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No One Is Entitled to Reconciliation

reconciliation_fogI know my message — “leave a cheater, gain a life” is not popular with cheaters and the Reconciliation Industrial Complex. I mean, duh.

At times, I’m asked do I mean all cheaters? Shouldn’t I distinguish between the remorseful and the remorseless cheaters?

Remorseless? My answer is leave. Get the hell out. Remorseful? Your odds are long, consider the risks, and know that there is a cost in investing the time to see how long the remorse lasts.

But look, even if they are the most repentant cheater and tick every box for making amends — I’d say you’re still not obliged to honor a broken contract. You don’t owe a remorseful cheater reconciliation.

I believe anyone who is truly remorseful understands this. Because to truly reconcile, it has to come from a place of humility. You have to acknowledge that YOU are the person broke the marriage vows and the chump owes you nothing. You broke it, and if the person you betrayed stays? That’s a GIFT. And that effort doesn’t come with guarantees. It’s conditional upon your behavior. You, the cheater, the responsible party, are going to have to do the heavy lifting for the foreseeable future.

Now, I could insert a tangent here about how difficult such a marriage would be, forever on probation, slowly earning back trust, giving up all the goodies of entitlement and facing the emotional ruin of the person you hurt. But if you were a remorseful cheater, you’d take that on — you begged for this chance and if you’re all in, I’m assuming you’d do the hard work for as long as it takes. (Including a credit report and signing a post-nup.)

This is very hard, which is why there are so few remorseful cheaters who go the distance.

But what I see that is way more common, especially on infidelity forums with cheater members, is that self-described “remorseful” cheaters feel absolutely entitled to reconciliation. It’s an unquestioned given.

Why OF COURSE my chump is going to work with me on this. And by “work” I mean, delve into all their inadequacies that drove me to cheat on them. I mean, they have to own at least a few of them — their low sex drive, their incessant criticisms, their depression, their devotion to their children and neglect of me. Yes, what I did was “wrong” (see Caveats A through Z) — but you still have to stay married to me, of course. And if you don’t shape up, or your triggers just bug the ever-living shit out of me, I reserve the right to cheat on you again. Did I say cheat? I meant “employ a coping mechanism because I am broken.”

Do they admit that, or is it just an implied threat? Because that’s the way I read it. If cheaters don’t own the affairs 100 percent, then they’re blaming the chump for THEIR issues. They’re externalizing the fault. So, if the fault lies with someone else, and conditions are not kept favorable — well, hey! they might just cheat again! They can’t help what YOU do that makes them cheat!

So mind your Ps and Qs, chumps.

Marriage is only conditional for the chump. (Pick me dance, anyone?)  It’s assumed chumps will keep their commitment to the cheaters. It’s irrelevant that cheaters didn’t keep their commitments. You’re still bound by your honor! Cheaters deserve all the time they want — and you must forgive whatever lapses of no contact they have with the affair partner — they’re suffering a “fog.” These things take time. What’s your time worth anyway? You’re a chump.

These “remorseful” cheaters natter on about unconditional love. Don’t judge them, they’re still good people who did “bad” (see Caveats A through Z) things. What’s important here is that you recognize their inherent goodness. Unconditionally. It’s good because… well, they have some FINE QUALITIES other than cheating. Have you tried their homemade peach jam? They are more than the sum of their fucking around. They’re people deserving of love and respect because they said so.

To me, these “remorseful” cheaters who assume reconciliation is their right and due fail to understand the gravity of the offense. And I’m unclear why they even want their chump back anyway. They paint quite an unattractive picture of their marriages, (the ones that compelled them to cheat). What are they trying to save? Plan B? Lack of financial consequences? The world’s good opinion of them? They seem rather on the fence about their chumps. Mostly, IMO, they seem aggrieved that their list of complaints about the marriages isn’t foremost on the Fix It list.

One person can’t save a marriage by themselves, chump or cheater. Both people need to be invested, working to be their best selves. But it’s hard to have that zeal of working togetherness when someone just gutted you with betrayal. THAT is the crisis that needs addressing and it’s not some peripheral issue. It seems to me that in a lot of therapy the priorities get muddled, and the narrative “marriage issues made me cheat” is given legitimacy.

No, you had a marriage with issues, like any marriage, and the cheater just put a bullet through it. The cheater can’t then say “Well, the marriage was having difficulties, so I had to put a bullet through it” and then want the focus to be on the difficulties and not the bullet! The thing is now at near death. How on earth are you going to revive it if you don’t address the gunshot wound?

These “remorseful” cheaters IMO don’t want to put down their guns. They’d like to retain the high ground of True Victim Status, the superiority, and the entitlement thinking. Nothing screams entitlement more than putting a proverbial bullet through your marriage and expecting it to still serve you.

Help me here, I’m not seeing the “remorse.”

This one ran previously. 

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  • I wrote this in 2014 and after reading hundreds of thousands of chump stories now I would never recommend reconciliation. I wouldn’t even write about it. But what I was trying to do here was drill down about the inherent assumption of the whole enterprise. Cheaters (and most infidelity resources) ASSUME reconciliation. And if you ASSUME it, you aren’t one. bit. sorry.

    • Why wouldn’t I write about it now? Because again, millions of page views, a gazillion stories later, my feelings on this have solidified that infidelity is abuse. And we ALL deserve better than abuse. To be sexually humiliated, psychological abused, to have our health risked, our finances stolen, our children’s home lives threatened. No one who would make such a gamble with the things that matter can be a decent partner. Perhaps with a lot of work, in a future relationship, after they settle generously with all harmed. But no, not to you.

      • I told my cheater he belonged in a casket or jail and because he was abusive to women. He was not physically abusive but he was off the charts mentally abusive to many who came before me and after me.

        Thank God for Chump Lady and all of CN for helping me realize I was not crazy and not alone. It can often feel like you are going mad with all the gaslighting and all the Switzerland friends.

        • As I’m approaching the 2-yr anniversary of D-day, I find myself not having to read deeply into every article posted (that’s a good sign of getting over it, right?), but this one caught my eye. THANK YOU for reposting. It was dead on correct, and reflects well on how I view my ex, in that she is the past that shouldn’t be visited often.

      • Thank you for running this again today, I truly needed to hear it. My ex keeps up with the trope that because I’m not giving him another chance, I never loved him in the first place. And that we must have different values because he’s now seen so many videos from the RIC that show that other people have moved on, and I refuse to keep our family intact and am okay with damaging our children with divorce. It is a breath of fresh air to remind myself that it wasn’t my fault, no matter how flawed I may be to him, and that I’m on the right path.

        • You do have different values. You, Dani, believe in things like morality, respect, loyalty, fidelity. Fuckwit believes in cheating, lying, betrayal, and backstabbing. You believe that evil deeds require consequences, while fuckwit thinks he can do whatever and never pay the price….and hey….look at all these videos where other cheaters got away with it…allegedly….

          Also, divorce doesn’t destroy children. Growing up in a tense home with a cheating fuckwit, watching their mother duped, lied to, cheated on, and abused is the real destruction.

          You are doing right not only by yourself but by your children to remove this cancer from your lives. Head up and keep going.

      • Yes! I wish more people understood that infidelity is abuse. If my ex hit me he would be facing more consequences but the emotional hits to myself and kids and the hit to my finances leave scars too.

        • Yes, to this JO! Even now after my divorce is final, my ex has not paid child support or just a portion when I know he has plenty of money to do so and he knows that our state is not enforcing payments due to COVID 19 moratorium on suspending licenses and seizing money in bank accounts(he is also self employed). Although this is subtle in the the eyes of the law that he is not paying, it is dog whistling(something subliminal that he knows I understand) that he is still in control and is going to make me and the children suffer. They have no contact with him and he is angry that they make him look like a bad person because they don’t want anything to do with him. He may not reach out and put his hands around my neck literally, but he is strangling me financially!!

      • Chump Lady I love you. Your voice in this is SO spot on and so f}*%ing important. For now nearly 2 years you have helped me to get clear on the reality of all of this horror and what is truly abuse. Keep writing. Thank you for this offering. I needed it today.

      • I wish I’d seen this 7 years ago when I found out about his affair. I was done, but others convinced me not to file for divorce. If I must take legal steps, then I should only file for a legal separation.
        And, of course, I heard the tripe about not filing for at least several months in order to wait for the shock to wear off. WORST advice I ever took in my half century alive. Those several months gave him the time he needed to almost gut me financially. I did some things right, but if I’d filed immediately instead of listening to well-meaning family and friends, I could have come out sooner and more financially prepared for the future. And, my healing would have started almost a year sooner. My advice today is the same as Tracy’s. Get out. For those on the fence I add a caveat, the cheater can always fix themselves and after they can commit to reconciliation to you. I add this caveat knowing that by the time the cheater fixes themselves, their victim won’t want them back anymore. No contact and time away from the relationship and their abuser brings a greater clarity of just how awful most cheaters were. FTN.

        • Yep, I mentioned earlier; first thing that should happen is a legal separation. Legal separation is the first step to divorce anyway. Most states have a waiting time, from 30 days to more that folks have to be legally separated to get a divorce.

      • The message that saves lives- thank you a million times over! You can’t repeat it enough!

        I was taught from childhood if any Boy/man ever hits you, no second chances- just leave. If only I had been told the same about cheating!

      • I think the “sexual humiliation” part is often overlooked. It doesn’t take someone with some giant ego to be humiliated that their partner chose a different sexual partner–especially with the pervasive social mentality that the abused partner must not have been meeting the needs of the cheater. It’s just one more slice of crappy bologna on the shit sandwich.

        • Yep.

          It is that humiliation that leads the chump many times to keep quiet in hopes it will go away and they can save face. More abuse heaped on. The abuser knows this and uses it to his/her advantage.

      • Boy, I wish I had read this in the 1970s instead of 2020. It speaks straight to my heart and my unfortunate experience.
        My cheater (abuser) mainly employed the guilt tactic. She focused on my (true) faults and persuaded me that my faults outweighed her infidelity. I was the one constantly apologising. I still writhe with embarrassment at the memory.

        Cheating spouses are experts at this manipulation. They leverage the chump’s desire to protect and guard the sanctity of the marriage and family, the chump has no chance. It’s not a fair fight.

        It’s taken me nearly forty years to understand this concept. Thank you CL.

        • “They leverage the chump’s desire to protect and guard the sanctity of the marriage and family, the chump has no chance. It’s not a fair fight.”

          Yep, exactly what they do. The longer they can keep us unstable, the longer time they have to get their narrative out there and get their ducks in a row.

        • My first D-day was in 1980, and Cheater told me that he had to cheat because I was never home. I was supporting him, putting him through college and trying to pay back my own education loans — I was never home because I was always at work. My parents, my pastor and my counselor all told me I needed to figure out what I was doing wrong and fix me so that he wouldn’t HAVE to cheat, while Cheater kept telling me that if I’d just TRUST him, everything would be all right. It took me a year (during which he continued to cheat) to figure out that I couldn’t trust him because he wasn’t trustworthy.

          I wish Chumplady had been around then, because I continued to undervalue myself and overvalue the next Narcissist to come along.

          I’ve been married three times, to three cheaters and two physical abusers. I’m done now. I’m living alone in a tiny apartment and working full time night shift at 65. That is what I was always afraid of. But you know what? It’s ever so much better than being married to a cheating, abusive fuckwit. Or an abusive cheater. I’m happy with my peaceful life! And no one but me gets to spend my money.

          I finally found Chumplady just when I was smart enough to hear what she had to say. Thank you for that.

          • I was so lucky to get myself out of it as quick as I did.

            You are right, I remember thinking when it got really bad, you know what if I have to live in a tent, it would still be better than this. My ex was horribly abusive in the last year and a half. All the while I thought it was just his stress level at work, you know because that is what he told me when I asked him why he is being so nasty.

            After Dday, I only put up with it for one more month. I foolishly let him come back once, it lasted a week. Once our legal separation was in play, he tried three more times. I just said no. I don’t kid myself, it was not about wanting me back, it was about destabilizing me for his own use for as long as he could.

            Life turned out so much better than I ever imagined. But, I do wish I had CL back when all this was going down.

          • I offer you my deepest sympathy ex Mrs Sparkly Pants. That early advice you received mirrored some of the garbage I was told my so called experts.

            One counsellor even told me that if I wished my wife return full time to her family I had to create a serene and warm environment that would contrast with the hectic party style life she was enjoying with her lover on most weekends.

            She counselled me to have the kids bathed and fed (3 kids aged under 8), a hot bath, scented candles blah blah on a Sunday evening ready for my wife so she could see what a safe and warm haven she was missing.

            To my eternal shame and embarrassment I tried it. Later that night she booked a short holiday with her AP and organised a baby sitter so I could still go to work Mon to Fri.

      • A million times, yes. ABUSE. Pure and simple. You run from physical abuse, right? RUN from mental and emotional abuse. For kicks and grins, I read a couple of the infidelity/divorce prevention sites. Good god. I had a headache within a few minutes. The same stories, just different players. Pick me dances and play-by-play blows of the latest interactions with the cheater. Paralysis by analysis.

        Marriage reconciliation businesses don’t give a fuck about your mental or emotional state. They really don’t give a shit whether your marriage actually reconciles. For $999.99, you can get DVDs and “counseling” sessions with a coach!

        Nope. I’d rather take a vacation far from that crap. Or put that money down as a retainer with an attorney.

        • Affair Recovery is one of the worst. As you did, just for kicks I listened to some of the videos. My goodness the stuff that BS’s are required to swallow to save a marriage.

          “You have to give your cheater time to mourn the loss of his whore” Forget that shit. Mourn on your own time fuckwit.

          “You need to understand that your cheater is hurting too” Not as bad as he should be, actually he should be pain free, floating face down in the Ohio River with whore floating behind him.

          • Mourn the loss of the AP? This one really gets me. Mine had this OW around for about 21 months of the marriage. We had almost 15 years.

            I’ve done some calculations to frame how often he could have possibly have seen this woman in the span of that time. My liberal estimate is about 40-45 times (mostly for a few hours). I was with him almost everyday for years.

            What the hell was there to mourn?

            You know who mourned? I did. I had to mourn a husband whom I had committed years of my life to. With whom I had shared two children. Accumulated years of thousands of shared experiences and dreams of our future. Knowing every one of his extended family members. Having met just about every friend he had and befriended their wives/girlfriends. I supported him through three years of full-time university studies to earn a degree when he was already in his early 40s. I could tell you every detail about him, right down to what molar he was missing in his mouth, where he got each scar on his body, and the name of his first childhood pet.

            But we had nothing in common? I didn’t know the real him? She understood him better?

            Oh, I mourned and then I stopped.

            These cheaters aren’t mourning anything that is real. They are indulging in entitled self-pity and avoiding the fact that they are emotionally immature. Thank God I don’t have to be around that anymore.

      • CL,

        I need posts like this downloadable and enabled for audio on my phone. Because I’ll read them, understand them as I read them, but sometimes have a real hard time remembering them clearly enough to present these ideas well to others that are mentally stuck following the RIC playbook, and what seems to be the worldview of most people that haven’t experienced infidelity directly, especially those that have not experienced the state of chumpness in their lives (I don’t want to include the cheaters by only saying infidelity. Not going there).

        Thanks for giving us these logical arguments. They’re a Godsend to people like me. And thanks for all the other stuff you do for CN. I appreciate it, and I’m sure the rest of us here at CN do, too. Hope the heat is starting to come down for you in Texas now that July is over. Peace, meh, Tuesday and reasonable temperatures to all of CN.

    • Reconciliation is like calling the fire department after your house has been burned down. Intentionally. By your spouse. The arsonist.

      No thanks.

