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Narcissist Goldfish

Here’s a chump rookie mistake — sending cheaters improving articles.

Please don’t do it. Worse, please don’t send them my articles.

Because invariably I’ll get a sniffy email that goes:

Dear Chump-Whatever-You-Are,

I am Priscilla Von HuffyPants and I am disgusted with a slanderous article that I just received where someone linked to this website inappropriately and forwarded it to me. I demand that you avert my eyes! And wither the fingers of anyone who would dare copy and paste such a URL! As the nefarious owner of said URL, you shall be hearing from my lawyer, Bartleby Upchuck, Esquire.

You are a sad, sick woman and your cartoons look like deflated socks. I hope you die.

Yours Deeply Offended,

Priscilla V. H.

I suppose this is supposed to have the intended effect of making me think twice before I write something pearl-clutching like “Sparkletwat.” Oh God, DON’T UNLEASH BARTLEBY! Whatever shall I do?! I’m married to a Texas trial lawyer who eats Bartlebys for breakfast!

Anyway, here I am. But back to you chump newbies. Please, for the love of all that is holy — NO CONTACT.

Did you read something interesting at Psychology This Afternoon that has trenchant insights about sociopaths? Do. Not. Send. It. To. Your. SOCIOPATH.

The disordered person is NOT going to have a deep moment of remorse. Shiny rays of self-awareness will not light them in an other worldly glow as they reach out to say, “I AM SO SORRY! I HAD NO IDEA!”

After an improving article they will not be nicer in the divorce/appreciate you more/release the hostages — they will keep being sociopaths.

However, they will enjoy the kibbles.

Okay, Tracy, but what if my freak isn’t a sociopath? Just a misguided person who tragically doesn’t love me anymore and had to express that with dating profiles?

NO! Don’t send them articles! Don’t try to shame them or chase them or laugh at absurdist New Yorker cartoons with them!

NO CONTACT. This person is your past. You’re working on a new future without them. They’ve demonstrated they DON’T CARE (Let me introduce Schmoopie), ergo YOU don’t care.

You certainly don’t care about educating them. Remember the words of our friend, Dr. George Simon — “It’s not that they don’t see, it’s that they disagree.”

This person fucking you over doesn’t have an insight problem (Wow! I never knew I was such a shit! This article just really explains it.) — they have a character problem.

Most of all — it’s THEIR problem.

You do you.

(And thank you in advance for not sending this article to Ms. HuffyPants.)

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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.
  • To the point! People who deliberately do mean cruel acts… Are not sorry one bit. We need to stop projecting.

    • Thank you! Sorry they got caught – that’s the only remorse they feel.

      I had to bluff mine into telling me the truth. I was pissed but told him he did the right thing by finally fessing up. He said, “It doesn’t feel like I did the right thing.”

      Oh…you don’t think you did the right thing by telling me? I see Thank you for confirming that sneaking out of the house to meet hookers while I slept didn’t make you feel bad.

      They feel bad for themselves – they are above reproach.

        • The Dickhead never wanted me to find out either. To know his true nature…he wanted to keep that hidden. Plus he wanted the use the narrative that we just drifted apart for his image management. Everything he did was about HIM.

        • Yep, I was told “you weren’t ever supposed to know” followed up with “if that psycho bitch hadn’t taken it to social media to trash my name, you never would have been hurt”.

          Not his fault, OW maliciously outed him, it’s all on her, she did this to me, he’s a victim too.

          • Yeah, because the hurtful part isn’t the lying, cheating, exposing you to STDs, their planning on blowing up your life, blowing up your kids’ lives ….. No, the hurtful part is you KNOWING about this stuff.

            • Yep, mine blamed me for ensuring that he can never find happiness with the OW because I revealed to his parents the websites for reporting cheaters/homewreckers that some other woman reported the OW on a couple of years before when she was cheating with her husband. Now his parents will never accept her.

              Ummm…how about your conservative Catholic parents never accepting the relationship because it’s an adulterous relationship, period? How’s that my fault?

          • I was told : “I knew it was wrong but I never thought I’d get found out” – WTF, no remorse, no “sorry”, no nothing.

            Leave these soul-less sorry excuses for human beings in the past where they belong !

        • Lol Rae

          Mine said,
          He completely forgot about me existing (we were married 18 years at the time with 2 kids); because the guilt would have eaten up him up if he had thought of me at those moments he was actively cheating (because he loves me so much).

          That one really confused chumpy me *smh*

          Also he kept swearing to me that he had to purposefully get drunk before hiring a prostitute because sober he wouldn’t have been able to handle the guilt. That is how much he truly cares. He couldn’t get it up if he was sober, because he loves me too much.
          I kept telling him if he made the choice to get drunk to cheat it’s exactly the same to me. He kept on with this narrative though- as if he were some doomed romantic that only cheated on me because he was forced to (ummm, yeah…. forced to by HIMSELF).

        • LadyLiar told me it was MY FAULT that I found out and because I was snooping! And that I MADE MYSELF UPSET and blew our family apart because I “had to go looking into things.” Seriously??

          • OMG – the Dickhead said the same thing about me. I was “poking and prodding” instead of just letting him control the narrative. I actually laughed, if your dick would have stayed in your pants, I wouldn’t have found anything. Idiots.

          • These remarks are all a variation on “You aren’t the boss of me.” The idea is that they are superior and should never be questioned.

            • I can’t tell you the number of times I heard that in the last year of marriage. I usually just shook my head because his comments were so inane or inappropriate.

          • Omg Curly

            Mine said the same thing… each and every time I came across new shit…
            It’s laughable at this point but it was mindfucking at the moment…
            Confuse your partner…

  • I’m glad I read this today – nearly two years out from DD day and in the mess of trying to get legal stuff sorted and he is being a jerk at every angle – I just got an email from my lawyer (I dont even want to know the costs of all this communication) and he is still being a dick – really felt like sending him a text telling him to just get on with things and stop messing us all around – but I’ve learnt over time that me sending him articles about the consequences of a family break up (intentional – his) and the damage and fallout, narcissist personality traits(his – unbeknownst to me until twu luv with ow raised its ugly head) wasted my time – I’m doing a good job of no contact since late last year – I keep telling myself why keep putting in the same effort if you get the exact same output every time?

    • Nini, I’m 3 years in and feel your pain.
      No contact has a serious price while divorcing as they won’t be anything but dicks, and all communication has to go through the lawyers.
      It’s worth it though. Every penny.

      Hang in there, stay strong, they’ll try anything and everything to wear you down. Every dirty trick in the book.
      Anything you’ve read here and elsewhere is possible.
      Some of it will knock you down, but get up, stand firm and know every time they try to hurt us, it WILL come back on them.

    • Nini:

      I must agree with BlueChumparoo… maintaining Zero Contact and having all communication go between the attorneys is Worth. Every. Penny.

      I went ZC about 15 months into our 3-year separation, and I think it actually disarmed him. He didn’t know what to do about the loss of control. He kept trying to get me to respond and react, but all he got from me was SILENCE. I’m now 3 1/2 years post-divorce, and have religiously maintained ZC (except for 2 totally unavoidable circumstances: divorce court and son’s wedding) and haven’t regretted it for a single moment. While he’s still scratching his nether regions wondering why I don’t want to be “friends“ and why I can’t “just get along“, I’m living in a sphere of peace and quiet, away from the mindfuckery, gaslighting and abuse.

      About 2 months ago, I received a certified letter in the mail from XH. Even after all this time, I was seriously triggered just by seeing his handwriting on the outside envelope Inside, I found information pertaining to a residual divorce-related issue that apparently, he’d just “discovered”. His cover letter asked me to contact him directly so the issue could be discussed and a resolution decided upon. Oh, HELL NO! I immediately emailed my divorce attorney and asked him to be my mouthpiece; he helped me to successfully navigate through the divorce process, and knowing I was ZC, he gladly stepped in again to pick up this latest baton. Judging from all of the subsequent email communication between my attorney and my XH (I was copied on all of it), XH was quite upset when he realized I was going to maintain ZC and would not take his “Let’s work on this together” bait. He was downright insulting and aggressive toward my attorney even though HE had initiated this entire situation. Then, out of nowhere, he suddenly backed off. Seeing him hit our brick wall and bounce right off was worth every penny of the $750 I just paid my attorney.

