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Should I Give Him a Fourth Chance?

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Dear Chump Lady,

I stumbled upon your blog after my husband cheated on me for the third time, and then left me shortly after our second child got home from the NICU. So firstly, thank you. Reading all of your articles got me through the first couple of dark months.

I’m writing you because my husband has had a classic change of heart and has been trying his hardest to get me to come back. And sadly, it feels like it’s been working lately. He is in therapy and has apparently been diagnosed with BPD. At times I see him saying everything I wish I would have heard years ago. He says he realizes he was too wrapped up in himself to take care of my emotional needs. He deleted the dating profiles he created the second the word divorce passed his lips. He says he’s learning to like himself.

He’s also willingly missed his days with our older kiddo and then called me names when I asked him not to bail again, so I’m not completely delusional and convincing myself that he’s truly a unicorn.

Here’s the thing. I’m really struggling with thinking about the future. I feel like the strong, take no shit woman I wanted to be in my twenties some days, and others I feel really lonely. I worry about my kids and how this all will impact them. I’m sad about selling our home that I was so excited to buy. I never liked being single and I was really happy to put my single days behind me, or so I thought. So every time he texts me to tell me that he loves and misses me, a tiny part of me wants to give him a second chance.

So please lay it on me. Tell me that giving him a fourth chance would be the biggest mistake of my life. I promise to come back and read your response every time I even remotely consider it.

Sincerely,

Thrice Chumped

Dear Thrice,

Here’s your giveaway sentence that your husband is still a bag of flaming dog shit.

He says he’s learning to like himself.

Oh the poor moppet. He abandons you with an NICU infant because he doesn’t LIKE himself? However are we going to bolster such a sad sausage? Tell him how pretty his hair looks? Compliment his sweater? Buy him an ice cream? We must keep all the flattery flowing lest his self-esteem falters and he fucks a rando.

HE LIKES HIMSELF JUST FINE. Too much in fact. He’s an entitled fuckwit.

Don’t you see the implied threat here? By casting this little “I abuse my wife and children” problem as an “I don’t like myself” problem he makes it ALL ABOUT HIM. Cradling his fragile ego. Catering to his ever-changing happiness index. Mustn’t hold him accountable! He might not “like himself”!

He should DESPISE himself for what he’s done. But he doesn’t! He feels totally ENTITLED to reconciliation and a FOURTH chance with you. Batshit ENTITLED.

If I spilled red wine all over your white sofa three times (oops!), should I insist on a fourth glass of merlot?

If I stole from the till, should I demand that they make me bank president?

If I sprinkle arsenic on the cupcakes, should I be invited to another company picnic?

NO!!!

He has absolutely NO RIGHT to “try his hardest to win you back”!

He says he realizes he was too wrapped up in himself to take care of my emotional needs.

Oh here’s an idea — he can RESPECT your emotional need for safety and BOUNDARIES and getting away from him. He can stop being “wrapped up in himself” (read — desperately needy for a chump) and welcome the consequences of his abhorrent behavior. He should make this an easy divorce. He should be generous. He should hold up his end of the parenting and SHOW THE FUCK UP FOR HIS CHILD.

He hasn’t done that? THERE IS YOUR SORRY.

And you, Thrice, you need some goddamn boundaries. Put down the hopium pipe and commit to NO CONTACT.

I’m really struggling with thinking about the future.

Well, you need a vision. Let’s imagine a strong take-no-shit woman enjoying the peace and tranquility that comes from not living with an abusive fuckwit. Imagine not being called names. Imagine joy. Imagine your walls singing.

I feel like the strong, take no shit woman I wanted to be in my twenties some days, and others I feel really lonely.

There is absolutely nothing lonelier than living with a remorseless cheater. (Oh but he feels remorse! I hear you say. No, he does not. See how I’ve laid out the evidence above.)

Some times new lives are lonely. But they’re lonely and peaceful and have the possibility of adding good company. You are lonely now with chaos and abuse and a man who does not respect or love you. Or his children. No loving person could abandon you as you came home from the NICU. That’s front row seat in hell, unforgivable.

You don’t need THAT person to un-lonely you. There are a bazillion people on this planet more worthy of spending time with. Like, I’d rather have a conversation with the county tax assessor about graduated income rates than 5 seconds with a fuckwit who abandons BABIES.

I worry about my kids and how this all will impact them.

Don’t model abuse. That will impact them. Be mighty and build a new life and teach them how to have boundaries with fuckwit dad. Live that example.

I’m sad about selling our home that I was so excited to buy.

No one gets out of divorce unscathed. There will be other homes. You don’t keep an abusive fuckwit because you like your granite countertops. Slap yourself and put your values in order.

I never liked being single and I was really happy to put my single days behind me, or so I thought.

Single isn’t a defect. Fronting a fake marriage to take back a fuckwit for a FOURTH time is a defect. It’s a very bad look.

I understand wanting to be coupled and there is nothing wrong with that, but you should not want it so badly that you will accept ABUSE and model that to your children.

Humans are notoriously bad at threat assessment. Your imaginary time alone at a bar stool, or being stood up for a date, or having an awkward coffee with a man who flips his collar is not on par with the suffering you’re living now. The suffering you will CONTINUE to suffer because he WILL NOT CHANGE because he HAS NOT CHANGED. (See “name calling” and “demanding reconciliation” also “mindfuckery”.)

So every time he texts me to tell me that he loves and misses me, a tiny part of me wants to give him a second chance.

Oh really? Because a tiny part of me wants to stab his eye with a cocktail fork. Aren’t urges funny?

Block the phone. Quit taking his calls. Put down the hopium pipe.

This isn’t a second chance. (In the very next sentence you write “FOURTH” chance. I reckon it’s more like 1,765th chance.)

You are strong and you can do this. Please leave him for good. Big ((hugs)).

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Dear Thrice,

    I lost count of how many schmoopies.
    I call the latest “#18.”

    Now it’s just shy of 40 y.e.a.r.s.
    Divorce sb final in April Fools Day.
    Dont be me.

    Stbxh is the same lying self absorbed selfish abusive cheater he was back then
    in my twenties. He’s putting on a pretty good mask these days for the adult kids so he can leech off of them.

    My best advice:
    Lose a cheater, get a great attirney and a great settlement, get therapy, get real with yourself, have a good life with your badass self and your family.

    • Langele, good to see you here. Have been thinking of you recently when I use Langele’s Mantra! Mighty, mighty you, hope you are ok ❤

      • ❤️
        “I call my spirit back.”

        Thanks for the love.

        Am through the fire with the dross burned out.

        Life is an incredible state of being. I didn’t know how much I limited myself by having fuckwits around.
        Onward to another beautiful day.

    • Dear Thrice,

      You think a divorce is the worst thing, but the real nightmare is staying married in a non marriage. It won’t improve; it’ll deteriorate and there’s a very high chance he’ll leave you someday, ironically.

      There’s been no reward for your forgiveness. If there had been an awakening, then the “One time” event would not have been repeated. Besides, your husband’s reconciliation efforts are not even consistent. He’s still making demands and losing his temper. WTF??

      This shows that your husband has seen your forgiving him as permission for doing more crap to you. He knows with a little effort on his part, your fears of being alone will outweigh your reason. You’ll tell yourself it’s not about fear of the unknown that keeps you stuck, but it is.

      You convince yourself of things to keep you stuck, like believing the myth that staying married to him might bring “some” pain but in the end it’ll ALL be worth it, versus a divorce with endless pain. It’s the opposite!!

      CN is filled with evidence of the opposite. Staying in this non marriage will lead to more heartache for you & the

      MARRIAGE WILL NOT IMPROVE.

      Splitting from this manipulative bully, and GAL will lead to short term discomfort, and then long term peace, and maybe even more. And you’ll be setting a much better example for your child. You will be happier in the long run, without him.

      Look, I was ALL IN, in my 35 year marriage and I loved my EX, deeply. I always saw the best (possibly non existent) in him and I spackled amazingly well. I even thought I was doing God’s will by staying!!

      And deep down I thought that there’d be a day when the DOCTOR would turn and thank me for all my devotion…uh, not so much.

      If I could go back in time and knew then what I know now, I’d slap my face, cut him loose and rebuild my career and life while I was in a much easier dating age.

      Even so, I’m glad to be divorced now.

      Here is the simplest reason WHY YOU CANNOT TAKE HIM BACK and why I could not –because for better or worse, there IS NO GOING BACK.

      Because you cannot UNKNOW what you know now.

      Your husband left you AND your child at the most vulnerable time. He failed as husband and as a father at the most crucial times. He had one BIG TEST as a husband and as a father and he failed both, big time. That is who he is.

      What makes you think you won’t ever be sick or injured? Or your child might be in an accident and need care? You think HE will protect & provide? His track record is reprehensible. The idea that he hopes let alone expects you to “overlook” that, is close to nuts.

      My wasband of 35 years, (the DOCTOR), abandoned me after I was unexpectedly in the neurological ICU for a week. I was cognitively impaired for months…and THAT IS when he took ALL the marital assets and went off to a new life with schmoopie. When I needed him the most (and for the first time in our long marriage), he treated me with utter contempt.

      He has not seen me or our 3 grown children in over 3 years.

      Let me be clear. THIS ^^^^^ STILL SHOCKS ME.

      I’d never EVER have believed him capable of this and yes I would have bet my life on that. So… Oops. I was wrong.

      So all the forgiving I had done was for naught. I gave more, and he took more. I overlooked more, he did more.

      I regret how many years I wasted based on my hopes for us and the belief that he was a much better man than he really was/is.

      This regret is compounded by the added years my children saw abuse, long term deceit, and pathological selfishness and eventually, his outright cruelty to me and abandonment of them.

      Thrice – you are practically telling your ex to treat you with contempt AGAIN, b/c that’s what he did before, more than once and you accepted it.

      There are far far worse things than being alone.

      I’m 60 and I still meet men who are datable (and more). I may remarry, I may partner up or I may just date for fun. But if not, it’s still better to be able to look myself in the mirror.

      I’m not saying you should divorce him to punish him.

      I am saying divorce him to protect yourself, maintain your self respect, & model boundaries for your kids.

