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Does Social Media Encourage Cheating?

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Dear Chump Lady,

First and foremost, thank you for writing Leave A Cheater, Gain a Life! It was immensely helpful, but I still can’t seem to shake the pain of what I’ve recently gone through.

Although my ex and I were never married, I am a Chump who recently got dumped!

Looking back, I feel like an idiot for overlooking so many red flags from the get go. He actually told me when we first started dating that he was married before and had several extramarital affairs that his partner never found out about… but that he was plagued with guilt and now was a changed man and that his desire was to be the utmost loyal man to me.

Throw in months of bliss, daily calls and texts, love letters, expensive trips, gifts etc… I felt like I had met my soulmate. I had never been treated so well in my life. Fast forward a year and I started to notice a change in his behavior. In my gut, I felt like something was off and to be honest, I had always felt a sense of “offness”. I started to listen to my gut and began to investigate. How I didn’t notice these things before I’m not sure, but:

Red Flag 1: A massive Snapchat following (Snapchat is an app used for sending and receiving disappearing messages, pictures and videos that are untraceable. You get points for each picture, video or message sent or received.) His score was 75K and climbing by the day.

Red Flag 2: He had admitted to cheating before and lying about it.

Red Flag 3: I noticed that he was adding lots of random gay guys profiles on instagram, which included Only Fans, Happy Ending Message Services, Gay Escort Services etc… just lots of shady social media behavior.

Red Flag 4: Sex was ALWAYS top of mind for him…everything was about Sex, constantly.

Upon my discoveries I decided to have a conversation with him about it and he became very defensive. According to him, I was “paranoid”, “insecure”, “wasn’t giving him the benefit of the doubt”, “untrusting” and the kicker… “emotionally reactive,” which he stated he just couldn’t have in his life.

So… a week later I got dumped and he moved on into a new relationship several weeks thereafter.

How do you go from telling someone you’re madly in love with them and that they’re amazing, to dumping them in a matter of weeks and starting a new relationship? It’s beyond me. And the new guy so quickly… that’s what hurts the most. I imagine them running off into the sunset and living happily ever after and I’ll always just be the Chump who got dumped.

A few weeks after all of this took place, I received a random message on Instagram from someone across the country that my boyfriend had sent them sexually explicit video messages asking if they were interested in an online sexual relationship. I never got the chance to address this because I was cut out of his life…but damn…that hurts. I’m guessing it wasn’t just a one off.

Although I never had any physical proof of any of this happening (as I’m sure a lot of people don’t), how do I move on from the pain of all of this shadiness? It would help a lot if I had physical proof so I’d know I wasn’t crazy, but I don’t so it’s been hard for me to gain closure.

I feel like social media and how it encourages infidelity and impacts relationships isn’t talked about a lot…so it might be something other readers are interested in. Could you address your thoughts on this?

Thanks so much!

Chump who got Dumped

Dear Chump who got Dumped,

It’s a question for the ages. Which came first, the douchebag or the technology?

I’d say it’s the douchebag. Predators have always been among us, they just adapt to whatever the technology is at hand.

Eons ago, I was a student at the London School of Economics and I took a course called the Ethics of War. And the professor told this story that has always stuck in my head, about submarines.

Apparently, the British knew about submarines, but refused to use them, because it was thought at the time that creeping up and attacking someone from underneath was unsportsmanlike. Not gentlemanly. So, the technology existed, but could not be deployed until the ethics changed.

Once lethal sneak attacks from below the sea were deemed an okay thing to do, then the British got submarines.

I’d argue something similar about cheating sites and social media. You have to have a certain set of (or lack of) ethics to use a technology nefariously. Your ex had to possess the mindset to cheat on his partner to seek out sites that allowed him to… cheat on his partner. Did the technology make it easier for him to do that? Sure. Absolutely. And submarine warfare was a new, efficient way of killing one’s enemy.

I don’t think you change things by railing against SnapChat or whatever, I think you have to call out the character. We’re always going to have newfangled gadgets. It’s how you use them.

What social media does do is provide an illusionary buffet of willing sex partners. Bored with your current partner? Flip! Find a new partner. Find a simultaneous partner. And another, and another, and another. In that way, I think it encourages a certain shallow gluttony. Never settle, always flit. Never focus, move on. Why invest in one person, when a new start is just a swipe away?

For this to be at all appealing, you’d have to be the sort of person who has the emotional range of a gnat. Real people take some getting to know. (Unless you’re buying them by the hour.) If you’re single, no judgement on hook-ups. But it sounds like you went into this thinking you’d found partner material, and got love-bombed by a player. This is a Fix Your Picker problem.

Let’s look at those red flags.

Red Flag 1: A massive Snapchat following (Snapchat is an app used for sending and receiving disappearing messages, pictures and videos that are untraceable. You get points for each picture, video or message sent or received.) His score was 75K and climbing by the day.

Egads. That sounds like a very big investment in a lot of imaginary friends. (And their dick pics?)

Whatever he’s up to (probably cheating reconnaissance), you’d have to stop yourself there and think, do I want a boyfriend with a clandestine Snapchat habit? Or do I want a boyfriend who is grounded and prefers real hobbies over fleeting kibbles?

Red Flag 2: He had admitted to cheating before and lying about it.

Well, he gave you the I Was Consumed with Guilt and Am a Changed Man speech. Rookie chump mistake to believe him. It’s a noble quality to give people second chances or look past their worst sins towards their potential. (Life hasn’t yet made you a cynical slayer of unicorns.) But this is your precious life we’re considering, who you are going to deem worthy enough to be your boyfriend. Does he measure up?

I Used to Be a Shady Guy + 75K Snapchat points = I Am Still a Shady Guy.

Red Flag 3: I noticed that he was adding lots of random gay guys profiles on instagram, which included Only Fans, Happy Ending Message Services, Gay Escort Services etc… just lots of shady social media behavior.

If a lot of pinecone elf aficionados follow me on Instagram, you can bet I have a thing for pinecone elves. Heck, there are probably pinecone algorithms.

Happy endings and escort services means your ex was into happy endings and escort services. He didn’t unfollow these folks, because he’s their intended audience. As you point out, he was adding them.

Believe the evidence.

Red Flag 4: Sex was ALWAYS top of mind for him…everything was about Sex, constantly.

I’m sure you’re a hot guy, but even hot guys want to be loved as a total person. And it does seem like a bait and switch. Calling every day, sending you love letters, giving you gifts and trips, would lead a person to think he’s into you — all of you. But maybe Chump, that’s the price he has to pay to get someone to fuck him? Or, more sinisterly, this is the game he plays — shock and awe you with attention and affection, build you to the highest heights, win your total investment in him — just to raise the stakes. It gives his double (triple, quadruple…) life more frisson. You’re a prop in his Fabulous International Gay Man of Mystery drama.

He doesn’t see you as a person. You’re a performer. And he can change the players around on his stage as he likes.

Upon my discoveries I decided to have a conversation with him about it and he became very defensive. According to him, I was “paranoid”, “insecure”, “wasn’t giving him the benefit of the doubt”, “untrusting” and the kicker… “emotionally reactive,” which he stated he just couldn’t have in his life.

You saw behind the curtain. Can’t have that with a narcissist. Game over. You showed agency and his puppet will never be the same again. Time for a new puppet.

So… a week later I got dumped and he moved on into a new relationship several weeks thereafter.

Of course. And it’s probably not a new relationship, it’s probably one of several gazillion he’s grooming and preparing for at any given moment. Or has had. But you’re seeing this with your own moral lens of “you have a relationship, and then that finishes and you have another relationship.” These sorts of people are just always at the trough.

