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Why Is He So Mad at Me?

Dear Chump Lady,

My husband and I were together for 8 years. We moved overseas together shortly after our wedding 2 years ago, so I could attend graduate school. He found a job in the new country and I thought we had a good life! Then, COVID happened, and since he was an essential worker, he began to get very stressed out and came home grumpy every night, using me as his personal therapist. My classes were completely online, so I took over all the housework, cooked all his meals, and just tried to make his home life as comfortable as possible.

Three months ago, he blindsided me with a phone call while I was out of town. He had spent the night in his coworker’s bed and even though “nothing happened but only because she didn’t want it to,” it made him realize that he didn’t want to be married to me anymore. I booked a flight back to my home country that week so I wouldn’t be stuck with him during the second lockdown. I’m slowly but surely rebuilding my life and I consider the marriage over.

We talked a few weeks later and he revealed that he was now dating this coworker, and then insisted that I take 50% of the blame for our relationship failing! And that I’m responsible for not keeping our breakup amicable! He thinks that because he didn’t physically cheat on me before asking for a divorce, that he’s the good guy!

Why is he angry with me and shifting the blame? I am trying to take the high road since we can’t file for divorce for a year, but I really just want to put him in his place and make him see this from my perspective. Will he ever realize this on his own, will karma come back to bite him, or will I always be the evil ex who ruined his life?

Signed,

Moved on but he’s stuck

Dear Moved On (but he’s a fuckwit),

Who cares? Sorry to smack you across the screen with some early morning flippancy, but really who cares what he thinks about you? He can think you’re the Duchess of Mountbatten. He’s going to think it on the other side of an ocean and out of your life inside his vacuous cranium.

Will he ever realize he’s the villain in this story? That he enjoyed your emotional support and hot-cooked meals while cheating on you with a co-worker and then ending an 8-year marriage with a cowardly phone call?

No. That’s highly doubtful. And it doesn’t matter, because he is your EX and his revelations (OMG, hot buttered toast!) are irrelevant.

I really just want to put him in his place and make him see this from my perspective.

You can’t. He has a vested interest in not getting it. Why should a splendid person admit fault? That’s a bummer, and he’s on a high right now with Lusty McCoworker. Also, to see things from your perspective would require empathy, which is exactly the quality one lacks if one fucks around on one’s wife.

The good news is, however, that you can put him in his place. With a divorce summons. And you’ve made considerable progress on this front — you left him and flew to another continent. Well done.

But you must let go of trying to make him see he’s a fuckwit. Remember the Dr. George Simon axiom — “It’s not that they don’t see, it’s that they disagree.”

He had spent the night in his coworker’s bed and even though “nothing happened but only because she didn’t want it to,”

You realize that’s total bullshit impression management, right? Either he’s having a consensual relationship with his coworker, OR he’s in her bed and she doesn’t want him there and he’s a predator.

I sincerely doubt he’s copping to being a predator. He just wants you to believe that horny co-workers lie in bed chastely and read each other Winnie the Pooh bedtime stories. Because if you believe that line of undiluted nonsense, you’ll believe he’s Not The Bad Guy.

You want to convince him he is, because you don’t like being gaslighted.

He’s gaslighting you because HE KNOWS HE IS WRONG. Confident, truth-telling people don’t need to gaslight.

Look, in matters of politics, science, global climate change and what have you, it’s important to call out bullshit to the bullshitters. In your love life, however, GIVE UP. Speaking truth to stupid will make you crazy, and it’s exhausting, and that’s energy you need to build a new life and finish your degree. Trust me on this, he’s not going to repent. And if he did (he won’t), it doesn’t matter because what’s done is done.

As to your subject header, why is he mad at you? Being angry and blame-shifty at people you’ve wronged is as old as time. (See “Holocaust deniers” or “Jim Crow reconstruction.”) It’s also strategic. If he can get you to believe this is your fault, or as much your fault as his fault, then you won’t be demanding in the divorce settlement.

Collective eye roll here, from anyone who has ever divorced a narcissist, they’re exceptionally demanding and obstructionist during a divorce. But you, the chump, must know your place and not question the entitlement.

This is why we have lawyers. And a block function on our phones and email. Get your divorce. Don’t pull your punches on whatever you’re legally entitled to. And don’t waste your precious mental energy untangling his skein.

Finish your degree and invest in your new life. I predict your ex will be platonically cuddling another coworker before long, or my name isn’t Winnie The Pooh.

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.
  • Dear Moved On, STOP TALKING TO HIM. Just stop it already and don’t expose yourself to his further abuse. No Contact provides the boundaries necessary for healing from his abuse. Let your lawyer talk to his lawyer. You have all the power here, divorce him and truly move.

    Did you get an STI panel? I think his story of platonic bed sharing is just another lie. They were fucking. Better get a check up

    • Yes, STI panel stat. I’m a social science geek and studies show that cheaters are far more prone to getting and passing on STDs than those in consensual open marriages. Something about dark triad traits and destructive risk taking

      My guess is that cheater was regularly fucking shmoopie for some time but, on the fateful night in question when cheater made the call, shmoops had given an ultimatum– no more nookie unless he dumps the wife (whine, harrumph, snivel, pout). After a sleepless night roiling in wounded cheater ego and gagging on his own abandonment-fear medicine, cheater broke down and made the call.

      “Negative relationship tactics” is high on the list of strategies in studies (love those studies) of mate poachers, particularly the “bait and switch” tactic of at first feigning acceptance of “no strings fling” only to suddenly pull the rug, withdraw sex and affection and make demands.

      I suspect cheater’s rage is because Moved On said “Okay, bye.” And that’s not on the cheater program. She was supposed to pick-me dance so that cheater could use this as a barrier to having to fully emotionally commit to shmoops. I’m convinced that cheating is about triangles and easing the perpetual push-pull of attachment disorder even more than it’s about rhe rush of feeling central and having two parties fighting over them. Either way, it’s just no fun playing princess in the tower if no one’s chasing and playing ogre.

      If it wasn’t for the shock of being chumped, it would be slightly amusing to remove oneself as hypotenuse if you really understand the dynamics. Being human, I think it takes years to really appreciate the humor of it. But by then chumps no longer care enough to emit more than an offhand chuckle.

      • ““Negative relationship tactics” is high on the list of strategies in studies (love those studies) of mate poachers, particularly the “bait and switch” tactic of at first feigning acceptance of “no strings fling” ”

        I am certain that is how my FWs relationship with schmoops started. Only because it was well known that she only “dated” married me, and got gifts from them. Where she played it smart with my fw was that he was her boss. So as those comedian’s said who wrote the book “how to cheat” said once he fucked her, she owned him.

        My guess is he screwed around with several women before her (and after, since he cheated on her after marriage) but none of the others were his direct reports. It is almost embarrassing to me how stupid he was. I married that.

      • HOAC,

        Your conjecture is fascinating and I wonder how often it happens that a cheater is hoping the chump extricates them from a fling and instead the chump walks away immediately leaving the cheater with an OP (who we already know is a low quality partner since they fucked a married person). While we all know its ill-advised to dive too far down the what-if-skein of fuckedupness, your proposed reasoning would make sense. It would also mean he is still a FW not worthy of reconciliation.

        I have wondered a thousand times if, during my chumpdom, I had done what this gal did – what my outcome would have been. Knowing my cheater, he would returned all contrite and full of promises (that I probably would have believed because 3 kids) only to have him change his mind 6 times.

        I envy this chumps strength and presence of mind to do what she did in the moment, its spectacular.

        • Mine told me, after I was pregnant, that he had wanted another baby so that his AP would leave him. So, I’d say that it is probably true that they sometimes want to end the affair, but don’t have the emotional intelligence to figure out how to do it. On the other hand, he could have been lying to me to gain some sort of sick sympathy/forgiveness from me for “trying to end it” before I found out. There’s no telling with these people.

      • Hell, I’m interested in what you would guess was behind this – not that it matters anymore but I’m a chump and I’m curious. H out of the complete blue discarded me for married OW. Initially I thought he was just leaving me because he was having a breakdown or something – no affair. Then, Dday & then OW tells him she’s not sure she can leave her H ‘because it’s hard to break up her family with children.’
        My H actually told me this… even though he was breaking up our family with children.
        He became unbelievably distraught because he had left me and didn’t know if OW would leave her H. He looked like a sick, distraught and depressed 13 yr old at this point. They had had a plan.
        I was pick me dancing hard at this point and I was convinced the OW was just playing a game in order to up her value to him. I was just wondering on your thoughts were about her suddenly not knowing if she could leave H after he had left me.
        Anyway, she did leave her H and now they’re together.
        Ugh I know I shouldn’t care- but like you, I find this stuff interesting on a non chump level too.

        • It is an interesting subject.

          I still years later, wonder about some things. Not that it matters to me anymore, or to him; but some insight on out how these folks think is interesting, and may be helpful to others.

        • Zip – it sounds to me like your ex’s “plan” with OW was just fantasy ideation, while they both were enjoying the “benefits” (to them) of cake. When your ex pulled the plug on the cake fantasy by divulging the truth to you, OW suddenly had to deal with the reality of losing her own very useful chump husband, and couldn’t handle the consequences. It’s very common for cheaters to backtrack/hoover their spouses as soon as they have to face real consequences. In Hell’s terms, they lost their triangles and had to fend emotionally for themselves, which they can’t do (due to disorder/attachment issues). So, there will be meltdowns all around until they set up their next triangulated emotional supply.

          • Thanks Lez, interesting… But just to be clear, nothing was told to me directly … all lies. He didn’t even tell me he was leaving me, I found out that he was looking into how to dump me. Then later, I found out there was an OW, and he was so convincing I actually believed there wasn’t.
            People have said if I hadn’t found out he was thinking of discarding me ( my realistic term, not theirs ) – he may never have left and maybe cake would’ve been ongoing. Who knows?
            I do regret letting him know how badly I didn’t want him to go, and taking so much responsibility for any mistake I may have made. I could just see him telling that to the OW and her thinking she got the great prize and was so much better.

            • And may I just add, I hate that his family and his people think that he actually came clean and told me anything. I found everything out after a zillion lies.

              • Your story sounds similar to mine. Got the “I will always love you, but I’m not in love with you” line out of nowhere. Found out later she was having an affair with married co-worker for a couple of months already. I regret doing the dance, but I didn’t know this site or that people could act that way, at that time. Anyway, 2 years later and she’s left and we’re getting divorced and married co-worker doing the same and they’re still together. Somehow I’m the villain. Don’t care. Impression management. No contact. Bye bye.

              • Zip– I think Lez Chump nailed it to the wall.

