ruining his reputation, because I mention to MY friends and family why we are divorcing. He thinks I am out to get him. If you are so worried about your reputation, just do not do anything that you do not want anyone to know about. It is simple.

            • Blast from the past, Inescapable! I had forgotten this letter X wrote me during negotiations! He had a really twisted secret life, but was a well known lawyer. He requested that I sign an agreement that WE would keep confidential the reasons for our divorce!! And demanded a LIST of those to whom I had confided his perversions…
              Laughed and stuck it in the file.
              It was so formal and serious! He wanted me to buy into his image management despite the fact he had blown my life to shreds!
              I had forgotten!!

  • My ex wrote in the Divorce Letter something about he could “still be friends with me” as a favor to me. I can’t remember exactly how he wrote it, but that’s the way it came across to me. Like he’d still be friends with me if I still wanted to be friends, because I needed his crappy friendship in my life. Why in the world would I want someone who lied and cheated on me for 23 years in my life?!!! He’s delusional. As I’ve written here before. He told me a few months after D-day when I was forced to still live in the same house with him. He said to me, “I think I have the perfect personality to be in a relationship with.” He really believes he’s God’s gift to women and that he’s the perfect friend to everyone. If only his family and friends have seen what’s hiding under the mask he puts on each day. There’s a sociopath under there.

    Speaking of sociopaths. The Happy Hausfrau shared this article yesterday about Chris Watts, the CO sociopath/cheater that killed off his entire family to be with the OW. I hope it’s okay to share here.

    https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/19/us/colorado-chris-watts-sentencing/index.html?ofs=fbia&fbclid=IwAR1AyzrvGG5-DfqVPmZgiNT42c7TQZlXlaRHOvedvLt1Vjn0WNHusqtqm58

    For those of us who think we were married to a sociopath, it’s sadly validating as we’ve seen “no emotion, no guilt, no remorse.” I saw it many times over the course of 23 years. It was shocking and scary when the mask totally fell after D-day. I remember talking to my on the phone and telling her I was afraid of him. And she asked, “Why are you afraid of him?” and I said, “I don’t know.” I didn’t think he’d hurt me or the kids. I was just afraid of him. And now I know why. He would do ANYTHING to destroy me in order to keep up his billboard image of the “nice, Christian guy”. ANYTHING!

    • … still be friends as a … favor…. Favor?! OMG. What a pompous ass. Martha, just the address changes.

      It’s things like this that make me question where my head was when I was putting up with such an asshole

    • I also have a fear of my ex. He showed hints of violence the last 2 years of our marriage. And I honestly think it would have gotten violent if we stayed married.

      A mere text notification popping up puts a pit in my stomach. And the kicker is, he is the one who acts afraid of me in public. Are you kidding me? It baffles me every time seeing him act all timid and small. This from a man who yelled in my face trying to get a reaction out of me and stood in the corner of a room silently staring at me with dead eyes.

    • After telling me how sorry his new polyamorous partners felt for poor chumpy me because I’m so unenlightened, ex had the nerve to tell me they wanted to be my friends. I said, “The people who look down on me want to be my friends? No thanks, I don’t need friends like that.”

    • Funny you say this. I am also anxious to be alone with my ex. He has never hurt me or our sons but I don’t want to be alone with him or have him in my house. Don’t trust him. Seems he can do something so vile as blow up our family for sex, what else can he do. Good topic CL. I can’t imagine ever sitting In The same room with him and having an adult conversation. We have a lot going on in the family this year-new grandbaby, engagement of son and possible wedding. we need to be civil to each other so we can keep the focus on the event. Right now we can’t be in same room space. He is all whining to our sons cuz I won’t give him any of his old crap he left which I am slowly disposing Of even though we are a yr out from divorce. Sons are playing this smart-staying out of it. I have been perfectly honest with them about everything and read the divorce decree where it states division of property was complete as of Signing. He conveniently forgets he signed off on that legal document that the judge signed. But he has a new gf (the OW dumped him for another man-score!) and is moving In with her so you know…. hugs to all!

    • This quote from the article was chillimg but not surprising: “For whatever reason, in his mind divorce wasn’t an option,” the prosecutor said.

      And while his family went ‘missing,’ he was cheerfully texting the OW.

      At least the OW was useful in the investigation. Watts’ family tried to present the pregnant wife as abusive and claimed his rage was spontaneously triggered by her alleged violence toward one of the little girls.

      What a horrible tragedy.

  • My ex thought we should be bffs too. As a matter of fact, not long after we divorced he invited me to “celebrate” our anniversary; you know, the one that was no longer valid because we had just legally dissolved the marriage. I knew he was dating (before we physically split actually) and I had a pretty good idea he found his way back to the OW so I asked him about how the person he was dating would feel about us celebrating our anniversary. He told me not to worry about it.

    While we were married we used to travel to different venues to see our favorite sports team play. On the day we got divorced he mentioned he was trying to get tickets to an away game that up coming year. My first thought was ‘this knucklehead doesn’t understand how divorce works does he?’ I just played along because he was playing nice and went along with an equitable settlement and I knew first hand what he was like when he wasn’t getting what he wanted.

    After the request to join him for dinner for an anniversary that no longer existed, I shut that shit down. I went stone cold no contact. Haven’t seen, talked or texted him since. Total deludinoid! No way was I going to provide kibbles or become the hypotenuse for that f’d up triangle. It’s amazing what a little clarity from chump nation will do!

    Moral of the story? They only want to be friends for the reasons CL outlined. You are still of use to him/her. Or they want the world to see how you’ve forgiven him/her so the narrative of what they did wasn’t that bad prevails. It all adds up to a whole lot of nothing in it for you. When I contemplated the idea of being friends with the ex I realized that I didn’t trust him, I didn’t respect him at all and I didn’t even like him so what would he bring to this friendship? That would be a big, fat zero!

