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The ‘If You Aren’t Nicer’ Threat

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People still submit one-liners of Stupid Shit Cheaters Say to me.

Got this one yesterday:

“If you aren’t nicer to me, I’m going to cheat on you.”

Let’s decode it, shall we? It’s only sentence, but therein lies so much crap.

“If you aren’t nicer to me…”

Implies what he does or does not do is entirely dependent on you. (Forgive gender pronouns, it works the other way too, of course.)

We’re blameshifting out of the gate.

Also, the creep here determines What Is Nice. The command is be niceR. So, your current levels of pleasant thoughtfulness are failing. Up your game.

This is goading you into the pick me dance. Nicer! No! MORE nice! NOT NICE ENOUGH!

See the goalposts shift.

Which gives him carte blanche to…

…cheat on you.

“I’m going to cheat on you” means he’s already cheating. Of course he is. But this is phrased as a threat for future action. Covers his tracks about what he’s already done, tidily puts the onus on you.

He WILL do it, he will be COMPELLED to do it, because you are NOT NICE. You will MAKE him fuck strange and you’ll only have yourself to blame.

Classic abuser tactic.

Let’s look at the whole putrid sentence again.

“If you aren’t nicer to me, I’m going to cheat on you.”

Walk on egg shells. Don’t assert yourself. Don’t have needs. Don’t be angry. Or he will sexually humiliate you and abandon you.

This isn’t the way people who respect their partners speak to their partners. This isn’t a relationship of equals. This is ugly entitlement (I Deserve NICE) and abuse (I CAN FUCK AROUND WITH IMPUNITY).

Thus ends our mindfuckery lesson for today.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • My ex, who was a local radio DJ, said, “It wouldn’t be hard at all for me to find someone to cheat with. All I have to do is say on the air where I’m going to be, and someone will show up.”

    • Lol local radio DJs – the worst!!! Bunch of insecure little, self-important backstabbers. Remember they are local and not national, probs quite mediocre in talent and lacking in imagination, need I say anymore?

      Alan partridge.

    • The dickhead user new husband of a very nice colleague managed to get himself a stint on a local English-language radio here in Geneva (that was after selling fake viagra online didn’t work out). He REALLY thought he was all that and a bag of chips – until people kept calling in and telling them to take him off the air as he was bloody awful. Trouble is, when you’re a narc, you will NEVER see that people are telling the truth and that there is something wrong with YOU! It’ll always be their fault!

      • My ex was a local radio DJ when we met. Fast forward over 25 years later when he got caught cheating, he told me that he should get credit for all of the years he didn’t cheat (and made sure to let me know how most of those missed opportunities had been available to him due to his status of being an on-air “celebrity” back then!)

  • After d-day, I heard so many “If only you’d….”

    Talk about blame shifting and mindfuckery when you’re already vulnerable and traumatized enough to eat more of that shit sandwich.

    “If only….” they weren’t such fuckwits that couldn’t keep their pants on around people who weren’t their spouse.

    • After I discovered my STBXW sexting and sleeping with over a dozen men behind my back I got the “I miss the man you use to be” We are 36 and hardly drastically changed as she was apparently happy enough with me last year before all her affairs were discovered. Now she loves me and is broken and wishes she could go back in time. She breaks down in tears when dropping the kids off. She is now obsessed with asking me if there is another woman. This is the same woman who a month ago grabbed me by the balls and dug her nails into me and got in my face and said if I ever dare touch another woman she would cut my balls off so I never get an erection ever again.

      • Wow! She sure is exercising her DARVO skills! (Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim Offender). It wasn’t her; it was that YOU changed! She had no other option but to fuck around. Oh, and then she needed to attack you (and with a physical component!), but is now the poor victim.

        You do not need this person in your life.

        • She states for the past ten years she has carried the marriage. Had a whole list of everything I’ve done wrong. She states I don’t listen to her, I just don’t hear her. I kick myself so bad as we met when we were 21 and I found out that the boyfriend she previously lived with that she cheated on him with multiple people, including a threesome in his bed. She said she wanted to feel wanted and stupid naive me believed it. I’m convinced she cheated on me ten years ago. We would go to bed and I’d wake up at 2am and she was gone and car gone and she’d come back at 4 or 5am like nothing happened, this went on for months and she started staying overnight at her female friends house allegedly.

          I’d go to her friends house and no sign of the car or her. I was barely touching her and I was then away in the military and she tells me she is pregnant. We already had a one year old son during all this. During her pregnancy with our daughter I was home from the Army on con leave and I text appeared on her phone saying “come get your baby or I will expose your lover”. I confronted her about this but she said it was for someone else. I knew fine righty it was not.

          I stupidly stayed. Fast forward ten years and now all this. As soon as I caught her cheating I went straight for divorce. I was then arrested under suspicion of assaulting her. Even the police said there was no bruising or marks or evidence. But because we have kids, social services got involved and I was removed from the home and I’m not legally allowed near her. My lawyers and my parents all said I was clearly set up.

          Since all this, she is now having an emotional breakdown and missing me and wishing we could go back to how it use to be.
          She had the nerve to be sobbing in front of me during kids visit and asked if there was another woman in my life. I’ve had my life destroyed so hardly in a romantic mood to find another woman. Funny when married she never told me about the 15 men she was sexting daily and hooking up with or her tinder profile. I only contact her about the kids and I give her zero attention. I have simply scrapped the crap of my shoe.

          • Most ALL of us stupidly stayed. Please forgive yourself for being normal, compassionate, and empathetic. She chose you for those qualities, else she couldn’t have abused you. Had you not had those qualities, you would have been no use to her. Make sure you fix your picker and I assure you, there are hundreds of women out there that would be grateful for those qualities because they have given too. But take your time fixing that picker. You deserve better but it’s up to you to be discriminating. Good luck!

          • Holy cow, be careful. I would make sure you’re never alone with her. Always have someone (a witness) be with you if you need to interact with her.

          • She is evil and dangerous! I would report her for the assault on you and uttering threats. You can probably up it to sexual assault since she attacked your genitals. Alternatively, you could tell her you’ll take her back if she withdraws the bogus assault charge, removes the order of protection, and admits in front of authorities that she made it all up.
            Then don’t take her back and laugh in her face. Don’t let her win. How DARE she file false charges on you. People like this need to be stopped and we need to be completely ruthless with them.