  • My second chance that I gave my cheating husband yielded the following: he ramped up the abuse because I deserved it don’t ya know, he stole jewellry,vehicles and brought schmoopie to two vacation homes to “shop” for what she wanted( yes she is a flaming pile of shit too), when he finally left he stalked me. And he spent 4 years systematically stealing hundreds of thousands of our retirement fund, leaving me nothing to retire on( I’m now 60 so there’s no recouping a lifetime of savings. Oh and he quit working to avoid paying spousal support. Please don’t be me but if you do insist on taking him back please do so with an iron clad post nup so he can’t rape you financially. ((((Hugs)))

    • She shouldn’t take him back, what he did, leaving a baby in ICU was unforgiveable !!! (unless he’s got dementia or was in acute stage of psychosis). He left her for another woman so no ‘unless’ applies here. Seriously!!!

      Thrice, many people will write you many clever things. I’ll only add about your fear how it’ll affect children. My father by far wasn’t the worst person in this world and he didn’t cheat. He was, however, somewhere low on narcissistic scale. My mother spent all her life dancing around him, catering to his moods, needs, high maintenance etc. Even though she had absolutely the best intentions of being the best mother in the universe, she was so absorbed in this focus on his moods, needs and what he might do, how he might react (e.g. silent treatments) etc. that we, her children, came secondary. To this days my default position is that I’m small, invisible, not important and insignificant. I’d like to report that I myself have a great guy. Not so, so far I’ve spent my life on what I also know the best, dancing around selfish men, walking on eggshells and catering to their moods and needs.

      With utmost respect, but I can discern the same dynamic from many chump posts.

      Yes, your children will be affected by divorce. But they’ll be far more affected by your abandonment when you’ll continue to dance around this pile of shit, playing marriage police, making sure he loves himself (or whatever), making your children feeling less important that that shit pile. Don’t do this to your children. This is his fourth, not second chance. Have your priorities right, first, your children, then you, then your house (and notice, no him).

      All the best.

      • This. The negative effects of staying “for the children” with an abuser cannot be overstated, and are extremely hard to un-do. My mother stayed with my narc-dad for many reasons, and I ended up marrying a different flavor of the same sh*t because I was trained from birth to appease narc men. That behavior is what I found “familiar” and associated with “love”. I was raised to be narc-bait. Now, my children are suffering having to deal with their own narc-dad, which breaks my heart, as I know exactly how that feels. I picked this man to be their father, and he will never change, so it is my responsibility to
        be the sane parents and make things better for my kids. My definition of “better” is to model and teach boundaries, resilience, morals, good judgement and strength. That means standing up for what I think is right and making my own way. It’s providing the boys with a safe and secure place in the world to come home to. I can’t change my previous choices, but I can learn to do better (and I have learned so much from CL and CN!!) and teach my children what healthy relationships look like so that with them this damn cycle ends.

        • Your mom might not have had the strength to leave, or the know how, or even the courage because of her indoctrinations. The same goes with her mom, and her mom, and her mom. This doesn’t all fall on your mom. It’s privilege and patriarchy over many many years. You are a bit more able to escape than she was. Your kids will be a bit more able to escape also as you were.

      • @persephone Oh wow this “ Even though she had absolutely the best intentions of being the best mother in the universe, she was so absorbed in this focus on his moods, needs and what he might do, how he might react (e.g. silent treatments) etc. that we, her children, came secondary. To this days my default position is that I’m small, invisible, not important and insignificant.” hit home for me.

        Thank you for sharing and glad you’re here commenting so I can be reminded that my choice to leave was the right one. ❤️

        Thank you 🌈

      • Seconding or third-ing all of this. My upbringing was similar and I made a lot of bad relationship choices early on because of it. Life is good now, but as P!nk sings, it was a long long way to happy. Don’t give that legacy to YOUR kids.

      • No, he shouldn’t get a forth chance.

        And she shouldn’t let him send “I love you and want you back” texts. That’s too EASY for him. Those are just words typed on a phone. And think of how many words he’s typed on the phone to his various APs. I get it that parents have to have some access to emergency communication, but texting is just way too easy. Use a different app, just for the cheater. And make it clear that all non-emergency communication should be business only and done by email. Texting is an open pipeline of hopium to the brain for many people. This guy is a manipulator. Strong boundaries are called for.

  • I have to say thanks for your support. It’s been 1year since the divorce was final and I found out that the ex and the skank that was just a friend that he lived with to help her out in the RV I bought have now purchased a house so he can continue to help her. Btw she did leave her spouse and 5 kids. She is perfect for his ego since she can’t seem to do anything for herself and is so thankful for him. That reads as narcissistic food. So every time I start to feel like we had a great marriage I read your post and get a reality check. Keeps me strong and happy he is helping skank and not lying to me.

  • I wonder how many chumps here are chumps because they didn’t want to be single. Did we blind ourselves to the fuckwitishness and/or endure more than we should have because of the scary land of SINGLE? I likely did.

    And these asshats? They know that, they can sense someone they can take advantage of, it must be a byproduct of their entitlement.

    • Some of us, me, were indoctrinated that divorce was sin, or terrible or worse than “forgiving” a fuckwit. For some of us it took years of the same shit to find the courage to get them out of our lives. I came in her five years ago but endured five more years before I felt strong enough to escape. Alanon in 2017 helped me slowly rewire my mind so I could have the courage to leave. Undoing generations of tolerating entitlement behaviors and putting it on that one person being at fault is short-sighted. Some of us were raised in narcissistic religions and cults and were taught that fuckwits were the leaders of our homes. This shit takes many years to untangle. Language of Letting Go app helped me slowly learn tools to rewire my mind that I was worth more. Looking up how people manipulate, how I manipulate, how he manipulates helped me recognize that he would use up to a dozen manipulative tactics a minute to keep me chump wife. It started to make sense how he did it; I was inundated with manipulative tactics. Rewiring the mind to resist manipulation and even the tics that come of how we become ill and start to use their own tactics to get what we want takes a long time for some of us. I consider myself in recovery from an addiction to an ideal that never was. She might just need to go another round or two, but hopefully she will enter into some kind of recovery until she’s ready to leave the fuckwit (love that term). She might need to revel in the tiny itty bitty crumbs he gives her while she builds up her arsonal of resistence to manipulative techniques and tactics. Just one search on google – how to recognize manipulation and combat it every day has helped me. We all need help escaping this kind of abuse and love and encouragement even if we decide to go another round or two with our “husband”. The latest mistress of mine after writing you five years ago was discovered by her alleged ex boyfriend sending a facebook message of a video of the entire text conversation of their affair just two weeks before going on holiday which I suspect was actually her trying to sabotage the trip. In that instant, I was done. I am done – unless I develop mental illness again and go off the wagon for another round of abuse. I hope I’m finally done. To the woman who wrote this, lots of self care. It might take you a few years more and enough mistresses that you lose count. It might take you mulling over the pros and cons and lost lifestyle a few more times before you are ready to jump off the cliff when it will end up being a jump into a healthier life. I have learned SO many lessons along the way, and I have no regrets. I just don’t think I was ready and divorcing after 25+ years is going to be a lot of work and a lot of money so I put it off for that reason too. Only you can answer if you want mistress number five and then eventually to lose count – I’ve lost count and they are all the same level of crazy now. I have a protective order now, I’m pursuing a divorce, I have taken him completely off my phone – he can email about the kids which he rarely does because the latest woman calls him daddy now, and he’s been off social media for over two years. I have no doubt now I’ll find another partner when I’m ready to date again.

      • Just a comment on people placing divorce as a “sin” ahead of things like adultery and abuse. God didn’t give the death penalty for divorce. God didn’t make “Thou shalt never divorce” one of the ten commandments. In fact, He permitted divorce even though it wasn’t his original plan. Probably because women back then were likely to go through abject poverty when their husbands left them and God would rather let them have a certificate of divorce so they could remarry instead of starving. Most importantly, God never permitted adultery or murder.

        God also metaphorically divorced Israel because of her unfaithfulness. God couldn’t make those people happy enough or meet their needs enough to keep them faithful and He is God. So, it makes no sense that other people expect us mere humans to override someone’s free will in a way God Himself didn’t accomplish. I could go on and point out that God says the FAITHFUL husband is innocent in Numbers 5 or that Jesus said sins like adultery come from within out of the heart of the sinner in Mark 7 or that he put the onus on the woman caught in the act of adultery to “go and sin no more”. He didn’t talk to her about her unmet needs!

    • For me, with both my abusers and some of my cheaters, it was a combination of the scary land of single, and them telling me they were the best I deserved.

      My first abuser and cheater, I was very young. Only 19 when I met him. We were together until I was 21. Still, very…very young. While not my first impression of love (the first person to tell me he loved me was my high school sweetheart) but this was my first relationship outside of high school, first boyfriend to live with me, first sexual partner. So my first impression of all these things was an abuser. I complied with a lot of sex acts I did NOT enjoy or want to do because I thought he’d leave if I didn’t do them, or he’d cheat (lol he already was) or something bad would happen to me, and this is what a serious relationship looks like, so it would be the same with anyone else.

      Newsflash to 21 year-old me sitting in a therapist’s office describing all the abuse, she tells me that someone who makes you think you have to comply with their sexual demands, lest he hurt, leave, or be unfaithful to you, is NOT normal, in fact, it’s coercive. Someone who takes away your ability to say “no” is an abuser. Also, it won’t be the same with every man in the world because that’s not normal.

      Second abuser was worse than the first. This guy had me not just scared of being single, but scared of being on my own in any sense. He held it over my head that I was divorcing, that somehow he’d saved me from that situation, and he’d saved me from being stuck dealing with my ex husband. So I should be more grateful. I remember him telling me many times that other guys wouldn’t “put up” with me and “my shady shit” and he has to tell me how to be a good girlfriend, so I should listen to him more if I don’t want to be alone. He had me convinced the only safe places in the world were at home with my parents, several states away (which would have required dropping out of school and not getting my bachelor’s) or with him, because without him, I’d be on the streets. A close friend of mine told me a huge sign of an abuser is a partner who threatens you with homelessness. And someone else told me abusers get you trapped by breaking you down from the inside and then making you need them.

