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UBT: The Apology That Never Came

HopiumHello Chump Lady!

I’ve got a fine bit of BS here and I’d like to see what you think. Brief background:

My ex-wife had an affair with her boss, assumed it was going somewhere, and divorced my chump-ass without a lick of remorse. Last year, about 2 years later, their relationship ended. Still high on hope, I worked toward reconciliation. I made my own apologies, without asking for hers. We spent a lot of time together as a family, waiting patiently. We spent months like this, and then the Holidays. All of them, Thanksgiving through New Years Eve.

On New Years Day 2020, after nearly a year of putting on a happy face, waiting for this person to do what was right. To apologize and show remorse. To show some gratefulness for being accepted by me and my family, after what she’d done and never apologized for. But this hadn’t come. She simply didn’t care.

Since, we’ve barely spoken, but shortly before the holidays this year, we had the following exchange:
———-
Cheater – “I would like to think about Christmas and what that looks like this year. I would like to continue to share Christmas morning again, until there’s a reason we can’t make that happen. This is under the assumption that you would like more Christmas mornings with them, and perhaps, at your new home? If you completely reject this just say that.”

Chump: “I won’t share anything with you until you can show remorese and apologized and take responsibility for all of your actions. We’ll just continue to alternate until then.”

Cheater: “And what exactly does that mean for you?”

Chump: “Exactly what it says. But honestly, don’t bother. It’s pretty clear you feel no remorse, or you’de have shown it by now. So let’s just move forward with keeping our holidays separate and leave it at that. No need to continue the conversation.”

Cheater: “I have a lot to say. It doesn’t matter.”
Cheater: “Remorse I have…for making a choice for four people…I bear guilt. Regret I have…for missing the aspects of a family I always wanted. “
Cheater: “As a result of that choice, there are good and bad. There are things that needed to happen.”
Cheater: “In some ways, I miss the marriage. In others, it was right to end. You grew. I grew. And our children continue to grow.”
Cheater:”I thought for one morning a year, you could step off my neck, and our differences, and we could share in one of those joyful aspects of being parents to our growing children, together, while we still had them.”
Cheater:”Also, our children will want to get more involved in stuff again soon, like next year…we need to be able to be around each other.”
Cheater:”I always just wanted to be a good wife and have a good husband. We were and then…we weren’t anymore.”
Cheater:”I have no one to lean on and I might never again. I have to pick myself up when I fall. I will likely die alone. Just trying to salvage any of the good that may still remain between us.”
——

I didn’t respond. It’s pretty clear without a translation. I am curious, however, if there’s anything in my approach that you disagree with or recommend against.

Shaun

Dear Shaun,

Yeah. Your presumption of reconciliation from a woman who left you and your two children for her boss. Why are you trying to work with that? Why did you give her the entire 2019 holiday season? She left for TWO YEARS and you’re all in? And all she has to do is APOLOGIZE? And she won’t even do that? But you’ll take that sorry thing on layaway. You can wait!

Cheater, opens all her pretty presents. Chump, shakes box, ooh! I hope it’s a big sorry! Chump opens box… nada.

Shaun, your first clue that she wasn’t sorry is that she came back and felt entitled to her Plan B family.

Your second clue that she wasn’t sorry is that she accepted a sorry from YOU — as if your marital crimes were somehow equivalent (TWO YEARS WITH HER BOSS) — and you responded with nary a boundary. You allowed the reunited family impression management fest continue.

All the “not sorry” was there in all its flaming obviousness, but I guess you were too overcome with joy that you won the turd in a fumble. Joy that has clearly diminished as she gone back to being the same, entitled jackass she’s always been.

Let me now critique “your approach” as you suggested.

Since, we’ve barely spoken, but shortly before the holidays this year, we had the following exchange:
———-
Cheater – “I would like to think about Christmas and what that looks like this year. I would like to continue to share Christmas morning again, until there’s a reason we can’t make that happen. This is under the assumption that you would like more Christmas mornings with them, and perhaps, at your new home? If you completely reject this just say that.”

Chump: “I won’t share anything with you until you can show remorese and apologized and take responsibility for all of your actions. We’ll just continue to alternate until then.”

Why are you still invested in her “remorse”? Why are you offering this as a condition? If she created some fake tears (they can do that, eerily enough) would you take her back again?

You’ve got a hopium problem, Shaun. The proper response to this is a response via parenting software outlining the court ordered holiday schedule. The proper response is NOT TO ENGAGE.

I would like to continue to share Christmas morning again, until there’s a reason we can’t make that happen.

Translation: “Until I find a new fuckbuddy to throw you under the bus for.”

The previous holiday must’ve been confusing as hell to your kids. Build your new life. What she does for the holidays is not your problem. You do your holidays with the kids. She’s not part of the conversation. That’s why we have court orders.

Cheater: “And what exactly does that mean for you?”

Chump: “Exactly what it says. But honestly, don’t bother. It’s pretty clear you feel no remorse, or you’d have shown it by now. So let’s just move forward with keeping our holidays separate and leave it at that. No need to continue the conversation.”

Better. But we’re still engaging. You’re still letting her know she’s got an in if she can find this imaginary “remorse” she doesn’t feel. Quit bringing it up. You’re just asking for more mindfuckery. She’s NOT SORRY.

Speaking of mindfuckery, the Universal Bullshit Translator thinks you could use its services.

“I have a lot to say. It doesn’t matter.”

I can manufacture more manipulation than Henry Ford made automobiles.

The problem is you won’t let me speak. Not that what I say is utter bullshit. So I’ll dress this up as a sad sausage futility problem.

“Remorse I have…for making a choice for four people…I bear guilt. Regret I have…for missing the aspects of a family I always wanted. “

Remorse I have for — the loss of your homemade stuffing. Regrets I have…. none.

“As a result of that choice, there are good and bad. There are things that needed to happen.”

Reform that could only be achieved by me fucking my boss.

“In some ways, I miss the marriage. In others, it was right to end. You grew. I grew. And our children continue to grow.”

Fucking my boss was a personal growth experience.

The marriage was right to end itself. A death I had no part in. Just one day the marriage took a knife and started to stab itself in the back.

“I thought for one morning a year, you could step off my neck, and our differences, and we could share in one of those joyful aspects of being parents to our growing children, together, while we still had them.”

Nothing says “I cherish our time together” like, “for one morning a year, step off my neck.”

The UBT suggests she step off a short pier.

“Also, our children will want to get more involved in stuff again soon, like next year…we need to be able to be around each other.”

You need to do all that ride-share shit. It cuts into my Tinder time.

“I always just wanted to be a good wife and have a good husband. We were and then…we weren’t anymore.”

No idea how that happened. (Swipes right.)

“I have no one to lean on and I might never again. I have to pick myself up when I fall. I will likely die alone.”

Mindfuck channel set firmly at self-pity.

Also projection. You have no one to lean on (I am a cheater). And might never again (take me back and find out). You have to pick yourself up when I fuck up (because I sure as hell won’t be helping you heal). You will die alone (because I don’t care and caregiving is a drag.)

Just trying to salvage any of the good that may still remain between us.”

Just trying to extract kibbles and salvage any ways you may be of use to me.

****

Shaun, grey rock. Get some parenting software for the new year.

I know you wanted a sorry. Here’s one — I’m sorry you wasted your precious time on her.

Don’t waste any more.

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.
  • Shaun,

    For some people, sorry is truly the hardest word to say. Mostly because they are disordered f*ckwits who are not sorry for what they did (or the consequences that they imposed unilaterally on other people) ….. just sorry that they got caught and that (shock horror) consequences were imposed on them.

    And please see your Ex’s statement “I have no one to lean on and I might never again. I have to pick myself up when I fall. I will likely die alone” for what it is; very much a “her problem. She made her choices and now she gets to suck it up.

    LFTT”

    • I unpacked the violin on that one.

      Shaun, take a page from my brother’s book. Let go. Her whining is so irritating and I don’t even know her. You put your hand on that stove and got burned twice. Don’t do it again.

      • I should have added that it is possible to move on and to start to heal without an apology or remorse on the cheater’s part ……. the first step is to understand that the cheater is absolutely incapable of making a meaningful apology or showing genuine remorse.

        Your Ex has shown you exactly this time and again. I would (gently and respectfully) recommend that you take it to heart and act on it rather than continuing to hope for something that will never happen.

        LFTT

          • Shaun

            Hard to read this, as it triggered me. I took my wasband back and though he made promises to be the husband I deserved, there were NO admissions to wrong doing or remorse expressed. Just a “promise to do better’ and damn it if I didn’t cling to that feeble non apology for YEARS.

            I feel as if your real question is what you could have said to “make her sorry”…as if the right combination of words said in the correct order would snap her out of a selfish destructive path that harms those in her wake. I’m a wordsmith by professio and trust me when I say, I wasted YEARS trying to find the magic formula. There is no magic formula.

            Your reply to her was an attempted negotiation. You could have just written “only if you say you are sorry” – just struck me

            as so weak and so unpersuasive and so very sad, I just shook my head. **And worst yet, she still wouldn’t say it!**

            You gots nothin’ to work with here. Show’s over.

            As CL herself says –

            Waiting for your cheater ex to feel & express real remorse (to you!) is like waiting for your goldfish to learn to knit.

            IT IS NOT IN HER. She’s obviously justified her choices AND she still does.

            She’s had YEARS to wake up and she didn’t. The odds of her “getting it” are nil.

            For you to STILL ask for an apology means you are still hinging your happiness on HER seeing the light.

            Do Not Do That. Let that go. She cannot be a factor in your happiness OR your future.

            After THREE years (since you took her back without an apology)

            which included living together post divorce and putting on and a happy face, all just taught her (AND your kids)

            that “forgiveness/reconciliation” means NOT addressing all the real issues (because…discomfort…awkward…hard)

            and it means giving her a PASS.

            Look, here’s what clarified things for me and might help you.

            IF the cheater ever has the grand awakening we have all prayed and wished for from ours, and IF she actually CHANGED her behaviors or wanted to atone,

            YOU WOULD BE THE FIRST TO KNOW.

            Stop waiting.

            Put the hopium pipe down.

            Get a great therapist to help you recognize the dynamic in which you’re consenting to participate. You are giving her all of your power and it’s not a position of strength or an attractive posture.

            Join a DivorceCare group (or something OUTSIDE of the RIC), that helps you rebuild your life.

            Start living without looking over your shoulder to see what she’s doing/feeling/thinking…

            Your kids are watching you. Show them what a man of strength and honor does in the face of betrayal and when his boundaries are crossed – again.

            He leaves. He cuts his losses. He does not allow the “sunk costs” of his investment continue to drain his dwindling resources.
            Your kids need your full attention and energy, not a distracted tormented man waiting for permission from someone else, to be happy.

            A man of strength and honor leaves with his dignity and he makes sure he’s the best damn father to his kids that he can be, he carries on, creates a new, better life and shows his children resilience, which means showing them what it looks like to recover from a broken heart and a big setback – IT GETS BETTER BECAUSE WE MAKE IT BETTER.

            Your children will face their own setbacks and betrayals someday. Show them the way through AND past the pain. Show them that they are ultimately responsible for their own happiness. It does not land on us, we create it.

            Just as you are.

            Parenting software and no other contact SAYS ALL YOU NEED TO SAY (silence is more powerful than you realize)

            and protects your heart. A healed father is a better dad.

            Good luck

        • Too many of us have had to learn how to move one without every receiving justice. No apology and, in some instances, continued denial of an affair(s).

          After time, lots of effort and counselling, you work through it to learn what real detachment means. The apology ceases to matter. Actually receiving anything from them no longer matters.

          I am reaching this point more and more everyday after three years. The fantasies of my ex finally acknowledging the truth are almost all gone. And if an apology were to actually come my way, I think I may actually be in a place where my reaction will just be a shrug and then move on with my day. I got sick of it mattering and now I’m working my way out of that at all.

          For every second we still wish for something from them, we are still giving up another second to them. Don’t give them any more of your power, your energy, your thoughts, your efforts. That is freedom!