    • Now you mention it, ex was so upset because “everybody is talking about us” (I told him he and Schmoopie weren’t that interesting) so he asked me to go out to dinner with them somewhere really public so everyone could see I was all right with it. I laughed and told him to f””k off!

  • I agree with everything CL said including the #4 she added above. I would add in another which is:

    -Cuckoo cheaters don’t like to feel guilt. They don’t like to carry any mental emotional baggage. They can’t handle it. They want to feel like they didn’t do anything wrong. It helps with their image management as well if they can tell people that they are “friends” with their significant other. I got the “friends” talk from XW. She proclaimed multiple times about how I “have to forgive her”.

    • Zell, my cheater ex continues to ask to be friends, too, and I think it’s for image management. My theory is that cheaters and other moral reprobates worry so much about their image because they have to. If people found out what they were really like, life would get hard for them. Good people don’t worry so much about their image because they let their good actions speak for themselves.

      • Wow. Ummm there is nothing “organic” about a garden where one caretaker decides to introduce invasive pests into it. And when they then continue to dump toxic waste onto it. Just wow.

        “Let’s be friends” to me was just code for “cover my ass” “continue to make me look good” “continue to use you”

      • Yes! Whenever I mention anything to my Ex about other people knowing anything about our situation it is sure to unleash the rage channel.

        “Why does anyone care about what I did?”
        “It’s none of their business!”
        “Oh, so you handed out flyers to the neighbors?! That is not normal!” (still shaking my head on this one because I did no such thing or even suggested that I did)
        “I don’t care what people think” . Oh yes you do buddy. But you don’t actually care enough to be a decent person.

        • I say you take his suggestion and hand out the flyers. Film the look on his face when you tell him and post the video here. 😉

    • “They want to feel like they didn’t do anything wrong. It helps with their image management as well if they can tell people that they are “friends” with their significant other.”

      This! The Dickhead, in an email, said that he didn’t blame either of us. Apparently, the marriage was organic, lived and died like a flower. WTF ever! He never wanted me to destroy the image that he was trying to portray nor did he want me to ever find out how depraved and ugly he really was.

    • Yes!
      My divorce was final this past Friday, Nov 16th. We were even in court and signed the papers. Saturday, Nov 17th was my birthday. I checked my mailbox and in there was a gift from him! A thoughtful gift nonetheless! He hasn’t gotten me a thoughtful gift in years! WTAF?! Then, he picked up the kids on Sunday night and shoveled my driveway even though I didn’t ask him to.

      I didn’t know what to do. I said thank you, but wanted to give the gift back to him and shove the shovel up his ass for lying, cheating, stealing, and disrespecting me for over a year. Why wouldn’t he just take the kids shopping to get a gift for me from them? Image management! Yeah, I really think he is a different guy now. Not! I wonder what Schmoopie would think if she knew?

      • Huh. If you can honestly use the gift and NOT think about the giver, then by all means, keep it. Otherwise, donate it. Whatever helps you move to meh.

      • it is simple. He got what he wanted: a new life with someone new. He feels generous. Mine is always generous whenever he gets what he wants, but a nasty person if there is anything that might impact him negatively.

      • mine has offered to fix my car up, take me to MD appointments (i’ve got some health issues going on that he found out about), wants to do stuff together “as a family” texts me frequently with jokes or random memories/things that must trigger a memory. And brings me coffee or take-away when he picks up or drops off the kids.

        And i seriously dont know what to do about any of it. I say no thank you to the offers for help with things (as i have a support system and don’t need him in it) and thanks him for help with the kids (which i consider the minimal effort anyone who has had children should do, despite their marriage status).

        I’m at a loss, i’ve explained to him several times he doesn’t have to do things for me in order for us to continue to get along.

        He checks on me through semi-mutual friends all the time. always asks them how i’m doing, if i’m happy, if im ok or having fun. its weird in that non of it is mean or wrong but none of it should be happening.

        Like he didn’t want me when we were married why on God’s green earth is he doing all this now…..

        i guess it could be worse so i try not to complain and just continue to draw my boundaries with him

        • I may be wrong but I take his interest in you as kind of perverse. For me it would feel like he is keeping tabs on me – how dare I be happy if he isn’t in my life. Of course if I was miserable that would be fine because I obviously couldn’t live without his wonderfulness. As for being nice to you and bringing you coffee and so on, for me that means he is showing you just what you lost. I may be a cynical old bitch but that’s the way I read it. Ulterior motives!

        • It’s even possible he cares about you to some extent, but the point is he cares about himself a hell of a lot more. If it suits his purposes and his mood to be helpful, he does. If not, he doesn’t. He doesn’t get that you know he cannot be relied upon when you really need him and thus he should be and is flushed out of your life. They never can admit to themselves that they are worthless to you.

      • Almost, congrats on the divorce! A very small, neutral ‘thanks’ for unasked favours is great! Later, he may guilt you or rage over your lack of gratitude, so be prepared w/’I didn’t ask you to do any of that’ and end the conversation. If he tries to use those favours to manoeuvre you into doing favours he wants, same response. And if others ask you about that stuff (image management doesn’t work if others don’t know!), you get to laugh and say ‘yeah, he does that shit, that I never asked for. Fidelity and honesty, not so much’.

        He’s looking for kibbles. No more from you!

      • Oh I had that kind of thing going on for a while too after the divorce. He raked my leaves for me and gave me a Christmas gift that was actually something I wanted. I found it annoying because I knew it was image management and I knew it would end eventually and if I appreciated it (beyond just saying the obligatory thank you so I wouldn’t look like a jerk) I would just be crushed all over again later when it stopped.

