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He Thinks He’s Done ‘Nothing Wrong’

Dear Chump Lady,

I am a month out from D-Day. After noticing a bunch of suspicious late night phone calls, I “accidentally” saw some Instagram DMs from my husband to a co-worker (in which he referred to himself as “self-partnered” and sent a bunch of “miss you” messages with kissy-face emojis.)

When I confronted him about it he immediately confessed to a three month affair with this woman, and told me that he wanted a trial separation while he “figured out” his feelings. I went out of town for a few days to see friends and decompress, and when I got back, he was living with this woman! When I demanded to know what was going on he told me that he wished that we had never gotten married, and that he wanted to leave me “years ago.” He said that he might regret his decision, but that he would regret “not doing it” more.

The thing is, we have only been married for six months (although living together for 12 years)! It was just this past summer that he took vows to me in front of all of our family and friends, on a beautiful day that he declared “the happiest day of his life.” How could he change his mind so quickly, and discard me for someone he barely knows? How can he suddenly not love me anymore, immediately after publicly declaring his love for me? We hadn’t even finished sending out thank you cards for our wedding yet!

I found this site early on and immediately went no contact, but I do know that karma is hitting him pretty hard. I have (so far) made out better than him financially in the split, kept our pets and all of our shared friends. Since I live in a small city where everyone knows everyone, I know that many of his friends, co-workers, and even his boss were completely disgusted by his behavior, and many of them have reached out to me to tell me so and offer their support. And yet he seems to think he has done nothing wrong. When I initially confronted him, he told me that “things like this happen all the time” and that I would “get over it.” He also told me that he needed to be happy, that it didn’t seem like I had been happy in the marriage either (I was!) and that this was probably all for the best, since we should have broken up years ago (news to me! WE JUST GOT MARRIED!)

Chump Lady, the past month has been the most devastating of my life, and I am so, so, sad, all the time. I miss him (or who I thought he was) and want the life I thought I had back. But more than that, I want him to acknowledge or at least FEEL that he has done something awful here. I want him to know that he did something wrong and that his actions are NOT ACCEPTABLE. The thought that he gets to completely destroy my life and then walk away guilt free is eating me up inside. The thought that he thinks his behavior is completely fine makes me feel like my feelings don’t matter at all. When will he see how much pain he has caused me?

Sincerely,

newlywedchump

Dear Newlywedchump,

When will he see the pain he caused? When glaciers melt and refreeze into ice swan sculptures at gay Saudi weddings.

If he was the kind of person who cared, he wouldn’t be the kind of person who cheated. No one who truly loved you could brutally discard you this way, when the ink on the wedding thank you notes wasn’t even dry.

You’ll notice that for all your suckitude — how simply awful you were for so long! that he couldn’t break up with you! but was compelled by powerful unseen forces to vow eternity in front of all his friends and family! — he was mute.

You busted HIM. For three months of his honeymoon glow he was screwing around on you — content in cake — until you discovered those messages. Presented with a choice: a.) “I Am a Terrible Person or b.) Newlywedchump Is a Terrible Person, he went with option b. Why only a Terrible Person could make him do those terrible things! He’s not sorry because why should he be? You’re Terrible!

When I initially confronted him, he told me that “things like this happen all the time” and that I would “get over it.”

He’s gaslighting you. Of course it’s a big fucking deal. Him acting like he bumped into your shopping cart, or dinged your car, is pure mindfuckery. Let’s say it for the umpteenth time for the fuckwits in the back — cheating doesn’t “just happen” — it’s planned. He cheated on you with aforethought. Because he could. Because he’s a fraud.

How could he change his mind so quickly, and discard me for someone he barely knows? How can he suddenly not love me anymore, immediately after publicly declaring his love for me?

You’re untangling the skein. You can’t understand it because you’re not wired like that. He’s not that deep. He doesn’t bond like normal people bond.

I also had a D-Day six months after my wedding. I too was gobsmacked how someone could do such a thing. Turns out, in my case (and I’m going to guess yours too, I’m sorry), I was dealing with a serial cheater. Why would he marry me? He needed a chump. A respectable front. Money. A spousal appliance. Quite simply, I was of use. And so were you.

And the high stakes poker of it all — getting me to invest deeper and deeper in him — was all part of the thrill. My sorrow was a turn-on too. Kibbles! I care! These freaks hate the bad guy narrative, but they love the centrality. The only response is to stay NO CONTACT.

I want him to acknowledge or at least FEEL that he has done something awful here.

That’s giving him centrality. Every time you want something from him (answers, fidelity, your garlic press back), it’s an opportunity for him to abuse you.

Drop the “shoulds.” Should he feel awful? YES. Of course he should. He doesn’t. That’s the shit sandwich of injustice and you have to eat it for your own safety. No contact is more important. Don’t let this freak back into your life for anything! Not answers or lame apologies or kitchen gadgets you can buy for $8.99 at a CVS.

The thought that he gets to completely destroy my life and then walk away guilt free is eating me up inside.

A very wise woman who escaped a domestic abuser once told me something after my D-Day. “Some people destroy every life they touch.”

Your soon-to-be-ex is one of these Frankensteins. His punishment is being him. I know that feels VERY unsatisfying now. But he has to go through life a freak, never bonding deeply, never examining his shitty life choices, grasping for all the shiny ephemeral gimcracks. It’s much better to be you, however much it hurts now, you’re REAL.

And don’t let him destroy your life! Take that life BACK! Rebuild!

The thought that he thinks his behavior is completely fine makes me feel like my feelings don’t matter at all.

Your feelings matter. The problem is you’re looking to a fuckwit to validate your feelings. Hang on to your moral commonsense — of COURSE his behavior is completely WRONG. The only reason this feels mind-bending is because you’re asking him to agree. He has a vested interest (i.e., “I’m Splendid”!) to not agree with you.

Surround yourself with people who show concern about your feelings. Who treat you with respect and honesty. That’s how you dig out of this dark place, by loving yourself more than you love a fuckwit, and letting the right people validate you.

Oh and, don’t give two thoughts about the OW. He identifies as “self-partnered.” Which is about the truest thing he could say about himself. Good luck with that.

You’re out. Thank God. (((Big hugs))

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.
    • But in this case it is a very useful exercise. Newlywedchump is young and will need to navigate through and know how to avoid the other narcissists who are out there.

      I still can’t get over how I let myself put up with one for more than 40 years.

      • True, as they say knowledge is power. Educating yourself on narcissistic behavior will help avoid future narcissists in all relationships.
        Acceptance that this is who he is. An imposter. When ex walked out I was certain he had suffered a stroke, a brain tumor or injury? body building supplements? a mental breakdown?
        He couldn’t be aware of what he was doing and I would be the good wife and stand by him until he snapped out of it. I had this fantasy of him coming around and thanking me for being a good wife, standing by him, I’d remind him of our vows, in sickness and health… then we’d ride off into the sunset, to live happily ever after.
        Like you ClearWaters, I can’t believe I put up with all that I did for 20 years.

        • I agree on researching in narcissists. There’s a lot of great videos on YouTube.

          I was married to a covert narcissist for 17 years, together 20. We have 2 kids together. He left me for a woman he had known for 6 months. She lied to us about her education, her job, how she got her dogs, and faked cancer. That’s right folks, she FAKED CANCER! When I figured out her lies (at the time I thought she was a friend), he was furious is me. Turns out I ruined their plans to run away together. We separated 2 months after I revealed her lies, filed for divorce a week after that, and he moved her in the day I closed on my house even though I hasn’t ready to move out yet.

          It’s been almost 2 years and I am still shocked at times. Especially when Facebook kindly pops up pictures from the past. I deleted any of him or the two of us, but not the ones with our kids. I look at them and wonder how he went from loving father to complete monster. It’s confusing, because it’s like he has 2 personalities. I now know he abused me throughout our marriage (with the help of a good therapist) but it doesn’t make sense.

          I try not to get too caught up in untangling the skein, but it’s hard to raise your kids with someone who does this. It’s hard to trust him with my kids when he constantly uses them to continue to abuse me.

          Narcissists are exhausting. There’s no true coparenting, it’s his way or screams of “YOU ARE NOT COPARENTING” when I don’t immediately agree. Anything the kids do that he doesn’t like are somehow my fault. The kids run out of clean clothes at his house and I’m blamed for not doing laundry at my house. It’s constant and I’m always on guard waiting for the next assault. I never know which version of him I’m going to get and I can’t let my guard down for a second because everything is eventually used against me.

          The good news is that narcissists are predictable. I know what his motives are and it makes it easier to ignore him and laugh at his antics. I wish it was easier, I wish I divorced the man I married, instead of this shell of a human who was pretending to be someone he has no capabilities to actually be.

          • Tiredmama…same here, lovely responsible husband and father that became a monster. And yesterday I had to listen to my daughter tell me “she would rather be at dad’s” because he lets her be in the computer all the time and also did not take them to school when they’re tired. I live a parallel universe, I literally envy anyone that has a “normal” life. Rich or poor. I am trying as much NC as possible but the sadness of living this life doesn’t leave me for a minute. 3 years for me. I deleted my Facebook app from my phone so I don’t really check on it anymore, but I made sure I left ALL my pics with him and our happy family so the OW can stalk me and see how he wasn’t ashamed of us and is of her. She is forbidden to post anything that evens hints at their relationship. Apparently it’s because he doesn’t want “his crazy jealous ex-wife (yours truly) to make a scandal. I am horrible, I know!

          • ((((TiredMama)))

            “Narcissists are exhausting”
            THIS⬆️SOTRUE

            I am so sorry for all you are going through, but I am so glad you do not live under the same roof as him.
            Continue to be the sane, present, loving parent.

            My cheater/narc stayed. I continued to be the sane, present, loving parent to our two daughters.

            My narc, conveniently, forgets his past. He says he did not have condoms lining his travel duffelbag. He did not have an affair, with a perfect ow. I am a horrible, terrible, person whenever I question him about this unknown mystery woman. Poof, just like that she is gone, never was.
            Well, there is NO delete button in my heart and in my brain.

            So sad, but narcs are all the same.
            I am so sorry that you have to co parent with him, but be thankful that, at least, it is from a distance.

            Stay strong.
            I truly believe You are Mighty!
            ( I understand)

            Xxxxxxxx
            peacekeeper

      • 26 years and I didn’t see it. My misogynist STBX Brother-in-Law always used to tell his brothers ‘look to the mother’ about the women they married. If I had looked to their mother I would have seen what a horrendous narcissist she was and would have run for the hills. STBXH and his brothers are just the same. I hope he doesn’t take his brother’s advice this time round because the 27 years ago girlfriend’s mother is even worse. I don’t believe in karma but ….

        • My mom is reasonably narcissist and I don’t think that makes me one! I simply suffered abuse growing up….

          • Thanks Marissa. My mum is an unreasonable narcissist and I suffered abuse growing up. I’m an empath, my MIL is a narcissist and so are her sons. I didn’t understand at the time that I had married my mother. In fact I was like my father, an enabler of abuse against myself. I agree that all situations are different and I was not suggesting that all those with narcissist parents are the same. My experience suggests that they can be and they also might not be.

            • This is my dynamic to a T. I didn’t realize I married my mother either and enabled my abuse by trying to make him human with kindness. I didn’t even know I was doing it. What a waste of 25 years.