          • ONM,

            I am now 5 1/2 years out from D Day and 3 1/2 years since our divorce was finalised. If Ex Mrs LFTT tried to apologise/express remorse now, it would be a very clear indicator she wanted something from me or was trying to manipulate me (or the kids). I’m actually at the point when I’d rather that she just didn’t bother.

            Every day that I don’t hear from her is a blessing!

            LFTT

    • “Sorry” is not in their repertoire.

      This is who they are. Twisting; gaslighting; mindfucking; blameshifting; bad sentence structure; illusions of ideas that don’t have a premise and a conclusion.

      Let me add the succinct description that I use liar fraud user abuser fake.

      Nothing to work with no matter how much sparkle you got.

      Cut your losses and move on.
      Closure is something you give yourself.

      • You said it so perfectly – THIS IS WHO THEY ARE : TWISTING, GASLIGHTING , MINDFUCKING, BLAMINGSHIFTING LYING FRAUDULENT ABUSERS.

        Still don’t know how their behaviour is legal. If they behaved like this in business they would be in jail.

        RUN SHAUN, RUN!

      • Yes, you nailed it with “liar, fraud, user, abuser, fake.” They are incapable of remorse, and just blameshift and gaslight when confronted. It’s all a waste of time to even discuss with them.

        I’m convinced I could have walked in on my husband and ow and he would have said his penis just fell in, damn floor must have caused him to trip.

    • Shaun, I am so sorry! She sucks.

      My soon to be cheating ex-husband pulled a similar pity party. He played poor wounded dog at first–“I suck, I’m the scum of the earth.” Then his guy friends (two of the groomsmen in our wedding and also his high school best friends) went out of their way to take care of me when I was uncontrollably crying on our living room and told him he was an A-hole and that they don’t agree with the way he was treating me. He then he flipped out and told me “you took my support system.” And called his guys friends berating them for for half an hour how they were supposed to be on his side and that they were his friends first.

      Meanwhile, he was hiding out at the mistress’s parents house like the coward that he is. He also continued to text me and call me the cruel and manipulative one. Also, even saying that because I took him off my car insurance, moved out, and talked to a lawyer two weeks after this happened, that I was “not a loving wife.”

      I’m still trying to get over this. But I know now that he will NEVER change and he doesn’t care what he has done. He isn’t sorry. Just sorry he got caught.

    • Me: Now that you’re leaving, I would really appreciate an apology from you for cheating and destroying our marriage. It would help me get over this quicker and make co-parenting much easier for me.

      Him: Pause. Do you want a sincere apology?

      Me: Yes.

      Him: Okay. Pause. I am sorry that you are unhappy at the way things turned out.

      • Wow. We were married to the same asshole? Sounds just like my ex, and I can feel my rage welling up at this reminder of him.

  • Shaun, she isn’t sorry, so remorse isn’t happening. You deserve so much more than a faking-it-again remorseful cheater. Just like she lied about her boss she will lie about being remorseful.

    Stop interacting with the one who abused you. All you do is give her another chance to abuse you. The only genuine apology you will get is the one you give yourself. A cheater’s remorse and apology is worthless, just another lie.

    Please listen to Chump Lady. Save yourself from that cheater. Don’t waste anymore of your precious time on her. She isn’t sorry, she isn’t even capable of sorry.

    • “Stop interacting with the one who abused you. All you do is give her another chance to abuse you.”

      Repeating this for emphasis. Shaun, she probably ENJOYS abusing you. She is not your kind of person. I don’t care how sparkly she is. Back away from your abuser.

      It sucks to realize that the other parent of your children is a horrible person. Most of us here have experienced that grief. So internalize the facts and then move forward. Your life will be better when you stop hoping that she’ll be a different person.

  • Is your ex Yoda btw? Or Frank Sinatra’s ghost? Regrets, I’ve had a few… This person is so un-empathetic that they don’t even know how to mimic what a sorry looks like. I bet they had to go online and cut and paste some examples and even then, super weak sauce. Sorry Shaun but as CL says, you’ve got nothing to work with.

  • Shaun,

    Please don’t grovel for this terrible person. I know it’s tough to recognize that she sucks, but she really does. I know it’s tough to admit that maybe you picked a bad one from the mating pile, but, hey, you’re in good company here. I know it’s hard to swallow the sunk costs. I was married 35 years, so I know that feeling.

    This is not a matter of her rejecting you at this point. You should reject her! Reject her for being an entitled, selfish fuckwit.

    Know that you deserve better. She’s the one who should be groveling. But don’t let her. Stand tall. Go grey rock. There are better women out there. Find one of those when you are ready.

    Good luck. Oh, and if you haven’t read CL’s book, I recommend it highly, especially the audio version. Listen and re-listen. It will stiffen your spin.

    Good luck!

  • Dear Shaun,

    I am sorry.

    THIS is the place to come for sympathy. Not her.

    Sweet smoking Jesus.

    I heard, “I tried to be a good husband” complete with tears.

    Nothing says Good Husband like lying, having affairs, and hiding money from your wife for 20 years.

    I heard, “ we tried”.

    We evidently were trying different things. I was trying to talk to him and problem solve. He was trying to lie and sabotage our family. Only one of us succeeded. Guess who?

    I heard NOTHING from him about being unhappy. Until I discovered the affair. Then I heard he had been “unhappy for years” and about a mysterious “laundry list” of grievances. That he “didn’t want to get into.” (Until I started scoring points in mediation and co-parenting therapy).

    Nothing says Loser like “I’m going to end a 27 year relationship and blow up our family, but I’m not going to tell you why.”

    These idiots are so invested in the Happy Family Christmas Day Show, but care nothing about having an actual solid family in day to day real life. Proof of how all they care about is APPEARANCES.

    • BTW…

      Today is Divorce Day. Today is the day that jillions of people around the world, a lot of them very likely victims of infidelity, are getting their walking papers after having what seemed to be a very merry holiday season with a partner who, unbeknownst to them, had been Unhappy For Years.

      https://apple.news/AYcxXzk-QTJ2DKPkZ0uZ7iA

      A moment of silence for all our newly minted chumps everywhere.

      • Go, chumps! Divorce the crap out of them!

        No chump should take the bullshit advice in that article, btw. The usual RIC crap; take a break to think about it, consider opening up the marriage, drag the shitty spouse to useless MC…bla bla bla.

        • I now view marital counseling and professional counseling (in general) as just wastes of time and money. I got more from this forum and these articles (for free) than I did any session.

          Everyone’s circumstances are different but if you have a rock solid small circle you could lean on (a best friend, a parent) in addition to stuff like CL, you’ll get more than any quack can give you and you’re less likely to get mind effed too.

          • Don’t throw personal counselors under the bus just yet. A neutral third party can be what many chumps need to get their head out of the blender and see the abuse that is happening to them.

            There are lots of counselors out there who have been gifted the 2×4 of truth and wield it to great effect.

          • Therapy saved my life. My friends didn’t have the knowledge, the wisdom or the time to help me un-learn what a childhood in an abusive household taught me.

            Some counselors and therapists shouldn’t be in the field. That’s also true of doctors, teachers, lawyers, plumbers, police officers, politicians, hairdressers, actors, pastors and priests, and military officers.

            Therapy works if the therapist is qualified, if the approach fits the patient, and if the patient works hard to learn new ways to think and respond to the world.

    • I had the “I was a good wife for many years” over the Christmas period when she was hoovering me and saying how much she misses us and wants to come back and hopes we can get back together in the future. Almost like she wanted to convince herself she had been a good wife. I’ve had knives held to me, concussion, assault, emotional abuse, took credit out in my name, clearly cheated when our baby was less than a year old and then the huge discoveries in 2020 with cheating on me with near 20 men and finding her on tinder stating she had a boyfriend who wants to watch. Yeah, you were the wife I dreamed of having.

    • @Velvet Hammer, we must have been married to the same man. The affairs, financial abuse, and then when confronted about affair and finally separation… oh “we’ve never been happy.” He has gone so far as to say that he saw traits in me prior to marriage that made him realize I’d never be the type to stay married. They can really twist things.
      Yet, he’d be more then happy to continue this show for appearances. However, I believe the ow has been pressuring him to leave me. So I’m hindsight he’s been planning this for years, just never was able to go through with it. I’m putting an end to the madness, they can have each other.

      I’m glad you got out and pass along your wisdom on here:)

    • “I heard NOTHING from him about being unhappy. Until I discovered the affair.”

      Same!

      Mine cried. He made a huge show of it. Shoulder heaving. Lots of tears…for himself. And, at the same time, he calmly said that he “thought” he’d “be happier with her, that they’d marry.”

      So on a hunch, he just decided, “Hey, what the heck? I’m not quite as happy as I’d like to be. I don’t tingle as much as I used to, and I’ve been enjoying fucking this woman on the side for almost 3 years, so let’s see how much I enjoy being with her, this ‘new, untested love,’ full time. What’s the big deal?”

      When it started to dawn on him that, hey, this entire betrayal thing might backfire on him (lose kids, colleagues, family), he switched from tears to rage and lies. And he blamed ME for everything. It was our marriage, my inability to forgive, my self-rightousness. It blinded me, apparently!

      Then he tossed this verbal grenade: “I should have left you 10 years ago.”

      I wanted to say (but didn’t because of CL’s advice to go NC), “You mean, you wanted to leave me 10 years ago when you got my initials tattooed on your thigh? The year you professed your undying love for me? I have it in writing!”

      To really fuck with me (his M.O.), he also floated the idea of getting back together after he enjoys three years fucking the AP. That he even offered this as a viable path signaled his complete disrespect for and devaluation of me.

      AND IT’S ALL MY FAULT! I’m SO mean and vindictive. I poisoned everyone against him.

      Cheaters are self-serving, entitled liars.

      • What is it about TEN YEARS?
        I heard “ten years” too. I know a lot of us hear the magical number “ten years”. Cheaters use “ten years” like alcoholics use “two drinks.” (No one would believe “one” and “three” sounds like you have a problem….)

        Our daughter was ten when he left. She was blindsided too. She grew up thinking we had a tight family and a mom and dad who were devoted to each other and our family.

        He told me after DDay that he thought about leaving since she was a baby but he he didn’t want to leave us “high and dry.”

        Jesus Christ on a cracker. WTF does that mean?!

        Well, it means I was being held HOSTAGE. And our daughter was being mindfucked too.

        • The ten years thing is so weird. I read so many stories that use the ten, some start with five and then go to ten as they expand their excuses.

          My cousin who lives in a different state, went through the same thing I did only two years later. He used the, I haven’t been happy for ten years, and I have dated for ten years, behind your chump ass back, same as my ex did. Her FW married his ho worker too.

          We had not see each other in years, I wish we had lived closer so we could have talked it through.

          Just to set up that cheaters all like and it is not the chump. We are the same age, I am a month older. I have a two year business degree, (but I was only about half way through it when Dday hit) and worked for DoD, after spending most of my years as a full time mom. I was short cute and was about 15 pounds overweight when all this went down, I was/am a casual housekeeper, not a spit shiner, but not awful either. MY FW was my first real love and first man I slept with. We were 18 when we got married. My FW is a high school grad, served four years in the Army and became a police officer in a mid size city. He did take a few college classes, but not until after we divorced.

          She is a highly educated federal judge. She went the traditional four year rouyte of college, the worked while she got her advanced degrees. She had no children as he was sterile, she is tall slim and very model like, and cute. Though I had not seen her since we were kids, I am pretty sure she is a spit shiner just like her mother (my dads sister) was. Also they had a regular cleaning person. Her FW was her first real love, and the first man she slept with, they married at 19. He is a white color highly educated state govt employee.

          Yet both of us had fuckwits who dumped us for a ho worker, using the I have been unhappy for 10 years story, along with other similarities. I was 40 when Dday happened, she was 42 (two years later).

