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Everyone Thinks He’s ‘Nice’

Dear Chump Lady,

I am new to your site and am currently reading your book. Every-time I waver I re-read a section of your book to give me the strength and power to move forward.

My husband of 30 years, together 35, met him at 18, three grown children (20, 24, 26) had a long-term (over 3 years) affair that I discovered 4 months ago. We are separated and are on no contact at the present time. (Of course, he called two days ago to see how I was doing).

My issue is that everyone thinks he is the nicest person. He is a physician that has taken care of many of our friends and their parents. Saved many of their lives and is always ready to help in anyway possible.

I can’t help but feel betrayed by people who feel he is so nice and helpful when he did this to me. Believe me, I thought he was the nicest person too (the reason I married him). And I do think he is an amazing physician and people should still use him. But I can’t stand when everyone almost rationalizes or forgives or plays Switzerland when he did this to me. I also take it so personally that he wasn’t nice to me!! We were the “nicest couple”.

What did I do that Mr. Nice Guy wasn’t nice to me. Although he was nice to me while living his double life.

How do I handle these emotions and how do I not get bitter towards people who use him as a physician and say he is “amazing” as a physician and so kind?

Help me control my emotions.

Thank you,

The Nice Wife

Dear Nice Wife,

He wasn’t “nice” to you while living his double life. He was abusing you.

Most of the world is still slow on this concept of infidelity as abuse. Hey, it’s not like he put a belt around your neck! They think chumps are being moralistic about extracurricular boinking and gosh, you’re just feeling rejected. (Bummer) But he’s having a torrid secret passion! (Fun! Ooh tell me more!) Is it kind of icky you didn’t know? Well, yes. But that’s why you’re getting divorced! So that’s resolved itself.

As this blog makes apparent, in story after story after story after story…. it’s way more than that. Cheating is theft of your reality. Theft of your opportunities. Financial theft (double lives cost money). Psychological abuse (gaslighting, blameshifting, and other assorted mindfuckery). Physical harm — he’s risked your health. Aside from STDs, last I checked four months ago, there was still a pandemic going on.

But most of all, infidelity weaponizes your intimacy. Your safest place isn’t safe. The person you trusted most in the world conspired against you. And probably enlisted other people in that conspiracy.

The sort of people who inflict this kind of pain on people who loved and invested in them are not nice.

So yeah, you’re going to have some emotions about that.

That’s normal. That’s the proper reaction to abuse, and pain, and rejection — strong emotions. And it’s also perfectly normal to look around four months after your D-Day and wonder who is safe and who isn’t.

Those who are still operating in your old world? Dr. Nice is nice? Not safe. They haven’t integrated this knowledge that Dr. Nice is Dr. Cheat. Or they have, but your pain and his shitty character don’t really weigh that heavily when considering the more pressing matter of if their mole could be cancerous.

As I wrote yesterday (same Switzerland, different day), your pain isn’t their pain. Most people do not want to integrate this unpleasantness into their lives. Going through this kind of trauma will show you who is truly in your corner and who is just a low-rank acquaintance. And it’s a hard blessing, discernment. But it will serve you well in your life going forward AND — most important — this pain will crack open your heart and give you empathy. It should kill all smugness.

When faced with other people’s chump pain you will never again be neutral. No, you’re going to be that stranger in the Walmart parking lot who hands that emotional wreck a tissue. You’re going to pick up some woman’s broken heart in the lady’s bathroom on a random Wednesday. You’re going to be KIND when the rest of the world is just facade nice.

I know that seems a long way off, because right now you’re that sad creature, but I promise you better days are ahead and some day you will navigate someone else through this shit. Because chumps are born every minute.

How do I handle these emotions and how do I not get bitter towards people who use him as a physician and say he is “amazing” as a physician and so kind?

You don’t trifle with these people. You’re not “bitter” for removing yourself from abuse. You’re not “bitter” for not wanting to hear how awesome your abuser is. You’re not “bitter” for demoting or cutting off people who aren’t really your friends. There’s absolutely no need to be defensive (“NO, HE’S REALLY A MONSTER!”). Just change the subject. You know who he is. And if they know he cheated on you, and they’re so colossally insensitive as to bring this up, you know who they are too — not. worth. your. time.

What did I do that Mr. Nice Guy wasn’t nice to me?

Nothing. He did this. Clearly, you were nice enough that he invested 35 years and 3 children. You were the front for nice. You were of use, until you weren’t. He enjoyed cake — his marriage and his side-dish fuck — for years. It’s good to be King. It’s not that you lack anything, it’s that he’s a glutton for kibbles. He’s entitled.

You mistook history for connection. Happens all the time. See “chumps are born every minute” above.

Please, it’s not you. And you didn’t deserve it. But you can and you will rise above it.

Big ((hugs)).

Ask Chump Lady

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  • My cheater and his dad were men who were nice to everyone except their wives. Mine would buy food for a homeless person but be nasty as shit to me. We talk about being treated like a wife-appliance here, well, I was treated like a toilet – something you would never love but sometimes need but only consider the value of if you dont have it.

    Forget all those people and their false perceptions. How did he act towards you during those 3 years?

    • I often think how doing “nice” things gives you power over others. Forces them to appreciate you. My fuckwit would give someone gas money at a gas station, give someone down on his luck a job, give someone a ride etc. and make sure people knew. Yes, thoughtful gestures but reminders to himself that he is above these people, he can take care of himself. And when I truly think about it, none of his charitable acts ever inconvenienced him and he is transactional so he felt owed favors in the future for his deeds.

      • “ none of his charitable acts ever inconvenienced him” YES! I finally caught on to this pattern of behavior from my STBX. He would snowblow other peoples’ driveways & around their mailboxes , never mind making us late for an appointment, or chat with people on the street, again, never minding if it made us late for an appointment. He was super nice & chatty with a bank teller the day our son was admitted to the hospital (we had to sign jointly that day for something, a 5 minute task)- I was in shock/distress but STBX was his super charming self.
        Long term marriage here too, 36 years. Beware- his “nice” persona kept me stuck for a long time because I questioned why I felt so bad when everyone else saw him as wonderful. Living far from family let them see his false self. I didn’t feel comfortable speaking up about the “one” incidence of cheating 27 years ago. Get STI tests – I’m dealing with a benign sinus tumor from HPV. It still requires invasive surgery, time off from work, & frequent surveillance.
        I don’t think he’s “nice” at all anymore. Instead I see him as a monster that dressed up for years and mastered the “nice” routine so early in life that it seemed natural. Leading a secret life for 3 years or 30 years is ABUSE! It took away my choices about my health, my money, my career, & my retirement because I was making decisions based on false information. And he knew it. That put him in a position of power & me in a position of constant confusion.

        • These nice covert types are all so different but there’s so many similarities too. Mine was also very charming and chatty with everyone and anyone. He’d suck up and lead people to think they had his business, but then when we’d leave an appt. he’d say ‘I don’t know them anything.’
          He also took on a lot around the house, before other people were up, or if we were out – or said he didn’t need help. But then he silently resented it and acted passive aggressively. He even threw some of the jobs he did in my face when he was discarding me. Even though he would sabotage all attempts for us to do these things together as a team.

          • Omg, Zip! You last paragraph was my life! They all suck so similarly & spectacularly badly. Mine would shit-talk everyone right after his friendly “performance.” Why I presumed he wouldn’t do the same to me is basically chummy. So glad he is X

  • It’s the nice ones that fuck you up. Anyone can be nice. Not everyone is kind. Nice is an action, kind is a trait. And nice doesn’t mean a person has a soul. It’s all image management.

    • You said IT!!!! Everyone loves Mr Nice they have no idea what he’s like. It’s actually scarier than the overt narcissist. Mine even brags about people not seeing what he’s “going to do to them coming”

    • Totally true. My ex Fuckwit was ‘nice’ to everyone. We all got taken in by his ‘nice’ persona. I was brainwashed for over a decade into thinking that he was kind and gentle. Instead it was all a front. I’m still broken after 12 years of marriage & a year of separation. I can’t think what chumps of 35 years marriage go through.

      • ChumpDownUnder, The nice cheaters are The Worst. It’s a total mindfuck. Mine was a people pleaser, so he really did a lot for everyone. We didn’t call him ‘Mr. wonderful’ for nothing. Except for the cheating and discard, he was incredibly good to me. You don’t have that feeling of being happy to be rid of your useless partner after Dday when they were seemingly kind and always helpful. It feels like a triple blow.
        I’m finally reading ‘the covert passive aggressive narcissist’ and it’s helping.
        This type of cheater just makes you question everything… Your perceptions of people, people you think are nice …..so many frauds out there. And a lot of them think they are doing nothing wrong.
        And because everybody thinks these cheaters are nice ….. because they ARE nice to a lot of people…… you know that people will think it’s your fault ….. because somebody so nice must’ve really been having a hard time if they cheated.

        • Married to a people-pleasing “Mr Wonderful” here too. Though I will never call him that again. (duh) That last sentence you wrote makes me feel like hyperventilating: “you know that people will think it’s your fault…because somebody so nice must’ve really been having a hard time if they cheated.” I’ve thought about this many times and it infuriates me. He wasn’t having a hard time in our MARRIAGE. HE wasn’t dealing with his deep-down inner shit in a mature, adult way. I thought he was being forthcoming and honest about his feelings with me all these years but it’s clear now he was not. He did however manage to be congenial, engaging, conversational, NICE. While boinking my friend for a year-and-a-half. It’s bizarre. Like you said, total mindfuck. Never saw it coming. No one else did either (a rather public shitstorm). I loathe the idea that people are judging ME bc he’s such a “nice” guy. Also, we’re still married – two years post d-day, working toward reconciliation and it’s kicking my ASS – but apparently we’re also “doing fine” because we’ve stayed together. Yep, juuuuuust fine. Everything’s FANTASTIC over here.

          • Juniper,

            I was thinking about those who stay working on reconciliation just last night and how I feel for you because, and this is my opinion only, seems like fw stay central while the poor chump, you, are dragged through the coals and can’t move on with your own life because all the work is about the fw and not rocking the boat or he might ‘slip’.

            The x cheated years ago. I thought all was over and done only to find out he had simply gone deeper underground. Found out 25 years later he had never stopped – a serial cheater all the time; the nice guy and congenial at home too. The perfect example of a TFC/ covert, passive aggressive narcissist – full blown.

            It has been about 4 years since dday and I am slowly coming to the realization of how indoctrinated I was, slowly over time, that anything wrong in the relationship was my fault so I NEVER looked at his behavior. I NEVER questioned his long working hours. I NEVER suspected cheating.

            As I said here before, I flunked out of the RIC and was devastated at the time but now, I am ever so grateful because I am finally ‘getting it’ that IT WAS NOT MY FAULT.

            As Tracy says all the time….EVERYTHING our of their mouths ARE lies because they have no core. All is an act.

            I can only speak for myself though because one of the things that puzzled me at the time we were RICing was that I never knew ‘who’ was going to show up when he came over. I was certain he was having a nervous break down of sorts which kept me hooked, poor baby, thinking he would snap out of it and be his old self again and all would go back to normal.

            WRONG

            What I now know that I was seeing was his true self for the first time….fractured – non-existent. I now know I was the one who had to wake up and that happened because of Tracy and her direct language and all who have posted here.

            I hope you are getting the help you need for YOU.

          • Oh Juniper, I totally understand the desire for staying together, my 2 cents is he’s absolutely not worth it and it will do more damage to you if you stay.
            A long-term affair with your friend is lower than low, grosser than gross, meaner than mean, slimier than slime. It’s base bottom. Anyone who thinks that you could possibly be responsible for your partner cheating with your best friend is not even worth the time of day. It would take a complete dimwit to think that – regardless of how nice he seems. I just can’t believe that he is worth this effort you are making. Please do not let him walk all over your heart one more second. And YOU know the truth. Neither he nor your friend are decent people (understatement ). And in my experience, even people who go too light on cheaters… draw the line at cheating with your partner’s friend.
            Also, part of the reason I have gotten caught up in thinking
            that other people will blame me, is because of the self-esteem blow, and me being very hard on myself and thinking that my imperfections led to this. I have no reason to think that people would blame me, a lot of that is just in my head because of the self love damage.
            Everybody has imperfections, I stick by people with imperfections and I have a big heart. Cheating has everything to do with their unhealthy business, not ours.

      • 30+ years and the debris of my past continues to unfold in unexpected, yet now more predictable ways, due to the fact that I found LACGAL after flunking outta the RIC camp.

        Things that used to baffle me about his behavior now make so much more sense. The guilt and shame I grew so accustomed to feeling keeps falling off in chunks and I feel a freedom I didn’t know existed.