Although I never had any physical proof of any of this happening (as I’m sure a lot of people don’t), how do I move on from the pain of all of this shadiness? It would help a lot if I had physical proof so I’d know I wasn’t crazy, but I don’t so it’s been hard for me to gain closure.

You have a LOT of evidence, Chump. Just believe it. That’s how you move forward. Put down the spackle and believe your ex’s shitty character.

If he were deeply bonded to you, he would not behave this way. It would hurt him to hurt you, and you wouldn’t have a multimedia library of deceit.  You aren’t crazy. He was being incongruent in his words and actions, and that’s left you feeling crazy. The sane thing was to bring your doubts to him — and he didn’t have an answer for that, except blameshifting, because he’s guilty. And because he’s a shitty person, he doesn’t clean up his messes, he bails for the next shiny thing.

There’s your closure. Trust that he sucks.

None of this is a waste if you learn from it. Going forward, be leery of razzle-dazzle love-bombing and hold out for reciprocity and the good ol’ awkwardness of getting to know someone.

You’re a person capable of deep love and investment. He isn’t. You don’t share the same values. The next guy isn’t getting a grand romance, he’s getting played. And the next one, and the next one.

Your ex is going to grow old and limp-dicked someday and he’ll only have his disappearing Snapchat buddies. Life is what you invest in.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Social media is a tool like any other, phones, notes etc. Xhole met up with an old GF on social media and went to screw her on a cruise. It wasn’t social media that made him do it, as he was always a cheater, but he found it a useful tool to lure in more victims.

    One thing I noticed when he set up his social media page was that all his photos were of him, not me, not the kids, just all about him. My page was photos of us, and tons of the kids. I think that shows who the focus is on. Narcissists have to make it all about them.

    • 100%

      Before “The Troubles,” the Kunty Kibbler’s posts on Instagram and Facebook were about food, her gym, and our daughters.

      After, it was all about sex, profanity, and the selfies. Oh God . . . the selfies.

      Social media also creates a sort of “me-too-ism.” For those with no meaningful sense of self, it allows them to seek out focus attention on those they desperately wish they could be, then mimic it in a “safe” way — because nobody’s there, in their face, ready to call them on the falseness of it.

      Narc/cheaters are already skilled at mirroring, social media just gives them a way to broadcast whatever image they want to have to the world without very many consequences.

      • “oh God…the selfies” lol, just what I think each time I see a narcissists page, ME! ME! ME! I hate putting up my own photos, but my dogs and chickens are very popular!

      • Yep the ex wife and selfies. We went as a family to Lake Tahoe in 2016, her and I went to the Dominican in 2017, and we went to Miami for our anniversary in 2018. But her posts showed she went by herself and had a great time.

      • One of the problems I had, when I was trying to figure out whether to go for full custody or not, was that I had no idea what kid of person my XW would be once we divorced. Other than her career (which she is very good at), everything in our life came from me: the kind of house we bought, the way we raised the kids, the type of food we ate, the activities with the kids. I really didn’t know how she would structure her life because she had so little self-direction (again, apart from her career).

        Now, in the end it all turned out OK because her AP (now husband) is basically a reboot of me (same education, similar profession, same ethnic and socioeconomic background, but younger, taller, richer and with more hair), so her life isn’t really any different from what it was before. Without his influence in her life, I have no idea what she’d be doing now. Don’t get me wrong – I loathe the guy – but I really hope the kids are out of the house before their marriage collapses and she moves on to whoever his successor is.

        Just one example: XW had never voted before our divorce. (She’d been eligible for citizenship for at least a decade, but it was too much trouble to actually apply for). As soon as she got together with AP, she started attending socialist party conventions with him. She literally went from not bothering to vote, to being a card-carrying socialist party activist, in a matter of months.

        • My STBX hated dogs and was allergic so we could never have one, and he’s a lazy ass that wouldn’t have walked a dog anyway.
          In waltzes the new woman and presto! He’s a dog lover now and he and his twu wuv both have “fur babies”. Yes, the girlfriend loves her social media so she can plaster her fucking dog photos all over the world. No photos of his child. Never one of me from the previous 2.5 decades. But the dog… poor damn dog doesn’t know he has an asshole narcissistic owner.

          • FormerlyKnownAs , I’m glad you wrote at the end the kind of person he is: a narc.
            Having a dog was important to you, he knew it and so he denied it. I’m so sorry.
            Trust that he employs the same trick on his new girlfriend. Her weakness is not dogs, she has a different soft spot that he exploits.
            At the same time, I hope you realise that he knows you are watching his/her social media. And with that knowledge…he posts photos of dogs.
            Or she posts the photos? Something he must have told her regarding dogs. A lie for sure!
            I’m sending you hugs. Get a dog and erase his memory.

            • Yep, get that dog.

              I wouldn’t do this of course, but it would be funny to name the dog after schmoops. And then tell FW, well I owe schmoops for releasing me from prison and giving me a chance at happiness, so I named my pet after her.

      • I think this is a perfect description of this type of cheater. No meaningful sense of self. Skilled at mirroring. Using social media as a way to project their false self to the world. I’ll give Jackass this–he wasn’t/isn’t big on social media. He prefers the in-person audience, which explains multiple marriages, lots of affairs, and relentless job changing.

    • Same here. I actually went to FW’s page to find a pic I knew I tagged him in long ago where he was holding our son. I wanted to show our son and I had to scroll through all these pics FW had posted of just himself. Kiddo said, “Where are pictures of me?” I said hold on, we will find it. It took a while. FW has more pics up of himself with his sister (who he uses for triangulation purposes, which is a whole skein of fuckupedness I gave up unraveling when I found out he has an affinity for bro-sis incest stories) than he does of his child. The only pics with us and/or kiddo are ones I posted and tagged him in. Tempted to take them all down. Can’t have anyone thinking he was ever married with a child! These people are sick. All me, me, me.

      • I blocked the X on social media and down went all the family photos I had tagged him in, all he had left was his own selfies. I called me screaming that I had taken down all his photos, but no, just blocked him from mine. Hahhahhahahhahahhahahah

      • From Mr. Wonderful’s Ex: “FW has more pics up of himself with his sister (who he uses for triangulation purposes, which is a whole skein of fuckupedness I gave up unraveling when I found out he has an affinity for bro-sis incest stories) than he does of his child”

        I thought I was the only one whose FW had an affinity for brother-sister incest stories. I speckled over it, of course, but it made me wonder. And then the sister was the one who clued me in to the girlfriend. Was she trying to do me a favor, as I have always given her credit for, or was she trying to lessen the competition? I guess it doesn’t matter now. I’ve seen behind the curtain and took myself away from the whole shit show.

        • I have a copy of an email one of his OW sent him. Apparently, he had decided to share with her some incest literature he liked to read online. She wrote him back saying he must have mistakenly linked the wrong page because of what it was. You could actually read her getting sick to her stomach in the realization (which she was trying to spackle by offering him a way out “Oops, I linked the wrong thing.) in the email. You could just read her going “WTF!?!” and yet trying to let him off the hook.

          FW and his sister moved a lot growing up but spent their high school years in a backwoods area of the country and sometimes it makes me wonder. I pray for the day when I will never have to set eyes on them ever again. Gross.

  • I don’t think open bank vaults cause theft, but I do think open bank vaults reveal character, and character determines who steals money and who tells the branch manager that the vault is open. Same for our whole new world of smart phones and devices and the Internet.