      • haha that made me think. Calling a therapist is like calling the fire department to extiguish the last fires, after the house completely burned down (by the cheater).
        Going through the reconciliation proces is like, you trying to rebuild the house alone, while the cheater is critisizing you about the way you want to rebuild it, and doesn’t lift a finger him or herself

      • True. I think I read it on here, but the example: It feels like someone has taken a knife and plunged it into your heart and keeps twisting, all you can think of is that you want to call out to the person you trusted most in your life to help you, comfort you; but you can’t because that person is holding the knife”

        That is the exact feeling I had the morning I was sitting at my dining room window, after sitting up all night, and watching my husband walk in the door after spending the night with his lover. That feeling stayed until well after our legal separation. I finally got short time medical help via anti depressants to come out of my shock and be able to think clearly again. Luckily I was able to get stable within a short amount of time. Due to the medical help, and the help of my Dad and brothers. I also had a job that took my entire focus, so that helped me get through the days. The nights were horrendous.

        You move on, you likely even find love again, with a better “picker” this time, but you never forget the horror.

        I think the only thing that prevented a homicide was God/nature had put me in a state of temporary shock to be able to handle the pain. Much like what happens in a significant physical injury.

        • Susie Lee
          After 35 years married and experiencing the same betrayal, it brought back the pain of realizing he didn’t love me any longer. It’s been almost 5 years I’m divorced but my heart won’t heal because of the cruelty.
          I hope your now in a good place and have peace in your life. Bless all us Chumps who have survived. ????

          • I have been so blessed. I have been married now to a wonderful man, still going strong for almost 24 years now. Have a strong retirment account. Have a wonderful relationship with my son and his family.

            I had a relapse about a year ago when my ex and his schmoopie threw another bomb into his relationship with son and family. Son’s wife no longer speaks to them, and my son does occasionally check up on him. They are in different states now, due in large part to the behavior of my ex and schmoopie. At that time, (about a year ago) I started doing a lot of research on Narcissist’s. I wanted to find out just how these sick minds worked, and why oh why would he do this to our son. Chump Nation popped up. Goodness I could have used her back then.

            Now I am here just to get some answers about the mind of a narc, and to help in some small way anyone who is going through the initial pain.

        • Yes, it is PTSD. I am happily remarried for 17 years, and my d-day was over 20 years ago. It changes you; you truly never forget the horror.

        • ‘It feels like someone has taken a knife and plunged it into your heart and keeps twisting, all you can think of is that you want to call out to the person you trusted most in your life to help you, comfort you; but you can’t because that person is holding the knife’
          and I would add that it feels like your partner is laughing with the Cheating partner while they do it.

          What I find is not spoken enough of is the excruciating pain and hurt …..killer hurt. When you think you’ve past a hurdle and there’s no more tears…another floodgate happens. It hasn’t been a yr yet, but still….the hurt over the loss, the backstabbing and all that came with it seems never ending –
          And how hard it is to accept that your spouse did this to you…( and picked OW who also did this to you). I feel sometimes that I will never get over the hurt, it’s debilitating and even embarrassing.

          • “What I find is not spoken enough of is the excruciating pain and hurt …..killer hurt. When you think you’ve past a hurdle and there’s no more tears…another floodgate happens.”

            And only those who have been through it can truly know. Others are so afraid that it might happen to them, or that it has already happened and they just don’t know it, that they in large part soothe themselves by saying “well the BS has some blame”

            I know how you hurt, it is a hurt so intense, it feels like it will never end. Most of it will some day, but you won’t forget it unfortunately. You will however go on to be happy again. Changed, but happy.

            • Susie, I once heard this line regarding men who have been cheated on but it obviously applies to both betrayed men and women.

              “There’s two types of people. Those who have went through it and those who don’t know they have went through it.”

              My ex wife had an affair that lasted three years that I was completely oblivious to but then caught the second AP. When I had an inkling of something occurring. It took me exactly five days to confirm what I suspected. I would have discovered the first affair if I had suspicion.

              For three months, I had this excruciating pain in my chest while trying to do the pick me dance and us being separated and her being with the AP. The most disturbing moment for me came when I was at the house and watching her get ready at her vanity to go get ready to see her AP and me begging her to not go. She didn’t give a shit. Even in the moment, I knew this was so messed up to be begging a spouse to not see an AP. The next morning, the pain in my chest was gone. I filed for divorce like two weeks later. Put my no contact into practice not long after, got clarity, doing well and much happier. I have had the privilege of telling her to get bent with about four attempts of hers to try and get me back.

              • It is awful to be sure. My moment of clarity was when I sat in our dining room all night and watched him come in from spending the night with his AP. He just gave me a strange look and walked right by.

                Most horrifying pain I had ever felt. At the time I though it was so horrifying that I wouldn’t recover. In hind sight I realize it was the very night that I saw behind his mask, it was frightening, and I would start to take action. About a month later, after he had moved out, I called and ask him to file. I wanted him to file for emotional and financial reasons. I had already retained a lawyer. He really wanted me to file, but I used what little guilt he had to persuade him to file. I suspect he wanted me to file, so he could say to folks “well she booted me out”. But, again who knows.

                Like you during our legal separation I had the experience of saying no to him, when he wanted to talk about coming back. I let him the first time, it lasted a week. I know it was the right decision because first he had been a monster to me, and second he married schmoopie less than two months after his last call to me to “try again” .

                After that three more times, and I said no each time. Please understand, I am under no illusion he really wanted me back. No, he saw I was getting stable and he needed to de stabilize me. I assume he thought I might still be of some use, who knows why. But, I knew he didn’t want me back, how could he; I must have been pretty horrible for him to choose her. I let him destabilize me the first attempt. Never again.

                You are right we Chumps should not be trying to win them back. The cheater should be dancing and begging. And for those who have that situation, I say proceed cautiously, but only after you are legally separated to protect your emotions and your finances.

    • Reading this today makes it crystal clear that reconciliation is a sham. Yet another abuse that the betrayed has to endure if they want to fix a marriage that the cheater destroyed. And this abuse is encouraged and facilitated by couples therapists. Insane.

      And still, in spite of knowing with absolute certainty that this is true, why does it hurt like hell that the cheater ran and never even wanted reconciliation?

      • Yup, I had a runner – gone 3 weeks after dday & never looked back (married 24 yrs, together 26 yrs). He even said he wouldn’t go to therapy as it would give me hope that wasn’t there. That was over 10 yrs ago & I’m still Hurt1.

        • Same here hurt1

          I was ghosted on D Day never once offered reconciliation or therapy and I’ve never seen or heard from him in 16 months after 19 years

          • I just posted on the hurt before reading all the hurt comments. I guess we get a double whammy. The hurt of being betrayed and the HURT of being discarded. We don’t even get the dignity of setting boundaries and rejecting our abuser.
            How can we reject them when they dumped us?
            How do we get to feel mighty?
            The things they say to justify their leaving – how do we not let those memories kill us slowly when we are trying to move on?
            This level of pain is really over the top and isolating.

            • I don’t know if it matters, but though my ex tried three times to come back, it was never about really wanting me back. Of that I am sure. I let him come back once and it was a disaster, lasted a week. Had I let him again, the result would have been the same, but I would have again been destabilized and had to start my recovery again.

              It was about still needing to destabilize me because he still had use of me. Who knows for what, though I have my theories. Whatever it was it all boils down to kibbles.

              I think that is pretty common from what I read, these cheaters even the ones who beg to come back, overwhelmingly are still horrible to the BS. They soon cheat again and are even more egregious. There may be a very few who are honestly wanting the marriage back, but not many.

            • I hear you and fully understand what you’re saying. What helps is when you realize how effed up the cheater is and how they are saying anything to tear you down to justify what they have done. My ex told me I wasn’t a strong enough spiritual leader. She said this while forgetting to mention she had been committing adultery for over three years. They will say anything to justify the cheating and will say the worst stuff about you to people. None of it is true.

              I had depression for awhile in my marriage. After I got away from her, I realize how much she was the one that contributed to that.

      • I reckon an interesting topic for CL to run would be

        “ What’s the most outrageous piece of advice you ever received from the RIC?”

    • Big hugs and thank you for the reminders tour words always hit hard and hit home. I’ve been following since mid April and have appreciated every single word of Chump Lady and Chump Nation♥️The “entitlement” is REAL. We didn’t have children or a twenty year marriage so I somehow felt I didn’t have a big enough problem but one time is enough. I at one point dedicated my life to this person. Just because I didn’t birth his child or own a vacation home together, it still hurts just as much. It still put a bullet in the agreement. I was the story of the cheating husband with his ex (but it was six years ago I’m different now) still not sure why he can’t see his daughter, why she always hated me when I was always good, or why I just found out 4 months ago, but I am on my way, Slowly but surely
      Thank you

      • Shann,

        There is no “Pain Olympics”. Betrayal hurts like a mother fucker. Kids or no, 30 years or 3. We are your tribe. You can always come here for support. The only folks not welcome here are the cheating Fuckwits their OW/OM and the RIC hacks. We know your pain is real. And chump nation always wants to help.

  • This one hit me right in the gut. My cheater blamed his cheating on my depression, my boundaries with his mom (like not letting her keep our newborn overnight in the house she smoked in which he agreed with btw), resentment of my boundaries when his mom passed away, not giving him enough sex, and when I became suspicious, my “jealousy” and lack of trust in him. We tried reconciliation 3 times and each time he cheated. But it was always my fault. He shared his location with me on his own, but somehow that was my fault too. He wasn’t willing to be transparent. He said he cheated again and again because he wanted to “escape from living under the microscope”. The one he put himself under. Cool. We’re divorced now.

    • All I can say is he was so smart idea at every classic symptom of a cheater and I’m so sorry that you got wrapped up in the mix of his mess with himself I suppose it’s all a learning experience for us God bless be well, keep your head up


    Author of Not Just Friends

    Amazon infidelity book number 1537

    In the chapter TO THE AFFAIR PARTNER (?!!)





    • That’s a solid point. If we wouldn’t date a cheater or knowingly marry one, why would we STAY with one we know is a cheater, who has lied and manipulated and gaslighted us?

        • Like a gambler unwilling to walk away from a slot machine….IMHO…

          I see linkage between bidding psychology and pick me dancing. Big links.

      • We want to stay
        Because we love them
        Shared history
        Love our family
        Breaking up will do all kinds of damage to a lot of people – damage we think may carry over to next generation (we want to hide the betrayal from our children)
        Don’t trust they suck but think they are ‘broken’
        Think deep down they love us (projection)
        We are not in fantasy land and are aware of the costs
        We are in fantasy land and think we can get back to before and be emotionally safe
        Think we didn’t do a great job as a partner
        We are in shock
        We want the life we thought we had back
        Society (CL excluded) has not taught us to see this as abuse
        This shook our world and made us feel weak and unworthy
        – I would never date a cheater- but I would have tried to fix my relationship – completely different scenario

          • ZIP-

            well said. I loved the DOCTOR but the fact is, even though I see through him now,

            it’s hurts like hell that after I put him through all the training and raised the kids pretty much on my own, took care of myself, LIKED sex, and moved more than a dozen times FOR HIS CAREER,

            he discarded ME and OUR CHILDREN!

            And he claims to be happier. Lots of FB posts (I’ve never looked but I am told) so that just twists the knife. Add in lots of character assassination of me and presumably the children.

            But, if ge can leave the 4 people who loved him the most and only occasionally whines about HIS pain and loss of their company (some of which is probably image management) and never ever refer to the pain he caused – and never, ever stick his neck out to show up in person for the kids –

            wtf did I really lose?

            OMG I lost decades of my precious life with him, which feels like a life long shit sandwich of regret to eat.

            Sorry I’m in a mood today.

            • You did lose a lot and I think it’s fine to acknowledge that.
              You lost a father for your children, you lost your dream, you lost your investment.
              It’s a death (a murder), even though he’s a fuckwit there’s still grieving because you’re a normal person with feelings.
              However as we all know, even when somebody dies eventually we have to make a choice to move on or live in the past and the sadness pool forever.
              I would never minimize what you have been through. Sometimes life sucks and this definitely sucks and you deserve a lot of self compassion and a good life grounded in integrity.

        • All good answers.

          “We are in shock” was the biggest one for me, which really is the umbrella that covers all the other reasons. You just can’t think straight at first. Getting to the point where you can, is a different timeline for everyone.

        • Zip, superb post. Don’t you just want to shout this from the rooftop and be there for anyone struggling while going through this? I want so desperately to help anyone who is in the thick of the first few months after D-Day. God, the growing pains were so excruciating. But making it to the other side or getting close enough to see the light, gah, inject that feeling into everyone’s veins. AMAZING

          • ????

            That is why I stay here. Many of these folks are in the midst of the pain. I wish I had CL when I was in hell, it would have been so helpful.

            I had my faith, and that was wonderful, but to be able to know all this stuff when I was going through it, would have been so helpful.

  • My cheater said I was on my phone too much, so he looked elsewhere for sex (I’m on call in my profession, and have to respond to messages). When we tried to reconcile, his theory was that we should never talk about it – it should just go away. Fast forward a couple years and the discovery of his sexting and phone sex, with no remorse. Believe it or not, it still took a couple of years for me to get a divorce. If I had it to do over, I would have listened to my gut 3 months into the 10 year relationship and gotten the hell out.

    • Same, same SAME!!! Leaving the cheater was about finally listening to my gut which told me all along to get away. I didn’t think I deserved better.

    • This is always the thing. Looking back to see so many red flags, often ignored because we were young and idealistic or insecure. I’m ultimately glad I didn’t leave my cheater early on because I got my daughter out of the deal and she’s the best, but it’s crazy that I stayed. There were at least 5 major issues early on that should have sent me running. Sheesh! Never again

    • Lordy. This reminds me of once a couple years before things got bad. I was sitting in the evening reading a book (I read a lot) Ex out of the blue said, you are always reading, you use reading as an escape. The way he said it sounded like an insult. I looked at him (with what I am sure was a stunned face) and said. Yes I read as an escape, that is why most people read or have other hobbies.

      Then he kind of stuttered and said, well yeah, that is a good thing. I don’t think he meant it as a good thing, but as the beginning of devaluing me and making excuses. I had totally forgotten that scene until right now.

      I am guess he and schmoopie or some other whore were at it hot and heavy.

      It can’t be said enough: They are such selfish assholes.

  • I agree with C L. The cheater thinks their some sort of sex God because ow tells them they are. My ex says I live in the past, but I don’t, if he remembered the past he would have been deeply ashamed.
    Cheaters forget about the past, C L said something like, its not what they did its how you react to it. I said to him, your ow has kids and she would rather be with you.
    She told my youngest child she would be her auntie, but she didn’t want her own children. I know of another ow, who was banned from being with her oldest child, till he was 16, her youngest child didn’t know who her dad was, she thought it was funny. How fucked up is that.
    I do think cheaters and fuckwits live in their own worlds, they have too, or they wouldn’t like themselves.
    It seems they want their kids when it suits them.
    Ex says oldest daughter has done this and that to people, when has he helped. She’s going into year 12, she’s been in the education system the day after her 3 birthday, 3 times he helped her with her homework and that was a disaster.

    • Susan– yes, cheaters buy the AP bull.

      When the smoke clears, there’s something pretty funny in how shmoopie kibble goes to cheaters’ heads. The cruelest thing a betrayed spouse can probably do is just leave the cheater in their delusional, buttered up, smoke-up-the-skirt frame of mind. It gets them into heaps of trouble even aside from losing their family’s respect.

      I remember cheater fighting back tears after being verbally ripped apart by a male friend and close work contact after cheater drunkenly mansplained politics to this friend in the same godawful, haughty, know-it-all, crassly arrogant tone he’d suddenly adopted during the affair with a suck-uppy underling.

