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Lies Are Exhausting

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A primer in mindfuckery today — exhaustion as manipulation tactic.

If you’re a cheater and you want your chump to back off? Keep ’em running in circles, chasing unicorn (tails) tales. How is this accomplished? With a constant barrage of bullshit, half-truths, outright lies, indignation, and the ol’ I Fail to Understand Your Hostility mindfuck.

No sooner is the chump merrily chasing after the bread crumb trail of one excuse, then the cheater flings a hand-full of bread crumbs in another direction. Pretty soon the chump (who never met a bread crumb he wouldn’t follow) grows exhausted and lies down to sleep in the Enchanted Limbo Forest. Who knows? Who cares? Why am I chasing bread crumbs? MUST FOLLOW THE BREAD CRUMBS! Oh God. Another bread crumb. ZzzzzzzZZZzzzz...

Success! The cheater got you to back off, and diverted your attention with crumbly tidbits! And the whole thing made you collapse in a heap. #winning

How does this exhaustion mindfuck work? There are several ways to respond to a lie — believe it (spackle), reject it (be mighty), or take it under consideration (limbo).

If you’re a liar, obviously you would prefer the first approach — Believe my lie. Spackle over it. Trust me.

But if you can’t have unwavering trust, you’ll take the next best thing — fog.

If a cheater can just get you to doubt your senses enough, if everything is relative, if there’s no black and white and everything is a shade of subtle nuance that you’re far too unsophisticated to understand? #winning

You’ll give up because it’s just too damn exhausting to chase after the bread crumb trail. You’ll wait that 6 months before you make any big decisions on your marriage. You’ll look at trail after trail after trail of bread crumbs and think, so many bread crumbs. How can I possibly make sense of any of this? You know what would be comfortable? And so much easier? To just trust the cheater. I can’t deal with another fucking bread crumb. Where’s the sofa? I need a nap.

And as every recovering chump knows, while you were having that long foggy nap, the cheater was out fucking you over further.

So folks? Leave the bread crumb trail. If someone in your life makes you doubt your reality, if you live with dread, if your gut screams but the spackle is stronger? LET GO. You don’t need to follow the trail of falsehoods and diversions. Normal people don’t carpet the forest floor with bread crumbs. Good people are transparent and aren’t threatened by logic or questions. Good people want you to feel safe. They don’t send you on wild chases leading nowhere with the hope of exhausting you.

Stand up and reject lying cheaters. Be mighty.

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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.
  • The part that always(and still does) got me was the sincerity behind all of it. It’s almost as though she actually believed the lies and deceit. There were so many times I actually said to myself “there’s no way someone can lie like that, you’re making this worse than it is….”.

    • They are just so at ease with lying, though. It comes so naturally to them. And, yes, it is exhausting. I’m glad I’m a few months from 2 years away from that shit.

    • I talked myself down also. Come on, I say to myself, there’s noooo way. “You are just letting your active imagination get the best of you. That’s your mind is making this into some crazy book/movie.” The terrifying part was that it in the end it was so much worst than I had dared “imagine.” I remember shaking and swaying back and forth in physical pain with a big reveal that he had women all over the country since before we’d even married. According to him, some he “cared deeply about” and some were “just about sex and conquering.” He said he had never really loved me but everyone at work thought I was great and all the executives were married so he thought it would help his career. Married 20 years, 2 kids, my career gone, my youth gone…

      • Truly believe that where one story ends another begins. You have a lot of youth left in you. You have this new opportunity to do whatever you want to do. Go back to the basics if needs be and find yourself again. Finding your worth and thriving in it. Invest in the process of dating yourself. Giving yourself that love you desire. Growth is painful but so worth it. It has taken me so long to realize my identity wasn’t defined by him and his deceit. I remember I was loyal, loving and kind and why not start treating myself to that. I hope this message finds you loved and thriving xoxo you are mighty! Don’t forget that!

      • Beenchumped, I can totally relate. Told myself I must be imagining things, or I was just overly suspicious – there was no way this ‘wonderful’ man, who everyone thought nearly walked on water, could be cheating on me.

        His intro into telling me that yes, he had been cheating, was ‘women hit on me all the time. They’re always coming on to me’. Then proceeded to tell me he’d been cheating our entire relationship, 31 years at the time, married for 26 of those years. I too had given up my career and had spent over half my life with this person.

        He discovered in therapy that, while I was the only one in his life who had committed to him (including his parents), he had never committed to me, our marriage, or our family. Hearing that inflicted a heart wound that will take a long time to heal, if ever. Like your ex, mine used me and our family as an image management opportunity, pretending to be the happy, wonderful husband and father, while he was secretly hitting on and screwing anyone who would let him, from successive secretaries to the checker at Home Depot.

        When we finally find out how twisted they are it is shocking and incredibly painful, emotionally and physically. I remember feeling as if a telephone pole had gone through my chest, and thinking, as I was curled up in a fetal position on the bathroom floor, that I was literally going to die from the pain.

        The most chilling revelations were the voyeurism at hotels, secretly taking pornographic pics and video of me and of him and I together, and frequenting online sites where those pics and video could be posted ‘anonomously’. He claims that he never posted, just went there to look.
        Yeah, just like you claimed to never have cheated all those years that I was asking.