          • Holy crap she dug her nails into your balls and then claimed YOU were the abusive one? As a woman I am sorry that women like that exist. It’s women like that who make it harder for actual battered wives to be taken seriously. That crazy bitch should be locked up.

            • In the past she has given me concussion from hitting me with a pan. I’ve had her check my private area for signs I had been with a girl. I’ve had her using pressure points against me and take pleasure in telling me she knows exactly where the push. I’ve had her repeatedly nearly tear my ear off as that was one of her favourite assaults on me. It made me feel like a child and she knew it emasculated me. I’ve had her take out credit in my name behind my back in the past and ran up the debts. So many other things. My lawyers and my family are saying I need to see myself as a domestic abuse survivor. Of course my STBXW will deny everything, she is a master at gaslighting. There are countless lies I’ve caught her in. She even use to lie about small everyday things. I’ve been away from her now and my blood pressure is lower, I sleep better, I feel a huge weight of my shoulders.
              Yet she will paint me out to be the abuser. My lawyers said they see it all the time, it’s her trying to control her appearance as she cheated on me with dozens. Nothing more than damage control.

              Chumpladys book saved my life.

              • CNLYLT,
                You have been brutally abused. There are sorts of abusers and one of them is the military spouse abuser…both my husbands were military and Ive seen them …the first clue to observers is how much they like to shop…am I wrong? You must extricate yourself from her and Im sorry she did this to you. I am sure she knows the rules she can abuse you with … learnthem too so you can protect yourself as best as possible.

      • Jesus fuck. That month ago comment! She’s abusive as hell. Sounds like the other woman in my scenario, but he found her abusiveness “cute and hot” and wished i could be more like that (meanwhile me asking to not be cheated on was abusive). Please be safe 🙁

  • We were in the immediate fallout of Dday (he had said he was ending it with OW but 2 seconds after he said it, he was reconsidering) and I was trying to hold him accountable for his brash cruelty and I reminded him of something especially hideous he did/said and his response was

    “Dont tempt me, Uni!!”

    as in “you make my existence here uncomfortable in the least and Im out and gone with OW”

    I should have made his existence there more uncomfortable, dammit.

  • About two years before ex-FW began his affair (that I know of, anyway,) I found a long black skirt in a piece of luggage he didn’t use very often (he traveled some for his job.) When I asked him whose it was, he indignantly reminded me it was his teenage daughter’s (from a previous marriage) who had gone on vacation with us several weeks prior. I then remembered that skirt, and that, indeed, it was hers, and returned it to her.

    Fast forward three years: D-day. While I was crying, screaming at him, and basically freaking-out, he calmly said, “Well, you already didn’t trust me when you found (his daughter’s) skirt, so I figured I may as well go ahead and cheat.” My fault, you see. Mind fuck.

    • Wiser now,

      That’s just awful. Mindfuck indeed!

      About 15 years ago (20 years into our marriage), we had a family crisis, and my then-husband was acting unstable. I won’t go into the painful details here, but the bottom line is that I kicked him out. My therapist encouraged this action, arguing that he didn’t seem safe around the kids who were in their teens at the time. I didn’t expect it to be permanent. It was just a temporary fix until he got his shit together.

      He didn’t take it well.

      I remember having sex with him a lot during that time. Trauma bonding, I guess. So weird!! At the time, I worried he would commit suicide as had his brothers. So I think the sex was my way to keep him from going over the deep end. I know this sounds very dysfunctional and codependent. It was.

      After 5 weeks or so, he hoovered his way back in, writing and saying all the right things, sending flowers every day. He went to a psychiatrist and agreed to take meds and do talk therapy 2x/week. Part of the hoovering included getting my intials tattooed on his upper thigh. This was his first tattoo. I didn’t like he look of it, but I did think at the time that this man really, REALLY likes me. So it worked.

      Thirteen years after getting that tattoo, he would begin an affair that lasted for more than two years, which brings me to the present.

      When he finally fessed up (last October), he said he was free to have an affair because I’d already broken our vows by kicking him out years before. He claims he was sick (mentally) and I didn’t honor the vow to “have and to hold…in sickness and in health.” That he slept with another woman two years after our marriage doesn’t seem to count as a vow breaker nor does the fact that he didn’t “love and cherish” me.

      No, it was all my fault. I’d already broken our vows.

      Honestly, such is my codepdency that his argument still gets to me. I need a reality check.

      • The argument is false, Spinach. It’s also using your sense of guilt (unnecessary!) to manipulate you. If somebody said that to a friend of yours, you could see right through it and see how ill he is. You are not responsible for his betrayal!

  • My ex used to say. If the person you are with complains all the time. Or is not making you happy. There are plenty of people who will. They could find someone else.

    Sure you have to find your replacement before you leave. Looking back he was warning me that he was either thinking of cheating. Or already was.

    • Oh god, I used to hear that shit from a guy I dated too. He’d go on and on about how much money he makes (and would remind me often of how much his stuff cost. “I got this coat for $900. These shoes were $90 and were made from Peruvian alpaca wool. My sheets cost $150…”) and he’d remind me maybe twice every time I saw him that he was offered a modeling job by Abercrombie when he was 17, the only reason he didn’t was “my dad said no.”

      Then he’d talk about how, if your man is hot and makes a lot of money and actually chooses you over all the other women he could have, you’d “better maintain that or he’d have a right to bail.”

      Funny…for all his money and “hotness” …I just…can’t seem to figure out how exactly his departure is supposed to be a loss for me…

  • I thought we were both “fighting his addiction,” but he wasn’t fighting anything. He was just doing whatever he wanted and blaming me when I found out. His tremendous emotional fragility, which apparently “drove him to act out” whenever I didn’t obey his every whim or got angry at his lies, did not extend to empathy for me or for the people abused in the making of the porn he consumed.

    • Madge, I burst out laughing. Mine said the exact same thing! I reas his journal—which was supposed to be an open book per our marriage counselor—and he wrote that his sex addiction meetings made him want to act out even more. He also wrote of his “pangs” of missing his favorite hooker. By reading it, I had destroyed his safe place to write his feelings re his addictions and now he might be driven to relapse and act out. Ffs. He was already acting out, using What’s App and sugar baby websites.

