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The Fog Comes Softly on Little Cheater Feet


I was going to write a column today, but I realized this morning I was out of milk. And that meant no oat squares for breakfast. Plus, I had squandered all of the blueberries on my husband yesterday (and milk) making him a milkshake. So I wasn’t in my right mind when I did the Bad Thing. I was in a Fog. People in fogs cannot be expected to do the Right Things, like write columns, or be nice, especially when they have not had their breakfasts. Which, if you really want to point fingers here, you should lay the blame on my husband and his penchant for night-time blueberry milkshakes.

I am just a sad, befuddled person incapable of higher functioning because I didn’t get oat squares for breakfast. This muddles my thinking. But maybe if you wait patiently — and without judgment! (who among YOU hasn’t run out of MILK, huh?) — I may yet write a column when I come out of the Fog.



No, not feeling it.

I think your insistence that I write a column today is the Real Problem Here. You expect too much. Can’t you see that my inability to live up to my obligations IS NOT MY FAULT? My husband NEEDED me. He needed that milkshake! And that set in motion the unfortunate events that led to you not getting a column today. (And really, who cares, crybaby!) The true calamity here is that I have low blood sugar and NO oat squares for breakfast.

But I’m sure you weren’t thinking about that, were you? NO, it’s all about YOUR pain, isn’t it?

I bet you’re fat and satisfied this morning, stuffed with your larder full of breakfast foods. You judge me and yet I detect crumbs of chocolate croissant on your lips! It’s easy for YOU to say “Tracy, where is my column? Snap out of this fog!” — from your well-fed position.

I was going to write it, really I was. Weak from lack of breakfast, I was yes, going to do it for YOU. And I tried. Don’t you appreciate how much I TRIED TO WRITE YOU A COLUMN?

Yes, it’s not finished. Okay, so you have a point, there should be some mention of cheaters or maybe a letter from an anguished chump. You’re really not concerned with the state of grocery shopping in my house. I get it. But it’s so hard to write columns.

My bed understands me. (Unlike you.) My soft, downy pillows do not judge. They say, come here, let me embrace you. Let me keep you safe from the demands of those horrid people who expect things of you. There are fluffy duvets here. It’s nice. Forget them.

I’m sorry. I can’t write today. I’m in a fog.

I think you should all stand for your column. Maybe some day I’ll wake up. Meanwhile, just wait there. Don’t get on with your lives.


Excuses are so delicious. Still going through the comments from yesterday — you guys are wonderful! Rerun today.

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  • For anyone not cued into my snark, “the Fog” is a ready-made excuse the RIC gives for why cheaters can’t do the work on their marriages or act sorry — “they’re in an affair fog.”

    RIC advice is to wait patiently while your wallet is lifted and you catch an STD. Because… sanctity of marriage.

    If you had a fog experience — share!

    • The whole time I was reading this, all I could think was no wonder her first husband cheated on her, I mean really, she ran out of milk, just who would do that? Of course he had to cheat. That might be worse than the crumbs on my kitchen floor that bothered fuckwit’s bare feet. If we hadn’t had milk though… I might not have lived to tell the tale…

      Snark yes but truth is stranger than fiction.

      • Oh crumbs on the kitchen floor are nothing compare to pile of washed laundry ???? waiting for a transfer to all the closets ( by the stay st home wife who takes care of 3 kids under age of 5 while getting her degree- full time-) and incorrectly rolled socks ???? ( no shit! No joke)

        That explains dates, dinners, with countless of women followed by sexmarathons with hookers…

        • My STBX told me at one point during our wreconciliation that “if you just lost weight and put away the laundry everything would be fine”

          As if those two factors somehow would prompt someone to text and go on dates with other women, that logic is utterly lost on me.

          cheaters are just not from the same planet. Currently every single time i have visited his house to pick up the kids that same pile of laundry (clean, to -be put away) is in the same spot so i’m sure that’s his excuse to be unfaithful to his current GF…

        • I didn’t fold Ex’s socks right either. And how dare you get a degree. What gives you the right to pursue life goals. Don’t you know how much time that takes away from your idolization of him? Life goals and career aspirations are for people like him. Then you can be at home thanking your lucky stars that you have him to look after you while he feels superior and accuses you of not carrying your weight because he is the primary breadwinner in the family.

          • Sorry about the faulty punctuation. That is also the kind of thing that leads people to cheat on their partners so it must be a horrible offense to forget to put in question marks here and there. No wonder us chumps always feel compelled to acknowledge our grammar/punctuation/spelling errors so everyone knows we noticed, we aren’t stupid and we would fix it if we could.

            Yes, ex complained about my poorly written texts.

            • Who among us stated that her husband was pressed to cheat because she broke the pasta in half before putting in the boiling water, when he wanted it broken in thirds? I still remember this being one of the absurd things I have heard/read here. I can certainly not think of anything that deserves looking for new ass than that, am I right?
              If whoever wrote that some years ago can claim it, that would be great. You should get the WTF award for Cheater excuses! Is this a fog, sounds like as good an excuse than any to me.

              • There is a mid life crisis cheater (but really could apply to any cheater) how to manual that I sometimes post that talks about the proper way to criticize your partner. It suggests that you include one or two criticisms that might have some kernel of actual validity and then mix in random stuff like “you use bagged lettuce” so that they seem equally valid. The idea is to keep your partner off balance and busy trying to fix all of their “faults” so that they are too busy to notice what you are up to or call you out on your own bad behavior in general.

              • Yes, Chumpinrecovery, I was so busy trying to improve myself and fix my faults that it never occurred to me that ex had faults or pay attention to his questionable behavior.
                My faults include, parking too close to the garage, I didn’t fix spaghetti once a week, I’m unable to load the dishwasher correctly, I never complimented him on his physique, more importantly.., I never loved him.
                Is there any wonder why he left?

          • Yeah, you can’t win with them. If you’re career oriented, you’re neglecting him and the kids. If you’re a SAHM, you’re a bore who has no ambition. My jerk resented me for not working even though I’m medically disabled. He would always throw the fact that he had a job at me as proof that he was a great husband whenever I asked him to help with anything around the house. “I work all day! I’m tired! What do YOU do?” he would bleat. He has an easy job where he sits on his ass and he actually enjoys it. His “hard work” certainly didn’t leave him too tired to vigorously pursue his degenerate lifestyle. He could see me flat out in bed, too sick to stand and it didn’t register that he should help out more or even do anything for me. Not so much as a cup of tea was ever offered. But if he got a little cold, it was a huge deal. Whine, whine whine. He expected me to rush out and pick up his favorite hot lemon drink, tissues, etc. and listen to him moan endlessly. Cheaters have ridiculous double standards because they’re monstrously selfish people. Plus they don’t love their wives and they don’t really see women as equals, no matter what they tell you. Their behavior demonstrates it. However, they know their lack of feeling for you and meaness towards you is not normal or acceptable, so they need an excuse. They’ll use whatever they can to put you down and rationalize their abuse, no matter how nonsensical it is.
            May they all die like pigs in hell.

            • It’s always something….

              I got my ???? degrees ( plural) while taking care of my 3 kids full time, 2-3 weeks at a time , just me and kiddos ( under age of 5)
              I speak 3 languages, cooked from scratch, baked, took care of his mother, supported his $$$$dream …..

              But that damn laundry ???? ????????‍♀️????

              It has nothing related to the weight ( I was size 6 and pretty, yet he was able to convince me that I’m fat and not attractive)or job or degree

              Problem is only one : shitty character of the cheater.

              Case closed

              • Island Chump –
                Are you sure you weren’t engaging in a secret death wish? Mayonnaise? Cheese?
                That’s a lot of cholesterol in there. Perhaps a slow clog of the ol’ arteries? Be careful.
                Don’t leave a trail. Maybe use ‘light’ bread to throw them off.

              • Wow! I’m just as guilty.., frying taco shells in oil and not heating them up in the microwave…
                If only you could have seen the dirty look I’d get when I served fried taco shells.
                As poor, abused ex had to get his lazy ass up off the chair and heat his own taco shells in the microwave…
                Brit, is trying to kill me…

              • Putting mayo or Miracle Whip on a grilled cheese is the correct way to make them, and I aught to know.

                My mother had a degree in Home Economics, which included the fullness of every Homemaker thing there is, even the chemistry behind what all can or should be involved. When I was old enough to understand, I was like, Wow, really?

                So you, Madame of ze Island, are correct for sure, and damn, he was just wrong all over the place.

        • I also had improperly rolled sock rage! Must be rolled into balls not folded into each other! My sock skills were treated with utter contempt and disgust and used for basis of cruel verbal abuse. So gross !!!

    • Damn you, Chump Lady!!!

      NO COLUMN??

      Tomorrow you probably won’t have a column, neither. You’ll probably demand from us that you “Need Space” and we must not bother you while you sort things out. We just need to give you “Space”……..while we get out there making sure your bills and mortgage get paid.