    No doubt a homesteader in the 1800’s with no other people for miles around would be unable to cheat and that would be attributable to a literal lack of temptation. But a homesteader in the 1800’s with no people for miles around and a smartphone? That’s where character and opportunity decide who cheats and who doesn’t.

    (IMHO)

    • PS….

      I hear the term “opportunity” a lot from cheaters, including the traitor I married. It’s not a word I used because I was married and loyal to my counterfeit husband and I wasn’t sizing up other men in terms of “opportunities”….

    • Yes. And it’s not well known but mailboxes (the kind you drop your letters in to be picked up by the postal service)were originally suspected of encouraging cheating, since you could mail a letter and no one would know, unlike when you had to personally give it to the postal carrier.

      • There have always been ways to find a willing partner.
        My father found the bank teller, the coat-check girl (that’s what they were called in 1960), women in my mother’s mah jong group, women in the PTA…
        Perhaps it’s a wider net and easier with the internet but there has always been a way for cheaters to find willing partners.

        It’s about character, not opportunity!

      • When my STBX left, I discovered all kinds of fun things in the search history such as
        -How to hide cash
        -Best hidden bars in (our city)
        -Hot local girls
        -How to set up a private post office box

        The list goes on. The internet is sooooo convenient for cheaters. And here I was Googling recipes and yoga moves.

  • “Going forward, be leery of razzle-dazzle love-bombing and hold out for reciprocity and the good ol’ awkwardness of getting to know someone.”

    I love this. It is so true. Real relationship take time and are messy and require give from both sides. I dyed my hair purple and my husband (of 6 years, post chumping with 1st spouse) doesnt really like it. He is a keeper and I find the oddest things squirreled away…we will have to live in a big house forever.

    We deal with each others silliness and depend on each others trustworthiness. Im glad I had a chance to try this once in life.

    • Yes, I got the tremendous avalanche of love bombing in the beginning too and at the time was unaware it was a huge huge huge red flag! Knowledge is power here and thats why I love this site so I can learn. In ignorance its natural to think the love bombing is due to love itself or falling in love instead of a repeatable lure to ensnare the targeted Chump. I will always remember to be very wary of dumps of undying love and almost stalkerish love bombing in the very beginning.

      Awhile back in the tech world cheaters could be outed easier than nowadays. One tip on finding porn accounts was to put the sign in email address in. If it said a recovery email was sent….well then you know they have an account. Now those sites protect their clients and wont do that. Its like a virus mutating to avoid being infiltrated. Secret chats on facebook, end to end encryption, disappearing messaging, secret photo file apps, app locks guest account on cell phone….its endless. Sites to get around accountability apps. Craigslist got rid of prostitution on the personals, so it moved to the ‘rooms for rent’ catagory or the app Roomster. Very lude half naked suggestive pictures of young women “renters”.

      So tech and the unethical can make an ethical chumps head spin and make it very hard to penetrate truth. I guess thats the problem right there. We want truth and its more and more difficult. Id rather find the answers on tech than irreversibly find out at the OG gyns office! Tech is evolving all the time to assist them in the cover up enabling cake- both cheating and the advantages of a stable home life and image to continue.

      • Another thing. My 18 year old sons facebook “suggested friends” is inundated with obvious half clothed prostitutes with bogus facebook accounts. None have mutual friends with him. Other fb people have had same problem. Facebook doesnt do anything about it. My son does not want this and is sick of it. We think maybe his dad tainted or is linked/associated somehow to my sons email used to login to facebook since it is an old one.

        So this ilk sifts its tentacles even to people not seeking it out!

  • CWGD,

    I don’t think that social media causes infidelity …. but it sure as hell makes it easier. Ex-Mrs LFTT tracked down an old boyfriend of hers using FaceBook and then hooked up with him for example. It is now much easier than it used to be to reach back into your past and dig out someone who you lost touch with; this has potential upsides and downsides …. I guess that your character will determine which.

    Oddly enough, Ex-Mrs LFTT was always a bit of a technophobe until the internet enabled Friends Reunited (remember that?) to become a “thing” back in about 2004/2005. All of a sudden she became very keen to get “online” then; she said that it was for internet shopping, but I think that there was an ulterior motive at play. Not that it matters much now … not my circus and not my monkeys.

    LFTT

    • 100%. My ex did exactly the same. Looked up old boyfriend and hooked up. Left me for her old highschool boyfriend. “Pathetic” is the only term that fits. And after 30 years together. , It still hurts 7 years out, but I’m past it (most days). Back to the land of Meh. 🙂

  • Social media opens the never ending supply of cake with very little effort. A cheaters paradise: instant gratification, convenience, discreet, ample offerings, availability at any time.

  • Social media plays a big role in my FWs games he plays. Through our entire relationship he used social media too ogle and chat with other women..maybe men. His massive ego would be fed by the adoration of women he didn’t know liking his photos. The red flag in the beginning was back when you could see what your friends liked on Instagram and I could see he was liking hot women’s photos constantly. Not sexualized photos, just pretty women like out with friends and what not. I called him out in it and he claimed to be clueless this would be a problem and swore he would not do it anymore.

    After he discarded me when I found out about his cheating (we had a three month old) he immediately started online dating. Social media and online dating apps make things very easy for FWs to move on to their next prey. I’m on some dating sites now but I am very wary of the men on them. In my opinion there are the rare few good ones and the rest are bottom of the barrel con artists.

    You were conned OP. It’s very hard but you will get through and be smarter having gone through it.

  • I’m retired. I didn’t grow up with social media and mobile phones. I didn’t have a computer course until after I graduated from college. My sons started on computers in grade school. One generation, a whole new world of convenience and danger was created.

    The internet and mobile phones can be great resources. I use both. I always think about the myth of Pandora’s box. Something perceived as a gift from the gods can contain many evils, and disobedience to the gods instructions can release these evils into the world. But remember, the gods also included Hope in the box.

    With great gifts comes great responsibility. We are each responsible for our choices. All of us make mistakes, but some of us use technology to really magnify a mistake. Some of us choose to use a great gift for an evil purpose. We choose, we have always had choice.

    Drawing was used to create pornographic images long before phone cameras made it easy. There were traveling salesmen and tradesmen who entered remote communities. Sexual predators can be inside your own family. Evil exists. Social media should be accountable for its deficiencies, but the people who misuse it are also accountable. We are accountable for educating ourselves.

    I cannot understand the desire to take a photo of private parts and then post that photo for all the world to see. I can not understand using all my energy to constantly pursue sexual gratification, and new sexual partners. I have other interests, and I am a private person by nature. But I understand that there are people who make choices I wouldn’t even consider. I just don’t want to waste my precious time on them. I don’t need to assign blame to others, I just need to accept responsibility for my own choices. My ability to choose is what keeps hope alive for me.

    When you learn a prospective friend or partner has made an error in the past you need to understand that past behavior is a good predictor for future behavior. It does not mean we can not learn from past errors, and strive to be better people. The key issue is will we make that choice? If that prospect continues to make the same bad choice over and over, it is not in your best interest to accept an apology and trust them again. It is in your best interest to protect yourself, and find a better friend or partner. Hope is believing good people exist.

    • Yes, I’m older too and admit that I don’t get a lot that goes on. I post a few funny memes on Facebook or something cool about my friends or family. The rest I ignore. Selfies I don’t get, posting compromising pictures I don’t get.

      And I chose who is close to me now versus having the doors wide open. I ask myself if they are trustworthy and truly on my side. I look at past behavior and who they are with other people and then decide. I’ve let some long-term friends go and have made other friends that are trustworthy.