        • Thank you for the two drinks reference Velvet Hammer – I almost spit out my tea I was laughing so hard! My cheating ex was a pretty heavy drinker but when he described his volume so to speak, he would say he always stopped at 2 and a half drinks – he was convinced that not finishing the third made him sound like he was in control I guess.

          • I’m an alcoholic in recovery and tell kids it’s like a peanut allergy….it has nothing to do with how many peanuts you eat, or even if you eat any at all. It’s a physical condition that has nothing to do with quantity consumed. But I have noticed people with a problem somehow seem to always pick “two”, as if that’s a magic number that means something….

            • The old “two drinks…” never three (even when it was five or six) is the truest thing ever VH. My cheater was an alcoholic so he had been lying to me for years before I even understood how easy I was to lie to and how easily he lied. This was trotted out as to his “units consumed” on the DAILY! And it was never true. They do not change.

        • My God! I’m sorry. I can’t imagine as a man considering leaving my wife and children. The only way I would have left is if it was in a casket because being a husband and a dad was my world. You wrap your entire identity in that and I’m sure as hell not dumb enough nor selfish enough to throw it all away for some female attention and fleeting sexual feeling.

          Thankful I don’t have to live with the guilt of such a thing just like I’m sure you are as well. Sick people out there.

          • You would think for people that live on such proclaimed moral high ground, that they would never cheat on their spouse and jeopardize their family. Yet, they do. It’s hard to imagine. Mine cheated on me each time I was pregnant. He’s not a ghoster as some have experienced, that has to be another level hurt and betrayal. But it’s good to hear that dads love their children in the way you described, I was convinced that maybe that was just not possible.

          • All sorts of people do this. Hence the existence of CL’s blog.

            Of course we of the Chump tribe find it unthinkable to abandon spouse, kids, pets, the mortgage, and our integrity. But we project our values onto people who don’t share them to our detriment and peril.

            What people DO tell you WHAT and WHO they are. Look at what people do, not what you think is the norm and the default based on your moral standards. What you do is to weigh their actions against your values, and in the case of cheaters, find that their actions are destructive and their characters are poor.

            Mills, you mention that you wrapped your whole identify into being a husband and father. First, there may be 2 ways to do that. One is the way you almost certainly mean–that your commitments to those role were the center of your life. The other is that disorders people inhabit an identity as a way to cover up their essential lack of real identity. It’s how they drop one life and segue into another so seamlessly. There is no central core to them, so the identity of spouse and parent is just a mask they put on to look normal.

            The second point is that none of us should build our whole Self around any roles–whether that is spouse, parent, son or daughter, sibling, friend. We shouldn’t build our sense of self around a career or a hobby either. There has to be a core Self that enters into those relationships and activities, and that can step back and assess the health of what we are involved in. A simple example is that of a parent who builds a life around the kids and then is bereft (not just sad or grieving the end of a life stage), but bereft when the kids leave the nest. Among other things, having a Self apart from commitments and obligations prepares us for the inevitable changes and losses of life. It was horrible to be betrayed, but my relationship wasn’t my identity.

      • Par for the course for these types. Rage-self pity- BS attempts to come back later, insulting shots.

        I have to deal with my ex continuously being a pathological liar about me to her family and anyone who will listen. You can’t reason with these Once they get exposed, if you dare issue consequences, no longer do what they want, they seek to punish you in an attempt to rewrite the narrative.

        My ex is always the victim in her mind.

      • Spinach! So many of the words your FW used are the same as my FW words! Was your FW GAY by any chance? Because that is the real mindless I get: he is gay, but it was my fault. He is gay and I discover in a traumatic way and then when I feel hurt it is, “why don’t you just FORGIVE and MOVE ON?!? I am worried about my retirement savings!!”

        There was also the time I was breaking apart from months of tey8nf to keep his secret to help him, but 8 was struggling so I spoke with our local clergy leader, S someone who could listen with a vow of privacy, and then my FW told me, “that was not kind. If you were really kind you would not have done that. I guess I cannot trust you now.”

        And the rage and lies! Oh man, the rage and lies. Carried out through the court system.

    • Same here! My husband was stressed but said it was work. He never said he was unhappy until I told him to GTFO after DDay. Then it was “I told you I was unhappy! This is all your fault!” WTF? Total surprise to me and everyone else. Then, however, a bunch of people have come forward to say how fake they thought he was. For me it was 25 years of me sitting around thinking we were happy while he was off fucking strange and, apparently, being unhappy. They are liars and cowards. If they’re so damned unhappy then why stay and then cheat on us and be hurtful and make such a huge mess? I don’t get it and I never will.

      • “They are liars and cowards. If they’re so damned unhappy then why stay and then cheat on us and be hurtful and make such a huge mess? I don’t get it and I never will.”

        Honestly I think the reason they stay is the benefits (for them) outweigh the advantages of leaving. Overwhelmingly they don[‘t leave until they are forced to, either by the betrayed spouse, the OW, or as in my FWs case he was involved with his employee and shit was hitting the fan at work.

        Barring being forced out, many would stay for years, and we have stores here where they did, until an outside force pushed them. Once they realize the dance is up, they have to quickly assign blame, and it won’t be to them.

  • Thank you for the translation. I am indeed a hopium addict and I am in terrible need of help kicking it. Even now, I thought for a moment that sending this to her might jog her conscience loose at seeing someone other than myself telling her she’s wrong. But I need to not care what she does or thinks, so I won’t.

    I’ll do better. Thanks again.

    • Shaun, I’ve been waiting 11 years for the remorse and apology. Other chumps have waited longer. It just doesn’t exist in these people.

        • Yeah. A big BUT that blames you! That “step off my neck” tells you that. What does she think, that she’s George Floyd?

          • I think the ” step off my neck ” comment is in reference to a statement made in an interview by the late, great Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. This cheater is the proverbial “piece of work.”

      • I did receive a remorseful apology in the form of a ‘good bye text’ in November a few weeks before our divorce.

        “I may not have any more opportunities to speak to you. I remain so sick and disgusted with my failure. You deserve so much better than this. You are the best person I’ve ever known. And you were a great wife to me I miss you all the time. I’m unhappy without you. I think about you constantly and worry about you and hope for your well-being. I’m so sorry I always will be. I will never stop loving you and caring for you.”

        It didn’t make me feel better. It just made me feel angry and manipulated and lied to.

        These are just words. They mean nothing.

        • Yeah, I got a letter (snail mail) about six months into our legal separation. “I don’t know why I acted like such a low life, yada yada yada. I don’t remember a lot of it. wish I still had it to send to CL. As you said it meant nothing. Maybe the pain was still too great. Also, if he had said, I am sending you this money (and enclosed a nice check) to help make up for the money I stole from you; because you should not have had to scrimp and save while I was spending money on my whore. Well maybe it would have had some teeth.

    • If Boss Fucker missed the entire world agreeing that infidelity, like murder, is wrong, a teensy missive is not going to be the after dinner mint that makes all the difference.

      Who cares anyway? After the person I should have been able to trust the most in the world intentionally beat the emotional shit out of me and our daughter with his hired hitwoman, all I want is for him to disappear ASAP.

      I learned as a psych major in 1983 that children learn by modeling. They don’t listen to you. They COPY you.

      What do you want your precious children to copy?

      Get a great therapist if you haven’t already, for you and your children. Most of us need outside help building our force fields against being treated like this and healing from a trauma of this catastrophic level.

      • “Who cares anyway? After the person I should have been able to trust the most in the world intentionally beat the emotional shit out of me and our daughter with his hired hitwoman, all I want is for him to disappear ASAP.”

        Absolutely.

    • Shaun

      Men that are good fathers to their children and faithful in relationships are GOLD. Put your time into yourself. Develop healthy boundaries (so another fuckwit doesn’t hoover you in) and you will have no problem finding someone more worthy of you. You need to put your focus on yourself for a bit. She will fade away once you do.

      • TooSmartforthisShit,

        Oh, no, no, no. Not GOLD. We’re just ALUMINUM to fuckwits like them. Useful for awhile, then tossed away into the recycling bin.🙄 Like Shaun, my FW XW fucked her boss to find a better life. And she set me straight; she told me that I was a better father than a husband. My faithfulness in the presence of their infidelity (he was a shitty husband who’d fucked around on his wife of 40 years and mother of his two daughters probably many times, and my ho XW, his administrative assistant, fucked around on me after almost 25 years of marriage and three kids (although in the last year or so, I’ve begun to wonder if there were others that chumpy, old, trusting me might not have suspected). Can’t blame my mind for wandering that way, though, after how she behaved.

        When I developed a severe depression after leaving my lucrative professional job of being a pharmacist after 20 years of being treated like a high priced dog in the workplace, and couldn’t figure out my next move immediately to provide for the family, that was it. My personal troubles didn’t matter to her. I was no longer providing the lifestyle she’d become accustomed to, or working in a position that she felt was respectable enough for her to be associated with. Add to that she’d been privately blaming me for getting her pregnant w/our youngest (our son, w/two older sisters), even though she initiated and controlled the events that caused her to get pregnant. And my developing diabetes didn’t help me much, either. That I will take responsibility for, w/my penchant for sweets to alleviate my depression.

        Oh, and I did get back in the workplace to try and provide for her and the family as best I could, becoming a mattress salesman for five years (she left me shortly after my second year as one, but I continued for a total of five until Covid furloughed me). It wasn’t good enough for her, obviously. I got told that she wanted me to find a better job, one w/better pay and hours. So I looked into going back to school to get a certificate in programming. I had started that course of action, when she and her boss (former now, but still her current partner) decided to fuck around w/each other in the name of “twu wuv.” Yeah, right. Those are two people who who clearly know next to nothing about love.

        Shaun, we may not be gold, but we’re not worthless like the actions and words of our fuckwit former spouses would like to suggest. Hold your head up, and remember you didn’t deserve to treated this shittily (new word?). If they were unhappy in the relationship, they could have just told us it wasn’t working anymore, and left, allowing us and THEM some dignity, as well as the kids. Instead they decided to abuse us in so many ways, but still think they’re owed respect for what they did and do as a spouse and parent, however good or shitty that may be. They don’t get that they’ve forever colored their past and future actions and words as shitty in our minds, because of the abuse they put us through and continue to put us and our children through.

        I’m wishing you the power to break the hopium, Shaun, and move in from her in this new year. You and the children are so much better off the farther you are away from her mindfuckery. Lots of love to you and your family. Reach out here if you need to; we’re a good group for that.😊 Best wishes. That of course goes for all of CN, and especially for all newbie chumps.

    • PS…

      I got the apology.

      It’s meaningless coming from a liar and a traitor.

      Remember in Animal House when John Belushi snatches the guitar from the sappy folk singer, smashes it to smithereens, and then mutters, “Sorry”? It works as a joke because it is so obviously insincere. In real life standing in the infidelity Superfund site, it’s obviously insincere as well. But it’s not funny.

    • Shaun, you are in very good company thinking that you can help her see the light but take it from all of us here at CN it ain’t gonna happen. I wrote my ex multiple heartfelt letters in the hope that he would at least acknowledge that he really fucked up a good thing (our family) and all he did was turn around and attack me more. Avoiding all interaction beyond what is necessary for your kids is the only way you can protect yourself from her endless fountain of abuse.
      The lines that really stuck out for me in this exchange were these:

      Cheater: “As a result of that choice, there are good and bad. There are things that needed to happen.”
      Cheater: “In some ways, I miss the marriage. In others, it was right to end. You grew. I grew. And our children continue to grow.”

      What she is saying is that she was right to blow up your family, it needed to happen – it was the right thing to do. Think about that the next time you start to feel the hopium kicking in.

      Protect yourself, educate yourself hear on CL and on other sites that provide insight to cluster b personality disorders (narcissistic personality disorder is a good place to start), be the sane parent that your kids need, trust that she really, really, sucks and know that it does get better.

      • Those two lines stood out to me as well. My x states them on the regular in emails to our sons, who want nothing to do with him. The entitlement and arrogance—Mine unilaterally chose to change the lives, forever, of 4 people so he can pursue a hooker. No remorse from mine at all.

