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Cheating Husband “Is a Predator”

Dear Chump Lady,

I found your site 4 months ago, my husband’s been having affairs for 7 years (that I know of). I was irate about not finding anything online about self-preservation and actually taking care of yourself. Eventually, I googled “leave a cheater”, and Chump Lady was found.

It was exactly what I was looking for. Proof that my adulterous (and alcoholic) husband would never change, was indeed a disordered prick, and didn’t give a shit about me, our 5 kids, or a 17 year marriage. He was hanging around for cake, and believe me, I gave him lots of cake.

The worst of it is — my husband is a predator. The other women, most of whom he met through online dating were never aware of his real name, occupation, marital status, children, birthdate, address, or immediate or extended family. He literally hooked these women with a fabricated life. There are dozens of other women, but there were 8 longer term affairs over this time.

He’s been a nurse, nurse practitioner, stock trader, financial advisor, oil field management, and who knows what else. He has had NONE of these careers, and because of poor life choices has been fired from EVERY job (15 now?) that he’s had in the last 11 years.

He will claim to be (depending on the deception mood that month, I suppose): never married, divorced, separated, have no children, have 2 children, have 3 children, have full custody of his kids (yeah, ok… but not all five because some of them don’t exist in this alternate universe. He denies the existence of his own children!!!!)

These poor women believe that (when he claims having children) he’s such a wonderful dad. They think he’s got a great career, money, is 5-7 years younger than he is, has a good relationship with his family (they’ve cut him out/off), and is a “nice” guy.

The reality is, he’s an addict who refuses recovery, uses a fake name, is unemployed more often than employed, has five kids he WANTED but doesn’t take care of, is 40, and is a pathological liar. He will send pictures of himself and our kids to these women claiming they’re nieces and nephews, or only sends pictures with “selected” children when he’s decided h does have kids. He sends pictures of my beautiful home, to make himself look prosperous, when that’s false too. He barely works and I’m barely hanging on financially. I had to get a second job because of his terrible work history and spending. Drinking and affairs cost money damn it!

I found out about his latest “serious” affair on December 27th. She didn’t know anything. She felt terrible and stupid that she let this liar and manipulator into her life and her home. She was a single mother with 2 young kids. “How fucked up do you have to be to meet someone’s kids and say you don’t have any?” (her words).

When confronted he told me he’s just going to keep doing it. He said there are so many sad, desperate, lonely, damaged women that he will have an endless supply of these warped relationships. I want to protect them from him. I feel bad for them. All of these women, except one, felt terrible and ended the relationship immediately, apologized to me, and wrote him some nasty truth-filled messages.

How do women protect themselves against this type of predator? I think he’s a psychopath. I feel a responsibility to stop him from conning more women. He’s an amazing manipulator and deceiver. I’ve been sucked back in repeatedly. He’s had a lot of practice. I worry about other people getting sucked in and hurt.

He left by my request on New Year’s Eve. I would have had him leave sooner, but he was too intoxicated to walk, and it was difficult to get him the fuck out of my house.

How and why do these women fall for his shit? How can we protect ourselves in the future? It sickens me to think this will happen to someone else, or to me again. How can I ever trust my own judgement after believing a proven liar for 19 years?

Thank you Chump Lady, your site has saved my sanity over these last few months,


Save Them From a Predator

Dear Save Them,

Right now there is one woman I want to save from a predator and that’s you.

You have a big, chumpy heart, and that’s beautiful, but saving womankind from a sleazy sociopath’s dating profiles needs to be taken off your to-do list. You informed them, awesome. Now, back to you.

How and why do these women fall for his shit?

Why does anyone get conned? Because they want to believe. And trust is the social glue that holds us all together. And decent people see the world through their own moral lens — they lack the imagination to believe another person would do something so recklessly dishonest.

That’s why believing evidence is so important. It’s why we should operate in lucidity and not imagine ourselves as special characters swept up in some Grand Romance. Wanting to believe someone in defiance of reality leads to a lot of heartbreak and painful consequences.

Your ex projected a nice hologram of a boyfriend. He gets off on the deceit. These monsters walk among us.

How can we protect ourselves in the future?

Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but I created a blog to decode mindfuckery pretty much from the same impulse you’re feeling — maybe I can save the next one.

Essentially there are about 2,000 blog posts here on how to protect yourself. Boiled down to its essence we’ve got: Is this relationship ACCEPTABLE to you? As it exists right now, not the potential you imagine. As it IS.

Also, trust that they suck. God, people put up with a lot of shit evidence before they can really trust the suck. Our appetite for cognitive dissonance is strong. (aka “spackle.”)

It’s one thing not to know. But once you know? How you react to abuse is entirely up to you. I get up every day and write this column to IMPLORE people to LEAVE.

It sickens me to think this will happen to someone else, or to me again.

It does NOT have to happen to you again. YOU control that. YOU control what you will model to your children. YOU!

You were really strong throwing that motherfucker out on New Year’s Eve. (I hope he wandered into a snow bank and froze to death. But I’m sensing his loser ass is still around, probably penning dating profiles as I type.) Now, KEEP HIM OUT.

You work two jobs and have 5 kids? Woman, YOU ARE STRONG. Losing this loser is going to be so liberating! You’re going to have so much more money and time and energy! Lay that burden DOWN!

No one tells you this, but your killer work ethic is going to save you. You’ve just been misdirecting that killer work ethic towards a fuckwit. Everything you do after you get this man out of your life is going to EASIER. I’m not saying it will always be a bed of roses, but that work ethic will never leave you.

You are so used to dragging this anchor, this man-child fuckwit, bailing him out of everything — when you let go — you will now have all that energy to lavish on your children and YOURSELF! And anything you set your mind to!

I have a bit of a killer work ethic myself. I keep this blog going, and I work a straight job. And just for an extra dash of madness, I’ll do more writing assignments, or take art classes or whatever. Sometimes I get the feeling people think I’m  insane. But chumps get it — every day of my life now is a gazillion times easier than when I was trudging through the drama of an abusive relationship. Every day of my life as an empty nester, working stiff is a gazillion times easier than one day as a working single mother.

You have a gift, Save Them, a gift for hard work. Please, I implore you, to direct your talents and energies to yourself and stop wasting them on a fuckwit. The liberation struggle is FINITE. And the rest of your life is YOURS.

How can I ever trust my own judgement after believing a proven liar for 19 years?

Stop believing him. Save Them, you know he’s a liar and you know what you need to do — leave him finally, for once and for all. You’re nobly misdirecting your energies again away from yourself — and what you need to do (LEAVE HIM, with a lawyer, legal-like) — to the other poor women he’s used.

He used YOU. Now, fight like hell to get away from this monster. When you do, circle back to me, and join CN in encouraging the next crop of Save Thems to save themselves.


Ask Chump Lady

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  • CL is right, this guy sounds like a bloody psychopath. Just think, you’re working two jobs to pay for his “social life” and he’s already told you he has no intention of stopping. Please throw all your energy into yourself and your children. I reckon you’ll be amazed at how much more money you’ll have when you’re not financially supporting this psycho! Good luck honey, you can do it!

    • It’s amazing to think of all she could be doing with HER money, instead of throwing it away on that waste of space!

      So many women are waiting for that financial power in order to leave!

    • Exactly. And since he isn’t working, and he’s been blowing your money on his affairs, you could probably ask for that money back in the divorce as lost/stolen marital assets. I’m not a lawyer, so don’t quote me on that, but get yourself a good one. I’m sure if he tried to go after alimony, you’d have a pretty strong argument for why he doesn’t deserve it if he’s been spending most of your cash on cheating. You shouldn’t be obligated to support a lifestyle you weren’t even aware of.

    • ‘Save Them’ I was taken in by someone very much like your Predator. He went to enormous lengths to portray himself as a decent guy, my family loved him, my friends thought he was amazing. Sadly I didn’t until I was already pregnant by him that the mask started to slip. He was difficult to get hold of, often would disappear for long unexplained absences. Over a long and painful process lasting many months, I discovered that he was actually married and had a child only one year older than our baby. To this day I ask myself, how did I let myself get conned? I’m not stupid. Honest answer: because my suspicions just seemed so far fetched – because who would do that? When I began to put the pieces together, even my family told me I must be paranoid thinking he had another family. He must have been getting working his ass off keeping both me and his wife in the dark. And she wasn’t stupid either; a doctor. Plus, I also learned he’d been seeing other women too on the side! Normal people don’t believe it because it’s so bizarre most of us would never consider doing it. It’s very kind that you contacted those women, but at the end of the day you are not responsible for what he does. If he committed a criminal act shop him to the cops, but in my experience men like this don’t do anything illegal that could be proven.