        • Cheater Narc wanted the kids and I to stay in the family home, best for the kids and all that. (Later I realized he probably thought he’d be coming back.) I said it was too much work for me, he agreed to do all the outside work, lawn care etc.

          So for the next year, he ignored the yard. When something really needed doing, I asked him to do it, and he would query whether the kids or I couldn’t take care of it, then would eventually do most of it, half-heartedly, after repeated reminders.

          Then suddenly, a full year after my finally managing to get him to move out, he was there ‘to take care of the yard’ all the time! Doing stuff that didn’t need doing! Doing stuff he’d never done when he lived there! Saying it was a way to care for his kids, too! And to help me out!

          Turns out Shmoops had dumped him (for another man). So he had lots of time on his hands, and was hoping I’d be Plan B.

          And when I made it clear there’d be no Plan B for him? Suddenly the yard gets neglected again.

          Such a responsible guy! And so caring!

          I finally learned that, whatever he did or didn’t do, the right question was always ‘what’s in it for him?’

  • I literally have the answer for this from the fuckwits mouth… “The more normal we act about it the more it doesn’t bother others.”

    Wow, I’m so glad not bothering anyone else is more important than ripping the hearts from the lives of your loved ones.

    God forbid anyone has to tap into the moral underpinnings and context of why a chump wouldn’t want to be a cheaters friend, that would be tragic! Not at all like the simplicity of centrality! “Let’s not make other uncomfortable, because that means potential discomfort for me! Please just act normal! It’s how I get away with the things I do! See no evil, speak no evil! Oh, and the kids! You wouldn’t want to hurt the kids would you! It wasn’t my behavior that hurt the kids, it all hinges on how you respond to it!”

  • No danger of being friends here. Neither cheat ex was interested. In both cases, they knew the jig was up.

    With cheater ex # 2, I know I was married to a sociopath. Once the mask was off it was war, and only war. We lived separately for a little over a year, and during that time he did his level best to inflict as much damage as possible. Since he wasn’t all that clever about it, most of his schemes backfired which fueled his rage.

    A raging sociopath is a dangerous sociopath. Nuff said.

  • Yes… Mr. Sparkles gave me the old ILYBINILWY bullshit too. Why? Well, as CL outlines… their fuckwits, delusional, narcissistic, desiring of image management, and definitely hoping you will go “light” on the divorce.

    For me, it was also keeping me in the “back up plan” mode. Mr. Sparkles “transfer OW” (as I like to call the women he transfers to from his current marriage… he has a history of this behavior because he cannot be alone). He wasn’t 100% sure the new relationship with the new victim would stick and if it didn’t, he would likely want an in-road back into our marriage/house/benefits/etc.

    The ONLY WAY to shut this shit down is to go no contact and file. It is the 1-2 punch that makes it very clear that you are no longer an option or a fall-back plan. I found this to be a real turning point for me in my recovery from this abuse. I felt scared and empowered and for once, causing him some pain (or discomfort).

    They don’t change. Like CL writes… when they marry (or move in) with the OW they have created an opening for a new OW… don’t be that person. Respect yourself enough to go no contact.

    • My monster actually said to my face, about 6 minutes after D-Day: “I’m trying to work on our relationship! In case the one with her doesn’t work out!”

      Once it worked out, it was, “I think a clean break is best.”

  • I had to deal with sparkledick for a few instants at our son’s wedding last June. Glorious Glittterballs arrives and comes over to me, all condescending, smiley and pompous to say hello. I told him not to bother and he leaves with a big sadz sigh of “Oh, how bitter”.

    Yeah, I am bitter! Gaaagghhhh. Like CL’s cartoon.

    • At our son’s wedding last year the Twat propped the bar up till 5 a.m. (so no change there then). Schmoopie left at 10 p.m. because “she couldn’t deal with all that French” (despite being seated at a table of English speakers). At least he wasn’t my problem to deal with that night, and though I didn’t want him to ruin my son’s wedding (he didn’t), as my sister said, there are enough of your son’s mates here to take him down if he tries anything stupid! Yay me – no longer my problem. Son no. 2 is getting married next year so hopefully rinse and repeat and then as far as I’m concerned he can disappear up his own arse somewhere!

  • Mine continues to ask me to “be friends,” even several years later. I think part of it is she wants “kibbles,” but I’m sure it’s for more of an emotional connection and self-esteem than turning me into another OM. However, I think it’s more about projecting an image to the rest of the world. “See, my ex is nice to me and can get along; what I did wasn’t that bad!”

  • I wanted to stay friends with my now XH, but it is not realistic. He said I was his best friend and he would still help around the house and do auto work , help in the orchard etc. Only difference now would be I would have to pay him for those things since he would be working for me. It sounded great at first and he did while we were officially separated but it was too painful acting like normal when he came over yet dying inside. Finally I told him that we couldn’t stay friends I mean what would we talk about the weather? We couldn’t truly share about his or my life because those things weren’t compatible to discuss anymore. My final cut loose of him was when he “friended” me on his fake Facebook AFTER we divorced. I had kept the personal situation off of my FB, but that I was incredulous about the friend request. I posted on my and his FB so that all friends would see that “with friends like you, who needs enemies”. Yep that post was deleted from his FB in under a minute, lol Don’t know how many saw but hope the OW did! He had to hide that to keep his image. Never heard from him again.

  • So very timely. Had these exact conversations with STBX last night (D Day was 4 weeks ago today – leaving me for current OW, confessed to others over appx 10 years of 23yr marriage).

