Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

Is He Going to Regret Choosing Her?

Dear Chump Lady,

Once I found out my boyfriend cheated on me, I desperately searched for answers and came across your book. I tried to hang in there, but here I am 4 months later moving my stuff out.

He has treated me terribly our entire relationship, between talking to other women, the lies, cheating, being plain MEAN and making me feel insignificant, but was so quick to make me feel loved and important when I threatened leaving. We have a 5-month-old together, and I have a 4-year old that looks up to him like a father.

May of 2020 he moved a friend and her family into his rental house. We were having a lot of problems, so she opened her arms to me. I poured my heart and soul out and cried harder than I ever have. She told me I should leave him and look for an apartment (I was 7 months pregnant then.) Then she ran back and told him EVERYTHING. And she told him he should leave me. From that point on, she has been extremely toxic and putting a wedge between us.

She was always talking smack about me and he wouldn’t defend me, but if I said something about her, he got PISSED. She kept trying to get him to leave me.. I finally put my foot down and said you either need to tell her she needs to start looking for a new place to live, or I am taking the boys and leaving. I gave him two weeks, I did the pick me dance every day, I am HUMILIATED. He was extra affectionate, did things for me he would never do before, he cuddled me and he was always telling me he loved me, but he never tried to get me to stay and even helped pack my stuff. Every day that I would remind him I would stay if he gave her notice, he would change the subject immediately. Finally I told him, fuck this, it’s not your choice anymore, I don’t want to be with you, and I took the boys and went to live with my parents until the apartment is ready.

I wasn’t even out of the house for 12 hours before he downloaded snapchat (he deleted it for me when I had found out about him cheating as well as talking to upwards of 20 women on the app.) When I took our son to see him while I packed more stuff, I found out he is already talking to another girl (this man is 41, I’m 29, he likes younger women) and he had reached out to the girl he cheated on me with (younger than me and I also found out she didn’t even know I existed!) This is all within 10 days of me leaving.

I am aware he is a piece of shit that’s not worth my time. But I’m devastated and hurt that I was so easily replaceable and he didn’t even want to fight for his family. It was kinda, “ok I love you, but see ya! Can’t wait to see what else is out there!” situation.

I pride myself in being a kind and compassionate and empathetic woman. I am the quiet, sweet, animal loving – horse riding – what can I do for you? type. I did everything I could to make him happy. How could he so willingly let that go? Will he ever regret this? Realize what an idiot he is for choosing his tenant and his “women” over his family?

Morgan

Dear Morgan,

You are most decidedly NOT aware that “he is a piece of shit not worth my time.” If you were, you would not wonder what apps POS was downloading, or spend time investigating his rotating buffet of pussy, or call that other woman a “tenant.” (She’s another fuckbuddy. He must love the vulnerable single moms. Predator.)

If you were aware that he was a POS, you’d stop that pick-me dance this instant.

I did everything I could to make him happy.

Tapitty, tapitty, tap.

Did he bust his ass to make YOU happy?

He has treated me terribly our entire relationship, between talking to other women, the lies, cheating, being plain MEAN and making me feel insignificant

Why are you giving this man so much power to hurt you? Because he’s 41 with a rental unit? Because he got you pregnant? Because he’s abusive, but then walks it back with a cuddle and some more mindfuckery?

Wondering how he could let you go — is PICK ME DANCING. Look at me! Choose me! How come you won’t pick me?! Why did she win OVER me?

Change your mindset. Let’s reframe this.

I did everything I could to make him happy, and he treated me terribly. Fuck him.

Next ask yourself, why you would compete to win a terrible man? Knowing that he’s the sort asshole who would cheat on a pregnant woman, and casually wave you and your children buh-bye, where is your incandescent RAGE?

I have a 4-year old that looks up to him like a father.

Your 4-year-old doesn’t need that kind of “father.” He needs a sane parent. BE THAT SANE PARENT for him. Fuck this man very much for playing Daddy Rescuer and toying with your child’s emotional bonds. The Sane Parent move, Morgan, is to protect your little boys from fuckwits.

This man is HARMING them by intermittently pretending he gives a shit, when he demonstrably does not. He doesn’t care where you live, if you stay or if you go. He doesn’t care about you, he cares about his dick and the 20 potential lays he’s texting right now. He is an ATROCIOUS role model. And if you suck up to this fuckwit, and dance, dance, dance — you are too.

You’re better than that. And you are ENOUGH. This guy is poison.

But I’m devastated and hurt that I was so easily replaceable

Everyone is easily replaceable to a fuckwit. You bonded. He doesn’t. Look at the evidence. He’s a serial cheater who doesn’t invest in anyone. It has everything to do with him, and nothing to do with your lovability.

and he didn’t even want to fight for his family.

I have two problems with this sentence. First, “his family” assumes you still believe that he truly invested in you. That there was a family to mourn and fight for. He didn’t fight for it, because he didn’t care about it. Ergo, it didn’t exist. And you watch how that plays out — how easy he is to get child support from, or how he honors future commitments with your child. Do not honor him with “family.” He clearly didn’t think of you that way, no matter what he says. He’s got another family moved into his rental unit. Do you want to be Sister Wives?

Second, YOU and your SONS are a COMPLETE FAMILY. Minus a fuckwit. The fact that you mistakenly invested in a fuckwit (show a raise of hands class), does not make you and your sons LESS of a family. Your ex is not GOOD ENOUGH to be part of your tribe.

So, get your head straight on this. His “not fighting” is no measure of your worth or your children’s worth. Don’t model to those boys pick me dancing for a fuckwit. Oh, I guess we weren’t good enough for Bozo! No. He’s a sperm donor. A child support check (get on that). A guy you used to know. He is not YOUR family.

I pride myself in being a kind and compassionate and empathetic woman. I am the quiet, sweet, animal loving – horse riding – what can I do for you? type.

These are good qualities. But I also see you describe yourself like a character in a Hallmark movie special — the sweet ingenue, who loves animals and riding horses. I hope you didn’t spackle your ex into a part he’s clearly not right for — the wild mustang you tamed, who with just the right amount of Love and Understanding becomes domesticated.

Your ex is no more domesticated than a rabid possum. And “what can I do for you?” is nice if you’re a concierge. But healthy relationships aren’t about being of service to someone, LOPSIDEDLY. They’re about mutuality and respect. Intimacy. Deep friendship. A good relationship will bring out your best self. Policing your cheating boyfriend’s SnapChat is not your best self.

Will he ever regret this?

