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The Apology That Wasn’t

Narcissist GoldfishThe UBT lives on a steady diet of cookies and non-apology apologies. Why just this week it regurgitated “I feel pain” and “I have grown a lot” — self-pity and self-congratulation passed off as remorse.

There’s a lot of lame-ass sorry going around. Anyone following the lurid story of NXIVM? Head creep and sex cult freak Keith Rainere was sentenced to life in prison this week. According to the Daily Beast, he told his victims:

“I am deeply sorry and I see that where I am is caused by me. I am deeply remorseful and repentant,” he said. “It is true I am not remorseful over the crimes I do not believe I have committed at all. But I am deeply remorseful of all this pain.”

The sentencing marks the end of a years-long battle between Raniere, known as “Vanguard,” and scores of former members who allege NXIVM was a criminal enterprise in which Raniere had sex with underage girls, forced women he impregnated to have abortions, and made “slaves” illegally monitor his enemies. Last June, Raniere was convicted of seven offenses—including wire fraud conspiracy, sex trafficking conspiracy, and forced labor conspiracy—for manipulating his followers for his own sexual gratification under the guise of NXIVM’s mission.

Rainere would have you believe that he’s committed no crimes, but just goes around as some sort of misery antenna feeling “remorseful” for all the pain he has nothing to do with. He regrets its existence, like one regrets acid rain or a badly dressed stranger. They should really do something about that…

Oh, and the UBT would like to chomp on “I see that where I am is caused by me.”

Yes, you have legs. We all cause ourselves to be places.

“It is true I am not remorseful over the crimes I do not believe I have committed at all.”

Well, that’s the important thing, Keith — what you believe. Forget the evidence or dozens of victims’ testimony, if you think you’re not a Bad Person, you aren’t! I’m a corgi in a party hat!

Isn’t it funny how shitty non-apology apologies are the same all over?

Today’s Friday Challenge is to share your Sorry Not Sorry sightings.

I am deeply remorseful for this challenge. I see that where I am (in bed, writing a column) is caused by me. I do not believe I have committed a column at all.

Are you reading a column? That’s on you. I feel pain.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • LACGAL blog vets will likely remember that KK sent me a masterpiece of “sorry not sorry” 5 days after the divorce was finalized, beginning with this:

    “First, I am sorry. I am sorry that we promised ‘forever’ to each other when we had no concept of what ‘forever’ meant. If there is fault in that promise, we both have that burden -— how can we blame each other for what we could never have possibly understood then? We were naive, we were clueless, we were still growing when we made our vows. We did not know that we would grow apart.”

    If you can stomach it, the whole thing is here:

    • I was so conflicted reading the previous post on the apology…..caught between throwing up in my mouth and laughing out loud at the UBT’s assessment.

      Dear God…..I am so sorry you had to deal with this!

      Have you come clean and apologized for forcing her to cheat on you? ????

    • This is over the top hilarious!!

      “Actions speak louder than words” – unless they’re flowery.

    • UXWorld – you win at Gray Rock! Twist up your mouth all you want. I know the point is not to see KK squirm – but she’s squirming, all the same.

      My SBTX has intimated Every. Single. Thing in KK’s letter, though she hasn’t set it all down so concisely. KK really bequeathed you with the mother lode of entitlement. Keep posting about it here, to educate the newbies! Hopefully they’ll see reflections of what their own fuckwits have said. All best to you, UX

      • Exactly! I can’t remember where I got this from but I think it fits:

        What do you mean we, do you have a mouse in your pocket?

    • It’s a relief to know that sparkledick does not have the imagination to write something like KK, I’ll be spared that…
      He is sorry he broke his promise to the priest who married us and will not enjoy our grandchildren together.

    • Ugh, that sounds exactly like what I got from my ex too. He imagines himself a great poet (met one of his schmoopies through an online poetry ‘zine) and is long winded. He doesn’t send me such treatises anymore, because I stopped replying anything but “K”.

      When my son is 18 I am totally free, but at least now my son can manage his own relationship with his dad. I don’t need to hear the non-apologies anymore. 🙂

    • Ah. When I feel a wee bit downish about things I can remember KK and the absolute self-serving mindfuck that she dishes up on the regular. Hahahahaha what a tool she us.

    • UX–

      Jeez. Thank God for the UBX translation. Without that buffer, KK’s letter would make eyes bleed.

      I had a physical reaction to the original message, especially the part about touching your hand when you meet in imaginary future scenarios. It caused an impulse to violently flinch and shrug off one of those radioactively patronizing “betrayer pats.”

      What I intuit about it is that the patronizing behavior is the other extreme from total infantile dependency. I sensed in that letter she’s reenacting a role and it smacks of “toxic daddy.” I’m guessing that, at other times, she was prone to playing helpless hot mess.

      It’s as if people with mommy or daddy issues switch back and forth between casting others as the unavailable or controlling parent proxy or embodying the unavailable or controlling toxic parent figure themselves. No middle ground. They hand everyone an invisible script and punish them if they don’t role-play as expected. It’s a bit like that “topping from the bottom” thing in BDSM (heard the expression in The Sopranos– ugh).

      Chumps are chumps to the extent we didn’t know there was a script to begin with.

      • That’s an incredibly astute interpretation of her, HoaC. Especialy the ‘invisible script’ part — that is so spot on. (And yes, both daddy and mommy issues through which I tried to nurse her for some 20 years.)

        This is why I love coming back here, some 5 years after The Troubles — such wisdom, it’s like a renewal.

        • UX– I come here for the same reason.

          I figured out this particular bit of psychosis from dealing with cheater’s personality disordered mom and sister and realized it fit other betrayer-type women I’d known– the types that swing between specific gender stereotype extremes. MIL-from hell was “fluttery” and chatty and cried on a dime and SIL-from-hell was a whispery weirdo who typically didn’t participate in adult conversations as if she were the spacey 8 year old at the grownup table. But then both could suddenly and dramatically turn into patronizing, know-it-all, authoritarian, toxic-dad-like assholes. Yikes.

          I quickly realized that if there was no boorish, controlling male authority figure around to keep everyone in line, these women seemed to have a compulsion to “fill the bill” by embodying exactly that. The weird thing is that they both seemed to bitterly dislike men like this but it’s like there was no order to their universe if someone wasn’t playing this role. Both could be gratuitously nasty and mocking towards men who weren’t like this. All a little “BDSM.”

          No surprise to find out cheater’s AP was exactly the same. Baby-talking, “dependent” suck-up out of one side of her face and then bossy, blathering boor to younger women at her job or nasty scapegoating of the quieter, less dominant men she worked with.

          The latter is what led to D-Day– when two young coworkers got sick of her toxic, two-faced behavior and fixed her wagon by anonymously blowing the whistle on the workplace affair. I appreciated the heads up even if it wasn’t initially driven by moral outrage on behalf of me and the kids, more about venting on a toxic work environment because HR was useless.

          Everyone has facets, it can be very healthy, but not this exaggerated. Normal people have more middle ground in their behavior. But this type doesn’t “do” or respect middle ground in others. The whole thing seems to apply to cheaters in general. They may at first be drawn to chumps because of some chump trait or other that they (cheaters) think promises some cartoonish archetype and a chance ti reenact some quasi-BDSM script– say tallness or deep voice in a male chump that’s mistaken for “dom,” or “nurturing” in a she-chump that’s presumed to be “sub” (or whatever weirdness floats their boat). But then the internal rage tapes begin when chumps turn out to be human and don’t cosplay properly.

          Can you tell I’ve thought about this a bit? Fixing my picker requires finding basic principles to help avoid toxic people in general, whether it’s about work life, family, social life or who gets anywhere near my kids.

          • Also everything cheaters accuse chumps of in the raging DARVO stage will often turn out to be exactly what the cheater subconsciously sought (and usually gets) in an AP.

      • Yes! The presence of the invisible script—the dark matter of the relational context. I wonder if the script is likewise invisible to lead actor?

        • Epictetus– I think that gets into some really dark and mucky corners of repressed hostility and reenactment of childhood relationships. Abusers are control freaks, control freaks have scripts, but typically acuse their victims of being controlling abusers, etc.

          I think every time an abuser’s hate tapes start rolling, they’re compelled to project the hate, hostility and bad intentions onto others. “Extrernalization of evil.”

          Maybe they’re projecting more than that. I’ve wondered if a lot of the attacks on chumps actually begin as a “training” program they put their AP’s through, at least in the case of FWs who focus on a main side affair. They also hand an invisible script to the APs and direct the scenes. You hear the story so many times– cheaters trashing their spouses, casting them as the bogey man and themselves as victims. What if the MO of doing this isn’t just to reverse guilt? They may not literally say, “Don’t be like this or that and don’t do these things my evil, unlovable, horrible spouse does…” But smearing the spouse can act as a head on a pike all the same. It’s a tool of double control– they frame the spouse and dog-train the side partner at the same time. They practice and ruminate on this enough that they start to believe their own slander. They eventually vomit it on the betrayed partner, who often is left scratching their heads and unable to recognize themselves in the charges.

          I used to think the DARVO atracks were just attempts to shock the victim into paralysis. But in the context of “AP training program,” this begs another possible interpretation. Maybe the “training” is geared to what the abuser senses is the covert dark sides of the APs themselves– something they’re sensitized to because they’ve seen it before.

          If you imagine the abuser is attempting to reenact some abusive relationship from childhood and the betrayed partner hasn’t been much fun in this regard, the abuser’s act of choosing an AP is all about going to the “devil they know”– a predictable type of person who will, according to the abuser’s past experience, eventually manifest all the behaviors the abuser most fears but also can’t live without because their lives cease to make any sense without those destructive elements.

          Fir instance, male chumps here have been frequently left baffled in their FWs DARVO phases as they’re accused of “abuse.” Meanwhile their partners’ APs often give off all sorts of red flags that they could be exactly that– tattooed knuckle-draggers or power mongers, etc. Plus the fact the APs poached a relationship automatically guarantees some degree of darkness. In fact, the relationship poachers may have their own invisible scripts which FWs are then expected to follow. It may not matter as long as *someone* is playing the abuser and someone else is playing the sub. Love means someone’s got to be the victim. Maybe chumps don’t play the part properly.

          So now I think of DARVO attacks more like a tour guide describing the journey into the lion’s mouth (relationship with an AP) as the FW seeks that “familiar devil” they both hate and long for: “As we pass beyond the razor claws, above and below we have some very sharp teeth and the sour smell of rotting carcasses coming from the roaring gullet ahead…”

          Projecting all of the negative traits they either observe or expect in the AP seems like an obvious way to deny where they’re headed as they go “home.”

          • So smart —

            “Love means someone’s got to be the victim.” As a corollary, as you know, that view holds someone’s got to be the dom. In my experience abusers are obsessed with power, the harvesting of resources and energy, from others, and the uniforms vary from the fey, timid, whispy perpetual victim to the bruising personsplaining vain bore. The uniforms vary while the mission—to harm, exploit and manipulate others—remains locked.

            Your reading of the AP Training module rings so clearly: in chess, I think it’s called forking the opponent: gaining maximum leverage. And the relational poacher is just so profoundly sick in spirit. There’s this obsession with winning: the Other Person, the destruction of the Mate, the paying Least Amount for X or Y or Taxes.