        • Right. “There are things that needed to happen.”

          What the hell does this even mean? Passive voice. Passing the buck. Sharing the blame.
          Ugh! Classic.
          Let her go. Hard pass.

          • It’s the classic “(Insert bad thing had to happen) so I can grow/change.” It’s the same mind effery with “Your marriage can be better after an affair” saying.

            I’m sure Shaun and the kids are happy to know their lives are forever altered so mommy could be a ho with her boss and grow to posting self love memes on social media.

        • My three kids and I have received similar remarks and guess what? They have nothing to do with him and over three years later he still can’t figure out why. When he announced he was leaving for a co-worker, he actually had the nerve to tell us that if we loved him we would be happy for him since he finally found happiness in his life. It was clearly a shot at me but somehow he thought the kids would not take that personally. Arrogance, entitlement and a totally black hole when it comes to empathy. At the end of the day we are so much better off without him.

          • Imagine the lack of self awareness and arrogance one must possess to say that phrase and think it’s not insulting to the spouse and kids. Yeah, sorry, dad, for making you so miserable. Silly me to think having your kids and faithful spouse could be fulfilling. Go and be fulfilled with howorker! You’ve finally done it! Congrats. See you in a few years.”

          • OMG! Chumperella! Yes! Mine, too!

            *”Why isn’t everyone happy for me?”

            *”This (the affair) only has to do with your mom and me?”

            *”The rest of us can carry on as usual. The OW and I can even babysit for the new granddaughter. Right? RIGHT?” (My daughter was having none of it. He hasn’t seen his granddaughter since D-Day, which, of course, is my fault.) What a clueless ass.
            *”Why didn’t my sister drive 2 hours to comfort me when I confessed to the affair and was SO SAD? I drove to comfort HER when she found out that her husband had been cheating on her.” (He didn’t even appreciate the irony. Again, a clueless ass.)

            *sigh*

            • Spinach 35, my kids got the “this is just between your mom and me” as well. They did not agree with that assessment…. I was also schooled on “there are somethings that are just between and husband and wife” – obviously that did not apply to sexual relations in his mind lol. The one big happy blended family thing is the one that gets me the most. He laid out for me how we (including his AF) would have to spend holidays and special occasions together ’til death do us part, in spite of his blowing up the family. In our situations, with kids who are young adults, it is amazing that they feel they are absolutely entitled to a relationship no matter what hell they put everyone through.

              • So entitled. WTF!

                The cluelessness is what gets me. Well, that and a million other things. But that my ex thought he had a good relationship with his kids (except for when they were toddlers) boggles my mind. He didn’t. He was critical and toxic. He was abusive to all of us. (And I’ve apologized to the kids for my part in not protecting them and spackling.)

                If I ever mentioned to him that he might want to work on his relationship with the kids, he would become angry and defensive. “I have a GREAT relationship with them!”

                One daughter didn’t talk to him for a year when she was in college. And yet he still insisted that his relationship with her was terrific. Also, in trust narcissistic fashion, he thought that she went to med school to be like him!

                So he was already hanging by a thread with them when he dropped the bomb. It wasn’t hard for them to go NC, which I know is sad for them. I mean, overall the situation is sad.

                On Christmas, one of my kids (the eldest) said, “I don’t miss him at all.”

                Neither do I.

          • Chumperella,

            I’m glad you’re better off without him.

            I trust he doesn’t really know what true happiness is. You can’t lack empathy and experience true love.

    • I feel your pain Shaun. I can’t seem to fully get that my cheater sucks and cannot seem to get over it all and DDay was 2 years ago this month. He has moved on from the AP to a new person who he spends every minute with. He has been gone from this 21 year marriage for way longer than I knew. I cannot stop the hopium most days although I also know he was horrible to me both in the marriage and when he became a cheater. I know I deserve better but cannot seem to move on.

      • I’d suggest maybe taking some time away from consuming stuff about infidelity or any relationship-focused media and devote yourself to a hobby or craft no matter how small it may seem.

    • But Shaun, if you did get an apology, some tears of regret (probably bc her boss dumped her[sorry]), what would it change ? I know you think it would make you feel better but it doesn’t change the fact that she did this to you and your kids. She is selfish. Entitled. Manipulative.

      Show your kids that you’re the strong stable one with morals. Walk away, hold your head up high. You put your best into a relationship with a self righteous women. She doesn’t deserve your forgiveness. Try and find peace for yourself but don’t let her get away with having Christmas together. Urgh, I’m sorry for your pain. Good luck to you and the kids. I wish you well <3

    • She has no conscience to shake loose. Stop caring about what she thinks or feels. Stop trying to save her and turn her into an ethical being with empathy. She is not normal. Create a vision board for yourself without her on it. You made a mistake in choosing her. Focus on life with your kids and with yourself. Focus on you. Stop giving her kibbles.

    • Shaun, your kids need you to be better than this. They grow up learning by example and they need to see how reponsible, emotionally secure grown ups act. Show them there are consequences to our actions, maintaining boundaries keeps us safe and taking personal responsibility is required. Give them an alternative to their selfish, fuckwitted mother as a role model. Don’t doom that to that legacy. Show them a better path.
      She is going to be a flake all their life, but you can be their rock.

    • Shaun, even if you did get an apology, it would not make her trustworthy or ease the pain of being betrayed and discarded. I got many apologies and it only made it worse because it was such a mindfuck. If he’d not pretended to be sorry I’d have not engaged with him, so I would not have been treated to more manipulation and abuse. I would now be further along in my healing. Pulling your head out of the blender is the right decision.

    • Hey buddy, I know it hurts like hell especially as a man where your entire identity was wrapped up in being a devoted husband and father. I know you want so desperately for things to be the way you imagined they were.

      Here’s the stone cold truth- you were in love with an illusion. And the only way, THE ONLY WAY you’re going to get past it is by going no contact as much as possible. You create those boundaries, and enough time will pass to where the spell is broken. It worked for me. It will work for you.

    • It’s pretty human to want someone to “atone for their sins,” as it were. I think mostly we want this because it’s so terrifying to think that there are people out there who truly lack the morality we take for granted…that there are sociopaths among us. And, if only they can acknowledge that they are wrong, then can we feel safe in the world.

      But, these people exist, all over the place. And it behooves us to be able to spot them and avoid them. The good news is your ex has made it very clear that she is one of these people, so now you can avoid her.

      I’ve found, as I grow older, that my circle of “close people” is increasingly small because I’m exhausted trying to determine who’s a sociopathic liar and who isn’t. I have a small group of friends and family that are close, and the rest are tangential. I’m done spending time trying to figure people out. If someone new pops into my life, and there’s a compelling enough reason to want to move them into the inner circle, well I just let time take care of that. As in, give it a couple of years and let’s see where we are.

    • Shaun,
      You are not alone. I too have been addicted to hopium. I received no apology except a fake on of “I never meant to hurt you.” Then that same day “can’t you just stop all this now.” Faked remorse but also claimed not to have done anything wrong. I wanted to believe him, hell I’d just had a baby. I wasn’t ready to face the truth. About 2 years later my blinders fell off, or maybe he was nearing discard, I’m not sure but he was clearly still cheating. So unfortunately they don’t change and they don’t have remorse. It’s just not possible with these people.
      She cheated with her boss, she left. Period. She likely won’t apologize bc they don’t feel they’ve done anything wrong and believe their own bs lies/justifications. You have to give yourself closure on this bc it won’t come from her.

    • Shaun

      You’ll get there. It takes time to find yourself although it seems you know who you are more than you realize. Take time to heal. It takes as long as you need it to. When you go as no contact as possible and create your own traditions with your kids, life slowly becomes easier.

      Also, the statement about “stepping off her neck” made me think that you probably felt like she was “stepping on your neck” for a long time. She’s selfish and you deserve better. Your children will probably love holidays with less stress and drama. Trust me.

    • She has no conscience. That’s what you have to get into your mind. She’s disordered. Read Dr. George Simon’s blog on manipulative people. Read about narcissistic relationships and how they work. Get your mind right and the heart will follow.

  • “I have no one to lean on and I might never again. I have to pick myself up when I fall. I will likely die alone.”

    I knew there was an upside, Shaun! Seriously, I burst out laughing at these words. It’s not about you and your betrayal, Shaun. It sure as hell is not about the kids, or Christmas. It’s about her, her, HER, on her deathbed alone. With your unforgiving foot on her neck.

    Right out of the Fuckwit playbook. If Australia were nuked out of existence, a Fuckwit would feel very sorry for themselves that they never got to see the Great Barrier Reef. And resentful towards you for not acknowledging their pain and loss.

  • Shaun,
    I applaud that you set up a conditional situation that helps yourself see the genuine light. She’s not sorry. You got your answer. Now you and the kids can live your lives guilt-free. No need to back off even an inch and give her another condition. A lot of chumps aren’t gifted with such an articulate answer to their conditional situation. It frees you.
    You got this.

  • ….you do all that ride-share shit.

    OMG that had me spitting my coffee because that was how I was still of use to him! They are just shitty people looking for others that are of use to them, until those others aren’t. And us chumps keep looking at life through our lens on things and keep thinking if I can just get them to see what they are doing. Dr. Simon has it right–it’s not that they don’t see, they don’t agree.

    Shaun you’ve got this. She has blatantly shown you who she is. It’s actually a gift as many of us had cheaters that would fake it enough to get their Plan B family back while they tried on other schmoopies and lives until they thought they found a better fit again (hence why I’m Twiceachump).

    • Yes, same here. Two ex-FWs, same playbook. Begged to reconcile after D-Day#1, only to discard me again with different AP years later when they thought they found a better deal. Moral of the story? Never take them back after first discard. Never.

  • One of the most difficult things for a Chump to internalize is that the Cheater DOES NOT CARE and NEVER WILL. I can’t tell you, after three years of single divorced life, how many people suggest I do something or other in an attempt to make my ex regret what he did. It is such a spiritual relief to realize he wouldn’t care, and to let go (as much as I can) the feelings of hoping for him to ‘feel’ regret about what he did. So much intimacy is manufactured in our own minds.

    After a long-term marriage I doubt it will ever 100% disappear on a gut level but keep working at realizing this new chumps, it is worth it. It is a sad and difficult concept in the beginning but liberating in the long run.

    “I always just wanted to be a good wife and have a good husband. We were and then…we weren’t anymore.” Holy Moly. What a piece of work. The mental gymnastics to jump from point A to Z and leave out everything in between is mind boggling.

      • This. And radically accept the fact that the person you were married to during the “good times” is the fake…the REAL person is the one who cheated and abused you. That cheater managed to fake you out real good for a while there.

        Understanding this is another key to emotional freedom for those waiting for atonement or reconciliation…because in order for your cheater to do that, they’d have to go back into their fake persona…so, basically, you’re asking them to lie to you and gaslight you again. And, ultimately, very few of us truly want that.

    • The realization they don’t care, is a huge step. It’s all about them, they are the sun and expect everyone in their world to revolve around them. Once you see they are just a fake sunlamp you get kicked out of their solar system.

      It’s also hard to realize their true self is the one they try to hide; the cheater, abuser self. The fake self is the side we love, and the side that keeps us addicted to the hopium. The real mind f is realizing that person you love isn’t real.

  • Why would anyone insist on essentially bitching someone into a phony apology?

    It reminds me of the phony as fuck politicians and their “i demand an apology” bullshit. Its meaningless.

    My ex was as phony as they came and was hugely concerned with his image and coming off as a nice guy, so I’m super sensitive to phonies. He’d be a first class nasty prick and then paint a phony smile on his face and wish you a nice day, then he’d claim that he didn’t understand your problem. After all, he wished you a nice day! LOL.

    I’m glad she refused to provide one because it wouldn’t mean anything, but it might allow you to pretend.

    Even if you get this magical apology its what my father used to call “mental masturbatiom”……he’d say you can jack off in your head all you want and tell yourself it’s the real thing but it’s not.