                My background is in dv victim advocacy and the training involved untangling the skein of batterer fucked-up-ed-ness. It was a seamless transfer once I landed in Chumpville. As far as core MO, tactics and psychology go, Cheater= batterer; knowing AP = proxy abuser/flying monkey; “narcissist” = BPD with features of RAD (adult reactive attachment disorder); “trauma bonding”= captor bonding. In place of fists and tire irons, there’s compulsive betrayal to avoid the internally-triggered, forever-shifting, dueling terror of either “engulfment” or terror of abandonment.

                Batterers virtually all cheat but usually had an extra dose of violentization and extreme shaming in childhood that pushed them towards violent expression of the same internal shit, plus the denser system of rationalization to subdue greater guilt for causing actual, visible physical injury. Otherwise the tension building cycle leading to explosion looks identical to me

                If the victim is perceived as too close (intimate) or too distant (independent) or God forbid happy (happy people feel in control of their lives which threatens the total control required by abusers), the cycle is triggered. The spoilerism of special occasions is a reaction to expectation (“engulfment”). The third stage– remorse/hoovering/love-bombing goes on until the victim breaks (like a toy) in the perception of the abuser.

                Batterers differ in their taste in prey but dv researcher Lenore Walker found it statistically skewed towards victims with higher than average pre-abuse self esteem– the equivalent of hunting tigers rather than bunnies. I think it’s similar in cheating. Then the challenge is to tame the prey but there is also the fantasy that the victim will “change” or “cure” the abuser to the degree that abusers blame their internal states of mind on others. When the vuctim “fails” to inspire the abuser to change, the abuser feels betrayed and lashes out that much harder, then hunts out a new person to pin those absurd expectations to.

                Batterers also cycle into discard but are enraged if the victim actually escapes. In the mind of the batterer, the victim was simply being “moved” farther away to relieve the batterer’s engulfment fear, not to actually disappear out of reach (triggering abandonment). The chronic abuse serves the purpose of hobbling the victim so they can’t get that far away but will remain in a broken, inert pile until the batterer decides to hoover again. Some batterers can’t stand the look of wounded fear in the eyes of their victims and run to find someone who will idealize them as a way of laundering their self image. Some find that state to signal the victim might escape and become more controlling. Some find the weakness and neediness of a thoroughly terrorized and broken victim to be “engulfing” while others find it reassuring.

                Anyway, I see no difference in MOs give or take black eyes and broken bones. Cheaters putting victims at risk for STDs can be permanently crippling or deadly so the difference is really one of degree and intensity of abuse. But the reaction of victims to being dehumanized, controlled and endangered is not much different. I even thing cheating may be the more efficient manner of hobbling prey. It’s certainly lower effort and carries less risk of legal consequences.

                What bithers me about the new sex addiction model for cheating is that it heavily borrows from dv and batterer research without admitting the sources. The problem with this is that a cheating victim may, say, hear the term “trauma bonding” but that term will reach a dead end at Patrick Carnes’ work with no citations leading to the real pot of gold– batterer studies. And it’s only by delving into the latter that victims can see how REALLY hopeless and dangerous chronic cheaters are because the overlaps are absolutely chilling. But if cheaters were equivicated to batterers and batterers’ 97% recidivism, there’s no recon hope to prop up the RIC or redeemable-sad-snausage pity party and sugar-coating-of-abuse to draw in cheaters in the throes of the fleeting remorse stage. The dead ended borrowing and renaming of concepts without citation stink of turf war and monetization.

                The advocacy org I worked with would introduce new clients (if they weren’t in immediate danger) to the literature on batterer syndrome right out of the gate for many reasons. The model is so terrifying that it tends to cut through learned helplessness, wake up the frontal cortex (planning faculty) while simultaneously ringing so true that survivors are immediately awed that others– researchers, social scientists, basically people with status and authority–created a profile that so exactly fits their abusers that it automatically implies that others in society may have more power than their abusers– the power to study and report on abusers like bugs under a microscope. Furthermore, that power to analyze is handed to the survivors which further shifts the balance of power away from the abuser while also giving the survivor the tools to preempt and predict the abuser’s next move, which is of life and death importance in many situations.

                If you were trying to escape Nazi Germany, why settle for a safe house in France if you could get as far as Newark? To truly liberate survivors, it was necessary to turn them into activists and experts on their own experiences. The org was very successful in doing this and I remember seeing one client on CNN discussing how she brought her powerful abuser to justice and easily and calmly batting away her abuser’s denials and blame-reversals (issued in the press). She had been in high school when her ordeal began but she spoke with total command of the issues. All we did was give her permission.

                If untangling skeins is to fix or win an abuser, it’s ill advised. But I find the deeper dives (beyond the usual shallow, expurgated profiles of cheaters provided by RIC resources) can help with getting free and living down.

            • My Ex & I have been divorced for close to a year. He’s still with the married howorker yet she hasn’t filed for divorce even. She must love cake. I’m sure they are star crossed lovers where pesky spouses were in the way. So happy to be free of his mind games, no contact/limited contacted bc of kids is the way to go!

      • I agree that attachment disorders are a huge factor with cheaters. Cheating is a way to avoid true intimacy and substitute it with a shallow fantasy bond.
        These are miserable people and they deserve to be. I also agree with your take on why the cheater chose that time to say the marriage was over. He’s pissed at his STBX now because he’s discovered schmoopieland is boring without a hypotenuse. Cue the Rage channel of the Fuckwit Broadcasting Network.

      • One of our mutual friends did see the humor in it right away; she was able to see through to the FW right away and call him for what is was even though they had been best friends for years (until he also dumped her as a friend with no notice…patterns emerging…).

        Getting my STI panel next week and he’d better hope it comes back clear.

          • I admit, I felt weak when I left my husband. I thought I should be angry and go confront him and the OW at work, or pull a “Before He Cheats” scenario or something, or find my own apartment and figure out how to live abroad by myself. But I mostly just cried a lot, ate junk food, and called family every day until I got on the plane. Finally realizing that this was the best decision I could have made, out of an array of really bad alternatives.

            I am sad that I didn’t get to complete my time abroad, but there is time for that in the future if I want to try it again! Plus, the country is locked down for the forseeable future, and it’s frozen and dark every day, while I get sunshine and warm weather and quality time with family.

            Thanks for the support! CN is full of awesome people.

      • I don’t know about that ( maybe it’s just my case)
        But I wasn’t invited to pick me dance , he didn’t want cake , he has never ever once made contact since D Day so no triangulation . No hoover I just failed to exist from that day forth.

        I often feel like I don’t belong to any sort of group or study as none of the “ statistics” or what should happen fit my life .
        I am interested in “ stats and figures and studies “ but nothing seems to fit with me personally.

        • Me too. He was out the door 3 weeks after dday. He did send mean emails wanting to discuss financials but my atty put a stop to that. Three years later (1 year after divorce) he sent me a sympathy card a month after one of my relatives died. His out of the blue contact ate at me for a while & one day mad that the weedwhacker broke, I marched into the house & sent him an email stating that he needed to “stay out of my life – a once beautiful life that is now ruined.” That was over 7 years ago & never heard from him again. Did hear through the grape vine that swoopie didn’t last & he went on to marry someone who wasn’t even born when we married & we were married 24+ years.

        • Actually there is such a syndrome and it’s not that uncommon. Have you read Runaway Husbands?
          The abandoners are a sub-type of cheater that isn’t really into cake, they just like to run away from spouses and from responsibility in general. I think mine was hoping to do that except the OW wasn’t offering him a viable alternative, so he settled for cake and triangulation. It blew up in his stupid face. Your jerk will pull his vanishing act on OW eventually, after their fake romance gets old. These people are extreme moral cowards by nature, have not much conscience and cannot experience real love. Losers one and all.

          • OHFFS, Hurt and Karen, I think a few of us have cheaters that don’t exactly fit the mold. I considered mine a runaway H because it was literally one day to the next with no issues that I knew of… I thought we were extremely happy. We were about to go on a trip. And I don’t think he even slept with us both at the same time. I think the minute he slept with her was when he decided to leave me and we were done.
            It was a brutal discard, which fits runaway husbands. But then he came back and did ALL KINDS of nice things to help me out. If I called, he’d there in a flash even if it was just to listen to my pain – but it was clear he was staying with OW.
            It was a total emotional mindfuck.

            • Mine was a bit weird too. We had been happy, and then he was very stressed with “work”. He started behaving like an ass and just kept saying it was work stress. He was doing the classic intermittent bread crumb type love – completely absent, and then, loving, attentive, fun and sexual, then gone again. This went on for a couple of years pre DDay. When it all happened, he confessed to a heinous amount of cheating for at least a decade. He settled on one, and was “in tru wuv”. However, he still wanted to be with me, and have her as a number 2. I said no and GTFO. He went through a weird period of trying to have us all be friends (me and schmoops), and have some kind of awesome co-parenting vibe where we did the rotating nest thing (we would rotate living in the house with our daughter so she doesn’t have to move). I told him that he is a liar, that I have no trust in him, and I can’t do anything like that. I shut down, I started protecting myself. I got my own taxes done (he hadn’t done them for 5 years and lied to me about that). I shut down the bank accounts, I got a lawyer. Then, he decided never to talk to me again, about anything, and he won’t co-parent at all. It’s been a year and now he won’t engage to do the final separation. He has a lawyer, but even the lawyers can’t really get him to budge. So he’s not a classic runaway husband – he’s more like one who is either using the silent treatment as punishment, or he’s just not willing to deal with what he’s done. It’s maddening. He hasn’t tried to “Hoover” or anything like that even though he’s a classic narcissist/psychopath. I think it doesn’t matter if we fit the mold or not…it’s all just a jumbled fucked up mess! It does make it hard to understand what happened to you, but as CL says, that’s just untangling the skein, and that gets us nowhere! You can’t reason your way through their insanity.

              • Oh dear your beginning is erily like mine.

                “Mine was a bit weird too. We had been happy, and then he was very stressed with “work”. He started behaving like an ass and just kept saying it was work stress. He was doing the classic intermittent bread crumb type love – completely absent, and then, loving, attentive, fun and sexual, then gone again.”

                This all started about a year and a half before Dday, getting progressively worse. Then soon after Dday (25 Dec) he moved out while I was at work, he had claimed that he thought it would work out, but needed space to get his head on straight.

                A week or so later he came back and told me he had been unhappy for 10 years and had been “dating during that time. Evidently he finally found the one, and he wanted to marry this “girl” he had been dating. I envisioned a 20 something hot young girl. He wouldn’t tell me who it was. Turned out to be his direct report, (the dog catcher) and she was a 35 year old mother of three big assed boys. Hardly a girl, and certainly not what anyone would consider hot.