            Projection, I’m pretty certain, is linked to all our experiences: those who are driven by fear, envy, greed, suspicion are naturally going to project it onto their mates. And obviously they’ll be drawn to APs who convey those same characteristics the chump is purportedly vilified for.

            I don’t get from where these obsessions to win—to destroy, to annihilate, to ruin—derive: this needing to Win. To be best. The message I’ve conveyed to my kids all their lives is simply to, in the words of Richard Powers, “Run your own race.”

            And such an openly stated declaration makes one vulnerable to exploitation by the sociopath.

            Also, a little learning is a good thing, and experience brings tears and wisdom, and it’s unlikely I’d be so manipulated or exploited again in the future.

            For me Self-Awareness is essential, and my focus echoes your ideas of the Dark. A person unwilling to look at, illuminate the interiors of the self, is and always will be dangerous. Correspondingly, that which is Dark isn’t necessarily bad, it’s simply not illuminated: those driven by what is Dark in their own psyches however have no idea of the engine propelling them forward. And motive is irrelevant when the action results in explicit harm. It took me some time to realize the person seeking to destroy me simply couldn’t understand let alone respect my values. That inability to understand or respect me didn’t alter the fact that she sought to harm me.

            There’s a profound spinelessness revealed by the chameleonic convictions of the sociopath. It’s as if that invisible script has in fact become the spine.

            A methodist prayer I like reads, “… from failure, to freedom and release.”

            • Epictetus

              This rings so true–

              “the uniforms vary from the fey, timid, whispy perpetual victim to the bruising personsplaining vain bore.”

              I would add that the only people I’ve ever seen “play victim” are perps. And they tend to play it off better than actual victims who don’t tend to put on such a heartwarming show of victimhood (what with the red-faced sobbing alone in the bathroom, grat complexion or numb, jittery or haunted deneanor, etc.).

              You also wrote: “That inability to understand or respect me didn’t alter the fact that she sought to harm me.”

              Watching a thug trounce a decent person is like watching a goat eat a Van Gogh. Pointless and something is really lost to the world in that moment. It’s not like the world has enough decency as it is.

              I get why some have that survivalist view of win or die– people from violent cultures where that isn’t just metaphorical, those who lived through the Great Depression, war, etc. This panic can get passed through generations. But in times of relative peace, it’s a miserable way to live and can destroy families(the theme of Lost in Yonkers). As far as what you teach your kids, I agree. Dog eat dog requires a view that we’re all dogs. A wise retired teacher told me that she did not want to be at the top or the bottom of the wheel of life but in the middle of it.

              • Interesting.

                My Ex definitely had that attitude. He told me and a couple other folks close to him; “I (meaning him) am a survivor; I will make it” after he blew us up. I guess in his mind, I wasn’t one. I don’t know.

                Oddly, I have managed my life post divorce so much better than he has. Financially and emotionally. He (I guess with schmoopies help) ran himself into bankruptcy and blew up his relationship with his son. There are other things too, but those are the highlights.

                Oh it was no fun for me, I was devastated; but I as the old song goes: Picked myself up, wiped myself off and started all over again.

          • “Love means someone’s got to be the victim.”

            I have always thought of it as, this type of person only understands power and control. If they feel like they aren’t in charge, that means the other person must be, and is therefore to be feared/resented/rebelled against. A relationship of adult equal partners who discuss, negotiate, and care about each other’s welfare is incomprehensible to them.

    • Oh. My. God. What a manipulative, entitled, disgustingly dishonest sack of donkey dung. She’s forgiven YOU? Wow. I’d like to bitch slap her so hard her ancestors feel it.
      A thousand eeeews aren’t enough to express my revulsion at that horrid letter.

    • When the she creature mentions in the wuthering heights like apology about a parent dieing I got the feeling she sees him dead first as she is far to above the gods to be bothered with death..and who would soak up all those kibbles!

  • The closest I got was, “I am sorry you’re so sad “- as he put his hand on my shoulder. Ew.

    • When I had to drag him to the bank so we could close the joint account that he kept overdrawing (I had already gotten a new one, thank heavens) he managed an “I’m sorry I ruined your life”. Turns out him getting booted from said life actually was one of the best choices I ever made. So much better. He just thought he ruined my life because he’s not in it anymore. Surprise, sucker!

      • He didn’t ruin your life, he ruined his own and freed you to have a life. I suspect he knows that. Most of them do, though they are unlikely to admit it.

        My ex actually told my daughter in law about a year after our divorce was final, and he was remarried; that he should have stayed with Susie. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have no illusion that he missed me or had any regard for me. I suspect the sparkle had faded off schmoopies magic vagina, and he was wishing he could be married to good old Susie, and still be sneaking around for the thrills.

        The reason I think that is, he went on to cheat on schmooie quite a bit. My daughter in law said she even left him a couple times. Of course she was not going to divorce him, she needed his paycheck. He took her out of the trailer park, where she couldn’t even meet the rent payments. Unfortunately for them, they gambled up lots of debt and had to file bankruptcy, so they had to sell the house they bought. They are now living in Florida in a fixer upper trailer.

        Nothing wrong with living in a trailer, but the way they got there was classic.

      • “I’m sorry I ruined your life.”

        Translation: “Ruining your life means I’m central. Aprés moi, le deluge!”

        On hearing I had found out about the affair, the AP said at first, “Oh she must feel awful.”

        Translation: “Yay!”

        Then AP found out she was being dumped (because FW, by his own chilling admission, had used the marriage as a shield against having to commit to the AP and he was losing that shield, oops). So she went into a four hour weepy scream fest in which she belied any concern whatsoever for what would happen to me or the kids, how we felt, etc.

        I read somewhere that those with personality disorders suffer from a chronic sense of emptiness and don’t know they exist unless they can “effect” the lives and fates of other people. Since causing a negative impact on others is so much easier than making a positive one, causing damage becomes a reward in itself.

        Damage, yay! Permanent damage, yippee yay!

        • O Napoleon—

          I got: “I didn’t think anything I could do would hurt you.”

          So she practiced a lot.

          • Epictetus– If at first you don’t succeed…

            I’m sure it wasn’t “conscious”– as if something being unconscious or their not “meaning” or “intending” something make a perpetrator any less guilty. They get so good at it they don’t need to think it through beforehand, then get the double kibble dose of feeling innocent of the crime.

            You get the feeling FWs live more than half their waking lives underground and subconsciously. That in a nutshell is what makes them so dangerous. Watch out for the types who constantly “check out” of reality.

            • Your dangerous comment is on the mark.

              I remember in hindsight several times my FW actually “confessed” to me. I didn’t pick up on it until the last few months. The way he would confess would be in telling me things that “other guys” were doing. I came to realize he was confessing.

              He even told me at one point that his employee (schmoopie) was messing around with a 50 year old man. In truth the man was 40 and it was him. Though to be fair she had screwed with several married guys before him, before she found a schmuck that would marry her.

              I knew something was wrong, but he kept saying it was his new job, stress yada yada.

              • I got endlessly the language of “self-sabotage” which I realized was a softening up of things conveyed by her therapist to keep her coming back—

                The affairs were an act of self-sabotage;

                The gossiping was an act of self-sabotage;

                The blowing up of the family was an act of self-sabotage:

                Thus, the saboteur, poor thing, becomes a victim.

                Sabotage, ask any state, is an act of war, and it intends to destroy the lives of others. If somebody is excessively vulnerable to self-sabotage that person is likely lacking in self-awareness and reckless, destructive, and damaging.

                I’m not talking about procrastinating while studying for a test: but not disclosing a relational betrayal? That’s an act of sabotage.

    • The closest I got was a flat refusal to apologize because he “didn’t believe he’d done anything wrong” and anyway, he’d already forgiven himself.

  • “I’m sorry I ever let that man get near me, but I was lonely and he said he wanted to marry me . You were gone working all the time and I didn’t feel like you loved me . Anyway I’ve grown from this , I went to confession and have been absolved ! ” 30 years later and it’s hard to walk into a church .

    • My ex FW and schmoopie are really into church. He became a lay (no pun intended) preacher; and she posts religious memes non stop on her FB. (or at least she used to, when I would look for pics of the grands).

      The grands are grown, so I don’t see it anymore.

      When I would go stay with my son and take care of my granddaughter they lived in the mother in law apt attached to the house. I would hear him singing hymns.

      When he was plugging schmoopie he had her come to our church, she sat across the aisle while we sat together on the other side.

      I remember he said that is schmoopies son over there. Schmoopie was his employee. This was before I found out, by about two weeks. After church she came up to him and was talking about some problem at work. She was upset, so I put my hand on her arm and said, it will be ok. She never looked at me, she stared him straight in the eyes. I remember it vividly.

      It is vomit inducing.

      • Pretty much an inarguable fact: a woman who approaches your partner and speaks to him and doesn’t even look at you – that woman is fucking him. Happened to me. When that wasn’t enough to make me leave him, she phoned me….

        • Yep, I wish I had known that.

          I knew something was wrong, and I had even started to suspect he was cheating; but honestly she was not an appealing person in action or in looks; and it just went right over my head.

          There was someone that had crossed my mind, but it was not her. It was her best friend, because she was better looking and had a better personality.

          Plus, he had brought schmoopie in to my house several times when I was there; so surely he wouldn’t have brought her in my house if he was screwing her. Susie, Susie; you were/are just so stupid. Where was CL when I needed her. Unfortunately she was likely just a kid.

          • Schmoopie in my case has an ass on her like a volkswagen beetle, a complexion pitted with acne scars, and dyed hair that is so overprocessed it looks like rope. She works at a minimum wage job, with a high school education. I am a former model, great looking if I do say so, have a graduate degree and was bringing home hundred’s of thousands of dollars a year and putting it all in his hands. Cheating has got nothing to do with the wife and everything to do with the nasty black stinking hole where the man’s morals ought to be but aren’t.

            • All true.

              I laughed at your VW reference. His schmoopie looked like a VW beetle from the side. Only it was her stomach that provided the hump.

              I remember in real time, I showed the picture of her and him at some kind of city event that had made the paper. My brother looked at her and said, damn, does he need a ladder to get on top of that? But, I guess that is what he wanted.

      • I think religious cheaters, and their enablers in church, like to distort the whole “forgiveness” angle to avoid any consequences. “Well, you should take your spouse back, no matter what she did, because God said you have to forgive others their trespasses.” Actually, forgiveness requires true repentance, which cheaters almost never do.
        Whenever someone asks me, I say “Forgiveness also requires repentance and a true apology. As I have been given many false apologies, I am unwilling to trust any new ones.”
        If I’m pressed further about why I won’t take my spouse back, I go with this analogy: “What would the church do if the treasurer got caught embezzling money, enough to where programs had to be cut? There are many ways that the church could deal with the embezzler’s soul, but there would only be one course of action for the job itself: the embezzler would be immediately fired as treasurer, and not allowed back. No amount of acting sorry or 12-step classes would convince most people to allow that person to come back to that job; trust is so central to that position that, having abused it so badly, no one would want to get burned again.”

        • Some do. Our preacher wasn’t like that.

          In fact at one point he said, Susie you need to get to the mad stage. So I did, it was then that I took control of my life; and cheater lost his hold over me.