      • I read the Jackasses diary. That’s how I first found out he found his “Twin Flame” aka sicko Owhore manipulator fellow porn addict who is married. That’s also when I realized he is dumb, seriously dumb.

    • My ex had zero coping skills when it came to stress. Apparently if he was upset, the only way he could cope was by lying about trips for work (leaving me to take care of house & kid) and fuck off to play golf (& who knows what else instead). As if paying off his gambling debts, paying his attorney’s fees after he was fired & being the sole breadwinner while he went back to school, & being a mom wasn’t stressful? Geez, I didn’t know running away from home was an option! I sure could have used some swanky spa retreats, lol!

    • Madge,

      What you said is very familiar. Mine is a sex addict (so called) and utilized blame shifting to justify his “acting out”. He was afraid I’d get pregnant, or I was on my period…..so he was driven to “act out”. At times he would purposely cause an argument so he could leave the house for hours.

      I am believing that there is no “cure” or group that can make them sexually sober. It’s all just temporary. The group he is in just pat each other on the back and look the other way. He said the guy he is accountability partners with always asks for ‘Bailey’, a young cute brunette waitress and tips her above what the bill is when they have “check in” time and meet at a local restaurant. I said if you two are accountable to each other you better call him out on this. He told me that it is solved that this was innocent in that ‘Bailey’ the waitress reminded the accountability partner of his granddaughter. Blind leading the blind!!!!!

      I have to say both these guys are extremely unattractive, old and out of shape. It floors me that gross unassuming old farts are raving sex addicts!

      • Real addictions ruin the addict. “Sex addiction” ruins the partner. Just a convenient reason for the “addict” to play the in sickness and in health card. And a cash cow for the new breed of therapist.

        • I agree. I don’t think sex addiction is real. Mine ex would “relapse” by stalking strip clubs where the hooker worked, text her to beg fir another chance, promise her the moon—that “karma was against them”. If it wasn’t so utterly pathetic, I’d laugh. Unfortunately, it was my life. Ugh

  • Mine groomed me from the very beginning with if he(or any man) does not get enough sex he will stray. Not only was I emotionally abused but sexually abused. Talk about trauma bonded.

    PTSD much? Took me awhile to admit to myself I had it.

    • And of course since they determine how much is enough, well there we are…

      A game we are destined to lose, and they are destined to win, at least in the beginning.

  • “If you’re going to accuse me of cheating, I might as well do it.”
    1 year into cheating escapade, while I was breaking down in the shower.

    • “If you’re going to accuse me of cheating, I might as well do it.”

      Yes, I got that same EXACT line word for word (is there a book these losers all read?) about a year before Dday, only I had NEVER accused him of cheating. I didn’t know he was.
      At the time I thought to myself, “That’s weird. Why would he say that? I never ever said he was cheating. ”
      He was accusing me of accusing him of cheating, to start a fight. And I just let it roll off bc I didn’t want to fight about stupid things he said.
      Asshole.

      • That reminded me of my ex FW. Because he had been so hostile, and seemed to be not around much, I questioned him; and didn’t accuse him of cheating but said, I feel like we don’t spend any time together and it seems I can’t do anything right. He assured me that it was his work stress blah blah blah.

        Then a couple weeks later, jumped on me for something stupid shit, (I can’t remember now) and then said “every time I walk in the house, you make me feel guilty” I just stared at him, I had said nothing about anything, but he feels guilty? Now you would have thought that would have slapped me upside the head with reality, but no; I had to endure more abuse before I finally figured it out.

  • Omg. I heard something similar. “If you are not nicer to me I am going to divorce you and find someone else.” Turns out he was cheating on me at the time. I heard so many times if you don’t do xyz I am going to divorce you and find someone else thru out our 22 year marriage. He never filed for divorce, and was pissed when I finally did.

  • Its all threats,
    Its emotional, financial, probably physical, stis are sexual abuse. Its the pick me dance, you will never win. The ow will tell him what he wants to hear. Its all shit, the cheater is that deluded they actually believe it themselves.

  • “If you were nicer to me, I wouldn’t cheat.”

    “Well, if you were nice at all, you wouldn’t cheat. I guess it’s clear what this conversation says about you.”

  • After beating the shit out of me yet again (it happened on a regular basis) HE burst into tears and said if only I would show him just a little affection I would have him eating out of my hand!!! Trouble was, you see, I wasn’t ready to jump his bones when he staggered home drunk from the bar at 2 a.m. (and I had to get up at 5 a.m. for work) so it was necessary to beat the shit out of me you see! And then of course he was surprised that I didn’t show him any affection!

  • Yesterday’s comments where people shared that the cheater blamed a “hostile home environment” and today’s threats remind me of why I still start every day with CL. What XH said to me, the kids, the sex addiction therapists in the aftermath of discovery 6 years ago was what caused the worst psychological harm to me and the kids (the therapists acted like blameshifting was normal and continued week after week to collect $$$ until I said ENOUGH!)

    I wish I would have gone no contact and filed for divorce the minute I found out. It would have saved us all the agony of the 18 weeks of false reconciliation that has had years of aftermath.

    XH is just like all cheaters— he too said he cheated and would abandon and leave me and kids financially ruined (after 25 year marriage) because I wasn’t “nice enough.” I pick me danced almost to my grave— even signed a “behavior contact” XH drafted (he’s a 7-figure earning corporate lawyer) where one of the “more” ridiculous statement he made me sign was that I agree to “always talk softly and never criticize him.” I knew it was absurd but I signed it and begged him to see that I loved him and our intact family so much I was willing to do anything— even pretzel myself into nothingness….. he still continued cheating.

    Finally I told him to GTFO. I think that choosing myself was excruciatingly hard because of a lifetime of narcissist abuse: mom, dad, sister, first husband, second husband, bosses…..

    At 53 I’m trying to learn a new way of living— I will never be dependent on a man again and I will (hopefully) not tolerate users or abusers. I don’t blame myself, though, because these types are master manipulators. Love bombing, self pity, ANY blameshifting to anyone or anything, and a lack of reciprocity…. these are red flags I notice in people right away now— and I steer clear. Not my monkeys.