        Despite all of the pain that was so intense in the beginning, my worst days now are better than my best days back then. (I am about 4 years out from Dday.)

        I never thought I would say that I am glad I flunked out of the RIC club. I feel sooo sorry for those who do stay. Now that is my idea of HELL on earth!

  • What gets me is that all through my 25 year marriage there were people who knew what was going on, close ‘friends’ – or even my mother and sisters – and didn’t tell me because they thought it would be kinder to keep quiet. That attitude certainly needs to change. It is far far kinder to tell the chump.

    • The most painful part of the revelation that he’d been cheating and spending the money I earned on the building slut was the discovery that almost all my professional colleagues and all my employees (all married women near my own age) and even the cleaning staff knew what he was doing and not one of them cared enough about me to give me a heads up. Dealing with that betrayal was worse than dealing with his cheating and squandering of marital assets.

      • This happened to me also. I had no idea and they all did and watched it all go down-it’s sick. Watched me talk and be friendly to her, bringing the kids to work events, not one person thought to warn me or send me even an anonymous note.

        • I got anonymous e-mails….telling me about it….it was so weird but true….living separate now after 35 years of marriage…also 3 kids….also Mr. Supernice and a peoplepleaser……but not kind…it is all so true….thanks for all the good empathic information, I am so happy to have found this group !!!! Best wishes to you Sarah, think positive and stay negative (Covid 19 wise)

    • My FW father cheated on my mother for YEARS with numerous different women – from work, from the neighborhood, from meeting on airplanes, from people they both met on vacation, etc. It gags me to know that so many people knew what was going on and just went along like everything was hunky dory. Actually, one person who worked for the family doing computer work left a tablet open with my father’s email from one of his work mistresses. I like to think he did that so my mom would know without him having to tell her. On one hand, the guy was obviously reading my father’s email. On the other hand, he did a service to my mother by letting her “find out” without confronting her directly (because they didn’t have that type of relationship). So many people at my father’s work had to know about it because he was a senior partner and traveled the world for his work. It makes me so angry at the company in general that they went along with his sexually predatory behavior and that they probably all talked shit behind my mom’s back. My mom is a saint. My father is a piece of shit.

      • The mistresses who were given credit cards, flown on planes with him and his employees, his office staff who reconciled the affair partners credit card statements and his secretary who booked hotels, travel and restaurants for the mistresses are all disgusting to me and lowlifes. They all acted so innocent around me and yet, they knew. Ick!

        My ex was very generous to everyone. Image management and $$ keeps mouths shut.

  • Dear Nice Wife, he is a big fat faker. He faked being nice. He tricked you. All that tells me is that he is the kind of person who will be duplicitous and dishonorable. He isn’t nice. He was nice to his dick before he was nice to you and his family.

    Stay away from anyone who calls you bitter. Stay away from anyone who calls him nice to your face. These Switzerland Friends can be your former friends. Do not allow his patients to talk to you about him. Look them in the eye and firmly state “I divorced him because he cheated. I will not discuss it.” Then don’t. Most of the time these people are enjoying watching you squirm from the pain. Don’t give them another chance to hurt you.
    As chumps I think that sometimes what we see as being bitter is actually a boundary. Don’t allow anyone to label your boundary as bitterness.

    It is so hard to make connections in these days of Covid. My therapist suggested online support groups. That suggestion has led to a telephone support group of friends found in these groups. Online is damn near virus transmission free. Nice Wife, I hope you can make a connection with someone here in Chump Nation. No chump will accuse you of bitterness and call that cheater “nice”.

  • Everyone who knows my cheating ex-wife superficially thinks she’s nice. Because she smiles and has bright blue eyes and makes 45 seconds of lilting small talk.

    Everyone who knows her more than that is struck by her coldness and shallowness, her seeming inability to give of herself, her lack of there there.

    It’s often that way with narcissistic types: they do just enough to get in and take advantage, but never so much that they’re giving more in a relationship than they get.

    • Nomar – your ex is related to mine. Big blue eyes, a Texas drawl, and some sort of self-effacing comment hooks everyone. But that’s all there is. There’s no depth. It’s all shallow small talk with no ability whatsoever to engage in real intimacy. I didn’t see this until one marriage and two kids too late. But I finally realized that, by mirroring my beliefs and playing victim, he tricked me into thinking he had a soul. There’s no soul, just a gaping hole that they’re desperate to fill.

      • And both of your exes are clearly related to mine: big blue eyes, coal-cracker accent that he only pulled out when he was back home, self-effacing humor. Everyone was in love with him, men and women alike. Because he just mirrored back to each person whatever they wanted to see–including picking up people’s accents. Also took me 18 years to catch on, and when I did, he found another host and discarded me.

      • Yes the shallow relationships. One of my best friends pointed out how my Ex has shallow relationships. Her husband and my Ex both love craft beer and the same football team – could have been ez for them to me friends. My Narc ex was probably intimidated by my friends job success etc. so while they were friendly – they didn’t know each other that well over the years. His groomsmen he keeps in touch with but they never visited us or really planned things together. Ex is always looking for new people to impress, use them for a bit, then move onto new supply.

    • Blue eyes, and a fake “aw shucks, didn’t mean to, don’t know what I’m doing”. He was born in New England with a pewter spoon in his mouth. He’s a chameleon. That last sentence Nomar…..that needs to be on a billboard.

    • I love that quote, also. It is a powerful fact in our healing. You have to keep that in mind when the nostalgia hoovers happen.

  • its image management. your doctor husband has to appear kind and thoughtful. Hes getting paid a lot probably for it. He has several masks he wears, for you, his patients, and the ow. He called you to see how you were, you could have said how do you think I am when you were with the ow. Make sure you get everything your entitled to. People see kindness as weakness. People will make excuses for him, they probably think he’s charming. It’s an act.

    • This is a good reminder about the *many masks*. Susan is absolutely correct – they wear a different mask for different audiences and different scenarios.

      • Yes, and the mask my FW father wore at home was of a tormentor. The mask he wore at work was a charming superhero. I remember when I was an adult I asked his secretary (who, it turns out, he screwed at some point) what people at work thought of him. I expected her to say he was intimidating or stern or had a temper or people were afraid of him – you know, all the things he was at home. Of course, looking back on it even if he was I doubt she would have said that to the boss’s daughter. What she said was that everyone just loved him so much – he was funny, engaging, smart, the life of the party, etc. I was so shocked because it was completely opposite to the person I know.

        Later in life I would see similarities again and again. Screaming and raging at home in order to control people and nice as pie when out in public in order to charm people and get what he wanted.

        It really had an effect on me both growing up and as an adult. It made me question my own reality, conditioned me to codependency, made me feel confused about my ability to do anything in life. If my own reality (or perception of it) was not to be trusted, what could I trust? I still deal with the repercussions of this cognitive dissonance, though it is getting better with therapy.

        • Here he was TFC and it always puzzled me how he acted in public. Couldn’t figure out where that person went once we were behind closed doors and he began to behave just like one of the kids.

          Now I know.

          He left just like one of the kids too – as though he was going off to college right behind our children heading out on their own.

          Friends came, packed his stuff and off they went with big grins on their faces. I will never forget the sight of him standing on the curb laughing with his buddies – a man with ED and well into his 60’s running away to live the good life with his soul mate.

          Little did I know he was actually giving me my freedom that day and I should have been the one dancing a jig. As it was, I was devastated.

          Not anymore thanks so much to CL and CN.

        • Wow, your father and mine were very similar! He was sabotaging, stingy, cruel, neglectful, very bad-tempered, whenever at home, especially towards my mother and also towards my siblings, no matter how young or vulnerable they were. But with work friends, he poured out the money on fancy dinners at restaurants, flashed that handsome smile, and even the job he did was public-spirited; so even if colleagues stayed at our house and saw flashes of his bad treatment of his family, they would assume it was not typical of him, that he was just “having a bad day”. It took a very long time for people to realize how habitually unkind and disrespectful he really was; only after my mother died, non-family started to catch on. He taught us to do the pick-me dance from our earliest days, pitting us against eachother in cruel ways and blatantly having and dropping favorites and scapegoats. And we were supposed to never show how we felt about the cruelty, to pretend it wasn’t happening or that “we could take it”. No wonder I did not notice the red flags with the cheater.

  • “Nice” has been the biggest tool in the con artist’s tool box since the dawn of time. It’s shattering when you find out that your spouse has been an even bigger tool since who knows how long.

    I married a “nice guy”. I remember the moment he admitted he was having an affair, sitting on the couch, me standing over him with his phone in my hand, open to an email he sent to a woman asking her “do you want to come?” on a business trip. I had the sensation of the person I knew vaporizing before my eyes in a split second. Not long later on that awful evening, I was sitting on the front steps of my house, screaming and screaming and screaming and screaming into a pillow like I was being murdered. I was being murdered…emotionally mentally spiritually psychologically sexually. I hope he has nightmares about that screaming.

    A dear friend who was chumped after 27 years with her partner, and who had known my husband since he was a teenager, told me, “NICE GUYS DON’T LIE.”

    It’s been just over three years since I found out I actually married Benedict Arnold. I still have moments where I am in cognitive quicksand because of this very phenomenon. I say to myself and to others when appropriate, “Nice guys don’t lie.” Or have affairs.

    As chumps we get so tripped up by the word HAPPY. We find out “they weren’t happy”. News to most of us. Are they happy now? How can they be happy? Why didn’t they tell us they weren’t happy? I can’t stand that they are happy now! They seem happy! Happy happy happy happy happy.

    Forget about happy. They aren’t NICE. They aren’t KIND. They aren’t SAFE. They aren’t TRUSTWORTHY. They are PHONY FAKE DECEITFUL SELF CENTERED JERKS WHO LACK EMPATHY. They are CRUEL.

    Same goes for the human dreck who are in the illicit relationship with them.

    I watched the Netflix series about the Night Stalker. Killing people and abusing children made him HAPPY.

    I don’t give a flying fuck about happy. Who cares if other people think he’s NICE?

    I know he isn’t.

    At least the Night Stalker was up front about who he was.

    • All. Of. This. !!!

      Let me tell you about nice. And the financial ruin that he left in his wake. And the emotional and verbal abuse. And the cruelty. And the humiliation. And the gloating OW. And the wasted years.

      But, he’s wonderful, and generous, and a really great guy. Please. He’s reptilian.

      I’ve lost count of how many times his counsel has referred to me as bitter, scorned, and angry.

      I’m still fumbling through my emotional roller coaster, which is, by the way, on fire most days. But, I’ve got a fabulous therapist who specializes in narcissistic abuse. I see light at the end of the tunnel. I know my truth.

      When all is said and done, “nice” will no longer be part of my vocabulary.

    • Amen, VH! The words “happy” and “happiness” have become triggery for me. I’m sure they have for most of us chumps, who heard some variation on the phrase “But I need to be happy!” from our cheaters.

      In my case, I heard it from my cheater after D-Day #2 but also indirectly from her AP #2, since I have a dump of texts that STBX saved. (Mercifully, I have never had to interact directly with AP.) STBX was trying to absolve her guilt one day by asking AP via text, “DD7 is so little. What does she deserve?” AP replied, “DD7 deserves to be happy. LezChump deserves to be happy. We all deserve to be happy.” Well, guess what, AP? Not everyone can be happy, in this scenario. In fact, all of us ended up experiencing trauma, including AP. [sadz]

      This focus on “happiness” is clearly based on an adolescent understanding of love and relationships. I have seen recent evidence that it’s literally adolescent. My DD18 recently had to deal with a situation in her friend group, where Friend X had “overlapping” girlfriends, and GF #1 wasn’t informed about what was really going on until DD18 intervened. DD18 very maturely brokered a conversation between GF #1 and Friend X/GF #2, in which GF #1 calmly expressed her feelings about the humiliation she had experienced, and Friend X got defensive and expressed the classic cheater line: “None of this means we shouldn’t get to be happy together.” Friend X also cut ties with DD18 for supporting GF #1. Not surprisingly, I’ve always thought that Friend X was immature, even for their age, and had crappy boundaries.

      I haven’t talked in much detail with DD18 about STBX’s infidelity (DD18 knows just the basics, so far as I know), but her role in her friend group gives me hope that DD18 “gets” the nature of the problem, and understands that “happiness” doesn’t trump decency and respect for one’s partners. Of course, none of DD18’s friends have made marital commitments to one another, so we adult chumps have to face much worse consequences. But I like to remind myself that my STBX is emotionally not much more mature than DD18’s Friend X, impulsively seeking “happiness” despite what it costs others (and themselves!).

      Superficial happiness sucks. I’m looking for a much deeper level of contentment and satisfaction, knowing that I have acted with integrity and am pursuing a life worth living.

