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He’s Sad and I Feel Responsible

Hi Chump Lady,

I left my house and asked my husband for divorce after 4 years of marriage.

I found out through the OW’s ex-husband that my husband was cheating on me, and later on, I discovered photos on her instagram that were enough proof that he cheated. (Not photos on them, but things that were his.)

He admitted he cheated, but he said that it was only before we were married (BS), but the instagram posting timeline didn’t suggest that.

Back then, I didnt want to end my marriage, so I gave him a chance, and became marriage police, at some point, he started to get upset by me demanding things of him after I found out.

As time went by, I stopped demanding things because I was tired of him getting upset. (I know, unfair.)

Later on, I hired a PI for a week and found out they were seeing each other outside of work, that week that I was out of the country for work.

Although, there was no evidence of them holding hands or anything compromising, the fact that they were seeing each other and he hide it from me hurt me a lot and I decided to end things.

He claimed and swears that he didn’t do anything wrong, but still I moved on with divorce.

He cried, and begged, and claimed to be mentally ill due to my request for divorce, that he was losing his mind, and for some reason that was hard for me, to see someone I love, being that hurt, I kinda felt responsible for that.
At some point I went no contact, but he was losing his mind and I broke that.

I talked to him and made it clear that I just wanted him to be ok. I was honestly afraid he could harm himself, I’ve never seen him that desperate, he seemed like a different person.

He called me yesterday crying, telling me it was such a bad day for him. I guess being alone in the house we shared made him remember all the memories we had. Though, he never asks me to go back with him. (He knows my decision is final.)

So my question is:

Why is he coming back to me and not to the OW?

I mean he is free now to do whatever he wants, when he calls I feel bad for him, and gives me a guilt feeling, honestly I’d rather see him happy with the OW than hear him crying and sad.

I know it sounds weird, I’m trying to move on, but I kinda feel responsible for him, being alone during this Covid times. (I moved back to my parents).


I’m Moving On

Dear I’m Moving On,

He lost the right to snivel when he cheated on you.

He HARMED you and he wants YOU to comfort HIM from the affliction of his consequences?

Stand back for a moment and see how fucked up and manipulative that is.

If I bludgeon your kneecaps with a threaded pipe, and cut my hand, should I then reach out and ask YOU for a bandaid? Does that make sense?

That fact that he thinks he’s entitled to your comfort and concern underscores how much he doesn’t get it. How much this is still about HIM. How much he is minimizing the gravity of what he did. How much he thinks you are responsible to fix HIS messes (cue the RIC, it takes two!) And it totally disrespects your boundaries. You expressed NO CONTACT. And he replied, yeah, but MEeeeeeeeEEEEEE!

so I gave him a chance, and became marriage police, at some point, he started to get upset by me demanding things of him after I found out.

Oh look, it’s a PATTERN. This is what he does when things get hard. He blubs until people quit demanding things of him. It works for him. That’s why he’s doing in now, with the distress dial turned up to 11, because it worked before.

that was hard for me, to see someone I love, being that hurt, I kinda felt responsible for that.

Your empathy speaks well of you, but it’s also makes you narc bait for the disordered. I’m not saying quit being the compassionate beautiful soul you are, I’m saying stop directing those human qualities toward a man who abused you. This “You’re Responsible For Me!” guilt-trip is a hallmark of the disordered. Read over at Out of the Fog about “Fear, Obligation, Guilt” (FOG).

He’s testing your chumpiness. FOG is what we call here the Sad Sausage Channel of Self-Pity.

Here’s the advice I give on highly distressed cheaters who threaten suicide — call 911. Get that person an emergency psych evaluation. If they need help, they’ll get it. If they said it to manipulate you, they’ll spend 72 shoeless hours in a psych ward and never pull that shit again.

He called me yesterday crying, telling me it was such a bad day for him.

Did he ask you about your day?

Did he show a lot of concern about your mental state when you got that call from OW’s husband?

Oh right. You were the meanie who “demanded” things of him. Like safety and respect.

Why is he coming back to me and not to the OW?

You don’t know that he isn’t.

You’re projecting your chumpiness on to him. That he Made a Choice, and picked YOU to confer his distress upon. Like it’s a special privilege to wear his snot on your shoulder. (Metaphorically speaking. It’s COVID, stay away from snot and shoulders.)

You’re imagining a pick me dance where you won. How? Why? Surely he shares his Sad Feelings with the most significant Schmoopie in his life?

I read a lot of stories here, Moving, and there’s a lot of this grief vomit, followed by calls to Schmoopies (flip! Charm Channel!) In my own experience, I’d get operatic remorse, in therapy, then later I saw the cell phone statements, and like 30 SECONDS after he got out of therapy, he was on the phone checking in with the OW(s). It really beggars belief, until you realize how utterly narcissistic and vapid these people are.

Back to my point — you don’t know what he says to OW. And keep it that way. Don’t even be curious. He’s trying to goad you back into the pick me dance.

Though, he never asks me to go back with him. (He knows my decision is final.)

He doesn’t have to ask. He assumes. You pick up the phone.


NO CONTACT like your life depends on it. (Right now, oh hey, global pandemic, it does.)

Let your lawyer run interference. You’re not available.


Ask Chump Lady

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  • That just reminded me. During ‘Wrekonciliation’ my cheater and I had what I felt was a long heart felt talk while he was out of town. I even had warm fuzzy’s after. I checked the phone bill later, he had immediately called the OW after and had an even LONGER conversation with her.

    • Oh yes THIS ^^^^ and not just one OW it turns out. No contact really is your friend here!