                To this day I don’t know if he really was cheating half our marriage, or if he just said that to take the heat of the whore. I say that because he said later when he circled back that he only said the cheating thing to make me hate him.

                Doesn’t matter, but so odd to see the same thing play out for someone else.

                In our case he didn’t want me be with him and her number 2. Though I am fairly certain that if I were willing I could have been the number 2 after they married. I didn’t play along so he had to cheat on her with others.

                Once I realized what he was, I had absolutely no interest in any contact of any kind, and we had no children together so it was pretty easy.

                He called once and hoped when it was all over we could be friends. I had to throw him a big fat NO, on that one.

                I hate that your divorce in taking so long. Honestly, there should be a point where the divorce goes ahead whether he goes along with it or not.

        • Did you have to deal with all the divorce details or did he? I hope you got a fair settlement.

          I know it hurts, and if I remember right there is an oc involved. That adds another layer of pain.

          I have seen some stuff out there on the abandonment syndrome. If you search for Runaway Husbands a lot of information comes up.

          Initially my ex did just walk away, though he did agree to a generous separation agreement, I think with the credit card statements I had, he really didn’t have much choice. Also, he was in a precarious predicament at work, so he couldn’t get too pushy.

          I watched one of the abandoned wife’s utubes. If I can remember her name, I will post it.

        • Karen, I wasn’t invited to pick me dance either – I just did it even though he had dumped me. Well he did come back and say he missed me and started doing nice things around the house… So I guess I took that as an invitation to pick me dance, but then a couple of days later he said he’s going with the OW. But I still picked me dance a lot after that… Especially when I found out she might not be leaving her H. I was pick me dancing even when I told him I’d never take him back.

          • Again Everyone I’ve never , ever , ever once had an email , a text , a phone call an apology ive had nor warranted anything . He has never ever , ever , once made any sort of contact .He burst out laughing on D Day in my face !! He packed on D Day and left the same hour and with her .
            He married her 14 weeks later
            So “ stats “ and “ numbers “ mean nothing ( although I am interested in them ) but I seem to fit no criteria and yes I’ve read runaway husbands and even then , some still try and even text well that’s not me . I try and fit in a “ group “ I try and understand but I honestly can’t .
            Fuck me I get jealous of other chumps well at least you got a text , at least he stayed 3 weeks , at least you got a sorry . I got laughed at , mocked and nothing , absolutely nothing . Couldn’t even grant me the cavity of divorce he never turned up for that either !!!

            • Karen Ugh, my comment disappeared, I’ll try again. I’m so sorry you had to go through that. There are many different varieties to the mindfuck that chumps get.
              He does sound like a contender for the Runaway H rotten spouse award. As you know, many spouses never hear from those guys again – mind boggling. Remember it’s not you, it’s him. Hugs.

            • If you stick around you will find a lot of chumps on here who were abandoned in a similar manner. I kind of feel that the although asshats who go for the straight discard are unbelievably cold and cruel, in the ling run they are giving you the best gift, getting tf out of your life and never returning.

              The horror stories I’ve read on here of people who ex-spouses drag them through hell and back through the discard and divorce are chilling. From financial destruction to violence and murder.

              I know it hurts now, but never seeing or hearing from him again will be the best thing that ever happened to you eventually. Hugs.

              • “I kind of feel that the although asshats who go for the straight discard are unbelievably cold and cruel, in the ling run they are giving you the best gift, getting tf out of your life and never returning.”

                I agree. Most of those who return just return to do so much more damage. Honestly, either these guys were always damaged and we didn’t see it, or something went awry in their brain.

            • Karen I think your pain is great from not one word. I wish I was you and envy the no contact. I have gotten 4 years of emotional and verbal violence on a court server. I literally am forced to co-parent with an abuser that never shuts up.
              Me- Daughter got straight A’s on report card.
              Him-Glad she’s not a fat and stupid like you!
              This is what every conversation is like, I pray everyday for my daughters 18th birthday. So I never have to hear another word. I hope my perspective gives you a little peace.

            • >He burst out laughing on D Day in my face !! He packed on D Day and left the same hour and with her .

              What an evil bastard. Some get a thrill from inflicting hurt. Chilling. Decent people should make the sign against the evil eye if he might be near.

            • I’m sorry Karen. Not all of us Chumps fit nicely. I too was never told about his long term affair. On D-Day I got three Post-its: “It’s about us”, “Let’s make this work” and “Maybe we can date”. Talk about a mind f@@k. I got no hovering, no acting nicely… just served divorce papers the day after I arrived home from my solo trip to Italy! All after 35 years of marriage. The divorce could not have been more contentious as I am sure that he was dumbfounded on what I had discovered! I actually believe that the HBO movie “The Undoing” actually portrayed my marriage quite well (with the exception of the baby and the murder)!

            • Karen–you’re a chump and sadly, that’s all that’s required to fit in to the ‘group’. I do understand why you want to find commonality, but to focus so much negative energy on what you don’t have in common is keeping you stuck. As if to say…..’it has to be me because I’m the one who doesn’t fit.’

              You know what? That’s bunk. My ex and our situation didn’t fit in any of the classic molds either. There are loads of us out here that don’t fit. And yes, there were a few times early on I felt a little bad over that too, but I didn’t stay in that mental space long, not when confronted with a million and one character and personality traits that my ex DOES have in common. Yours does too. Yes, it IS excruciating to have your very existence shoved into a vacuous black hole, but it’s not as uncommon as you think and it isn’t at all about you. Never was, never will be.

              To Moved on–You will always be the evil one in his eyes because blame-shifting is what they do. Let ’em think that, you know the truth and that’s all that matters.

        • Karen–

          Some batterers bolt to avoid witnessing the inevitable moment that their victim moves on and all the ego-collapsing feelings that triggers. If they disappear entirely, they can suspend the fantasy that the victim remains forever curled up in a fetal position crying their name, in short, the victim remains their “property.” If they stay long enough to witness you moving on successfully, it could trigger murderous or suucidal impulses.

          Read researcher Donald Dutton’s “The Batterer” for a description of batterers whose attachment disorder takes the shape of masked dependency. That type is reportedly the most lethal in statistical terms. What I gathered from Dutton’s studies and other works, theoretically in “masked dependency types, jealousy and abandonment fears are especially repressed from even deeper shame over those “weak,” vulnerable emotions, but then explode with greater force when triggered.

          In other words maybe he was just trying to stay out of jail. But watch your back when you remarry.

        • You got the discard. That’s what happened to me, too. Sometimes cheaters and other disordered types just walk away and hit “reset.” They’re hollow people with no real capacity for attachment. It wasn’t about us; it was about their inability to be in relationships where they are expected to deeply connect. Once they play out the string, they can’t keep the mask up and they move on.

          My grandfather did this three times, turning his back on three wives and 7 bio children. It’s called “marital abandonment” or “spousal abandonment.”

      • I agree with you HOAC. Cheating is a game that requires a chump in the dark. Once the chump in the dark is enlightened and walks away, the game is over and the buzz gets harshed.

        I am pretty sure the Craigslist Sole Mate told him she was done with him unless he left…and I’m glad he did because I want nothing to do with a traitorous backstabbing STD carrier.

        Cheating is a three-legged stool…remove a leg and the stool collapses. I’m glad to be the leg that walked away. He moved in with her and our daughter caught him on Tinder….

        • I like that description, “once the chump in the dark is enlightened and walks away, the game is over and the buzz gets harshed.” That is exactly how it seemed with me. My STBX was pretty bummed that I didn’t want to play along. He was really bummed when I said GTFO. And now he hates me. A friend of ours recently told me that he truly didn’t want to leave me, he just wanted to legitimize his side-dish fucks and have an “open” marriage. Whatever. Lying and cheating are not foundations for any marriage – open or monogamous. I think he’s just bummed out that he could no longer get away with it all – I took away one of the stool legs! His service wife walked away so now he has to do his own laundry.

          • FKA– Plus he lost the spouse-shield against having to fully emotionally commit to shmoopies, triggering the old attachment disordered “engulfment vs. abandonment” fears that drive cheaters to cheat to begin with.

          • Similar here. My ex’s friend said he intended on coming back to me when done with co-worker. But I kicked him out with no emotion – just contempt – he never saw me cry. Only because I went through this b.s. with my first husband and knew what was coming. Anyway he became the most cruel, vindictive, hateful person towards me. It’s been 5 years since he left and he’s got newer bigger toys, house, t.v., RV,, desert vehicles, etc. And he’s miserable. People are just like his toys – they’re objects to be used for his amusement.. They do not have the capacity for empathy or love – just adrenalin rushes.

            He just moved and my daughter said he got mad his tv wouldn’t fit in his truck, and then he told her no matter what kind of asshole boyfriend she ever got, he’s a bigger asshole.

            Well that’s something to brag about. LoL. And I’m free.

          • I am batting that “open marriage” mean he is free to fuck whoever he wants and you remain the faithful chump.

  • Well he can “insist” with one hand and fuck himself with the other and see which one pays off first.

    And yay for his howorker….she got a scumbag who cheats on his wife and ends an 8 year marriage over the phone.

    This isn’t going to end well for her.+

    • Thank you so much for that first sentence. It has an exquisite quality I sometimes experience — and love, even though it’s so painful — where I read a thing and ache to the depths of my soul that I’m not the person who wrote it! 😆😆😆😆😆

      • You’re welcome! Feel free to use it as your own in good humor 😀

        I actually heard it from someone else as “want in one hand and shit in the other” but I modified it to the above because I liked it more.

        When you grow up in a family as dysfunctional as mine you either go crazy or develop a good sense of humor. I chose option 2 😅

  • He wants you to take 50% off the blame for him cheating on you and leaving you? 😂 (He DID cheat on you btw … as CL said, there’s no way 2 coworkers were just “sharing a bed” but “nothing happened” (try to imagine this scenario with any of your male coworkers or male friends where this would somehow be considered a normal choice 😂). Puh-lease… he’s a dope. And you’re a very strong woman. Keep moving in the right direction… away from him and continuing to further yourself. And ignore his gaslighting. Eventually the need to make him understand (he won’t) and the desire for karma will dissipate as you reach the divine “meh.”

    • “nothing happened but only because she didn’t want it to,” yeah, this is infuriating on many levels. He’s basically saying that nothing happened only because the wonderful and virtuous coworker didn’t want it to. So he’s admitting that he wanted to cheat on you and he’s protecting H poaching McWorker.
      Whether they did or not (they did, although chumpy me may have believed him ) is irrelevant. What a slap in the face.

      • Exactly, she didn’t want it to my ass.

        My FWs version was, that he made the first move. Yeah sure and all those other married men she fucked all made the first move and delicate little whore just was so innocent.