      So sure, I had the big bad fear of singlehood, but you could say it was instilled by the partners I was with, not a fear that existed in me before then.

      • Oh Kara your words hit home to me hard. As they should. My cheater implied consistently that if sex wasn’t frequent and amazing he’d have to find someone else. Told me he’d left his first wife bc the sex wasn’t up to scratch. What did I do? Made sure sex was amazing including threesomes, swinging & open relationships. When my psych told me he was an abuser I refused to listen. But I know see his manipulation & mind games were the same as the abuser I had when I was 11. Just evil. I’m wondering how many chumps have childhood abuse histories?

        • I have no history of childhood abuse. My ex-husband decided he wanted spanking and hair pulling and he also implied that he might have to go somewhere else to get what he wanted. Then, he took it back and tried to deny saying it. He also thought it was fun to spank me even though I didn’t want it and then if I complained say “It wasn’t that hard, you just didn’t like the sound it made”. So, the above it’s not normal comment really hit home for me.

  • Oh Thrice Duped, I can assure you “thrice” was just the tip of the iceberg of infidelities, cruelties and mindfuckery. When you get out from under this abuse and a few years pass, you will begin to see more clearly. You will have “AHA” moments, connect the dots and realize there were far more instances of cheating.

    Don’t be me. Don’t stay through multiple Ddays. Don’t wast your precious time. Protect your babies from this monster. He is an abusive man. He is abusing you. All this hoovering is harmful too. It hurts you, it is a deception. He will cheat again. He’s done it three times. Those are just the times you caught him. I stayed and all I got was multiple DDays.

    He doesn’t love you or those babies. He loves his dick. Get out. Give yourself the love, validation and good life you crave. You can fix lonely, but you can’t fix him.

  • CL, This letter reminds me of how much I wish you would write a book for high school students. I don’t know when, or how, we are taught that it’s not ok to say “No.”. We want so desperately to belong as teenagers that we lose our sense of self worth and often times never get it back. That’s what I see here.

    Being alone is different for everyone. I know some who are so active they don’t have a minute to waste. Also know some who are lonely. It’s a choice. As a divorced mother of children you have so many ways to get yourself out and about, and involved. I think you are used to his craziness. It’s amazing how quickly we can become adjusted to whatever is going on in our lives. If he has a personality disorder how in the world is he going to change? It’s who he is. If he’s been diagnosed with bipolar disorder he needs medication. In either case he’s not your responsibility, your children are.

    • I suspect it’s not bipolar disorder, but borderline personality disorder, and borderline people need to work VERY VERY VERY hard to be different than their default setting. There’s no meds that make that go away.

      I have one BPD acquaintance (I don’t call her a friend because she’s just not…everything is always about her) and the only way I maintain the relationship is through distance and rock-solid boundaries. Because she’s not committed to working to overcome her disorder. Even with that kind of tenuous relationship, it’s extremely hard to cope with her some days.

    • The title of the book could be, “DON’T SETTLE.” With a subtitle something like, “Being alone won’t hurt you but being with an abuser will.”

  • Ok y’all, I’ve seen the light thanks to Chump Lady and all of you. He also may have helped slightly by daring to tell me yesterday that it’s ingrained in him to want to keep his family whole, and that I clearly don’t feel the same way because I won’t come home. I’m resolved not to be chumped a fourth time.
    I’m just mad at myself. A family member of mine has been physically abused multiple times by a boyfriend and I don’t say “maybe he really will change this time” to her. I say “he’s put you through this cycle three times. Get the hell out!” Clearly I wasn’t taking my own advice.

    • You’ve got this.
      We are your army.

      You got to get mad (it’s rocket fuel).
      You’ve got to remember your values, starting with liking yourself.

      These first steps are hard AF.
      *BUT* there’s the real you waiting on the other side.

      I am SO happy to have found myself again. You’ll be too.

    • If it was “ingrained in him to keep his family whole” you’d think he wouldn’t have broken it in the first place. Ug. The blame shifting in the sentence makes my head spin.

      • Oh, people who really want to keep their families whole leave their own flesh and blood at NICU and abandon their partners who has just given birth for another person. Yep, makes complete sense.

        • THIS-i want you to be as no contact as possible so I wouldnt point this out, wouldnt matter anyway-but his logic is fucking idiotic.

    • Literally, how dare he say that to you after what he’s done. That statement alone. ‘ingrained in him to keep his family whole’. This stuff makes me so mad, who do they think they are. Mine was similarly righteous. He wants his daughter to see a good relationship model (meaning unlike ours). I just rolled my eyes. But then if you lie about everything you can convince yourself of anything. If you did take him back I bet it would take about 2 weeks max to totally totally resent him.

      Don’t be mad at yourself, if you commit to someone have been loyal you don’t want to throw it all down the pan for what is probably some ridiculous love affair about as solid as tissue paper. I even got that thrown back at me. ‘You would never do this would you’ meaning splitting up the family. You can’t win believe me, it just has to be YOU. That’s the most eye-opening part of it all.

      • “ingrained in him to keep his family whole”

        UBT: “ingrained in him to keep his image management intact”

    • With borderline personality disorder, he may never be normal. Just get your kids away from him as much as possible. If he bails on visitation, don’t remind him or try to get him to take it. Just keep good records so when the inevitable custody fight comes around, you win. More importantly, your kids win.

    • Good for you!

      Trust me that your children will be significantly stronger and healthier without having to deal with a parent whose BPD renders them an empty vessel in search of validation. BPDs are inherently unstable, and need constant affirmation from those around them. They don’t have anything they can give their children, and in fact demand constant affirmation from the children as well.

      Get some therapy for yourself, especially since you now realize that you’ve been living with a BPD spouse. That is a serious mindfuck and you’ll need some help healing.

    • “it’s ingrained in him to want to keep his family whole, and that I clearly don’t feel the same way because I won’t come home.”

      These defects just throw this verbal crap out there, doesn’t mean a thing. Too many chumps have spent a great deal of time pondering what the cheater has said….total waste of time. They’ll say anything that comes to mind, means nothing. Time to move on, you have nothing to work with…not sure why he wants to get back together at this moment but it is just a temporary move on his part.

    • Do get that parenting software! If he’s unreliable with the kids, that documentation will be of great help to you and your attorney as well as providing you with some distance from him. It is amazing how quickly your perspective can change when you don’t allow them to overwhelm and crowd you in their endless attempts to wear down your defenses.

        • There are different kinds of software available to help divorced parents co parent their kids. Our Family Wizard is an example. The other parent can leave messages there, and it’s a buffer against dealing with a toxic parent

    • IF he has Bi-Polar Disorder, it doesn’t EXCUSE his treatment of you and your children and your futures… it only EXPLAINS some of it.

      That’s not fucking good enough.

      As Chump Lady says: Is that treatment acceptable to you?

      NO.

      His issues are his now, and the only way his proffered “BPD” affetcs you is how it affects the children and your arrangments. Be the sane parent. Grayrock him. (ESPECIALLY if he is not only a narcissistic asshole but has BPD.) Get your hands on a parenting-time scheduler that removes the opportunity for these “chats” and starves him of centrality. <3

      • BPD is borderline personality disorder. My son struggles with bi-polar disorder, and it manifests completely differently from the soulless abandonment Borderlines are capable of. Please don’t confuse the two.

    • Thricechumped lovely, I am so happy to read this! Come over to the Chump Nation subreddit if you need day to day support. Chump Nation salutes you! Be well and all the best on your road to Meh ❤

  • Watching an old television episode last night, in which a nice young man seeks the advice of a “bad boy” about how to attract women, I saw a sad but too relevant scene. The nice guy watches while the “bad boy” gives his first lesson–being dismissive and rude to a few girls. “How will that help me?” pleads the nice guy. His mentor replies something like, “The thing is, dude, after you’re mean to them, you only have to be a tiny bit nice for them to think you are terrific and really like them.”

    And it rang far too true. A lot of us have been trained to see a unicorn every time we glimpse the most ordinary pony.

    From the trenches I can confirm that being alone sometimes means being lonely and raising kids alone is hard But things were hard and lonely and abusive before I divorced, so it is still very much a better life.

    • True. I know a couple that just celebrated their 31st wedding anniversary. The wife works, always has and is the breadwinner. The husband plays the part of some sort of “captain of industry” and the wife plays along. He works in sales every so often and barely makes an income, all show. One time he worked in sales at a company out of state about 30 years ago. I think he made a couple of good sales and the wife still reflects back to that time when her bum of a husband did so well. For some reason they moved back (I think he got canned) and the wife was very quiet about her husband working. He was working as a plumber’s assistant and she didn’t want anyone to know that her husband was working a blue collar job. She found out that I found out and called to tell me he was just doing the guy a favor and in no way was that going to be his vocation. I swear she preferred him not working, playing a part, rather than bringing in an income. Oh and yes he did cheat on her too. Of course the photos on FB only show a happy devoted couple.

      • What a sad, small, little life that lady has. I’d rather be a big, noisy, becoming-beautiful Chump firework!

  • You have him a second chance and a third already. I agree with CL, if he “loves you” than he will give you a great divorce settlement and parenting schedule. I was scared too at first, but I found a great home and have lots of friends and family supporting me! Fill your time with projects, go out with friends, take yourself to a movie, don’t stay with fuckwit out of fear! There is light at the end of the tunnel, but you have to go through the darkness first.

    • When I look back to the loneliness I felt when we were actually together it is so much worse than the loneliness that I have now being a single guy in his mid 40’s. I would take the freedom I have now over that so called marriage and manipulation any day of the week.
      I use to come home on a Friday excited to start the weekend. I would be in a great mood and smiling. The moment the ex walked in she would suck the life out of me. She would pick a fight and hide in the bedroom. I was left going WTF just happened. How did, what did, I do?
      Little did I know then she wanted to have alone time to text her BF. It was the craziest period of my life not to mention the loneliest. Spending a Friday or Saturday night alone now means being alone sure but it doesn’t necessarily mean lonely as I knew it.

      • Salud Calgary Dad. TaraBelle in Saskatchewan here. My experience was sadly quite similar to yours. Ex would make an appearance on Friday (half cocked from the Friday round of drinks at local watering hole) and start conflict. Then blame me for being controlling or unreasonable or breathing and leave for the night to continue cavorting with his employees as friends.