      The tone went along with all sorts of new behavior like dropping dirty socks in the middle of the floor, not cleaning his own pee ring from around the toilet, dumping his pocket clutter on every surface and all sorts of other assholery I’d never tolerated during the entire marriage.

      But, before I had a clue about what was happening, shmoopie’s frantic pick-me dance apparently involved not only enabling cheater’s rapidly snowballing secret drinking problem but also listening with rapt, gooey-eyed admiration to cheater’s blustering bullshit and following him around with a dust pan.
      I realized that the affair was all about finding someone who’d applaud as he let his inner pig flag fly. Little did I know that, all along, he’d harbored a latent piggy that was yearning to break free!

      On the advice of my attorney I kept my mouth shut and didn’t react to the awful behavior while the PI gathered all the necessary dirt and I got ducks in a row. But the gloves came off once the evidence was gathered. Every time cheater tried to bluster I’d mimic him in a voice like grumpy old Waldorf from the Muppets or I’d do an imitation of his shmoopie’s high pitched groveling bimbo lisp and applaud and fawn like a crazed fan. “Oobly-poo! You awe thooo amathing and awethome!! (Clap clap clap giggle, wiggle, bounce).”

      Wisdom for the ages: never cheat on a gifted impersonator lol.

      Maybe I shouldn’t have spoiled his fun. He dumped shmoopie, joined AA and toned down his flaming egomania. But in retrospect it might have been entertaining to see him continue to run himself into ditches and up brick walls if he’d remained in that psychotically be-kibbled state. The goofy manscaping and gigolo lycra blend business casual wardrobe that shmoops encouraged (with the shirt buttons gapping over his growing booze soaked gut) were their own humiliation.

      Then again he would have likely gotten fired if he hadn’t reigned that nonsense in and there would go the child support.

  • 100% agree with your current assessment CL. Not worth even trying. My cheater ex said I wasn’t ever allowed to say no to sex when we reconciled( ie. sexual abuse). I didn’t say no for 4 years while he spent his time stripping me of my entire retirement savings( hundreds of thousands by then). It was the single biggest mistake I made. He still cheated again and left when the money was gone to his new schmoopie/sugar mamma. They are together still 5 years later. I’m sure she is supporting his lazy ass and drinking and smoking addictions. She’s welcome to him. I just wish I had kicked his ass out the first time I caught him.

    • Newlady15: my XH also made reconciliation conditional on MY signing a “behavior” agreement (he’s a corporate attorney) with a long list of “things” I had to do for him to come back after I said GTFO! One ridiculous clause included a promise that I never criticize and always speak kindly. What’s more ridiculous than this? ….. I signed it????‍♀️ He didn’t come back. Thank you God for unanswered prayers.

      It’s been nearly 6 years. That period of my life seems like a surreal nightmare. Thank God I’m free.

      • My XW gave me a list of 30 things I had to change for her to reconcile with me. ???????????? I told her what you going to change for me? Her reply, “I am not making any changes for you!” So glad I am not married to her anymore.

        • Omg motherchumper and sirchumpalot. These THINGS are beyond entitled! I don’t even consider them human they lack what’s makes us human. We deserve so much better even if that is just is loving ourselves without a partner.

        • I shake my head at the BS cheating women do and say. Nothing is their fault. Their sad sausage act is on display and everything about you is wrong and needs to be criticized. When you ask them, “Yeah? What did you contribute?” Their big contribution? THE PRIVILEGE OF THEIR COMPANY!


  • “Nothing screams entitlement more than putting a proverbial bullet through your marriage and expecting it to still serve you.”

    And it’s not even those who claim for want formal marital reconciliation who play this entitlement game.

    Even those who admit to wanting out of the formal marriage contract expect the unquestioned trust, reverence and deference — in other words, “the life to which they’ve become accustomed” — to continue . . .

    Because of the kids.
    Because forgiveness is healthy.
    Because “it’s what mature people do.”

    Yeah . . . not me. I’m not playing that shit.

    • So right! They expect to be trusted? How dare I take over the bills and finances! That seemed to be what pissed her off most. Did she really think I’d keep financing her cheater lifestyle after we were separated? It boggles the mind.

      • That was what caused me to push him to file. I wanted our finances separated.

        Once separated there were other emotional benefits that happened, that I didn’t expect. (like feeling more in control, and being able to focus on my healing). It was good I did it early on.

        I get the fear the anguish, but I still have a hard time understanding why so many BS’s will just let it ride for months/years and being on the financial hook for any cheaters decisions.

        To me any responsible counselor should caution the BS and the WS to legally separate their obligations.

  • Thank you for this CL. It’s the reminder some of us need that the fake reconciliation we endured, only to experience DDay #2 and find out reconciliation was all a fraud, wasn’t our fault. We tried to find good in someone who saw so much wrong in us, their spouses and partner, that the only way they could address our deficiencies was to cheat, break us mentally and emotionally, only for us to rebuild to be their puppet. As I was told, “she deserved to be happy”, I guess I deserved to be defrauded, manipulated, shamed, broken and tormented by her multiple betrayals. Just as long as she was happy, that’s all that really matters, right?

    • I can’t stand the “deserve to be happy” line cheaters give. It’s like, so you think I don’t?

      I don’t think I’m a bad person because I choose to forgive my XH for his first 2 affairs (one emotional, one a one-night stand). If anything, it was something I needed to do so I knew I at least tried to fight for my marriage. I lost 3yrs, and went through a lot of torture during them.

      By the 3rd D-Day I had had enough. I was ready to let go as difficult as it was. Threw out all the wedding photos that were printed (some are still on a drive on my computer hidden away) and love letters etc on D-Day three.

      I found his voicemails that I had saved over the years were the hardest for me to let go. In fact, they were the final things I let go. It took me 7months to delete them. I cried my eyes out that day, one of the hardest in my life.

      • Thats so hard. I went through all the photos and took out any photos he was in, and gave them to my son. I told my son that if he wanted to give his dad any copies of the photos, it was ok as long as I was not in them. (I wasn’t in a lot because I was usually the photographer)

        Kept only the ones that the x wasn’t in.

        • I have a few printed photos from when we dated in a box somewhere but everything else is on a file on my computer and I’ll prob never open it.

          Those voicemails though almost killed me to get rid of. I had valentines day wishes, birthday wishes, silly ones, I even had a few of him begging me to take him back after the 1st & 2nd D-Day’s where he was crying.

          The one valentines day one was the hardest to let go. It was when we were still new and he was such a different person. His voice was so sincere in it, just murdered me to delete it. Still, deleted it got.

          • That is hard Alice. I only had one photo that I kept of us; and it was taken on our wedding day. It wasn’t a formal wedding.

            Weird thing is, our divorce took over a year after legal separation to complete. On the document date stamp, the judge stamped it on Feb 14th. Of all days. I even laughed back then when I saw it.

            I had gotten rid of all his letters to me years before. I kind of wish I had kept them, so I could see proof that he loved me. But, it wasn’t really proof, just words on a page. So doesn’t really matter I guess.

    • Well said Justin.
      Happiness on our backs.
      I think most these people don’t end up happy (that comes from within, not from trashing lives), but they leave a trail of wreckage behind them.

    • Brother, you and I could swap some stories about the BS spewed by cheating wives. Any of their flaws and huge character flaws such as lying, committing adultery, and destroying your family are downplayed and justified while the smallest thing you’ve done (starts citing an argument from four years prior where I snapped at her or talked sports on a social media app) are just unforgivable.

      When I caught my ex wife cheating (didn’t confront the first day waited the second time to confront), she and her AP saw that I had discovered them and their immediate reaction was to call the cops and file an EPO despite zero encounter with me. When we talked afterward in counseling, her lying and cheating weren’t an issue. Me “scaring” her was just unforgivable. LOL

      These people are trash.

  • This is interesting as my EXH said I broke him by going to the cinema , that was when in his words he ramped up his affair .

    I was never asked for reconciliation I was just ghosted but do all cheaters say they are broken ?

    What does broken even mean ?

    I still try to figure out how I managed to break my husband , I’m no further forward with this challenge than I was on D Day

    • Your mistake here is continuing to take him at his word–and taking him at his word at all. Don’t waste another thought on this question. Just chalk up that “you broke me” to the word salad the entitled spew to inflict harm or squirm out of responsibility for their own actions–in other words, evidence that he sucks.

      • Thank you, Adelante, for this. Yes, don’t even waste any time figuring out their crazy word salad, because you can’t figure out crazy – and you can never fix it, either.

      • When mine tried to leave me one day to the next without acknowledging there was an OW – he actually broke down and said he was “broken.”
        I had never heard that word being used that way before and I thought he was being vulnerable.
        I felt total compassion for him – I had no idea what was going on.
        Now that I see so many cheaters use that term, I’m really weirded out.
        I received zero vulnerability from him while we were married, then all of a sudden he’s broken and discarding me.
        If anyone feels broken, it’s the chump. I feel broken but I would never say that to anyone (Beyond CN). Why do so many use this word? Everyone asks if there’s a manual? But really, it’s very strange.

        • There is a lot of psychobabble out there. My guess is that they heard the term from schmoopie, after all she is feeding him a line, and sexual aerobics to keep him coming back. Women tend to read up on this stuff more than men do.

          “ohhh, poor sad cheater, your big mean wife broke you…”

    • Karenb, you must be an awesome wife if the only “bad” thing you did was go to the cinema!

      This was years ago, before I knew about “stupid shit cheaters say”. My co-workers XH told her that he wanted a divorce, because one time “she wouldn’t go for a walk through the woods with him after dinner.” I can’t tell you how many times I heard her repeat what he said, just like I’ve seen you repeat your crime of going to the cinema over and over. It doesn’t make sense to you, because it’s just a load of crap — stupid shit cheaters say. And for my co-worker, the truth actually was that he was cheating and he was looking for some reason why he “had to” divorce her. Cheaters say stupid shit that doesn’t make sense and that’s why we ruminate over what they say, trying to make sense of it.

      YOU DID NOT BREAK YOUR XH! He however broke you. Broke your heart. Broke your mind. Broke your soul. Broke your trust.

      Add “you broke me” or “I’m broken” into the Stupid Shit Cheaters Say list.

      My XH said to me, “Something in me broke that night.”

      My XH is broken, but I’m not the one who broke him. Dr. George Simon would say he is “character disturbed”. He was character disturbed even before we started officially dating (way back in the late 80’s). I failed to see the red flags. And when I started seeing the red flags, I failed to believe them and take action — leave a cheater.

      Cheaters are always the victim, when the truth is, we are the victims of their abuse.

      “You broke me.” = “I’m a victim.”

      The truth? “My XH cheated on me over and over again. I’m a victim and he’s the abuser.”

      Be thankful he didn’t ask for reconciliation as you could still be living with an abuser.

      When someone ghosts you. Let them stay dead. ((((HUGS))), Karenb.

      • ((( Hugs ))) back

        I didn’t get a list like most chumps of my short falls or what I did wrong all I got was remember that night you went to cinema ? I said yes ( through my tears ) he said – you were supposed to come home make meatloaf that was it for me , you broke me so that was the night me and whore ramped it up .

        I said but I went to cinema as all you did for weeks was shout at me for no reason , and I couldn’t take another night of your silent treatment , he just said I know .

        I’ve never ever been back to the cinema even pre covid .

        • It’s very common for cheaters to do the silent treatment, withdrawal of affection/attention and/or start fights when they are cheating. Your XH clicks all the boxes. So he’s allowed to treat you like crap for weeks on end, but your “abuse” of him was that you actually did self-care (go to the cinema) instead of coming home to more abuse and making him a meatloaf?

          HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN MAKING YOU A MEATLOAF! And begging for forgiveness for treating you like crap and also most importantly — cheating on you! You did absolutely nothing to cause him to ramp it up with his whore. That’s on him. He chose to do that, but wants you to take the blame — that’s called blame-shifting.

          Karenb, I do hope you “take back” the cinema someday if that’s important to you or brings you joy. These fxckwits like to destroy everything, including things we love to do. Chump Lady “took back” Paris, a place she honeymooned with her XH the cheater.

        • GO TO CINEMA – that bastard doesn’t get to have your JOY. Yes, he “ramped it up” with Schmoopie that night you chose some PEACE. Good for you, choosing peace!!!
          Good riddance to the abusive bastard. It helped me to change the narrative and have a “discussion” with dopey (without him there, of course – I am NC for three months) I tell HIM all the dumb shit he did and why I CHOSE to end the relationship. It is quite therapeutic and when I find myself remembering the stupid shit he said to me and I start to feel badly, I stop and tell him why I left and what he did wrong. I trust that he sucks. They all do.

        • Karen, What a complete asswipe. There should have been no cheating partner to ramp it up with in the first place. I would give up meatloaf before I gave up cinema ( but you probably make a really good meatloaf).
          Mine blamed me for some weird shit too, and this was from a previously logical man. It was devastatingly confusing to hear ‘you did A therefore I’m leaving you. You did B therefore I wasn’t happy and I’m leaving you.’ A &B were small things by any normal person standards and I would have changed A & B if he had ever expressed any concern to me. No healthy person would suddenly leave a marriage for these ridiculous reasons.
          I do believe my ex is broken, but that has nothing to do with me. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt like hell though.

    • Yeah. Mine yelled at me “you broke everything, you broke me!”. 2 months before D-day. I had once again fled to the other end of the world with my daughter. He came for a visit to work things out. I got this after trying to be intimate with him and he got gruff.

      That night I moved into a spare bedroom and didn’t address it. Later in mediation I gave my answer: This marriage has been a coma patient kept on a lifeline solely by me. It would have been dead as soon as I pulled it.

      Mine also keeps demanding reconciliation for our child. He demands that I see him differently for what he is. The facts he can’t talk away, he and his family demand that I put behind me. I’m said to be arrogant and all black and white for my failure to compartmentalize. Proof of GermanChumps arrogance? She only befriends people who have not cheated and denies contact to acquaintences whom she knows are cheaters, female or male.

      Ex and former in-laws even had their pathetic say on my date and first boyfriend after breakup regarding reconciliation. Both were sons of cheaters and loyal to their chump mothers. By surrounding myself and child with these kind of people, I was making reconciliation impossible and victimising the child if she knew they went through what she went. Can’t make this bs up.

  • His remorse lasted 2 years, during which I kept exposing more and more of his (past) behavior, until I found out something that made me draw the line. After that evidently the gig was up, because he wasn’t remorseful anymore and told me I would just “have to endure it” (the stress he was causing me) or he was done with me.

    No, thank you!!

  • I think this inflated sense of entitlement also applies to our forgiveness. As in they’re entitled to us forgiving them for their mistake (a minor and singular thing of course…)

    Forgiveness is between me and God. Fuckwit believes he is THAT important to somehow be raised to level of god-hood and involved in that dynamic.

    I do pray for a good smiting every once in a while…

  • Thank you for this. Thank you for so clearly putting what I feel into words but can’t find the words myself. Thank you, CL. Thank you from the bottom of my heart

  • The entitlement in cheaters just absolutely floors me. The wreckonciliation I went through consisted of lying during marriage counselling, focusing on “my” issues, statements about how I “took everything away from him,” and him monitoring MY every move as he was concerned about my mental health. ???? (Pretty sure he was more concerned on if I was meeting with a solicitor or not, which was an adventure all in its own when I finally did to keep it from him.)

    The last straw was when he told me he needed to talk to his AP, as she was the only one who could provide him “objective advice.” That wreckonciliation lasted 3 weeks, and I was done. I filed for divorce. Get out, get out, get out. You deserve so much better.