        • It’s like they pride themselves on being the initiator/ one in control – definitely not manipulated at all… and the OW is an innocent victim of her desires and unbelievable love for him.

      • Yes! He continuously frames her as a virtuous girl who only agreed to sleep with him once I was on a plane. My bet is that OW likes the idea of a foreign boyfriend, and he was the closest available.

        I’m not even mad at OW though. Based on the few things I know about her, he is trading down because he was insecure about my success and wants someone to constantly be impressed by him. Toxic masculinity gets misused a lot but in this case it fits PERFECTLY.

        • Cheaters never trade up. That’s the Lola Doctrine.

          They’ve always chosen a person of poor character who likes playing games with other people’s lives.

      • On dday I asked him if he had had sex with the Owhore. He said no but that he wanted to. Right, who leaves a long time marriage because he wants to but hasn’t had sex with the low hanging piece of fruit?

    • The whole “I was in bed with my coworker but nothing happened” ,,,

      One of my biggest shames as a chump was swallowing whole the shit sandwich of “I shared a hotel room with Susan of Seattle but nothing happened” . I accepted the stonewalling which came subsequent to that denial and in my trauma nearly forgot that he even said it.

      He admitted “sharing a room” with her on multiple occasions (he likely knew receipts to the effect would someday surface which they did, after he died) but looked me in the face and denied sex. (He was a fucking coward and way too frightened to actually admit he had done something SO wrong).

      And I accepted that. Fuck.

      I so wish I would have seen shame on his face but being a narc cheater, Im sure he would have covered his shame with rage.

      • I think we swallow the shit sandwiches because one we ascribe our moral compass to them because of our love for them, also and I think this is one it took me a while to admit, I think my body knew and my mind was taking over and rug sweeping in hysterical defense. In short I told myself t not believe my lying eyes and ears.

        The first time I remember a glimmer of panic, was when he came in from a political event and told me that if I get any calls about him fooling around, it was political and someone was trying to cause trouble. I gulped that down whole, and got out the duster to clear out any remaining doubt.

        • It is unreal how limited cheaters are – that they all have the same playbook seems cliché but it is so very real. I got this gem: “people at work are talking and there is a rumor going around that I am having an affair with C. It is not true and I am just telling you this because I don’t want you to hear it from someone other than me.”

          I worked with him, my job kept me out of the office for weeks at a time (it was a liaison position), and best of all-I shared a cubicle wall with C. He made this announcement after we had sold my house and bought a house together and our son was not even a year old. He knew I was trapped and would suspend reality in order believe it and keep our little family together. Like a good chump I ate the shit sandwich and went along with the charade. 19 years later he left me for a much younger co/ho worker after at least 3 other affairs (that he admitted to).

      • I tapped our landline (before popularity of cell phones; Thank You Radio Shack for the parts I needed) and caught him talking to OW about spending the day before in a motel on Long Island. We lived in NJ. I confronted him, and he said that he “didn’t have sex with her”. Yeah, right. I filed right away. Later, my divorce attorney told me how he and FW attorney met for lunch, and they both laughed over that line. Neither one believed him. At one point FW said to me :I KNEW I shouldn’t have met her in a motel.” I screamed at him “You shouldn’t have met her PERIOD!!”.

        • I remember catching my ex in bed with a woman. He made a big point that I merely caught them in the bed naked together, like that was perfectly okay and it certainly didn’t mean they had sex.

          • Like the late comedian Richard Pryor said in one of his bits regarding being caught in the act “Who you gonna believe ? Me or your lyin’ eyes ?”

    • I’ve had zero girls ask me to just sleep in their bed as a coworker or a simple platonic friend. Every bed I’ve been in overnight with a girl involved getting busy and they were girlfriends of mine. I’m a man and find it highly highly unlikely she had him in her bed in a hotel and just slept. The lies these people expect us chumps to believe.

      • I’ve shared many beds with platonic male friends, but in all instances we were young and too poor to afford hotel rooms, so we stayed at each other’s houses instead. Even then, we usually slept head to toe and had to have a small talk about how neither of us wanted funny business and establish our boundaries.

        I can’t think of any reason two adults, and coworkers at that, would ever wind up in bed together platonically. It’s just not possible.

  • Cheaters are kings of projection. They have a lot of free-floating rage that really is their discomfort with their own actions. They deal with that by directing it at someone else so they can feel good about themselves.

    It’s a total waste of time to analyze their reasons. Their anger has nothing to do with you. That becomes obvious whenever you think about what their accusations are saying and realize that they are actually describing themselves. Here is my own analysis of my EX’s accusations:

    – accused me of being dishonest with money (HE was dishonest with money. I never stole anything in my life)
    – accused me of wanting to have sex with women (HE wanted to have sex with other women)
    – accused me of introducing him to porn (This one is hilarious. His porn addiction predated him even meeting me. HE introduced ME to porn. I was ten years younger than him.)
    – accused me of trashing him to the kids (HE was trashing ME to the kids)

    My favorite one is when he said that I sometimes looked at him with pure hate. He said it like I knew what he was talking about. I had no idea what he was talking about. He said, “Sometimes I can just feel this black wall of hatred flowing from you, and it scares me.” At first I was trying to figure out what he could have interpreted that way. Then after I uncovered his double life, I realized that he was telling me that HE hated ME. Then he told me that he was cheating because of that hate I had for him.

    That is why it is pointless to stay with a cheater. They are caught in a loop. They do bad things and then project them on you and get angry at you. Then they “get back at you” by doing more bad things… which makes them even angrier at you… Pretty soon, they could kill you and be totally confident that you deserved it.

    • “ They do bad things and then project them on you and get angry at you. Then they “get back at you” by doing more bad things… which makes them even angrier at you… ”

      Reading this hurt because it was my life for 15 years! Especially the revenge. He would do something awful, then ignore/shun me, then say I was ignoring him, and then do something awful again to get back at me.

      He told me that *I hated *him almost daily.

      It’s all a ruse so they feel justified in whatever shitty thing they are doing to you and keeping secret.

      • My ex used the same tactic. Said he asked for the divorce because he knew I was going to leave him. Not sure what universe he was living in because HE was the only one talking divorce. I finally said fine, you want a divorce you’ve got it. Quietly made arrangements, told no one but my sister (who I was moving in with), packed the car on Christmas Day to go visit my parents (which I do every year), left and never came back. He of course claimed he had no idea! When presented with the contract he signed one day after announcing his intent to divorce with his first of 5 lawyers, he claimed it was a information seeking mission not an intent to file for divorce. Ummm Contract for retaining a lawyer and making a $5000 retainer fee was only for seeking info since he just knew I was going to leave him first. The first of many proven lies in court.

        • RaffNoMore, he used this one too.

          I was “on my way out” the same as him. This screwed with my head a little (maybe I was on my out??) until I remembered that I had written him a long love letter, bought him a nice anniversary present, planned a couples vacation, AND gotten a pixie cut a few weeks before this happened. I am not the type of woman that gets a pixie cut unless I’m in a stable relationship (kudos to all short-haired women tho!) so now I’m stuck growing out my freaking pixie cut and going through a divorce.

          • Don’t fret about the pixie cut. It takes around 12 months to grow out and that’s not a long time in the scheme of things.

            Get regular trims as you grow it out! Counterintuitive but really effective.

            And if you feel too butch-looking to be dating, then praise the Lord. This will keep you out of trouble while your hair grows, and you can focus on healing.

            (Full disclosure: yesterday I got most of my head buzzed down to a No 4, but with a couple of inches of hair on the top. It’s summer here 😁)

            • Awesome, I’ve thought about buzzing my head but haven’t been brave enough yet!

              And yes, the pixie cut is the least of my worries right now since I’m obviously not dating or even seeing many folks outside my family unit.

      • My STBXW did same thing during her cheating. She would yell at me and get angry over everything little thing. Accused me constantly of not loving her, giving her dirty looks, treating her like crap so on. The entire time she was cheating with multiple men and I was at home with the kids and faithful. So glad she is gone.

        • My STBXW goaded me for at least 2 years, saying that we were like ‘flat mates’ and ‘best friends’ but not husband and wife (subtle version of ILYBINILWY). All this time I did the parenting and earned the money while she was out with her friends getting lashed and coming home at 4am. Turns out her friends and her were running a book on the conquests they made – she never made any admission beyond ‘having a coffee’ with one (now the OM), when, according to the book she was shagging everything, left, right and centre.
          These FW’s really have no interest or understanding of the lifelong damage they do to their own kids, and their sense of entitlement knows no bounds. Coupled with the flying monkeys and Switzerland friends it’s a wonder any of us chumps make it to meh. I’m getting there – remembering that cheaters cannot be good people or parents
          Hope all you chumps have a healthy and prosperous year ahead either volume turned to mute on the FWs

    • Carol, this projection thing is REAL. I countered many of the things my ex said to me upon discard and even he had to admit that I had a point when denying lot of his accusations. But nevertheless, it can really mess with your brain.

    • I threw out an aluminum screen door that had died from metal fatigue. A neighborhood man picked it up from the street and took it home. “You just wasted money throwing that away. He is going to fix it and use it on his home.” I tried to calmly explain that the integrated hinges were worn out and not repairable when she blurted out,
      “You just hate Mexicans!”
      I had never given her any reason to believe that. Years later I discover her co-worker/fuck buddy is Hispanic.

    • Carol,

      You DID nail it. They ARE kings/queens of projection.

      They do hateful things then hate us for it. Long before I had ANY idea what was going on, we went out for an anniversary dinner and the distain which emanated from him was so intense, I was almost expecting a “I want a divorce” that evening.

      Recognizing now that he blamed me for how bad he felt (for being a fucker), I see clearly now that had he lived longer, there was no way ever ever ever that we could have ever had anything resembling a healthy relationship…the well had so much poison in it it was fully unredeemable.

      • Yes, I just don’t see how folks reconcile after being treated with such disrespect and hostility. Maybe the ones that do, didn’t get the same treatment? I don’t know.

        • I did.

          I reconciled more than once, because I had been taught that I was lucky to have anyone at all, and that I quite literally didn’t deserve anyone better.

          This is where exploring family of origin issues is really helpful – if really painful.

          My sister sometimes reminds me of a local serial killer from here in the 1960s. He was poor, and unpleasant but ‘charismatic’ – a night prowler and stalker who went further downhill.

          He had a wife whose mother had urged her to marry him, because she thought he was a really good catch, and that her daughter was lucky to have him.

          Just goes to show.

        • We were “wreckonciled” for 5 years or 7 years (depending on how you count it) I thought it was 7 years but it looks like he was still cheating for the first 2 years of it).

