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Cheater Doesn’t Understand Why Partner Is Reconciling with Him

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Dear Chump Lady,

I’ve cheated on almost every partner. My brain doesn register it properly and I usually just shutdown after and pull away.

I cheated on my partner. I was a piece of shit going into the relationship and never took it seriously. Until one day the guilt consumed me. I entered therapy and told her…. I did an absolute shit job at that too. Typical trickle truth. So much so that she just told me to stop, the past didn’t matter and she’d give me a chance and that she believed I was ready to change, because I was and am. I just assume I manipulated that response and I probably did… I was scared.

I don’t know why she took me back. It makes no sense. She was herself someone who cheated in every relationship so maybe she empathized. I don’t know.

She was still hurt a lot. She still is hurt, but the selfish thing is I feel like I’m more hurt. It’s been 1.5 years of therapy and even though everyone tells me I’m a better person and I know I’m not ever going to cheat (our communication is far too strong now). It’s pathetic I know, but I’m legit trying to change my core and it fucking hurts. I see her happier and I’m glad but I just don’t understand.

The issue is I just assume i have a personality disorder. I’ve been told I don’t have a cluster b by my therapist and psychologist, but I still feel that way.

I want to continue in the relationship, but my biggest fear is that I’m just wasting her time. That in 5 years, 10 years or whatever she will just realize she wasted her life with me.

Going back to the not understanding. She says last week was a good week for her. I just don’t register that, I didn’t feel she was any happier. She thinks I’m on the spectrum and I do show many autistic traits and show high on the autism quotient.

Ok now I’m just rambling.

I don’t know why I’m emailing you. I don’t want to hear from an echo chamber I guess. Maybe I want to be told I’m unique and on a good path. Maybe I want to be told I care about her. As I’m writing this I realize I barely mentioned her. Maybe I’m looking for you to tell me I’m pathetic or maybe I just want advice.

I’m trying, but it feels broken and impossible.

Nathan

Dear Nathan,

So you cheated on your girlfriend and she took you back and this makes you unhappy WHY? Would you have been happier had she said you’re a POS and dumped you? She gave you a shot at this Better Character thing and… you’re the real victim here? You’re “more hurt”?

I’ve cheated on almost every partner. My brain doesn’t register it properly

Bullshit.

Did you get a number? Text? Call? Put on aftershave? GPS the location? Show up? Hook up? Shower afterward?

Your brain works just fine.

The character needs work, however. You felt entitled to do it, even knowing it would hurt your partner, so you hid it and did it anyway. That’s an I’m-an-asshole problem, not a my-brain-doesn’t-work-too good thing.

and I usually just shutdown after and pull away.

Okay, this is the Sad Sausage channel. “Shut down” and “pull away” is the language of hurt and victimhood. You’re appropriating victim language when you’re the dick here.

Let’s replace that with “I discarded them.” I cheated on my partners and discarded them. Because?? My guess is it was easier to find another partner than it was to clean up the mess you made.

But then you felt bad, went into therapy — good! — and are having to clean up the mess. Which must feel very different compared to the past.

She was still hurt a lot.

Yeah, when you cheat on people, it hurts them. That’s how clean up in aisle 6 works.

She still is hurt but the selfish thing is I feel like I’m more hurt.

See, now you’re being a dick again. You’re not the real victim here. You’re having to be accountable, which I’m sure feels uncomfortable, but don’t confuse it with “hurt.” Your girlfriend isn’t hurting you by insisting on accountability. You promised her accountability when you led her into a therapist’s office and said you wanted to become a better person.

It’s been 1.5 years of therapy and even though everyone tells me I’m a better person and I know I’m not ever going to cheat (our communication is far too strong now).

Communication styles don’t drive people to cheat. Lousy character and entitlement makes people cheat. She could say, mumble, shriek from a mountaintop “DON’T CHEAT ON ME” — or just think it and look at you meaningfully — and if you’re an asshole, you’ll cheat. Her “communication style” doesn’t make you fuck randos.

If, on the other hand, your communication style is fucking randos and lying about it, then let’s conclude committed relationships are not for you.

It’s pathetic I know but I’m legit trying to change my core and it fucking hurts.

It’s accountability. It’s uncomfortable. You’re not being “hurt.”

The whole “It HURTS!” schtick is a ploy manipulators use on chumps. Chumps care, so when they hear “IT HURTS!” they leap into action to keep you from feeling hurt.

Oh! I can’t ask him that Difficult Question, it hurts him! Line of questioning shut down.

Who eats the hurt here? The chump.