  • In a crazy way this reminds me of the Chris Watts story. He was able to pretend to be normal until he couldn’t and then got rid of his wife by murdering her. Who knows what makes people put these masks on. Perhaps they lie to themselves that a commitment will stop the crazy in their heads. The experts try to put them in categories. I don’t think it’s that cut and dried. Sometimes you get a dud. Who cares how they got that way. Cut the rope. Let his boat drift away. You’ve got better things to do in your life than try to make sense of the senseless.

    My brother and his kids got dumped. He got pissed, moved on happily. He never tried to figure out his ex. He was done. He did not pain shop. I watched a man who was heartbroken make up his mind that he deserved better and he found it.

    • Precious Let go, you said: “Sometimes you get a dud. Who cares how they got that way. Cut the rope. Let his boat drift away. You’ve got better things to do in your life than try to make sense of the senseless.”

      Thank you for putting it so succinctly! I saved this to my ‘Quotes to Inspire’
      I sure hope newlywedchump heeds your wise words of advice

      Love all of this great nation as we all continue to ForgeOn!

      • Saving the quote as well.

        Wish I hadn’t waited so long to cut the rope and let him drift away.
        A bonus if he drifted into the mouth of a very hungry shark.

        Thank you Let go.

        • I, too need to respond to LetGo…

          I realize the Bundy story has been medied to death but there’s a new (docuseries) show on Amazon with a completely different angle coming from his ‘much loved’ and ‘worshipped’ and very young g/f and he was good to her young daughter. Different from Chris Watts but the same need to have an intimate family and have a good public impression while he went out and got away with murder so many times . Bundy’s g/f and daughter were lucky to get out alive…but a lot of emotional trauma still remains.

          • SheChump, Thanks for sharing that there’s a new documentary on Bundy.

            I married a psychopath. 30 yrs together, 25 married. He led a double life. No murders but white collar crime. So covert. So calculated. Did this to his first family too. He kept calling the X crazy, so I never contacted them. But after my D day, I did and learned he was the common denominator.

            Ironically, he was as in the Coast Guard, so not only did I cut the cord to let him drift away, I kept the anchor – me, myself and I. I’m sure by now he’s run out of gas for the outboard motor and will drift aimlessly for the rest of his life. If I’m lucky, he’ll encounter a lightning storm in his metal boat and I’ll never have to speak to him again.

            All true… He was in the Coast Guard and there was an excursion where we ran out of gas and had to be towed and there was another time he took us out in the middle of a storm and had to hit the closest shore to avoid lightning. In both cases, I questioned that he had really been in the Coast Guard.

    • Exactly this! Reading up on narcissists and emotional abusers are mainly for us, the chumps, to make sure that we won’t fall into similar patterns of allowing people to walk all over us. Learning about healthy relationships as well as how to identify red flags is a very useful skill!

      I don’t care to know if my X will ever be diagnosed as a narcissist or anything else. All I know was that he displayed narcissistic tendencies, was emotionally abusive and a shitty partner. That is all I need to know. What I did was to get away from him as fast as possible, unlearn the mechanisms that kept me with him for so long, and learn about healthy boundaries as I heal.

  • They never get there, Newlywed.

    I’m nearly 2 years out and my cheater recently proudly proclaimed: “You act like you want me to be a mess, well I refuse to live my life that way.” Yep. As always HE deserves happy, no matter what the consequences.

    I have to raise an 8 year old with this douche. A decade left to have to watch him live his best life.

    Walk away from it, honey. Don’t look if you don’t have to, cause he will never feel as bad about this as you.

    • Fearful and Loathing,
      I am halfway through a 12-year ‘sentence’ officially co-parenting with a monstrous human being. The time has flown. In terms of my kids, I just wish that I had more money, time and energy to care for them and were more organized so that I could better manage my/my kids’ lives.

      • RockStarWife
        Don’t we all?!
        Don’t we all wish we had better finances?
        But who guessed we’d be where we are, parenting alone? Starting over later in life? Or worse, struggling to co-parent or parallel parent with a monstrous human being?
        Don’t we all wish we were more organized and weren’t so bone-weary tired? How could we have known that not only were we going to be doing it alone, but often dealing with a person who actively fights against us and wastes what little energy and time we have?
        But we just keep going, and being there for our kids and rocking our lives as best we can. You aren’t alone in your wishings and being bad-ass anyway.

    • I discovered my husband of 28 years was gay, and I discovered it in a traumatic way. He had also been incredibly mean to me in the years and months before I discovered it. When I finally talked with him about what I had found, he said he really was attracted to me and wanted to work on the marriage. With my encouragement, he started working with a counselor. And that began a horrible horrible year of blameshifting and gaslighting and character assassination extreme.

      One night I was sitting on our bed crying from all the cognitive dissonance and grief as I realized how he had used me and yet I was still in love, and he was twisting my love to say if I was really a loving person, I would accept everything he dished out. He had trained me to leave when I cried because punishment. But I was tired, and it was my bed after all.

      He walked by, exasperated, impatient, dismissive, and said: “You can sit there suffering for suffering’s sake. But I am learning! I am growing! And you resent me for it!!!”

  • Great suggestions, CL. Newlywedchump, don’t waste an ounce or minute of your time trying to figure out why he did what he did. He won’t feel bad because he SUCKS! I spent the first 18 months after Dday trying to figure out why my ex blew up our family and am no closer to an answer. Married 24 years (silly me thought happily) and 3 beautiful kids. He threw us away to live in his dead parents house and spend his money drinking and living the single life with a male friend, who walked away from his wife and kids too. It took me a while but now I see that we are so much better off without the loser in our lives. My teens are thriving and are closer to each other than ever. And I just started dating a wonderful man who was chumped by his ex 4 years ago. Good luck!

  • I am so sorry that you are going through this? You said that you wished he would acknowledge that he did something awful. He won’t because he thinks he is entitled. Cheaters think they do no wrong and blame their cheating on the chump. I do think that Chump lady is right. He most likely is a serial cheater. I suspect my ex had multiple affairs. But, I can not prove it. I found old phone records that had two other women’s numbers on them besides my cousins. And I also suspect that he had an affair early on in our marriage. We were married about 10 years and he went on a solo trip to Florida. He never liked to travel alone. He told me he always wanted to go to Florida. The chump that I am thought nothing of it. I later find out that his ex girlfriend from high school was living down there. Even after I found that out I still did not connect the dots. But, now I am certain he went there to meet up with her. Who leaves their wife and children for a solo vacation??
    Cheaters play by their own rules. And any apologies or true remorse you will never get.

    • The fact is, they do not think they have done anything wrong, and they never will. I was recently in the forced company of a seemingly successful, high functioning, narcissistic and misogynistic, alcoholic physician. Divorced, and recently forced out of a lucrative job, with grown children who will no longer speak to him, he was loudly complaining at a party about how losers “hate” him, without a speck of insight why that may be.

      This man truly thinks he is the victim! Even though he has left a trail of broken marriages, damaged relationships, and innocent victims wherever he goes, he still thinks everyone is out to get HIM. Of course, any woman who has escaped his abusive behavior is a vengeful bitch.

      What struck me was his loud insistence that he is well-loved and respected, despite the fact that no one wants to have anything to do with him! In his mind, he is worshipped by all, except those who are envious of his perceived success. It was actually pathetic to see people at the table turn away or even look down when he turned to them for acquiescence.

      He truly cannot understand why no one wants anything to do with him; his decades of bad behavior do not exist in his mind. I am certain that he will never gain insight into his conduct, and he will die alone. Cheaters and their ilk never acknowledge their bad behavior, and that is why they will never change. They are perfect; it is the rest of the world that is fucked up…which is the most fucked up thing of all about them!

      Run, run, run, as fast as you can, and do NOT look back. There is nothing to see when a person’s soul is a black hole.

        • There’s probably something in the archives about this but Violet touched on something I’ve often wondered.
          My kids were 17 & 23 when my ex left for schmoopie. They have not spoken a word to him in FIVE years, total no contact. How is it not a total red flag for someone that their wonderful new love’s adult children have nothing to do with them? I don’t know why there’s not something in her that said “ maybe he’s not as great as I think he is. I mean, his children have nothing to do with him”
          I know…they blame the “crazy ex” for poisoning the relationship. Just bizarre to me.If I was with someone who’s children had nothing to do with him, I’d have to wonder.

          • Paintwidow…..Your point is SO well taken….My two adult daughters wont speak to their father after he abandoned me, abruptly, after a 30 year marriage, 3 months before older daughter’s wedding, for a woman whose is a serial cheater. Her son, whom we didnt know, contacted my daughter, to let her know this sordid past about his mother and to tell us that neither he, nor his brother, have anything to do with their mother. SO—in my case—-TWO cheaters, both with adult children who have disowned them….and both adulterers see themselves as “poor parents’ who want their children but “their children have to want them”. The dysfunction and self-absorption and disassociation is mind-boggling

          • Paintwidow,

            You would question why a divorced person’s teenage/young adult children have nothing to do with them because YOU’RE emotionally healthy. I’ve met men who never even mention their children or criticize them and I run like my hair is on fire.

            I always wondered what the story was with my father Harlow’s second wife and why she didn’t see glaring red flags. She was not, to my knowledge, one of my father’s o.w. and I don’t know why her first marriage ended. I suspect she may have been cheated on. Maybe she didn’t get such a great divorce settlement. My father looks pretty good on paper-prep school/Ivy League educated, former p.r. executive (the irony-professional word salad tosser) and comes from a “good” family. A sparkly turd.

            My older brother (a narcissistic bully) is trauma bonded to my father and was playing nice so he met wife 2.0 R. and even attended their wedding; I wasn’t and didn’t. Harlow tried to force an introduction to R. after a church service when I was a teenager. I shook her hand but didn’t stand around making chit chat. My father was telling everybody that my mother alienated me from him. (Cue the “Sad Sausage” concerto). Very insulting to my intelligence and agency as a young woman. I was there, I witnessed all of it and I lived it.

            Boy did she get a rude awakening when she was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. He didn’t see anything wrong with going on a two week philately/philandering trip to Europe without her. My brother told me one of her teenage sons bought pot for her at his high school to help with the nausea. And I hope she had some close female friends to drive her to appointments and sit with her during chemo.

            My paternal grandmother was troubled that my father didn’t keep in contact with R.’s sons after her death;the four of them lived together in suburban NJ. Talk about wearing blinders. Her son could do no wrong. I kept my mouth shut because her husband, my grandfather,was paying my college tuition but I wanted to yell at her “What the f*ck did you think was going to happen ?! He abandoned his own flesh and blood, me and Darvo !”

            Years later, I went to the local bank to deposit a check from Harlow and wife 3.0 Hell. The teller recognized my father’s name on the check and introduced himself. “Hi I’m So-and-So, R.’s son. Your father was married to my mother.” R.’s sons went to high school a couple of towns over so I had never met the two boys. Can you say awkward ?

            Sometimes I think about contacting the sons to find out “What happened ?” The older one doesn’t look well on Facebook-florid complexion and images of his beer collection. Doesn’t appear to have a job but wife is well employed, they have three kids and are living the life in Morris County, NJ. And the younger one has never married.

            Life goes on.

            • It just blows my mind.
              Here’s the thing….people know what happened with us and still he’s able to spin the story that I’m crazy and alienating and my “kid’s” are under my control.
              Just, wtf???
              My ex is with the homewrecker, I have zero desire to earn her, she’s a cheater too. I will say though that my ex has over the years gone to great lengths to be certain we are never in the same room with each other. Heaven forbid she see for herself that I am none of those things, and neither are our children.
              I doubt it would go over well, but she’s about to marry my ex without even making one attempt to contact or meet our kids.
              Just weird.