        So, yes, Beenchumped, we wasted a huge part of our lives with someone evil, who will never feel true love for anyone. What we felt, however, was real for us, for someone we thought we knew. It’s taken me a long time to accept that and forgive myself for not believing my gut and taking a firm stand when I saw what I now know were red flags. I will never understand how someone can murder another human being, or molest a child, or abuse an animal. These evil people fall into the category of things I will never understand, so I have to let it go, for my own sanity and so that I can move on and create a life that I enjoy and am proud of.

        I hope you can eventually let it go also – they have taken far to much from us already.

        • You give me hope and tons of STRENGTH. Currently quarantined and sitting with my husband of 6.5 years (the sweet fun kind dream guy) who cares a great deal about Family, and our daughters (one each from previous relationships). Learned last week that he had cheated with his daughters mother after we got married. Claims it was six years ago and never wanted me to find out because fear of losing me. You know, the best thing that’s ever happened to him… his soul mate… His sweetheart who he knows didn’t deserve that. So over the years I’d always wondered why is your ex SO MAD? She clearly hated me -wouldnt “deal with me”. I could t figure it out other than in the beginning they cheated together and I forgave that since we were fresh still and THEY had a little girl. Somehow I respected that, forgave and took years to forget. We’ve been married 6.5 together nearly 10. He never fought her over the years despite her lack of parenting of the little girl and despite my pleas for NORMALCY! Never much stability or structure because she ran the show as far as the kid goes. I’ve been a great step mom doing far more than even her. That’s neither here nor there I just want some insight on someone who’s done this twice now. Claims he’s never or has never looked back since and knows his mistakes and sees what he has. I just am so foggy in the head. I do have self esteem just find myself struggling with forgiveness and true love etc. it would be heartbreaking but something says divorce has to happen. Even if he never deals with her again – it’s the daughters mom and only reason he told me I think is he was afraid she would. Says loves me to death and could never hurt me again. Help

          • Something is funny here…I mean, why NOW after six years would he fear she would suddenly speak up? Is she trying to blackmail him for custody or money? Did they have sudden disagreements over daughter’s upbringing or education and now she’s out to get her way?
            Methinks you should brace yourself for the possibility (probability?) that he has been with her far more recently.

            • I agree why NOW? And blackmailing sounds precise. I mean, she’s made a career out of having kids with different “men” and manipulate/controlling others lives. That’s IF you let her and apparently he was stupid enough to allow this. I feel like we’ve been a great couple as far as the house and our intimacy however the past 6 months got rocky. With me noticing he would hide things that his daughter does and things he went through with The ex. Now I see it was all so that I the wife wouldn’t get involved so she could potentially tell their secret.
              It makes me sick to the core because I always knew she was a nasty hateful person but I didn’t know that he invited that germ into our sacred “bond”. What the hell… he said the last time he went to pick up the daughter the ex said Ava said you guys have been arguing and she doesn’t need to be over there and he told her it’s non of your business she said I’ll make it my business. She from then, wouldn’t tell him where the daughter was so he tracked her down at the aunts house. (Moms sister) anyway SHE texted me from a strange number saying randy stalked my daughter and she doesn’t want to come over because it doesn’t feel like home and she’s always being asked to lie to you. So yes I’m a bit confused. About what? So when I responded to the text whit a vague-“who’s this?” There was no response. He says he saw that text in my phone knew there would be an altercation so he (after trying to get into the phone and delete it) decided to fess up.

      • So he not only inserts the knife but twists it as well. What a peach he must be, good riddance. You can get another career. I started a new career and job at 56 years of age. Absolutely love my job. As for youth, well that tends to pass rather quickly and you need to not be hung up on a number. Get a good attorney, alimony and think about your future. It should be so much better without psycho asswipe.

      • By the Goddess Hon!!!! WTF?!??!!! THAT MOFO DESERVES ALL THE PAIN IN THE UNIVERSE!!!! What type of scum does this kind of Shit the worst type of Asshole!!! I am so sorry that this happened to you Luv having wasted 20 years of your life and sacrificing so much for a piece of skinwalker who never cared about you and wasted so much time keeping you in their existence while they suck the life out of yours. Ughhh…no more words to describe em!!

      • By the Goddess Hon!!!! WTF?!??!!! THAT MOFO DESERVES ALL THE PAIN IN THE UNIVERSE!!!! What type of scum does this kind of Shit the worst type of Asshole!!! I am so sorry that this happened to you Luv having wasted 20 years of your life and sacrificing so much for a piece of skinwalker who never cared about you and wasted so much time keeping you in their existence while they suck the life out of yours. Ughhh…no more words to describe em!!

      • beenchumped,
        I completely understand how you feel. I am three years, two months since the “ILYBINILWY” comment and he walked out the door. We were a couple months away from our 25th Wedding Anniversary. We dated 5 years before we married. I thought, after all this time, we are safe. We are solid. But, he left and never looked back. I got an email explaining how he was unhappy with our whole marriage – he went down through all the things that I did wrong. Then, why tell me how very much you love me and that I was your soulmate for so many years? To this day, I’m left feeling that there should be some allowable retribution for a person that takes precious years away from your life and leaves you in mid-life with no warning, no hint, no heads up. I had just left a job that I worked at for 20 years because he told me there was no reason for me to have to work anymore. Now, the best job I can get is as an office assistant. I make half of what I did before. I’m 12 years from retirement and now don’t know if I’ll ever be able to retire. I was an unknowing victim. There should be retribution for lying to someone for years of your life. Anyway, I ramble…but I just wanted to write to you and say, “I get it.” I’m still, not angry, but deeply, deeply saddened that someone I trusted so much was no better than a snake oil salesman. Someone who was my solid partner played me – not just for a few months – but for years and years and years. I don’t think there is any excuse for a person who does that to another person. I truly think someone like that is pure evil – they took a life – just like a murderer. I know now I can make life what I want it to be. But, damn, I thought I had that. And, I was just played a fool.

