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UBT: I Can’t Remember

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Probably no other statement gets sent to the Universal Bullshit Translator more than “I can’t remember.” What is it about cheating that fogs the mind? (Did all that boinking lead to traumatic brain injury?)

Here are some possible UBTs and manipulations around “I can’t remember.”

I can’t remember.

I totally remember, but I’ll be goddamned if I’m going to tell you.

I can’t remember.

I can see this conversation is going to be short on kibbles. Let’s quit.

I can’t remember.

I don’t like the tone of your voice. Why don’t you stop and ask me that question again prettier next time? No. I still detect a note of judgement. No… that’s not it. No. There was an edge of snappishness that time. No…

I’m sorry, what was the question?

I can’t remember.

I’m absolutely certain I didn’t sleep with him. I can’t remember anything else salient about our encounter, but I am absolutely certain of that fact…. about the Situation I Cannot Remember. The not betraying you part I know. The rest is a blur.

I can’t remember.

Why don’t you tell me what you know, and I’ll fill in what I remember!

Oh yeah, none of that rings a bell. Thanks.

I can’t remember.

The suggestion that I participated in an affair in order to hurt my marriage, (which I have have been dedicated to for 15 years!), or that I have undermined the integrity of our family is an appalling and detestable lie! How can you say I did not answer your questions honestly?

I do not answer INSULTING questions. It it beneath me to remember events that did not happen. You should be ashamed of yourself for questioning me!

I can’t remember.

Can YOU remember?

I can’t remember.

I find it really disturbing your insistence on asking me questions to which I have no answer. I tried VERY HARD to answer your questions, but do you appreciate my willingness to subject myself to this humiliating exercise? No. You. Do. Not.

I think the problem here is you. Perhaps you have a mental disorder in which asking people questions who have ANSWERED YOU TRUTHFULLY with “I don’t remember” is a symptom. You should look into that.

I can’t remember.

Evidence? That… um… evidence? It was planted. You have a tape? The OW is a ventriloquist with a vendetta. Photos? My enemies have formidable Photoshop skills. Video? I have an evil twin. Yes, my evil twin drives the same kind of car as me. And wears the same shoes. In fact, I suspect my evil twin STOLE my car and my shoes just to set me up and plant doubt in your mind, because my evil twin is always undermining me and is jealous of my success. Why have you never met my evil twin? Well, would YOU invite someone to your wedding who stole your car?

I can’t remember.

Fuck. How did you find that out?

This ran before. Happy Inauguration Day!

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • My STBXH used that a lot. He wrote me a letter threatening me to throw me out of the house because the kids told him that they knew. So of course he accused me of “poisoning the children minds” with lies, that he doesn’t have a girlfriend, that he has been working to out a roof over our heads for a 🏠 se that I don’t appreciate so I should not live in it! Prepare to move out, how dare you accusing me of betrayal bla bla bla.

    The fact is that everyone knew, but he denied it. Mind you, at the time he wrote that he has been living with his mistress at her place for 2 months already! They were in luuuvvvv, he was her sooole mate, they just came back from a cake tines trip to puerto rico…. But no, far hobag wasn’t his girlfriend.

    I brought that up recently and he claims that he doesn’t remember writing it. Have no idea what who did it or when. Never mind that when he did I called him immediately and he talked about it. Don’t remember that either. He doesn’t remember where he was, what he said, what he did, the way he treated us. Writing this makes me realize how much abuse I have taken. How selfish, entitled and cruel he is and the “I don’t remember” is just another gaslighting technique.

    • I used it back on my cheater when i followed them in traffic one day ….it was hilarious when he rang me accusing me of following them …i said nah i didnt he said i saw you …i said …i cant remember…he went nuts because i wouldnt tell him i did …amused me no end …even years later 😂 …they dont like the shoe on the other foot …morons

  • “Perhaps you have a mental disorder in which asking people questions who have ANSWERED YOU TRUTHFULLY with “I don’t remember” is a symptom. You should look into that.” – that! Hearing “I don’t remember” drove me crazy. Cue him blaming me for my hysteric attitude. Perfect catch-22. I even went to the doctor, and took magnesium pills to attempt regulating my mood. Glad I’m out. I’ll add that one to my list of reasons I left, to be read in case I doubt myself. Thank you Chump Lady for the timely reminder.

  • I’ll offer the same rebuttal I gave before – if they *genuinely* can’t remember, they either got black-out drunk, or they’re starting to have memory issues, and in that case, shouldn’t they be seeing a doctor? I know that wouldn’t shock *everyone* into decency, but landing a good barb or two has to feel good, right?

    • Hahaha. I actually did tel my ex once if I heard the “I forgot” excuse one more time I was making him an appointment with a doctor to check for Alzheimer’s. His excuses after that were more along the lines of “I didn’t get the chance”

    • My ex was mostly blackout drunk so I genuinely thought he couldn’t remember beating the hell out of me. Thing is, I was covered in bruises when he sobered up so he must have scratched his head a bit. As for the skank, he still uses “I can’t remember” and “after we decided to split” but I can tell by his face that he is embarrassed and doesn’t know what to say. Same with the fact that he ended up with a prostitute in his bed in Africa and he “can’t remember” telling me to get an AIDS test. Funny that, I’ve still got the results (negative thank God)!

      • I am so sorry to hear about the abuse, Attie. I am glad about the negative AIDS test. I hope you are free of this man now and moving toward a healthy and safe life.

    • There’s also a very dark admission built in to not remembering certain details of injurious behavior– that they have the same syndrome as batterers.