      You’ll probably demand that Happy Smile at your family’s Thanksgiving dinner, too.

      • Good grief, SuperDuperChump! Why can’t you get over it and move on?

        Don’t be such a Bitter Bunny! 😛

      • She SAID she was SORRY.

        WHY do you keep BRINGING IT UP?

        HOW can she be expected to MOVE ON if you don’t stop BRINGING IT UP?

        I can see now that EVERY TIME something goes wrong, you’re just going to BRING THIS UP and THROW IT IN HER FACE.

      • Hey, just book us a shrink appointment, SuperDuper, and I’ll balk at going. Maybe buy some books like “When Good People Don’t Write” and leave them highlighted on my desk.

        That’ll show me. 😉

        • This made my day.

          My favorite criticism….I wouldn’t ‘LET’ him be a man….omg….no one wanted him to be a man more than me….

      • No, CL will tell us that she needs a break from writings columns for us so that she has the opportunity to miss us.

    • Currently in the Fog AGAIN after another failed relationship. 2 failed marriages (1st with a cheater, 2nd with a full blown narcissist sociopath) and now a 3rd long term relationship with a serial cheater (dating sites, texting other women and fucking the 24 yr old nanny – mind you, he’s 50). I feel like an absolute idiot because in all these relationships I stayed to long and was naive to red flags. I’m grateful for my 1 girlfriend who has been through this shit too and has my back. Trying to get back into the swing of life and having a difficult time due to “the voices”….of which I’m constantly fighting off with the finger and telling them to fuck off. I’m ready for better times but allowing myself to grieve is good. We all need grieve time. This shit is hard but I know it gets better. Hugs CL! And, thanks for the reminder that it’s ok to be in the Fog and to fuck everyone else. Sometimes you just need your space and time to heal to deal with life (even if it’s no milk and blueberries????)

      • I’m sorry, SouthernChump. Very painful to suffer 3 such relationships. After my marriage to a narc/cheater, I ended up with another deceptive person who hid high-level alcohol abuse from me for 18 months. The best we can do is drop-kick them to the curb, then run and process feelings with friends. Hugs.

        • A Giant CN Group Hug to you Sweet Tempest.
          It really pisses me off that someone else had the audacity to hurt a wonderful caring person like you.
          I am unable to count the many times you have reached out to me with a great big Mama Bear hug, and I am only one Chump.
          It is not polite what I would like to do to this creature. If I type the words here my post will explode and I will get arrested.

        • 1 disconnected mother
          1 abusive father
          2 narc marriages
          1 narc sister
          1 bi-polar sister
          several narc co-workers

          I’m a narc magnet too. I ha e learned the middle finger signature very well the last 5 years.

          hugs to all who have had multiple encounters

      • Three intensely horrible cheaters? Serials and nanny fuckers? That is awful. I’m so sorry. I don’t know how I would even begin to come to terms with that. You’re doing great just by being able to talk about it.

    • Oh I’m late to the party today! When Dr. Cheaterpants left for howorker schmoopie 15 years ago yet denied there was anyone else initially, I searched for any reason of why someone so high maintenance and needy would leave his wife, home we just built, and kids 2 & 4 years old. I came across midlife crisis (we were 34 y.o.) and confirmation bias took over. Let that fucker beg back and move in with the kids and I in our small, comfy home.

      Fast forward 12 years and he leaves this time for DD14’s 20-something asst sports coach in our kids Catholic high school when he’s volunteer coaching too. Initially when I went searching for the why’s and how could he’s, I came across affair fog. I thought ‘my poor husband is on a ho high’. Really didn’t last that long before I got good and angry and kicked his sorry arse out of the house and I filed.

      Initially I was waiting for him to come to his senses, but instead I came to mine. If anyone is in a ‘fog’, it’s the chump!

  • After yesterday’s column (which made me cry with joy, sadness and relief), you deserve a day in the fog. Enjoy it and don’t worry about us for a day.

    We appreciate the hell out of you. ♥️

  • Snort. He bought a blank notebook to write in and work on every way that he had been unfaithful and terrible to me. He said he was going to write in it to me and come back to himself. Work on himself through writing.
    Never one word in the notebook, though it sat on a table, pen right next to it, for months.
    It was probably a Bic pen, now that I think about it.
    There is no fog. There is only lying and deep levels of manipulation and deception. The “fog” is something I used to hope was real. It’s not. It’s just that the false self has finally fallen away. This is who they really are.

    • “I didn’t mean to drunk drive my car into a group of pedestrians, I must’ve been in a fog of some kind.”

      “Your Honor…my client was clearly in a fog, because only bad people assault others and my client isn’t a bad person, he said so himself. He bought you flowers this morning and said he was sorry, can’t you see how good he is?”

      Yeah, there are shitty behaviors and the shitty people who do them, most of whom don’t recognize their shitty behavior nor try to make amends. It’s that simple.

      • Oh YES, and no “recess” for the cheaters until all the work is done!
        ( and no ordering in babes or pizza)!

      • Unfinished cheater homework, or hoe work? There’s a long list of the first kind, but he’s still working really hard on the second.

    • Well, mine did write in his notebook. Here is a sample (my responses that I wrote to him are in parentheses):

      Subject: What Love Is

      Love transcends everything thing
      (Some things can’t be transcended. Like unending betrayal and cruelty.)

      love is looking through peoples past and looking for the good.
      (Hard to see the good when you know how much bad was done behind your back.)

      love is willing to forgive but not forget.
      (Definitely not ready to forgive, don’t know if I can.)

      Love is to see what is real.
      (What is real is that I was lied to and cheated on and betrayed for the whole time we were together.)

      Love is to see a person in pain and recognize it.
      (It’s not enough to recognize the pain. You also have to recognize that you were the cause. And that it would be infinitely better to have not caused the pain in the first place.)

      Love is worry.
      (No, when love causes you to worry, then you have to wonder why you are together at all.)

      Love is caring even though they don’t believe it.
      (Hard to believe that you care NOW, when you didn’t give a rat’s ass for so long.)

      Love is a person they can depend on.
      (You can be depended on to hurt me. It’s your specialty.)

      Love is undying.
      (What the hell? Are you kidding me? Unless you are talking about the undying love that you have for yourself and fucking strange.)

      Love is a Smile.
      (Unfortunately, you “smiled” at too many strangers over the years.)

      Love is thinking alike.
      (No, that’s indoctrination.)

      Love is a warm hug when you are down.
      (Hugs can’t cure everything.)

      Love is a warm place in your heart.
      (That’s heartburn.)

      Love understands everything.
      (I want to understand, but you don’t have any answers for me.)
      love knows how you feel.
      (But does love CARE how you feel?)

      love knows you.
      (Advertising algorithms “know” me better than you do.)

      love keeps you alive.
      (Or kills.)

      Love contradicts.
      (Don’t understand? Unless you are referring to the contradiction of SAYING that you love me when your ACTIONS and BEHAVIOR felt like you hated me.)

      Love does not make sense.
      (True, I still love you and that makes ZERO sense after everything.)

      Love makes you yearn.
      (Yes, I yearned for your love for so long. But none of it came my way.)

      Love is the equalizer.
      (You held all the power in our relationship, there is nothing more unequal than living a secret life that you hide from your partner.)

      Love is contingent.
      (Contingent on what? Me putting on a happy face and sucking your dick every day?)

      Love makes you crazy.
      (Yep, it happened to me.)

      love is misunderstood.
      (You have definitely misunderstood what love is.)

      Love is different to everyone.
      (You should know, you put yourself out there for “everyone”.)

      Love can be brave.
      (Love CAN be brave. You showed cowardice, not bravery when you snuck around behind my back and fucked anyone who would have you, instead of leaving me.)

      Love can walk away.
      (Wish you would have before all this. That would have been the kind and compassionate thing to do.)

      love is new.
      (Like new pussy and new dick?)

        • Sorry, bad day.
          This was written by him after I found out that he cheated for more than 40 years, including with men, and that he had a 10 year relationship with a neighbor.
          I told him that he never loved me. He claimed he did. I foolishly asked him what love meant to him. That was his email to me.
          The parenthetical comments were my response to his drivel. He thanked me for my response ????.

          • Holy fuck, OC! These dead to us poets are morons and I despise that word.

            I can’t help but wonder what their screams sound like when they’re stuck with their equal.

            The Limited wrote about his dream girl, a poem each one recieved. Mind you it was recycled and tweeked a bit. Dream Girl my ass; it’s his equal.

            • It would be a kindness to us all to post that poem if you still have it. We could have great fun UBTing it.

      • Omg ????????????

        My h after being asked “what is Love”
        First said that he has to research it not to be misunderstood (!)
        Then told me that love is “ feeling special in someone’s presence and feeling butterflies ???? “

        Note – he was over 40 not 12

        When I asked my 8 year old

        “ love it taking care of each other and never hurting each other”


        I’m sure each paid ho was making my h feel veeeery special…

        • Oh, those F’ing ???? butterflies ????