  • Really big hugs Newlywed! We’ve all had some resemblance of what you are facing. You are not alone! Keep educating yourself on the grief cycle, narcissism, red flags, boundaries, no contact, etc. it will help empower you to release the sadness, release the want of his validation, and find your mighty. As I’ve noticed for a lot of us, once we get educated we get really pissed and we used that as a fire within us to get better. You’ve already taken a huge step with reading CL keep it up and find freedom!

  • I am so very sorry that you are reeling from the outrageous behavior of this guy, but I am very grateful that he showed his true self before you had children together! You are now free to move forward, and into a peaceful, stable life with the people who are truly able to love and support you. Your future is BRIGHT!
    He will absolutely feel pain and suffering because so many people in his circle KNOW THE TRUTH, and he won’t be able to fool them. He might even have to move away to start over where no one knows how cruel and uncaring he is.
    Keep taking care of yourself, and know that his wretched treatment of you isn’t your fault.

  • Sometimes I think the gaslighting is worse than the cheating itself. It is soul crushing enough to find out that your partner has committed the most egregious act against a committed relationship possible but to then have to hear “our marriage was over a long time ago” just adds insult to injury.

    I wish I could tell you that this was unique newlywedchump but it’s not. I got to hear it after 2 kids and 24 years of marriage. Of course I needed to be a mind reader to know “our marriage was over a long time ago” because there were no tell tale signs like a conversation or someone filing for divorce, etc.

    I tried doing the wreckconciliation thing but he had no remorse and he continued to blameshift and gas light the entire time until I finally had enough. Then I was kind enough to show him how you actually end a marriage. I tried untangling the skein a few times after I left and once I was even desperate enough to reach out for answers but I would have been more satisfied talking to a brick wall. No contact is the only path to the truth and light. My kids were adults when we split so that was possible and very healing. It sounds like you can do that too.

    Don’t worry about him “getting it” or having any of the normal emotions you have. He won’t ever get it because that is just who he is. Sucking is just what they do. Sorry you have to go through this but glad you found the nation early on!

    • 👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻 Ditto! 26 years and married 25. I thought we were very content and I was frequently happy, which I believe is an inside job (e.g. I’m emotionally mature and take responsibility for my own emotions and actions). He doesn’t. I was blindsided. He gaslit and blameshifted and completely rewrote our entire life. He had just dedicated a book he write to me — at the same time he was supposedly miserable and hating every minute. He even blamed the kids. Found out later about other affairs. It was all an elaborate 26 year con job.

      Go no contact and get a divorce or annulment. You will heal — it takes a few years but you will get to Meh, we all do. We are here to vent to and process with.

      P.s. I think it will help your healing that he id’s as “self partnered.” It isn’t the magical OW that is so much better than you🤮. I had to contend with that mindfuck. He is truly showing you who he is — believe him! Selfish, self-centered= narcissist. My XH is trolling for his next victims on bumble … all while living in a “committed” relationship with OW these past 5 years. Baahaahaaaa….. cheaters cheat and liars lie! Thank good no longer my monkey, not my circus.

      • Yeah, what the hell does “self-partnered” even mean? Is he just literally stating that he is in love with himself!?!? If so, he isn’t even TRYING to hide his sickness. Unbelievable.

      • Motherchumper,
        Thanks for offering Newlywedchump and others support. You said that we all get to Meh. I am 2.5 years out of the last discard by my last partner and have been struggling to make a living to support my family for years (in spite of degrees). I grieved the loss of my first partner for decades in spite of trying many different (‘healthy’) approaches to deal with that discard of me. I don’t feel as though I will ever get to Meh. I sometimes fear homelessness. I, now in my fifties, predict that I might die before getting to Meh.

        • RockStarWife,
          I read your posts. You may not be at Meh, but you sure are a very outstanding woman. You may not feel it because of how those motherfuckers have put you down. BUT, that is who they are, NOT you.
          You have picked yourself up, you have carried on. Who is there to tuck those kids in at night, to comfort them when they have a nightmare? Who provides them with food, love and shelter? It certainly is NOT their father.
          You may not be at Meh, but you are certainly a very very important, loving person.
          I wish you had financial security, it sure would lessen your load. I am so sorry.
          Still, I will NOT let you put yourself down. CN sees you as a real live Mother, a Giant of a true Parent.

          That counts for a lot Rock Star Wife.
          I salute you!
          I love you as a decent, loving, human being.
          Your exes suck, big time, no real substance there.
          When you look at your sleeping Children, remember they exist because YOU are there for them, the very best that you can be.
          I think there is some Meh in that. My wish is that one day you will feel this in your heart!
          ❤️

        • Rockstar, big hugs to you! I get it o really do. I want justice and karma so badly and I think that’s my only ticket to meh. Sooo… o may never get there either.

          You’re amazing and you keep going. Just know other chumps are out here and understand that it sucks that we live in a world where our good qualities are abused and not valued and users get to have safety and happiness.

          I’ll wait here on the platform with you awhile. Maybe the meh train will come for us after all. Ticket or no ticket.

          • Rockstarwife your betrayal by your friend compounded with that of your first partner seem to have left you in a murky place.
            I’ve been reading your posts over the years and am moved to write to you. You seem like a cool gal. Clearly you’re not at your peak coolest now but give it time. As a friend said to me when I was trying to know my ass from my head :you’re not depressed. Don’t get to feeling sorry for yourself. a bad thing had happened to you and you feel bad. That is normal.
            Her words turned it all around.
            Burn some incense or some oils. Aroma is good and calming.
            Entertain only positive things wherever you find it. Make a simple happy memory every day. And do one kind act every day. Keep a journal if you need to.
            I’m gunning for you. I recall your spirit before the second shit head. You will claw yourself out and up.
            Take your time and reclaim your time.
            Mal famn pa ka tombe lontemp. (à strong woman can’t be kept down for long)

            • Peacekeeper, Fearful and Loathing, and Mandie,

              You buoy me up and bring tears to my eyes—in a good way.

              I know that there are cruel people in the world—and I know that there are very kind people here and off this website, too. I am lucky in some ways. I was offered a part-time teaching contract with a lovely family whose child had special needs. I could not in good faith accept the job as the student’s needs were not things that I could soon address, considering my background. I was inspired by this family and felt grateful that my family is not in worse condition that it is. I have also been offered and accepted some part-time and temporary contracts for work that I enjoy doing and I believe positively contributes to society. Being offered consulting work and feeling comfortable and pleasant (maybe even experiencing some happiness, an emotion that I have not felt for nearly three years) doing it has made me feel more confident that I can do something and I can earn some money. Not a permanent full-time job that pays all the bills, but I am grateful for the good things in life (food and shelter in a safe neighborhood) my family and I have. Some of those for whom I work do not have shelter, even in winter. Maybe, in some ways, experiencing bad events and conditions have been ‘good’ for me as they make me better understand those (the poor) I serve. And as Ann Landers or Dear Abby said, ‘If you can’t be thankful for what you have, be thankful for what you don’t have.’

              @NewlywedChump, I am sad that your cruel, disordered (narcissistic, sociopathic?) husband has repeatedly abused you. I hope that life improves dramatically from here.

              @All readers, especially for those of you who don’t have a significant other/date, but want to put a positive spin on Valentine’s Day (not make it Singles Awareness Day, as my last partner used to call it), do you have any ideas of how to spend the day? I am thinking about, along with giving relatives cards and other tokens of love and gratitude, going to a homeless encampment to send out love through the distribution of items the homeless community near me need or want. Better than me just siting around feeling angry, sad, and lonely over not receiving romantic love from a significant other/date.

              • Yes, THIS, Rockstar! We may have broken hearts and broken trust, but we don’t have to yearn for clean, dry socks on our feet or coats to keep out the wind in the winter. Spread that kindness. You have a big heart.

  • Cheaters like to justify why they cheat in their heads. Your “crime” was probably cutting his toast incorrectly or something equally as trivial. And in his mind, that justified his cheating. You sucked at cutting toast, so were a bad wife, and to him, his cheating was no more awful than your toast cutting ability. They are not equal to normal people, but to narcissists looking for a free pass from consequences, then yep. They were equal crimes. The disordered dont think as we do. Just leave it there. I can’t understand the inner workings of a space rocket. And I can’t understand the inner workings of my cheaters brain, for the same reason.

    • Mine started to complain that his life was “hell because I had dinner on the table every night waiting for him and he just wanted to grab a bag of doritos and watch tv without anyone bothering him and telling him what to do!” Did I mention I cook like a chef? He probably really thinks this was spousal abuse….

    • ExDouchebag equated my wearing of lipgloss to his lying about sex with others, because yeah, misrepresentation in both cases.

  • he’s a shithead and a coward. And most likely a user. Let me guess. You helped and probably carried him for years – through school, starting a career, facilitating a social life. In his weak brain, you have served him well, now begone. He ripped you off of thirteen years. Don’t spare him any more. You’ve got a lot going for you. Don’t look back.

  • My ex in laws recently sent an email to a family member of mine proclaiming me to be a narcissist and keeping them away from the children. The kids are teenagers and adults with their own phones etc. After decades of living with a serial cheater and emotional and physical abuse how dare any of us not want anything to do with them or their whole sick family! I mean they did nothing wrong!

    • 2legit4shit- Yes, my situation exactly. Kids are no contact by their choice w/ ex and all his family. My kids changed phone #’s and we moved across the state to remove ourselves from his toxic family that tormented us for 20 years. Of course, the kids decisions to cut contact is all my fault even though the kids wanted nothing to do with the in laws years before I quit making them respect their relatives. You have complete understanding from me. Stay strong because you know the truth.

  • For years I sat in counseling and was labeled a horrible person, as were the kids, with the blessing of the counselor. We always pick me danced around his “unhappiness”, while HIS problems were never, never NEVER addressed, because I was too busy playing defense.

    This is exactly the attitude my xh had. Stunningly the same. 5 years later, guess what? I’m still the bad guy, he is still a hero (for taking action!) and our kids will be shunned by their father until they agree to his point of view, accept his OW/wife and never speak of the past/divorce or question his actions ever again.

    ** or at least that is the gist I get from kids from a year or so ago. I have no contact at all.

    They do not regret. They will not think twice about screwing you over. This kind feeds off your pain and should be avoided at all cost.
    Trust every contact will be a way to stick a needle in. Save yourself the pain shopping and move on.

    Magneto. { My advice: If ya gotta be the villain in someone’s story, best pick a cool one to be.}

    I will never ever allow someone to finger point and whine at me ever again. Unless they take a real long hard look at their behaviors first.

    • “…kids will be shunned by their father until they agree to his point of view, accept his OW/wife and never speak of the past/divorce or question his actions ever again.”

      That was my father. He worked and paid the bills therefore he had fulfilled all his obligations. Anything else he did he was completely entitled to, and you better not question it. He expected his kids to absolutely accept that he “did nothing wrong”. But it was our fault that we didn’t have a positive relationship with him. He left when I was 9.

      I now understand why I picked the XAss – I never understood what my father actually was until I married him.