    • Genuine remorse doesn’t require someone to beat an apology out of you (figure of speech).

      I too cannot stand phoniness. Personally, I like being an open book in life. You will always know where you stand with me and I’ll never have to lie about who I am or what happened. Life is easier that way.

      My ex? She’s the opposite. Image is everything. She needs everyone to think she’s mother of the year even though she has viewed her kids as a burden (constantly bitched about how hard it is and how her divorced friends love being divorced so they can get some time to themselves). This woman willingly gave up years of her children’s lives, I didn’t make that choice. She did. She made it to be a self-centered ho. But she makes sure to share the mommy memes on social media and put how amazing of a mom he is on her dating profile. LOL

      • The funny thing about phonies is that most people can smell it, so they don’t fool as many people as they think.

        I lack a filter but I’m not phony and you don’t have to watch your back with me and I’ve found that people appreciate that.

        I’ve even lacked a certain filter in job interviews and yet I’ve gotten an offer for every job I’ve interviewed for in the last 15 years.

        People appreciate one who is genuine as long as you’re a decent person.

      • My 5 year old said to me once that he liked when our neighbor friends would come visit because when they were over “Daddy pretends like he’s nice.” Even a 5 year old sees the image management. These FWs are somethinG else.

        • Like I wrote last week, the children always know. I wrote of my experience as a pre-teen and your little smarty is only five yet he nailed it with age appropriate words.

  • Women cheaters always speak in BS and become enamored with self love (self centered mumbo jumbo jargon, everyone else is to blame but me, celebrate me!). They will speak in vague terms and the stuff they say is so outrageous.

    Here’s some from my ex
    “I needed this to happen to know I wasn’t perfect.”
    “I had to do this to get you to detox from your phone.”
    “I needed to be free to choose you.” (I thought agreeing to marrying me was the choice but eh)
    “It’s your choice not to forgive.”

        • Ha! I got “you’re always miserable”
          I guess being married to a serial cheater (and always trying to fix the relationship) will do that to someone. Cheater’s happiness is always of the utmost importance. Stay away from her Shaun. You & your kids deserve better.

      • I’ve heard that line too! Followed by “can’t you just choose to be happy and look at the positives?” What might that be the fact that I haven’t tested positive for any std’s?

        • I got “you live in the past.” Have no idea what that was about but he did go on to marry someone 24 yrs younger. Who’s trying to reclaim the past now?

          • Right?

            And I will likely get bashed no matter how I say it; but the reality is there are many many more younger women now willing to date crypt keepers just for the financial advantage. In generations past generally only really rich men could attract these young women, now they are everywhere.

            I don’t in any way mean that women have not value after a certain age, I certainly think I have value and so do my many friends married and single. And there are more and more older women marrying younger men.

            It doesn’t change the fact that those young women are out there; and they are not shy. I don’t know how to combat that. Wrong is wrong and if I could make it all stop I would.

            • My ex just married the 21-years younger coworker for whom he left me on January 2nd. He’s paying for her to go to med school, for them to live in a half-million dollar condo in downtown Dallas, for her clothes, for her food, for their wedding – and, of course she got a bigger diamond than I got 28 years ago when we got married.

              I asked him to help me with the two dogs he left me with and he replied that he just doesn’t have the finances to do that. Hmmm…

              Many people say, “It’s your husband’s fault, not the other woman.” I call bullshit on that. The other woman had intimate conversations with him at work even though she knew he was married. She knew what she was doing. And, she calls herself a feminist. Maybe one day she’ll realize how damaging her behavior was to my financial standing so close to retirement. But my guess is no. She’ll either divorce him and get paid spousal support, he’ll die and she’ll get everything, or she’ll dump him for a younger model and have financial security through to her retirement years. Those women are leaches. They think only of themselves.

              I’m baffled that her parents, who are only five years older than my ex, did not set her straight…but, nope…the two betrayers are now married.

              • The whore in my FWs case did the same thing. He was one of a long line of married men she pursued. She was obviously looking for a meal ticket. In her case she wasn’t really young, only five years younger than he/me. She finally found one that was stupid enough to marry her. How much the fact that she was his direct report and he had his balls in a vice at work, played in to it I don’t know; but I am betting it didn’t escape her when she started the pursuit.

                Yes he was a cheating liar, but she was not innocent.

                She and he are both paying a huge price for their poor decisions now, but that is beside the point. Cheaters are not generally good decision makers, so that is not unexpected.

  • Shaun,

    Take a look again at what she says she regrets and misses (although qualified by “in some ways”). “The marriage.” “Aspects of a family.” She says nothing about you. She does not say “I miss you” or “I regret what I did to you.” She says nothing, in fact, about her own actions except that she made a unilateral “choice.” One has to wonder what other choice there is when one decides to clandestinely fuck someone outside the marriage.

    And then there’s that little word “together.” Her “We should enjoy our children together as a family while we have them.” Puh-leeze. What is it with cheaters and their post-cheating appeals to “together”? There is no “we,” and there is no “together” and the family is no longer what it was because the cheater sundered the connection and blew up the family by fucking someone else.

    Put down the hopium pipe for once and for all, man. And stop engaging and go grey rock/no contact. The less you hear from her, the less you engage with her, the less you think of her, the better for you. You need to be thinking of what you will do with your fuckwit-free future.

    • I’m glad you caught that. I did as well. Probably because it’s similar to how my ex originally spoke about reconciliation (not I love you and miss you -that came much later but was BS.I got- I want it for our kids. I don’t want to be with you but I want it cause it’s the right thing to do- OH THANKS!)

      My ex wanted to spend holidays together and I absolutely would not. We will forever have two birthday parties and two Christmases. I was forced to do a birthday party with her two weeks post D-Day and I felt like I was dying. It should come as no surprise that cheaters feel entitled to what they want at all times. The AP, the family when they want, etc.

    • ” “We should enjoy our children together as a family while we have them.” ”

      That is just another version of “I hope we can be friends” After fucking you over royalty. Of course that is what they want, the appearance of “friends” because then they can tell their acquaintances that “see, we just grew apart and the divorce was mutual” bullshit.

      • I would refuse to play along with that bogus narrative. Who would want to be friends with someone who continued to betray them, defraud them, and was so cruel and ruthless? Screw that noise

        It’s another attempt at trying to control you.

      • Bingo. STBX had zero desire to do things as a family. I made all the plans and he would either sit out or begrudgingly come along. During his “I still love AP and we should divorce” speech he was telling me how we could still do things as a family such as holidays and birthday parties (with AP and her kids there “you really can’t bury the hatchet for the sake of the kids?!”)* and maybe even do vacations together. I have zero desire to do performative co-parenting with him. I am responsive to actual childcare issues, but fuck that other noise. I think he just wanted to show his family that we were just two good people who just weren’t good for each other. He was quite shocked that no one fell for that. Immediately after the news came out we were separating, I had his family members calling me to ask what the real story was. That pissed him off, but this is what happens when you have family of decent character and I am a warm, approachable person. It reflects more on him than anyone else.

        *I actually don’t think he has any plans to bring the AP around friends or family even if covid weren’t a thing. It would be too embarrassing for him. Their relationship worked so much better when it was only an affair and he had me to lean on.

        • “Their relationship worked so much better when it was only an affair and he had me to lean on.”

          Yep, and my guess is, it was also a lot more exciting when it was just an affair. Long term marital sex can not compete with the illicit thrill of an affair. At least that is what I read. Never tested it.

          Yes I had a new and exciting relationship with my now H, but it was not illicit as we were both free; and we never tried to hide it.

  • For the people who actually tried to make it work with a cheater, how in the hell did you ever get over your spouse being physically intimate with someone else? I don’t know how it affects women but as a man, I see them as forever tainted. I couldn’t physically be with someone who stepped out on me. It’s humiliating and you can never trust that person and certainly don’t know how you rise to the occasion for it.

    • I think most of the time they don’t ever get over it, they bury it. I am not casting stones, as I would likely have tried if he had been willing. (thank God except for some fake hoovering) he wasn’t and I knew it. But, I also had a secure job, and I carried my own health insurance, and I knew that barring ill health I could take care of myself. Plus I prayed a lot. Couldn’t afford counseling (which may have been to my benefit) so I prayed.

      If you want to get some insight as to how some folks do it, go and read the blog betrayed wives. The hoops the women jump through to preserve their marriage is heartbreaking. So many of them live in constant abuse for years. Yes some men do it too; but I do think and stats back it up; that more women try to forgive than men.

      Part of that is because the women in most of these cases are the ones who have done most of the sacrificing. I get that may not be the case in your situation, but for the women who do try to save their marriage; it is all wrapped up in family, children, and yes even finances. It is all wrapped so tightly that it is frightening when it first hits you. The more trusting you were, the more it will devastate you and likely the more you will try to salvage it.

      Also, so many of these folks (mostly women) are being used and abused by RIC type counselors. It is just a horrid situation.

      CL and the brave men and women on this site are pushing through that wall of blame against the betrayed spouse. No one is perfect, no marriage is perfect; but mental, emotional, physical and financial abuse is beyond the pale. It must be disclosed for what it is.

      • In regards to offenders, while men definitely cheated more in the older demographics, women cheat just as much as men in this generation. What you see is just more women are vocal about being cheated on where as some men see it as humiliating. I mean, this site is overwhelmingly female (and becomes men bashing at times).

        I tried to save my marriage for a few months, she refused to cut off ties wit the AP or try to make it work (until a few months later when things got rocky with the AP), and so I filed for divorce but thankful she never took me up on my initial attempt to reconcile.

        The RIC is a pile of victim-blaming shit especially toward Christians. The books I read (“What did you do to contribute to the cheating?” Timid forest creature hocus pocus) still irk me to this day. I cringe for the men and women who get suckered into the circus of purgatory.

        • I have not seen man bashing, I have seen cheater bashing.

          Yes women are catching up. However, I was just trying to answer your question on how/why they might attempt to reconcile with a cheater.

          I think men are great. I have been married to a wonderful man for years now. My son is amazing, I have had a wonderful father and two great brothers. One still living.

          However, my ex was horrible to me for quite a while. His sins are his sins; and in his case he has paid quite the price for his actions. Mostly because he didn’t attempt to change his behavior after we were divorced. It is all on him.

          Was my ex always that way, or did he go through mid life crisis and turn into a monster. Who knows, doesn’t matter his sins are not on the backs of good men and women.

        • Hi Mills. As a woman, I feel comfortable in telling you it was the most humiliating experience I have dealt with in my entire life. I was absolutely mortified – I could not even share it with my immediate family at first. It was days before I could even say that he was having an affair out loud. I think at least in my generation, GenX, women are simply more willing to talk about their feelings and their life situations. To be honest, my cheating ex was shocked when it got back to him from mutual acquaintances that I told them the truth about our divorce – he assumed I would be too embarrassed and humiliated to tell others that he left me for a scandalously younger, married co-worker with 2 small children.
          I don’t think the man bashing is intentional and as someone else said- I think much if it is cheater bashing and most of us hear were cheated on by men so I can see how it would feel like man bashing. On a personal note, I would never generalize what I feel about my cheating ex into an “all men” belief system; my wonderful son deserves better than that (as well as my daughters.)

          • 👍

            I was like you. I didn’t say anything at first, not through the whole year of shitty treatment, not after Dday for about three weeks. Because he manipulated me and told me he wanted it kept quiet as he was “still trying to decide”

            I finally broke and called my Dad, who live in another state. Then I called my preacher.

            He wasn’t trying to figure it out, he was trying to keep it secret, in hopes I would get mad and file, then he could tell everyone it was on me, and he could bring schmoopie (his direct report) out of the trailer park, and they could “start dating”. Nothing against mobile homes, my dad and his wife lived in one for years after he retired. (my mother died young)

            Blew up in the ass wipes face, someone dropped a dime on him and he got his nuts in a vice, within a month was busted in rank and put back out on patrol. It wasn’t me who outed him, but I am so glad he did, other wise he could have pulled off a big scam. He suffered all sorts of humiliation and consequences and he deserved it.