          Our preacher also, told the FW that he could not counsel him as long as he was with schmoopie, as he had lied to him. He did say, he would refer him to a counselor if that was what he needed. FW had no interest in that, he just wanted to manipulate preacher like he had Susie. Preacher didn’t just fall off the turnip truck like Susie had.

          I kept going to church there for quite a while. If I hadn’t FW may have tried to just slip schmoopie in as my replacement. He used to come to church while on duty, and sit in the back of the church. I have wondered if he still did that after he left me. I never turned around to look, and I didn’t hear any radio traffic in the background, like I used to before he left.

          I regret that I didn’t tell the preacher how the ex treated me while cheating. I was just so ashamed, and I didn’t know it was common place for cheaters. This was way before internet, or CL.

          It wouldn’t have changed anything, but it would have given the preacher more insight to cheaters. He may have already know, but since I didn’t open up…

    • Yeah… absolution of a mortal sin?

      Maybe you could actually ask a priest as to whether the mortal sin of adultery is “absolved” as easily as veinal sins like speaking rudely to the check-out clerk.

      She’s lying.

    • Cheater was an ostensibly actively practicing Catholic during much of the cheating and “big” cheater episode he melted down with. I asked him once how he reconciled his faith with his actions. How he dealt with that guilt and cognitive dissonance had a few forms
      1) he went to confession actually trying to not do “it” again (whatever it was on that particular day)
      2) he figured the men of the old testament had more than one woman so he could too
      3) he decided that my “pressuring” him to marry and his reluctance created an absence of genuine consent which invalidated our marriage which he did mention to me but never followed through with
      4) he decided that the fact that he cried during this episode meant that his feelings for her were real
      5) he could civilly marry her without an annulment from me and just not tell anyone at the church they decided to attend later

      • Crazy. Just crazy.

        I liked that part where “he decided that the fact that he cried during this episode meant that his feelings for her were real”.

        Now I understand why sparkles had a scapular, an Our Lady of Mercy medal a rosary and two New Testaments on his night table

      • What’s up with the constant “I didn’t wantttttt to marry her….but it’s what she wanted” narrative bullshit? I’ve heard that so damn much. Know what it sounds like to me? “I’m probably a liar and definitely a super weak willed human being at best, who wants to gas you up into believing everyone else I ever met was a mistake and took advantage of me, wanna hang?” Vomit. As if I need another cowardly excuse maker in my life

        • Yep, it goes along with the “I never loved you” bullshit. They never stop to think, well if you married me and didn’t love me, and have been lying to me for 22 years, that makes you an ever bigger piece of shit than if you had actually loved me, then cheated on me down the line.

          However, cheaters being who they are, it likely is true that they never really loved anyone but themselves, and that includes their adultery partners. It is all about what thrill them at the time.

          With a cheater, one excuse is a good as another.

          • One problem is that he had some outwardly respectable and seemingly admirable traits (when we met he had gotten into an elite military academy which gives all students a free education and sets them up in a military career) which made him seem logical and normal. In those days, I looked like a flighty, idealistic girl.

            What didnt show in those early days is that I had a level head and life as a young woman had already taught me that you can not have everything…when you choose some things, other options cease to be options. He was missing those brain cells…he relished options and seemed to demand that life would let him have his cake and eat it too – in all things. He didnt want to pick between 2 cars, he wanted both so he got one then traded for the other a few months later (losing MANY thousands of $) same with houses, jobs, and women.

            I know Im untangling the skein and I hate to admit that doing so helps me understand that there is NOTHING I could have ever done to have helped him live better.

            • (((unicornamore))))
              I don’t know if it is because we are both nurses or Chumps, but I seem to share so many traits with you.
              I feel the pain in many of your posts. I truly do understand.
              You are a role model to new Chumps. I know that a person with your morals and integrity would probably not feel this way, BUT, I just want to tell you THAT.YOU.ARE.
              You rock your new life with a good, honest, decent partner. You got what you deserve, finally.
              I wish a world of happiness to you both, and to your precious Children!

  • I didn’t get a lot of sorry. I usually got HOW DARE YOU IMPLY I SHOULD BE SORRY, YOUR PAIN IS YOUR FAULT.

    But once, I got, “I’m sorry I wasn’t my best self with you.” And I wondered, how many selves has he got?

    • I got the same – “you are responsible for your own happiness.” He continued to abuse me, cheat, treat me like shit – yet, if I’m not happy in it all, it’s somehow my fault.
      This actually got him a lot of mileage in its mind-twisting, blame-shifting sort of way; with me distracted with working hard to fix what I didn’t break and that which I could not control… (that line of thinking was backed with what society told me, after all). Eventually (as in years) later, I determined me being responsible for my happiness included divorcing his narcissistic ass. ????????‍♀️ Took me a while to catch on

      • Yup. “Why can’t you just be happy?” As he kept on plunging the knife into my back….

        • I received the “we’ll both be happier” line.

          Well, I don’t think she is happier 4 months out from D-Day. She finally moved out of the family home last weekend (apparently, me reminding her of the pain she is causing me living in the house AND continuing her relationship with her F-Friend is ‘bullying’) and she isn’t spending as much time with her F-Friend as she likes (she gets the kids half the time which is a helluva lot more than she spent with them prior to D-Day). We also had to let our nanny go so the ex is having to work from her new home two days a week – something she hates.

          Parenthetically Yours,

          • How do narcissists manage working from home? Where’s the kibble, the intrigue, the untested waters, the naive fresh meat? Kids don’t provide kibble.

  • My ex-wife is a sociopath and so doesn’t do empathy or apologies (I recall none over the course of 25 years). The closest I got was, “You were so independent, it didn’t seem like you needed all of me.” So, yeah, her many affairs over many years were actually . . . my fault. For going above and beyond in every way I could.

    Translation of her non-apology: “I’m sorry that you suck.”

    • nomar …. While I believe there is no certain trait that all chumps have you touched on a perticular common distinction. We are those that go over and above. In the end we get hosed and end up with this sorrow. I, like you, had given my all, I cooked every meal (even though she was a stay at home mom and I worked 2 full time jobs to pay for her dream house!)and grocery shopped ( she said it was too boring going to food marts) I took care of all the financial dealings( she tried for about 2 months and bounced so.many checks I thought they were made of kangaroo skins) . I attended her and my obligatory family functions alone( there were people at them she didn’t want to see) , when I came home between jobs to change and maybe relax a bit and interact with our kids I got ” these kids have been driving me nuts all day you need to get them out of my hair for a while” (and I did so even though I had about 45 minutes between jobs and could have easily just played with them in our yard). No I was a pleaser as it seems you and so many of us here were. The apology I need to make is to myself for being such a loving, trusting ,faithful ,dedicated, delusional asshole.

  • I got this:

    “I own my infidelity completely and am responsible for inflicting terrible pain in you. But the problems in our relationship were not one sided. They never are. I’m not blaming you; it’s just that this doesn’t happen in strong marriages. I erred; I fucked up. The whole blame game was one of our problems.” ????

    • Yep. My STBX was most concerned that I was unwilling to discuss my role in the marriage prior to affair #2. And our 3 couples’ counselors worsened her entitlement – they all paid lip service to the idea of repair on her part, but then in practice wanted to skip over that part and move on to Phase 2, in which we would both go back to trying our hardest. No, thanks.

      • Mine added:

        “We loved each other for a long, long time. The emotions are still strong. I do believe that on some level it’s possible to love more than one person at one time. I am not lying when I say that, even a month ago, I hoped to stay with you, but I was so deeply into it that there was no other way to proceed than to stop lying and face the consequences. I am sincere when I say that I wish I could set back the clock to a time before this all started.”

        He later informed me that he told the OW that he wished he never met her. In true chump fashion, I instantly felt sorry for the OW and said to him, “That must have hurt her feelings!” He responded coldly, “Yeah, she cried.”

        Sounds like the start of a great relationship.

        Not my circus, not my monkeys

        • I actually had to re-read your post a few times because the EXACT same words were said to me. Not a version of them, but the EXACT words.“We loved each other for a long, long time. The emotions are still strong. I do believe that on some level it’s possible to love more than one person at one time.” and ” I was so deeply into it that there was no other way to proceed than to stop lying and face the consequences. ” WOW. I am speechless and shaking my head. After 29 years, it was all a mirage, not a marriage.

            • I really wish someone would actually write a cheaters handbook. I bet it would sell millions of copies just by chumps buying it, to get some laughs.

              • Yes, a cheater’s cheat sheet instucting them– without irony– to do all the crazy shit they usually do. Cheaters would likely be nodding along and wouldn’t catch on for several chapters that they were being poked fun of. Meanwhile chumps would be howling.

        • (((([email protected]))))
          That loving more than one person at a time certainly is possible IF a person ( AKA as a cheater), allows it to happen.

          I, like you, at one point, felt sorry for the ow as cheater struggled with the decision of which of us he would choose.
          ( I later came to believe he choose me as I was in first trimester pregnancy and ow already felt bad about ” taking him away” from our tiny child, how could he possibly ( have the guts to ) tell her of this burden!

          Thank God for CL, CN to help new Chumps see the light.
          ( I was so alone in my struggle & I truly believed I loved him)

          • If it’s more than one person at a time, they don’t really love either person. They don’t love as we know it, meaning adult love. Their version is like an infant’s love, completely selfish and dependent on the other person for emotional sustenance (aka supply).
            Genuine, adult romantic love for two people just doesn’t happen, because love for one person is too all-encompassing to leave room for another. Anybody who claims to love two is just a cake eater.

            • Agreed.

              They are simply doing what they want to please themselves. I my FWs whore had been run over by a bus the day he left me, he would have been at my door step the next day claiming he had left her two hours before it happened, and that he loved me and wanted me back.

              They need a chump, and they will be who they are regardless of the chump they are with.

              Are there unicorns, sure maybe a few; but then again maybe not.

              • It is probably possible to have some sorts of feelings for more than one person at a time (even if those feelings are rather fucked up) but that is one reason that people are supposed to stop dating when they get married.

                Its the “forsaking all others” part of the marriage vows. Marriage is like a submarine, it doesnt work if you leave a window (of opportunity) open and try to submerge. Its not the submarine’s fault that the captain left a hatch open.

              • Unicornomore,

                I wanted this to nest below your comment, the thread didn’t allow another comment.

                Anyway, I love your submarine analogy!”It’s not the submarine’s fault that the captain left a hatch open.” Spot on!

              • Oh dear God, that’s not love. I can look at all the booze consumed during the affair from the secret “affair credit card” and say with certainty that love had nothing to do with it. Nothing says “I love you” like enabling cirrhosis and high blood pressure.

  • I got really extreme apologies before i discovered the REAL affair then he switched to rage.

    I guess in mediation in order to garner some support he said “I’ve made some bad decisions but they don’t affect how I parent”. Oh they don’t?! That seems like a go-to line for a cheater. Except if I did the same thing he did and didn’t have my kid overnight for 13 months people would think I was a horrible parent.

  • I’m not sure that this counts, but it did contain the word “sorry,” so I’ll give it a go:

    “I’m sorry, but we are going to have to get divorced. I would have suggested that we adopt an open marriage, but you lack the emotional maturity to make a relationship like that work.”

    Plot spoiler; she was not sorry and she did not get the open marriage either.