      • Grizzly and Save Them, sorry you both were also taken in by pathological liars. I think the lack of awareness of this type makes it easier for people like us to fall into their traps. The friend who asked me (before meeting my guy) if I had considered the possibility that everything he said was a lie was herself totally fooled when they finally met. I had told her that if he was lying (about everything), everyone around him also had to be fooled and there had to be paid actors involved. In the end, they were and there were.

        If reading about other people’s experiences helps you, here are a couple of books that I found useful:
        A Beautiful, Terrible Thing: A Memoir of Marriage and Betrayal (by Jen Waite)
        Fake: A startling true story of love in a world of liars, cheats, narcissists, fantasists, and phonies (by Stephanie Wood)

  • From 6 years post d-day, i can tell you EVERYTHING CL SAYS is true! You are already carrying the whole load yourself – it gets so much easier without the cheater!

    • Less laundry, no drama, less bills to pay. You will end up with more money once you stop financing his cheating lifestyle. My first husband was like that, he blameshiftec that it was I the one spending “all of his money” and that he needed me to open another checking account so I can deposit my paycheck there so ” I wouldn’t spend his”. I was broken hearted at the accusation after being so careful with finances juggling his overspending, restaurant habit (with hobag), and always maxed out credit cards for things I never saw or enjoyed. Anyway, I did what he said, and within a month he was begging me to direct deposit my check back into his again.. I guess he figured out that he was spending his check AND mine, and without mine check he couldn’t afford his mistress and her cheap taste.

      At the end of said month and after paying all the regular bills I had much money, money I didn’t know I even had. I went to the jewelry store and bought myself a gold watch, like a trophy of my vindication and freedom. I divorced his sorry arse soon after. He ended up having two women pregnant at the same time, married one of them and she gave birth two days after the divorce was final. Their marriage lasted all of 18 months, like you I felt sorry for her and all the lies he had told her, good for you girl, got rid of trash quickly. He ended up in bankruptcy, new wife left him 59k in debt for 28 months of marriage, he became an alcoholic, suicidal, and used to call me drunk, sobbing asking for forgiveness, but never once asked about our son. I told him to pound sand and never call again which he never did. He remarried a fourth time and had another baby (4 wives, 4 babies one by each), still broke. Don’t know whatever happened to his latest marriage, I couldn’t care less. The moral of the story is that FW think that they are going to fi d the same cues that you had on someone else. My current STBXH when he moved out with his mistress a couple of year ago, he thought that she was going to do his laundry, cook for him, pack his lunch and understand when he would have visitation,.. oh no, she said if you want a home cooked meal go home! I only like restaurants and the dry cleaners is over there, and why are you going to see your children if you just saw them a week ago, and have you booked our newest exotic getaway yet, what do you mean you need to wait for the next credit card cycle etc. He came home begging for forgiveness. No unicorn for me though, two years of patching things up, and we are back at him saying “I love you but I’m not in love with you” bullshit. After careful autopsy of both situations I realized that I made it way too easy for them, did all the work and never demanded valentine day dates, or bd or Xmas presents,nor call them on their BS because I wanted them to come to a happy home and do their job in peace. But that it’s not what they want, the want drama, sneaking around, triangulation, women that tell them that they need to take them shopping and do this in bed to them and do something dangerous and reckless and expensive. Once I tried that, he didn’t like the formerly submissive wife doing such, that is for the putana to do, not the madonna. I can be both, but that takes away the thrill of the chase, deception and triangulation. That is why affairs after divorce typically don’t last because they us none to lie to anymore, so the thrill us gone.

      • So true. They LOVE chaos, so they make some when they’re bored with a faithful loving partner ????. And they enjoy a good con at your expense. It took me years to accept that! Nothing there for us, time to fly.

      • Mine was the same. Earned just a little less than me but spent both our salaries and more and then accused me of siphoning off money. I went through 7 months of statements from 2 accounts after he moved in with the skank and highlighted what he spent and what I spent (I had both our kids with me). He was spending 3-4 times what I was spending. I emailed them to his work email and told him to ask his whore to start funding her own lifestyle in future. What I didn’t know was that all his colleagues could see that particular email! Oh dear. As soon as I separated my salary from his he was in DEEP trouble. Still is probably!

      • First thing I bought myself after I FINALLY got financial stability (a divorce, shitty abusive relationship, a roommate who pocketed utilities money instead of paying bills, and three moves later…) was a damn PS4.

        I hadn’t had video games for at least 4 years. Barely a working tv. I was more focused on just keeping a roof over my head and food on my table. When I finally had an apartment of my own, out of debt, no thieving roommates or shitty boyfriends, I bought myself a brand new PS4 system and a remaster of one of my favorite games.

        I cracked open a beer and CELEBRATED.

  • It’s a lot of (internet) ink devoted to him, and the wounds are obviously still raw. I say this with love, it’s a chump move to worry about saving others, especially in the immediate aftermath. It even keeps one vulnerable to manipulation, because that energy is really, really needed for the gigantic re-set you and your kids will have.

    • Sadly once she gets a few letters from his lawyer she will have some new issues to worry about, and it won’t be his new chumps.

  • While I understand your impulse to save the next women in line, Save Them, the truth is that you can’t, and you could make yourself sick by trying. I just passed the threshold into type 2 diabetes because of the amount of toxic stress I’ve been experiencing the last couple of years – this shit is serious, and not just in our heads. Please prioritize your own health and safety, and act on the knowledge that you can’t control other people, especially your fuckwit. It’s hard enough for us chumps to save ourselves – but that’s where we need to focus our energies. The other women will figure out the truth eventually, and will make their own decisions. All best to you!

    • Lez Chump– I was also pushed over a threshold and ended up with autoantibodies and debilitating pain. Stress kills.

      Since there are thousands of autoimmune conditions and many are diagnosed by symptoms, the doctors could never figure out exactly which one I had. Not lupus, not RA… mystery. Eventually I just said fuck it to the diagnostic process and went on the special medical diet that had helped my son recover from a chronic metabolic condition– the Terry Wahls’ version of keto.

      The diet apparently isn’t just for seizures or weight loss. I gained back a little weight on it (avocadoes!) and symptoms abated, leaving nothing for the doctors to diagnose. Inflammatory markers dropped down on subsequent labs so whatever had been going on obviously wasn’t “Freudian somatic pain.” Fuck Freud, it was real. Also my cholesterol, after first going haywire (a transition thing apparently), settled into an ideal balance. My blood pressure dropped to the level of a 10 year old Maasai warrior.

      The FW-ectomy certainly helped but proof that the diet was making a difference was how quickly symptoms would come back if my son or I went off it. We aren’t “cured” but in remission. Adding natural supplements bumped it up a notch. My middle son, who went from 95th percentile for weight and height in infancy to 5th percentile when he was ill and alarmingly stopped growing for years, now dwarfs me (and I’m tall). He has intestinal scarring from inflammatory processes that caused nutrient malabsorption– known to be typical in celiac and IBD but not often recognized as part of other chronic conditions. He manages his own diet and supplements now. His labs are finally ideal.

      My doctor organized the supplementation but wasn’t thrilled with the idea of me trying the diet at first because of the buzz on early mortality (turned out to be sugar industry propaganda She’s since started going to CME conferences in the diet and is now a convert in terms of treatment for certain conditions and for athletes speeding recovery from injury. I saw her putting monk fruit in her tea once and she grinned and winked. She’s doing it herself. It’s a bit like Fight Club.

      Everyone has to do their own research but it seems diabetes type 2 is high on the list of conditions that reportedly improve from the diet. I read that Halle Berry swears by it. Food for thought so to speak.

      I started slow to avoid the dread “keto flu” and did a lot of lab testing during the transition. Successful self care felt like a rebellion against abuse. Being out of pain and able to go tango dancing again (before covid at least) with my international club was a great FU too.

      • I’m glad to hear you’ve found a diet that works for you, Hell! I’m working on low-carb options to manage the diabetes and can look into the version you mention. Part of the issue for me is that I already struggle with putting a lot of effort into food preparation: being tired all the time makes it even harder to incorporate various changes. But, while I’m unemployed, I’ve got a little more time to look into these things. I’m frankly concerned about my ability to hold down a “real” job – all the job posts I’m looking at mention that they want an “energetic” person, and that I’m not. But I’m smart, and a hard worker – so I’m hoping that I’ll find something that will work. That uncertainty adds to the stress, too. ???? All best to you and to your son!

        • Thank you LC!

          The energy conundrum of using diet as treatment for serious conditions is a big issue. In a better world, we’d get home help for the transition period. I can’t pretend that wasn’t hard to do alone. 3 voracious, growing kids, all with complex food allergies = scratch cooking 3 meals a day. During that big flare after D-Day, I could no longer tailor every meal for varying requirements. Every step caused stabbing pain and I was so tired I literally wanted to die. All I could manage was hamburgers and a whatever pile of vegetables.