Now, if you cared about your chump, you’d be jumping on HER hurt, trying to prevent that, or soothe it. She’s probably waiting on that. Maybe you did some of that, made some soothing noises, and now it’s your turn for kibbles. This isn’t how the legit core improvement shit works. You’re supposed to honestly care. It’s not a pissing match.

I see her happier and I’m glad but I just don’t understand.

What’s to understand? Isn’t she allowed to be happy?

Oh, or is this a cue to tell you how awesome you are? Sung in the key of How Does She Love a Wretch Like Me?

For whatever reason, she thinks you’re worth the investment. You seem to think that’s a dodgy investment. Having a relationship makes her happy. You seem anxious about that.

Let’s all untangle your skein of fuckupedness!

Going back to the not understanding. She says last week was a good week for her. I just don’t register that, I didn’t feel she was any happier.

You’re not a voting member on her feelings. They’re hers. She reports happiness. Frustration. Ennui. Excitement. A tickle on her left nostril. ALL HERS. Not really a debatable subject because you can’t be in her head.

The proper response to “last week was a good week” is “that’s great! I’m so glad to hear it!” and maybe a follow-up question (especially as her happiness is so baffling). “What made it a great week?” “Oh, I adopted a puppy.” Mystery SOLVED.

I want to continue in the relationship, but my biggest fear is that I’m just wasting her time. That in 5 years, 10 years or whatever she will just realize she wasted her life with me.

Is this my cue to buck you up again and tell you you’re worthy of a long-term investment? I’m not that person, Nathan.

I think she should leave you and find a guy who doesn’t need 1.5 years of therapy to untangle whether she’s happy this week. I don’t believe in rewarding cheating with further investment in the relationship. But you asked me…

You control whether or not you’re wasting her time. If you’re a good partner, and you put one foot in front of another and do the right things day after day after day after day — guess what? NO GUARANTEES! You could get legitimately hurt! Not just fake butt-hurt. No, just be a stand-up person and care deeply. It’s called “intimacy” and it makes us vulnerable.

Will she exploit your vulnerability? She might, especially if she’s a serial cheater too as you say (but really Nathan, I doubt a lot of what you say). Or she might not. Anyway, you’ll get your sea legs on this caring about others thing, and that’s all to the good.

If you intend to cheat again, well, then you ARE wasting her time. So don’t do that. Practice those new communication skills and tell her you’re not relationship material.

Good luck, Nathan.

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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.
  • Maybe it’s just me, but I want to tell him to fuck off, dump her and go away so she can put all HER new relationship skills to better use with a better person.

    Herself. With or without others.

    You’re self-absorbed, lazy and entitled, Nathan. Not a good combination.

    • “Would you have been happier had she said you’re a POS and dumped you?”

      Yes, because then he could sing his siren song of, “I was honest with her but she dumped me anyway!” to lure in fresh chumps. It is so much EASIER to start anew than to actually invest in a meaningful relationship with ups AND downs.

  • I, I, I, me, me, me. Nathan, release your victim. Then get you a kickass therapist and figure out why you are shit at love. Commit to your healing since you can’t commit to her. Let her go. If you truly loved her you would set her free to find a man who will love her with his whole heart. I suspect she is of use to you, a handy dandy source of kibbles.

    Nowhere in this letter do you describe her pain. Sure you admit you hurt her but you suspect you are more hurt. It is all about you. Let’s make it official. Set her free and all your time can be spent on you, you, you.

    • Chump Lady, No-Shit, I struggled to find compassion for poor little Sad Sausage Nathan. It is so awful for him gleefully knowing he hurt his spouse. Could this be the one, the Unicorn? The cheater willing to make amends and heal the hole in his soul? The Unicorn who will lie down with his head in his betrayed spouse’s lap and stray no more?

      I don’t think so. He came here to a site ran by Chump Lady who wrote the book “Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life” to do what? Brag? Whine? Desperately seek kibbles. I think Nathan isn’t a real boy. I think he is just another unrepentant cheater feeling sorry he got busted cheating. I got nothing for him.

  • Wowwwww. Thanks, Nathan, for that amazing confirmation that I did the right thing by telling my ex to fuck off. I sooooo wanted to try again and he would have been just like this.

  • Wow. I’m half-tempted to send this column to my own recidivist cheater STBX, but she would focus on all the exonerating ways her own situation is different from … whatever the hell is going on here. But I imagine they all think they’re unique, and that someone else is always the problem. So, thanks for another great opportunity to practice my boundaries, CL! Like everything in life, now, I get to savor your response on my own – no need to share with the character-disordered who won’t get it, anyway.