      • LezChump, yes this happiness thing. In counseling last year the therapist asked my husband why he had such a need to hang around young college girls and his answer was a loud, “because they make me happy!” Well it is all superficial, they don’t require him to help around the house, contribute by getting a job or do anything for that matter. I’m a horrible person cause I think he should contribute to the relationship on more of a level than just living in the same house.

        • RtMO, I hear you. Lots of things make people happy – as other chumps are pointing out in their comments, killing and torture make some people happy. What disordered types lack is the ability to reflect on how their own personal “happiness” might affect others – and even their own lives, long-term.

          Your (still?) husband sounds like an emotional adolescent. Of course, you have to make your own decisions, but I know that I could not remain in a marriage with someone who routinely acts like a teenager, especially in ways that disrespect me. I’d rather be alone for the rest of my life, and deal with all the difficulties of divorce in the short term – which I am currently doing! All best to you.

          • LezChumpmi hope you do see this. Yes going through beginning of divorce now. It is hell but I told him I can’t be married to let alone living with someone who is like that and has said he has been unhappy with me since we met 30 years ago. I totally agree he is like an adolescent

    • Thank you for putting it to eloquently.

      Mine was “nice” but superficial. I found out after the split that none of my friends really liked him and all of them wondered why I was with him.

      Mr Nice Guy had been cheating for years, as it turns out. And yes, it was image management. We had the big house, property, vacation house, beautiful smart daughter. He traveled and had affairs. I gave up my BIG career and took care of the house and child. I was a child of divorce and was going to do everything in my power to not repeat my mother’s mistakes.

      He stole decades from me. For that, I will never forgive.

      • Giddy Eagle, I love your name. It’s joyful and mighty all at once.

        Similar situation here, but my reason for stalling my career was to follow him to his various assignments with the kids. I had to D; I can’t remain dependent on someone I can’t trust.

        I recently heard on the Betrayal Trauma Recovery podcast (which is hit or miss, this isn’t a recommendation) a chump saying her husband lived by “happy wife, happy life” literally. As long as she was placated and had all the things, he could do whatever he wanted and it wouldn’t matter. He only had to be nice to her face.

        My FW was the same, he was fine with pretend happy. I guess they think, if they can wear a mask why can’t we, and just pretend everything’s fine. Scary that we give our lives to people who think like this.

    • I hate that whole ‘happy’ thing too. Actually I don’t even get it. Since when is happiness a justification for anything that’s hurtful to other people? And where in the wedding vows does it say that you promise to make your spouse ‘happy’ all the time. Why is their happiness about us? Who is happy all the time? Why isn’t their happiness their responsibility? Especially for the ones who never even voiced a word to their spouse, or tried to work on anything, or tried to contribute to their own happiness in healthy ways.
      Why does anyone use ‘happiness’ to justify people betraying others? If they cheated the kid down the street better that their own child because it made them ‘happy’ people would judge.
      Sometimes I don’t know why anyone bothers getting married anymore? Wedding vows have become a bit of a joke for so many. The happiness of the moment seems to trump all.

  • My ex was the king of self proclaimed “nice guys”. All that really means is phony.

    My ex was quite a bit older than me and was wildly jealous of my youth. He was also extremely conflict avoidant and was too big of a coward to address anything that bothered him so it would manifest as passive aggressive nasty douchbag behavior which he would then play dumb about when confronted. He would do things and make comments aimed at making me feel like shit but would then paint a phony smile on his face, wash dishes, and proclaim himself “nice”. Even when confronted about his whore ex gf lots of things he did were only him being a “nice guy” according to him.

    I was seldom the recipient of this niceness.

    These scumbags are about phony image management, so they craft images of being nice and helping people out. But since that’s not who they actually are they need emotional (sometimes physical) punching bags and that’s usually the spouse.

    I’m sure there are lots of people who still think my ex is a nice guy. My close friends know he’s a phony scumbag and that’s all that matters.

    Also, one thing I’ve discovered is that a lot more people have him figured out then I initially realized. We’re both avid runners and I’ve had quite a few comments from people we both know about how they always thought something was off about him and never understood why I married him.

    So these phonies don’t fool as many people as you think they do.

    Keep your allies close and everyone else can fuck off.

    • Thank you Kim. I could have written this. Except the part about the running. Which I wish I could say.
      Dr. Fauci has dialed back to speed walking so I can more easily accept my non-runner status.

      Our daughter was the big surprise when it came to people who were onto him. If he were such a Nice Guy she wouldn’t be shunning him like she has been since he and the Drecks blew up our family. Alienating your child is tough to do; very common for abused children in foster care to want to be with their parents.

      It all comes down to trusting myself again, a very important quality that got damaged by infidelity.

      • Velvet, running isn’t for everyone. I just happened to pick it up in middle school and was good at it.

        Competed in high school, college, and now in my late 40’s am still known to win a women’s overall in a 5k or 10k and pretty much own my age group. I’ve been fortunate in that nothing hurts. I also bike a lot and have been more into triathlons lately.

        So do the activities you like to do that make you feel good.

        My ex is a pretty good runner and hated it when I’d beat him. I had a mutual acquaintance tell me, after our divorce, that it really bothered ex that I was faster. That’s how pathetic his ego was.

        Ego is why he still wears a jet black cheap toupee in his 60’s….the rest of his body hair is grey and the bit of hair on the side of his head is grey. I’ve come to find out that he’s the butt of a lot of jokes.

        He’d be mortified if he knew that, but he is good at burying his head in the sand.

        Fortunately my kids aren’t his and I get along fine with their father. But he was in their life for 13 years and they don’t utter a peep about him….it’s like he never existed.

        The loss is his. He doesn’t have much family beyond one self absorbed daughter. My boys are 20 and 17 and might actually help him out if he’d bothered to put in any effort at all. Instead he’s alone. His daughter moved out of state and is much more involved with her husband’s family. Ex was phony and surface with her too.

        My bf of a couple of years is a cyclist who fully supports my physical activities and thinks its awesome that I’m such a good athlete. He doesn’t have the same pathetic ego and is much closer to my age.

        • Insight alert!!

          My daughter just turned 14 and naturally that brings up my life at the same age.

          I JUST LITERALLY remembered that at 12 I could run faster than the boys and was proud of it. I was a sprinter rather than cross-country and remember I loved it.

          My daughter and I were just discussing how I dumbed-down in middle school in order to not be teased for my academic and athletic achievements…we had just moved to California from Ann Arbor and as a vulnerable 12 year old I wanted friends more than I wanted to be known academic and athletic achievement, something I regret to this day.

          So THAT’S where the non-running thing started!

          This blog has been a source of all manner of insights for me. Thankfully I have been awake enough to see them.

          So I’ll be heading outside today to move however feels fun to me.

          THANKS!

          ❤️

          • You’re welcome!

            Maybe you should pick up running again. Groups of all paces are everywhere and you might find You’re still pretty kick ass!

            Two of the best compliments I ever got were:

            A friend of a friend looked me in the face and said “You’re a bad ass bitch!”.

            A girl of about 20 looked at me after a race and proclaimed that when she was older she wanted a body like mine.

            You’re clearly a badass given what you went through with your phony nice guy. Such badassery translates to running nicely!

          • “I dumbed-down in middle school in order to not be teased for my academic and athletic achievements…we had just moved to California from Ann Arbor and as a vulnerable 12 year old I wanted friends more than I wanted to be known academic and athletic achievement, something I regret to this day.”

            I’ve done the same thing. I moved a lot as a kid and so of course the first thing I’d want to do in a new place is to make friends. Beating people in playground games is not a good way to make friends, so I minimized myself in order to get along with others. It was a means of survival. It has lifelong consequences (for me), unfortunately – career, competitive sports, friendships. It is a coping and survival mechanism that is deeply entrenched.

  • Be kind to yourself right now. Trust us all (who used to be where you are) that you will get through this and you will be better off for it. It’s so hard to know this because you just want your life back … minus the cheating. But you’re not going to get that life back because there was cheating. Your STBX is full of entitlement. And he probably has been your entire marriage. You’re in a fog right now, but you will come out seeing clearer. As others have said, nice is not kind. It’s an image he carefully maintains. But you are kind, so be kind to yourself. Tell the truth but don’t elaborate. Your heart is being ripped apart right now, but it will heal, and like CL says, you’ll be kinder to the next person. That’s a sucky way to go about becoming more empathetic, but alas, that’s the way it is. But you will be better for it all in the future. Life really is wonderful without a cheater in it. No more lies. No more gaslighting. Bless you.

  • Stbx is the nice guy, life of the party, everyone’s friend.

    It is so hard to wrap your head around. They are nice because it gets them supply and attention. Every nice act comes with strings and a quid pro quo expectation. But most people can’t see that. Hell, stbx keeps trying to be ‘nice’ to me to manipulate me during the divorce.

    I am not friends with anyone who defends stbx. You lose acquaintances, but your real friends step up.

    This article is really relevant – https://blog.melanietoniaevans.com/why-narcissists-are-so-cruel-to-you-and-kind-to-everybody-else/

    • My ex is a “nice guy” too. Everyone loves him. He is Mr. Fun, life of the party. He is always inviting people over, making people laugh, and generally being great. It’s the weirdest thing being shut out by these guys, because in a strange way it makes you feel like there’s something wrong with you. I have always struggled to feel like i was enough (daddy issues), and Mr. Nice Guy leaving me kind of validated those feelings. It’s been a real struggle to feel like i matter, like i have value, and like i don’t deserve to be left. He rode off into the sunset with his OW — married her, even. I have had a hard time staying in relationships, even though i would love to be in one. It’s a struggle. I know life isn’t fair, and i’m not looking for karma. Just stinks when the “nice guy” leaves you to rot. Oh, and to top it off, he married a “nice girl.” Christian, church-going, generally well liked. Bizarre.

      • He married a ‘nice girl’ to help maintain his image. He’s still a sparkly turd. He did you a favor. Someday you’ll realize this if you haven’t already. What’s ‘nice’ is that he’s no longer lying to you. You’re much better off without him. Your value doesn’t depend on a sparkly turd recognizing it.

      • I like this:
        “He is a liar and a great manipulator. I wish I has found out earlier.”

        The truth of our relationship is that I gave him credibility… I made him look good and successful and like an adult instead of the narcissistic toddler that he continued to be throughout the entire almost 40 years and 4 children.

        Serial cheater X is now sucking off the finances and energy of yet another schmoopie nurse with a purse.

        Glad to be divorced from that. However, it does take time to unscramble yourself from the mind fuck and reclaim your life and decide how to best move forward. There are some days that are hard. Being chumped doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
        And thank God for that, because the idea that I am missing someone as my life partner comes up against the reality that he was never (ever) that someone I’d want to be with. No matter how I spackled it. Yet everyone saw him as a “nice guy.”

        It doesn’t matter how he fools the other people in your life.
        You need to get your head around the fact that he isn’t not a nice guy because nice guys don’t do what he did to you and your family.

      • How did he marry such a nice girl if she was the OW? She was complicit in hurting you, she was very selfish and entitled. Not very Christian like either. These churchgoing types who are selfish at their core make me sick.

      • LongTime….being Christian and church going does not make her “nice”—- it makes her a hypocrite. How “NICE” can she be if she is an OW?? They are TWO NITWITS.

      • “It’s the weirdest thing being shut out by these guys, because in a strange way it makes you feel there’s something wrong with you.” Yes. Agreed. I know this feeling all too well. I get the struggle. Just know that someone else out here is feeling your pain and nodding at your comment.

    • The meat of the article you posted is very good, even though it’s part of an advertisement for services. My STBX was, for just a few days, really honest about herself after D-Day #2. She admitted that she didn’t know how to love herself, and didn’t know what boundaries were.

      That’s when I had a revelation about the pattern described in this article: STBX needed constant supply (= kibbles), and I was not giving her enough anymore. So she had devalued me, very subtly, for years. Even if I weren’t tired all the time, though, I still wouldn’t have been able to give STBX enough supply, because she had such unrealistic (adolescent) expectations, and because she was always going to view me as the taskmaster who made her deal with unpleasant adult realities. So, she turned to “affair lite” friendships with people she was attracted to, and when life got tough, she’d give herself license to have a “hot affair.” (Her first affair was when our oldest daughter was almost 2, and the second started just a few weeks after STBX’s mother died.) When life is tough, disordered types really NEED that supply even more…

      So yes, STBX can seem very “nice” to friends, colleagues, extended family members. She has to interact with them only briefly, and on her own terms. It has helped me a lot to see more clearly this narcissistic (or really, it’s a more general cluster-B) cycle of supply-based lovebombing followed by inevitable devaluation and discard.