          The new news on organic red meat– that it really doesn’t contribute to heart disease– sort of rationalized the choice, but in truth the farm share was cheap, sent to my door and slapping patties in a pan was about all I could deal with. Here’s some olive oil kids– manage your own fat intake. You’re all keto now. You and you can have more sweet potatoes, you get none. Eat up.

          We ate almost the same thing at every meal for months. Then my energy increased and the pain faded. I started gathering recipes but we’d learned to live without carb replacements (keto “bread,” faux deserts, etc.– totally unnecessary). I invented sauces out of packaged coconut milk powder and spices. I created allergen-free keto versions of curry, bolognese over asparagus, beef bourguignon, coq au vin, etc. But it’s funny that the kids mostly prefer the basics– a roast chicken and mountains of vegetables with a sea salt and oil. Burgers with fried mushrooms and kale salad. They lick the plates and run back to their activities. They rarely ask for sweets. One son likes fruit but only berries.

          One thing you learn with keto is that sugar and carb cravings are built into eating sugar and carbs. Without the glycemic crash, there’s no craving. You even cease getting hunger pangs which can be a little tricky. I found myself skipping meals and not realizing I was hungry until my hands were shaking. Now I eat by the clock. The kids are learning to cook without burning the kitchen down. Keto often involves cooking with oil so there are two fire extinguishers on hand lol.

        • Dearest Lez Chump
          This is my study area. I’m studying Clinical Nutrition – I’m doing prerequisites this year for my Masters then my PhD in Clinical Nutrition (Type 2/ Insulin/Obesity) Trust me you can do this and absolutely thrive!
          It’s now 4 years since my life was put into a blender. I had invested 36 years (27 married) into an illusion. A psychopathic predator with a double life.
          I had to build a brand new life at 59 and by god; I was going to rock at it!
          I resat my exams for Medicine, missed out on interview by 2 marks.
          I then put my focus on my health. Over 25 years of being the only one doing the heavy lifting (pardon the pun); I had gained weight. He made it clear that he married for better or worse, not for fat.
          I was so weary, so exhausted, so shamed.
          When I left I was so scared for my future- I was scared I’d be homeless.
          It has taken 4 years to trust my abilities, to financially survive and to plan and study. And I’m finally at Meh!
          I think partner psychopathy leaves an especially deep wound.
          I am 20kg (44lbs) lighter now, my blood work is fabulous and I feel amazing.
          I have research projects to run this year; if you want my email please ask Tempest.
          AND MY WALLS SING!

          • Thanks, Hell and Ozzie. I’ll be working on it! Will ask Tempest for your contact info, Ozzie. You sound very mighty indeed – all best to you.

    • This.

      As painful as it is to have to understand, as much as you want to “save” the next woman…you can’t.

      How would you? Would you be going on a lifelong smear campaign? Posting billboards with his name on it saying he’s a predator? Stalking him on dating sites and hunting down every woman he connects with to tell them the truth? Sabotage every relationship he starts? Track him everywhere? Forever?

      The truth is, you can’t do this. There’s nothing you can do that isn’t a huge drain on your time and energy, bordering on insanity, or downright illegal. You can’t follow him everywhere and step into every relationship he has. You can’t broadcast to the world how much you hate him and how big of a liar he is (even if it’s true.) If you want to reach the other side and find your own peace, you have to swallow the huge, uncomfortable, disgusting horse pill that is you cannot do anything about the women he contacts.

      I know my abuser married his schmoopie. I would have preferred he died in a car accident. He had a child too, a boy (to whom no doubt he will indoctrinate with the same shitty, misogynist attitudes as him) and I would have rather he been the victim of a testicle-crushing accident involving large machinery and some sort of ugly pinching device. I’m sure he’s just as much of an abusing, cheating douchebag as he always has been, and I’d love to see his wife storm out on him and leave him in a gutter, and he never find another woman again until the day his husk of a body that is supposed to house a soul shrivels into dust and blows away.

      But there is absolutely nothing I can do. Nothing. Not a single thing. Sometimes it’s still hard for me to accept that there’s nothing I can do about him and his relationships and the unfortunate fact that he actually reproduced. I think that was one of the most difficult things to accept. You can have all the revenge fantasies you want, but the truth is you can only step away.

      Unless he’s following you, harassing you, stalking you, or actively trying to physically harm you, you MUST step away.

      • Here’s what I did; I pretended that I would reconcile if he helped me to recover from his betrayal by writing a FB post admitting to adultery and emotional abuse. It took a while to convince him that it was non-negotiable, but he finally relented and posted it. I then screenshot it and put it on my FB and twitter in case he ever deletes. I sent a link to everybody I know, some of whom also took a screenshot. I told him that copies had been made so there was no point in deleting, and so far the post is still up.
        But if course I didn’t reconcile. Fuckwit was shocked and chagrined to find out he’s not the only one who can lie.
        That’s not a viable option for Save Them and most other chumps, because the cheater isn’t desperate to reconcile. But in cases where he/she wants to reconcile, and is not a danger to the chump or the chump’s kids, I recommend it highly. Fuckwit is going to have a lot of trouble reeling in women in the future. ????

  • Children learn by modeling.

    So do wise adults.

    Save YOURSELF, your children by proxy, and be a shining example of Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life for anyone else who wants what you have.

    Tell the truth when the opportunity arises. You can’t make anyone understand or agree but you can be Janie Appleseed of the infidelity ilk. Your experience can help others! You don’t control when or if those seeds will grow, but they won’t grow if you don’t plant them.

    Let me take another moment to express, at group level, my deepest gratitude for the very dear, wonderful, brave, wordsmith extraodinaire Tracy. If she had stayed silent this lifesaving blog would not be here!


    LACGAL is for people who want it, though legions qualify and need it.

    So I am staying here to recover and then I can be a lighthouse for someone who wants to leave a cheater and gain a life. You can tell who they are because they ask for your help.

    • PS….

      Others believe him, just like I did, until I didn’t. That they believe him doesn’t make what they believe true, and it doesn’t make my experience false. Predators are expert liars and the world is full of people for him to prey on. I am not going to be one of them any more.

      Being the little boy in the Emperor’s New Clothes gets more and more comfortable the more your trust in yourself grows back.

      You got your arm bitten off by sharks just like the little octopus in My Octopus Teacher. She needed to conserve her energy hiding under a rock until it grew back. After being sideswiped by infidelity, I need to keep my energies for my healing and for my child’s healing. As I get stronger I can be there for others, but only for those who reach out and ask for my help.

      (My new nicknames for the illicit relationship accomplice are
      “hitwoman” and “Shiv”.)

      • “Shank” works well too, especially because it’s close to “skank”. It’s a really accurate visual for what they are and what their function is.

        • Haha– I make no apologies fot detesting proxy abusers, which include “knowing APs.” That revulsion preceeded being chumped since every rapey sexual harasser I encountered in my career had flying monkeys, often women. They were sexual abusers too, just obliquely so though equally vicious and even more cowardly. Then as an advocate for dv survivors, we’d advise survivors to treat victim blamers, abuse enablers and abuse apologists with the same disdain, extreme caution, 20 foot barge pole and even legal sanctions that abusers must be managed with. In life and death situations, enablers can be charged with witness tampering, obstruction, etc.

          It’s often said that victims are “drawn to abusers” but in my experience this is really only true of proxy abusers who have reason to know the abuser’s MO when they get involved. They’re basically hybristophiliacs– sick and twisted in their own rights.

          • Hell of a Chump,

            This has been a week of increasing my vocabulary in ways I never imagined prior to Dday….I had to look up hybristophiliacs – yuck. Tops what I learned earlier in the week about ‘dark triads’.

            I have a phrase similar to your 20ft barge pole….A friend and I use the phrase ‘ that is someone to whom it is very wise to give a wide berth’.

            ….and I thought these were supposed to me my golden years.

          • Very interesting, Hell. I have many anecdotes to back up your points about proxy abusers.
            While of course all our cheaters made choices and bear responsibility for their shitty choices, I’m sure that some APs play an even more direct role than just proxy abuse. My STBX’s first affair, for example, was with someone (a single woman, at that time) who was very intentionally seductive and manipulative. While STBX still chose to go down that road, she acted very confused and blindsided by the whole thing – in some ways, victimized herself, though that situation didn’t leave me feeling any less traumatized. I just mean to suggest that the dance of abusers can be complicated and difficult to suss from the outside – another good reason to steer clear of the whole lot!

            • Oh yes, and I got that story too from the OW…how the whole affair devastated her….like she didn’t know she was fucking a married man.