      • Red Sandals, thanks for ‘i was seriously triggered just by seeing his handwriting on the envelope’. YES! So true for me too!

        • Same. He sent our 22-year old son (who has chosen no contact) a birthday card. Postmarked on the day after his birthday. With no return address.*

          But I would recognize his psycho-handwriting anywhere. And it made me sad that it can still scare me, although I was heartened to also feel disgusted, too. Growth!

          My son was already back at school and instructed me to just put it on his dresser so he can toss it out himself when he gets back in May.

          *Rumor has it that he moved again, and won’t give the kids his new location. Secrets are so integral to his persona. He thinks he’s a “man of mystery,” but the kids and I just think he’s a delusional doofus who needs to feel he has something over on us.

          • oh my giddy aunt… .. wasband is the same way.. he cant keep an apartment and is forever moving from one address to another. he literally once told my then 14 year old son “Dont tell your mom where i live.” and “mom doesnt need to know where i live/my address”. .. . he also has told me on several occasions that it is NONE of my business where he is staying.. .. i

            *shrugs* i believe he is also a delusional dumbass wo need to feel like he has one over on me. i could care less where he lives, i just wanted to know where my kids were going to. i also used to send cards on fathers day and his birthday from the boys but now that the kids dont want anything to do with him or go with him to his house, i have never asked for his address again. dumb ass STILL has not noticed. his excuse was that supposedly i break into his truck or would mess up his truck/house if i knew where he lived.. .. although i never once broke or messed up anything of his in all the 15 years we were together. he needs to feel like i am chasing him even thou it was me who divorced him.

            you cant logic with crazy

            • My ex made accusations about us, too!

              He stayed in our old home after I moved out with the kids. A few months after we moved out, someone allegedly broke into his place and stole his expensive watches and one of the bicycles my kids had left there.

              He accused our 16 year old daughter of the theft. Fortunately, she was with me all day at a large CCTV covered shopping centre.

              He added an extra sliding chain lock to the door, claiming I or our 16 yo might attack him. He was the abusive one. I had left him because of emotional and physical abuse of the kids and me.

              All impression management, sad sausage bulls**t.

          • There are websites that can give you all that information if you truly want to know; it might cost about $20 for a month’s worth of info. It also includes family members and others whose names are associated with the subject (including yours and your children).

            In today’s world, there is NO Privacy.

        • I work in the same place as my ex. Just going into the building every day triggers me. Luckily I will retire soon.
          Seeing his name pop up in my email or if he texts has become such an irritation that yesterday I replaced his name with “bad penny” in my phone, because that’s what he feels like: a faulty object that repeatedly pops up at inopportune moments (and when he’s involved they’re ALL inopportune moments…).

        • Eegads… this envelope-in-the-mail thing is real! The Crazy Pants I had to separate from sent me a Christmas card, postmarked before his restraining order expired, but arriving after, so the court was not interested in re-upping the order.

    • nini,

      ” why keep putting in the same effort when you get the exact same output every time”?

      Brilliant!
      EXACTLY!

      Many hugs and best of luck in your endeavours.

  • “No contact is the path to the truth and the light!” So say AllOutOfKibbles and CL!

    Don’t send articles. Don’t send sappy, nostalgic emails imploring them to remember the good times. Don’t send rants. Be silent.

    One way feeds the beast and tells them they are still central. The other deprives then of supply.

    It takes some practice in the beginning but the longer you can go without contact, the easier it gets.

    • If you must rant (it can be cathartic), take your rant to the forums–inform your fellow chumps that you have this disastrous urge to contact cheater and talk reason to them, but are instead posting it in a thread.

      First step of healing, IMHO? Letting it sink in that you cannot.talk.reason.to.a.cheater. Water off a duck, and all.

      • Looking back, I think coming to a place of acceptance that it is futile to try and reason with him was both the hardest thing to do and the most healing. Finally getting to a place where “Trust he sucks” was absorbed and believed was the turning point for me. It is when I was able to finally cut him off.

      • I had a few posts like that. If you are going to the trouble to write a heartfelt letter to cheater, you might as well share it with people who will actually get it instead.

  • “No contact is the path to the truth and the light!” So say AllOutOfKibbles and CL!

    Don’t send articles. Don’t send sappy, nostalgic emails imploring them to remember the good times. Don’t send rants. Be silent.

    One way feeds the beast and tells them they are still central. The other deprives then of supply.

  • I didn’t want my X to be a monster. I’m 26 months from d-day and unfortunately that’s what she is. Full blow narc. Looking back I can see it now, I always spackled it with “she’s an only child.” The realization that she never liked or loved me, that I was always just the means to an ends is difficult to accept but it’s the reality. Anyway, new job, new home, new relationship, going back to school and debt free with plenty in the bank, I think I’m going to be ok. You will too.

  • I thank Google every day for bringing me to ChumpLady. When you are looking for articles about cheaters, narcissists, sociopaths, compulsive liars… you should start working on accepting what part of your brain already knows… you are not dealing with your average “oops I slipped on ice and fell into her vagina at the work Christmas party” cheater. When they are able to look you in the eye and PRETEND to be invested in your marriage and tell you they are innocent, the jig is up.

    For me, discovering this site and many others like it felt like I was discovering the backbone I needed to proceed with a divorce, stop pick me dancing, and file. It was my Secret Garden of knowledge and support. A safe place where I could be heard and hear others. It took me a year of coming to the site before I began sharing – my only regret there is waiting so long.

    When you are truly ready to move forward… you have to be willing to CHANGE YOU… not the cheater. Fuck them and file. You do you and as CL tells us… gain a life! You will gain nothing by continuing to feed kibbles of attention (they’ll take any – they’re whores, remember) to the cheater.

    Let this be your place to heal.

      • Ditto! I didn’t want to stay married but struggled to find articles supporting that decision.

        I was googling the ‘180 method’ which was recommended on another cheater forum. I admit to being confused as heck when I read the CL version but it was the best thing that could have ever happened!

  • Oh my goodness!
    Absolutely love this!!!

    Chumpy me sent articles during wreckonsilllyation.

    Know what it did?
    Made him ANGRY, and MORE abusive!

    How dare I suggest that he was anything other than godly. Ugh

    Listen to ChumpLady and don’t do it!

    *On a side note, got a counter to my counter to his counter of my settlement agreement. Hell is literally freezing over at my home “real feel” -58, but I think we’re done. Holding my breath until I talk to my attorney in a few hours.

    Our final move was to subpoena his super sparkly schmoopie skankawhoreus slut. Three years of her spending money on our marital credit card, so we subpoena’d everything. Bank statements, credit cards, loans, car insurance/payments, anything and everything for the past 3+ years!
    Any normal person would be flipping out, but since SHE JUST GOT DIVORCED her paperwork should have been easy to gather, right?! Lol
    But OH NO, dickwad McGee couldn’t have that! So …..🎵here he comes to save the day🎵 swoops in at the last second to save her! (but more importantly to manage his image.)
    Paperwork is due tomorrow.

    God Bless my rediculously disordered former friend OW#too many to count….soon to be wife #5. She really did save me. Platter of freshly baked bitch cookies on her doorstep. Can’t hand deliver because she’s scaret of the crazy ex wife (me).

    • “Hell is literally freezing over at my home “real feel” -58” Same here. Brrr. Anyway, I hope your divorce goes through quickly and in your favor now.

      • Stay warm and safe dear US friends! It sounds scary where you are. Down Under where I am it’s heatwave, droughts and floods further north. Your Arctic cold sounds far more brutal!

  • As a Class A Chump who has committed this very mistake, please listen to Chump Lady: sending these articles to your Sparklewits is a TOTAL WASTE OF TIME.

    I cringe in shame when I remember that I wasted my precious energy on this.

    AND sending these types of improving articles gives them the worse kind of ego kibble. I now understand the evil glint in Sparkledick’s eye when I would give him these improving articles. I used to think he was feeling offended by them. But his reaction was actually was a kind of duping delight: ‘my chump worries about me.’

    Chump Lady and Chump Nation are about improving OUR lives.