        • It’s crazy how many times this happens. It’s a page out of Vicki Stark’s Runaway Husbands book. They never tell their wives how they felt until the big reveal day. In my case, he listed all my grievances over the years and how I didn’t put him #1 but his married coworker does. Thanks for wasting 22 years of my life dude. Happiness comes from within and his narc self will rely on others to make him happy.

        • Married 40 years , stay at home mom , so not much payable work skills , not sure of what I’m going to do , after him cheating.

      • Ex coats his lies in HR-veneer, bolstered by HoWife and his ability to compartmentalization into actually believing them. Such a tiresome process that the kids are tuned in to now that they’re adults.

    • I think they do believe their own lies. This is so they don’t have to admit to what kind of person they truly are. It’s a way for them to keep their “god like status”. 3 years out and 2 hoe’s later. My ex still has never apologized or even admitted to all the damage he did to me or our kids. He is still blaming me and cursing at me through a court server. I have found how strong I am and have found a small piece of Meh. I think they truly believe their delusion and reasonings for why they did what they did.

  • Ah! The breadcrumbs! The indignation! The duping delight. If there were a contest for the best chump-maker, the only reason fuckwit wouldn’t win is because his brother is even better: had his wife committed to psych hospital and has two families

    • My ex’s brothers just like him too
      They both trashed two families with beautiful kids.
      I’ve forgiven myself

  • Yes, they are masters of bread crumb flinging. I didn’t say that. You must be mistaken. I said this. Don’t you remember I was going to use that to teach? (Despite having a 1 year old and your pregnant!). I told you that. It was the plan ALL along! Plus marriage policing to trust but verify the BS. Ugh. Exhausted 💤 I was. So glad that is over.

  • In addition to the lying, the creation of complete and utter, constant chaos is exhausting. THAT’S what did me in. Trying to keep all those plates spinning or trying to put out the forest fires while he was over here lighting another one!

  • Yes, absolutely Yes!

    Sitting by my 9 year old daughters bedside as she began a two year cancer journey six weeks after D’day and I dreded not my daughters condition but the thought that people expected that I (when instructed) would take my cheater back. I was physically and emotionally exhauste but felt a clarity and a peace I had not had in years just because I had limited my contact with him. I use to liken my marriage to being my husband personal assistant. It was my job to prempt what the cheater would need and just make it happen as he did what ever he wanted and yes I chased crumbs everywhere until D’day. After that horred day everyday brought more clarity in regard to my marriage and then those who felt it their duty to control my life (aka church leaders) began to try to bully and shame me into remaining married and everytime I had to deal with them or him the emotional and physical reaction was the same. I seriously felt like someone had punched a whole in my chest. And they had no idea that they were only perpetuating my pain. So I stood my ground and ended my marriage and my relationship with the church and I set about clearing the fog.
    I am now 6 years post D’day, my daughter is 4 years post treatment and doing well, I have cleared the fog, gotten a degree and have just landed my dream job. An I am so greatful for this site because I would never have really understood what I had been living with for almost 20 years if it had not been for CL.

    • I was going to write I used to say “there is no way he’d cheat on me during chemo I mean who would do that to their wife of 27 years and with six kids needing her.” Ummm-yes he would I found out later. But a child who has cancer? God Almighty did you make the right decision. What a jerk. And I’m so happy your daughter is better!!!

    • You give me hope and tons of STRENGTH. Currently quarantined and sitting with my husband of 6.5 years (the sweet fun kind dream guy) who cares a great deal about Family, and our daughters (one each from previous relationships). Learned last week that he had cheated with his daughters mother after we got married. Claims it was six years ago and never wanted me to find out because fear of losing me. You know, the best thing that’s ever happened to him… his soul mate… His sweetheart who he knows didn’t deserve that. So over the years I’d always wondered why is your ex SO MAD? She clearly hated me -wouldnt “deal with me”. I could t figure it out other than in the beginning they cheated together and I forgave that since we were fresh still and THEY had a little girl. Somehow I respected that, forgave and took years to forget. We’ve been married 6.5 together nearly 10. He never fought her over the years despite her lack of parenting of the little girl and despite my pleas for NORMALCY! Never much stability or structure because she ran the show as far as the kid goes. I’ve been a great step mom doing far more than even her. That’s neither here nor there I just want some insight on someone who’s done this twice now. Claims he’s never or has never looked back since and knows his mistakes and sees what he has. I just am so foggy in the head. I do have self esteem just find myself struggling with forgiveness and true love etc. it would be heartbreaking but something says divorce has to happen. Even if he never deals with her again – it’s the daughters mom and only reason he told me I think is he was afraid she would. Says loves me to death and could never hurt me again. Help I also believe in God and all I can find are articles talking about counseling and forgiveness and I told him I forgive. I can see and feel his pain. But does that mean I stay?

      • Cheaters cheat. Liars lie. Do you find the double life acceptable behavior? Consider the effort he has put into keeping a double life so he could have two women who only had one man each. That’s entitled, selfish behavior that considered no ones feelings but his own. He wanted what he wanted.

