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Your Very Best Spackle Please

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tractorjewelryAt breakfast the other day Mr. CL ran a spackle scenario by me. He  was reading “Chicken Soup for the Soul for Couples.”

Let me stop here. I said, “I can’t tell CN you were reading ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul for Couples,’ they’re going to think I made you up. Like you’re a magical goat or something.”

“They’re going to think I’m a pussy,” he said. Then added, “Are you going to tell them I was making you breakfast? And there was bacon? And I was going to bring it to you?”

Chumps, I married a magical goat. (And boy, was his cheating ex the biggest idiot ever.)

Anyway, in this book was a story told by this woman whose husband was a crappy gift giver. She grew up in a home where her father had always thoughtfully gotten her mother gifts. He always recognized her birthday, Christmas, anniversary, etc. But her husband never did this. She’d hint. She’d be direct. Nothing. Finally, one day the guy says he’s going to the flea market on her birthday and she asks, “Hey, bring me back some jewelry.” (At this, I’m thinking… lady, you’re desperate. Jewelry from the flea market? And you have to remind him to remember your birthday?)

And instead of jewelry, he brings back a shovel attachment for their tractor.

Now instead of calling a divorce lawyer, or digging a grave for him with that shovel attachment, she writes a story for “Chicken Soup for the Soul for Couples.”

One winter, he’s gone (he works on a ship). And there’s a ton of snow. And by God, that shovel attachment comes in handy because she can dig herself out, and her neighbors, and she’s a minor celebrity because of that shovel attachment.

The moral of her story is that she always wanted presents, but the shovel was a gift. See, deep down, her husband knew what she really needed. His love was a practical love. And we can’t expect people to be the sorts of people we want them to be. We have to accept their gifts as they are.

“So, is this spackle?” asked Mr. CL.

HELL YES IT’S SPACKLE.

Hey, Chicken Soup Lady! Shovel attachments and jewelry are not mutually exclusive. There is not a finite amount of generosity in a relationship. Your husband can make a card, write you a poem, cook you some goddamn bacon for breakfast. There is no loving reason why your husband refuses to acknowledge occasions or give you gifts. (I bet you give him gifts.) Some crappy earrings from the flea market cost a hell of a lot less than a tractor attachment. Your husband was deliberately being withholding. It was your birthday. He knew what would make you happy, and he didn’t give a flip.

He also probably bought that tractor attachment for himself. Very few men think that their wives want tractor attachments. Unless she specifically asked for a shovel attachment for the tractor — unless you have some cute inside joke about shovel attachments for tractors — unless she is a farmer with a side gig in snow removal — you can pretty much guaran-fucking-tee that a woman does not equate shovel attachments for the tractor with romance.

In short, her husband is a jerk. And she spackled.

So chumps — can you top the tractor story? What’s your finest bit of spackle? What’s the most glorious excuse you ever devised that really, deep down, a fuckwit cared?

This column ran previously. I got bacon last Saturday. Mr. CL is still a magical goat.

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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.
  • When we were first married, we had very little money, so our Christmas presents to each other were always practical things for the home. But whereas I started to buy him nice stuff as the years went on, he still bought something practical, and at last minute, to put under the tree for me.
    One year, my gifts included a toilet brush and holder. He tried to pass this off as ‘Isn’t it so funny?’
    So, the last Christmas we were together, I actually went out and bought my own Christmas presents from him, even going to the extent of wrapping them myself to put under the tree. My excuse was, ‘Well, he’s so busy, this will just make our lives easier.’

    • I got shitty gifts, too.

      The preacher she was screwing got nice, expensive gifts.

      3 years post-divorce, I am still paying for his fabulous gifts. I got stuck with all the credit card debt.

      • Oh wow. You ended up paying for gifts she bought her AP? Ugh, that’s as chumpy as it gets, isn’t it. Sorry you got stuck with that particular shit sandwich.

        • I’ll probably never get as nice gifts as I got from my serial cheating ex. He bought me expensive handbags jewelery clothes etc. but all the time he was screwing others on the side and making himself feel less guilty by buying me all this stuff. I’d take a hammer and some fidelity please

        • For those still in settlement stage, GET A CREDIT REPORT and copies of Credit Card charges. Anything spent on affair partners can be recouped by the chump.

          • I second this!!! My cheater demanded I pay half a CC bill that I didn’t have access to and only in Cheater’s name in the divorce agreement. I requested copies of the statements bc early on I opened a bill that came in the mail and confirmed that it was being used for cheating purposes….cheater quickly turned that into a paperless bill! Cheater agreed to keep the cheater debt bc those statements spelled it out. The request was quietly taken out and never spoke of again. Win for me!!

      • My STBX bought a $2000 Tiffany bracelet on my birthday–except it was for his schmoopie. In 19 years of marriage, he never got me something that nice.

        • Your photo of the Thirteenth Doctor reminds me that my ex did buy something we both wanted for our last Christmas–the DVD box set of ‘The Prisoner.’ We then had to binge watch it because, I later realised, he’d already agreed the date he and AP were going to move in together and he wanted to see the entire series before leaving me.

        • Yup. And there you have it folks. Whatever the money you have lost doesn’t matter as long as you are well, above ground, and absent cheater (and all their crap drama).

    • Most of the time my ex was good at remembering birthdays and other holidays and he would give nice gifts. There were some notable exceptions, but mostly towards the end of our marriage when he was acting seemingly out of character in a lot of ways. That last Christmas (when he was, evidently, balls deep in Schmoopie 1.0) I believe I did buy and wrap a few of his presents to me. I think I also got a half used tube of nasty smelling lotion he got from a store that had a going out of business sale going on (that was their sample tube). Before that, however, I actually used his gift giving abilities to spackle a lot of the not so nice things he did. “Well, he said that terrible thing to me but he gave me that nice gift for my birthday so he must love me”. I do remember one incident, however, that bothered me. I actually like practical gifts. A girl only needs so much jewelry after all, especially if her man doesn’t take her out much to the kinds of places where one would need to wear it. Anyway, I had specifically asked for a spice rack for my birthday because I needed one. The cupboard where we kept the spices was way too cluttered and I could never find what I needed. Apparently, he had bought me a spice rack but a female coworker at work had told him “You can’t give her that for her birthday that’s sexist. It implies you expect her to cook”, so he didn’t give me anything for my birthday that year which left me hurt and baffled. It bothered me even more when he explained what had happened. He listened to another woman and let her influence his decisions instead of listening to me and knowing me well enough to know I like to cook and I would not have asked him for a spice rack if I didn’t want one. He was also more concerned about looking bad in her eyes than in mine. The worst part is that this is the kind of thing that led him to resent and devalue me in the end because I just wasn’t a “normal” woman and he deserved someone normal. You know, the kind of woman who is high maintenance and wants to spend all your money on baubles and then cries “sexist” if you give her a gift that makes it easier to do her share of the household chores even if she asks for it. The kind of woman who, if you give her what she wants, it makes other women envious. How horrible of me to not be that kind of woman.

      • Yes, I have seen a lot of people who use gifts, flowers, etc. pretty much as image enhancers so other people think you are crazy when you say they are an asshole. But he sent you flowers every Valentine’s Day! He can’t be a cheater!

        If they are doing stuff for an audience, they are doing it for an audience. You are part of the audience, as well.

        • I must admit, I got some very nice gifts. But every time I wore one of those gifts, e.g., bracelet, necklace, he would specifically ask what my girlfriends said about the gifts. I eventually realized that I was an extension of him. He bought those gifts (even when I said that I didn’t need another piece of jewelry) because others needed to say, “Oh, your husband is so wonderful!”

          • BINGO! My ex asshat bought me a HUGE mother-fucking diamond worth more than a new SUV. He loved when people would comment on it, and say “oh, you have such good taste” and then tell me how lucky I was…. he lived for those comments. What they didn’t hear was how he told me ” I ruined it” and somehow I “demanded” it. I did not such thing. ever. He snarled when he gave it to me because all I gave him was a closed-mouth kiss. It was always about him…. always. I spackled and said to myself “oh, he’s an asshat, abusive, narcissistic, and an overall piece of shit, BUT he must really love me because he spent so much money…” that’s a shit ton of spackle.

            Other gifts include: a tiffany ring which he had already given me the exact one a couple years before, looking back, I suspect he was going to give it to the whore from work….perfume that he said his mom liked…. a dumb and dumber dvd….a pedometer….

          • One anniversary asshat gave me huge diamond earrings. Almost every time he saw me taking them off he’d stress how careful I needed to be in taking care of them. It was so strange because he never said that with other expensive jewelry. It got to the point I hated to wear them because I knew the warning speech was coming. Ends up they are the only pieces I kept after the divorce because they are quite lovely.

  • I spent a tremendous amount of time and effort for my husband’s 30th (a surprise party) and his 40th (a book of cards from clients & friends, along with a gift certificate for a fishing trip to Alaska).

    For my 40th, we went out to dinner. No gift at all. But the card he gave me had a note that he wanted to buy me a ski helmet.

    No pity party here! It’s so outlandish that it makes me laugh.

    • I planned my own 40th birthday party, did all of the cooking, baked my own cake, and felt very fortunate that my husband allowed me to host the party at our house. I am trying to remember if he was even there. He was happy to drink all of the leftover beer, however.

    • Yep. For his 40th, I rented a box at a local arena football game with food and lots of friends. I didn’t even get a card for mine, but by that time he wasn’t “feeling it” anymore (aka I made a new friend at work). He never did much for any gift or card giving occasion, which I wrote off as not being sappy, but now I know better.

    • For his 40th birthday I threw a huge party, flew his family out from the opposite coast and gave him a Breitling.

      For my 40th (a month later) I received a bathrobe.

  • Waband was the worst at gifts. He purposely never got me anything but half dead Rose’s that were left over at the local walmart the day of whatever, valentine’s day, my birthday our anniversary… … .. even when I specifically asked for him not to get me roses I still got roses. And Lord, I had better act happy about it. Christmas gifts were slightly better because I would just flat out tell him what I wanted. He had some special crudge against mothers because ever flipping mothers day he would always ruin by not coming home, staying out all night drinking, walking in late afternoon, no gift or card or apology and would try to take my kids somewhere.

    However, I was the spackle queen. I worked with this. Every year. For 15 years. (He also ruined vacations and holidays but that is another story). One night after my nephews wedding, waistband wanted to go party with the kids (we were 40ish and they were barely 21) after the wedding dance at 1 in the morning. I was not in the mood after wrestling with 4 kids and still in mourning for my oldest death. So we got in a huge fight on the way home where he told me “The problem with you is you think your shit font stink. Well I am here to tell you shit does stink. You think you are better then everyone else. But your not”… .. when we got home, a mere 6 blocks from the building, I got out and told him to NEVER talk to me that way again in front of my kids again. And the poor sad sausage started crying and actually apologized. (One of the few times) and told me I was his anchor.

    I rolled with that for another 2 years because he needed me. I was his anchor. He was lost without me.

    Ugh, looking back it was too little, too late. But I so wanted CV to save my marriage and was so against divorce. I took whatever little scraps he threw my way.

  • Sorry for the typos. My phone has a mind of it’s own.. .. .. I really do know how to spell

    * wasband not waband or waistband
    *grudge not drudge
    * dont instead of font
    * and I have no clue where the CV came from

    • I love “waistband” it made me lough out loud. I imagined a balding crying guy with his pants up to armpits, so thank you for the typo.

        • A clay Mexican fertility god statue. Picture a head popping out of a woman’s private’s. No words.

          During wreckonciliation and my playing marriage police, a Vermont teddy bear for Valentines ordered online. On the same order was a bigger and better teddy bear
          For OW. Idiot!

          • that is fucking funny!!!! Sorry Ruggermom – “Mexican fertility god statue.” Holy shit that is fucking funny!!! I’d tell that story to people in line at the grocery store every Sunday. Sorry Ruggermom, I’m still laughing… “know what my husband got me for my birthday day? A bobblehead Mexican fertility god statue. Guess where the head bobbled?”

    • Waistband also made me LOL. I don’t know why it struck me so funny. My phone autocorrects in the most ridiculous ways, too.

      Have you ever read about narcissists and how they ruin holidays, birthdays, special events? You might if you haven’t. I could never understand why every single holiday seemed ruined in my home, But after my divorce, and after I learn more about narcissism, I understood that he burned everything to the ground. I don’t know that I will ever understand why, because I can’t wrap my brain around the selfishness that is narcissism, but I can at least understand that he did it on purpose, and that I wasn’t crazy for thinking that at the time (like he made me feel).

      • every possible holiday, anniversary or birthday. Even when not ruined by sulking or not wanting to do what I’d have liked to do, it never was anything special. Christmas pressies were usually sprouting daffodils from the garden centre bought Christmas eve and pots, and a bit of tat. He never thought to plant them for me to save me a job. Last Christmas he was with me the tat was a parasol light, but no parasol, jolly handy that. My 50th we went to visit friends and him and his family went off in the evening to do their thing, the wife and children were so sorry for me they took me out to a meal, I’d not have particularly minded had we made plans to go another day, but once I’d been taken out that was it, no need to take me out another evening, with the children, more than happy to just pop down the local Indian. But for his 50th, I got him what he wanted, we went out for a meal on the day and he had a huge party. I really tried with him, got thoughtful presents, made cakes, went wherever he wanted to go to

      • You know, 6 years out and this subject has struck a nerve with me. All those occassions where I went out of my way to make them special. He would resist and sulk and not help out- but when the time came, he would bask in the attention and success of the event. So, my children all think about those good times, and how much fun he was, while I find here- I am still hurt and seething. They do not know the trouble I went to, the amount of spackle that went into it. He did not go out of his way for me after the first couple of years. By the end, I’m pretty sure he was debating whether to give me the cheap earrings he picked up overseas, or to his girlfriend of the time. I feel sorry for anyone wounded by the gross inconsideration of these terrible people.

      • Thank you for posting that Amanda, I didn’t read that. I definitely will. My ex used to ruin all holidays (Christmas etc) and anytime we went away camping or on trips. He was miserable or so angry at times. We eventually stopped getting invited because people didn’t like him. The only time he was good was when he was hoovering. Then it was over the top but not maintainable. Good information to know.

        • Yourloss, people stopped inviting us over too because of his drinking and getting aggressive. My friend actually told me that – they didn’t invite us to her husband’s 50th because they knew my husband would ruin it – and she was right! The bastard once bought really expensive tickets to see Céline Dion in Nice (south of France), which I thought was lovely but also stupid as she was coming to Geneva shortly afterwards (40 minutes away). But Nice would be around an 8-hour drive for us, more if we took the camper like he wanted to do. I said no, we were only going for one night so we should take the car and the motorway down through Italy and stay in a hotel. I had booked the hotel and everything. I was looking forward to it of course but the bastard went out drinking (for a change – not) and rocked up home still drunk around 10 a.m. the following morning – WAAAYYY too late to get to Nice for 6 p.m.. So he passed out and I glued the tickets to the bedroom door, and then took the 3 bottles of rosé wine he had drunk the night before, the offensive notes he wrote to me and shoved them in the necks of the bottles and left them in front of the bedroom door. I hadn’t expected the concert tickets, was absolutely delighted of course (even though we couldn’t really afford over $300 per ticket) and then, of course, he fucked it up royally. I still have a hard time believing that was deliberate but from what the others say I guess it was! I’m so glad he’s no longer tormenting me and he’s someone else’s problem!