  • Dear Chump Lady,

    I needed this one today. I am a codependent and it’s hard out here for a codependent. I’ve stopped doing the pick me dance. I see where my stbx wants crumbs or cake, but I keep harboring that little spark of hope that he will want to reconcile and I can have my partner and my life back.

    I know I’m delusional. I’m in therapy and a 12 step program. I’m working on it.

    Last night as I was working through my steps, the idea that if my stbx ever gets his head on straight and wants to reconcile, the burden is on him arrived to me. I don’t have to leave my door open. If he comes back he has to fight for me. He used to be worthy of me. He isn’t anymore. Reconciliation requires he be worthy.

    I’ll be honest. I don’t think it will ever happen. He’s really far up his own ass and reconciliation would, as you pointed out, would take a level of humility I’m not sure he was or will ever be capable of. I’m not sure he is a narcissist, but he has a handful of narcissistic tendencies

    • Codependency is a twisted world view–that your own life should be given over to fixing other people, doing their work for them, putting your happiness in their hands. Usually that goes back to family of origin issues, where a parent teaches a kid that they exist to make the parent happy (which is not just crazy and dysfunctional but also impossible.)

      It might help you to shift your language a bit, and with it your thinking. You say, “I am a codependent,” which then is a statement about YOU. Why not say, “I have behaved codependently in my relationships. I have acted codependently.” That’s about things you have done. Then the focus goes to your BEHAVIOR, which you can change.

      I know 12-step programs are heavy on the identity statements, e.g., “I am an alcoholic.” That might make sense when talking about actual chemical addiction, where body chemistry may determine much of the situation. But codependency is learned behavior, even if the learning happened isn childhood and we’re not aware of it. There are things we can do and NOT DO to change how we related to others.

      Your insight into not keeping the doors open to your abuser is a wonderful step. (And if he’s an addict, please let me remind you that he’s already in a relationship, with his substance, and thus is not available for a relationship with a person. So no take-backs!)

      • My therapist taught me better self-talk, and encouraged me to say, “I used to be codependent, but NOW I am strong and independent. I used to be________ but NOW I am __________________. I wrote entire lists and self-affirmations to change my own thinking. I’m happy now. Don’t label yourself and get stuck. People can change themselves.

      • So true about the addiction – there is no chance if he is an addict – to drugs, or alcohol, or porn, or cheating, or lying. There is just no chance.

    • thatgirl, if you are in a 12 step program, I HIGHLY recommend you read this: I did the 12 steps for years during a first marriag eto an alcoholic. After that blew up, ten years later I married a cheater/narcissist. You may simply be being dependent on undependable people. Codependence is a term that really makes the empath feel like there’s something wrong with her for having any expectations at all. It’s not you- it’s him. All the best to you. hugs etc Getting Them Sober (meaning getting US sober/sane) was a revelation. Best 10 bucks I ever spent

  • I can’t speak to reconciliation because we never attempted it. My ex said that I would never forgive (my fault!!) and that he wanted to marry the OW. I tossed off my ring and hired a lawyer in the same week.

    But I can relate to this post nonetheless.

    This, in particular, rings true: “…you had a marriage with issues, like any marriage, and the cheater just put a bullet through it” thus making sure it was a bad marriage and therefore justifying their cheating. It’s circular logic. It’s backfilling a justification for their shitty, entitled behavior.

    Even the cheaters who haven’t sought reconciliation, are living with their OWs and licking their wounds, complaining that the marriage wasn’t good and that they don’t deserve the oh-so-unfair consequences (ahem, punishment, my ex’s favorite word).

    My ex did lose his kids, respect, friends, and money. He feels gutted (and thinks I’m “sitting pretty.”)

    For me it was more like a death by a thousand cuts (years of abuse) followed by a relationship-ending bullet.

    • I got the same line.
      “I wanted to reconcile, but I knew that you would always hold it over my head!”
      Damned for an offense in the future…

      • Once a snake bites you, it’s wise to remember that snakes bite. There’s a difference between using someone’s misbehavior as a control behavior (e.g., “holding it over my head”) and KNOWING that someone can’t be trusted. That’s a huge difference that cheaters never seem to understand. And of course, the pain and suffering of the chump being unacknowledged and unprocessed leads to the impression of “holding it over the cheater’s head” because what is unacknowledged and unprocessed in a relationship always, always comes out in unhelpful ways.

      • “Damned for an offense in the future.” Well put!

        Mine said these two things:
        1. “If it had been a 2-week affair or a 2-1/2-year affair, you never would have forgiven me.” (Translation: poor him!)

        2. “You are so vindictive.” (That takes pont 1 it to another level. I guess not only am I incapable of forgiveness, but I will seek revenge. Again, I’m the bad one in this scenario.)

        Bottom line: He’s the victim of our divorce. He just cheated for years. It was my reaction and inability to forgive that’s the real problem.

        • Spinach, why do they enjoy being a victim so much? I hate being a victim, I find it so strange that’s the role they want.

          XH told me I was going to ruin him in divorce court. Well yea XH, that’s how this works when you screw around on your wife! Why should I feel sorry for you?

          Go tell it to one of your whores. I have to go over how much I’m taking from you financially with my lawyer lol

          • In our state divorce settlement was basically 50/50. That can alter up or down depending on fraud, or if one spouse was a child care provider who stayed home. But, even then no alimony, just short term support.

            That is different from Temporary Maintenance which is only for the duration of the legal separation, prior to divorce.

            So in states where it is basically 50/50 no fault, it is virtually impossible for the betrayed spouse to take advantage of adultery. Though they should be able to.

            • Susie, It’s crazy that people can take marriage vows and there are no consequences when divorce happens due to a cheating. Every state should have laws that protect the Chumps.

              • Yep: Irreconcilable differences. Twenty years, he lied to, and played me and that is the reason for the divorce, culminating in extreme emotional, not to mention financial and non consent abuse and that is the two little words that are stated.

        • I got “you’re being vindictive”, too! Wow, I still could not believe how fucking totally insane that man is. All I know, is CL and CN helped me to see that I needed to get out FAST because that psychopath is never going to change and it is only going to get worse. He was SO MAD when I left! Good riddance.

    • Yes! I was told “we’ll never get past this” meaning my fault I won’t forgive him for his year long affair. I made a big angry show of getting my ring off with a stick of butter on D-day and filed for divorce 4 days later. On D-day, I even asked him to stop or at least “pause” the relationship with his married howorker and let’s get counseling. He refused. He schemed, lied, & cheated but he was too lazy to file for divorce. Just over a year out, his married howorker has yet to file for divorce from her husband, my Ex has put on weight and is now diabetic, and he only sees our kids every other weekend if he’s lucky. I’m maintaining being the sane parent, got a promotion, and am getting closer to meh.

  • True cheater’s remorse is a myth.

    Come on folks. Is this really rocket science?

    Any time during the months or years a cheater was WILLFULLY and PURPOSEFULLY lying to your face in order to keep their dirty little secret, they were telling you exactly where you stand in their lives and on their priority list.

    Cheaters have MANY opportunities to feel that oh so elusive “remorse” every single day they’re screwing you over and gaslighting you and lying right their teeth as they lie to you – and amazingly, they never seem to choke up an ounce of it. Keeping their secret lives going is Priority ONE for these pieces of shit, never for get that.

    Sorry, but that magical, elusive “remorse” never seems to come to the surface when they’re having their fun, does it?

    But then they get caught and stand to lose everything they know and love and have in this world – and SUDDENLY and MIRACULOUSLY, they’re all about the “remorse,” yes sir!!

    What a complete crock of shit!!! The fools over on SI think once their cheater is out of that mystical, magical “fog,” then they’ll see that mystical, magical “remorse.”

    Jesus, how pathetic anyone is to believe that fairy tale. But they work very hard at deluding themselves into thinking it’s true. Whatever gets them through the night…

    • My XW only was sorry when her house of cards came crashing down. She told me she was going to take it to her grave. How is that remorseful? A remorseful person confesses to their wrongdoings and makes the hard work to change. A person who carries on long affairs shows by their actions they are not remorseful.

      • It’s not remorseful. She just feels sorry for herself.

        And I agree with you that a person who carries on a long-term affair, as did my XH, “shows by their actions they are not remorseful.”

        Judge them by what they do, not what they say.

        • Mine actually looks very remorseful now that we are split -during a top secret competition he chose Mrs Entitled OW. Now reality and natural consequences ( looking like a fool, finances etc) have set in.
          However, I will never know if any of this remorse is due to the PAIN he’s caused others, or if it’s the victim danse and impression management gone awry. He also stated that I’m disgusted with him, which makes me feel like I’m viewed as an angry parent rather than a very hurt and betrayed spouse.

          • “angry parent ”

            My ex actually told me on Dday that he and this “girl” were in love and wanted to get married. First she hadn’t seen “girl” in many moons, second you deranged fuckwit, I am your wife and the mother of your child, not your mother.

            Is what I wish I had said.

    • So many secrets – too many to count. I saw enough when I started to snoop for evidence. Oh my – he is a sick, sick, man.

  • That “affair fog” “limerence” shit just makes me want to hurl.

    I will be dammed if I will sit around like your mother waiting for you to heal from you “one tru wuv”, just so you can come back and live in misery with me, until you can figure out how to best sneak out the window again.

    They act like pimply faced teenagers. Cut them loose to screw up their own lives, no yours.

      • They all are. That is why they are willing to throw away everything. They feel like teenagers again, (ah illicit sneaky sex) they can do anything, they are young again. It is why they get so mad when they think we are in the way. Guarding their bi tch like a dog in heat.

        My apologies to sweet dogs every where.

        To me this is why exposing them is so important. It is like cold water in their faces. But, alas I kept quiet for about two months like a good chump, (while he tried to get his head on straight)

        I wish I had thrown him out even before Dday, when I knew something was wrong but he was lying. It would have exposed them way sooner, and likely caused him even greater problems at work. Of course in my case I didn’t have young children to worry about.

        I would advise anyone now in this mess to get their legal separation and throw them out into the sunlight. Even those with children. Don’t be manipulated by him/her because of children, he/she does not have his/her children’s best interests at heart.

    • UGH I watched all those Limerence videos with supposedly remorseful husbands who have returned to their wives and now are in the RIC business.
      My ex absolutely 100% looked and sounded like he was on a drug. He’s acknowledged that it was like a drug and he just couldn’t stop. (GAG)
      Now he looks like the drug has worn off, yet he’s still with the dealer. Imagine being with your pusher yet no more fix.
      That’s the vision I’m going for anyhow.

      • Hah, I am pretty sure the thrill is gone with my cheater and schmoopie, they are both in really bad health.

        He cheated on her per my daughter in law several times at the beginning of their marriage. Why wouldn’t he, he had already give up his marriage, his standing in the community and been busted on the job. My guess is if she complained he told her to shut the hell up. I am betting she did some revenge cheating too. She was known to “date” married men, long before my cheater came along.

      • Yep seems the RIC “affair fog” shit is just an excuse made up for acting like a damn teenager. Then the BS is supposed to eat that shit sandwich like a good chump.

  • My poor grown son, who unfortunately lives with his jackass father, keeps writing to me that cheater rants and raves to him about reconciling with me (of course, he needs a purse and a nurse). Since lockdown, said son keeps overhearing jackass on the phone with seductive voice planning trips to romantic places with female subordinates when lockdown is over. Barrrrfffff!

    I explain to son the meaning of entitlement, how there are no character transplants and ask him to stop wasting his time and mine. That the best thing is to get out and forget.
    My son needs to listen to CL more than I do. Really hard to have to tell a son to give up hope on a parent.

    • ClearWaters,

      Unfortunately you can only let your children work it out for themselves. They’ll get there, but they’ll need your support, understanding and patience.

      My youngest daughter talks about her mother (my Ex-Wife) as two entirely separate people; her mother as she wants to remember her – who she misses very much, but is to all intents and purposes dead – and her mother as she is now, who she doesn’t like at all.

      Eldest daughter is more succinct; she describes her mother as “an irrelevance.”

      Our son, if drawn on the matter (he found Ex-Wife’s behaviour particularly hard to process) will state “she is technically my mother, but you wouldn’t know it from the way she acts .”

      It’s f*cking heartbreaking to watch, but they will get it eventually.


      • Heartbreaking is right!

        My three adult children want nothing to do with the ex Mr. Spinach and had emotionally disengaged from him many years ago. As a result, no contact has been easy for them.

        Of course I’m “happy” they want nothing to do with him, but, at the same time, I find the entire situation incredibly said. And then there’s the guilt I feel for allowing them to be exposed to emotional abuse…*sigh*. I just didn’t see it for what it was. And I spackled, saying things like, “He means well.” Ugh.

        • You were trying to protect your children in the best way you knew how. You had their best interest at heart.????

      • How did you tell your children and how old were they? I have 3 kids (g6, g7, b14) and since divorce isn’t final and stbxw sleeps on the couch I haven’t told the girls anything yet. The boy is from her previous relationship and she told her story (didn’t ask him what, just told him my side). We’ll have 50/50 custody, but would need some advice on what to tell them.

        • We went to a therapist they already saw. 10 and 8. Cheater grabbed the narrative and acted all boo boo for the audience. Emmy winning performance with tears and hugging. Initially it was my job to break the news But he did a coupe. I should have known but sigh. Be prepared.

          • Thank you for your reply. You all went to therapist together? The kids got the news at therapist? What does “he did a coupe” mean? I’m from Europe and don’t understand the slang etc. 🙂 Any advice on how to prepare? Sorry for all additional questions but I’m sure you understand the situation I’m in.

            • We went together to see the children’s therapist. Parents saw therapist first to give warning as to what was going to happen. So therapist was prepared for any issues that may occur. He told me I had to tell them and anything that happened afterwards would be my fault. ANYTHING! Of course, therapist was out of the room.

              Children entered room. They sat on couch with Disney daddy. (This was a power play on his part and a mistake on mine. I’m afraid of him, literally. He’s abusive to me and the children. I avoid being near him at all times.) I took a deep breath and was about to speak when he blurted out the news. Hence the coupe reference which I misspelled. Sorry. It’s coup d’état. That’s what happens when I type too early. ????‍♀️. Anyway, he claims he had to say something because I was taking too long. Umm, no you have a guilty conscience in there somewhere and blood on your hands. Or as he has said, “How come I get to be the bad guy?” ME: “Because you are the bad guy!” But I digress.

              Tell your children that you love them. Tell them that THEY DID NOTHING TO CAUSE THIS. Young children will think they might have done/caused it. Answer their questions if you know the answers. It’s okay to say you don’t know all the answers now but will tell them when you find the answers. Example where they will sleep every night, go to school, vacations, custody arrangements, etc unless you know them. Don’t bash cheater. Their world is blowing up. Now is not the time for that stuff. More questions or does that help??

              • Thank you, very helpful. One more re timming – did you continue to live together after this meeting? My stbx has no where to go, her mother will give her one of her’s appartments in April and that is the deadline for her to get out of mine. The school starts in Septemer this year and I’m wondering wouldn’t it be better to tell them now (and still live together) then during school. Any idea/thought?

              • @ SE Chump
                We did live together afterwards but separately. No shared beds, although he tried. It was miserable just to warn you. The rage channel was playing as soon as they left for school until they returned.

                I moved the timing up because Disney daddy left the divorce paperwork on the table for our children to read. I put it away. He put it back on the table again. So at that point it was a non issue. He had already told them. They can read. He was looking for kibbles from our children. He wanted to wait until school was out. They would have lacked any social support system from friends, school teachers, school counselors.