      My ex insisted that we just needed to start over in a new place without addressing the deep issues. I have no doubt that all of the same problems would have resurfaced in a week or two, and I would have been back on the plane. I had a lot of questions about how he spent his time in separation and was never clear about his fidelity. He accused me of being unfaithful and hired a P.I. during the divorce process which my attorney said likely was projection. I was also disturbed by starting over with new friends and neighbors where I had to lie about why we were there and pretend like all was well. His family encouraged that, but it was pure hopium. When you start over, you bring all your problems with you unless you’ve dealt with them.

      Instead I stayed here, and he started over in a new place where he gets to craft an image of his choosing. People close to me know the story, and I’m fine explaining to new people that I’m divorced and then seeing if a friendship develops. My therapist said that’s actually by far the healthier approach.

      • Portia & Elsie,

        I don’t know how much older you are – I’m 55 and can’t even grasp those numbers mentally! But it’s nice to know there are other women like me out there. I don’t understand the drive to open your personal stuff up to the whole world. I’ve always been this way, and technology hasn’t changed that at all. I also don’t like having my picture taken, so selfies are a non-starter for me.

        Anyway, my ex FW didn’t use dating sites (that I know of). But he did use texting to keep his focus on the OW while he was at home with me and the kids. I do believe that texting with her constantly added to his choice to destroy the family, but I’m not sure how much of an influence it was. I do believe that if he had focused that attention on me instead, we might have had a better chance. But that’s not in his character. And that has nothing to do with technology. He simply got bored with me and wanted a shiny new thing to play with.

        That’s a long way of saying that there are 2 types of people in the world: those with character and those without. Never once in our 17 year marriage did I consider other men to be “opportunities.” My FW, simply didn’t think that way.

        The thing that makes someone cheat is a lack of values, empathy and character. They’re empty inside and looking for others to fill them up. Technology just makes the search easier.

        • When social media took off, I thought “why in the world would I put my photo albums and Rolodex/address book on the internet for any stranger to see ?!” Photos have been replaced by digital images and using an address book is akin to a stone tablet and chisel 😂 Settings schmettings for any online account.

  • Social media only encourages cheaters to cheat the way crowded beaches encourage sharks to devour innocent victims: by providing easier access to a greater number of potential victims.

    But the shark is a predator by nature and will gobble up a baby seal if a dental hygienist splashing about on holiday isn’t available. You can’t reasonably hope a shark will turn vegan, but you can remove yourself from their dinner plate.

    Guess which animal my cheating ex-wife’s blank-stare eyes reminded me of? 🦈🦈🦈

  • My ex did it fine before social media, (his was work place originated) but I do think it has thrown the cheating world wide open.

  • This was priceless, “He doesn’t see you as a person. You’re a performer. And he can change the players around on his stage as he likes.”

    When I look back at several decades of relationship followed by what happened during separation and the divorce process, and the only reasonable conclusion was indeed that I wasn’t a person in his eyes. I thought I was, but I wasn’t. Good, decent people don’t do what he did either. They just go about their days doing ordinary things. They don’t cause other people major pain and then blame the person in pain. They own up to their junk and go on.

    Sure it’s easier now to misbehave, but plenty of people don’t misbehave.

    I’m so glad to get back to my ordinary life. Work, friends, family. That’s all I need.

    • I was brought in as a local reputation saver, which only lasted a few years. Then ex moved across the country where he seems to have started over. But he’s been his dysfunctional adult self for over 40 years. I’m sure he took himself with when he moved.

  • Hugs to you, ((CHGD)).

    I have direct evidence that the advent of social media and other technologies merely aids the underlying character of an inveterate cheater. My STBX (we are both women) first cheated in 2004, when our older daughter was 2. I found out – mercifully, very soon after STBX’s weekend fling – when she left an email open on a shared computer. Note the use of technology there!

    By 2018, when STBX cheated again, we were no longer sharing computers, and texting had become a thing (along with encoded apps like WhatsApp.) That time, she got away with it for several months, and I honestly don’t think I would have figured it out if she hadn’t told me. I saw that she was acting strange all summer, but her narcissistic mother had just died.

    So I take the recent tech developments as unfortunate news for chumps: our cheaters always had their character issues/personality disorders, but it will become harder and harder for us to see the truth. Gut instinct is going to matter more than ever, and maintaining rock-hard boundaries around the “little” things that are important to us, including clear and direct communication about our values.

    I wish every teenager were forced to take a class in personal relationships and basic psychology, so that they would be able to recognize and act on the red flags you mention (and more!). My 18-year-old queer daughter reports that her friends have decided that being “judgey” is bad, and that includes judgment not just about issues of identity, but judgement about “overlapping relationships” etc. Fortunately, DD18 seems to understand that certain kinds of judgment are healthy and necessary in life – I’ve had the CL-inspired conversation with her! But I think a lot of kids are getting extremely muddled messages about how boundaries and relationship expectations should work, and to me, that’s even worse than the proliferation of digital tools that will turn porous boundaries into opportunities for “personal exploration” (puke).

    And I don’t know about you as a gay man, CWGD, but the popularity around polyamory in the queer community makes disordered types feel they’re missing out. even though many of them (like my STBX) don’t actually have the emotional maturity to handle polyamory in practice. It requires even more direct communication and expectation management than in a monogamous relationship, not less.

    I’m sorry this happened to you! But our consolation can be that our exes have to live with themselves, while we can sashay away to more fabulous lives without them, having learned what to look for in future relationships. All best to you. 🌈 ❤️

    • Well said! I have a 16 year old daughter and 19 year old son. I’ve had similar talks with them about values and boundaries, and their friends – the generation as a whole – is definitely non-judgy. Which is a delightful and refreshing thing in so many ways. But I think when it comes to serious relationships, most people (even the non-judgmental ones) have deeply embedded ideas and expectations that call for judgment of others’ behaviors. So, for instance, my ex FW found it perfectly reasonable to “fall in love” (fuck) another woman. It “just happened” – fate and all that BS. Because I deemed his behavior horrendously dysfunctional, I was being judgmental. BUT, if I had done the same to him? I can only imagine….

      I think this is primal for everyone, even the polyamorists, which is just a cool label for players, IMHO. There’s a reason most people pair up in relationships and make families. We create a tribal bond with our small (nuclear) communities because that’s how we stay safe and cared for. Those people are “ours.” It might not be PC to say so, but it’s what we feel. So when they stray off to another tribe, we feel vulnerable, threatened, jealous, and betrayed. And we make the necessary judgments that will keep us from further harm.

      • I think there is a huge gap between being “judgy,” which I’m defining (following the dictionary) as being excessively critical about the actions of other people. For example, it’s “judgy” to criticize someone’s dietary preferences or musical taste or piercings, which are really none of the business of the person making the judgment.

        It’s not “judgy” to recognize someone who is a murderer, an abuser, a cheater, a thief, or a hypocritical charlatan. That is, we are supposed to make JUDGMENTS about people who may not be safe for us to become involved with. And it is not “judgmental” for us to call out someone who is breaking promises and agreements with us.

        Being JUDGMENTAL is not the same as making JUDGMENTS about what is right for you. We are supposed to use our judgment to navigate life safely. There is a lot of difference between making appropriate judgments about who is safe and not safe for us and being judgmental about personal choices of others that only affect themselves.