          That’s teenage, immature, addictive infatuation.

          You know what gives me butterflies? Loyalty. That gives this gal a flutter.

          • Yeah! you want to make me hot? How about putting some of those marital funds into a 401K instead of stripper g-strings.

            • Jojo

              Nah, he wasn’t interested in getting on with me…. with my 25 year old body, size 6, green eyes and blond hair- I was too set up for rejection… add 15 more years of telling me how unattractive I was and you have it…
              Full pass on fucking whoever was willing or paid for…

              Ondday I heard “ it wasn’t as easy as you would think… not all the girls wanted to go out with me for the second time”
              Mhm.. I don’t know.. I had no issue with getting attention from guys but stupidly thought that being married means monogamy so I stick to my h

              • Haha, they didn’t want to go out a second time. Yeah, it’s true. But look at where the thrill of the chase landed them.

        • Butterfiles, I thought ex was joking when he said he doesn’t feel butterflies in his stomach when I walk into a room…, I didn’t know what to say so I shrugged it off as ex being weird or a failed attempt at humor.

          We’re not teenagers, we’re middle aged adults. Butterflies are immature feelings of infatuation, the excitement of the unknown or forbidden love.
          I don’t know about anyone else but if a middle aged couple were to say they get butterflies when their spouse walks into a room I’d question their sanity saying something so absurd.

  • I’ve entered full blown anti-“R” mentality. Even if the cheater turns into a saint for the rest of their days, they don’t deserve you anymore once it’s been established that they have no respect for you and have it in them to betray you in the worst possible way. They came out of the fog and “they’ve changed”? Fuck em, let them trick someone else with their Great New Personality.

    We all want to reconcile at first because we still love those stupid cheating asshats, but time shows us how this all stems from low self esteem and fear of change. Get through those, and you realize you don’t need this shithead in your life anymore. The ones who abandon us truly have done us a favor.

    The people stuck trying to fix their broken marriage, their the ones to be pitied. They’ve chosen to live half a life for whatever illogical reason: the kids, I love them, our families are so close, etc. They never got the chance to be truly apart and to see the daylight through their own fog. They’re trapped and we who were sidelined for an easy lay are the free ones.

    • All true. Plus, and perhaps most importantly, they don’t love us. I told my cheater he could spend the rest of his days devoted to nothing but kindness, good works and selfless acts, that he could win the Nobel Peace Prize and I still wouldn’t want him back. He doesn’t love me and that’s it. I was debating reconciliation for about a month, but as I learned the true depth of the betrayal (not from him, he lied shamelessly) it became clear there was nothing there to work with. I got new shocks every day through investigating and discovering his deceit. I pleaded with him to stop lying as it was traumatizing me further and I was going to crack. He continued to lie, I continued to find out the truth and developed PTSD from all the shocks.

      It’s so peaceful with him gone. I no longer have constant suicidal ideation. I don’t wake up each day with a feeling of terrible dread and unbearable sadness.
      Those poor “reconciled” chumps have to live with that dread and sadness every day for the rest of their lives. Subconsciously, they know they are not loved and valued and that any day the cheater could just decide to leave. It must be awful. I wish they would face reality, but they won’t. They tell themselves they have a unicorn, even while describing behavior that indicates the cheater is anything but. Those sites depress me so I now avoid them.
      Affair fog is just another fairy tale they latch on to to keep up the pretense that the cheater didn’t know what he/she was doing and didn’t intend any harm. If you try to explain to them that when somebody does something inherently harmful deliberately and repeatedly, the harm is entirely intentional, they just won’t listen.

      • Yup, good job there, Chumperella. Yes, the moment asshole leaves, the dread goes away. The dread is the first horrible feeling to leave your heart and home.

        Like Dr Simon says, they know exactly what they are doing. So, we Chumps make a huge mistake when we project our goodness on to them, and that’s what we are doing when we tell ourselves, “He’s in a fog.” No, he’s not. Not at all. Chumps would be in a fog, if they had committed something as evil as Cheater has done, but the evil dead doesn’t bother the Cheater. The Cheater will simply find a naive person who will take on Cheaters feelings of despair.

        • Exactly so. They know what they are doing and why they are doing itl, despite what they say in the aftermath. If I had a dollar for every time I heard “I dunno” and “I don’t remember” I’d be a very wealthy chump. They know they are hurting you and destroying the marriage. They continue to do so because you and the marriage are not important to them. Only their pleasure is. In some cases, hurting you and destroying the marriage was the primary goal to begin with. I believe that to be the case with my cheater. He has stated that he “stopped loving me” well before the affair. He hated being stuck with me so he went full scorched earth with the first woman who would have him.

          You don’t ever have peace until they are gone. The difference is amazing. I feel like I’m getting my soul back, which was put through a meatgrinder for what seemed like eons. It’s battered and torn, but not broken after all. ????

          How long has your fuckwit been gone? Did he try to reconcile, or leave you for the AP?

    • This is all spot on. We’re the ones that were in the gaslit fog, struggling to make sense of a landscape that kept shifting with every new breeze. Cheaters aren’t in a fog; they’re the ones running the fog machine.

      With 2 years since D-day, and 18 months of in-house separation, I am also firmly in the camp of anti-R. I mean, maybe, *maybe* if it was a one-off, I-drank-too-much-and-made-some-really-bad-decisions-and-I’m-immediately-confessing-and-taking-accountability sort of thing, you’d be able to work through it. But long, drawn out affairs show such a complete contempt of the chump that I don’t think there’s any way to really recover.

      STBX’s behavior is better than it’s ever been. He does dishes now, and picks up the slack on childcare and does things for me that are thoughtful and kind. It doesn’t matter. Even if–maybe especially if–he was trying to fundamentally change his character and become a better person, I can no longer engage with him in a loving, authentic way. If trust is a jar filled with good deeds, the bottom has been broken out of mine, and there’s nothing he can do that would fill it up again. So, it’s in the interest of both of us and our kids to end the relationship and move on. That’s the right thing to do, even if society and generations of abused women behind me yell at me that it’s not.

      • NOTTODAY bang on. I’m going through an in-house separation as well. It’s so tough. I’m hoping it will be over in about a month but it’s been since final DD Nov 26th. This is about the 5th DD but definitely the final. He’s doing dishes, grocery shopping, going to the gym, trying to “communicate”, journaling, etc. Mind you he has the time and doesn’t have to deal with real life stressors because he went and quit his job just before Christmas. He claims he’s changed the way he thinks. Doesn’t avoid and won’t put himself in situations where he might be tempted to cheat. I told him great!! Good for you moving forward. I hope you can maintain that when you have the daily struggles of adulting and holding down a job again…surrounded by female coworkers that you can start emotional affairs with, stresses because you aren’t valued and appreciated so cue the escort or happy ending massage. He said he’d be ok being policed for years if it meant I gave him another chance but I said that’s fine but I’M not ok with that. I deserve a life either alone or with someone that values and respects me.
        He hasn’t changed. He is putting on a great act but once reality hits he will go back to his old ways. You can’t have these behaviors for at least 25+ years and be cured after 2 counseling sessions. Nah…….it’s all lip service. His fog hasn’t lifted.

        • He quit his job so he won’t have to pay child support or alimony. In fact, he’s hoping he can collect from you. Make sure the judge knows he voluntarily gave up a job AFTER you asked for divorce. Make sure any child support is imputed based on what he has shown he is capable of earning in the past. These assholes are all the same.

          • This is the truth. My highly educated and well compensated X, was “let go” from his job ($88k plus bonuses) and went on unemployment until he “managed” to find part time work at minimum wage, no less His attorney came after me to pay for his health care until the divorce was final. He dragged it out for 3 years. His job “magically” morphed into low paying full time job a month before the divorce. He “graciously” offered to cover the kids health care, but declined to mention that it was only honored in the tri state area where he lives.

    • I agree. I had though I could forgive. I liked my old life.
      But what would I get? Shit sandwiches and pain. I can’t unknow that he screwed someone else and joked about being a 13th stepper on Instagram. That’s low. And sleazy. I am too old for sleazy.

      I read the R stories and I feel the anguish. I ask myself why do people think R is winning? It seems like the biggest consolation prize out there. Winning is getting on with your life.

      • Amen. Winning is finding your new independence and breaking free from the naive notions of modern love. Doesnt mean you shouldnt love again, but dont become dependent on someone to this point again. Its doing yourself a disservice. Staying with the cheater not only is the all time worst consolation prize, but it also robs you of your ability to learn and grow from this trauma in the most beneficial way. A lot of people try to rush back to that same old kind of happiness they had–I know thats what I sure as hell wanted. Theyre missing out on something so much better.