      Canadian Criminologist and clinical researcher Donald Dutton who studied thousands of men incarcerated for wife assault and domestic murder and who testified as an expert witness in the OJ Simpson trial for the prosecution argued that victims of traumatic perpetration tend to have far more accurate recall of events than perpetrators to the extent that the victims’ lives depended on sharp senses during the attacks:

      From “Severe Wife Assault and Deindividuated Violence”

      “Ganley (1980) has confirmed the tendency of women victims to have comprehensive recall of the battering incident (since their lives depended on being able to defend themselves) and of the male batterers to blank it out

      When I started to collect questionnaire data on abusive men, I found the same issue with fuzzy memories.” (p. 91, Dutton, The Domestic Assault of Women: psychological and criminal justice perspectives 2001)

      Like a shitty spouse using the alibi that their sex addiction caused them to “dissociate” and “compartmentalize” events and thinking this should earn them only pity and kid gloves, what they’re actually admitting is that they screaming and don’t look back.”

      • Last sentence was supposed to be “What they’re actually admitting is that they share traits with violent criminals and are saying in essence “Run away screaming and don’t look back.”

        • The Sex Addiction branch of the RIC offers these excuses for the perpetrators but would never advocate for victims to run away from such dangerous behavior. No victim in therapy leads to no perpetrator in therapy which leads to no money for the therapist.

          • So true. And no lawsuit against therapists unethically attempting to reconcile real abusers with real victims. What a dangerous scam.

      • I my case I could maybe accept these findings if it just happened just once, but since it happened 2-3 times a week over many years I found his “amnesia” confusing to say the least. Pathetic coward pretty much sums him up!

        • Also, was he beating other people when he was drunk and/or had this “amnesia”? Or did he just happen to wait until he got home to beat you? If he truly could not remember, you would think there would be a randomness to it. But nope: there is a targeted and intentional nature to it. A Lundy Bancroft book helped me to understand this. (Book: “Should I Stay or Should I Go.”) The book also pointed out that many times, a batterer will specifically hit a woman’s body only in places that will not be publicly visible. That shows intention. Also pointed out that when a batterer is destroying things, it’s funny how it is always the woman’s things, not the batterer’s things. If he were really just overcome with uncontrollable anger, there would be less direction toward just the woman.

          A friend of mine had a sexually betraying husband. The excuse/explanation he gave their 18-yr-old son was “I just love your mom and think of her so much that I have to do all this stuff with others.”

  • My ex never remember anything. He did not remember going out 4 nights a week. He did not remember not giving me money for bills. He did not remember hiding money in his parents safe. He did not remember the dozens of texts between them daily. He did not remember putting Kevin1 on his phone so if I saw it I would think it was his friend. He did not remember going to her 50th birthday party even after I showed him his picture on her FB page. He did not remember going to his friend Bill’s cabin(I never met Bill). He sure was a forgetful guy. He never answered any of my questions without turning it around on me. Or not remembering.

  • Mine, a physician who could recall arcane details from journal articles, somehow lost the ability to remember things when it came to uncomfortable matters.

    When I brought up something that he didn’t want to think about, he became enraged. He gaslighted. He attacked. He engaged in passive-aggressive behavior.

    Mainly he accused me of “having too good a memory.” My fault!!! The event was:
    a. so long ago,
    b. never happened,
    c, happened but it wasn’t that bad, or
    d. didn’t happen in the way you say.

    It was crazy-making.

  • i think the cheater feels that they dont have to answer to you. you expect me to tell you the truth you have no right to that, its a self entitlement thing. its probably the same for cheating, entitlement. the ow is probably feeding them a load of crap, wife is boring. incidentally my neighbour told me ow is more interesting i dont think so. ow is on drugs drinks excessively, stis, and was pregnant regularly dumped her kids. people see what they want to see. i used to wonder about my neighbour ex used to say terrible things about my childhood she always stuck up for him. according to her you have to make men happy.

    • I said to my husband, as I was coming to terms with things, “You have been better to the people you work with than to me! You have been more honest with them, treated them so much better!”

      “Well!” he said. “The people who I work with don’t want to know my sexual secrets!”

  • Ex FW is more like a deer in headlights. He thinks if he just freezes and stares that the question will go away. He gets that bizarre behavior from his mother. The best thing I did was get the proof I needed and just believe my own eyes and ears…. then the gaslighting and stone walling didn’t matter anymore. Now he can’t even look at me because he knows I think he’s pathetic.

    • BOOM👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻

      I can believe my own perceptions and intuitions: if something feels wrong TO ME, it is!

    • THIS: Now he can’t even look at me because he knows I think he’s pathetic.

      I think this is one of the reasons Mr. Sparkles left me for the OW. The reflection of himself that he saw mirrored in the way I looked at him (as a cheating fuckwit) did not make him feel good. Whereas the OW looked at him as her knight in shining armor. Not so shiny once she caught him cheating on her!

      • So right! Mine knows I think he’s pathetic. All he can do is start frivolous litigation. And I still don’t look at him OR talk to him. I let my lawyer do it.

      • The day after dday I took our formal wedding photo off the wall, smashed it & threw it in the trash. Later in the day, when saw him looking into the trash bin I asked him what he thought about seeing it there. His response, “not good.” He was gone forever in just 3 weeks.

    • Exactly the same. Down to the trait of freezing, and either staring (always lost that competition) or looking with ‘sad face’ at the floor. Which he also got from his mother. She usually followed it by spilling the glass of red wine she habitually clutched in her hand on the carpet and running from the room crying. Priceless. Social awareness and emotional intelligence – not much. Neither of them ever remembered anything later.