          • Attie / Amazing you did not shove the bottles up his ___ and glue the tickets to his ____! What restraint!

            Thanks to all who have posted comments on this conversation. Helps to know we are not alone & reading these will remind us the cheaters are truly disordered. Nothing we did ‘drove’ them to it.

            Love and prayers to all y’all! Amazing none of us are in prison for ‘bad reactions’ to these freakish scums. Glad we are all now (mostly!) free of them……

      • i have read about how they ruin birthdays, holidays, vacations and special events. And it is all true when it came to wasband. he would never lift a finger to help but was always so ready to go. i would plan, and save and pay for everything. he also loved to point out where i failed. although he had no clue either. he was just along for the ride. but was so super moody and bitchy about things he would always ruin it for everyone. .. .. for example, i planned a ski trip once. made all the arrangements in a town i never been in and online. packed all 5 children. printed out the driving map as neither of us had even gone to that town. (before google maps and internet on phones) Get there and while the children were decompressing at the local mcdonalds, i was busy trying to figure out how to get to our hotel. get to the hotel and we unpack the truck which he was helpful with, however, the 2 littlest (2 and 5) were jumping on the bed, the oldest was in the hotel room with them while he and i were unloading the truck, he walks in the room and starts screaming at them to stop jumping on the bed and belittling them and threatening to spank them if they dont behave. Me exhausted told him i dont care if they jump on the bed at a hotel room and for him to stop making them cry. So of course he turns on me (which is much better then him turning on the kids but they still witness daddy telling mommy off) about how i unmine him and never let him displine the kids (which was a lie but fit is poor me story).

        that whole vacation was a trainwreck. he was super condensing about everything. even thou he knew nothing either. i had never rented skis, did not know the process would take over an hour. got to the ski place late, almost missed the bus that went from the parking lot to the lodge because i was carrying the 2 youngest skis and trying to hold their hand while we navigated thru the mud and the ice. had problems figuring out the sky lift after not knowing we had to buy tickets for the lift so made 2 trips to it .. .. dragging 5 children. .. .. finally get to the lift and i have my first panic attack ever because 2 of my kids were on the lift and i did not know what was on the other side and i was scared to get on myself. .. . he told me i embarrassed him… then i stood in the cold watching for hours before my 10 year old 3rd child convinced me to at least try it once and stood babysitting the littlest so i could do it. he never took the youngest with him but was happy to let me stand there and watch him. .. .

        i lost count of the thing he put me down for not knowing. my kids still remember the trip fondly thou because i put so much effort into it. sadly that was a typical vacation for us. he never once gave me credit for getting us there nor for all the effort i put into these. and was always so quick to point out where i messed up as if i didnt notice it myself. i still plan trips with my kids but they are super peaceful now. nobody yelling over little things or pissing everyone off. nobody putting me down for a mistake and my kids are always grateful and have a good time.

        • We didn’t have children, but I remember that I too was in charge of planning our holidays. We’d go away for two or three weeks, and on the last day or so he’d tell me off because ‘We’ve done too much’ or ‘We haven’t done anything I wanted to do.’ But, of course, he’d refuse to do any of the planning in the first place! I’d ask him, ‘So why didn’t you say anything earlier in the holiday?’ His response: ‘I didn’t want to ruin the holiday.’ Finally, the last time, I told him, ‘No, you’ve just decided to ruin my memories of it.’

          By the way, I now travel all over the world, sometimes on my own, other times joining organised groups. I’m having terrific holidays now!

      • Narcs, they all think the same. My husband bought me a birthday card and threw a random Red Lobster gift card in it that said we’ll celebrate this weekend. I don’t mind Red Lobster but I can think of 50 other places first for celebrating a birthday dinner. So Saturday night rolls around and we use the gift card, he took forever to eat and was mucking out on crab legs. Gift card was only $50 so I paid for rest of meal on my credit card. Next evening, he blurts out of the blue almost like a mental fart, that he’s been seeing a coworker in some shape or form for 1 year, our marriage will never get past this, and he plans to keep seeing her. Coward couldn’t even mutter divorce. Thankfully, he works out of town. First 24 hours were shock, 2nd day was gather everything financial, 3rd day met with divorce attorney, and 4th day I filed. I figured he had months of planning, so I wasn’t going to waste anymore time with this cheater. Lots of great YouTube videos on narcs and I’m looking forward to reading Vikki Stark’s books.

  • Pregnant. 4 year old daughter. 3 days before Christmas. My birthday. He has something on so we do gifts and cake before he goes out (turns out it was to OW of prior 3 years, carried on another 2).

    My gift? Ken doll has been replaced by Nick doll. I get Nick. Fuckwits name is Nick. Oh yes he did. I was 41 FFS!

    Epilogue: he lines up his other OW who was my friend to chat to me on the phone all night while he fucked around elsewhere. Yep, he really did. THAnks Dickhead. Worked that all out 7 years too late.

      • Someone who truely has no respect for herself or the sanctity of marriage, I mean how delusional do you have to be to sit by while “your man” marries someone else and STILL think that you mean anything to him?! It always absolutely amazes me the depths to which the mistress will allow herself to fall. Tinman’s mistress started dating him I suspect between when he left me in our old state and when I arrived with child in tow at the new state. I got pregnant shortly thereafter and yet she STILL hung around, right up until we left town many many months later. I just don’t get it…

  • We had just finished paying off a line of credit so I was looking forward to having a bit more leeway financially, but shithole went out and bought himself a $60,000 car while mine was on its last legs! When I went apeshit he just said “I thought you’d be happy for me”! And then the massive stereo system for me – I hardly listen to music so it was for him obviously. And how about the sexy lingerie that I could just about fit one nipple into – I would have gotten more use out of a bandaid!!! Hell we live in France and the women are TINY! I took it back and got myself a pretty table cloth!!! I know that’s not ME spackling but rather HIM spackling but I guess it’ll work.

  • D-Day was the day before my birthday. He scrambled- booked a therapy session that night. I knew it was over and done. 26 years be damned. There was no birthday present. No need for further spackle.
    Leave a cheater, gain a life. 👍

  • For his 40th Birthday i took him to London we went to shows all the things he wanted to do like see his sports team etc . We went for 5 days and as everyone knows London is EXPENSIVE

    For my 40th i got a rolling Pin . Yep a rolling pin as seemingly i said in the months prior to my birthday i was not happy with my pasty on a pie . I laughed thinking it was a joke and my real present will be on its way . He then said he would take me to Glasgow i am still waiting for that trip 5 years later .

    • Karenb6972, take back Glasgow. Make that gritty city yours! In a few years I’ll be able to meet you there. Right now I have no money but soon I will be granted temporary spousal maintenance, I’ll start saving. Glasgow can become a Chump Meetup.

      • I think two of the best names for natives of any place are Glaswegian and Haligonian (for people who live in Halifax, Nova Scotia). Here’s a link that will help you get psyched for Scotland:

  • After finding out about the cheating, I learned that the XH was planning to get his ho-worker a t-shirt for Christmas, featuring her favorite childhood cartoon character. He then asked me my favorite childhood cartoon character to grey me the same damn thing. I said, “No, no, no, you’ve got to doi better for me this year after all of this. You should get me jewelry or something because you’ve never bought me jewelry.” (The engagement ring he got from his mom, and i purchased our wedding rings.)

    He gets me a copper engraved bracelet with a line from my favorite poem on it. He told me that the poem reminded him of me. I sparkled and thought it was sweet he remembered my favorite poem. It took about a week before I realized that an old friend from high school had said the poem made her think of me, and she had written this on the XH’S Facebook comment section when he asked his friends what he should paint for our living room. He hadn’t remembered my favorite poem, an old high school friend had. He took the idea from an online forum and tried passing it off as his own.

  • I once got a crib for Christmas. For our baby who wasn’t due until February. My birthday present (in January) was a jogging stroller so I could lose the baby weight. We live in the Midwest and he thinks I’m taking a newborn JOGGING in February? I spackled over that for the next 11 years.

  • He took me to see a psychiatrist because I had “obsessions” connected to trust issues (=I was obsessed about him giving me full disclosure, as he kept refusing it) and regarding issues unrelated to the relationship on the surface (harm thoughts, etc).
    He clearly was hoping he’d “fix” me, or at least distract me, or even get me on medication.

    I came out of the appointment quite relieved because he’d told me I was okay, but I did have a light case of OCD. The Liar changed his approach to “See?? I told you were okay! That’s why I took you there, so you could hear it from him! I just didn’t say this before because I didn’t want to spoil it.”

    Note that this whole thing was leveraged on me being fine vs not fine and how much I participated in my own imprisonment by accepting the “terms and conditions”.
    Also note I stopped having any and all anxiety symptoms when I terminated the relationship.

    • So true to anxiety going away after leaving cheater- I really wondered why I developed extreme anxiety after getting married- could it be the blame shifting, or late night phone activity that could never be questioned without sending him into a rage? And don’t let me desire anything other than what he wanted to gift…how dare I?? Cover your tracks in anger, the chump will never suspect a thing!!

    • Some of these cheaters freak me out, how calculating they are. He was probably hoping the Dr said you were insane (which makes him the sane one 🙄)! All under the guise of ‘helping us’.

  • Mine could never remember my birthday, and it’s on Valentine’s Day. Also, i once reminded him it was my birthday and asked him to get me a romantic gift. He came home with nothing but said he saw a blender I might like. And besides the fact that isn’t my def of romantic, we already had 2 blenders!

    • Oh, he knew it was your birthday. He was just being a jerk.
      My birthday is also Valentine’s Day, BTW, and for years my ex would only buy me a token gift and laugh to others that he could get away with only one present. After that I insisted on a Valentine’s gift as well as a birthday gift. But he always bought cheap roses.

    • Mine’s excuse for not doing anything on Valentine’s Day was that his ex wife ha a miscarriage on Valentines Day when she was in very early pregnancy and she made him flush the fetus. He said he just couldn’t celebrate after that even though he was ok with me getting him something. Now this was back in 1993 this happened so it’s interesting
      how it only affected him when he had to be partner and think of a celebration. Now, don’t get me wrong. The whole situation would have been heartbreaking. His ex wasn’t bothered by it at all but he was at the time. I just didn’t appreciate how he used it as an excuse not to do something nice for me.

  • I’ve not seen this post before – it made me laugh out loud! I wish I thought more like you, CL. After all these years, I still bought into her spackle story!

    Oh, for me, my Dad bought me a metal detector for my 9th birthday. Had I ever expressed an interest in metal detecting? Nope. TBH, I thought it was so obviously for him, it was pretty funny.

  • My Ex bought me a clothes hamper for my birthday one year. I didn’t spackle, though. I was irate. Then, of course, he denied that the hamper was my birthday present — he claimed that he had just bought it because we needed it.

    For our 20th wedding anniversary, after I asked my Ex whether he was going to make a dinner reservation somewhere nice for us to celebrate, he made a big show out of cooking dinner for me. He cooked all of his favorite foods. He did not buy me a present or flowers or anything. I later learned that, at around the same time, he was making plans to meet up with a female “old college friend” for dinner four states away. He invited her to choose a restaurant. She did, and he met her for dinner about a month later. He spent $625 on their dinner.

    #BiggestScumbagEver

    • Ughhhh… I found out after the fact that my ex had made plans on my birthday to hook up with one of his partners, it was on his electronic calendar. I remember him having some work excuse for why we couldn’t celebrate my birthday on the actual day.

  • During the time period ex bought me gifts, they were clothes. Nice. People thought he was great to do so, so thoughtful. But, no. He would buy me things he wanted me to wear, to present how he wanted. All about control and his image. I knew that – he made it quite obvious. My own selections were not good enough, in his eyes… then it dwindled to nothing. Zero acknowledgement of anything.
    I had bought my own Christmas gifs (and his) and wrapped them for years, so our children would have a good example of a husband – didn’t work, though. He was too much of a jerk all around.

    • Same on the clothes gifts. I could never get it right so he gave me what he wanted me to wear for Christmas. He also bought me a $300 purse because I didn’t carry a purse and he thought I should. It had to be expensive as well to make him look good.

  • With apologies to MUSTANG lovers, I do NOT like mustangs- find the visibility in them to be poor, find the seats uncomfortable, and most important, there is no room in the back for my precious kids.
    Nope, just don’t like them.
    Yet, I have 2, yes, 2, mustangs.
    Drove one of them once,
    but they are MINE!

  • When we first got married we had no money so we decided that we were not going to get herself any gifts and use that money for our children. After I graduated nursing school we started earning more money and I started buying him gifts throughout the year. I would buy him things like cell phones a computer I even gave him money to help him restore a 1970 Dodge Dart. I would never get any gifts from him but I just chalked it up to him being a man. I would wish him happy birthday and happy anniversaries however I would never get a happy birthday or happy anniversary back. His excuse for not wishing me a happy birthday was because he was a man and men always forgot dates. And naive me I fell for it. I remember one weekend we were shopping with our granddaughter at the mall. He was shopping for Bluetooth devices. he said he want to buy a Bluetooth because he wanted to be safer when he drives. I later found out that he bought a Bluetooth for himself and Skankella from Amazon. Real nice of him to shop for his girlfriend while he’s with his wife and granddaughter. My ex-husband even refused to put me on his health insurance at work because he said it would be too expensive. I know now he did not want to put me on his health insurance because it would interfere with his $200 a month that he was spending on his girlfriend. He paid for all his outings with her. And when we went out to eat I would have to pay. I could kick myself in the ass for allowing myself to be used like that. What are upstanding guy I was married to a man who spent $200 or more a month on his skank and refused to put his wife on his health insurance.

  • I was gifted a stainless steel drink bottle from a fuel station that he bought while away on a work trip. The bar was so low that I treasured that drink bottle and actually apologised when I had to throw it out because it was rusting inside.

  • I was told the day before my 50th birthday that he wanted a mistress and there was a co-worker who made him tingle.

    I told him that in order to have a mistress, he needed a wife.

    No, he didn’t give me a birthday present that I could shove up his ass or throw into a ravine either.

    Divorced by my 51st birthday!

        • That’s cause your awesome!! I don’t think I could have thought that quickly. Mine was the lying kind – only reason I found out who mistress was is kids found her number taped to a bottle of strawberry lube (awesome).

          • Ewwww, how trashy. I’m just guessing the mistress gave him the strawberry lube? That is one of the most whorish things I’ve heard. So sorry you found out that way.