  • Lol! I totally got that!!! It’s our fault. We were too demanding!!!!! We expected you to fulfill your obligations!!!! You started this thing!!! Yes you found the warm glowing bed and all its comforts easier than doing the right thing! And who would blame you!! The bed hasn’t been trying to tell you how lonely it feels when you leave. Or for that matter, how lonely it feels when you’re right there! Because even when you’re sitting right there on the couch with us, you are thinking about that damn bed! Your every waking moment is spent trying to figure out how to get back to that bed!! And that bed always welcomes you! That bed makes you feel so good! Of course, that bed gets all your attention, so it hasn’t experience the pain of abandonment. When you leave that bed you erasure it you will be back. You love that bed. You never want any other bed. That bed is the love of your life. Yeah yeah. We’ve heard this before. But one day, you’ll hurt that bed, too. You won’t make it. You won’t even try to smooth out the wrinkles. One day that bed will grow old and you will go find a new bed. You’ll leave that bed on the curb waiting for the trash man to come pick it up. You’ll abandon that bed and go find a strange bed yes that new strange bed will make you feel so wonderful. You’ll never fembever you fold your first bed it was the love of your life.

    Lol thanks Chimp Lady. That was fun

  • In retrospect, I realize my X”s year of “dementia” was his version of FOG, but crueler. It was the culmination of years of classic domestic abuse. More gaslighting. It was not until serious discussions of memory units and incompency hearings started, that DDay occurred, and he went from dementia to back to just your typical asshole jerk.

    That transformation, over the course of a couple of hours, was more mind blowing than his confession!

    Goodbye Cheater Oscar Winner for Best Performance!!

    • I remember you writing about his performance. It reads like a very tragic play. The depth your ex slipped into trickery and manipulation is almost incomprehensible.

    • Oh, Lawd, it’s a MIRACLE!!!! (Eddie Murphy “24 Hrs”)

      I wish I could have seen that. Did anyone laugh out loud???

  • . . . And the fog’s close cousins in the “I should not be held accountable” family:

    “I didn’t know it at the time”


    “I didn’t realize then, but I realize now”

    • Along with the classics:
      “It wasn’t my intention…”
      “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

      • OMG “it wasn’t my intention” If I ever hear that again, I’m not responsible for how I react. What a load of BS. Also, “I’m sorry you feel that way” and what I got…”it was a decision I had to make, not a choice” WTF????

      • I got that one handed to me straight off. My response was, “what are you, five?”

        • I got that classic line, too. I said; “Sure, and somehow it just kept happening, almost every single day for over five years without any effort or consciousness on your part. What was it, a Manchurian Candidate kind of deal?” Then I sneered.
          He made a sad sausage face. Lol.

      • “I’m sorry I worried you with my absecence.”

        “I’d never intentionally hurt you.”

        “I just got tired and fell asleep there.”

        • Yes, mine fell asleep ‘fully clothed on the sofa’ at an undisclosed location and lied to me about where he was and when I found out said he lied because he knew I would be upset. One word: dickhead.

      • Yeah, I got, “You can’t believe how we met.”
        Star crossed lovers, NOT. Those legs have been wide open for years. Guessing she’s batting a 1000 for failed keepers. Ankle bracelets aside.

      • Same line fed here. “It just sort of happened…”
        I’m sorry, did you trip and accidentally fall into her vagina?

      • I’m sorry you feel that way.

        This was his response when I had argued back when he said that I broke his heart (said on the phone while at the airport to go visit her), I told him he set my heart on fire and I can barely breathe around the pain. He said, “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

    • A big one is “I didn’t know it would cause this much pain and destruction”.

      Yeah, right. They didn’t know a massive betrayal like that would cause their spouse tremendous pain and destroy their family? Bullshit! Who doesn’t know that? You’d need an IQ in the single digits not to anticipate that.

            • I got that AND I got: “Well…..I’ve been on the road for my job (in sports) for over 10 years. It’s not like we every really had a ‘traditional’ marriage. You know, not like other people’s marriages.” Seriously?
              When I quit my 6-figure job to become a SAHM (“Yes! Let’s do this!”) it never occurred to me this wasn’t a ‘traditional’ marriage. Not when I was The Best Mom (“She’s the most amazing mother!”) when you were on the road, nor The Fabulous Hostess” (“Isn’t she the best? Look what’s she’s done with this house!”) when you rolled in 2x a month and Needed. A. Party. because you “never get to see your friends because you’re on the road all the time,” Nope. None of that ever entered what is now “My Fully Chumped Mind.”
              I like to think that maybe I’m was a military wife and he was out doing meaningful covert missions for the country — undermining spies or something. Maybe he was really a pediatric neurologist and had long hours saving lives of future meaningful people that took him away from us for sooooo…longggg. But no. Just sports.

        • Me too!! You didn’t think I’d care that you fucked some bar whore and then came back and had sex with me?? Really?

        • That’s the blameshift move. It really says, “I did what I did because I could see that you didn’t care about me.”

    • Yup! ‘I didn’t MEAN to hurt you and the kids!’

      You were hurt anyway? ‘I never THOUGHT about that possibility!’

      Maybe a caring parent would have thought about that possibility? ‘I don’t KNOW why I didn’t!’

      It’s not the first, tenth or hundredth time you’ve hurt people, unthinkingly. ‘I don’t KNOW why I’m like that!’ (Saddest face of all time with this one!)

      But you knew you were doing it, again and again, and did nothing about it. ‘I’ll go to therapy now!’

      Followed by, oh, maybe a dozen sessions over a year’s period. ‘I’ve changed! I don’t want to hurt people any more!.

      Followed, after a few months, by; impatience that nobody has forgiven him, demands that HIS needs be met, accusations of parental alienation, eventually refusal to pay child support ….

      • Absolutely! As a PARENT I can’t fathom harming my child, so how was that not a factor?

        Mine, after I asked how he could destroy his family and hurt our child, said with seemingly genuine confusion and shock: “this has nothing to do with our son”, and “this doesn’t affect him?!”


        Another gem: “Give me ONE example of me being selfish…OTHER than the affair”

        • So many bad memories of those words: “this has nothing to do with you” and “this doesn’t affect you” and “[so much crying] isn’t normal”, and “I’m worried about you”.

          All of it was my problem…

          • When I asked wtf is going on, I heard that. “This has nothing to do with you”, so he didn’t need to explain himself. Because apparently I was just another inanimate object in the house. Then when consequences happened, suddenly it had everything to do with me. As in it was all my fault.

              • Yup that one to. “I was trying to fix things so that you wouldn’t find out.” Notice he wasn’t planning on ending it, just trying to hide it better. Took me a minute to catch onto the the phrasing.

        • I heard all those same lines. The fog the cheater and flying monkeys tell themselves is beyond belief. They say the most ridiculous things. I could write a book with the ridiculousness I heard. After I left our house with kids not by choice but by suggestions of police officers. Ex-Cheater tells my dad ” all you care about is your daughters broken heart”. 2 days later tells my dad you can pay the water bill. Backstory my dad had been covering some of our bills because Ex never worked enough to cover bills. I worked partime, home schooled kids and did all household chores. Glad to be done with that loser!

        • It can leave you so full of thought, yet speechless.
          ( also deep pain can cripple you, making it difficult to talk)
          The words are there, but can’t get out)
          And there they stand, just anxious to get back to affair partner.
          Geeeez, you got me remembering.
          (((((Big hugs Fearful & Loathing)))))
          I understand

        • Another gem: “Give me ONE example of me being selfish…OTHER than the affair”

          Oh my gosh I just choked on my coffee. You can’t make this stuff up!

          • ???? That is absolutely hysterical.

            Mine said; “Okay! So I’m not perfect!” in a petulant, resentful voice. This, a few minutes after I got the shock of finding out about an ongoing five year affair with some slag he immediately insisted he “loved”.
            They are scum. But damn, it’s funny how stupid they are.

            I love this stuff. This should be Friday challenge; what was the stupidest excuse or blameshift your cheater made.

            • He left me because I napped too much and so he couldn’t get ahold of me whenever he wanted. I said, “your solution to not having enough of me is to leave me?”

        • The STBXH still insists that his affair and subsequent living with the Cumpster and taking our daughter around the Cumpster is my “issue” and that my daughter has nothing to do with my “issue”. This was in response to me reminding him that he didn’t just abandon me he abandoned his daughter too. “She is fine, don’t make your issues her issues.”

      • I continue to be amazed at the people who are surprised my kids now hate their father. I get the whole, this isn’t about them comment.

        I’m, yeah. Their family just came apart, their mother is hurt and their father was caught by one of the kids texting obscene pics to a girl 20 years younger than him.

        How could anyone not think this was about the kids? That they would laugh that off because, hey their dad loves them . Nope.

        I can’t say how many times in the past few months I say, infidelity is more shocking and painful and destructive than I ever could have imagines. It’s worse than addiction (been there, done that). It’s pain inflicted on people who had no involvement in the decisions.

        Stay in the fog cheater. Just keep paying your child support. And leave us alone.

      • Oh, the “I didn’t think about it hurting you and the kids ” crap. I got that, too.
        All that proves is they didn’t give a shit about their family. They certainly would have thought about the impact on us if they did. They think claiming not to have considered us in the equation absolves them. It certainly does not. In a way, it’s worse than if they had.