    He made the comment that he’s always been a much better friend to me than a husband. I asked “what kind of friend hurts another like that?” And he stumbled a bit trying to respond, saying that friends can’t cheat on each other, so it’s different. I told him that it’s obvious he doesn’t have any friendships that he really values.

    Plus, I learned that for him it’s really all about the game, the secrets. No amount of love – for/from me, her, anyone else in the future – can cloud the thrill he gets by getting away with this stuff. I told him as much, and it felt amazing. All the energy I’ve been using to make sure we remain “friends” – I could feel that dissolve in a puddle, with nothing but strength remaining behind.

    I still put on a positive face until the court matters are done, signed, filed, stamped, whatever. I’m getting my blood money and moving on.

  • After he decided to move out but before he actually did and when I was still in the desperate hopium stage my ex said “I hope we can be friends someday”. That was such a crushing remark because it rubbed my face in the fact that he no longer wanted to be my husband.

  • About 6 months before I found out about Skankella. My Husband said” If we ever get a divorce we would be friends.” I laughed and told him if we ever divorced I would never be his friend. After I found out about his nonsexual affair(LOL) I realized that he was grooming me and maybe even making an ass out of me. The only reason why these fuckwits want to be friends is to have their options open. You never know it might not work out with the OW. And Chumplady is spot on. Cheaters are lazy. That is why my STBX picked my cousin. She was an easy target. And of course my cousin knew how to play the game. I refuse to be friends with my STBX. He gave up all rights to any relationship with me when he chose to cheat with my POS cousin.

    • That reminded me. When XH was talking to me about divorce, like the first few days, he sat at the kitchen table. I said, “You know what is going to happen if you pursue this, right?”

      “Y-yy-ess”, he replied, starting to cry, then in a high squeaky voice, “Y-ou are never going to talk to me again!” and broke out sobbing.

      Totally f*cking nuts.

      • HAHAHAAA! Sorry I’m laughing, but I got, “How can you possibly forgive me?! I’ll NEVER forgive myself!” his head in my lap and he had whipped himself into hysterics. The hysterics were for him and all he was losing, not for hurting me. I caught him cheating, immediately told him to get the fuck out. Sad sausage now has to adult and pay his own way.

      • Omg, Magneto they really are so much alike.
        After X moved out, he immediately filed for divorce. A few days after he filed he surprised me with a visit, he comes inside with this pathetic phony sad face, blinking his eyes, as if fighting tears, then tells me, “I don’t want this divorce,” Really? who files for divorce not wanting to be divorced?
        I wasn’t aware of the AP until about six months later. (although it was only obvious) I feel somewhat foolish now. I was still in my Hopium induced mindset, thinking he might be suffering from an undiagnosed brain tumor, or dealing with repressed childhood trauma.
        Reading through my RI C books learning more ways to show him what a sap I am.
        Chumpy Brit thought by being understanding and non confrontational, he would realize what devoted wife I am, then live happily ever after, never looking back..
        Without CL and CN I’d be in a hopium induced coma, believing his lies…
        Sad that I even listened to X’s endless lectures about his “integrity,” and high standards without laughing, he had me brainwashed, into actually believing that crap and thinking I wasn’t worth more than this..

  • If I had tolerated it, I’m sure Cold Slab O’Meat would have triangulated me. He would have even used visits with our daughters to show off his new sparkly life. Too bad my daughter refused to even entertain the idea of visiting his Schmoopie Sleepover Shack. It was easy enough to arrange visits with my stepdaughter’s mom. He responded by convincing his own daughter that visiting us was hurting the Sluterus’ Feelings. She responded by asking to live with her mom fulltime. Visits became fewer and fewer. His sparkly new life turned out to be poor and miserable and full of constant custody and Child Support drama.

    Oooooh. Let me get some of that sweet action! NOPE.

    I always though of it like this. What if the exact same series of events had been perpetrated by a friend or a friend’s spouse? Would I remain friends with that person? F NO I WOULDN’T, because I have actual standards for friendship. The fact that Cold Slab O’Meat lost the few superficial male friends he ever had after this and currently has none tells me that other people are also sane and don’t hang out with cheaters and liars and double life dickwads.

    This is exactly, btw, what our president does when he makes up vulgar names for his critics on Twitter and then has the gall to say “We must have Decorum.” Cheaters and liars love them some DECORUM. Because it handcuffs others from getting angry and stopping the cheating and lying.

    • Glad to see it’s starting to make sense JB. The further you get from her the more you’ll see her for what she really is.

      Good luck

      A

  • When I was pregnant with our 4th baby and going through a divorce from my abusive ex-husband, following his secret affair partner revealing their affair to me, my ex-husband would always, always whisper to me “We can be secret lovers”. I realized the first time this happened that he’d probably been making this “secret lovers” offer to women for years (and he’s probably still at it). Gross, no thank you. Stay the hell away from me. I will NEVER be anyone’s secret anything.

    • Wow, he let his mask slip with that one!
      Now you get to see the offer they make to OW, and who wouldn’t love that? ????
      Nice, some suave, self-absorbed wingnut letting you know he’d like sex with you, but you know, he wouldn’t want to be seen in public with you. Now there’s a great deal!
      A lot of this makes more sense when you realize how delusional they are, imagining the world is salivating over them!

  • Let’s see….

    For background, my Ex cheated and left me while I was going through chemo for stage 2 breast cancer. He left our 7 yo with me to take care of while he went out partying.

    When I was pick-me-dancing I told Ex he was my best friend, we could work this out and he told me that he didn’t feel like he was my best friend. Then a couple weeks later told me that he hoped we could be friends. I told him friends don’t do what he did to me.