No. But he might hoover back for more kibbles. He’s got an 18-year window into your life. Shields up! Boundaries!

To have regrets is to have introspection, a quality I’m sure he lacks, judging by his behavior. Maybe someday when he’s not King of Douchebag mountain, when he’s old and infirm, and his ball sack is shriveled, he might look around at other people with invested, actual families and wonder why no one visits him. And feel a twinge of something sad. And then he’ll probably go buy an escort. Because why dwell on it?

Realize what an idiot he is for choosing his tenant and his “women” over his family?

Here’s a little article from Scientific American on why narcissists lose popularity over time. To be the kind of person who’s done what he’s done, according to these scientists, means you tend to flit through life. From one encounter to the next. Does that make someone an idiot? To my values, yes. I think being someone who loves deeply and forms bonds is better. But I don’t think shallowness and a trail of broken hearts bothers narcissists all that much.

You just need to realize what sort of person you’re dealing with. Who you are, and who they are. And why you’re never going to be compatible.

And when you realize that, the why, why, why not ME? is irrelevant. Thank GOD it’s not you.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Sometimes getting over them is secondary to getting over ourselves. They’re in love with their own secret lives. We find ourselves unable to detach from that. Recently I was told the acronym for detach is: Don’t even think about changing him/her.

    But I think it’s essentially change ourselves. We have to, like you said, put our shields up. Janeway to the bridge: This is the year of hell. But we’re going to get out of it stronger.

  • Is is going to regret it? Sadly I don’t think so. He may regret getting caught or having to mail the child support check, but I don’t think they have the capacity actually regret losing a loving partner (at least not in the way we do). Now he probably just inconvenienced that he has to wash his own clothes, and his wife appliance is missing. Make a list of all the shitty things he’s done over the years or better yet make a binder. Reference this as needed if you feel wobbly.

    • When me an the ex split up a LOT of people, from his “best” friend to people I was related to, told me he’d regret it and I’d hear from him in a year.

      To that I realized no, I wouldn’t. Because although someday I knew he’d probably have a moment of missing his life with laundry and errands done, bills paid, family handled, trips and toys and concerts we could afford….he’d never miss ME. He’d never sit down and think wow, I destroyed Beans, and she was a good person. I loved her so much.

      He never had it in him.

      • Beans, You are right. Mine won’t ever miss me. I don’t mean anything to him and probably never did. It’s hard to accept. Hugs.

        • “that depth of shallow” that’s wonderfully said!

          The more I understand the depth of that shallowness – and that it applies to every single bit of their behaviour throughout life – the more it is just evident that any millisecond dedicating attention to him is a waste.

          (I’m just discovering this site.. wonderful community it seems! And in love with the little monsters ^^)

      • It’s that lump in the throat when you realize you were the only one invested in the relationship. Mine will never regret it. He does not have the capacity. And, he has no care about the pain he caused me. It doesn’t even occur to him that I was hurt. Or, if it has, he gets a sick thrill from knowing he meant enough to me to cause me hurt. They are sick creatures. I’ve spent the past four years hoping for his regret. But I’ve come to realize there is no such thing.

  • People are supposed to be nice and kind and devoted !!! Because I am!

    As my therapist said “stop expecting him to care”.

    Cheaters are a subspecies of human being. They care about THEMSELVES. Everyone else is interchangeable.

    Their lovebombing fools you at first. You have to accept that they are predatory in nature.

    • I don’t actually see any facts there, Finn. Remember that there are folks on this site from all over the world, not just “the West.” Let’s try not to add suffering to chumps’ lives on this forum by slandering their cultures.

      • I don’t think there’s any denying the facts that there’s certain cultures that view women as second class citizens and have a massive problem with rape in the west. Might want to go down the rabbit hole and check out how often it occurs in European countries- Sweden in particular.

        I know what I’m talking about.

        • I’d be hard pressed to name a culture in which women are fully “first class” citizens and safe from rape. And that includes those in the west. And that, too, is a fact.

  • Is he going to realize (and correct) his poor choices? Probably not and here’s how to absorb that truth. He doesn’t do hard things. It would require 100 times the discomfort and rigorous self honesty that you are now experiencing regarding your own past decisions.

    You are willing to reflect on your history to protect yourself and your children. Your worth is unlimited, but your energy is not. You won’t have enough energy left over to speculate about his inner journey. Find a lawyer who will make sure this cheater is held responsible by the court.

  • I see a toilet.

    A dog sees a drinking fountain.

    Who is right?

    We both are. We see that toilet differently. No one is ever going to convince me to drink out of a toilet any more than I can convince a cheater to value me. The people I want in my tribe already share my values, and already value ME.

    Most importantly, I need to value me. My homework post DDay is seeing where I did not stand up for myself, where I did not value myself.

    Leave the cheaters to play with their lower companions. AND DON’T BE ONE.

    • PS…

      Worrying about him regretting anything is making him the arbiter of your value, which he isn’t. YOU need to be the arbiter of your value. Look in the Chump Lady archives for the Tiffany Windows post.

      If I want something appraised, I go to the experts. Lying cheating creeps are the last people on the planet I want to listen to when it comes to gauging my worth.

      • And the further you emotionally, physically, and mentally get away from the cheater, the more you realize that the happy relationship you thought you had, was not happy for you…you begin to see how, for years, you felt self-conscious and inferior and unimportant and put your needs aside to attend to his. With time and distance, however, you realize how much better your life is without the cheater. It’s hard to convince those who are in the initial stages…but it’s truth. You eventually return to seeing your own value and caring for yourself and those around you that are real.

  • People like him and all our FW are not capable of love. The hate themselves and project it into other people, especially partners.

    He is not going to change, he will treat every single one of the others the same.

    The only thing these women have that you don’t is lack of boundaries and lack of morals and lack of brain cells.

  • Possums are immune to rabies. But cheaters are users, and can’t be fixed. They use their bits of charm as an anglerfish uses its built-in bait, then they destroy you. Run away.

  • I think the key, as CL says, is to stop focusing on the cheaters and start focusing on healing ourselves. I think we chumps want so much to find a reason why the betrayal and pain would make sense, but it doesn’t, and it never will. Cheaters and fuckwits don’t bond or love or care the way chumps do. It’s like they are an alien species, pretending to be human.

    I had a health scare last week; it’s not as serious as I feared, but still cause for concern. It’s a wake up call. I realized what a waste of my precious life it is to keep trying to understand why he did what he did, or worry about whether or not he will someday feel remorse, be sorry for the damage he has done to me and our children, etc. My primary focus now is my healing, my growth, my peace of mind. That is the path to Meh.