    • “Hell, stbx keeps trying to be ‘nice’ to me to manipulate me during the divorce.”

      I hope you are NC during your divorce proceedings. My FW father was doing the same to my mother during their divorce and she just went NC. He kept trying to contact her to “negotiate behind the scenes” and she wouldn’t fall for it. Make sure you protect yourself!

      • We share 2 toddlers… can’t go NC. I only use OFW with strict grey rock.

        Got lots of crap for that in my deposition.

        Blocking his email was bad co-parenting, blocking his calls was bad co-parenting, not talking to him was bad co-parenting, not doing co-parenting counseling together was bad co-parenting…

        I repeated “he can contact me through OFW” and, “he is a liar and a manipulator” over and over and over. Super fun!

        The amount of abuse co-parenting forces you into is ridiculous.

  • My perspective is a different.

    My XW was (and continues to be) perfectly nice and pleasant to anyone whose agenda doesn’t conflict with hers. Her nasty side doesn’t emerge until you cross her, at which point her cruelty and heartlessness emerges. While we were married, I considered that what was good for her was good for us, so I never saw this. She changed when she was deep in the affair (and needed to demolish our marriage, which conflicted with my attempts to save it), and of course now that we’re divorced. Most people don’t have any reason to worry about her, as they are unlikely to be perceived by her as obstacles, so I understand why they aren’t leery of her. The exceptions are a few professional colleagues whom she came to see as rivals; she accused one of being clinically insane, and launched a letter-writing campaign to get another fired for purported misogyny – but for casual acquaintances (parents’ of kids’ friends and the like) there isn’t much risk. I’m pretty sure AP-now-husband has figured this out, as he is rearranging his life (for instance, suing his ex-wife over custody issues to allow him to spend less time with his kids and more time with my XW) to cater to her, so I’m confident she is taking the same attitude towards him that she took towards me.

    My understanding is that this is pretty typical of a narcissist: you’re his best friend until you’re not, and then he will turn on you savagely. I would say that my XW did *not* treat me differently than anyone else. In this, as in pretty much everything else, I wasn’t particularly special to her.

    • Hoo boy IG — you and me both.

      “What’s good for her is good for us” is (in hindsight, of course) such a dangerous trap when you’re involved with someone who only pretends to have the life skills required to empathize and bond.

      As you say, in the end, we’re not special — we’re simply appliances to serve a purpose. A means to an end, whatever selfish end that happens to be.

    • I hear you, IG. I can now see much more clearly how my STBX (who is also a woman) was subtly devaluing me for years before the final affair/discard, but it was very subtle indeed. My understanding is that all cluster B disorders ramp up in intensity when the disordered person experiences external stressors. So, narcissists become more overtly narcissistic – and stop moderating their behavior to suit others’ needs that conflict with their own – when they’re stressed. The way my STBX described her own experience of this process is that she “struggled” with her “needs”/feelings for a while, until her narcissistic mother died, and her world blew apart, and then she just couldn’t fight the urge to cheat any longer. She also couldn’t tolerate hearing me try to talk about any of my feelings in the aftermath of D-Day #2 – in her mind, feeling empathy for me meant facing terrible shame in herself, which she just couldn’t do (since she doesn’t have the internal resources most of us do, to deal with difficult emotions).

      So, many cheaters’ lack of inner resources and “need panic” results in their not being able to deal in any meaningful way with the trauma of their chumps, especially as long as external stressors remain in place. (Covid, anyone?)

      • During peak confusion on my part (shortly after ILYBINILWY and before I understood that she was having an affair) I diagnosed that our problem was lack of communication and emotional intimacy (due to being apart for 6 months for her job, mainly), so I resolved to save the marriage by being more open and honest.

        One day, I went for a long hike in the mountains to try to get my head together. When I returned, XW asked me how it was. I answered honestly: it was horrible and I spent the whole time crying and shaking uncontrollably. XW’s answer: your telling me how deeply my actions hurt you is emotional blackmail. And then she left the room and we never discussed how the divorce was affecting me ever again.

        • Wow! What a cruel human being she is!

          Also, emotional blackmail? Give me a break.

          (p.s. I can relate to crying and shaking uncontrollably. My ex witnessed only a few minutes of it when he first confessed. I think the fucker enjoyed it. They are disordered.)

        • Holy shit IG — yet more “you and me me both” congeniality here.

          When KK sold the idea of an open marriage as the way to work through “self-awareness and self-discovery challenges” she was facing, I decided that some self-reflection on my on part — to figure out my (supposed) role in why she was feeling this way — was a useful contribution to working through the crisis.

          In one of our talks, I just came right out and said it: “Is it that I’m just not ‘man enough’ for you in certain ways?”

          KK’s response: “See?! This is why you need to get some help. You obviously have some things of your own to work through before this marriage can move forward.”

          Gives me the chills just typing that out.

        • IG – yeah, the “emotional blackmail” line. My STBX once told me that she thought I was trying to manipulate her, by trying to talk about my feelings and seeing whether she was getting any tools in therapy to stop abusing me.

          It’s classic DARVO. And I wonder if it’s even worse in women who go to therapy. My STBX would misunderstand and then weaponize therapeutic concepts against me. Like, “feelings aren’t facts” – which is important for a disordered person to understand – but she was trying to persuade me that MY lack of emotional safety was not a “fact,” because look! She’s trying SO HARD! I’m not sure whether she ever understood that all my feelings have been very valid, based as they are in the reality of her deception and manipulations. She’s the one who needs to be reconsidering her unrealistic expectations.

          Whatever. I stopped having the conversation with her, because as CL rightly says, it was like putting my head in the mindfuck blender. I think others at CN have said it before: sending a cluster B disordered person to therapy can be actively dangerous, unless the professional really knows what they’re dealing with and is prepared to treat it properly.

          All best to you and UX and other chumps who have to deal with disordered women cheaters. Because women are so very unlikely to leave their kids behind or accept less than 50% custody, those of us who partnered up with women get to deal with that shit sandwich even more often after divorce, sadly. 🙁

        • Involuntary Georgian,

          I had the similar thing happen to me for almost the exact same reasons. Thinking along the same lines I too was honest and was met with him storming out of the room because I had ‘hurt his feelings’ – or words to that effect.

          Naturally I did what any good chump would do in my situation, I ran after him to give him comfort. He is a classic TFC.

          I was a classic chump deep into the RIC mentality.

          Now I know better.

          • Yes! If I ever expressed any negative emotions like sadness or disappointment (or, g-d forbid, cried) about his lies or inappropriate relationships with other women, he told me that I was making him feel bad about himself. And that the fact that I couldn’t control my emotions was exactly why he needed to be with other women

          • Oh my…. same here
            It’s not what he was doing – the problem was my reaction to it
            So… he was disrespectful and tried to mindfuck me- but it was my fault to bring that up, since he was stressed. Instead- I was supposed to help him, be patient and understanding while swallowing the shit sandwich.
            Oh yes- and he told me that unfortunately he was not in position to comfort me or babysit my feelings.
            I started laughing.
            Dude- I’m telling you that disrespectful behavior won’t fly with me anymore, there is action/ reaction and if you want help and support- the crappy behavior towards me has to stop. Simple, right?
            Mr Nice guy- while I love to help (staying far away from the spotlight ) he did it publicly- always.

    • Yep. My ex was judge mental AF and very cruel. I actually valued that. Thought she knew what she was talking about due to strong convictions. I remember always thinking “hate to be on her bad side”.

      Now I am. Nailed me HARD in divorce and continues to twist the knife with coparenting and child support. Complete and total monster and the AP is the exact same person. Surprise!

      I now know she really just hated herself and with the help of CL’s book I realized I’m better off and they get to live locked in their own prison they created together forever.

  • Being nice is in their cheating 101 textbook. Being nice is a act. Nice people do not cheat on their wives. My ex was a nice guy too. He would fix peoples cars. Help people move etc. But, at home he verbally abused me. Would only give me $200.00 a week to pay bills. Slandered my name to my skanky cousin. He told her I stole his money. Could not keep a job. Did not clean the house and was a nutjob. But, he sure was nice to skankella. He even told that lie to his parents. Who in return let him hide tens of thousand of dollars in their safe. Your husband only played nice. Sorry to say you misunderstood his niceness. And he used that to his advantage.

  • Nice wife, I could have written your letter (except my x physician is in love with a hooker). He puts on a nice facade to the world, an ‘aw shucks” attitude. But to his family, he vacillated between nice, indifferent, cruel, and emotionally absent. This is a man, who on vacations, would sit in a hotel room all day because it was boring to do stuff. My friends noticed he wouldn’t even put on his “front” sometimes—just rudely abandon us at a beach during a multi-family vacation. Since the news of his double life has come out, more and more people have come told me stories about his behavior in the past that made them go “hmm, he maybe isn’t such a nice guy because why did he act like that/say that”. Thirty four years of my life wasted on someone who can only feel superficial emotions.

    • This is very similar to my sync. Vacations he rather sit in a hotel room and go on his computer games where everyone finds him so important and so smart. He did not want to do things with family and yet he’d still go on vacations with us.

      I’d also like to add that when we met 30 plus years ago I met his previous girlfriend. She broke up with him. He informed me that he was much nicer to me than he was to her. I now wish I had asked her about their relationship. I think if I had I would have not ignored all the warning signs about him, including from friends who said I should leave him. Now like others, some people are telling me they were concerned about how he treated me but did not want to say anything. I have to admit though my mother told me things many times and I just made excuses for him. Because I loved him…

  • “Going through this kind of trauma will show you who is truly in your corner and who is just a low-rank acquaintance. And it’s a hard blessing, discernment.” ^^^^^THIS^^^^^

    It’s a hard lesson but one that will forever change your soul! Once you come out of the fog your rose colored glasses will be off, you will who is friend or foe or who just a bump on a log in every situation. You will figure out how to navigate around the fake sea of those who play nice. And, CL is absolutely right. Once you get through the other side of this, you will be there for those chumps with empathy, kindness and much needed strength. You will be amazed at just how much strength you have and those “fake friends” will as well as they start to come to you after they’ve been chumped.

  • For what it’s worth, my ex-wife is a doctor. She was all about image management — to her parents, friends, community, co-workers, kids, school. She was “perfect”. Except for the fact that she had a secret affair for a year with the woman down the street and put her innocent husband (i.e., me) through hell to make it look like the divorce was somehow my fault. Image management. Yup.

    • As a lesbian, I just wanted to say I’m so sorry your ex did this to you. My STBX was a rainbow cheater, too. It’s so sad that cheaters come in all flavors. And the false “feminism” can feel so hypocritical in these situations – they’re like Jesus cheaters, only with a different creed.

  • Nice does not equal good. Nice is a social construct (manners and such) whereas good is a moral way of being. Jeffrey Dahmer was nice. Ted Bundy was nice too.

  • I feel this so hard. My ex was everyone’s favorite preschool teacher. Our son went to the same school (big discount so couldn’t resist) so the parents often gushed to me about him. Yeah, he’s wonderful with women and children who aren’t his family. Public image was everything to him. I actually had to put my foot down about him taking our son’s toys to school for the other kids, when we were together.

    He is very good at getting everyone’s sympathy and support. When a parent picking up their kid at the same time as me gushed to me about him (usually they didn’t know we were divorced I think) I tended to just say “Ok”. Not like I’d see them again. He had alienated most of our friends by the time we divorced anyway due to his weird behavior so I didn’t have to deal with many Switzerland friends. I was lucky.

    I gave up caring what other people thought. If they asked, I told them the truth about what happened. If they chose to think he was still the shiznit, I moved on. Plenty of people out there to be friends who don’t associate with my abuser.

  • Most cheaters are charmers, they work hard to develop this “nice” front. It’s the person they want people to believe they are, the lengths they go to protect this image is nutty. It’s the narcissist’s mask. Behind the mask, is the true self, and that’s the guy (or girl) we eventually see. That shitty moral character of a cheater/abuser is who they really are. Gosh I sometimes wish I could go back to Lala land of thinking mine was nice, but I can’t. It was all a fake life bubble of fake happy that I put on for him, for his image.
    The theft of your reality, really hit home. That’s what I mourn. But you, the hell with that fake Dr. Nice guy, you know the truth the others opinions don’t matter. He didn’t cheat on them.

    • Yes, it is all about the image. He told me he didn’t want anyone to think he was a deadbeat dad, but not enough apparently to care about his own kid.

      He also didn’t want me to tell anyone what really happened. It got in the way of his “poor me” act for the rest of the world. F that. But he seriously thought that I would be cool with lying about it so he could save face. That was the most important thing to him. So gross.

  • When I first met the traitor, he told me story about his mother which broke my heart.