        • Great comment LAJ, and something I will keep in mind in future. I’ll ask, do their actions involve/affect me or others in a negative way, if not, then you do you, but if it does impact on me or others, then it’s something that I need to take action on. Discernment is a good word for the type of judgement you’re talking about here, it’s not you putting your values onto other’s, it’s discerning whether their behaviour is something in alignment with you your values, being able to tell the difference and discriminate between moral and non-moral actions. Thanks

            • I totally agree with “discernment” vs. “judgment,” and I think I actually used that word (“discernment”) when talking about DD18’s friend-group issues with her. She’s so empathetic that she saw the pain one friend experiencing when another friend subjected her to “overlapping relationships,” and I don’t think DD18 is inclined to spackle that kind of pain, even though the other friends in the group seem to have fallen for the cheater-friend’s cheaterspeak. I also get that high school relationships are a little different than marital commitments – but still, it’s very bad form to deceive a significant other of any kind, and then refuse to acknowledge their resulting pain. Discernment FTW!

        • Great point and it’s not just about safety. It’s about what we want our lives to be. I do think it’s okay to judge people in the sense of deciding whether you want to be around them based on things like musical tastes, piercings, tats, etc. Some things just put you off a person no matter how open you try to be. If somebody likes music or films that I think are total crap and does things, that while they don’t harm me, do annoy me or gross me out, that person is not going to be close friend or partner material. It doesn’t mean you dislike the person or look down on them, but it’s okay to avoid being around people whose habits irritate you. That’s using healthy judgment as well.

          • Being “judgy” is usually a public thing meant to elevate the judgy one about the person being discussed. Making judgments about who you want in your life is a private matter.

            And of course, it’s not judgy to take note of people who hurt others, break the law, or pose a danger to the community. That’s discernment.

    • Speaking as a gay man who got chumped, LezChump is absolutely on the money about the problems created by the “popularity” of polyamory in the queer community. First, I’m not convinced it’s really that popular. Based on experience in my social circle I think a lot of gay men probably would prefer monogamy but have been conditioned to think they shouldn’t be such sticks in the mud. Then it provides cover. My cheater told a lot of mutual friends we were in an open marriage and that made them think they didn’t need to give me a heads-up when they’d see him doing skeevy things.

      The good news, CWGD, is that there are emotionally mature gay men out there once you know how to screen out the losers. Reading this blog has been incredibly helpful as I’ve gotten back on the dating market!

      • AGC, isn’t it amazing how we all pigeonhole others? I have a gay relative who has been in a committed relationship for years and married as soon as they were allowed. They have kids they adore and are such stick in the muds. Great people. Love how they do nothing but show pictures of their kids. No cheating. They don’t make good copy. It’s only outrageous people who make the news.
        Good luck finding your great future.

  • I think that social media makes it easier to cheat. I do not think that my ex would have cheated with Skankella. If it where not for Facebook. That is where they started to talk and exchange phone numbers. All done in secret. My ex would never have gotten in touch with her if it were not for Facebook. But, I am sure my ex would have found someone to cheat with sooner or later.

    • Exactly, he would have found someone to cheat with. Maybe Facebook fast tracked it or allowed him to better hand select his affair partner, but it didn’t make him do it. In any event, social media is not a great place for people who lack self control.

  • Narcissist Cheaters have 3 channels. Like in the 70s when there were just three!

    1). Charm
    2). Anger
    3). Pity

    They flip through them and circle back.

    Social media and a big following allows him to not of the anger and pity as long. He’s off to charm another. Because charming is more fun for a narcissist. When that charm gets hollow, then they circle back for the pity to feel fulfilled. But it’s a shallow filling.

    Instead of the wicked witch being the villain, maybe it should really be Prince Charming. Beware of Prince Charming

    • My ex FW referred to me as “Principessa” when we were first together. If only I had known how that charm would play itself out.

  • Btw, get an STD check!! His in private parts sound radioactive. Anyway, I don’t think it’s precisely social media that enables cheaters. I think it’s the cellphone. Portable, lockable, multi tasking 24-7 cheater prop. No more running out for bread and milk to make a furtive pay phone call etc. Hey, who invented and spec’d these gadgets? Cheaters!

    • Yep, Trudy, the cellphone – not social media – is what made things easier for my ex.

      A few months before D-Day he got a text from a woman who had in the past been friends with my ex’s previous wife and she wanted to find her.

      You can’t make this shit up: this woman (we’ll call her Daisy Mae) had at one point slept with and become pregnant by the guy that my ex’s previous wife (we’ll call her Frieda) eventually ran off with. Daisy Mae was hunting down Frieda’s boyfriend for unpaid child support (kid was a teenager by then) thinking she could find him through Frieda. Frieda and the deadbeat dad boyfriend had left the state and changed both their cellphone numbers. Daisy Mae thought my then-husband might have Frieda’s new number.

      (My ex used to call himself a hillbilly and I’m not about to contradict him.)

      Daisy Mae lived an hour away from our house. My ex saw this as an opportunity (flirty texts with a lonely single mother – hundreds of them – and lying about his current marital status, etc) and in time he convinced Daisy Mae to meet him at a motel where there was a hot tub in the room.

      But I’m sure if an in-person opportunity had seemed like an easy target, he would’ve gone after that.

      It really boils down to shitty character. Social media and cellphones are tools that help them be the crappy disloyal lying cheaters that they are to begin with.

  • Really good response CL. Resonates (paraphrasing): once sneak attacks were ok, then adoption of the approach occurred, have to have mindset to cheat and use technology to support that, if porn and phone sex girls are on his email-then he is into that. Hard to be as sexy and compete with porn girls. Love bombing, gift giving etc is price he paid to have sex with OW. My precious life, choose the character I want to share it with.

  • Please please stop with the British and their ethics and their desire to not do anything morally questionable in wartime. The facts of history simply do not bear this out. Their colonial record shows they brought death,starvation and cultural annihilation to many countries they colonised,including mine.
    I suspect the professor’s story is just that…a story. The British imperial story shows they were quite capable of being unsportsmanlike and ungentlemanly,to say the least. Not to get political but this tale makes my blood boil.

    • I agree with you about their lack of ethics, but that doesn’t mean this particular story isn’t true.
      Unethical people do tend to be hypocritical like that. They’ll do one thing to make themselves look good and a thousand others that completely contradict their supposed principles.

      My fuckwit, unbelievably, actually prided himself on how principled he was in taking care of his five miles of bad road mistress, for example making sure she got home safe (she was always drunk AF) and comforting her when she whined with self pity about the slightest hiccup in getting what she wanted, while totally neglecting his family and treating me like shit.
      Can a whole society be equally hypocritical? You bet they can.

      • Yes, good point. To bring the conversation back around to cheaters/chumps…. My ex was also a Paragon of Virtue one minute and a total skeeve the next. It all just depended on whether or not he felt he could personally gain (i.e., win an argument, profit materially or socially) by playing the Ethics card at that particular moment. He was also really fond of the Athletic Achievement, Political Conviction, and Craftsmanship cards: he would slap them down righteously if he sensed an advantage but then totally cut corners or opt out (as in, he didn’t vote once in the entire 25 years before we met–how’s that for Political Conviction?) if there was nothing in it for him personally to take that stand. It was one of the many red flags I missed….

      • Also, I have to just compliment you on the “five miles of bad road mistress.” FTW. I like to refer to my ex’s OW as his vaginal escape hatch from the marriage.

      • I will never understand the gentle and loving treatment of the mistress while treating the wife like shit. ]

        How does one do that to a person who has loved them and been loyal to them. I am not saying any of us are perfect, but most of us have been loving spouses, spouses who aren’t loving tend to leave early on.

        We spackle and try to work at our marriage and then they give our life’s work and commitment over to a whore.