    • Once you can identify these types of disordered people, it’s mindblowing how many of them there are. Then if you’re like me, after a lifetime of being abused (family, fuckwits, co-workers, neighbors) it’s as if you’ve got a “use me” label stuck on your forehead. It’s taken awhile to peel the label off, but I think I’m pretty much there. The hard part is letting people in and learning to navigate the terrain of reciprocal, respectful relationships. It’s a different language.

      • It IS a different language. I have few friends, but I really don’t mind. I am wary of people now, so the very few I “let” in must pass a pretty rigorous test.

          • Yep same. I have no interest in dating. I don’t have “new” friends because my existing ones have been my rock. I am slowly moving away from black and white in what I can tolerate and allow a grey zone with boundaries. I can never say never. I may be ready someday. But happy on my own.

            • I am there too. Can’t envisage dating or intimacy of any kind. Over 60, I don’t exactly have guys queuing up for a date, but occasionally some interest is shown. But I shun that, just about being able to handle a friendship without too frequent meetings, or too close conversations, except my lifelong nearest and dearest, of course. It is one of the residual resentments of splitting up that I am pretty sure I’ll stay “sola”.

        • It’s not just a different language, it’s becoming a different person. The reason that I was the perfect target for the dick is because I have a dick for a dad. He abused my mom for years before the children grew up and removed her from it. (He’s 92 and still a dick.) I met my dick-ex at 22, married him at 24, and stayed married for 30 before I had enough. I was with a therapist after my divorce and said to him, “Why do I still love him?” The therapist astutely said,”Because that’s all you know.” I’ve taken 5 years to realize that I deserve better and I assure you, i’m as much of a target for a narc now as I was in the past. However, I now demand better treatment and because “I’m broken”, anyone that really, really wants me in his life is going to have to be extremely patient getting past all of my barriers. If he’s not, then i’m way okay for him to walk away. I’d rather be single the rest of my life than to ever have a dick in it again.

          • Yes it is becoming a different person. I moved back to the general area I lived before taking off for decades. Problems came up when reconnecting with people. My oldest friend said “You have REALLY changed,” and she didn’t mean it in a good way. Yes, I stand by my opinions and don’t always go along with others’ adgendas to keep the peace or just get by. Yes, I am not so compliant and accommodating. When she said that to me, I answered, “Yes I have, and thank god.” People can either take it or leave it.

          • Maybe, AC, you’re not quite the target you think you might be: you have wise therapist, tremendous life-experience, and it sounds like solid boundaries. Also not needing a person in one’s life is a really healthy way to establish healthy relationships, platonic or otherwise.

            I’m three years out after decade-long effort to keep family together. On the one hand, I’ve changed and grown; on the other, I’m still the same tree only with stronger roots and wider branches. As a general rule I love all trees.

            During the hottest part of the crisis I visited the headwaters of a great river, stripped naked, and baptized myself in those waters. And that was I see now the start of my renewal. And the water was sparkling.

    • Motherchumper you story resonates with me a lot. My ex was always telling me how hostile I was and he begged me to get help for my “anger management” issues. I couldn’t find an anger management class where I live, so I read a book. The book made no sense to me at all (because I didn’t have anger problems). I went to a counselor and he taught me this dumb breath work for when I felt angry. What it did was push my feelings down further. I was angry sometimes, and here’s why: my husband slept in late both weekend days while I got up with our daughter and did chores, he went out most weekends but never took me out, he never told me where he was even when I asked, he never helped me cook meals, he wouldn’t make dinner, he wouldn’t do our taxes – they were five years past due, he wouldn’t do yard work and he wouldn’t pay a gardener, he wouldn’t save money, he wouldn’t commit to going on family holidays, he was mean to me at work…you get the idea. She was actually a shitty husband and an absent father. I was frustrated about those things but he would not allow me to feel frustrated. Also, now that I know how much lying and gaslighting he was doing, it’s no wonder I was confused, upset and sometimes overly emotional. I’m still very hurt, but 16 months past DDay and the real me is back. I’m calm, patient and hardly ever angry. I wish I WAS angrier at him – he just didn’t allow it. It’s a very abusive tactic to never allow a spouse to have their feelings, and god forbid blame them and threaten to cheat on them for having those feelings. Mine basically said the marriage break up was all my fault because he tried so hard to get his “needs” met and I was just unwilling to do it and unwilling to work on myself.

      • Sending so much support and solidarity. We were in the same marriage.

        I too was always puzzled by the accusation of hostility and anger. I simply didn’t feel those emotions very frequently. I mostly felt confused, lonely, misunderstood, overwhelmed, unsupported, unloved. Six years later and I’m CERTAIN I’m not an angry hostile person. It’s absurd to me now.

        Kids say XH rages at them, AP, drivers, anyone and everything…. projection much?

        • Well, scoot over. I’m in the same boat.

          My ex was in a constant state of mostly silent rage.

          I can’t say I didn’t feel anger or hostility. After years of walking on eggshells and making my needs so small, I didn’t know what/how I felt.

          • Sorry we’re all in the chump boat! I stuffed my emotions to the point of almost not remembering what I was even doing for the year leading up to DDay. I just went around like an unconscious zombie trying to figure out how I could make him happier, I figured if he was happy, everything would be great-he would participate in the marriage again, he’d have sex with me, he’d do things with me. The truth is he wanted to do whatever the fuck he wanted with no consequences and he didn’t give a shit about me and what I wanted. It was a great game blaming me for all of his problems. I have no idea what he’s doing now as he abandoned me completely once I said it was over. Big hugs to us all in the chump life boat 💜💜💜

    • My FWs version of that was “You are just not a great housekeeper” which is true, I am not a great house keeper, but I am a decent house keeper. It was honestly the worst thing he could throw at me. It certainly wasn’t because I was lazy, as I was working a full time job, doing loads of volunteer work at his request, because it helped him politically, and doing all and I mean all the house work, laundry cooking shopping etc. The money he spent on schmoopie and other women could have easily payed for a house cleaner at least once a week, maybe twice a week. When I suggested a house keeper, no we couldn’t afford that. If I couldn’t do everything to his satisfaction then he had no choice but to stick his dick somewhere else.