      • I could never figure out if mine was lying to himself to justify in his own mind what he did or if he actually BELIEVED his BS – I suspect he did actually believe it. No matter now as he’s no longer my problem and he’s far enough away from me and my kids that I don’t care!

        • I think my father completely believed it. He justified his ignoring his sons by saying, “well, my father didn’t do that for me, so why should I?”

          He passed away last summer in his mid 80’s. He had remarried a few years after his divorce from my mother. She divorced him 5 years later. He had a live in girlfriend for a while, up until his health started to fail then she bailed on him. He died of dementia and heart related issues. And he basically died broke and alone. One of his son’s took care of him at the end “because it was the right thing to do and there was no one else.” What a sad life that asshole lived.

  • “Some people destroy every life they touch.”

    A point I really think is important to make about this incredibly wise statement is that some of them don’t really realize that they are doing it either. I don’t care if it’s an act or instinct, the results are the same. However, it does ratchet up the mindfuckery when these disordered people seem to be clueless as to how their actions could have possibly been different.

    My ex-wife actually told me “if I had to do it all over again, I don’t know how I could have done anything different”. Yep, she’s in the “it just happened” camp. This is from a Jesus cheater who claimed that the Holy Spirit never helped guide her away from the multiple affairs, so she didn’t think she was doing anything wrong. Until those men made a move on her when she was vulnerable. That’s her story and she’s sticking to it.

    I have the backups of her phone. I’ve seen and heard her at her worst. She won’t listen to or even acknowledge her backups. When presented she’d run away or go blank. Then she’d adjust her halo and act like she didn’t even register it.

    So, the moral of this story is, it doesn’t matter if your life was destroyed by a hideous monster or a (seemingly) kind angel. Avoid both and work incredibly hard at recognizing the red flags of the angelic destroyers.

    • ^^ Yes to all of this. My STBX is not a Jesus cheater, but the deer-in-the-headlights thing is totally real. (We are all women – me, STBX, and her APs.) To this day, 17 months post-DDay #2, STBX only begrudgingly agrees that she was making choices when she had affair #2. Her excuse for the lack of any accountability was that she was mourning her (narc) mother when she initiated the affair with a stranger from a bar. But of course she made thousands of decisions to stay in touch with the stranger, turn it into a full-blown affair, plan future meetings, etc. – all while making other rational adult decisions in other areas of her life.

      This thing about cheaters not wanting to face the evidence of their cheating is also fascinating to me. In my case, I have a dump of texts between STBX and AP #2, which I decided to read because STBX was clearly not answering all my questions honestly (see CL on Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse). Whenever I would cite the texts in therapy sessions to try to make a point, STBX would act surprised. “Did I really say that? I don’t think so…” I would offer to show her exactly where she said whatever it was, and she would look pained and say, “no, I believe you, I don’t need to see it.” She clearly has no interest in revisiting any of the evidence – which is extra-ironic, considering that she so meticulously saved the text dump (and various photos, etc.) in the first place. But then, she probably didn’t think she’d ever have to be accountable for any of it.

      I think your interpretation is correct, SweetPotato: these cheaters are always the heroes of their own stories and will actively avoid/deny/downplay any evidence to the contrary. It’s even worse when their own actions so directly contradict their professed values – in your case, it was Jesus cheating, and in my case, it was a respected feminist using and abusing her wife. Good riddance!

      • LezChump accountability for their choices is kryptonite for cheaters.
        We attempted a wreckonciliation with a therarapist. I think she saw it was pointless and directed the sessions so that that this chump could see it clearly. She focused on the choices we made and how we need to be responsible for them because we had alternatives. XW wasn’t having it. It did not fit the narrative she had constructed. She did a few weeks alone with the therapist, after which she announced she wanted to divorce. I did another session alone with the therapist. She told me the XW is a mess and I should quickly divorce her and go NC.
        I am so thankful for that therapist!

      • Precisely! I’ve had my ex yell “do you really think I’m capable of something like that” when I brought up an issue I was concerned with. I casually mentioned “yes, I do because I have irrefutable proof from your phone backups showing that you’ve done it twice before”. She burst into tears and locked herself in the bathroom. Some time later she emerged acting as though nothing bad had happened.

        It’s called the Shaggy defense because of his song “It Wasn’t Me”. Just blatantly deny even the most damning evidence.

    • The Holy Spirit did instruct her. It’s all written in the Bible but JC’s apparently don’t believe it concerns them. My cheater is one too.

  • Oh Newlywed. Run like your hair is on fire.

    I understand about Missing The Lie; I really do.

    It keeps most of us stuck until we grow out of it, stop feeding the beast, and embrace No Contact.

  • I wouldn’t assume that these people don’t know what they did was shitty. They often do, it’s just that they’ll never admit it.

    I know my ex well and he knows he was shitty, but he’s so concerned with looking like a shitty person that he’ll bury his head in the sand, put on a phony smile, and pretend like he has no idea what the problem is.

    He’s extremely image conscious.

    Look….everyone in this guy’s life has basically said he’s a scumbag. There’s no way he doesn’t know that.

    He has to manage his image and this is how he tries. And it sets the stage for him to try to come back when his ho doesn’t work out.

    Do not take this guy back.

    He knows he’s a piece of shit….he’ll just justify it in his own head and will certainly never admit it to you.

    Fuck him.

    • MIne is like this, too. This helps me because he doesn’t want to tarnish his “good guy image” so I’m asking for his pants in the settlement.

      • It helped speed my divorce up. Min was so terrible of not looking like a nice guy and was terrified someone would find out about his whore that he signed everything.

        Of course now people know anyway.

        Use it for every advantage you can!

  • Oh, Newlywedchump, you have my deepest sympathy. I know it doesn’t help much right now, when you’re in the middle of the pain, but it sounds like you don’t have kids with your ex – so there’s nothing preventing you from going full No Contact. The only way to heal is to get your head out of the mindfuck blender ASAP.

    For what it’s worth, your ex sounds like my STBX – the kind of person who can seem really invested in other relationships with friends and family, but just can’t deal with a long-term monogamous partnership. That’s a real mindfuck, because it *seems* like this person is NOT a Frankenstein. But it doesn’t matter: as CL has said in other columns, we have to trust that cheaters suck FOR US, even if they seem like stand-up people in other areas of their lives. Keep in mind, it’s a helluva lot easier for them to be there for friends and family than to come home to the same person, every day. They blame/resent us chumps for all their problems – just because we’re the ones who happen to be there. If something is wrong in their lives, it must be our fault for not making it better, right?

    Nope nope nope. It’s SO much better to walk away from that mindfuck, trust me. I should have done it after STBX’s first affair 15 years ago, but she was so very sorry, etc., and we had a kid together. I hope, Newly, you are able to see the silver linings in the fact that you can go No Contact NOW and not have to co-parent with your ex. Please come back to CN and let us know when you have achieved Meh – it may be a couple of years out yet, but it WILL arrive, on a Tuesday.

  • Sweet Newlywedchump

    I am so sorry you are going through this – the first few months are the worst . I am am almost 11 months past D Day & although the most part of initial kick has worn off i am left with the exact same feelings as you

    HOW DO THEY GET AWAY WITH IT LIKE NOTHING HAPPENED !!

    But they do ( as far as i can see anyway ) they get a shiny new life with AP and we are left to re build from the bottom up . There is a great saying in the archives ( sorry not sure who said it ) its not that they don’t see its they disagree . So basically they know they are hurting you but they don’t care that they are

    Trust me for almost the last 11 months i have been trying to think of 1 even 1/2 of 1 consequence that my ex has faced and i am still searching for that answer .
    Everyone says his consequences are he doesn’t have me & he is who he is both of which he is entirely fine with !!

    I wish you well and again i am really sorry you are dealing with this ((( hugs )))

    • I wish I had the answer to this maddening conundrum, but I don’t. I’m just here to tell you I have felt this exact frustrating feeling for 18 mos.

      • Yeah Babs I know

        I wish I could offer someone some help with this but I honestly can’t .

        And I can’t help but feel that they do get away Scot free . It’s another one of life’s WTF ! It maybe won’t hurt so much one day ( well I hope so anyway ! )

    • KarenB6702 – the Karma bus comes for them in its own good time, we just have to be patient. It’s taken 5 years for the Karma bus to pick up my ex (also morphed from a ‘family man’ into a cruel monster overnight). But it’s started now and seems to be gathering speed. I only know about it because his family are doinng their best to drag me into it, and I think that’s the thing. These people put a lot of effort into making their lives look perfect from the outside, and that is what we get to see so we think that karma never comes. As I watch and hear about the ‘perfect life’ from a distance I now know what’s actually happening behind the mask and feel quite sorry for him because his life is actually falling apart in a serious way on all levels. Not that anyone would know it to look at the oscar worthy performance he puts on. Whether we get to hear about it or not, the karma bus always comes 😀

  • I was married nearly 20 years and two kids, my Ex was home every night 5:30 sharp from work and dinner was on the table. We spent evenings and weekends together, kids events and working around the house or our cabin up north. I handled the finances and he got a bit of money each week for “fun money” I never considered he would cheat, we were close and he had no free time or real money to cheat…

    Looking back and what I know now, work was his playground, he was up high enough in the company to sleep his way thru the “secretarial” pool and still be home for dinner. His office was in front of the Plant so sometimes when we were talking he would kinda yell and tell me it was so loud he could not hear, I had been there I understood. After D-day he admitted his girlfriend sat outside his office and she could hear him yelling in the office and then he would walk out and tell his “people” how I was being unreasonable again. You know the we fight all the time argument. I was home happy that he loved me enough to call me every single day. He did the same things with the kids, get mad at me when I was not around so they could see how unhappy he was.

    I was confused when D-day hit until I realized he always had his hand on the pin, waiting to blow up the marriage. His push came when he was leaving the state for a new job, taking a new wife seemed like a great way to start and still look like the good guy, no one knew the real story in that state. So now he is someone else’s problem and raising her kids to hate her, and I have my loving kids (we have straightened out the misunderstandings) and am trying to build an authentic life. No contact is a life saver.

    Trust that they suck.

    • My ex was one who was always home for dinner, so I thought he didn’t have time to cheat. But he’s “self-employed” (trust fund brat), so he cheated during the work day when I believed that he was actually conducting business. I feel so stupid for not being smarter about that. He was a shitty employee when he was employed by others, getting fired from at least two jobs and poor performance reviews at the jobs that his daddy got him. But I kept thinking he was a poor misunderstood guy.

  • The book ‘Why does he do that’ may help. It’s a book about domestic abusers – but the traits are the same. The author Lundy Bancroft does make it clear that cheating behaviour is part of many domestic abusers ‘playbook’.

  • Ah yes, “self-partnered.” Horace told me, “You’re just jealous of my great relationship with myself.” Well, when you’re supposed to be married to me and only care about yourself, I do get a bit piqued. But that line helped me get out, because I realized he’d never wanted a relationship, just a live-in maid with benefits.

    I’m alone now and it’s great.