    Months later, post divorce, he accused me of sending some magazine subscription to his girlfriend with an inappropriate last name. Harassed me for an entire day over it. At one point I asked him why he even cared to harass me over and over about this. He said maybe he gave me a heads up that she was mad because he still cared about me. This coming from a man who has repeatedly accused me and my family of being greedy and not normal, etc.

    They will say anything to get whatever they want. Period. Liars to the core.

  • Once again, I’m baffled by my cheat-and-abandon-when-caught stbx wife’s behavior in this regard. She wanted nothing to do with me, like I wasn’t worth even a second more of her time. In fact, I heard through the grapevine that she finally got her last name changed back to her maiden one, which I have been expecting since very early on in this process. She’s been papering over 12 yrs of memories with me ever since DDay. That’s why when people warn me that she might come back one day, I think, “Nope. Not this one. This one’s gone forever.”

    It’s for the best, and ever since she left me my life has drastically improved, but sometimes it’s still hard to shake that gross feeling that the Cheatress threw me out like I was trash.

  • I recently got an email from X, all bubbly and full of sparkly personality!*****!
    She knew it could not be possible, but she just turned retirement age and would be eligible to collect from my Social Security at no cost to me. She just needed me to send her my original birth certificate.
    It all flashed back.
    “I really hope when this is over that we can still be friends.”
    Followed by months of discovery of her afairs, hiding assets, breaking down doors, violating restraining orders, discovered secret emails with plans to cheat me out of house, and then spitefully forcing the sale of our children’s home.
    “No I replied. I don’t think giving you that important piece of personal information is a good idea.”
    Some friend.
    What she still tries to show off as sparkles, I recognize as short circuits in her cheaters brain .

    • I love your response to this! Let her figure out another solution, yep, on your own now.
      Was she truly shocked that she turned 62? What? I’m not 16? Hahahah

      • Yeah her solution was to try to pry it out of my 93 year old parents, who are still impressed by her sparkles. When they didn’t have it she pressed our adult son to reason with me. He stopped asking as soon as he heard more about his mom’s behaviors than he cared too. In response she got a terse reminder from me that we had agreed not to involve our kids.
        Back to no contact.

    • Excellant Loren-Awesome did t know that was required for x to get my as. -that will be a fun day to get that email from ex. Sorry no wifey duties to fulfill here. Figure it out. Hugs

        • I don’t think it’s required. My first husband died (not a cheater) and when I visited the social security office after his death I was told that I could collect his SS because it was more than I could collect. I don’t have his original birth certificate and they didn’t ask me for it. They have all that information in their computers.

  • I literally laughed when I read the title of this post. Not because I think the poster’s pain and confusion is funny, but because I constantly see my ex in these posts, over and over and over.

    My ex would love it if we (and all of his women) could just skip off into separate sunsets while he keeps the back door open to nibble on past candy any time he wants or when today’s fun times get boring. He came right out and told me that he “wants everything and more.” These people have insatiable appetites. They’re greedy, selfish and gluttonous, which is why they never truly want to give anything up. Discard? Sure. But keep a little string attached so you can come running just as soon as they come calling.

    • They have a black hole inside them, so no matter what they have, it’s never enough. That leads to the toddler ‘I want it all! It’s all MINE!’ attitude. Even if they GOT it ‘all’, they’d still be empty.

      Then they blame others for the emptiness and unhappiness, the constant dissatisfaction, the fact that even their pleasures and moments of happiness don’t last and leave them feeling crap again. Must always be someone else’s fault! Every single time! They would never consider looking inside.

      • Funny you mention the black hole because I’ve been saying for years now that he’s an emotional black hole. Emotional vampire just doesn’t cut it with him. With him, it’s everything in, nothing out. No light escapes.

      • The Dickhead was always complaining about what he didn’t have rather than being thankful for what he did. I reminded during the divorce that he had a nice big home, two wonderful kids, a great job, money to buy toys and go on his hunting trips. Yet, it was never enough. Heck, my sinister ex-SIL has money and she is frickin bored with her life. They have bought and sold 7 houses in 19 years.

        A little story about the black hole – back in 2007, the sinister ex-SIL couldn’t get pregnant (had tubes tied after 3 kids) and she was depressed and forelorn. She and her husband adopted a baby from Ethopia in 2008. Fast forward to today. She took him out of public schools because they supposedly weren’t meeting his needs. The real reason is she has started rental properties in Florida and needed the freedom to come and go as she pleases. My nephew has his mom and dad for company and that’s it. No sports, no outside friends, nothing. He leads a very isolated life. The Dickhead’s sister has a black hole just like her brother. It’s all about them and their immediate satisfaction. She also abused a little foster boy in her care but that’s another story for another day.

        Yikes, I’m so glad to never again deal with their fakeness.

        • I’d report her to whatever agency in your area protects children. Isolating him and neglecting his education is abuse. I’m assuming from what you said that she is pretending to “homeschool” him but is actually not doing shit. That’s against the law in most jurisdictions.

          I have an evil stbx SIL as well. She has an autistic son whom she uses like a houseboy and gets him to give her money to pay her bills from his disability check. He’s an adult so there’s nothing I can do about it. I also suspect her of elder abuse in neglecting her mother who is in her care and getting money from her. This bitch is an extreme narcissist to the point of being completely delusional about herself (thinks she’s destined for musical stardom at the age of 50 with zero musical talent), a total deadbeat and a grifter. She has always refused to work for a living and piled up debt after debt. She hasn’t had a home phone for about 20 years in order to avoid calls from credit agencies. I told my stbx to do something to insure his mother is not being taken advantage of, but of course he has done nothing. It’s no longer my concern and his mother is also an emotionally abusive, deadbeat grifter herself, so it’s not that I feel terribly sorry for her, but it bugs me no end. People shouldn’t be able to get away with things like that. The woman you are talking about and her husband both need to be held to account for abusing that child.