    • For me it was a small brain tumor – made me realize I don’t have time to or energy to “fight” for the affections a stressful, dramatic, and angry partner.

      Like chumplady often says, even when you “win” the pick me dance you still lose.

  • Expecting this guy to care is like trying to order a hamburger from the dry cleaners. He just can’t do it. Moving on may initially be difficult but so less frustrating.

  • Like this woman, I fell into the trap of dwelling on all of the details…I could go on for hours and hours and hours but it all boils down to :

    “s/he acted horrible to me, I am kind and lovable, so s/he should love me, tell me how to fix this”

    and it could be written in a thousand ways with tens of thousands of ways.

    and it still took me YEARS to see it for what it was.
    He showed me in hundreds of ways that I mattered little.

    To me this is the crux of this whole dynamic and God bless CL for getting down in the weeds over and over to explain the same answer in so many different situations.

    • and had he lived, he would likely have gotten to his older years and done exactly what CL described…been sad that he didnt have what those who invested in their families had.

      My Cheaters dad died recently…I dont think he fucked around but he was never nice to his wife…always withheld love from her as if she deserved it. She sat at his bed and told him that she loved him and got back nada, zip. That would have been me.

      (I still didnt wish death on him but I wish I had thrown his ass out the day I learned of the cheating)

  • Self Esteem by Lindsay Hall is one of my favorite books. Though written as a healing tool for her bulimia recovery, it’s an invaluable resource for anyone whose self esteem needs building or repairing. Infidelity CRUSHED my self esteem. This is again in the top drawer of my first aid tool box.

  • Frankly, Morgan is too early into the trauma and the rejection stage to have a lot of progress. That comes with no contact and time. You have to be very disciplined with your boundaries in order to heal.

    But Morgan if you’re reading this, hang on to this treatment of you and remember it when he inevitably comes back for a safety net or needs a pick me up. They love to do it. But have enough self respect to shut that down. You see who someone truly is when they think they have an upper hand on you via power, money, relationship options, etc.

  • Another really timely post for me. I was asked yesterday if my fw likely feels any guilt or remorse for discarding me. I emphatically said no he does not. He is not capable of that. He has only rage. And much of it turned towards me for who really knows what.
    I think these types just take advantage of kindness and caring. They can’t truly feel it themselves. Knowing all of this does not take the pain away, because you invested in that person and you thought you had a life together.
    For me there were so many red flags I ignored but I still stayed because partly I wanted a family.I am now paying a tremendous price.
    CL is exactly right with her advice and insight.

  • Ah, Morgan. I’m glad you are here. And come EVERY DAY for kick-ass inspiration. I danced for TWO YEARS, believing (hoping) he was as invested as I in repairing our marriage. Nope. The only person I can change is myself. My boundaries are now clearly defined.

    Cheaters rarely change. And I only say rarely, because I want to believe that somewhere a cheater HAS changed. A cheater realized the damage they inflicted on another human being and determined they will never do that again. However, reality is that in all probability your cheater is not that person. Not with the instagram account, the numerous other women, etc. And this is relatively early in a relationship.

    Most importantly – is this acceptable to you? Are you OK with having to be the relationship police, wondering if he is lying yet again about his activities?

    Get checked for STDs.

  • Morgan here. First I want to thank you CL for responding to this. It’s been tearing me up but I have been trying to remember all the shitty times(pretty much the entire relationship) when I start to get sad.

    Ive had a bad track record with relationships(Ive been chumped before and dealt with a lot of emotional abuse) and was ready to find someone that was going to be nice to me. When this guy showed up persistent on getting my attention with expensive flowers, complimenting me and my dogs and horses(yes, noticing and complimenting my animals means something to me) and talking about his long term goals in a relationship- me, still damaged, jumped at the opportunity of this “perfect happy ever after.” When things started going south, I always gave the benefit of the doubt and like you said, I felt I could “tame the wild Mustang” (rabid opossum.) If I could show him what a good potential wife I was, he would realize I was too good to lose and change his ways!

    Then when I started feeling things weren’t going to work out and I knew I wanted to leave, I would hit a mental block. It’s not that I didn’t have a place to go. I paid all of my own bills, so I wasn’t dependant on him financially. I just get stuck. Maybe because I feel so invested, that I feel if I try just a LITTLE harder, by some miracle he will love me. I’m sure you hear this a million times a year. I do have a therapist who has given me 1000 reasons that its unhealthy but it has never helped me leave. I think I had to stop living in denial to help myself. It still doesn’t stop the “why” and the mourning aspect of it all, which is why I reached out to you. I feel like a meaningless bag of shit, but I think I will feel better in time.

    So thank you for the reality check. But my question now – when he texts me, I give him bland responses. Thats easy. Unfortunately I have to see him in person and when I do, he asks things like “Can we ride horses this summer?”, “Can we do things with the boys still?”, and “Can I still come to (my sons) awards banquet?”(he is getting a trophy for riding his pony) These kind of questions make me feel weak. How do I tactfully respond to these things? I really have trouble finding my inner lion and telling him point blank to fuck off. I’m still close to his family and don’t want to ruin the relationships my son and I have with them. They know what an idiot he is, but he is still blood.

    Thank you. And I will respond to comments once these two little boys give me a minute.

    • Hi Morgan

      We get hooked and stay hooked until we unhook. Con artists are good at throwing out those fish hooks. Right now I am reading The Human Magnet: The Codependent Narcissist Trap. I could have written what you just added, and I started my path of recovery with counseling and 12 step programs at 22. I am now 57 and spent half of my life with the traitor, who puts a LOT of energy to this day to con-vince everyone in his orbit of What A Nice Guy He Is. He no longer has those closest to him (me and our daughter) fooled. DDay was just over three years ago for me and I am just fine on my own recovering from the trauma of deception and infidelity and continuing to decipher the recently revealed onion layers of ME that hooked me in and kept me hooked in for so long. This is not to be critical
      or judgmental of myself in any way; we all have blind spots and more of my blind spots just got revealed and I am just learning more about me so I can graduate to the next level of the video game of life. (Endless levels, by the way…..). ❤️

      We get the memo when we get the memo and not any sooner than we are ready to read it. But when we finally read it, what’s important it that we heed it.

      • “ We get the memo when we get the memo and not any sooner than we are ready to read it. But when we finally read it, what’s important it that we heed it.”