        You are still seeing him as the guy you love. He’s not that guy. That’s an awful experience to go through – losing a person you knew to be real – but who wasn’t. Everything he says now is actually insincere – HE may believe it all while he says it, but he says things to the other person just as sincerely. Things that would hurt you to hear I’m sure. That’s insanely manipulative behavior. And a little insane.

        Get out now if you can – or as fast as you can. It won’t change. This is who he is. And I’m so very sorry for your loss. I’m dealing with something very similar, but I’m the wife in the scenario, and the new girlfriend doesn’t know he’s been with me, and has been told a pack of lies about me I’m sure so she’ll never talk to me and find out, and if she does, she’ll assume it’s because I’m jealous and hateful because he’s planted that seed. It’s all a set up so he can control the outcome.

        Take your power and your life back. It’s hard but there’s no good ending to this. It gets worse.

        • Thanks for your strength and experience. What is it that keeps you in your situation you two are still married he has a girlfriend and messes around with you? That sounds equally heartbreaking… I’m glad you mentioned double life because it’s what it seems… I say why now? Because something happened recently he said no it’s because I don’t want to live like this anymore and know if never do that To you again. Not sure why I care about HIS well being so much. My initial reaction: printed out divorce papers got them locked away and told him to get the hell out- his cop cousin reminded him we’re married so he doesn’t have to leave. Made things way harder I am so sick

  • I realized the Private Investigator phase I embarked on post DDay was just a ramped up version of the situation I had been living with my entire relationship. I had become so accustomed to having to FIGURE OUT WHAT WAS GOING ON because he was NOT straightforward that when his secret double life was revealed, it was only natural for me to double down on the coping strategy I had imperceptibly and subtly adopted.

    One day my therapist said, “Nice people are up front and tell you what is going on with them.”

    Cast iron skillet, meet thick skull of denial. BOOM.

    If I have to figure out what is going on, I am not in a relationship. I am snared in an entanglement.

    I am a Virgo and a problem solver and love jigsaw puzzles, geometry, and the Investigation Discovery Channel. My friends think I missed my calling as a detective. But this is NOT a skill that should be necessary in a committed relationship. It’s a symptom of major dysfunction.

    If you feel crazy, doubt your feelings and perceptions, and your self-esteem is going down, you’re in danger in your relationship.

    • “If you feel crazy, doubt your feelings and perceptions, and your self-esteem is going down, you’re in danger in your relationship.” Truth.

  • I can relate to this post.
    This part got me:”Good people want you to feel safe.”
    So much time wasted trying to research the truth. I became a great detective. I already had a profession that kept me busy plus a family. I was doing double/triple? duty. Wish I could go back & start again with the knowledge I have now. I would have let go of the rope sooner. But live & learn. Now I know better & I will share that knowledge with anyone who wants to learn especially my kids. Kids today are a lot smarter about relationships than I was.
    Peace & be safe CN.

  • My biggest wake up from all of this was finally realizing that I never liked the mind fucking cheater in the first place. And I was married to him for 32 years! What!? Yes, that is how effective the breadcrumbs were. When I started getting honest with myself, I realized that those breadcrumbs were what pulled me back in to this trauma bond and reinforced it even more each time. Even though I recognized the red flags while I was in the marriage, I never saw them with clarity until I got out. Save yourself, people! It’s like quitting an addiction, once you stop, everything falls into place!

    • I agree, it’s like quitting an addiction. It’s easier to get over it as well if you treat as the addiction to the trauma bond that it is.

    • I totally agree! On the first date at age 22 I knew X was immature and strange and not what I was looking for. I didn’t heed my first impressions to my peril, and my future children’s peril. I was desperate and vulnerable and constantly off guard with his love bombing and rejection. 25 years later Dday hit and 5 months of false wreconciliation and 10,000,000 lies later I said GTFO!

      That was 5 years ago — divorced for 3. I thank god every day that I’m free of that mental abuse.

      I’m practicing these new skills and boundaries with others. It’s surprising how many narcissists-dysfunctional users are in my life. One by one I’m going no-contact as I become aware. The new friends pass my newfound knowledge and are safe. Much better way to live…. I’m 53 and still have a long life ahead of me.

    • “I never liked the mind fucking cheater in the first place. And I was married to him for 32 years! What!? “ I came to the same realization years from Dday.

      I asked myself what the fuck was I missing? Nothing.

      The Limited made fun of my preparedness for hurricanes and snowstorm; always the butt of his jokes. The thought of the ‘one’ being holed up with a complaining, whiny stoned alcoholic whose only entertainment is porn and playing the drums is priceless. Thankful it’s not me.

  • So glad you escaped the grip of hour patriarchal church. As a divorce recovery leader in churches for nine years I heard this story many, many times. An online friend wrote a book about this, having lead divorce groups for twenty years. She references Chump Lady as well. It’s title is “The Life-Saving Divorce: Hope for People Leaving Destructive Relationships”. It is a great companion to LACGAL!

    • I was lucky in that realm: both ministers at my church advised me to GET OUT. I ignored their advice for 2 years.

  • The problem (there are thousands) with the cheater is they not only lie they cause chaos and choose times when you are busy with serious life events to lie. If all I had to do was look at the lie I think I could have called bullshit. But at times of new job, sick children or parents, your own illness they pull shit. It has taken me 3 years to get over the exhaustion. I’m finally at a place of peace where I can look around and put things into a perspective.