            CL, please tell Mr.CL I do not think he’s a pussy. If ever I remarry, it will be to a magical goat.

          • Ewww, how trashy! I’m guessing the mistress gave him the strawberry lube? That one of the most whorish things I’ve heard.
            So sorry you had to find out that way.

            CL, please tell Mr. CL I don’t think he’s a pussy. If ever I remarry, it will be to a magical goat.

  • STBXH was a ridiculous gift giver. He would go out and buy things we could definitely not afford. But his excuse was always “but its important to celebrate”.

    Was I supposed to celebrate the credit card debt too?

    Fast forward, my 40th birthday and 19 days before Dday. He doesn’t have a job. He had lost it 3 months earlier, that’s where he was having the affair with Howorker. The actual day of my birthday was Saturday. He disappeared for a couple hours in the day, and came back with a tiny wrapped box. We went out to dinner at my favourite restaurant (very moderately priced place!) And there he presented his gift to me. A gawd awful massive necklace and pendant. Very glittery very flashy. Not at all my style. It was over $2000. On our credit card. He had no job.

    In our settlement I made the mediators take out the credit card debt for the ridiculous necklace and gave the thing to him. No way was I going to be forced to pay half that debt for a very ugly necklace.

    A lot of the chump stories here are about awful, cheap, thoughtless gifts. But, for me, expensive gifts were the worst (mostly because I was paying for it on after all!). Beware of flashy and extravagant gifts. They are meant to distract.

    • Oh my goodness, Melissa that brings back so many memories. We made good money between us but were always in debt because of his spending. For one of my birthdays he bought me the ugliest necklace ever – it was like a huge sparkly glitter ball they have hanging from the ceiling in a ballroom dancing competition and I NEVER wore necklaces, ever. He paid €900 for it (I guess so he could justify spending the same on the gf). And I never wore it and couldn’t get rid of it. I got a little back for the gold though. Berkkkkk!

      • Yes! We were living parallel lives! We made great money (I do, and he did when he was working) but his spending was ridiculous, and I couldnt reign it in. Because he “deserved” to have nice things. Even after a debt consolidation he refused to close his credit cards and proceeded max them out all over again.
        I’ve also tried to sell the hideous last gift. No luck. The store was having a “closing sale” and they wouldn’t take it back. Final sale. It was $2000 and he didn’t have a job! He was upset that I found that fact very stressful because I was acting very appreciative of his “gift”. His gift was meant to be a distraction.

        If anyone out there wants a diamond and emerald paved massive square pendant with some bad karma…I can hook you up.

        I’m angry that I’m stuck with half his fuckwit debt, but relieved that I’m now in control of my own finances.

        • Oh Lordy, we did the debt consolidation too (and re-maxed out the credit cards). Definitely parallel lives going on here!

    • I got a very expensive camera one year. I liked photography, but I already had a decent camera. I was so amazed at this tremendous gift and spent so much time learning how to use it and taking pictures and editing them……I paid no attention to what he was doing…..for about a year. Then it dawned on me that my dad had done the same thing! He gifted my mom a top of line Canon and several lenses in hopes she would become so involved in photography that she wouldn’t notice all the time he wasn’t spending at home. HA! Karma sucks. I divorced him and became a professional photographer!

  • The year leading up to d-day we were in marriage counseling and I was really trying to cater to him and make things work. 1st major spackle (of that year) was when he went out and traded in his RoadKing HD motorcycle (fully paid off) for a HD chopper (to look so much cooler). Added on $20k to our debt without even talking to me about it. The kicker – we were suppose to be buying a vehicle for our middle son who already knew we were suppose to be getting him a car. The other kicker – he got so ripped off on that deal.

    2nd MAJOR spackle happened a few months later. His birthday and we go out with some of his family members including his step-sister that he has known since he was 12. He gets drunk – like I am helping him walk kind of drunk. He decides to make his move on his step-sister. Even gets up from sitting by me to go sit by her and hangs all over her trying to kiss her. Arms/hands all over her. Next day he says he doesn’t remember. It’s only brotherly love. Marriage counselor can only muster up a ‘that’s unfortunate’, but the look on MC face when I told him our newest problem was priceless. I still think about the MC facial response to this day and laugh. My goodness that was a whole different level of spackling that even I can’t believe I managed.

    So my birthday was the following month after his brotherly love incident and I planned a golf vacation for us. I don’t play golf but he does.

  • I had an old hand-me-down bike that was falling over because the bike stand was too short. Asked for a new bike stand for my birthday and got … a plastic extension for the too short stand. Cheapskate bragged he spent less then 2 euros. There were many such instances. I also used to buy and wrap my own presents to put under the tree. Fuckwit even messed up my 40th birthday – I wanted to take the kids to eurodisney. After when he finally left the premises I bought new bikes for all three of us, myself, my daughter and my son. And went on city trips with them in nice hotels. I fully regret not having the guts to kick him out much much earlier and am still working on forgiving myself for being sooo stupid.

  • For Valentine’s after a couple of D-Days I got a sample size of foot lotion and a card that said “good for one free foot massage”. UGH

    • And to think it could have been really cute if it had said “Good for a lifetime of/countless/a thousand foot massages” etc. and went with a super-size bottle or something nice. It’s the stinginess that feels outrageously withholding. And after the D-Days, oh boy….dude REALLY needed to step up!!!

  • My ex would buy me the most inappropriate gifts. I’d always wonder why he got them for me. Clothes I would never wear with stupid anime cartoons on them, in the wrong size, shit from the comic book store. I couldn’t be less of a comic book store type if I tried. I used to think “he just really think I love this otherwise why would he go to so much trouble”. I was such an idiot. Eventually I started asking for stuff I wanted and even then he’d get it in a different color or size.

    He would also so this thing where he’d wait until the morning of my birthday to write the card. He’d make me stay shut in the bedroom while he looked for it and wrote it. All the while screaming at me. So I’d be really upset, stressed and late for work. It was awful. I used to think “he has so much going on, he didn’t have time”. My ex was a “writer” who “worked from home” while I supported us, did all the cleaning and paying of bills. I also paid for all the shit he bought me for my birthday.

    I don’t celebrate my birthday now and I hate when people give me gifts. I find it very stressful and upsetting.

    • You know that thing CL has about “taking back” what your cheater has ruined? I hope someday you feel you can take back your birthday.

        • You’re welcome. If you post on reddit you send me a PM with your birthday on it and I’ll make sure to wish you a happy one.

      • Adelante

        I loved birthdays – I always made it special for my loved ones, my kids always were making gifts for me….
        But my h- he ruined all the fun and I started hating my own birthday.
        That – I took back.
        I stopped expecting a gift or a party- instead, started buying whatever I wanted st the time, having fun with kids, buying the best bday cake I could think of.
        It was my birthday.
        I took it back.

    • UnKnowingChump,

      I completely understand about hating your birthday. My XH ruined my birthday for 13 years. No gifts, flowers, or cake. He’d just leave my birthday card laying someplace I’d find it. He also never celebrated Mother’s Day until I sobbed after being a mom for nine years. I said to him, “Why don’t you do anything for my birthday or Mother’s Day? You go out every single year with your female “friend” for her birthday (my XH and her share the same birthdate), but you do nothing for me.” He said, “I didn’t know.” Well, now I can see it for the narc abuse that it was. He took some kind of sick pleasure withholding things from me and not honoring or celebrating me.

      I get those same feelings you get when people buy me gifts. It triggers me and brings up all the old memories. But I’m trying very hard to “take my birthday back”. A couple years ago I went skydiving on my birthday. It was on my bucket list and it made me happy to do it on my birthday. I’m trying to replace all the bad memories with new, good one’s! He emotionally abused me on my specials days and I’m not going to abuse myself by not celebrating my birthday. You are important and your deserve to be celebrated! Even if you have to do it yourself by buying a cake, getting a massage or whatever else that would make you feel special. I believe until we truly feel like we deserve to be treated well and we deserve to be celebrated, we will never attract someone who will do that for us. Everything starts with us. 🙂

      • Ewwww, the reminds me of the time he bought me absolutely nothing for Christmas. My kids were little so I wasn’t going to get anything from them, but he got me nothing. Now I couldn’t really have cared less but I was SO hurt when after they had all opened their presents my little boy asked where my presents were I wanted to cry!

  • Speaking of celebrations, my first clue was when for our first Christmas together I went all out with several little gifts to commemorate important things in our relationship that far and made cards to go with them, with drawings on them and everything. When he left after the holidays (we were long distance), he’d left most of the cards behind.

    He would buy me things that I didn’t want. One Christmas he was stumped for ideas and found a Lady Gaga luxury box that he thought I might like, since I was into Lady Gaga. The thing was, there was nothing inside that very expensive box that really made sense, it was just “stuff”. So I told him thanks, but no, you don’t have to, I wouldn’t appreciate it. He insisted and bought it because “otherwise I don’t know what to get you”, which was said in anger.

    Our first Christmas living together, we both were stumped for ideas, so we (I) figured we should keep it practical and go to something we would be sure to use, like housewear or pyjamas. We clarified specifics (size, material, etc.) and I specifically asked for 100% cotton, XL size. He got me a Hello Kitty rip-off pyjama set (I don’t even like Hello Kitty), mostly polyester, L size. I queried and he said “well, you always think you’re fat and I don’t believe that”. But I wear XL !!!! A size too small is guaranteed to make me feel “fat”…… Later, I realized this was his own rejection of me “being fat”, he thought buying a size too small would make me magically “be” thinner in his world of impression management. On the same occasion, I bought him a nice, sort-of-expensive gym suit because he liked to exercise. He actually wore that for many years as it held up nicely.

    There were more incidents around gift-giving. It was an especially telling area in his case.

    Latest was my engagement ring. He knew I had a Pinterest board of ones I liked, all quite different styles/colors, all in all. He picked one and managed to recreate it almost identically. No personalization. Then he complained that he couldn’t go out shopping for one because “he couldn’t lie about where he went”, as this was post several D-Days. Actually COMPLAINED. So he ordered online, but they botched the first order, which he was really angry about. Then he was anxious that he wouldn’t get it on time for Valentine’s which is when he planned on proposing (it did). But he was more focused on the anger for being “hard done” than the actual enjoyment of getting me a ring or, you know, actually getting engaged. I remember being really saddened by this, because he really let the experience be sour for him and I knew it wasn’t going to make a great story to remember. But his focus was always on the shallow things and his own entitlement. It was all so mechanic and meaningless, like all of our relationship, ultimately.

    • I feel like mine put so little effort into our engagement. Barely asked me what kind of ring I liked and I think probably conned someone into a steep discount.

      Proposed on a random day in a park near our apartment in NYC which sounds nice but it was cold and rainy and the park was smaller than a block and all concrete.

      He didn’t have anyone there to take photos and hadn’t planned a dinner reservation or anything. Just nothing to make it romantic or special. We actually went to the gym after and did a spin class.

      He also didn’t try on his tux at all before our wedding and it fit like crap but he had no other choice but to wear it. So he hated our pictures and we had very few printed.

      Compared to the multiple dress shopping, tailor visits etc for my dress, this really bugged me.

      But I spackled and thought, it’s not about the engagement, the ring or the wedding. It’s about the marriage. And we have a good marriage. Ha!

    • Talk about a red flag I ignored- the X went to look at wedding rings for him, as I already had the one I was going to use when we got married. In the store, the sales lady showed him three or four, and he PALMED the one he wanted! He bragged about it to his pals. I didn’t know what to do, so I just stayed quiet about it. He just loved the con game, and did it to me most of our marriage!

      • You didn’t know what to do when you found out he stole that ring? Hmmm. That sounds complicit and a shit show on the horizon.

    • i believe i had THE WORST marriage proposal in history.. .. . and i foolishly thought it was because he was just unsure of himself. GAG

      the one and only time he actually ordered jewelry for me, actually surprised me because i did not even suspect he was getting me a ring. i was in the middle of helping one of my kids with homework. when the oldest took the kid to another room. and fuckwit hands me a box. with the ring. doesnt say a word just has a goofy smirk on his face. no “will you marry me” no bended knee. so i open it and i am all shocked because it was not my birthday and far away from christmas. and i am confused. he is smiling all proud of himself like he did something. so i say, this is pretty what is it for. smile drops and gets that rage face before he quickly covers it up. (i doubted that i even saw it). … and instead of saying anything again. he hands me the receipt. so i see how much it cost him (150) and the description. (Celtic Wedding Band).. . and i say ok. thank you. i like it. and put it on my right hand. .. . again the upset face and so he says “do you want to”.. .. i was like “do i want to what”… . . and he gestures to the paper i was holding. .. .. so i said “what”.. .. and he points to the word wedding.. .. and i was like “what are you talking about”.. .. my brain exploding with realization that this is his (pathetic) way of asking me to marry him.. ..

      so he says “read it again… out loud” so i say Celtic… .. he says more. Wedding and he smiles and stops me by say again. “So do you want to”.. .. like an idiot i say what he wanted me to say : “do i want to get married?” and he grins like a little boy in the candy store.. .. so i said yes…

      i was laughing my ass off when i called my best friend the next day. she tried to warn me but i was like oh he just has low self esteem and doesnt know how to express himself.. … PUK!!!

      i wish i had forced him to do it right.
      WORST MARRIAGE PROPOSAL EVER

  • The list is very very long…here are a few.

    1. 20 dollar door hanger from truck stop first Christmas. I know this because the sticker was on the back and it was not wrapped.

    2. Takes off and leaves to a conference or just about anywhere every year for my birthday. No one ever really acknowledged it. His Birthday of course was a week long celebration of his existence every year thanks to his Mother.

    3. I get a phone call from the hospital. I am 9 months pregnant and need to drive two hours away. Husband not only refuses to go, but screams at me because I plan to leave our 5 year old with him. He has never been alone with her and has zero idea of how to care for her.

    I tell him she’s in charge and knows where everything is. Mom dies of cancer that next morning. Ps – it’s Mother’s Day.

    • Oh wow, Lucky you are incredibly strong. I hope you are able to spend all your future Mother’s Days making wonderful memories with your kids in honor of your own mother and diluting out all that toxic poison he injected into what should have been a very protected and sacred time.

    • wasband would tell me he “Didnt want to make me mad”.. ….

      i would say it makes me mad that you lied to me. basically he lied to protect himself. He did not want me finding out the truth because he knew it would make me mad at him.. .. . he used to also tell our children “what your mother doesnt know wont hurt her”.. .. . teaching them to lie to me too.

  • pretty mighty JWH – good job!

    The cheap and shitty gift after the lovebombing ended were plentiful.
    Sometimes I got the gift of “we”
    You know the one that has stories like this: for our anniversary we got dressed up and instead of going to dinner “we” bought a new truck that of course only he drove.