  • The last image I have of BoyMan is from our last Skype conversation almost five months ago: After he told me he “doesn’t want to talk about this stuff anymore” and I told him that we needed to deal with it if we were going to rebuild any kind of relationship, he shook his head “no.”

    Then he said, and I can still see his lips moving in slow-motion, “But….we….can….stay…in….contact…” To which I replied, “Now, you know I don’t stay in touch with exes.” Then I disconnected Skype. (And cried my eyes out, but that’s not true as far as he knows.)

    Because why on earth would I want to join the team of ex-girlfriends he pals around with at his convenience? I’ve read the messages and emails between him and them. They think he’s the only one who “gets” them and appreciates them for “who they really are.” (Hahahahaha, sure.) So they court him, while he shovels up the kibble with one hand and fends them off with the other.

    And for so many years, it must have been handy to have me, the chumpy long-distance girlfriend, as a shield, so he could respond to any feelers they put out with: “You and I had our time together, and it was wonderful, but now you have your life and I have NotAfraid and my own life, so we can’t go back to what we had. But I hope we can still talk, and maybe have coffee once in awhile. I would really enjoy that.”

    Fuck. That. Noise.

  • It was one month after D-day when I found this group, and one of the most powerful posts included the decoder phrase of:
    Charm/Self-Pity/Rage.
    The last phone call with my ex included a rapid cycling of this narc triad of mindfucking.
    I can still remember the sound on the phone line, when he realized that it didn’t work anymore. Gratitude to CL and CN, for this awareness- it saved me truckloads of pain.

    I would rather eat cat shit with a knitting needle, than consider “friendship” with someone who is an emotional cannibal.

  • Not only do they want to be friends, extended family expect it.
    My uncle said to me ‘oh when all is done I bet the two of you will be friends’ to which I answered, oh ya?
    Would you want your daughters to be friends with their husbands if they were fucking a cunt? Would that feel good for you?
    He looked at me with a blank face……………..

    Hell to the no! I want him erased from my life as much as humanly possible.

  • I tried to warn xh to not be so nasty and neglectful of our girls, he guffawed. He snootily advised me that “he didn’t need the likes of ME to get along with the kids”, – he cheated and abandoned us all, including taking the youngest’s car away. He immediately moved into love shack with OW, we did not hear a word, except for threats and drama from his attorney.

    Christmas eve of that year, 7 months after he left and in the midst of property fight, he texts me at midnight; “Hi. I hope you are doing well. I wish you’d have the kids talk to me.” I did not even think about it for one second.

    All I could remember was his snooty dismissal of my concerns earlier in the year. It was so bad, my attorney who had 32 years family law experience had never MET a man so disinterested in the welfare of his children. In 32 years.

    — I had no idea if the kids were texting him or not, but I refused to elaborate.

    I did break NC ranks for a bit and text “How dare you text me on Christmas?”.

    For the update, both girls, HUGELY successful, beautiful girls, have not had a real conversation (well, that ended well) in 4 1/2 years. XH was not invited to eldest wedding, nor have they accepted any gifts from crazy. It is sad, but I totally understand when girls refuse his batshyte attempts to talk.
    (They are only allowed to have an “adult” relationship with him, meet his girlfriend and NEVER speak again of the divorce. What a laughable POS.) With those pre qualifiers for this “fatherly attention”, I’m glad that they do not interact with the crazy, I understand their relationship is out of my lane.

  • My ex wanted to be friends. After he moved out, and my head started to clear, I realized the friends thing wasn’t going to work. A friend would NEVER use and abuse me the way he did. I told him I felt the next woman in his life (he denied he was still with his AP, which I knew to be a lie) would most likely not appreciate him being friends with his ex. He responded, “It’s not about what another woman wants, it’s about what I want!” Wow! A narcissist thinking about himself. How novel. After doing much research on personality disorders, I went no contact. I will not allow him to use me again.

  • I am not a narcissist. He left me for OW and felt we should remain friends. Delusional about how he left thinking he did the right thing. My thoughts after reading the 3 channel settings: rage, charm and self-pity confused me. As the chump I went through rage (at his action and betrayal), charm (played the pick-me dance) and self-pity (look what you’re doing to hurt me and the kids). Does that make me a narcissist in his mind? He’s called me the passive aggressive wife and rewrote history all while collaborating with OW about how awful our marriage was. Basically they became best friends through the separation and now are married. But I find it confusing to have had those same feelings. Am I the narcissist?

    • Certainly I had a bit of that going on as well. I tried to contain rage and self-pity because I didn’t want to look crazy or pathetic. Self-pity snuck through a few times while I was still in shock and thought that he would snap out of it if he saw how hurt I was. Rage leaked out a few times later on when I couldn’t keep it bottled in any longer. Of course charm (pick-me dance) was my primary channel for a while until I came to my senses and realized how pointless that was. Gray rock or NC are really the only ways you can maintain your dignity but it isn’t easy when you are still processing the end of life as you know it (or thought you knew it).

      Cheaters may be processing some of the same emotions when they start to lose control of the situation that they created, but in their case, they are trying to avoid the consequences of their own shitty behavior and that is what makes it so pathetic.