  • Newlywed,

    You hit on something many chumps feel when you said “I miss him (or who I thought he was).” My ex-wife of 30 years never felt any remorse or regret, except that she got caught. After my D-day 2 years ago, I was convinced that she would be kissing my ass to keep me, yet I was the one kissing HER ass. Some call that “hysterical bonding.” She refused to apologize and would never admit to doing anything wrong. She didn’t want a divorce, just to sweep it under the rug. I finally came to the realization that she was not the person I thought she was and decided to divorce her. (Our divorce was finalized a month ago!). She was a phony, living a double life and while still I have occasional twinges of missing her, I quickly have to remind myself that the person I thought I loved never really existed. She would come home from her so called “women’s yoga retreats” and then act like she was glad to see me. She was stabbing me in the back with a smile on her face! That particular affair was with an ex-boyfriend she had been trying to contact for years, and finally was able to when she opened a Facebook account and started trolling old boyfriends. As Tracy has repeatedly said, cheaters are a different breed of people who lack a conscience. Your cheater doesn’t give a damn about you. When you start to miss him, remember who you are really dealing with rather than your idealized false memory of that person. Good luck and stay mighty, life does get better!

    • Thanks I see a lot of my life with my husband in your story , which I will over to remind my selfs, he’s very much a selfish man I thought we could work it out , he doesn’t want to work it out , he did the marriage thing raised some kids , now off to another chapter in his life. He shows no remorse, doesn’t feel guilty, I’m still upset , he’s over it , moved on with another woman. Thanks again

    • That’s exactly how my ex hb was. Cried about not wanting a divorce but not only refused to deal with his keeping an ex gf around our entire relationship….was also openly nasty when I brought it up.

      He doesn’t deal with uncomfortable things, so he paints a phony smile on his face and pretends he has no idea what the problem is.

      But he was also a passive aggressive coward, so he also withdrew all efforts at our relationship. He really thought I wasn’t going anywhere so that was his way of saying fuck you. Actually told me that the efforts he had made (ie asking about my day/telling me he loved me) weren’t really him….he forced it because he thought it was important. There’s nothing genuine about him. He wanted the marriage but on his terms.

      He was shocked when I decided he wasn’t a good deal for me and left. Still continued to lie about his whore (who he’s still talking to) and refuse to acknowledge anything. There’s a lot of stuff he didn’t realize I knew so he kept lying.

      Whatever…..she can have his phony, old, shitty toupee wearing can’t get it up pathetic ass. Her bad fortune is my good fortunate. I have a very nice guy now who is closer to my age, has his own hair, and keeps it up.

      • ” Actually told me that the efforts he had made (ie asking about my day/telling me he loved me) weren’t really him….he forced it because he thought it was important. ”
        Seriously, do they tell us this to hurt us or are they really that despicable?

        • I think mine wanted brownie points. In his mind he made so much effort to do things that “weren’t him” (like treating his wife well) that he thought nothing further should be demanded of him. It was so unfair that I wouldn’t rug sweep after his half assed apology and lies because look how much effort he’d already made.

          Pretending to givt a shit about your wife is hard work!

          LOL.

  • If it helps any My husband of 38 years , Has been seeing someone that he can’t seem to live without After meeting her He did and said the most outrageous things to try and break us up so he could be with her , When that didn’t work quick enough he also asked for a trial separation , He said he needed some time and space to figure out who and what he wants , we are living together for financial reasons , So to my surprise I hear him on our house phone Tell her that he wants to meet up with her next weekend, which happens to be the most romantic weekend of all , I’m in anxiety , stress overload, on one had I want to confront him , have it out , on the other hand stress level to high , to upsetting, trying to calm my self down , Plus I do not want to give him what he wants ,Which is a easy way out He has made me suffer with all that he’s done , it’s his turn , Separation would be great if I could use it for good , to heal to figure out things on my terms , I now just have to figure out Valentine’s Day , even though he wants someone else , and to be with them It can’t be Valentine’s Day , Good luck

    • Why don’t you change the locks while he is away on his romantic weekend and put his clothes in big plastic bags outside the house. Text him in the middle of his getaway what he had waiting for him when he returns and that he will need to find a new place to live. Lawyer up, collect your documents-set yourself free with a valentine gift to yourself! Hugs

      • I second this. That will at least ruin his sleazy getaway a little, knowing his stuff will be waiting in trash bags. Mr.Cheatos had drugs delivered to our house 20 times and he used that stuff secretly hoping I’d find out and leave him (he’d already left me once, or actually twice before) but too bad for him, when I did finally find out he’d quit doing it and no longer wanted me to leave him.

    • Stressing Out,
      You have nothing to work with here.When you fight hard for your husband (he couldn’t break your marriage up even thought he did and said the most outrageous things) you are doing the opposite of making him suffer. You are feeding his ego (I am so special – 2 women want me!!). When you don’t “give him what he wants” sometimes YOU suffer more than he does. Don’t go down with a sinking ship.
      Reframe your “I don’t want to give him an easy way out” to “I am going to take care of myself, I don’t deserve this, I am forging a new path for myself” – than do what Thrive suggests. Get him out of the house so you can heal and figure things out for yourself.

  • “When glaciers melt and refreeze into ice swan sculptures at gay Saudi weddings.”

    This is why I support Chump Lady on Patreon! Well, that and the whole save-a-life-thing.

  • Did you ever hear the philosophy that if you do not study and learn from history you are doomed to repeat it? Or the one which explains that actions have consequences? I heard these a lot when I grew up, and I was a good student in school, but I somehow missed the common sense choice when I chose spouses. My idealistic heart took over and I wanted to believe that men who were deeply flawed could somehow change, that someone who said he was sorry was actually sorry, that remorse was truly there and change was possible. I wanted to give another chance, I wanted to forgive, I wanted to show mercy instead of punishment. I wanted to live in the dream world I thought was real with a mirage I had created instead of the real man I had partnered with.

    I cannot explain clinging to delusion for as long as I did, but I think it had to do with the power of the desire to live in an idealized world instead of the world we live in. If you look around, our human culture seems to prefer not dealing with issues, and trying to appease bad players until they inevitably do something so horrid we may not be able o survive it. Think about all the horrible, cruel and selfish people who have come to power in politics, or business, even in our schools and churches, and yet we rarely overthrow them or banish them. Usually they are overthrown or banished only after turning on the very people who supported them and condoned their actions because it served their own agenda, and then those people act so shocked to discover how bad these players always had been.

    I wanted to be a wife and mother. I wanted a partner, a companion I could count on. I kept the blinders on for too long, but finally I realized that I was not living the life I wanted because my tolerance of the glaring imperfections was a way of condoning behavior I abhorred. Actions have consequences. Learn from history. When you have nothing to work with, walk away from the problem. Don’t listen to empty words, or expect acknowledgement of guilt. In their minds they did nothing wrong, and all their actions are perfect, and if any mistakes were made it was always someone else who was wrong. Don’t expect others to do the right thing. They may be clinging to a dream of their own, or have some other agenda which they think will benefit by not calling out the wrong doer. You can only control your own actions, and support those who you believe have your values because of the life they live and the actions they choose.

  • I wanted to add a comment regarding whether they will ever feel “sad, bad, remorse, ashamed, regrets…..etc etc?” I too longed for XH to acknowledge what he did to harm me and the kids. I obsessed about it, in fact. However, I also went no contact and took all the steps to divorce and build my new life.

    Fast forward 5 years. XH has expressed in emails that he veils as children related how “mistakes happened” or “I’m sorry all that happened.” Never active voice, no personal insights, no change in his behavior (see earlier comment about how he’s trolling for new victims on bumble while living with OW and still trying to make our kids eat shit sandwiches of his great relationship-life partnership with OW🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮

    His apologies-not apologies provide me with no comfort. It’s just further proof he’s a narcissist who isn’t wired like a person who has empathy and principles and character. Further proof that I’m better off away from him, better off now that I’m divorced and living an authentic life.

  • Dear NewlywedChump: Your ex knows he is a total asshole!
    My ex-husband said the same shitty things to me: he wanted
    to leave me years ago. That I was a miserable wreck in the marriage. That I need to move
    on and get over it. Background: it has been two years since D-Day (March, 2018) when my former
    husband announced his affair with our 23 year old LIVE IN nanny. Married 17 years. Dated 6 years before that. Met when we were 16. Married at 23. He walked out on the eve of my 40th birthday. Divorce was finalized in August, 2019. 3 kids. HE continues to be an arrogant asshole at custody exchanges and loves to text me how “unpleasant” I am when I walk our daughter to his car.
    It is really hard to go no contact but you have to for your healing. He will never admit to being awful.
    But you know the truth.

    • @nolongermarriedtoaJackass:

      The nanny. How original. Does he fancy himself some Hollywood celebrity?

      If it was any other employment setting (she was your employee, after all), his ass would be in a sling for sexual harrassment. Ew.

      • I know. They live together now. On his custody days she picks our kids up from school
        and our youngest up from pre-school. My four year old still calls her the nanny she
        was in fact, his nanny. She is now 25 and a few weeks ago my ex traveled to India for 3 weeks
        and I had to communicate with her because he left the kids with her on his days. I dont
        have right of first refusal and although my lawyer assured me I could beat him in court and win–
        I don’t want the stress and continued trauma of it all. He hired a professional photographer to take
        a photo of his “better blended family..” that is what he told me he was making… and posted it up
        in our son’s preschool for me to see.

    • Don’t you love how these Asses tell you to be “pleasant” to them. Excuse me, but there is nothing in any custody agreement, divorce decree, property settlement that orders me to moderate my tone to niceness when I must engage with them. Yes, I try to be at least polite when I must interact in front of the kid, but otherwise, he can KMA.

      Its just like being told to “smile” by men. No Asshole, you don’t get my smile, and you don’t get my niceness. You burned that bridge. Deal.

      • Yeah, mine says i should watch my “tone” because: “I’m always polite to you, Fearful, I don’t deserve to be spoken to that way.”

        Yeah, apparently f’ing a 29 year old while your wife stays home and raises your kid is morally acceptable but when that wife then tells you to F off, that just crosses the line! How dare I use such salty language with someone so “polite”.

  • Another aspect (for me, anyway) is that you are forced to confront the fact that your moral universe is not the only one. I always knew this, in the abstract, but when you see up close and personal that behavior that is so obviously wrong doesn’t even register as a blip on their moral needle … well, that gives you pause.

    I’m not religious (though, ironically, XW is), but I had pretty much accepted the main thrust of the ten commandments (violence, theft, adultery, etc. are bad) and assumed – naively, I guess – that XW felt the same way. When you encounter someone close to you who so completely rejects your values (and then seems to suffer no consequences), it makes you wonder if your internal moral sense is off kilter. On top of all the practical issues (money, kids, friends, family), there’s also the deeper existential question “Have I been living my life according to the wrong principles?” That’s a tough question to confront.

    I’m glad to report that I concluded “no” – I more or less survived with my principles intact. I’ve ceded a little around the edges, though: I no longer believe that major institutions (church, laws, government) are guided by the same principles that I am, and therefore I no longer trust that all those institutions’ rules ought to be obeyed. This sounds grander that it really is, maybe: mostly I just do things like drive without my seatbelt on, because it’s my life and – frankly – it’s not such a great life that I’m unwilling to marginally endanger it if I want to.

  • Dear Newlywedchump,

    I understand how you feel. You gave the best of yourself at every level. How could cheater not feel bad for you and for cheating on you? they worst bad they feel is getting caught and losing cake. As has been put forth ten million times here at CN.

    it’s the way so many people are and they will never change.

    The important thing is to use the manure to grow and…. “Gain a life”.

    Like let Go said above about her brother: be the woman who was heartbroken and then made up her mind that she deserved better and she found it.

  • Oh dear. NewlywedChump, I am so sorry to help welcome you into the club no one wants to join.