    • Unicornomore,,

      I agree, as a reasonably attractive woman, I have had men show interest in me after marriage. Heck I had it happen even in my late fifties and early sixties while I was still working. But, not one of them ever had a chance because in my youth or in my later years, I was married and had made a commitment. It was not something I had to fight, the commitment just took over I guess. I think that is the disconnect I wonder about. When a man asked me to lunch, I made my excuses with a smile and that was that. And forgive me men, as I know you can be cheated on too, but just speaking about men/husbands why does it seem that they just have this over powering pull, they delude themselves into thinking this is the first time they have ever felt this way. They act like hormonal teenage boys.

      I think the worst thing is that once that happens to a man, the whore takes over his memories and she replaces his memories of his past with his wife/partner. I guess that is just another part of the bond that is broken by infidelity. Which in many cases is why he can’t work his way back to his wife.

      Doesn’t matter if it is hormones, or whatever infidelity just demolishes a marriage.

      I wish we could get this information into young men’s heads, but alas; they won’t listen.

      • To add to what you are saying Susan Lee, my ex would describe his APs (one an emotional affair that lasted about 6 months and the other a full blown affair for 21 months before leaving the marriage for that woman) in such adoring terms that I was left stunned wondering how a man in his mid-40s could possible sound like an obsessed teenager. But, it was the substance of what he was choosing to adore that was troubling.

        For both women, he obsessed about how “wanted” they were. That all men were drawn to them and that they could have any man they wanted, but they wanted him. Really?

        He described for both how they had a history of receiving many proposals whereever they went because they had a special “something” about them. Offers of threesomes, offers from men and women, offers at their jobs. I once pointed out to him that if that is what he finds so attractive in a woman, then maybe he should be reminded of the offers that I have received over the years. I guess that makes me special too. Nope, didn’t phase him. There was only something special about these women, not me, I guess.

        He would speak about how exciting they are. How rebellious. He even described his long-term AP as being like heroin and his feelings for her were an addiction. He knew that she wasn’t any good for him and that no good come out of a relationship with her, but whenever he was away from her, all he could think about was how to get back to her.

        Whoa! That’s messed up. Especially when I came to learn more about these women through the grapevine.

        The first was a mother at our children’s school. Her kids where in the same classes as my kids. She was such an odd-ball. Always at odds with the school. Her son was a bully, and she was an enabler. Caused quite a stir with Parent Council too. Always worried that her boys weren’t going to be smart enough to attend university (she wasn’t educated beyond high school herself) so she had tutors for them literally everyday after school as young as during the primary school years. She’s since pulled her boys out of school for a private school education.

        But, the one he left the marriage for. Now that’s a prize indeed. Her marriage ended when she assaulted her husband while he was driving, and the kids were in the backseat of the car. A no contact order was put in place for a year. He was given custody of the kids. She was forced to attend alcohol counselling and anger management classes. She’s been described by many as a woman who just lost her mind. One day, she was a stay-at-home mom who put in some hours at the family business, to suddenly demanding breast implants and a Harley Davidson (no joke here). She started wearing heavy make-up, decking herself up in sexy leather outfits and going out to party. One night, when her husband was out of town, she picked up one of her APs with the kids in the car and allowed him so spend the night at the house while “daddy is gone.” That man’s girlfriend ended up reporting this woman on a bout half a dozen “cheater” and “homewrecker” websites.

        Cheaters, both men and women, are emotionally immature people with malformed or underdeveloped identities. People who are grounded in who they are will be consistent with whomever they are with. They will be described similarly by anyone who knows them. We all develop and change through time, but it’s a gradual process that comes with the passage of experience, but we don’t go through radical personality changes on a whim. Cheaters become whomever they are with, likely because there is something about the person of their infatuation that they wish they could adopt in themselves. That is what attracted them to you at one time.

        My therapist once explained to me that it’s typical that the very things my ex once found attractive about me likely became the very things that he came to resent. He once admired that I was adventurous, a traveller, involved in my community, highly-educated. His family loved me. I became good friends with all of his friends (more their wives/girlfriends). By the end, he just saw me as too busy. Life with me was all about responsibilities and work. He resented that I always outearned him. He saw my high-function as just being controlling. Well, I was a professional working mom with two kids (one with Autism), a sick mom, a demanding career, a house to take care of, and a husband who was increasingly disconnected from adulting. Didn’t know that I would be more interesting if I traded it all in for fake boobs, a motorcycle and a good party.

        He never fully grew up. He played a role until it became too exhausting to maintain. Now he’s off somewhere, with someone else, playing a role with her. It’s a rebellion/rejection of the life he built with me. And, it’s a rebellion of how he was raised (his whole family has been appalled by all of this and they have stood their ground in absolutely refusing to discuss this woman or allow her into their homes in the 2.5 years since he left the marriage). Now he gets to feed off this woman and whatever are the qualities in her that he’s envying for himself. Plus, he gets to have someone because, God-forbid, he should ever be alone. Cheaters don’t every like to be alone.

        • “Cheaters, both men and women, are emotionally immature people with malformed or underdeveloped identities. Offers of threesomes, offers from men and women, offers at their jobs.”

          That shows the mind set of a troubled person who thinks that is an attractive trait.

          I would be insulted if a man made those types of advances to me. Only whores that put out those vibes will get that kind of attention. I mean really; like it is hard to get a man to have sex with you?

        • You just described my ex to the letter. Especially the melting into whoever they’re with at the moment, no identity, and on the emotional and mental level of a teenager part.

  • Upon discovery of the affair, “ you weren’t nice to me” “ she’s nice to me” “ you didn’t act like you liked me “. Asked him to move out “ think of what you are doing to the children “ ????

    • I got this blameshifting too ???????????????????????????????? They are ALL the same.

  • Apology is as apology does.

    A sorry person lets you go without any whining and makes it as easy and simple as possible for you to do that, then treats you with respect after the breakup (either by leaving you alone or, if you’re co-parenting, by being a responsible adult who sticks to the plan) when the breaking up is over. This takes maturity, accountability, humility, and the ability to recognize and prioritize another’s needs and well-being at least as high as one’s own.

    Cheaters, overflowing with entitlement and immature perseveration on instant gratification and self-promotion, are bad at real apologies and anything else that requires the traits listed above.

    Cheaters. Total waste of everything good in this world. The fewer you have anywhere near you, the better.

  • I got the “I now realize I should have handled it differently”

    No apology there. Contrastingly: during our marriage she always apoligized for the tiniest things. Things you needn’t even apologize for…

    Probably all just for image management

    • I got that also. “I should have divorced you instead of an (two year long) affair”.

      • Same. Word for word (except 2 1/2 year affair)!

        Mine needed to monkey branch onto someone else, to ensure he had that locked in before leaving me. He can never be alone. And he’s a coward.

        • “He can never be alone. And he’s a coward.”

          Cheaters are all cowards, it is why they cheat, rather than deal with their issues.

    • I also got “I should have handled things differently.”

      It’s like killing someone and saying, “Yeah, I probably should have used a sharper knife.” My bad!

      • Before FW left, but after Dday, he said I handled this all wrong. I just stared at him. I remember thinking, so there is a right way to handle adultery?

        I was still in shock, so I thought a lot of things I never voiced (unfortunately).

    • That’s what I got too. “I handled it wrong.” I’m sure he thought it was an apology.

      • I wonder just how is the right way to commit adultery and treat your spouse like shit.

  • “I’m sorry for all of the things I said last night, but you shouldn’t pick a fight with me when I’m drunk”. He’d been to a concert (with “a friend” in a nearby city) and felt obligated to come home afterward instead of staying the night there. He blamed this on my “insane jealousy” because I wasn’t comfortable with him spending the night out after finding out he’d been cheating on me our entire marriage just a couple months earlier. I had said nothing to him about it, picking a fight was literally me breathing. I still ate shit sandwiches for another 3 years.

    • Damn, I’m with you there. When he was drunk I “slept wrong, breathed wrong, stacked the dishwasher wrong” (although apparently I was an incompetent dishwasher-stacker even when he was sober). He could pick a fight in an empty room!

      • Ditto for the dishwasher stacking — and I cleaned the kitchen “wrong.” As for picking a fight in an empty room, I once woke up to him SCREAMING at me for “disrespecting” him. Apparently I had grunted in my sleep.

  • My SBTX is the queen of Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse. (We are both women.) She has said she’s sorry many times, but always in a perfunctory way. She finally wrote a long letter about 16 months after D-Day #2, listing all the individual ways she hurt me during and after affair #2 – likely at the behest of our third and final couples counselor – but nowhere in that letter was any concrete plan for making amends. In other words, it was sad sausage town all the way.

    In STBX’s (dis)honor, here’s a list of senseless non-apologies, excerpted from J. Spring, “How Can I Forgive You?” (2009):

    The two-second apology: “I’m Sorry.” (end of story)
    The vague apology: “I’m sorry for whatever I did wrong.”
    The lack of ownership apology: “I’m sorry your feelings are hurt.”
    The defensive apology: “I regret that you always seem to think I’m wrong.”
    The perfunctory apology: “As I’ve said before, I’m sorry.”
    The vindictive apology: “I’ll show you what it means to be sorry.”
    The grudging apology: “I said I was sorry. What else do you want?”
    The expedient apology: “I know I’m in the doghouse unless I say I’m sorry, so here it is…”
    The blame-deflecting apology: “I’m sorry I did [X], but you’re no Mother Teresa either.”
    The “Oh, what the hell” apology: “Hey, I’m sorry, pal.”
    The obsequious apology: “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.”
    (And then there’s DARVO, or Deny, Accuse, Reverse Victim/Offender: “I’m hurt that you’re trying to express your hurt to me!”)

    Well, I’m sorry… to say that I’ve personally experienced most of these. I have learned that no apology means anything unless it’s specific (“I realize I hurt you, even if inadvertently, by doing X”), backed up by action (“Here’s my concrete plan for how to make amends to you”), and responsive to the needs of others (“I will listen to how you feel, without defensiveness. Do you have any other ideas for how to move forward?”). Generic statements of regret or contrition are mere lip service. If someone is standing in front of you, expressing deep hurt, and you honestly think you’ve done nothing wrong (even unintentionally!), you have a serious empathy problem.

    • The ex always accused me of not apologizing the right way and claimed I was a narcissist because of it. He would take things the wrong way and when I would apologize by saying, I’m sorry you were hurt by that, but it’s not what I meant” it was the wrong apology. How was I supposed to apologize for something I didn’t do? I don’t believe I have no empathy for others and it felt like I was being manipulated into taking blame so he could hold emotional superiority over me to justify his sulking and silent treatment. I was not “nice to him” as others have mentioned they were told. I have really struggled with this since the divorce and it has lead to me isolating myself as I do not know if I am a really a bad person and should not be in relationships, even friendships.

      • I’ve been on both sides of this. I’ve gotten non-apologies and felt someone could apologize better, more than once.

        In one significant case, I was told I was not apologizing properly and accused of being shifty/stonewalling/narcissistic. I really did not see what I had done wrong, and could not in good conscience apologize sincerely for what I was being accused of. I may have used the wrong words, or a wrong tone, but the intention they said I had was not my intention. Trying to say what I had actually meant was not received. I apologized for the hurt I had caused (though they didn’t actually seem hurt, they seemed kind of delighted, but that’s a long story) and spent two years afterward working on whether or not I was insensitive, arrogant, etc and needed to work on my empathy.