  • Chump Lady already called it what I saw 3 paragraphs in: Sad Sausage.

    My cheater used to whine in therapy about that he didn’t understand how I could reconcile with such a horrible guy… didn’t think I could ever “really forgive” (good call! ), yada yada. And yeah, a year in he didn’t ‘get’ that I could still have bad days, weeks, etc. Wasn’t there an expiration date or something for having to say he was sorry?

    What I’m hearing here, Nathan, is that all your worry about being dumped or cheated on ‘eventually’ is just building another turd….kibble-fishing with an empty hook so that eventually you haz enough sadz to throw your line in another hole.

    NEXT!

  • Does anyone else here feel like they’re either downwind of a troll or watching a total narc get his rocks off because we’re all talking about the great “HIM”?

  • What a self-pitying chore of a person. Reading that made me need a nap, a shower, a stiff drink, and a vacation.

  • Nathan, If giving a shot at this “Better Character thing” is going to work, its your job.

    For starters, you have a lot of reading to do. Go to a bookstore, but stay clear from the self-help shelves. Go to the Philosophy, Psychology and History shelves.
    Chump Lady has a degree in History. So she knows a lot about people taking unfair advantage of people.

    Hummm, but shallow people never change.

  • Nathan needs a new therapist. One that believes he is cluster B. Not autism. Autistics feel things it’s sounds like he can not. There are matrixes online that delineate the difference between autistics and personality disorders. ‘Nathan’ – pay someone to help you sort your shit out. otherwise I’m pretty sure you’re just looking for interesting online attention.

    • Yes, but note that Nathan already believes he’s cluster B, but is using that diagnosis as an excuse for his bad behavior instead of, say, going out of his way to consult an expert in cluster B disorders. Nathan doesn’t really want to get better, because it will hurt too much. Smh

      • Yes. Simply because one has a personality disorder doesn’t mean that it’s the disorder’s fault that they cheat. Cheating is an active choice. Nathan’s more accurate self-description would be “I am an asshole and I have a cluster B disorder.”

        Or he could be a trifecta of asshole, personality disorder, and on the spectrum–but being on the spectrum doesn’t mean that you don’t feel things or aren’t capable of empathy. Someone on the spectrum may show emotion differently, but they still feel emotion. Don’t blame assholery on autism. The two are totally different.

        • I should say that CheaterX’s marriage to Schmoopie didn’t last long at all. She, of course, was cheating on him the entire time he was cheating on me. Who’da thunk?

          Anyway, in a Sad Sausage voice memo to me, asking me to forgive him without him apologizing, he mentioned he’d been to a therapist, who thought he might be BPD or have some kind of mental health issue and it would take extra time to figure out what it was. Anyway, he decided that no one in medicine knows anything, and he was convinced that he had Dissociative Identity Disorder, which explained everything. For me, he was “Dick,” but for Schmoopie, he was “Richard.” Richard was his cheater personality.

          Typical cheater–trying to shift the blame away from his shitty choices.

          • Ex thought he might have autism – which is supposed to be a superpower nowadays – or ADD. He also talked a lot about having a ‘mother wound’. Those things might well be true, but don’t inevitably lead to lying to and deceiving your partner. That’s bad character.

          • His evidence of DID, an extremely rare condition, was that he was called Dick in one relationship and Richard in another? Clue; that’s a variation of the same name, dude.
            “I didn’t do it. Richard did!”😂
            That totally belongs in Stupid Shit Cheaters Say.

          • So true kb. Ex said he didn’t know who that man was that cheated(It was him) Totally not taking any responsibility for his actions.

    • He doesn’t need a therapist to differentiate the spectrum he’s on. That’s an easy one; he’s on the spectrum of cheaters, admittedly a serial cheater.

      When someone tells you they’re happy and had a good week it’s not a puzzle to solve Nathan. She must have picked up in the fact that either you didn’t care or you wanted to wipe that smile off her face. Centrality.

  • This letter sounds like, voice wise, what in my imagination, my ex Husband’s inner chatter might sound like. Then I say, nah, he doesn’t even have this guy’s level of shallow thought. So I’ll give the writer credit for actually sort of possibly thinking about anyone else’s feelings albeit through his own selfish filter. In the end, though, I’m just thinking, how much freakin more do people like this want ?? They are black holes of selfish neediness that’s beyond my comprehension most of the time. She had a good week because there were no bimbo eruptions and you laid off fucking with her head. You didn’t go on a bender. You didn’t kick her dog or torture the children with your rants. There was money in the account for food and all the bills got paid. And you didn’t fuck with her head. How much more do we need to spell it out for you?

