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The Unlikelihood of Immediate Remorse

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There was an article over at HuffPo once on how a cheater should tell their spouse they’ve been having an affair. A discussion on tell versus don’t tell. (I’m not going there — duh, TELL. Yes. Of course.) But what interested me about the interview with Dr. Scott Haltzmann is his peculiar warning that cheaters might “break down in sympathy.” Otherwise, I thought his advice on the whole was good — be honest, expect much drama (short of physical violence), express remorse, commit fully to the marriage, and be immediately transparent.

And then I thought…. yes and no one does this.

Not one single cheater I have ever heard of in my years of reading on infidelity boards, or heard about here, or known in real life. Not one single cheating person has behaved that way. And certainly not right out of the starting gate.

I mean, I don’t want to rule them out. I want to believe they exist with the other unicorns in their fairy forest of “post-infidelity marital bliss.” (Read the article for that nugget.) I’ve just never seen one.

What I have seen, after the discovery of an affair — even after it is confessed (versus stumbled on to) — is denial, lying, blameshifting (you drove me to it), minimizing (it was only once), and other sorts of mindfuckery, paramount of which is controlling the narrative. They dribble out the “truth.” They omit. They obfuscate. I’ve never known a single one to say “Tell you about that time I hired a hooker in Phoenix? Oh sure! Her name was Mandi and she came highly recommended on flooziesonthefly.com for discerning business travelers. It was a discreet encounter for $399.99 and included….”

Yeah. No. That never happens.

I’ll tell you what else never happens — they don’t “break down in sympathy.”

Break down? Yes. That happens a lot. Do we project sympathy on them? Oh sure. Mine said he was sorry all the time. But when they lose their shit, it’s for THEMSELVES. Oh fuck! I’ve been found out! People might think horribly of me. My chump might divorce me! They will take away my beautiful cake! I need to control this outcome! We assume this freak out is about us, the chumps — it’s not.

Cheating is a narcissistic act, so to assume that upon discovery the cheater is going to lead with humility? That’s nuts. Cheaters disrespect chumps. They don’t prostrate themselves before their betrayed spouses. Cheating is about gaining advantage, getting more kibbles. Why would a cheater want to lose the upper hand, when not forced? To cheat, especially over a period of any duration, you have to be really good at maintaining a double life — at lying with a really straight face. People with that skill set tend not to possess qualities like shame and deference.

But we sure wish they did. I think it’s very difficult for chumps, especially in the early days post DDay, to discern what they want to see, from what they are actually seeing.

If you want to reconcile, I think what you should take from that interview is the unicorn blueprint. To have a marriage to save, these things must happen. And then watch and see if they happen, and how quickly, and what must be threatened.

If you see a unicorn, let me know.

This column ran previously. 

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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.
    • See, every now and then, I think, maybe CL and CN have just been crutches for me, maybe they don’t have quite the rational, realistic assessment of the cheater-chump scenario that I’d like to think. Maybe some of those Perelesque critics have a point.

      (My kids have asked me how is CL NOT a cult?!?! Given that their father only got the guts to reveal ten years of cheating – paid, both sexes – by phone, from a cultish self-development course. And, um … Chump Nation … charismatic leader, own phraseology, misunderstood by society at large… no, I’m kidding. My kids are too.)

      Anyway, then, as someone who likes a decent sample size on research, I remember how MANY of us there are, how many almost identical stories CL has heard over so many years. That whole thing of recognition of others’ stories in CN. Those who were “non-believers” – until they were cheated on time and again. those who tried and tried with their cheater, and then had to surrender, and looked back on themselves smoking the hopium pipe.

      Can’t get past that data, people.

      • This is a cult? Well, sign my happy ass up. ‘Cause Tracy saved me over $20K the year Voldemort & I split. And the about $50K I would’ve wasted each year on that asshole now goes towards paying bills & taking care of my kids!

    • All I got was lies and I asked her point blank. None of the other bullshit. Just lied to my face so I’d get in line and blah blah. But her mind was made up it was a complete waste of mental real estate

      • Yup! When I found a very lovey-dovey birthday card totally by accident that had “you’ll never know how much I care, need, want, love you” in it, his first response was “She’s a girl I used to work with who had a crush on me!” The only thing truthful about that statement was “she’s a girl.” It took me close to 10 months to finally discern what this mess was, despite saying – over and over and over, both in and out of couple’s therapy – just get it all out on the table so that we can sift through it together. Even the therapist was rolling his eyes and saying “Seriously? If you’re not going to be honest, what are we doing here?!” His lies were laughable – like I’m a moron. He obviously got me mixed up with that dim witted, clueless, alcoholic, saggy tit, walking bag of garbage he was fucking for 5 years. The lying was just cruel. You’re man enough to bed down a fucking moron for 5 yrs but not man enough to own it.

        • I agree with that- own up. Step into the light with that whore. Hiding in the dark must be a real thrill for cheaters. But then again, they always downgrade and we trade up! Hahaha

  • You see BS’s deluding themselves ALL the time, claiming their cheater is oh-so-remorseful. Yeah, sure he is.

    • They have bad character and delusional thinking. I think it’s really hard to look at yourself clearly when you’re that big of a jackass. It probably takes a while before the idiocy of the whole thing to sink in. Why not just ruin a perfectly good life and I’m not talkin about your betrayed spouse I’m talking about your own. The benefit of living a good life is as you look back you get to live it again and again. And that’s the punishment of living a bad life too.

      • Perfect analysis, Eleanor.

        Sparkledick and I are at court trying to reach an agreement about dividing our assets in the divorce. He has the gall to tell me “Clearwaters, you can trust me!”

        So I ask him how one goes about trusting a cheater who lied to me about his salary, debts and whoring around. So he THEN exclaims “But I am NOT a cheater!”. He was actually very upset that I would describe him as a cheater, and in front of the court mediator, interns and his and my lawyers at that. The pompous ass.

        So I ask him “So, pray tell me, who is ‘latest-flatterfuck’s-name-and-last-name’? Some extra-galactic mirage?”

        Snickers in the courtroom, and his lawyer looks down into her lap.

        Sparkles had pleaded with me to reconcile because he had “never imagined having to divide our assets”. What a crappy attempt. For this sheer lack of imagination I realized I would be better off alone than spending the rest of my 30 or so years of life with such a mediocre person.

        So sad.

        • “I realized I would be better off alone than spending the rest of my 30 or so years of life with such a mediocre person”

          ClearWaters, what a great insight. I have to remember this. Right now I am feeling so disillusioned and depleted. My child is experiencing some major emotional & academic struggles as a fallout from the divorce. I am doing my best to be the sane parent, and do all the work needed to deal with this destruction my ex has created. But I am struggling with the sense of injustice, as I feel like my ex “wins” as he gets to live his shiny new life without doing any real parenting or experiencing any consequences.

          • Oh the lack of consequences drives me mad. For example, while the cheater drags out the divorce you can’t save a penny or you will have to split it. Set it on fire – no problem. Totally acceptable.

            • Ummmmm I see a problem here. I wish this site would enlighten people when a username is already taken but I’ve had that one since 2013. Would you please add a 2 to the end of yours?

              • cheaterssuck(1)
                I had this happen to me, too. But I decided that my old name, “Trying for Mighty,” was ready for an upgrade, because I took that name when I was working up to leaving. But I’d left, so I let the new “tryingformighty” have the name, and I took this one, “Adelante,” which means “forward!” However, when I sign in to the Forum, using my email and password, I pop us as my old name. So I just go with it.

          • i felt the same as you. wasband ran off and gets to live his shiny new life without doing any real parenting or experiencing any consequences. Him and his crackhead troll get new clothes, new shoes, and eat out almost every day while i was struggling to buy the kids school clothes and shoes and put food on the table and pay the electric. He got to do what he wanted, having the time of his life with no consequences and no regrets. They were having so much fun. Running around visiting people, staying out late at parties, drinking as much as he wanted. he ran out and bought a brand new nissian versa. he was just living life on the edge and enjoying every minute because he had zero responsibilities. he did not have to worry about the kids, did not have to worry about bills. wasnt worried about where he was going to live or eat or shower. he could just do what he wanted. AND so he did… .. the whole time i was picking up the pieces of my shattered life and my broken heart, handling broken children too, my youngest was having some major issues with the divorce, the other had some anger issues and having trouble in school. i was struggling with paying bills going from 2 incomes to just my single income since wasband has no paid a single dime in child support.

            however, 5 years later, we are doing very well. my boys are doing good in school, mostly a’s and b’s. i had them in counseling but they have both adjusted and overcame their issues. while i still struggle to pay bills and put shoes on the kids, i am able to do that with just my income and have worked it out to a science. most importantly my boys and i have found our peace with what our lives are and have happiness in our lives. we enjoy our days and no longer have to deal with an immature, emotional constipated, self centered, moody, temperamental, irresponsible and undependable crybaby of a man. i love my life now (minus the always being broken and cant afford shit part).. .. he on the other hand, has nothing. he still gets to live his life without doing any real parenting or experiencing any consequences. he still has no real responsibilities but he also has no real rewards. .. . his children could care less if he is visiting or calling or if they see him. i doubt they would even notice much less really care if dad died. it really would not impact their lives at all since he is not around anyways. his troll finally got tired of waiting for him to buy her all the things she thought he bought me (the house, trucks, 4 wheelers, boats, pool, jet skis etc that i bought myself) and dumped him. he was homeless for awhile and/or shacks up with his mom or anyone who will let him stay for a few months. he lost his brand new nissan versa because the idiot never made a car payment after the first 3 months. and now has to ride a bike or walk or hitch a ride if he needs to go anywheres. his health is failing but he has no insurance or health care.

            so i guess living carefree, with no consequences really is not all that its set up to be. .. . i would much rather have my boring but stable life then live like that.
            give it time. he will get what he deserves in the end.