    I hate trying to explain to people (people I want to tell) what happened. It was a 33 year shit storm. Starting out with a slight breeze and slowly ramping up to a tornado. It’s evil, insidious, criminal, sick, soul sucking behavior. If it was only lies. Manipulation anyone? Slights and criticism (again a slight breeze then ramping up).

      • I soooo get this. It’s like where do I even begin? We could all probably write a thick book on all the crap we’ve dealt with. And it’s so exhausting – I’m exhausted. Three months into a divorce, three years of cheating at least. Even getting a text from him triggers my exhaustion.

  • I honestly feel sorry for cheaters in this regard- please note I’m not condoning cheating! Living a lie and keeping up a double life sounds exhausting and I don’t understand why it’s worth it. Isn’t it easier to just be honest and date one person at a time?

    • I don’t understand either. Especially because he was always envied for the life he had with me. And when everything was finally falling into place he left. The only explanation is: they are sick, as in really really sick. It doesn’t make sense even for them! So much work, money, and energy lost on lawyers, he doesn’t even look in love with the howorker. Reputation gone. The part that really scares me is how he came from being the Father of the Year to have the courage of leaving his wife alone with two little girls and people didn’t say anything. Not even my own family. It was as if nothing was happening. I thought there would be riots on the streets, death threatening messages, but nothing…crickets.

  • The layers of lying still blow my mind. When the cheating has been discovered with hard evidence, and they still deny it while looking deep into your soul, it’s mind boggling.
    When he insists on carrying through with the story that he is just dumping you one day to the next because we suddenly have grown apart ( in our first year of marriage!) because he thinks It’s better than saying he’s leaving me for someone else.
    Finally owning up to affair but saying it was in the past, AP knows nothing about this now, she’s getting on with her life, he doesn’t love her that would be like high school, Blah blah blah only to finally get the truth that both cheaters have a plan, they are soulmates and they are both dumping their spouses.
    Even after a week of questions, I still had to work like a maniac to get something that resembled a truthful reason re why my husband was destroying our life. I was feverishly hoping to get him to stay especially because he swore up down all around that the affair was in the past. This isn’t really cake, because he’s made it clear that he’s ending the marriage.

    Why not just tell you the truth when they are traumatizing you by suddenly dumping you? It’s not like they care about you anyway (you’re being discarded ) and they had the affair (even if they lie and say it’s in the past).

    So why try to pretend that you’re dumping somebody without ever trying to even work on anything rather than just fucking saying the truth ‘ I’m leaving you for another woman.’

    Is this cheater /abandoner trying to spare me whatever tiny little sense of self worth he thinks I might have left after being suddenly dumped.
    Or is it because he thinks it will make him look better?
    Why expertly gaslight until the bitter end?
    Yikes I’m still trying to untangle the skein…

    • “So why try to pretend that you’re dumping somebody without ever trying to even work on anything rather than just fucking saying the truth, I’m leaving you for another woman.”

      Because when all is said and done they are immature, selfish, cowards, especially the covert narcissist cheaters, who hate confrontation. Being asked to look hard at their own behaviors and accept consequences? When Hell freezes over!

      • Skunk is 100% spot on….Covert narcissists are weak cowards….I am preparing myself, emotionally, mentally, and financially, for both the confrontation and consequences, for him, in court….I will not back down. He WILL be held accountable.

        • Get the divorce rolling ASAP and try to settle quick. My ex covert narc was worried about impression management so I filed for divorce 4 days after discard. Doesn’t look so good when you dump your wife & 2 young kids, for a married howorker 11 years older. Our divorce is now finalized & I got half of his pension. He’s cheap and was probably counting $ every time his lawyer called or emailed him. He was caught up in his affair fantasy world and wasn’t prepared for reality.

    • I am right there with you, Zip. I do not understand why the lies continue long after the truth is brought to light. Do they still get power thinking that they are pulling one over on people? I don’t know.

      My ex did the same…could never admit to me he was in a relationship with the OW and would clearly evade the issue with gaslighting when evidence was provided. He still does this to this day, 10 months after d-day and just a few weeks after the divorce is final. Could he just be annoyed that I am interrupting his secret fantasy? Perhaps he thinks if he doesn’t admit it, it is still secret thus preserving the fantasy of it all.

    • It is because they have lied to themselves that they are not the horrible person society says they are. Mine said in the middle of the shit storm that he was a “good person” Really? A good person does not lie to your face when you directly question them, does not cheat, does not steal, does not leave your parents on their death bed (yes, his parents died within 6 weeks of each other) to be with another woman.

      The cheater only cares about himself and his image even if he has to lie to himself to believe it. They don’t care about character or others, only what they can gain. Sad that people like this exist.

      • My STBX kept saying, over and over, “I’m not a bad person…I’m not a bad person..Do you think I am a bad person..I’m not a bad person…” WHO says this??? Someone who thinks, and deep down, knows they indeed are a BAD PERSON. Holy hell….the mental incongruence is mind-boggling. Yikes.

        • Mine kept saying “I’m not a dog.” And this was when I thought we were having just a regular shitty divorce because we weren’t functioning. And I always said “of course you aren’t” until I found out that, in fact, he was so much worse than a dog.