        My mother is a good person, but she becomes the “I’m sorry you feel that way” person whenever the issue of her passively allowing an abusive environment from my dad, during my childhood, comes up. I’m not going to end my relationship with her, but if she was more mature, she would do the work to be able to hear what the impact of her decisions was, and would want to listen.

        In the end, we have to judge for ourselves whether we have areas of defensiveness, and at what point we have to forgive ourselves, and at what point decide someone is manipulating us through guilt. I’m presuming, of course, that we’re not talking defensiveness about having had an affair! But just defensiveness around the way we relate to others and taking ownership of our own stuff.

        I come to this site because I’ve been in a few short-term relationships recently where I was never sure there was cheating but things felt very off. In fact, in the last one, I don’t think anything physical happened, but his weird boundaries with women (basically editing out any mention of women he knew or was friends with) and the way he talked like a therapist to the women he did know, made me very nervous. Because I grew up in a home where me telling the parents they were hurting me resulted in the cold shoulder or shaming, I’ve feel like I’ve bent over backwards if someone says I’m mean to them. It makes it harder to be clear about when its an entitled bf not getting the forgiveness from me that he wants and when I’m actually being controlling/judgy. I want to apologize, when I see myself being controlling. But I also want not to apologize for things a manipulator is accusing me of. Maybe others have thoughts about this.

    • Mehverly and Island –
      Thanks for your responses! Like all healthy emotional behavior, empathy (and the ability to apologize well and mean it) can be weaponized against us chumps, if we are not careful. It sounds like both of you recognize, at least now, the signs of being manipulated through guilt. Most of us here have experienced that, esp. if our cheaters have mastered Sad Sausage. My STBX almost never operated on the rage channel: it was all self-pity and charm, and of course the self-pity always insinuated that I was somehow to blame for her problems. (We are both women.)

      That’s why a decent therapist and clear-eyed friends can be so helpful to those of us who have been in these toxic relationships for years, walking on eggshells and apologizing for our own shadows. The reason I posted the list above is that so many of us have spent so much time bowing and scraping that we have lost sight of what consideration and basic respect WE are owed in return.

      As CL points out, infidelity is such a huge breach that it will be almost impossible to make adequate amends for it. Anyone who has been traumatized in other ways would be advised to get away from the source of the trauma and the triggers, not continue living with them (and making ourselves emotionally vulnerable in their presence!) every day for the rest of our lives! But that’s what reconciliation involves. EVEN IF a cheater could show real remorse, not Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse – even if they could really walk the talk, which I have not heard one single time among the hundreds of stories I’ve read on this site in 2 years – they still cannot expect reconciliation from a traumatized partner. Even the RIC site Affair Recovery admits that what a cheater “deserves” is divorce. That huge betrayal blows out of the water all the other teeny infractions we might have been walking on eggshells over. It’s so huge that no apology will ever be truly adequate, and it’s a red flag if a cheater doesn’t recognize that fairly quickly after D-Day.

      A big part of my work post D-Day #2 has been to recognize all the different manipulations wielded by my STBX and her flying monkeys, in order to avoid taking real responsibility for their actions. Psychologically, it’s difficult to thread the needle: on one hand, feelings are not facts, and it’s useful to apply cognitive behavioral techniques to discern which fears are better supported by evidence. On the other hand, people can feel gaslit if their feelings are not validated on some level, even if those feelings are not well-grounded in reality. I don’t plan to date anytime soon, but if I do at some point in the future, I would explicitly raise this a few dates in: I have been emotionally abused, and may have a keener radar than most when it comes to irrational behavior (though I recognize that we all have our reasons for acting irrationally at least sometimes!). While I work hard to validate my partner’s feelings without getting defensive, if I end up feeling like I’m having to do that work too often, it will be time for me to head for greener pastures. I know how to apologize well, but nobody wants to have to constantly apologize for small things that arise from being human. That’s a red flag too, right there.

  • I got an “I’m sorry you don’t love yourself enough to let all of this go.” Dick.

    • Would make sense if when he said “all of this” he was gesturing at himself from head to toe.

      • Ha. He meant the betrayal and our marriage. Hasn’t even been a year yet. I moved out and away from him months ago.

      • Nomar– lol. All of (stellar, epic, amazing, shag-able) this!

        Sorry you’re not a narcissist (“don’t love yourself”). If you were a narcissist (and experienced self love on his level), you’d have understood!

  • My “apology” came 3 years and 8 months after D-day. So funny how on D-day I wanted an apology for all the wrong-doing. Turns out that an apology without trust means nothing.
    The apology arrived in the form of a text: “I never realized how good of life I had with you until now, I am so very sorry for all the pain I put you thru”… I had to think a few hours on a reply and basically agreed with his statement to which his next reply was ” I don’t think I will ever be as close to anyone else take care”
    A close friend reminded me that apologies from cheaters are usually made so that the cheater can release their own guilt enabling them to move on with their own lives. So in the end the cheater still puts their own needs first.

    • “A close friend reminded me that apologies from cheaters are usually made so that the cheater can release their own guilt enabling them to move on with their own lives. So in the end the cheater still puts their own needs first.”

      Yep, an apology without some form of restitution in the case of destroying someone else is meaningless.

      Our preacher flat out told my ex, when he found out what was going on that he can not build a life of happiness off the back of someone else’s destruction. Turns out preacher was right. They have continued to crap all over themselves and even our son.

      Son is free of it now, but the relationship with his dad is in tatters. Daughter in law has not spoken to them in about three years. They (fw and schmoopie) have cycled in and out of several different churches. I guess it doesn’t take long for them to reveal their true selves, and they piss someone off.

      • Cheater believed that God had sent Schmoopie as a gift to him. I contemplated it and reflected that love from God is good and does not require betrayal and duplicity in order to come to be. I dont know how much dopamine release euphoria in his nervous system convinced him that what he had was “love” but to me it was “lurve”…a weird counterfeit.

        In the moment though…he didnt lurve her enough to make a clean break from his family and take a stand. He wanted the new wife/new life without anyone knowing that he dumped his first family for her. So really, he loved his image management more than he lurved her.

        I do NOT recommend my course of action to anyone. I stayed firm and refused to do his dirty work for him. No matter how abusive he got, I refused to “throw him out” (he would have been inventing his new life before he got to the end of our street). I even told him “you get the lawyers to draft the separation / divorce paperwork and I will sign it – but he didnt /wouldnt. I lost the subsequent 7 years of my life to this.

        • Oh unicornnomore. I did the same thing. I did not throw him out, he had to leave of his own accord. In the beginning of course, I didn’t know he was cheating, but even after I found out (25 Dec) I didn’t throw him out or file. I made him do it. I know without a doubt that he wanted to say, she threw me out, and then whore and I started dating.

          I ruined that. First thing I did was call my preacher and tell him what was going on. I didn’t tell anyone else; but I did tell the preacher; as I needed someone to talk to. So he couldn’t keep it quiet, at least from my actions. Within a week of him leaving it got outed anyway. He had gone to the city counsel and tried to get his whore a raise; they were pissed beyond belief.

          They didn’t find out from me, someone else outed them. Hell he spent several hours at her house a couple times a week for at least a year. Did he honestly think no other police officer saw it. They did. I found out later they were laughing at him. Which pissed me off, because no one gave a thought to my pain.

          Anyway, someone on here mentioned they think they are so sneaky and invisible, they really do. I guess because I was so stupid, he thought every one else was.

          However, I am glad I did it that way. It was important to me that he own it; and I forced him to. He even pissed off the preacher with his lying and conniving. I never thought I would see our preacher pissed off. Preacher told him he couldn’t continue to counsel him as long as he was with the whore, though he would recommend him to someone else if he wanted. Ex, didn’t want any counseling; he wanted someone to pat him on the head and agree with him that whore was meant to be.

    • Yes! Got this one all the time. Picking my son up from college 2 years ago before Christmas break after I had filed for divorce, my son and I were talking and he said, “Dad, all my life I’ve never heard mom say sorry and mean it. She always says I’m sorry you feel that way.”

  • Oh the pretend apologies! My ex was a master at this. It was always some variation of “sorry you are so unreasonably upset, but these are all the reasons I am right”. His name is Phil, so I now think of any fake victim blaming “sorry, but….” as a “Phil-pology”

  • My XW’s apologies usually sounded something like this: “I’m sorry you feel that way.”. When my head started to clear I realized her apologies were very similar to politician apologies. I actually told her that.
    When they say “I’m sorry YOU feel that way.”, they really mean it. Hey, “I” don’t feel that way but I’m really sorry “YOU” do.

    This was usually followed by some type of gaslighting I was challenging. Example:

    Me: It really hurts when you tell me I’m not a good dad.

    XW: I’m sorry YOU feel that way. I don’t know why you would think that?

    Me: What the fuck! You actually said last week “You’re not a good dad. You basically blow snow from the driveway, cut the grass and take out garbage.”

    I knew in my heart I was a good dad (showed up for all events, coached kids teams, primary driver to sports practice, helped with homework and read bedtime stories) but it hurt so much to hear this from someone I loved deeply.

    • I am still recovering from that years out. I cried when my family counselor said she was proud of how good a father I am. All I heard from my XW and to a lesser extent my kids, Was how bad a father I was. I did and still do so much for them. They like to hit us where it hurts the most.

    • Is she your child? No? Then fuck her.

      Be the sane parent. She’s your cheating ex. Not a paragon of virtue who is any position to be judging you.

  • Also, I watched “The Vow” on HBO and plan to watch “Seduced” on Starz, both about NXIVM. The second-to-last episode of “The Vow” (episode 7, “The Wound”) was a powerful indictment of Keith Raniere’s misogyny, which was laid out pretty plainly for anyone to see, and the emotional abuse inherent in instructing people to ignore (or “work,” in NXIVM parlance) their own totally rational fears and concerns. Sadly, I’ve seen this form of gaslighting a lot recently, since cognitive behavioral techniques have become more familiar in popular culture. Of course, that system seeks to help patients gain clarity in which concerns are rational, vs. others that are not – it does not view ALL concerns/fears as invalid, and to be ignored!

    My STBX took a page from the “all fears must be bad” playbook just last week, when she suggested that my dad and I need to find more help to resolve our concern around possibly contracting Covid, since we’re both at higher risk for severe disease. Our reasonable concern is very inconvenient for STBX, who had been sending DD9 over to friend’s house for marathon undistanced play dates until I learned that the friend was also playing undistanced with other kids in the neighborhood. So, I set a healthy boundary, and forced STBX to agree to reinstate distancing. This natural consequence felt terrible to STBX, since she had used the play dates as unpaid child care on her custody time – hence the gaslighting around my legitimate concerns, well-supported by public health advisories in our area and nationwide. But, as with all things, STBX refuses to grant that her gaslighting and refusal to accept my healthy boundary are deeply disrespectful. I doubt I will ever get a proper apology from her about that ongoing disrespect, and I certainly don’t plan to seek one, or hold my breath until it materializes.

    At least Keith Raniere is getting justice. While it was triggery to watch “The Vow,” it was also validating and instructive – a fix-my-picker exercise.

  • No apology. Ex probably was sorry he couldn’t hurt me more. He treated me like I was the bad person and probably hates me. Towards the end of the marriage I was lining up my ducks and he was no longer treated like a king. I would not let him order me around. I guess if the wife appliance starts thinking for themselves and doesn’t continue doing everything, they are bad.