            • There are consequences, they just are not always visible. Even if he were still “living it up” he would still be facing the consequences of losing his kids even if he didn’t recognize that loss. People like that live lives with no meaning. I am glad for your kids that they had a sane parent to help them through.

              • Thanks, I hope we get through this. Right now, I am so exhausted & depleted & bitter about having to do ALL THING THINGS and realizing that I really can’t count on my ex. Even when he “helps” he creates such chaos that it just adds to the stress levels.

                Sadly, I don’t think the fuckwit was ever truly bonded even to his own children, so I’m not sure he will truly understand what he lost.

                I’m not yet at meh. I hope the karma bus runs him over, backs up, and runs him over again.

        • ”never imagined having to divide our assets” is the one true statement he made! I’m 100% certain, having never met him or you or Sparkle Fuck the Floozy that this was a true statement, the truest he’s ever made!!

          Clearly the poor dear’s imagination was directed elsewhere. Not to worry! You can help him through it with your lawyer.

      • When I first got the news about Schmoopie the first thought that popped into my head wasn’t “what an asshole” it was “what an idiot”.

        • I’ve alternated. However, once I could process that CheaterX really cheated with Schmoopie, who practically had “I am a skanky ho” tattooed on her forehead, I realized that I was way too intelligent to be married to someone that stupid.

          Schmoopie had a track record of failed marriages and affairs. She also had slept through upper management before finding CheaterX, who was more upper middle management but still (at least on paper) was financially stable enough for her to be attracted to.

          She got him to co-sign a car loan for her after she’d been turned down for poor credit. His credit was excellent at the time, but even with his credit, her credit was so poor that it took a lot of loan companies before one would finance that car. Oh, and how do I know all this? Because CheaterX had to put his address on the loan application so when a company denied the loan, they had to send CheaterX a reason why the loan was denied.

          And as far as “immediate remorse” goes, nope. Didn’t happen. I did get a total of 2 sad sausage messages. The first was a voicemail a few months after they married. Schmoopie was cheating on him and was going to move out and file for divorce. CheaterX didn’t apologize. He just said things went downhill after I moved out and that I was right; it was all about the money (I never told him that she was attracted to him because of his money).

          Needless to say, I did not respond.

          • Sounds so familiar. Ex had affair with his then supervisor. I’m sure he came off as a provider and she needed a quick fix from the marriage that she as running from. Yes she cheated too. I’ve come to realize that both of them are manipulators in their own way. He is a lying, no-empathy having piece of narcissistic crap and she is too in her own way. I am sure that is part of what attracted them to each other. My therapist says give it a few years and he will call and apologize. I am not holding my breath. Pride will not allow it. And if something goes wrong between them..he’d hide it out of pride an shame.

          • “I realized that I was way too intelligent to be married to someone that stupid.”

            Thanks for that reminder.

        • same … because he actually thought that the neighborhood crackhead troll who bailed on her own husband (still married) and abandoned her own 4 children was going to LOVE him and treat him better then i did. WHAT AN IDIOT!!! he left his wife of 15 years for a woman who walked out on her husband and kids. SERIOUSLY!!! like if she doesnt love her own kids did he honestly think she was going to love him.. .. oh of course he did. he is special. right?

          well 5 years later, she left him. SURPRISE!!! i cant tell you how many times in these 5 years i have heard something about him and thought What an idiot!!! for instance, he actually lived with her in her husbands house for a couple of weeks. who does that!! and for his birthday, she threw a beer bottle at his face. must be love right?

      • Eleanor,
        “The benefit of living a good life is as you look back you get to live it again and again. And that’s the punishment of living a bad life too.”

        ^ this bit is f*ing poetic!

        And our job, as chumps, was to polish that turd and spackle the cracks and keep them appearing to be the upstanding mirages of respectability they WISHED they were. They resent the crap out of us for pulling off that mask. Self-pity tears are NOTHING like remorse. Don’t be fooled!

      • So glad you linked to this article. I felt queasy after reading it. And I love The Guardian.

      • Another liberal here who makes the same observation about The Guardian. Why do they think some of the pieces they print are news or useful information? Why not run pieces about cheaters?

    • I firmly believe that in cases like this the Chump is too scared of losing their partner and not willing to do the work to build their own life so they kid themselves that it was all for the best and that it made them “stronger”. What would have actually made them stronger was walking away and building their own life. I believe the same about the “I’m staying for the kids” line.

      Such a waste of all those years. And when there are kids all that happens is another generation of Chump/Fuckwit is raised.

      • I definitely used all those excuses until I realized that I could not single handedly keep my marriage going.
        I also realized I was teaching my kids what was “normal” or acceptable in a marriage. No matter how I tried to get him to see how his actions were affecting his family he was never remorseful. He’s gone now & we are so much healthier in many respects. I wish I had exited the marriage sooner. But some of us are slow learners.

        • Slow learner, here. I believe there is strength in leaving….but strength in staying. There is weakness in staying…and weakness in leaving.

          I believed myself strong to stay, but now strong to leave.

          It took me a while, after having my soul broken and stomped on, to realize that I am strong. I have come to understand how little I had settled for: home repairs that have never been done, projects he started then left incomplete. All because he would feel emasculated if I jobbed out whatever the project was. Today I am getting a quote for a new roof, which the house desperately needs.

          Mr. Pornaddict only once said, while in a couple’s session, “I don’t want to hurt you”, and then broke down in tears. It was the only time I had ever seen him cry. But he managed to shut it down FAST. Remorse? Why would anybody so splendid be remorseful?

          During my 2 year dance, he would refer to Shmoopie in present tense, all the while claiming he wasn’t in touch. Perhaps he wasn’t, but she was still very much in his mind. And I finally (FINALLY!) realized I don’t want to be in a relationship with somebody who is constantly thinking about another woman.

          I deserve to be the sole desire of my partner. And I’m not afraid to be alone if that partner never transpires.

          • Everyone told me what a strong person I was. Staying in the emotional abuse, I thought I was weak. But I was strong & even stronger now that I’m away from the abuse & not willing to settle for less any more. A dear friend told me that everyone has their time & I will know when it’s my time to say “enough”.
            And I did.
            We don’t always see our own strengths.
            Reading CL daily keeps me strong. The wisdom here keeps me grounded. Thanks CL & CN

        • Another slow learner here. After discovering an “emotional affair,” I tried so hard to save my marriage & my “intact” family. I stayed because I trusted & believed my husband’s faux remorse, and thought he was also invested in the marriage & family. I didn’t know I was being lied to, betrayed, devalued, gaslighted, etc.

          • Ditto.

            And seventeen months later, he still keeps the OW on the side and dismisses me all of of the time as if I was the one who wronged him.

            Sent him a text two hours ago about our son’s homework tonight to complete a project that is due tomorrow. I usually try to get everything done during my time because I don’t know what goes on over there. He has the kids this evening and just one more paragraph of the project needs to be written. Two hours later and still no text of acknowledgment. Not sure if the homework is getting done.

            Really, the best thing my STBXH might have done for me is to finally get the balls to leave. I would have hung on and on without realizing that I was dying a slow spiritual death. But, does he actually feel remorse? I think that he feels embarrassed. He knows the OW is a joke and that’s likely why he still keeps her away from everybody. I think he knows he did a lot to screw me over which is why he’s providing me with some surprising financial concessions (I supported him through three years of full-time university study when he started taking up with OW). But, I also think he continues to harbour all of his resentments against me, just amplified because he has no filtre arguing against his narrative.