      • Years ago, when my mother-in-law discovered that her daughter’s husband was having an affair, she hissed, “I want to break every bone in his body.” [This from a super religious woman. lol]

        When my mother-in-law discovered that her own son (my ex) was having an affair, I reminded her of what she’d said when her daughter’s husband had an affair. She refused to believe she’d ever said that.

        Selective memory. Like mother, like son. Both are narcissists, too.

    • Mine didn’t have memory issues but he did give me the deer in headlights look once when I told him actions have consequences. He repeated the word “Consequences?” like it was a foreign concept to him. Maybe it was. What a scary thought that is, a late 20/early 30 something who has never faced consequences for his actions. Almost as scary as a mid-70’s guy facing consequences for the first time in his life today.

    • Yes!!! Get enough proof or evidence for YOU to believe. It will protect you from further gaslighting. You’ll never shake them out of their alternate reality. Trying is a waste of time.

      Facts fight gaslighting. – can anyone make that phrase into a slogan we an repeat to ourselves in times of doubt? I would but my creative juices are spent for today.

  • As I reading this I’m filling in “I can’t remember” with
    1. “That never happened.”
    2. “I never did that.”
    3. “I absolutely did not do that”
    4. “You’re so creative/imaginative/crazy”
    5.”I’m not the devil you make me out to be.”

    Then comes the inevitable blame shift.
    1.”why can’t you just be happy?”
    2. “You’re so mean”
    3. “It was how you were raised.”
    Then when he gets tired, a nice diversion will be thrown in…
    “You spent $500 in one day, on what?”
    “You spend too much”
    That one time 5 years ago when you said xyz or did xyz.
    All in an effort to change topic. They all use the same playbook.

    • LTC,
      in your 1st list I got #1, #2, #3 and then your vary last 2 sentences all the time and then again on Dday.
      That last one I still laugh about.
      In 1999 she and I went to Disneyland. Went to an Italian restaurant one of the nights we were there. Next morning I’m awoken by a deep breath from her that was very garlicky. Woo Hoo!
      LOL! I thought it was kinda funny and told her WOW! That some heavy garlic breath. LOL!!
      No mention of it ever again..,… Until a month after Dday in 2014!!!!
      She ACTUALLY threw that at 15 years later When she was FIGURATIVELY pinned against the wall!!! I still laff at that Bullshit!!!!

      • Leonidis, are you saying she actually told you she cheated because 15 years ago, you told her she had garlic breath?
        😳😳😳
        I’ve heard some crazy blameshifting but this takes the cake. I’m sorry, man. At least you know it’s her, not you.

        • I took it as she couldn’t remember anything about her recent cheating, but she could remember that garlic comment from years ago.

      • Imagine what she would have done if you’d remarked on her farting in bed 15 years ago.
        Bestiality? Human sacrifice? What power you wield to make perfectly good people do terrible things.

        The question is, could you use that power for good? For instance, I would like to see an end to child labor practices. Get to work with your magical Voodoo alpha waves, man!

  • Serial killers hold their truth. Part of the crime is not only the killing but the hiding of the body and the refusal to speak the truth.

    This inflicts further damage. It also gives them a great deal of satisfaction. It is the secret that is so compelling to them.

    I’m not exaggerating when I say this is the same behavior that happened in my marriage. The secret keeping became a weapon. And for a long time I tried to dig out the secret.

    It took me a long time and many readings of your book for me to realize that the only way for me to put up a shield was to stop caring about the secrets.

    I have grieved, I have given it up to God. I don’t need to know where the bodies are buried. That part of my life is over and I have moved on. From time to time I still get a taste of it but I remind myself that I’m not going to lick that knife.

    • That is a hard thing to do, but it’s the only way. My stbx has so many secrets and I’ll never uncover them. I didn’t realize he’d set his whole life up to be this way. It drive me crazy for a while, I would try to find it all out. Then I just realized people that have nothing to hide don’t. He’s taken hard drives out of computers. I guess we’re lucky that we aren’t them and aren’t disordered. I couldn’t image having to always be on guard and secretive.

    • “I have grieved, I have given it up to God. I don’t need to know where the bodies are buried. That part of my life is over and I have moved on. From time to time I still get a taste of it but I remind myself that I’m not going to lick that knife.”

      Same here.

    • Muthachumper, you worded it beautifully and perfectly. Such a great comparison. I’m right where you are…all gone but a taste. When the taste comes, it is still quite bitter. Can’t wait for more of the complete meh taste.

      This post reminds me of XH’s stupid gaslighting like, “That was just innocent flirting,” (when finding emails from unknown skank in her underwear). Or, when he was hammered per usual and I’d say, “Have you been drinking?” to which the answer was ALWAYS, “Have YOU been drinking?”

      Good decision on his part to leave me and his son for booze and skanks. A life to be well lived. At least it will be for me! And for you, too!

    • I had dreams about the affair in the very early days. There’s no way I could have known anything. It was just the physics of intuition. So when I guess about the rest, I tend to think my gut is probably right. He has no secrets. My gut had his number. I just needed to learn to listen to it. If it was gross and disgusting and floats up in my mind as a possibility, he probably did it.

  • Lol I used to also get “that’s not what happened” or “you’ve got no idea what happened”, to which I’d reply “well my memory seems to be more functioning than yours so in the absence of your side of the story I’ll connect my own dots. You can contribute if you like”.