    • “As a Class A Chump who has committed this very mistake, please listen to Chump Lady: sending these articles to your Sparklewits is a TOTAL WASTE OF TIME.” Wow, how I wish I could go back a year and stop myself from sending cheaters improving articles. I even sent one to the OW. STOOPID!!! He left January 18, 2018 after I found out the 3rd DD. I finally had enough. Our divorce went through June 6th and he moved her to my town two weeks later a mile up the road. I literally have to go right by her house to go to my moms. TOTAL WASTE OF TIME!!!

    • Luckily i was saved from doing this. I had only sent one to his email. we were still married and still living together. it was the beginning of the end, when i was blissfully unaware that he was searching for his replacement wife appliance. .. . and still believed we had a good thing but just having “problems”

      so that one email that says something from a mans perspective on how he should have treated his wife and didnt realize how much he loved her until he left. that one that says he wished he knew this 15 years ago or something. (it has been a while and i am MEH, so i dont remember exactly).. anyhow, something about how to treat your wife better.. AND wasband NEVER OPENED IT. i had his password to his email, i purposely waited .. .. and waited and waited to see if he would open this email from me. his wife. i would log in his email every day to check to see if he read it because i was so sure he would get a clue and snap about how poorly he was treating me. .. . but he never opened it. never read. i remember once he was in his email on our family computer that was in the living room. and as i walked past him, i pointed to my email and told him, you really should read that…. and STILL he never did.. ..

      for me, it was the beginning of my understanding just how little i meant to him. that he just did not really care or have feelings at all for me or my feelings… . a year later we were divorced. But it was so heart wrenching at the time for me to see that unopened email in his inbox day after day.

    • Absolutely no reason for you to “cringe in shame.” I tried like hell to “educate” my X as I urged her to see a therapist with me, but it was no different than me trying to get her to eat healthier because her cholesterol was high or to see a doctor because she had a skin lump. I genuinely thought I was looking out for my partner, my relationship, and my family — the vow I took when I committed to her. I regret wasting so much of my life investing in this person, but I will not feel ashamed or embarrassed for being a decent, kind, caring human being.

  • AND it teaches the most clever of them how to not APPEAR to be the sociopath they are. It’s like sending the pervy neighbor boy a How-to-Avoid Rapists manual that was written for vulnerable women, hoping that all the things women have to deal with in order to not get raped will inspire him to not rape.

    Stop sending them the damn handbook.

    • ^^^This is so true!
      By “sharing my vulnerabilities” I taught my abuser exactly how to hurt me the most.

      • So very true…I trusted that he was a decent human deep in his soul …one that simply got upset easily and struggled with accountability. Christian marriage books told me to go to him and speak kindly and communicate to him…which I did..and he used it all against me.

        Not long before he died, I did a little experiment giving him a specific piece of information that would classify as a “vulnurability” to see how long it took for him to fashion it into a weapon to cause pain. Answer: about 2 weeks.

        “This person fucking you over doesn’t have an insight problem (Wow! I never knew I was such a shit! This article just really explains it.) — they have a character problem.” this this this this
        If my 2019 self could tell my 1998 or 2001 or 2005 or 2007 or 2011 selves something, it would be this…and I would corner my younger self and beat the shit out of them with this information:

        “In this life, he will never ever ever ever be ‘better’…he will be a selfish mean asshole who occasionally pretends to care until his dying breath…do you UNDERSTAND ME!?!”

        • OMG UnicornNoMore!!!!
          I too did the exact same test on my cheater. I had just read Chumplady for the first time and was so turned off by how “negative” everyone seemed. But I couldn’t shake some of the things I’d read here. Finally I decided to put it to the test. My cheater failed hard. He tried to weaponize my pretend vulnerability and use it against me.
          That was the first time I really understood that he was not my friend, had never been my friend, and was in fact the enemy. Somehow despite all the abuse and cheating I couldn’t quite believe it until I had tested it out for myself.
          After that I was a huge CL fan.

        • i never realized it until AFTER my divorce. (well more like a year after my divorce, after i cried every single day for 10 months straight).. .. but looking back i finally realized that wasband used my love for him against me. he used my kindness and my support and my understand against me so he could fuck me over again and again..

          he tried it last year, around fathers day, and this time i caught on right away. i was able to see how he was trying to jerk me around so i would do what he wanted me to do.. .. it was super amazing to watch with your eyes open. And once you are aware, it doesnt work anymore. problem is i doubt i would have become “aware” while i was with him. you only see what you want to see. it was not only him pulling the wool over my eyes, there was a part of me that was holding the wool in place over my own eyes also. there were times where my spidey senses were tingling and going off and i chose to ignore them because i did not want to KNOW what was really going on. .. ..

          it take time. at some point you just cant take anymore.. .. up until that point thou you refuse to see it. chumplady is awesome with her straight to the point, no holds barred, slap in the face way of addressing the issue… you just cant misread or white wash the information she is putting out there. i had read other sites and wasnt completely prepared for what they were telling me in their sugar coated, RIC, nobody is to blame way.. .. until i stumbled upon chumplady, and had her tell me point blank HE IS not MY PROBLEM any more and to ignore him.. i was able to face the truth.

          Life is so good on the other side.

          • I saw this one while he was alive, but there were SO MANY things I still kept the wool pulled over my own eyes about until way after he died…I was way too afraid to make the needed decisions I would have to make if I admitted the truth to myself.

    • Oh, yeah, and don’t give the ex you are divorcing any unnecessary documentables that can be twisted in the ex’s favor.

    • This>>>>”AND it teaches the most clever of them how to not APPEAR to be the sociopath they are..”

      I have said this before. My ex is even more dangerous than when I first met him when he was 19 years old. He’s had years and years to perfect his craft of deception, manipulation and cheating. And I added to his learning by handing over information.

      I gave my ex a Christian book, “What a Difference a Daddy Makes” years ago, because my ex used to work seven days a week and pretty much ignored the kids and I. He did read the book and he cut down to working six days a week. Well…….fast forward about ten years and he used something written in that book in the Divorce Letter as a reason for his “unhappiness” and having to divorce me. What I meant for good was used for evil. The “Love and Respect” book was used against me. His employer sent him to a coach and what the coach taught him, that was used against me and to justify why he had to have emotionally close relationships with tons of women. I could go on and on with examples on how information teaches them to be a better liar, cheater and manipulator.

      For people with a conscience, it’s really hard to understand and accept “It’s not that they don’t see, it’s that they disagree.” For years and years I thought that something was wrong with me and I just needed to be a better wife/lover/friend/person. And I read tons of self-help books trying my best to improve myself. And the outcome for all my hard work? I still got cheated on and lied to non-stop. And why? Because I was married to someone character disordered. In quite a few books I read, the author said to “ask your best friend” if there is anything you could improve on about yourself or something like that. I asked my ex-husband this question a few times and he always told me how “perfect” I was and he couldn’t think of anything that I could change. Now I know I’m not perfect, but I know I was a great wife and mom. When you are reading books on how to improve yourself and implementing what you learn, you do become a better version of yourself. Now after D-day and post Divorce Letter, he tells me what a horrible, controlling and judgemental person I am (plus other stuff I never knew existed). I said to him, “I asked you so many times what I could do to improve myself and you always told me that I was perfect and you couldn’t think of anything.” He paused for awhile (while he thought up a lie to tell) and said to me, “It’s not my responsibility as your husband to tell you what you are doing wrong.” I said back to him, “So if your best friend, Scott, asked you what he could do to improve himself, you would say that same thing?” And he paused and said, “Yes.” See, you can’t win with a disordered person. Anything and everything will be used against you if it helps them.

      And here’s a little nugget about a confirmed cheater and family killer: Shannan Watts sent her husband a marriage self-help book in the mail while she was out-of-town. What did he do with it? He threw it in the garbage all the while he was PRETENDING with WORDS “to work on the marriage”. And then he threw his family of four away like garbage. Sociopaths/psychopaths/character disordered don’t want to change, because their way of life works for them and they like it that way. I unknowingly helped create an even more evil cheating/lying monster with all my self-help knowledge. The Divorce Letter is chock-full of nuggets of self-help book wording, but somehow he word-saladed it and twisted it all around to justify his actions. I will never ever give a self-help book or anything like it to anyone ever again unless they come to me seeking wisdom or guidance. I have learned my lesson the hard way.