        WOW I loooooove this!!!

    • Morgan, This man is much worse than you think he is. He helps you move out; he allows his other women to disrespect you; he’s MEAN to you. And yet he wants to ride horses and go to YOUR son’s award banquet, and so on.

      And what you are worried about is “tactfully” responding to him. And you are still allowing him to text you. Where is your self-respect? This man gets you pregnant and cheats during the pregnancy and the first months of your new child’s life? He’s got no problem with you moving out with your kids. Ask any of the dads (or moms) here who have their kids only 50% (or less) of the time. They feel agony at not having their kids full time. So you already see something wrong with this guy.

      You wrote: “He has treated me terribly our entire relationship, between talking to other women, the lies, cheating, being plain MEAN and making me feel insignificant, but was so quick to make me feel loved and important when I threatened leaving.” Take note of what you’ve said. This is an ABUSER. A man who is ABUSIVE. Good people don’t lie. They don’t cheat. They don’t treat their partners as “insignificant.” And being MEAN is an indicator of physical and emotional abuse.

      But look at how you respond when he manipulates you. When he turns on the charm and makes you feel “loved and important,” you believe the manipulation. And by threatening to leave (rather than simple leaving and levying some consequences to this jackass), you cue him to lather up the charm. That’s the same move you get when he asks about the summer horse rides and the banquet.

      * First, you should be very low contact with this guy. There is ZERO reason for this man to be texting you. Find an app you can use that isn’t your regular text messaging so you can only check it sporadically, so he doesn’t have an open pipeline into your thinking.
      * If you are living with your parents, don’t initiate visitation with the baby. Let him request it and arrange to take the child for a few hours on his own. Don’t make this a “family” event or a chance for you to be with him or see him. This isn’t a way to hook this despicable person back into cohabiting. He has to learn to deal with his child as a parent, not as your boyfriend. You need to move on.
      *You may like his family, but they aren’t your family. And it is the separated father’s responsibility to manage his son’s relations with his people. You can be cordial to these people but you will not–cannot–heal if you are enmeshed with his family and friends. [Some years up the road, when you have clearer thought processes about abuse and relationships, you might be able to manage that, but not now.]
      * You should file for child support immediately. The father should contribute child support and pay a fair share of the childcare cost that allows you to work. The father should contribute toward medical expenses. This is how your formalize the relationship you have with your son’s father (who is no longer your boyfriend, right?).
      * The court order should specific how much time Cheater has with kiddo. I would NOT agree to overnights until you see how things go. Make sure you get holiday time (Christmas Eve through Christmas morning, time on kiddo’s birthday, Mother’s Day, maybe your other son’s birthday).
      * The other possibility is to just cut ties with this man altogether and see if he files for custody and offers child support. Talk to a lawyer about how to protect yourself in either event.
      * Give some serious thought to not allowing this MEAN person to have contact with your other small son.

      You don’t need to tell him to “fuck off.” You have to decide to end your relationship with him and then take the avenues to cut off all contact other than that required by the court to give him visitation time, if he wants it. You have to actually LEAVE, as in not contacting him or seeing him other than to exchange formal custody. And you make your point that he is only the father of your younger child by NOT giving him easy text access, by using a email and/or a family software app for communication.

      If he can’t ask you questions, you can’t feel weak. If you were an alcoholic, you wouldn’t keep booze in the house. I don’t have a bag of M&Ms in here because I’m not good at saying “no” to myself. NO CONTACT is the path to the truth and the light.

      • I LOVE everything about LovedaJackass’s response. I think you will find that if you stop responding to his attempts to hook you back in, stop letting him manipulate YOU, you’ll be surprised how quickly his interest in his child evaporates. Don’t offer him anything, and see if he takes the initiative to request time with his child properly. No setting up a happy family for him to knock down again. If he wants to be involved with his child, let him start doing the work. Stop catering to him. He has given you nothing, nothing at all, but talk.
        And no, he absolutely can’t come to your older son’s awards. That time is for YOU and your son. It sounds like he’s being nice but it’s just a bid for centrality. His presence will only take away from you sharing that time with your child. Please don’t even respond to him on this.

        • I would advise Morgan to NOT SEE this guy at all!!
          Yes, petition for support, ONLY communicate thru email. No texting. No calls.
          Continue with the bland short replies via email. Do not respond to ANYTHING other than child issues.
          Also, I agree you cannot remain close to his family. That will devolve into more manipulation.
          Morgan, I think you are being way too nice to him.
          Back away…cut him off.
          It is the only way you can begin to heal, start feeling self-confident, and move on.
          You are wounded and every time you interact with him, the wound opens up with fresh pain. Cut him off.
          Arrange for someone else to help with baby exchanges, although I agree with CL. He doesn’t want the responsibility. Seeing the baby, going to other son’s functions…those are just opportunities for him to mindfuck you.
          If you continue seeing him, he will ruin you. Good luck to you.

    • Hi Morgan, firstly huge hugs ❤ you are amingst thousands who have been and are going through this. Second, your question: he is asking “Can WE do this with the boys? Can WE do that?” Your answer MUST be no. He is now not a part of your family, he is your boys’ dad. He has to organise all the outings and amusements because YOU will not be there. You’ll be maintaining no contact. Don’t let him use you again to organise and run outings, to bolster his disney dad image, because you know that’s what will happen!

      • This was my situation as well. I felt bad on behalf of the kids for limiting time when they could be with both of us. It went on for years. Ex played family man and then went off and I’d his own thing while I still had the work of the day to day responsibilities. Sure it is fun to go to a game or a park or riding with kids. You tire out the kids and send them home with the custodial parent (in our cases, the mother) who can deal with dinner, bathing and winding down the day on her own. And then spend the night alone while he is doing whatever he feels like with whomever he chooses. It is not a fair arrangement and predicated on “what’s best for the children”. My kids learn this is how dad behave. When I finally started enforcing scheduled visits and actual responsibility for childcare no matter how confident it was for him, he was furious. Called his lawyer about it and then called me to yell about his lawyer telling him he had to follow the agreement.

        Gosh just typing this makes me want to put my palm to my face. Please learn from my mistakes. It was almost like a second divorce for my kids when I finally enforced boundaries. They didn’t like it because it upset their father and he took it out on anyone who was nearby, including them.

        You deserve better and no one is going to treat you better if you don’t insist on it. Keep coming here with questions. There is a lot of wisdom born of pain and you can benefit. You sound like a nice person and you already have a complete family to love.