    He hated that, but talk about own bed, and lying in it 🤦‍♀️😂

  • I can’t remember……
    Many times the trickle truth, always framed with them as the victim, comes from an inability to keep the lies straight. At some point I thought it must have been a relief for the pathological liar to rest his disordered brain.

    My favorites: I don’t know what happened; what if I got the hotel because I was too drunk to drive (booked it the day before).

    • Plus these fws are also lying to the schmoopie. They have to keep those lies straight.

      Just one example, my fw would tell me he was going out to ride along with guys on patrol for a few hours. Then so screw schmoopie. Now did he tell her that he got out by telling me he was riding along with one of the guys, or did he make up another like, so he could retain that lie for when he and schmoopie were married and he needed a get away plan.

      Or, did he tell her the truth and make up a whole new lie to cheat on her. I mean they need the lie for the excitement, so do they plan ahead or just lie and then try to keep the lies straight. It is too much for my chumpy brain to manage.

      • I found the sharing of the lies he used to con the OW to be bizarre.

        I told her I haven’t been happy for three years.
        I told her we were living together until the divorce was over because I have to support you.
        I will never marry her, I’ll dump her too.

        I found someone and want a divorce; don’t ruin it for me.

  • “I can’t remember” is also Cheater language for “I remember all too well, but if I answer truthfully there will be consequences for me … and I don’t do consequences.”

    Ex-Mrs LFTT was (conveniently for her) unable to remember where the money from the £15K personal loan that she took out without my knowledge went and what it was spent on. She then tried to land the debt on me during the divorce proceedings. Thankfully the judge agreed with my line that “since LFTT wasn’t consulted about the loan, did not sign for the loan and didn’t benefit from the loan … and because Mrs LFTT is being less than forthcoming with any details, then the loan is not considered a marital debt and Mrs LFTT gets to swallow it in its totality.”

    Now Ex-Mrs LFTT was not a happy camper, as she believed “I can’t remember” was always a free pass.

    LFTT

    • Yep, glad you got restitution for that loan.

      Same thing for me, in my case he convinced me to sign for a loan on a river property. Used the for our retirement line. (it was a good investment) Then a few month later dumped me, and he and schmoopie used the get away for their f fests.

      He had to take on all the debt, because my lawyer argued it was a con against me for his and his whores benefit. (I am sure my lawyers used prettier words) but the bottom line is he took all the debt and I got the one property that was free and clear of any loans.

      He still got more actual assets, but he also had to pay for those assets; and he had to pay all my living costs for a year during our legal separation. I had enough credit card proof of the money he squandered on the whore, that he really couldn’t even argue the case.

      I am so sorry for the chumps who don’t get any compensation in the divorce for the fraud committed against them. I likely didn’t get full comp, but I got enough to get me back on my feet.

      I could have gotten another two years of legal separation, but I let it go through at the one year mark. I honestly think in hindsight that had I gone for the extra two years, my ex would have done it with no fight. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I think he was desperately trying to stall. For several reasons, none of them having anything to do with me.

      • SL,

        Glad that you got out and with a property too. Even though the kids stayed with me, Ex-Mrs LFTT got the vast majority of the equity in the house that we owned – and was screaming for more – but it did mean that I kept most of my pension. I left the marriage in significant debt, as she deliberately delayed things and drove up my legal costs. It took me 18 months after the divorce was settled to get out of debt, but – having been very frugal since then – I should be looking to buy a house for myself and the kids in a little less than a year’s time.

        Meanwhile, Ex-Mrs LFTT is doing a great job of frittering away the settlement ….. but this is not my concern, as I got a clean break. It does worry my children though, as she has told them that she expects them to look after her in her old age. I suspect that she will be disappointed; they know that they owe her nothing.

        LFTT

        • Maybe she should ask the OM for financial support. I mean surely he wasn’t just in it for the sex. He was her soul mate! It was twu luv, wasn’t it?

          CL should come with a sarcasm font.

          • NMMNC,

            Her AP – who she lives with – is twice divorced and is broke, so no dice there.

            This is her MO; she makes decisions, expects others to pick up the consequences and will happily lay a guilt trip on others get what she wants. She is also very good at making money disappear. 🙁

            LFTT

      • I didn’t get any financial comp but then I was never on the hook for any loans he took out and the amount he spent on the AP(s) was considerably smaller. Community college students have low expectations for date locations and hotel rooms. There was also the distinct possibility that he was the payee rather than the payer in the affairs. See, his salary all went into his bank account that I couldn’t touch but my salary, which was higher, went into a joint account from which I paid for all the boring stuff (groceries, utility bills, car insurance, etc.). What was his was his and what was mine was ours. He did get our condo but without my salary and our tenant being laid off because of COVID he’s probably leaning on his enabling mother at this point. Not my problem any more.

        The STI panel came back negative and I will be officially free from Nitwit in 15 days. That is something to celebrate, even if my politics were aligned differently.

        • Glad you are ok with how it worked out.

          My ex insisted my check go into a separate account and he pay the bills, his name was still on my account; but I used it for “extras” and for savings. I think he did that because he knew if my salary started going into our main account, that would mean I would be accessing it more and be able to figure out what he was doing.

          But, I am happy with the financial ending. Oh I was making barely more than minimum wage, but I did get a small house free and clear, so it was enough to live on, until I started getting promotions and doing better.

          He eventually squandered everything he had, which kind of surprised me at the time.

        • NMMNC,

          I made exactly the same mistake. Her salary went into an account I couldn’t touch and mine went into the joint account that covered school fees and mortgage etc and that she could access. That’s how she got away with taking out a loan and trying to get me to pay for it. She emptied the joint account on the way out, leaving me in a very difficult position for a while.