          I was so desperate to keep my family intact, I tolerated too much

          • Oh I get why they do it, or try to; I just don’t get how they do it. Believe me if he had even given me a chance initially, I would have tried, I have no doubt about it. I did love him, and I was so hurt, and scared.

            He actually did come back once right after we were legally separated, and it lasted a week, and he treated me horribly. I regretted letting him come back, but maybe it was good because the mask was off by the end of that week. I am still not totally sure why he came back, though I suspect I know; and it had nothing to do with actually wanting me back. He was so horrible after the first couple days, I knew I couldn’t stand it anymore. I walked around like a zombie for a few days then I told him to leave.

  • The short, sad answer is that he is always going to see you as the evil ex who wrecked his life. He left the country for you, so you could finish graduate school, blah blah blah all the sacrifices on his part, only for you to blah blah blah all your many heinous actions. You can be sure that other people already are hearing the tale of his woe and heroism in the face of your perfidy. He was out there saving lives! And after all he didn’t cheat on you. (Snort!)

    Spoiler alert. He is going to become increasingly unhinged and blaming as the divorce proceeds. The Chumps who advised you to go no contact and communicate only through lawyers are spot on, and taking that advice will save you from drama and heartache. That nice guy you’ve known for 8 years…bet you want to have the closure of a nice, rational conversation with him. But he doesn’t exist. The real guy is the one screwing a coworker and wanting you to take half the blame for the marriage ending. Believe it.

    You were so smart to escape to your home country before Lockdown #2. You avoided being locked up with a crazy man, which means your survival instincts and actions are still in good working order. Here in CN we are celebrating wily you and your fast reflexes!

    • Principled, I can just hear him… He didn’t mean for this to happen, he was working so much and he had a connection with his fantastic friend. He should’ve listened to his inner voice, 🎻🎻he didn’t really want to go to this country – he did it for his wife.
      He did everything for her, it was hard being away from his home and family. In retrospect, he knew he shouldn’t have married her ( that’s what she wanted, he wanted to make her happy ). Being a good man, he wanted to support her education and really give the marriage a good try.
      Now she’s bitter.

      • Exactly. It is scary, isn’t it…when you finally accept how very shallow their thought processes are and therefore so predictable. It is like Satan created a prototype cheating narcissist spouse…and then just cloned him in perpetuity, so that their scripts have been the same ever since. All over the world, all different religions and cultures…and yet, they say the same unbelievable, identical things.

    • Perfect advice! The gas lighting, blame shifting, asshole is the real him. The “nice guy” persona was an act that he concocted until he could no longer keep it up. And, I bet if you look back with fresh eyes, you’d see many many asshole red flags that you ignored because you’re a trusting and loving and loyal person who doesn’t expect perfection from you partner.

      And I can attest to PrincipledLife’s prediction of increasing turmoil. Like yours, my ex was the perennial “nice guy”…until he wasn’t. As he progressively realized that he was not going to get everything he wanted in the divorce (consequences!), including my friendship, he became totally unhinged, to the point where I temporarily feared for my safety and my daughter’s safety.

      Stay strong, go no contact, let your divorce lawyer do your talking moving forward. You’re ahead of the game right now…stay that way! I wish I had been in your position.

  • Always the same wrong blame shift that all cheater do! Mine went to China 5 weeks, 1 week begins he came back I could sense something was wrong, he’s distant, angry, annoyed, etc…once he got back to USA he missed treat me until I found all evidence of his wrong doing on top of enduring 6 months of gaslighting, psychological abused!
    Look ahead on your own, this type of people don’t want to share what by law because we were married to them, we are entitled! On top they blame us for “walking away” when they initiated the wrong doing!!!
    Wishing you the Best 💫

  • (I really don’t want to be political… And I’m going to try hard to avoid it… So puh-LEEZ don’t take it there…)

    He is a frontline healthcare worker, and during a viral pandemic, he shared a bed with another frontline healthcare worker, without prior agreement with you about that arrangement, dear writer?

    All by itself that’s 100% grounds to remove him from your home, at a baseline minimum.

    All the rest of what CL said is 100% true, and the person who said get an STI check is spot on too — and that’s all VERY bad at any time — but for me, in this case, the thing in the front of the line of bad things is “shared intimate space with another frontline healthcare worker during a pandemic of a potentially extremely harmful viral disease”.

    (Folks can believe whatever they want about this illness, and I will NOT debate that here out of respect for CL and fellow chumps — but a person’s beliefs about this specific thing aren’t the point. My point IS that our writer gets to choose her safety zone in her own home for herself, and a person who puts her at risk for any reason doesn’t deserve to be her partner. Period.)

    • Also, if I have it wrong and essential worker doesn’t mean frontline healthcare worker, then your mileage may vary, so I realize I may be somewhat off base — but my main premise still stands.

      Partners should negotiate their own safety boundaries during this time and not take risks without mutual agreement that the choices work in the household. That’s the behavior of a person whose choices don’t impact others.

      Bottom line, people who don’t care if they harm you don’t belong inside your house.

      • My God! How could I have forgotten about the pandemic 😷when reading Moved On’s post! Of course, that adds another layer of awfulness to this story.

        As CL points out, cheaters are an entitled lot. To sleep with someone else during a pandemic without prior agreement from your spouse is the ultimate in entitled behavior! He felt entitled to cheat. He felt entitled to accept your comfort when he complained about work. He felt entitled to eat your lovingly prepared food and enjoy the laundry you cleaned all while screwing around. And anyone with any knowledge of human behavior knows he was having sex with her.

        I know it hurts like a motherfucker, Moved On, but, in the words of CL, “trust that he sucks” because he truly does! My fellow chumps here are a wise lot. Trust CN advice!

        And truly MOVE ON!! We’re rooting for you. Oh, and come back here often for continued support. Soon you’ll be dispensing wisdom to newbies.

        • Spinach@35 your posts always resonate with me. I’m 55, was married almost 22 years to a doc who had an affair with his 27 year old assistant for years all the while becoming angrier and meaner during this affair (there could have been other affairs). I was basically discarded after two years of crappy separation, therapy etc that I don’t think he was ever really into. Their relationship also blew up during this time but he still discarded me. He is now dating someone new. We have two kids (14 and 18) who want nothing to do with him – even before the affair and separation (I did not tell them about the affair- but I just found out they know). DDay was January 2018 and I still cannot get over it. He was a jerk for years and I still cannot get over it. I cannot stay angry even though I am so angry. I am still bargaining with myself on why I would take him back even though I know he is not coming back, my kids would kill me if I did, and even though I know I’d never trust him and I deserve better. All the things I read and hear here. How did you let go of him and stop obsessing? I am a professional person, slim, attractive and have lots of great friends who love and support me. Can you give me some tips on how to not want him back?

          • The children always know !

            My father separated twice from my mother and dragged things out during my early adolescence, finally divorcing the summer after my high school graduation.

            I remember sitting on the living room sofa, doing my homework and watching my father, in the library, on the phone and I knew he was talking to a woman. His body language and manner of talking gave it away. My mother was the social one with friends.

            No specific reason was given for the divorce, but it was no surprise after all the yelling and my mother crying. My nerdy father even physically attacked her a couple of times in front of me and my older brother.

            Years later, when I was still unwisely in touch with Stonewaller, I shared how my mother told me about Howard the Whoremonger cheating on M. My parents were in group therapy with several couples;all the men were abusing their wives.

            My father’s response was classic cheaterspeak. “She told you that ?!”
            No problem that Whoremonger disappeared for weeks to schtup other women in his Manhattan pied à terre/baise en ville/fuck pad, leaving his wife alone with three little ones. The problem was my mother speaking the truth !
            😂

          • Hi Stucktoolong,

            He abused you, and you deserve better! Trust that he sucks! And you *should* be angry!

            One recommendation I have is to make a list of all the shitty things he did or said over the years. So far I have 186 of them! Refer to hit if you suddenly get the urge to return.

            Trust your kids.They know! You said your kids would “kill you” if you went back to him. That’s reason enough not to. One of my adult kids said that if I ever take him back, they’ll disown me, too!

            If you’re not already seeing a therapist, I would suggest you start. Mine helps me immensely. She pointed out that people like us can almost get addicted to the abuser. Sounds weird but it can become a habit. And, of course, it can be scary to be alone.

            I’m so glad you have supportive friends!!! I’ve told mine that if ever they hear crazy talk from me about wanting to reunite with my ex, they have my permission to slap me silly, chain me down, or stop me by whatever means necessary.

            I don’t want my abuser back. I do long for what I thought I had, but it wasn’t real. I still can’t believe this is my life now. Perhaps you feel the same. You are not alone. I hope you take some comfort in that.

            Oh, and it’s great that you are professional, slim, and attractive, but know that what he did has nothing to do with you or how you look. These cheaters take what they want and don’t give a thought to their spouses. It’s not about us. I’m convinced of that.

            Chin up! You won’t always feel this bad. When you’re ready, I bet you will find someone who treats you SO much better.

            Now start making that list…

            • What Spinach said.

              Also about the looks, most betrayed spouses are more attractive and smarter than the adultery partners.

              In my case I was forty, attractive and reasonably smart, also while I was at the beginning of my career after raising my son; I had a good job with good potential. She was not by any standard more attractive or smarter than me. Career wise she was the town dog catcher, which was a low paying job, unless you are a police officer which she was/is not. The only thing she had over me was she was/is five years younger. Though she didn’t look it, she didn’t even look younger than him.

              He still left me and married her. She had a trail of married men behind her, he knew it but it didn’t matter to him. So I have decided he either was madly in luv which means she fucked like a porn star, or he had his nuts in a vice because she was his direct report at work. Who knows, but I assume they lived happily ever after and dance around their trailer every night to oldies love songs.

              He cheated on her through out his 40s and maybe beyond that per my daughter in law, but schmoops is the forgiving type. To me translated likely means she was getting it on the side too, or she simply didn’t care as long as the check came in regularly.

              As Spinach says “These cheaters take what they want and don’t give a thought to their spouses.” And if or more likely when it all goes to hell, well they will always have you to blame.

            • Thank you – I will start the list and hope it helps. I do feel addicted to this failed relationship. His affair partner is very attractive as is his current girlfriend- he is vain so it does not surprise me. I believe he did not care about me at all towards the end – left this marriage a long time ago so it is easy for him to just keep on keeping on. I just do not know why I cannot let go of the idea of him coming back – it’s been two years since DDay- I should be further along. Divorce is underway and hopefully soon – maybe that’s what I need to really start moving on

              • Stuck, I can relate to part of me stuck in the idea of him coming back. Even though I wouldn’t take him back. I would have when I was still in shock but not now. I’d be pick me dancing and worried the rest of my life. And it’s just wouldn’t be the same knowing what he did to me. That part of your brain that remembers the love and wonderful connection you felt stays very strong. But it was over for him. I have to remind myself of that even though mine did come back to help and was very kind and remorseful (when I was depressed and dysfunctional)- but he was. still. with. the. OW.
                It’s also not the current him that I want back, it’s the dream of what I thought we had and the potential of what could have been an amazing future.