    • Late one night I got a ‘I has the sads’ call from my ex (we were already divorced). He told me all about something that had happened–something I used to be there to help him handle and I hung up the phone thinking, “He still loves me. He still needs me. Maybe there’s hope here after all.”
      I woke up the next am with a sneaking suspicion so I checked the e-mail he forgotten he’d given me access to and I saw that he’d been with HER that evening before. (I guess she isn’t as helpful as I had been.)
      Know what I realized when I saw that e-mail? I knew that no matter what he said to me, he was saying the same to her. He talks out of both sides of his mouth–and it’s all lies.
      They. Do. Not. Change. Go no contact. You will never regret it.

  • It’s a probe. He’s fishing you to see if you will cave. I’m sorry. He’s not that nice. He sucks.

    • Before going no contact, my STBX and I happened to be on a conference call together.
      While waiting for our real estate attorney to come on the line, my STBX said, “I feel sad every day.”

      He cheated on me for 2 1/2 years and is living with his AP. In fact, they’d just bought a house!

      He never asked if I was doing ok.

      Oh, and the I’m-so-sad thing resonates with me because his two brothers committed suicide, the first did so not long after we were married. So I’ve been a sucker for his sad-sack stories and depressed demeanor for our entire marriage (35 years). I really think that’s what kept me tethered to him, the worry that he would kill himself.

      After D-Day (in October), I felt into the trap of thinking that he was SO happy with his AP. I don’t believe that now. I think he’s incapable of happiness, just shallow viagra-fueled joy.

      • I fret over my husband being happy with OW despite substantial evidence that he’s incapable of it. He’s a grouch and my therapist assured me that he’s still a grouch.

      • Wonder – Exactly! Valentines day last year my STBX was out of town for work. We talked for 18 min, then he hung up, Took a few minutes to get the taste out of his mouth, and then proceeded to talk to OW for 45 min. Now he can talk to her all he wants that he has moved out 3 wks ago. I am very curious to see how long the OW lasts – what with his sullen bs and demands for ‘space’.

        • My sullen husband who needs space has been with the OW probably 16 months now. I’m NC but my kids talk sometimes. Saturday night he went out with her then later she burned up his phone repeatedly when he didn’t respond the second she called. S19 put it together and said she calls when he’s there and my husband quickly answers (slightly annoyed) and says “can’t talk right now” then hangs up. S19 laughed because we all know he hates to be bothered and never ever call him more than once. Guess the OW hasn’t gotten the memo about space yet. Lol

      • Spinach – yes the cheaters really do have same m.o. Not long after D-Day when I was still so desperate to hold onto my marriage, me sobbing over the phone “do you really think this is going to make you happy?” Him – “I will never be happy”. His words just make me feel quite pissed now. A) “feel sorry for me”, and 2) you are destroying my reality to ‘never be happy’!!!?? I call BULLSHIT

  • Moving On, he picked you instead of the OW because you answered the phone. Here is how you fix that. Block him.

    It really is that simple. Block him. He lied to you and you can’t have a marriage with a liar. Block him. He gets to talk to your lawyer. That is why you have a lawyer, to do the dirty work of communicating with an abuser. (Mr. Chump Lady, I am certain lawyers do far more!) Block him and don’t answer the door.

  • Dear Moving On, please consider yourself immensely lucky that you only wasted 4 years of your life on this POS and that you have no children with him. During this short time you’ve had at least two crucial events with him lying and cheating. You don’t need definite proof because this isn’t court of law beyond reasonable doubt. You know he consistently lies to you about this woman.

    Also, you feel over-responsible, work on this. He’s a grown up adult who needs to behave like one.

  • Dear I’m Moving On
    You are lucky to have found him out so soon in your relationship, to have discovered this wonderful site, and both lucky and courageous to have acted decisively. There are hundreds of us who found out, forgave, believed the BS against all the odds, and then were in the same circumstances again and again, sometimes going on for thirty years (like me). The more often it happens, the more depressed and weak you feel, the lower your self-esteem – and you in fact train him to do it again because he knows he can get away with it. Get as far from him as you can, cut all contact, forget him – he’s no good and he’ll look for another victim as soon as he realises you’re not standing for it. Embrace your freedom from this liar, and treat the four years of marriage as a valuable lesson that will not be wasted. Wishing you all love and good fortune for your precious future – without him.

    • I am raising my hand in the air and sadly nodding…. Forgave the one I found out about. “I’ll spend the rest of my life making it up to you.” after 12 years of marriage. At 20 years he was deep into another one. THEN I found out (and he admitted) that one 8 years ago had already been affair number that he couldn’t even remember. Had cheated since we first met, throughout both pregnancies (and then had the gall to tell me those didn’t actually count because he was nervous about fatherhood,) three people that he “deeply cared about, but I decided to give YOU another chance each time!” a bunch of strangers in hotel bars during travel, and various co-workers and clients. The one I found out about at 8 years followed by therapy (where is lied and questioned me incessantly about how I found out.) Then he improved his mechanisms and did a better job of hiding the double life while I gave it another chance “for the kids” and because I wanted to be a forgiving person. After all he only did it bequeaths he needed to have more confidence, and darn it, I can totally help him build that up! Gag…

      The lying, financial impropriety, and rage/anger/abuse got gradually to terrible over the yeas. I was a shell of who I had been by the time I got out. If only I could go back, take my kids and run at that window of opportunity at 8 years of marriage.

      • ^^ I could have written this.^^ Same experience. Same feelings of guilt.

        Getting out of the regular-contact-orbit allowed me to see with clarity.

        I’m so happy to be out and free!