    The amount of bad gifts I received I can catalog – the excuses I accepted I can’t remember. All I know is one birthday someone sent me a photo of Narkles the Clown and the Flying Whore together. It hurt like nothing else to see that but it was truly a PRACTICAL GIFT and I then gave myself the best gift of all – a divorce that was complete by Christmas.

    I met a wonderful man who is a thoughtful gift giver. Even if he gets me something that doesn’t work out I can totally see what he was aiming for. The gifts are not huge and expensive but by golly they are well thought out and I make regular use of them. And, yes, sometimes I get the gift of bacon too.

  • Ex hole played baseball on our wedding day, golfed on my birthdays and rode his motorcycle with his “friends” on our anniversaries. Every single Friday of our married lives he went out to the races. If I tried to go with I sat alone because he was off in the pit helping someone with their car. I spackled with how good for our relationship it was that we both had our own interests and didn’t have to be glued to eachother all the time.

    • This is where I spackled a ton too.

      XW never attended work functions of any sort. Never invited me to her’s. I spackled thinking it would be nice, but we just don’t do those things together and pretended to myself I didn’t care.

      She would likely argue that I would go off on father’s day or other such and do my thing. She would be somewhat correct and I own that (and now understand better why).

      Finding a new partner and doing things together will certainly be a shift.

      • Yeah,. I don’t claim I was perfect by any means. I tended to have poor boundaries and give way on a lot I was resentful of later. Resentful is so not an attractive quality. I thought of it as compromising for the relationship. No I realize it’s only compromising for the sake of the relationship if both sides are giving and getting from the deal. If one person is doing all the give and the other is doing all the take the only thing you are compromising is your own self worth. I think I could be better in a new relationship, still not perfect but better so I guess the was and did give me something, a life lesson in how strong personal boundaries are actually good for a relationship. I don’t expect to have one mind, I think special needs mom over 50 is not exactly a hot prospect but that’s ok. I’m fine on my own.

        • This is where I’m most excited and hopeful: I didn’t like parts being that guy. And I know now that if Im anything worth what I imagine I am, this whole mess is what’s going to drive me there.. It wont be easy, but hell… I survived this shitstorm, can’t be that hard.

          I like myself SO much better now. (1.5 or so from divorce, more from Dday) I’ve come so far. its exciting to think where i’ll be next.

          • I’m glad you feel optimistic. I bet you will do great when you find the right one. Being able to look realistically at our selves, ignoring the gas lighting and devaluing, but owning our own baggage and faults, well guess you could call that the silver lining in the sh*storm of divorcing a cheater. I enjoy my life a lot more now too. It’s not quite a year since the divorce finalized but 3 since D day and moving out. Things only get better.

  • It hurts too much to really cover the depth/breadth of his sucktacular gift-giving, but one quick example would be him coming home from work on Valentine’s day with a box of red velvet cupcakes (I really don’t like red velvet!) from a bakery where I’d already asked him to stay away from because he’d been heavily flirting with the newly divorced owner, and one was missing. I asked him about the missing one and he said he couldn’t help himself, he was just too hungry. I decided not to say anything about him going by the hot baker lady’s place after I’d already asked him not to, and I kept my dislike for red velvet to myself because clearly he hadn’t paid attention to me saying it in the past so it wouldn’t be useful now. I heaped praise for how thoughtful/blah blah blah he was and made a big production out of calling the kids to the table to feast on what daddy brought home (while managing to avoid him noticing that I wasn’t eating one myself.) My spackle game was strong.

    Later on, I found the text messages to OW where he’d actually bought them for her. And oh how thoughtful he was toward her because he knew that’s what she liked. And what a sorry husband she had because he only bought her flowers but didn’t remember her favorite color like my husband would have done for her. But the best (worst) part to read was how she refused to eat more than one because she didn’t want to get fat like me. So he brought her leftovers home to me as my one and only Valentine’s gift. Dick.

    • This was truly one of the most painful posts I have ever read. What an asshole. Swear, nothing would give me more satisfaction than smacking the crap out of that sick and selfish bastard. I’ve never smacked anyone in my 58 years but would take great pleasure in breaking that streak with your ex.

      Sending you all the love, sweet friend.

    • That was some platinum level cruelty there, giving you his mistress’s rejected cupcakes for your birthday. I hope you’ve celebrated many times since divorcing him with your favorite birthday treats.

      • Well, you know what, if these words whores think these cheaters are prizes they are more delusional than we could ever even begin to be. They would have to haul their spackle in a cement mixer truck.

    • What a couple of sickos.

      I am so sorry that happened to you. I hope you never have to deal with him anymore. And if you do, I hope it’s in writing only, per an expensive parenting plan he had to pay dearly for. That is the only communication he deserves from you.

    • Wow! I laughed out loud at that. What a f*ing douche nozzle. His cruelty is cartoonish and the whore he chose to disrespect you with is a cunt.

  • The last Christmas present I got was a tent. A tent for car camping. We have camped out about five times in 40 years.
    I opened it with our adult children there on Christmas morning.
    I tried to spackle , but couldn’t come up with anything.

  • Before we were married, he gave me the black plastic Tuff Box from his truck that he was no longer using. I had a small pickup truck and he had sold his truck. Made sense to me.

    Then he decided to get another truck. So of course the next right thing to do was to take back the Tuff Box he had given me. Huh? Don’t they sell new ones down at the auto parts store? Whatever (spackle alert).

    The following Christmas, we went to his parents house to open gifts. There was a VERY BIG BOX from him to me. He made a point of asking me to open this last, in front of his family. This must be the engagement ring! Our first Christmas together several years earlier, he had given me a ring, not an engagement ring, wrapped in a series of boxes like a Russian nesting doll.

    I opened the box, all eyes on me in anticipation and excitement.

    It was a black plastic Tuff Box for my truck.

    Crickets.

    His sister broke the silence, saying, “I don’t think that’s what she was expecting.”

    Mic drop.

  • I was struggling with anorexia at the time. He told me I was too thin. He gave me gift cards and a fit bit for Christmas. I actually wore it……

  • My ex gave me three melons.

    That he got for free from the farmer down the road.

    For my birthday.

    … they were moldy inside.

    It wasn’t the WORST present I’ve ever gotten from him, but the one that made me stop spackling.

      • Great idea

        In my case- two things

        After two weeks business trip-3 days at home /fighting with me- another 10 days business trip and silence for 48 hrs( he flew to China! And didn’t even bother to call to say that he safely arrived) he came home with gifts.

        I got a pair of 🧦 ( no joke.. cartoonish socks, I right away said it must be the mixed up and handed to my daughter) and a watch/ necklace.

        Net worth- 20$ from the cheap airport stand.

        Later on I learned that he was too busy fucking escorts during that month, no time to look for a gift.

        But- he brought many gifts from his destinations (cds with music, souvenirs etc)

        I threw all that in the garbage after dday

  • I’m not sure how relevant this is because it wasn’t so much a ‘celebratory’ gift as much as a ‘parting’ gift (he’d already said he was leaving 2 days prior, this was the last day he was coming to pick up his stuff from the flat) but he handed me the keys to my car back (which we’d been sharing for 3 years as he’d sold his to pay credit card debt off) and told me that he’d (finally!) got the car washed…as if that was going to unbreak my heart and make up for the lying/cheating/abandonment etc! I wish I hadn’t been in tears and had had the presence of mind to come back with ‘shame you didn’t fill up the empty tank too!’

    WHAT A TOOL!

  • I had so many occasions when I spackled. The entire relationship was a spackle job. Near the end of our marriage I remember becoming aware of what was happening and of how I was making excuses for his behavior. We had finally come to a point in our lives when we had a little extra money. For Christmas that year I specifically asked for a Kitchen Aid mixer. I bake all of the time and had always dreamed of owning one. I was nearly 50 years old. I remember being excited that Christmas. There was a big box with my name on it from my husband under the tree. Oh boy, I am finally getting the mixer I had always dreamed of owning. My anticipation and excitement made it hard to cover my disappointment when I opened the box to find a food processor. I remember my children looking at me and the sadness in their eyes to see that another Christmas had come and I still didn’t get my mixer. My ex could see my disappointment. I was like, oh, a food processor. He chimes in and says, yeah, you always wanted one. I looked at him and said, I wanted one 10 years ago, I asked for a mixer. I just got up and left the room. For days, he kept explaining that I had always wanted a food processor. It was a real eye opening experience for me because he never got me what I wanted. It felt like he intentionally didn’t get me what I wanted, but I’m no mind reader. For years I made excuses. The man I am seeing now notices what I like. He listens to what I say. He gives me thoughtful gifts. I don’t even have to ask. No spackle needed.

    • I should add that my ex used this as an excuse for why our marriage was failing. He said I couldn’t appreciate that he wanted me to be surprised on Christmas. He said he was trying to give me a thoughtful gift that was a surprise and that I didn’t appreciate it. It was always about him. It wasn’t 3 months later that I bought myself the Kitchen Aid mixer. I didn’t feel bad about spending the money at all. It felt really good actually.

      • When I was reading your original story I thought, “I hope she went out and bought herself that mixer!” So glad to hear you did. I hope you have baked many wonderful items for appreciative people.

      • Phoebe, I’m so happy you bought that mixer for yourself!! 🙂 These types purposely withhold things from us that we want. It’s one of the ways they devalue us and mess with our minds and hearts.

        For quite a few years I asked for a bike rack that could hold four bikes. There are a lot of really great bike trails within driving distance and I always wanted to take the kids for a ride on them. Well, one day he brought a used bike rack home that I co-worker gave him. It only held TWO bikes. I of course had to act happy for his thoughtfulness or I would have gotten the speech from him that he “couldn’t do anything right.” We never used it. I ended up buying the one I wanted for myself and of course we only used it once, because six weeks later I caught him out on a date with a newly divorced whore who he’s still with. I should have bought the bike rack years ago, because at least we’d have some nice memories of all those bike rides. Happy baking to you!! 🙂

        • i use to hear the same thing. i was “never happy” with anything he did and he was “never good enough for me”.. .. i also heard the “he cant do anything right” and how i “was asking too much from him”.. … but mostly just that i was never happy. and funny thing is he was right. i actually never was happy with the half ass shit he did and the way he purposely put his wife and children last on his priority list. i was not happy with knowing that i was last on his list and he never thought about me. i was not happy that i was putting in all the effort, work, sacrifices, and love into our marriage and he never even tried. . ..
          #iwishiwouldhavelistened

          • MrsVain, I heard those same things. I was never actually happy either. I am happier now and I hope to find even greater happiness. I’m about 5 years out, I’m getting there. I have only recently realized just how much of myself I lost.

        • Martha, that is exactly the kind of thing I dealt with. It was actually remembering all of those times that helped me to break free. I kept telling myself to look at his actions.

    • My Kitchen Aid mixer is one of my favorite possessions. Not because it’s a great mixer (which it is) but because of what it symbolizes:

      When XW left me, it took me a couple of weeks to stop cooking dinners for her and letting her take things from the house. (To be clear, she already took a moving van full of stuff – she’d had her chance to clean out as much as she wanted.) The first time I set a boundary was when she asked to borrow the Kitchen Aid, and I said “no”. XW went into full rage mode, with the first (of many, many to come) invocation of “if you don’t do this, it will only end up hurting the kids, so that proves you don’t love them”. I stayed firm and XW stayed mad.

      When it came time for negotiating the divorce, XW put that Kitchen Aid as one of a small handful of objects that she absolutely had to have in the settlement. She hadn’t used it more than a half dozen times in our entire marriage, but she was making a point and she refused to back down. I mentioned to my sister how STBXW had inserted this “fuck you” into the settlement proposal, and my awesome sister said “Give her the damn mixer. You tell me what you want and I will order you the cadillac of mixers from Amazon and have it shipped to you by next week”. Money can’t solve everything, but it absolutely solved that problem.

  • I was eight months pregnant with our first child. It was 96F out and we were driving to the grocery store. He got pissed when a pedestrian jaywalked in front of us and started speeding up in his direction. I said “watch it” as I clung white knuckled to the dashboard. Well, apparently I was disrespecting him. He pulled over and said “if you don’t like the way I drive you can get out and walk” and refused to continue until I got out of the car. I walked the last three blocks to the grocery store. We met up in the store, continued the shopping and went home as if nothing had happened. How did I spackle that one? I told myself “well, I am eight months pregnant and I guess all of the hormones and discomfort and stuff is making me grumpy and hard to live with and he just finally couldn’t take it anymore”. The thing is, I couldn’t recall any specific incidents when I had been particularly grumpy towards him, I just figured that must be it because why else would he have treated me that way. In my defense, that was the first time he had ever treated me quite that badly.

    I used that same bucket of spackle when I was eight months pregnant with our second and he got majorly upset and offended when I objected to his plans to go flying right after the baby was born leaving me at home alone with an infant and toddler. I said something to the effect of “Why would you want to abandon us like that right after the baby is born”. It was, perhaps, not the best choice of words, but not worth his rage over the use of the word “abandon”. He said that was trigger for him because his great grandfather had left his great grandmother and his grandmother when she was young and how dare I imply that his going flying for a day was akin to “abandonment”. At the time I thought it really was my poor choice of words and my imagined pregnancy induced mood swings that lead to his outburst. Now I wonder if there was more going on there than I understood at the time.

    • My X had the exact same road rage incident, sped up at a jaywalker and nearly hit her, which elicited an audible gasp from me and the requisite blowback from him. It was our anniversary and for the first time in 20+ years, knowing I had one foot out the door, he’d booked us a weekend at a fancy hotel in a nearby city.

      After we arrived at the hotel, he stormed out in a silent rage. I was done spackling by then but not strong enough to leave him just yet. I decided to head to the restaurant where we’d planned to eat. No word from him for the entire meal. As I was getting ready to leave, he showed up with a tiny gift box in hand.

      It was a vintage broach, the first gift ever that actually reflected a) any modicum of thoughtfulness and b) my personal taste. The rest had been a rogue’s gallery of shitty gifts of the kind catalogued above–every type of gift mentioned from tacky and cheap to expensive and gaudy, from ugly socks to $2000 hideously oversized pearls.

      I stayed in that limbo-land of no longer bothering to spackle but still not being strong enough to leave for another year, during which I regularly had to field questions about why I wasn’t wearing the broach on any given day. The NPD playbook is so tiresome and predictable . . .

    • So sadly familiar. I have a chronic neck injury. And my ex would always goose the accelerator, or brake quickly, knowing it would catch me unaware and jar my neck. Then he would sneer “what are you, an old lady.?”

  • I guess it is just too hard to think about anyone else having needs when one is the center of the universe, and the entire solar system revolves around them!

    I found acts of cruelty were the specific gifts for days that were important to me. I was told I was immature for assigning any meaning to a specific day. This rule did not apply to his specific days, or his needs being more important than anyone else’s needs on any day.

    The absolutely correct question to ask was why was this ever acceptable to us??? When you figure out it is not acceptable, you’ve made the first step on the road to MEH.