      • Hell, I wouldn’t bother to control my rage or my self pity even if I could. The SOB caused me to have PTSD and severe depression from his abuse and betrayal so he has to deal with the consequences. I’m 4 months from dday and making his life almost as hellish as he’s made mine. The one bright spot about my mental health issues is how miserable they make him. ???? Once I move out I’ll move on, but until I do, I’m milking his reactions for comedic value. It helps my depression. I’m going to start filming them for posterity. The best was when, in desperation, he actually offered to be my “eunuch” if I would stay. That one never gets old.

    • I had the same channels going on but I’m not a narcissist. I was in shock, in grief and complete confusion. Narcissists don’t really care about the others in their life except what they can get from them. It’s all a game. If you give of yourself with no expectations of return and with no conditions, you are not a narcissist. A narcissist/sociopath cannot do that. There’s always a hidden agenda.

    • People have real anger, sadness, and attempts to remind others of our value, when we are feeling rejected by someone we care about. The difference is, healthy people express those feelings, as they feel them. Narcs use those to try to manipulate others, that’s why the rage, charm or self-pity stops as soon as they see it isn’t working, or they switch to the next on their menu. Also why they are able to say all sorts of things while in that cycle, that they deny or completely forget, later.

    • @Live4myday

      It is more how you respond to others that makes you a narcissist. Not having these emotions to begin with. My cheater responded the following clearly identifying him as a disordered.

      Me: Are you still seeing the OW?
      Him: OMG, I do not want to go through this again. You are so obsessed. You need to let go, this is not healthy. A man can only take so much of this shit. I am not talking to her.
      Translation. His full on rage to distract me from him actually still seeing her.

      Me: You have hurt me a lot.
      Him; You hurt me, too. All the attacks on me three years ago. I felt so miserable and alone. I was in this loveless and aggressive marriage. That is why I started the affair. I hated my life.
      Translation: His mode of self pity, so he would not have to address any pain I was feeling.

      Me: Ok, you can have XYZ.
      Him: Thank you. You have always been so caring and good at this.
      Translation: Him charming me, so he will get what he wants.

      Does this help?

    • No, not at all. You weren’t doing it for the reasons narcs do; to get away with being assholes and to protect their all-important egos. You were using charm to try to hold on to a marriage. You were naturally enraged that he did you such an injustice by cheating. A period of self pity is also natural when you have been abused. We’ve all been there. A narc’s rage isn’t about genuine injustice done to them, it’s about petty wounds to their precious ego and not getting their way. Their self pity is about the that and the fact that they have to experience consequences for their awful behavior. They percieve consequences as unwarranted because they believe they are special and above the rules that govern human interaction. Their charm is used to help them get away with abusing you and to manipulate you into giving in to their selfish whims.
      So don’t worry.
      The very fact that you can examine your behavior and wonder if you are a marc means you aren’t one. They can’t do that.

  • NEVER …… A friend is willing to lay his life down for you. That did not happen, stayed 31 yrs until I cut off his “friendship”.

    Wish I had been aware of his true self before I wasted so much life on him. He left like a coward. 3 yrs divorced and Ive never had the desire to be his friend. He has tried to befriend me at family functions with our kids, grandkids. I ignore him like he doesn’t exist.

    I get to decide now who I become “friends” with and it will never be him again. EVER

  • I was a friend (and lots of other wonderful things) to the man I married. I have no desire or reason to be friends with the man I divorced. Why would I want to be friends with the devil? He threw our friendship away with his infidelity. He only wanted to be friends for impression management with our kids. “Look kids, this isn’t so bad. Your mom has forgiven me and we are going to be friends forever.” No thank you…not going to happen.

  • I had to break no contact with my ex because we were involved in a lawsuit for one of his medical bills that he didn’t pay while we were married (I HATE that creditors can come after ME for a bill that wasn’t even mine). Long story short, I had to pay the bill because they couldn’t squeeze money out of him (he closed his checking accounts so no money would get garnished). So I emailed him and told him I was selling off the old car parts he left behind in my backyard. He wrote back and was furious and insulting and firmly stuck on the rage channel. I quit talking to him and oh my gosh, I was such a bad person and he was finally free now after 18 years! I calmly told him to quit demeaning me and he said, ‘I don’t mean to demean you, but you push my buttons.” Classic abuser talk.

    Why does he still want to talk to me and remain friends? All of what CL said. All of it. He can’t stand that I don’t want to have anything to do with him. I don’t care. I really don’t. I feel nothing for him. Meh is an awesome place to be.

  • I told mine I have herpes! 😀 Done deal…now he has ended the connection…for good thank goodness. As if I’d want to be friends with someone who rapes women and then twists the story around to imply that they raped HIM!! I asked a woman he told me at the start did this and I believed him because he was so convincing with the cute puppy dog face…until I ended up in the same position. He gave her an std but chastised me for having sex with him without a condom (when he never actually gave me a chance to tell him as I was blacked out from too much ketamine that he fed me) so I figure it’s his karma now.

    Great way to get rid of one forever…herpes…the gift that keeps on giving.

  • At least for female cheaters, the friend card seems also to be a control card. (Do men care as much about controlling the running of the other household?) My chump knowledge is a bit second-hand. When I started dating my now-husband, I was horrified to hear about his XW’s many years of cheating, but then was shocked to see that she played at being friends.

    As an outsider, it was clear that she enjoyed having two houses to be in charge of. Her own little cottage with her AP and then our home where she still had a key to come and go and she pleased. She was all chummy with my 90-year-old, in-laws and then talked them into giving her a $100k loan. (This is all while she is receiving alimony and child support). I could go on, but basically she wanted to be in control of my husband’s life. It didn’t seem normal to me, and I found this site while googling for answers about whether it is better for the kids to be friends and how to co-parent with a narc. I was so relieved to discover the concepts of No Contact and Gray Rock.