      • Thank you, thank you for sharing this. I am in this exact place right now (even down to the 20 years, when I knew by eight. When I knew by four. Knowing that I am a shell of the person that I used to be (it’s okay. Shells can be filled.) Wanting soo much to believe that he would “spend the rest of his life making it up to me”.
        And how the years go by. Every time I lose more. Everytime I am sunk deeper in despair. “We could start again. What else could there possibly be to do to me (and Smalls)?” Ohh, do Not tempt the Universe. For the last two weeks, I’ve been unhappily pacing, wondering how not to be unhappy. That’s not inattentive prose, ‘being happy’ is a place that I would have to reach for.
        Thank you. I needed to be reminded that I’m not alone in struggling with this. It’s a normal thing; no shame required.
        Thanks, I needed that.

        • Dear Diaphane
          Are you still with him? I have stayed (nearly six years since great reveal – always other women throughout courtship, marriage, children, parents’ deaths, etc etc) and things seem calm: he’s 62 and retired now and probably doesn’t get so many chances. I don’t talk about it with him any more because he considers it over and done with. I feel numb emotionally, so it’s easier, but it’s not good. My self-respect is zero and he seems a good husband but I don’t trust him at all. For instance, I requested that he shouldn’t ever see women in private, ie just the two of them, for any reason at all. Work meetings should happen in public, in a cafe or something. Just before the lockdown, I found out a ‘committee meeting’ (even though he’s retired?) had consisted of just him and a woman, in her home, no one else. I actually believe that nothing happened (yet), but I pointed out it was disrespectful to me and leads to opportunities for things to go wrong. He replies that it’s my lack of trust that’s disrespectful to him. So it’s not remorse, whatever it looks like. If there’s any way you can get rid of him, do. I’m in theory a success story – we stayed together and he’s faithful! – but it doesn’t feel like that. The love gets hollowed out and now I’m the bad one, staying when I don’t believe in the marriage. Your post makes it plain what pain you’re in – feel the anger towards him, and, if you possibly can, act on it and ditch him.

      • How do these people find so many people to hook up with??? I’m already thinking that I will be walking thru the desert for a long time given all of the skeezers out there with all of their baggage. I guess they are hooking up with skeezers carrying baggage?

        • There are more broken people out there than healthy ones and I think our society has a lot to do with this. ☹

  • I’m Moving On, he still talks to OW… but she gets the fun, happy, carefree side of him while he saddles you with all of his burdens.

    Just like he did when you were married, right?

    • Wow, that got me! My husband was always rather very serious person, introvert, even depressed..He always saw the glass half empty. Sleeping in the middle of Saturday on the couch like an old man:) Not very funny, he didn’t catch all teh jokes etc…But ok, I loved him anyway. I accepted him in 100% . And when a coworker got interested in him (he fell in love with her obviously) he started to change! In public he is funny and easy-going now, very self confident. But at home – grumpy and silent…I have already seen the lawyer and I’m filing soon.

      • She’s not capable of giving him a personality transplant. Bet a whole lot of money once the honeymoon is over he will be back to grumpy old man. People don’t change not without years of hard work. She’s just a very temporary distraction.

        • Exactly! I believe he wants to think he is his new self, but how long one can pretend…?

  • I also feel responsible for my husband right now. He also says I can’t just leave you alone I love YOU, never her. That’s hard to hear because after we got married they were together a “few” times that then turned into TWO. I’m concerned that I don’t know the whole truth but honestly haven’t felt like he’s cheating. Ever. He says this happened 6 years ago while working a night job. I don’t know what to do we’re different people today than then, and I consider DAILY hanging in there vs divorce. All the young people in my life say no way -get out. My mother says I know he loves you and think he’s learned. That makes it more difficult.
    You’re strong and doing great by moving home. My husband also has said he wanted to die. Course I’ve felt the same some days:(
    Understand about you feeling responsible for him, I feel that way about mine. Like I need to take care of him. We all have to take care of ourselves at the end of the day

    • I feel sorry that my XH the substance abuser has wrecked his life. I wasn’t the only woman who loved him but couldn’t live with his abuse. I was just his last chance to be happy. But he’s not capable. I still love him, meaning I see his best side, I understand what he’s done to himself, and I cheer on (from a distance) when he gains a little ground back. But that doesn’t mean I put my head on the chopping block for him to cut off.

      • @LovedaJackass you are a beautiful soul! Yes, I think they are broken. My husband also. I always believed he was a good man. He was always very kind, gentle, he never raised his voice…He cared for me. But when the person you trust the most chooses a younger (what a cliche!) coworker over wife and children – that is it. He may be broken but cheating was his DECISION. He may be broken but he has a free will. Trying to save family we forget about that and we sink into chasing unicorns,,,We believe our loved one will come back from the darkness…No. he will NOT. He is not there anymore. When I understood that – I instantly knew what I had to do. I saw a lawyer, now I am discussing the conditions of the divorce. Our loved ones are gone. We have to accept it. We cannot help them.

    • I’m not an expert on this but I kind of feel like you should be seeing him make you feel better. I did the same thing, when my husband left he was crying and he looked like hell. He was so broken. I hugged him close and told him was going to be okay. Wait for it – I even bought him a house warming gift. I’m sure he had a damn fine night getting high and fucking the home wrecker that night while eating takeaway Chinese on the floor of their new love nest. We are Chumps-they are fuckwits. We care-they don’t. We use genuine emotions – they manipulate. I think it’s a ginormous red flag when we’re worried about our fuckwit’s emotions. If they even want a sliver of hope to reunite with a chump THEY NEED TO BE WORRIED ABOUT US AND WHAT THRY DID TO US, not the other way around. This is abuse chumps! It’s a tactic that works for them. It’s particularly hard to ignore because we are empathetic. The avoidance of true responsibility and no remorse and blame shifting topped off with pity is toxic. Run!