          She went apesh*t when I was eventually able to get her closed out of the joint account and stopped paying for her loan. 🙂

          LFTT

  • How do I respond to “I don’t remember”?

    “It’s OK. I’ll find out.”

    Only relevant important stuff, of course.

    And I do.

    Saying “I don’t remember” to me or Lieutenant Joe Kenda is like catnip.

    (I am a Virgo, reasonably intelligent on most days, and I love the Investigation Discovery Channel).

    • Hahaha Velvet Hammer this made me laugh out loud.

      I too am a big fan of Joe Kenda (and a Virgo).

      Once I found sparkles empty viagra pill script bottles, and his herpes script ( I had no idea!!!) and confronted him, he yelled at me ” Who do think you are, Joe Kenda?”. 😉 Yep , good old Joe was quite the mentor when I was actively on duty with the marriage police.

      F them all.

  • For me and Mr. Sparkles… it was less about “I can’t remember” because that would be admitting a weakness or he was at fault in someway for his dick falling into to strangers.

    Instead, my mindfuck was “It wasn’t me”… and “I knew you had spyware on my computer, I went to those sites and did those things to teach you a lesson.”

    Those were my early days to recovery… realizing I wasn’t dealing with your every day fuckwit, but likely someone with undiagnosed NPD.

    The “it wasn’t me”… came when I confronted him with phone records (he tried to blame my teenage stepson)… and it came when I confronted him with pages of Craigslist ads that aligned to those phone numbers…

    The “I did it to teach you a lesson”… that came when I confronted him with six months worth of emails I found where he was looking for group sex; a bi-couple party; a new OW ‘cuz he was single with no kids. The irony… I did find them because the spyware gave me access to his passwords… but the emails were from his TRASH FOLDER… he had sent them MONTHS BEFORE I ever had access…

    Now, with the current GF… he claims he isn’t cheating on her… “someone is using my old dating profiles and phishing with them”… um, because you’re so good looking that your profile would be worth lifting?

    Sweet jesus. Now, six years out, I look back at all that I survived and somedays I stop myself and say… don’t remember, it isn’t worth it!

    Rock on Chump Nation!

  • Divorce Interrogatory Question: “List the times you visited OW’s city”
    His answer: “I don’t recall”

    Question: “List the details of your relationship with OW.”
    His answer: “I don’t recall”

    Yet his lawyer had the audacity during my deposition to accuse me of lying and ask if I was on drugs when I could not remember the exact number of times I texted friends about the divorce.

  • In my house, “I can’t remember” was always accompanied by the neat deflection with a sad sausage sob story, which was an attempt to demand or elicit my sympathy. “I don’t remember the details; that whole summer was such a shit show at work that I was tapped out and demoralized” (never mind that I’d been naked pick-me dancing and he’d been telling me how happy he was with me).

  • My grandmother used to say that liars need good memories.

    I got a lot of “i don’t remember” too, until he realized I already knew and then he all of a sudden remembered exactly what he thought i already knew.

    Sigh…..in some ways I think the insult to my intelligence was at least as bad as the actual betrayal.

    Mine was 20 years older and thought he was much smarter then me.

    News flash: he wasn’t.

  • The only time my ex admitted to his affair was when I allowed him to find me eavesdropping on his phone call to his AP. He had ended the call with “I really really really love you.” When he found me sitting on the stairs, my first words to him were “you really really really love her, don’t you?” He became enraged. got in my face and screamed ‘Yes, I love her and I don’t love you!”. He still does not know about the other recorded phone calls that I have, or the treasure trove of emails that I found, or the love songs that he wrote for her.

    After that night, he went back into denial mode. It was as if we were getting divorced after 42 years of marriage on a whim. During the divorce, he told me he was going down to LA to visit his brother with cancer (an excuse he had used before.) I just stopped and looked him straight in the eye and told him I knew about his Diana (his AP), and he no longer needed to lie to me. He gave me the deer in headlights look and did not speak. It was weird — as though his narcissism was so complete by then that he believed his own lies.

    I realized then that I would never get any reasons or “closure”. He was incapable of any introspection.

    • 42 years! Mine was 41. Glad to run across you here! My FW had told me a couple of years before D-Day that he no longer had any lead in the pencil and so there was no more reason for us to fight about sex. I know exactly what he said and when it happened because I wrote an essay on my laptop about it later that evening. On D-Day, I asked about that statement and he denied ever saying it. Said he didn’t remember ever saying it. I told him I wrote about it and I started a few of the details of when and where the conversation happened….. “I don’t remember!” he screamed at me. Then stated, “Well, if I did say it – it was you – I couldn’t get it up with you! I don’t have any problem with that!” The OW works at the viagra clinic…..what else can I say? Sad sausage. Hope he has a heart attack. He’s pathetic.

  • My fav I can’t remember was when I was checking credit card statements I found a bill for a sex shop, and I wanted to know what he had bought. Didn’t ask for who because he had so many AP that it’s possible he actually didn’t remember which one lol. But anyway, his reply was that he “couldn’t remember ever entering that shop”. I know how sneaky he is, so I said yeah I believe you can’t remember physically going there, you probably bought it online. At which point he didn’t know what to reply and hung up on me.

  • I think of my first cheater back in the days of my early 20’s. I laugh about it now because he’s such a tool.

    I find out about all 6 girls he fucked:

    “I dunno who -names one of them- is.” Lol, I said more than one name there buddy.

    He came into my place of employment and followed me around, before the manager told him to buy something or leave.