                Do they have a therapist already? Have they heard anything about the divorce process. They are smart and have excellent hearing. You know them better. Are they acting at all different? Look back to when the cheating started. The changes may have started then. So, I would ask if they have some similar support systems at their schools? Do you already sleep separately? They are very perceptive but not able to process and understand what it all means. Till you find and secure a therapist appointment you might be at the start of school. I don’t know how busy your therapists are. Here therapists are usually busy and only take so many new clients at a time. I’d check for availability and go from there. If you can get an appointment with a highly recommended therapist before school starts, go. You may need the extra time for the kids to recover from their world exploding. Schedule appointments for follow ups for all of them. Ask what is recommended for their ages and start there. Alert your children’s teachers, school counselor, principals on the quiet about the family changes. They can be an extra person to watch for problems while they are at school. Does that help?

              • @Chickenchump: wow thank you x100 for all this info. You sure opened another perspective which I had’t thought about yet.
                My stbxw sleeps on the couch. I don’t know what the girls think, at first they thought it was because of my snoring (I guess she told them that), but since they often come to my bed if they wake up in the middle of the night they might realised that I do not snore every night and not that bad.

  • This article is absolutely clear on the enormous gulf between the expectations of behavior for cheaters and chumps. For cheaters — who have a proven track record of abusing trust and engaging in acts that hurt the chump — the bar is so low that anything more than nothing is considered progress. For the chump, simply standing up for oneself and demanding to be treated equally is considered “unfair” or being “bitter.”
    No thanks. I’m so glad I’m rid of that witch.

    • Yep. I went to one session with our minister with my ex. Honestly, I had no intention of letting him have a third shot at me, but I was curious as to what he would say.

      It was about 20 minutes of him droning on about how he expected the effort to recon would go. I mostly just sat and listened, while the preacher kind of sat there and had a look like “WTH” Including that he would not spend a lot of time rehashing about his cheating. (note, he was still shtooping schmoopie) I guess, this was my chance for me to up my pick me dance, so he could make an informed decision.

      Implied was of course was that me rehashing and fixing my faults was welcomed. One of my favorites was his comment that: “he had always tried to get me to be more self sufficient, which of course was in total opposite of the reality that he tried to control my every movement. He didn’t even want me going out at night. He couched it as he was worried about my safety. No he was worried I might catch him. Of course in real time I bought the “safety” lie. Then in the next breath he admitted that he had always been a controller, and that he could not change who he is.

      He was so arrogant that the preacher called me later at work and said “Wow, I didn’t not hear what I thought I would hear from him” (and this preacher was a police Chaplin, who had heard a lot) I said really? I heard exactly what I thought I would hear.

  • My ex, who kept his ex gf around our entire relationship, informed me that I had to change after I found out. Me bringing it up a week later after he’d changed his story at least 6 times based on what I knew meant that I “just wanted to be miserable” and he “didn’t have to listen to listen to this”.

    He then informed me that we should just get divorced because he was miserable.

    Yet he was somehow shocked when a couple of months later, after thinking long and hard about how good of a deal he really was, I decided to take him up on his offer. See, he didn’t want a divorce, but he was ok with using the threat of one to bully and shut down discussions he didn’t want to have.

    He treated me like crap right up until I told him it was over……he was going to show me who was boss until he realized I was going to dump him. Then the love bombing started.

    The icing on the cake is that when our signed agreement was sitting on the judge’s desk waiting to be signed he demanded to know if I was cheating on him.


    • @Kim, he was upset that you weren’t pick-me-dancing. He thought there had to be someone else who was better than him for you to let go of him and not be begging him to stay with you.

      My XH texted me once asking about some divorce paperwork after I had moved out. I didn’t feel like talking to him so I said, “out of town right now” so I could put of dealing with him for a few days.

      He then responded with anger, “Where are you!? When will you be back?!” and I didn’t respond to him. He didn’t get to know the details of my life anymore. A few days later, I answered his orig. question about the divorce paper work with a few short sentences.

      I NEVER responded to his questions about where I was and when I’d be back. It felt good showing him I didn’t answer to him anymore.

      • Well played, Alice! I see such similarities between our ex’s. Virtually the same thing happened to me.

        They somehow can’t comprehend that they have lost any right to any information about our lives. When we don’t fill them in (and especially when we go no contact), they lose their shit.

        • Yep! It’s like they can’t connect that dots. They fully feel they should still have access to us.

          The audacity to even ask me such things, as if I still answered to him just goes to show how big he ego and urge for control was and probably still is.

          He even asked me to meet him to file the divorce paperwork together at one point. I simply responded with “no” and he blew his shit lol

      • Alice, I sometimes wonder if these guys really think that their BS has no options. It seems many do.

        Maybe because they have devalued us so much to justify their behavior, that they think everyone else sees us the same as they do. I don’t know, just speculation; but it makes me wonder. Surely it is not because they think they are such a catch. Can they be that deluded. Maybe so.

        • I have to agree Susie. They’ve made up in their minds that we are so below them that society must view us that way too.

          It’s like pulling a rug from under them when we start drawing boundaries and going NC. They think, “Oh she has a backbone, damn” and in my mind I’m like “I’ll show you you’ll never F*ck with me again!”

          It’s why I love NC. It’s a major shot to their ginormous egos! XH won’t be strong if I’m not feeding him anymore is I saw it.

          • NC is the best. My only regret is that I couldn’t have the experience longer.

            I have often thought that I should have let my lawyer get me three years legally separated with him paying the house payment and car payment (car that I used).

            My lawyer (and I agreed) felt it was only fair since he had used our assets to pursue women and pay bills for schmoopie behind my back, without my knowledge.

            But, by six months I was ready to move on. Then he drug his feet for 6 more months.

            He was constantly trying to get me to interact with him. I would just say, no, or no thanks, or call my lawyer. Drove him nuts.

            • When you’re in the thick of it, you will do anything for it to be over with. I couldn’t wait to move out of the marital home. I was counting down the days. Could I have saved more money and stayed longer? Sure, but I didn’t care. I wanted out.

              Your mental health is priceless.

              • Yep, once the legal separation was in place, it got so much better fairly quick.

                I used to go for walks every day, one day on my walk about two maybe three weeks after the legal separation I was a bit tearful in my memories, I remember thinking, he is getting his freedom, and he can do whatever he wants, it isn’t fair. Then I stopped in my tracks and thought wait a minute, I am getting my freedom and I can do anything I want.

                I think up to that point I was still under the illusion that he still had some control over me. As soon as that lifted, things got better and better each day.

                I think the actual legal separation fostered that change in me. I would tell anyone in the heat of the battle to get that legal separation/protect their finances and go NC. It matters.

        • Susie, my ex in a moment of candor admitted that he was afraid that I’d replace him quickly.

          Pretty rich coming from the cheater.

          Not surprisingly replacing him was quite easy to do. I have a lovely bf who is much closer to my age (ex was a lot older) and has real hair.

          • I met my now husband quite a long time after we were legally separated, though I didn’t know he would become my husband. I did know by then I would never go back to the ex.

            However, my ex came by one day while I was working in the yard and first asked me to come see his apartment. I said no, I have no interest in your apt. Then he said that guy you went out with is too old for you. I just stared at him and said, why do you care, and this is rich: “I just don’t want you to get hurt”. Yeah thanks that ship has already sailed.


            My husband is ten years older than me. Perfect for me, and we are going strong after almost 24 years married, 28 years together. My ex and i were the same age (40) I did not want to put another 40 year old through his “mid life crisis”

            • I’m 46…ex just turned 65 and still wears a cheap, jet black toupee.

              Current bf is 54 and if he had a mlc it’s gone.

              My therapist, who I saw for several years, told me she thinks up to 10 years is fine (a little wiggle room is allowed). More then that introduces generational differences that are hard to overcome.

              • I think if you are 20 and marry a 40 year old, the difference is way broader than if you are 40 and marry a 50 year old.

                But, the toupee is funny. My H has the bald on top grandpa thing going on. He does not get caught up in looking younger. But, he is very nice looking.

                We have so much more in common than my ex and I did. Both in our morals and in our interests. But, my picker was way better the second time around and I waited for over four years to marry after I met him. Two years dating, two years engaged.

      • Yes, my ex has a very fragile ego and can’t deal with his age, so he wears a shitty toupee and needs lots of validation.

        Because of my initial reaction of shock, which I think is normal when a bs first realizes their world is going to blow up, he really thought i was desperate to stay married to him. He then overplayed his hand because once the shock wore off I realized he wasn’t a good deal for me.

        He used to flood me with emails, because that’s the only way he could communicate as a passive aggressive conflict avoidant phony, proclaiming how much he loved me. But that was it….no acknowledgement of anything…no attempt to deal with anything. Just phony love bombing.

        When I was vulnerable he went for the jugular….that told me all I needed to know.

        Nothing about him is real.

  • I grew up hearing certain phrases, designed to maintain the peace and promote civility in both my family, and our extended world of school and work. I was told to apologize if I did something “wrong”, regardless of what had happened to provoke my wrongful action, and I was expected to accept any apologies offered, regardless of their insincerity. Forgive and Forget.

    This philosophy never became part of my mindset. As a child, I might be forced to comply, at least on the surface, with commands given by the large people in my life. I didn’t want to prolong my punishment, so I had to appear compliant. But I did not EVER understand why I had to accept unacceptable behavior, or a half hearted “sorry.” The offenders in my world, in my opinion, weighed the chances of bad consequences for themselves, the chances of getting caught, and factored the knowledge that I would be obliged to “forgive and forget.” The end result is that I don’t believe much in forgiveness — it is a rare that I see true remorse, and I never seem to be able to forget.

    I had a verbally abusive father. No matter what, he would never be pleased. He felt it was his duty to direct the actions and thoughts of his children, and believed praise would only cause the child to “get a big head.” As an adult, I came to understand this man was raised in a turbulent household, his father was an alcoholic, his mother histrionic. My dad internalized many things, and tried to resist his urge for alcohol, but maintained many of the symptoms of the illness, anyway. I understand it, but I do not feel compelled to forgive it. Many people urged me to forgive my father for my own sake. He has never acknowledged any of his bad behaviors, and has grown worse with age. I see no remorse. He doesn’t struggle with his problems. I had to modify my definition of forgiveness for my own sake — I accept he is who he is. I feel he had the capacity to learn and overcome many things in his life. He did provide for his family, and he did work. He chose, of his own free will to do those things, but he did not choose to work on his emotional relationship with his wife and children. I cannot forget about that. The result of his actions is that my mother finally divorced him, and none of his children go to his home to visit him. We see him on rare family gatherings at my mother’s home, and tolerate him for a limited time, and we all breath a sigh of relief when he finally leaves. My mother feels compelled to invite him, due to her raising. All of the children honor our mother’s wishes, due to our raising. I do not believe any of us actually forgive his past actions, or forget them either. We comply with the terms of an uneasy peace treaty to try to maintain civility.

    In my own life, I tolerated the bad behaviors of the father of my children. Then one day, after 20 years, I couldn’t do it anymore. We divorced. I don’t believe he is sorry for his past choices, but he surely has remorse for suffering the consequences. I accept that I know who he is, but I don’t forget. I realize I managed to do what I did not want to do, and mirrored my parent’s marriage. But I had free will, and I worked on myself, and decided I deserved a better life, and my children certainly deserved a better life. They see their father on a few days of the year, but they do not have a prolonged visit. They stay in regular contact with me. I have apologized to them for some situations in the past, and explained them to the best of my ability. I always tell them I love them and am proud of hem. To date, they have not grown a “big head.’

    In my opinion, no one has the right to tell you to “forgive” another person, and stop being “bitter.” I also believe that you have to come to terms with reality and accept people for who they are, not who you want them to be. I believe bitter is not a good look on anyone. I don’t believe forgiveness and acceptance are exactly the same thing, but I think you have the capacity to see true remorse for some things, and reject faux remorse for others. The acceptance that you cannot change another person will eventually bring you some peace and understanding. Whether you ever forget is more likely to depend on your genetic disposition to Dementia or Alzheimer’s. If I am like my mother, eventually I will forget many things as I age, but so far, I do not excel at this activity. I do believe in keeping the peace, even if it is an uneasy peace. There is no need to waste your precious life and time doing battle with someone who will never change, and who will never feel remorse. Move on, there is nothing to look at there. Dwelling on someone else’s problem will never make you happy.

    Most people need to mind their own business, and have no right to tell you what to do about yours. If you ask for help, don’t be offended by the help offered. You also do not have to accept it. Consider it, and make your own decision. Be prepared to live with the consequence of your decision. If you feel you have done something wrong, give a sincere apology, and work at not doing that anymore. Remember, no one is obligated to accept your apology, either. If you are sincerely making an effort to live an authentic life, and trying hard to do what you believe is right, that is the best you can do. If other’s don’t see it that way, that is their problem, not yours. If this philosophy works for you, great. if not, you have wasted a little of your time. Good luck with whatever decision you make!

    • “ We divorced. I don’t believe he is sorry for his past choices, but he surely has remorse for suffering the consequences. I accept that I know who he is, but I don’t forget.“ agree ????

      • ‘I don’t believe he is sorry for his past choices, but he surely has remorse for suffering the consequences.’
        YES Portia and Mother

    • Portia, you are so right. So many of us were trained to go along to get along. So many of us had abusive or neglectful parents.

      • Yep! Especially girls/women were (are???) advised to go along to get along.

        For me, not only did society drill this message into me, but also the Catholic church. In elementary school, the nuns gave me the “serviam” award, which was basically an award (huge honor!) meaning, “I will serve.” I was 100% teacher’s pet, constantly pleasing and seeking approval.

        The church also drilled into our little Catholic heads that “he who humbles himself shall be exalted” and “pride goeth before the fall.”

        When you add to this a narcissistic, alcoholic dad and neglectful mom, you have the makings of a Grade A chump.

        Sigh. I have some major cycles to break. Workin’ on it! ????????

        • I guess we all see things from our own prism. I think a lot of men are forced to go along to get along instead of engaging in hours of drama with women. That was my dilemma with my ex wife. I could address something that she would then never take accountability for and then we’d spend hours talking about how something was really my fault. So it was either that or swallow it and just have hours of peace.

    • I always enjoy your posts, Portia. Your thoughts and writing are like a cool morning breeze in a field of wildflowers. Both make me feel peaceful and optimistic about what is to come : ) Thank you for sharing your calm wisdom.

    • Portia, My thanks and tribute go to your integrity. Your thoughts did more for me that all the counseling sessions combined. We inflict such nonsensical rules on others then complain that people today are not authentic. Puppets all pretending. What a refreshing read. All my gratitude for you gift.

  • Weirdest thing to me is that many of my women friends and relatives don’t think cheating is necessarily a deal breaker. In conversations around the hypothetical question: ‘what would you do if your husband had an affair’, many of the women I know say they would try to work it out and stay in the marriage – that infidelity is not necessarily a marriage-dissolving offence.

    I can’t understand it because lies and secrecy are total trust-killers for me, and staying with someone you don’t trust is soul-destroying. For one of my friends, it wasn’t a hypothetical. Her husband cheated, and they worked it out. From the outside, the marriage seems fine – your typical ordinary relationship. They’ve managed to stay together and raise a family for at least 15 years post-cheat.

    • They only say that until it happens to them…. I knew cheating was wrong but I had no idea how devastating the blameshifting, gaslighting, reverse victim, re-writing our past and rage directed towards me would be. It wasn’t fucking skanks that nearly destroyed me, although that was horrifying, it was the psychological abuse that followed. Those naive people who say they “could” stay with a spouse who cheated (the fantasy is that it’s a single act and happened in the past, never to be recreated—HA! As if!) are lucky they have no idea what this is like.

      • Yes, we are betrayed, and then we are shamed, and our character is attacked for being upset.

        Domestic terrorism. Mental assault.

      • You’re probably right. Let’s see what they’d do when faced with the reality of it.
        But still, the nonchalance of their attitude toward cheating is mystifying to me. Either their marriages are merely transactional, or the prevalence of infidelity in our society has numbed everyone to the horrors of it.