      • My ex lied on top of lies – 24 years deep. After he left, I spent so much time talking to people, digging through our house, on old computers…there were little clues everywhere but I only know the tip of the iceberg. However, before he left me, I wasn’t exhausted, he was. He slept in late all the time and spent all day yawning. He fell asleep on the couch like an old lady at 5pm. He must have been overwhelmed trying to keep it all straight. The latest lie is that he’s told my daughter that he wasn’t cheating on me. He said our marriage broke up because mommy let him flirt with girls. When he actually did flirt with girls, mommy got mad and divorced me. Mommy went back on her word. This is the extent of his depravity and lies just to try and make himself not look like the assface that he is. I’m suffering from his years of gaslighting, I’m insanely enraged that he’s doing this to my daughter now.

    • Zip…. sociopaths, by definition, get off on hurting people. That’s why no contact for us is the only option.

  • I think for my cheating ex-wife, lying was easier than telling the truth. The truth requires diligent adherence to reality, confronting unpleasant facts, sometimes admitting fault, etc. Telling lies avoids those unpleasantries and, for these folks, can even be fun, allowing the cheater to cast him/herself in the role of victim, hero, etc. I think this is why my ex lied ALL. THE. TIME. About things big and small, even when there was no “need” for her to lie (e.g., about whether a bill was paid, or she’d had her car inspected). Realizing this made it easier to walk away from a foundering reconciliation, because there was no way to get over events in the past if I couldn’t rely on what she said today. The deception was a wound that was never going to have a chance to heal over.

    • Yes to Everyone,
      Yes, during the year of cheating, I started to notice small, insignificant why bother lies. I would always question him and he’d say “what difference does it make?”. It caused me stress even though I didn’t know about the cheating… I just didn’t get why somebody would say things that aren’t true – why? Still don’t get it, except for the times when there was obvious people pleasing or minor conflict avoidance going on.
      Cowardly, conflict avoiders and wanting to look good seems to be a common thread.
      Yes, I really do believe they still think they are good people (mine was a good person in many ways ) but not where cheating and abandoning and lack of integrity is concerned.
      Or they want so hard to be perceived as a good person, that some of them can really go above and beyond in other actions to have that projected.
      It’s like he can compartmentalize being a great father, son and a horrible partner. He dumped his first wife too.

      • you will never “get it”…….its call gaslighting and they do it to throw you off the trail and confuse and make you feel like you dont know a lie from the truth. The all do it, every last one of the miserable lying fuckers.

  • I made it out from ex-husband, having been abandoned.
    Had to return to my place and family of origin after 15 years. Rather dismal job prospects where I am now.
    So you make it out of something like that, and what you find yourself into, is the same quicksands of lies and lies and lies from your now elderly mother. There is no respite from this stuff.
    You know your whole life has been a lie because the person who put you into the world is not offering a shred or truth. Just wants to keep you in the quicksands. Going down further and further. They are murderous, these individuals. You can only protect yourself with grey rock, if you cannot get away.
    Luckily I also live with my sister, with whom I can have a sane conversation. But the life damage done to us is indescribable. We were systematically destroyed and prevented from accessing resources.
    It’s a taboo. Society does not go there. It does not take in that there are these murderous creatures ensconced in families.

  • I had to go back and read IFTU. Which had a 2×4 attached to it that I needed to revisit apparently.

    .”..shrug and play dumb. The IFTUYH mindfucker, however, is one cool customer. Zero adaptive anxiety.”

    Zero. Adaptive. Anxiety. (Dead shark 🦈 eyes 👀 explained). Staring down the empty elevator shaft. Looking into an empty soul.

    I’ve been there.

    Having seen this emptiness-with my own two eyes … It’s the doubting of humanity that remains under the surface that I find to be the most enduring gift.

  • My cheater ex LOVED the exhaustion route. But she would amp it up by keeping me from sleeping. I need extra sleep to manage my severe medical conditions, and she knew that was the way to weaken me. So she would intentionally keep me from sleeping and wake me up constantly to make demands of me. If I managed to get away from her to actually sleep a little, she’d cheat on me yet again with randos.

    Looked it up afterwards. Keeping your partner from sleep is physical abuse.

    It was especially hard because I depend so desperately on sleep to manage my health.

  • The lies. Those pesky lies. My ex would always preach that he hated liars. To him liars are scum not worth the air they breath. How ironic that he looked me square in the face and lied for 4 or more years.
    The denial. I found a picture skankella sent him of her on a toilet(via facebook). His response was that she was one sexy women even on a toilet. I printed it out and showed it to him. He denied that she sent it. And could not remember making the comment. I found so much proof of the affair. He denied and denied. And always tried to make me look crazy. I think cheaters lie because they get off on it. They like to play mind games. One thing you can depend on with a cheater they will never tell the entire truth.

  • “Lying is about controlling someone else’s reality, hoping that what they don’t know won’t hurt you.” I don’t remember where I found this quote, maybe here, but it has stayed with me and really fits the cheater’s narrative. And when I look back at when he would lie about the stupidest things, this is what it was about…

  • Does anyone else have a “nice” cheater abandoner? Just sold the house, he’s in an apartment and just emailed me to offer to change my winter tires on the weekend. I will leave so that I don’t have to see him, but it’s hard to refuse help when I would otherwise have to take the car to a garage and pay for it in a pandemic. Am I the only one who gets dumped for howorker but still gets treated like he gives a shit…. he did my taxes etc. It’s infuriating, devastating, sad &=yet helpful to get offered his ‘help.’ But I know so many chumps just get treated like absolute shit after having lived through a whole shit buffet.
    I’m worried he’ll continue offering ‘help’ when I’m all moved out and I will debase myself just to save some money and make things easier.
    Then there’s my mom saying ‘take the help and save yourself some money’.
    What is this- I feel it’s like robbing an old lady and then offering to take her out to brunch .