    His parents are from Germany and now elderly. They both grew up in poverty. During WW2, his father was a German soldier and his mother, ten years younger (easier to control) was a school child. Grandfathers on both sides died from alcoholism. It was a luxury in his mother’s family for them to have sugar to bake a cake. Her father sold her ice skates to buy alcohol. Money issues in adulthood are not a surprise.

    The traitor’s parents met after they had both come to the US. Easy to understand they have terrific ingrained fear around money and did very well for themselves on some levels, but spending money on enjoyment of life is almost totally verboten. As a child, the traitor used all of his allowance to buy marbles. His mother made him take them all back. Not some. All. She did not let him use his own money to buy what he wanted. That story really upset me.

    One Christmas I found a vintage bag of Santa Claus marbles on eBay. The little
    bag had a red cardboard label with a picture of Santa Claus and the marbles were green. I wrapped it in a box that had a picture of a cheerful snowman family.

    It went right over his head. He had no comment. He didn’t say anything or ask me anything about it.

    I think someone whose feelings were installed properly would have a reaction of some kind. There was absolutely no reaction whatsoever.

    I found them while getting out the Christmas decorations this year. I looked at them and tried to think of anything he has ever done to acknowledge he saw me in a similar way. I couldn’t think of anything. As a matter of fact, it seems more like he sought to repress or stamp me out. He did not care how I felt or what I wanted. I really did not see this until near the end. It was all obfuscated by that Nice Guy show.

    I think of that greeting in the movie Avatar when the Navi say, “I see you.” I developed this sense of him shoving me out of his way or stepping on me to get what he wanted. I felt invisible. But hey, he was a Nice Guy, and we were going to therapy! So this was just an issue that would get resolved…..

    Not.

    • I have an alternative explanation.

      He likely made up that story completely. He didn’t react to the marbles because he didn’t remember telling you that fabricated story.

      I was filled with horror when I finally understood that he lied from Day #1. Every dramatic life story was likely a lie to gain my sympathy and triangulate me against his family. It is unbelievable.

      • This is certainly my experience. My ex told me a story very early on about how he’d intervened when his uncle was committing a racist act. That story went a long way to convincing me my now-ex was an upstanding man with a good character and shared my values. 40 years later I referred to that story, and he said, “That never happened. It was a lie. I was lying a lot in those days.”

      • Sadly I know the story is true from his own mother.

        I was with him for 27 years and I have a good handle on what is true and what isn’t among the jigsaw puzzle pieces. After DDay, everything not verified goes in the “lie” column.

        The explanation for his lack of reaction is that he has no empathy.
        It makes sense to me now that he is so inept when it comes to gifts and giving, family history of impoverishment aside.

  • A physician knows about stds.
    He wasn’t just not nice, he was abusive.

    Let’s take old fashioned genital herpes. No cure. Upwards of 40 percent of people 40 years old have it. Transmission is easy, even transmits with wearing condoms and even if the partner is asymptotic. There are people who are carriers who NEVER show a symptom, and they can transmit through genital area skin touching. And once you got herpes and know it, you MUST tell every future sex partner or be sued! That totally dampens one’s ability to get a new mate.

    What if he was true to you, cheated with her, she has herpes (good chance being her age) and he gives it to you…..

    Cheaters aren’t nice. They are messing with your health.

    • ….and the supposed meds one has to be on for life if they want a future relationship are very toxic to your body and kidneys…

      Once they’ve cheated, imagine his Johnson covered in herpes sores, either latent hidden or patent obvious. He is damaged goods. Stay away. Cuz if he’s cheated once, he’s been cheating many times. They say pedophiles are also charming, nice people.

      • Please don’t my damaged goods. I am sorry. Poor choice of words on my end. I realize a lot of chumps got herpes from cheaters…. another reason to kick them out early and go no contact.

        • Maybe one of the reasons the rate of herpes is so high is because of the stigma surrounding it – no one wants to talk about it because they feel such shame. So they either close themselves off, or they selfishly take risks with other people’s health.

          People who have herpes are not damaged goods, and you don’t have to be on medicine for life to have a future relationship.

          I got it when I was 19. It was devastating at the time but I went on to have a 20-year marriage and have had two relationships since my divorce. I am always honest about it and I’ve never been rejected. And I know my ex never got it because he was tested twice after the divorce.

  • This is perfect. “… infidelity weaponizes your intimacy.” I so want to share this on Facebook, but my ex just had a heart attack. (Funny. Didn’t think he actually *had* one.) Don’t want to upset my kids while he is in the hospital.

  • Boy do I need this today. I am separated and working on divorce. 30 years married and over the last 2 to 3 he has treated me as though I am invisible. But yes everyone says what a nice guy he is. Even I’ve said that. I told friends I don’t understand why he is treating me this way because he is such a nice guy! Because I’m the one he is mean and dismissive too. And then I found out he was treating our 25 year old daughter in a similar way. I now believe that he will be the same way with any woman he gets involved with.

  • I’d like to connect two points in Susan’s post (sorry I’m not nesting this under her post; I did, but the site crashed in the middle of my comment): that he’s calling you seemingly interested in your welfare, and that you have not yet worked out a settlement and divorced.

    Do not discount the idea that he is calling you as part of an attempt to manage your response, to work on your feelings to get you to go along with his idea of what’s fair in the divorce settlement. He’s not being “nice” by calling you: he’s attempting to manipulate you for his own benefit.

    My ex, another person who has an excellent public reputation but who was an entirely different person at home, did this same thing when we were in the negotiation stage. Because he had convinced himself of what a terrible person I was, he believed I would go full-on “grab it all” in the divorce settlement, and in the months while we were negotiating, attempted to manipulate me into acquiescence of what he wanted from the settlement. He had the temerity to tell me he had adopted “kindness eases change” as his operating method. (Yes, he had the condescending narc’s belief that I needed to be pitied, because he was leaving for a superior life.) Because I was able to recognize this as the bullshit it was–was he kind to me while deceiving me and carrying on a secret life for three years?–I did not fall for it.

    As soon as I began to push back, his mask came off. I wouldn’t be surprised if your stbx does the same.

    • Yes, I share Adelante’s experience. My STBX (we are both women) has been “nicey-nice” a fair amount since I moved out in March 2020. But several times, she has pulled some very disrespectful moves, like choosing to date during the pandemic, even though I’m in her Covid group due to shared custody. Every time I call out one of these things, she gets defensive, says she’s “doing her best” as if that should justify everything. Of course, I set extremely firm boundaries and call in the lawyer when necessary, but it’s all still just exhausting – like being on a roller coaster, even though I have tried to limit contact with STBX as much as possible. Not surprisingly, STBX doesn’t seem to understand that “niceness” doesn’t make up for occasional slaps across the face.

  • I truly always knew that my ex was more concerned about what the outside world thought of him, rather than myself or our sons for our entire 35 year marriage. I totally understand it now. Image management for sure.

    While it rolls right off of me when someone comments that the ex is “nice”, I was absolutely blown away when a former SIL claimed that the whore was “nice”! I asked, “the woman that destroyed my family”?

    So hard to deal with all of this.

    • “While it rolls right off of me when someone comments that the ex is “nice”, I was absolutely blown away when a former SIL claimed that the whore was “nice”! I asked, “the woman that destroyed my family”?”

      My parents are divorcing. At some point my mother said that she thought my FW father would get together with one of his mistresses and she thought he’d want to get married again (because he is essentially a man-child who cannot take care of himself and needs someone to boss around) and that he generally had affairs with “nice women.” I had to correct her and say “Mom, women who sleep with other people’s husbands are NOT nice women!”

  • “No, you’re going to be that stranger in the Walmart parking lot who hands that emotional wreck a tissue. You’re going to pick up some woman’s broken heart in the lady’s bathroom on a random Wednesday. You’re going to be KIND when the rest of the world is just facade nice.”

    Or in my case, the kind stranger who prayed for me in the parking lot of CDA Tractor while her husband shopped for a zero turn mower. My cheater had left me with broken down equipment. I was older, alone, scared, overwhelmed and worried about money. I was afraid I could not manage my little farm by myself but too overwhelmed by the thought of having to sell and manage a move in the midst of such chaos. She could tell I was upset and just reached out to me. She might have been a little crazy, but it was a good crazy, motivated by love.

    Thank you kind stranger. Dear God, those first months were hard. I am glad I kept my little farm, and am doing fine now.

      • DW, I had a young priest sit next to me on an airplane flight, shortly after I filed for divorce. I literally sobbed out my story to him. He listened, prayed, got my address and sent me a book. I’m not Catholic, but God must have put that kind man in my airplane row for a reason.

        • DW…I broke down, sobbing uncontrollably in the freezer aisle , triggered by ice cream I always bought for my STBX. A woman looking at the ice cream immediately came over to soothe me and I gulped/choked out haltingly that my husband suddenly abandoned me after a 30 year “happy” marriage, 3 months before our daughters wedding. I thanked her for her concern and just said….Please pray for me and my 2 daughters. She squeezed myhand and said…”Honey, I am a nun.’

  • I believe in order to understand people like this you have to suspend your pre-conceptions, and make a pro/con list of behaviors, and then evaluate. It is rare that someone would be entirely one descriptor all the time, in every situation.

    Early in life we learn to take evaluation short cuts by stereotyping. We develop brand loyalties, based on advertising, or limited experiences. We erroneously believe other people have the same values and standards we do. We see certain brands of groceries in our homes, and assume they are fine, because that is what we know. We meet our relatives, neighbors, schoolmates, and assume they are nice, because they appear to be, on the surface. We think our doctor/dentist/ hospital are fine because we had an acceptable experience during a visit. We make many judgements based on superficial information.

    In this case, the cheater may do a good job being a doctor, or auto mechanic, or tax accountant etc, but may be a lousy husband or father. Other people only know what they see in public, or what the advertised, image managed version is. For some reason ( I do not understand) people tend to stand by an original evaluation, even when supplemental data prove the original evaluation was incorrect. It is making an error, but refusing to acknowledge the error, because they believe that somehow the error reflects negatively on their judgement.

    As chumps, we commit to a person, and over time we learn to spackle and normalize, and downright ignore and apologize for unacceptable behaviors of our spouse. Then one day, usually after an accumulation of denial, we cannot deny anymore. Then we expect all the other people in the world to know what we know, and reject this person based on our knowledge and pain. The other people in the world don’t experience our knowledge and pain. Most of the time, they do not want to know. It means altering their worldview. Admitting error may imply weakness to them. It may not be economically advantageous for them to do so.

    You have to learn to alter your behavior based on whether a person is nice to you, or not. If their behavior, toward you, is not acceptable, then you cannot be swayed because someone else, or people in general, think that person is nice.

    Brand loyalty may make a shopping trip faster, but if the brand is not re-evaluated, you may keep yourself from a better product because you refuse to alter your original choice. A brand name can be purchased, and new management changes things about the original brand, but you continue to buy because it was your original choice. When I married my ex’s I thought I was making a good brand choice , but I had erroneous pre-conceptions, and I was lied to in an advertising campaign where the future ex-husband pretended to be someone I would love. Time and experience provided me with the factual information I needed to evaluate my choice, and for me to decide I needed to change brands. My decision did not result in all the other people in the world rejecting my ex. Just me. It was the right decision for me. If/when he hurts the others, they may change at that time. That is their problem, I cannot help them.

    I see this as a bigger problem in our society. We are labeled as one thing or another, and a lot of misconceptions are attached to that label, If there are two opposing ideological labels we fight against each other as a group, based on erroneous preconceptions about who we are as an individual. We don’t want our group to admit error, that may make us vulnerable. All groups make errors. A really strong person, or group, admits error and does corrective action. Every chump on this site has to admit to errors in judgement, to behaviors we wish we could take back and change. But we learned from our mistakes, and could own our mistakes, but also say they did not cause the cheater to cheat. That was the cheaters mistake. That is the cheaters problem to live with. That alters the image the cheater may want to present. Facts speak truth. Use the truth to evaluate.

    If you don’t attach team names to opposing views, if you realize we have to get along as a community of people with diverse needs and ideas in order to survive, if you concentrate on whether or not an individual is treating you in an acceptable way, or not, then you can determine your course of action in relating to that individual. Don’t expect the rest of the world to understand.

    • Right! Familiarity bias is a real thing, like psychological inertia. And while we certainly all have a hard time admitting error, this effect is exacerbated when we’re talking about foundational life choices (how will I parent my kids solo?) vs. detergent options. Trauma bonds are real.