        • Mystifying to me, too. I mean, how can you have a meaningful relationship without trust? I don’t get it. Lying is a dealbreaker for me…in any relationship.

    • Likely fear,because they haven’t experienced it yet. They in many cases want to believe that the chump is part of the problem, because if that is true, then their marriage is safe; because they are a good wife/sometimes husband. Though I think men rarely take blame upon themselves.

      • It’s a sense of control….if it’s really the chump’s behavior then they can have different behavior and avoid it.

        If your partner is a piece of shit you can’t control that and that’s scary. It’s the same mindset that causes people to ask about smoking when they hear someone has lung cancer…..if its all smoking they can avoid smoking, but if shit just happens it could happen to them.

        • Yep, control is it for sure.

          I remember thinking of it that way when I would hear as a young woman that some ones husband was cheating. I made an exception for my best friends husband, because I knew her and him so well and I knew he was a dog, and she was an amazing person. Yet, I still told myself otherwise for other cases, because it likely helped me control my fear. I am not even sure I realized it at the time, I just remember thinking, well there had to be problems.

          That is one of the things I have had to forgive myself for. The other is for being such a chump.

          • Don’t be too hard on yourself.

            The need to control like that is normal and human….we’ve all done it.

            It takes a strong person to eventually realize that this kind of control is an illusion.

          • I think control/fear is a big part of it.

            But I also think for some people, infidelity is not that important to them, ie: it’s just not a deal breaker.

            The reasons could be that they’re just very shallow people, so lying and breaking trust isn’t a big deal.

            Some may want to keep a nice life style, and will accept anything to keep the luxuries they have – politician’s wives come to mind here.

            I don’t understand people like that either, but the bottom line is either cheating is a deal breaker for you, or it isn’t.

    • I agree that until it happens to you, you don’t know.
      But I also know a woman in a long term marriage who stayed with her husband and she really doesn’t seem to care that he cheated and maybe still cheats. As long as she’s #1. It was just sex to her and she didn’t want sex with him anymore so she kind of ignored it. You never know what goes on behind closed doors.
      Also, some people are not very sensitive so they don’t internalize the extracurricular. Others are very practical and figure it’s best to stay together for the family.
      I know some think it’s not the marriage of their dreams but they think they are being realistic and that there are very few wonderful marriages out there.
      I know some people are really on their own journey and they don’t put too much thought into what their spouse is doing because they are so focussed on themselves.
      Not the types of relationships I could live with.

    • Yes, it’s armchair QB bullshit. It’s no different than people criticizing someone’s decisions under-pressure. Everything is easy when it’s someone else’s life, someone else’s heart, someone else enduring the trauma or their life being shown to be a lie.

      • Yep.

        It boils down to people who have no idea what they are talking about, having opinions about something they know nothing about. It is pretty easy, you know when it is not you; and you have never experienced it, that you know of.

        I was guilty of some of it myself. Until, I got gutted.

  • The entitlement seems to go beyond reconciliation with these people. Even the cheaters who reject reconciliation still feel entitled. Mine seems to think he and Schmoopie are entitled to everyone’s good will and acceptance of their relationship, including mine and the kids. I avoid Schmoopie because seeing her, especially if she is with him, is still somewhat painful for me and I see no reason why I should have to have a relationship with her. He says I need to be civil to her. I thought avoiding her was being civil. Apparently being civil means going up to her at kid events and saying hello and chit chatting. Otherwise I am shunning her and that is cruel. Two out of my three kids have managed to figure out how to be “civil” to her to the, evidently bare minimum, standards they have set as “civil”. The third one struggles with that and doesn’t really want to be around her. Ex is furious with him over that and furious with me because it is, of course, all my fault that Son is not being his definition of “civil” with Schmoopie. It is also my fault the other two only meet the minimum standard and don’t just love her to death. Apparently, that is my influence, despite the fact that I have told Son repeatedly that if he has a relationship with her I will not be hurt because I know it will make it easier for him to have a relationship with his dad, which they both seem to want.

    Ex told son this weekend that he would not help him move into his college dorm later this month after all because he isn’t being “civil” to Schmoopie and he doesn’t think Son is making any effort. Son, however has been in therapy struggling to figure out how to connect with Schmoopie to a level he is capable of and that will satisfy her and his dad. He isn’t getting any help from them. Son suggested Schmoopie join him in one of his therapy sessions. She refuses. He sent her a text asking what “civil” means to her because apparently saying hello, sitting at the same table and passing the salt when asked isn’t sufficient and is still too “chilly” and “disdainful” to be acceptable. Her response was “ask your parents”. Well this parent has no clue because my definition of “civil” seems to be a bit different than theirs. She also said she doesn’t really care anymore and that because he has already admitted he doesn’t like her in the past he can’t say anything else now because that would be fake. So how is Son supposed to figure out how to be “civil” while still being transparent about not liking her when she doesn’t care and won’t tell him what she finds acceptable? Note that I am getting most of this second hand from my son, other than the bits where ex is railing on me for having caused this situation in the first place, so I may not have the whole story. Still, the thought that pops into my head is CL’s cartoon of the head in the blender because I imagine that is how my son feels right now. The good news is that after that last text exchange with Schmoopie ex came over and spoke with son and now seems willing to help son move into his dorm. Dare I hope that he finally understood that just maybe he was putting Son in an impossible situation? We’ll see how long that goodwill lasts. Hopefully at least until Son is moved in. Gah!

    Meanwhile, I personally feel that ex and Schmoopie have no right to expect anything from me or the kids. They should be grateful for anything they get out of Son. They should be the ones falling all over themselves to make him feel comfortable and welcome if he does show up but still well within his rights to decide not to without judgement. Instead, they want to blame me for poor parenting and not teaching him the proper way to behave around other people no matter how odious they may be.

    • Exactly.

      I am convinced that my ex and schmoopie thought she would just step into my life, and it would be as if I never existed. It didn’t work that way, of course it never would. They quickly moved to a different county after he tried to carry on with our joint volunteer work and bring schmoopie in as my replacement. They were pretty much shunned by the wives. My guess is that many wives were repulsed by her, and she could feel it.

      I had backed out of all the volunteer work to heal myself and get my self out of my old life. So it wasn’t like I was around to get in their way. Down the line they screwed up their relationship with my son and family and had to flee to Florida.

      I can only imagine the tale they have spun round their life at their new location.

      • Chump in Recovery and Susie Lee:

        CIR: Your ex and schmoopie are awful people! I can’t believe they put your son in that situation. And you don’t owe that woman anything (or him either)! I hope your son can get some therapy if he isn’t already. That mindfuckery can do a number on anyone.

        SL: I agree with you. So many seem to expect their lives to chug along after discovery as if nothing had happened. They are delusional!

        I can only imagine that my ex and his OW were up to their eyeballs in one delusional story after another, neither correcting the other. “We’ll travel with x friends! We’ll go out to dinner with y friends. We’ll visit your son and daughter, maybe go on family vacations!” OMG. So off base. The kids went No Contact immediately. Friends have ghosted themselves from XH.

        As others have noted, if you think of your new OW as a new iPhone, it must be perplexing that others don’t just “accept it.” It takes better pictures!!!!

        Speaking of shallow behavior, mine actually told me that I would meet someone else because I have “nice breasts” and a fit body. So, to him, this old iPhone can at least still makes calls! He said this as a compliment, but I think it reveals how he sees women. We are body parts!

        • Spinach–

          Ick barf that he even referred to your body parts. How molestery. And then giving you “papal dispensation” to move on? I hope he breaks his dick on a subway turnstile.

        • ‘many seem to expect their lives to chug along after discovery as if nothing had happened. They are delusional!’
          Absolutely! And when the chump finds out, it is very obvious to us that they are on another planet and don’t see reality. We try hard to get them off the other planet but they like it up there. Then eventually… the wrecking ball keeps smashing different parts of everyone’s life and reality sets in but it’s too late.
          I think many cheaters and leavers hold onto that 1 story in 100 of two happily married cheaters who did ok like Prince Charles and Camilla. Or Brad Pitt, but that didn’t work out so well!

    • Chumpinrecovery, this makes me so mad. Your son is acting like the adult and Ex and Schmoopie are the bratty kids. These cheaters are so focused on their own happiness that their children become collateral damage. Then, when the kids need time and therapy to heal, it is never good/fast enough. HOW is Ex being punitive going to help the relationship?!?! Cheaters are so selfish and clueless.

      • Lol! One of the things Schmoopie said to Son is that he is still a child and so his views are not valid. Ex has always had pretty much the same attitude towards our exceptionally bright and non trouble making teenage children. Son will be 18 in October. Somehow, however, I doubt they will suddenly credit him with being an adult then.

  • CL’s comment “But it’s hard to have that zeal of working togetherness when someone just gutted you with betrayal.” really hit home. During my discard (I didn’t yet know about the affair – or rather, I was in such deep denial that I didn’t acknowledge the manifest clues), I remember distinctly thinking (and even saying to my wife) “I have a lot of work to do to save this marriage, but trying to do it under these conditions – when I’ve just had my whole world overturned – really makes it SO much harder.” I was in a new city at a new job, with zero friends and support. Basically, I didn’t understand why my XW was choosing what was objectively the hardest moment in our 20 years together to launch a high-stakes do-or-die overhaul of our relationship. It took me many months to understand that she chose that moment precisely because she didn’t want our marriage to survive. She pretended that I had an opportunity to change myself and salvage our life together, but in reality she had no desire for me to save it. XW was just too cowardly to come out and admit that she’d already checked out of the marriage, so she left me twisting in the wind, trying to figure out what I needed to do to save our doomed family.

    I’ve come to see that whatever issues and incompatibilities we had were imminently fixable if she had wanted them fixed. I am still somewhat angry, but mostly I think it’s a shame to throw away a 17 year marriage, with three kids, without even attempting to fix it.

    • That last paragraph really says it all for me. Marriage counseling was really just to point out all of my inadequacies so he would have an excuse for giving up on our marriage. Unfortunately for him, DD happened just before our first scheduled session, and I was non longer quite so eager to take on the blame for everything wrong on our marriage. Of course he then claimed the marriage failed because I wasn’t willing to self reflect on all of my inadequacies as a wife.

    • “She pretended that I had an opportunity to change myself and salvage our life together, but in reality she had no desire for me to save it. XW was just too cowardly to come out and admit that she’d already checked out of the marriage, so she left me twisting in the wind, trying to figure out what I needed to do to save our doomed family.”

      Abso-fucking-lutely. The perfect synopsis of The Troubles.

      I’m wondering if yours, like mine, came back later with the bullshit ‘explanation’: ” . . .but I didn’t know that’s what I was doing at the time — my head was in a different place then.” As if that absolves her of anything.

      • I got lots of “explanations” – so many that I kind of lost track – which were all variations on “it’s not me, it’s you”. Since XW omitted the single most important fact that was germane to the situation (that she’d become retroactively unhappy in our marriage when she started having an affair), I don’t put a lot of stock in her “explanations”.

    • ^^This, especially the last paragraph. You’re describing my ex to a T. There was a lot of blameshifting and gaslighting after DDay, and I drank that Kool-Aid for too long b/c I’m the responsible type, so if there’s a problem, I try to fix it. So, his going around telling all our friends that he “had been telling me for months that he was unhappy, but nothing changed” unfortunately worked to make me feel partly responsible for his cheating and abandonment. (I particularly love the “nothing changed” bit; in two words he both pretends he had given me a list of changes he needed to see, which he hadn’t, and neatly disavows any responsibility for helping to make those changes).

      So…I really needed to read “I’ve come to see that whatever issues and incompatibilities we had were imminently fixable if she had wanted them fixed.” Thank you for that truth. The fact that my ex made no effort to salvage our marriage means he didn’t want to. Full stop. What he wanted was to f*ck strange and discard his current wife appliance. The stories he told our friends and family about how I had changed, how I wouldn’t change…it was all smoke-and-mirrors to disguise the ugly truth of who he really was and what he was really doing to me and my family.

      • ““had been telling me for months that he was unhappy, but nothing changed””

        I wonder if in their minds, (I know, step away from the skein) that they think treating the BS like a dog, and lying constantly was their way of expressing their unhappiness, so in their minds they told you.

        The fact that I questioned what was wrong with my cheater, and he told me he was under pressure in his new job, and he loved me and would make it up to me should have translated in my mind to, hey this guy hates me and is unhappy. Silly me.

        But in the end: “The stories he told our friends and family about how I had changed, how I wouldn’t change…it was all smoke-and-mirrors to disguise the ugly truth of who he really was and what he was really doing to me and my family.” is the only thing that makes any real sense.

        Though my ex pulled the we grew apart crap with me, I doubt he trashed me much to the outside world, too many people knew us both for too long. His best friend later told me that when he talked to him about our possibly reconciling, he had said I told you, you were going to regret this.

        By then there was no chance of reconciliation, I had already told him, we were done and he was out of chances. But he did go around telling anyone that would listen that we were talking about reconciliation. (we weren’t) I still don’t know what that was about. It was so odd. Maybe he and schmnoopie had a fight, and he was hoping she would stay mad. I do know he delayed the divorce process for about six months for some reason. Who knows, another skein best left alone.

      • okupin,
        Yes, same. Mine blameshifted of course. But he also admitted that the affair felt really good and he didn’t want it to stop.
        Hard to take… that’s what I was dealing with. My H having an affair, didn’t want it to stop because it felt good!!!!! Didn’t want cake, just the new fantasy relationship.
        Screw everyone else, it felt good and he decided he was worth it.
        Yet he had never expressed 1 ounce of unhappiness to me and just wanted a fast ticket to feeling a new good.

    • Cowardly
      Because we end up feeling so destroyed with such a huge mountain ahead of us to climb to get out of grief and rebuild – it’s hard to accept how the object of our love was actually a huge COWARD. We loved a covert COWARD – I have to remember that.

  • Before moving out of our marital home I was in the kitchen making myself dinner. XH had come home to change out his clothes (he was staying elsewhere) and my cell was on the kitchen counter.

    My cell began to ring and he literally raced from one side of the kitchen to the other to see who was calling me on my cell phone. I just stared at him like he was crazy. As he ran to see who was calling me, he said “who’s calling you!?!?!”

    It was my mother.

    This happened about two months before I was able to move out into my own place. His obsession to control what I was doing, who I was talking to, and everything else was so exhausting. I had to keep reminding him he didn’t get to know anything about my life anymore.

    He definitely had the mentality that if he couldn’t have me no one could. SUPER controlling.

    I did giggle a little though inside knowing it bothered him he no longer had the rights to my world and it drove him crazy haha

    These cheaters can’t stand LOSING control. Drives them nutso!

    • Alice, I have a vague memory of the fuckwit doing something similar.

      He was constantly telling me, (before I found out for definite) the slag skank was “just my fishing buddy”

      The male leader of my book club called me, and I remember fuckwit demanding to know who Kanan was; I said, “oh, he’s just my book buddy.” ????

      • chumpnomore6, lol i love that you reversed it on him. great quick thinking! 🙂

        It felt so good to take his control away, still does till this day.

  • What they want to control is everything. When they can no longer do that, they double down and try even harder. That’s my short answer.

  • Reminds me of a situation my son told me about his dad and schmoopie, years after we divorced.

    Ex had a massive heart attack, I mean the man was on his death bed they thought. Spent three weeks in the hospital. And this was recently (about 2015) not back in the day when they kept you in the hospital for a long time.