    • Of course they were. Nothing is less gentlemanly and unsportsmanlike than colonizing entire continents of other people.

      Doesn’t mean they didn’t have some cognitive dissonance around submarines.

      • Also, to put it in terms that were applicable at the time, the British navy were fighting against other gentleman in other country’s navy. Colonisation was about removing obstacles to expansion and those pesky indigenous people were removed like any other obstacle. They weren’t gentlemen so it was ok to do whatever.

      • What little I know about warfare suggests that nations can agree on rules for war that then get breached, e.g., the use of various kinds of gases, treatment of prisoners, targeting of civilians. People get tried for war crimes for breaking those rules.

        Then there are innovations like submarines and aerial bombing that start out being seen as immoral but become normalized.

  • This is great advice. I’d add that in general we should be wary of anybody who spends too much time on social media, desperately in search of likes and followers. These are insecure people with a deep-seated need for attention, and they’re getting a dopamine rush from the phony sense of validation social media provides. Avoid compulsive selfie snappers like the plague they are. Unless they are teenagers, it’s abnormal to be that into themselves.

    When my ex started to go wrong he was playing a lot of a mafia game on FB. I thought it was childish for a man in his forties to be playing the equivalent of a kid’s game of cops and robbers daily, but I let it go as just a quirk. I had no idea how much of his ego he was investing in it. It was only after Dday that I looked at his history and saw the pathetic daily pleas for attention he was making to other gamers. It was repulsive how needy his ego was. I believe he first started flirting with other women through private messaging on that game, then graduated to real life cheating. Naturally, he denied it. But we know what we know, don’t we.

    The point is that fuckwits will turn to any technology the promises (always falsely)
    to be an ego tonic. Because they’re lazy and shallow, they’d rather have the ease and vacuousness of fake ego massage than do things that matter to actually be proud of and gain genuine, healthy self esteem for themselves. They don’t have an internal means of regulating self worth and their emotions, so they always externalize. They outsource it to fuck buddies, romantic partners they aren’t really invested in (that’s us), “friends” and followers on social media, coworkers, etc., anyone who can’t see behind the mask and will buy their line of bullshit. Since it’s never a satisfying substitute for healthy, internally regulated self esteem, they need it constantly. If they are low in personal integrity, they don’t stop with trying to get people to validate them on social media, like your ex. He’s a pathetic buffoon who will one day die alone and you know what to look for now to spot people like him. He ran as soon as you pulled the mask off him. He can’t bear to be seen as he really is and you had him dead to rights.
    So of course you’re not crazy. But you knew that, you just wanted to be validated. We all need that sometimes, especially if we’ve had a bad blow to our self esteem like being cheated on. The difference between you and him is your self esteem will get back to normal once you banish creeps like him from your life. His never was normal and never will be.

    • OWs are the same! I found out DDay #2 about my ex’s other relationship and I looked her up. I felt really bad until I saw her in person. There’s a reason she takes social media pics a certain way and what she posts about, and her mugshot on LinkedIn was REALLY touched up. Please understand and internalize that social media is a snapshot at people wanting you to believe in their fantasy. It’s like magazine spreads of perfect houses, ads of sumptuous meals, and vacation getaway pics. All manipulation. OWs, like cheaters, need others to validate themselves, and it never lasts long, so rinse and repeat. They want that like or that swipe or whatever because they have a need to feel OK with themselves and they don’t realize that it first starts within them. And once you are there for you, you don’t have that urge to constantly find it from others. You turn to authentic shares of joys and troubles with those who matter to you.

      • Amen.
        One of my personal pet peeves with these kibble chasers is the clowns who take gym selfies and use the gym to get ego strokes, but say they go because they want to live a “healthy lifestyle.” I wonder how they justify unprotected sex fitting into their “healthy lifestyle.”
        Somebody here once termed kibble hunters creeps creeping on other creeps. That expresses it perfectly. I wish they would only prey on each other and leave good people alone.

  • Social media is just another means, as others have said. Kloootzak I deal with picks up people in person, has used work phones/emails and burner phones to hunt down women he went to high school and even grade school with, send good ol’ fashioned Halllmark cards, and then graduated to Kik, WhatsApp, OKCupid, AshMad, and you name it. Gacy and Dahmer were predators long before the internet. Same for FWs. Social media is just another means. Cavemen hurled rocks at their murder victims; today it’s guns and drugs. Just another method. It all starts with a depraved, soulless individual. They will find a way to continue their sick behavior no matter what. The bright side is that because of social media, I also learned about CL and my path to freedom. So many good people who are helpful. Technology is a good thing in my case where he has had me so isolated.

    • Damn, do I ever despise these losers who track down people they knew ages ago, looking to recapture their lost youth, and don’t give a damn whether they might wreck a family. My ex was FB friends with a woman he knew when he was 12. She had hunted him down and sucked up to him through FB, trying to get him to have an affair with her. The only reason he didn’t was he found her unattractive, but he let her flatter him all the same. I think enjoying that attention encouraged him to find somebody he was attracted to. I don’t even remember the names of the kids I knew when I was 12, nor do I give a rat’s ass where they are now. I have never been interested in looking up old boyfriends, either. No normal person would behave that way, desperately chasing after people they knew eons ago for a few kibbles. The cheater even went on a date with a woman he wasn’t the least bit attracted to, because she was into him, just to enjoy being flattered. She knew he was married and didn’t care at all.
      It’s pathetic how much ego massage these losers need and how few (if any) scruples they adhere to in pursuit of it.

  • Social media is just the latest weapon in a sociopath’s arsenal to abuse one’s partner or spouse and any children.
    A mail box at the local post office to conduct affairs, personal and expensive hobby.

  • The pattern to me is similar to African scammers. If our ego wasn’t SO big that we believe we deserve a person who is constantly calling and texting and willing to spend lots of money on trips and gifts, we would smell the scam from the start !
    Sorry, but this attitude is not “soulmate” material, unless one is Paris Hilton.

  • This reminds me of a debate topic — is the internet a good or bad invention? lol

    Social media sure does enable those who already have questionable morals, those who don’t want to raise their head from the ground, those who want to bully and harm, and addicts. It is so easy to create new emails and accounts that you’ll never find out what’s really going on. When I had DDay #3 (the last) I got exhausted just looking at how many emails and accounts on dating and hookup sites and phone numbers my ex had! It surely takes up a lot of their time. If they spent even half that on bettering themselves, they’d be in good shape. But that requires work, and it’s easier to just join another (free) hookup app!
    Some social media genres are there PURELY for cheating (eg, ashley madison and those apps that find someone nearby and delete all chats an hour after sending), but in general, it sure makes things easier. And those who don’t sincerely want to turn over a new leaf will always find a way to get their unhealthy needs met. It’s whack-a-mole. I was fed up with never winning the game. I’m not a fan of circuses.

  • Uggh…you’re a lifesaver. This is exactly what I needed to hear and be reminded of. I know all of this…why is it so hard for us Chumps to believe what we know to be true? SPACKLE. Thank you for reading my letter, publishing it and responding. Bless you!

  • I think today’s expression is “jumping the shark”!? This gal truly side-stepped the oncoming locomotive.

    Hey Baby!! OMG. YOU GIVE ME PILOERECTIONS AND FRISSON beyond any heavy metal hooks Even!!

    Tracy, you taught me a new word. Piloerection courtesy wiki.

    I remember the news blip of Snapchat being sold for a shit ton of $$$ because of their timed auto-destruct messaging code. No one could figure how to do it and Immediately there…had a market of cheaters. My first though at that time,
    Boy are the politicians are going to love this! (I see cheater and politician as synonyms).