      And as CL often notes, discernment requires making a distinction between what people SAY (advertise) vs. what they DO (perform in reality). Again, that distinction is harder to make when we are living with someone constantly promising us things that they don’t follow through with. I don’t have to see a detergent advertiser struggle with their terrible feelings of shame and self-loathing. Most of us weren’t trained to know how to deal with that in a healthy way. That’s why CL/CN have been so helpful to me, at least. Discernment 101, 5 days a week…

  • Ask Ted Bundy’s mother or ex-wife if he was “nice” and they’ll likely say yes… he was… we had no idea he was a serial killer.

    Same applies here. No one knows what went on in your marriage. No one can understand the abuse of intimacy you are surviving without having gone through it (thus the reason ‘war buddies’ is a real phenomenon).

    KNOW YOUR TRUTH. At the end of the day, what anybody else thinks about anything as private as infidelity in your marriage is their concern, not yours. RISE ABOVE.

    Here at Chump Nation and with CL’s guidance, we are trying to change the narrative about infidelity as abuse… one cheating fuckwit at a time. Keep coming here when you need someone to validate your pain and make you feel heard. You will ALWAYS find it here… and we will get you through this.

    Lastly… I always remember my English teachers challenging to find a better word when I was writing “nice”… “nice” is so generic, so blah, so common… so the next time someone tells you that your cheating fuckwit is so “nice” or you are such a “nice” couple… tell them to find a better word, maybe one that rhymes with bucket… because you deserve it.

  • Mine too was the nice guy. Sponsor of many people in AA as well as being a therapist that people loved and felt they owed their lives too. “What a great guy.”

    I believed he was too.

    I had a lot invested in him.

    I didn’t want my world to crumble.

    I now know he isn’t a great guy.

    I no longer invest in him.

    My world crumbled and I now find myself belonging to a group that people don’t want to belong to…..unless ‘it’ has happened to you and you find yourself here 🙂

    I fight the compulsion to try to convince people of this bizarre reality because I know it is a futile fight. I now know people are hugely invested in their realities – just as I was – and they will do anything to keep their realities in-tact. I know this because it is what I did and it is what Tracy so eloquently spells out here daily.

    I know that one strategically placed stone moved can tumble the entire structure and most structures are shaky to begin with because life is complicated.

    Who would want what I have now? An outlook wherein I trust only a few people; where I see duplicity almost everywhere; where all of my places of security have been uprooted; my very faith in a higher power is under intense scrutiny; my sense of family destroyed – – whoever says divorce doesn’t effect older children has NO clue especially where serial cheating is involved.

    So I fight the compulsion to get people to understand and I call an understanding friend instead who helps me regain a sliver of sanity so I can get through another day in this bizarre world of smoke and mirrors we are currently living in.

    Give yourself permission to walk away from those people. It really is okay and it may take time…I am still struggling with it and it has been almost 4 years now…Some days better than others. I know now it is the right thing to do. There is a new voice slowly creeping in to my head and I am learning to listen to it…some of the time…that wavers too depending on the day.

    Welcome here. I hope you find what you want among us. Keep coming back:)

    • “…whoever says divorce doesn’t effect older children has NO clue especially where serial cheating is involved.”

      Very true. I am an older child of a serial cheater and it has been less than a year since I found out about all of his fuckery. It is hard to explain what I am going through. I am old enough to understand adult relationships and marriage difficulties (I was married and divorced, myself) so I should be able to manage this as an adult, yes?

      My parents are divorcing after 54 years and I am VERY happy for my mother that she is getting away from my toxic FW narcissist of a father. I hope she will be very happy for the rest of her life – she already seems lighter and happier and it has been less than a year since they have been separated (divorce not yet final but getting close).

      I am so disgusted by my father’s philandering. Affairs with women YOUNGER THAN I AM! He’s currently trying to get with a woman who could be my daughter (age-wise) and his grand-daughter. He’s had sugar babies. He is currently buying gifts for multiple women – both past APs and potential future APs. All the while, my whole life, I feel/felt completely ignored by him. He says he wants this 33-year-old to have someone who “believes in her.” Ummmm, pops, that’s not your job as a 75-year-old man who has nothing in common with this women except for hoping she’ll give you sex. And you never gave me that benefit of “believing in me and my dreams” so in turn I learned to not have any dreams because I felt not worth of that kind of support or believing-in.

      I’m trying to frame a letter to CL but have not find out the exact question I want to ask. But I think that adult children of cheaters and chumps should be given more attention as part of the collateral damage of breaking apart families.

      • “And you never gave me that benefit of “believing in me and my dreams” so in turn I learned to not have any dreams because I felt not worth of that kind of support or believing-in.”

        That’s a very good insight.
        The thing that I am learning in my older years is that I need to give myself the validation to move ahead with my own inspirations and inclinations and vision.

      • Every person who believes they need to stay in a marriage with a cheater “for the children” should read your comment.

        My own father was a cheater, although I didn’t learn this until my father died, when I was in my 40s and my mother told me. So much of the life of our family, my father’s actions toward me, and the damage done to my own sense of self, was explained by this news,.

        • Oh, Adelante,

          What a gut punch that must have been! Do you wish you had known earlier when he was still alive? Conversely, do you wish your mother had never told you? So much to process!

          No need to respond if I’m prying too much. I’m just curious.

          My own adult kids know their dad’s a cheater because he told them. He thought they’d understand and embrace the OW. What a clueless man! Not only did they not embrace her, they completely ditched him. NC since D-day (Oct 2019). To say he miscalculated is an understatement. He thought he had a good relationship with them, but he never did. It was almost too easy for them to cut ties.

          I do wonder what long-term effect this will have on them. Two are married. My youngest (27) makes comments like, “Men are gross.” As I wrote yesterday, my oldest quipped that she feels like she’s “half skeeve.” They say they don’t miss him at all.

          The entire situation is sad. No one wins (except maybe the cheater, although I suspect he hates himself). He’s always been an unpleasant person.

          • I found out when I was an adult as well that my father had cheated. I wish my mother hadn’t told me. I felt that added zero benefit to my life. Perhaps she wanted to share her story but it’s not something I needed to hear. I already knew he was a mess up been so many other ways, I didn’t need to know that as well.
            I’ve tried very hard to not share things with my kids that they don’t need to know about their father. I know that it would feel like I am letting something (purging) out but I know it wouldn’t feel good for them.

      • BaL

        Thanks for your comments. I seem to recall Tracy saying that she is working on a book about the children of cheaters…but I am not sure.

        I do hope you can come up with a letter so that others here can comment too.

      • Bullshit and Lies: Eloquently and beautifully expressed. It made me think about my relationship with my own father, and what you have expressed resonates. He used to cheat on my mother, and then tell me about it and why it was my mother’s fault that he was “forced to cheat.” As a child, I saw cheating as something that was normal in our family. I never thought much about it until I caught my first husband cheating on me and realized first, how much it fucking hurt, and second, the amount of lying he had been doing to cover up. I realized I couldn’t trust a thing that came out of his mouth — or my father’s mouth.

        I married again, and this one was an out and out abuser. I didn’t catch the cheating until AFTER I left him because I was looking for other women, not for Father Steve and Brother Jim.

        I didn’t discover Chumplady until after I’d filed for divorce from Cheater #3. My father seriously fucked me up and skewed my judgement. I’m finally straightening myself out, and hopefully fixing my picker, but I’d rather be alone now than having another liar, cheater and/or abuser.

        Anyone who is considering staying with a cheater “for the children,” please think again. It’s not doing your children any favors to normalize this behavior for them. Get them out of the environment that normalizes abuse of one’s spouse in ANY fashion and model sane behavior! That was something neither of my parents could manage to do.

  • LezChump, yes this happiness thing. In counseling last year the therapist asked my husband why he had such a need to hang around young college girls and his answer was a loud, “because they make me happy!” Well it is all superficial, they don’t require him to help around the house, contribute by getting a job or do anything for that matter. I’m a horrible person cause I think he should contribute to the relationship on more of a level than just living in the same house.

  • Nice Wife I am so sorry for your pain. I was married to a “nice guy'” 34years.

    CN there has got to be some huge societal change. This whole dump and run after decades of marriage needs huge consequences. I will survive but the destruction of our good hearted chumps has got to stop!

  • Nice Wife, it just burns me up to read your story. Cheating during a pandemic is a whole other level of dangerous behavior. I know people younger than me who died of COVID, a woman my age who had to be hospitalized, and several others who contracted the disease and survived, but not without a fight. Some of them are now long haulers struggling to live normally. I’m betting your STBX didn’t wear a mask at home around you, and you believed him to be part of your “pod.” He isn’t a “nice guy,” he’s a physician who knew better but chose to play Russian roulette with your life by cheating on you. Don’t let others label you as bitter. Wanting to live a safe and sane life is not bitterness, it’s a form of self care, and I bet it’s been a long time since you took really good care of yourself. Sending you monster hugs, you found the right place for support <3

  • The ex husband was a “nice” man. He drew people in when they were of use to him then dropped them like hot cakes when they were not anymore. I didn’t see the pattern at first but I do now. When my FIL was told his son had cheated on me and been prowling internet sex sites and hooked up with a woman 21 yrs his junior – he said “Well that’s life”

  • My ex is also a physician who emotionally abused me and our kids.

    At work, he came across as shy and caring.

    I think patients often think their physicians are “nice.” It results in part from the power imbalance of that patient/doc relationship. Patients are primed to look up to the doctor. And if the outcome is to their liking (i.e., they get better), patients can veer into doc worship.

    Lots of people seem nice on the surface. My hairdresser seems lovely, but I have no idea what she’s really like. These relationships are superficial. Physicians have that extra cover of THE NOBLE PROFESSION.

    Since my ex confessed to fucking a nurse for almost 3 years, other docs have told me that they never thought he really liked his patients.

    People are perceptive. Even the Swiss friends might be neutral because they have to work with the cheater, and it’s easier that way. I would guess that the ones who’ve known these douche bags for years have witnessed some assholery.

    I’ve dropped the Swiss friends, of course. One colleague told me, “I love you both.” WTF! She did have to continue to work with him, so keeping the peace serves her. In some ways, I can identify. Heck, I kept the peace and spackled day and night.

    Nice Wife, come back here often. CL and CN will help you get through this nightmare.

    Remember that you didn’t cause him to cheat, and things will get better. It sounds like pablum, but it’s true.

  • Everyone thought mine was nice too. He was super charming, made you feel like a million bucks with his compliments and big, dopey grin. He seemed like he was listening to you and being attentive at social gatherings. He always wanted to go home early because he wanted special time with the family. He was so engaging! What they didn’t see is when we got home he was tired, needed his own space so he jumped on his iPad, ignored me, slept in the guest room so he “didn’t keep me awake” and then he slept until 11 the next morning and woke up grumpy. It was confusing and weird and I always wondered why he was so NICE to others and so inattentive to me. Once I told everyone he was a massive cheater, most people said “That makes sense, he did seemed fake and a bit slimy.” So you never know what people really think. Most could see through the nice.

  • Nice is telling your spouse that your feelings have changed, and you want to separate. Nice is not conspiring with another person to deceive your nearest and dearest with an affair.

    Nice can be image managment. Striving to appear as a kindly god to people gains many kibbles.

    As CL says, most people do not want to get involved in our pain and trauma. They just don’t.

    • I think if you’re married you owe more to your spouse then just saying your feelings have changed and you want to separate. Feelings can change all the time and then return -marriages can have a lot of ups and downs and trying years. There are other people involved and marriage isn’t about getting out of it because your feelings have changed. It’s marriage, the time to suddenly get out, was dating.
      Of course some marriages have to end, but if people haven’t honestly worked through their stuff and sought the appropriate help and support – then I think it’s pretty shitty to just want out. Better than cheating, but still not great .

      • Absolutely agree Zip. I stuck by my husband through it all. I wasn’t always super happy…I made a choice to commit to him over and over and over. I find it sad to think someone just wants out and gives up. Then again, that would be a hell of a lot more respectful even if hearing it would be traumatizing.

      • I agree with you, Zip, to a certain extent. However it has been my experience that a spouse who “just wants out” is apt to start behaving in a nasty, cruel or abusive fashion rather than being upfront and stating that they just want out. So perhaps just wanting out is better than abuse.

        • I totally get your point about don’t be around somebody who doesn’t want to be there because they will do more & more damage to you.
          I also feel that somebody
          ‘ just wanting out’ of a marriage-when no counselling has been sought, children are involved, no self -work has been done, and the leaver has had the benefit of a loving and committed partner sharing years of their life – IS a certain type of abuse.
          Society has made it way too easy for people to break their commitments… whether they’re dumping somebody for a cheating partner or just dumping somebody because they’ve changed their mind and have other options.
          Having said that, my experience has taught me that if somebody wants out, open the door for them.