  • I did the chunky thing and sent texts to Dickhead, one about his reaction to his son’s recent bipolar diagnosis (receiverd back the most inane response that sounds like his sinister sister) and one that I sent him about he left me with a broken heart and went straight to her (no response).

    I should have known that I would get nothing back. He didn’t care. He didn’t care enough about me to not cheat. An emotional text was just an annoyance to him.

    You are wasting your words, emotion and time on someone who just wishes you would go away. You want to make them feel – and they can’t.

    • I bought (and read) books on living with bipolar for my bipolar diagnosed ex. I read them, he didn’t! Sorry buddy, there is help out there but you’ve got to be the one to take it. Otherwise, continue on your path to self-destruction!

      • I have hypothyroidism that got bad – extremely sore joint, stiff painful muscles that made it hard just walk 20 feet. I don’t think the Dickhead ever bothered to do any research to better understand what was happening to me. He thought my reluctance to do anything was due to laziness and being overweight. He never said those words but I knew what he was thinking.

  • The articles just teach them how to hurt you worse and validate to them that their methods are effective at fucking you over.

    • We see what we value. Just as Chumps value commitment and ‘saw’ the good in our spouses; Cheaters value their entitlement, so they only see what will justify their choices.

  • Something I didn’t realize for some time was that any attention was like catnip to a cheater. Even if you tell this person “you’re awful, horrible, selfish, and a terrible kisser” you’re letting that person know that he or she occupies a large piece of valuable real estate in your mind. A nice person — like a chump — would immediately worry what he or she has done to earn such vile. A cheater? In a twisted way, it’s enjoyable. “Oh, look, this person I hurt so badly STILL cares; it’s still all about me, me ME!”
    Which is why “no contact” is so wonderful. It solves so many problems. It sends a message to a cheater that no one gives a rat’s hind end about about his or her little emotional boo-boo’s (because no one does).

  • During my brief reconciliation I asked STBX to read a book I was reading. When he didn’t, silly me confronted him on this and he snapped at me and told me I was being impatient, as always. He was busy reading “other things right now.”
    That did it. No more books, no more patience, no more waiting around for him to show actual remorse and stop blaming our marriage as the reason why he had to stray. While it is true that most cheaters don’t want to face the consequences of their actions with integrity, I believe many, mine especially, just aren’t that deep emotionally. But whatever. I’m done trying to communicate with him in any meaningful way. I can’t do NC since we are still living together and trying to figure out who should leave. He tries to talk to me as if we r still together and I should care about his day at work or the repairs he is making in in the kitchen (to the disastrous home improvement project he decided to work on). I grey rock as much as possible and answer in single syllables or simple nods when the kids aren’t around (I try to be a bit more civil for their sake).
    But, oh, how I look forward to the day I wake up in a cheater free home…

    • Zoe is (rightly) Pissed!!

      Impatient?! HAHA How dare we ask the arsonist to go fetch a pail of water for the blaze they caused! Sorry you have to live with that dick for now.

      • Thanks, Sweetener. I am definitely 1000% pissed! Living with the cheater is the absolute worst. And I try so hard to be civil for our kids sake. But I know, because I read here all the time, that there are better, happier and more peaceful days to come. Just holding on until then, channeling the anger into getting what I want from him and this divorce, and practicing what self care I can. Thanks to all u generous chumps who have and continue to offer your support.

    • During our brief attempt at reconciliation the MC assigned a book and we were to read the first chapter. I read it immediately. He put it off and then decided to give up on reconciliation and run off with Schmoopie instead. If he had to improve as well as me then it wasn’t worth the trouble.

      • Oh yes, and before that the MC had assigned an article (that I agree had no substance) and ex said all he got out of the article was “the author’s second marriage worked out just fine”. I was devastated by that remark. Even the articles assigned by someone else and not me were used to cause me pain.

  • The early days are so difficult, even if you know it is over: that what he/she has done is totally unacceptable, and your head is screaming, No! It is over!”.

    Your heart says otherwise. You are traumatized. You cannot believe what has happened to your life. You have gone to the wrong therapist. Your friends are sick of listening. You are drowning, and your heart says that he/she has a lifeboat.

    You will make a mistake or two, at the beginning. I did, as bad as what my insane “sex addicted” (cluster B) XH confessed to. A gift. A call when the dog died. An email. I hurt so badly. He lapped it up like honey.

    Then I found ChumpLady. And an abuse support site. And the right therapist. And No Contact.

    Three years out, I ache reading here, remembering that confusion and pain. I feel sick thinking about those pitiful reachings out.

    But truly. Trust Tracy. Come here and scream and cry. But DO NOT reach out with love to them. It gives them pleasure. It makes them feel justified. It makes you feel like a fool.

    Hold on. It passes. And life is wonderful on the other side.

    • “DO NOT reach out with love to them. It gives them pleasure. It makes them feel justified. It makes you feel like a fool.” Perfectly stated. So thankful for CL and CN putting into words my exact thoughts.

    • Thank you,I needed to hear this today. I signed my separation agreement yesterday and spent the evening ugly-crying. I’m not sad about leaving him. I’m sad about losing the life that I thought I had, and now seeing my kids every other week because he thinks he wants to coparent 🙄.
      In the early days after D-Day, I sent him articles. I know I know. It didnt “change” him or wake him up into a better human being. It just convinced him that I would do all the work to make our reconciliation happen. And all the while…he kept on being a dick.
      I cried last night because I lost the family that I thought I wanted my kids to grow up in. And I realized he was never the partner that I thought he was going to be.
      Also, I had a brief coffee date last night (yes on the day I signed, it was just coffee). He is a nice and decent man, a widower, and told me his short list of deal breakers. #1 was infidelity.
      So, there are decent people out there. With the same goals and character as us, just waiting to be found. I dont care if I ever remarry, or decide to not date, those are not my goals. But it was just refreshing and reassuring to meet someone last night who was the polar opposite of my stbxh

      • Melissa, please be careful. You are very raw right now.

        When I read your last paragraph, it sounds like you’ve already decided that this man is nice, decent and shares your values.

        You’ve already decided this – based on one brief coffee date.

        Time and further acquaintance may reveal that he’s a shape-shifter who mirrored you on your first date to reel you in further. But will you be able to see that, if you’ve already decided he’s the polar opposite of your ex?

        This is why it’s not a good idea to date even casually when you’re in the process of divorcing and healing – you will only see what you want to see, because your head is still spinning, and will be spinning for months.

        Take care. (And ask me how I know.)

        • Thanks Lola,
          I also worried that I’m dating too soon. I’m not afraid to be alone, but I don’t want to be alone all the time.
          I think a part of it is that I like hearing other men tell me that I’m interesting and attractive. It’s an ego boost, and I recognize that.
          Thanks for your advice, I will heed it!

          • Here is my wish for you: that you come to like knowing you are interesting and attractive without hearing it from men you don’t know.

            • So true, LAJ.

              I got into a relationship two months after my divorce was finalized. (18-year marriage.) And yep, I saw only what I wanted to see in him. Things I chose to ignore? The fact that his ex-wife was totally grey rock with him. That he watched a lot of porn and struggled with ED. That he had no friends at all.

              But he was hot and smart and well-traveled! Ugh.

              He cheated on me. That’s how I ended up here, by Googling ‘cheating early in a relationship.’

      • Hang in there, Melissa. Cheaters don’t want to do day-to-day parenting. I’ll bet you’re posting here shortly that the Cheater wants less & less time parenting and your kids are with you 99% of the time. In the kid free time, lots of self-care and pedicures and go to the gym, spa, library. But I bet your kid free time will get less & less as Cheater needs to deal with homework and school projects and laundry. 🙂

        • Your prediction will likely come true. I feel like I have a very limited time to do coparenting and he could quit at any moment. I will take care of me in the time I have just for myself.

  • I made this mistake several times. The cheaters don’t care and sometimes use the articles against you. Face the fact it’s a loosing battle. Win the war by walking away and creating a new life. If there is a small microscopic chance the cheater will finally change. It’s during that moment you started building your new life. By then you realize who they really are and don’t want them back.