    • This. There is noooo satisfying them. Nothing is ever enough. They love nothing more than dysfunction.
      She’ll be even happier without him and he knows it. If she had a great week last week and he’s here griping about it it means he been fake with her all week. Giving her a false sense of security .
      He can’t keep it up.

      • Yes, they love the DRAAAAMMMAAA. So exciting, so invigorating, so addictive.

        It is revealed in all kinds of ways–Hannibal Lecher used to love to provoke fights that would leave me devastated, then he loved the high of making up. If something bad happened, he would exclaim, “It’s a disaster!” No, I would remind him that disasters included things like tsunamis and earthquakes and famine, not the dishwasher breaking down.

        I decided I like peace. Drama should be something that I need a ticket to watch in a packed auditorium.

        • I love that Tempest. I just dumped a toxic friend like I did my toxic ex, father of my children. For too many years I let myself get sucked into their drama, because it felt familiar. I’m completely done with the friend. And in 25 months I’ll be done with the ex when my youngest emancipates.

          I may suffer the occasional crises that come with a full life, but the only drama will be on stage or screen.

        • THIS!!!! The cheater once commented that we always fight on Fridays and then the whole weekend is ruined. He tried to claim I did this cyclically and I remember being confused thinking “who would want a whole weekend repeatedly ruined??” He did. The cyclical nature was him. I so agree that the only thing they have to live for is drama. And I agree with one of the posts above that it is absolutely boring and tiring to read their thoughts once you are out of the hell hole. I honestly shake my head at the fact that I ever sobbed or cared about losing him. I now thank the heavens for my freedom. It was like being stuck in middle school indefinitely. Who wants that??? More importantly, it is hilarious that they think we want to beg for a life of that. Once the mindfuck passes and we see clearly, none of us would choose a life with them.

      • “There is noooo satisfying them. Nothing is ever enough.”

        Exactly! That’s why I wouldn’t even be friends with people like that. Even if we were never romantically involved and I wasn’t cheated on, that personality type just loves chaos and destruction in all of their interpersonal relationships and nothing you do will satisfy them. Why bother?

  • Nathan you are just a textbook cheater. You can’t or won’t admit you cheat because you feel entitled. Just like my ex He only told me bits and pieces of the truth. Became angry when I asked any question. My ex wasn’t sorry when he lied and cheated with my cousin. He was sorry because he got caught.
    I suspect you are getting the itch to cheat again. And you are most likely using your girlfriends happiness as an excuse. Do your girlfriend a favor and leave. You will never understand the hurt and betrayal being cheated on. But, I am sure you get off on lying and cheating.

  • Call me cynical but i really really don’t believe Nathan when he says he will never cheat again .

    He admits he is a serial cheater in every relationship and i can’t see why he would stop just because he has had some therapy.

    I truly believe you either have it in you to cheat or you don’t its a character problem as CL says .

    No normal person gets up one morning brushes their teeth and thinks you know what i think i will try and cheat on my partner today . Its a deeply seated issue and one that i don’t think can be changed even with therapy.

  • What kind of vapid, navel-gazing, bullshit is this?

    I’m calling troll on this one. Nobody can possibly this stupid. I would rather have a pap smear than try to figure this asshole out.

    C’mon Nathan, at least be a tiny bit interesting.

    • Every time I publish a cheater letter (I get a bunch!) people think I’m being trolled. Think of your ex, my ex, they’re THIS vapid and lame.

      I run them (on occasion, usually I resist) because it’s a look into what bullshit people tell themselves to cheat. I hope chumps take from it — it’s not you, you didn’t cause this.

      • I think you’re all putting way too much thought into this. The letter is from a sociopath. Sociopaths are unable to feel other people’s emotions, be they happy or sad. The sociopath even admits it.

        You’re all trying to explain concepts to a person who’s incapable of understanding. It’s like trying to explain orange to a colorblind person.

        • While it’s cathartic to vent in our posts, GDD is right. If Nathan “can’t feel” then he’s on the Cluster B spectrum, not autism / aspberger or bipolar. Both of those conditions bring intense feeling.

          After this skewering I bet Nathan will do a little more research and circle back, writing in as a poor sex addict like my ex and his monkey circus of CSATs.

        • I respectfully disagree with those who feel that the occasional dissection of a cheater’s mind isn’t useful for us to see. The point isn’t whether or not CL can argue a case that will change Nathan – she can’t – it’s to put on full display how fundamental, how deeply rooted, their disordered thinking and feelings are.