        • I think in their sick little minds, they think if they can be miserable enough we will do the dirty work and they can walk away and say to the world, see I tried and she booted me out; but in his twisted side he knows he manipulated the outcome.

          I maintain that only a mentally sick person can treat another human being the way our spouses have done, much less to a spouse who has loved them and stood by them.

          Whether they were always sick, got overtaken by Satan, snapped, mid life crisis they are still sick in the mind, and we will take the brunt of it.

          • 😂😂😂 yes Susie, you’re right. We just have to except that there’s something really wrong with these people. as CL says ‘they suck.’

  • The first thing that really made sense to me was reading about ‘White Knight Narcissists’. My ex was well regarded by everyone in our community. My therapist suggested that he likely was a narcissist, but he seemed so nice that I couldn’t make it fit. Reading about people who get their narcissistic supply from pretty much everywhere by saving the day and doing good deeds made a lot of sense.
    It seems like I was the one person on the planet that he wasn’t concerned about.

    • Yep – for fixing our pickers, I think it’s helpful for chumps to learn about the different types of narcissists (and other cluster B emotional disorders). Dr. Ramani has a great YouTube channel about this! I didn’t see my STBX’s narcissism for many years because she’s not a malignant (overt) narcissist. She’s more covert, and generally operates at a lower level on the scale, ratcheting up when she experiences external stressors. I think she might also have other cluster B attributes, like borderline – a lot of these disorders can be co-morbid. That makes sense, since disordered types are sort of flailing around emotionally, latching onto whatever defense mechanisms might provide some relief in the moment.

      What you’re calling “White Knight” narcissists, GHG, I have heard called “communal” narcissists. Those are the type who get their main supply (kibbles) from getting recognition in community organizations, public service, etc. But as you note, it’s really just a variation on where the supply derives from. There’s little evidence that long-term narcissists of any flavor will ever learn how to fill themselves up without relying on external sources of supply, though they might be trained (if they’re motivated) to increase their empathy for others.

    • Yup. I was married to one of t hose White Knight Narcissists — and everyone thought I was crazy when I left him. He cared far more about what strangers thought of him than what I thought.

  • This week’s back to back posts on the pain of feeling unheard, invalidated, rejected, the lack of justice, the sense of abandonment, the need to tell the story of what really happened and what we experienced is SO HELPFUL.

    It helps to understand why it’s important to let it go and walk away. Because you’re not going to get what you’re seeking. Likely ever. Your pain is not theirs to care about. It’s the sad and ugly truth.

    I often go back to a phrase I found online that has been a really important touchstone for me throughout this: “A lie is still a lie, even if everyone believes it. And the truth is still the truth, even if no one believes it.” I as a Chump need to internalize this in order for to be able get on with living the rest of my life.

    Thank you Chump Lady.

  • Nice spouses are mentally confusing. But I am sure when you think hard enough, you will realise that he had weird traits that you turned a blind eye to. Every story is different. But in the end these characters have so much in common.

    I never thought my husband sucked. On the contrary he was one of a kind person for me. Good- tempered, soft spoken, gentle, hard-working, not stingy, always supportive. We were the best couple, everyone said. But 6 months after I was diagnosed with a scary disease, that perfect person thought he was entitled to an affair. After 13 years of marriage. It was a painful period for me. Very painful. He did not even shed a drop of tear at my devastation. Stood there just like a wall. It is not normal to feel no emotions when someone is breaking down in front of you. Such disconnection cannot be normal especially after 13 years of marriage. I would be extremely sad to see even a stranger like that and would want to comfort her/him.

    I saw for the first time that he was not strong enough when there was a real life challenge. But outside, he continued to be a wonderful person to everyone.

    He was a cake eater. Openly continued his affair and telling me he wants to stop but don’t know how. A person who do not give damn to your physical and mental health cannot be “nice”.

    I now know that he was extremely self-centered. I never saw that. He was way too good with everyone. We would be walking down the street holding hands, he would see a friend of his from afar, and would let my hand go abruptly and run to that person to say hi. This happened all the time. When I think about it now, I find it really weird. Imagine we’re in a restaurant, chatting and eating. I am talking about something and he would get distracted by someone, the owner or the garson boy who walk by him. He would turn to them to ask how their day is going, when I was in the middle of my sentence. These are really interesting behaviours.
    You will see similar ones if you look hard enough.

    Those neutral friends are not real friends. It might take time to disengage from them but I absolutely suggest that you do.

  • I have already commented plenty on other chumps’ posts! I just want to say, Nice Wife, I feel your pain and wish you the very best. I hope our stories here will help you. (((Hugs))) to you!

    And, re: CL’s excellent point that cheating is a theft of our reality: a great column from the NY Times in 2014 drives this message home, from the perspective of a practicing psychiatrist who has seen various “great betrayals” in intimate partnerships. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/06/opinion/sunday/great-betrayals.html

  • In the most shattering DARVO attack of all before D-Day, FW bellowed something at me about my always having made him feel like a “bad husband” but he’d “discovered” that everyone else thought he was a “really nice guy.”

    My inner Nostradamus was still functioning then and, without having any real evidence to back up what I was saying, I blurted, “Yeah, they think you’re nice when you pay their bar tabs.”

    From the mouths of babes and chumps. How right I was. At that point I didn’t even know he was hanging out in bars when he was supposedly “working late,” didn’t know he’d begun keeping a bottle in his desk and had started tippling at 11 AM, didn’t know he was drinking more than the two or three glasses of wine a year we’d consumed at various holiday and family events since we started dating.

    But my brain did the math anyway. Fact is he was never that nice, never that friendly or personable, was always kind of an introvert and worrier and a bit off-putting with anyone outside the clan except friends from infancy. Ergo, he had to be A) drunk, B ) buying friends for anyone to call him “nice.”

    He admitted later that the AP was likely sugaring, was all about spending and had continued to online date throughout the affair. The affair bill was around $40k worth of “nice.”

    You know what’s nice? Fault divorce states.

  • Nice Wife: I just wanted to say that my first impression upon reading “We are separated and are on no contact at the present time.” in your letter, while seemingly commendable, sounded temporary or weak by using the qualifying words “on” and “at the present time”. Rather like putting your four year old on time out! No contact means no phone calls, no texts. He is working you for a favorable divorce. Don’t allow it, and don’t fall for it. Route to your kickass attorney. You don’t need to play “nice” with him…as you are finally seeing, he did not play nice or honest with you.

  • It’s always good to see new chumps finding this site. I just wanted to thank CL and CN for helping me realize my ex-husband was a narcissist and for helping me spot narcissists even outside the context of a romantic relationship.

    My divorce was finalized today. I thought it would give me some kind of closure but instead I just feel depressed. To paraphrase Inigo Montoya in the Princess Bride, “I have been waiting for my divorce for so long now that it is final I don’t know what to do with the rest of my life.” When I was waiting for the divorce at least I had something to look forward to. Part of it has to do with Nitwit contacting me last night to ask if I got our stimulus check. He broke 6 months of NC and managed to sound completely indifferent to me even by text message standards. By rights, he should be on his knees begging for forgiveness, though I know that’s never going to happen. I am also wrapping up the final chapter of my novel today, so I won’t have that to look forward to either.

    • NoMoreMsNiceChump,

      Ugh. I’m sorry you feel depressed following the finalization of your divorce. I remember my lawyer calling me with the news. He said, “Congratulations.” I responded, “Thank you” and then hung up the phone and cried. It’s so bittersweet. So many emotions to process.

      Congratulations on your book! I know it’s one less thing to look forward to, but it’s a great accomplishment.

      Let those emotions flow today. It’s a lot to handle. And remember that you won’t always feel this bad.

      ((hugs))

    • NMMNC – Congrats on your divorce and your novel! The novel is truly something to be proud of – I personally really value creating new things on this world. I would love it if CL would create a page on this site where she points to the mighty real-world endeavors of chumps from CN and beyond – even though I get the legal etc. reasons why this might not be practical.

      But I hear what you’re saying about having things to look forward to. I hope you can find some great new things soon. All best to you!

      • Thanks for the good wishes, Spinach and LezChump! I do feel a lot better now.

        Maybe CL can’t post real life chumps’ accomplishments for legal reasons, but the female protagonist in my novel is a chump who rebuilds her life completely, albeit with some bumps along the way. Her cheating ex-husband, whose life is ruined by his own poor life choices, gets all of 3 paragraphs in the final chapter, because I refuse to give FWs centrality even in fiction.

    • Hey, congrats!👏🥂 What an amazing accomplishment. I had been thinking of doing that myself, but shitty circumstances got in the way. Can you reveal the title now that your divorce is final? I think I can speak for CN in saying we would gobble that book up.
      One would expect that since you don’t have the writing or anticipating the divorce to distract you from your pain, you are going to be feeling it more. The other side of that is that it means that now you can heal. One of my favorite chump mantras is you have to go through it to get through it. There’s no possible way of avoiding it or repressing it and getting to a better place.

      • Haven’t published it yet but the working title is “The Goblet and the Scepter”. It’s a fantasy novel. Not sure if you play Dungeons and Dragons but there is literally a genre called DnD fiction that pretty much sums it up.

        • Lol. That’s darkly funny to me. I absolutely abhor D&D because my nerdy “nice guy” cheater played it, and one memorable night (when he knew I was dangerously depressed and suicidal) he did something horrible, then ran off and deliberately stayed out until the wee hours playing it and then talking to another gamer, cowardly putting off the time when he’d be called out for his behavior. When he came back and found me missing (I actually had gone off with the obsessive thought of killing myself, but couldn’t do that to my family), the infantile worm woke our adult child up instead of attending to it himself. I know it’s not the game that’s to blame. It’s just a trigger.
          That aside, I just don’t particularly like games in general. But if a cheater gets a good asskicking in it I’d probably still read it. 😁

          That’s a lot more of an answer than you expected, but such is life at CN. There are more triggers among us than at an NRA rally.

          • Wow, I am sorry to hear about that. Nitwit was also a hard-core gamer, to the extent that our neighbors complained about him yelling at his screens at 3 or 4 in the morning. He wouldn’t stop because I needed my sleep or because I had work the next day, but he would change for random strangers willing to report him to the HOA. Naturally he blamed our tenant, a quiet pleasant middle-aged woman who was definitely not a gamer, but I digress. My learning the ropes of DnD is one of the few good things to come out of my marriage, so I guess it’s different for everyone. I also have weird triggers, so please don’t feel bad. My landlord’s cat pushed some scrunchies under my door and I freaked out because Nitwit always wanted me to put my hair in a ponytail. Today I cut my hair to just below chin length so I couldn’t wear a ponytail if I wanted to.

    • Congratulations on your divorce being finalized. It is giving you some degree of closure; but you may not recognize or appreciate it immediately. I remember saying out loud and involuntarily, “Oh, Thank God!” when the judge signed off on my divorce and the property settlement I got Fuckwit to sign by appealing to his ego. I was so relieved — I thought I was done grieving my marriage and it would be celebrating all the way. Instead I spent the rest of the day in bed, curled into a fetal position and crying. The appreciation came later, and came so gradually I didn’t realize it for a couple more weeks.

      When your novel is published, please let us know. I’d love to read it!

  • I’d be weary of him circling back just to see how you are doing. My cheater did that, too. Basically he needed something from me on those reach outs. Such a jackass. No doubt he also got kicks from seeing if I would even respond to him. Most of my responses were filled with venom, but now I see he enjoyed the venom – it meant I was angry, bitter and he could push my buttons.

    Switzerland friends are not friends. You will soon learn to keep you sanity, the less is more concept will apply to your circle of friends. I eliminated many; fell off all social media and changed my number. It saved me. I still shudder about the mutual friends who were shocked to hear what he did to me and then had the audacity to tell me how they were spending the weekend with him. WTF?!

    If I could give you any advice, it’s to take it one day at a time. You are entitled to feel angry, sad, crazy, confused, depressed, vengeful (just don’t act on this one) etc. What happened to you is traumatic and it is not to be understated or taken lightly. Healing from a deceptive bastard who betrayed you is one of the worst pains and traumas you will ever go through in life. Recovery is sadly a lot longer than most bodily injuries.

    Hugs.

  • Fuck what everyone thinks. That makes it all the more chilling, he can selectively be deceitful, predatory etc or he can be deceptive to everyone all the time, if everyone thinks that he’s wonderful. In other words he can turn it on or off, or he can skip merrily on his way being caring and a ‘good guy’ while happily sticking knives in the back of the people he should be the nicest too. Because it suits him, and he gets away with a lot more.