    • He’s trying to feel and look good. Same as me stbx telling me we should continue to be best friends. Then it makes them look and feel like what they did isn’t so bad. I’d rather let him feel the pain and look like an ass than take the help or friendship-ugh.

    • Zip, whilst it’s tempting to save money, for your safety and peace of mind I strongly recommend you do not let your cheater touch your tyres.

      Your cheater murdered your heart -please don’t trust him or put your personal safety in his hands ever again. He does not have your best interests at heart.

      • Remember what Mr. ChumpLady said, “ Some money is just too expensive.”
        Go to a garage and pay the guy who changes tires for a living.
        Trust him to do a good job and you will drive safely.
        Then before next winter, have the same guy install your winter tires.
        Go no contact with Ex hubby.
        If he had your best interests at heart, he never would have cheated on you.
        No contact, ever.

      • I agree, turn him down. Although this seems like an innocent, kindly offer, we don’t know the evil in some of these people’s hearts, I would hate for him to tamper with your vehicle in some way that would put you in danger.

    • Mine similarly had periods of offering help and support that I don’t really want from him. The last time we had such an encounter, I finally said to him directly: “Are you offering to (x) because you think it will make me feel better or because you are trying to make yourself feel better? I can tell you that it doesn’t make me feel better — it stresses me out, and I would prefer to have as little contact with you as possible until further notice.” Since this exchange, he has backed off. Not entirely, mind you — I have get a text or call every couple of weeks reminding me that I should contact him if I want to “chat” or need anything — and I expect he will keep popping up whenever he gets bored or lonely or thinks he might get a hit of self-esteem by being “helpful.” But calling him out on the fact that him being helpful is really an attempt to prove to himself that he’s a good guy shut down some of this mindfuckery. Good luck.

    • Yes, my ex husband did the same thing. In fact, he gave me the lion’s share in the divorce and said he only wanted me to be secure and happy. Go figure! If I were to guess, I think it might be a last ditch effort to continue the control. It is a genuine mind-fuck when they do this and it makes you think you must have made a mistake, right?

      • Thanks all, you are all right of course, he is only really helping to make HIMSELF feel better. The offer to help that I opened up in an email actually threw me off my day and set me way back – I hate it when it’s one step forward emotionally two steps backwards type of thing.

        ‘One Day’ that I want you to be happy and secure a comment made me laugh through my tears 😂

      • Oh but he left me, so I didn’t have the opportunity to make that mistake – but I would have. One mistake I did make was in early dating days – not realizing that when he told me he had had a ‘friend’ no sex, in his 1st marriage what that meant. He basically upped his affair game in his 2nd marriage with me (Office friend, sex and dump the wife).

      • Oh but he left me, so I didn’t have the opportunity to make that mistake – but I would have. One mistake I did make was in early dating days – not realizing that when he tollé me he had had a ‘friend’ no sex, in his 1st marriage what that meant. He basically upped his affair game in his 2nd marriage with me (Office friend, sex and dump the wife).
        Thank you I needed the ‘some money is just too expensive reminder’

        • Zip…that ‘friend, no sex’ in his first marriage? Bullshit. I bet he was a cheater way back then too and that’s how his first marriage ended.

    • Mine has been ‘pretty nice’ so I can relate. Here’s the thing. I know a couple of women who have remained in friendly contact with their exes even to the point of having part of Christmas together. After a few drinks, they always admit to having that same tug at the heart, even though they know they would never really go back. They are still ‘involved’ well beyond the basics, even though they have new significant others.

      These kinds of nicer cheaters (as opposed to the psycho ass-holes we hear of so often) will continue to string you along, now as friend instead of spouse, for as long as you allow it. It will not be consistent, because they aren’t consistent. The feeling it evokes for me is similar to when I was pick-me dancing. It is a degrading sensation. To me, allowing him to help beyond his legal duty, would be degrading. It’s just a feeling I have when these stories come up and the best way to describe it is it makes me slightly nauseous and creeped out. You can still be polite but very short. “Thank you but I am all set”. None of his business how it will be taken care of.

    • It’s impression management. Everybody see I’m still friends with my ex. I was discarded for his married howorker who is 11 years older than me. He offered to clean out the gutters and other odd jobs around the house. I gladly paid the maintenance man from my work $60 to clean the gutters. My ex could barely get stuff done at home while he lived here with the kids and me now I search YouTube for answers, have my dad fix stuff when he comes to visit, and pay professionals. The peace of mind has no price tag. I don’t want to look at my ex-husband any longer than necessary and I wouldn’t want him in my home even if it was to be helpful. Helpful would have been not carrying on an affair for 1 year prior to discard. Risking my health and finances while he banged Excel guru howorker!

      • You chumparoos are mighty. Yes, it does feel degrading to take help from nice cheater who dumped you. Especially when he gets his son to help him out with helping me out. I hate that he’s showing his son what a nice guy remorseful /abandoner/ cheater his dad is. Thanks for all the replies, maybe when I’m out of this house we bought together it will be easier to be mighty.
        It would just be so much easier to really trust that he sucks ( and not just feel all the good things I’ve lost ) if he sucked consistently.