          As I read this, it is so fascinating to see how lost in himself every thought is for this guy. How every situation he faces reflexively bends back to him and his own emotional state and away from even the most rudimentary levels of accountability and empathy. The things CL literally had to explain to him, like if you cared about her you’d want to save her from pain rather than get her to fix yours, are just so basic and yet completely out of reach for this guy. His brain not only can’t produce the most basic empathy, it can’t even recognize that it can’t. And this is a disordered who wants to change! It’s fascinating (and proof) to see the obtuseness to his own distorted thinking and sympathy seeking. You are right, he is a sociopath. Dr. Martha Stout, when asked for the quickest way to identify a sociopath, said “oh that’s easy…whenever a sociopath is faced with accountability, they invariably seek sympathy as though they are the victim.” That’s all this guy’s letter is…one big cry for himself.

          It is so informative just to see a distant example so plainly laid out. This is the exact same disordered brain so many of us must deal with.

  • I keep hearing an old Dr Pepper jingle in my head, substituting Cheater for Pepper: I’m a Cheater, she’s a Cheater…wouldn’t you like to be a Cheater too?

    Lost in the fine print is that Nathan’s girlfriend is a cheater too! While he is rapidly cycling through his limited cheater feelings channels, she is happy! And possibly cheating again! I’m happy that Nathan’s soulmate is also a cheater & that he is totally confused by life with a cheater! Wow! This is what Karma looks like! Sorry Nathan but I’m out of empathy!

  • Nathan
    Enough of the self pitying party for yourself. I agree with Let Go.. grow up!! Your post is all about you.
    End the relationship and allow her to find a real man.
    Character problem can’t be helped with therapy IMO.

  • It makes me sick to my stomach to read your crap Nathan! One thing fuckwits like you are good at is twisting things for sadz kibbles. You cheat on her but you’re more hurt? What kind of hog wash is that shit?

    Ya, my xh would admit to just enough truth in order to get sympathy and me to want to help poor him. He just didnt getvit afterall. He really wanted to be a better person after all but, he just didn’t know how to. Ya right!

    This kind of crap is just another form of manipulation. We’re chumps. We go mushy when others admit their failures. We empathize too much when someone else says they hurt. We want to help. We want to make others feel better. We support others owning up to their mistakes trying to better themselves. Fickwits know this. Nathan knows this. It’s a f’ing twisted game to them.

    How many of us got hooked and reeled in by the kind of pathetic victim sadz crap like Nayhan spewed? Both hands raised here. It works for him. So he continues to use it. There will be some major chump that will want to come to his rescue and help him. You know, because he wants to change so much and all. If he wanted to change he would. He wouldn’t be spewing to is about how it’s so hard and hurts him so much.

    Good for all of us to recognize Nathan’s spew as total manipulative bullshit! Now, we just need to apply that knowledge to the next fuckwit we meet instead of falling for it!

  • P.S. I think I felt sick to my stomach when reading his letter because I knew I would have fallen for this crap in the past. I would have defended him by saying/thinking things like, “But he admitted to doing wrong. He recognizes it, feels bad, andbis so sorry. He’s trying his hardest to change. He has gone therapy for over a year. He’s doing the work. Poor him, he just needs a little help in guiding him along on the right path. I know I can help him get there. He has so much potential. I know deep in his heart & soul is a good loving person.”

    Omg, I was so delusional & such a sucker for this kind of crap-o-la! That’s really what the stomach ache is about.

    • Yes, all this is just a way of discarding without actually cheating, which is obvs right out atm for Nathan cause he wants to be good now 😁

  • It’s all about the duping Nathan and you know it. There’s nothing special about your latest; I’m guessing she cheated with you also.

    Both cheaters and their affair partner know what they’ve got. Neither are special. She doesn’t want to hear about your past conquests; she believes she’s special. Same old, same old cheater speak. What’s missing will always be trust and commitment to each other. And you wouldn’t be the first to con a therapist with your pity party. Two cheaters together make a perfect match. Acceptance comes easy or it should. You both know you can’t trust each other and there’s no thrill as the years pass.

    My take away is that you know what you are and are seeking validation to leave before she does. Narcs always justify

  • Cluster B. Incurable. Clusterfuck.

    He should seek out someone like himself so that it is at least mutual.