              Well, dear me. that must have been my naughty but nobody told me to tell her of his marital status.

              I didn’t have to; she knew it from the get-go.

              Only after the karma bus crashed did she become the victim…poor baby.

              Luckily I was told to stay the hell away from her as she was more than likely sicker than my x. Tur luv for them both.

              Ironically, I now consider her my liberator because she was the one that blew his cover.

              Strange how things work out in the end.

      • VH

        I had to chuckle when I saw your reference to ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ above.
        I have been using that story a lot lately due to its richness in examples of human behavior. Hans Christian Anderson had a great way of seeing and expressing so much about basic human behavior cloaked in stories supposedly for children…..

        (Local libraries chock full of these wonderful stories in the 390 section.)

        Brings to mind ‘The Snow Queen’ and its appropriateness for the content of what Tracy writes about here so often.

        Thank you for the smile today.

      • PS…

        Re: helping others

        I would help a fellow chump 100%

        I would tell an affair accomplice they need major psychiatric help and then walk away.

    • “Let me take another moment to express, at group level, my deepest gratitude for the very dear, wonderful, brave, wordsmith extraodinaire Tracy. If she had stayed silent this lifesaving blog would not be here!”

      Velvet Hammer speaks for all of us! Thank you, CL!! You are loved for the work you do. You speak the truth, which goes against so much RIC shit that’s peddled online and in therapists’ offices. In so doing you have saved so many of us. That sounds like an exaggeration, but it’s not (at least not in my case).

      To VH, thanks for the lighthouse metaphor. So true!

  • You cannot save the next woman; you just can’t.

    The third time my second cheater “lost his temper” and slammed me into the wall so hard there was a permanent depression in the dry wall, I decided I couldn’t leave because I was strong enough to take it; the next woman might not be. (Yeah, I was THAT delusional.) I stayed a year during which the verbal and emotional abuse never ceased, but there wasn’t any PHYSICAL abuse. I was congratulating myself on having done the right thing, and went on vacation with him to celebrate a violence-free year. He strangled me into unconsciousness and dumped me on the highway and left me there, 350 miles from home. I had no purse, no money, no phone (pre-cell phone days) — nothing except my dog. The next time I saw the inside of my house was to move everything OUT of the house.

    You cannot save anyone else, but you sure can damage yourself trying to. I can’t wear scarves or turtlenecks anymore, can’t stand anything around my neck. I jump when startled, and everything startles me.

    If someone had told you, back when he was love-bombing you, that he was a predator, would you have believed them? I wouldn’t have. The next woman won’t either. Save yourself and your children first, then if you still feel compelled to save someone, volunteer at a domestic violence hotline, or start a blog or just model sanity for your children.

    • SOOOO glad you got out {{{{hugs}}}}

      This: “If someone had told you, back when he was love-bombing you, that he was a predator, would you have believed them? I wouldn’t have.”

      Mr. Sparkles XW warned me that he was a liar. I chalked it up to her still wanting him and/or wanting us to fail. If had listened, it would’ve saved me about $100K and 11 years of a very abusively relationship/marriage. My son is the only thing I’m grateful for – and let’s face it, after the initial sperm donation, Mr. Sparkles had very little to do with that too (e.g. adulting/parenting).

    • Ex Mrs.SP, thank you for posting this.
      Like you, I actually thought the same things…..that I was strong and “could take it”, I was protecting someone else from being abused, if he was with me, he wasn’t out there hurting more people/families/kids lives. I even SAID IT to a therapist. (Obviously a shitty therapist.) And also like you, when I think back on that, it makes me realize how low I was, how desperate I was to put value, ANY kind of value, on my marriage and union with an abusive sociopath.
      He discarded my and our son. Left us in the most hurtful way he could create, and it’s been hard to “stand up again”. Still feels like I’m crawling on my hands and knees…..but at least I’m crawling.
      For me, CPTSD has been crippling and tormenting, but it’s slowly getting better. I read here everyday. Have read the archives now for almost 4 years, and I know it’s a major reason that I regained my sanity and have been building my strength.
      I know a lot of people post here and might not get a response or know what they say and share can impact someone else’s life.
      Thank you to Tracy and to everyone here. It matters a hell of a lot to me, and to 3 other chumps who are near and dear to me. None of them have posted, 2 have joined. Proud of all of us for getting away from our abusers!

      • Save Them: Can I share something?

        In your letter, you asked how can you trust again after being taken by a liar?

        But you said so yourself that you saw red flags for years: his chronic unemployment, his refusal to parent his own children. Those were dealbreakers way back when. Presumably, you saw them for years and for whatever reason you didn’t react accordingly.

        I say this because coming face to face with pure evil is traumatizing and can make us question the world and our sense of safety in it.

        But the key takeaway here is you DO have a good nose for bullshit. You DO see red flags. With the help of a therapist, in time, you may feel comfortable acting on them faster.

        Sounds like this isn’t really a case of “how do I trust myself?”, more like “how do I give myself permission to trust myself?”

    • Someone warned me and another person issued a warning to his new employer, early in our relationship. I assumed they were crazy, jealous or sour grapes – never believed for a second there was any truth to what they said. I was too drunk on love bombing to see straight. I’m not warning anyone. I even think if a woman were to come to me asking I would be reluctant to share very much. He’s that good.

  • I was married for 18 years, been divorced for 10. I left when I discovered his affair with his secretary, but had suffered low grade abuse (devaluing, neglect, silent treatment etc.) for most of the marriage at that point.
    After a couple of years being happily single, I met the Lying Cheating Loser. When we met, he was married with two kids, but according to his dating profile, he was single. Claimed to be childless.
    By the time I got suspicious, his wife had already kicked him out (for cheating) and I was already in love.
    I’ll spare you the blow-by-blow of the four years that followed. Suffice to say, I left a cheater almost three years ago and have gained a badass life. My walls sing!
    Now to my point with this comment – Dating After Fuckwit. Most of us have spent some time on the Marriage Police force. Use those skills when you date. Get a subscription to a service such as whitepages where you can do reverse lookups of phone numbers. As soon as you exchange numbers with a potential date, look them up. Then follow the breadcrumbs.
    I personally deep-six anyone who doesn’t seem (or claim) to have any social media presence, any family, or is “unverifiable” in any way.
    Also, trust your newly repaired and recalibrated picker. If something feels “off” – it is. Since I left LCL, I’ve busted a handful of married/attached men and one convicted sex offender (never met this guy in person, he made an offhand remark over text that triggered my spidey sense, so I ran a background check. It was $20 well spent and yes, I reported him on the dating site where we made contact).
    The final thing I want to touch on is that unfortunately I believe OP’s husband is right. There is a very deep pool of sad, desperate, lonely, damaged women for fuckwits like him to fish in. I was one of them. After my cold, lonely marriage I was starved for attention and affection. Enter the LCL and cue the love-bombing.
    Loving a disordered fuckwit changes you forever, but mostly in good ways. Once you’re free of them, you know your worth, you see the red flags, your picker is in good working order, and you have absolute trust in the only person that matters: yourself.

    • Thank you, WalkAwayWoman, I needed this today. My story is similar to yours. I have recently started online dating and I’m learning to trust my Spidey senses. My senses are telling me to deep-six people who seem ‘unverifiable’ and I was wondering if I was being too cautious. Seeing that you have the same distrust validates my feelings!

      This is why I love this group. We share experiences and keep each other sane!

      • New Beginnings, in my opinion there’s no such thing as “too cautious.” I mean, we see where “not cautious enough” landed us, right?
        I’m in my early 50s now and not holding out hope for another relationship in my lifetime. If it happens, great. If not, great.
        Keep trusting your spidey sense!

    • Good for you! Inspiring to hear your story and your advise is solid. What is a “deep-six”? My stbx is self proclaimed not into social media, but I think he’s play a hand at some apps. It’s all a wash at this point, but I want to make sure my personal investigative skills are on point, for the future! I will always do research prior to engaging again.

      • Longtime Chump, thank you for your kind words! To deep-six something means to dispose of it irretrievably. The expression is either a nautical term or refers to the depth of a grave.
        Your comment made me think back to early days with my Lying Cheating Loser, when he claimed not to have Facebook / not to care about Facebook. I couldn’t understand why we couldn’t be Facebook friends. I get it now, though: he was hiding a whole spouse!
        Doing research up front is always a good idea. And after what we’ve all been through, it’s not hard to disengage at an early dating stage if we uncover any fuckwittery. Best to you!