    Divorce is final and I dont give a shit about his thoughts because he is disordered…

    • Same thing here.

      I never got any admittance of anything, so certainly no apology. While I was apologizing for anything and everything he accused me of, even if it was that he had heartburn from stuffing his face with crap food all night long, somehow that was my fault too. And I felt deeply responsible….until I didn’t.

      And then I got the “Your apologies don’t sound sincere.”

  • New York,
    You are not and were not a delusional asshole. You are a caring and loving man who wanted to keep his family together and gave your all as you said.
    These cheaters are truly the delusional ones. They think that they can go through life cheating lying and taking advantage of others but they know who they are and they live with that everyday. They make excuses for their bad behavior but they know the truth and so do we. So forgive yourself for loving someone who didn’t deserve a decent loving partner. You may not realize it yet but you are a hero for your kids just think what would have happened to them if you had bailed years ago. It’s good to see you hear and all the other men it reminds us that it’s not just men that are evil cheaters!

    • Kathleen,

      I’m sorry. 35 years here, too. I guess even a lame apology is something, although even that comes in the form of a word salad doused in Blameshift Dressing. No nourishment.

      Your ex sucks. They all suck. I hope you’re doing ok. ((hugs))

      • Spinach
        It’s like we weren’t even worth fighting for. But now years later, the apology probably wouldn’t have been honest or sincere.
        I hope your doing well and living a honest peaceful life. ((HUGS)) ????

  • The quick scenario….

    Married 20+ years and 3 kids.

    Early in the year, my STBXW drops the ILYBINILWY. Out of nowhere. Blind-sided. Files for divorce within a month.

    I go thru the begging, pleading, loss of 40#, PTSD, medication, no sleep, keeping my struggle private (only 1 close friend knew….kids did not).

    Months after, I find out about the affair. She was still having the affair.

    Only after I find out the horrible truth, I decide to date since I knew it was over. I move out and in with my girlfriend.

    10 months after d-day, my wife finds out I am living with someone. Magically, she wants to meet with me, face-to-face. (She was all dolled up for this meeting).

    She seems shocked I am living with someone and the conversation seems all about her.

    We meet 1 other time about a week later….pretty much same conversation.

    Not once (even to date…almost 2 years later), has she ever asked how I am doing.

    She has had a few empty and non-descriptive apologies (“I never meant for this to happen” and “I know you don’t believe me, but I am sorry”).

    So here is what I got after our 2 meetings:

    STBXW….”I can tell by the look in your eyes, you do not have feelings for me anymore……I refuse to subject myself any further to your negativity and hatred. I am living in the present – as I cannot change what has happened in the past. Despite what you think or say, I do have remorse, but nothing I say or do will ever meet your expectations, as I have never been able to in the past. I choose to move forward and live in the present and work toward a more positive future.”

    Never meet my expectations? We went to counseling 2 years prior and I was very happy to come thru that and be married to her. (I am not a mind reader as nothing was said).

    Sad Sausage much? Remorse? For who? For what? Sorry for what? Did not mean for this to happen…..did someone force you to do this?

    I actually think at some point I will submit these text exchanges to the UBT for some comic relief. CL better do some preventive maintenance on that equipment and purchase extra cookies as it may be pushed beyond its operational parameters!

    • My STBXW keeps asking me who the new girl is, do I have a girlfriend, is there someone else. I refuse to say, after all she never thought it was important to inform me of the near 20 other men she was cheating with. So since we have broken up and live apart she is obsessed with wanting to know if I’m seeing someone. Now she sends emails about her regrets and wishing she could go back in time. Despite the fact she had an affair with one main person and even though I had found out and had the evidence she kept on doing it. I packed all my belongings and she kept on doing it. She even said she never wanted divorce or me to leave, yeah ok so I will sit here whilst you go out fuking all these people. She even said she thought I had only packed but would change my mind and stay. Nope, I went straight for divorce. Now with her gone I’m a million times happier and yeah, maybe I do have another girl but it’s none of her business. She is the biggest regret of my life and I sadly have kids with her.

      • “She is the biggest regret of my life and I sadly have kids with her.”

        I feel exactly the same.

        She had the audacity to text me recently that “If she hadn’t done what she did, I never would have met my girlfriend”.

        a) No shit, Sherlock
        b) I was never looking for a girlfriend before I found out she cheated on me (even after she filed for divorce I still tried to save the marriage)
        c) Does that make you feel better? (Narci?)

        • Well your ex wife is the hero in the story then, if she had not destroyed your world with cheating you would never have met your new girlfriend. I give up with these cheaters and their fantasy la la land.

          • Yeah. They are trying to make themselves feel better (but they’re also jealous). It’s a weird mix.

            Mine actually said that I would thank him in the future because I would probably meet someone else who would better for me (“who will treat you the way you deserve to be treated”). In the same breath, he said it would really bother him if I met someone else. “I know it doesn’t make sense, but it really bothers me to think of you with another man.”

            Which is it, buddy?

            These people are all over the place. Nothing makes sense because they try to justify the unjustifiable. They are dysregulated emotionally. Their moral compasses are stuck on south (their genitals).


            • Funny you mention what was said to you as that’s exactly what she emailed to me during the week. She said it kills her to think of me with another girl and then in another email went on to say that I deserve happiness. So she wants me to be happy but she is obviously jealous at the notion of another girl. Near identical to what was said to yourself.

            • “These people are all over the place. Nothing makes sense because they try to justify the unjustifiable. They are dysregulated emotionally. Their moral compasses are stuck on south (their genitals).”

              Yep, few of them will admit, they went after an illicit thrill and got caught up in a mess they couldn’t control. Not all of course, but most. Many of them including my FW did it multiple times until they got their genitals stuck in a vice grip that they have no control over.

            • It’s because they still think of us as their *property*.

              As soon as I began divorce proceedings I also legally went back to my maiden name.

              Fuckwit was informed, his solicitor was informed. He was told he had to return some documents of mine he had.

              He returned them, addressed to my *married* name.

              It’s like a tom cat spraying its territory.

              • “It’s because they still think of us as their *property*.”

                Yep, while I can’t pretend to know what was going on in his mind for a lot of the time, I do know for a fact that he struggled mightily with losing control of me after he left. I honestly believe that in his mind, he would still be in control of Susie as he worked his way through the colossal pile of shit he had emitted.

            • While still trying to save the marriage, I once asked my husband to truly imagine me with another man. Bringing another man into our children’s lives. Asked him if he was comfortable with that thought before he goes on to destroy our marriage.

              His response? “Honestly, when I think of you with another man, all I can think of is it ‘Thank God. She’s his problem now.'”

              Nice. Set myself up properly to receive that killer of a zinger.

              What a nice guy my ex was to have in my life…NOT.

      • These FWs are amazing in the value they place on themselves.

        My FW came by my house to warn me about my date. I had after six months of being legally separated and starting a new job at a new facility met a nice man, who was the first one who I had any interest in. I had been asked out a couple times before, but was not interested.

        Anyway the day after our first date, he came by while I was out working in my garden and first asked me if I wanted to go see his apartment. I said, no I have no interest in your apartment. Then he said that guy you went out with is too old for you. I said, what do you care? he said, and this is rich: “I don’t want to see you get hurt” I laughed and said, “yes because that is really your prerogative, isn’t it” He just shrugged and left. He had to be keeping close tabs on me to even know I went on a date. (We went on a hike at the near by state park, and he brought me home before dark.)

        Note: he was a police officer, and he had access to find out anything he wanted. Also, he would cruise by my dates house and look for me. He did that several times, my friend was on the first floor and he would see him out the window. Guess schmoopie wasn’t keeping him as entertained as she was while we were still together. Those magic twinkies must lose their sparkle when you don’t have to sneak around.

        In four years my date became my husband, and trust me he was not too old.

        • He did not want to see you get hurt yet somehow thought nothing of your hurt when he destroyed your life with cheating. These people truly are something.

          • They really are.

            If they ever for one minute listened to themselves, they would realize how ridiculous they sound, but most won’t ever hear themselves.

            • Their lies are always absurd. My STBXW hid lingerie away in the back of the closet, I found it all during her affair and she said she had bought it for me but had forgotten she had it. Funny how some of it had “daddy” on it and that was the name she kept calling her affair partner in their sexual messaging. They really often think we are beyond stupid. Or the stocking etc I found had been ordered and then she claimed she wanted to feel beautiful for herself. Never once in 15 years of our relationship did she ever mention stockings, funny it coincidentally happened whilst she was having affairs with dozens.

  • The only thing like an apology I got from XW was an assertion that she had been “in a dark place, but was not like that anymore.”
    In otherwords, “Move along, nothing to see here.”
    So I have been NC with her for years. Except for our kid’s weddings, like last weekend, when I need to shift to a business only grey rock. After the ceremony we are shuttling in and out of photos in various combinations and permutations caused by divorce and remarriage. The photographer was masterful at this awkward dance. At one point XW shoots me this look, that seems like remorse that we cannot enjoy this together.
    She had a sadz. Poor thing.

    • Yep, the old why can’t you get over me shitting all over you and just be friends with me.

      I remember once I went into my sons house and his dad was there. There was a wedding of some kind coming up, can’t remember the specifics. But, anyway Daughter in law asked me if I was going and I said, no but I will send a gift. Ex laughed and said “Susie knows I don’t like weddings, so I am not going” I just quickly glanced at him, turned a walked away with no comment.

      It was his attempt to bring back fond memories I guess. Um, no you placed no value on Susie, so our past is dead to me.

      Honestly, I think it surprised him that aside from about two weeks of pick me dancing, before he moved out, I never tried to win him back, and I ignored him. I think he may have imagined a year or so of Susie trying to win him back, and maybe even giving up the goods once in a while; so he could continue the joy of two women fighting over him. Yeah, didn’t happen. Once his mask fell, I was done.

    • Ah yes, the moment of reminisce. From time to time my cheater ex will say something at child drop offs, when the kid is running late or whatever, “we made [daughter] together and we’re the only ones who can really appreciate her [insert thing that she’s doing here]…I wish we could appreciate these things together.”

      I ignore but then usually it does get to me later–not that I want to appreciate anything with him but that he robbed me of that option. My plan A was to grow old appreciating our daughter together. As it were, my current life partner is a wonderful man who absolutely appreciates all the special little things that my daughter is and does, pretty much as if she were his own. And it’s lovely. And it’s a special person who can love another person’s child as their own, and I’m grateful.