    No one here will deny that e-mail then cell phones begat texting which begat sexting which begat a new platform for selfporn- as it was there from the beginning. Which pretty much, to me-shows societal decline relative to it’s design purpose of use. Do you think the design engineers at Apple realized the back blast of what they were asked to create,…like Oppenheimer did? Probably not. The money was good.

    My mother told me one time, “Never! Put Anything in writing you don’t want the Whole World to see.” I think about that to this day. Another example if the wisdom MrPaul exhorts. If it feels good Don’t do it.
    (Hat tips)

    Don’t forget about the enormous, multi-billion dollar data collection centers. Algorythmically sampling hit words in terraflops. Think your convo is private? Did that end to end encrypted message just head out to the orion belt and beyond never to be seen again? (climbing out if that rabbit hole)

    Luckily my x used FB chat and didn’t delete her diatribes. She wasn’t that deep. I changed that. When I hung the Adultery millstone around her neck and pushed her off the aft deck of the Nimmitz. One screenshot of about 6 minimalist lines of text told the Whole story in this Fault state. I was Lucky. And stealthy.

    Tech is a double edged sword. I hope someone writes/codes an AI app that targets cheaters and collects court evidence with drone footage. All conveniently sent to the user and attorney. 😋

  • Chumped/Dumped, I agree with CL that you were “love bombed.” That’s one stage of a fairly typical relationship cycle that starts with love bombing, which hooks the target on feeling loved as they’ve never been loved before. This is particularly effective on people who didn’t get a lot of love at early life stages or who just came off a bad relationship. However, once the target is hooked, what follows is “devaluation,” where that overwhelming love is withdrawn and the predator’s attention goes elsewhere. You say you noticed “something was off” and part of that was probably that the social media stuff was intensifying and you were no longer the focus of his intense attention. You were “devalued” in that you were no longer his singular focus.

    Now, if you had redoubled your efforts to be charming (aka “doing the pick-me dance”), he might have stuck around longer. But as CL says, you saw behind the mask and confronted him and so he went to the third stage, the discard.

    Here is your statement that stood out to me: “I imagine them running off into the sunset and living happily ever after and I’ll always just be the Chump who got dumped.”

    First, you didn’t really get dumped, as I explain above. You expected him to be a partner and so you confronted him and you found out essentially that he’s a fraud. He can’t do relationships of the sort you want. So he came to the end of his faux relationship cycle and discarded the relationship. That says NOTHING about you, other than you confused lovebombing with genuine feeling and you responded to the devaluation stage by asking questions to protect yourself. All of that says you were having a relationship (you thought) and he was moving through a cycle that he will repeat over and over. You can’t make sense out of being “dumped” because you were still thinking the lovebombing was actually an early stage of love. So it seems to you that his ending the relationship was him dumping you in favor of someone else, when in fact it’s not EITHER PERSON who matters. It’s whether someone will stay in the relationship cycle–where once you are past the lovebombing, you have to be willing to COMPETE for his attention (pick-me dancing) and tolerate the random strangers he’s flirting with online or the escort services.

    You wanted more. So, as CL says, “He can change the players around on his stage as he likes.”

    Take another look at the statement that you “imagine them running off into the sunset and living happily ever after and I’ll always just be the Chump who got dumped.” Of course, the new person is just someone he is toying with as he toyed with you. But when you say “I’ll ALWAYS BE just the Chump who got dumped,” you are seeing the whole situation from HIS perspective, or rather, what you THINK is his perspective–that you were dumped. You are going to move past this guy and you won’t even think of yourself as someone who got dumped; you will realize you were the guy who dodged a bullet and didn’t waste more time on a lying user. You will not “always be” someone who once fell for this guy’s con. You will be someone who learned about the dangers of lovebombing and won’t confuse this over-the-top behavior with actual love.

  • In one of my ex’s many blameshifting episodes, he blamed social media for his cheating 😂 he blamed all cheating on it even, not just his.

    I laughed. I am a prolific social media user and hey guess what, never cheated.

    It’s amazing how they believe their own lies and projections.

    I was also lucky enough to get closure. DM from his actual AP in which we realised the one I thought I left him over was just a decoy. Glad I saw that message request. Led to a year of hell after I’d already moved on, retraumatised and court measures to keep my kids safe. But it was closure at least. Not as great as it’s cracked up to be.

  • Temptation is a tricky thing…the kind of thing Bibles are written about, lol. Everyone gets tempted by something at some point in their life that they hadn’t foreseen on their radar. I suspect most of us get tempted with infidelity at some point. Sure, technology makes cheating easier, but there’s still that ole “moral compass” that should stop you.

    With that being said, I think online dating is mostly a bad idea. It’s tantamount to people shopping and I find its depersonalization unsettling. It is also a perfect place for predators to find prey. Folks are better off getting out into the world and doing things they enjoy and meeting others doing the same.

      • I’d like to rephrase that:most of us get propositioned/presented with an opportunity to choose to go down that path if we so desired. But chumps don’t give into/aren’t interested in the temptation.

        • Something like that…essentially, a lot of people become attracted to another person outside their relationship at some point. Either because they are sought out or by happenstance. That’s just humanity. But, the moral compass stops you from acting on it. Commitment and loyalty bring you back to that person you’re with.

          If you’re one of those rare people who has never felt an attraction to another person while in a relationship, never wondered, if even for a second what it would be like to be with them…well, you’re truly saintly.

        • Yes, I agree.

          I had situations where I knew a guy was interested, and honestly was never tempted. Did I enjoy it when I got an admiring glance, or someone flirted, sometimes, but no I wasn’t tempted, I politely shut it down.

          Not because I am saintly, but because I loved my husband and I didn’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. I worked for DoD, you couldn’t swing a cat without hitting good looking men. But I never would have disrespected my H or myself.

          After he left me for schmoops, I am sure he thought I would waste away waiting for his return. And yes it took a while, I turned down some dates, because I just wasn’t interested, but then boom, I met a sweetheart and a few years later we were married.

          The FW circled back after my first date with my now husband. These fw’s are delusional, they really think they are irreplaceable. Like I said I worked for DoD and I was an attractive 40 year old woman, what did he think would happen.

      • I disagree. I think most humans get some urge, however small, at some point to be with a person aside from their committed relationship…have an undeniable attraction that they then choose to not act on. This is temptation. This is fantasy. And it is the not acting on it, and quickly returning your attention to your relationship, that separates most of us from cheaters.

        Perhaps you’ve personally never experienced this, but attraction is part of the human condition.

  • “And submarine warfare was a new, efficient way of killing one’s enemy.”

    Except it isn’t – not really.

    Q. How many Battle Stars has any US submarine earned in combat?
    A. None. Zip. Zilch.

    Now maybe there are UK submarines that earned the UK equivalent – but not in the US fleet.

    Submarines were sent after the shipping lanes and merchant fleets. Not the fighting ships.

    They still had a role to play though, but let’s not oversell it.

    https://usnhistory.navylive.dodlive.mil/2017/03/28/leaders-of-the-deep-top-wwii-submariners-and-their-submarines/

    But back to today’s chump.

    He was a cad before he met you and used the technology available to him to continue to gratify himself at all times and with whomever he pleased. Where there is a wandering will, there is a way.

    Think of “Clarissa” by Samuel Richardson. The world’s most pretentious, tiresome, verbose, tedious, overrated novel foisted on suffering college students. Ugh.