      • UnknowingChump, I have to vehemently disagree with your comment: “firmly believe that in cases like this the Chump is too scared of losing their partner and not willing to do the work to build their own life…”. I am 4 years out, went all the way through two mediations, opposing a summary judgment motion, depositions, battle of the experts, a week-long trial (I got full custody and 82% of all assets), took and passed the CA bar exam while in the midst of the divorce 22 years after taking my first bar in another state, got a new job, single-handedly parented and advocates for traumatized, suicidal, drug-abusing teens through the discard by “dear old dad” who blamed them for preventing his happiness—I did not want to divorce and end our 25 years together and it wasn’t because I was as you put it “too scared of losing their partner and not willing to do the work to build their own life.” That smacks of condescending blame and ignorance. Trauma bonds are real, the effects of decades of narcissist abuse are real, the desires of my children for an intact home were legitimate and to be considered, and there were sunk investments in our entire adult lives together….. I wasn’t “too scared” to choose my only only option to divorce and rebuild but I had to come to the point of realizing the futility of the situation first.

        I feel the utmost compassion and empathy for those who are struggling to figure out what to do in the aftermath of discovery.

        In my case, there was no authentic remorse and no willingness to stop the destruction: no unicorn, in other words.

        Meh is wonderful but not how I wanted my life to go.

        • Well said Motherchumper99! Please no victim blaming here. We don’t know others circumstances. Everyone has to be ready to do what they have to do on their own time line. I’m fortunate that ex did not want to reconcile. I don’t think I would have but who knows?

      • Sometimes we try to reconcile because we actually did love our cheaters however crazy that might seem to those on the outside post DDay. Sometimes it takes a while to accept that the person you love isn’t the person you thought. I tried to reconcile and spent several months smoking the hopium and waiting for him to get out of his fog. I loved him and, after all, I said vows too and I actually meant them and was willing to do my part to try and keep our love and marriage together. I may have wasted a few months, but I am not ashamed of that. I was doing what I thought I wanted and what I thought was best for the family at the time. I wasn’t willing to accept just anything, however. I wanted to reconcile, but I wanted it to be because he remembered that he loved me didn’t want to lose me. I refused his offer of an “open marriage”. Eventually, I realized that it was two steps away for every step back on his part and that if he did come back it wouldn’t be because he loved me. I also realized that I would end up in an open marriage by default if we didn’t get divorced. Six months post DDay and three months post his moving out, I went to him and said I didn’t want a marriage that was just on paper and we needed to get divorced. At that point I started following CL and CN so that I would have the strength to follow through on a divorce I had not wanted but finally saw as the lesser evil. I was looking for that remorse but it just wasn’t there.

        • She didn’t spend several months figuring stuff out, she stayed for years, helped raise the child he had with the AP “as her own” and is now evangelizing how the affair made their marriage stronger. That is totally different from dealing with the aftermath of an affair and moving on.

          She chose to stay in the dysfunction and now is evangelizing it to other Chumps. The opposite of what this site is. I stand 100% behind my views on women like her.

      • Absolutely. All chumps probably had moments when we were afraid of being alone, afraid of change, thought we’d never find anybody else and couldn’t make it in our own, and were tempted to stay in a rotten to the core marriage because of it. They key is knowing this is based on fear of the unknown, not love for the cheater. I feel sorry for those sad people on RIC sites. You can tell they know they are dragging a corpse around, but feel powerless to bury it.

    • The Guardian *used* to be a good publication. They now resort to reams of clickbait crap because nobody can stay profitable just by publishing the news anymore. The New York Times is full of clickbait bullshit as well. They all are. This is the era we live in. Telling the truth is just not profitable. Most people don’t want to know the truth.

    • Yeah that’s full of nonsense I agree. Guardian should know better but we all have to be ‘modern’ about these things these days. Someone I really respect was telling me about her friend who’s ex husband had 3 ex wives including her (affairs or not wasn’t the point) and they are all friends because it appears ‘he has really good taste in women’. I bet he is some smug git with that with them all getting along. Nauseating.

      I love this article though

      https://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/06/opinion/sunday/great-betrayals.html

      • Thank you DuddersGetsChumped. That article makes sense. It was four years of lies from Mr Nice Guy ex that really hurt.

  • My liar ex-sibling, when confronted, first lied that she hadn’t lied, then when I refused to buy it, told me straight out that she was fine with what she had done.

    This is the cornerstone of why I am done with her forever, “family” be damned.

    • My brother cheated on his baby-mama, lied and said she just “left him for no reason”, she found out after she left she was pregnant with their 2nd child and he smeared her to everyone suggesting the child wasn’t his. Baby girl born, looks just like ME when I was a baby.

      Found out 4 years later, during a phone call I had with him when he was drunk that she caught him cheating on HER and that’s why she left him.

      Ironically, I saw his baby mama at the park a few weeks later, approached her, apologized for my behaviour and for believing him, she burst into tears saying she wondered why no one from our family reached out to her during that time, and said that he was so abusive and coparenting with him was such a nightmare that she was still unable to date or “move on”, 4 years later!!!!!!

      I no longer talk to my brother.

  • Nope. No siree bob. Not a single unicorn to be seen. Lots of women. 3 women 1 day no condoms even. That was D-Day and yes I was one of those women. I didn’t know about the other two until after. Maybe they had unicorns up their sleeves? Or maybe in their beds? Lots of plus size underwear sites racking up big purchases on my credit card. I’m not plus size. Also not a unicorn. Lots of $100 lunches at the local near his work, paraded as a few craft beers he brought home when confronted. No unicorns there either.

    Damn, why no unicorns? I miss my life with all its triangles. Not. I miss being in debt and struggling despite earning well into 6 figures and having a great career. Not. I miss dreading going home from work for fear of what would trigger his next rage. Not.

    Definitely better now. Unicorns be damned. You’re as much of a myth as my husbands nice guy act when he isn’t getting his supply. Bet they loved it when they were on the side, exciting, hot sex and stolen moments. But harder to keep the list cells up though isn’t it ladies when you’re expected to be available for it 24/7. Glad that’s not my problem anymore. Unicorns be damned. I’ve got work to do, and children to look after, doubled up mortgage to pay (thanks property settlement, and no blame divorce), and healthy happy friendships with decent people to maintain. Too busy for your unicorn shit. It’s as rare as rocking horse shit I hear.

  • I never even got a sorry

    I got smirked all the time he was telling me . When i was screaming crying please please stop seeing her give up your job ( Ho worker ) just stop please he laughed in my face saying No I’m not going to stop seeing her . The one thing i told you i would never do to you is cheat and i have been cheating on you for months . This marriage is over and off he popped never to be seen or heard of since ( except when he thought i was out and he tried to come in to the house )

    I don’t believe in Unicorns and i don’t for a second think any cheater is remotely sorry ( sorry they got caught yes maybe not mine though he was positively gleaming he got caught )
    So No sorry i don’t believe they have any sympathy for anyone but themselves .

      • He did indeed he absolutely loved seen me broken . He was laughing in my face while i screamed crying begging him .
        He told me he could not breath without her he missed her every second of every day he was not with her . He showed me the text messages and the sex Pictures and said see see look at what i am doing to you . I love her and she loves me and i am going to be with her and you are fucking dumped . I begged him to stop hurting me by showing me all this he just kept laughing he said hurt you – you mean fucking nothing to me
        He moved in with her immediately and that was that .

        • Karen,
          I hope you don’t take that personally at all. That says so much about him and nothing about your worth. No one deserves to be treated like that from a spouse – even one on the way out the door. These are early days and I promise you things will get better. But you have to get through it first, the horror of divorce court as well as simply accepting what has happened and the impact on your future. Also there is that broken heart to mend. Be good to yourself. Treat yourself gently and with great love – you deserve it. Keep coming here and let us know how you are doing.

          Better days ahead. I love the way CL promises it will be a Tuesday – it so silly and arbitrary that it makes me chuckle every time.

        • Yeah, definitely psycho……matter of time before he turns on OW. No one engages in that perverse, abnormal behavior and then all of a sudden changes or has a personality transplant because of another person. These psychos get off on making you fall in love with them and then like a cat with a mouse, bat you around for a bit before going in for the kill. I personally know one guy (I think he secretly hates women) that is on his third OW (that I know of) and every OW receives a brutal discard with another OW involved.

          • Like all wife abusers, a lot of cheaters are either closeted or overt misogynists with mommy issues. With each woman they target they are getting back at mommy for not loving them enough, but are probably meek as kittens with mommy herself.

            • Yup. His mother is a piece of work and all 3 of her kids adore her…..kiss her ass. I think they are still afraid of her and all 3 are long in the tooth and she is elderly. All 3 have some real issues.

        • He is simply evil and full of hate. He will do the same to her some day. He loves her? Oh please. A man like that is completely incapable of love. To him “I love her” means “She feeds my ego”. She won’t be able to do that forever and will then be on the receiving end of his sick sadism.
          I’m so sorry that psychopath tortured you.