    • yes. My ex is trying to make amends now–reaching out to all sorts of random people (including my friends) to apologize, texting me pics of the kids, complimenting my cooking, etc. I delete everything, thank my lucky stars I no longer need to put up with his impression-managing, narrative-rewriting bullshit, and move on.

      • Mine looooves playing hero. Be careful. There are slimy strings attached. He’s using it as image management. “See? My ex and I are friends! I’m so swell!” Mine did that for a while but I didn’t know about the cheating. He’d do it now but he turns my stomach.

  • “In lying, one is identifying the other as one’s opponent, even one’s enemy. In marriage intimacy is developed through confessions, explanations, and soul searchings. But of course intimacy involves equality, and people who are telling lies are not seeking any aspect of intimacy, especially equality. Liars are hoping for advantage, which will be produced by disorienting and distracting the other person. The liar is stepping outside the relationship. The lie may be a greater betrayal of the relationship than the misdeed being lied about. It takes very little misinformation to disorient and destroy a relationship. I often point out to people that if I gave them detailed instructions on how to go from Atlanta to New York City, and threw in only one left turn that was a lie, they would end up in Oklahoma.”

    -Dr. Frank Pittman
    Private Lies
    (p. 59)

    A marriage to a liar has terminal cancer. There is nothing I could have done to save it.
    It was doomed to failure.

    Additionally, getting involved in an affair, with someone who is displaying up front that they are a liar, is the epitome of idiocy. And doomed to failure as well. At the very least, it’s impossible for a relationship comprised of deceitful individuals to be a success as a healthy intimate relationship, which is what I want.

  • What is it with the peeping Tom crap? I too discovered he had taken taken boob butt and crotch shots of every female we ever had in our home. Including my sister my nieces my mom…his coworkers..the pornography collection..wife swapping sites web cam girls too. I told him if I were to ever find a picture of me I would come for him with everything I have..he too swears he never did that but I dont believe anything that comes across his lieing lips.

    • Nobody2U…um, what he did sounds illegal. Ewww. Were your nieces underage? This guy sounds CREEPY. You should let the authorities know about this pervert.

      • Chumptopia: The women “friends” of ours knew he took pictures but I dont think they knew he kept them or what he was using them for..my nieces were teens..the pictures by themselves look innocent enough..just girls in their bathing suits laying out by the pool..but when you look at ALL the pictures together it is obvious what he was really doing. With the adults he would crop the photos to just see asses crotches and breast..he wasnt interested in anything else as women aren’t people to him just body parts. He would usually wait till they were drunk and willing to flash him or he would stand over them and take pictures while in our pool…he had lots and lots of pool parties over the years. And he was also screwing most of them so I guess they were all pretty comfortable doing these things…in my home while I was there cooking cleaning taking care of kids and being a good hostess..I barely got time to sit down let alone get in the pool. I just wanted everyone to be happy and comfortable in my home..I didnt discover all the pictures until after I got him to confess to screwing my best friend..and of course that rabbit hole went straight to freak land..I still can hardly believe the sick shit they were all doing…he seems like the most straight laced boring follow the rules kind of guy..never had more than 1 speeding ticket his whole life..but he has been just flying under the radar…he is a pathetic desperate angry woman hating lieing manipulator his entire life. He was more concerned with me shaming him on social media than he was about completely devastating me and the kids..he truly is 2 different people. One side mr.rodgers the other side Ted bundy..just sick and creepy. I have been floundering so badly I still havent even filed for divorce…cant understand why i am so afraid to cut him out..he has dismantled me to were i dont trust my own judgement anymore. But i am getting stronger every day!

  • Today is 3 years since dday. First off the fact that I recognize that makes me wonder whether I’m at meh but really I’m feeling quite blessed to have gotten through the worst of it, to have my family intact except for fuckwit, to have my beautiful home and to be living a very nice life. I still remember what that day felt like; hopefully, one of these days I won’t even know what happened on April 8th. hugs to all!

  • Exhaustion? He made enemies with all the neighbours, and then said they were all snobs and liars. He had a drawer of braces and surgical tape yet had no obvious injuries. When we visted my relatives family photos were mysteriously vandilized. Other parents at baseball practice suddenly stopped talking to us. When it was his turn to do housework or chores he always had a migraine. Pies and cakes were found mysteriously flipped upside down in their boxes at family gatherings etc etc……….. and there was always……. plausable deniability.

  • I’m a terrible liar. Can’t do it if my life was depending on it! Cheaters, like all narcissists, are brilliant liars! The biggest lie the cheaters tell us is that they love us. They are unable to love, incapable of feeling it. They lie to avoid consequences. It’s a matter of power and control, just like all abusers. They are not your lover; they are your liar.

  • So Correct. They let their eyes deceive them too! They believe the lies to themselves even about their appearance.

    Example; Her highly filtered Facebook profile Pic is what she actually thinks she looks like.
    It bears no resemblance to how she does look. Unrecognisable. It is more than just image management.

    Their version does not fit real life.

  • Let me just say this about “fog.” It’s so common (thanks RIC) for chumps to think of cheaters being lost in a fog. The truth is that the cheaters CREATe fog. It’s as if they have a fog machine for the express purpose of hiding their bullshit and bad behavior.

    Once you catch someone in a lie, that’s a signal to take 10 steps back and look at things. It’s probably not the first lie, just the first one you caught. And there is no way to “rebuild trust” with someone who lies to you. So the first task is to get away from the liar so you have the judgment and head space to figure out over time what this person’s relationship to the truth is.

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