      • Yes Yes Yes ~ adults do not take responsibility for other adults’ feelings. This is creating the parent / child dynamic. Adults take responsibility for themselves~ period. Two adults come together and own their own sh#t. That is how adult relationships work.

  • I have written on here more times than I’m sure Tracy wishes but I think there some lessons to learn from what happened to my brother. He was happily married with children when his wife abandoned them. This was not a slow leaving, it was overnight. That family was devastated. My brother decided within a month or two that she was not worth another tear. He got pissed off, got custody, met another woman and married again, this time to an adult. Everyone reacts to cheating, and the damage it does, in different ways. I’m not holding him up as the perfect way to be but he was a happy man within a year of his true devastation. I have not kept up with his ex for years but oddly was talking to a relative who got curious and looked her up. Interesting. She has not changed one bit. She’s the same immature person she was when she left. My point being that your very self-centered, soon to be ex, is not going to change because they just don’t.

    • “I have written on here more times than I’m sure Tracy wishes…” We are happy to hear from you!

    • Unfortunately the disordered can hide behind a facade of decency for years. Never ceases to amaze me. Does your brother’s ex ever keep in touch with the children or did she just blank them out of her life?

      • Their contact is minimum from what little I know. They NEVER mention her to me. Wonder why? My family members, spouse, children, friends have occasionally asked me about her. I just tell them I have no clue because I don’t. It’s so odd to some of them how much I despise her but they didn’t stand in a living room and watch little children fall completely apart. I still hate her.

        Do any of you get reprimanded because you don’t forgive the cheaters in your lives? That question boggles my mind.

  • Its true what chump lady says
    My ex cry’s, I ignore him. Says he loves me, his behaviour proved him didn’t
    Sad to say I think its a game to cheaters, and they love the pick me dance.
    The lot of them

  • Hey y’all. I’ve just published my book on Amazon Kindle, and I wanted to say that I mention and thank Chump Lady in chapter 19! It’s called Unfold: Faith-Full Healing After Adultery and Divorce, by Jennifer White.

    I hope you are encouraged uplifted by it! ????

    • Congratulations! This is a great mightiness reminder! Lemons into lemonade!

  • I must admit (sadly), when I first read this, I was envious of your situation and slightly jealous. I was married for a year and half to someone I had been with for 10 years when DDay #1 occurred. Of course I engaged in a hard core pick me dance and I didn’t have the courage to set demands on her other than promise to never do this again, which of course she swore to. DDay #2 came 10 months later, the affair never ended. Fake reconciliation is horribly damaging in every single capacity. I asked her to leave the house after she texted me the full confession (of course the first two weeks after DDay #2 it was only half truths). She never really came back, she never fought for me, she never cried for me, she never even really apologized for what she’s done. We spent our 3rd wedding anniversary this year on a Zoom call with our mediator. Like I said, initially when I read this, I was so jealous. Where was my opportunity to turn her away, reject her calls, reject her from crying on my shoulder? It never happened. I guess some days I am lucky it never happened because I would have been sucked back in because I never wanted a divorce and to lose my wife.
    Unfortunately, I think being alone right now, he is riddled with guilt for what he’s done and misses everything he’s selfishly gave up when he violated the marriage. He is reaching out because you have been his place of comfort and normalcy but only when it’s convenient for him or you’re the only option.
    Continue to have the courage to fight for yourself and your sanity. You can still feel bad for him. Listen, my wife destroyed our marriage and destroyed me mentally and emotionally and some days I still cry, partly because I feel bad that the woman I loved deeply did something so stupid and selfish that she ruined everything not only for me, but for her as well. We have all done things in life that deep down, we truly regret. It’s ok that maybe he regrets what he did but doesn’t mean there will ever be a place for him in your life again. He had his chance to steer the ship in the right direction after DDay #1 and he chose not to. Now he must suffer in silence (the suffering is only temporary until new options are on his table).

    It’s all just sad when lives, emotions and sanity are destroyed. You were not his problem when he spent time cheating and lying so now that he’s faced with the reality of his actions, he can no longer be your problem. Treat him with the same level of disregard as he treated you. Taste of his own medicine.

    • I do not think for one minute that any long-term/serial cheater “is riddled with guilt for what he’s done and misses everything he’s selfishly gave up when he violated the marriage. He is reaching out because you have been his place of comfort and normalcy but only when it’s convenient for him or you’re the only option.” These types do not EVER feel guilt. They are incapable.

      However, they may miss using you….. like they might “miss” that great old vacuum cleaner they once had…..????????????

      • Totally agree MotherChumper! My exFuckwit walked away from 24 years with hardly look back but I’m pretty sure he misses USING ME since I supported him. I’m sure he’ll find another chump to support him in the future as he ages…..

    • You really think her ex is “riddled with guilt”? I’m sorry, but no. Fuck no. Cheaters don’t get riddled with guilt.

      And this, “You can still feel bad for him.” This is also a complete waste of valuable time. You don’t have to feel bad about a person who gutted you and now calls you and cries to try to manipulate you over it. The only solution for this is blocking that asshole. There’s absolutely nothing to feel bad about.

      • Never untangle the skein of their fuckedupedness. You aren’t a mind reader. Look at the behavior. It’s evidence of what’s inside, which is a giant black hole where a conscience and kindness and love should be.