      Oh and turns out schmoopie really is a bad housekeeper. My daughter in law told me that, and I never told her what he said to me about my housekeeping.

      Full disclosure: he wrote me a letter of apology for in his words acting like such a low life. It didn’t help me at all, by the time he did that. The damage had been done.

    • “Well, you’re a lousy cook!”

      What I should have said, but didn’t think of at the time: “I have a better chance of becoming the next Gordon Ramsay than you do of ever becoming a decent person.”

  • Just another page from the cheater handbook (it’s not me, it’s you)… and like many here, if I had been paying closer attention I would have seen that even as we were dating, he was waving the pick me dance flag at me… and even years in to our marriage when I found a note to himself in his calendar five years in to our marriage to “call your wife – meaning his first wife – its your anniversary and she’ll be sad and missing you”… I should’ve packed my bags and left.

    It is a special kind of crazy for one person to intentionally treat another person this way. And no, you cannot fix it.

    • “I didn’t think you loved me this much” 28 years 3 boys, devoted my life to him and his career, so much crap, I love chump lady! I still am in awe that they all are the same! Through and through, fuckwit can have his fuckwit hoe

  • My ex said “If you even look like you’re thinking I’m doing something I shouldn’t, I’ll go out and f*** the first person I can find”.

  • This resonates with me. He used to tell me “you should be grateful that I don’t leave you”…WTF? He would repeatedly tell me that I wasn’t grateful enough for him, only focusing on what was wrong, missing. When I asked what he thought I should be grateful for he said “that I don’t leave you!!”.

    As if. Once I realized, I was MUCH better without him. Man, I wish he would have just left instead of torment me for 5 years. But of course, now we now that was all a part of his game.

    After things ended he harassed me for two years afterward.

    • It’s ironic that they threaten leaving, as if that’s not the best thing that could happen to us. I was tormented for 10 years, he discarded me 13 weeks ago. I’m slowly getting better.

  • I think I get this. My Ex-Wife pushed me very hard to succeed at work, because she enjoyed both the money and the prestige that reflected on her. This required me to work very long hours and spend log periods (up to 10 months) away from home at a time. I did not mind, because I enjoy my job and who wouldn’t want to provide the best possible lifestyle for their family. I know that she understood that the deal was to work hard now and enjoy the profits of my labours later, as when I offered to take a less pressured job that would allow me more time at home, but she said that it wouldn’t pay enough.

    Lo and behold, when the kids and I found out that she was cheating – which she denied, even though the proof was absolute – she told everyone that I was selfish because I was never at home and, when I was, I was exhausted.

    F*ck her noise.

    • That sucks. Hope you now have lower-stress work.

      Pretty sure Chump Lady has said she gets as many male as female visitors. The males mostly lurk. So you are not alone. Despite appearances, this is not a chick site.

      You’re already divorced, so I can’t offer advice on lining up ducks. Read posts about gray rock/low contact. (You can’t go no contact because of the kids. But you know that. Hooboy, do you know that.)

      Oh, and the posts on fixing your picker. A faithful, hard-working man is a great catch!

      • Nemo,

        Thanks. I am now 5 years separated and 3 1/2 years divorced. The kids stayed with me; they are now 24, 21 and 17 (just). I am in the same line of work, but got promoted a month after the divorce was finalised; I got a clean break, so she gets none of it. I am out of debt and saving towards a house; should be buying this time next year.

        Am grey rock as far as I can be with my Ex and plan to go “radio silent” once the youngest starts University in 2 years time.

        Lastly, my Picker is – at present – untested, but all in good time.

        • Just want to say that I’m grateful for the male input on this site. Turns out women can be selfish, low-character cheaters, too. Good to know!

          It’s also good to know that there are some decent guys out there. If my picker ever gets out of the shop, I’ll want to find a fellow chump.

  • In the divorce process right now. STBXH thinks that he is a lawyer, so no need for us to waste money on someone that actually knows what they are doing. He hates that I am gray rocking him and accuses my civil, divorce only related emails as being hostile. He was making up my settlement based off of what our company can afford during a pandemic, not based off of our tax returns. He told me that I wasn’t being nice (not replying to his sappy, blame shifting emails) and it was making it very hard on him to be generous to me. Well, his cheating is making it hard on me in general, but let’s not focus on that.

    Hired a lawyer, so I guess we will see if his “generous” settlement was a fraction of what I end up getting.

    • Thank Goodness you hired a lawyer! My ex almost had me convinced to just split up everything half and half by ourselves. My brother and sister had a heck of a time convincing me to get a lawyer. I was still under the assumption that my ex actually cared what happened to me and would do things fairly. But in the end I got a lawyer and i’m so glad I did.

      • Yep, my ex called me and said “I know you have no reason to trust me, but we could save a lot of money if we used the same lawyer” Of course his.

        I said no, then he went to insults and said “your problem is you can’t think for yourself” I just said yes, thanks to you right now I can’t, so I hired a lawyer to do it for me.

        He and his lawyer planned to screw me into poverty.

        • Susie Lee: “I said no, then he went to insults and said “your problem is you can’t think for yourself” I just said yes, thanks to you right now I can’t, so I hired a lawyer to do it for me.” Well played!! Good for you!

          In the end, my then-husband was even more critical and cheap. He even criticized that I hired a lawyer to handle serving him the divorce papers. He said there was a cheaper way to do it.

          Tough cookies! Greatest line from my lawyer was: “He doesn’t get to call the shots anymore.” That line jerked me out of the shitty situation I didn’t (until then) even realize I was in.

          By the way, I think his OW, who had gotten divorced the year before, was his go-to expert on all things divorce-related. He foolishly followed her crappy advice, which worked out well for me.

          • Oh right? They think they are going to control the process. I really believe my ex was astounded that he didn’t get to call the shots.

            One of the few times he threatened me, was when he called and said he wanted me to take the marital home and the house his mother lived in (which was payed for) then his mother could still live in the house and she could pay me rent. I said this is in my lawyers hands. He said if we don’t do it that way then I am selling everything. I can’t believe I had the presence of mind, but I said “knock yourself out big boy” and hugn up on him. Ha, my supervisor (a woman) was sitting there and she applauded me.