            I agree, this is mostly women here so obviously men will be bashed, but it is not all men, it is fuckwits. fuckwits are so common in behavior, they are interchangeable.

          • I’m very glad to see comments from guy chumps. Just as I am so appreciative for my male friends, who are also loyal husbands and fathers, and my own dad who is a loving loyal soul. I take great comfort in knowing that there are more Mills out there than their are of my ExH.

        • RIC is a load of nonsense and tries to blame the victim. My STBXW cheated on her ex boyfriend whom she lived with and it was multiple men she cheated with. Then she cheated on me with multiple men. The problem is not us chumps, it’s the cheaters who often have personality disorders and just crap people in general. It’s like asking what a rape victim did to make the rapist do it, what did Ted Bundys victims do to make him kill them, extreme examples yes but having a wife or husband completely destroy your life and kids lives after years of cheating, lies and abuse is extreme yet it’s painted over in society.

          In my situation I’ve seen how skewed society is towards the female. Domestic violence allegations and I’m arrested and asked by the police what’s been happening and I state caught wife cheating with near 20 men. Social services focus was simply on removing me from the home despite its my STBXW who caused all of it. Painted me as an abuser despite years of her gaslighting and abusing me both financially, physically and emotionally, yet since I’m a man I’m the automatic perpetrator. My STBXW even admitted in message that prior to me catching all her cheating that I was not abusive and she was not scared of me in anyway. I even put that to social services and asked, if I was a domestic abuser and she was living in fear of me then why did she continue to cheat on me even after having been caught several times in a row? Is that the actions of a DV victim? I never stopped her going out, never controlled what she wore or who she spoke to. She use to tell her friends even a year ago how she was glad I was not abusive. Yet when she got caught cheating I’m suddenly after 15 years an abuser. I just woke up one morning and thought fuck it, I’m going to start beating my wife. My kids were interviewed by social services and not one single concern of their safety was raised. I don’t even smack my kids and never have. Kids have never ever had anything but love from me. Yet I decided randomly after 15 years to just beat my STBXW? Truth is, if you’re a man you’re fucked on many levels. It’s nearly always the man who loses the home, has to start from scratch in a new home with no furniture or appliances, left on their own whilst the STBXW gets the kids so forth.

        • Also to clarify, when I say mostly women are abused via the RIC’s and such, what I mean is that more women will jump through hoops to save a marriage than men will. I don’t mean that men are not treated this way, it is just less likely (statistically speaking) they will try to save the marriage at any cost. Lots of reasons for that I am sure, but I am not bashing men because they won’t in general try to save a marriage to a FW, I in fact am happy they don’t.

          You asked your self how can folks do it, because you couldn’t. That is to your advantage that you couldn’t.

          I was just trying to explain why, from what I read and understand and have experienced why many would. And many of those that would are women. It doesn’t make men abused by cheaters are less than.

          • Sorry, my rant was not aimed at you. I sometimes tend to go of in a ramble but was not directed at your original comment.

            • I know that sometimes when I post, it comes off as not quite what I meant. I think that is the problem with hard words. No tone, or ability to change on the spot what you mean.

      • Susie Lee,
        You worded that all so eloquently. I couldn’t put into words the desperation I felt when I discovered the cheating. I was financially dependent (abused), really manipulated, and so self sacrificing for our family. Trying to make my husband happy, keeping the house going, kids loved and taken care of. I wasn’t sure what was going on, I was so emotionally abused by this man. It was terrifying and yet I loved him and was desperate to keep our family together. Lots of time, introspection, therapy, and reading has helped. But I can see why women do feel stuck. They are slowly made to feel powerless. And @Mills many times there is sexual abuse as well. Abuse is not generally limited to one type, they all tend to co-exist.

    • When I was stupid enough to try to reconcile the first time, I did the stupid bonk like rabbits to win the pick me dance thing. I felt like he was a dirty prostitute the whole time. After D Day #2, I never got over it. that feeling of disgust.

      • Yup, sex with him after knowing what he did was disgusting, but I thought hey if we’re going to stay married and work this out then it should go back to normal. Never was the same. I didn’t want to talk to him, I didn’t want to touch him. Then of course he goes and casually mentions because we had sex after the reveal it was legally considered reconciliation. Hell. No.

        • I didn’t get the hysterical bonding bug either.

          When he came back for that week after we were legally separated, I experienced the same thing. I felt nothing. It was weird. It was only the one time, and by mid week he was treating me like crap again, so I asked him to leave. I am pretty sure I know what that week was about, but it wasn’t about him wanting to come back.

          In our case it didn’t derail the separation, I checked before I let him come back home.

          Soon as he left I called the lawyer back and said, nope it was all a lie. So the process moved forward.

    • “…see them as forever tainted. I couldn’t physically be with someone who stepped out on me”

      The first time X confessed, it was because schmoopie soul mate circa number five told him she was diagnosed with HPV and that he had to “tell” his wife (me).

      I was too naïve and dumb and no support like chump nation to clue me in to what was really going on. Decades later, he’s simply X.

      Sobering reality:

      HPV can cause cervical and other cancers including cancer of the vulva, vagina, penis, or anus. It can also cause cancer in the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils (called oropharyngeal cancer).

      Cancer often takes years, even decades, to develop after a person gets HPV. The types of HPV that can cause genital warts are not the same as the types of HPV that can cause cancers.

    • Ultimately, yes. But sometimes it takes a minute to get there. I did the “hysterical attachment” thing just after discovering his cheating. But, once the reality of his actions hit me, and once I came to terms with what he’d truly done, it was over. I look back now, years later, and get incredibly grossed out at the thought that I used to sleep with that guy. YUCK!

      I think most of the people who stay with a cheater in the long term probably have incredibly low self worth and/or spend the bulk of their adult life just trying to stomach being with this person. Neither scenario is a way to live, IMO.

    • To answer your question-it’s miserable. Nothing was special anymore because Rat Bastard took that away when he was screwing other women. After DD #1 I tried to keep my family together, then to find out while I was having sex with him, he’s still with AP #2. It made me feel ashamed at the time. Now? I don’t think of him. I kicked him out 2 years ago, divorced him and have since realized I have nothing to be ashamed of because I did not blow up my family. I’ve created a safe haven for my kids.

  • OMFG. This grandiose drama queen is so full of herself she deserves her own rendition of My Way.

    And now, the end is near
    And so you face the final discard
    My chump, I’ll say it clear
    You state the case, that I’m a fucktard
    And since your fog has cleared
    You see my deeds in such a stark way
    But cry, for poor poor me, I did it narc way

    Regrets, I’ve had a few
    But then again, too few to mention
    Remorse? No, none for you
    I have the specialness exemption
    I planned each charted course
    Each stupid step along the parkway
    So cry, for poor poor me, I did it narc way

    Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
    When I blew other guys than you
    And through it all, you have no doubt
    I gobbled it up, never spat it out
    I loved it all, now you’re appalled, I did it narc way

    I’ve loved myself, I’ve sneered at you
    I’ve had some fun with all the using
    And now, you got a clue
    I find it all so amusing
    To think I did all that
    And may I say, in quite a dark way
    Oh me, glorious me, I did it narc way

    For what is a chump, what has he got?
    If not myself, then he has naught
    And me, I’ve got some feels
    A rutting pig, please hear my squeals
    The record shows
    I gave the blows
    And did it narc way

    Yes, it was narc way

  • Plenty of cheaters are good actors and can show ‘remorse’. This man’s wife is too arrogant or too assured of his chumpiness to even bother doing that.

    As CL says, there is nothing to work with here. Wife is a liar, cheater, deceiver, entitled user.

    Dragging this out just destabilizes the kids more. Believing that they are doing the kids a favor with this ‘intact family’ is wrong thinking.

  • But Shaun, if you did get an apology, some tears of regret (probably bc her boss dumped her[sorry]), what would it change ? I know you think it would make you feel better but it doesn’t change the fact that she did this to you and your kids. She is selfish. Entitled. Manipulative.

    Show your kids that you’re the strong stable one with morals. Walk away, hold your head up high. You put your best into a relationship with a self righteous women. She doesn’t deserve your forgiveness. Try and find peace for yourself but don’t let her get away with having Christmas together. Urgh, I’m sorry for your pain. Good luck to you and the kids. I wish you well <3

  • LOL. I got the “I’ll probably never date again” line as well. How long was that? Probably 30 seconds before she was back with the AP and begging him, back to Hinge, back to apartment neighbor she’s involved with.

    Never fall for the sad sausage routine. Most here probably didn’t see the movie Halloween H20 but just after trying to murder Laurie Strode, Michael Myers finds himself pinned between a tree and a van, and reaches out for help, preying on Laurie’s emotional connection, for a brief second she reaches out to hold his hand but sees his eyes behind the mask, and then she swings an axe…I always think of the manipulation by cheaters in that way.

  • FEELINGS FOLLOW ACTIONS.

    That’s why wedding vows say to FORSAKE all others.

    The cheaters were not struck like lighting by feelings for other people. “Falling in love” happens as a result of their actions toward their accomplice. Biological Psychology was my most challenging class in college. There is a lot of neurological chemistry produced which influences emotions when you have sex with someone. Attraction to others is normal if you’re human and breathing. NOT ACTING ON THEM is what commitment is about. Acting on them creates the “in love” thing.

    The good news and the personal power I have available to me is that MY feelings toward the traitor are also influenced by MY actions. That’s why Gray Rock and minimal (we have a child) contact are SO important. I have to go through withdrawals and deprogramming for the hopium cravings to die. My actions toward the traitor have to deprive the illusion of oxygen. I act like he died because he kind of did. He is not the person I thought he was and acting as if he is only serves to keep me hooked in. Three years out the deprogramming continues but I have made tremendous progress. He disgusts me now as opposed to remaining attractive to me after The Big Lie was revealed. I must act as if he is very dangerous and hazardous to my health.

    Because he is.

    • “There is a lot of neurological chemistry produced which influences emotions when you have sex with someone.”

      Yep, and the chemistry starts before the sex, in the flirting and emotional bonding stage. That is why as you say, when you feel that attractions loyal spouses will shut it down… Cheaters will keep feeding it.

      In my fw’s case, one of the women who worked in his office (clerk) said the whore would come to his office every day telling him her troubles, I imagine that at some point she got him to say a negative about me; and boom she had him. It isn’t like she didn’t know what she was doing. She had plenty of practice with married men. Just took a while I guess to find a really stupid one.

      • Right, they act so passive in this destruction. Just something that happened. I didn’t mean to fall in love with schmoopie! Oh sure, I came up with excuses for us to work on the same team/sit next to each other at work social outings/planned drinks for just the two of us when I told you I was working late. But that just happened all by itself!!

    • Exactly, great strategy. People who get divorced under “amicable” circumstances don’t understand the toxicity we deal with, which leads to no contact. I found myself slowly detaching from these “happily uncoupled” people because I grew tired of their judgement and little hints that maybe, just maybe, my ex and I could be friends once I “got over things.” Nope. He will forever be toxic to me. The friends I’ve kept in my life totally get that.

      Years later, after mucho drama from him and extreme boundary setting by me, he and I have a business relationship when dealing with our daughter’s needs. Any major life issues with our daughter are discussed with her therapist present. Any financial related issues are discussed through my attorney. All else, such as medical appointments, are agreed upon through brief emails. That’s that.

  • Shaun:
    Please pick up a copy of the book “the sociopath next-door“. I think this will really help you and understanding your ex-wife, so you can adjust your expectations and move forward in your life.

    Good luck.

    • I watched Gone Girl over the weekend and some of that psycho reminded me of my ex. LOL

      Yes, Shaun, learn about being a narc/sociopath. You’ll discover it’s like having an opponent’s playbook.

  • There is no apology that will actually change anything. I’m sorry, I know you want there to be.
    I did too. Then my ex apologized for being an asshole, insisted he missed us, he didn’t know why he cheated and he couldn’t promise not to again.