    Our biggest challenge now is that she has the kids convinced that we (probably me) are the evil ones who are “not communicating with her.” It’s hard to argue with facts like her calling my husband’s employer to try to have him fired. (Even though we had just paid a lump sum buyout for alimony — trying to severe as many ties as possible. And we still pay her a giant child support check each month. Note: She had talked my husband into using a mediator rather than a lawyer. The result was he ended up giving her 60+ percent of what he was making.) But she is better at us at impression management so the kids don’t really understand how difficult she is to deal with. Not sure if they ever will.

  • Yes yes, the friend card. I took a hard pass on this one, pretty early on during the divorce. It drove him nuts that he lost “emotional access” to me, which meant less control over me–something he had been exercising plenty of for years. He threw many fits and I’m sure spins a sad sad tale about how I refuse to be his friend and how I stopped loving him which is why our marriage had to end.

    I take solace in the fact that anyone who even remotely knows me understands that I don’t jump ship without very good cause…the rest I could care less about.

  • Cheater was surprised that I don’t want to have any forms of contact with him. He wants to meet up and have a chat “You know I will never hit you. Why are you so scared?” calm voice and innocent face… still gives me the chills. Stuff that can only happen in a horror movie.

    • Ugh. This just triggered me.
      I would occasionally raise my arms as if to protect myself from being hit when my husband yelled at me. He said the same thing to me then.
      To this date, he still denies that he scared me repeatedly and actually stated that he was the one being abused by me.

  • Mine wanted to stay friends for impression management. He was such a bastard to me on so many levels that he knew my story would get back to all the new women in his life and he was concerned with how others would view him. Surprisingly, not one cared that he is a serial cheater because he is loaded with money and so are his new women. I don’t even know what to make of it, but I just try to let it go….quite unsuccessfully, I might add, but I try.

    Trust that they suck. And don’t stay friends. It’s just more abuse and leaves you feeling used.

  • I think a couple of comments earlier showed another dangerous aspect of ‘staying friends’, which is CONTROL.

    I know a couple where the wife recently fled from years of abuse. I know the male partner, who still says, ‘I hope one day X and I can catch up and have coffee … maybe be friends.’

    This man is borderline sociopath in terms of control, which is one of the reasons his wife fled. ‘Friends’ in this case means ‘keeping tabs on you’.

    I would be very wary of any ex who wanted to ‘remain friends’ – and insisted on busting my boundaries by doing Good Deeds uninvited. I would not be thanking him for shoveling the snow off the driveway; I’d be calling the police and having him warned for trespassing.

    BOUNDARIES. These fuckers have no respect for them, and they’ll try anything, including the Friends gig. ANYTHING to maintain a toehold of control or centrality in your headspace.

    ‘Remaining friends’ is a way of illegally obtaining real estate in your mind. These people are squatters. Evict them.

    I am also yet again struck at how much my Chumpy self misunderstood what friendship was, outside of the romantic world. I really didn’t understand the concept, so I put up with a ton of shit from bad partners – but also bad friends who were NOT my friends, with whom I had nothing in common and who did not have my best interests at heart.

    Chumps often are very confused about what a friend is, and isn’t. Hence the boundary-busting.

  • Mine tried to lure me to a vacation with the kids to visit Philly where they were born. ‘Let’s be friends! Let’s co-parent!’ [There is a long backstory where he moved abroad with them and caused me hell to see them for 9 years.]

    But when I asked to complete a child custody agreement, Rage Channel ensued. He cut me off the kids and despite my getting temporary visitation the past 2 years, the kids are totally indoctrinated and weaponized against me.

    However understanding what is going on i.e. the narcissistic abuse and the generational cycles it causes, has freed me to live a life of Meh.

  • It is not “friends” as normal people define it. It certainly makes zero sense that someone who could not wait to get out and away would want to retain anything resembling a friendship with the person that they left. It is opportunity, access and future assistance in anything that might be required. A favorable divorce settlement, spin on the story, or access to the children. No worries.. just as many are initially interested and involved parents, the majority tire of it quickly when it does not benefit them in any way. Cheaters are givers, not takers…don’t ever forget that.

  • What about when the ex husband says how great the affair partner is (moved her in to his house right after divorce was signed, now fiancé and will be step mom to my kids-she is in her 20s and we are in our mid 40s) that I will get to know her and really like her. What kind of F’d up thing is that, yeah that isn’t going to happen. I don’t buy the Gwenith Paltrow uncoupling bs when there is an affair and years of narcissistic abuse. Save it Gwenith.

  • I think this is a really individual thing, depending on circumstances , my Hs idiotic infatuation/emotional affair occurred 12 years ago but I only found out by chance 2 years ago, even though I struggle to get past it, if we do split I would want to remain friends if possible, it’s the deceptive behaviour I hate and the fact I saw what he wrote down about his feelings for someone else , not so much ‘him’ if you know what I mean. It has changed my romantic/physical feelings towards him , but I certainly could be friends

  • Mine felt that he’d still want to see me and talk to me since I’d been with him since he was 18 – he was now more than 50.
    My kids kept asking if dad and I would remain good friends…I said no we wouldn’t. Not enemies. Friendly even if we had occasion to meet…as in civil and polite…but not friends.
    Friends are people that you call up for a chat, get together with, invite round, be there for and turn too in times of trouble.
    Would it work if I called up and asked OW to put him on the line so I could tell him all about my situation at work?
    Would I invite him plus 1 if ever I have a party? Would they invite me? Should we still exchange cards and gifts on special occasions? Is that who I’d call if I just got fired, robbed, diagnosed with something awful? If I did would he be there to support me and would I want that?
    No…that friends thing won’t work. He is my ex spouse…no more and no less.

  • >