            He called back about an hour later and apologize for what he said. I suspect he told his lawyer and his lawyer goon that he was, told him he better cool it.

            I did document the call and sent it to my lawyer.

            I got the house that was paid for, which is all I wanted, and he got all the other property. He also took on all the debt. He came out just fine and he knew it. Quite frankly if all the property had been sold, I may have gotten a bit more, but I wanted the small property. But, he wanted to stick me with the care of his mother. My lawyer said, nope you don’t need to be saddled with his mother for the rest of her life. That is his responsibility.

            Though I loved my mother in law, he was right. She eventually turned against me. It would have been hell if I had to deal with her. It would have kept me connected to him and schmoopie. No way.

    • You go girl!!! Good for you for getting an attorney. A professional who will be looking out for you and what will be best for you in the long run. Your future is going to be soooo much better now that the STBX will be out of your daily life.

  • After he told me he was moving out and divorcing me, stbx forbid me from contacting his family. I ignored that and sent pictures of the kids to his parents. (the horrors!)

    When I saw him next, he was quietly fuming and asked seriously, “Do you want me to hate you forever?”

    He never admitted to the cheating, but part of his earlier discard script was saying I hadn’t shown him any love in 3 years. I scoured texts, emails, pictures, and receipts and wrote him an itemized document detailing all the ways I had shown my love (including 2 babies!). Urg. He thanked me for making the list and said it just wasn’t enough.

      • What my dad taught me, and what I taught my kids, is to regard all threats another makes as if they have already happened.

        A threat is a telegraphed desire and intention to impose one’s will.

        If someone threatens to leave you, she already has.

        Kind people do not make threats to people of their kind.

        A threat is an act of war.

        • I wish the courts saw it that way.

          I got conditional ‘are those threats?’ threats.

          “I need to leave before I do something I’ll regret”
          “If you weren’t who you were, I would have punched you a long time ago”
          “If you were anyone else, I would have beaten the shit out of you”

          Nice guy, eh?

          • Oh, that’s awful. In so many ways.

            Expressing a desire to physically or emotionally harm anybody is such a tell.

            I hope you are free of that person!

  • I got this kind ALL the time. Along with: “if you really loved me, you would have sex with me” and “if you don’t have more sex with me, I am going to cheat on you”. He was already cheating and had been for years. One of the worst was “why can’t you even do the basic things to make me happy?”

    I will never forgot the emotional and verbal abuse that he subjected me to. The scars never leave

    • The scars really never do leave.

      Oh we go on and have good times, and find better folks to love. But, being used and lied to by the very one that made vows to us is always there. From what I can see the more we loved and trusted them, the worse the pain will be.

      • So very true Susie Lee. I adored my FW ex. I’m annoyed that there’s a part of me that still does despite the callousness in his treatment of me in the divorce process. It’s been over a year since I kicked him out and it hurts almost as much as back then. I doubt meh will ever come

        • I believe it will lessen for you.

          I am many years out, and am speaking mostly from memory. I had a relapse due to FW blowing up our sons life, add the lockdown and research on narcissist’s and here I am.

          I only see my ex visually in my mind as who he was then. The last time I saw him, he bore no resemblance to my memory, there was no affection for him.

          But, if I think about it in the past, it does sting.

          For the way they treat us, I remained silent for many years, even after I married I didn’t say a lot. Then one day I spilled it all to my husband. He was so great about it, he then talked about some of the hurt he received in his marriage.

          He was all I told until a few months ago and I finally told my best friend and my one brother. It felt good to let it out.

          I would say if you have not told someone you trust, at least write all that treatment out. I realized after my relapse that I was still very angry, not at him but at myself for taking that treatment. I really should have gone to IC, but I just soldiered on.

          And yes a year out from the day he left, I definitely still had feelings for him, but luckily I also knew he was dangerous for me. When he circled back after the first time, I turned him down on all three occasions. (that I remember, there may have been more) He was always stopping by our house when I was still in it to talk to me, I never contacted him except for two occasions, one to ask him to file, the other to follow up on a situation we agreed on.

          I never let him in the house, I would talk to him for a few minutes outside.

        • Trust me, it will come. It just takes time. It took me around five years or so to get to meh, in stages. Which was a couple of years after I married my current husband. I was on another message board at that time, which helped a lot, but I sure wish chump lady had been around back then. Hopium stalled my process, and then I had to get to the point of realization that ex-FW as I thought I knew him was a false persona and I had always been deceived. After that I had to work on forgiving myself for being a chump and fixing my picker.

    • I got that too, but oddly it was my STBXH who was always denying me sex, and just basically never available for sex (e.g. sleeping in another room, up late on the computer, etc.). It was, as it turns out, because I wasn’t into S&M. But, I had no way of even knowing this because he wasn’t honest with me. I only found out when he accused me of being too “vanilla”. So, it was my fault that he had to cheat and he was very angry with me that I’m not into kink. Frankly, I might have been, but he kept that whole life from me so there’s no way I’d even know. The blame shifting for all this is hideous and abusive.

      • If I asked for it, he’d deny me. Didn’t matter if I was asking for vanilla, or for chocolate spice.

        BUT if HE wanted it, no matter what, then he’d get upset if I denied him. And he always wanted at times that I didn’t and in ways I didn’t.

        Its all about power, control, de-valuing, not about sharing, playful sex, or love in any way.

        • Power and control! Yes. Mine complained I never initiated sex. But I did initiate. And he sometimes turned me down. Even so, he insisted I never initiated sex. You know you’re being gaslit when you wish you’d recorded it all.

          • Mine also talked about sex a lot, but oddly we’d almost never do it. He was so fake about it-it seemed like an act, a big performance even. All talk but no action. I always found it odd and wondered why there was so little spontaneity. Sex seemed unnatural to him and he talked himself up like he was an awesome lover. I put up with that shit for 25 years while he was out fucking hookers and then finally leaving me for someone younger who will do whatever he wants.

  • When I figured out he was having an affair with ho-worker through the tears I begged to fix things (face palm) – his response: “You just keep giving and giving. . . .”

    So clearly he HAD to cheat on me and make secret plans to abandon the family at the end of my mother’s big birthday family trip because I was TOO NICE.

    You can’t make this shit up. You can just get far, far away from that special kind of crazy.