    I wanted him to apologize and make it so this never happened. Not possible.

    I filed for my divorce, and in the next few months poor, lonely cheater got his gf pregnant. Yeah, I’m glad that apology opened my eyes to who he was early.

    We separated 2 years ago, divorced just over a year ago.

    My kids and I have a whole new, cheater free life.

    There is no way to apologize. Cheating is not an accident. It is a conscious decision. Many conscious decisions to lie and expose you to disease and it is abuse.

    I hope you take Tracy’s advice. There is nothing for you with this woman.

  • Shaun,
    I got the Oscar-winning apology. Tears streaming down his face, promising he was going to spend the rest of his life being the husband I deserved. I didn’t know what to believe – I mean if he was THAT sorry for his actions, wouldn’t he have figured it out sometime in the 10 years of his double life? (There was not one OW, it was Craiglist hookups with people) Wouldn’t he have changed his actions of his own volition? But I was confused because I was desperate to keep my family intact. My therapist said to take time and see if his actions matched his words. Watch carefully. He went to therapy and would come home excited to tell me all about. When someone is a master manipulator they can really charm to get what they want. But once you know how good a person is at lies, you are much much sharper at spotting them. His mask would slip and I would see the truth. The typical blameshift, gaslighting that you read about so often here. Divorced 4 years now and I know that his fake teary apologies were all a massive lie. He spends his time smearing my reputation – bitter, unforgiving.

    Even though it took a while, Shaun, you see the truth now. Some of us chumps take longer than others. Pat yourself on the back for where you are now!

    • Yeah, making a choice time and time again to deceive your wife makes it pretty difficult for me to buy a “I’m sorry” act. If you were sorry, you never would have done it or would have been consumed with so much guilt the first time that you’d confess it.

      But no, they deny their spouse the knowledge to make a choice for their lives that would not benefit the cheater. They’re all full of it.

  • For the longest time I wanted an apology from my Ex, thinking that would be some kind of closure for me. It took me years to understand he wasn’t sorry, because he is not like me. If I hurt someone, I hurt for them and try to make amends. He, however, cares about no one but himself.

  • My d day was July 5 2016. Shattered me and my kids. I begged for my marriage. Dumbass. He never said sorry just I’m sorry this HAD to happen….had been going on for three years!! Our kids were friends. Hell we even took her kids on a weekend away with us once. Her husband filed for divorce immediately. I tried for a while. Lost too much weight and worried. He pretended to try for a month or maybe two then he was seeing her again, I found that out the following August when we had a big blowout ending the 23 year marriage. They are married to each other now and I think they are ridiculous. I do hate how some “friends” seem happy for them….weird….
    After reading Chumpladys book three times in a row I feel empowered!
    Thank you this is a lifesaver.

    • How embarrassing to know your new marriage is the result of nuking your families and straying in your marriages. That’s their story from here on. They can post the pictures on social media and play it up but one day, one day (might even be here), they will wonder if the other is doing the same thing to them.

      There’s no honor among thieves.

      From a curiosity standpoint, who found out first? You or the other husband?

      • His AP’s husband saw a text and she told him then my X was forced to tell me or the AP’s husband was going to tell me himself. He told me he had more in common with his ap…..
        The other spouse got more info and details that I did. My X refused to tell me much. He gave her a ring two months after our divorce was final. The “new” wife loves to post on social media snd she loves selfies. Always has, even when we were friends I thought it was a bit much…

  • I wish I had time now to reply to all the comments so far. I appreciate them all.

    I tend to be long-winded and knowing that, I didn’t give a full background. While it doesn’t change the truth of your advice, it does clarify my state of mind at the time. It might be something worth writing about, for others who perform the same mental gymnastics as me.

    So, I’d convinced myself I could fix her. Because, I’d convinced myself that she wasn’t an actual sociopath, or narcissist, just someone who was scared and ashamed, and was protecting her own feelings to prevent her ego from shattering, by behaving as the disordereds do.

    If that’s all it was, then in many ways, she was suffering, and I knew the cure. She just had to confront her demons. If she could just find the strength to do that, she would be cured. So I tried to show her she was safe to open up. Not addressing our past was intended to make her feel comfortable with being honest. I tried to create an environment that would help her feel safe enough to finally let it all out. I just knew that this was what she needed to be herself again. She was a good person who did a bad thing, and didn’t know how to fix it, despite how absolutely obvious the solution was, and the myriad opportunities she’d been given.

    But, yeah. Kibbles and cakes and pies, oh my! Whether she’s a sociopath, or frozen in terror at her own actions, there’s no pipers paid.

    Thanks again Tracy, this site is invaluable. And thanks again to all the commenters too! Loving the Star Wars references.

    • For me, this site has been amazing in seeing how similar cheaters are to each other even if the circumstances are wildly different e.g. seeing prostitutes vs a long term affair with a single AP. But it’s also frequently mentioned here that BS describe their spouse as suddenly feeling alien to them. Like they’ve been body snatched. They’re not the same person they married. Before d-day I would have described my spouse as one of the last people I would think would cheat, and yet he did and it is incredibly difficult to reconcile that this is all the same person. With some time and distance from him, I have come to see many of his narcissistic characteristics. But when we were living together, I chalked so much up to untreated depression and anxiety and did a pick-me shimmy like no other to help him get better.

    • Brother, you’ll find reading this site how none of our situations are unique. They all say the same stuff and use the same tactics.

      The “make her feel safe” stuff rings a bell. When I caught my ex, I thought she was just brainwashed and had been manipulated by some guy to do this. HAHA. No, she was a POS who had done it before and had been doing it for years. But the “make her feel safe” thing came from her not wanting to tell the truth and needing to have a “safe space to tell the truth.” LOL. First off, that place didn’t exist. It’s a way to put off telling the truth, a simple thing to do.

      Read the timid forest creature article of CL.

    • I’m so glad you are putting all the pieces together Shaun. Being “woke” on these issues is not a linear process or an overnight one. It took me a while to understand what was really happening.

      “She was a good person who did a bad thing…”

      The new version of the above sentiment, per your new understanding, should read like: “She is a bad person who hid her badness for years by doing some good things.”

      The real “lightbulb” moment in healing comes when you realize that your ex is a shitty person, always was a shitty person, and any goodness was something she faked. The real her is what you’re experiencing now. The fake her is what you were conned into all those years ago. And, it sucks to believe that you could have been so fooled by her for so long…but you were. We all were.

      And this last part is where the “fix your picker” bit comes into play. How to better spot the red flags and faux personas that you were unable to see in her.

      • Yes, my attorney told me over and over “good men don’t do these types of things.” He truly had to prod me along to see that the other side was a monster that I had to watch and protect myself from. Other times, he’d talk about “the boy.” I’d ask why the terminology, and he said, “Because real men don’t act this way. He’s an immature 60-something boy. You deserve so much more.”

        Consider that the good may have been faked or for purposes of manipulation. Ouch!

    • Yes.
      My ex was suffering too. He was sober, but had never been able to find the self awareness or peace of mind that I had when I quit drinking.
      I could see his discontent and self hatred. He filled time with addictive exercise and tattoos. He was absolutely depressed and desperate.

      That said, I deserved better. He will probably never find contentment, he was only holding it together with my help half the time. And it turns out without him my life is just much more free.

      It’s sad to see someone we loved and know could be better not live up to our expectations. That’s a lesson for us all. We can only change ourselves.

  • Shaun, she totally had no intention of remorse or apology. I noticed in her response about Christmas together. If we can’t have it only say that. She don’t want to listen to her having to take responsibility and be accountable. Take CL best advice on the talking with her. Use a parenting software and only discuss the kids. Move on from her. She will do the same thing eventually. She isn’t sorry.

  • Sitting here, with the morning coffee, reading Chump Lady blog and having a good ole belly laugh. The comments are as entertaining as the blog! You guys are hilarious. Thank you CN!! It is good for taking away the taste of the shit-sandwich slightly.

    Cheers to sanity.

  • Oh Shaun… I don’t know about you, but all I hear in my head during her diatribe are the seagulls from Finding Nemo saying,” Me… me…me…me…” egads – go grey rock and make it stop already.

    Your kids need a sane parent; you can provide your kids with a family without a cheating fuckwit – many of us have and are doing it right now. Cozi.com is my favorite scheduling software and has handy calendars that Judges love to see when negotiating custody and you need to show who the parent is that shows up.

    Pull the plug on her image management show, only to be occasionally interrupted by the pity channel commercial breaks. YOU DESERVE BETTER. YOUR KIDS DESERVE BETTER.

    And I will say it here and you can hold me to it on January 4, 2022… your life and your kid’s lives will get infinitely better when you consistently stop engaging with her. Go make your own life, savor your moments with your kids and make sure they feel loved and not pulled, find your own happiness (and with any karmic luck, your cheater will die alone.)

  • Shaun, I’m really sorry you went through this. Please know that from the outside looking in, your ex wife sounds like one helluva selfish robot. When she left you and her family for her boss (for 2 years), that would have been the best time to completely let her go — she showed you exactly who she is. I know it’s hard to give up hope. Now you probably can see just how truly awful she is. She is a horrible person. I hope you can move on for you and your family. Please — let her go. Even if by some twist of fate she apologizes… believe all of her past actions and not her words. Listen to the Chump Lady. She speaks wisdom. Let your ex wife go and never look back.

  • Hello Shaun

    I am sorry for the heartache and confusion that was inflicted on you by your ex-wife.

    I too was/am waiting (in vain) for a mammoth apology, however my ex told me he had already apologised and there was no need to repeat himself. There I was trying to recall this apology and then it hit me:

    HIM: I’m sorry
    ME: For what? (Sarcasm)
    HIM: Everything

    That was it! It was such a crap attempt I couldn’t even remember it.

    You sound like a lovely man Shaun and your children are extremely lucky to have you to navigate them through this difficult time. There will be ladies lining up around the block to date you (when you are ready of course).

    The way the world is now, finding a partner (or friend), that is loyal, trustworthy, empathetic with no hidden agenda is the rarest of the rare so it blows my mind why anyone!! would want to throw that away.

    Dig deep Shaun and be the legend that you are.

    • I’m going to get a little tangential here (and this is not directed specifically at you Mort), but this brings up another big difference between male and female chumps.

      Can we talk about this double standard of how male chumps are golden finds and ladies will be lining up for them, and female chumps are treated as a dime a dozen?

      Maybe it just feels that way because the male chumps aren’t as chatty, and it would s by no means restricted to this board, but I’m tired of feeling like I’m past my expiry date while middle aged male chumps have something wonderful to offer.

      I think that kind of talk reduces men and women equally because it supposes that most men aren’t loyal so male chumps are magical unicorns, and supposes that most women are loyal so female chumps don’t have anything special to offer.

      • Hello F&L

        I didn’t mean any offence to the ladies. The sentence was directed specifically to Shaun.

        My sentiment that finding someone trustworthy, loyal etc. was directed at ALL chumps. In this world finding either gender with those traits…whether it be a romantic partner, friend, gym buddy, colleague etc is unique so these are qualities that should be cherished in another person.

        • I wasn’t calling you out but just commenting on a commonlay expressed theme that a middle aged male chump seems to trade higher (if you will) than a middle aged female chump.

          I’m fiercely loyal (working on the TO A FAULT part) so I feel I bring a lot of value to a relationship. Most men my age seem to be with women 15-20 years younger.

      • Hi Fearful,
        I haven’t posted here in a few months, but I regularly read the blog. You were supportive of me last year, when I was at my lowest.

        It still hurts and is tough, but I’m learning to live with it and trying to move on and focus on my boys.

        I’ve never met you, but I can say with certainty that when you’re ready, you are most definitely a catch and someone as kind as you are will have men fighting to be with you.

        • CaliChump! So glad to see you, and hear that you are making it through. Your boys are fortunate to have such a solid man as a role model. I hope in the future when and if you’re ready, you find a partner that’s all in and has your back.