        • Wow, hiding a spouse! They really are something else!! Mine was on me about getting off social media really hard for a while. I later learned his ap blocked me on her husbands account. I think they didn’t want the two of us communicating. We finally did and I learned he’d moved out due to the affair years ago. Which gave my stbx and his x a cozy pad. When I finally woke up I had the feeling he had a separate life, he did. I just can’t go through that again. Now to gain my bad ass life like you;)

  • Save Them, reading your story I had two thoughts:
    1) what a giant FW he is! Vomit.
    2) what a strong person, Save Then is!

    You can do it—leave him.

    I still struggle with the embarrassment and humiliation of my FW’s infidelity. I’m STILL working on telling myself—“I’m freaking awesome. He plain sucks.” We all got sucked into the facade…but now knowing what you know, you have the power to slap that man in the face by getting out for good.

  • “You’ve just been misdirecting that killer work ethic towards a fuckwit.” BAM!! CL drills it. Two years out from moving out. One year from the divorce. I’ve come from the edge of bankruptcy to in a month I will be debt free with the house paid for while shucking out $1400 a month in child support an alimony on 65k annual. It could have been so different. It will be different.

  • I think many of us here share you problem, so firstly… you are not alone. And, CL is right… it isn’t your job to tell the current women or future women about him. You job is to heal, move on to a cheater free life, and create a sane home environment for your 5 kids.

    Mr. Sparkles had so many online profiles and personas, it was dizzying. I tried to save the OW he left me for (she had two little children)… and she told me to mind my own business in no uncertain terms. I was the liar in her mind… afterall, I have no idea what he was telling her about me, right?

    SO… please let go… you’re on the Titanic, get on your life jacket, gather up the kiddies, get in the lifeboat and don’t look back.

    • Absolutely. When my ex moved in with a person I had known before he met her, I was tempted to tell her about what kind of person he was, but I knew it was futile. She even know a bit about my experience but he’s a very charismatic person and had her snowed. When it all happened to her (including the financial abuse) she did dump him but lost a lot of time and money.

      I know even if I had told her, she wouldn’t believe me. She was certain he was working on his alcoholism problem. I couldn’t have saved her if I tried.

      She did talk with me later (we are still in touch, she wasn’t an OW, just a later addition) and wow, the lies he told her about me were whoppers. Sure made me laugh. I imagine it grinds his gears that I’m back to being friends with his ex-fiance, since she was almost my son’s stepmom. Just another chump, but yeah. They will find victims no matter what.

      • Let’s face it… if they told nice things about all we did the OW/OM would wonder “well then why are you leaving/have you left that person”. They can’t get the pity without throwing the unknowing spouse/partner under the bus… and that should be a red flag to anyone dating… amicable differences is one thing… “he/she was a list of horrible things, but I was perfect” is a whole other thing.

      • So true. These cretins are cunning. They make sure that if you do try to warn their chumping targets, you won’t be believed because they spun the story about being sad, victimized sausages with crazy, vindictiveness exes. They tell the same story to their friends and relatives so that they will confirm it if asked. So if you try to warn the target they just think you’re jealous and bitter. Plus it involves you in the fuckwit’s life, which keeps you stuck.

  • By engaging yourself in trying to “save” these other women from him, he’s getting kibbles. He is still central and loving every minute of it. You have to let go. Yes, he’s a monster. No, you can’t save everyone from him, it isn’t your job. Put your own oxygen mask on first. You are important and you need to tend to yourself and your kids right now.

    You are doing the right thing and have a caring heart. He can’t wine and dine prospective victims if you cut off his access to your money and other resources. Mine found that out very fast. He even complained to me that he couldn’t afford to date when we first divorced. I laughed in his face. He had been dating others while we were married on my money as he was unemployed.

    That’s how you save them. Cut him off from his supply. And move on! You can do this.

  • FW had one OW who believed he lived in Germany and only came back to the US occasionally for work. There are none so blind as those who will not see. I certainly understand the impulse to try to save others, but I know personally that the time and effort is better spent on taking care of you and your kids. Removing him from your life and moving on will be some heavy lifting up front and you will need all your energy for that. It is most important that your children benefit from your wisdom. You don’t want them going on to have disordered relationships down the road based on what they have seen in their FOO.

    When FW/Klootzak announced he wanted a divorce, his reason was that our son deserves to learn by seeing him in a loving relationship with someone. (Nevermind trying to have such a committed relationship with me!) He denied it but I believe he already had someone else lined up for the role. I don’t know because I don’t care to. But him bringing up what my son sees hit home. It woke me to the need to get out not for me but because I don’t want kiddo seeing this as OK. I totally absorbed it and stopped being a chump for good. From that moment, I became an actor and played along that we could stay together while I am getting my ducks in a row. But that wake up call came because of my child. If FW had dated a psychiatrist who told me to run before, I would have stupidly stayed to pick me dance.

    Let it go. Move on. Save your family first!

  • From 6 years out, I can promise you that YOU are worth the investment in yourself.

    Stay no contact – block him on every possible mode—with this sociopath and put all your energies into securing the divorce.

    I too have a killer work ethic (interestingly most of us here do) and it has served me very well these past 4 years.

    Come on over to CL’s Facebook community support in real time. We are here for you.

  • This blew me away to the point that I went to the dictionary to try to find a description of him. The only one I can come up with is biodegradable. At some point he is either going to be cremated or buried. That’s the last time he will be conning somebody. Until then you can bet every dollar you have that he will not stop. CL is right. You cannot do a damn thing about him or his future Chumps. If possible put an ocean and a continent between you two but since that’s not reality then just try to move on. Find a lawyer who understands PDs and knows how to win.

    • That is exactly what my best friend says about him. I haven’t watched it yet, it will probably hit very close to home.

      I love all of tje care and support from you guys. Thank you. You are all incredible.
      I can’t tell you how different I feel, knowing people are living on the other side of this nightmare – and are thriving.

      • You will be thriving too, Save!! I would keep that best friend VERY close and listen to her. You might be tempted to have compassion and/or empathy for your ex – your friend can help you suss that out. He is a master manipulator and as much as possible – have no contact.

        My therapist told me this yesterday: “We do not have empathy for unsafe people!!”

        Wishing you all the best. ((((hugs)))) You are not alone. You are among champion chumps! Now you are free to live a FW-free life! One day you will be grateful that he’s gone. Until then, stay mighty!

        • You can have compassion for someone while still having boundaries. You can’t force that compassion (I hate how many Christian groups tend to make “forgiveness” something that the wronged person must do to keep everyone else comfortable) but if you ever get there knowing that the person won’t change then you are truly at meh.

      • Hie thee to a divorce attorney, honey. And for god’s sake, do NOT tell this guy what you’re doing. Keep your cards close to the chest. You no longer have a husband but an enemy combatant. Act accordingly.

        I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. Don’t feel a speck of obligation to cleaning up HIS mess. That’s exactly what you’re doing thinking you’re responsible for protecting other women from this predator.

        That’s chump thinking. When you’re in a cage with a tiger, you don’t waste time thinking about future victims, you get the hell out!!

      • That’s exactly what I thought of when I read her story, Dirty John! He sounds exactly like this guy. Please be careful!

        I do wish there was a database we could enter all our cheaters names and pictures into, it sure would save a lot of heartache.

  • Mine was like this.
    Not an alcoholic/substance user, but addicted to online games and gambling. Mostly addicted to skirt-chasing. And to his job, so at least he was more than okay financially. I, too busy managing our multiple relocations demanded by his job, was really not.

    He had these alter ego’s, too. In one that Im certain about, he was single and living with his poor, old, sick dad in need of care. HAHA at the time his dad, over 75, was still working full time and richer and healthier than him!

    But he was a predator. And this was clear from not just the lying, cheating, gaslighting, but subtle descriptors like “he would come to my desk and make me uncomfortable” and “He stopped talking to me as soon as I told him off about it”.

    The fact is, I could just picture him, leaning awkwardly against her desk. That mental image was all I needed to leave and never look back.

  • I’d say at this point, he’s way past garden variety cheater fuckwit, and you’re way past chump. He’s a sociopath, and you need to get to a tough lawyer and therapist…yesterday! And then No Contact and change the locks.

  • Save Them, echoing what everyone else said about saving yourself. I think that you will find once he is completely out of the picture that you are doing so much better and don’t need Job #2. You will have more energy because I suspect you are doing most of the heavy lifting in this relationship already with the added burden of a sixth child.

    My ex and I were always broke, living paycheck to paycheck. I make pretty good money and he was also sporadically employed like your husband. He also criticized me for how I handled the money, like it was my fault that we were always broke and I absorbed that slight and believed it. He was also an addict, I only found out about the cheating after I kicked him out because he didn’t want to get sober and was dragging me and the kids down the rabbit hole.

    Once he was out of the picture I’ve had more money in the bank than we ever had the entirety of our marriage, him working or not. Life is easier without him criticizing me for not cleaning the house the right way (that he never lifted a finger to help even though he wasn’t working at the time).