  • Before I found out about his affair, my cheater told me that if I didn’t have sex with him twice a week and initiate it—-he would have an affair.
    When I found out, he said he didn’t like how I initiated the sex—even though we’d been having sex twice a week per his request, he felt entitled to his affair because of his dissatisfaction in how I initiated the sex.

    • I got the same thing; he complained that he wasn’t getting enough sex. (I was working double shifts, and we were on different schedules) I managed to be home one night the same time he was. I laid down next to him and put my arm over him; he turned over with his right arm flexed and pressed his elbow into my face until I let go of him. I never made another overture to him. It was easier for him to gripe so he was much happier going to a “massage” than to be with me.

    • I got that as well, Missed Red Flags. STBX was obsessed with me having to initiate because he had felt rejected in the past in other relationships. I never turned him down one time when he initiated, so he had no reason to bring his past baggage into our marriage. He refused to see it. It’s always a game, because if things are going well, cheaters need to make up a reason to keep you off center.

      I think towards the end, I “didn’t initiate right” because the AP was feeling insecure and he used that to make it look like the dead bedroom was my fault. One time he said, “You didn’t walk into the room right.” Not sure how I managed that. Glad that abuse is over.

  • So does ”because your accusing me of cheating makes me want to go f**k someone; I might as well do it if you think it” mean the same as ‘I am f**king someone already?’. This is what she said when I asked if there was someone else!!

    • Um, that is what my cheating (now ex) husband said to me. Whenever he was threatening to cheat- he was already cheating.

  • How many of you have heard, “You will never be happy” or “You are never satisfied”?

    That’s right. I’m an ogre for wanting him to, oh, I don’t know, BE AN ADULT. Do what you say you are going to do. I’m happy when you say are going to do whatever, then unhappy when you don’t….which makes me a horrible person. I should just be happy because you SAID you would. Period.

    I turned it around on him once, when he asked what we were having for dinner, by exclaiming, “I fed you yesterday! God! You are NEVER satisfied!!”

    Still working on my mighty, but CL and CN helped me see when blameshifting is happening.

    • I heard this all the time. That I was never happy. That I was always angry. That I didn’t initiate sex. These posts this week have really gotten me to do a lot of thinking.

      I work full time, we have 2 kids, I was doing all the housework and laundry. And cooking and grocery shopping and child shuttling. Meanwhile, he was unemployed. Wasn’t working around the house. Wasn’t looking for a job. Wouldn’t help even when I asked him to. If he did help out, he expected a parade in his honor. Then has the nerve to say I’m angry, sad and bitter. I was exhausted.

      They’re so selfish. Thankfully, I’m free of that.

      • Yep, this. See my post above. My husband expected HUGE accolades for mowing the lawn. I did it, I made a big, fucking deal when he actually did what he was suppose to be doing around the house as an adult. It makes me sick to think of it now, but I actually gave him sex for this – like I was a hooker! Gross. That just shows you how much they love power and manipulation. Honestly, it’s the thing I obsess about with his new girlfriend. I think, “does he do anything for her?” It was so goddamn infuriating being with him towards the end of our relationship. I couldn’t ask him to do anything or he would be so mean to me. I just sucked it up and carried on. It was a hopeless feeling. Their sense of entitlement is so abusive. It’s so freaky how they’re all the same.

        • “Their sense of entitlement is so abusive.” It’s soul crushing!

          And yes to sucking it up and carrying on. I did the same, as if in a daze. It was lonely and hopeless but I oddly didn’t let those bad feelings enter my consciousness. I guess I pretended all was well…until all hell broke loose.

          One year out and I’m actually realizing how lucky I am to be away from that jerk. I could have done without the gut-wrenching betrayal (understatement), but the end result is that I’m alone but not nearly as lonely. I have my family (kids and siblings etc) and wonderful friends. I’m slowly but surely figuring out what I like, what I value, what I want to do, who I am, why I tolerated abuse, how I can be better *for myself*.

  • My STBX was always trying to get me to stop taking Lexapro because he said it was killing my libido and therefore his sex life was affected. I told him, “This med keeps me from killing my self -so you want me to stop taking it and risk my health just so you can get laid??” When I found out about his first affair and confronted him about it-He told me that I should THANK his whore because she also takes Lexapro and helped him understand why I need to take it. Like, wow. So thankful that he chose to cheat on me with Mother Teresa/Nobel Peace Prize winner. Such a giver that one!

    Fuck them and the horse they road in on…

  • I read some of these and say to myself “at least my FW didn’t do that!” And then pull myself up short. It’s all the same shit-just a variation on A theme. Hugs! This too shall pass. I just want to learn the lesson and carry on with life FW-free.

    • Yeah pretty much. I thought well at least my FW never threatened cheating…and then I remember allll the times he said sadly “I’ll just have to get my needs met elsewhere” when I refused to take part in his pity parties or to congratulate him on every fucking thing he did. Should have realised that he was already getting this needs met somewhere else a long time back.

  • Before I knew the full story of my now-ex-husband’s “entanglement” with a former student, he began uttering an ultimatum: “things have to change around here.” Funny thing, though: he would never say what things had to change, so I was constantly on edge wondering whether I was doing enough, correctly guessing what he wanted. He had me on my back foot for far too long.

    For most of our marriage I’d bought his declaration that I was “hard to live with.” But when I finally wised up (thank you Chump Lady and Chump Nation), I realized what a mindf*ck this was and flipped the script. I was hard to live with? Just what part of the following is hard to live with? The fact that I made exactly the same salary as he did, spent the small gifts of money from my mom on the family and my inheritance to fix up our house, planned, shopped for, and made nutritious meals that I made sure to leave the office early enough to fix every night, did all the leaf raking and snow shoveling and gardening, made sure to monitor the state of the house for needed repairs, and on and on. Yes, “things did have to change,” so I changed them with a divorce.

    • I sympathise. I too was “hard to live with” and received the threat, because that’s what it was, “things have to change…”
      True, they did have to change, a lot. But not because I (nor you, Adelante) was hard to live with.
      We’re better off without that kind of threatening crap.

      • Threat it was, all right. Of the unspecified kind.
        And yes, we are so much better off. I’m just under two years out from divorce, almost three years from moving out, and I am so much happier and at least 90% “meh.”