  • This! I sent an article one to STBX after DDay #1 and he was livid that “how dare i not communicate with him” and “act like i’m better then him” and at the end of the day his reading comprehension of the entire thing was basically so off the mark i wondered if i had accidentally sent him something wrong.

    Realized it was pointless, thankfully didn’t make that mistake twice.

    • 2nd time. Oh yes, my ex’s comprehension was so off the mark it was scary. I could send him a piece of paper which would say “white” and he would swear it said “black”. You can’t negotiate with these types!

  • As someone who’s been living in Meh for 4 or 5 years, (see, I can’t even remember the date of the divorce) don’t lob kibbles their way. Ever. It just makes them giddy that you still care enough, even if it’s just to bitch and tell them off. In the beginning, the temptation will be strong but just don’t. Also, it makes the OW/OM feel super special that there you are, still living in rage and hurt or whatever. They feel like they won a prize, your ex!

    I had to have some conversation with my X about two years ago in regards to some crap he believed he left in the attic of our house. (Yeah, sure he did.). Nothing gave me more joy than hearing the disappointment in his voice when I didn’t sound startled or excited to hear from him. He kept trying to make small talk, little questions like, “So, how have you been!? It’s so good to hear your voice!” I was completely disengaged. I’m all, “Yep everything is good. Say, I was just walking out the door. Take care.”

    All that no contact works wonders. Stick to it.

  • While I’m not sure what HE means when he says it, in the last year my ex has been known to say outloud he’s a jerk. Not in an insightul, preoccupied “what-have-i-done” way, just a smug “yeah, that the way it is” way, but nevertheless HE KNOWS he’s a jerk. There is a bit of softness when he says it, like a child having a moment of introspection, he’s not trying to provoke a reaction when he does it, but that’s really as far as it’ll ever go.

    Good news is, now we’re all caught up, trust that they suck. Moving on.

    It’s even worse, you know? They know they’re jerks, so why not actually do something about it? They might be trapped in their own misery, but we don’t have to be.

    • Mine said: “I am a dick in arguments”. Not sure why this is any justification, but he used it to justify why he would always win in arguments and fights. Yet, he called me controlling.

    • Mine is probably proud that he finally learned how to be an asshole. He used to consider being called nice an insult because “nice guys finish last”. He thinks being an asshole is the key to happiness. Personally I think he lost a lot by being an asshole but I guess he feels differently. I still find being considered nice (as in kind, not fake nice) a compliment and I have no desire to change even if I don’t always get what I want. To me the means is just as important as the ends.

    • My Ex, in his various hoovering attempts, before I found CL (although I already knew there wasn’t going to be any 2nd wreckonciliation), would sometimes do the timid forest creature version of this. He’d say ‘I haven’t been a good husband….’ all sad sausagey. Then look at me out of the corner of his eye.

      He wanted me to jump in and reassure him that he was a good husband, with perhaps a few tiny flaws, a good dad, a good person. Nope, not going there any more.

      As a matter of fact, just remembered that during his very first round of hoovering, I was explaining why I wasn’t interested in ‘trying again’, despite missing him, despite the kids missing him, despite his missing us (nah, he was missing his cushy life and family-kibbles!), the financial hit a divorce would cause …. I very gently mentioned some of the bigger things he’d done over the years and then around the 2nd affair, and said ‘I always knew you were messed up, I knew you had a very difficult upbringing yourself, I knew you didn’t really know how families and relationships should work. But I always thought you had a good heart, and that you really cared about me and our kids. But now I see things differently. I think you’re not a good person.’ He looked kind of stunned and left. In an e-mail later, he said something weird and flakey about how important it was that he understand that, that he wasn’t a good person, and thanked me for telling him.

      But of course, that didn’t stop him from continuing to do the things a bad person would do. ESPECIALLY once he realized I really, really, really wasn’t taking him back, and even more so once the kids decided they’d had enough of him. Sigh.

      I spent 15 years explaining basic adulting and basic caring to this shithead. Offered books, articles, discussions ….. Explained until I was blue in the face. Our couple therapist explained, our kids explained, the family therapist he saw w/the kids explained. He’d have a moment of insight. It never lasted. He’d say the right words. Then continue to do the wrong things.

      CL led me to Dr Simon, and finally understanding that he just SUCKED. It wasn’t that he didn’t agree or didn’t understand. He did not care.

      • They are definitely not looking for how what they did was horrific. They are looking for ways to justify their choices.

        ‘Cuz it’s all about them!! (if CN had a national anthem that would be a line in the song)

  • My STBXH didn’t read. He had a shelf full of books with provocative titles just to make people think he was edgy and well read. ‘Porn Nation’ and ‘Galileo’s Middle Finger’ are two that I remember. He never even cracked the covers.
    This dick wanted me to take a personality test shortly after d-day so we could “understand each other better”. One of those INFJ-whatever things. He had done one for work recently & asked if I wanted to read his results. I said, “have YOU read your results?” His answer was “No”. I walked away.

    It all fits the profile though. After D-Day I literally could not stop reading articles. It drove me crazy that Creature hadn’t scanned a single website or advice column. In fact, shortly after I moved out he told me his therapist recommended a book about life after cheating. He wasn’t going to read it though, on no, he wanted to send ME the Amazon link hahaha!! He didn’t even offer or pretend. I thank him for saving me some time & confusion…and a few bucks!

    • It’s all about appearances. When Hannibal Lecher moved out (but refused to come home to pack his own stuff), he asked that I send just enough books to have his bookshelves half full. Didn’t care what the books are, so he didn’t even ask for his supposedly-beloved set of Proust, nor his volumes about his beloved Oxford, nor even his titillating Gentleman’s Alphabet Book. Only wanted the “image” that he was well-read.

      • Just enough to cover the shelves, huh?
        That’s rich! Totally believable though! How nice of him to let you keep the rest of his garbage.

      • Oh my gosh. The image. It reminds me of my stbx who told me I can have sole custody of our son, but he wants it to say joint on paper because he doesn’t want it to look like he just gave up his son. 🙄 Also, will save him some money on child support. 🙄

        • Sometimes that’s a great deal, especially if you can manage w/o the child support. I actually hope he wrote that somewhere, a text or e-mail. Save it, in case you ever need it for a judge, or your son, when the fuckwit starts claiming parental alienation is the reason your son wants nothing to do w/him.

      • titillating Gentleman’s Alphabet Book… hehehehe

        The opposite from the jerk in the film “Roma”, who left the books and took the bookcases.

        BTW, Chumps, you have got to see this film. It is beautiful and I love the scene where Alfonso Cuaron’s mom tells him and his siblings about their cheating father and assures them that it will be a new adventure, for them not to fear anything. I felt very comforted. That is what we are on, a new adventure!

  • My spiritual bodyguards are taking care of him while I get on with me. I can’t afford to waste one more millisecond of my life in futile and unworthy pursuits. Whatever I think HE needs to do, I check my own inventory to see if I have checked that box for myself. I hate hypocrites, beginning with me!!

    When I improve myself, every person, place, thing, and situation that is not in my best interests goes away, and I need to let whatever it is go so Nature can fill the vaccuum with the better person, place, thing, or situation.

    I KNOW I do not belong with a liar and a cheater who is an UNSAFE UNTRUSTWORTHY VERY SICK PERSON. EMOTIONALLY DANGEROUS. Like a blue flame bonfire.

    I will put the lipstick on ME instead of the pig. It will look better on me and is the highest and best use of my time.

    DETACH (the path to healing) means

    Don’t Even Try To Change Him/Her

    (Credit to a fellow 12 step chump here!)

    • “When I improve myself, every person, place, thing, and situation that is not in my best interests goes away, and I need to let whatever it is go so Nature can fill the vaccuum with the better person, place, thing, or situation.”

      Velvet Hammer, this is a perfect explanation for why turning our focus to our own lives works so well. I like the idea that “Nature can fill the vaccuum with the better person, place, thing, or situation.” For sure, when we work on ourselves, we are also no longer attractive to abusers. There’s a reason why the predator seeks out the wounded animal in a herd.