        I couldn’t wrap my head around it. Until I did. My divorce was the best gift to myself ever. And ever.

        I think we should start a SK/AB meet up for Chump Local 2020 ❤️

        Glad to hear you’re out. Freedom.

        • Sadly we wouldn’t be the only members. I have a feeling if we charged a loonie to talk about the loonies we had in our lives we could retire.

          • Happily the more the merrier. Chump meet up for the Canada Prairie CN. MB/SK/AB. If they can get WEXIT registered – surely we can get a chump meet up organized. I’ll put in a loonie, or twoonie. Maybe a 2Four and 26 too. Haha.

        • This was my situation too. To the point that I didn’t actually want to go home from work on a Friday night because I knew that at some point during the weekend I would “be in for it” – whatever that was. He would decide what I had done to “offend” him in his drunken stupor when he staggered home at whatever time from the bar – and then we’d spend the rest of the weekend walking on eggshells. Hell I prefer being alone to that any time!

      • So absolutely true. It is SO much worse being tied to someone who delights in torturing and gaslighting than just being literally alone. It difficult to imagine how that works, especially when we absorb so much of the blame, and try so hard to do the repair, but when the dust settles, the peace is pretty amazing. I’d far rather stick out like a sore thumb sipping a beer on a summer Texas patio listening to a live band all alone than holding my breath waiting and wondering when and if the ex will explode, and if it will be in private or public, and will it get physical or no, etc. Those constant eggshells, ruined weekends, ruined vacations, ruined holidays — I do not miss them.

      • Yes Calgary, we came home early from every vacation, every holiday was tinged by his moping. They push you into a corner then blame you. After awhile you start to sort of give up. Then the last straw comes and suddenly you are free. It’s like waking up on a new planet. Being a newly hatched chick. Takes awhile to find your feet and identity again. But it comes together.

  • Dear Thrice,
    I should be named Four timed chumped… I wish I had left after #3. My ex love bombed me and convinced me he was a unicorn. But after #3 all hope in me was gone. I hated what I had become and I hated him. I stayed because I didn’t want to be divorced, my children would suffer, I was scared, I can keep going….. After #3 I kept up the vigilant spying, stayed on my antidepressants, drank too much, had a constant shaking, and was miserable. Then comes along D-day #4, and it was a moment of truth. I thought I had been the problem because he still “loved” me, but he had never stopped cheating in all that time!! Yes being single is scary and there were hard times, but it is sooooo much better to do it without the constant fear and abuse of a cheater. Do not wait until #4/5/6 time, you deserve better. My kids are fine, and the calm I have now is amazing.

    • Fourtimes, this made me happy. Good for you!! So glad you and your kids are doing well. Thanks for sharing your success story! Xxx

  • I had a two year period on hope pipe…. two lost years.. I could have gotten another degree, learn new language, enjoy time with my kids….
    but I devoted two years of my precious life to helping my poor husband … you know, damages from the constant rejection and blame during the marriage were nothing comparing to his sadness and eagerness to change ( eager my ass)
    Such a waste of time..

    • Wow. That hit me so hard because it’s true.

      The three years I spent smoking that hopium, naked pick-me dancing, catering to an unrepentant narcissist who blamed me for everything and demanded everything while leaving all the work of caring for a home to me, fearing that I wouldn’t be able to live successfully on my own, regretting the loss of the home I had worked on for 30 years, would have been FAR better spent on pursuits that would have benefitted me.

    • When you put it into terms like these — goals that could’ve been accomplished in the time I spent pick me dancing — it really drives things home. How much time I truly, truly wasted investing further in someone who could not have cared less for me. Ugh. 😔

      I’m free now and have been for a few years, I’ve gone through trauma therapy, and I’m presently in a Masters program, but where could I have been had I just picked myself? It’s heartbreaking to think about.

    • This hit me like a ton of bricks. I wasted 8 years on a serial cheater, and though I got two beautiful boys out of it, i have found myself wishing I could get those 8 years back. I definitely shouldn’t add more years to the total. Thank you ❤️ This community is so wonderful, I’m so glad I found you all.

      • Thrice, some ladies on here have spent 20, 30, and even 40 years and ended up with the same results. My guess is its financial. He went to another woman while you had a sick baby. The ends.

      • Thrice, some ladies on here have spent 20, 30, and even 40 years and ended up with the same results. My guess is its financial. He went to another woman while you had a sick baby. The ends.

  • If at age (whatever) he still hasn’t learned to “like himself enough” not to treat the people closest to him like shit, he probably never will.

    Consider those odds, and ask yourself if it’s a gamble you want to take with children in tow.

  • There’s nothing wrong in being single, subconsciously your telling your chicken its better to be in a abusive relationship than being alone. Your husband fools himself thinking he can do what he wants. He’s abusing his children as well, I don’t know if you have a daughter, what example is he showing her, of how men behave. She or they could become needy, or distant with their future relationships.
    I wonder how your parents relationship was like, incidentally your husbands parents relationship.

  • My heart goes out to you. I took my cheating husband back SIX times. He was so so good at talking me back into it. I showed a friend some of the long loving texts he sent and even she said she would be tempted. I also didn’t want my children to feel the hurt that I felt over the three years he was cheating. Until my mom pointed out I was in the thick of the abuse cycle (look it up) did I realize what I was doing to myself. Wow did I do the the pick me dance. Like no other. But catching him with her and lying to be once again – lucky number seven. I was out. It is hard – you have to do no contact. You will get sucked back in if you don’t. He will not stop doing this – you don’t need the trauma! It will make you sick. Unable to be the mother you want. Your kids are little enough and you are young enough that you can spend the bulk of your life with someone you deserve. Who loves you. He loves himself. It’s true. Your kids will keep you busy. I’ve learned to plan my days well. Don’t waste any more good years!!!!

    • Tracy refers to it as the mindf*ck channel-charm, pity and rage. The cycle to get out of and away from.

  • Grab those babies and run for your best lives. You don’t need this shit. I did a take back too and he betrayed me and stiffed his kids. Some guys are just not meant be partners. Oh, they want to be. But. You and the kids are his fantasy. I think of all the time and effort and organization an active online dater put into scoring – and he bails on an afternoon with his child? Does he not realize you need time as well? Buddy, you’re dead to me. He needs to be dead to you.

  • Living with them is lonelier than not. It is a shell shock lonely. A disoriented soldier in no mans lands that continually walks toward the enemy. An enemy that is having sport with them before they completely become bored and take them out. Please get back to friendly territory. Back to safety.

    Single can be lonely, but it is not ongoing trauma. It is…well just lonely. There is no one there to ratchet that pain up in an ongoing way. Single with laundry is wayyyy better than married with abuse.
    The sound of a spinning dryer is my, your free, sound!

    And I confess. I think there was a time in the late eighties I flipped my collar up. Hey it was the eighties!

    • Yes Bluedog. I saw that my ex enjoyed playing cat and mouse with human beings. He was so good at love bombing when he was on the verge of being held accountable. No one could pretend to be more loving and concerned than he could. It fooled me for a long time. He would say he was terrible, even hit himself. But it was all manipulation.

      He never changed, just played me. Eventually he almost totally turned the kids against me. I have a strained relationship with them because he plays the victim. It’s outrageous, and all it tells me is that I stayed too long.

      • Another manipulation is when you try to set boundaries or stand up for yourself and it becomes all about them. Maybe now is the time when they mention they’ve been thinking of suicide or maybe they decide to put you on the offensive and project whatever they were accused of back onto you.

  • nooooooooo. don’t take him back. get your confidence back, work on yourself inside and out and go have fun. Go love yourself first. It’s contagious, fun and you will be happy in the long run and attract the same!!!

  • I was in a protracted rinse and repeat cycle with Cheater The Last. Finally finally over in late 2013? Can barely remember.

    Single is peace.

    Single is self-respect, solvency, happiness, and contentment.

    Single is pets, and small achievements.

    Single is waking up happy after a long and refreshing night’s sleep.

    Single is Meh.

    Single fucking ROCKS.

  • Dear Thrice, you write: “….other (days) I feel really lonely. I worry about my kids and how this all will impact them. I’m sad about selling our home that I was so excited to buy. I never liked being single and I was really happy to put my single days behind me, or so I thought. So every time he texts me to tell me that he loves and misses me, a tiny part of me wants to give him a second chance.”

    Just the address changes. And what happened to me?
    1) I felt exactly the same way about everything you list. For example, I had to sell my beloved home, full of lovely trees my son planted. Hardly ever go out for a nice diner. Etc. etc.
    You know what? I got over it and love my new home, my kids are OK (hard to not be sad), two of the three are fine. The one son who isn’t OK, lives with the rotten skunk, it’s the black cloud over my head. But that is life anyways, with or without a cheater, there is always something.

    2) I got the same shit from sparkledick (“love you”/”miss you”). Did you read the chapter in Tracy’s book about remorse and the difference between the real thing and GINR (genuine imitation Naugahyde remorse)? These dickheads may be dimwitted, but they know enough math to figure out that eventually they are going to need a nurse and a purse….. Misses you for the wrong reasons.

    And Tracy has nailed the rest. DO NOT GO BACK!

    You will survive.

    Take care!

  • In AA, we substitute the word “broccoli” for “alcohol” when we are deciding if we have a problem.

    Do I hide broccoli?

    Do I lie about how much broccoli I eat?

    Do I camp outside the grocery store waiting for it to open so I can get broccoli?

    Have I ever blacked out from eating broccoli?

    You need to call this guy a new name to interrupt those neural patterns in your brain that have a positive association from those crumbs of manipulative feel-good fish hooks your “husband”
    keeps setting for you. My personal favorite is TRYING TO IMAGINE MR. ROGERS DOING OR SAYING THINGS MY “HUSBAND” DOES.
    Or Dr. Phil. Two men, not perfect or saints, that I can use as my “broccoli” word.

    Would Mr. Rogers call me names? Abandon his child in the NICU?

    Would Dr. Phil think my “husband” was a great guy? Stay married to Robin if she was cheating?