    Chump Lady has told you the truth, as have so many other Chumps here. Let me add to the message because part of the new Chump experience is assuming that if you understood the reason for cheating, you could somehow deal with the cheating a bit better.

    I read it first on another infidelity website when I was a brand-new Chump, but it’s the message that Chump Lady and Chump Nation preach. It’s also a lesson that takes time to internalize: cheaters cheat because they can.

    Think about this. They cheat because there is something about the way they interact with the world and the people around them that makes them able to cheat.

    Chumps often assume that cheaters cheat because they’re unhappy with the marriage. Nope. Not true. Cheaters are often just fine with the marriage. They get a lovely spouse appliance–someone who’s always there, always reliable, always dependable. But they also have a secret life filled with clandestine meetings, burner phones, etc. They get kibble and cake.

    Your cheater really liked marriage to you, right up to the time you confronted him with the evidence he’d cheated. Only then did he tell you that he had wanted to leave you years ago. This isn’t normal, and if your brain is wired for normal, you can’t ever understand dysfunction. You can only recognize that it is dysfunction.

    Trying to understand what goes on in his head is trying to untangle the skein of fuckedupness. You can’t really do it if you’re wired normally, and trying to do so will make you crazy. Instead, you have to trust that he sucks.

    NewlywedChump, you’ve been played for 12 years. It’s great that your community is supporting you, but remember that you did live with him for 12 years. You may have seen some subtle red flags over the years but were able to explain them away (spackle). For example, I explained away my Cheater’s seemingly unprovoked rages on bad blood chemistry (which was true), and his lack of apology. In retrospect, I should have recognized that in lashing out and failing to own up to his actions, he was disrespecting me and that should have been a hard boundary line for me.

    Therapy can help you understand, set, and maintain good boundaries so that the next long-term relationship is a healthy one. Too often, people flee one bad relationship only to enter into a similar relationship with a new person.

    You are hurting, but you are in early days yet. Focus on you. Hire a great lawyer. Get the divorce done and over with, and put Cheater on No Contact. Sure, when things go south, he may crawl back to you, telling you that it was all a mistake, he was temporarily insane, etc. These are all part of the Cheater’s playbook.

    Kick him to the curb and don’t look back. It gets easier after more time goes by.

  • survival guidelines: collect financials and evidence, lawyer up, close Or get off shared credit card accounts (I froze credit), depending on local law and time to divorce -separation agreement to protect marital assets and custody issues. File for divorce, no contact -leave it to lawyer, or grey rock if kids involved. It hurts, he sucks, it gets better, it doesn’t define you, it is not a prison sentence but a window of opportunity. Get yourself free! hugs

  • They all minimize and discount with the “things like this happen all of the time”. And “get over it”. They don’t bond like normal human beings and with the lack of empathy, they really can’t feel what you feel. I remember my ex said, “If you had done this to me, I would forgive you just like this **Finger Snap**”
    He meant to show me what a good, forgiving person he was, he didn’t realize that I found that sentence so appalling – so shocking. That was the depth of his bond with me that he would have forgiven a double life “just like that”? So weird to me at the time – now I have a PhD in Narcism from ChumpLady U, so I get it. And you will too, NewlyWed Chump. Get ready for the next narrative of how bitter and unforgiving you are. It’s not what he did, it’s your reaction to it.
    It’s all the same script. ((((Hugs)))))

  • I, too, found evidence within 3 months of tying the knot. It wasn’t a “smoking gun,” so to speak, and for the next few months little incongruities kept trickling in. When I finally confronted her about it, she just reassured me nothing was going on, I was being paranoid… and promptly hid all the evidence that much better.
    Unfortunately, it was years before I finally got solid proof.
    Anyway, like the author, I kept asking myself “who cheats weeks after getting married? Who does that?”
    I kept trying to figure it out logically, trying to apply some kind of rationality to what I saw. I kept thinking that someone who wasn’t happy with me wouldn’t have bothered to get married at all. Of course, there was no logic to it, at least not from the standpoint of a good person. A bad person had no problem going through with a marriage with no intention of keeping the promises made.

    • Oh, I meant to speak to this question above – of why cheaters cheat within months of getting married. It actually makes perfect sense to me. Either they were cheating (or lite-cheating, with emotional entanglements) all along, or marriage was a Major Life Event that threw them into disordered coping mechanisms. My STBX (we are both women) was always prone to emotionally intense friendships with women she was attracted to on some level – and now, looking back, I should have seen that as a red flag. She didn’t enter into her first physical affair, though, until after having our first child. Major Life Event! And she embarked on her second affair, the one that finally got me to wake up and smell the roses, just three weeks after her narc mother died. Major Life Event!

      The point is that cheaters of this variety are unable to cope with major bumps along the road of adult life, without resorting to cake. In this sense, they all fit Craig Malkin’s definition of narcissism as “an inability to turn to others in vulnerability, and instead seeking to feel special, like a drug, to cope.” And it doesn’t matter if cheaters don’t ordinarily exhibit signs of clinical narcissism: Malkin believes that people can ratchet up and down the scale of narcissism over time, depending on external stressors, etc.

      OK, I get that I’m untangling the skein a little, but all this is just to remind myself and others that we shouldn’t ignore red flags, including when people choose really unhealthy ways to cope after Major Life Events. They might *seem* better in the lulls between these events, but guess what? There’s always another one on the horizon…

      • Wow! This is one of the best ways I have ever seen someone explain Narcissism! So, you think some people don’t necessarily have NPD but can exhibit traits? My sister just confessed to me that she used to be mean to her stepsons when she got married to her husband (she met him one year after he got divorced, so not OW). She told me how she would just do stupid passive-aggressive stuff to show how much she was bothered by them. She just told me that it took her husband saying that they were done for her to seek help and she then realized what she was doing. I was just amazed at her sincerity and the way she could admit she was being a horrible person at the time. From what I see on the groups that I participate, it’s rare to happen…

        • Hey there MOMO,
          I strongly suggest reading Malkin’s book “Rethinking Narcissism.” It envisions a scale of narcissism, with NPD at the extreme high end, healthy self-esteem in the middle, and what he calls echoism (self-abnegation) at the low end.

          In a nutshell, yet, Malkin thinks a lot of people in the middle-high range of the scale can exhibit entitled behaviors fairly frequently but can still have genuine sympathy and remorse, perhaps like your sister. And people on the low end of the scale (echoists) can also have moments of what he calls “need-panic,” where they have given so much that they can’t give any more and suddenly feel entitled to fill certain perceived needs. (That may be part of what was going on with my STBX, though I don’t really feel like untangling the skein much more at this point.)

          And everybody, at any point on the scale, could be ratcheting up and down over time depending on external stressors. I don’t think Malkin explicitly says this in the book – it’s a pretty typical work of pop psychology, with the gaps one would expect (since Malkin is probably trying to drive traffic to his private practice) – but it makes sense to me that emotionally unhealthy people will be likely to ratchet up and down the scale more dramatically than healthy people when they hit roadbumps in ordinary adult life. I feel like I’ve seen my STBX yo-yo on the scale of entitlement over the course of days, and even hours, esp. right after D-Day #2. Like you say, it seems like she is totally unaware of the moral significance of her actions at one moment (when she’s having an “episode” of higher narcissistic entitlement) but then overcome by guilt and shame at a different moment.

          I feel some pity for my STBX, since those extreme variations on the scale make it look like she’s riding a rollercoaster. But mostly, I’m just glad I’m getting off that coaster ASAP!

          • My stbxw sounds a bit similar in that she formed v emotionally intense friendships w other lesbians. Being trusting I never questioned this, she has 3 ex’s that are friends as is quite common in the lesbian world. But one day she came home and announced she is in love with her friend. I never suspected a thing. She’s skipped off into the sunset with her all smiles and roses and expects me to just be fine with it!

  • My toxic ex just asked me to go to therapy with him so we can explore what went wrong.

    I don’t need to explore jack shit. I know what went wrong.

    He lied, cheated, gaslighted, had zero remorse and still acts like he did nothing wrong.

    He can go fuck himself and the ugly twats he puts his diseased dick into. No one deserves to get a venereal disease, but if you are skanky enough to pursue a man in a relationship, then c’est la vie bitches!

    To the original poster. Many of us will tell you, you will never get an apology. It doesn’t work like that with entitled assholes. Crazy, right? Welcome to mindfuck 101 where everything is twisted until you jump off the crazy train.

      • I agree. He has another agenda though – we haven’t been together in a while and I no longer live with him. I’m not quite sure what it is and I’m not losing sleep over it either. I used to, but not anymore. Impression management is at the core of this and I suspect he wants to have a therapist label me somehow so he can tell his current and future skanks he tried but I was “this or that.”

        He is exhausting. I don’t know why I opened up Pandora’s box with one of his hoverings. Not worth any drama. My life is so much better with him out of it. Far more peaceful, too.

        • Hilary…that is exactly what he is doing. Everything with a cheater narc is a set up. File for divorce and get it over with and move on. No Contact is the way to go. Fuck him and the skank he rode in on.

          • Thank you for the validation. We were not married. Lucky for me I can just walk away. His reputation is tarnished, though, post me. I didn’t sugar coat his cheating whenever I was asked why we were no longer together. I’m a good person (albeit I curse like a sailor) and those that know – know why I walked away. He looks really bad and I certainly wouldn’t date a man with past like that which is why I think he wants to have a label attached to me somehow via a therapist – like I have anger issues. Yep, I was damn angry when I found out how I sacrificed everything for a piece of shit who was lying to me.

            No contact is truly the way to go.

    • My XW floated the idea of joint therapy shortly after our divorce. After she had refused marriage counseling while we were married. While she and her AP (who was still married to his wife) were in couples counseling together, because of the “difficult circumstances” under which their relationship began.

      I got a pretty good idea what that would have entailed when she mentioned that one aspect she wanted to explore was how “triggering” it was when I criticized her accent. (Actually, I found her accent charming, but hadn’t mentioned it for at least five years because I knew she was sensitive about it). Nope.

      • Interesting. I get the sense my toxic ex wants me to go to therapy so he can improve his other relationships, too, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he is in couple’s therapy with another one of his skanks. There is always an agenda sadly. I’ve placed enough distance to analyze him for what he is – a user and an entitled asshole. There is nothing below this man. Nothing.

        Your ex wife asking you to go to therapy post divorce while she is in therapy with her AP is a big ask, too. WTF?!? You can’t make this up. They are so entitled and think only of their needs and happiness. Who even asks that????

  • I think a big question here is why, after years of living together, the d-bag married Newlywed Chump. My money is riding on his perception that he’d lose his very, very useful chump, and soon, if he didn’t put a ring on it.

    Entitled Fuckwits are transactional jerks by nature, so he probably took her off the market only after evaluating the value of her services, any potential competitors, and the likelihood of her putting up with the unmarried status quo indefinitely.

    Marriage doesn’t have the same importance to those sorts. And “unhappiness” is their term for the discomfort they feel when their double lives collide.

    Newlywed Chump, trust that he sucks. You didn’t have a partner, even if he presented a convincing facsimile for years. The rest of your life is yours, and will be real.

  • Dear Newlywed Chump,

    HE DOESN’T CARE ! If he did, he wouldn’t have cheated in the first place. He would have broken up with you long ago, not after twelve years of being a couple and then six months as a married man.