  • “Chicken Soup” was a rock star. She’s making her awesomeness about him. She doesn’t know how awesome she is.
    I am “chicken soup.” Not the author. The (former) spackler.

  • I spent much of our marriage telling him that I like presents and begging him to be nice to me. This would confuse him because, after all, I got flowers from him every week. That is, early on after I had said I like getting flowers he told me I should buy myself flowers using his credit card when I went grocery shopping every week. So once a week I would buy myself a grocery store bouquet, come home, and thank him for it. When my therapist said, “You know, that doesn’t really seem to have met your request for him to be kind to you, perhaps by getting you small presents occasionally,” my mind was blown. After all, I was getting flowers. Now I see how pitiful this is. I am a chump.

    • Two days after D-day, I left work early as I couldn’t stop crying. I asked my friend if she could come over to be with me. She arrived with a big bouquet of flowers. XH came home from work and I told him that my friend brought me flowers. He then said to me, “I wish someone would buy me flowers.” The next day I had flowers delivered to his work. He cheats on me and he plays the sad sausage. That man/child had me so wrapped around his finger. I WAS a chump.

  • My husband was great a gifts but he was prepaying for all the pretzeling I was doing to keep him happy—one custom made diamond necklace equals a Harley for example. The Harley was about 10x the cost of the necklace, a good investment for him. By the end a small gold pendant about $300 sufficed for a year of income because he quit working. Oh and he kept the Harley plus about 60k more of the toys I mostly bought. Sparkle spackle spackle..

  • My whole married life was one big spackle-fest, and most of the spackling was also me telling myself I was the one with the problem, and then shouldering more and more of the domestic burden.

    My (mis)education began early on in our marriage.

    When we were first married, we alternated chores each week. One week I’d do the grocery shopping and he’d do the laundry; next week I’d do the laundry and he’d do the grocery shopping. When I did the grocery shopping, I’d take a mental inventory before I went of what I knew were things we needed. He ate a particular cereal for breakfast every day, so I would make sure to look and see if we had it. When he did the grocery shopping, he didn’t do this. I ate a bagel every morning, but he never thought to buy them.

    After a couple of time that he didn’t buy bagels, I complained, saying I had eaten a bagel every morning for breakfast for years and how could he not know this and think to look. He got defensive and said that I was unreasonable. If I wanted something, he said, I had to put it on the list, because he couldn’t be expected to be a mind reader. When I said I did this for him, he said that my knowing what he wanted was a product of female socialization and was stupid and damaging to me, and I needed to shift to a more rational way of thinking.

    I decided he was right and I was wrong (which I now know to be the real harmful product of female socialization), and from then on I made sure to write what I wanted and knew we needed on the list. I also, however, continued to buy what I knew he wanted even if it wasn’t on the list.

    This was, of course, just one early instance of my taking on more than my share of the household chores. By the end of our marriage, I was doing everything except mowing the lawn. I shoveled snow, raked leaves, swept the porch, did the gardening, washed my own car and took it to be serviced, took out the garbage and recycling, monitored the house for needed repairs, argued with him about spending the money, found the repair people and scheduled the maintenance. I also cooked and did all the grocery shopping (he’d do the dishes after dinner during commercials)–and continued to buy what he liked to eat whether it was on the list or not.

    Now I know that knowing such things as what one’s spouse eats for breakfast, and caring about and making sure s/he has it by buying it when you go to the store, is a caring gesture, part of the reciprocity that makes for a good relationship.

    • This struck home with me. One of my final moments of realizing what a douche ex narcopath was, was over MILK for breakfast.

      Ex narcopath always woke up first. Then he would wake all the children and the dog and then make his coffee, plop his ass on the couch and ignore everyone.

      He would then expect me to get up and take care of the kids, the dog whining at the door to go out for a pee, and get everyone off to school.

      This one particular morning, he did his usual routine and when I went down to make my coffee, there was no milk.

      It was a weekend, he had already been up for an hour and the kids and I were trying to sleep in. (Ex made A LOT of noise in the morning. ..)

      I asked him if he used the last of the milk. Well, duh. I asked him what I was supposed to use in my coffee? He shrugged. I asked him what my daughter was going to have for bf (she only ate cereal) he shrugged.

      And then I lost it on him, asking him if it had even OCCURRED to him to go to the store and get milk BEFORE we woke up.

      Nope. He said if I wanted milk, I knew where the store was.

      I was so enraged over this that I dressed my daughter and we left to go out for breakfast.

      He called me about 25x while I was enjoying a peaceful breakfast with my daughter, begging me to meet him and his boys at his parents house for coffee so that he could apologize.

      I reluctantly went, where his apology was to tell me that I was “making a mountain out of a molehill….and really…all of this over….milk.”

      I told him this was a symptom of how utterly selfish he was, and really, I had already given him a 3 week ultimatum to shape up or I was leaving (this was the 3rd week) and his effort was pitiful.

      I moved out a week later.

      • Let me just add, that the milk incident was the tip of the iceberg and his behavior was atrocious towards the kids and myself.

        His father told me once that yes, ex was his son and he loved him, but he was literally the most selfish person he knew.

        That stuck with me and then I saw it played out over and over.

        • Chumpedincanada, all of us that were married to a selfish spouse; we totally understand you blowing up over the milk. I have no doubt that hundreds if not thousands of selfish acts happened over the course of years. One day you blow-up and they act all, “it’s just milk.” No! It’s the milk plus all the other selfish things they did. If you try to talk with someone else about what happened, it will sound petty to them and why are you so upset about milk. People do not understand unless they’ve been with someone like this

        • Similar incident over cottage cheese. I gave the kids cottage cheese with their breakfast fruit every weekday morning. Some weeks ex ate it too and some weeks he didn’t so I never knew how much to buy. Sometimes we would run out and the kids wouldn’t eat their fruit without it. I had asked him that in making his food choices could he please try to leave enough in the container to get us through the week. It was mid week and we still had 2/3 of a large container’s worth which should have been plenty for him and the kids. I came into the kitchen to see him eating the whole 2/3 container right out of the container with his fruit mixed in. I got upset. “Didn’t I ask you to please leave enough cottage cheese for the kids? Did you really need to eat it all?” His response “I can’t believe you get upset with me every time I try to eat” (not true, I think that was the only time). I felt immediately guilty and apologized. He was training for a half marathon at the time and needed his calories. How inconsiderate of me to questions his snack choices. He was just trying to eat healthy after all. The next week I bought two large containers of cottage cheese so there would be plenty for all. He didn’t touch it so it ended up going bad before the kids could eat it all.

        • When the kids were small and we were broke I would ask him to leave the milk for them, he would go to the kitchen and drink 3-4 glasses of milk as fast as he could then go to the bathroom and loudly vomit it up. I would cry, then we would fight, and the kids felt guilty. and of course, as usual, it was all my fault.

      • The Twat used to make a lot of noise whenever we were trying to sleep too, but God help anyone who made a noise that bothered him. He would usually sleep in REALLY late at the weekends because he stayed up half the night and we had to leave him in peace but if ever I got to lie in and he was up he would come into the bedroom, pull the duvet off me and tell me to get up as it was a beautiful day! One time, on a school day, he stayed up all night and started cooking a full English breakfast at 4 a.m. (bang, clatter, smash) then tried to get everyone up to eat it!!! When we told him to leave us alone as we had to get up in a couple of hours he was so angry that he threw it up the kitchen wall. So then I had to get the kids up for school, me off to work and he called in sick. You know, sometimes I don’t even like commenting here because it triggers me so much!

  • Any other chumps out there get the best gifts when the fuckwit was caught?
    Perhaps like the topaz (not my birthstone) ring I got while the first affair continued or the sapphire (his birthstone not mine) set in platinum I got after the prostitutes passed along gonnoreah or the diamond (still not my birthstone) earrings I got to celebrate the vow renewal after the church assured me that he was a changed man.
    He always complained that I didn’t like to wear the stuff. Went right past his empty little soul that they were constant reminders of his selfishness and cheating.

  • We married young and had a small, local honeymoon. Every year I was promised he would take me somewhere tropical (something I specifically asked for on year 3, 5 and upcoming 10 year anniversary).
    Mind you, together we made more than enough in salary and bonuses to make this trip a reality with almost no effort. I had also asked since year 1 of our marriage to go to a local park (about 2 hours away) and hike.

    Every year my trips got pushed to the side with a hundred different excuses as to why even the local trip wouldn’t work out.

    We separated and divorced before our 10 year anniversary and in that same year i went to that local park to hike (first solo hiking trip, mighty!) and treated myself to a week in Hawaii for my birthday.

    These trips took minimal planning and budgeting to make work and i just realize how much i spackled that we could never make it work logistically/financially. Living a mighty life where i get to do these things now makes me recognize how it really wasn’t for the 100 excuses he gave me but a difference in prioritization, specifically I wasn’t his priority. Good news, I am my priority!!

  • In the dog days of our complete-waste-of-time wreckonciliation, I discovered a receipt for flowers (not inexpensive flowers, I might add). Of course they were for his AP. When I confronted him he said that he had wanted to buy flowers for me too (such a gentleman–bouquets for the whore AND the wife!) but he decided not to because he knew our cats would eat them and throw up. He wanted to save me the trouble of cleaning up cat puke. AND I ACCEPTED THIS EXPLANATION LIKE A DELUSIONAL JACKASS, the end.

    • I laughed out loud at this, because I think all of us chumps had an “AND I ACCEPTED THIS EXPLANATION LIKE A DELUSIONAL JACKASS” moment.

      Thank you for sharing.

  • I can remember two times getting cards from my ex husband with my name misspelled. This was after at least 15 years of marriage. My name is Melissa and one time he spelled it Mellisa, and the other time, Melisa.
    I’m guessing he spelled the OW’s name correctly.

    • OMG, that is hilarious! What an idiot.

      Not as awful, but mine never knew my birthday. We were married for 20 years and dated for 5 before that. And, in these digital times he never thought/bothered to put it in his phone to look like less of an ass… I guess if they really don’t care they don’t bother.

  • Hmmm. I got a griddle because HE likes pancakes. So many of the things he gave me were, in actuality, for him. And I got out my 5 gallon bucket of spackle.

    My first ex thought I was a crappy gift giver because I refused to purchase really expensive things for him. If I didn’t buy whatever the item was that we couldn’t afford for whatever gift-giving day it was, he would pout around the house like a 3 year-old. My gifts were always thoughtful, intimate, about him…but he seemed to think that going into credit-card debt for whatever was worth it. I’m talking things well in excess of $1K, when we were struggling to make ends meet.

    I always privately snort when I see Nordic Traks at yard sales. He was furious I hadn’t gone into debt to buy one for him.

    We weren’t married long, and I later heard he had to file for bankruptcy.

    • OMG. The Nordic Track! My ex decided he HAD to have one for his birthday one year when we were new professors (and didn’t have a lot of money), even though he had NEVER been on one. So (naturally) I bought him one: $650 bucks we really couldn’t afford. He was 6’4″ and the machine really was too small for him, but the real kicker was he didn’t have the coordination to ski or the patience to master it.
      You know what, though? I started using it, and two decades later I’m still using it. And I bought a second one at a garage sale (for $20 bucks) when I spent summers in Montana housesitting for a neighbor of my sister.
      So I guess I took that one back.

    • My ex had expensive taste in everything. This made it difficult to buy gifts for him because he only wanted expensive things. He was also very particular and I didn’t want to spend a ton of money we couldn’t afford and end up getting it wrong (this is what happened a few times early in our marriage). The other problem was that he had 100% complete control over the finances. I had to give him the receipts for everything I bought and tell him how much cash I had spent each day (I spackled all of that by thinking how great it was that he was keeping an eye on our spending so we wouldn’t get in over our heads). This made it difficult to surprise him with anything. About that time he was also telling me how terrible his “friend’s” husband was for handing her the receipt for her Christmas gift so it wouldn’t be a surprise. Kind of a catch 22 for me, damned if I give him the receipt, damned if I don’t. Sometimes I would write him poems and/or make gifts so he could get something personal that would still be a surprise. I really wanted to be able to give him something more, however. At the time, I still got live checks for my Christmas bonuses rather than direct deposit. I would end up cashing those at the bank and then giving him the money as a surprise Christmas or Birthday present so he could go spend it on something nice that he would actually want. He usually just used it to pay off household expenses or maybe he spent it on things he wanted but never told me “hey this is what I bought with the Christmas money you gave me. Thank you for that”. If I tried to be specific “you can use this to buy the GPS you want for your airplane” he would never make that purchase. This ended up leaving me feeling like I hadn’t really given him any gift at all. One year we didn’t get bonuses so I gave him a gift card I won in a raffle at a work event. Again, I never found out what he bought with it. I can just see him complaining to Schmoopie now “She never gave me presents for Christmas. One year she gave me a gift card she won in a raffle. How tacky.”

  • What I spackled was what I now recognize as his increasing detachment and disconnection from the marriage (adulting).

    1) Within a year-and-a-half, he no longer seemed interested in the home renovations of the 1970s fixer-upper we bought when we got married. I figured that it was that he just wasn’t into home construction projects the way I was, that he wasn’t artistic, that he was the budgeter while I was the spender on the projects. He loved the final results, but I didn’t recognize that it was that he just didn’t want the work.

    2) When he didn’t seem interested in reading any of the “baby books” when I was pregnant with our first child, showed annoyance with rubbing my legs down from the massive swelling that was so bad at the end of my pregnancy that I had to leave work a month early, didn’t participate in the painting or organizing of the nursery, left me for a boys weekend two weeks after I gave birth to our second child (she was two months early and still in NICU at the time while I was left healing from a c-section, pumping breast milk, going to the hospital 2-3 times a day and chasing a two year old). I spackled by “trying to understand” that he is going through changes in his life too and feeling guilty that I had been too demanding a pregnant woman and new mom.

    3) His first job layoff was within 10 months of our wedding. I encouraged him to take his severance and re-think his whole career plan. Go back to school if he wanted. I supported him through the application process for policing (takes almost a year of jumping hoops in Canada to become an officer). He didn’t make it, but I couldn’t understand why he didn’t try again when he knew that it was rare for anyone to make it the first round. His second job layoff came five years into the marriage. I supported his plans to become a consultant, got him business cards. Within months, his first client decided that he wanted my husband full-time, so he began his 11-12 hour days with a commute for half the salary that I was earning. This wasn’t sustainable so I insisted he rethink his life. He decided to return to school. I was the sole income earner for three years while he completed a university degree and started having affairs. Through all of this, I felt guilty when thoughts crept into my mind that this man lack initiative and drive. That he fails to be pro-active and takes the easy way out. So, I spackled that what he’s been through is emasculating, and he needs my support. In the end, he accused me of emasculating him.