    ALONE IS BETTER THAN A BAD RELATIONSHIP.

    And if you don’t have trust and safety (you don’t, and your children don’t!) you don’t have a relationship; you have an entanglement. Entanglement is what happens when we swim with sharks in ghost-net infested waters.

    RUN.

    • Velvet Hammer,

      Thank you so much for this. It was exactly what I needed to hear. Something deep inside me clicked just now.

      If I ever question “is this abuse?” I will picture Mr. Rogers saying/ doing it. That should put it in perspective pretty quickly.

      Mr. Rogers would not hide money and refuse to show me a paystub. Mr. Rogers would not abuse a handicapped five year old. Mr. Rogers would not tell me point blank that I can’t make it on my own. Mr. Rogers would not make me and my children homeless. Mr. Rogers would not bleed me dry by taking me to court again and again. Mr. Rogers would not have a scorched earth policy, taking everything I have so he could get some kind of sick satisfaction. He also would not *ahem* put his body parts where they were not wanted.

      I have a picture of Mr. Rogers on the wall.
      Now every time I go past, it will be a reminder.

  • Few of us can be Lee Hart.
    Think about your situation as if you were looking at a friend you deeply care about whose husband was caught having an affair for the third time. Would you even consider telling her to swallow her pride, risk her emotional and physical health (damn those pesky STI’s), endanger her kids and just throw herself back under the bus.
    He did not make time for his child. That tells you a lot. His wand is all he cares about. Right now he doesn’t want to lose his housekeeper and nanny. He does not care about individuals, he cares about things that people do for him.

    • Thank you for this. My STBX just said never use that word with me again (abuse) because I responded to some texts he sent me about the kids that were accusatory (he’s so paranoid-thinks if I don’t respond in 5 mins to his have the kids call me requests that I’m doing it on purpose – um no – I’m not on my phone 24/7!!!) and mean. He cheated for three years, lied like crazy, made me have panic attacks, anxiety and depression because of his constant back and forth and catching him again and again. It is abuse!!!!

  • “I’d rather have a conversation with the county tax assessor about graduated income rates than 5 seconds with a fuckwit who abandons BABIES.”

    Thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiisssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!

    • From the article cited above:

      ”Breaking free feels horrible

      At first, “freedom” brings its share of challenges. Remember, we have addictions to recover from. No one would expect a heavy drug user to go cold turkey without withdrawal symptoms. This is the same thing. Unlike substance abusers, however, we tend not to have “rehab” available. To make matters worse, most do not realize just how damaging our experiences are and tend to suggest that we just “move on” or “get over it.” Support may be very limited.

      Try not to attempt to convince the doubters. Rather, seek solace in those who do understand. Feel the pain the situation brings and remain contact free, or at least emotionally disconnected from the abuser.

      It is so worth it

      Like other addictions, falling off the wagon can bring serious consequences. That being said, all is never lost. Keep going, until the “drug” is no longer necessary to your system’s survival. The end result is health.

      Once successful, we do not ever have to deal with that albatross again. Even if we must interact from time to time, we never have to allow them that type of hold over us again. We understand and can reward ourselves with pay-offs that are functional. The first rewards will come in the form of peace, once we are no longer governed by their intermittent reinforcement schedules. We can continually reinforce ourselves with the positive. Please know that every day will not always feel positive. But, every bit of forward movement is a start.”

      LET THE AFFAIR ACCOMPLICE BE THE NEW PUNCHING BAG.

  • My daughter has never been so happy and secure as when I chose us both over him, and initiated divorce proceedings and went no contact.
    She has a stability, a foundation, a drama free zone (apart from fun and self generated drama and excitement) and she is loved and feels genuinely loved more than a person needs in this lifetime.
    She can tell the difference between genuine and toxic relationships and she shuns toxicity.
    Don’t let the kids be the excuse to let a bad person back in their life and destroy their stability and self assurance.

  • “He is in therapy and has apparently been diagnosed with BPD.”

    That right there is a great big RUN THE FUCK AWAY flag. So is abandoning babies and their parent in the NICU.

    RUN THE FUCK AWAY and join the mailing list for bpd411. At one time, it was active, lively, supportive and mostly concerned itself with helping Nons get rid of the fleas they picked up from their BPD family member. Often spouse. It’s been years for me, but it was helpful. So is CL and CN. Please heed the advice given.

    He isn’t the one-in-a-million person with BPD who works ungodly hard to control themselves, get a handle on their emotions, etc. He is a run-of-the-mill BPD and cheating Fuckwit.

    Alone is safer and better. Alone isn’t likely to be forever, unless you decide you enjoy being single.

  • Thrice,

    Please kick this piece of shit to the curb.

    In a few years you’ll be a completely different person whose actions prove you are a kick ass woman. You will cry for yourself when you go back and read this. Ask me how I know…..

    Life is infinitely better after you leave a cheater and gain a life. If this relationship with a admitted and diagnosed disordered serial cheating narcissist is ok with you then fine. Live your life. If it isn’t, take massive action to be free! See a lawyer, follow all suggestions, go no contact, get divorced, focus on yourself and healing. We’ll see you on the shores of Meh in about 3-5 years. During the arduous journey we’ll hold you up and guide you here.
    God speed.
    😘😘😘🙏🏻

  • Dear Chumps,

    A little off topic but I could use some advice from chump nation. I’ve been offered a great job on my field about five hours away, in a neighboring state. But I’m so uncertain about whether or not I should take it or not. I have a great support system in the city I currently live in—tons of friends who have been so wonderful to me over the past few months; really supportive employers who treat me like a member of the family rather than an employee…plus, it’s home and I’m comfortable here. The pain of D-Day is still so fresh that I’m really scared to uproot myself and move somewhere I know absolutely no one. I’m worried I’ll get there and feel even more alone and isolated than I feel now; supported by friends and family. On the other hand, I currently live in a very small city, where everyone knows me; my soon to be ex-husband, the affair partner, and what happened. I can’t really go anywhere without someone mentioning it, and even if it’s just a supportive “fuck that guy”, it keeps the affair and abandonment constantly on my my mind. Just the other day I ran into one of my ex’s old co-workers who started telling me all this stuff I didn’t want to know about ex and the affair partner. Some friends have pointed out that staying here might make it really difficult for me to ever move on, given the constant reminders of him everywhere. It’s only a matter of time before I run into him and her around town—as I said, this is a small city. And I’m still living in the marital home, doing a lot of the same things we did when we were married…just the other day I almost started crying at the grocery store because we always used to go there together. This is such a hard choice that honestly, I don’t feel I’m in the right emotional state to make right now but career opportunities don’t stop coming just because my husband left me. Any thoughts on how I should approach this decision?

    Sending lots of love to you all.

    • Take the new job! Move away from the madness! Like Thrice, you need to give YOURSELF a second chance to be happy and fulfilled!

    • Take the job, get the fresh start. Think of it this way, the wonderful people who have supported you WANT to see you happy. You may even be able to entertain them in the future every so often.

      It’s a wonderful offer and the timing is terrific.

      Get paid more money to leave the fuckwit and Schmoopie behind, move to new location and make entirely new memories and habits for yourself.

    • I’d say, “Listen to your gut”. When you ask your gut, “Should I take this new job”, what does it tell you? Yes or no? Don’t listen to your heart or your head, they’ll weave stories. Listen to you gut.

      The good news is, whichever decision you go with, it’ll be the right one. I believe it was Jack Canfield who said, “There are no wrong decisions, just different paths of learning”.

      You got this : )

    • Not to sound new agey but this job offer could be a really good sign. I personally would take the job and yes I would be a nervous wreck making that decision. Facetime, texts, phone calls are all so easy these days if you need to reach out. Plus 5 hours is not that big a deal. I drive 6 hours to go skiing at least 4 times during the season. Up until a few years ago I drove up every weekend from December to end of March. On the plus side it kinda sticks it to your ex and AP. It shows you are moving on with your life.

    • Go girl. Or be gone girl. I took a job 500 kms (yet still not far enough away from fucktard) and it’s been the BEST decision for my kids and I. 1st being the divorce.

      I wouldn’t change it. Not for one second. Yes it was scary but not as scary and fucked up as staying tethered to the old life.

      ❤️

    • I also say go! You will not lose your support system, and can easily stay in contact via text and phone calls, but you will have the opportunity to create a lovely new life COMPLETELY FREE of the ex and the affair partner. No chance running into them anywhere, no memories sneaking up on you in the grocery store. Everything will be new and yours alone, and that is awesome.

      It’s scary to think about developing new friendships and relationships, but you’ll already have a job, so a very good start there. Finding a place of worship is a good way to build connections. There are also Meetup groups for everything imaginable: scrapbooking and crafting, hiking, wine drinking, French speaking, movie-going, etc. I think this is an amazing opportunity. Take courage, dear heart.

    • I would SO go. Because I have kids I can’t. Same situation every knows. Constant reminders and ex and girlfriend everywhere. You will make new friends! You’ll always be the woman who got cheated on. People may say that’s not true but in my small town no one forgets that stuff.

  • If folks here have not seen The Dixie Chick’s new video/song called Gaslighter, do it now! “Someone” has been reading our fabulous Chump Lady. I say we adopt this song as our new anthem!

  • A couple of years ago, I secretly (and only once) recorded on my phone a conversation my then separated STBX and I were having about his two schmoopies and the pick me dance and the kids. I came across the recording yesterday and listened to it.

    In the conversation, he actually had the audacity to cast himself as the victim…. He was going on and on about how if he didn’t come to see the kids for Xmas it would be our 18 year old daughters fault (because at the time she was not talking to him because of the affairs).

    He also said this: “I could be happy if you guys would just let me.”

    Talk about making it ALL about HIM. At the time, he was just ending a 10 year affair with OW1 and had just started (about 6 months in) an affair with OW2 and was trying to choose between the three of us. He was soooooo distraught about hurting everyone (cough cough) but, after all, he said that if he was happy and did “self care” then everyone around him, including our kids, should be happy for him. (Just get therapy he told me if you can’t deal.) “I want it all,” he said over and over and over.

    I want to go back to that earlier version of myself and tell her to kick him to the fucking curb.