    Anyway, there was a utility bill due, and schmoopie came to my son and said “can you drive me to the utility co to pay this bill, I can’t drive the big truck” (this was in a big metropolitan area where you don’t just hop in a drive somewhere quickly). Son says, schmoopie, just put it (the check) in the mail, it will get there before it is due, and if it doesn’t he would pay the fee. Schmoopie said, I can’t your dad won’t let me put it in the mail, he says I have to take it in.

    I am dying laughing at this point. I said “the man is about dead, he is no longer in charge” Son said, exactly what I told her, HE.IS.NOT.IN.CHARGE. Son refused to go to utility office, took the check and mailed it. Told dad when he griped about it to shut the hell up about it.

    But, I was thinking, man do I remember those times. Had to be his way or the highway. There were other examples that my son told me about, and it seemed he was even worse with her than with me.

    Full disclosure: he did make it through; but he is in bad health, and can only walk a few feet before being winded. I hate that, first I don’t wish anyone bad health, and also I hate that being in my sons genes. Though his dad was a long term smoker, and my son isn’t. Hopefully that helps.

    • Susie, it’s astounding how much cheaters value control in so many aspects of their life.

      XH is a smoker too. It was another positive thing of my marriage ending, no more second hand smoke!

    • My wife’s XH’s family has a history of heart disease. When he moved out and his adultery was exposed he had a heart attack. Ambulance took him to ER at hospital where his then wife worked in the ICU as a nurse. The lead nurse called her and said we have your husband down here. She rushed down, checked on him and then called their kids. The lead nurse, who knew my wife for 15 years checked in on her. When she heard about his cheating she looked her straight in the eyes and said, “Do you want him to suffer? Nobody but you and I will know.”
      When the AP rushed in, the lead nurse stopped her and very publically asked what her relationship was to him. “I know you’re not married, because I have known his wife for 15 years!” After she was suitably shame stared by everyone in earshot, she let her in.
      Later, the heart surgeon, whom my wife worked with for years, came by to fill her in on upcoming surgery. “I hate him, but I cannot let him die on my table. Just sayin’.”
      She felt so supported by her peers.

      • Bruno–

        So nice to hear about workplace solidarity in support of a decent person rather than on behalf of a cheat for a change.

        That would be a great scene for a medical series except I have the impression too many probably revolve around adultery subplots.

  • Yes, it is mainly about control; also *possession*. In their pathetic little minds they still own us, even though they’ve binned the marriage, and us. We’re just a ‘thing’ to them, but they still *own*us.

    I *legally* changed my name back to my maiden name, before the divorce was final. Fuckwit was informed this was now my legal name. He had some documents of mine that my solicitor told him he must return. He sent them, addressed to me in my *married* name. ???????? Fucker still thought I was his wife? Vomit. ????

    *Twice* when we were in Chambers, he said to my solicitor, “please tell Rob (my brother) thank you for being there for chumpnomore6” ????????????????????

    He was trying to fuck me over financially at that point, but he still thought he had the right to thank *my* brother for looking after me??!! Puke!

    At the time I was furious, but I now see it as a pathetic attempt at image management – “see!! I’m not a bad person, I’m a *good* person!”

    They really are rock bottom *stupid*.

    • I’m with you on the vomit reaction to having the cheater married name Chumpnomore6. XH asked me if I was changing my name and I was like, “oh no question” and he was so angry. I pushed his buttons further and said his last name sucked anyway lol

      The fact that your XH thought your brother would appreciate the comment is pathetic. I’m sure you’re brother would have appreciated it more had your XH not cheated and remained a loyal loving husband.

    • My exH had a similar reaction with the name change. We have no kids, so I have no desire to keep my married name. I will finish up my PhD next year, and I am adamant about making sure the name change is complete to become Dr. “Maiden Name” rather than Dr. “exH’s name”. While I have not legally changed my name yet (still waiting on the divorce decree to arrive – damn Covid), I have changed my name in all the informal areas (e-mail address, website, etc.). ExH started crying when I shared I was changing my name. He wouldn’t delete my web domain for my married name that he managed for me – I had to do it. He also refuses to address me with my maiden name. I do get the feeling he thought he “owned” me – it is sickening. Good riddance to him as I ride off into the sunset in the direction of my new [cheater-free] life.

      • It’s like once you learn who they really are, you want nothing to do with any part of them. I think even if my XH and I had children I would have still changed my name back to my maiden name.

        His last name was dead to me. And I really never liked it much anyway.

  • What really gets me, did I honestly think I could ever really have a salvageable relationship with this guy (ex husband) after the horrible things he did? I remember when I found out that he was a cheater, I KNEW I was done with him. I hated him, I never wanted to speak to him again. But….. We had a young child, and I convinced myself, with help from the RIC, this is a fixable thing. It is not. Like Chump Lady says, I feel if someone cheats on you, there is no future with them. If I ever am in another relationship, if the person even pursues someone else, I am done.

    • What’s really sad is that the things he did after I knew he was a cheater were even worse, if that’s possible. I didn’t think my opinion of him could get lower, but it did.

        • Same! Once the false mask falls, they don’t even try anymore.

          Here’s one example from today: In June, mine promised (in writing) that I was still on his health insurance plan through 7/31/20. But that was a lie! (The man can’t help but lie.) He admitted today that he’d removed me a month earlier, on 6/30/20. So for the entire month of June, during a pandemic, he thought I was without health insurance and didn’t care!

          Note:I wasn’t without health insurance because I had bought insurance on my own (essentially doubling up) for that month, but he didn’t know that. The bar can’t get any lower.

          • How can someone be so cruel!?! We’re living in a pandemic and he can’t even be honest about your health insurance?! I swear these cheaters don’t have a soul. They just walk around hurting people.

            • “They just walk around hurting people.”

              Yep, and when you get told by someone how he hurt them, you want to say: “What? you were under the impression that he/she/they would stop that behavior once he/she/they had thoroughly gutted me?

  • 3 days ago was my second D Day. He Blamed me for a unsatisfying love live. I was to controlling and not controlling enough. He just wants to play with his computer. He is bin giving me a cold shoulder for months. He blames me for the affair.
    All I feel is pain. I left to be with my parents. Now he wants me to pick up my stuff on Saturday and moveout or let me know if he wants to reconcile. Hope wants me to go on Saturday. Rest of me just wants to stay in bed. I don’t know if I should go or not.

    • Oh, sweeteart, I so feel your pain and hurt. I am so sorry. Please know there is an entire *chump nation*that is here for you. We have all felt what you are going through, you are not alone, I promise you that.

    • I am so sorry. I know this is still new and so difficult but the best advice I can give you is that it doesn’t matter if he wants to reconcile or not. You don’t. You might not be feeling that right now but it is true. You need to take back your power and just end it your way. Everything he says is a lie. You did not cause his unhappiness. He is the one causing you pain through his selfishness. You need to get away from the pain. Keep coming here when you feel weak. We care and we are on your side. You are worthy and you can do better. You are the strong one. He is weak. You will survive and be better off without him.

    • If it is a house that you also own, I don’t think I would let me move me out. He is the one who has left the marriage he needs to leave.

      That may not be your situation, but hang in there either way.

      • Unfortunately it is his house and I am not on the title. It is also a very small house. We would literally be on top of each other.
        I also afraid that he would brownbeat me in reconciling. I am trying desperately not to have any contact with him.

        • Hi Champignon, please go and see some kind of legal help to discuss what you are or not entitled to. If you can’t afford a lawyer, then in most countries they have some kind of free legal help. It’s possible that you’re entitled to a number of things even though your name is not on a property title.

          Read posts here and in the Archive. ALL cheaters blame their partners for cheating. The bottom line is, if any of the partners is so unhappy, then they can talk to the partner and resolve the issue, or divorce before they get involved with somebody else. Also, if I could ‘force’ anybody into anything, I’d ‘force’ and control my partner into being a great partner and being monogamous.

          If you were controlling, your partner couldn’t and wouldn’t dare to cheat on you.

          Good that you’re no contact! If you do go to pick up anything to his house, take a (male) friend/ relative with you. This way you have a witness and he’s less likely to talk you into anything.

          He already cheated on you twice. How many times does he need to cheat before you realise that you’re with an ingrained cheater?

        • Got it.

          Whole different thing.

          However, if you are married, I would still recommend a legal separation as soon as possible to protect you, and to get that sense of control. He is not making any decisions that benefit you. You can take that to the bank.

    • I know this is a horrible place and time for you. Big hugs and support. Ask yourself, is this acceptable behavior from him towards you? Listen to your body and gut. Then get your ducks in a row.
      You have a built in support system here. I didn’t know about anything when this happened to me. You will get up and take it one small step at a time. I know it’s difficult. I’m still crawling through the fire.

    • Oh sweetheart you are in the bowls of Satan . I so remember these first few days of not knowing if your going to be sick or shit !! We know exactly how you feel

      All I can recommend as someone not so far out , but far enough out to know it doesn’t hurt half as much as your feeling now PLEASE LEAVE ! If you stay you are just going to have D Day 3 then 4 then 5 then 6 . Please read the archives ( my absolute savour) see how many chumps have had this .

      If you need real time support please join Chump Lady Reddit / Facebook groups ((((( hugs to you )))))

  • My daughter saw her dad last week for the first time since she learned about D-day. At 15, she handled the situation with grace and was able to be civil. He informed her that he had never loved me, even when we married. (News to me!!! That would have been nice to know 19 years ago! Talk about rewriting history. Plus, he had more than just me bluffed.)

    He then proceeded to tell our daughter that it is wrong for us to get a divorce and it would be better if I would keep the status-quo. Meaning, he is fine with me continuing to be his wife appliance while he continues his affair. Hmm. What’s in it for me? More being treated like shit, no thanks, I’ll pass. He is just in shock because he fully expected me to pick-me-dance and want to stay with him. Talk about an ego! No, you were not so special that I want back into a loveless marriage to you so that you can keep up appearances and I get to run your chaos train for years. Especially when he keeps calling me his roommate and HER his wife. Just nasty!

    Even better, when he got home he emailed me that our daughter has all of my anger and all of my talking points. She gray rocked him and was polite, but that was his take away. He is baffled why she doesn’t want a relationship when she knows that he won’t change. Even crazier, he has not apologized to the kids or to me. Yet, we need to be more forgiving. UGH!

    • OH! And the hypocrisy! I need to stay in the marriage because divorce is wrong. But, the Stupid One gets to lie, continue cheating, divert more marital assets, and he sees nothing wrong with his actions.

      • They all say “I never loved you” or “I love you but I’m not IN love with you.”

        The reason I always knew this was backfill/rewriting was because I witnessed a workplace affair when I was 17 and learned a lot. The married coworker and howorker got enmeshed and gave off all sorts of weirdo dynamics. First cheater was totally began pretending to be someone he was not. This formerly rather dull, lumpish guy was, in fact, pretending to be the director of the company– a loud megalomaniac with a sort of macabre toxic charisma. Then howorker cried to me that she was in love with him. But who’s “him”? He was putting on an obvious facade, playing a role. Howorker was also a split personality. In my eyes these older people looked nuts.

        I met with the cheater’s wife who very calmly told how cheater said he never loved her by way of rationalizing the affair. She shrugged and said “That’s just a lie” in a way that convinced ne she was the only sane person in the mix. She was already mostly meh.

        Then of course the affair fell apart and cheater desperately tried to win his wife back but she wouldn’t have it.

        True story. The principle stayed with me. The more brutal the discard the bigger the boomerang and affairs are really an effed up form of cosplay. There is something WRONG with these people.

    • “He informed her that he had never loved me, even when we married.”

      God that is infuriating. Mine said the same thing when he left me for whore. Then when he wanted to come back, “oh I just said that to make you hate me”

      It isn’t bad enough they have gutted your recent marriage years, they have to gut it all. Burn every dammed bridge they can. They are all so much alike and yet each and every one thinks they are so different, and but for the horrible spouse they would have never done this.

    • Yep, XH didn’t want to divorce either. He said it multiple times. He said I was his best-friend, blah blah blah.

      As if! They think we’re just going to continue being a loving wife while they scr*w around all the time?! No! That’s not a way to live. What is it with men who think like this?

      I want to be cherished, and loved. I want a partner to do life with. Why would I want to live a life of pain and loneliness? They really think they are God’s gift or something to want a sick setup like that.

      • And it isn’t just that they want that set up, the think they are owed it.

        When I think of how my ex treated me up to and after the exposure of the exit whore, it makes me shudder that I ever even spoke to him again. Much less let him come back and treat me like crap again for a week until I kicked him out.

        Note: I consider all whores who happened to be in place when the marriage ended, the exit whore. There may have been many before her, but since the marriage ended while she was the whore in place, she is the exit whore.

        • My XH’s exit whore had nothing on me. I just laughed when I saw a pic of her (she was stalking me). It was no contest. I actually felt really good about myself after I knew what she looked like.

          • Oh mine either. She was only five years younger than me and ex. But, she had three grown azz loser sons. She had been divorced three times at the age of 35. She was overweight, mostly around the middle. She was a smoker, and though I am not sure; I think she also was a heavy drinker.

            Not to insult smokers or drinkers, but both of those do some skin damage long term, and she had it. Basically though she had a pleasant enough face, she looked like she had been rode hard and put up wet.

            My husband saw pictures of her and my ex in the paper that I had kept. (she was the city dog catcher, he was her supervisor) and said, what was the attraction. I just said danged if I know. My crazy older brother before I ever met my now husband, saw the same picture and said “does he have to use a ladder to get on top of that”

            I mean I get that looks aren’t the prime issue, but there has to be an initial attraction. Even his male co worker (another police officer) was in the break room one day when my dispatcher friend was in there, and he said: “I thought the idea was to trade up, not down”

            I don’t know if she had been really a hottie if that would have been easier or harder, but dang.

            • Maybe I’m the only one here, but I’m disgusted by your descriptions of the affair partner focusing on her looks. You emphasize overweight, and that seems to be one area where people feel free to criticize others. The “rode hard and put up wet” triggers disgust as well.

              It’s enough that the affair partner lacks integrity, and fucks other women’s husbands, you don’t need to insult her by running down her looks. It rather makes me wonder what you’d think of me if you met me because I, too have far too much weight around my middle. That doesn’t mean I lack integrity, have ever cheated or would ever cheat. I’m actually a pretty good person but not, but any stretch of the imagination, a beauty any more.

  • My friend reconciled with her husband years ago. To this day she has been plagued with stress-induced illness. When he is kind to her, she wonders, “what is he trying to hide?” When he’s an ass, she takes the brunt because she doesn’t want her son to have a broken home. She has just accepted this as her lot in life.

    • That’s sad.

      I have a reconciliation anecdote: A married man and married woman had an affair in our small town.

      Both couples decided to reconcile.

      The last time I saw the cheater’s wife, she was with him in a grocery store and wearing a ridiculously short skirt and tight, low-cut top, which was uncharacteristic for her. Guess she was pick-me dancing. She looked miserable.

      I just can’t see how reconciliation could work.

      I know of two other couples actually. Both of the cheated-on spouses aren’t happy, just enduirng because of fear, money, etc…. Btw, I’ve found that people tell me their stories when I tell them about my own experience with infidelity. Has anyone else noticed that?

      • Honestly I don’t see how it works out well at all.

        I assume there are a few cases where the cheater is really remorseful, and didn’t spend a year or two berating and devaluing the spouse where maybe it could work.

        But, in most cases the BS has endured a lot of hateful behavior and humiliation from the cheater. How do you ever forget that. I just think in those cases what happens is the BS just spends the rest of the marriage trying desperately to be enough. While the cheater for a while behaves, tolerates the BS, because they have already devalued them, then at some point the cheating starts again.

        Quiet desperation is no way to live a life, for anyone.

  • Stress-induced illness is a real thing. In my quarter of a century with Mr. Sparkly Pants, I developed high blood pressure, insomnia, breast cancer and diabetes, all correlated with stress. I hope your friend sees the light and decides to leave a cheater and gain a life.