    Somebody posted a sign that was hanging in their therapist’s office. “THEY JUST DON’T CARE”

  • It’s a hard pill to swallow but those declarations of love on your wedding day were lies! He just wanted investment, as evidenced by his apparent starting of an affair 3 months later. Sorry to break the news but I’d guess he was cheating before the wedding, maybe even on the day.

    The ex was. Mid 5 year affair even. Cried through the whole thing. I thought it was sweet. No. Schmoopie has clocked the wedding the week before and dumped him. They carried on for another 6 months at least, that I know of. Then my mother died. And he preyed on the next victim 2 weeks before she died. They are still fuck buddies. I’m not. It’s a much better position to have. Single, not desperate, wise, kind and NORMAL!

  • This is SUCH a great post, Tracy. I am a few years out now, and feel very much MEH. Although I read this blog daily — mostly because I am coparenting, things come up, and I like to feel connected to people who share the knowledge of how this experience shatters things.

    A lot of the time, the blog reaffirms and keeps me grounded and in touch with my meh. This time, I feel like it touched a nerve and helped me once again with my self-worth; separate from the infidelity even. Generally toward the whole of letting others’ judgments affect self-worth and self-esteem.

    THANK YOU FOR THIS.

  • It really won’t make you feel any better even if they do acknowledge your pain or how they made a mistake.
    My ex wife begged me on her knees not to leave her when I first found out. After a few months of continued lies I told her I was done. That was about 20 months ago.
    Since then she has gotten pregnant, had an abortion, been left by that guy, cheated on by him and is now back together with him. Karma might have gotten her back for a few of the things she did to me but not even close in my mind.

  • It doesn’t matter if cheaters acknowledge any wrong doing. My cheating ex told me many times and wrote me many notes how sorry he is, he didn’t mean to hurt me, he will go to the grave with guilt and regret, all the while he was still cheating and lying during “reconciliation”. Just words. Who does that? Truly disordered, selfish, self serving, fucked up people, that’s who. Actions will tell you how sorry they are.

    Believe me he knows what he has done is wrong unless he is a sociopath. He is attempting to justify his pathetic, deplorable actions to fool himself into believing his actions are ok. They are not and deep down he knows it.

    Take solace in the fact he is not going to be any different with that whore. They are one noters and narcissistic pieces of shit.

    I completely understand grieving the life you had with him before all this happened. I too am still grieving. Give it time, keep yourself busy and know it was nothing you did or didn’t do. You’re a lovely, caring person. He’s an oozing boil on satan’s ass.

  • NewlywedChump,

    My heart goes out to you. I am in the same boat, my marriage fell apart after two years. It is tough, the marriage was just starting and yet my XW was cheating. Consider yourself lucky that you caught early on and you were strong enough to end it.

    My wife was extremely good at hiding her affairs. I guess she had mastered cheating in her previous relationships. She waited until she found the AP she wanted to replace me with. This included a new job and moving to a new city. Once that was set up, she took off her mask. Simply told me she was leaving the marriage, that she had a new guy and had been having multiple affairs over the past year. Shocked, all I could ask is where did the woman I fell in love with and marry go? Her response – that girl was a fake person. This is the real me. She lies, she cheats and she steals. No remorse at all. In fact, she took a shower right after telling me that and I could hear her playing music and singing in the shower. Whoa.

    I packed up her things and made her leave the house immediately. She didn’t care. She met with her friends before leaving for her new job. Our friends that were there told me that they thought she was on drugs. They did not recognize the person. All she was doing was bragging about her new job and showing them pictures of her new boyfriend who she had only known a couple of months. Going on and on about how in love she was with him. They literally said, “Are you crazy? What about your husband and your life here? Up until recently you always talked about how you loved him and you were so happy?” My ex simply rolled her eyes and said “who cares?” They were just as stunned as I was.

    It’s a tough pill to swallow. Six months out. I’ve gone no contact and haven’t heard a word from her since. Blocked her on all social media because she instantly started posting pictures of the two of them on social media. I resonate with you. I just want to her to understand how much she hurt me and to feel bad for what she did. I have to come to peace with the fact that I won’t ever get that. It’s hard, but I’m focusing on living my best life, surrounding myself with the best people, and trying to be as successful as I can be. I might not get that peace until the end of my life. I’ll live authentically and continue to grow. While she is going to keep destroying every life she cares about. She’s 25 now, she thinks she can have any guy and do whatever she wants. We’ll see how this monkey-branching lifestyle works out for her.

    Go no contact! And when you feel the hard times come back to CN for support. It really helps. Much love and good luck.

    • Can anyone say, “narcissist”? Wow, Fog. Her picture is next to the definition in a dictionary. Know how to hurt a narcissist? Get on with your life without her and don’t give her any attention whatsoever. Even negative attention in her twisted mind will be received that you care. What a train wreck. Glad you’re rid of her. She’ll crash and burn and you won’t be there to put out the burning embers of her fucked up life.

    • Wow! I find myself both astonished by her horrible and brazen behavior and also somewhat envious that she at least owned who she is. In my case, my husband is blaming me to my face, taking mean and punitive actions, and twisting things so that friends, family, and community members see me as at fault and he is so sad and just does not understand and even suggests I was abusive to him. This is all just mean beyond the betrayal. But maybe it means I matter to him, hahaha. I don’t mean to diminish your pain. Because it is just stunning how your XW does not acknowledge your pain or feel bad about it, at all. It’s like you do not matter at all. That story of her showering and singing right after destroying your life—just wow! Hang in there.

      • Hey Grumpy,

        No need to be envious. It was a very brief moment of ownership. Followed quickly by “who cares? I have a new lover and a new life!” When anyone would ask her what happened, she would just say oh I met someone and I am in love (then promptly show them pictures of the two of them on her phone). She had the ability to just cut things off when she found something new she liked. Cue the narcissist shiny new toy analogy.

        Trust me, it’s a different type of pain to be abandoned and then to see your XW act like you never existed at all. Didn’t even check in to see if the divorce filing went through. Poof, gone. Off to another country. All of this a couple months after pushing me to try for a baby with her. (I know, it makes no sense) Her family won’t stop apologizing for her behavior. It’s all so messed up.

        The lesson to be learned is that some of these people know deep down they are bad. It’s just that they don’t care.

  • It really doesn’t affect you or make you feel better. My cheating ex husband had lots of bullshit
    apologies while he was flaunting his affair in my face. He would text me and say he
    had great remorse and even sent me a long apology for it all– but he still kept the affair going
    and still lives with his nanny OW. He even sent me a handwritten letter telling me how
    sorry he was that it hurt me— utter bullshit. He ended his letter with a wish that I find a new husband
    sooner than later.

  • Discovery normally starts out as a gut feeling of doubt that something is amiss. At least it did for me.

    It can be subtle like putting a puzzle 🧩 together. The picture becomes recognizable only when enough of the pieces are assembled, which takes time and concentration.

    It can also be spontaneous and traumatic. Shock takes over immediately and everything turns to black. Like being attacked by a viscous dog.

    My discovery was a mixture of both. There were subtle signs over the 12 year span I missed because of the trust narrative I was raised to believe in. Humans are inherently good.

    The knockout punch came when xw was busted and I found the undeniable evidence on her phone. I screenshot everything I needed to divorce her. What I didn’t realize was the amount of triangulation that preceded that moment. She abandoned me within 5 weeks afterwards for AP#?.

    In that span I was possessed with intelligence gathering and fiercely mined the rabbit hole 🕳 for facts. Fear and self preservation drove me to seek out and define the due diligence I needed to accomplish a counteroffensive. ‘The 180’, LACGAL and NC were core skill sets. Chump consultants mandatory.

    What amazes me now is the importance xw attached to her image management. It can be used as leverage and is also an exploitable weakness. They’ll go to great lengths to preserve it. It creates fear in them as an unknown. It also called for restraint of tongue and pen on my part if I found myself in an emotional exchange when she’d flip channels for interrogation purposes.

    There was only one text attempt at hoovering that I refused to acknowledge. I laughed when I saw it and thought, “Hmmm, things must not be copacetic in fantasyland”. A millisecond of Schadenfreude.

    Once these freaks realize they’ve lost control of you, they disappear. We’re not the same person we were either.

    • I believe you are correct about using their image management as leverage.

      I have yet to go to mediation where we decide custody and terms of the divorce however I discovered he hired a transgendered escort soon after leaving me after reviewing his financials. Now, other than discovering and being shocked by his choice in sexual preference, I have no issues with any type of lifestyle people choose to lead BUT this does not fit his all American straight male persona or fit his narrative of him being a victim and trying to escape his “crazy” wife. I doubt he’d like his secret being spilled. We shall see if this is leverage.

      • My x was not the brightest bulb on the tree 🌳 and in true form, could not process my deceptions. She bought into everything I told her because freaks Are lazy. She wasn’t going to pay for a divorce : she’s a financial train wreck.

        My narrative to her ears was focused on the legal advice I received from my lawyer and the consequences she could expect. I gave her one printed copy of a screenshot conversation with her AP which was better than a signed statement of guilt and that there was a lot more that she didn’t know about. My lawyer has been given everything.

        I might have taken a wee bit of artistic license garnished with a few embellishments to add gravity and a fear component. You know,…throw some mind Fuck back her way.
        Drop a couple % stats about cases won by supportive chump judges.

        This one really struck a nerve with her,…
        “I’m still weighing my options of suing your AP for everything he’s got”. She was eager to protect him. Suggestions of informing both their HR departments. Negotiations got easier.

        The law of diminishing returns hit home for her.

        Long story short, I prepared a separation agreement that gave me what I wanted and offered her a no fault divorce. She signed it in front of a notary and the divorce process did the rest.
        We’re the only adults in the room for infidelity clean up 🧹 and can’t rest until it’s done.

        Cheaters like easy. Consequences resulting from exposure was my x’s weakness. Whatever narrative she fed her victims had to be protected to keep her game in play. When the triangle looses a leg, it must be replaced quickly. If a second leg falls off before the lost leg can be replaced…only one remaining ☝️
        Schadenfreud

    • I agree MARCUS LAZARUS about the ‘gut feeling that something is amiss’ it was that way for me but each time I raised any concern I was told it was all in my head. It had been a really tough year with so many things going on & I actually believed him & thought I was going nuts & it was my grief over other things making me feel insecure. I even started thinking about therapy as maybe it was my insecurity undermining our ‘relationship’. I found the courage to seek evidence and felt guilty about that due to the ‘trust narrative I was raised to believe in’ it came as a total shock. You summed that up so well. Thank you

  • “A respectable front. Money. A spousal appliance. Quite simply, I was of use. And so were you.”

    This says it all. The similarities are uncanny. I was told he told the skank he wasn’t happy for years. Right from the narcissist playbook. Live better. You deserve much more.

  • They do it because they are capable of doing it. Normal people can’t stand to be the cause of a loved one’s pain.

    They are quite good a nice façade, but the real them is greedy and grasping.

    People who think people are interchangeable are defective. They may treat the new person well, but that means nothing.

    Don’t let him be your last relationship. Go no contact and move on in life. You deserve better.

    • You are so right Mitz. These people truly believe we are all interchangeable. I always said my cheater XH could be with a cardboard cut out of a woman and that would be good enough for him. He may be nice to her now, however, the second he meets a new schmoopie he’ll leave her so fast her head will spin. She’ll lose him just like she got him. You said it so well once, ‘they are as faithful as their options.’