  • I want to share a story that happened to me. I was not married to this woman. She befriended me at work. She was charming, and funny, and interesting and I enjoyed making a new friend. Let me say right now I no longer have her for a friend and don’t want to ever have her in my life again. This is how it started. She called me every day. Every single day. Every single day. If I did not answer the phone she would call, and call, and call until I did. Then I would get the third degree about why did I not answer my phone and what I was doing and who I was doing it with. If I went off my friends she would go out of orbit because she was not invited. She began to take over my life. She began misquoting me to other people. It got so bad that I asked my husband if I was losing my mind and my memory. His remark was perfect. He just told me to consider the source because I had begun sharing things with him that she had done and said. I don’t know why I stuck with this relationship. When she was fun she was so much fun. No one is ready for someone with a personality disorder. Believe it or not this is what I studied in college and I still was not ready for her. She broke up her first marriage and nearly ruined her husband‘s life. He remarried very happily and all the children chose to live with him. She cheated with a couple of married men. She then married a man who was as disordered as she and their lives were chaos. They thrived on it. I finally had enough and just simply stop being available. She drove my friends crazy calling and to find out what was going on with me. They all acted like they did not know. After about six months she called out of the blue saying she was lost. She had GPS. I decided to be nice and told her how to get to her destination.She called back three times and I did not answer the phone. Her voicemails were just keeping me posted on where she was and when she got where she was going. Disordered people are impossible even if you’re not married to them. Don’t be married to him anymore.

  • Go ChumpLady!
    And Thrice Chumped, if your STBX really does have BPD, please do yourself a favor and walk away. They don’t want to change, or get help, and your life will be a sad one revolving around him. The sweet children? They won’t matter nearly as much as his bottomless pit where ALL of you try to please him! He’ll disappear and get mad if you ask any questions. The name-calling will never end, and your friends will notice how poorly he treats you. Do you like being pitied?
    You can do better. Alone is better!
    Signed, One who has lived it.
    So, just to end on a positive note- you can visualize your better life! If you can create it in your mind, and meditate on it, it will give you a feeling of peace, and draw good things toward you. Sending you good wishes for a bright future, FW FREE!

  • PLEASE don’t be me. I left 15 months ago while my stbx was in another state screwing yet another “friend” half his age. We have been married 44 years with 8 grown children. I have left a total of 5 times because of his cheating and abuse and came back every time. I damaged my kids and myself by doing this. Cheating is a pattern of behavior that always repeats itself. We tell ourselves lies that they are sorry, they really do love us, we make excuses for the cheating, or we blame ourselves. Why? Because it feels better. Facing that someone you deeply love, have spent years with, shared everything with, is really just a piece of crap human being is extremely painful. It’s like a washing machine cycle……you get stuck being swished back and forth over and over. It’s horrible and confusing. The only thing I regret is not staying gone one of the previous 4 times I left. It hasn’t been easy, but for the first time in my life I have peace and quiet, control of my own choices, a sense of self, and my anxiety and constant physical illness are gone. These people all have PD of some type. They will suck the life out of you. They have nothing to give, NOTHING. They take period, and if you let him he will play with you until you are just destroyed. My stbx is still fighting the divorce, I have stuck with no contact, I had to completely start over at 61, and I am feeling internally happier than I have ever been. You are worth more. Please know that. ❤️

    • It takes an enormous amount of strength to leave for good & get a divorce after 44 years. Wow! I am in awe of you. You’re a prime example to show others that it’s never too late to know your own value & leave a fuckwit, no matter how many years you invested. May you continue to have peace and the life you deserve! Yay you!

  • Front row seat in hell!! Hahaha!! And amen CL!!
    To the letter writer chump…your dude is a piece of shit and you know that. You already know what to do. Why you need Chumplady to slam it into your brain??
    Being single is sooo superior than living with a POS who hates you. He uses you and has no respect for you or your children.

  • Leverage his guilt with an ironclad post nuptial agreement I did after D day five he lasted for 4 weeks with his Naugahyde reconciliation, I ended up with the house the kids and 80% of our assets it was a hard slog it took me 2 1/2 years to fix up the house to be able to make any money off of it sold it bought a brand new house rockin my new life nine months divorced PLEASE don’t look back you’re not going in that direction we

  • Here is what a fourth chance looks like – at DD#3 (all of which were with Seeking Arrangement prostitutes or massage parlours or as he calls them “companions” (because he finds my language vulgar LOL)), he said/did all the right things when I was finally ready to kick him out. Big (crocodile) tears, apologies, books on the nightstand, therapy, a trip, etc. Two years later, he takes a hooker on a week long cruise and blows tens of thousands of dollars. Oh, and he never stopped in between DD#3 and DD#4, he just got a secret cell phone, credit cards and email accounts. I found loving texts to over two dozen girls who’s lifestyle he was subsidizing through our pay checks and credit card debt. These cheaters don’t stop. They are entitled. And, they don’t stop.

    The key for me was when I realized that it wasn’t me he wanted to be with, it was the perks of being with me. He wanted the respectable marriage with the great wife, and subsidize his little sluts on the side.

    His excuses were lame, of course – he didn’t want to hurt me, he was an SA, it was me for this reason or that. Same old things we heard in therapy the three times before when I pretzeled myself into fixing whatever it was that “made him cheat”.

    I’m from a culture when women stay no matter what and if they leave, the shame is on them. It is a big part of what kept me there. Also the whole “for the children”.

    Something in me snapped this time, and although I wavered a bit in my mind, finding CL and CN literally saved my life. The other thing that kept me going was that although my kids were surprised we were splitting up – he wasn’t around much and I sheltered them pretty well – but they said that they always felt like dad was in a mood and we all had to dance around him and walk on egghshells. I didn’t realize they had noticed. They also said they preferred it when he wasn’t home because we were all so much more relaxed. That clinched it.

    I am a year out. It’s not easy and the cultural effects still reverberate. My family doesn’t understand – my mum just put together a bday gift for him (??). But, there will not be a DD#5. He’s still hoovering and telling me how he’s changed but that’s code for going more covert.

    You can do this. Your kids will thank you for being a good example. Yes, it can be lonely but life is what you make it. Cocoon when you need to, go out when you can. Get involved with your kids’ activities and schools when they’re of age.

    Think of me if you need to – I’m now 50 and wasted half my life on a narcissist. Our money was stuffed down these girls panties or thrown away at the casino. And, now I’m older and not as cute or as healthy. Retirement looks very different than what I envisioned. BUT, I’m a year out and despite all this and still doing some contact, it is SO VERY MUCH BETTER than being with him.

    • Don’t be sorry, Stronger! It’s very interesting, and helps us all. I hope you can deal with the cultural bias, and be your own woman, make your own world. Carry on and be strong!

    • I’d admire your strength. It’s one thing to leave a cheater (mighty!), but it’s quite another to leave a cheater AND cultural or religious programming that tells us to eat the shit sandwich buffet. Way to go!

  • Tell me that giving him a fourth chance would be the biggest mistake of my life.

    Giving him a fourth chance would be the biggest mistake of your life

    There. Now you have it (and CL’s response nailed it).

    Thrice, we talk a lot here about people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and much less about Borderline Personality Disorder. CheaterX, when his marriage to Schmoopie went predictably south, tried to hoover me back in, claiming that he’d gone to therapy, that the therapist indicated that he could have BPD, which CheaterX rejected, as he preferred diagnosing himself with Dissociative Identity Disorder (multiple personalities). This way, he could claim that “he” wasn’t the real cheater. I never responded to that outreach, so I have no idea if he decided to return to therapy. Probably didn’t. He didn’t like it when people disagreed with him. Me? I can see that most of his behavior was classic BPD.

    I noticed soon after we were living together that CheaterX would suddenly become angry–really angry. He’d say terrible, cruel things. I tried very hard to get him to talk about what really triggered his anger–could we lay our perspectives on the table and come to some sort of solution? He never did. And just as suddenly as the rage came upon him, it left. He never apologized. Not even once.

    I mentioned to family members that his anger went from 0 to 60 without warning. He was never physically abusive, but wow! I realize that I was reacting against his emotional abuse. He also had migraines and high blood pressure (his BP would spike during these episodes). His doctor prescribed blood pressure medication that contained a beta blocker. Suddenly, the moods evened out. I would not have married him otherwise. A few years later, those meds no longer worked, and he started cycling through rage again. He also started cheating, and since I had to stick around while I was lining up my ducks, I could tell when he and Schmoopie had a fight because he’d suddenly become nicer toward me. Putting two and two together, I could look back at the marriage and see a few times when he would distance himself from me and then suddenly start being solicitous once more. So yeah, while I knew about Schmoopie, he may have had some shorter flings earlier on.

    BPDs are splitters. You’re either all good, and at that time you’ll feel as if he’s putting you on a pedestal, which feels very weird. Or you’re all bad, at which time he’ll feel free to treat you as dirt. The people who surround them are equally all good or all bad. CheaterX decided to become a Freemason. Initially, he LOVED the organization. He embraced it with all his heart. He paid for vans to take his fellow Masons to different lodges across the state.

    Then, one day, the people in the lodge talked about their annual fishing trip to Florida. He was all in. However, typical of him, he decided he couldn’t take the time (or spend the money) on the trip, so he backed out about a week after he said he wanted in. A couple of weeks before the trip, he said he wanted back in again. Ooops! The tickets were bought, the boat was chartered. The hotels were booked. He’d missed out on that year’s trip because he backed out. Wow! Was he angry! How dare they tell him he couldn’t go!

    And suddenly, Freemasonry lost its luster.

    When I was living with CheaterX, I used to feel as if he’d go whichever way the wind blew. If he was in a conservative environment, he’d be completely conservative and espouse conservative views. If he was in a progressive environment, he’d be completely progressive and espouse progressive views. This drove me nuts when I was living with him, and I finally realized that he didn’t have a solid core of identity within him, so he took on the identity of whichever group he was with at that time.

    Now I realize that this is classic Borderline. They lack a stable core, so if you’ve been puzzled by sudden swings, you now know why.