        Mine is in therapy and says he’s going to change, too. It’s been six months and he’s still the same jerk as far as I can see, minus one whore and a drinking problem. So no sale.

  • In hindsight, the only one in a fog was me. A fog of depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, low blood sugar from never eating. He, of course, let me believe he was in a fog and couldn’t possibly be expected to do the right thing. Just so confused! Was he supposed to go to his parents’ house after marriage counseling or was he supposed to go bang his coworker? Who knows? It’s all so hazy.

    As soon as I managed to snap out of the fog, I saw him and the situation for what it was and was able to act. God help the chumps on those RIC sites – they’re essentially encouraged to stay in the fog forever.

    • I totally agree with you on that!

      The experience of being cheated on and lied to continuously was a lot like being lost in a fog, not being able to see the way forward, not knowing that if I took a step in the wrong direction would I walk off a cliff?

    • I was in the fog. For the last few years, one day, one month seemed to flow from one to the next. I honestly can’t tell you what I did, how I felt, or what was wrong. I just knew that the marriage didn’t feel right but I didn’t know why.

      On the other hand, he knew exactly what he was doing, the entire time. They aren’t in any damn fog! They create fog from all the gas lighting and deceit.

      • MissB

        100% correct
        My h admitted that his actions were deliberate, planned and excuses , gaslighting was there to mind fuck with me and keep me confused

        Of course after moment of honesty he started back paddle into “ I have issue and it’s all my imagination”

        The whole motion of RIC and “ the poor confused children, unknowingly destroying life around them” is the biggest bs out there…
        They know EXACTLY what they do.

    • Was about to write the same and you explained it perfectly — more often than not, we the chumps are the ones stuck in the fog; whereas our cheaters are clearly aware of what they are and have been doing

      With me, I did the pick-me-dance in a fog for a year while she repeatedly told me to my face that she didn’t regret it, how it “woke her up”, etc. A year later (and thanks to CL & CN) I came out of the fog and only then (mostly as her long-distance affair is going nowhere) have I see a couple of breakdowns/sadz where she expressed regret & guilt but nahhh I don’t believe any of that BS now

    • Adaira, that is another way of looking at fogs. It just occurred to me as well that little old chump here was also in a fog, not of shit and bad character, but of spackle, delusions and misplaced good will.

    • Yes I was the one in the fog. For the last 16 years, depressed, insomnia, overweight and miserable. After trying to reconcile after the first Dday. Did the pick me dance on and on. Living in a fog is miserable. I am finally glad I woke up and found Chump Lady. So that is why I use the name “I finally see the light”.

  • Cheaters don’t like reality, they live in a pretend world, where they are no 1, and like ow/om who don’t bring up their kids, but will get pregnant, don’t forget about the sti’s.
    Don’t worry somebody else will bring your kids up for you.
    Also running short on fake suicide attempts better start those again.
    Mind you my ex’s ow, thinks my ex is wonderful so she could be psychotic.
    Shame she didn’t realise about the sti, thanks for that.

    • Any suicide attempt, especially if it’s in text… call 911! You are NOT a counselor. That cheater needs intervention of the police coming to check on them, take them into mandatory mental health evaluation for a few days… plus, it probably will help you with custody to show either cheater is too mentally unstable for custody or a blowhard.

      Fake suicide notes are their way of being central. They even do it with the affair partners.

  • The oat squares made me do it….

    You folded the socks wrong….

    You didn’t read my mind and make the dinner I wanted 5 years ago when I had that really bad day.

    I could go on…but the fog equates to really bad adulting skills and the ability to blameshift like a toddler who’s teething.

    And the focus is drawn away from the bad thing that they did, because you know, breakfast foods.
    And bin liners, and mismatched socks!

    • Lol, that reminds me how my ex wife said that she had the affair because she wanted to check her luggage instead of using carry on luggage when traveling. Little did I know, the place we were traveling too was so she could see her affair partners. Yes she had more then one

    • Chuckling out loud…. Glad I can laugh now and see their insanity and false denials, pretzel twisting and future faking for what they really are. My head is clear of his fog.

    • Ugh. My ex brought up in marriage counseling, and any time he wanted to throw a pity party over our 11 year marriage, that on the night of our wedding I had forgotten to bring my overnight bag to the hotel before the wedding. And it was 3 a.m. and I was still in a full wedding dress (with no change of clothes), and I asked him, my new husband, to get it for me.

      That meant (brace yourselves, everyone) that he had to walk A BLOCK in a little Scottish village to retrieve it from his aunt’s house. I mean, THE HORROR! How could I have been so DEMANDING!

      I am haunted by this incredible display of selfishness to this day. No wonder he cheated and our marriage ended. I mean, he was a saint to stay with me as long as he did.

      • Maybe he was scared Nessie was around! The Twat once balled me out because I went to drive off after dropping him at the Ford garage and he needed dropping back in town (at the gf’s house – we were separated). So Mr. ooooo raaaaah Marine Corps couldn’t walk what turned out to be the 800 metres back to Schmoopie’s place. God, no wonder he had to get a Schmoopie with a bitch like me for a wife!

        • Attie, how could you! 😉 I honestly don’t know how they put up with us. Especially these military types–I mean, here I was, selfishly living alone while he was deployed all those times…selfishly saving money to get ahead during each deployment…selfishly visiting his parents alone (at his request) while he was out of the country, though they are both narcissistic nut jobs (family resemblance is strong I guess).

          I mean, obviously serving in the military is NOTHING to putting up with women like us.

          • These types love the military (my last cheater was a high-rank officer). They get their egos endlessly fed with all the “Thanks for your service” stuff. They are used to women eyeing them up in uniform. And bonus: The wife does all the adulting at home! But even better, the military does most of the adulting for them at work. They literally have to think about nothing except their job. And they get to play hero in front of a parade of pussy. Which is hilarious because my engineer Ex never fired a bullet or had a bullet fired at him. In 30 years–even in Afghanistan.

            • I saw the Twat’s psychiatric assessment (long story) when it fell out of a book on fishing. He had told the psychiatrist that he had seen men abused and killed in front of him during active service! He was NEVER in a war zone. Spent his time playing guitar and BBQing when not on duty (embassy duty) and yep they had everything taken care of for them. They even had a cook at the marine house so he didn’t even have to do that for himself. What a bloody joke. The report was in French but he was assessed as being a “fragile narcissist” (whatever that means). Narc most definitely.

            • Mine was an Air Force Pilot. Portrays himself as honest, rigid rule follower, all American guy.
              He would purposely wear shirts with Air Force written on them waiting for someone to walk up to him and say”thanks for your service”. He was never in a war zone but would talk like he had been.
              Military wives do all the work at home, saving money, taking care of kids as a single parent, living away from family, keeping everything together on your own. Making sure your military man comes back to a happy home so they can focus on saving the world. Many of the TDY’s or trips away from home are for training and with lots of free time eating at nice restaurants, staying in nice hotels, bars, single women in bars, strip clubs, hookers. Ex would tell me that at some destinations the first thing some crew members would do once they landed is find a hooker to bring back to their room.
              Ex would tell me these stories of “the other guys” and what they did but never him.. of course, he wasn’t that kind of guy.
              Unfortunately I was chump enough to believe him.

              • Unfortunately we have that in common….all those “other” people who fooled around on TDY and on deployments.

                My ex is an Army pilot. Same ego with the thanks and the fake modesty. It is disgusting.

          • Liz C.
            I selfishly visited ex’s parents while he was away or had them come visit me while he was gone another time his brother. Narcissists and judgmental, throughout I was polite and remained the gracious hostess. Just like a good Chump.
            Being the selfish wife I called his parents every Saturday to say hello and give them updates on Ex’s schedule.

            I’m also sadly familiar with the fake modesty, it would make me cringe to hear ex answer questions about being in the military, especially when he’d answer with “I’m a Pilot on the …,” in his, authoritative, official tone of voice, just waiting to hear their response and excitedly ask more questions. It’s pathetic.

            • His parents and brother were narcissistic and judgmental, as well as miserable.
              Like a good Chump I plastered a smile on my face, doing my best to make them happy and their stay enjoyable..
              They complained about the food on their flight. Being the unstable, shitty wife I am, I decided to prepare meals they liked, packaging it all nicely for them to take on the plane so they would have to eat airline food.
              As you can tell that was all very much appreciated.., don’t let these things fool you.., remember I didn’t load the dishwasher correctly, and parked too close to the house,

      • Liz C

        I have several friends whose new husbands behaved in such a way on their honeymoons!

        And my X drove us across England following a couple (really the woman) we met in the Lake District… and who gave him a false address in Bath (they knew…). Of course, I was CRAZY to believe that he would do that!

        I took a cab to the airport to go home… but he showed up and went with me. I was so embarrassed to tell anyone, or to leave him, that I put up with his BS for another 22 years!

        But it never left my mind… he was chasing another woman on our wedding trip…and lied and lied.