  • My ex monster in law told me “If you were nicer to him, this would not have happened” (referring her son’s, the ex, affair with howorker.

    My response, “Well, you’re the one who hired her.”

    It is amazing how people think someone else’s poor behavior is the spouses fault.

    • My XML told me “Maybe you should have loved him more.”
      My answer, “When did I have the time, he was never here!”

  • I think all these nuts are the same, like they are justifying their bad behavior.

    My Xhole, before I found out he was cheating again, looked me in the eyes one night and told be I needed to be nice to him. I had no idea what he was talking about, we were going through a very happy and peaceful time in our marriage when he said it.

    Months later, after I found out he was cheating, I mean within minutes of discovering her name on his phone, and while the world was slipping out from under my feet, he smugly said “I told you to be nicer to me.”

    While we were going through the break-up and divorce, I kept remembering how cruel he was while my heart was literally breaking in two- just to make sure I wouldn’t make the same mistake of trying to forgive him again.

  • I think they learn that excuses will mostly give them a free pass.

    Me: Why in Fu** Sake would you do this to your family and live a dual life??

    Xh: I just had ALOT of opportunity ………….. WTF

    He didnt mention the porn addiction the I knew nothing about for decades. No fixing that! BYE

  • My XML told me “Maybe you should have loved him more.”
    My answer, “When did I have the time, he was never here!”

  • My ex threatened me with affairs because I once drank too much at a work Christmas party. (Absolutely NO messing with other guys, etc. Just late home and feeling rough the next day. A one-off, not recommendable, but no crime. ) He was no one to moralise, often indulging in parties with “friends”. He gave me a major guilt-trip over it, culminating in a lightly veiled warning that he was going to look elsewhere, since I obviously did whatever I pleased.
    (No, never)
    Talk about projection.
    Talk about great big red flags.

    • Ex held this against me as well, I once drank too much at Bunco on my birthday and another time out with friends including him at a bar. I wasn’t messing around with anyone, like you feeling a little rough the next day.
      He had his drinking one too many moments that included him wetting the bed and another time wetting our carpet after drinking shots alone during our sons school band party. I never brought it up and let it go as if it never happened.
      I however was made to feel ashamed and accused of being an alcoholic.

      Little did I know at the time, it was another excuse to justify his cheating

  • Wow! I completely forgot that was used on me. Multiple times for multiple infractions.

    We were having a ‘low point’ or so I thought. I found websites for escort services on the west coast (US). He used to travel there A LOT. I asked if he was seeing escorts & cheating.

    He twisted everything to make it all my fault(gaslighting) he was looking at escort sites and said my behavior (whatever this means-possibly, “Appliance! do your job and focus on my NEEDS!!!”.) would make him do it (the threat of cheating.)

    Reality: the guy was cheating the entire marriage. cheating not only on his SO, but also his primary and secondary APs.

    This stuff is so weird and formulaic that it really blows emotionally healthy people off-kilter.

  • Um, that is what my cheating (now ex) husband said to me. Whenever he was threatening to cheat- he was already cheating.

  • Again I read something here and I wonder what Tracy was doing in my house, eavesdropping on another emotional beat-down I endured.

  • The thing about this threat, is it’s not really a threat. Anyone who says this is in one of three positions:

    1) They’re already in the middle of an affair and have been for a while, and they sense you’re catching on, so they’re trying to scare you back into compliance (which they will later throw it in your face for not being nice enough when you inevitably find out.)

    2) They want to cheat, haven’t found someone gross enough to agree yet, and are looking for justification to do it. They give themselves permission on the flimsy reasoning that you’re not “nice.”

    3) Have cheated in the not-too-distant past, and want to do it again. And like scenario no. 1, they sense you are catching on.

    And there’s literally no such thing as “Nice Enough” for them. You could literally do something as innocuous as fart in your sleep one too many times and that would count as “not nice enough” to them. Because it’s not about you being mean or nice, it’s about excuses, scapegoating, and flimsy blameshifting.

    This is the same as yesterday’s IFTUYH post. You can’t fight with this kind of stupid. Fighting it only fuels the “you’re being mean” fire. You can only walk away.

    • Next time they say “You’re mean” answer with “Turn about’s fair play,” or “Wow, see how it feels?”

  • They’re all alike. Mine was treating me like shit because he was, unbeknownst to me, cheating, so he used the results of it to threaten me; “If you don’t start getting along with me better, I’m thinking of going to Ashley Madison.” This was a few months before the hack. How I wish he had done it and had been publically outed. But he chickened out. That he wanted to do it just shows he wasn’t intending to be loyal to his twu wuv, either. They don’t love anybody.

  • While we were in marriage counseling trying for a Wreckonciliation, our therapist asked my XH if he was already engaging in an extramarital affair.

    He said, “No“.

    The therapist said, “It’s pretty obvious you’re holding back on something. What is it“?

    So XH said, “I’ve already identified someone“, as if he was talking about a police lineup.

    Turns out he had been fucking the Married Howorker for more than 6 months at that point in time.

  • “You’re lazy” : I didn’t clean the full iRobot vacuum enough and I was mopping when he arrived home from work. Also I couldn’t sort the recycling correctly. So he was forced to find a $500 hooker, who pays no taxes, collects government assistance and has a drug arrest. But hey, I’m lazy.

  • “If you don’t stop accusing me of cheating, you are going to make that a self-fulfilling prophecy!”, meaning if I don’t stop asking him if he is, then he will go ahead and cheat, which, shocker, he was already doing.

  • Oh yes, I too must own up to the horrible things I have inflicted on my FW. Namely being disrespectful, not being grateful, unmet needs blah blah. All brought to me with a great big sad sack pouty face. “If only you could be nice…”

    I was SO HORRIBLE that he was forced to fuck married howorker who was far superior in every way. Except that she referred to her faithful husband, who paid for everything, as “the sperm donor” and “the dickhead”… to her kids’ coaches and the parents of their friends. Wow, so respect, much grateful. I wish with all my might that FW and howorker had stayed together.

    My therapist says, whenever I slip into blaming myself for not being perfect, “you’re doing his work for him.” It really helps to think of her saying that.

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