  • Sounds like my STBX. Who cheated on me while I was pregnant and got his AP pregnant. He likes to tell me that I’m nice to people so they feel bad for me- and that no one wants to hear his side of the story and he hurts too and feels so much guilt. Sorry bud…. when you cheat on a pregnant woman, it never looks good no matter how you dice it. I don’t want people to feel bad for me- and I don’t have to work for it. They just do, and you’re so self absorbed that you’re blind to it.

  • I can tell you why you don’t understand her happiness Nate, because you don’t care.

    Your entire letter is all about you. It’s all “me me me, I, I, I” you even said you barely mention her. You’ve cheated on every single partner.

    You cheat on every partner because you don’t give a shit about how they feel. You cheated on this partner because you don’t give a shit about how she feels. You don’t understand how she had a good week because you don’t give a shit. You are entirely self-focused, self-absorbed, and everything is all about you. If you’re not feeling it, thinking it, doing it, or if it doesn’t have anything immediately to do with you, you don’t care. That’s how you’re making the cheating about you and YOUR pain.

    Ohhh oooo pooor meeee I’m uncomfortable it hurrrrts.

    CL is right, that’s called accountability. Being held accountable to the harmful things you did to someone else. That’s not pain, it’s responsibility. Y’know. Like a grown adult. (Seriously you sound like a teenager.)

    You know exactly what you were looking for. You were looking for a pity party. You won’t get it here. I seriously doubt “everyone” is telling you you’re a better person and how great you’re doing. Normal people don’t need to be told not to cheat, they don’t need a year and a half of therapy to learn how to behave in a relationship, and they don’t need a set of instructions on how to care about literally anyone other than themselves.

    You’re not hurt. You just don’t like being held responsible for being a cheating jerk. And nobody here is going to kiss your ass.

    Maybe you feel like you’re wasting her time because you are. Seriously. CL had to explain to you how to talk to someone about how they had a good week. If someone says to you “I had a good week” you don’t go “well I didn’t notice” you ask them about it. That line alone tells me you don’t understand why she’s happy because you just. Don’t. Care. That IS wasting her time.

    I don’t care if you want to continue the relationship. It’s been far too much about what you want for far too long. If you can barely muster the ability to give a crap about one week out of her life, you need to leave and let her find someone who doesn’t need an instruction booklet on how to care.

  • This guy is a raging Narcissist, on top of being a complete asshole. He deserves zero sympathy and his girlfriend needs to dump him asap.

  • The letter writer says his pattern is: he cheats, then he shuts down and pulls away. I suggest that he was already shut down when he came into the relationship.
    Assuming the letter writer is not cluster B, I think he needs to ask himself if he feels he deserves any sort of emotional intimacy, or is he cheating to beat his partner to the punch? And yes, therapy is difficult. It is very difficult to look at your deep dark parts of yourself and work through it. Spoiler alert: it’s going to take longer than a year and a half. Also, therapy doesn’t work on everyone. But if he is willing to to do the work, I think he could help him in the long run. If the girlfriend decides to stay with him, that’s really her choice and he’s not responsible for that; he’s only responsible for how he treats her while they’re together (Hint: stop cheating on her. And if he can’t stop himself, breakup and stop putting her at risk for STDs).

    • He needs Dr. George Simon as a therapist to chip away at his personality disorder. And that will take years.

  • When people show you who they are, believe your own eyes. Do not listen to their excuses, or blame shifting. Going to a therapist does not indicate a commitment to change. If they cheated in the past, but now claim faux remorse, don’t fall for their description of what happened. If a man told you he murdered his first wife, but now was so sorry, and he would never murder you, would you happily get in line to be wife #2?

    I believe people can change. I changed after I sought therapy –for me, not for a relationship — because I was unhappy about what I felt was a disconnect in my brain between the way I was raised and the real world I lived in. I was raised in a dysfunctional community which excused male behaviors for almost everything they did, because they were just men. I was raised by women who were enablers. But my education and life experience told me I needed to be independent, and that there were consequences for bad choices. It took a lot of work, and study, and dedication to living a better life, and time for me to change. Now, I do not enable. Now I hold people accountable for their choices (including me!). Now I am much happier.

    The only thing I learned about forgiving a cheater and trying to move forward was that he was going to cheat again and expect to be forgiven, again. That doesn’t work well for me. Lose a cheater, gain a life is much better!

  • I think that Nathan sounds very young. The fact that he reads Chump Lady and has been in therapy for a year and a half tells me a lot. How old are you Nathan ? If you’re under 30 and this cheating did not happen in a marriage, please give yourself a break. If you really strive for a committed relationship, and you’re working towards that now, it will be in your future. If that isn’t something you want, but rather to just not cheat, you’re not with the right person yet. It also sounds like you’re a bit insecure and unsure of yourself. Find someone you look up to, set goals and become the person you want to be. This is your life. Live it with integrity and a lot of self esteem issues will get in line behind integrity. Also, if you’re lying to your partner, you may be lying in other areas of your life. Stop with white lies and thinking you don’t have will power. Take a 30 day self help course, it’s time and you’re ready.