    When I married CheaterX, I was a bit on the older side, but anticipated that perhaps we’d have one or two children. I quickly realized that this would be a very bad idea. CheaterX would never greet the day with a cheery “Good morning! The sun is rising! It’s lovely and warm outside!” Instead, he’d say something about how the world is going to hell.

    Children don’t need that. They need an atmosphere of hope. Do you really want your toddler thinking the world is going to end RIGHT NOW and that all their loved ones will die? Children also need stability and predictability. They should know their parents’ boundaries, and those boundaries need to be constant (of course with age-appropriate adjustments). Children need their parents to be there for them, building their self-worth while also teaching them that constructive criticism can be a tool for growth, even though it’s no fun to be on the receiving end.

    Borderline Personalities lack stability. They need constant affirmation. Even if you fundamentally agree with them, but voice a perspective they’ve not considered, they’ll view that contribution as a personal attack. Can you imagine how a Borderline would handle a teenager? They are also very manipulative, as they will seek to build stability even while they feel it is slipping away. This is why your cheater is trying to hoover you back in. His Schmoopie left him–probably saw the shark under the human disguise–so he now needs someone to give him kibbles. YOU!

    Go get an attorney if you don’t already have one. Let the attorney know that you are divorcing someone who’s been diagnosed with a Cluster B personality disorder, so things will become contested. Insist that your lawyer insert a requirement to use parent scheduling software (Our Family Wizard or similar) into the custody arrangement. You want to be able to block all communication other than kid-related, and you want all communication to go through the software.

    Get some therapy, and let the therapist know that your STBX is BPD. I would also bring your children into therapy because they have also suffered at their father’s hands. Since courts typically assign a 50/50 custody split, your children will need to be able to talk to someone about their interactions with their father. You can’t and shouldn’t manage that relationship for them. Doing so sets up a situation where you’re part of the relationship triangle and also creates the potential for the children to become weaponized.

    But to return to the main point. Do NOT take him back. Kick him to the curb. Take it from me, life without my BPD CheaterX is so much better!

    • Wow what a helpful post but sad you lived that life! I had come to believe Dr. Cheaterpants was some sort of narcissist, maybe vulnerable? I’m going on 4 years out so really I’ve reached the point of it doesn’t matter what flavor of disorder it is, it’s still disorder. But this is intriguing for me.

      Dr. Cheaterpants cycled through hobbies, work, family with the whole idealize, devalue, discard type of behavior. I learned not to get too close to work colleagues wives because when the rose was off the bloom, it was always so awkward trying to maintain the friendship because of how cheater treated the couple and how he would pout and get furious for how he thought I didn’t support him. And he needed constant reassurance, attention and admiration. If he swept the floor to clean up and small spill he would seek me out and tell me about how he found the broom, got every speck of the spill up, and how he had saved the day for anyone who may have walked through the room and come in contact with the spill. And if he received any feedback that didn’t give him a glowing review, like he used grandma’s handmaid quilt to clean up red koolaid, he would go ballistic! I used to say he could dish it out but couldn’t take it as he critiqued and joked about anything I did.

      Anyhow the kids and I are so grateful to be away from the day to day cray cray that is him. I hope his young schmoopie is living every happiness she deserves. But I do realize this schmoopie did the kids’ and I a favor. I so wish first schmoopie had won the pick me dance!

    • Bill Eddy’s book “Divorcing a Narcissist or Borderline” is very helpful. He’s a licensed clinical social worker as well as an attorney.

  • I like how knowing what’s right and wrong and knowing that your partner doesn’t want to be lied to and cheated on, are such difficult concepts to cheaters. If you need to do therapy to figure out this basic concept, just give up on life. Or, what’s more likely is this narcissist is incredibly selfish and entitled and can mind eff easy marks.

    • Idk, my ex had a OW who is a prominent politician eating out of his hand. She was a total ball buster and no one would consider her an easy mark. He was just that good at image management and b.s.

  • You are afraid that you cannot be the strong woman to be a single parent to your kids. Here is the secret from one of the strong women: FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT. The kids need stability – you are the rock in their turbulent lives. I have faked being the stable bedrock for years for their sake and guess what? I got used to it and then it became the truth.
    Run don’t walk from this abusive person, lawyer up and go non contact

  • I was married to a man who I believe has BPD. I was so surprised when two of my adult kids shared that mental health professionals had told them it sounded like their dad had BPD. I started reading and it all began to make a lot more sense. I had no idea what I was dealing with. I would like to warn you that many professionals refuse to treat people with BPD. That should tell you much about their odds of changing. I learned the hard way that it is a personality disorder. There is no medication to fix it. They have to literally change their personality, which is extremely difficult given that they have likely brain abnormalities that contribute to the disorder along with a likelihood of childhood abuse in the majority of them. Even if they are “cured”, the end result will be a person who is not the person you thought you married. It is really sad, but they have a disorder that causes them to abuse others. This is not a person you want to be in a relationship with. I know that Chumplady calls this untangling the skein, but it was important for me to understand BPD in order to accept that there was no hope for my marriage to work. He was a serial cheater, which is common for people with BPD. He does abusive things because he feels bad about himself, which is common for people with BPD. He is emotionally volatile and has trouble following through on commitments then blames others, which is common for people with BPD. He lovebombs people, then discards them, which is common for people with BPD. He fears abandonment, then does things that cause people to abandon him, which is common for people with BPD. The list goes on, but you get the idea. I hate to demonize a group of people like people with BPD, but my research doesn’t paint a positive picture for recovery, just a cycle of abuse.

    • I met a BPD woman through a twenty week program using John Bradshaw’s work and theories. Intelligent and charming. And a bottomless pit of neediness. Her longtime boyfriend had cheated on her and she was in the process of ending their relationship. She would arrive late each weekend when the group met, making her dramatic entrance. And as the therapist presented the material, she would try to flip it into group therapy where we all would focus on the implosion of her relationship. Now this was not group therapy. Each week we would break into groups to do some exercises and each participant got one chance to do a psychodrama with support from all the members. With her, it was “I,I,I” and “me,me,me”. Some entitled narc tendencies as well so I saw her as a cluster b. She hadn’t worked in years but felt her boyfriend should support her financially and I witnessed her yelling at him on the phone about sending her money.

      I felt sorry for her but was ultimately drained by her behavior and didn’t keep in touch with her. She started recording our phone conversations, which I found bizarre and unsettling. This poor woman had been in and out of therapy for years (both her mother and maternal grandmother committed suicide). Her father was a cheater (the reason her mother killed herself ?) I imagine she is out there looking for her next meal ticket.

      Not my circus or monkey.

  • “I’m sad about selling our home that I was so excited to buy“ Yeah I remember being desperate to keep my house. But after I got it in the divorce, I couldn’t get rid of it fast enough. I realized that what I really wanted was a brand-new wonderful life! Not the damn house. I don’t miss the house or anything about my old life. My “new” life has been in progress for 5 years now. It’s not my “new” life anymore, it’s just my life, and it’s wonderful, and I wouldn’t change any of it! Oh, hopium-smoking chumps, I swear life is so much better here, in YOUR future, rocking your best life! Come on in, the water’s fine!

  • I wish our culture would embrace the concept that unless you are skilled and comfortable while living alone (Single Life) you are not going to be skilled and comfortable sharing your life with another person. Having a friend, or lover, is great, but if you cannot or will not take care of your own needs, you are asking for trouble. These disordered cheaters/users have a way of convincing you that you cannot live without them, while they are actually using you. Being single may have hazards to negotiate, but living with a cheater has hazards that you cannot fix.

    Cheaters tend to follow a repetitive path that actually leads nowhere. They find a new chump, evaluate the chump’s usefulness, attach and pretend to be a partner, all the while they look for the next useful chump. Some are mere diversions along the way (strippers, sex workers, people who have sex with random strangers with no desire for connection). If they find a chump that appears more useful in some way, they move on.

    While I was on the marriage police force for my last ex, I found out he averaged a new useful chump every two to five years his entire adult life. He actually married several of them, but he managed to live with a significant number, too. Along the way, he was never faithful, he always looked for rando’s that were low maintenance. It was scary for me when I learned how many beds he had been in, and what that could have done to my health. Those are the ones I found out about. Who knows how many there actually were??? Of course he lied and misrepresented everything to me when I met him, and he was excellent at love bombing. He loved recently divorced women from long term marriages, because they were usually starved for attention. Also, they did not like dating, and still dreamed the dream of happily married life.

    Giving up the dream is the hardest part. Waking up to the reality of the nightmare you are in is the second hardest part. Getting your escape route in place and finding a safe path out of the madness is hard too. Stop hoping your cheater will change. Multiple confirmed affairs means that is the lifestyle the cheater chooses to live. There is no change for that. It is like Al-Anon can help you learn to deal with an alcoholic. It cannot stop or cure the alcoholic.

    For any adult to change a lifetime habit, even one which will likely kill him or her, that adult has to want it bad, and learn to live with the demons, and make the hard changes. Alone. You cannot change another person.

    • “Giving up the dream is the hardest part. Waking up to the reality of the nightmare you are in is the second hardest part. Getting your escape route in place and finding a safe path out of the madness is hard too.”

      Yes. I agree. Giving up the dream is the hardest part. They’re usually lifelong dreams – they take you away from sad, chaotic families and dead end jobs into a Wonderful Disney World where you have control, and respect, and all your needs are met.

      Only it turns out that the sad chaotic stuff has come with you, the dead end job is still there, and you have no control, no respect, and none of your needs are met.

    • I dated a man who used his girlfriend of EIGHT years as a security blanket. Until she finally had the strength to dump him definitively. They met in group therapy.

      The cycle was dating R., meeting another woman (like me) that he found interesting and breaking up with R. to start a new relationship. New woman would realize what a loser he is, dump him and then he would go back to R. Someone to spend the holidays with, go on vacay, do his financial planning for him for free, etc. We all know the drill with these user types.

  • He didn’t have a change of heart. His heart is as wintry as ever. He just doesn’t want to pay child support and lose an emotional punching bag.

    If you think a man who calls you names when you ask him not to abandon his family has even a .001% chance of being a unicorn, you are indeed delusional. Stockholm Syndrome will do that to you. You know how you beat Stockholm Syndrome? You get the hell away from the terrorist. Permanently.