        It is heartbreaking we spackle those huge waving red flags…

        • That is appalling of him, Dianne!! I can relate to the embarrassment. Don’t feel bad. As I look back now with a clear perspective I can now see all the millions of times my ex chased other women right in front of me.

          I just glossed over it and told myself, “Well, he’s just a flirt like his father. He doesn’t mean anything by it.”

          It is very natural to make excuses and not see the truth–when you are married you make a lot of promises! It is normal to expect those promises to be kept. I am so glad we are free of those losers.

        • Dianne
          Oh my…sicko!
          Well, mine left me in the hotel room, went to check the bar … or rather ogole blonde girl sitting at the bar… disgusting… but I was unable to connect the dots at a time- it was too creepy and bizarre…..
          Well… even more fucked up actions followed during our marriage…????‍♀️

          • On our honeymoon ex had the video camera taping our cruise and destinations.
            When we arrived home I invited family over for dinner and watch some of our honeymoon video which I hadn’t seen. Our honeymoon video were a lot of videoing a variety of girls asses while he’s talking to me on the video. Ex laughed and explained that he was only joking, of course he was, remember he’s not that kind of guy.
            Where’s my sense of humor?? After all he’s a great guy with a great sense of humor, that’s just the way he is..,
            Looking back, not funny, nothing to do with my sense of humor but a lot to do with his lack of character and respect.

      • Interestingly, they often accuse chumps of playing a victim but it’s them who are playing a martyr.

    • Oh my goodness… I got the “laundry isn’t folded often enough and supper isn’t ready until 7:00 most nights” as reasons why it’s my fault he can’t love me (be intimate).

      • It’s all my fault

        Yeah… when u realize that you are maid and cook to them not a human being and a spouse- it makes sense.
        My therapist was ????‍♀️When she heard that h would rather have a folded clothes in laundry ( and no I’m not a hoarder and keep the place relatively clean)than sex with his wife…
        My male friends ( from my single life) thought I was joking when I told them that…. they would jump from happiness to have an extra sex- who cares about ???? folding?!??
        My whore fucking husband….

  • I was told by my former MIL “If you were nicer to him, this wouldn’t have happened.” My response,”You’re the one who hired the whore.”

    Back story: Ex works for family business, Howorker was an employee hired by MIL. I was hated because I was the ONLY ONE not working for the be family business. Was I supposed to leave my lucrative job in the medical profession to work no little to no money ? Nope. That was one of my major faults.

    • Oh you dodged an enormous bullet there @GoneGirl! I still work with the cheater — not to be recommended

  • Well, I’m out of coffee this morning. It’s Chump Lady’s fault becuase I read her column yesterday instead of going to the store….

  • I didn’t mean to beat the crap out of you. That just isn’t who I am! I did it again three days later??? But I’m really not like that. I love you. What are those bruises all over your body? You must have been drunk and fallen downstairs (then got up again and fallen down the other way to even out those bruises). Gotta have balanced front and back bruises! But I love you! No I didn’t do all that. And no I didn’t wreck 3 cars (2 in one week), and no we didn’t spend $30,000 repairing other people’s cars that I crashed into drunk. And I don’t remember spending all our money and now I’m out on my own how on earth am I going to pay my rent. You don’t have any money I could lend do you? I’ll pay you back. Oh, but could I just skip a payment this month as I’m running a bit short right now? What do you mean, stop buying rounds of fucking champagne in the hoe-bar? I have standards to keep. I’ll be better when my medication kicks in …

  • Tracy, you did write a column today. We chumps all got the point.

    My, my, my! How I was chumped and gaslighted this way! ALL. THE. TIME.

    My left eardrum is imprinted forever with sparkledick’s 1000 decibel bellow into it that he was a failure and that it was my fault. Can fogs get any thicker?

    It’s my fault that because of this thick fog he bumped into a strange vagina?
    Woke up in a stranger’s bed?
    Couldn’t see his bank balances with his many stupid debts, but saw enough of a keyboard to take out a consigned loan out on MY salary without telling me?

    Thank you for your column Tracy, it is a public utility.

  • I fell for the RIC “affair fog” nonsense. Waited for my ex to wake up from the fog and come back. Well, she did. Several times, so she had the opportunity to stick the knife in my broken heart several times in my marriage. If you think what your going through is painful, depressing, destroying your self esteem, sapping the life out of you. Try going through it multiple times. It only gets worse, a lot worse. Don’t wait for them. Set hard boundaries, really hard ones. Rebuild your own life. Give yourself a very very long time to heal and grow. If you do this you will come out a stronger and better person. Throw out the RIC books and get self improvement books.

    • I fell for all the RIC bull too, Dd. I’m happy for you for being able to crawl your way up out of the well.

      It’s easy to do though when you still believe you are dealing with a normal human being, not the disordered narcs they actually are. I really believed if he understood how hurt I was he would change. But they don’t have the character to face what they have done so it all gets thrown back on us.

      I just became a reminder and reflection of his poor character and destructive choices, and he wasn’t strong enough to look at me.

    • Yes, reconciling with a disordered Cheater just gives them more chances to hurt you more deeply. Wow, do I wish I’d stayed moved out the first time and followed through with the divorce process. Healing has taken much longer now because of more abuse, especially financial, because he had the heads up that I was finally coming out of the fog and wising up to his lies.

      And yet, healing does come when you divorce a cheater and gain a life. I am so grateful to be free and to be part of CN. The freedom from chaos, lies, and emotional abuse is so amazing. Life is beautiful without a cheater in it.

    • Good advice. This, as far as I know, was The Asshole’s first affair. I am not giving him another chance to stick a shiv in my heart.

      But why do we need self improvement books? They’re the ones who need improving. Being loving and trusting isn’t a character flaw. The fact that you were conned by the RIC isn’t, either. You trusted so-called experts. It’s natural to trust experts. Once you have realized the truth, no longer are being conned by RIC scam artists, and have dumped the cheater, what more is there to improve? Your picker would be the only thing that needs fixing, and only if you have a history of repeatedly falling for overt narcs and other flagrantly obvious losers.

      • Chumperella…I needed the self improvement books, because I lost some of my identity from being married to my ex for 20 years, plus the multiple betrayals over the years wrecked havoc on my confidence and self esteem. The self improvement books helped me earn a better income, enjoy life as a single parent, bring awareness on selecting the right woman in my next relationship, overcome the pain that was inflicted on me, and build a better relationship with God…you might be stronger then I and don’t need the books. But this whole situation created the biggest learning experience in my life. For that I’m grateful..there is some truth in the quote “there is beauty in the suffering “

  • Same, KarenE! Your ex sounds just like mine. It’s been hard to get my mind around it – apparently non-disordered people (presumably the majority of my fellow Chumps here) have a hard time comprehending this behavior because we simply aren’t wired this way!

    Some of my favorite lines from my Narcissistic Ex With Sociopathic Tendencies…

    “I don’t know why I didn’t think of what my actions would do to the kids – I just never thought about them!” (Me: W.T.A.F!?)

    “You were supposed to understand my traumas and why I would do this.” (Me: Blameshift!)

    “You were supposed to take me back, invite me back into our home with our family, so we can be together again into old age. I didn’t ______ (fill in the blank) or ________ (fill in the blank). I’m worried about you. ” (gaslighting)

    When I shared his comments with my therapist, she handed me the book “The Sociopath Next Door”. (ME: A-Ha!)

    I think we both dodged a bullet just by getting out! I’m so grateful to have found this site and feel so much comfort knowing I’m not the only Chump recovering from narc abuse!

    • Until Dday, I never even knew what a Sociopath was, nevermind the fact that I had spent 42 years with one! That’s the trauma that I am currently dealing with, the whys of my allowing that treatment of me. And let’s not even mention the collateral damage of my sons witnessing this covert abuse of their mother.

  • Hmmm. Tracy said she was going to the store for milk.

    Three hours later she came home without the milk, and was smelling of orange juice.

    Should I be worried?

  • First of all, I LOVE the title of this column – one of my favorite poems. I was definitely engulfed by the fog both before and after D-Day. His denials and gaslighting, “We’re just friends, you’re jealous.” then, “She has feelings for me, but I don’t have any for her- but let’s talk about OUR relationship and what’s wrong with it” and so on, until I told him I simply knew and he could deny all he wanted but I had evidence. Then came the fog of the RIC- all the stupid books and videos that told me to suck it up and maybe, just maybe, I’d feel better in 5-6 years. Seriously? Within a few months, I saw how easily the OW could replaced by the half dozen other women that he communicated with regularly. I used to trust that he’d had boundaries in his friendships with women. Not anymore. The fog began to clear, so I got up off my silent haunches and moved on.

  • Oh I SO needed this today. Thank you for pointing out that I should just wait here and not get on with my life. I guess I’m in a fog too. I DID just wake up though so go easy on me.