    • Oh, Karen. What an asshole. I am amazed at the level of sheer ugliness of some of these so-called human beings. Perhaps I shouldn’t be.

      I am so sorry, and hope you get through this all the more stronger.

      • Thank You Ivy

        It was the most horrifying experience of my life and i have watched both my parents die .

        I am only at the start of this journey to Meh it has only been 9 weeks and 4 days so i have a long long way to go .
        19 years together and 15 married and i never had a clue he could be so cruel and vindictive / Evil

        • What a horrible evil person. I am so sorry you had to endure that. I hope he and Schmoopie make each other totally miserable. How could a woman even want a man who would do that to someone. I also hope you have a really good lawyer so he doesn’t screw you financially any more than the law will allow (which is already too much in most cases).

          • Thank You

            She wants him alright she was begging him please please please leave your wife & he did !
            Yes i filled legal separation papers within 2 days . He filed back with a irretrievable breakdown of marriage .
            I am currently just waiting on his lawyer getting back to mine about the money side of everything once agreed i have grounds for divorce as i screen shot his messages . I need proof of this as i am based in Scotland so the divorce laws are strict but Adultery can be granted very easily and he admits he committed adultery.
            He was very proud of the fact !

            • My gosh! Your ex makes shit stains look palatable! I’m so sorry you had to go through that. He’s truly a psychopath and you’re WAY better off without him. Be glad he has a new supply to distract him while you get the hell away.

              Wishing you the best in your divorce.

        • Bless you that is just vile. It doesn’t make it hurt less even though it’s clear you deserve none of that but what possesses some people. I don’t think they can deal with it really and maybe they think this approach is easier to pull off than any kind of shame of remorse. The good thing is you can’t understand because you are not like that and it’s NORMAL.

          Yes that will traumatise you, we all have similar stories. Take him for every thing he has got without any concern. Trust him with nothing, I mean nothing.

          Big hug for having to endure that. Nasty people.

    • Gah what an asshole! Mine tried to do the “she’s just a friend and that’s all she will remain” over text when I blew a gasket (this would be Dday texting). Like “and you think you’re going to keep her as a friend?!?!” Then in wreckonciliation when I tried to reconnect and he started to see how much hurt was behind my initial anger. That’s when I started getting the smirks and coldness too. Those assholes. Hugs.

    • Karen
      After 34 years married I was rejected abandoned & he was never sorry. The cold shark eyes & cruel smirk on discovery. I’m financially strapped plus my mental emotional state is raw but I’m not being abused anymore. Karma hit them. She died so he quickly moved into another woman’s house.
      We just have to move on & take care of ourselves now.
      Hugs 🤗

      • They are evil
        Hugs to you too . We will get through this Kathleen ( well I hope so )

        I know this is silly but I’m jealous of all the chump stuff that get even a fake apology even a fake bit of remorse I got abandoned and never mentioned again

        • We’re all abandoned…the regret fakers just take a little longer getting to the door and end up taking more of you along with them.

  • After the usual lying, gaslighting my XW had a flash of sympathy for me as I cried out of devastation- and then she got angry. Angry at me. It’s like she couldn’t deal with my tears. She couldn’t deal with being caught. She couldn’t deal with the fact that she had cracked under my questioning and had finally admitted to what she had done. Anger was comfortable for her. The next morning the blameshifting began and her effort to get ME to feel sorry for HER. And what can I say, I was a chump. 2 months of emotional hell and fake marriage counseling and fake remorse followed.

      • Ditto for me too: uncanny, yes. The only difference was I hung in for eight months of torture as opposed to two. What a bunch of disordered, cruel people.

    • You just spoke my experience.

      My STBXH seemed shocked when I broke down in tears and fought for the marriage for a year. He had so convinced himself that I didn’t love him, that I wanted the marriage to end, that it was no big deal that he didn’t know what to do with the reality of the situation he created. If he had actually ever decided to just talk to me…how different things could have been.

      But, he didn’t. Sin came knocking on the door, calling his name, and he answered it. On his slippery slope down, he had so convinced himself that what he was doing was justified that he didn’t know what to do with himself when presented with reality. For a moment, he might have been taken aback. For a moment he might have felt guilty or guilted into doing the “right” thing, but he was just too far gone.

      It’s all really sad. I have no doubt in my mind that if he doesn’t already harbour regrets, he eventually will. Even he admitted that our marriage wasn’t so bad that it should end in destruction, but he had already answered the siren’s call. Why work hard to save your marriage now that you have so greatly disadvantaged yourself in the power dynamic? Might as well move on to the “fun” you envision for yourself in those greener pastures.

      Fool.

    • I don’t think some of them even are Sara

      Mine just packed and left and has never looked back . Its like our comfortable life never even existed .
      I have worked very hard for everything i have achieved and he just dropped a bomb on it and walked away He does not even care for what he has ” lost ” only what he can gain from his new younger whore .

      • At pseudo discovery, my cheater went to ChURcH to pray and told me, “After mass, when I come home, you need to tell me what I am going to GET if I stay in this marriage.”

        He was a big honcho Knight of Columbus.

        I actually thought about it – what he was going to “get”. Jesus cheater rides a pale unicorn….

        • Well, as a devout Catholic, I can tell you what that particular horse’s ass is going to get when he meets his maker! What a jerk. I can’t believe he had the gall to go and take communion with that kind of mortal sin on his soul. That is heretical blasphemy, Mortal sin requires three things 1. graveness 2. full knowledge 3. full consent. He ticked all the boxes. It amazes me that people who do these things dare cloak themselves in the disguise of religion. If they were believers at all they would be terrified to do so. Their pitiful mask of religion is just part of their massive deception/image management.

          • My disordered cheater ex is also a devout Catholic. He is at times, quite involved with the church. It’s part of his mask polishing…makes him look like a good person. He’s not.

            • No they definitely are NOT. But they forget (or more likely do not believe) that the church is only their immediate cover. They will be face to face with God someday and their will be no deception or polishing of their dark soul possible.

  • Upon discovery my cheater made a list of all the things he was going to do to “recover” and “make it right.” It was an extensive list of therapy, marriage counseling…
    Then the next day I discovered there was a whole iceberg of cheating beneath what he had told me and his apologies and “recovery tactics” fell away suddenly. Then it was “im an addict- I can’t help it” or “you’re controlling and blablabla” and no more apologies WITH CHANGE were seen again.

    • I have heard both of those! “It was an addiction! I need your help to guide me in my recovery!” “I felt controlled and restrained, and this was my way of doing my own thing!”

      Yes, his way of doing his own thing was telling his Spanish trollop that he loved her so much, and to muck around with 110 other women whom he told that he wanted to see them again, couldn’t stop thinking about their breasts, and similar shite. Oh, and each and everyone of them was oh-so-beautiful! I wish I could post pictures. My sister thought that the Spanish slut was an actual prostitute. I can’t fault her; that was my thinking, too. Oh, and his way also involved spending a tonne of money on flights, hotels, flowers, and a second mobile phone!

  • I’ve seen a unicorn. Not my horrid ex. He never tried to express remorse. He told me he has none. He’s been good that way. Easy to decide to leave.

    His sister, my ex sister in law. Before my ex’s own excitement. She is the unicorn.

    Had a one night stand, which in my books is an affair but without that emotional attachment. Freaked out completely. Called her husband back from his commute to work that next morning. Told him right then. Completely remorseful and took on all the blame for the affair (where it should have been without doubt; she still leaves it there now).

    They went to counseling. He’s a super closed off person; he didn’t really try. I don’t blame him, he just didn’t. He doesn’t trust counselors or counseling, and more power to him. But it didn’t help them reconcile. And she also decided their marriage wasn’t something she wanted to reconcile, either.

    She never blamed him even though their marriage wasn’t great. She still feels lots of remorse. She understands her marriage was terrible. She doesn’t use it as an excuse.

    In my gut, I think this is actually what happens most/all the time when there is a real unicorn: it doesn’t work out anyway. Because something in there is messed up. My gut based on nothing but a few known friends being through this and reading here and random Ric stuff.

    My aunt, wise husband did this and they are still together, told me that it can get better. But the trust never comes back.

      • Hmm… I’m going off this language:

        “Otherwise, I thought his advice on the whole was good — be honest, expect much drama (short of physical violence), express remorse, commit fully to the marriage, and be immediately transparent.”

        It met all that. It just isn’t enough.