                If you were online dating and your ex H wrote his true description down – serial cheater with much younger women, liar, home wrecker to my children, my kids don’t like me, made my beautiful successful wife feel like shit etc. I’m sure you could add a lot more to this list but that’s really enough. Would you date that guy?

              • Stucktoolong, Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re experiencing grief and trauma. These twin emotions have their own timelines. Plus you’re not even divorced yet, and your kids are relatively young.

                This is tough. Good luck.

                Ps. If you take him back, you’ll have to change your name to Stuckevenlonger (says the woman who was married for 35 years). 😕. Remember that you’re stronger than you think. Re-read CL’s book. That always stiffens my spine.

          • Look at him as the weakling he really is…a piece of shit that is a low life cheater that treated you with contempt. However, I think you really don’t want him back. You want him to want you back. Decorate the house the way you want, take up something you’ve never done before or hone something you’ve done before but become an expert. Skiing, horseback riding, diving, sailing, etc. Get your kids involved.

      • Fuckwits aside, frontline healthcare workers are unlikely to contract or spread covid to partners if they have proper protective gear and follow safe operating procedures. My wife is an ICU nurse and works closely with severely ill Covid patients. She wears elaborate headgear, gowns and gloves and is constantly changing in and out of fresh gear. When she gets home her clothes go straight in the washer and she pops in the shower and washes her hair.
        I feel safer with her than most people in the grocery store.
        Of course, fuckwits care not one bit for others safety, but people like my wife get treated like pariahs despite their professional consideration of the threat.

        • Good point, Bruno. Please thank your wife for us! When did frontline healthcare workers lose their hero designation and become pariahs? I wasn’t aware. *sigh*

          Two of my kids are docs at a busy city hospital, and, like your wife, they are careful. One lives with me. The stress of COVID on these workers is intense.

          With regard to the cheater husband who is the subject of this thread, he clearly wasn’t being careful if he slept with another woman. I doubt they were in bed with N95s on unless that’s a kinky sex thing I’m not aware of.

        • It differs from place to place, and also the point is consent — how one’s perception of risk doesn’t entitle one to put someone else in a position the person didn’t agree to occupy.

        • I do not believe selfish fuckwits follow proper Covid protocol when they aren’t working. They are forced to at work, so they do. When not working, this very instance proves they do not. So I can’t agree with the assumption that health care workers who cheat are less likely to spread Covid than any other cheater.

      • Our writer doesn’t say he is a healthcare frontline worker….AND….my business was deemed essential and has been running during the pandemic….I own a manufacturing company…..AND…..visitation for our daughter was suspended in March by my request, backed by her pediatrician, and thankfully the XH agreed (although I think he agreed because it was a convenient excuse to be freed up to screw around).

        Visitation resumed over the summer. The time is minimal, it is socially distanced with masks. I do
        the driving to and from and she does not ride in his truck. She does not want to go…does not talk to him and spends the entire time in her room at his place waiting for me to pick her up.

        The pandemic has seriously upped the risks of lying and cheating and the consequences of who they’re in contact with.

        (I too am sidestepping political debate here. I have a friend who is an epidemiologist with 30 years experience and I don’t debate anyone of lesser education and experience…firstly because I have been taught not to debate beyond MY OWN education and experience…..)

        • The politics of this is flying right over my head.

          However, in terms of spreading the disease, I just think we all need to realize and be mindful of others. My son is a firefighter, has taken all the precautions he can and still work. He contracted covid, and even though he and his wife were being careful, she also contracted it. Both were tested, and he has gotten his vaccine, she is still waiting for the quarantine time to pass.

          Son is back to work, and so far she is only experiencing mild symptoms. Obviously as all are saying adding dangerous behavior to the mix is going to be even riskier.

          • I see it as a public health situation….there are many who
            have made this into a political issue, which I don’t understand either….

            • I thought maybe I was missing something.

              I mean, to me I am just being as cautious as I can. I only go out when needed, and I suit up and am constantly cleaning my hands.

              My granddaughter who is still in college lives with my son and his wife, she just stays in her room, and she has a separate door she uses. The grandson has not seen them for quite a while. He won’t be visiting them until all is clear. So far the granddaughter is ok. She is quarantining until it blows over. She is taking all of her last semester classes on line.

      • Yes, he and the OW actually work at a grocery store. I guess they “bonded” while stocking the toilet paper or something.
        I made snacks for all of his coworkers at least once or twice a month to thank them for working so hard during the pandemic even though he had never introduced me to them…which makes me feel like a Super Chump now.

        • Making snacks for essential workers is a lovely thing to do, and I’m sure it was much appreciated by the other (blameless) coworkers. I remember once a colleague of mine picked me and several other people up to drive to an all-day offsite workshop. It was an cold, dark early morning start and his wife made all of us hot chai in thermos flasks. It was so thoughtful, and we’d never met her. Really warmed me up emotionally and physically 🙂

          A saying I really like is “No act of kindness is ever wasted”. Even if you did something lovely for a person who turned out not to deserve it, acts of kindness always have good impact that ripples out past the intended recipient. You no doubt cheered up the other (blameless) coworkers. Maybe a customer walked in and saw their joy at getting snacks then smiled. Perhaps when they got home one of the recipients told their roommate or partner about it, and that small act of kindness inspired that person to do something kind that day.

          You’re a kind person, Moved On. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

    • Hell yeah. I’d report them both to public health authorities, because they very likely violated the law and certainly violated Covid protocol and medical ethics. That will give fuckwit something to really rage about, and he can do nothing about it but bluster, because he’s stuck in another country so he can’t do anything to harm his ex-chump if she goes NC.

      • The rules were relaxed when all this happened, but I did get a little bit of pleasure when he told me that our landlords have asked him to move out when the current lease expires because he had too many people over (his shitty coworkers) the weekend after I left and the neighbors complained.

        It’s almost impossible to find affordable single housing in the city, so he’ll either be forced to move in with the OW or into a crowded shared house.

  • He’s angry because you didn’t love him enough. I learned this from my ex. (He was a bottomless pit of want. I could pour love in all day long and twice on Sunday and never fill him up.) The anger and hostility is punishment for not getting enough. He calculated that anger would lead to contrition and conciliatory supply. When it didn’t, the anger increased. The anger continues to increase because you are failing to admit that it is all your fault. If you had only been better to him, he wouldn’t have failed.

    • NGH Mom, great assessment. Yes, they punish us for not getting enough, then calculate how to manipulate us to get more supply, even when they don’t want US.

    • NGH You are so right. My flaws made him not happy. He cheated because he wasn’t happy which was my fault. She made him feel whole – which is something he had said to me in the beginning of our relationship. Red flag if anyone ever says that you make them feel whole or complete. He emailed that he was worried about me ( patronizingly) when he saw how much grief I had after the discard.

      • ” He emailed that he was worried about me ( patronizingly) when he saw how much grief I had after the discard.”

        Ugh that faux concern after they have taken a wrecking ball to you, just makes me sick to even think about.

    • “He’s angry because you didn’t love him enough. I learned this from my ex. (He was a bottomless pit of want. I could pour love in all day long and twice on Sunday and never fill him up.)”

      THIS!!! They create an unservicable need then punish you for not being able to service it. I call it “the moving target of unmet needs.” And if you did, one day, by some miracle do enough backflips to demonstrate ALL THE LOVE he needed, then it would be something else. Like, maybe you’re a terrible housekeeper or you’re not adventurous enough in bed or [fill in the blank]. Even if one subscribe to the notion that you should try and meet all your partner’s burning needs (I don’t), it is impossible with these people because the needs forever change.

  • They are dopes who are making very permanent and moronic decisions based on the bonding hormones created by having sex with someone. It takes a whopper of a mature person to not act on attraction to someone else, get to know someone really well before making said commitment, keep that commitment, and move from early romance to the comfort and stability of a long term love relationship. I thought I was someone like that. I thought I married someone like that. The Craigslist “Sole Mate” is proof that I didn’t. I am three years out and I believe I have yet a lot to learn before I get involved with someone. He has yet to find that out. Not my problem. Thank God!

    You get to be the clear thinker in this horrific situation. Advantage: Moved On!

    Nothing is permanent. Especially the state of romance we all enjoy in the beginning of our relationships. What’s important is who someone is when that wears off, which it inevitably will no matter how long you decide to play Musical Partners.

    He showed you loud and clear that he does not have the skills for a long term emotionally mature love relationship. He is in middle school still, chasing a new shiny thing. And new shiny thing will not remain new shiny thing either. Neither of them have healthy relationship skills, of which the affair is proof positive. Good luck, cheaters.

    It’s completely normal for us to look across the tennis court and go, “What Happened?” Just keep bringing your focus back to what YOU know to be true.

    It takes time to stop watching the Titanic sink and internalize that It’s Really Happening. Remind yourself that YOU are in the lifeboat and he is still on board swapping deck chairs.

    • I think your first sentence says it.

      I truly believe most of these folks go through a period where they start the messing around then get caught up in the hormones, that they forgot existed between them and the spouse. Not excusing them, as they should be smarter. But, it is what it is and the damage can not be undone.

      I know a lot of folks spend a lot of time and experience a lot of pain thinking that these cheaters will live happily ever after, they just don’t. (except for that rare unicorn as CL says) Doesn’t matter what show they put on, those high levels of feel good hormones will fade and they will face the same situation they had before. They can escape the spouse, and then the next one etc; they can’t escape themselves. Most will go on to seek that somewhere else. Hell they gave up everything for those feel good times, they aren’t going to give it up now.

      • You’re describing a lack of executive function and lack of impulse control that is, in fact, common amongst children. Maybe there’s a link between these things and narcissism, or maybe some people just never really grasp how to regulate their emotions and impulses. It’s a worthy endeavor to study this from a psychological and sociological perspective, as in: what can we do to ensure people develop these skills early on in their lives. But, in as much as it pertains to a cheater…not worth the time untangling that skein.

  • It’s just his sick game to not take responsibility. From what I’ve seen, once they make that the new normal, you’re done. You can’t reason them out of it, and it destroys any remaining decency between the two of you. Stand in your truth and move on.

  • Moved on, you’re in good company here.