  • Prior to kicking my STBX out of my house 17 months ago, I did the Pick Me Dance for years. I now cringe when I think about the number of articles and books that I read, highlighted, and gave to my STBX in an effort to get him to understand what was so painfully obvious to me. I must have hoped that the reading material would somehow cause him to have some sort of epiphany about his conduct and his treatment of me. On one occasion, he skimmed a book about narcissists that I was reading, and he was completely shocked — I mean completely shocked — to learn that I thought he was a narcissist. He did not see himself in the description of narcissists at all. (Meanwhile, I thought that the book could have been written about him).

    On another occasion, I gave him a book about how to help your spouse heal from your affair — he was supposed to read the book to understand what he needed to do to help me heal from his affair. After about a 20 minute perusal of the book (he claimed he “read” it, but that was just another narcissist exaggeration/lie), he told me that even if he did everything that the book said to do, it wouldn’t change the way he felt. I swear he said that. I explained to him that the point of the book was to help ME heal from HIS affair, not to help HIM with whatever he felt.

    I now finally understand, at a gut level, that what Tracy says is absolutely 100% true. There was/is no point in giving my STBX any reading material, ever. First, he probably won’t read it. Second, even if he reads it, he will NEVER “get” it. He will NEVER have any epiphanies about his behavior. He will NEVER see himself as disordered or at fault for anything or to blame for anything or as requiring help. He simply can’t do it.

    All of this is why No Contact makes so much sense. There is zero point in my ever having a conversation with my STBX about anything. Honestly, I don’t know how I engaged with him for as long as I did.

    • “I mean completely shocked — to learn that I thought he was a narcissist”.

      The reason that is is a waste of time is that they are so damn shallow. That is why they cheat in the first place

    • My stepdaughter was diagnosed with narcissistic tendencies about 8 years ago. Ever since, the Dickhead goes around saying that that her mother (the first ex) was the narcissist. She’s not. He portrays himself as the victim but I lived with long enough to know who’s the narcissist. He has either convinced himself he’s not or he has never thought about himself as being a narcissist.

  • I want my stbx to remain a complete arse, then Slaggy-Anne gets the boyfriend she fully deserves. He will remain a miserable old moaner.

    So I’m keeping all gems of articles about his toxic character to myself just in case he does take note and improve. All indications are he is a full caricature of all the miserable traits he previously had and then some plus he’s now in extreme debt. That adds stress to his and her misery.

    • I feel the same way! I don’t want to give him any clues about what a selfish, entitled ass he is that could possibly help him improve himself and make his relationship with the ho-worker any better. He was an alcoholic, workaholic dick when I was married to him so she can have just that. When he said “I thought you’d be happy for me” about his relationship with the ho-worker, I realized what I was dealing with. I don’t know the last time he truly cared for me. Most likely many years ago, if he ever really did.

      He wanted to “talk” and do something as a family back at Thanksgiving time and I refused. I’m being the best gray rock co-parent that I can be. CL’s advice is wonderful. I know that my NO CONTACT bothers him and it’s great. All I want is for him to keep being a decent dad, paying your child support and alimony, and leaving me the F^*% alone.

      I read so many books during wreckonciliation that I wanted him to read too. He did so little. His head and his dick were already out of the marriage. I should have filed the day after I found out what he was doing the first time but I actually have a soul and emotions, I was just trying to breathe. I’m so much better now. Peacefully raising my two beautiful children, going to work and trying to navigate a new relationship with a good man.

      Being cheated on forever changes you but I’m determined to keep it from ruining me. Keep moving forward CN!! Peaceful days are ahead.

  • I never sent him any articles but he tried to send me some. Right after I had announced that he had to move out because living with us and cultivating his new relationship was unacceptable and inappropriate behavior especially for our daughter, he sent me an article from Dr. Wayne Dyer about “The Path of Least Resistance” It was about reframing how you think about things, turn things around positively. The last item was this exactly: I can’t be happy when the person I really care about loves another and has abandoned me. Feeling bad won’t change this scenario. I trust that love will return to my life if I’m in harmony with the loving Source. I choose to feel good right now and focus on what I have, rather than what’s missing. I figure that was the one I was supposed to pay attention to. Then after he moved out I got quite a few links urging me to buy “Conscious Uncoupling” he wanted to book club with me or something whilw he was living with his new GF. UGH no.

    • Wow! What an estupido! I have no doubt he’s sharing his insight with his TWULUV. And the estupida deserves it.

  • I feel like the discussion is getting diverted from the most important issue here:

    Shouldn’t the plural of “Bartleby” be “Bartlebies” instead of “Bartlebys”?

  • Thank you, CL. I especially needed this today as I encountered a brand new style of crazy-making crap, courtesy of ex-Asshat’s 27-year-old girlfriend yesterday, and I was just about ready to go full “brownie plate” on them both.

    Long story short- I moved out last August, divorce was final in November. Cutesy little gf wasn’t the OW that broke the marriage, but she did hook up with him long before I moved out. The fact that she is younger than any of our kids (we don’t have any together, thank the lord)…nah, that’s not creepy! The fact that she’s apparently a smug little cunt is extremely creepy – my daughter picked up a box for me from his house yesterday- he had sent me an e-mail letting me know that he’d found some things that I might want and he’d leave them in a box on the porch. They were extremely personal things, school pictures and report cards etc., which had belonged to my older daughter who passed away unexpectedly in 2010. I didn’t actually know what was in the box until I opened it- then noticed that his smug little cunt had written a note on one of the inside flaps “Items for Katie!” Complete with a smiley face (that even had eyelashes drawn on it, wtf?) My daughter was ready to go find her and beat the smug out of her. I didn’t let her, and we talked at length about the mindfuckery of it all. Water sure does find it’s own level!

    • You cannot fix stupid. She’s not capable of understanding what it means to be sensitive. I’m so sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine the horror of opening a box of your daughter’s things with a smiley-face note attached. I’m so sorry you’re daughter is dealing with it. The ex and her deserve each other.

  • Not only will they enjoy the kibbles of you sending them enlightening articles they will definitely ignore the advice to boot. In fact they will also ignore advice from your solicitor and mediator if it doesn’t suit them. This is doubly frustrating when you know OW is validating this behaviour ( and it is potentially triangulation as well). No contact where possible , communicate through solicitors (Lawyer ) if at all possible ( it was well worth the cost for me). Grey rock and customer service politeness if you have to communicate about children or finances. Being civil but not friendly becomes easier with practice. It is really very hard at first but it is the way to true peace and sanity.

    • That was one of the more frustrating things for me after DDay, not knowing what was coming from him and what was from her. I heard a lot of things that seemed out of character but then I thought cheating was out of character too so who knows.

  • I’m 3 months into no contact and it gets better and better every day. About a month ago, I finally entered The Grand Hall of Indifference and let me tell you, it’s incredibly warm and comfy in here. There are zero reasons why I would break no contact and put this feeling at risk. I’m impatiently waiting for my divorce to be finalized in the eyes of the state so I can throw a Ding Dong, The Witch is Dead party. And to be fair to the Cheatress, she’s doing her part, too, meaning she blocked me on everything very soon after I discovered her affair, part sweeping me under the rug so there’s no constant reminder to herself and to others that she’s a giant piece of shit, part out of sight out of mind so she can stay wrapped up in that myopic security blanket she’s always used to avoid dealing with her problems in a constructive manner which demonstrates growth and maturity.

    Yeah, Indifference is a real nice place. Anyone thinking of clicking Send on that email, whether it contains a love letter, a hate letter, an article, or whatever, just don’t.

  • There were a couple of quotes I saved from the CL blog I desparately wanted to send my cheating ex-fiancee. I followed my better judgment and did not, but they were perfect:

    1) We might all have the physical ability to be cheating pieces of crap, but the majority of us don’t give the selfish bad side of us permission and let ourselves turn into trash. – Christina, CN

    2) Personally, I prefer not to befriend people who promise marriage to me and then fuck their co-workers. But I’m peculiar that way. – Tracy Schorn, CL

  • I sent one article from Psychology Today to the X asshat. No response. He and I had a couple e-mail exchanges about what exactly the hell was wrong with him (he is a passive aggressive covert narc, described to a T in the Debbie Mirza book).

    We talked about pursuer-distanced, about his passive aggressiveness, about trust, about why he lied to me every single day and future-faked me right up until he abandoned me by e-mail. At one point he said that he, “needed me to be vulnerable with him so he could be vulnerable with me.”