        • Yes, I know of one case like this too. Man had one drunken one night stand early in the marriage. Immediate confession, immediate remorse, did everything asked of him. Never blamed her. And the outcome was similar in some ways. They were Catholic and the marriage survived. But the wife has told me that she ha never really been able to trust and love in the same way. The man hangs his head in shame when infidelity is even discussed in front of him. He will reach out to hold her hand and pat her arm to comfort her when this happens. This was 20 years ago this happened. She still isn’t over it and he is still filled with remorse. The marriage survived. Maybe even the love did. But the trust didn’t. My husband said that at one retreat the man got up weeping and begged the other men present not to ever harm their wives in this way. Just because something survives doesn’t mean it is stronger. It can never be put really right. Even if one person really is truly deeply remorseful and repentant. Even if the other truly loves and forgives. The marriage is always just this patched together pitiful, whimpering thing ever after.

          • I know one couple like that. He admitted the affair to her rather than him being found out. There has been a total overhaul of their life – new house in a new town, different jobs, lots of counselling and support from the Church. Total regret. He has eaten his humble pie.

            Still sad though. She’ll say that things have gotten better but admits that it will never be the same. Their faith keeps them together and I hope for the best for them.

            • My girlfriend cheated (not a ons) on her then-fiancé and he canceled the wedding after the invites had gone out. She did the work and they ended up getting married a year later than originally planned. They have had a very good marriage and partnership for over 25 years. She told me (without judging me) that the greatest gift she was ever given was a second chance and forgiveness by her husband. She lives that gratitude every day. Theirs was a marriage I always admired, she told me about her cheating while I was reeling. She said reconciling was possible but the hard work had to be done, all by him.

        • I was referred to this group page for the first time last night. After reading many of your messages, I would like to join. How do I go about doing that?

    • The reason it doesn’t work out is because the consequences of cheating relies on the loyal partner believing and forgiving. It’s a false sense of power.

      • I don’t know. I think it doesn’t work out even in the presence of “believing and forgiving.” I may believe and forgive the truth of it. But forgiveness is not amnesia or a time machine. Trust is more fragile than that. You can have love without the trust coming back, and to me that’s a sad half-existence.

  • So regarding the article in the Guardian? He now can’t be trusted to be alone with the Ap. She basically has to be the marriage police otherwise, because of “boundaries”. Yeah, no thanks. We all know how long that shit will last.

  • I don’t think you ever get the truth, only what is convenient to the cheater, or what you have proof of.
    They don’t respect themselves, so they won’t or cant respect you. Or a flurry of convenient excuses.
    Personally I have found the grey stone method helps.

  • I thought I had a unicorn when he entered grad school to become a professional counselor. I mean, how great was it going to be that not only would he learn all about his personal deficiencies but he’d develop the skills to learn how to heal my brokenness, too….right?

    Haha, joke was on me. Turns out (by his own galling admission, and probably the only thing he’s ever been truthful about) that while we were in marriage counseling during wreckonciliation he saw how booked the appointments were and how much they were charging per hour. He told me ‘They’re so damn stupid but they have people lined up for weeks. I could do this.’ Now realize, he’d been lying the entire time in counseling (‘I’m not having an affair, I’m just really sad about the way she treats me, she’s so angry and I don’t understand why’) and was not only believed by them but was enabled to abuse me further – so of course he thought this was the perfect profession for him.

    He (predictably) quit marriage counseling, never would go through individual counseling (‘Nothing wrong with me!’ ‘Therapy is for crazy people like you’) and doesn’t bother to actually read his textbooks or learn the material. He’s 2/3 of the way through the program and has only lasted this long because he charmed a single woman professor and an old white man professor into believing his ‘I’m such a family man, and active duty to boot, and so busy I can’t actually do any of my assignments but I deserve to pass anyway’ schtick. So they give him just-barely-enough to pass grades and he continues to be emboldened into believing that he’s special and deserving and everyone else is moronic and to be The one professor that seemed immune to his charms and initially failed him for a couple of classes eventually sucked into his bullshit, too. 😞

    He’s no unicorn; he’s the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing, and conning me into a 20+ yr marriage wasn’t enough when he there’s other chumps out there to manipulate and destroy. But he sure struts around like he’s one. Fucking jackass with a rotten carrot on his sick, twisted head.

    • Hopeful,

      After reading your post, I was reminded of the following joke:

      Question: Do you know what they call a medical student with a “D-“ average?

      Answer: They call him “Doctor”.

      Sadly, if you end up with this “Doctor“, you’ll be sorry you did. And so will your ex’s patients.

  • On D-day, I was told a big story about how things weren’t really as bad as they looked, blah blah blah. She said she would fix what was wrong. I told her that if that was true, she would need to totally cut off contact with this guy, right then, or I was taking the kids away that moment (it was almost midnight).
    Well…. as you might imagine she tried to weasel out of that. What had been promised as “do anything to fix this” five minutes earlier was now turning into “I’ll just see if he and I can still be friends.” I realized this was much deeper than whatever she said it was.
    In the next few days, I got alternative weepy I-want-to-fix-this and resentment over me insisting that the “fun” had to come to an end. In the end, the “fun” won out. After a few days, she came clean that this was at least AP #3, and that she was bailing.
    So, as the CL, these things are unicorns. You don’t get into something like this unless you’ve got a character issue. Those things don’t just go away by themselves.

  • Finally- the time is right for the therapist joke I thought up – CL/CN be gentle – it’s my ‘first time’!
    Therapist: “So Jax – your wife’s year long affair with your ‘freind’ will actually make your marriage better than ever now”.
    Me: ” So if she had a threesome it would really be fantastic right? – oh and BTW – while walking on the beach this morning I saw a unicorn fly over a rainbow!”
    Therapist: “That’s ridiculous – I walked on the beach this morning and there wasn’t any rainbows!”
    The whole wreckconcilation process is so faulty because the person who’s supposed to now ‘come forth’ is an accomplished liar, schemer and backstabber!
    How is that theory not faulty from the git?

  • Just like unicorns, I’m afraid remorseful cheaters are purely mythical creatures who are made up in fairy tales….fairy tales that the betrayed tell themselves and then preach about on RIC sites. I believed I had a unicorn but it was projection. I dragged him to marriage counseling but he refused to go to individual counseling. There was nothing wrong with him because “our marriage was over anyway” when he cheated. He stopped working with the OW but that was because he quit his job and he refused to be the one to tell her to stop contacting him.

    Nope, I didn’t have a unicorn. He chose me initially because he didn’t want to lose half of his shit. It was nothing more and nothing less. It took me three years to finally accept that as the truth but when I did, it made it easier to walk away. Better late than never right?

    • one of the things i was blessed with (i can say that now 5 years later although it did not see like a blessing at the time) was that wasband refused to go to marriage counseling or any kind of counseling. he hated counseling and therepy. he thought it was all a joke. he often would say how he could fool the so called counselor. and how he knew what to say to them to “get them off his case”.. .. . i tried so hard to educate him on how counseling only works if he is honest and if he truly wants to heal. Of course he scoffed at that and told me “they” couldnt help him. *insert sad face: nobody can help him.. ..

      his troll loved to throw it in my face how “HE IS HERS NOW” and “HE DOESNT LOVE YOU ANYMORE” .. .. according to her (he never had the balls to talk to me after i caught him with her) “our marriage was over anyway”.. .. .

      now 5 years later, i can see how lucky i was that he refused to go to counseling. it would have only prolonged my hopium and pain. it was (and isnt) because he did not think they could help him, it was and is because he did not see anything wrong with what he was doing. he did not see HIMSELF as the the problem because it was ALL MY FAULT.. .. it was my fault he was fucking the neighborhood crackhead troll because i “got boring”. it was my fault he left because i “was asking too much from him” (you know, wanting him to come home after work, spend time with me and the kids and pay bills was too much) .. .. he just likes to be the victim and will never see anything wrong with his own actions. it is ALWAYS someone’s elses fault. it wasnt until after he was gone and i no longer was in the fog of survival mode that my mind cleared enough for me to see that.

      • Isn’t it funny (not funny ha, ha) that cheaters all pretty much believe (in their own heads) that the “marriage was over anyway.” It is particularly hilarious when they say it to a chump. Well it’s funny now, but it was confusing as hell when I was told that on dday. I had not received the memo that the marriage was over. We said we loved each other daily (more than once if we ended a phone call) took a few vacations together a year and we were still having sex. Not exactly things that screamed the “marriage was over anyway.”

        I dragged that BS around with me during our 3 years of wreckconciliation. Then I showed the MoFo the real way to actually end a marriage and I divorced his cowardly ass!

        • It’s funny, as I listened to him come out with those statements, “ marriage was already over”; “we had Drifted”, etc to justify his actions, I literally moved further away from him both physically and emotionally. Who, in their right mind makes up this shit, with the biggest goal of “protecting” themselves while knifing you and taking the chance of losing you?
          Like you are sopposed to buy that shit and roll over and say sorry? BS!