    We all seem to have versions of this same story. The blameshifting and gaslighting. It’s what cheaters do. Collectively, we’ve learned not to care what these fuckwits do or say. It really is pointless. We have no control! It requires some mental discipline, even a trick of the mind, to let go in this way, but the pay-off is wonderful.

    Don’t get sad; get mad! And use that righteous anger with this fuckwit to get a good divorce settlement. And have a glorious life (or semi-glorious–no pressure!) without him.

    Perhaps you’ll find some consolation in knowing that your marriage didn’t go on longer. Many of us here (ahem, me!) were married for decades.

    You’ve already shown your strength. There’s more where that came from.

    Good luck.

    • “Perhaps you’ll find some consolation in knowing that your marriage didn’t go on longer. Many of us here (ahem, me!) were married for decades.”

      Yep, I would give anything to have those years back that I spent supporting, loving and trusting someone who clearly never loved me, or if he did; never as much as I love him or as he loved himself.

      • I’m the first in my family/friend circle to go through a divorce, so I’ve told them to send folks to me when inevitably their own FW show their real faces in the future! Definitely don’t wish it on anyone, especially not myself, but at least I can be a support for others since that is something I’ve been missing in this process.

  • My husband accused me of “disparaging” him during the ILYBINILWY speech. And I wondered where he had learned that word. Pretty sure it was from his dying, best friend’s wife. While they were in bed.

    In retrospect, there was no winning argument I could have made at the time. No proclamation of my love and respect that could have made a difference. I’m queasy at the thought he must have carried my words of devotion back to her as a rationale for more cake.

    • FW words of choice have been “resent” and “ugly.” He resents me for putting him in the position where he had to break up with me, and I’m responsible for all of the ugliness after the break-up.
      I think he read like one article on divorce on the internet and saw that “resentment” is a good reason for divorce and now goes to town using it.

  • Ha ha! Swapping deck chairs!
    Too bad they’re willing to risk more than their own health. Mine is dating, dining and traveling like it’s 2019, disregarding all safety concerns including masking, distancing, and limiting contacts. When you have a child, you’re risking more than your own health and safety. And it’s not just their kids’ health at risk, but anyone else the kids connect with, such as other parents and extended family.

  • I’l never understand how we as chumps don’t immediately see that letting cheaters and APs feel righteous is THE WORST THING YOU CAN DO TO THEM. There’s no colder revenge if you’re in the market for that kind of thing. All you have to do is remove yourself. Combat their bs with a flamethrower and solid evidence in a legal sense if it affects custody or settlement or verges on damaging libel, but otherwise don’t personally try to disabuse them of their lies.

    Righteous liars blab and when they blab, even if they believe it’s in self defense, they’re essentially telling everyone “Hey I’m a cheater/abuser/proxy-abuser and victim-blamer!” Most guilty people in the throes of externalizing their evil onto others tend not to be very cedible. Genuine sociopaths who can bio-mimic victim status on a cellular level are rare and it’s more typical for crappy people to spin elaborate, gymnastic rationales which they then feel compelled to breathlessly and feverishly test out on others. Only an audience who gets off on negative gossip due to their own hubris or psychosis is going to buy it whole-hog. But anyone worth their salt will smell the whiff of fiction and be taken aback.

    This is how cheaters and abusers condemn themselves to bad company forever. Everyone decent will eventually be chased away. Their own lies are napalm. As the Toaists say, never rob anyone of their consequences. Step away and let them burn.

  • I am right there. And I had been no contact from July until 2 weeks ago. I moved out of the family home with my kids and rented a new beautiful place.

    And then in the house that we own together He refused to turn on the water, change over the bills, all of that. So I found myself texting him. And he didn’t respond to anything. He might have been dead for all I know.

    I finally had to go back to blocking him so that I don’t get tempted to text and just communicating through the lawyer. I don’t care that the water has been shut off. That is not my issue.

    What I care about is that his behavior has again begun to impact me. And I have to shut that down. The only power he has is the power I choose to give him.

    • Likely you are in the process of doing it, but if not I would suggest getting a legal separation that include who is responsible for what. I had to do it quick because I couldn’t afford to make the payments on the house and car, not to mention the other properties.

      I was so afraid he was going to drown me in debt. Luckily he took over all that for the duration of the legal separation. If he hadn’t I would have been screwed. But, I did have a good lawyer. That saved me.

      A legal separation did not exempt me from the mortgage I co signed for, but it stipulated he was responsible for those payments until the divorce was finalized, and if he had defaulted; I still would have had to pay, but I could go after him for arrears.

      In my case he didn’t default.

      But, just be careful, they can rack up hella debts behind your back.

  • Dear Moved On,

    Please, please listen to all of this incredible advice you’re getting from CN. Print it out, highlight your favorite parts, and stick those to your frig, your computer screen, your mirror. I went through something extremely similar (except pre-COVID and after 18 years of marriage), and I did a lot of Trying To Get Through To Him and Trying To Get Him To See How Much He Was Hurting Me. All that did was leave me open for him to hurt me some more, which is all he suddenly seemed to care about. It was so bewildering at first. Where did the man go who told me regularly I was the most beautiful woman in the world and he was so luck to be with me? But he was really two people, as all narcissists are, and once I was really honest with myself about the relationship, I saw that I had been married to two people the whole time–Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. And now he was stuck on the Hyde channel for good b/c he had devalued and discarded me….

    As several people have said above: when narcs do something shitty, they pretend like *you* did it b/c they have no way of separating people from their actions, and if they don’t want to feel shitty about themselves as humans, they first smear the shit all over you and then pretend it came from you in the first place. It doesn’t make any sense to healthy people, but it’s the way narcs work. And trust me, there’s NO way to win the projection game, so don’t play. Go No Contact. Insist on all communication through your lawyer. I know it will be expensive, but I promise you will be relish every penny you spend in the end b/c you will heal so much faster if he’s not giving you fresh wounds every week, every way he can. When my ex couldn’t get the reaction out of me he wanted, when I took the high road like you are, he just ramped up his antics to try to get me to break, to be the bad guy, all so he could manage his image to his friends and family. It was SO. PAINFUL. I’m telling you–the only way to avoid that outcome, especially since you’re looking at a drawn out process, is not to communicate with him at all.

    Good luck. You’re already off to a smarter start than I got b/c you’re here getting good advice. Focus on yourself. Your ex has already cut you out of his life, so call his bluff. You’ll heal faster for it. As Chump Lady always says, believe them when they show you who they really are. The guy you loved is gone. I’m really, really sorry it had to go this way for you. I know how much it hurts.

    Hugs,

    Okupin

    • Also, as Susie Lee says–legal separation as soon as possible. That was one of the ways my ex really enjoyed hurting me: spending joint assets on romantic weekends with and gifts for his AP. I didn’t get any of that back in the settlement….

    • Thank you for the kind words Okupin! It’s very sad but also comforting that similar things have happened to other women.

      Thankfully we have very few assets to split, so finances have been a non-issue thank goodness!

  • ‘ Lusty McCoworker’ 🤣🤣🤣 – and I can move the S around in Lusty and for another good name – and the other day I heard “the dumsel in distress” 😂😂😂

  • He is mad because he needs to be justified in leaving the marriage. If you are a good, decent person, then he did something bad. So by making you into a monster in his mind, he is taking the blame off himself and projecting it onto you.

    He is mad that you now know the real him. He is mad that you can tell people what happened. He is mad that you exist and are a barrier to him and shmoopie running off into the sunset together. He is mad that the legal system is going to make him go through a divorce.

    I got told absolutely horrible things. He told me that he couldn’t stand me. He told me that I disgusted him. He told me that he couldn’t be in the same room with me. He told me that I had destroyed everything he ever cared about for 8 years. He has to make me seem so horrible that he was right to walk away from a newborn baby.

    It started out as hot rage. Then it switched into cold rage. Then as soon as he moved out, the rage disappeared and he turned on the charm 100%.

    They are sick and twisted. Read about NPD, sociopaths, and psychopaths until you run out of reading material. You will never get them to admit they are wrong, and you will never get them to see the truth. You just have to find a way to accept that.

  • Let me get this straight. He got in the bed with her, they probably got naked, the next morning he dumps you and THEN has sex? Is he INSANE? Where ever he goes, whatever he does, there he is. I see a bright future for him.

    This is the perfect place for guidance. They have been there, done that.

    • “Where ever he goes, whatever he does, there he is. I see a bright future for him.”

      I think this is one of the most profound/true statements I have ever seen. It is the truth for all of us, and why do so many of us think that our FW will escape themselves?

      • I actually said that to my STBXW. It seemed to hurt her as I said no matter what, you’ll always be you. Other comment I made was I don’t hate you anymore, I feel sorry for you that you ruined your own life and took our young kids down with you. My little girl is in therapy due to the actions of my STBXW. But I’m sure with her being as low as she is, it probably only the consequences that annoy her.

        • Yep, my ex went on to marry the schmoops, cheated on her, they gambled up a lot of debt and filed bankruptcy. Got in fights with her family, he nearly destroyed his relationship with our grown son. (sons wife still won’t speak to them). They are now living the dream in FL in a fixer upper mobile home.

          They both took who they were with them and they are the only constants in their troubles.

  • Glad you are here, didn’t have kids with this toxic POS, and acted mighty by leaving, coming back home to your family and filing for divorce.

    You asked some questions I can answer from my situation 6 years out from Dday- 4 from divorce:

    He will never “see this from my perspective.” By definition he isn’t capable of empathy.

    He will never “realize [the harm he caused me] on his own,” or by any other input. Again, these types aren’t capable of empathy. They see others as objects and have zero introspection. It’s all an elaborate con to get something they want.

    “Will karma come back to bite him?” Yes! It’s already happened: he doesn’t have the capacity to love deeply, to bond, to commit, to be selfless. He’ll live a shallow, meaningless, unprincipled life— always. That’s who he is and always was and always will be — he conned you into thinking otherwise to use you.

    “Will I always be the ‘evil ex who ruined his life?’” That narrative is objectively false. You cannot “ruin” a life. That’s his con… a falsehood he uses to get new prey/marks. All part of his manipulation to use people.

    Run away. This person is deadly.

    • Yes! Above someone said that reasonable people will see through the false narrative. I believe it!

      God only knows what kind of false narrative mine started peddling after D-Day. With Schmoopie by his side, I’m sure he whined about their sad situation. Star-crossed lovers–Romeo and Juliet–who simply wanted to be together!!!! True love!!! What could be wrong with that?

      And, here’s the kicker. I’m sure he says that our marriage was on the rocks and that I was 50% responsible. He knows damn well that: 1. I had no idea our marriage was not going well (so satisfied I’d become with breadcrumbs, and, believe it or not, I actually thought we had a good marriage) lol; 2. We were busy making plans for our future (he defrauded me), and 3. If there were rocks, he placed them there when he started to fuck this OW and devalue/discard me.