  • I married Mr. Political Nice Guy! I’ve spent years running his campaign, doing his social media, and organizing his fundraisers. We’ve been married for 24 years. Even though I’m trying to go NO-CONTACT, COVID and social distancing has made it even easier for him to dismiss me and keep up appearances of being this great elected official. The fact that he’s refuses to end contact with his affair partner, and has emotionally abandoned his family and abused us for years is of no consequence – especially when I maintain my Chumpy Silence rather than call him out publicly for his cheating behavior. He’s up for re-election soon. I wonder what family photo he’ll put on his mailers this time? I guess I need to quit worrying about it and get on with my divorce. I’m working on it….

    • Argh! That’s got to be hard, knowing people are voting for that POS and watching him use the cover of being a family man for political gain.
      I would not be able to stand it and would totally go to the media about how the creep is lying to the public, but that might not be what’s best in your situation. He might be able to use his political clout to screw you over. Wow, your situation sucks. I’m sorry.

      • Thanks OHFFS. It does suck. I’m thankful to have found this site and the audible recording of the book to keep reminding me that he sucks. You’re right – politically I have to be careful. Thankfully, I know where the bodies are buried when it comes to what he has done. From texting her in church to secretly meeting her under the guise of politics, I’ve kept some pretty good records. But at the end of the day, he’s another typical politician. I’m just angry with myself that I didn’t see it sooner. Day by day…hour by hour…minute by minute…trust that he sucks. So much easier said than done!

        • I too am a politicians wife, and have to be careful and strategic. I have never posted, but just know you are not alone and I am with you in your Chumpy Silence.

          • Thank you Chumpy Silence 2. We could write a really good book I’m sure. I’ve been dealing with this for the last few years and only decided to post now. The silence has been hurting the healing for me and I suppose this is one small way for me to start speaking my truth. Glad to know I am not alone. Thank you.

            • Chumpy Silence, I understand all to well how the silence hurts your healing, I too have been dealing with it for close to 2 years,. We are separated, but I have not gone any further – not sure what I want as than everything becomes a circus – I’ve been told by my close friends that I should write a book- sounds like we have lived a similar life and I am sorry for you and your family, as I know how much they hurt too!

            • We truly can write a book, so very sad. Sounds like we are living similar lives and trying to figure out how to heal while living our nightmare. My gut is we really are not alone in the political world. It should not be acceptable

            • Me three. Higher up Goverment official, preying on his underlings constantly, fabricating Goverment trips to exotic locales so he can take his mistress and entretain her in a way she has becomes used to, all on our taxes dime. I too have to be strategic, my chumpy silence 3 will cost him. I just want my money and be out. He can keep his good image, because all I want to keep is my house and my kids

              • This gives me chills, I knew there were many of us out there! We have to be strong, keep our heads up and do what is best for us and our kids. They can have their “ image” . It all will come out eventually anyway. Mine has not been too discrete . I can only imagine what is said behind my back! Small conciliation knowing we are not alone.

        • I was severely bullied my freshman year in high school (14 years old for the non US CN citizens) by a little shit who grew up to be a small town mayor in northern NJ. His crashing and burning was epic. An alcoholic, diabetic divorcé who slipped into a coma and died alone on his kitchen floor. Karma. I feel sorry for his two young daughters. Why is it so many politicians are phonies, narcissists or full blown sociopaths ?

          • Bill Eddy – Why We Elect Narcissists and Sociopaths – and how we can stop.
            I haven’t read it yet – but I’m guessing it might shed some light.

    • File.

      Let his schmoopie organize those fundraisers. Let him explain to his constituents why his wife of 24 years has divorced him. Cut yourself loose.

      Don’t just be glib about “working on it.” Decide. Consult with the best divorce attorneys in your area. Have your financial documents copies and organized (home, bank, taxes, insurance, investments, utilities, credit cards).

      Run a credit check before you file. See what turns up. Make sure you have a separate checking and savings; if you have a job, get your paycheck sent to your separate account.
      Secure important documents (birth certificates, car titles, etc). Put your own irreplaceable valuables in a safe location. Since you are married to a politician, I would consider hiring a private investigator because your STBX will probably spin the situation. Figure out whether you want the house or to cash out and buy something that reflects you.

      You don’t need to call him out publicly. What you need to do is start focusing on protecting yourself financially and emotionally. If this guy has been emotionally abusing you and others in the family for years, there’s no reason at all to stay with him. File. Once he’s served, tell him to move out.

      • Wow…I needed that LovedAJackass! I’ve already seen the lawyers but I still haven’t decided to file. You are so right – I do need to decide. And the more things I find in the financials that he’s hidden from me for years, the quicker I’m getting to the decision. But I’m also being strategic because once I file I will lose access to all those documents. I appreciate your candor. There is no reason to stay. Just a few more consults about the prenup and I’ll be ready to go. Thanks again.

    • Jacqueline Kennedy….Eleanor Roosevelt

      Very public. Blatant disregard.

      In my opinion, both women were able to rise above their situations but still…

      And both, simply due to the families they were born into, were groomed to be ‘objects’ for rich men.

      Please do write books. That is the only way to wake people up but I also understand that the emotional cost of doing something like that is enormous so probably not really worth it in the end. Too many people ready to judge.

      Thanks for speaking out here. A lot of us hide in the beginning. I know I did and the x isn’t a political figure but still I was afraid.

      Not anymore.

  • Been there, done that, have the “No Longer Mrs Nice Guy, So Fuck Off” t-shirt. The “but he’s so nice” attitude people take, even though he treated you like shit, is the price of admission into a relationship with a covert narcissist. Of course he’s a great doctor. That’s primary narcissistic supply to him- the gratitude of patients, his standing in the community. Covert narcs get their “nice” reputation by being people pleasers in the outside world while being passive aggressive bullies with their supposed loved ones at home. His double life was both a covert form of abuse and a source of supply. Other women know their only real appeal lies in playing up to the ego of a married man, so they are skilled at spotting this kind of twerp, a guy who is basically a cowardly worm and needs his ego massaged in order to regulate his negative emotions. He would have justified his cheating by telling himself you were a bad wife because you didn’t take on the job of full time ego masseuse. It wouldn’t have mattered if you had, because you aren’t shiny and new to him, but he won’t admit that to himself. The ability of a covert to rationalize that he can lie and cheat and still be a nice guy is stronger than truth and common sense. Hell, it’s stronger than a battalion of Mongol warriors. They pretty much operate as if in an alternate universe most of the time. It’s no surprise other people buy into it, because let’s face it, most people aren’t that bright, they aren’t that discerning, and they don’t bother to question their assumptions or look beneath the surface. Regardless, if you matter to them, they should see your pain and be outraged on your behalf. Now you’ll know who you matter to and who you don’t. I’m sorry to say that it’s going to be lots of people. But you will find some gems who who get it, and you might find them where you least expect to. In my case, when most of my own family wasn’t even being empathetic, a complete stranger came to my emotional rescue. Within fifteen minutes of talking, she had intuited that I had been emotionally abused because she had been herself. As CL says, now you are in the position to use your hard gained wisdom to do that for somebody else, and there’s nothing more healing than giving another person a glimmer of hope and a shoulder. So Doctor Niceypants and his flying monkey brigade can go pound sand. You know the truth. If you are asked, you tell it. If you aren’t, they don’t care, so don’t bother talking to them about anything deeper than the weather. If they insist on bringing up the Doctor to praise or defend him, or they talk passive aggressive Swiss codswallop to you about how they “don’t judge” or “what happens in a marriage is 50/50”, you cut off contact with them if possible. If you can’t avoid them, which is usually because they are coworkers or family members, practice Customer Service Grey Rock. Vent here as much as you need. You know we’re in your corner and we understand about fake “nice guys” who are actually pricks.

  • For everyone still asking “why wasn’t I enough?”:

    ” It’s not that you lack anything, it’s that he’s a glutton for kibbles. He’s entitled.”

  • ‘We are separated and are on no contact at the present time. (Of course, he called two days ago to see how I was doing).’

    “We” are not no contact. Are you “no contact”? Have YOU decided that no contact with him will help you get a clear mind, gain perspective on what your STBX is really like, the kind of man he is under the mask? Are you no contact to protect yourself from his manipulation? His gaslighting and lies and blame shifting? These are the reasons to be no contact.

    You can block his phone to prevent his calls and texts. Your children are not minors; there is no reason to be in contact with him at all. What will help you “control your emotions” is taking the steps to sever those emotions from the man who is abusing you. No contact, for real. Divorce, not separation. Get on with the gaining a life portion of the program.

  • It’s true… when I was still reeling from being chumped, my family visited Albuquerque for the holidays. As we dined at a mid-level restaurant, I saw a woman at a nearby table, kleenex in hand, barely holding it together. We finished before she did, and, before I walked to the exit, I stepped over to her, touched her lightly on the shoulder, and said “I know how you feel.” She smiled wanly, breathed, and nodded thank you.

  • Dear Nice Wife…..same here thousands of miles away…….living separate now after 35 years of marriage…also 3 grown up kids….also Mr. Supernice and a peoplepleaser…..it is all so true….thanks for all the good empathic information, I am so happy to have found this group !!!! Best wishes to you Nice Wife and all the other chumps, think positive and stay negative (Covid 19 wise)

  • NotFromVenus was writing about my STBX: “He was extremely self-centered…We would be walking down the street holding hands, he would see a friend of his from afar, and would let my hand go abruptly and run to that person to say hi. This happened all the time. When I think about it now, I find it really weird. Imagine we’re in a restaurant, chatting and eating. I am talking about something and he would get distracted by someone, the owner or {person} who walk by him. He would turn to them to ask how their day is going, when I was in the middle of my sentence.”
    MY STBX did this constantly. It wasn’t just rude to me, though, it was rude to the other people. He’d do this when we were out with our child, my parents, even friends. I think he thought it made him look popular and beloved.
    One time, we had just been served lunch at a busy,crowded restaurant when he saw a large table of people he knew from work and ran over to chat. He left me to eat alone, blocking the aisle as waiters struggled around him with huge trays of food and dirty dishes. When their table was served, he ignored the fact that everyone was politely waiting for him to leave so they could start to eat and talk: He’d intersperse self-praise with questions that forced them to respond, trying simultaneously to impress and flatter them. He monopolized their time as well as the conversation. It was obviously a business lunch and he was not part of their team. I finished my lunch before he finished his monologue.
    Likewise, he’d often run –literally run–after people on the street or in stores, leaving me and often our child behind. It was bizarre, because he could have called or seen these people if speaking to them was so important. He never said, “Let’s go say, hello…” he always ran off, like a dog chasing kibbles. I also noticed he almost NEVER introduced me to anyone; I had to introduce myself and ask the other people who they were, although he was standing right there. He often did that because he didn’t bother to learn people’s names, and maybe didn’t even know who they were. He knew they were someone “important” who he wanted to know, and didn’t want to show any weakness, including admitting that he didn’t know them as well as he was pretending. Lots of Image Management without a good relationship.

  • Bill Cosby was “America’s Dad”… he donated so much to charities and to pay for college educations and gave massive donations to Spelman College and Temple University. And so much more! His comedy was “clean.” He didn’t swear in his acts. He talked about the importance of family. And of his long time wife Camille. Such a NICE GUY!

    And so multitudes of women were getting drugged and raped by Cosby for at least 40+ years… many of these women tried to get help and told family, friends, or reported it. But no one believed them. Bill Cosby? But he’s NICE.

    I think playing “nice” on the outside is the ultimate gaslighting to victims. It makes it so much harder for anyone to believe them. It’s evil.

    This is a good article about “cloak of charity” https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/harvey-weinstein-bill-cosby-and-the-cloak-of-charity

    The FW I dealt with was more “quiet.” He seemed like a nice loyal family man. No one ever suspected he’d cheat on me — especially me. No one believed me at first. I think it was a trauma for not just me and my kid…but all of my friends and family that trusted him too. The good news is that once the curtain raised on him, he was outed and angry. So he had to leave my world entirely to try to play his “nice guy” game on all new unknowing people. Buh bye dope

  • It sounds like you’ve internalized “nice” as “engages with people.”

    He’s not calling to “see how you are.” He’s calling because he’s been told you’re no contact, and he wants to prove to himself he can do what he wants. How are you doing now? Well, it’s not his business. You’ve broken up with him. Asking how you are isn’t nice.

    Screen your calls with voicemail if you want. If you do talk to him to find out why he’s calling, practice first. Just say, as neutrally as you can, “I’m not discussing that. You know contact goes through my lawyer’s office. I’m hanging up now. Goodbye.” Then start logging how many times he’s called after being told not to, and ask your lawyer how to handle it.

    If you’re past the lawyer stage, “No, I don’t have anything to talk to you about. Goodbye.”

    As for his patients, he’s good to them because that’s literally his job. “Glad you had a good experience with him. I don’t talk about him.”

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