    “I don’t know who Ashley is! Who are you talking about! I don’t remember that name, I don’t know who Ashley is…”

    “Ashley” was the girl I caught him with. Red handed. He got her pregnant and tried to abandon her by running back to me, but I was dating someone else by then. She found his messages to me and it stressed her out so much, she miscarried. Then he tried to go back to her once she wasn’t pregnant anymore. She took him back. But then they broke up a month later because…he cheated on her.

    But he tried to tell me he doesn’t remember who she is. Couldn’t possibly. No idea.

    Lol omg he was such a POS.

  • I got the completely absurd denials too. Finally, after finding CL, I realized the futility and went no contact. It was only then that I started to feel like I was going to recover from the abuse. Thank goodness I have and Meh is wonderful.

    I heard more lies yesterday and got to see the karma bus hit … again: XH claimed he was suddenly very ill – he’s an anti-masker and has been going to gatherings with other anti-maskers. He sent our kids many disturbing texts about how bad he was feeling and needed to “get away somewhere.” Huh? He was fine several hours earlier when he dropped his puppy off for our teen to care for. I’ve told him puppy cannot stay overnight at my house. Daughter called live-in AP late at night when XH never showed to get puppy. He was “missing.” He took an Uber somewhere in the afternoon and wasn’t taking her calls and never came home. AP was frantic and crying. …..Exactly what they did to me. If I wasn’t so mad about him dumping his puppy on me I would have been laughing at the irony.

    They really do continue devolving. I cannot imagine what lowlifes he’s partying with now— he’s in his mid 50s, 80 lbs overweight…. yuck 🤢

  • Haha my couldn’t remember how often he texted the whore neighbor he slept with. He knew it was just sometimes, I mean maybe a few more than that, well it was just once…then he switched to – how DARE you accuse me of cheating? You have mental health issues!

    And that my friends is why he divorced me, Bc I asked him about his affair. We were “happily” married with a three month old baby but ask him if he’s cheating when the evidence presents itself and it’s OVER! To this day he won’t admit it.

  • My personal favourite of my wife’s, was that she could remember no details of what they talked about, yet can recall an argument or offhand comment i made a few years ago..
    Then the trickle truth kicks in and things are mentioned that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that she remembered pretty much all of it, just never wanted to have THAT conversation where she has to face what a lying, cheating wife she was. Oh no.. She was little miss innocent.. Never compared performances.. Or equipment.. Or the fact that she was lying for over two years what a perfect wife she was.

      • Its like cheaters get hit with amnesia the very second DDay hits.. Well golly i can’t now seem to remember a single bad thing ive done now!!!

    • Of all the excuses ever concocted by female cheaters claims of the OM being better endowed is the dumbest. Not to get graphic here but we only feel the first 2-3 inches or so. What a stupid, stupid reason to blow up a marriage.

  • Just like CL said once about understanding – it’s not that they don’t understand – it’s that they don’t care.

    It’s not that they don’t remember – it’s just that they don’t want to

    As with evasion “you have nothing to worry about” (after DD2!) “I don’t remember” is untrue. Cheaters lie.

  • I use to say my ex had Elephantitis. She could remember every word said of a conversation 23/24 YEARS ago or every little thing from her teenage years. It was ridiculous! So when I asked her how long the main affair lasted “I can’t remember” or I got various answers of 6 months to 2 years. How many times did you hook up with him? “I can’t remember”. I got the trickle truth for 2 months before I moved out and divorced her. “I can’t remember” drove me up the wall. “I can’t remember” means” I am not telling you the truth”.

    • Mine accused me of having too good of a memory while he was constantly stating he couldn’t remember anything—except the exact location & meaning of her tattoos, her various body piercings (photos of which he shared with me 🤮), her psoriasis diagnosis, her c-section scar—that he traced with his hand while she slept (passed out from the drugs she took in my home), but alas, he didn’t get the opportunity to share a cigarette with her post coitus. I’m sure he has by now as he pays for her to spend the night at his rathole of a dwelling. But “I don’t remember” was a constant refrain of his.

  • I was “lucky” to learn very early on in life that “I don’t know/I can’t remember” is the hallmark of a LIAR !

    Said in that unnerving, whiny, fake-ass tone of voice and the wandering, glassy eyes. Unmistakable!!!

    People who don’t know try to gather their facts, and so do feel who can’t remember. They ask around, provide phone numbers, make the calls, retrieve the history, they do EVERYTHING in their power to prove their innocence!

    People who are okay with “not knowing” just means they are okay with YOU “not knowing” !

  • You know the ONE phrase that I haven’t hear since I moved out over 2 years ago and don’t miss at all?

    “I don’t know.”

    Anything and everything my ex didn’t want to answer was answered with, “I don’t know.”

    Good riddance.

  • At first FW had selective amnesia about certain details either because he feared 1) that I’d laugh at his affair; or 2) would take the details as added proof that he ignored screaming red flags and had *every reason* to know he was putting my health or even life and by extension the kids’ welfare in danger when he rawdogged or even dallied with this particular AP; and 3) that any idealization he’d nurtured about the integrity, sincerity and purity of motive of this individual in order to amplify his narc-y delusion that he’d bagged a “real catch” and was the envy of other douchebags was, in fact, more proof of what a dangerous loser he is; and 4) that if Shmoops found out he’d spilled any of these details she’d be less likely to purjure herself to protect him if subpoenaed, especially after I saw the secret credit card charges.