  • Chump Lady, or any other member of Chump Nation who wants to chime in – What if your partner was monogamous and faithful for a long, long time (20 years in my case)? Does those years of faithfulness – along with his immediate remorse, confessions and apologies to so many, attending therapy, attending recovery groups, etc – count for anything? I’m not asking for validation that I continue in my marriage. I’m a genuinely stumped chump who is weighing 20 years of what felt like real and genuine good (not to mention three rad kiddos) against two years of WTactualF. I know a couple unicorns, and of course it makes me wonder… But also it’s all so exhausting. FYI, I’m new here.

    • It is a good question.

      I didn’t have that set up. My ex said on Dday that he never loved me and cheated from the beginning. He told me later that he lied about that, but once said…

      Hope you get some responses.

        • I stayed. He left three years later. Tracy’s advice rings true to me. Once trust has been broken, it can never be restored. He even said that as he left “You will never forgive me” and “You won’t quit reading Chump Lady”, lol. Actually, I wasn’t bringing it up, we had gone on some super fun trips and were working on fixing up our fixer upper. He just had never stopped with her and when she moved to another town, he moved with her.

          • And that is the maddening thing. They use your time and good will. Time that you/I could have spent building a new fresh life. They have nor ever will feel any remorse for that, because well they are special and we were useful for some purpose.

            I can’t even delight in their now shared misery of self inflicted financial ruin, and the self inflicted blow up of their relationship with my son and his family, because my son/family got hurt.

    • @J,

      My XH was very remorseful about his first two affairs. He cried, pleaded with me not to leave him, we did counseling, talked about it with our families, etc.

      It didn’t matter, he had another affair eventually. I never forgave him for the third and finally told him it was over. That’s when he got mean and his true colors really brightened up. I used to believe in unicorns but I don’t anymore. Once they know you will forgive them they will just keep at it.

      I’m sorry I don’t have news that cheaters can change. My XH was my best-friend, we had been through a lot together. We were really a great team. None of it mattered, he chose lust over love when he had the choice between the two. The man I married never really existed. Its a painful reality but I’m not going to live my life with someone like that. You have to ask yourself how you want to live your life.

      • Alice – Thanks for your reply. I’ve always considered my husband my closest friend as well. “We were a really great team”…truly. Because of that – if there is any hope for real change within him – I want to try for it. For the kids at least. For a little while at least. Then again, even if he CAN change – surely there are some who have cheated and changed their ways? people break chemical addictions, right? – do I want to stay with someone who would do such a thing? Did I mention his affair was with a friend of mine (we all lived in same neighborhood, attend church together, kids are friends, the works), thus blowing up our entire community?

    • The soft answer is: Is this acceptable to you? Start there. This is really the hardest thing to decide. I know you may feel comfortable in your life. Big hugs and support to you this is tough.

      My marriage is longer at 30 years with children. Still not divorced with no end date in sight. It took a long time to accept that Disney daddy was a evil monster. He lived to torture me. He used anything to do that. ANYTHING verbally. Occasionally he would also use our children because triangulation works well. He had at least 2 OWs. I can prove one thanks to her SO. But the court doesn’t care.

      Disney daddy put up the caring front initially when he was caught. I didn’t know about CL then. It lasted about a year. Things seemed ok but he was starting to act odd. He had contacted OW after child 1 was born. Separately from all the other people he notified. I found it in the sent email file. He started to DARVO. We went back to the therapist. I tried “tap therapy” to help get rid of all the pain and other symptoms. It didn’t really work. He acted all concerned.

      Then, He claimed it was depression and started medicine. I was actually lectured by the RIC about not being supportive enough of him. It’s a familiar line on here. I would not recommend this. It’s just more pain. If he’s truly interested/concerned about you, he needs to walk the walk not just talk the talk. Disney daddy quickly became all words and no actions. (Remember actions speak louder than words.) Which then slowly became passive aggressive behavior, etc. Looking backwards there were more signs of other possible things he may have done, that he just swept away or blew off as jokes they play at work ….. insert an excuse here. I have stopped looking. I have come to believe the whole thing was a lie while I was honest and faithful.

      I was programmed from an early age by FOO to accept bad treatment, apologize for anything even if wasn’t my fault, take care of others, etc. I was formed to be a chump. I was taught from very early hat I was less than worthy. My father beat my mother. He had porn “girly” calendars hanging on the shop walls. Mom only finally left dad when she caught him with his Schmoopie (She was my age.). I learned that all this behavior was normal and acceptable. I’m not sure what you learned. It took me awhile to figure all this out.

      So really, is this acceptable to you? Only you get to really decide this. Not him, he broke the contract. He is lucky to breathe the same air as you. It’s your life now. What do you want? The old you and the old life are gone. I’m sorry but he broke them. He is now a cheater and will suck in my book.

      • Chickenchump – Thanks for sharing part of your story. And thanks for your direct, supportive words. His almost two years of boinking my friend (“friend”) and lying to me is not acceptable. We also have 20 years of fairly happy history and three kids together. He is walking the walk. He seems remorseful. Trying to figure out if it’s worth investing my time in him again. I want to – for the sake of our kids and yes, even for the life comforts having a marriage provides me. Also might be nice to be free. Makes me sad. I really liked being married to the guy. (You know, until I didn’t.)

        • Lindy Bancrofts book Why Does he do that is available as a free pdf online. Search for it

          Another resource is Cheating in a nutshell. I found a copy on amazon.

          Both talk about cheaters and why they cheat. Bancroft even talks about the true repented cheaters and the actual odds of success. It’s very slim. It takes years of dedicated hard work from the cheater. Lots of support given to the chump. Good luck on your path. I tried really hard too. He didn’t. Beware of the red flags. You need to look at your past carefully with new eyes. Sorry. I had to as did many other chumps here. It’s an awful club to join.

          • Truly it is an awful club to join. The book recommendations are great though. Lundy Bancroft’s “Why Does He Do That?” helped me see that my husband was not just “emotional” or even just “angry.” He was abusive. That’s what I needed to open my eyes. I was in the process of leaving him because he was abusive when D-Day arrived. That removed all doubt and hastened my exit.

            “Cheating in a Nutshell is good, too, but the very best resource I’ve found was “Leave a Cheater; Gain a Life.”

            • I was in anger mode when I started to read books about cheaters. I kept asking my therapist if there was some sort of manual/playbook that cheaters used. I never got a recommendation so I ran a literature search. That’s how I found Bancrofts book. It eventually lead me here.

              I wanted to basically be prepared for the onslaught and the enemy’s tactics. (That sprang from reading The Art of War while negotiating a contract many years ago. I wanted my generals in my temple prepared.) however I have no way to really measure lawyers. That hampers your military efforts. So you let the big leader run the temple. He’s always been there and has your back. That’s a different book.

    • Welcome, J.

      I’m going to ask you three questions — not to have you answer here, but to have you think long and hard about the answers:

      Are you absolutely SURE your partner was monogamous and faithful for 20 years?
      Are you happy with the way he treated you during those 20 years?
      And are you 100% certain you’re looking at real unicorns and not just white horses with a rainbow dye job?

      I come from a long line of cheaters at least four generations back, my sibling and all of my cousins are cheaters and I’ve dated and been married to cheaters. I’ve been programmed since infancy to accept cheating. I know cheaters. Someone who is willing to cheat on you, to risk your health and your financial security, to betray your trust and to unilaterally change the parameters of marriage from monogamous to NOT monogamous and keep the whole thing a secret from you — that someone is selfish and entitled. That person has always been selfish and entitled. Are you certain that they weren’t on dating sites, seeing hookers or texting away with an old girlfriend? Are you 110% certain that they never had a one night stand on a business trip or a quick romp with your friend at weekend party or while you were off being counselor at your child’s summer camp? I’m willing to bet that if you take a long, hard look at that 20 years, you’ll have questions . . . things that seemed odd at the time that you didn’t take a close look at or that you dismissed because you were so sure he’d never cheat. I know that was true for me. But once I accepted that he WOULD cheat, when I looked back at the time he spent “fixing Cindy’s roof” or “Helping Suzanne with her spin kick” or “comforting Cheryl about her child custody case” things looked a little different.

      Even if you still don’t think he was cheating, are you happy with the way he was treating you? Did he treat you as an equal? Or did he feel entitled to make the decisions for the family, for your children, for you? Was he kind and generous to you? Or did you find yourself making accommodations for him that you know he wouldn’t make for you? Did you support him? Were you the perfect wife, ensuring that he came home to clean and quiet children, a delicious dinner and a perfect home, that he was able to ‘relax’ every weekend by hunting and fishing, by playing golf or going to sporting events while you stayed home with his children? If you can honestly look back and say that he was a kind, generous, supportive spouse who treated you as an equal, that is one thing. But if you look back and see that you did all of the giving while he did most of the taking, that’s another.

      And, if you were happy for the way he treated you for 22 years, what about the lying, the gaslighting, the sneaking around. Having a two-year affair isn’t just one mistake; it’s a series of choices to put himself and his “happiness” before you and your happiness, before your marriage and before your children. It’s a series of choices to lie to you, to gaslight you, to misdirect, to go behind your back, to sneak around. That’s abuse. Are you OK with that? Do you think you can trust him again? Really? Run a credit report and then see how you feel about those 22 years. Is the money all where you think it is? Or did he spend marital funds on his “indiscretions?”

      And finally, those unicorns you think you know? No matter how well you think you know them, you don’t. You didn’t know your husband was cheating did you? So how do you know that these people are, in fact, unicorns and not just hiding their cheating really, really well? And how do you know that their spouses trust them and aren’t secretly checking the retirement accounts, the credit report and the GPS locator on their cars?

      Nobody but you gets to decide what you do now that you know. No one gets to judge you, whatever you decide. But please make sure you think long and hard before making a decision. You cannot ever get back the years you spent with him, but make sure you’re not staying with him out of fear. Someone who is willing to cheat once is willing to do it again.

      • Good post.

        ” I’m willing to bet that if you take a long, hard look at that 20 years, you’ll have questions . . . things that seemed odd at the time that you didn’t take a close look at or that you dismissed because you were so sure he’d never cheat. ”

        Examples in my past life:

        “I am going to go out and ride with one of the guys on night shift”
        “can you work this volunteer spot for me, I have to go to a counsel meeting”
        “sorry I am so late, I was talking with “joe” he is having marriage problems”
        “I got caught up in an all night poker game with “sam”
        “Oh if you get some calls telling you I am messing around, it is political and they are lying”
        and on and on.
        “I was out all night plowing snow with the city crew, we had a blast”

        Yes, I was beyond stupid, because I trusted him, he acted like he loved me, and he was really down on the guys who were cheating. Fully involved in church. Just an all round great guy. NOT.

      • Wow. The-Ex Mrs Sparkly Pants. Thank you. I’m copying your reply into my journal where I can access quickly and meditate on all your points. I sure do feel tempted to try and reply here in detail. Wanna share more of my story and hear your thoughts! Feel you’d have more wisdom to share. With 20 years of what felt like quality relationship with my husband – and now three kids in the mix – as well as his seemingly genuine efforts at digging into why he felt so entitled – I feel like I want to extend him a second chance. Are there absolutely no cheaters who have reformed their ways? None? Anywhere? I suppose I want to know if it’s possible. I guess CL says so – “possible…but not probable”. Maybe then I would feel like the re-investing might be worth the work. I also know that even if he remained faithful from here on out, it doesn’t mean I have to reconcile. Thank you so, so much for your reply. Love your hilarious handle!

        • Thanks for the kind words.

          I have never known a “reformed cheater”. Not ever. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist somewhere but, as Chumplady says, they’re rare and difficult to find.

          Say you’re willing to overlook two years of cheating for the sake of your comfortable life and the love you still have for the man, are you also willing to overlook two years of lying, sneaking around, blame shifting, exposing you to sexually transmitted diseases and spending marital money on his affair? How are you so sure it was ‘only’ two years? Because he said so? I know this is obvious, but it cannot be restated often enough or emphatically enough: cheaters lie.

          As far as the children — think very carefully about the sort of relationship you want to model for them, about what you want them to grow up thinking of as normal. My mother, by accepting my father’s cheating, modeled cheating as normal. That’s a lesson I really could have done without.

          Only you can decide how you want to move forward, but you did ask us for advice. For most of us, leaving a cheater did mean gaining a (better) life.

    • J how awful. I know before this CL site, I would have killed myself trying. It’s really about what his actions mean and will continue to mean for you. He has shown you who he is NOW. Believe him. Like Maya Angelou says “believe them the first time”.
      The past is the past, the future isn’t here, NOW you have a spouse who is capable of betraying you for two years. Huge betrayal. That’s your sad reality. Believe who he is now through his actions. In my experience, if you have to ask you know the answer.
      I think back to my own childhood. My father cheated, my mom stayed and my dad ended the affair. My mom stayed for very good reasons at the time. Looking back, we would’ve all been much better off with him completely out of our life. A very troubled man who went on to do more and more damage. I’m not saying your spouse is very troubled, he may just be an entitled fuckwit. Nevertheless, when I look around… many people who have drag things on end up with an even worse outcome in the end.

      • Thanks Zip. My entitled fuckwit is/was also a present and involved dad, a stable provider, made me laugh almost every day of our first 20 years, is doing so much of The Work now – do I wanna throw out the baby with entitled fuckwit bathwater? I don’t know. Maybe? So much loss, either way. Appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

        • I think it can be a hard decision in the case like yours where he seems to be wanting to change, and if I remember right he didn’t turn mean on you.

          I have to say, if my ex had came back and said all the right things in the beginning, instead of after he had trashed me. I likely would have given it a go. In my case it would have been another disaster, as he was revealed as being pretty nasty. Actually I did try once, and he blew that up too.

          But, that does not mean it would be the same for you. I hope if you decide to stay, it work out.

  • Hmm, yes, my cheater told me he was absolutely heartbroken that I was divorcing him and giving up on him. This is after he cheated for the ENTIRETY of our blessedly short 5 year marriage. (and I was a chump and gave him more than one chance to change his ways, you know, because we had kids and everyone told me too) To this day I’ll never understand. He still says one day we’ll be back together because we were meant for each other and that even if I marry someone else, I still belong to him. Vomit. We have children together, so unfortunately I still have to hear this crap. But I’m immune at this point. Grey rock all the way.

  • I so needed this right now. I constantly beat myself up thinking about how if I had done things differently this wouldn’t have happened. My life is great, but I’m lonely and I have a hard time believing there is someone out there who will appreciate me.

    • I feel the same way. Then I take a hard look at all the things my XH did and said the last 3yrs we were married and I just can’t see how if I had done anything different he wouldn’t have done those awful things. I really gave it my best effort to make him happy, that I’m sure of.

      I do try to remember we are in a pandemic right now as well so everything feels a little somber at this time. Dating is difficult and even seeing friends is difficult. I’m lonely as well, but again I remind myself that I was lonely in my marriage in the end yrs because he was never around. I’d rather be divorced and alone than married and neglected if that makes sense.

    • I’m feeling the same way. Not feeling worthy of anything. I’m working overseas for a year. Finalizing a divorce from a STBXW of 12 years with a 10y son and 7y daughter. Just found out she’s 4-months pregnant by her AP (small consolation that the decree will have it stated that the child was conceived as an extra-marital).

      It’s hard some days. It’s a challenge to get out of bed sometimes. The time zone difference sucks for talking with kids. Just keeping on, keeping on.

      • Stay strong, you can do this. Remember what Churchill said – “If you are going through hell, just keep on going.”
        Focus on your kids, they are the sunshine of your life and they will appreciate it and love you forever.

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