    • No contact. Do not respond. At ALL. The older one is not his child. Do not keep putting him up as a daddy figure. The little one you have some legal obligations since he’s the sperm donor but doubtful he’s much interested in him rn. If he asks, you don’t even have to say no (and the answer is always no unless is legally obligated visitation for his son). For your mutual son, only short factual, no editorial or emotional extras, communication. One or two sentences without adjectives. This is grey rock. As long as you are invested in this garbage man, the less available you are to find peace, happiness and one who loves you reciprocally if that’s what you want. Stop wasting time on this douchebag.

    • “When this guy showed up persistent on getting my attention with expensive flowers, complimenting me and my dogs and horses (yes, noticing and complimenting my animals means something to me) and talking about his long term goals in a relationship- me, still damaged, jumped at the opportunity of this ‘perfect happy ever after’.”

      Fixing your picker is going to involve understanding that predators are very good at mirroring what you love and feeding it back (“complimenting me and my dogs and horses”). Anyone can SAY nice things about your animals. Take your time (MONTHS) to figure out how deep that good feeling is about you and your animals. It’s not what people SAY. It’s how they behave, over time.

      What this guy did is called “overvaluation” or “love bombing.” That’s not love or happily ever after. That’s a narcissist in the first stage of a relationship, getting you hooked on his attention. [Do the research on the stages of relationship these people go through. The article that CL linked is VERY interesting, for example).

    • Hi Morgan,
      You have no obligation to be tactful, but don’t say anything combative either. A simple; “That wouldn’t be appropriate.” is all you need to say. If you are grey rocking, you give him as little response as possible and without emotional outbursts or loaded language. So saying fuck off is not on the menu. He wants you to do stuff like that so he can tell everyone you’re unreasonable and nasty.
      He really sucks, btw. They all suck, but this guy is off the charts. You’re raw now, but some day you’re going to be so grateful you escaped from that freakshow.

    • Hi Morgan,
      You are in a good position financially right now, so be thankful for that. It’s hard going through that horrible realisation that your man is a sad sausage cheater who will never fulfil your needs. We are too used to blaming ourselves (I think), and maybe that’s why most of us get into the ‘pick-me’ dance. Fuck him, I don’t need him – is your new mantra. Keep it going in your head.

      I have some similarities with you…I have horses and am in the point of sticking out a separation (from a 22 year marriage) with a cheater and going through 2 D-days and a life that I look back on and want to cry myself to sleep for the humiliation and efforts I went to trying to make it better, while there was nada from him. Except as you say, when they are about to lose out on something. A very short term effort to hook you back in. Don’t buy it! Get out as early as possible.

      I had a chance to get out while I was still financially independent but I didn’t. That is one HUGE regret I have. It is a scary process now, with no income and a job market that sucks due to COVID, and much discrimination towards women who have been the wife appliance (supporting cheater get ahead in the world) and raising children (who he gave little attention). I used to earn more than him and that infuriated him….he never supported my career. So, here I am now. Up shit creek without a paddle so to speak. I would much rather be in your shoes.

      At least I have horses to keep me company and thinking mindfully. The temptation to run back to him gets me sometimes as I think about all the things that I have to give up in order to move forward. But I keep that mantra going because I know that it never gets better in a relationship with a person who fundamentally cannot respect me or be a decent role model to our children.

      Stay strong!

    • Morgan, first thing you need to do is file for child support. Please do that tomorrow. Don’t delay. I am glad you aren’t married to him. You don’t have to be tactful with this guy. You set up an email and have him contact you only about the baby. From here on out he does not come to anything for your older son. He is not a role model and you need to cut that off. This guy is a jerk and now he wants to go ride horses! No, this guy helped you pack your stuff! He treated you bad and cheated on the entire time with who knows how many. You are very young so don’t waste the best years of your life with this guy. You don’t worry about his family. Send him a new email and tell him only discussion for the baby. Block him from your phone. Please believe this guy doesn’t give a dam about you. Do not let him use your son and your love of animals to continue to abuse you. Tomorrow please put that order in for child support. Protect your baby.

    • “How do I tactfully respond to these things? ”

      Dear Morgan – Go full blown NC. Delete or block his number. Save yourself from this predator.

  • Morgan: Read the last line of your letter. This isn’t one woman, it’s WOMEN. He is a predator. He’s not choosing; he’s hunting for whomever will suck his dick. That’s it. You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Go no contact, get a lawyer so you receive child support (he will try to crawl back because nothing says fake remorse like the reality of child support), and get therapy to fix your picker. Also, if you make the mistake of taking him back, remember you are getting older day by day. You will never be young again. You will be competing against a parade of younger women who will be the faceless young nubile thing that he wants to fuck versus you, who, because life moves on, will be older every single day of his life. You literally have nothing to work with here. He doesn’t want family. He wants strange. YOU want a family. Fix your picker and find someone who values the same things you do. This man doesn’t. Plain and simple.

  • Just last night I got a glimpse of what someone who sees someone as an object must see and feel. I don’t know why it happened. It was as though a veil was lifted and I saw and felt it simultaneously.

    I knew in that moment that I had only been an object to the x. His desire to possess me because what it did for him. His desire to shape me – to keep me to his liking – to critique almost everything I did – especially when we were in public….always the critique – always negative.

    I have been reading here for several years now. I owe that glimpse to those here and Tracy for pounding this stuff into my head on a regular basis.

    See the light. Come back and keep reading and learn how to value yourself for who you are. It is a remarkable discovery.

    Don’t be like me…invested in someone who had no love for me at all other than as a prized possession that made the x feel powerful – social status – image management…cake.

    I did it for over 30 years.

    That is what my children saw and felt growing up. They were/are objects too. All of us put on the shelf when we weren’t necessary and then pulled down when we were necessary for him….

    These creatures are vampires. They do feed on others. They are empty.

    I was sooo sooo blind.

    Please heed Tracy’s words and those of us here. It is hard to see your own future when you are still in the fog but the fog does burn off. If it has for me, it can for you and hopefully you won’t waste as much of your life as I did.

    • I had a couple of those “lightbulb” moments. First when he asked me to vacate our condo, whose utility bills were paid with MY salary, so he and the OW could use our marital bed. After talking me into agreeing to an open marriage with the explicit promise of never bring OW home. In that moment I realized that he did not love me, had never loved me, and would never love me. Then some time later he asked me if I would buy him a flat screen TV as a “parting gift”. Made it really clear that my wallet was the part of my body that most interested him, which might be why he cut me off sexually so many times. I told him my parting gift to him was not cutting off 2-inch Nitwit when I found out about the cheating (not recommended for male chumps). He slept on our nice white couch after that LOL.