  • “Maybe I want to be told I’m unique and on a good path.”

    That’s the one. You want Chump Lady to pronounce you a unicorn. The trouble is, you aren’t. Remorseful cheaters don’t whine about being “hurt” by the process of change. They might acknowledge that it’s hard, bit to say you’re more hurt than her? You’re looking for pity kibbles and gaslighting her by denying her reality, which is that being cheated on hurts like a bitch and being a cheater does not. Self-improvement doesn’t hurt.
    CL is right. You are not relationship material. Given that your partner was also a cheater, she’s invested in believing cheaters can change. Her “happiness” is predicated on a belief she needs to hold to keep her own self image intact. So she’s probably not relationship material either. It’s even possible, given her history, that she seems happy because she’s revenge cheating on you.
    Wake up and smell the rot. You don’t “register” her emotions or your own cheating inclinations? Either you’re not just on the spectrum, but severely autistic (in which case you could neither compose this letter nor participate in the “communication” you say is so great) or it’s just your way of saying “I live in denial as my go-to coping strategy”.
    Yeah, the second one, which means you have a lot more work to do.

  • Nathan I’m not going to blast you or your ex. I simply think this relationship isn’t healthy for either of you and you need to move on, be on your own and figure out how to be a good person so you can have stronger relationships. Let her go and hopefully she can do the same.

  • Nathan. Change your name to Benedict, it’s more telling.
    You make assumptions. In Quality Assurance circles the word Assume means ‘to make an ass of you and me’.
    I’ll answer your maybes.
    You are a POS
    You are wasting her time
    You are Not unique
    You do not care about her.
    And finally,..
    You are pathetic.
    You’ll not find many if any pity here.
    Buy a plant and see if you can develop a relationship with it first. Human beings are beyond your capacity.

  • If two serial cheaters trying to have a relationship isn’t a recipe for disaster, I don’t know what is. How can the two of you have one iota to respect for each other? Where there is no respect, there is no honesty. My own cheater believed that he was the most tortured soul alive. No one experienced pain and suffering like he did. He had no empathy for anyone else’s misfortunes. He actively wished ill on other people. If he saw someone getting ahead in life, he spewed vitriol towards them. So I have some insight into people, like Nathan, who don’t believe anyone else can hurt like they do. Here’s a tip, emotionally healthy people don’t have huge highs and lows in their everyday behavior. Happiness, contentment, as well as sadness and anger aren’t displayed with dramatic flair by most people. Emotionally mature people maintain a pretty even keel outwardly, even in situations that elicit strong emotions. I vote that Nathan and his partner call it quits and make a conscious choice to stop inflicting damage on any additional unsuspecting chumps.

  • IDK – they are both cheaters – I just think two cheaters deserve one another. The trust issues would be horrid for both of them.

    Real change is incredibly hard when you don’t have a personality disorder – can’t imagine changing when you do have one.

  • We have one comment from sad ol’ Nathan claiming she is a cheater too. Come on folks, that’s cheater basic training.

    I’m surprised that so many Chumps are taking his word for it.

    • Great point Pearshaped! Glad you brought that up. Narcs do that all the time.

      My xh had told me his first marriage ended because his xw cheated on him & was all convincingly. sadz & crushed over it. I believed him & fell for it. Come to find out shortly after our divorce, he was the one who had cheated on her. Of course. Had I known that, I wouldn’t have married him. Well, I’d like to think I wouldn’t have. Knowing now how chumpy I was most likely I still would have let him convince me it would be different with me.

  • He will never cheat again because of their great communication. Not because he believes cheating is WRONG or HARMFUL. No mention that he wouldn’t want to again. It’s just because they communicate now.

    So next time when he decides they aren’t communicating——–

    • I’ve never understood what “communication” has to do with not deceiving someone? You don’t know that your partner doesn’t want to be cheated on? You don’t know that it’s wrong?

      The bullshit that comes out of the mouths of cheaters is exhausting.

  • So I’m reading this and wondering if it’s my ex husband and I get to the name and it’s his name! What the hell?!

  • All I kept thinking while i was reading the article was, “wow, this guy’s such a whiny little b*****.” Please, spare me and the rest of us the poor me antics.