    I spent so much time and attention trying to tread water to keep from drowning while trying to save our marriage that I was exhausted. He didn’t put in any work, and it was just me. Don’t be me. Don’t buy his lies. Ugh. I still remember him telling me that I’d never make it without him. That I couldn’t do it by myself. It was a blessing to realize that I had been doing it by myself all along and that I had the strength to get out. Focus on that.

  • Based on my experience, and many of the experiences I’ve read about of other chumps who have told their stories on CL’s site, there are some observations which jump out of Save Them’s story.

    There are some behaviors we start learning in pre-school, maybe before that, including how to choose friends and discern whether or not a potential new friend is honest. Somehow, chumps are just too trusting, and do not learn how to defend themselves from liars and cheats until much later in life. We also seem to be compelled to help, or “fix” others, and are blind to what is best for us. I believe that thinking about other people’s problems is a way to avoid thinking about our own, It also diminishes our responsibility to work on our own solutions. This is something we must own, and something which we must fix ourselves. We really cannot help others if we don’t help ourselves.

    Trying to save a predatory Cheater is like trying to swim with a heavy stone clutched in one hand. Drop the stone, or drown. You cannot save the cheater, and you are killing yourself. If you are hooked up with a predator, he likes being a predator, For him, it is all about the chase, and having multiple targets. When he finally scores, he starts to lose interest, and only stays around for any easy material benefits available. He never stops hunting. Internet dating sights are full of liars and married people who enjoy the lies. If they just wanted sex they could go on Ashley Madison, or Craigs list. They could shop for hookers, available in every town, everywhere. There are many varieties of Cheater. They may all be liars, but not all of them are predators. Some of them are serial cheaters, doing one AP at a time.

    Whatever flavor of F-Upped your cheater is, fixing him is not your problem, or duty. He lied to you, misrepresented himself to you, whatever contract you thought you had, his actions have broken the contract, and you owe him NOTHING.

    I felt bad about possible future chumps, too. But they have to figure it out themselves to believe it. If a woman grows up in our society not knowing about or believing in predators, something is definitely missing. She has to find it and fix it. Pay what you have learned forward as a part of chump nation, emulate CL’s example. This audience is seeking help and understanding. This audience wants to learn and heal.

    To summarize: Fix you, Drop Him/Her, Don’t try to save others unless they ask for help. If you can do these things, you are mighty!

    • re: “Feeling compelled to fix others”

      Great observation.

      I highly recommend all chumps read “Codependent No More” by Melody Beattie.

  • Getting involved in advocacy is fine– years *after* you’ve put the oxygen mask on yourself and your kids first.

    I was stalked when I was young, went through the criminal prosecution process and PTSD therapy, then became an advocate for dv survivors and environmental issues.

    Advocacy may be in the genes. My dad had the bug and I see the compulsion in one of my sons especially. Since toddlerhood my son would scan the playground for mishaps then race to the rescue like an EMT. As a teen he’s got a social justice fixation. Watching this unfold was like a genetics study because, according to my mother, my dad used to rush towards people having diabetic seizures in NYC in the days before insulin self-administration was typical and fish in their pockets for lumps of sugar.

    When he died, my dad’s friend from school had other rescuer stories. My dad was actually saved in combat by the nerdy company scapegoat because my dad had defended the guy against the bullies in their outfit. I wouldn’t exist without that family trait because I never would have been born.

    The impulse is great, probably innate and all that. Unfortunately my time in dv advocacy didn’t fully protect me from all forms of future victimization. I was later chumped after all. Knowing about captor bonding couldn’t even fully stop it from happening to me when I was being emotionally coerced and gaslighted. In a way it made it more humiliating- like being half- anesthetized but fully awake on the operating table, able to feel every cut but too paralyzed to protest.

    But that advocacy history paid off in other ways. I had fellow advocacy friends who kicked in with key support and resources right when it mattered. I also more easily weeded out the victim blamers and abuse enablers, having already learned– with clinically established certainty no less– that those people are certifiably full of shit.

    You can make a life in advocacy and the company is stellar. It’s one of those compulsions that can find healthy expression. But even I know better than to try to drag a resistant victim into my lifeboat when I’ve got both arms in splints. We’ll both drown and probably draw sharks. Better to join the Coast Guard when the casts come off and save thousands.

    • Hey, we were both writing and using the oxygen mask metaphor at the same time. We must be in chump mind-meld. ????

    • >>In a way it made it more humiliating- like being half- anesthetized but fully awake on the operating table, able to feel every cut but too paralyzed to protest.

      Yikes what a memorable metaphor, but so true. I knew something was wrong, and felt so bad I couldn’t stop it. I could see through some BS, but still bought the emotional implication by feeling I was at fault.

      • I suspect deep down we know we’re not at fault but are stricken with sudden terror that the world will believe the FWs’ character assassinations and all the heinous charges they spew when they’re in full-blown DARVO mode. I didn’t believe any of FW’s blame-shifting accusations but I was absolutely terrified that FW could make bystanders believe these things were true. It’s an implied threat when the person who’s been closest to you and knows all your private thoughts, fears, regrets, etc., suddenly starts treating you like an enemy of the state.

        In caveman times, being socially castigated and driven out of the tribal fold was a death sentence. That primal fear is arguably still hardwired in the caveman/lizard parts of the brain. Intimate abuse tends to reduce us all to panicked lizard brain responses.

        That’s why I think part of the intent of DARVOing is to cut chumps’ hamstrings, paralyze with terror, etc. And, hey, it works, at least in the short run. It’s blackmail.

  • Save Them, get a good lawyer, because the psycho will likely demand a huge sum for spousal support and ask for child custody just to mess with you. This guy is a raging alcoholic and a sick, dangerous person. He should never have unsupervised access to your kids. Projecting yourself and your kids is going to be your battle and will take up most of your mental energy, not protecting his future victims.

    As to your question of how to trust your judgement, it’s not like you didn’t know he was a complete fuckup, since he couldn’t keep a job and is an alcoholic. But, like all chumps, you were understanding and didn’t hold it against him. You’re a good person, and he used that to get away with his shit. Understanding and compassion are wonderful qualities, but we need to use them judiciously in order to prevent becoming marks for con artists like him. Don’t extend them to people who don’t deserve them and won’t appreciate them. You’ll know they don’t deserve or appreciate them because, like you STBX, they’ll do nothing to work on their problems, they’ll just assume you will always forgive them and let them use you. You took a second job because he was too much of an asshole to keep a job himself. Now that’s chumpy. In future, if you meet fucked up people who can’t manage the responsibilities of adult life, who have substance abuse problems, a long string of any combination of broken relationships, divorces, lost jobs or failed business ventures, avoid them like the plague. Even if they seem functional, be wary of anything that doesn’t seem consistent with what they are telling you. Observe people objectively before you decide to let them into your life. Check out their stories. If anything doesn’t add up, don’t waste time trying to figure out why, or worse, trying to help them. Just avoid that person. You’re used to being completely selfless, because you had to be, married to a complete loser like that. Now you have to develop some self interest and a bit of cynicism. In other words, you need to cultivate a *healthy* amount of narcissism. Your cheater has a pathological level of narcissism and you don’t have enough of it. That’s why you stayed with him through all his failures. You sacrifice yourself too much. So as CL says, first and foremost put that work ethic into saving you and your kids, not the other women fuckwit is going to bamboozle. Think of it as if you’re in a plane that’s about to crash and you need to put your own oxygen mask on first in order to be able to help others with theirs. When you have secured your own future perhaps you can start doing something to help victims of love fraud artists like your STBX. You could start a support group, a blog, a facebook or reddit group. You can tweet about it, warning other people what to look out for. But right now, it’s about you. Do the work you need to do on codependency in order to prevent yourself from being taken again.

    Step 1: Protect your kids and your money from the creep.
    Collect evidence of his alcoholism and history of conning women. Lawyer up. Maybe some of his victims will be willing to take the stand if you need to go to court.

    Step 2: Gather supporters and remove toxic people.
    Lean on family, friends, and us here on CN. Vent as much as you need to. Anybody who is Switzerland about that horrendous fuckwit, or who tells you to just get over it, or who tries to use you, should not be on your life. Get good legal help.

    Step 3: Do trauma healing and codependency work.
    Since it sounds like you can’t afford therapy, posting here for support and reading other stories helps, and I recommend you try listening to binaural beats. They have tons of it for free on YouTube, and there are phone apps for it, as there are for for the visual equivalent, EMDR. Read up on codependence, watch videos about it (again, lots of free stuff available) and listen to podcasts about it. Do some self examination to figure out why you let yourself be used by such a loser, why you are self sacrificing to an unhealthy degree.