      I’m glad you now love yourself for who you are, rather than how useful you are to someone else. I’m sure you’re a great role model for your kids too. Hopefully they realize who the sane parent is/was.

      Hugs from a young chump.

      • Narcs and sociopaths will deprive you of sex after a period of time. Doesn’t matter who they are with or end up with…it’s one of the things they do for control and to make you feel inept.
        Narcs will blatantly use you for whatever you can provide and your ex asking for a flat screen tv as a parting gift may seem outrageous, but for narcs (and be assured he is one) this behavior is par for the course. He is now the OW’s problem and he will be a problem for her as well.

  • Morgan – Take it from Chumplady’s advice and in the comments you read here-it is not about you or her, lovability has nothing to do with it. It is all about him, it was always about him and if the truth be told he is so important that he sucks all of the oxygen out of the room – no matter how big the room is. Beyond that, don’t wait for him to ever see the error of his ways because his behavior is not a problem for him, he is not anything like you or the rest of us chumps – he lacks empathy and at the end of the day he cares only about himself. You may see him as a father figure for your oldest but trust me at the end of the day he doesn’t see that. My ex was my oldest child’s step dad for 20 years (we married a few days after she turned 4), she called him dad and she honestly does not remember life without her. He has not even tried to contact her since the divorce was final (Nov 2018). If that weren’t ugly enough, he has hardly made an attempt to contact my younger 2 children – he is their father. They were very upset when he left to pursue his true love – instead of trying to truly apologize to them blowing up their family he decided that they needed to see his point of view and celebrate finally finding happiness (the dumbass did not even realize how hurtful he was being). He has sent them both exactly one birthday card since 2017- unironically in 2020- he remarried (has not yet told them we found out on social media) and he clearly wants new wife (not the AF; she went back to her husband) that he is trying and they are rejecting him. The worst part is that what he wrote in the cards were a couple of sentences that most closely resemble a Facebook birthday wall post. They both found it more hurtful than being ignored.

    The best you can do for you and your family right now is this:
    1. Find a good attorney and get court ordered support set up.
    2. Find a good therapist for you – make sure they recognize cheating as abuse
    3. Set up a support system – hopefully you have friends or family who fit the bill. Being a new mom and going through this is a major undertaking.
    4. Fix your picker before dating again…
    5. Come to this site when you are feeling weak or sad or need support.
    Take care and know we are all here for you.

    • About “lovability.” What you said made me think is kind of is about “lovability”–but it’s not about our lovability, but about their lack of ability to love.

  • I knew I was at meh when my ex texted me on Valentine’s Day that he regretted what he had done and missed us and my first thought was to respond consequences.
    Instead I just didn’t respond. I had my moment of sadness for what might have been, and then I continued on with my lovely life.

    His regret doesn’t serve me in any way. There is no karma. His behaviour has hurt me and the kids in ways that have changed us.

    I could say changed us for the better, but that gives him a bit of a break, so I will just say the kids and I have shown we are resilient, strong and willing to accept love an support when we are struggling. You cannot underestimate how vital all that is.

    Get a good lawyer. And a good therapist. You have a beautiful life ahead, free of him.

    • It’s so complicated, isn’t it? I had that same realization. I asked myself one day when I was miserable and furious with my ex: What would you want him to do? If you could wave a magic wand, what would you make him do? And after I thought through all the options, I realized the same thing you did: that there’s no fixing what he broke, and there’s no getting back what he stole. There is literally nothing he could give me at this point that I need or that I want. I don’t want him back, I don’t need him to tell me what he did to me was wrong because I already know that, and if he suffers, so what? How does that help me?

      I’m where you are, that while I won’t ever be grateful to my ex for what he did to me, I’m undeniably a stronger and more beautiful person in every way as a result. So, my solution is just to thank God and “continue on with my lovely life” as you so aptly phrased it.

  • He’s already chosen. It’s not you. He’s choosing to focus on others over you. He will leave forever once he finds another “sure thing”. Don’t let him do this, get out now with your dignity in tact. Take it from all of chump nation and for those of us who wish they hadn’t wasted their lives on a fuckwit! GTFO now and love yourself and your precious boys. You all deserve better.

  • What you need to grasp about narcs like this is that they aren’t choosing you or her or another her. They only and always choose themselves. In short, it’s not about you, what you do, what you bring to the table or some other woman, etc, etc, etc. It is ALWAYS about the narc and the narc choosing himself or herself as the case may be.

    Also, Morgan, please for the love of fix your picker and your attitude. You are a whole person without a man. You are a full family. You are whole and complete just as you are.

    As for the picker, beware of any man who tries to suck up to you and get under your skin using your animals or your children for that matter. That’s your first red flag. Him asking you when you will ride together is creepy, manipulative and should gross you out. It is not flattering, it is not something that should be melting your heart – it is something that should be turning your stomach in utter disgust. The very serious question you need to be asking yourself is why it doesn’t make you vomit when he says garbage like that. This is the thing you need to fix within yourself.

  • I’ve been there. The why?? I have it all!!! And we do, we are the whole package, but he is damaged and his is not interested in doing what the rest of the world does: being an honest and respectable human being. He gets everything he wants when he wants it, so no need to commit to you or anyone because he is sick and addicted to this lifestyle.

    You are wonderful Morgan, there is nothing there for you. He will try to get attenton, kibbles and make you and yes your kids pick me dance. Ask me how I know, but nothing that you do will make him commit.

    And yes, my FW was a father to my dest since he was 7. On discard day he didn’t care to talk to him and tell him that he was abandoned us, why? Because he is a coward that only cares about himself. It breaks my heart.

    You can’t ask pears from the maple tree.

    • Yes, we are the sorts who “have it all”. One day, long after he was gone and all was said and done, I was getting ready to go out and I was doing my last minute primping and looking in the mirror, I said to myself ” If you had put Cheater in a room of 100 women, he would have picked me” and he DID pick me at some point, but he was too broken to keep anyone, including the one best suited for him.

      He was not about picking and nurturing what he chose, he was about keeping his options open.

      Frighteningly, he knew me SO WELL…he knew how many crumbs to throw at me to keep me where he wanted me and I fell for it time after time, year after year. I set few boundaries ( but thank God for the ones I did set).

      that moment in front of the mirror was helpful for me…it wasnt that I wasnt good enough, it was him who wasnt good enough to nurture what he had

  • THEY don’t value anything. Value implies depth, commitment, and almost always a level of sacrifice.