          • Rumblekitty and LovedaJackass, Goddesses both! Your advice is Chump Nation at its very best.
            Move On, There is something to be said for walking away once someone shows you who they are. When someone you love, who should love you gently and respectfully back, instead chooses to hurt you, over and over again, one’s only healthy response is to walk away. Keep that Cheater Handbook handy, they all play the same con, and it’s wise to read and share here. Remember, no one has the power to fix the disordered (no matter how shiny they are, nor how much we spackle over their poor behavior). Pairing yourself up just means you will never have the fairy tale.* Your love is a gift and should be treated like the blessing it is. I felt crazy in my marriage because-surprise, surprise!- he wasn’t real. You can not make a marriage work when it is methodically intimately sabotaged by your spouse. It’s as far away from wedding vows and an authentic life together as one could possibly be. Just, NO. At some point I had to ask myself, Don’t I deserve better?!?? Damn straight. Life is too fucking short. Real love isn’t drama, folks. So don’t concern yourself with x’s “happy,” many of the disordered are great actors. In the end, it was x’s actions that told me all I needed to know. Go No contact, you will heal faster. (((Hugs)))and best wishes on your journey forward. *many here have gained a life.

      • Rumblekitty
        I think you’re right. For those of us still emotionally invested in not only the situation but the person, we try to find semblance of decency in the person. Maybe their guilt will make us feel a little better, maybe projecting our pain onto them takes the burden of pain off of us a little. Deep down, your feedback is spot on, direct and to the point. They feel nothing and care about only themselves. Sometimes it’s just really hard to accept the blatant truth that’s smacking us right in the face. Like I’m Moving On, when the marriage is still young, it’s all that much more shocking. We didn’t have time for the years of arguments, fights, struggles and slowly coming apart. We were still in the honeymoon stage when our lives were completely turned upside down.

    • Yeah, I get that. Sometimes it seems even a little naugahyde remorsee would have been nice.

  • Dear Moving On,
    This is meant kindly though it may seem blunt but really your letter doesn’t suggest to me that you are actually moving on emotionally.
    You know way too much about him and his current mental state and as I discovered to my cost,engaging with him in any way is detrimental to really moving on. It just provides a disordered person with an opportunity for further manipulation.
    The fact that this man,who abused you emotionally,is using you,of all people, as a shoulder to lean on in tough times,speaks volumes of his narcissism and entitlement.
    The best favour you can do yourself is to block him and adopt a strict no contact regime like your well being depends on it,because it really does.
    He has shown you who he is so please erase him from your life. He fired you from the job of caring when he cheated on you. You sound like a caring person.
    Don’t waste your fine qualities on a man who doesn’t deserve them.

  • Can you say MIXED MESSAGE?

    BF Skinner….intermittent reward…operant conditioning….read up and stay aware that this is the most powerful hook in the book.

    In my own case, the XTraitor reminded my daughter yesterday that Sunday Is Mother’s Day!
    You Might Want To Get Mom A Card Or Something!

    Oh! What a NICE GUY! He CARES! He is capable of LOVE! It must have been ME! I was MEAN and Didn’t Love or Appreciate Him! The OW was Nice and Kind and they are Living The Dream on Utopia Street in Blissworld, Happyland USA!

    No. No no no no no.

    “Sunday is Mother’s Day. You might want to get your mother, whom I tied to the train tracks alongside you, and backed over for good measure, with the help of an accomplice, a card or something. Cards with sentiments that are devoid of meaning and filled with money are part of my disguise.”

    You really need to keep a translator on retainer for ANY AND ALL communication, written or spoken, for these people. It will save your sanity

    A good magician knows how to distract your attention. Cheaters use the same trick. Keep your attention where they don’t want you to look to stay grounded in reality.

    • Intermittent reward…I was SUCH a sucker for it…I would wait MONTHS for him to say one decent thing and endure scores of insults and torments in between…I was just SURE that he would soon realize his mistakes and improve. Not.

    • One great thing about this site is that there are people who have deep awareness of important psychological concepts that most people don’t know.

      1. Intermittent Reinforcement/Reward
      2. The Wire Monkey experiment
      3. The pattern of narcissistic relationships (lovebombing, devaluing, discard)
      4. The hallmarks of narcissistic behavior
      5. DARVO (Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender)
      6. Hoovering. Why disordered people keep “ego kibble supply” on the back shelf, just in case.
      7. “You aren’t the boss of me.”
      8. Duper’s Delight.

      I’m sure there are more. But instead of listening to some sad sausage, chumps would do well to read these boards and the archives to figure out what they need to learn. I think that was THE most important thing that happened to me was using my head to retrain and reset my emotional system.

      • 9. I forgot PROJECTION–how chumps project our own motives, our kindness, our decency, our capacity for empathy and love onto the empty screen of a disordered person.

        10. And denial, known here as “spackling” and missing red flags and “this time will be different.”

  • BLOCK the SOB. Do not engage him in any way. You have a lawyer for that. You cannot move on until you do the Forrest Gump therapy…. RUN! Run Far Far Away.

  • He cheated, he lied and now he cries. Block his number. Assign him a ring tone of an anvil falling on someone’s foot or silence if you feel you must let him leave messages.

    Really though, your communication can be via law offices.

    He lost the privilege of crying on your shoulder long ago, but now it is going tobe official. No kids to link you – fantastic! He will be someone you used to know.

    *cues Gotye*

    Think of his tears and blubbering as being infectious agents. Do you WANT this virus running through your body again? No? Then block access.