  • OMG, their pain. It is sooo much more important than the pain they caused, which in their mind does not exist. My FW, after abandoning me 1000 miles away, with no help, leaving me to list our place, pack 20 years of life together, sort through our belongings (he wanted nothing, he moved back to our home city and immediately got a new car, phone, apartment, etc.), take care of our aging pets, the list goes on, said this after I begged him to help me: “I cannot go back into the condo – I have too much repressed pain.” I was shell-shocked. I put one foot in front of the other, and untangled our life together alone. It took me over a year. When I moved back finally, after a horrendous move, I found out he had a celebratory dinner at a restaurant ON MY BLOCK, my third night in my new place, up to my ears in boxes, stressed to the tune of a twenty pound weight loss in a month, at a cost of $650.00 (those discovery documents are like taking a bullet). He was so excited about getting his greedy hands on half the equity from the sale of our home, that out of the thousands of restaurants in this city, he choose the one on my block. Repressed pain? Sure, if repressed pain is his closeted sexuality that he hid from me for 13 years then came roaring out of the closet into our bedroom only, dragging me into a place of near nervous breakdown, rejecting me to the point where I would do anything to restore what I perceived as my lost sexual attractiveness. These people have no capacity for other’s pain. They just take, and when the transaction is completed, ie they wring out everything they can, they abandon the person that provided what they needed, and move on. I should have kicked him out when he first showed me who he was, but I still loved him – I didn’t know this new person yet. But when someone tells you who they are, believe them. They are NOT the victim.

  • On Dday, I got “I wont apologize for falling in love”

    The fact that I didnt throw his ass out that day shows more about me than him. I was really afraid of change, uncertainty and I was unwilling to take the responsibility of dismantling our family even when its destruction was 100% engineered by him.

    It took me 7 years of pain and hopium to get to a place where I knew he was so desperately needy of a person to blame (for everything…and that person was me) that we could never have an actual marriage. I had saved money to move out and I could see he was cycling back to a very dark place and sensed that we were headed to an impasse in the very near future.

    Oldsters here know how my story ended. God knew where Cheater was headed and as there was still the tiniest connection between God and occasionally-briefly-contrite Cheater, God scooped him up while the getting was good. He died very suddenly of a previously undiagnosed condition.

    The irony is that a week or so before he died, I told God “If there is a place where he can go and be happier, I release him to go there” and I swear on all that is good, I really thought I was speaking of California, not Purgatory / Heaven. (Cheater had run off to CA before and I figured he would again). I dont wish him to be in Hell but I dont want to be in the same neighborhood as him in Heaven.

    • When I say my lack of action on dday shows more about me, I think it showed I was a coward and deluded…not that I was right or strong.

      • I don’t know.

        I don’t think I was a coward or deluded. I knew early on that he was a mess. I just was not going to be the one who ended the marriage; when he was the one who destroyed it. However, in my case we are talking only weeks after Dday, not years.

        I just think each chump has to do what feels right in their circumstance, and it doesn’t make them a coward. Just someone dealing with a shit storm as best they can.

    • Were you still married when he died?

      That is an amazing story. I mean I am not happy he died, but the whole story is well just amazing.

        • Well, I am hoping she got it all.

          I would never wish for anyone to die, nor would she; but if he did, well I am glad she was the beneficiary.

          • Yes…it is an amazing story. There are more details I leave out to shield my anonymity that make it more so. He got the life insurance policy he got trying to be cheap it had a good payout but was only good for a shorter than normal duration. I went to Mass and prayed for him every day for the 7 years after Dday…I asked God heal whatever part of his heart was so broken to cause his horrible behavior. 7 is the number of completion. I was a really good wife to him. He didnt deserve the devotion I gave him. I asked myself if the money made it good. No, my love and devotion were never for sale and I would have preferred a good husband but I got one in time.

            • I am glad you are happy now.

              I got an amazing husband the second time around. I never thought I would get over the way he treated me, but like you; lots of prayer.

              I had a bit of a relapse when he blew up his relationship with our son, that is when I started doing some research on narcissist, as I just didn’t think, he could be emotionally healthy to have pulled the same lying crap on our son. I don’t know if he is a narcissist or not, but I do know something is really wrong with him.

              I finally told my husband about the treatment I received. I also told my best friend and my brother. It helped me to release the anger I was holding against myself for being such a doormat. Or at least that is what I thought I was. I wasn’t. I was just a loving trusting wife.

              • Im not good at hiding/holding back…I told my now husband before our first date. He had denied to himself that he was traumatized by his XW but he was and my trauma shined some lights on his and we’ve been healing together.

                Cheater thought he was a good dad, but he wasnt…he was erratic and unpredictable. He could be deeply engaged with them and suddenly be done mid-activity. During his worst, he literally acted like he forgot he had kids (who were 16, 14 & 9 at the time) at one point planning his military retirement (an event normally attended by family) when one of our kids had school finals…but OW could be there….

                Our daughter was his favorite and towards the end, he used their relationship for the companionship he should have gotten from me and he set her up to have a really skewed perceptions of relationships which I think will hurt her badly in the long run.

  • “It is true I am not remorseful over the crimes I do not believe I have committed at all.”

    Key words here are “I do not believe.” These extra words are the tip-off that he is lying. This is not a statement about objective fat, i.e., I did not commit these crimes. It’s a statement about his BELIEF that he did not commit the crimes.

    “I am not remorseful over the crimes i did not commit” would possibly be a true statement. When someone say, “I don’t think I broke the lamp,” it’s a statement about what the person thinks; it’s no more believable than “I think I look good in these leggings.”

  • Never got an apology and never got him to admit to anything, not even after I told him I’d read the email; not after I told him she’d called me and stalked me; not even after I told him I had to have surgery for the STD he gave me…he did say: “why can’t you forgive me? You forgave Martha!” Martha was a business partner who had cheated me…I forgave Martha because SHE DIDN’T MATTER. What I had with my husband mattered…but he doesn’t matter any longer. May he die and rot.

  • That cartoon made me imagine a Dr. Seuss cheater non-apology:

    I’m “sorry” I fucked one in our bed,
    I’m “sorry“ I fucked one in the garden shed,
    I’m “sorry” I fucked every ho I found,
    But I only fucked ‘em ‘cause you weren’t around!

  • They love to play the “VICTIM” mine was narcissistic and constantly calling the Canadian RCMP like a 5 year old child suffering a tantrum it was sickening until my family got involved!????????????????

  • Maybe it would be useful to classify ourselves by level on the Narcissist’s Creed:

    1. That didn’t happen.
    2. And if it did, it wasn’t that bad.
    3. And if it was, that’s not a big deal.
    4. And if it is, that’s not my fault.
    5. And if it was, I didn’t mean it.
    6. And if I did, you deserved it.

    I’m at level 1 (no admission). Most people here seem to be hovering around 3 or 4 (something along the lines of you’re over-reacting, or it’s your fault) but the really nasty cases make it all the way to 6. Maybe this could be the challenge for next Friday? I’d be willing to compile statistics and make a summary at the end.

    • Yep. I’m at a 5-6, depending on STBX’s mood. As I noted above, just last week she said I’m being too fearful of Covid, so that justifies her lack of respect in not accepting the healthy boundary I have set around DD9’s distanced play dates. Ergo, I deserve her lack of respect. (This was one of Keith Raniere’s manipulative tools: “work your fears,” instead of making adult decisions based upon reasonable ones.)

      My STBX doesn’t seem nasty on the surface, so even our mediator didn’t call her on saying that during our session. Her manipulations are very subtle indeed. Even better, she truly believes she’s acting out of care for others and/or reasonable self-interest. Raniere would be impressed.

    • Involuntary Georgian,

      Great idea!

      Btw, I’m in an early-voting frame of mind: I made it to a 6.

      I probably made it to a 7, actually, but he didn’t say that part out loud. I suspect he didn’t dare.

  • “I’m sorry if anything I might have done has inadvertently caused you to continue being upset about our marriage problems.”

    lololololololol…he was fucking and trying to fuck his students (well, ex students, college aged…cause he has “morals” and stuff). I remember this quote exactly because I thought at the time, “who the hell uses ‘inadvertently’ in an apology?!?” Narcissists…that’s who.

    • LOL. Is there any such thing as a double passive? That sentence doubles back so hard it never gets anywhere!

  • Mine are totally standard and boring, but the context for each taught me a lot about narcissism before I had really read up on it and knew it was a thing.

    Fauxpology #1: “I’m sorry I hurt you.”
    This came a week after DDay when we sat down to have a WTF meeting (on DDay he came home from a trip, told me he was leaving me for another woman, and bounced with our car and his clothes, all within an hour). It was a calm meeting, mostly b/c I was still in shock and was doing the Riverdance of pick-me dances (I even made him a loaf of banana bread to take with him so he’d have something to eat in his new apartment; I know…). He was at this point super-high on hormones from his new relationship and was being generous and friendly because everything was going as he planned: he had dumped our old life on me, was having fun playing house with the OW and her kids, and I was apologizing for “my part” and begging him to come back, so it was Kibblepalooza. The minute things got less kibbly on my end (when he cut off my credit cards and brought his OW to a birthday party where he knew I was going to be–and I finally started to wake up to the person he really was) he turned nasty and stayed that way until the divorce was finalized and I went NC.

    Fauxpology #2: “I know this has been hard for you.”
    This came with totally dead snake eyes in the parking lot after our final divorce mediation. I wanted to scream at him, “You have NO IDEA how hard it has been for me, and anyway, since you went out of your way to *make* it hard for me, you can stick your well wishes up your ass.” Instead, I said, “I don’t think a parking lot is the place for this conversation” and walked away. But I nearly had an aneurysm from the resulting grief and rage. That he would think that a completely fake, insulting, patronizing lie like that was in any way appropriate to the situation or to the level of respect he owed our marriage–that really opened my eyes to the gap between the kind of man he was and the kind of man I thought he had been.

    • “he had dumped our old life on me, was having fun playing house with the OW and her kids, and I was apologizing for “my part” and begging him to come back, so it was Kibblepalooza.”

      Still pisses me off to this day that I did that very thing. I wish I had realized right off that bat that I would never have wanted his diseased self back in my life. But, fortunately he dropped the mask fairly soon into it.

    • Gross. If it makes you feel any better, I did the Kibblepalooza too. I bought him a house warming gift. What in the serious fuck was I doing? We need for forgive ourselves for being loving people who were deeply attached. Shame on them for shitting on that.

      • ????

        Yep, I did love deeply and I gave him credit for being a much better man than he actually was. As pissed as I get at myself sometimes, I don’t really regret being who I am.

    • Okupin:

      “Instead, I said, ‘I don’t think a parking lot is the place for this conversation’ and walked away.”

      My God!!! What restraint!! I’m so impressed.

      And he’s clearly a narc jerk. Glad you’re free of him. (I did my own version of banana bread. No judgment here.)

      • Oh, trust, that was not the first thing that would have occurred to me hearing that. But narcs are so predictable that I *knew* this was coming for weeks. I knew he would lure me into a conversation in the parking lot under some bullshit pretext (actual pretext: Netflix DVDs that had got shipped to his apartment instead of my house…) and get a good slash in. So, I literally rehearsed that line like 2 dozen times to train myself to just say it instead of freeze or cry or punch him in the face…. What he actually said only sank in like 15 minutes later; I was so fixated on just getting out of there.

    • Oh brother!!!

      That reminds me. Mine said, “Maybe if I’d held your hand more things would have turned out differently.”

      Maybe. How ’bout this instead?: Maybe if I hadn’t been f**king another woman for more than two years, things would have turned out differently.”

  • Paraphrasing here:

    I tried to get you to be a better communicator for years. Perhaps you weren’t hearing me when I said I was unhappy? If I would have known that this would have hurt you so much, I would have separated from you before I did my sexual experimenting. Perhaps you didn’t hear me when I said I was going to do this. Our life together was adventurous and amazing and more than anyone would ever dream of. However, it was plagued with communication problems.