    4) When he didn’t really initiate sex with me very much after the birth of our first son. He started to suffer some ED problems, which basically ruled out any morning sex. It worsened over the years so that he had difficulty keeping it going. I believed his excuses that maybe he’s just getting older, that his sex drive isn’t what it used to be and that’s okay. I felt guilty that I went through phases after having the kids where my own sex drive suffered. I felt bad initiating because I didn’t want him feeling frustrated if he wasn’t able to perform. I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t going to the doctor. I didn’t want him to feel bad about anything, so I stopped saying anything, blamed myself for some weight gain not making me as attractive, read articles on how to bring back the spark. Well, I have since learned that he was watching pornography regularly for years, then began an affair in the last couple of years (I suspect ED medication at play too).

    5) When he seemed uninterested in partaking in our son’s therapy. He has Aspergers (mild autism). I wondered why he never seemed to read any articles or watch videos. I was frustrated about why he didn’t seem follow the strategies I was implementing in the home from the professional services who were supporting us. I would get frustrated with him, snap at him when he did something that would be counter-productive to a strategy for our son. Then, the guilt would set in that all I do is complain to my husband, that I would take out my frustrations on him. I spackled by rationalizing that not everyone needs to research everything incessantly like I do. That he’s a good father in so many other ways (as he was involved in the day-to-day tasks of bathing, playing, bedtimes, laundry). That I’m the educator in the family with the specialized training so he is simply deferring the more complex aspects of our son’s condition to my knowledge.

    6) When I first learned the existence of another woman and believed that it was someone that he just met and was helping set up the books for her business as she is a new single mom. I spackled that we were going through a rough patch in our marriage with so many changes in those ten years. I believed that the look of “horror” on his face at the discovery demonstrated that he realized that he was playing with fire and didn’t really want to lose me or our family. I believed that it was a wake-up call to him and that he finally was ready to work on the marriage by suggesting marriage counselling (which I had been requesting for several years).

    At the end of the day, I had a weak, immature man for a husband who didn’t have staying power. It’s sad, but it’s true. None of this was my fault. It could have all gone down a different way had he been a different sort of man.

    • Very well-said. We assume our partners are like us, and rationalize/spackle over obvious flaws (in hindsight), but acting in good faith is nothing to be ashamed of.

    • Optionnomore, I can relate to the paragraph about sex. X withheld affection from me as a form of passive-aggressive abuse. He would say, “I’m sorry we don’t make love as often as you might like.” And I had not previously complained. I spackled it over by thinking, “okay, I’m glad he’s not pawing at me all the time”.
      Married to him for 11yrs, dated 7yrs before that. He was very close to his mother (I later realized abnormally close). When she died 2yrs after we married, he went off the rails. Intolerable behavior I always spackled over, saying he has “deep-rooted issues” never dealt with. Raging alcoholism, emotional abuse of me and my daughter, watching porn in his workshed while jacking off, many other really bad behaviors.
      She was not his child; her father was deceased. X helped me raise her; I am sorry to say. He NEVER gave me a thing for Mother’s Day, ever. He said, “You are not my mother”.
      Anyway, concerning the sex, in the final 4yrs of marriage, it was absolutely terrible. He was so passive and I wore myself out trying to please him. He had bad ED from all the porn is what I think…and he was bored with me, he said. He also produced no natural testosterone, but with Androgel, he was fine, as long as he used the proper dosage. He would go without it sometimes, to be passive-aggressive. Not using the Androgel caused his hormone levels to get dangerously low. He would become lethargic, slovenly, sit around drinking all day, absolutely no drive (sexual or otherwise).
      I decided after he finally left that he is secretly gay. About a year before he hooked up with a howorker, he had started painting his toenails and buying girls underwear (in the largest sizes). He couldn’t have sex with me because he was beating off all the time. When not jacking off, he was fishing for a new woman (or man). I told my daughter about my theory, and she said she had always thought he was gay. I stopped trying to untangle the skein years ago and I’m meh.
      This thread has been enlightening to me as I realize all these dicks are the same about gift-giving. I used to think I was the only wife ignored on the anniversary, or given cheap shitty gifts, or nothing at all. Gift time is a great opportunity for them to show their suckitude.

  • When I think of the mental gymnastics I went through … there’s plenty to choose from, but this example can stand for all the rest.

    We lived an hour apart, going to separate universities, and I would usually make the drive to visit him. Both of us lived in dorms with twin beds. When I visited, I always slept on the very hard, poorly swept floor, in a sleeping bag. He never once gave me the bed, because I was a guest, and it was his bed after all.

    On the rare occasion that he visited me, I always gave him the bed, because he was my guest. He graciously accepted, and neither of us saw anything wrong with that.

    I’ve learned to value myself more highly since then, thank God, but it really helped to have a therapist point out that I wasn’t a self-sacrificing idiot (or not only) – he groomed me throughout the relationship to place his needs above everything.

    • This>>>”he groomed me throughout the relationship to place his needs above everything.”

      Same here and it was a very slow process, so I didn’t know it was happening. And the last few years of our marriage, I started standing up for myself and he didn’t like that. He’d push back with rage, defensiveness or withdrawing.

      It’s so important to really see how we are being treated at the beginning of a relationship. Is the relationship reciprocal? Are they being kind? Are they treating us the way we treat them? They don’t get better with time. They get worse. Lesson learned!

      • Agree with this 100%

        The grooming is so minimal at first and it’s really hard to pick up on. They are sooooo good at it!! It’s hard to even explain it to someone that hasn’t been through it.

        I’m trying to be so much more aware of these things going forward. And also not spackling things away!

  • Mine would buy jewelry for gifts- pieces “HE” liked. I am not a Jewelry girl. In all the years he never bought me anything that I would have wanted. I think the fact that they don’t care what we like and us letting it go is the biggest spackle of all.

    Mine did nothing for our 15th Anniversary, didn’t even acknowledge. I spackled but it was the last time.

    Days after dday when ex-hub arrived back from trip with whore; he tries to give me this small heart rock pendant-thumb nail size-looks like something you give to a 5 year old. I refused to take it and said I wanted a divorce. He had the nerve to ask what he should do with it? I said “I don’t give a shit” I quit spackling and lawyer-ed up.

    • After i left my now X he had the nerve to tell me i could keep my wedding/engagement rings. At that point we had been together 15 years and married for almost 10, like he genuinely thought i was going to give them back to him?! i think i earned them at this point? i was floored, it was an interesting glimpse into his thought process though.

      • My Ex knew what it was worth, so he didn’t bother. It was worthless. He just thought he was going to keep all the other things we owned. Trust me he tried.

        I thought of another gift he bought me, fly fishing Rod ( I don’t fish- that’s his passion).

      • My XH wrote in his financial affidavit that my engagement ring and the 20th wedding anniversary diamond wrap belonged to him. He even had the prices listed. I couldn’t believe it, but it showed me what he truly felt about our marriage vows and me. The rings were just money and also something he owned. And when he no longer had use for me, he threw me away like garbage. Nice “Christian” guy. Not.

        • We are only useful in money or work value. Never as someone they cared about. Mine claims to not believe in god. He still sends me non related to our kids comments.
          He sent this about a month ago through Our Family Wizard App ” Insults about me and my mother (excluded details). That was Ex-Sister in law (edited her name) remark. I wont tell you what else she said. Pretty sure you understand how we feel about human refuse.”

          They all believe we are garbage and of no value.

          I am glad I left- Sadly my youngest reaching 18 will be one of the happiest days of my life. The abuse to me will end.

        • Child of cheater/chump combo here. One of the worst details I uncovered years later as I cleaned out my late mother’s house concerned division of their marital property, namely my mother’s engagement ring.

          Family lore was my paternal grandmother (a Bitch of the first order) bullied my grandfather to enter his mother’s room as she lay dying to “get the ring off her finger”. A beautiful three diamond one so my father could have one of the diamonds to propose to my mother. He folded and actually did this as my great-grandmother lay dying.

          When my father filed for divorce, he demanded that the ring be returned to him since it was a family heirloom. No dice said my mother and her attorney since it was a gift made previous to the marriage.

          My father’s third wife (I call her Hell 3.0, the Flying Monkey) actually proposed purchasing the diamond from me so she could recreate the ring. My father is named after his paternal grandfather, a nationally prominent figure and this is a feather in Hell’s cap, that she married the grandson of So-and-So.

          I said nope to the crass individual.

      • When X proposed to me he gave me his grandmother’s engagement ring, a really lovely ring which I adored, along with the platinum and diamond wedding band. After 30 years of marriage he decided that he didn’t want to be married anymore, and the ONLY things listed on his initial version of the property settlement agreement was an old dresser that belonged to his uncle, a bed, and those rings. Mind you, we had watched a television program a few months before in which a divorcing couple argued over whether or not the wife had to return family heirloom jewelry, and I had asked him what we would do if we ever found ourselves in that situation (something which I had no inkling might ever happen as to my knowledge we had always been very happy together). He replied that he had given the rings to me as a gift so of course I would keep them.

        I refused to return them, he insisted, my attorney finally convinced me to just give them to him so he would agree to the spousal support. I did tell him that in the future, should he decide to remarry, don’t use family jewelry. It’s such a slap in the face – a real “kick her while she’s down” moment. It signified to me just how worthless I had become in his eyes.

        I recently discovered, quite by accident, that he remarried again last December. I wonder if she has those rings now? Whatever.

  • “What do you need gifts for, I change your oil and keep your tires rotated”…..and I thought this was enough? For 14 years I spackled. Worst gift giver ever. He gave me the same exact watch he had given previous girlfriends when we dated. When we married no gifts at all. I would buy my own slippers every Christmas to open in front of my sons to set a decent example. What a joke. I see current girlfriends – he has two of them with identical bracelets on. You can have him!

  • The last Christmas we were together, mine gave me a painting that I had stored in the closet. He didn’t even realize it had been hanging in our house for 10 years prior. I never said anything. I didn’t feel it was worth the fight. He would’ve been self righteous anyway, no doubt claiming he just happened to find a duplicate painting somewhere, and then telling me I was so ungrateful. Later, when my attorney was reviewing his credit card bills, I found out he had given his 23 year-old affair partner (he was 53) $1500 earrings that same Christmas.

  • I got roses (no gift, no dinner) for our 25th anniversary, FOUR DAYS LATER…
    only because I made a snarky comment that the floral delivery person must have gotten lost… not even an apology.

  • For our first xmas, ex narcopath gave me dishwasher pods.

    The worst part of that was when we went to his family xmas later that day, and his family was all excited to hear what he got me. The look of embarrassment and anger on their faces was humiliating. But he was happy to tell them all about the ice augers he bought himself. Never quite recovered from that and his parents were so angry. at him.

    For my birthday, he gave me a reduced-down log cake from the day-old bin at the grocery store he worked at. When I confronted him he told me “whoop-di-shit, I was planning on getting you something but I’m a broke….” (he had bought himself a case of beer, a 40 ounce of rye and top sirloin steaks.)

    Oh, the spakle.

    • I’m glad his family had the decency to be angry at him! My ex? His darling mummy would have thought it was all just wonderful…

  • It was the last Christmas I spent with XAss. For over 3 years I had been asking him to ‘step up’ and work on the marriage which somehow translated to me solo dancing even harder to music only I could hear. I opened a a wrapped present with a card addressed to me. Inside was a GoPro camera, something I had mentioned I wanted. I was so surprised to see something like that. As he never seemed to get me presents I actually wanted. I would even leave a Letter to Santa months ahead of time on the refrigerator. I got usually got cheap, ugly jewelry, dust collector crap, and badly made, not my style clothing.

    So I was really thrilled. He must really be trying this year. After turning to him in grateful surprise to thank him he states to me, “Well, its not really yours. I bought it for me. I’m just gonna let you use it.”

    Holy fuck – I tried, but there was no real spackling that shit.

  • XW was late forties and was sure that a laser skin peel would restore her youthful good looks. She had been especially crabby the last few months and now I imagined (spackled) that this is what it was about. It seemed like a crackpot treatment to me, but she put another $5,000 on the credit card. She scheduled it for Christmas vacation, assuring me she would be OK to cook Christmas dinner for her family. Two days before Christmas she gets the treatment, coming out of the office slathered in goo. I take her home and put her to bed. The pain medication wears off and she is a mess. Her face looks like she had been dunked in a turkey fryer! I kept her up on medication, hydration and topical cremes. Poor baby. Turns out she had done no grocery shopping for Christmas. Funny, because she had been out late after work for several evenings before. Must have been gift shopping! (Spackle) So out I go grocery shopping for her family on Christmas eve! So festive! (Spackle)
    Christmas morning her face looks like a swollen boiled ham. Her doctor calls and tells me this is normal, keep up the pain medicine for another 72 hours and the the swelling will start to go down and she will be good to go in two weeks. I guess she forgot this part. She has been under a lot of stess. (Spackle)
    I help her out of bed to open presents with kids. She can barely open her eyes. Kids are pretty subdued through this, as mom’s face is oozing. She tells me, “I have nothing for you this morning, but when I feel better we will go shopping.” Poor girl, just too anxious about her procedure. (Spackle) Nothing to do but put her to bed and cook Christmas dinner for her family. And don’t forget her pain meds.
    So I get the ham in the oven, boil potatoes to be mashed, start on a salad, set the table and prepare for nine guests. Her pastor brother and fam show up and asks the pithey question, “Why didn’t she wait for her summer vacation if she knew it would take two weeks to heal?” I guess she really needed the morale boost, poor thing. (Spackle) Dinner is served.
    3-4 weeks later she plops a department store box down in front of me. Inside was a pair of dressy slacks, with pleats in them just the way she has told me she likes them. I am not a clothes person. This is equivalent to a new vacuum cleaner. So much for our “shopping trip”. Oh well, she has been working late to catch up. (Spackle)
    So a couple months later I get the “I am not happy, I want a divorce” talk. I later discovered she was having an affair with a younger man.
    In the divorce settlement I got half the credit card debt for her cheating face.
    Spackle falls off.

  • My X would be mad at me for a few days before Christmas and Birthdays because he hated shopping for me. A few years running I gave him a list so he wouldn’t be angry and he bought nothing from the list as he wanted to surprise me. Before I opened every gift he would say “I know your not going to like it, your so hard to shop for” of course I didn’t like it he would give me an item I wouldn’t want. Hurtful as it showed how little he cared. It still hurts.

    • i heard that all the time… … i used to hint at the store around christmas time when we were shopping for the kids and family members.. .. i would point out things i liked. but he apparently never paid attention.

      Like yours he would get mad and moody, because he never knew what to get me. he would tell me all the time that i was so hard to shop for . … .. which is a crock of shit because i like just about any kind of power tool, and i am grateful for any kind of gift. i was the wife that loved food processors and vacuums as gifts. .. ..

      like you i starts just telling him what i wanted. and even then it was 50/50 on whether i actually got it. or he would purposely get it in the wrong size and color. i think he just waited until the day before christmas and got me whatever was closest to the door. and damned if i did not act happy about whatever stupid gift he got me.

      i got so tired of hearing him say “your so hard to shop for”.. .. even my kids were like “what the heck dad, mom is the easiest person to shop for” .. … . the last 4 years of our marriage all my gifts to him were power tools that i actually wanted or needed.