  • There ought to be a place where we can suggest ideas for Tracy. Recently a famous English editor and writer, Diana Athill, died and her obituary in The Week quoted her as saying : ‘ I quite liked children, but I was never motherly. And nor, I realized, was I wifely. The role I was most comfortable with was that of the Other Woman, and I was good at it. I never wanted to wreck anyone’s marriage.’
    I feel furious about this whenever I remember it, and I’d love to read Tracy’s snark on the matter.

    • She didn’t want to wreck anyone’s marriage…but, she just could not help it. At least she acknowledged what she had done. No apologies though.

    • UBT: “You see, I’m quite a miserable little narcissistic cunt. I prefer married men because I like to feel superior to their wives when their husbands prefer being with me. Do I want these men to leave their wives, no. I just want them to neglect them in order to give precious, all-important, cunty ME their attention and affection.”

  • Oh, Tracy, honey, just pull your comfy little blanket up around your ears and snuggle in; you deserve it!

  • For what it’s worth, I think the argument for the existence of a mental “fog” actually makes a stronger case for ditching cheaters than staying with them.
    Let’s just say for the sake of argument, some activity can make your brain feel like it is on heroin. You can hook up an electrode to rat’s brain to where it gets a jolt in its pleasure center every time it presses a little bar, and what do you know, it presses the little bar a thousand times. Hypothetically, let’s say a human behavior can do that, too. I just think it doesn’t matter.
    First, no one can argue that you get into the “affair fog” without having the affair first. The cheater is still making a conscious choice before any foggy brain-eating chemical gets in there. This means that our argument here — that cheating is a choice indicative of bad character — still holds.
    More disturbing to me, though, is the argument that because the cheater is in the fog, the poor chump just has to sit there and take the emotional abuse until the affair dies out on its own. If someone can’t control his behavior, and his behavior is cutting you to the quick, why on earth do you have to sit there and endure it? In every other instance I can think of where someone has a few screws loose, and acts in a hurtful or dangerous way, we tell people to get away from the nutjob. If your next door neighbor comes over and makes death threats because he thinks you’re actually an alien from another planet here to suck out his soul, you have someone in the white coats take him off to a safer place. If they won’t do that, you go away on your own. Are we going to tell abused spouses to just keep getting beat up, hoping that one day the other person will choose to stop?

    Personally, even if there is such thing as a “fog,” I can’t buy the argument that it’s some kind of mind control. It is just an influence, just like anything else. I don’t want to get out of bed and go to work when it’s cold and rainy outside because my bed is so comfy, but that doesn’t mean I *can’t* get out of bed.

    • Great points. Concede there is a fog and tell the RIC you require lucidity in a partner.

  • There’s no freaking fog with them. They have enough mental acuity to plan, pursue, gaslight, deceive, steal, cheat, manipulate, project, blameshift, pretend – they know what’s going on every step of the way and every fuck pursued.

    On the other hand, the rest of us live in marriage not understanding the dynamics because we don’t know the truth. We don’t know why they come home in a good mood one day and a bad mood the next. Or, why they are all over you and suddenly they can’t be touched. Or the conversations become stilted and you can’t remember if you did something to piss them off or forgot to do something for them.

    They are deceitful ones that are more than happy to get us in the fog lest we get a whiff of their true nature. Trust that they suck.

    • Thank you, thank you, thank you, Miss Bailey. My life to a T. She does all the text book cheater things but that paragraph is exact. It is an old boyfriend from 25 years ago that she thought was going to be the one. He came back into the picture three years ago. (I found out 10 months ago)Now she won’t give him up but still loves me and our family. (5 kids) She is so confused but continues to see him. Ball is in my court. Dont want to tear up our family but I didn’t put myself in this position either. Hammer58

      • Hammer58 – I got the whole “not in love with you, but love you” speech. I would argue that they don’t love us. I truly loved my husband and I never would have done anything remotely close to what he put me through. I would argue that your wife doesn’t love you either and she’s even putting him above your children.

        This will never get better. Let’s say you decide to stay, you are sacrificing yourself to be the marriage police for the rest of your life (or until one of you leaves). That’s a horrible way to live – you deserve so much more than half of a marriage.

        She’s not confused. She wants to play both sides for as long as she can. Otherwise, she will have to face the consequences of her actions – with you, with your children, the financial aspects, living a life without two incomes, living a life where you are there to take care of her and her needs. She’s not making a decision because no one is forcing her too.

        Make decisions for YOU. Tell her what you need to stay. See if she is willing to sacrifice for you.

      • Here is a truth hammer for you Hammer58: 1. She does not love you. If she did she couldn’t do this to you. Period. Could you have done it to her? No? You are the only one who loves here. 2. People do what they want to do. If they lie to you, it’s because they want to deceive you. If they have an affair, it is because they want to fuck strange. They are not confused. They are horny and don’t care that they are ripping your heart out. 3. Anytime someone you know to be a lying cheat says, “Let me explain” do not listen to another word. They can’t explain and they don’t want to. They want to blameshift and gaslight you because, see 1. and 2. 4. They want you to play by the Golden Rule when they refuse to. So NEW Golden Rule: If I would not do these horrible things to you, I do not have to put up with these horrible things from you.

      • If she does give him up she will forever resent you for the choice not made. He will be idolized in her mind because he is no longer there and you will be the evil one for preventing her happiness. Best to let her go and have her eventually resent him for what she gave up.

  • The “fog” is a fog of entitlement and selfishness.

    My Ex complained bitterly in MC that I was “not meeting her needs” because I worked way too much.
    WHY did I work so much at a job I detested and was slowly driving me to an early grave due to high stress ?
    Oh yeah, she (SAHM) ran up $50,000 in credit card bills that she hid from me and I had to dig us out of the hole. When I brought that up she got furious and told the MC “see how he treats me and throws things into my face” !

    Facing the consequences for their shitty acts is “hateful” and the Chump needs to suck it up, fix it with their magic wand, oh and cheerfully always “meet their needs”.

    F*** that and f*** your “fog”.

  • The fog clears up real quick with a restraining order, loss of child custody and immediate garnishment of wages.
    No cake for you.
    Wake up and smell the coffee!

  • My therapist calls it a “maladaptive coping strategy.” She doesn’t care what I call it as long as I’m taking positive steps to lose the cheater.

  • My ex was definitely in a fog. You could see it in his eyes. DDay happened right when their affair was at its peak. He was constantly distracted when he was with the family. One day he looked at me and said “I’m not really here”. I could see from the look in his eyes that it was true. His mind was with her. I could tell when his mind was on her because his eyes would be bloodshot. During those rare instances of lucidity when he seemed to remember that he had a family they were not. I tried to put his mind back on his family by forcing family activities where he would have to interact with us, but he just ended up resenting it. It was so scary and heartbreaking to watch. How could some stupid slut have such a hold on his mind? He let the hormones take over and rule him. Such weakness. It really was like an addiction that caused him to lose sight of what should have been important to him. All that mattered was getting his next fix and he would go through withdrawal when he couldn’t get it.

    He was not in a fog, however, when he first chose to let himself be affected by the attentions of other women. He was not in a fog when he chose to devalue me and the kids by comparing us negatively to others. He was not in a fog when he chose to solicit the attention of other women himself. He was not in a fog when he made the choice to fuck Schmoopie 1.0. He was not in a fog when he chose to put himself in a position that could lead to falling head over heals Schmoopie 2.0. He was not in a fog when he chose to go down a path that he should have known would inevitably lead to the destruction of his marriage and the tearing apart of his family. Even if he was in a fog after DDay, he chose his addiction to her over his family because “she means the world to me” and I can’t forgive him for that. He got himself into that mess and then refused to get himself out again when given the gift of an opportunity to do so because his family just didn’t mean that much to him. He gave up so much for so little. He may think he is happier now, but he is still pathetic.

  • Chump Lady, you have the all time best snark I’ve ever heard! Hilarious & I love it!

    You putting cheater’s blameshifting ability especially in that way really helps clarify how utterly ridiculous it is. It’s hard to see that sometimes when you’re caught up in the emotion of the situation. Very easy to see in your snark. I’m amazed myself at how that helps me see a lot of my fuckwit’s blameshifting much clearer.

    Educational & entertaining at it’s best! THANK YOU!

  • ‘I wanted kids and I didn’t think it would ever happen’ (yep, everyone who puts off kids until you can afford them is totally encouraged to enter the fog and blow money on hookers and coworkers)

    Thank fucking God, Ganesh, Zeus, and all other deities out there we didn’t have kids.

    ‘What does dad do when we are at t-ball?’
    ‘That’s the wrong question kiddo! It’s ‘who does dad do, and how much did they cost your mom!?!’’

    It’s the kid that would be in the fog, thinking his dad gave a fucking sniff of shit in their direction.

    Praise Lilith my uterus is a dry barren fruitless wasteland. Fog doesn’t happen much in desert ???? ???? ????