    Example of lack of value for family or basic human feelings: telling our son.
    Our son is bawling, broken, and screaming that he doesn’t want to have to leave his home and friends. (Seriously rage crying like a wild animal it was so frightening and heartbreaking).
    Cheater says “c’mon buddy, look at the bright side, it’ll be an adventure.”
    Our son was 7 at that moment.

    Bright side, adventure =New, Shiny. ALL THEY CARE ABOUT

    • Fearful & Loathing:

      OMG. Your ex’s retort (it wasn’t even an answer or response) to your despairing son broke my heart. I am so sorry he had to endure something like that. It is one thing our hearts in a blender, but the heart of a 7 year old? There are some failings so profound that they can never be forgiven or extirpated, even if followed by a thousand years of blameless living. I consider this one.

      Praying for your son (and you) and hoping his heart will heal one day.

    • I am so sorry for your 7 year old son – that makes me so sad, but I know he is going to be fine because he has you for his mom!
      These selfish FWs also harm older kids. My son is 18y and came home from a walk with his FW dad last summer sobbing in rage. FW wanted him to meet Schmoopie, which my son refused because “she destroyed my family”. FW replied “we were never a family” and stormed off and left my son to walk home on his own. Needless to say they haven’t seen each other since. Sometimes I feel bad for my son not having contact with his dad and then I come to Chumplady and am reminded how that is actually a very good thing!

  • Is He Going to Regret Choosing Her?

    WHO CARES?

    I know you’re not there yet, Morgan, but keep following CL and when you get to meh, this will click.

    Like CL said “You just need to realize what sort of person you’re dealing with. Who you are, and who they are. And why you’re never going to be compatible. And when you realize that, the why, why, why not ME? is irrelevant. Thank G-D it’s not you.”

    You’re only 29. 29! You’re so young and have a world of opportunity in front of you. Why waste another minute on a FW who truly is a POS. FW is chasing youth and will use every woman he comes in contact with. Let him go. Let him cheat on someone else.

    Be free, little bird!

  • You may be entitled to some spousal support as well since you lived with him for so long (common law marriage). Please seek a family lawyer who can help with both spousal and child support.

  • Fellow pregnant/postpartum chump here! D-Day was at 2 months postpartum for me. He filed at 4 months.

    Dealing with infidelity with a newborn is horrifying. It is soul destroying. You are so messed up from the hormones of birth and trauma. Be kind to yourself and give yourself time. Have you talked to your OBGYN about postpartum depression and medication?

    I was a wreck. Go as little contact as possible (only in writing), and give your mind time to heal. It is so hard to let go of the fantasy, it takes a long time.

    Be careful that whatever visitation you do now sets precedent legally. Talk to a lawyer about custody ASAP. There may not be a standard possession schedule for newborns in your state.

  • >>Will he ever regret this?

    No. Why??
    Because you expect something of him. This probably gets in the way of you admiring his dick enough. Although he probably wanks thinking how alpha he is that he had you under his thumb with his lame manipulation. It’s a power trip for them. Why else would they throw their last chance for love under the bus for stupid secrets and duping delight??

    But it is within your power to make him regret it. How?? Have a lawyer go after him about child support or another responsibility he blew off. He might regret it when he faces a court room full of people eyeing him with zero respect, who see him as just another wannabe deadbeat dad, a pathetic, clueless, aging playboy. Nothing infuriated my Ex-narc more than seeing others dismiss him as nothing special, or ridiculous.

    I know that you aren’t vindictive. But this isn’t a game. It’s about making the world more just by making irresponsible fools face a reality check. The child support laws are there for good reason. Part of your hunger for his regret might be hunger for justice. How unjust is it that this guy cheated you using you dearest values?? Empathy and love. Making him face at least some justice for his predatory irresponsibility might be hugely satisfying. Even if you don’t pull the trigger on this, it can feel tremendously satisfying to know you have options, and not just powerless.

    I want to end this by focusing on Morgan’s mightiness. It is no small thing to face so much betrayal right when she’s most vulnerable bringing a child into this world. That girl who pretended to be a friend was even more appalling than Mr Cheaterpants Sperm Donor. Despite a horrific level of mindf*ckery, she has the courage & clear-headedness to face an awful reality. She’s become wiser about where she seeks help. She’s recognizing good vs lame therapy. Many lie to themselves to avoid pain, but she’s not seeking that despite facing one the worst betrayals ever, all while under fire adjusting to the new baby. Morgan is mighty.

    If you look at history, it’s always been full of cheats trying to coast on the backs of kinder, more responsible people. We’ve always had to make irresponsible cheats contribute. Justice and balance are made, not a given. Cheats only regret when caught & forced into some responsibility. Some theorists like Don Hennessy & Dr George Simon think that the old word “evil” fits these disordered characters. They repay good with evil. They seek to harm those who were good to them. Their evil is nothing new, and many have struggled with it for ages.

  • Hi Morgan, I’m responding as a fellow horsewoman. I actually have a mustang, lol! I don’t know how experienced you are with horses, but I’m going to assume you are a competent horse-handler and understand horse language. Have you ever seen the movie “Buck” and/or worked with Buck Brannaman directly? If a person is not familiar with horses or hasn’t worked with “rogue” horses or “bad actors” before, one might think Buck is being cruel with his use of the rope halter and/or flag. If all you’ve known are nice and easy horses who are willing to cooperate and easy to train, then you might get thrown off your game by the bad actor. If you’ve only dealt with difficult horses (I have a history of liking difficult horses and lo and behold I have a narcissistic FW of a father), then you may have become conditioned to “accept bad behavior” or let them push your boundaries without you realizing it.

    Here’s what I know about how the horse/human relationship mirrors the FW/chump relationship, and what is highlighted by watching Buck. Horses need boundaries. They need clear and consistent boundaries and to know where those boundaries are (for example, the invisible line of your personal space). They need to know what happens if they invade your personal space and walk all over you. They need to know that striking, biting, rearing, kicking, running away, charging, etc are not tolerated within your relationship. In other words, they need to be taught manners, and they need to know that you stand firm in your expectations and discipline and that you are consistent in disciplining them. If you have a nice and polite horse and you hand-feed them treats and they accept them graciously, then that is a nice thing to share. If you have a rude horse who bites the hand that feeds him when he gets treats, then he gets no more treats, and he will be disciplined for crossing a boundary.