        • That is funny.. but even funnier is “ our marriage was good, except for your complains ( regarding his fucked up activities) and anger…
          Yes, I heard that he was the same man I fallen in love with and his secret double life ( took him months to even accept the fact that double life was a thing) had absolutely no impact on me, our children and our marriage.

          Yes.

          I remember the vows – I take you and promise to be ok with harem of hookers you will have, x number of women you will date, std that you will gift me, and PTSD as a bonus.. yes, makes sense

  • FUU didn’t have an affair but he did tell me on my 50th birthday that he was incredibly attracted to a co-worker, was really upset with himself that he was attracted to her, that he didn’t know what the hell was wrong with him and it had nothing to do with me. I had already noticed he was flustered by her, so this wasn’t a surprise – but the timing SUCKED.

    No, they didn’t have an affair. We work in the same building and his co-workers like me more than they like him. Plus FUU is a lousy liar. He can’t play poker because he embodies “emotional leakage”.

    • Ah, the 50th Birthday,
      That’s when my STBXW told me I could have sex with anyone I want! Geez, thanks hun!
      Seems she was looking to justify her misdeeds.
      No sorry, no remorse, no unicorn…….just lies, lies, and more lies 🙄

      • My STBXW and sparkle dick/howorker/neighbor/fellow youth sports coach/turned live in BF tried to set me up with his ex wife and 2 of her co workers/friends. All this while I thought we were happily married.

      • 30 th birthday- h fought with me the night before… stormed out in the morning( he could have stayed at home and make it a special day for me) and we had no contact all day long.
        During that day I was at his mothers house with our two toddlers, no car ( he took one to work) in the middle of nowhere….
        So, after 4 pm, delivery with flowers, cake and chocolates arrived – kids were excited, MIL surprised ( she forgot about the birthday) and I was furious.
        Mr. wonderful came back home at 7 – hearing praises from MIL ( oh, so busy yet was able to arrange all that- while in reality he was fucking around that day, no work … just fun), hearing exciting story about delivery from our small children- and feeling great.
        🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮

        On my 35th – he booked me a trip( not my thing at all) and while I was getting kids ready for school and printing my reservation- I saw few pics he saved on his screen – private pics of some vaginas

        I started hating my bdays….

        I got mad and create an amazing 40th bday for myself, had a great time, basically took my bdays back!!!!!

        They do it on purpose- destroying dates we cherish.

  • Nope, never got any sign of remorse from exh2 because…. Wait for it….

    He “never cheated, ever. Not one single time”.
    I had seen the sent messages to the Craig’s List sex ads — with his picture and phone number. “Nope, never happened”
    I saw his Facebook page and friend’s list— strippers, single women that we’re either related to or friends with our friends. “What?!?! I can’t be friends with anyone?!”

    Exh1 actually confessed to me, I was power-bombed. I had no damn clue. It’s all murky now in my memory how long I was angry and batshit grief stricken emotional mess. He got fired from his supervisor’s job cause of it.
    He gave me the choice to either stay or leave at that point, and I stayed. Six years later, he left me for another woman.

    It’s been so long for both exhs that at this point if they showed any regret or remorse, I’d probably laugh and sing that old Randy Travis’ song, “I told you so…oh, I told you so…but you had to go…”

  • “[they don’t] express remorse, commit fully to the marriage, and be immediately transparent…They don’t prostrate themselves before their betrayed spouses.”

    Actually my XW DID do all of these things when I caught her (including physically crawling on her knees wailing to please not divorce her)–for a few days. Then when I backed off my threat to divorce? She immediately launched into the blame-shifting, marital rewrite, just all the cliches. The about-face was stunning. Moved out to be with the OM (saying she needed to “heal”).

    I divorced her.

  • The only unicorn in my life is my 8 year old kid. She’s unicorn “everything”… hats, clothes, bags, etc. and it’s delightful…. and DEFINITELY NOT genetic…

  • This is absolutely true. And it also results in two other things:

    (1) Since Cheater won’t have remorse, Chump tries to have it for him/her. We project remorse onto them, we explain to ourselves that they just need time to develop it, we explain to them over and over why they should have it, etc, etc.

    (2) Since Cheater won’t have remorse, society blames Chump for being unable to generate remorse in Cheater. They tell us that we aren’t forgiving enough, making the marriage a safe place, giving them enough time, etc, etc.

    The only unassailable idea out there in society seems to be that a Cheater might just prefer cheating and not really want to change. And yet that is the simplest and the one that generally turns out to be the case.

    My Cheater went through bouts of “remorse” in which he would confess he had done wrong and swear to change and rebuild his marriage. But he always saw it as a contract… that he would say certain things, and then I should get excited about his remorse and give him back his freedom, stop watching him as much, etc. When I kept an eye on him anyway, he was furious. And I realized pretty quickly that he was just trying to throw a few kibbles my way to pacify me, but expected to get right back to his cheating.

  • The Dickhead displayed no remorse, no concern for my feelings, blameshifted onto me, and didn’t even really own up to what he had done. I still don’t know the depths of cheating, how long, or how many whores/howorkers.

    Someone else has him now and she can keep him.

    • I at first spent a few years defending myself against his accusations of cheating before I wised up and realized he was the one who was cheating. I started to dig. Then I stopped. At that point I really didn’t want to know the length and breadth of his lies. What I knew was enough. So I left.

      He moved the girlfriend in 4 months later. She left him 8 months after that. Then she contacted me. Told me about all the internet sex sites, the social media hook up sites, the chat rooms, etc. She had dug and revealed and accused. He denied, got angry and then started smearing her hard.

      I stood back outside it all and marveled at the wasted energy being spent on both sides trying to “win” something from each other’s deception. The only winner in the long run here is me. Well into Tuesday Meh now. (We should come up with a cocktail for that….)

      • A cocktail for a Tuesday – I like it!!!

        For 19 years, I thought our mariage was worth fighting for but I was the only really fighting to save it. He was just skating along patching things up when it got rough, and that’s what I accepted.

        Now, he disgusts me. I cannot imagine ever touching him again.

        • Off topic, but speaking of drinks…

          I went to a wine tasting. The last wine was a sparkling red served over vanilla ice cream. I thought, “OH, gross!” But, I tried it anyway. I LOVED it so much, I bought myself some sparkling red wine. It would be a great dessert for a summer party : )

        • I make a brunch cocktail I’m going to start calling Meh Mimosa:
          – Orange juice: to remember to take care of myself
          -Peach purée: I’m not a perfect peach but still better than cheater
          – Champagne: to celebrate freedom from fuckwit
          – Peach schnapps: to reclaim all the beaches ex and I visited.

  • If the cheater had the capability to communicate and act like a responsible adult, they wouldn’t have been a cheater. Cheaters aren’t adults, adults aren’t cheaters. Period. End of discussion.

  • The only times my NX showed anything like shame / remorse was a) when he got busted, b) when he thought he could use it to manipulate me, and c) when he thought he could manipulate (and he did) the judge. And every time it was and act or he was ashamed that he got caught and called out, NEVER for his actions.

    I excused the first one, thinking anyone would be ashamed to get arrested; the second I fell for, and when he did the last – that finally woke me up (helped by the look of pure evil glee he shot me across the court room when he knew the judge believed him).

    • My NX was also “remorseful” after DDay. The next day, he was verging on hysterics, kneeling in front of me, head in my lap, crying into his palms, telling me he could never forgive himself. It was so over the top, I was worried he may try to kill himself. Then I realized, he had no tears. It was so creepy that even though my heart didn’t know this was an act, somewhere inside, I knew it was fake and I never budged an inch after I had told him the night before to move out.

  • OMG! I had the same response from Goofy when I saw him responding to a text (I have really good eyesight). “What!? I can’t even have women friends? That’s ridiculous!”

  • My ex did what I now refer to as the “faux unicorn.” He started strong with apologies, couples therapy, gifts, seeming contrition, acts of service, etc. This went on for long enough that I was fooled and dove head first into reconciliation. But (always a but) it expired, after which I was left with a total mess. Apology retractions, withdrawal of contrition, actually taking back gifts. Basically, his unicornness was fake and he couldn’t keep it up in the long run. This whiplash kept me in limbo for a long long while…awaiting the return of the unicorn—which I thought was his true self. Uh, no, spoiler alert…The nasty mean guy was his true self.

    I read some horror stories on this site, and feel terrible for folks. But there is a little gift in the cheater who immediately becomes a nasty mean guy. At least you can see the ugly. The mindfuck of the faux unicorn keeps you frozen.

    I’ve heard lots of cheating stories in my life…yet to hear of a true unicorn.

  • I did not get real remorse either. He was fully determined to break up with me without telling me about the affair. Only after the “I am not happy” speech did I go digging and found out about he many year long affair (plus several flings). He actually had waited till she gave him an ultimatum, until he was 100% sure she was secured, ready, and available to him.