  • My x’s life mantra: “Better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission”. I heard that through our 20 year marriage but always laughed it off. I wish I had seen it for the red flag it was. He begged for forgiveness for the 2 years of wreckonciliation with tears streaming down his face and threatened suicide twice. It was all an act – yes, he wanted his wife appliance, his reputation, his relationships with his children, and his money. All his tears dried up with the divorce and he has spent the last 3 years destroying my reputation and trying to get more money out of me (true chump that I am, I pay him alimony). I’m sure you’ll see the flip side to your STBX as soon as the divorce goes through.
    Run run run like your hair is on fire!!!!! (((Hugs))))

    • My xw of 30 years liked that quote as well (must be in the cheater’s playbook). Another one that she repeated countless times was “family by chance, friends by choice.” She is now paying the price of her mantra as our three grown children want little to do with her and all she has now are her “friends.”

      • I love your name, Got Played! We were conned by master manipulators.

  • Going to quote someone else because its 100% true. His suffering is temporary until he finds new options and when he does you’re going to be so pissed that you allowed him to use you as a crutch. People don’t change they just show you who they are over time. The people who do change are rare because it takes YEARS of hard work. Since he’s being so manipulative I suggest you hire an attorney then block him.

    • Elena–I agree–it does take YEARS of hard work to change. Very true.

      • I’m not at meh so this thought comforts me. Most changes are superficial (new hobbies, new spouse, pretty words) which means the OW won’t get a new and improved man. When the shine wears off she’ll get grumpy old man.

  • I also think we get the depressed husband and the OW gets his best shiny side. It’s win/win for him.

    • Elena, they don’t get the best side. It just seems like it….read on…

      The Broken Man (or Woman….pick your pronouns to fit your situation)

      “I read this on my psychology support group and I wanted to share it to hurt wife (like me). I’m a lot more healed now. Because I can see that I’m much more happy, healthy, focus, better financially, more love from my family, more security in life many much more better and better than both of them. (Last night, he came to see me and hand me some of the food I like to eat. I said thank you so much for thinking of me, but my eyes keep looking at his stomach (so big)He looks so old sad and tired. I felt sorry for him. I felt sorry for his poor choices. I want our woman to wait. Karma is coming this way. Just wait for ur turn.
      “The betrayed wife, after discovering an affair, takes such a hit to her self-esteem, and she questions what it was about the other woman that was so attractive to her husband. Was she sexier? Was she better, somehow? Why did the other woman get the best parts, when she was left with the worst of her …wayward husband? The truth is, that is not how this works. She is not better, or more attractive. She does not get the best parts of the husband.
      What’s attractive about this the other woman is that they are the sickest, the weakest, the most injured of the pack. The insecure wayward husband wanting to feel strong and powerful, scans the herd for the easiest to take down. The self assured, the strong, the healthy will not do as those women want nothing to do with a married man. Wayward husbands, needy and looking for someone to boost his ego, must look for someone beneath him, someone who will look up to him, someone who will make him feel superior, if only temporarily. What better way for an insecure person to feel powerful, and admired, than to pick the least of the bunch? The fact is … they always trade down. If she happens to be prettier, or thinner – it’s just pure luck that the wrapping is worth more than the gift inside. What’s inside, is no match for you, the faithful wife. You’re beautiful, and strong and probably the mother of his children. The truth is, the other woman could be anyone, anyone slow enough to be caught and willing to accept what little that wayward husband offers to them.
      She accepts the very worst parts of the wayward husband; the liar, the cheater, the deceiver, the broken man. His behavior is lower than low, but that’s okay with her. She accepts trashy behavior, because she is trash and has no conscience. She has no self-esteem because she knows her value … her value as the weakest, the most injured of the herd. She accepts his cheating ways and lowlife behavior because she knows her place in the pack – and it’s at the end of the row. Bringing up the rear, it’s just a matter of time before someone singles her out, and uses her for his own selfish reasons in his quest to be admired.
      Betrayal hurts, I know. Boy, do I know. But remember, when they find someone weak enough to have an affair with, they always affair down. The other woman had to be broken deep inside in order to crawl in bed with a married man and except your leftovers instead of being strong enough to find an unattached man on her own. She had to be so broken to not care about you, the faithful wife, the children who would be wounded and all the lives destroyed by her actions and participation… and I bet she will not accept any responsibility for those actions. She will hold her hands up in false innocence when the curtain is pulled back to reveal the disgusting acts she committed against your family.
      Betrayed wife, hold your head high. YOU were strong enough to remain faithful and love a man who used your trust for his own selfish desires. He has devastated your life, but you can end the pain you are feeling. Use the strength inside you to pick up the pieces and begin living again. YOU are invincible in your strength and courage. Take a deep breath, dry your tears for the millionth time and carry on, my dear. Because nothing can keep you down for long.”

      • Wow! Thank you for that Velvet! That really powerful description will stay with me – and help me see the predators in this world.

      • Thank you for this. I need to print this out and read it anytime I’m feeling awful.

  • One of the hardest things to accept when you learn the truth about a cheater and the details of an affair is that there is no sane answer as to why they do what they do. Why talk to you for an hour professing love and begging forgiveness, and then immediately call OW and tell her the same thing? Who can take marathon calls like that? Why increase the hours of tension in a day by adding affair time to work and other odds and ends of living (food, laundry, etc.)? Why spend money you do not have, or that is earmarked for another purpose on an illicit relationship? There is no sanity, or adult behavior here, it is just a burning hole of need for attention that will never be filled.

    I was raised by parents on a schedule. Every member of my family, except for very small children, had chores to do and a plan for the day. We did not have time to waste, if we had recreation time we were playing sports or reading, or doing something as a family. These habits became part of my lifestyle, and carried me through school and into marriage and work. Responsibility, accountability, function, cost analysis, honoring commitments, all facets of adult behavior, were expected. A cheater never grows up. A cheater always finds a way to have someone else carry their work so that they can slip away and indulge themselves, even if it makes them sick. Like a child finding Easter candy, they feel entitled to eat it all, and show no regard for their siblings, or the family plans.