    His fears were well founded. I did bust a gut when he cracked and admitted the AP had certain traits. And then I got really mad and strategic based on his reports that he knew all along the AP…

    –Took it up the butt in past relationships.

    –Regularly went commando to bars and work events on the dubious grounds that it’s “healthier.”

    –Wore pancake makeup to spackle over cystic acne scars. Had struggled with eating disorders since her teens.

    — Screamed out cringey stock porn utterances while performing a repertoire of 50-Shades-of-Cheese gymnastic sex positions that never gave any woman an orgasm in the history of sex or orgasms.

    — Sported a Hollywood wax job.

    –“Didn’t drink that much or use drugs and didn’t drive while drunk” turned into daily binge drinking, regular DUI and history of illegal drug use.

    –Got tested for STDs at his request yet never showed her test results and never got the separate “anal STI testing” recommended for people who engage in anal sex.

    –Was online dating throughout the affair.

    –Plied and wheedled for expensive gifts, designer furniture, trips, grub, etc. Used withdrawal of sex and kibbles if she didn’t get her demands met.

    –Called me names like “Devil woman,” persistently lobbied against all his “stupid reasons” for not divorcing and dumping his family, expressed zero concern for how his children might react to divorce and threw regular tantrums if he spent special occasions with family, even his kids. Competed directly with our kids for attention.

    I’m a lifelong feminist and not prone to slut shaming as long as the behavior of relative strangers doesn’t put unconsenting people at risk. I accept human frailty and while I might not condemn an individual flaw or weakness, some clusters of traits can spell real trouble. And once someone strays on my territory, I can get judgey. Kink often speaks to character and reflects high risk behavior. I wouldn’t knowingly second-hand fuck certain people anymore than I’d let them handle my kids’ food or leave my wallet unattended in front of them. Politically I’m not a fan of “sex positive” Pickmeisha apologism for porn, sex work and BDSM because people who accept pain as the price of relationships or approval tend to expect others to accept pain too and are often more than happy to dish it out. And porn/sex industry apologists tend to ignore global horrors of trafficking and abuse of children, ergo they lack integrity. Red fucking flags.

    I only met one woman before who claimed going commando was “heathier” and she happened to have active HSV2. Avoiding swampy crotch was to let lesions dry out. Red fucking flag.

    Online dating + poor physical health+ performative, “hyper-experienced,” arguably unpleasurable sexual conduct + painful grooming that increases STD transmission risks + plying for expensive gifts= potential pro/sugar baby status. Red fucking flags.

    Aggressive hater behavior + lack of empathy + clinical substance abuse + dangerous driving+ clinical psychiatric disorder + histrionic tantrums= potentially violent bunny boiler.

    All of it= FW’s dangerous lack of discretion and endangerment of family= violence and abuser status.

    Normally I’m pretty peaceable but I harbor an inner trial lawyer and tend to bore in on inconsistencies like a terrier if the stakes are high. I have a real phobia of STDs and demanded a truthful assessment of potential risks so I’d know how far I’d need to go to get testing for myself and the children (pursue the elusive Western blot test for herpes or not? Etc.). I have a terrible fear of violence and wanted to know what the relative risk was that he’d brought a potential bunny boiler into our lives who might burn the house down with the kids and I in it. And on the “information is power” principle, I wanted to save on forensic accounting fees by pitting these two creeps against each other if it would help uncover any remaining hidden spending for the affair that would affect the settlement. And finally I wanted to assure FW would settle without a soul-killing battle if just to avoid Shmoops getting deposed.

    It turned out that every initial “I don’t remember” corresponded to details that, once disclosed, returned the balance of power that FW had robbed from me. Lies are all about power.

    • awesome post Hell of a Chump. Preach it!!! CL would be proud of the high quality writing enhanced by some potty mouth. All to express your spot on values. I love it.

      • Thank you so much, Fern. My parents told me it’s better not to overuse curse words because the effect wears thin and they lose their kick when you really need them. Good advice lol.

  • Oddly, the inability to remember their own activities often pairs with an ability to remember ours in tremendous detail (of course, some of this detail may be entirely fictitious). My EX couldn’t remember what he had ordered on Amazon for his “soul mate” two weeks earlier, but he could remember when I had forgotten to buy the taco sauce he requested on taco night two years earlier. He also claimed to remember the “fantastic party” he threw for my 30th birthday, yet we met 3 months after my birthday.

    I am glad that he has been reduced to no more than a memory for me.

    • FW’s are elephants with eudetic recall about some things. I apparently laughed at a joke about “playahs” more than 20 years ago which was taken as proof I approved of infidelity and being exposed to STDs without consent.

      I was green as a granny smith back then– a feminist who lobbied against inequality and violence against women since age 10 (I was on the news for the NOW Org as a tot) but totally naïve about adultery and other forms of relationship abuse because I didn’t grow up with these things. I actually thought if someone joked about something that meant they’d never do that thing.

    • ” the inability to remember their own activities often pairs with an ability to remember ours in tremendous detail (of course, some of this detail may be entirely fictitious”

      Yep, I call this “Total recall of all things imagined”.

  • “I don’t REMEMBER!”
    “Quit asking me, I already told you!!!” He hadn’t.
    “I’m sick, why are you doing this to me?” He was sick.
    “I have CANCER! Leave me alone!” He did have cancer.
    “I’m DYING! Why don’t you understand that?” He was dying, and believe me, as his caregiver, I understood.
    His cancer-psychiatrist, after inviting me to a couple of his sessions: “You have every right to question him about his affair history(s). Him having cancer doesn’t give him a pass for discussing with you, (me, his wife of 33 years) what happened in your marriage. You have every right to be angry and to rage at him.” Me, already knowing this, but still felt a huge relief of being validated.