    That was it. Last straw. I could name countless times that I needed him and was abandoned, ignored, and hated by him. When I cried about something he mocked me. When I was ill I was ignored and treated like I was disgusting, even with pregnancy sickness. Conversely, when I was strong he hated that I had skills. If I wanted him to take the lead he was no where to be found. He was not there to protect me or my daughters.

    And once again, he was blaming me for not doing something first so he could follow along, this time is was ‘being vulnerable.” I told him to fuck off when he said that.

    That was the last I attempted to untangle his skein with him though I have given it much thought and study on my own mostly to fix my picker.

    They will never, ever take any blame. They do not have the ability to reflect. They do not live consciously and the do not form bonds like the Normals. You might as well send articles to your cat.

  • Four YEARS after divorce my cheater ex wanted to go to therapy to “apologize” to me.

    NOPE.

    No contact.

    I think he misses the triangulation and manipulation and wants oh-so-badly to be seen as this “good guy who just made a mistake” bulls**t, but nah, didn’t fall for it. My ex cheater will NEVER get the pain or humiliation he caused. It’s something I’ve learned to accept. Life is so much better without him.

    No contact or minimal contact is the only way. Lawyers are worth every cent when dealing with these creepy people

  • OK. Here’s the thing. While I was doing the pick-me dance, I started sending articles to my STBXH, thinking they would be helpful. The topics covered in those articles:
    – what is mature love and how if ebbs and flows through the years of a marriage
    – how the infatuation/limerance experienced in an affair is not real love
    – how affairs manifest themselves in the same way as addiction
    – RIC articles on how to re-build the marriage
    – bonding/attachment theory in marriage
    My ex told me he appreciated those articles and asked that I keep sending them. In total, I probably shared about 20 articles and a handful of podcasts.

    Well, when I discovered the secret email account with the OW, what did I find? Emails in which he was applying the relationship principles in these articles to their relationship. Even direct quotes used. He was convinced that, based on all the warning my articles provided and the relationship strategies, that he had figured out how their relationship would beat the odds.

    He left me after Christmas to run off to her. Thirteen months later, they’re still together, as far as I know. He never speaks of her to anyone in his family or most of his friends. He keeps his place just for the days he has the kids. She’s separate from the kids. I’m not sure what his game plan is for the relationship. Is he trying to let enough time pass for image management? Are they working on building a fabulous relationship so they can prevent a united front to the world? Or, is she fun on the side and still the dirty little secret?

    Doesn’t matter. It is what it is. So glad I was able to help their relationship…

    • OW may be still be in the picture until he finds someone else. The total lack of trying to introduce her to friends, family, etc. after 13 months, says yes, she is the dirty secret. I find it funny how cheating men will often turn on the OW and see her as “beneath them” when all is said and done.

      • Oh, I hope you are right on this one. I can accept that my ex didn’t want me. I can accept the marriage is over. I don’t want him anymore either. I’m quite enjoying my single life, peaceful and meaningful life. But, I really struggle with the existence of the OW. Thank God he keeps her away from the kids.

        Hopefully, she’ll be gone eventually. I accept that another woman will come into the picture that I at least can believe she might be a good person. Then, I can feel better about what’s being exemplified to the kids.

        Oh well.

  • Boy does that bring back memories. Before DDay ex said we weren’t communicating. I thought that meant he wanted me to communicate so I started communicating. Big mistake. One of the things I communicated was an article on perfectionism and how it can adversely affect families and the people close to the perfectionist. He used that against me later. “Why should I have to lower my standards to please you?”, as if I was somehow inferior. I guess he figured he had found someone who could live up to his standards in Schmoopie so why settle for less. He also said that he and I did not have the same priorities. If he thinks Schmoopie is an improvement over me then I guess he’s right. Image is his number 1 priority, for me it’s character.

  • Oddly enough, my cheater took the initiative to read books that might help and to get therapy. He also read the articles I sent him, sought articles out on his own and would sometimes comment on them. He tells me things he is learning from therapy and books. He admits it is all his fault and seems to be sorry. He continues to read on the subject of personality disorders, character building, empathy, etc. He continues therapy, meditation and reflects on his misdeeds. He says I shouldn’t forgive him and that he will never forgive himself. Sounds good, right?
    OTOH, he’s fooled me once and for a long time. He’s quite skilled at image management. I do not intend to be the fool who lets him do it twice. I wish him well in his quest to become a better man, but I have no faith that it will happen and don’t much care. I’m finally moving into my new house in March and he can take his books, his mantra and go piss up a rope.

    • Good for you! Very smart to come to the non-caring and very emotionally healthy conclusions. Also, I had to imagine what pissing up a rope would look like. Never heard the expression.

      • Thanks. “Go piss up a rope” is an old way to say go f#ck yourself and is not used much anymore. I also like “take a long walk off a short pier”,”go pound sand” and “make like the birds and flock off”.

    • Yeah, my ex saw a therapist probably a dozen times over a year, then tried to convince the kids and I that he was SO CHANGED. NOW he ‘got it’, now he was different!

      But this was just a new show on the charm channel. Because when we didn’t fall for that, he went right back to being the same angry, negative, selfish fuckwit he’d always been.

      Therapy and the books can provide good image management, for sure. They can even provide new tools with which to beat the Chump over the head. What they don’t bring to the narcs is insight, taking responsibility and actual change.

      • Indeed. I don’t know if The Asshole is capable of genuine insight, or if it’s just another con. I hope it’s genuine for the sake of our kids and grandkids, but he lost me the minute he put his unprotected penis is an HPV infected vagina. Thankfully, I fought off the infection, but the precancerous nodules remain, little time bombs that insure I’ll never be free of fear.

    • Yes. But for how LONG has he been doing all the right things?

      I had similar hopes for a man I knew, who had been a pig all his life, then went to therapy for a while, and seemed to be making progress for about nine months.

      It was all great until he admitted in a pig-rage that he’d only done it to try to get his wife back. He was actually just the same old raging, entitled pig that he was before – but now with some extra bullshit up his sleeve to use on vulnerable women.

      We all know about unicorns – everything’s great until the horn falls off.

      • That man sounds like an obvious fake, given that he was a pig before. The odd thing about The Asshole is that he wasn’t really a pig before he started cheating. He had his problems and some piggish moments, but seemed to be a good guy overall. He believed he was a good guy. Then all of the sudden he wasn’t. He claims he had a breakdown and was escaping because he couldn’t cope, but I say he was like that all along but just repressed it. Your character doesn’t change when you have an emotional crisis. How you respond to stress indicates your character. So f#ck that guy.

  • This advice also can be applied to times in which you are in contact, maybe doing the pick-me dance, or engaged in some reconciliation nonsense. Of course I sent him articles and clipped passages of books…that is what desperate people do. But, that negates the nature of reconciliation and remorse. The fact that my ex wasn’t seeking out these, or any, resources on his own should have told me all I needed to know.

  • No Contact. By the time I knew what I was dealing it was too late. Every text I sent after Dday was read by the disturbed slunt.

    This was despite the fact that I filed. She carried on as if he was the victim. She made false statements that were unfounded and blatant lies. Together they made it their mission to break me. He sat in the passenger side of her car as she ran me off the road after my granddaughters show.

    Once they were evicted due to unhealthy living conditions they chose to move a town over. Evidently the going nowhere losers thought they owned the town I’ve frequented for years.

    After harassing me in a grocery store this summer she flipped out. Next came a call from the police stating they wanted to file an order keeping me from frequenting a TOWN.

    She then finds out about a temporary job I worked and showed up the next day. I immediately notified security.

    These are very sick fucks. At some point it goes past wanting centrality. They wanted to break me and refuse to abort their mission.

    Do not engage. Protect yourself.