  • As CL says there were cheaters long before there was social media. I think what social media does encourage is spackling on the chump’s part. If everyone else seems to be having a wonderful life, there’s something wrong with you if you don’t. I cringe when I look at my old social media posts about what a wonderful husband I had. I’m still not sure who I was trying to convince more, my online friends or myself. Real friends can listen to your pain as well as share your joy.

  • You missed a lot of red flags. Forgive yourself, heal from this and learn from this. We all want to believe we are special and if if this your first time with a disordered f*ck, you likely fell hook, line and sinker.

    Technology makes it easier for those with character flaws. It’s not technologies fault, it is the cheater’s fault.

    I hope you move beyond this unscathed any further. Your ex is prone to many deadly diseases and he clearly doesn’t seem to give a shit about giving them to you.

    Please be safe. Love to you.

  • There have always been cheaters, and for generations, the thumped just looked the other way. Now there are all the technological ways to get away with cheating and chumps who are no longer looking the other way have to work harder to catch the cheaters.

  • Those were the exact same words of my STBX whenever i would question him about his excessive social media use, which he often kept secret from me. He would say “you’re paranoid. Stop being so paranoid. Stop being so insecure”. His personal gaslighting words were “paranoid” and “insecure”. So glad I’m not with him anymore. The OW can now deal with the same kind of crap and will now deal with being called “paranoid” or “insecure” Sux to be her lol.

  • Cheater #2 phoned me out of the blue when I was living in another state, about a year after we broke up. So 1995.

    I asked him what he wanted. He got all huffy and rang off.

    When I first got a Facebook account in 2008, who was the first person to contact me? That would be Cheater #2.

    He told me how “happily married” he was. I asked why he’d contacted me. He got all huffy.

    He was how I learnt to block people.

    Another “happily married” ex tried to use his WIFE’S Facebook account to get access to my page.

    I saw this woman and thought, who on earth is she? So I looked on her profile. And then I saw him in the background of a photo.

    So I messaged her and asked why she wanted to friend me when I didn’t know her. “She” responded that she thought she’d gone to high school with me.

    Please.

    I’ve also been trolled on Facebook by Cheater #1’s extremely unpleasant younger brother, a mere 25 years after breaking up with Cheater #1.

    Disordered people absolutely don’t change.

    • Your story shows me that disordered people never loose grudge.
      To still talk about exes 25 years after break up…that’s just sick!

    • They don’t change, and they take themselves with them. They still are miserable because they are in large part a miserable bunch. But, since in their view we were the problem, well they are still pissed at us for wrecking their lives. I am sure my ex fw and his schmoopie blamed me for their gambling and bankruptcy, regardless of the fact that he got most of the property, all of the money, etc. They managed to piss it away. Shame on me.

    • I’m boggled by how she says lack of emotional intimacy causes cheating. Maybe I shouldn’t have signal boosted. SMH

      • I really think the data is skewed: those men are self-reporting, so of course they are going to say they love their wives but their wives aren’t giving them what they need – who’s going to admit, “Oh, I’m just entitled and my wife is busy with adulting and I want someone to pay attention to me”. They have to play the ‘driven to it’ card. Same old.

        • She really should have spoken to the wives, too – you know, to keep things balanced. Even better, she should have interviewed the FWs about the reasons they didn’t try and fix things before deciding to cheat (I bet she’d have just been told a lot of self serving crap!)
          Monogamy is a perfectly fine thing in itself, it’s mostly the relative, but loud minority of entitled cake eaters that lead some to thinking it’s outdated. Because if you look at it objectively, what *is* wrong with two people being exclusive and committed to each other/their family?

          • Exactly, Shintoga, it’s as you say, all about those people that want to have more for themselves, just because they’re so splendid and live above the rules of common mortals.

      • a “study” about one side of the story. Sounds unprofessional to say the least.
        Unfortunately, I see managers taking decisions in the same way.

  • Long long time ago, I was a programmer on a contract with a website that connects former classmates. We thought we had solved a bug, but couldn’t test it, so one of the team volunteered to put her ex-spouse into the database. She knew he was techno adverse and would never notice. Imagine her surprise when the spouse was contacted by 3 separate women hinting at restarting the flames of desire. Certainly pre social media. My co-worker knew he was having affairs, but didn’t know these 3 names.

    • Your team mate had her questions answered. She probably needed this for closure.
      This was no coincidence.
      I love hearing this kind of karmic stories!

  • I wonder if any of you folks might be able to help me.

    I have to write an obituary for my dear brother. We have a step sister. My mother died fairly young but after we were all grown. My dad remarried and his wife had a grown daughter. Do I refer to her as just sister in the obit or step sister. We are friendly but we are not close, as we never lived near each other and did not grow up together. I will put that he was preceeded in death by his mother, father etc, so it seems that putting step for our step mother and sister would be appropriate.

    I kind of want to put step because I want folks to know I am his sister. And of course the obit will note our mother. But, I don’t want to be petty, or hurt her feelings. Any thoughts. I am confused.

    • Technically she’s your stepsister.
      Why not ask her how she would prefer to be listed in your brother’s obituary ?
      For what it’s worth, I call my father’s third wife “his wife”, not my stepmother, since they married when I was in my late twenties. I also don’t refer to her son as my stepbrother, having never lived together as a family.

      • Thanks for your help, step just seemed right because she has her own father, and also, I will have to refer to her mother as step mother, because in the previous paragraph I will be listing our mother as predeceased.

        I am working my way through it. I am trying to honor my brother, and I know that though he liked my dads wife, he would not want her or her daughter to be listed as full mother and sister. We were all grown before my dad got remarried after my moms death. So she didn’t raise us.

        Also, obits are historical records and I wanted them to be as accurate as possible.

        My brother and his wife of 51 years both died a few days ago of different causes. It is quite a mountain.

        • Hugs to you Susie Lee !

          First your first husband (the ex), father of your son and now your brother and s.i.l. Very different relationships and feelings to process.

          There was a family tale circulating and I was only able to verify it via a scanned legal book from the early 1900s, thanks to the internet. Plus a few articles in The NY Times. My maternal grandmother’s parents’ divorce with all the pertinent exhibits i.e. correspondence between my preteen grandmother and her father.

          • It has been a rough year. Also, our older brother died in Nov of last year. This has happened so fast I am still numb. I loved both my brothers, but this one was my best friend.

            My son is devastated, he was so close to my brother, in fact he retires in a couple months and he had planned to move to the same city my brother lived in. They had lots of planned time together.

            Thanks for your sentiments.

          • It will be interesting to see how my father’s third wife’s son and the son’s two daughters will be listed in my father’s death notice. I went no contact with him and his obnoxious wife years ago. Gold digger may be angling for her son (in his fifties) to be legally adopted by my father for inheritance purposes. His own father died when he was ten.
            A great uncle adopted his wifetress’ twenty year old daughter;she had the same legal standing as her three older
            step sisters when he passed away.

  • Since no one has yet named this tool’s behavior, I will: DARVO. Deny, attack, reverse victim and offender.

    Congratulations, OP: you unmasked a cheating fool of a tool.

  • My first gasp was at the order of the flags.
    When retrospecting, one needs to figure out what he could have done differently.
    Like: trust your gut, see that red flag, the NUMBER 1 red flag: cheating and lying.

    Second, he got his proof. Someone contacted him, told him about the explicit texts.

    Last, but most important: yes, technology makes easier for cheating, for ordering sex like a slice of pizza.
    It also makes things move fast.
    The real benefit of technology is that it saves us time. Imagine being stuck with such a specimen for decades, investing your life in a marriage with a cheater and finding out when it’s too late!
    I say cheers to technology!

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