    When I found out about the affair. He blameshifted:
    – I drove him to it
    – They only had sex a few times (yeah, right, any normal and decent woman would break up her own family and give the cheater an ultimatum because of one or two sex events)
    – I was trapping him
    – We were broken up already
    – They had broken up
    – They were no contact
    – He was not a liar
    – He was also not a cheater, because we were broken up already (he just forgot to tell me)

    I do not believe in unicorns. There might be some, but it is not my job or my desire to find them.

    • I also learned that nothing he told me was actually true. He lied and lied to a point where I do not think there is anything coming out of his mouth that is actually true. At least not when it comes to relationships and such.
      He lied so often that I sometimes am surprised when he speaks the truth. This is how bad it had gotten.

    • I had the same exact experience. And I was accused of having my own affair too.

      Douchecanoe was never a unicorn. While I wanted to keep my family intact I can’t say I didn’t feel a great sense of freedom from his sour, controlling and judgemental narciness. Unfortunately he picked up on that and continued with multiple pointless and protracted court motions in which he lost and exposed his narciness to multiple judges and attorneys.

      Today I’m so done with him and with two of my 3 kids emancipated, I don’t hesitate in pointing out textbook cheater and narc behavior right to his face. No more pretending he’s not serving up shit sandwiches “for the sake of the kids.”

  • I read this guy’s work with interest. The neuro science is fascinating. (I crushed hard on Oliver Sacks, so…) The conclusion I came to is that he is yelling into the wind. He is writing about what chumps need, but, as CL said, no cheater is going to listen.
    I think he is well intentioned. I bought his book and honestly, exhole’s refusal to read it was my last straw.
    I don’t consider him to be a part of RIC. But, I’m glad I had CL, too.
    I know that he is a genuinely nice man. I followed him on Facebook and after I commented on something, he messaged me. He didn’t try to sell me anything – he just expressed sympathy at what I was going through. We messaged a couple of times and I eventually told him that I was done trying. He was supportive of me reaching my limit and sticking to it.

    • “He was supportive of me reaching my limit and sticking to it.”

      I wish more people were so inclined. Glad he’s a good person. It’s easy to get jaded and cynical.

  • The reason that there are no unicorns is that it takes a sociopathic personality to be able to cheat, lie with a straight face and to live a double life. Sociopaths by their very nature are unable to care about anyone but themselves. Oh, they can fake it and are great actors but they are incapable of feeling remorse or guilt.

  • There’s no empathy with cheaters before, during or after cheating. I asked my therapist once, “will my ex ever feel sorry for all the hurt he’s caused?” His reply, “Oh yes. Definitely. But only for all the hurt he’s caused for himself. He will eventually try to show you how hurt he feels, too, and if you’re like most good people you’ll read his hurt for himself as his feeling sorry for what he’s done and the hurt he caused others but that won’t be true.”

    • mmm. very true. and very well said..

      wasband is just at that point. he does feel sorry but not for the hurt he caused me. he tried telling me how he was in a fog (insinuating it was the drugs) that it was like waking up from a dream and realizing all the bad things you had done (while dreaming, on drugs apparently).. .. oh wait. his exact words are “It’s like doing something blind folded then take blind fold off an realizing what you have done” .. ..

      of course when i tried to tell him how i felt, or how much he hurt me. i get the “i dont remember anything i said”.. .. never an apology, never an acknowledgement.. .. so ya. His hurt is for himself and he is feeling sorry for what he has done to himself. he gets so upset when he tries to say he is sorry and i ask him for what. then it is anger FOR EVERYTHING… .. because one apology is sappose to clear his slate and make him a good guy.

      you cant win with people like that. Better off without him

  • I normally do not respond because so many write exactly what I want to say.

    Devout Catholic myself and sadly 2nd divorce. Fuckwit converted so we could marry in the Church. Love bomb to the extreme. Major slow learner and a girlfriend of mine was very hurtful,but was shit I needed to hear to get my head out of my ass. Took me D-Day 4 in a period of a 1.5 yrs. (Very slow learner) I introspected big time since it was my 2nd doomed marriage.

    I was on another infidelity site and read a few “remorse/recovery” sections and it looked super painful. Once my head was out of my ass, its amazing how clear you see. Like an earlier post, the marriage doesn’t get stronger and the infidelity looms. My neighbors parents did it and not so sure they are that happy. Just familiar.

    My divorce is moving very slow and he still has shit in the house. (No fault states suck) lawyers take one month vacations in these states because the law is so unfair. Working on custody, and not much I can do for my teen stepson who has 2 fuckwits for parents. He has been in my life for over 10 yrs. Just fucking sad in the end. CL and CN give me a chuckle in this shitty hand we all have been dealt.

    • I am so sorry he gaslighted you to marry in the church with no intention of faithfulness. That was particularly cruel. Search your memory. Hopefully he did or said something that can be used as grounds for annulment.

  • CL right on, my Narc stbxh would never admitted it was cheating, he still denies it, says it began after he told me he wanted to end things, yeah right. Gaslit his reasons, it was me, he was unhappy yayaya. We were trying to have another baby, looking for a new house, just bought a camper but “(I)should have seen it coming ” It was his coworker 12 years younger. I can’t wait to watch the demise, lol.

  • The only unicorns…or rather quasi-unicorns…I’ve ever seen was way back in that transitional high school to college time, when people are young, still figuring out relationships, themselves and even so, it’s more about an individual having a one night stand even less than that, kissed a girl/boy kind of thing, absolutely wracked with guilt, confessing and taking full responsibility. However, there wasn’t a single case of happily ever after in these situations. More just a recognition that their relationship has long run its course, should have ended and does end at that point. The only positive there is that when the cheater owns their behavior, it does release their partner from the horrible questions of “was it me, am I lacking in something, did I make them do it” and so on.

    As for those who lead long term affairs….the idea of any kind of guilt or remorse or even capacity for sympathy is absurd. You are dealing with an individual who is actively leading a double life, using, manipulating, and lying to two different people and many others for that matter in the community or communities. That’s pathological on its face and no, there is no better broken soul just crying out for healing and attention there. The idea of that is simply so absurd, it’s laughable. But hey, chumps aren’t just chumped by fuckwits, they are also chumped by therapists. If we sell your kind soul the idea that your fuckwit is just a poor broken soul who can be fixed, you will pay and pay and pay…..

    That’s the ultimate problem with many chumps. It’s the chump jumping in with all fours working on reconciliation, NOT who actually should be – the cheater fuckwit. It’s the chump making excuses, it’s the chump begging and pleading, it’s the chump rushing to schedule counseling appointments…..STOP.

    I have to credit Perel for the following (as much as you all hate her here). Admittedly it’s the only video of hers I watched so maybe it was an anomaly one, but found tremendous clarity in it:

    1) It’s 100% on the cheater to heal the relationship and do whatever it takes to restore balance and trust. This is NOT on the chump, but strictly on the cheater. Chumps shouldn’t lift a finger. It’s also about actions, not promises.

    2) Chump has full license to scream, yell, cry, curse, ask a million questions a million times and the cheater better answer them and keep answering them. Who cares if it’s uncomfortable? You cheated, that’s the price you pay.

    3) Chumps don’t ask for gory sexual details. It will feel good in the short term, but damage you personally and emotionally in the long run. It’s an emotional Padora’s box that once opened, will never get closed, aka images and info you’ll never get out of your head. This isn’t being kind to the cheater, it’s about protecting yourself. (I knew that one intuitively and still think it’s spot on)

    4)If cheater isn’t doing 1 & 2 above, it’s over. Dump them.

    I didn’t find CN until long after DDay and been lurking for quite some time just reading, but the above points really helped me keep my thoughts and my head on straight. As you can guess, when it came to actions….cheating fuckwit was nowhere to be found and that was a real wake up call for me. The above stopped me from accepting any blame, from jumping in to reconcile and work on “us”. There was no “us” and if he wanted that back, it was on him and only him to make it happen…through actions.

    • Great post! Agree on the foibles of young people. I give a lot of leeway to young people trying to figure out their place in the world. I recall being in 6th grade and “going with” Billy but holding Mark’s hand one afternoon at a park. Pretty sure that was technically cheating for a 12 year old. And, I knew it was wrong back then and fessed up and apologized.

      Youth is a good time to make these mistakes–cause they’e smaller mistakes at that age–with the theory that our moral compass becomes firm and fixed in the right direction as a result of these incidents. Even in high school years–cheating on your 16 year old boyfriend by kissing the neighbor kid is a far cry from destroying a marriage. I presume that adult cheaters somehow skipped the “moral compass” part of these youthful indiscretions and instead internalized a rush of kibbles. And that is a damn shame.