  • I believe that if Nathan was truly serious about wanting to be a better person and not cheating anymore, he would end the relationship with this current chump. If he truly felt badly for what he’s done to her and felt he doesn’t deserve a second chance, no matter how hard he’s trying to change, he would leave her. He wouldn’t ask “why is she still with me?” He would pull the plug himself. Why do I think this? Because my ex did this often. Wonder why women liked and forgave him so much. Yet he didn’t end it with any of them. They all had to dump him.

    I do believe in reform but the only way that can ever happen is if the person wanting to reform GETS OVER HIM/HERSELF! You are a victim of your own crap, yes, but other people are also victims of your crap. You are not the only one. Be realistic with who you are and how that affects not just you but others and maybe a light will be shone and you’ll change. But I don’t see that happening ever with serial cheaters because part of the reason why they cheat is because they’ve turned their entitlement into a martyr complex. “Oh look at me, I’m such an asshole. I’m such a POS. I don’t deserve goodness. Might as well do whatever I want because why have a conscience? I don’t deserve to have one!”

  • Nathan, you sound like a carbon copy of my lying, cheating, thieving, abusive ex. Get over yourself and do the right thing. Yeah right! You are wasting her time. You are exactly what you think you are. If you truly wanted to change, no amount of pain and discomfort would be too much. You ain’t gonna change and you haven’t. Don’t fool yourself. Let her go. And for the love of everything that is good, don’t get into another committed relationship ever again, until you are ready to commit 100 %. Until then, be honest – tell the other person you want to screw them over and everything/one else that shows you some attention. Oh wait, honesty ain’t your sauce, now is it. Hmmmm….

  • I think Nathan is being sincere and it is awfully revealing. If you’ve habitually followed your impulses, then you are accustomed to rewards and pleasures of your own choosing. People tell you that improving your character will bring different rewards. But Nathan doesn’t understand that the rewards of character are largely internal. I feel good about the fact that I don’t cheat and I return lost wallets. I do not get much in the way of external rewards for these good (i.e. ordinary) deeds. Nathan is still looking for a ticker-tape parade to honor the fact he is behaving as he ought. Life without cheating is kind of dull for him and there’s no confetti and champagne toasts either.

    There is probably a next step that his therapist should be suggesting. Once you’ve stopped actively hurting people, try actively helping the world. It might be easier to understand internal rewards once you start doing things that improve life–walking dogs for the humane society or contributing to a Habitat build (options are endless).

    Good character is a daily practice; it may become easier as it becomes habitual, but selfless or even equitable decisions do not ever really become glamorous or exciting.

    The aspect of Nathan’s relationship that gives me pause is that he is hanging so much on his partner’s happiness. Even assuming that Nathan keeps his word and never considers cheating again, his partner is not always going to be happy. Bad things happen. Nathan’s partner’s happiness cannot be the barometer for measuring character development. He has swung from ignoring his partner’s happiness to depending on it. That’s an improvement but not a long term solution.

    Nathan seems to sense that he isn’t really comprehending the scope of the self-improvement project. He’s right.

  • It should not be surprising that cheaters (who are the epitome of selfishness) cannot empathize, cannot think about anyone else’s feelings, and simply always see themselves as the victims somehow. A truly remorseful person would be bending over backwards to redeem themselves, to try and soothe the pain of the one they hurt, but no, time and time again, the cheater only thinks of themselves.

    This guy is incredibly effed up. I wish people like him had to have tattoos so any decent person could avoid them.

  • I loved this letter and found it hilarious – it’s a glimpse into what life for serial cheaters is like. Everything we basically knew it would be, but always seem to ask about regardless. “How can he/she be happy?” They can’t. End of story.

  • Tracy, yes! I briefly mentioned my ex’s mentality being very similar to this guy. So it’s not much of a stretch to believe Nathan could be a ‘real’ fucktard. I never realized what a narc my ex was til I busted him. Sad sausage one minute, vacillating to some unbelievable excuses the next. (He didn’t pay for sex, he was just buying self esteem. Just like me buying a nice new pair of shoes)

    His wondering aloud about how I could still be with him really was a play for ego kibbles. “Nathan” could be my ex, for all I know.

  • Chump Lady, thank you for posting this letter. It was clear proof that I am at Meh. Please continue to occasionally post their vapid letters. It really does help to have such clear proof from where the disorder stemmed in the relationship.

  • Sooooo …..a cheater is living with a cheater and is concerned A. He might cheat or B. She might cheat ? ……. seems legit ……. sounds perfect, as you were Nathan.

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