  • Hi Chump Lady and Chump Nation,

    Thank you all so much for your wisdom and encouraging words. This community has been such a source of strength for me in these difficult weeks.

    Thank you for helping me to see that I’m still making him central by attempting to untangle the skein–for me, it’s been so difficult to believe that someone I loved and trusted for so long (lived together since we were 18, I’m now 30) could be operating with such a different set of morals and never really loved me or wanted to be married to me–but you are all right that his actions show me everything that I need to know. Obviously, I wish that things could be different–that he really was the man I thought I married, that I did have a committed partner and a wonderful relationship–but all of your kind words are helping me to see that this was not the case, and that I need to face up to that hard reality. As many of you noted, we do not have kids and although I desperately wanted them, I am grateful that I will be able to go full no contact and start to heal. And hope that there is still time for me to be able to live the life I wanted…

    It is still very painful to think about our wedding day but at least I will be able to look back someday and know that my love was real, that my commitment was true.

    Sending you all love and support no matter what stage you are at on this journey; thank you all for walking beside me on this difficult road.

    • Newlywedchump, I just want to hug you so hard and tell you that right now it hurts like heck but that YOU ARE SO LUCKY! You are young and have the opportunity to live the life you wanted! You have so much time to find a lovely and caring partner to build your family with once this whole painful episode is behind you. I promise you that once you are in a loving and reciprocal relationship that you will be embarrassed by what you accepted as a ‘loving relationship’ with your ex. I also promise that when you are building that beautiful family with a truly loving partner…you will be grateful for all these current and painful circumstances.

      FWIW, I left my terminally ill exhole in the middle of IVF when I found out that he was cheating on me while I footed all the bills and was his caregiver. I met someone new, fell in love, he settled on the East Coast with me and I am GRATEFUL that I found out who my exhole was in time to meet someone else and have a reciprocal loving relationship and have a truly wonderful man by my side to try to build a family with now. I promise that the only thoughts of my exhole in my fabulous new life tend to be regret that I paid so much money to keep that sh*theel alive. I would have liked those years and that money to make my life even more fabulous right now! LMAO! 😉

      Hugs and more hugs! I promise that the pain fades, life gets better the more you keep moving forward and that you have no idea what good things are waiting ahead for you! 🙂 It’s going to be exciting to find out!

    • You will do amazing, eyes forward, let him have what he thinks he wants
      My feelings were never the same after mine revised the marital history, although he dropped her and wanted What he had before the 9 month “mistake”
      Like you said, it was real for you
      You will love and be loved going forward
      Leave a cheater, gain a life.
      Much love to you in your grief
      ❤️❤️❤️

    • Beautiful woman! It is not too late to live the life you long for with children and others who fill your heart and life with love! You may not feel young right now, but truly you are in the prime of your life.
      Your will soon be free of him and his horrible lies and manipulation.
      Just keep your eyes on the Truth, and don’t give into despair.

  • It is difficult to believe and process. I’m hoping you find a therapist who understands NPD. These creeps hide it so well and discard without a care. Reading about covert narcissists helped me understand and heal. Keep posting.

  • Hi CL, Newlywed Chump and CN,

    It is my first time to post after reading this blog and archives for weeks. It is 13 weeks since D Day and 12 weeks no contact for me. Thank god I found this site when I did.

    Thank you Newlywed Chump for sharing your story. Like you I have struggled with the lack of consequences for my now ex and without reading this blog and all of the stories of the incredible CN (as well as my incredible ex SIL, also a chump) I think it would have made me crazy (perhaps I am, still working through that…) Keep reading, the strength you will draw from these incredible people will help so very much.

    I keep being reminded that although I am experiencing this intense pain and trying to work out who the hell I am and have become he will have to live with his choice and who he is forever. We were together 5 years and met ‘3 years’ after his divorce (it was less than 1 but that lie I only discovered recently). He still had teenage children living at home when we met (now adults) and they are quite troubled. We were 2 1/2 years in and starting to look at our future together when he left to go interstate for work. I supported him in this and kept things going at ‘home’. I supported his children through some very traumatic events, took on full care of his eldest granddaughter (10 days before her first birthday) for 5 months so that she wasn’t placed in foster care (her mother on drugs and so much domestic violence and neglect). I was even present at the birth of his youngest grandson 6 months ago. I discovered his affair and left him that very day via text as I couldn’t stop vomiting. His AP is his ex wife! I still can’t believe I managed to just end it on the spot.

    He won’t be happy as not only does he thrive on drama and negativity (I never realised he caused so much & was not the ‘victim’) but his ex wife is hated by everyone he knows. She herself is a drug addict, has prostituted herself over the years, been in and out of psychiatric wards, abandoned her children multiple times, stole off everyone she could, had affairs on him and the list goes on and on.

    Every day that I feel angry that he has no remorse or consequences (refused to admit the cheating ‘I was choosing to believe the messages he sent her, that I had photos of, over his word’ 🤦‍♀️) I remind myself that he can never be open about this with anyone and whilst they both draw breath he will be miserable. This keeps me going each day.

    What I can’t get over is the grief that I now have no contact with 3 beautiful step grandchildren that I had a strong bond with, helped to bring into the world and kept safe in some very traumatic times and he and the crazy whore will still have them in their lives. I hate the unfairness of this and that I am grieving beautiful little ones that had no part to play in all of this awful mess and I cry for them every day.

    Sorry for the long post it just started flowing out.

    Xx No Contact Hopium

    • NCH
      I’m so glad you posted today.
      Please Please Please do it some more.
      This place recalibrates my perspective routinely.
      Man-chumps are less vocal for a lot of reasons but when they speak, I listen.
      For the newly eviscerated we pay it forward

      If your freaks crash and burn downstream these kids will need you to catch them. The cosmos does things like that. Justice served by a win-win for NCH.

      • I married my ex when his son was 2, divorced when he was 17
        He is now 22 and graduating from college
        We are still close, I did most of the work
        I agree, those kids need us as unfortunately this is the second divorce for that young man
        What these serial cheaters do to their families……

  • This guy sounds like a train wreck, so does his ex-wife. You sound like a lovely woman and it’s tragic that the kids have these horrible parents. Between the divorces, lies, cheating scandals, drugs, and prostitution – I believe you are well off staying away from those toxic people. I know it’s not easy, but on paper that all sounds awful. Hope you feel better.

    • Thank you FogChump. Yes a total train wreck but I stupidly never spotted the lies. Thanks for reading it felt good to get it out and really appreciate the feedback. As you have all said it will take time but so thankful for all of you sharing your stories. It gives me hope everyday xx

    • Sending hugs right back to you Newlywedchup. You gave me the courage to post for the first time today as I could relate to so may of your feelings. Thank you again for sharing and keep reading here CN give me hope every day I will one day get to meh (((hugs)))

  • I still struggle with the lack of remorse, consequences or other people not giving a damn about my STBX’s bastard behaviour!

    Perspective helped me.

    Last week I watched a documentary on a woman who led a cult called “The Family”.

    She abused, starved, demeaned and dyed children’s hair the same as hers, as she convinced their own parents To give them to her to raise.

    There was evidence, so much evidence. Police hunted her for years and extradited her back to Australia. She never went to jail here. Those children received no justice, no compensation and were called liars.

    Moral I took, doesn’t matter how much evidence you have, do your best but be prepared to walk away. As CL says “some money/justice/consequences are just too expensive”. Keep going through the shitstorm that’s all we can do xx

    • Hi Deeply Chumpy,

      I admit it has shocked me how many ‘others’ have not given a shit about my ex’s behaviour. Years ago I was friends with a couple. She had an affair & although I was closer to her than him I stood my ground with her & said no matter how bad things were at home you should have left him not had an affair, there is no reason that ever excuses infidelity (there was no domestic violence by the way). So many people stayed ‘switzerland’ & I was told I was being harsh as ‘you never know what is going on behind closed doors’. I even shared this story with my now ex who ‘agreed with me’. All coming to light now with so many ‘Switzerland’s’ that were/are in my life

      • In all honesty, before this life experience I may have thought “I don’t know what caused someone to cheat, I won’t judge”. Now I realise you can think you are happily married, have sex, be loyal and still be cheated on. There is some education to do for family, friends, counsellors who have not been through this. Thanks for the reply NC Hopium x

  • I have a meme; attributed to “ES” that says

    “a narcissist’s mindset: that didn’t happen. and if it did, it wasn’t that bad, and if it was, its not a big deal, and if it is, I didn’t mean to do it, and if I did, that was your fault.”

    Pretty much sums up my experience, alas. Thank goodness for this sweet group that helps me retain the shreds of sanity, by employing precisely accurate terms like “mindfuck” frequently.

  • At 18 I met a good-looking (very vain) fun loving man, got married at 24 (he was 30) and three years into the marriage with one small baby, told him I was leaving as I couldn’t tolerate the loneliness and his heavy drinking! My head told me that this “Nice” guy was utterly selfish, but my heart was his.

    looking into the rear view mirror of my 25 year marriage, I should have followed my head. He made me feel loved for the first half but a ghost for the last half, a useful addition to his carefully choreographed life. He admitted that he stayed as I ensured a very nice lifestyle. I’m attractive (so he keeps saying, that was very important to him), I earned a lot more than him and I’m a kind person (He keeps saying this to me, maybe he realises that he isn’t). Now I’m just 50, my three kids are finishing school/ university, and I learnt of his 2 year affair by eavesdropping behind a door six months ago!!

    His central purpose in life is to be happy and, as importantly, to be considered a nice guy. Nothing wrong with this? Great to be on life’s journey with this joyous person? Well no actually!! only when the relationship is over and you start to really open your eyes and reflect on the many selfish and cruel things they did to you (and in my case to 2 of my 3 great kids) you realise it wasn’t right. I’m super tolerant, we never fought, I might have cried myself to sleep a lot but rarely in front of him (and normally when he was drinking heavily) He said so many hurtful things yet I even told myself he couldn’t have meant such nasty things! He’s too nice to mean that! He came from a good family (his parents are disgusted by him). I now realise he is a self-serving narcissist ! Always thinking of himself. Cheaters are shallow people who create a narrative to justify their conduct. They have to forgive themselves, they’ve convinced themselves they are Mr Nice guy, the mask they wear. Deep down they know that to engage in deception and lies is the behavior of the lowest of the low! I feel so stupid that I missed all his trickery!

    The only reason I was eavesdropping was because he was speaking in raised tones; it turns out he’d misled the OW and let her believe that he was already divorced; she wanted to move in with him, to my house (which I pay for) and where I live! He had to tell her the inconvenient truth and she was calling him a “cheating liar”! He spent the weekend in my bed and then on Monday, when I was eavesdropping, reassured her that “nobody had ever made him feel the way she made him feel”! I knew I didn’t like my selfish, grumpy, needy husband, but I never thought him less than decent! He wasn’t even that! When talking about his OW to me, he said “it mightn’t work out”…”but there are lots of women out there”! That’s what women are to him, a source to his happiness!

    Now he’s aghast that I’m shutting him out and focusing on the love I get from all the great friends, family and people in my life, including my kids (they are indifferent to him – my youngest son calls him a silk-tongued snake- and I’ve not even told my sons of his affair, sadly my 23 year old daughter overheard us talk of his mistress).

    But life is calmer now. Who’d want to share life with such a selfish person, they’d never be in your corner when things got tough! Good riddance to old rubbish! My motto, the end of something bad and the beginning of something new!!

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