    Step 4: Create your future; cheater free, psychopath/narcissist free, drama and chaos free.
    You can start dating again, since you’ve done the work you need to do not to be taken in, so enjoy, but be wary. This is the point where you start to implement your plan to help others and to do the things you always wanted to do, but couldn’t because you had a manbaby anchor holding you down.

    Lots of love and best of luck.

  • If at some point, waaaaaay down the road (probably 2+ years at least…for me it was 4 years tho), you’re in a position of stability and security for you and your kids, at no-contact with this monster, and you’re on the other side of the dark tunnel that is divorce and extricating yourself from a sociopath, THEN, and only then, should you begin to consider whether it’s worth circling back around to be Captain Save-a-ho.

    If at that time, in the distant future, you can come up with a sensible way to help protect future victims from this predator, and keep yourself safe and sane, then by all means, do so. Otherwise, just live your life and help your kids live theirs. I suspect that the lionshare of your emotional energy and time, moving forward, will need to be spent keeping your kids on track and helping them cope with the impending reality that their dad is a psycho liar. If you have any left to save some strange women from being conned, good on you.

    I have far fewer moving parts in my life than you have, and I’ve yet to find that energy and time to prevent my ex from using other women. My child’s well being gets all of my attention, and then some.

  • Lots of sound advice here. Two that resonated in particular:

    ICanSeeTheMehComing! if they told nice things about all we did the OW/OM would wonder “well then why are you leaving/have you left that person”. They can’t get the pity without throwing the unknowing spouse/partner under the bus.: YES! My STBX (But Not Soon Enough) not only badmouthed me, he also tried to keep people away from both me and the truth by claiming I had suddenly become violent, dangerous, paranoid and was carrying a gun. I didn’t notice, because I had withdrawn into shock, and he had asked me to keep silent so he could get a job and repay the money he stole and gave the OW. That gave him tons of time to get out and spread his pity me story to friends as well as potential partners.
    And thanks to formerchumpnowbride for saying, “By engaging yourself in trying to “save” these other women from him, he’s getting kibbles. He is still central and loving every minute of it.” A friend wanted to warn other women he’s loved bombed since then, but I told her I didn’t feel comfortable with her sharing what she knew about his abuse, theft, etc., at least not until the divorce is final. Any thoughts on that, Chump Nation? .

    • I appreciate your friend’s loyalty but it’s not her story to tell. People see what they want to and they may never be ready to see the truth.

      I have more to say and will post a longer comment this weekend.

  • How creepy that the ‘Save them from a Predator’ husband admitted to conning these women, and says that he will continue to do so. Shudder.

    He is beyond any therapy or rehabilitation. He truly is a bottom feeder predator.

    Anyone that gets a thrill out of deception is someone to avoid at all costs. He will likely prey on his kids in time, work on alienating them from their mother, when they are in the tween or teen years. Sad. She best prepare them now.

  • You kicked him out. Now see an attorney and file for support and full custody.

    Make sure his name is off your bank accounts. That might mean opening a separate account in your name only and having your paychecks deposited in them. Secure whatever other assets you have.

    Change the locks. Change the garage door code. Change all your passwords to computer, phone, bank accounts. Gather up all your financials for the attorney. **Make sure you look for receipts or bank charges that relate to the affairs.

    Let me note one thing: before you knew he was a serial cheater and predator, you knew he was an alcoholic. So you signed up and stuck with someone you were, maybe unwittingly, enabling. Staying with him enabled him. Working the two jobs enabled him. Doing all the work to take care of the kids enabled him. So on that score alone, you really cannot and should not ever take him back. The only hope he has is to quit drinking and get help, so letting him go on his own is actually helping him.

    Then there’s the con artist at work here. It’s really shocking how he cons these women. But as CL says, the women are not the issue. In some ways, this is another way you “take care” of other people instead of focusing on your own life. That’s a key hallmark of codependency, where the problems of other people are a prime way of avoiding working on your own life (she says as she sits here writing to someone else about here problems—LOL.)

    I don’t think you really believed this guy for 19 years. I think you harbored a desire to save him and save your family and so you would not see what was in front of you. So you need to make some calls on Monday. You need to call a couple of attorneys and get a consultation so you can file for divorce. And you need to find a therapist who is good at working with families with alcoholism as a key feature.

    You don’t need to worry about trusting your judgment yet. You need to detox from living with a man who is the disordered trifecta—an alcoholic, cheating con artist. You’ll get past this. I gave up taking care of drunks and other disordered people. You can too.

  • hey, found my husband’s AFF account 4 months ago. he thinks we are trying to work things out but I know I am leaving…just seem to be in slow motion. I forgave him 12 years ago after the first D-Day, will not do it again. he plays the victim, crying, so sad, it will never happen again..blah, fucking, blah. this is probably completely off topic, but tonight, my SIL died, She and my brother have covid, they are in the hospital. My, husband, crying like a baby, hugged me and when I did not respond, said, “fine, I know I am an ass asshole, but thought I could get a hug..WTF, I do not think so.. what is wrong with these people?

    • Sorry to hear your sister-in-law succumbed to Covid. It is not “just the flu”
      With cheaters, it is all about them, their needs. Nobody else matters.

  • Save Them,

    Don’t bother warning other women about this predator. You will be labeled vindictive, crazy, bitter, take your pick.You could have legal problems, accused of slander and defamation. Focus on your own healing. I learned a saying from this site “Seek revenge, dig two graves”.

    The last man I dated for several months fit the profile of a sociopath. We met in person but his Christian Mingle profile was laughable. A pack of lies. I dumped him when his mask fell off. He must have sensed what was coming and figured he’d steal my credit card number on the way out.

    Out of curiosity, I contacted his second ex wife via social media asking “what exactly happened between you and J. ?” She blocked me but one of her sons responded. Judas was unemployed during their ten years together, spent his days jerking off to porn/web cam actresses and ruined her emotionally and financially.

    I met his adult kids (son and daughter), bit players in his con game. And he convinced them their mother (he calls her Axe #1) is a crazy drunk. No warning from either of them about their father. I guess they want to dump him off on some unsuspecting woman. The daughter struck me as a manipulative type; she watches a lot of porn as a training manual. Roped some poor schmo into marriage. And the son is trauma bonded to this man, attracts cheating women just like dear old dad (a fiancée and then a girlfriend).

    In the end, I knew my worth. Act accordingly when you discover a liar and a cheater (dump and block). Take things slowly, ask lots of questions.
    Good luck out there everybody.

  • While I was separated but still living in the same house, my then-husband was doing lots of online dating (and screwing most of his dates). I saw his profiles on the various dating sites. Lots of lies, but of course the biggie was that he was not married. He was sometimes spending the night with one then having an “afternoon delight” date with another. Always telling each of them he hadn’t felt this way about a woman in many years; many of them fell for this and fell for him.

    I felt bad for these women but didn’t want to blow my cover and reveal how I knew what he was doing.

    I did ultimately “save” one of them, but only when he left a receipt from a local store on the counter with her name circled with a heart (in the “tell us how we did” section where they tell you which employee helped you and they usually circle or highlight their own name so you can give feedback about them).

    He was about to have minor surgery and I was able to see texts – she was planning to take off work to drive him to his surgery then bring her back to her place to “spoil” him all day. Barf. I pretended that the receipt alone led me to her – I went to the store, saw her name tag, and asked if she was the same “Frieda” that circled her name with a heart on his receipt and who has photos of her and The Python on her Facebook page. Yes. I told her I was The Python’s wife.

    At first she didn’t believe me but in the next few hours some questionable behaviors of his (sudden cancellations, for example) began to raise red flags. She got verification that he was indeed married and broke up with him before the surgery. (That’s what my real aim was: to keep her from missing work to provide tender loving care to a married pathological liar that was still married to and living with me).

    He had to get someone from his job to drive him to his surgery. The guy did not stay though and The Python recovered by himself on the couch where he’d been sleeping for the previous few weeks.

    I did get a lot of satisfaction out of that but he got really pissed at me so it made my life quite a bit more stressful for awhile. In general I agree with CL that it’s better to get on with your own life and realize we can’t save all of their present and future victims. Trying to do so draws time and energy away from leaving a cheater and gaining a life.

  • You guys give me strength. I am too drained and tired to chase him around. It’s over. I asked him to leave on the grounds of respect and example for the children. He is supposed to come this weekend to sort things out. So far no sight of him, let’s see if schmoopie let’s him.