  • If they were capable of remorse they wouldn’t be capable of betraying you in the first place.
    It’s possible to be a remorseful cheater if you have a one night stand, immediately confess and never do it again. With long term affairs and serial cheaters we are talking about people who simply do not care about their spouses or they would not continue their hurtful and disrespectful acts. It really is that simple, and don’t ever let them tell you otherwise.
    My cheater dumped his AP and claimed to have remorse, while continuing to lie, break promises and be emotionally abusive. He might as well have kept cheating because nothing else changed. That’s not what remorse looks like. Remorse demands full and immediate disclosure of all wrongdoing. It demands empathy and compassion for the person you harmed.
    These people ate monstrously selfish and either have no feelings about the harm they do to others or actually enjoy doing harm. My cheater seems to resent the fact that I do not believe his fake remorse, despite knowing that his behaviour and attitude towards me post- dday showed almost no change from from pre-dday. He is the cheating equivalent of a dry drunk; a guy for whom the abusive mindset which allowed him to cheat (hostile towards me, unjustifiably resentful, selfish, entitled, indifferent to the suffering of others and dishonest) has not changed one iota, though he insists it has. He did some of the right things and I think he wishes he could change, but he knows he can’t change his lack of feeling for me. This is key. If you lack feeling for your spouse (and for other people in general, they go together), you will not be sorry for the pain you caused and will have no problem cheating again. You might be more careful in future so as to avoid negative consequences to yourself, or you might simply leave your spouse the next time. If I had stayed with my cheater, I believe that after the dust settled, he’d be on the hunt for somebody to leave me for. That’s what he was looking for, but his AP was just using him, didn’t really want him, and wouldn’t leave her chump for him. Otherwise he would have left me within the first year of their affair.
    I believe the vast majority of cheaters just don’t have the empathy chip that is responsible for feelings of remorse for one’s wrongs towards others.

    • I think what you really had was a revenge affair. Subliminally, you likely knew she was cheating (she made it painfully obvious), but you couldn’t face it, so you buried the pain between another woman’s legs. You certainly seem to have known she wasn’t into you anymore and that the marriage was dying, at the very least. It’s no excuse for cheating, but it is a mitigating factor. The chumps on this site seem to be innocents who were chumped by heartless monsters. You don’t fit that mold as your wife seems to have been a miserable excuse for a human being who did not love you. I doubt she could give you closure, as she probably does not understand why she did it herself and would only have lame excuses to offer. I wouldn’t open that can of worms after all these years if I were you. Just enjoy the rest of your life with your wonderful wife. Don’t do anything that might hurt her.
      That is my advice, for whatever it’s worth.

    • Not really, Gefen A unicorn is a repentant cheater who does massive reparations, remains faithful forever after, and makes their marriage better.

      You didn’t do anything like that. You got divorced from your cheating wife, after you cheated as well. But it’s nice that you married someone better next time around.

      You learned from the experience, sure. Well done. But that doesn’t make you a unicorn.

      Unicorns, we argue, don’t exist. And so far on this site we’ve never seen one.

      There are some people here who have decided to stay with their cheater, and find out if they have a unicorn. We support their choice, but no one is terribly optimistic about the outcome.

    • First of all-you completely lost me after I read that your 4 year old guided you to your ex wife’s lover’s house. Not buying what you’re selling there.

      And no. You’re not a unicorn. You cheated on your ex before you found out your ex was cheating, plus that confession was preceded with a lame excuse of why it happened. Just once I’d like to hear a cheater say: “I cheated because I have crappy life coping skills and it was a total dick move for which I take full responsibility.” And that’s the end of the confession, and they mean it. Talk about wishful thinking!

      Kudos for learning from the consequences of your prior actions and taking all that to a new relationship. That means you did the hard work and fixed yourself and if that’s true, you definitely are one of the few, but you ain’t no unicorn bud, you never were.

      • Well , I can positively dispel the thought of “Once a cheater , always a cheater.” Sometimes we do stupid things in our youth. Great lessons are often learned with great pain.

        • “First of all-you completely lost me after I read that your 4 year old guided you to your ex wife’s lover’s house. Not buying what you’re selling there.”

          Can’t help what you won’t want to believe. My 4 year old daughter did , in fact , blurt out to me as I sat in the living room one morning that mommy took them to see his boat. I asked her if she could show me , and she did.That’s when I caught her red handed. It’s fact and doesn’t matter to me who believes it. I lived it.

  • Sorry – Geden!

    Chumperella says “If they were capable of remorse they wouldn’t be capable of betraying you in the first place.”

    That’s pretty much the reason why unicorns don’t exist, in a nutshell.

    When I read wreckonciliation accounts, I feel sick and numb: marriage police, PTSD, and sometimes a vindictive subtext of control on the part of the Chump, as if it’s now payback time for all the earlier miseries of the marriage.

    I don’t see beauty, or strength, or trust, or mutual support, or a rosy future. I see a folie a deux, locked in mutual assured destruction.

    Scares the shit out of me. Life’s too short for this.

  • “Cheating is a narcissistic act, so to assume that upon discovery the cheater is going to lead with humility? That’s nuts. Cheaters disrespect chumps. They don’t prostrate themselves before their betrayed spouses. Cheating is about gaining advantage, getting more kibbles.”

    THIS^^

    Apologies – if given at all – are part of their “pretending to be a decent human” act. And that’s the key point: it’s just an ACT.

    As I think back to the horrible days after D-Day #1, I remember asking the Python to apologize often because it would help me. I realize now that I was just handing him his script, his lines. For his ongoing ACT.

    And now I realize that when he used to tell me he loved me – at any point in our marriage, early on or after D-Day – it wasn’t real love. Early on, there may have been attraction, or a keen interest on his part to gain the financial advantage of the savings I had (he had none). He would use the word “love” but narcissists don’t know how to love! They can mouth the words, but they have no idea how to love another person. So how could they possibly feel remorse for hurting a “loved” one?

  • If the true love I felt, and I showed for my cheater wasn’t enough at the time he cheated, how could any words he says after cheating ever mean anything to me.

    He never never said he was sorry, but if he did I would have to remind myself of the above.

  • My DDay was on Nov. 5. That was the day, my husband’s (married 20 years) carefully constructed network of lies and deception unraveled like a fraying pullover. I found his secret text messages to a Carolina. He claimed that she had initiated the exchange, but the proof was right in front of me. It was him all along. Next I found the emails to Elena, whom he showered with compliments while bragging about his achievements. Then I found his dating profile and exchanges with 110 women! At first he was defensive, then apologetic, but claimed it was all just a joke! Can you believe that I failed to see the humour?

    On Nov. 8, I uncovered the epicentre: a two-and-a-half-year affair with a Spanish trollop. Flowers, cheesy love messages, WhatsApp messages, trips to go see her in Spain and in Rome, a flight for her to NYC, and similar delights. I had to read things like: “You are the love of my life, and the light of my world!” “Thinking and dreaming of you” “I cannot wait to be with you, and only hope that we can celebrate together one day”.

    He invited her to his company Christmas party, and emailed himself the picture in December 2016, which I promptly found. I also found her hair in his flat. He claimed she never spent any time there, but please explain to me how that much hair can end up in his bed, on his window sill, his kitchen counter, in his sink and tub? Plus, his lovemaking and kissing style changed during that time as well.

    All the near-misses he experienced, when I came so very close to uncovering his shitty game, did not scare him back on the straight and narrow path. On the contrary, it made him bolder. The flower order that I uncovered in February 2017? First he claimed his credit card had been stolen! Then it was a flower order for a Spanish business woman that he had randomly met, and who bought him lunch. Don’t you know that all women flock to him, and are just dying to buy him lunch?!? His trip to Rome? He had to go to Ramstein for government training! A month later to Madrid? I didn’t even find out about that. He destroyed his passport to get rid of all the evidence.

    Then there were the LinkedIn messages to Julia, Lena, Emily, Georgia, and Kylie aged 21! Messages such as: “Didn’t we have a great time together? Thanks for coming by so late at night! I cannot stop thinking about. Sending you kisses and sexual thoughts! Oh, that blouse, your breast, and those boots! You were so seductive last night. Come and let me show you my world!”

    He ended it with the Spanish fucktard on his own. Did I mention she’s married, and I told her husband everything? But six days after ending it with her he contacted Emily on LinkedIn, telling her how seductive she was and how much he wanted her to share his world. Whatever the fuck that is!

    Do you think I’ve been chumped? Yes, so do I. He denied and lied through his teeth for five more months. He only saw Mamen the Spaniard once! Just once, Well okay, twice. Well, okay, it was actually a dozen times, but nothing ever happened!!! Right!

    He’s very sorry — to be found out! I don’t believe a word he’s saying anymore.

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