    BPD is not considered treatable in most cases. His therapy is smoke and mirrors and manipulation. Imagine the many opportunities to fuck with you it will bring; “My therapists says extramarital sex helps me deal with my toxic inner shame.”,”My therapist says calling you a bitch and a cunt with spittle flying from my mouth is just my childhood injuries being released.”, “My therapist says you participating in a threesome with my mistress will help me to feel better about my sexuality.”

    You’re afraud of being lonely? You’re already as lonely as it gets. You don’t have a partner. You have an evil hologram who calls you names and leaves you alone with a seriously ill newborn to be with some skank.
    Please run. Run like all the hounds of hell are after you.

    • Please excuse the typos. This one threw me for such a loop I could hardly concentrate. It’s one of the worst cheater stories ever featured here. 😱

    • The only therapy that works with BPD is dialectical behavioral therapy . And the BPD has to be committed.

  • Short answer: No.

    Longer answer: Fuck no.

    Detailed answer: No means no. You meant no the first time. You understand what no means, deep down in your heart. This is over and done, and there’s far worse things in the world than being lonely. Your ex is one of those far worse things, right up there with ebola.

    He’s the same rotten sonofabitch he was 10 minutes ago, 10 days ago, 10 months ago. Don’t allow shiny things, flowers, crocodile tears, or professing to turn over a new leaf make your forget he’s that same guy that did the shitty stuff, that will again do shitty stuff as long as he’s allowed opportunity.

    Same guy. Same shit. No means no. Bury this in lime and move on.

  • Thrice,

    Run, don’t walk, away from this twisted ‘man’.

    Don’t be me – I suspected and questioned for over 18 years, finally started getting the truth trickled out one week before our 26th anniversary, had been together over 31 years. Everyone thought he was such a great guy, as that’s the image he worked really hard to create and maintain.

    Our kids were all adults at that point, and thought their dad was the best man they knew. They were all DEVASTATED to find out he is a serial cheater, sex and porn addict, pathological liar, and a complete fraud. They have been traumatized just like I have. I’ve had to work through a lot of guilt for not believing my gut for so long and demanding answers sooner. Maybe my kids would have been spared some of the trauma if they’d been too young to understand that their father behaves like a dog in heat, chasing after and having sex with anyone who will have him.

    Please, spare yourself and your children the heartbreak of wasting any more time on someone who thinks so little of his wife and children that he behaves however he wants, with absolutely no regard for anyone else. He has shown you who he is. Yes, it is emotionally crippling, gut-wrenchingly painful, and devastatingly sad that this is how your marriage ends. But you will get through this.

    Get out, get counseling, and vow to create a beautiful life for yourself and your children.

    I Survived a Sociopath

  • Thrice Chumped,

    Try not to get bogged down going over & over all the details of everything involved with him. That will just overwhelm you and prolong you making a decision.

    Simply read the title of your letter. “Should I give him a FOURTH chance?” Just sit with that & the absurdity of that question. A FOURTH chance?!? Uh no way in hell. hree strikes & your put buddy! Get yourself & your innocent kids out of that mindfuck ASAP!

    You also already knew the answer & what you need & want to do anyway. You told CL you would listen, accept, & keep re-reading her advice. You knew what it was going to be = A BIG FAT NO WAY IN HELL SHOULD YOU GIVE THAT FUCKWIT A DAMN FOUTH CHANCE!!! You just needed a little reassurance to do what you know is for the best. You got it. So no more chances for that asswipe! Good luck.

  • Everything CL said AND the mere fact that he has BPD is enough to run foe the hills. It will take YEARS before he is healed barely enough to be a safe partner. How many years of abuse and cheating are you good with. And the majority of BPD never finish the therapy and treatment necessary to be healthy and capable of being in a remotely functional relationship. Are you ok with THAT? I hope not.
    And what about your kids. Are YOU going to subject them to that. Because that is what you are signing them up for!

  • The best advice from CN, that I wish I had gotten way back when, is to IMMEDIATELY GO GREY ROCK! Communicate from now on via parenting software only. Block everywhere else. This will not only save your sanity but, it will help in the divorce as well.

  • I never left..I thought I was giving him a second chance and I learned WAY too late that it was prolly a 837th chance.

    I stayed in large part for the kids. They are all adults now and none of them has a partner or healthy relationship…they are very broken.

    My mom has BPD (which is likely why I was so good at being a chump…being in the close orbit of a BPDer trains one for chumpdom) and she has never gotten well. She has dementia from her comorbidity of alcoholism. She ruined her life.

  • Why does ‘not liking yourself’ ever translate into treating people like shit. Why on earth would the physics of that make any sense.

    ‘Is not worthy, obviously the answer is to treat others like crap.’ It doesn’t follow. It’s what a lot of people assume, but it’s not. They know what’s on the inside. They know they’re crap people, But they love it. and they want to get what they can out of you, so they treat you like crap so that you feel Like you’re shit, and then you treat them like gold. Tell me again why staying with that is a good idea?

  • Thrice, you’ve experienced the slow boil. He’s on the forth that you know of; Nanthony was #19. After 41 years I had enough. There’s no WE in THREE. There’s always a next.

    You are clinging to an illusion. A man who neither respects or loves anyone. His actions never match his words. He’s an asshole. That’s your normal until you break the bond with your abuser. The best thing I ever did in my life was to take care of my needs. At 57 it was a lot of work to regain my identity. It gave me time to plan my future.

    Gaining a life as a single adult is far better once you lose the anchor holding you down. Divorce him and get checked for STD’s. You’ll model strength to your adult children as well as your baby.

    • A serial cheater shows himself when you are most vulnerable. Every year you lower your bar he gains power over until the final abandonment.

  • I’m sorry…did you say, “Take him back?”

    Did you say, “Cheated on you AGAIN”

    Did you say, “Infant in NICU?”

    ARE YOU INSANE?!

    Get into therapy, get out of this marriage and get away from this piece of garbage.

    Stay the fuuuuuck away from him and tell him where he can shove his text messages and all of his, “I’m working on myself” bullshit.

    If I hear one more time about how a man has miraculously changed….I’m going to paint myself red, white and blue and hoist myself up a flag pole.

    For fucks sake woman…this man doesn’t give a flying fuck about you, your children or any of your mental or physical health. Cut this turd loose and be that bad ass woman you know you are. Raise your children alone. Show them what boundries are, what it means to have self respect, to say NO, and to tell that useless father of theirs to go shit in his own hand.

    Be done. Be strong. Kick ass.

    • Mary Smith – That’s the advice. Love it! Now that’s REAL, my dear.

      Thrice – don’t wait until you land up in a wheelchair like I did.Give them a million chances and they take it! And get nastier, never better.

  • But seriously, on a rational level there is no good reason to give a traitor a second chance. None. They have shown you on at least one occasion how low they can go. What else do you need?
    Of course feelings cloud reason.

  • Poor you with the NICU. You and baby deserved better,
    He has had way too many chances ….and blown them
    My 2C worth
    leaving a cheater is worth it
    look at the archives to see how others did this
    future you will be glad you did

  • A minister told me once that a healthy partner has your back. Does your h have your back? Or is it all about him and his problems? My ex always played the ‘his father beat him’ card whenever I tried to hold him accountable.

    I tried and tried in my marriage as well. After the 4th break up I realized what I was doing to my kids. And myself. I was destabilizing all of us.

    Being alone can be very hard. But the constant doubt of living with a liar can suck your soul dry. Alone and at peace is better. And you have a shot at finding a decent, honest partner in time if you wish.

  • As someone who was married to someone with BPD, let me add another good tidbit to the huge pile: people with BPD only want what they don’t have. Once they get what they want, and get used to it, it’s no longer idealized and perfect. Once the shine has worn off, they don’t want it anymore, maybe even hate it.
    This is why your husband only treats you well when he hasn’t seen you for a while.

  • Dear Thrice,

    Although it’s a late reply, I hope you see it. Consider this:

    1. Your H doesn’t want to lose the house, either.
    2. Your H doesn’t want to pay child support for 18 years.
    3. Your H doesn’t want child custody or visitation that will get in the way of his personal life. He prefers to have his wife appliance take care of the kids.
    4. Your H needs a wife to keep the “wannabes” at bay. Because some of these women wannabe his next wife.

    Do yourself a favor. Insist on a 24-month separation with no contact other than short emails about visitation. Ask him for the best possible child support and visitation you can imagine (having consulted with an attorney to begin the process of filing). See if he offers what is fair and reasonable. Or see if you are going to have a tag-team death match to get him to pay. And stick to the two years. He has BPD? How will he manage that responsibly? Or is that just an excuse for his continual bad behavior? Do you want to live with someone who would leave you with a baby in NICU because he’s off his meds or some Schmoopie walks by?

    Then get into therapy and learn about what my therapist calls “normal, decent treatment.” I think, like me, you have no idea how spouses should treat each other. Serial cheating is obviously one terrible deal-breaker, but leaving you with a baby in NICU is sociopathic level behavior. A friend of mine just had a baby who spent time in NICU and he was with wife and baby every minute because NICU is a scary thing.
    Your job, from here, is to raise your standards so that you can’t be taken advantage of or abused. If you take this jackass back, all that he’s learning is the price he has to pay to get you to give in and take him back. It’s like the XW of a guy I dated, who back in the day of landline phones, would call him and let the phone ring 74, 75, 76 times. And when he picked up on ring 77, she knew what she had to do to get him to pick up the phone and pay attention to her. He wants you back? How about making him spend the

    As Portia says above, you need to learn to live with yourself, to like yourself, and to manage your life outside of a relationship. Lots of us want to be in a couple or long for romance, but NEEDING to be in a couple because you find the alternative intolerable sets you up for abuse of one kind or another. It’s fine for you to prefer to be in a couple. But prefer to be in a couple with a kind, decent, honest, caring person, not a lying cheater who then cries sad sausage tears.

    • ….”He wants you back? How about making him spend the” next two years showing you that he is becoming a better person? How about not believing his PR about changing but rather taking time to see and assess? My guess is that after the first 8-9 months of very limited contact–and NO texts about what HE wants–you’ll see he’s not good for you.

      (sorry about the incomplete thought above!)

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