  • Save Them;

    You are so mighty. What you have already accomplished is truly tremendous. Life will be so much better.
    I read your letter and the image of an hourglass came to mind. It’s how I imagine my own energy sometimes. Your energy is finite. You decide how to use it.
    My situation is similar- a predatory X, multiple affairs; I was married 21 years, 2 kids. My first year post D-Day was agonizing as I felt like I couldn’t leave because it would mean subjecting his staff to his brutality with no “buffer”, no advocate, not to mention the young single mothers he loved to prey on, and the barely legal hookups he engaged in. It’s completely sickening, and it’s extremely difficult for us chumps to get away from the feeling of personal responsibility for the actions of our narcissistic Xs. We are CONDITIONED for this! And in some very weird way this can become a sort-of comfort zone or norm (apologies for the word choice: there’s nothing comfortable about it). The sense that we have some sort of obligation to “fix” anything just adds more heartache to the process of separating ourselves from an abuser. And it gives us the illusion of some sense of control in the chaos. At least, that’s how it was for me.
    In you letter you detailed so much about your X’s history in terms of what professions he had used, etc… This reminds me so much of my time hunting for every scrap of information I could find… that takes A LOT of energy. And it can also be a necessary part of the process. That chapter has to end at some point though. Your energy is far to valuable to waste. Also, remember that by directing your focus on those women, even in the desire to save them-and future victims-you are staying attached to him.
    I think that if you focus that finite energy on the kids, your life, your interests, your vision of your future- then there really is no room for anything else. And when you create that new life you love (time without walking on eggshells, autonomy in decision-making and finances, time to enjoy your kids or read a book, a whole closet to yourself) then your dating standard will go way up and shutting down the red flag people will become second nature. You’re not going to open that door to someone who doesn’t deserve to be there because you will have a lovely life on your own.
    It does get easier. Best wishes as you move forward!

  • That work ethic is a saving grace, sis. I am 11 years out from the wreckage- I lost not only the spouse, but also the house, plus he managed to destroy a successful business we owned on the way out the door, and left me holding the bag on big IRS problems and bankruptcy.
    I did the only thing I knew how to do. I worked. Three jobs, for the most part. And one bit at a time, things worked themselves out, bills got paid off, life got better. At this point I am happily single, I own a house and acreage free and clear, I owe nothing to anyone, and I am able to travel and do all the things he made me miss out on.
    I am not special. I just finally owned the fact that your life is mostly the sum of your personal choices. I started making better ones, and left everyone else alone to make their own choices without my help. You can do it too.

    • Thank you so much for sharing this, NotAnyMore. This is so inspiring and hopeful. My ex left so much wreckage, and I’m still digging out of the near-bankruptcy, the damaged business, and all the debt they scammed their way into dumping on me. Little over two years out from the divorce now and what you describe is my dream. I work three jobs now, and sometimes I see glimmers of light from the other end of the tunnel. Thank you for shining a light that better things, wonderful things, are possible.

  • “Why do these women fall for his shit ?” Incredibly low self-esteem.

    I’m working at home and had “Dr. Phil” on in the background for a few days this week. Two shows featuring women sucked in by exploiters. A Nigerian scammer and then a drug addict paranoid (Mr Tin Foil). Mr. Tin Foil’s ex wife managed to divorce him but let him back to live in her house and destroy her property. Her car now looks like a junkyard special after he stripped it of anything electronic.

    Please don’t settle for this. Men get suckered as well.

    • I fell for my ex’s bullshit and I’ve always had healthy (but not narcissistic) self-esteem.

      Some of these people are exceedingly charming and because of so much practice, they lie much more convincingly than most people ever could!

      Conmen fool smart people all the time. Smart people who are not desperate or needy or feeling that they are less worthy than others.

      Some of us fall for it because they are Academy Award level actors who know how to keep track of the lies they’ve told so that they can avoid getting caught!

      • Hopium,

        My comment was directed to today’s letter from Save Them, regarding women conned by this predator whom they “met” online. It wasn’t directed to any of the chumps married to stellar liars and actors. Read one of Tracy’s first posts from 2012 “Spectrum of Cheaters”.

        “Meeting” somebody online requires proceeding with extra care in my opinion. A person can create any profile they want. See the phenomenon of catfishing where another person’s image is used. In Save Them’s letter she mentions one of her husband’s targets, a single mother who brought him into her house to meet her young kids. She didn’t do proper vetting. I read the blog Lovefraud and she mentioned National Truth in Dating Day. That’s the day to pull out your driver’s license and show it to the person you’re dating.

        An entertaining book I read “Rescue Me ! He’s Wearing a Moose Hat” details a widow’s dating adventures. She discovered one man’s lies when they were playing tennis. A little voice told her “Look in his wallet” during a match when she was on the sideline. An unemployment slip was in his billfold and he lied about where he lived.

        I missed the beginning of the Nigerian scammer segment. I’m guessing she “met” him online, maybe visited a couple of times and then married him ! He still lives in Nigeria and this struggling single mother is sending him money !

        Not at all the same as your situation. I get it. Some times I read other CN citizens comments and take it as a personal criticism. And then I take a pause; we all have our personal experiences ☮️

        • It is so hard to understand people who get catfished. Some pretty words and flattery and they are sunk. So damn odd.

          The very fact that a stranger is sucking up to them should be enough for them to click delete. But then look at all the folks gving their bank and credit card info to phone and internet scammers.

          I agree that some cons are really good actors. But geesh people!

          • The romance scams often happen with elderly. A widowed female retiree shared her story in my local paper.

  • Save Them,
    The OW you confronted was an innocent. It must have been satisfying when she agreed Ex was messed up. I’m reminded of the end of the movie “Gaslight” when the wife feels such relief that the police officer can see the lights dimming also. That “OW” was confirming that you weren’t imagining it. Plus it must have felt great to finally help someone who could be helped.

    It’s a good experience, but it is playing Russian Roulette because some OWs are crazier than your Ex. Humiliating you is part of why she enjoys affairs with married men. If you’re really unlucky you might run across a bunny boiler. You were smart to share with this community. I hope you get yourself safe and healing soon. <3

  • Not long after my ex left and went so far away, he told me stories of overly generous tips and roses he gave to waitresses. He also gave money to single parent waitresses with children to help them out. Who tells their wife that while still married? I was still in the fog then, but later cut off that type of ugly talk.

    I told that story to a friend of mine who is a waitress, and she said, “Beware. That may be fishing for a hookup or a relationship. Whenever a customer who eats alone does that to me, I’m expecting that a pitch for ‘more’ may be coming. Maybe not, but often.”

    Of course the question remains as to why a man who run so far away from his family, but that’s another area of speculation. My divorce attorney said he “smelled” adultery in so many aspects. In my state, adultery can be grounds for divorce and affect your settlement negatively, but I just wanted it done.

    For awhile I wondered what I would say if one if I ever got a call from one of them. He’s far away, so it would be unlikely, but it disturbed me. Finally I decided that I would say, “We’re all adults here. You live your life, and I’ll live mine as his ex-wife.”


  • Saved, please get an attorney and divorce him! Please. He told you outright he will not stop. He denies his kids! What he said about women takes the cake. Shows how little he thinks of women as there are so many sad and lonely of them. This guy is a low life and scum bag. Good for you letting them know but like CL says now focus on you. Get a lawyer next week and start the process to get rid of him.

  • Predators are among us and denying this has lead to all kinds of grief. Get a lawyer, protect yourself, forget having any sort of conversations with him or his latest affairs and get out.

    Mine was a predator. He enjoys vulnerable women whether it be financially unstable or mentally unwell. He uses that to sweep in and love bomb them. Then slowly, the manipulation and control begin. I know this well.

    Leaving him was the single most important decision of my life. It saved my life. I cannot stress enough how lovely it feels to be free from him (my children are adults now, thank goodness and prefer my company.). I didn’t realize the chaos and upset he brought into my life until he was gone – he’d always accused me of drama and chaos. Life now is peaceful, content and we are able to make our own way as we see fit. He no longer has any control and I worked very hard to make sure that happened. So can you.

    I don’t warn other women about him because he would love that drama, that centrality. I ignore him. Ignoring a predator will save you. I wish you the best.

  • Today’s Ethicist column in The NY Times magazine section. “Should I Warn my Ex’s Fiancée About his Cheating Heart ?”

    • Also the Modern Love piece, “Lockdown Was Our Breaking Point”.
      The line that struck me “… were no more able to communicate past our language and cultural barriers than we had been before”

      • I hope this older woman, an accomplished, gainfully employed writer, doesn’t have to pay any alimony to her much younger second husband.

  • In the end, we can only save ourselves. It’s great to want to warn and save others, but we cannot be responsible for they choices they make with the information we give. My ex AH was cheating on me. I told the other woman (she didn’t know she was an OW) but she chose to stay with him and eventually marry him. He still cheats, but now he cheats on her. I figure she’s a willing participant at this point. I stopped warning her.

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