    My husband died and I cared for him with dignity and strength. I learned during his cancer battle that his emotional affair was indeed, actually a 3-plus year physical affair.
    And I have lived to tell the tale. Still struggling with the fallout of it all, but stronger than I was, and peace has been flirting with me….

    • Oh WhatHELLWasThat,

      I can’t imagine the pain of what you experienced.

      I’m glad you had a validating therapist and that you’re feeling stronger.

      I hope your flirtation with peace turns into a full-blown relationship.

  • It was even better when ex also taught one of the affair partners to say she couldn’t remember.

    I guess that was better than the other one who boldface lied to me that nothing happened or the other one who didn’t believe me, both of whom then made public outrageous accusations about me.

  • I didn’t get “I can’t remember”, but was told “It’s not the way it looks.” Ha! Same BS, different flavor.

    • A few weeks after D-Day, mine gave that exact line when the Viagra renewal arrived. “It’s not the way it looks.” It puzzles me why he would lie about that AFTER D[Day. The jig was already up.
      He said he wanted to marry her. They were living together.

      I think lying had just become such a habit that he couldn’t stop himself.

      Around that same time he wrote, “I’m not a pathological liar. Tell me that to my face and then YOU’LL be the liar.” What? I didn’t take him up on the other. Dear CN, I didn’t even respond. There’s so much power in not responding.

      • I wonder if in their minds “it isn’t what it looks like” means it is not just sex it is full blown love so that makes it different.

        My ex said “it wasn’t about sex” he desperately didn’t want it to be adultery, but in reality it was adultery. The commandment doesn’t say it is Thou shall not commit adultery, except when you are really in love. It is pretty cut and dry.

        I use the commandment because he was supposedly a Christian, and he wanted desperately for it to not be so. Just doesn’t work that way.

        • Yeah. Mine said the same, that it wasn’t about sex. He wanted to feel good about what he had done. If it’s only sex, he would feel bad about himself. (No doubt it started out as a sex-driven affair.)

          I’m not saying that they didn’t fall in love. They probably did. But that was a choice. They were each married and worked hard to cultivate their relationship although my ex would have me believe that he fell into love by accident.

          • Fully agree.

            Spending time with someone, and being intimate is how folks fall in love. It is why people who value their marriage don’t engage in adultery.

  • CL, you crack me up to no end with your spot on UBT.

    I, too, often got the “I can’t remember” lie. But more common was his anger and then radio silent treatment when I asked him questions that he did not want to answer (ahem, proving he was a shitty person who lied, cheated, lacked remorse and had zero integrity.)

    Be gone with entitled a*holes!

  • When I asked my cheating ex if I should go for an STD test, he said, “The next thing you’ll want to know is what positions we did it in.”

    Looking back, I don’t know why I asked him that question – of course I did. I think I was just in shock.

    However, the horror of that answer is something else.

    They remember, the sociopathic ones just like to inflict more trauma and pain.

  • Shifting gears is easy for a cheater:
    Right from I can’trememberitis to blame shifting:
    It was my fault,( the Chump), I made it all up
    Cause: watching too many Hallmark movies ( maybe 4 in my whole life), to reading too many Harlequin Romances ( not even one page in my whole life).

    Funny thing, I can remember enough for the both of us.
    There is something about that DDay pain!
    ( if I live to be 110 and develop Alzheimer’s I swear I will still remember that)

  • I got, ‘It’s hard to remember what went on in one’s head a year ago’ when I asked about details of his hookup with his ex-girlfriend, who looked like Camilla Parker Bowles.

    I remember saying, I’m not trying to probe the memories of ‘One’s head’ right now – just yours.

  • “I can’t remember” =

    I can’t remember what lie I used before.
    I don’t want to tell you.
    I need to stall long enough to make up a good lie.
    Get off my back.

    Also see: “I don’t know” and dead silence.

    • “I cant remember” IS selective…
      When my ex husband was reinventing our marital history during a useless therapy session(good god), after a year long affair with the howorker, because…
      He wasn’t happy…..
      he said “you never supported me.”
      I was an Army wife and took care of his son, our home, bills and worked a full time job, solo while he was deployed overseas. His 12 yo son was from his first marriage and I had him since he was 3.
      The day we expected his arrival home from AFG, his son and I tied yellow ribbons on all the trees coming up our long road. We made signs with the neighbors for a nice homecoming and decorated the house.
      When I reminded him of our family commitment when he was away and that simple, but loving, caring and loving welcome home 3 years previously(like a fool defending myself in therapy) he spouted…
      “I don’t remember, that”
      His previous marriage ended because he was sleeping with the drug rep in the office, because…
      He wasn’t happy…
      I learning later that he also had a underling while deployed.
      Makes me boil what he did twice to that sweet son of his, breaking up 2 families before he was 18
      What a dick.
      He lied with a liars mouth that day, Defending himself was far more important than our relationship, his son, the TRUTH
      That’s when I knew that I could not go on
      He’s on to the next person. Like a wrecking ball.

  • So many incidents of ‘I don’t remember’, both from cheater pants and Ho-worker (whom I foolishly reached out to).
    Just more proof that, at the absolute least, these morons lack imagination. It’s crazy how much of this is a shared experience for chumps.

  • Didn’t a whole country get a raspy “I can’t quite recall” a few years back, for ssimilar reasons?

    Not that it’s any of our business.

    Delete if not allowed. I have no agenda just noting the similarity.

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