    Don’t try to make sense of something that NEVER will make sense. Don’t carry the burden for someone else who refuses to act like an adult. Leave him (or her) crying on the side of life’s road, telling you that life is not fair. They need more time to play? Give it to them, and walk away. You will be busy enough working on your new life, and don’t need to drag his dead weight around. Don’t let him in your head. You have plenty to think about, starting on a new life. His problems are his. He made them, let him solve them.

    • Portia, great post! Spot on ????????????????????????????????

    • @Portia exactly! I would feel exhausted trying to reconcile work duties, house chores, spending time with my husband, kids AND the lover. Gee…What for? Time, money, tension, stress…Never. When I learnt my husband who always was working SO MUCH and was so tired – was also cheating on me – my first questions were: “When?! And what for?!”.
      They are just dumb.

  • Don’t project decency or a personality change on someone who has already demonstrated their shitty character. He lied and cheated before and during the marriage.

    Next time he calls threatening suicide, believe him. Call emergency services, tell them what he told you, give him the address and let it go. If he didn’t mean it, he shouldn’t say it – in other words – he shouldn’t lie.

    You are no longer a gullible guppy. Ignore the bait!

  • I was delighted when my divorce went through but when Schmoopie cheated on the ex after 3 years I got the brunt of his tears. I took his calls because I was afraid he would commit suicide and didn’t want my kids to go through that. When he slithered off back to the States I ended up emptying his rental and it made me sad seeing his ironing board out in his bedroom for some reason. It was stuff I always did very happily and here he was doing it himself. Weird huh. But in the end, he was never bothered about my happiness when he was beating the shit out of me was he. In fact he HATED it when he found out I was seeing someone else. They can turn the waterworks on at the drop of a hat but I still have a hard time believing that. I guess I’m still trying to untangle the skein!

  • I was delighted when my divorce went through but when Schmoopie cheated on the ex after 3 years I got the brunt of his tears. I took his calls because I was afraid he would commit suicide and didn’t want my kids to go through that. When he slithered off back to the States I ended up emptying his rental and it made me sad seeing his ironing board out in his bedroom for some reason. It was stuff I always did very happily and here he was doing it himself. Weird huh. But in the end, he was never bothered about my happiness when he was beating the shit out of me was he. In fact he HATED it when he found out I was seeing someone else. They can turn the waterworks on at the drop of a hat but I still have a hard time believing that. I guess I’m still trying to untangle the skein!

  • When my ex tries to whine and complain to me-I just tell him to talk to his whore girlfriend because he lost that privilege with me.

  • These folks have no shame. My ex had a date with her AP on the morning of our anniversary.

    I would say that yes, he really is trying to get something out of “Moving On.” He knows that her resolve may not be as strong as it should be.
    And, yes, he probably called the OW, too.
    What a wuss (the ex, not “Moving On”).

  • Let me add you don’t “ask” your husband for a divorce. You decide to divorce and you file. Things go from there.

    “No contact” is for your healing, I’m Moving On. You can’t move on if you are assuming responsibility for the emotional state of someone else. You were pretty mighty to confront him, and then hire a PI to investigate when his reconciliation act pinged your radar. And you were mighty to believe that his contact with the OW was enough evidence that he’s a liar who doesn’t have your interest at heart. You were mighty to move out.

    Now be mighty about “no contact.” First, it’s what’s good for you. If you want to move on, you have to let go of the past. And it’s what’s good for Mr.MeepingSadSausageCheater, who needs a demonstration that if he treats a woman badly enough, she will leave. For good. This thing he’s doing is evidence of what he gets from your relationship–someone he can manipulate into lavishing attention of any sort on him. He still wants to be CENTRAL. He needs to learn that won’t work with you. And you need to see that his life will go on, one way or the other. He can’t call and threaten suicide if you block his number. That’s protecting you from further abuse.

  • You haven’t ended it, until you’ve ended it.
    He will never end it. He is trying to wear you down…for more of the same. This means complete No Contact. Block his number. Any emails diverted to lawyer/third party. Bravo on the PI, moving out, and filing. Don’t drop the ball now. What he’s doing is just standard narc cheater manipulative sad sausage behavior. All three of my cheater narc exes did the same thing when I caught them big-time cheating. He’s not special. He’s not your problem. And don’t go soft on your divorce terms…get angry, HE blew it up, he’s not your friend.

  • Three things:

    1) Don’t think even for one second that he is picking you. No, sorry, but no. He is calling you and crying on your shoulder and channeling sad sausage. He is also calling OW and effing around with her. This is an equal opportunity game for him. Neither one of you is special, just useful in your own ways. To fuckwits, you are not a human being, you are an appliance and as long as you keep picking up the phone, a useful one.

    2) Your sympathy, empathy, listening ear – it’s all kibbles. This is all a game for him. You are being duped yet again and it makes him hard. That’s what he is getting out this.

    3) Understand that no contact really needs to be no contact. No phone calls, no e-mails. Let your lawyer earn their keep. Meaning whatever is related to practical matters of divorce, your attorney needs to address with him or his attorney. Literally everything else – the poor pity me, feel sorry for me, etc – deafening silence from you. In fact, either block him or actually do silence his number so you are not tempted into responding.