  • It is AMAZING that even in the fog- Cheaters can pick out verse to thump your way;

    4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres

    In the FOG, xh could only remember the “It keeps no record of wrongs” part. (As far as critiquing MY ability to let his misdeeds go.) — He forgot to read the FIRST part of that sentence or the rest of the paragraph, methinks. Ah, Jesus cheaters.

    • Never trust anyone who can cherry pick verses without the surrounding context. That goes for cheaters and Switzerland friends who only seem to know “Judge not, lest ye be judged” but have NO idea about the surrounding verses and context of them!

    • These were part of our vows too
      What a joke
      Especially when I learned that he did the same to his previous wife

  • I guess I got super lucky in the counselor department because although I specifically started counseling with a couples therapist and the state goal of reconciliation (although cheaterpants never bothered to attend a session) the male counselor said from session one that an immediate cut off of all contact of any kind from the affair partner was the number one required non negotiable commitment cheaterpants would have to make. Number two was cheaterpants entering individual counseling for the personal issues that caused his cheating. Only if those steps were taken could we work together on forgiveness reestablishing trust and reconstructing a healthy relationship. He bluntly told me that if cheaterpants would not do those things I was better off divorcing and getting individual therapy to support me through that process. “It is impossible for one person to partner for both sides of a relationship. ” is the one thing he said that really stuck with me.

  • Hey there Chumplady, loved it. To be more accurate you should have also blamed all of us more for being so “negative”

  • My ex called the period in time when he turned into a different person –mean and cold towards me, joined a bowling league, started smoking outside the home, coming home drunk after being out all night with “friends”, going up to Canada over ten times and getting lap dances from 100% naked strippers, probably fxcked a lot of the strippers too because he wouldn’t have turned down the offer — his “lost period”. Pretty much the same as “being in a fog”. This was way back in 2000.

    Well, he got fired from his CFO job during this time and the next day he called up his female ho-worker and was crying on the phone to her. The ho-worker got all the emotions from him and I got the cold treatment with a lousy explanation as to why he got fired.

    He wasn’t “lost”. He was having an affair with a ho-worker. I should have hired a PI like I was thinking about and kicked his cheating axx to the curb. But I didn’t, because I was in the fog, because of all the gaslighting and lies. And I put up with more of this shxt treatment for another 14 years. I wish I could go back in time to the year of 1992 and kick my own butt the first time I thought he was cheating. But stupid me believed the lies even way back then.

    One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to not be in any kind of relationship with a liar. I heard my ex tells many lies to his family and friends. I knew he was lying. But he would never lie to me! No, he would never do that. He’s a such a “nice guy” and a “Christian”. Yeah, the Nice Guy Christian is a big act to draw women in and to get narcissist supply from all the people he’s fooled into thinking he is Such A Great Guy. Barf!

    • Ugh it’s just beyond me how much, how far, and how long they will lie for! My whole 15 year marriage -all built on lies! How could anyone do that?
      Not to pity these guys, but I read recently such Machiavellianism is often a defence mechanism learned in childhood when guys like this would get beatings from their as monstrous toxic fathers if they told the truth (Sorry I got caught looking at your porn magazines and videos dad a likely scenario in my ex husbands house).

      I even sat in therapy with him virtue signalling how he had vowed as a little boy not to be an abusive violent arsehole to his family when he grew up and how he believed he stuck with that cos he never kicked me (but did everything else under the sun in the domestic abuse playbook). The lies have no end! I just wish I’d realised sooner too, but that’s projection for you, on my part. Glad I can take responsibility for that at least. God knows him and his toxic family haven’t, and never will. All tidily swept under the carpet. Not my family.

  • Ok, so I love the movie Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. I actually just re-watched it and this scene stuck out so much for me. It so reminds me of the absurd crap that STBXH would throw at me when I would get upset about the Cumpster.

    Dewey Cox : So you’ve never done nothin’ you shouldn’t have done to me?

    Edith : What have I ever done to you?

    Dewey Cox : Like that time you woke up in the middle of the night and drank up all the milk! And then I got up to have my corn flakes and there was none left!

    Edith : Dewey, you cheated on me!

    Dewey Cox : Oh, so I’m a cheater, but you can just drink up all the milk.

  • So did fog come out of the UBT when you plugged in silent treatment and stonewalling?

    Cos that’s all I got from my ex husband after 3 long term affairs (that I know of) with various schmoopies and countless other attempts at more.

    Man that sucked. 8 months out today from seeing girl on girl porn gifs being exchanged via text messages right in front of me during OUR sexy time (triangulation much?) with an unrecognised number (and he had the cheek to tell me it was a guy after I’d told him 7 years prior I wasn’t going to stop him exploring his homosexuality when I walked him on our lawyer and him sucking each others dicks with their pants off). And still no explanation or accountability bar a couple of hoovering suicidal episodes where he still managed to lie through his teeth!

    So thanks for the explanations CL. It’s a heck of a lot more than I ever got. Oh wait, there was the endless “nothing happened” explanations for the last 7 years. But I never believed those either.

  • Oh, the FOG. Twelve years ago when my fuckwit cheated on my the first time, I was convinced that when the fog lifted all would be well. I spent ridiculous amounts of time on the RIC sites that told me to be loving and patient. And sure enough, the fog lifted and he came to his senses—OR SO I THOUGHT. Cheaters do not change, they might pretend that the sun has come out and burned through the fog, but it is all image management. And here I am 12 years later with round two of cheating (or at least that I’m aware of). Of course I pick me danced hard, I cried, I kept begging him to go to counseling. And then the lightbulb went off and I came out of MY fog. They do not change; the fog might hide who they are for a while, but only for a while . . . I see things quite clearly now.

  • I guess when YOUR FOG lifts, you will post less on Twitter.

    Less about your first date on the beach listening to music you normally hate.
    Less about thanking another sick Twitter poster for detailed sex advice.
    Less about your girlfriend thanking the same deranged poster for the exact measurement in inches of a woman’s G-spot.
    Less about your favorite word is “affection”.
    Less about how a person should get at least one hug a day.
    Less about how you wouldn’t care if something bad happened to your then and still wife.

    MY FOG has somewhat lifted. After accidentally (really) seeing four of your Twitter posts, a week from Dday, I signed off of Twitter for life.

    When MY FOG totally lifts, I will have less .

    Less sobbing.
    Less teeth chattering.
    Less anxiety.
    Less nightmares.
    Less doubt.

    Out of my fog, I will find peace.

    • You will find peace. The difference will be astounding. You are traumatized and need time to heal, away from the cheater. My God, he admitted publically that he didn’t care if you died? He must be psychopath and could even have been thinking about doing away with you. Is he gone? If not, run. He sounds seriously deranged.

      My idiot was also on Twitter, anonymously, without telling me, just to follow his mistress and say some of the most douchey things I’ve ever heard. I found out about it after dday. He even bragged in his profile about being a husband and father, a profile he created just to facilitate cheating. They have no shame. He never had any interest in following me on Twitter before or after the affair and he doesn’t even like it. They’ll do anything to connect with their AP and nothing to connect with you. Absolute scum.

      Hang in there. It gets better. We’d been together 32 years and I thought I’d never get over it, but now I know I will.

    • Oh, that is awful. Please tell me you screen-shotted that shit as leverage in the divorce.

  • Tracy,
    LOL! That’s a hysterical way to write about cheater-think and avoidance (as long as someone tolerates it). Great post!

  • Ok everyone, the truth is, the fact that chumplady has not written a column is not the real problem, it is how we have reacted that is the real issue. She didn’t mean to hurt our feelings, it is just how we took it. Are we struggling at present? is that what is making us blow this all out of proportion? do we need to talk? We can share what is really bothering us with CL she is there for us. She has noticed we have not been ourselves lately. Or maybe we should contact one of the elders of our church/ counsellor/ therapist, etc, to work through some of our childhood issues because until we deal with these we are only going to keep projecting our brokenness onto CL. And that’s just unfair to CL you could even say it is abuse.

    CL didn’t write a column and we want to end it, well CL doesn’t want to end it, she wants the option to write or not write and seeing we are so easily offended clearly we are as bad as each other, so if we want to end it that’s on us! All sin being equal and all.

  • I was hurt disappointed and feeling neglected when I saw there was no column . I’m needy it’s true . I nearly crossed the line because of my entitlement . Yes it’s true I confess , I nearly went elsewhere for my kibbles . …I almost watched an Ester Perel TED talk . I know I know it even me feel disgusting . When the thought came to my mind I immediately showered and called my priest to get a confession appointment . But I was hurt and angry and she was so sparkly with her sexy sucking-on-a-lemondrop accent . I mean it makes her sound so appealing . I didn’t but I did read some of Matt ‘s stuff . Enjoy your breakfast it’s the most important meal of the day

  • Hahahahaha. I am hysterical. Thank you for posting this. She’s evil, that Esther. I *almost* bought her new book. I stood in B&N reading. Then re-reading. It was like reading books that advise spanking my child – “it’ll be good for both of you!” Glad you were able to hold yourself back. I missed CL too, but she’d be proud to see how we’re all coping ????

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