    And then I a few months later I got…

    This is all your fault. You are responsible for the marital break up. This is all on you. This was your choice – I offered to stay married to you.

    And then when I was crying and pointed out that he really devastated me, I got the classic (all together now!). I’M SORRY YOU FEEL THAT WAY.

    Chump Lady could have a field day with this shit. But here is my translation:

    I’ve been cheating on you for years. I was gaslighting you and using crazy making tactics to make you feel insecure and make you question your reality. That way, I kept you guessing and kept you off balance and made you feel like a horrible person for doubting me. Then when I got caught I tried to convince you that you knew what was going on, it’s just that you were so forgetful and crazy you weren’t aware of it and you’ll think you need psychiatric help. I’ll turn myself into the victim and blame it on you. This will work because I will make sure that you’re the one who kicks me out. I’ll make a ridiculous offer to be your part time husband – you won’t accept it and then I’ll be absolved of the guilt because, poor me! My wife kicked me out, even though I TOLD her I was going to fuck other women and she just didn’t listen because she’s so bad at communication and so forgetful. I tried to offer her an open marriage, but she just didn’t get it – she’s so immature about love. Yes, this is a great plan. I am just a lovely guy trying to get what I need and she’s a selfish bitch. I have NOTHING to be sorry about.

    • EXACTLY what my XW said and did. I could have written this. It’s amazing how they are ALL THE SAME!
      Divorce was my fault since I wouldn’t let her fuck other guys. I’m such a Puritan.

      • Is there a “how to be a cheater” course online that they all subscribe to? I am so perplexed that what seems like my own private hell is actually shared by so many chumps. It’s reassuring and worrying at the same time. Sorry you had this abuse too. Low lifes!

  • I got, “I’m sorry you think I did something wrong, but I didn’t think you’d mind,” when I found out about the neighbor he was fucking. (Or was it the co-worker? So many, I forget.). I was 24, and I DID mind. Very much. But I was determined to “make my marriage work,” and everyone told me that cheating was no reason to end a marriage. My father (a cheater from a long line of cheaters) said “It’s no big deal. All men cheat.” My mother told me I’d made my bed and now I had to lie in it. The pastor said marriage is a sacrament and my therapist asked me what I had done to “make him cheat.”

    A cheating boyfriend (who I kicked out the day I found out) said, “I’m sorry you think I ruined your life.” My reply was, “You were never important enough to ruin my life.” I still feel like a bad-ass over that!

    A few weeks after D-day, my husband was hiding in the bathroom (and since we lived on a sailboat, it was a mighty small bathroom!) texting, and I wondered aloud if he was texting the whore. “I’m sorry you feel that way, but you’d better get over it because I’m not going to eat humble pie forever.” I was done pick-me dancing in that instant. Instead, I was angry, and I got angrier by the day. I left a few days later, with what I could carry.

    • Mine said something similar. “You expect me to feel bad forever? Well I REFUSE to live that way!”

      (It had been 3 months after dday at this point).

      • Sucks, doesn’t it! Appears that they refused to live the right way, the way they vowed they would, either.

  • “I’m sorry, but I see it differently.” and he went on to tell me how we shouldn’t have let our relationship go on as long as it had. In his mind it was over and he was entitled to move on, I just didn’t get the memo for a couple of years.

    He did confess to being good at compartmentalising. That was the closest I got to him admitting any wrong on his part but he was smiling his sly narcissist smile.

    • Right? I didn’t get the memo, and it was obscured by the fact that he was lying to me, and telling me he loved me, and oh look at this wonderful river front property; we will really enjoy that with our grandchildren. Here Chump sign this loan agreement, so we can get that wonderful property for our retirement. All said less than six months before he dumped me for the whore. Before he dumped me, he and the whore used it as their weekend getaways.

      I wanted us to go there weekends, but he couldn’t because he was always “working” what I didn’t know was he had his work phone transferred to his cell and when I would call he would say, yep still at work. This was in 1989, so I was ignorant of the technology.

      I am sorry, I still struggle with judging; but he was evil and nasty beyond belief. It still hurts me that I was so blind.

  • I never got anything resembling any kind of apology because my phony ex is so image conscious and terrified of conflict that he denied everything except that which I could prove and even that was met with “umm, well, maybe it was inappropriate”.

    If it made baby even remotely uncomfortable it wasn’t to be discussed. He woul be a passive aggressive asshole and then 5 minutes later paint a phony smile on his face and pretend he had no idea anything was wrong and here I was being difficult and getting upset for absolutely no reason!

    If i never see that full of shit phony smile again I’d be quite content.

    • ^^ yes, the smile! I don’t know if my ex always used it and I never noticed it, or it started after DDay, but it quite literally nauseated me. It was comically wide and frighteningly thin and never made it near his eyes, which were cold and dead. It was exactly like a crocodile’s grin. He used it on my friends, too, when he would run into them. I think he was shooting for something like, “I didn’t do anything wrong, I’m so happy, I’m the nicest guy in the world!” It didn’t work: my friends’ reactions ranged from, “I wanted to knock it right off his face,” to “That smile is so *creepy*.” Like you, Kim, I will be very happy if I never see the crocodile grin again. I’ve been NC for a year now and am hoping to stretch that run of good luck for as looooong as I can.

  • My twerp wrote an apology note the day after Dday, when he had said he was sorry and then completely negated it by massive amounts of blameshifting and “it just happened” type of bullshit. The follow-up note said; “Your feelings are real.” There were a few lines of other drivel that I forget, but that line stuck out. Apparently, after gaslighting me for so long, he thought I needed to be told I was not imagining my broken heart. Gee, how magnanimous of him. Plus he bought me a magazine and picked some berries from a bush I had planted (with no help from him as always). His idea of a generous apology gift.????

  • I never really got an apology, at least in my opinion. He abandoned me one day, and then let me figure out the marriage was over basically. No warning. He was never wrong while we were married and that didn’t change. I did get a “it kills me me to know you’re feeling pain”, one “I’m sorry” when I emailed that everything was a real mess, and another “I already said I was sorry several times” when I mentioned how difficult it was to have to pick up and start over with no warning. I got an “I’m sorry you have to deal with that” with regard to my having to legally deal with a difficult person he involved us with. When I had originally mentioned I didn’t think doing business with this person was a good idea, I was told to “fuck off.” He conveniently wrote that out of our history. He was traveling with potential replacements when he emailed that apology. Most comments in response to my raising the issue of things I had found out, were met with an offense – I got – “I don’t think you ever thought once how you made me feel all these years” – in response to my revealing I had found out he had relationships throughout our marriage. I did find an email to a woman , who I am sure he had a brief liaison with, where he said he needed to apologize to her face for things he said that unintentionally offended her. He never asked or tried to apologize to my face. All above was by email. That’s it.

  • Maybe I should have been more of an active father. I didn’t realize how you were brainwashing them.

  • Kicked him out on D-day, after seeing sex videos of him and 2.5-year affair partner. Next day, he wrote a letter to the kids and me from a hotel room, talking about how miserable he was and how sorry he was for his actions: “What I did was deceitful, duplicitous, hurtful, selfish, reprehensible.”

    On the same day, he sent a group text to his whole family, saying, “It is with sadness that I share that after months of deliberation, we have decided to get divorced. The kids are with her and she is probably poisoning their minds right now. I have moved out for now but this is what I have to do to be the better parent. In time, the truth will be revealed. May God bless us.”

    Later that day, one-hour phone call with the affair partner.

    Must be exhausting to be a cheater.

    • Chumpupthejam – WTSF? This change of story is so confusing. I’m dealing with my own similar thing, whereby with me, he was trying to get me to agree to an “open marriage” because he felt he needed to experiment. Because I didn’t want to lose my marriage, I told him I’d think about how I might be able to cope with a bit of experimentation and that I’d get back to him. He was lying and gaslighting me so bad during that time that I hardly knew my ass from an acorn. Fast forward, on DDay he said he’d been going to sex clubs, hookers and now he’s got a girlfriend. In the coming weeks I found more of his lies, and he had a rolling confession that he’d been sleeping with hookers for over a decade (S&M ones he could beat up). What reminded me of your story was how much he changed the narrative for his family. I got that too. Mine was, “after many years of a very rocky marriage, we’ve decided to divorce.” Huh, news to me. We were actually very fucking happy (or that’s how it was presented to me). To our closer friends, he said that I gave him permission to cheat, then when he did, I retracted that permission and I just couldn’t handle it. Um, no. To other people he talks about how difficult I was, how controlling and it’s been so hard but he’s finally broken free. Other times, he simply says we had grave communication issues that broke us up. Yeah, ya think? That kind of lying is definitely a troubling communication issue. It’s been a total mindfuck for me, but I’m starting to realize that he needs all those reasons to ensure that nothing is his fault and the story needs to match the audience. He really, really wants this break up to be my fault, either because I sucked at communication, I gave him permission to cheat and then retracted – whatever. It’s all bullshit and just spun to ensure he has no accountability. My head is in that blender.

      • FormerlyKnownAs,
        OMG we must be married to the same person. I am 5 months post-D-day and still uncovering more lies (just discovered this week that our business bank account that was closed in 2017 was actually reactivated for hooker funds). I’m sorry you got the “after many years of a rocky marriage, we’ve decided to divorce.” I had no idea either! I thought we were happy. He sent me flowers frequently, only for me to find out later he ordered flowers for me and the affair partner always at the same time. Must’ve been a BOGO deal. Five months later and it’s 3 am and my mind is still full-speed being pureed in a blender. This was a guy who always bungled a 3-item grocery list but somehow had the logistical sophistication to have a raging double/triple-life. Hang in there. We get to walk away from this shit. They will forever swim in it.

        • He didn’t bungle the grocery list; he just didn’t want to do it, so by continually bungling, he insured that he wouldn’t be asked to manage a three item grocery list. These people are connivers.

          • Yeah, my ex never, and I mean NEVER, could remember something as simple as, “hey, could you grab some milk on the way home?” In the awesome book, The Covert Passive Aggressive Narcissist by Mirza, she uses an example just like this. They do not remember to buy that thing you asked for – it’s intentional crazy making and/or they don’t give a shit about you so they don’t/won’t remember. I worked with my ex (long story, but I brought him into my business since he was having trouble in his career), and after he got fired (again, long story), for weeks we sat around with the leadership team asking ourselves, “was it a matter of he CAN’T do anything or he WON’T do anything? It drove us crazy. He is very smart, but he couldn’t manage a job. It was perplexing. Not to mention he was fucking a client and/or hookers all the time. But, there was something going on about trying very hard to seem competent, right, smart, together….and yet truly not being able to manage – both at home (e.g. it’s all my fault the marriage fell apart) and at work (it’s all their fault I lost my job). It’s the world’s biggest blender, twisted mindfuck of all time. And yes, leading a double life must take all of their energy. I’ve often thought…gosh, wouldn’t it have been easier just to love me and reap the rewards of that?? My love for him knew no bounds and he didn’t see it or want it. He squandered a beautiful thing and lost a family and a business.

            I’m very sorry that we share this shit. Big hugs to you. You’re not alone.

      • It is always a hoot to hear a lying, manipulating cheater use the excuse of “we stopped communicating” Ummm yeah; I guess WE did.

  • Yeah, I got emails full of sentences beginning “I’m sorry you couldn’t … “.

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