    What helped me to stay on course was changing his name to fuckwit in my contacts…. No matter what charm or pity he throws my way, it’s a constant visual reminder not to fall for the bs since I still have to deal with him and talk to him. These pos can be charming when they still want to use you, so yeah, if you must talk, do something to remind yourself of who it is you are really actually talking to. You can rest assured that he didn’t feel bad or give a fck about you while humping owhore. Remember that next time you want to feel sorry for him.

    • Foolish Chump, good points. I would also add to the kibble list (point number two), your emotional pain and self doubt, and gaining advantage in the divorce by playing on your guilt and sympathy.

      • Yup, totally. Brilliant point on that. If he can manipulate the chump into feeling guilty, he can get a better deal in the divorce. Yet another mindfck to beware of and all the more reason to leave it strictly to the lawyers who aren’t emotionally invested or swayed that way.

        • I’m nc and blindsided my stbx with divorce papers with adultery as grounds. He did not know I knew. For a few weeks afterward he bought me lawn equipment, gave me extra cash and more than my share of the stimulus check. Yes I fell for the mindfck but it changes nothing. Going after everything.

  • I set up two assertive, supportive friends to be ways he could contact me with critical info, and then I blocked or stopped acknowledging him in any communication, and ignored him the rare times we were in the same place. It’s been over 5 years, and he’s never contacted any of my friends with a message for me, but kept trying to directly contact me for the first year in all the ways.

    Your x works you over with the self pity channel because you respond to it. After 15 years, I figured out that I respond to his act of that channel and stopped myself near the end when we were still living together. So x shifted to the rage channel. Better to destroy the last vestiges of our relationship along with me (psychologically) than to suffer me not responding in any impulsive moment of his.

    It is amazing to watch a disordered person shifting channels as they try to find a way to get us to respond emotionally to them. I never would have believed it before I witnessed x completely shifting personas and channels 7-8 times in one 30 minute conversation, near the end of the marriage.

    I hope you cut off all avenues of contact between you. There will be a relief and energy you can shift to focus on your own life choices, rather than his distracting drama. So much better.

  • “He admitted he cheated, but he said that it was only before we were married.”

    Great example of a cheaters response to cheating. You see that he minimizes cheating while you were ‘dating’ even though you were supposedly in a Committed relationship. That’s a boundary pushing experiment. Yet you find out by the OW’s husband that he’s still cheating.

    • If somebody cheats on you at the beginning of the relationship when everything should be lovey dovey, what do you expect when initial infatuation will inevitably cool down?

  • He still thinks it’s your job to make him feel better. Because it’s all about his feelings. His life is a tragedy. In that he wastes it just living thoughtlessly and unconsciously. He’s a taker. You are a giver. What do you want? That’s the only question you need to answer. Block and delete.

  • I would like to add that that this wonderful woman really needs to get a great therapist if she can afford it. Work a 12 step program for co-dependents and surround herself with friends that will tell her the truth CONSTANTLY. I hope her family is somewhat supportive of her walking away. This man is probably on the spectrum…the anti-social personality spectrum. They love duping delight. Anti-socials are usually pretty psychopathic in their dealings with others. I don’t know enough about her situation to diagnose him, but this is my best guess from the limited information I have. What I hate are these reconciliation websites talking about people who cannot help themselves and are just so torn. WHATEVER. Lying is lying….no excuses.

    Every friend I have had who forgave a cheater, is still dealing with infidelity later on in their marriage. I left….I gave it 10 months and then bailed. Wish I had done it sooner.

    I wonder if this guy is some kind of substance abuser.

    I strongly feel this guy is giving an academy award performance and getting off by doing this….those are alligator tears, and like the above poster has said….run, like your hair is on fire. Don’t look back….

    Love this sight, don’t really read anything else but this. Sometimes you just need a cup of cold water thrown in your face and the TRUTH. You will get it here.

  • Love that last line. I’m not available, send it to my lawyer.

    • Those tears are for themselves. Often I’m asked why I stayed. In hindsight I wondered why he stayed. He so didn’t want me to have anyone else. He’d rather test the waters and have a safe place to land. When he told me no one would ever want me the way I was I believe he couldn’t imagine me having a life of my own without him.

      No untangling necessary. The cage door is open.

  • Trust that he feels sorry for himself. His cozy arrangement fell apart. Too bad he didn’t have more concern for you when he should have.

    These people will play your heartstrings, and then sell you down the river when it suits them. He is not on your side. He is not to be trusted.

    He has played you enough. Cut the cord and let him find his own way in life now. He is an adult and adults must look after themselves. Tell him you are not a therapist and he should see one. Then block him.

  • I read this and thought-it’s true they all say and do the same thing!!! It’s a manual for crappy people who only care about themselves. I was supposed to comfort him when he was sad and lonely ???? now it’s no contact and only txt about our child (unfortunately I have a child with him but at least I got something good out of it)

  • Oh, CL is spot on as usual. I gonna say, your dick ex-husband is still in contact with the cunt skank he was cheating on you with. He is a POS and is playing you. I have the same stupid crocodile tears and the phone records showed he was his a pathological liar. Crying to me, but texting several others post me.

    I took my shit back to regret it. He never changed.

  • Lol
    I’m meh most of the time. I love my life now and am truly happy.
    But this post tweeted me a bit as it was my daughters Birthday this week and ex texted asking if I would ask her she would take his call.
    I feel sorry for him that he has lost this amazing now 15 year old.
    So I asked her and she told me not to take his side, he doesn’t deserve my help or her attention.
    It was a good wake up and I remembered just how codependency can creep in.
    I replied no to him and have not communicated since.

    Back to living my best life…from the comfort and safety of my home with my 2 teenagers. Life is good.

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