      It infuriates me that he spreads lies. But, hey, I’ll never see those people. And I suspect the ones who are capable of empathy can see through it all. When ex and OW visited her folks (who are only 10 years older than my ex–awkward!!), I wonder if anyone asked, “Hey, so how’s your wife doing with all this?” When he says his adult kids won’t talk to him and blames me, I wonder if someone is a bit skeptical about that, thinking, “Hmmm. There must be more to it than that. We’re not getting the full story.”

      Plus, mine is far from a charmer. Terrible social skills. I smoothed his edges at social events. When he said something abrasive or acted moody and pissy, I would swoop in and fix it with humor or whatever chumpy skills I’d developed over the years.

      One thing I know about him now that I didn’t know during our 35-year marriage is that he’s a good liar. He sucks, but he’s a good liar. Although I have no idea if he believes his lies, I do know that he feels like a victim. In fact, there’s never been a bigger victim. And in this way, he is a textbook covert narc. “No one has ever suffered more than I!!!!”

      Tl;DR: I trust that he sucks. I trust that others will see through his false narrative. And if they don’t, I don’t care. Chances are they lack empathy. I don’t need people like that in my life.

    • There is really nothing more to add to these answers. You are trying to control what he thinks (or says he thinks). You can’t do that with anyone, least of all someone who behaves like your husband. Stop treating him (and thinking about him) like he’s a normal person. Don’t project your ability to feel empathy, to be faithful, to be decent onto someone who has shown you he can’t do those things.

      File for divorce. Stop talking to him. Block him on phone, text and send email to the junk file. Let your lawyer do the talking. NO CONTACT.

  • Why is it that you have to wait a year until you can file for divorce? Make sure you check with a lawyer both in your home country and in the country you were living in with him. I was in a similar situation, but the roles were reversed. I had moved overseas with my now exH for his job. When shit hit the fan and I found out about his most recent affair, I contacted both a lawyer where we were living and a lawyer back in what was our state of residence (for tax purposes) in the US. I would have had to move back to the US, wait for the required time period (it was 90 days actually) to file in the US for a no fault divorce, but I could file immediately in the country we were living on the grounds of adultery. I filed immediately, and the financial settlement and divorce were finalized in less than 6 months. Might be something to investigate, as I am pretty confident you will still have jurisdiction in the country he is still living in as an option to file. Definitely obtain legal counsel to confirm.

  • Good for you, RaffNoMore for taking a stand.

    I have a similar story in that on D-Day when I was investigating a little further after I discovered the most recent affair, I found evidence my exH had already contacted a lawyer. He gave the impression to the lawyer that it was an amicable divorce, we had already agreed to a 50/50 split, and we wanted the divorce to happen as soon as possible. When I approached him about this after the fact, he said he was just researching. Needless to say I did my own research, got my ducks in a row quietly, and served him with divorce papers soon thereafter. To say that he was blind-sighted was an understatement, as he RAGED at me for serving him with divorce papers.

    Of course very few know that he was the one “investigating” divorce first, as he whined on and on to others how I was the angry wife who refused to repair our marriage. Such a sad sausage. Seeking self-pity by blame-shifting and denying the truth is a typical tactic used by cheaters. Remain no contact and DO NOT respond to these smear campaigns. Just laugh it off or change the subject. Saying nothing at all says more than trying to refute his lies.

    What I found really interesting is that my exH went to the same lawyers he contacted originally after he was served. He had no shame seeking counsel that already knew he was a liar. I am sure he wasn’t the first, and he won’t be the last.

    • Did he think he could run the divorce through on his terms and you wouldn’t notice?

      I mean even his lawyer had to know that he was only hearing one side of the story, and you would eventually have your say.

  • Wow. You and I were married to twins. Same accusations! Your point that these people do horrible things and then get angry at the person they did them to is spot on! It took me a long time to understand that his crazy accusations against me were weird admissions of his own actions and plans. The one that chilled me the most was learning that he told the kids several years after our divorce that I wanted him dead and had probably already tried to murder him. I am grateful to live 1000 miles away from him now.

  • If you are like most of us, and when you are early in the process of a breakup with a FW, you do not know what to do. Most of your cues for action come from cultural stereotypes, and most of that nonsense is in line with the RIC message. Fortunately for many of the younger chumps, Chump Lady has blazed a trail of no nonsense information and a guide to resources which should help you along the path to recovery much faster.

    When you worry about what he thinks, or why he is mad, you are wasting your sweet time. You need to take care of you. I am not saying this is easy. It goes against your basic chump programming, it is hard, but it is necessary for your survival.

    I am not being flip when I say get over it, and I am not saying you are not entitled to be angry or bitter. You were cheated, you are entitled. However, if you are not using your anger to power your exit, and you are choking on your own bile, and have no remedy for bitterness, you are impeding your own recovery.

    If you were in an awful accident, and physically damaged, you would be hospitalized with trained caretakers. Maybe insurance would help you pay for care. You could lie in bed and be bitter, and refuse to do your physical therapy, but that would impede your recovery. You have been in an awful accident, but there is no hospital. You may or may not have resources to pay for your care. You are in charge of your own recovery.

    It is very different to assess your situation, accept it for what it is, and participate in your own recovery. No one can do this for you. Don’t let anyone derail your progress, you are not responsible for how the FW thinks or feels. Sooner or later, it will be of no consequence to you (Thank God!) and you will feel better and gain your own life. This is what you need to focus on.

    He chose to derail the relationship you had (or thought you had). That is done. Now, you owe him nothing. You owe yourself all of your attention and effort.

  • LOL at the “nothing happened” line. Yeah, totally. I know women just have men in their beds and then don’t do anything sexual.

    If you fall for that line, you’re willingly duping yourself.

  • Five or six years later.. I lose track… And ex cheater is still angry after he swore to me that he’d leave and be happy!
    I tell you I am one miffed cookie (sarcasm)
    Who gives a shit what they think!

  • You will never get a cheater to see or admit they’re a FUCKWIT.
    With the AP (APs) they already have one source of validation or reinforcement.
    Sprinkle in those lazy ass SWISS friends? It grows.
    They’re no smarter or better than Pavlov’s dog.
    And believe this to be true, YOU are being talked about. Demonized and minimalized.
    That’s why this FUCKWIT wants to unload half of his burden of blame to you!!
    Those same lazy ass SWISS friends are hearing it too. They may not agree but are to EFFING lazy to speak up. I see laziness in SPINELESS people BTW.
    Don’t ever grace his ears, email, social media, rumor mill, grape vine etc… with your voice or a response. This is your cold n cruel lawyer’s job now.

  • I do agree- NO CONTACT. This is the only way. They get their kibbles from the triangulating. When you remove yourself (I love analogy from the poster who said 3 legged stool) you know that things will eventually fail for him/her. You’ve taken the wind out of their sails so to speak.

    What I love to do is post positive imagines of myself with my son on Facebook. Let everyone know how well I’m doing in grad school.

    Combine this with no contact, and I felt it was a better option than anything else. I have heard that the best revenge is really to forget them and live your best life. It’s so so hard, but I find my feelings do change when I act like I am doing well and don’t need him.

    Like all of you here…. I was married for 24 years to a narc. My therapist believes he is a psychopath. My lawyer told me to immediately move once she heard my voice activated recorder outlining that he would take care of me and drain the accounts.

    Of course I had no idea it was illegal to record, but it saved my life. My lawyer also saw how traumatized I was and did everything to help me. I do feel there was a divine presence with me showing me the truth…it was so horribly painful. Today is a hard day. So funny how grief hits some days and other days I could care less.

    • Sorry you’re having a hard time today. Hope tomorrow is better for you. Grief does hit some days without an obvious reason. I think the holidays can be especially triggering. Take care.

    • Sorry you’re having a hard time today. Hope tomorrow is better for you. Grief does hit some days without an obvious reason. I think the holidays can be especially triggering. Take care.

  • Hi Karen:

    We’re really all in the same group. Those of us that got begged, pleaded with to stay, promises of change etc…it was all smoke and image management. Not one real thing about it. So after time we all joined your group anyway. Yours discarded in a particularly shitty way…but for all of us it was all shit in the end anyway.

    • So true. And those who stay with the cheaters, I would bet that 99. percent of them are living a life of quiet or not so quiet desperation.

      I read somewhere that 75 percent of the couples who are in counseling for infidelity end up divorced in five years. Where as a much lower number of couples who are in therapy for non cheating issues end up divorced. (can’t remember the exact number.

  • Feel free to take 50% of everything – except responsibility for his decisions. The four pillars of happiness are as follows; a sense of power in your life, feeling like you are progressing, connectedness with others, and feelings of being part of something bigger than yourself. If you enter that murky water that the RIC is selling, you have disconnected from all four pillars. While I was stuck in the RIC, I never felt so isolated, so powerless, and so stuck in my life. Want to know what Hell feels like? Do what he’s asking you to do. Play his games! Do the pick me dance! Are responsibility for his unilateral decisions that you were not part of? Do you think he stopped himself from sleeping with her because he was thinking of you? Absolutely not! You were peripheral of his periphery. He is selfish and thinks of himself. Period. He does what he does because he believes he is entitled to all of it AND he is entitled to no consequences!

    Why is he so angry? Because you didn’t subscribe to his centrality. You got yourself out of there because you knew it was the best choice. You robbed him of all the mind games that he intended to inflict upon you! It’s all your fault! Even though you weren’t there for him to hop into her bed and you didn’t even cross his mind, you MUST take responsibility and play all the games that make him feel wanted. You bitch. Note that I didn’t say that you don’t play the games that make him feel loved. You can’t make him feel loved any more than you can make him love you. But YOU can love you.

    And you did.

    • This is a great response. I use the word “control” instead of “power” but they mean the same. In the US we have 18 inches of space around us that feels violated unless we invite the person in. Your H brought someone into your space w/o your knowledge. The control you need has been taken away. That is scary as hell. It’s also such a violation of trust that grief overwhelms. Where is your safety if your very space is invaded. Leaving gets you back control, power, agency. Food, clothing, shelter and control of your life. You need all those to survive. You don’t need him.

  • He wants to argue ….. for his centrality and to keep the triangle going. Block. No contact. Move off his crazy dance floor.

  • Wow lol…Crusty McLoWorker and horny yet chaste AP lying in bed reading Winnie the Pooh stories…you’re on fire CL 👏

  • “I really just want to put him in his place and make him see this from my perspective.”

    Speaking truth to stupid. -CL

    In a nutshell.
    I love this.

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