      • Yep, same here. Narc cheater could have gotten me books, jewelry, spa treatments, whatever. You are so hard to shop for was told to me every year. But if he actually listened to me he would have had an easy time. What did I get last Xmas when he had already started his affair unbeknownst to me? A pop socket for my phone and an electric toothbrush. Not even a nice but a $20 one from Target. Really, you couldn’t find any perfume or books at Target? He must have really devalued me by then and let’s just get her something completely impersonal.

        • They resent that they would have to spend any time, money or thought on someone they are devaluing. But they can’t even own that resentment; EVERYTHING is someone else’s fault, usually the Chumps.

          So they tell themselves stories that support their emotional reactions, and then believe those stories. Pathetic children in adult bodies, really.

  • My X Asshat was always a terrible gift giver. He didn’t give even a tiny shit about me and would wait until the last minute to go buy something (seriously, day-of). On Mothers Day he would click on a spa gift certificate online after midnight and e-mail it to me, and didn’t care that I could see he bought it the same day. He bought one of those teddy bear jewelry store things with way, way WAY overpriced earrings in them on our last Christmas, such schlock. Seriously, he spent $500 for some stupid sapphire earrings with a tiny diamond chip that I swear would be $19.99 at Target.

    My wishes are so simple and my daughters absolutely nail it with every occasion by paying even half attention and living hundreds of miles away as adults. He could not be bothered and so he would do stupid shit living under the same roof.

    My birthday was the week before abandonment day and he didn’t do anything for me at all. We went out to dinner with my parents and that was good enough in his mind, that they paid for our our meal and he didn’t have to lift one finger. I spackled and agreed that it was indeed, good enough for me. The following week he moved out while I was out of town and sent me an e-mail toodle-loo.

    All of these devalue actions, for 31 years we were together and intensifying in the last 9 years or so between his affairs, were absolute red flags that he had mentally discarded me and was actively seeking a replacement. I wish I could have seen them for what they were. I do take comfort in that he is doing exactly the same thing to his Schmoopie– as a matter of fact he re-gifted some books he had given me 15 years ago, he stole them from me and sent them to Schmoops. Such a selfish and stupid fucker.

    • Right. I think that’s the hardest thing for me to grasp. The turd they were with their spouse, in their home, is who they really are.

      I felt distressed when I found out the effort my xhole spent pursuing the whore, but I also know that’s his MO to get new ass. Nothing more. He is just doing what he thinks will make the best impression.

      • That is well put Anita. “The turd they were with their spouse, in their home, is who they really are.” Bingo.

        That is like the ‘character is what you do when no one is watching’ thing. We Chumps don’t count as people they have to impress so they are the let-it-all-hang-out true selves with us.

        Schmoopie will become the old shoe eventually. The time between shiny and shit varies only by how easily they think they can score new ass.

  • The X bought cake for me the first time we celebrated my birthday 17 years ago, along with a gift. He usually made me handmade birthday cards (even if there was no gift), but it got worse every year, until there were no more cards. About 7-8 years back, I was already used to not getting ANYTHING on my birthday, except for a birthday dinner (and it usually happens only over the weekend (even though he runs his own company, and he didn’t plan anything special). So I bought myself a SLICE of birthday cake to celebrate and blow out candles from.

    His reaction? “Why didn’t you tell me you wanted cake for your birthday? You buying cake for yourself looks so sad.”

    Gee thanks, asswipe.

    He didn’t get me any cake the year after that, or the many years after that either.

    As for gifts? He only got me what I wanted him to get. He just gave me his credit card so I could punch it in. Which was mostly kitchen appliances, so that I could be a better wife appliance.

    I realised something in him was fundamentally broken when the OW aka Jesus cheater skank started to get special “handmade” cards too from him when they started fucking, and I found out about it. And he had the balls to tell me that the cards I got from him were not terribly special, and that he can give it to anyone he wants anyway.

    My current boyfriend – who makes me breakfast in the mornings, and loves cooking with me – hugged me and expressed his horror when he found out what normally went down during my birthday.

  • An example that isn’t a gift given. After d-day 1 and going through wrekonciliation, he still wasn’t contributing more to the house. This was one of the few things i asked of him in trying to repair our marriage, yah know, beyond not cheating.

    So he’s doing nothing as usual and i remember thinking to myself “you didn’t marry him to be the housekeeper, just assume youre doing 100% of the work and anything he does is just the cherry on top of having a partner”. I just shake my head at how i made myself so very, very small that all i wanted from his was his existence while i slaved away at home and kids. Its taken a lot to forgive that for a few years i just accepted that was my role and his role was to “be the man” of the house.

    If i could go back to the me i was then and hug the shit out myself and help her to see how she was so worthy of better i would.

  • A big tube of ‘New Hands’ cream for extremely dry, horrible hands.

    A Bob Dylan CD set ( I do not like Bob Dylan, he does)

    3 of those cheap little plastic angels in various poses you can get in every crappy gift store

    Any jewellery he got me was on sale, and never was my style or taste.

    Never anything nice or thoughtful, and always a lot of grumbling about how stressed he was to have to find gifts for me. Always at the last minute.

    • He wasn’t my partner but did want to be my special friend. I also got a cheap,
      discounted CD (one). I know it was discounted and a part of a set because there was still a discount sticker on it (30pc, every little helps). He didn’t become my special friend and he didn’t get any more presents from me, special or non-special.

  • My whole marriage was spackle from day 1 to D-day. I fell for someone not from here who did not speak English. So I learned Spanish functionally, but not fluently. Man! does that leave room for gaslighting. She was a super contolling B from the start. It was fight to go mow the lawn. I spackled the first 7 years with it will get better. Hung in for 7 more for the kids.

    I spackled her to my daughter who once asked, “Is mommy a good person?” I said, “Yes, she just as issues.”

    No more. The other day having lunch with my daughter, who is now 15, she said, “Mommy sure is abusive.” She then told me how what the stbx had ruined a day that the stbx had wanted to be a special mother daughter day. The stbx had berated my daughter for not having enough fun and not getting the pictures right. By the end of the day while my daughter was in tears, the stbx said to her, “What makes me mad you think you are the victim.” I told her, “She is the victim.” I also informed her she can come live with me anytime. She won’t do that because it would mean leaving her teen friends.

    My lawyer has been less than enthusiastic about persuing custody. She is the second lawyer that said you will probably end up with the kids sooner or latrer. The system is generally stacked in womans favor. I just take it day at a time.

    • Nothing wrong with saying somebody is a victim. A victim is somebody is being harmed or hurt. Your daughter was being harmed by your ex.

  • Our first Christmas was 1993. I was in law school, he was in his first year of residency while in the army, flirting with all the young lieutenant nurses. Asshat got me a cartoon book “I Got a Job and it Wasn’t That Bad”. Spackle.

    Fast forward to my son’s high school graduation, June 2017. Two months prior, on Good Friday, Asshat sent me and the kids a text meant for Ho-Worker Schmoopie, complete with heart emojis. During the graduation ceremony, Asshat spent the entire time texting on his phone. At the party afterward, Dickhead Dad gave our son a used out of print book “I Got a Job and it Wasn’t That Bad”. No Spackle.

    • My XH bought our daughter who was about one years old a couple of used Nancy Drew books. You see, XH loved The Hardy Boys books when he was young and he had a small collection. Everything was always about him and his gift giving showed that. Who buys a one year old books meant for elementary aged kids? A selfish, disordered fuckwit! He of course had to have picture proof that he bought this for her, so of course I had to take a picture of him holding her with the books. She never once picked up those books to read when she got older.

  • Yeah. Just like cancer — you learn deep meaning-of-life lessons… but it isn’t a gift. A cancer gift would come with a gift receipt so you could take it back to the pile-of-shit store. I have heard it called a “dark gift” – perhaps so.

    Here is some spackle that really stands out to me:
    Me: When I get older and the kids are out… I might do a Peace Corps volunteering experience.
    Him: Not me. I don’t understand why anyone wants to do that.

    Spackle: Not me. I don’t want to do that.

    I don’t have a problem with the second, but the first is the hugest red flag I could have seen. It is against all my values. Why? Why did I spackle? I think the reason is that I met him when I was 16 (freshman year). I started dating him at 19. I found out the miserable truth when I was 39… and it wasn’t possible for my brain to grasp, when I was… 35 (? ish) and he said that, that this person was not who I thought.

    If I meet such a person now… it wouldn’t be a second thought to end that.

    Le SIGH.

    He did give me a gift. I have better boundaries and I am better at recognizing red flags.

  • My favorite Christmas gift was the year I received two sets of scissors and an extension cord. When I finally got up the courage to ask why he thought of those items, I was told “you are always complaining that you can’t find an extension cord” and “you talk about your scissors a lot.” First, I could never find an extension cord because he was always carrying them off to who knows where. Second, I always made it clear that no one, and I mean no one, was permitted to use my fabric scissors on paper. Apparently two pairs of cheap scissors fixes that! I spackled away that he was depressed because his father had passed away that year and he just didn’t have the energy to shop. Meanwhile, girlfriend got jewelry (he never once gave me jewelry).

  • Oh where do we start? My first ever Mother’s day I was scheduled to work but I had to call out because I was too sick to get out of bed, his response was since you’re going to be home I’ll leave you alone with your 6 month old while I go out and party with my guy friends. He actually told me “isn’t that what you want for Mother’s day is to spend time with your child.” He always waited till the last moment to buy Christmas presents and they needed to be “practical”, so one year I got a 10 count of plastic hangers because “you keep stealing mine to hang clothes”. My parents who saw me open it were speechless, I think my dad said something like “WTF” to his face. Another Christmas we had been dealing with a leaking kitchen faucet for months to the point my dad was like “let me take you to buy a new faucet” a few weeks before Christmas. Welp you guessed it, I got a sparkly new faucet for Christmas that year. My dad actually said “and where is her real present”, crickets. My last “present” from him was this past Mother’s day when I was driving us (he had gone out the evening before) to meet his mom for a nice lunch out, he turned to me and told me that he wanted to separate and had already found a place to stay temporarily with female client at the gym that he coaches at that they are “friends”. 4 months later he is still “temporarily staying” there. Oh and a month after he started staying with her they were taking a trip up to NYC for a friendly visit with her family, but he is so broke that he his having a hard time paying our household bills.

  • The gift discussion makes me uncomfortable. I am not a cheater, but I am not good at the gift thing. I get made fun of for giving overly practical gifts, my environmental consciousness causes me to avoid giving people something that will likely be thrown away, and given my own shortcomings, it never occurred to me to complain about what other people, including ex-Douche, did or didn’t give me for gifts. But here’s my spackle.
    “Hey, honey, when you told me you had to go to work on Saturday because everybody else had to go in to the office, and it would look really bad if you were the only one who didn’t show up, I felt bad for you and bought you guys donuts after you had left the house in the early morning, and came by your office to bring them to you. But when I parked in front of your office, the parking lot was empty and the building was dark. I waited about 20 minutes but no one showed up so I just came home.”
    “That must have been when I was out getting coffee.”
    “Oh, OK. Too bad I missed you.”

    • Thought of a gift where I spackled. A few months before D-Day, Ex-Douche says, “Hey, Intothelight, for your Christmas present I’m going to upgrade every TV in the house to a 4K TV.” Me: “But didn’t we just get new TVs pretty recently?” Ex-Douche: “Yeah but 4K is supposed to have a great picture.” Me: “OK, that sounds really nice, sweetie. Thanks.” So spends $40K to have new TVs installed. I couldn’t tell much of a difference. Not into that stuff much. But thanks hon for the nice gift. Never occurred to spackly Intothelight to ask what the heck happened to all the almost-new TVs that were replaced.
      And although I routinely bought our daughter’s presents and signed the card for both me and Douche, he made a big deal one year out of giving our daughter pierced earrings for her birthday just from him, and she gave me that hopeless look when she opened them because she and I knew she had allowed her pierced ears to grow closed several years prior and hadn’t worn pierced earrings for years.

  • I spackled all twenty-six years of his military career. I spackled over his emotional and financial abuse. I spackled over his blatant disrespectful behavior toward me. I spackled over his multiple affairs. I spackled for thirty-three years.

    This past Christmas he bought me a Smart TV. I do not watch TV. I grew up in a household without a television. I had fought for years to keep TV out of the bedroom. I can’t sleep to the blare and lights that are TV. I do not like TV. He was angry when I told him “Thank You for your gift but I do not want it.” He told me he would give me the $200 he spent on it. I looked up the price online. He spent $1,200. So he lied about that too.

    Now I live in a little shack by myself with a 1972 GE Radio. I have no TV. I’ll tell you what else I don’t have. Spackle. Fresh out of spackle and won’t ever spackle again. I speak my truth.

  • At the end of my marriage I was spackling so hard that I didn’t even notice his bad shit. I remember one time in marriage counseling he admitted that he ignored my birthday on purpose. I had no idea.

    His last birthday when we were together? It was his 50th. I asked him if he wanted a party and he said no. And then on the day of his birthday he got really pissy and admitted that he DID want a party. So, I rented a hall and invited tons of people. Made it really, really special. Invited all his running buddies. Which I didn’t realize included the other woman. Sigh.

    • Yeah, he springs it on her shortly after they get married. Then brags about how easy it is for him to get laid, which is kinda hard on his wife.

      BARF! I hope she wakes up soon and runs far, far away. I have nothing against swinging, when BOTH parties want that, but this guy is gross!

    • Instagram doesn’t f**k up marriages you half wit. Guys like you do. I think I need a really hot shower with a Brillo pad after reading that drivel.

  • An interwebs picture of brake rotors, printed from his work computer, on the day of my birthday (date neatly printed at bottom of screenshot).
    Sickfuck: “I ordered them too late, but they’re slotted and drilled, for better performance.”
    Me: (eyes full of love) “Thank you! You really care about my safety!”
    YAK.
    Slotted and drilled, for better performance…

  • We got engaged, just after I more or less issued an ultimatum (ugh). He handed me the ring and said, “Here, put this on.”

    Me, spackling: “But we’re now engaged!”