      • I’m glad you mentioned that F&L. I’ve noticed that it’s starting to get out of hand too. I know that no one means it that way, mostly. It’s an easy thing to say to cheer on male chumps. But it was starting to depress me too, and I’m not alone or in fear of never finding love.

        But it has an unfortunate implication which keeps some women in chump land. Too many women think it’s hopeless to find a respectful man. A lot of us didn’t see women get respect in our parents marriages. The jerks are out grabbing attention and whatever else they can. It’s too easy to forget some men aren’t like that. Not to mention the endless messages that women has a fast expiring shelf date. I have female friends & family in that situation.

  • ha hahahaha This! “I have no one to lean on and I might never again. I have to pick myself up when I fall. I will likely die alone.” [Notwithstanding the gazillionaire downgrade GF, of course.]

    OMG I got this almost verbatim. Also, too, in addition: “I will be financially insecure forever” (weeping implied). Because FW has to pay his share of child’s college expenses. Yeah.

    They really all have a manual (flips to page xxx, or is that 666?). Trust that they suck.

  • I felt compelled to chime in,

    I am one of the four people she f’d over with my covert narcissistic ex-husband “aka the boss.” Two marriages were destroyed, along with four innocent children. I never got a sincere apology either. After 5 long years, I don’t expect one. He reaches out to me only when he is lonely and is without a new supply, saying about wanting to be a better father and his blah blah blah… His justifications for leaving a 16 year relationship and 9 year marriage for his work “friendship” at the time” are completely selfish and f’d up. He manipulated the marriage by making him turn to her my fault. I was the cause for his daily unhappiness and I could not meet his expectations. It wasn’t till seeing a well trained therapist that I realized that my two young boys and myself are better off without his years of abuse and gaslighting.

    Karma has a funny way of reaching people. In the two years they were chum buddies at work, he broke his banana and lost his 90,000 salary due to his revolving door of poor choices. He now moved on to his next victim, which unfortunately she seems likes a “total gem.” He moved in with the new supply within 3 weeks of meeting her and got engaged within 6 months. Things never change, and it’s his boys that are continuously still affected by his selfish choices. But, folks that is a story for another day. Better Off

  • I get it. I tried to get apologies from mine every which way. Never worked. Finally I disengaged and plotted a new course. Sometimes, you have to cut your losses and move on.

    Mine took off, leaving me near retirement and having only worked part-time for twenty years. I had to deal with all the local explanations and headaches. He grudgingly sent support with strings while living the good life. And on and on through a high conflict divorce. I only got a few crumbs of remorse and apology with a heap of blame and ugliness. Even his attorney felt sorry for me and told mine that his client was “morally bankrupt and reprehensible.” So I did get validation from both attorneys, dearly paid for of course.

    And that was that. If he emails me with something legal-related, I respond with as few sentences as possible and a pleasantry. I don’t answer anything else. Then I go off gaging and hoping it will all be over soon. My attorney’s paralegal says that closeout should be done by summer. Hoping…

  • I think that the word Hopium means different things to different people. I think it didn’t apply to me because I didn’t want to get back with him. I just wanted acknowledgment that he had judged me unfairly. He ruined a couple of events for me before I gave up trying. At the time, it seemed important for him to restore the value he stole. I had no idea that a big part of abuse is convincing you that you deserved it. When you don’t know that some people are evil, you think vindication is possible.

    Worthless counselors don’t help. Only decades later did I finally go, “Ah ha!” when I read about abusers & character disorders. I so wish I’d known about it when I was trying to thread that maze. I wish counselors knew that sometimes their patients aren’t stupid, it’s not that we don’t know something is wrong (why else would we be there). The problem is shutting down due to shame, and not being too stupid to get out of the rain.

    Some of PUA works because the target is trying to gain back lost self-esteem. I read that in a Neil Strauss interview years back. I can’t find the reference now. But it is another example of how manipulators play a target. Another reason for No Contact.

  • OHFFS, thanks for a spot-on, spit-out-loud funny version of My Way. It truly reflects Their Way.

    Fearful&Loathing, I hear and second your comment. Yes, there is a double standard and expectation that male chumps are hot commodities and that female chumps will go wanting. You addressed the question of character, and the assumption that female chumps are more common than male chumps. The broader question is to ask if there are more women than men who are eligible for (re)marriage, and the answer is yes.
    Statistically, there’s a surplus of men over women at age 25–118 per every 100 women– but it declines with age. By age 40, the numbers are roughly even, and by age 64, it’s 62 unmarried men for every 100 unmarried women. https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/09/24/chapter-3-marriage-market-for-all-unmarried-adults/
    In reality, more women continue to carry the major burden of child-rearing, giving them less time and energy for romance or new relationship, and are on guard against introducing a new partner that might further damage their kids. And many of the women caring for kids are not the moms, but the grandmothers, and it can take a toll on our marriages, too.
    A 2016 study that asked “Is There a Shortage of Marriageable Men?” found that the ratio of employed men to all same-age women was 91 men per 100 women, and pointed out that growing numbers of women already have children, which “makes men “understandably reluctant” to want to marry them and take responsibility for someone else’s child.” https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/marriagble-men-release.pdf

  • Maybe it’s just the fact that syntax and grammar collapse when someone perpetually beats around the bush and lies, but I’m dying for a forensic speech pathologist to take a stab at analyzing her weird Yoda-speak.

    Various Yoda quotes for comparison:

    “Adventure. Excitement. A Jedi craves not these things.”

    “Luminous beings are we…not this crude matter.”

    “Wars not make one great.”

    • Statement analysis is a tool for identifying deception in oral and written language. Two hallmarks of deceptive language are incomplete sentences and scrambled syntax. She sounds like Yoda because she’s making stuff up.

  • Even if she did apologize how sincere would her apology be? I got the “I’m sorry I cheated on you. I don’t know how I could have made such a stupid mistake.” combined with the self-pity channel just as I was moving out “I’m going to be fired from my job! The OW dumped me!”. The words were exactly what I wanted to hear, but the timing was suspicious. I suspect that he had finally figured out that HOA fees and utility bills do not pay themselves and that he would have to take money out of his video game budget to pay for these things. For an astrophysics tutor he was as thick as two planks when it came to finances. The funniest was when he asked, “Are you sure you can’t still do my taxes for me after we’re divorced? Just for one year? I can’t do TurboTax!”. Oh no, he was far too special for TurboTax. He looked like Marie Antoinette would look if you served her baked beans.

    The “aspects of a family I always wanted” likely refers to you paying the bills, helping out around the house, and generally adulting so she doesn’t have to. She doesn’t want you to “step off her neck” for “one morning a year”. She wants you to pretend it never happened so she can mooch off you financially and emotionally forever.

  • Shaun,
    My first Xmas without my husband felt like shit. I felt alone and rejected and worthless. I sat there trying to make it nice for my daughter and I wanted to die. This past Christmas I insisted the the fuckwit have my daughter so we could have alternate years. He didn’t plan anything so I wanted to front foot it without drama. So, a week before Christmas, my daughter and I had our own special Christmas celebration with all new food and traditions. It was amazing!! On the actual Christmas Day, I had friends over and I literally invited everyone and anyone who was without family – I live overseas so I just seem to find others like me. It was the best day and I was so worried I’d feel lonely, but I felt less lonely than I did when I was still with the fuckwit. We don’t have Covid here, so it’s easier. But the point is, do not just follow the traditions and hang around with your ex. That makes no sense for YOU and your healing. How awesome would you feel to say, no thanks, I’ve got other plans, you can have the kids this year. And then have an awesome dad special day, done your own way.

    She isn’t sorry, so please don’t expect an apology. Try this- “I accept what she did to me. I forgive myself and I’m moving on.” Don’t forgive her-she didn’t accept responsibility so there’s nothing to forgive. But I find it very empowering to forgive myself. Big hugs and we are all sorry for you here in Chump Land.

  • I was so bent on remorse. I demanded an apology-he apologized. I demanded an apology-he apologized. This was our pick-me-waltz after I found out about his 3-year affair. I still filed for divorce but I felt he was on his way to being a changed man.

    I talked to my therapist about it–she said, No, don’t believe any of it. He is just saying what he knows you want to hear. That is all he knows. He doesn’t have his own core of values to draw from, so he does what looks right for the situation, for whoever is watching.

    I was so insistent–believe me, he is apologetic. He has seen the light. She said, NO. Do not fall for it. It is impossible. Real remorse, if it happens, requires 2-3 years of intensive biweekly therapy. I thought she was being harsh. He wrote sorry letters! I had them in plastic sheets in a binder! She said to give it 4 weeks. He cannot sustain this act.

    Boy, was she right. After 4 weeks, there was not a tinge of remorse, sadness, guilt, NOTHING. He was happy as a clam. Whenever the kids bring up what he did to us, he doesn’t even remember. He used to write kids long sorry letters, but after 4 weeks, his letters were a complete about-face. He talked about nothing but himself, how busy he is, how awesome he is at work. His last letter even included photos of a thank you card from a patient who said “The world needs more people like you!” I would never ever ever have pinned him as a narcissist in our 22-year marriage. But now, Good Lord, the narcissism is off-the-rails stunning.

    So please don’t be like me. Asking for an apology is like asking them to please take my brain and fill it to the brim with lies that will take me years of therapy to extract. They are incapable of remorse. They are incapable. They are incapable.

  • Hi Shaun,

    Your post brought up some real pain in myself. I hate to Hi-Jack this post, but I don’t know what else to do. I am spinning.

    My name is Woodlandlost (in chump nation). I was Chumped hard, about two years ago when my alcoholic wife of 14 years was engaged in a long term work relationship. I discovered it and things fell apart. We separated. She carried on with him and drinking for another year or so. Took her to re-hab last December, keeping her at arms length, but we were still working at it. She cheats again. I walked away. Then after this christmas season I decided it was a good idea to test the waters and I get this email back.

    Email from Cheater: In response to whether we should try again…

    I have no room to assert myself with you or stand up for myself. Do I ? Because I hurt you. I HAVE always compromised. LOOK AT THE PIA stuff. I am tired of shouldering all of the responsibility of the downfall of things. I am ready to have accountagbility measures….normal ones. Is that too much to ask? You get them. You have them. It will ultimately be YOUR choice whether we can work this out or not. YOURS….I am done talking about this for the day.

    I love you. I am sorry I hurt you. I am willing to sit down with someone to sort some things out. I just don’t want to be crushed anymore. Normal stuff….thats all I want to be able to do in my life with you. That is NOT too much to ask. I have said these things and addressed your concerns hundreds maybe thousands of hours. You say this is doing nothing. Enough. You choose. I know it probably won’t be me but enough of saying I don’t love you and I don’t get it and I’m not tryinig and I’m whitewashing etc. etc. I AM NOT. I simply am a human who has made mistakes and wants to make it up to you while still retaining some personal dignity. Not so amazing.

    Love you.

    I love you. Bottom line. It’s like if I’m not crying and gasping and sobbing and scraping and grovelling that you don’t believe it. NOT TRUE.

    • I am sorry you are hurting. It is a tough moutain to climb.

      Her response honestly to me is like word salad. In all it is just a bunch of random statements that do not make much sense.

      I think it just sounds like, she wants to come back with no consequences.

      I would be very reluctant to accept recon under those conditions. Reality is she did hurt you, so the burden is on her to make amends first, then you decide if you feel safe enough to proceed.

  • These are some of my favorite UBT lines ever! LOL

    Cheater: “In some ways, I miss the marriage. In others, it was right to end. You grew. I grew. And our children continue to grow.”

    UBT: Fucking my boss was a personal growth experience.

    UBT: The marriage was right to end itself. A death I had no part in. Just one day the marriage took a knife and started to stab itself in the back.

    Cheater: “I thought for one morning a year, you could step off my neck, and our differences, and we could share in one of those joyful aspects of being parents to our growing children, together, while we still had them.”

    UBT: Nothing says “I cherish our time together” like, “for one morning a year, step off my neck.”

    Step off my neck, Cheater! LOL 😀 😀 😀

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