  • I will never forget this incident with exh2 The Evil One:
    I spent a night up praying earnestly and feverishly praying for God to reveal the truth about TEO— I wanted to *know for sure* if he was all I thought…
    Within a couple of days of that night, his AP contacted me about 2 months after D-Day, a few weeks after GTFO-day, a few weeks after TEO dumped her, confessing to all that went on with TEO, all that he told her, etc. I realized that she was just a dumb, naive girl still living at home with her mom and dad, didn’t work, never went to school past 12th grade— she was TEO’s high school sweetheart/fiance. Years later, he had reconnected with her on Twitter about six months before D-Day. She was not the OW I saw his IM-ing on D-Day.
    After spending a week or so talking with her, gathering evidence, sharing with her all that I had learned from Chump Lady, narcissistic abusive people, etc.
    I sent her some links about “signs of narcissist”- type stuff. She agreed that it was perfectly describing TEO.
    Stupid, foolish girl— she was obsessed with TEO, so she calls him and tells him everything I had told her, and everything she told me.
    Needless to say, TEO was not happy, but was laughing at me at the same time thinking that he had thwarted my plans…ick. not really, but I did get a lot more peace about the facts of his actions…
    Anywho, my point of all this is that he was screaming at me on the phone about what a horrible person I was, cussing and fussing at me about he was being victimized by me because he was (and I quote) “a narcissistic chump”!!!
    I had to hang up because I was laughing so hard at his stupidity.
    Poor sad narcissistic chump TEO.
    Never did get around to explaining to him the error of his words. You can’t explain anything to a narcissistic chump anyway.

    • If he ever comes back, tell him he is a ”gonif bupkes schmeckle.” It basically means he is a tricky, very small penis.

      Yay for Yiddish.

      I think your prayers were answered. The Truth came out and the truth truly sets us free. When we have concrete and indisputable evidence that a spouse has done some very disgusting things, it is easier to move on. I would give some examples what my ex did with OW, but folks would be too grossed out that they would vomit up their dinner. There are some things in life you cannot “unthink” once you are made aware of them. I will spare the details about the ex for the sake of humanity.

  • Yep, mine blamed me for ensuring that he can never find happiness with the OW because I revealed to his parents the websites for reporting cheaters/homewreckers that some other woman reported the OW on a couple of years before when she was cheating with her husband. Now his parents will never accept her.

    Ummm…how about your conservative Catholic parents never accepting the relationship because it’s an adulterous relationship, period? How’s that my fault?

  • There need to be t-shirts for different folks. Maybe people can buy them on Patreon:

    For the irate letter writers there can be:

    “I Took on Chump Lady and Lost”

    “Head Sparkletwat: Now Open for Business”

    “Charter Member of the Smug, Unknowing Class”

    For Chumps:

    “Schmoopie Won a Sparkleturd and I Can Breathe Again”

    “Chumpify”

    “Chumps Do It Monogamously”

    “My Sparkleturd’s Dick Was Small; Spreading it Around Made Him Disappear”

    For cheaters:

    “I Found Myself Inside Schmoopie (Again)”

    “I Needed to Reinvent Myself and Herpes Helped”

    “I Am a Cheapskate and Love Gifts that Keep on Giving; HPV Was Perfect”

    “Even Though I Cheated on All My Partners, You are Special 😉 “

    “I am NOT a Cheater, I Just Spread Love Around”

    “If I Deprived Schmoopie of My Penis, that Would Violate the 8th Amendment”

    Anyone else? This is the only website that looks at situations as they are and makes no apologies/excuses for the cheaters of the world. And this website does so 100% of the time, without rosy filters that provide false hope to people who should not remain in their marriages.

    Plus, t-shirts! They could be a thing for Patreon
    Subscribers. I would wear them. They make great gifts for Chumps who need encouragement and better gifts for the cheaters of the world. If a cheating ex wonders if you still “feel it” for them I think those t-shirts are a strong NO.

  • i sent fuckwit a few angry nasty texts and emails early on and i am glad i did. i Don’t care if it gave him centrality And it made him feel special. I needed to let him know how badly he hurt me and my family. I think it helped with my healing . getting it off my chest, Not holding anything. I’ve been no contact since about 6 months after D day. its better for me to be no contact cause if I get started I can really get wound up . I really don’t care if what I say makes him feel good or bad or otherwise. This isn’t a competition for me. this is just me trying to heal and move on. hugs!

  • My last partner, Mr. Nice Guy/Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, read self-help books/articles not to improve our relationship but to ensure that he secured his new supply, the young work subordinate he left me for and married months after he left me. (I realized this shortly after I found a book on love opened to some pages with highlighted passages–under the condoms in the nightstand. As I was beyond childbearing age and I thought that we had a committed, monogamous relationship, I didn’t think that we needed them…)

    When he discarded me the last time, I foolishly sent him conciliatory messages, trying to maintain a friendship. (I must have been completely deluded.) Why did I think that if he repeatedly mistreated me and hid me, his legitimate partner, on social media, the woman he had known for 30 years, during our intimate relationship, repeatedly lied to me, gaslit me, made up stories without provocation, and coldly discarded me, he would eventually wake up one day and think, ‘I really treated RockStarWife like garbage. She deserves at the very least my friendship and a sincere apology?’ I try to stop myself from reaching out to him as I now realize that based on his behavior (telling me that his love for me hadn’t grown, hiding me on-line, and many other things he did/didn’t do), he never truly loved me. The relationship was extremely one-sided, even in its best (short-lived) phase.

    He’s riding off into the sunset with New Superstar Wife, who I believe he has impregnated, or is enthusiastically trying to impregnate. I sometimes feel as though I must have really f–ked up. I can’t suddenly quadruple my income, become the owner of a million dollar plus house, make myself 20 years younger, build a rocket that can take people to Mars, as she apparently can. I haven’t even been able to get a sane date in over a year. I feel ashamed that my life/my kids’ lives are spectacularly blowing up. With the death of several relatives, chronic disability, including my own physical disability, very serious issues with employment, kids’ performance in school, constant harassment by abusive ex-husband years after he left me, I can’t imagine ever feeling happy again. I think of death as sweet relief for me but keep on as I need to keep going for my young children. For years, I have been trying to think of some way to benefit the universe. I feel as though I don’t benefit anyone.

    I admire those of you who after just a few months feel indifferent to your bad ex or even feel liberated and mighty.

    • I’m really sorry to read these line, Rock Star. I hope you are reaching out for help, a shoulder to cry on. It helps.
      If I may give some piece of advice: it’s all about perspective.
      You are still anchored to your ex, just examine a bit your nickname.
      If you want to step ahead and rebuild your life, you must look ahead of you. You’ll see magic will happen: you’ll shift your mindset and new solutions, ideas, opportunities will come your way. Life will develop in ways you can’t even imagine, that indifference to your ex will become secondary.
      Just try this: change your thoughts for a day or two. See what happens.
      I’m sending you hugs.

  • I have been reading Tracy’s blog for close to four years now and similarities keep popping out on both sides of the equation, ie backstabber/cheater’s words and actions versus chump’s reactions and need to comprehend. Once again, Mz Tracy is dead on the money. Do cheaters/leavers communicate between themselves and devise a plan of action? Do they plot together their next move? Of course not, they do what they do because their pre-frontal cortex is wired a similar way. There will be variances in looks, professions, ways of expressing boredom and anger ( cold or hot ) but essentially their brain is wired to facilitate an identical course of action. Very little remorse if any, hyper sensitivity to his/her own inconveniences, non existence of the spouse’s own pain as far as they are concerned.
    We chumps need to stop hurting ourselves with the ” he said a-b-c and I felt 1-2-3.
    Attempting to comprehend actions we would never inflict on others is a futile exercise which keep all of us marred in misery.
    It is essential instead to educate ourselves on high functioning sociopathy. Read the books, re-read Tracy’s entries on this very topic. We are not dealing with normal brain patterns. The sooner this is assimilated, the better off we are and as bitter a pill this is to shallow. ESPECIALLY if we are in the mist of the financial decisions inherent to divorces. Ladies and gentlemen, do listen to Tracy, do read about those who are socially successful and hide behind the mask of normalcy.

  • Dear Chump Lady, I agree with everything you wrote, up until “they have a character problem”.
    I strongly disagree with that.
    Sociopaths don’t see it as a problem, they definitely view it as an asset. Given the world we live in, where sociopaths have climbed the lather up to the top of our world, I have to agree with this viewpoint: it’s an asset.
    Having a consciousness or a spine is not going to earn us points when we are up against sociopaths.
    Are they unethical, immoral? Definitely.
    The real problem is how do we fix our society, to stop them from ruling us?

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