    Cringing inside as I type this…

  • My whole marriage was a spackle fest. I had no clue I was spackling. There we quite a few red flags waving before we got married, but I spackled or ignored them too; I believed the lie that he was not a cheater. He set me up before we even got married. Asked me if I could handle being married to an accountant who had a “busy season” and would have to work long hours during that time. I said I could. Well, busy season ended up being the entire year. He dangled a carrot in front of my face that “someday” he won’t be so busy. Someday never came. I took on 100% of the housework for 20 years. Did the landscaping pretty much all by myself for the entire time we owned a home. Cleaned the garage out twice a year all by myself. Cleaned the basement once a year. Washed all the carpeting every single year all by myself with a carpet washer. Did all the grocery shopping and meal making, minus the one day he’d make dinner which was New Years Day, for twenty years. Pretty much raised the kids on my own. Planned all our vacations pretty much on my own. Took it upon myself to get our family into church and trying to raise our kids in our faith. Took care of all holidays and birthdays, even for his family. I took care of all the medical appointments and even went to his blood draws with him and babied him when he’d feel faint. I took on more and more, because in my mind, I thought this would give him time to spend with our family and me instead. It only made him more entitled and gave him more time to cheat when he was supposed to be working. And in the end he said to my face, “You never took good care of me.” And I could go on and on about all the times he purposely withheld celebrating my birthday and Mother’s Day. No Valentines Day or Sweetest Day. But he was sparkly at times and that’s what kept me hooked.

    • Martha,

      Sounds just like my X. I kept giving more and more trying to get the love I was missing, he kept withholding more and more, unless I was fed up and wanted him to leave, then all the sudden he could meet my every need, but only until he sucked me back in, then back to me over giving, him being an entitled cold jerk. I did everything, made more money, saved money, paid bills, took care of kids, house, meals, appointments, vacations. All he had to do was show up, and that he did badly.

    • 33yrsachump,

      My story too and I too gave him all the space and time to cheat for over 30 years while I spackled. After dday, when I was still naive and dumb, I asked why he had done it, thinking that now that he had told me finally it would stop, and his reply was, “I guess I wanted attention.” And there I had been all those years giving him space. Laugh is on me. No more spackling for this woman!

      Your story reminds me that what CL says is really true – cheaters are just cliches. Yours could have been mine and mine could have been yours.

      Thanks for sharing.

      P.S. Mine, like others have mentioned, ruined holidays too. Always down in the dumps, grumpy and wouldn’t talk about it so I thought it was me and that I didn’t do holidays good enough for him. Well, now I don’t have to try to read his mind anymore and the holidays since we split have been wonderful.

      • Elderly Chump, I’m glad Holidays are better for you now. It gives me hope for this year’s holiday season. I’ve been fretting about making a happy time without any money.

        I’m going to do my very best to make it happy. Free community concerts, free church pageants, board games, volunteer work, walks in the winter wonderland, homemade gifts and freedom from disordered freaks. It has got to be better.

        Elderly Chump, I once asked my cheater if there was anything I could have done to keep him from cheating. In a rare moment of honesty he said “No.” That is every cheater ever where. They aren’t original or even particularly very clever. Just disordered and disappointing.

  • My thickest spackle was on a long-term boyfriend in my 20’s.

    I came home from a long work trip, we had sex, and I got a vaginal infection with massive and very painful inflammation. Presto, he made an appointment for me with a doctor. How wonderful! The doctor was young and gorgeous and after a 10 second exam and zero thought she prescribes an oral antibiotic.

    I thought this infection must be really common, for her to be so sure what it was! Right? Only the antibiotic was obscure; the pharmacy took days to fill it because they did not have it in stock. And I never had another infection like it and even now cannot identify it.

    The doctor asked me oddly personal questions about us. How long have I known him? We’ve been a couple for years. Do I want to marry him? We spend holidays with his family so I feel like we are practically married already. Etc. The look on her face was weird but I didn’t think about it.

    As I left she gave me her card. Only much later did I notice she was not an ob/gyn, she was a GP.

    He pestered me to split my prescription with him and I told him he needed to get his own. He just smiled oddly. As far as I know he got no prescription, which worried me a little. But my infection did not return, so hey whatever.

    I did grasp that she knew him somehow. Which was odd because although he was salaried he worked 60-80 hours a week, eating vending machine snacks at his desk for lunch and dinner. When would he have time? She also didn’t say how they met. I should have asked, but I had been trained not to ever ask questions. I thought she might want him but too bad, he was taken. I was so smug. Being a chump, and hearing him vent about “whores” next door and at work, it did not occur to me he could be a cheater. He even vented that the wife next door had men over while her husband was at work. I wondered why he imagined such a thing, he couldn’t have seen it, because he ate lunch at work.

    It was only after he discarded me that I realized: in all our time together, even when traveling, not once did I ever see him buy or eat a snack or convenience food of any kind. In fact, meals with him were a royal PITA because he was so fussy about food. He wanted to eat in only the best restaurants. And he was remarkably well informed about the local best restaurants. We missed a lot of meals when he didn’t find any restaurant suitable. I was underweight and often hungry, and he nagged me to lose more weight, while he grew increasingly plump.

    The discard was a relief, but I spent the next few years in misery working through why I ever put up with him. The very first date was full of red flags and I should have ended it right there.

    Bottom line is my mother taught me to be a doormat, eat the shit sandwich and drink the kool-aid served to me, and politely say Yummy and Thank You.

  • Oh, the ruined holidays. Nevermind the birthdays. Asshat only remembered to give me birthday gifts twice in 14 years. And my birthday is New Year’s Eve. Yeah, so hard to remember.

    The first time I received a gift, it was a set of wine glasses. A week after he announced that he was “no longer drinking”. I told myself it was a nice gesture, acknowledging that I might still enjoy MY very occasional glass of wine, even though he had sworn abstinence. NO, it really wasn’t. It was an excuse for him to enjoy more than enough wine at every opportunity. Because, nice wine glasses!

    The second gift was some earrings. Which I now realize he only bought because the kids were throwing a party for me, with a ton of friends in attendance, and you know, “image management”. They were my birthstone, blue topaz. Which I had told him many times, I don’t care for that particular stone. The next day, I asked why he would buy them when I had repeatedly told him that I don’t like that stone. “OH, REALLY???” He claimed I’d never told him that and sulked for a damn month.

    I should have left his sorry ass a long time before I did. People who only give gifts when it benefits themselves are just selfish jackwagons. And it’s a HUGE red flag.

  • As Mr. Moneybags Creeperpants’ mask was slowly slipping off, I entered into supernatural cognitive dissonance mode in response to his tightwadery. One of the worst was when, for our FIRST Christmas together, he bought me a kitchen knife. That’s it. Oh, and some flimsy $1.99 heart-shaped sunglasses for me to look at him all googly-eyed with. Man was I doing everything I could to eat that poop sandwich. After all, HE IS SO PRACTICAL AND SO GOOD WITH MONEY it’s endearing!! A few days after Christmas I was perusing one of Creeper’s favorite geek websites (as a way for me to get to know the inner man), and there was that knife being advertized for 28.00!!! Be still my heart!! As loaded as he was, he stuck to his practical guns and made me feel more utilitarian than ever for OUR FIRST [and last] CHRISTMAS TOGETHER. Me…the woman of his dreams…. Puke!!

    • oooh, those glasses are PERFECT! Because that’s what these narcs want the ABSOLUTE MOST! That we look at them w/the lovey-dovey googly eyes, ALWAYS, even in normal life, even when they are being lazy selfish asses, even when we ourselves are not ok for whatever reason, even when other people need our attention ….

      I am convinced that the ONLY criteria for being w/a woman, for my Ex, is that they have those googly eyes and open legs. (And yes, that includes me, initially. He later figured out that I would also be an excellent wife appliance … bonus!)

      PERFECT.

  • When I got socks and underwear one Christmas I majorly spackled. I said to anyone who would listen “Isn’t that thoughtful? That’s something he really thought about because I wouldn’t think to buy that for myself!” The funny thing is, when I mentioned it to our MC, she said it was a wonderful gift. REALLY?

  • Tip toeing kids and me around his horrible moods. Glued to his phone….”shhhh girls daddy’s busy”.

    I worked full time too!!!

  • I never got gifts from him ever. He did throw in my face, after he moved in with his affair partner, that she has taught him how to buy gifts for other people. He seemed so proud at that accomplishment.

    For Christmas, (while living with her, after I kicked him out) he got me a mink blanket. I left it in his driveway the day after with a note saying ‘I don’t want anything on or in my bed that reminds me of you’.

  • Soooo glad I didn’t sign on the dotted line with some of the narc losers I’ve dated. After reading all the comments, a list of cheap, thoughtless gifts or selfish behavior comes to mind. I’ll just pick one which also involves telling behavior which prompted me to dump a therapist.

    I met B. through my cycling club and he was taking French lessons. We had only been dating about six months and he mentioned his upcoming bike trip to the south of France, around Toulouse. In hindsight, it was too soon to go on vacation with him. Hindsight is 20/20 and foresight is blind. He was going for two weeks and I would join him for the second week of the trip after spending time in Paris, where I had lived for seven years. I paid for my own flight and trip and would be with him for my birthday.

    During my week in Paris, I saw a t-shirt with an old Michelin bike tire ad that I thought he’d like. Also bought a box of pralines ( inside joke for the francophones) for him to enjoy. I take the train down south and join him and the rest of the group. Next day is my birthday. No card or gift from him or a meal for just the two of us away from the group. I did get a cake which after the trip I found out was from some trip guests, people I had know for one whole day ! B. was very upset that the restaurant and inn owner pushed him out of the way to take a picture with me and my lit birthday cake as a present,inserted in a promo card for the establishment.

    Other people on the trip didn’t like him;one of them even asked him “How much longer do I have to pretend to like you so we can swap club jerseys ?”. This was a low budget trip (no SAG support) so I had to stick with him for a few more days and get home. I did break up with him when we got home and stupidly thought we could “be friends”. Definitive dump a year later.

    When I was autopsying failed relationships with a male therapist and recounted this debacle, he didn’t see the problem with this man’s behavior. One of my friends pointed out to me “Hey SP, look very carefully at G. the therapist. What do you see with the beer bully and florid complexion ? Alcoholic ?” She knew him from her grad school studies.

    No more spackling.

  • well my ex didn’t work for 4 yrs – i brought in all the money. he was “lost”, going through mid-life crisis and didn’t know what to do (get a f#ing job). but he did buy me gifts with my credit card that i paid. i just thought it was the thought that counts.

  • I got a bag of protein bars for my birthday. And he set a $20 limit on Christmas gifts. I told myself that it was the thought that counts…

    • Money was very tight but I didn’t mind at all. I still got him thoughtful gifts. One birthday he gave me MY mother’s broken cuckoo clock, with a speech about how he had looked into getting it fixed but it would have cost too much, and I wouldn’t have wanted to spend so much money. So I spackled, he understood that I was worried about our finances, and I gratefully hung it up on the wall. For my 50th, during wreckonciliation, he gave me a bottle of cream, as in dairy. I spackled over that, he really knew my tastes!

  • Mine was pretty meh in the gift giving department. Not great, not awful. It actually got worse after DDay. I had a birthday a few months after his clinically mandated disclosure (sex addiction, pfft) detailing the hundreds of prostitutes, hundreds of online hookups, and dozens cyber affairs. He gave me a griddle. A griddle. A GODDAMNED GRIDDLE. I was slightly nonplussed. No spackle here. I took his credit card that afternoon and rectified his error. When I returned home with my new wardrobe, accessories, and personal care items (slowly and carefully clipping all the tags and humming a happy tune for his benefit) he angrily demanded, “How much did all THIS cost me?!?!?” My coolly delivered response (with uninterrupted eye contact): about five hookers and a handjob.

    We stopped exchanging gifts. I’m fine with that. I already have a griddle, anyway.

  • Towards the end, STBX (he signed the papers last weekend, yay!) just stopped buying me anything and would just say on Christmas, or birthday, or anniversary, whatever “You can just get yourself X.” I’d be like, “gee thanks. I know I can get myself whatever – I get up and go to work every day, unlike you…” I remember one Christmas my daughter asked, “why is there only one gift for Momma under the tree?” He was embarrassed, so we went “Christmas” shopping for me, two days after Christmas. Who the hell wants to shop for her own “gifts” two days after the holiday?

    God, the shit I put up with. Never again.

  • Someone once told me, if a guy doesn’t buy you a romantic gift for your birthday or Valentines Day, don’t marry him, simply because he’s not in love with you. And you’ll be doomed to always have practical non-love gifts from your man. I have seen this play itself out in so many ways and it never fails, where the guy turns out to be an obtuse unloving self-centered person.

  • My best spackle was during wreckonciliation. He really wanted to save his marriage and was going to do everything it took to do so.

    Except not discussing the affair and not remembering.

    He started going to the gym every day. He was so happy and excited about going to the gym! I said, ‘why don’t we ever go to the gym together’ and got the shark look.

    Of course, he had started it up again with OW because I was being such a pain about it all – but I only worked that out later.

    I was sooo dumb, such a chump.

  • I met my ex in 2013. By 2014 we had a daughter on the way in the spring. After our first Christmas he started acting sketchy- getting his junk waxed and coming home very late. (I discovered later he was going to rub n tugs and meeting up with craigslist pigs) I didn’t get a gift for Christmas, for Valentine’s Day he made me a chocolate penis- from a mold he made of his own penis. As if it couldn’t get worse when friends came to visit to see me he would show them the chocolate wang. I was mortified. That was the last gift I got from him. My best gift was the one I gave myself in 2018 when he was finally out of my life and I have sole custody of my daughter. As for the chocolate… it was probably slowly devoured by ants in a landfill. A fitting end.

  • Man I was a chump that could spackle from day 1. He didn’t even propose to me, we were high school seniors and had been dating about 1 year. I was so blindly in love with this poor broken guy. He was going to move to Florida “whether I went with him or not” and I wanted out of our small town too and what an adventure to take with my love! Anyways his narc dad insisted we get married if I was going with him. I said that was fine I didn’t intend to be with anyone else anyways (like it was gonna happen anyways). His dad paid for the rings, we got to pick them out together. Then I MADE HIM give me a proposal…took him to the park bridge where I asked that he get down on his knee so he did it in his usual way of not putting any feeling into it. And I thought I had won, because he did what I asked him.

    Ha. Never ever again will I spackle for the sake of having “love”.

  • We moved into a house together that was owned by his parents. I discovered several months later that I had put in my half of the expenses but that he hadn’t been putting any in, not sure if he had lied to me about how much the payments were, but his parents were so well off they probably were covering his half without realizing it (the money probably went into their account that the mortgage went out of). So he was knowingly living off the fat of the land, and couldn’t understand why I got mad, but kind of just laughed like, okay, so you caught me, good job. He never got stressed about anything, and I mean anything, unless he got caught and it made him look bad and when we had our first major fight and I left the house to cool down he called his mother, who tried to call me to sort things out on his behalf. Yeah, I was from the moon, and I continued to plaster on a boatload of spackle about this manchild.

  • This past year my STBX’s gifted me multiple times with photos of our “happy” family. He plastered our house with over a dozen photos. These gifts felt at once impersonal – not something he’d thoughtfully considered that I would like but also were impossible to complain about.

    It was gift-gaslighting. He was putting on a show of being the doting husband while running around behind my back with so many women.

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