    Look at the horses and ponies when they play together. There are all sorts of body language cues that tell you what is going on. And there are little things that happen before the big thing happens. Like your relationship with your FW. His “body language” as expressed through his actions is that he’s downloaded snapchat, he invited another woman and her family to live in your rental, he has taken sides with another woman against you, he has lied, and he’s already canoodling with another girl. In horse language, that is the swish of the tail, the flick of an ear, the cocking of a hind leg, the move of the dominant horse into the submissive horse’s space. If the submissive horse knows what’s going on, then he doesn’t have to wait until the dominant horse runs him off, bites him in the butt, or backs up right quick to double-barrel him. The submissive horse gets out of dodge to protect himself.

    Your FW gave you all sorts of cues about what was going on and what was coming next. The submissive horse doesn’t question “why? why me?” or try to reason with the dominant horse. The submissive horse (if he’s smart) understands what is going on, understands the threat, and responds accordingly so as to escape injury.

    With my own mustang, who was for a time a bad actor, I had to stand my ground while doing ground work with him. That meant that when I had him on the rope halter and he stood on his hind legs to challenge me, I didn’t get emotional about it, I didn’t ask why me, I didn’t wonder what I could do to make him love me more, I stood my ground with a “you picked the wrong woman to fuck with, mister” attitude, and kept on with the work and kept the boundaries and discipline firm and consistent. And eventually the bad actor learned how to have some manners and now I can lead him with the rope draped over my finger with slack in the line and he’ll follow.

    Granted, FWs aren’t horses. I did have one horse who was a dangerous bad actor who had been orphaned and was therefore never understanding about body language with other horses or with people. He was a liability in many ways and after some health issues I ended up putting him down, which was sadly a relief to me. The point is that: a) you need to know what you are dealing with, and b) YOU need to stand YOUR ground and decide what you will accept and what you will not accept. Your FW isn’t a horse and he isn’t going to come around to have nice manners. He is biting the hand that feeds him. He is showing no ability to respect the boundaries you’ve set forth in the relationship. You need to protect yourself because he is a liability who is bound to hurt you.

    If you haven’t seen the movie “Buck” I highly recommend it. There is a scene in there with a woman and her stallion that sort of mirrors what I am talking about.

    • Enjoyed reading your analogies of the ‘bad actor’ and rogues in horses and humans. It does give a good context for horse people on how to approach the FW. “you picked the wrong woman to fuck with, mister” lol. Fair but firm.

      The one thing that distinguishes horses (and why you can eventually retrain most of them) is that they show you who they are. I’ve found with FW’s that they will never give up the upper hand in the relationship and refuse to let down their mask of self protection…whereas horses when treated fairly with consistent boundaries and empathy that allows them to bond, they will respond to that eventually and stabilise their behaviour.

      • S-t-D

        How true ‘ fws will never give up the upper hand in a relationship and refuse to let down their mask of self protection’

        Newbies take heed and do not be fooled into thinking that therapy will help change a fw. Tis my experience that tells me it is dangerous to go into therapy with a fw as everything said in those rooms will be used against you at some point. Go to therapy alone for YOU.

    • Hi
      I really enjoyed your comparison of FW to the Disrespectful Horse. Its a very interesting view of the situation but absolutely makes sense. I have watched Buck and I know exactly what scene you are talking about. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, I think I might have to watch it again.

      When it comes to horses, Im a “take no shit” type of owner. My horses have to act near perfect or they get properly reprimanded. However, when I’m around (most) people Im such a push over and when I was with FW, I would have anxiety if I thought I was doing something that wasn’t appeasing to him. It’s stupid and sad. I dont want to be that person ever again, I want to be the person you described, the “take no shit from horses OR men” person. I guess it will just take time and retraining myself to set serious boundaries.

      Since he isn’t going to ever come around to have manners or respect boundaries, are you saying I should euthanize him? 😉

      I will take what you said to heart as I heal and someday(not anytime soon at all!) start dating again. I don’t think I’ll be able to unsee the comparison now.

      Thank you for writing.
      By the way, I have a Kiger but she was domestic bred and a sweetheart. I dont think I could train a blm Mustang, but I sure to idolize those of you that are able!

    • BaLies,

      Thank you for this vivid analogy. Years ago I remember when I realized that training children had a lot of similarities with training dogs.

      I also recall a very good friend of mine using the phrase ‘monkey world’ at a time shortly after dday. I began googling chimp and gorilla behavior in the wild. The similarities were indeed blaring.

      The connection that followed – me recognizing that I am a primate belonging to the Great Ape Family helped me accept a lot of other behavior displayed by the x as well as my behavior whilst I was under his influence….Oddly enough, I found that realization healing.

      I have requested the movie from my local library and look forward to enjoy it.

  • Morgan I would take my kids and run. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Pity he was the sperm donor for your baby he may use this as an excuse to hoover from you. Hopefully though he will piss off into the rental market and bother you no more. Fix your picker so you don’t get into any more relationships with tossers.

  • “I feel so invested.” So did I. I get it. But believe me, he NEVER felt invested.

    These assholes that we fell for are conmen. They know how to ACT as if they are invested. They know how to make us think they’re quite the catch. It’s all image management. Their “love” isn’t real because they are incapable of bonding. But they get off on conquests and getting people to fall for THEM.

    Have you ever awakened from a dream and tried to remember aspects of it but most of it fades? You might recall a detail or two but when you try to see things clearly, you just can’t? That’s how they see us. We are mere fuzzy outlines. They move on from us like a dream that fades from memory. They have no attachment to a fuzzy outline. We don’t matter to them. They barely think of us even as we spend hours (or in my case, spent) every day thinking about them.

    It will really help if you could grasp this concept. You bonded, he can’t. You are not now and never truly were cherished and valued by him. If he needs something from you, he might pay some attention to you but he will certainly disappoint you if you succumb to his “charm.” Remember: you have value and you are important, but not to him.

  • Dear Morgan,

    Don’t age gap, don’t age gap, don’t age gap, don’t age gap. And by the way, don’t date men with more than a few years difference in age.

    A forty-something year old, while they might seem in some ways mature enough to be with a single mother (who, by definition, has had to grow up fast), cannot be genuinely mature if he’s targeting women so far out of his generation. A genuine adult wants someone on their own experience level. That rules out the oldsters. Age doesn’t compensate for missing IQ points and character.

    You have everything going for you and a full life ahead. Avoid the vampires at all costs. It doesn’t seem like it now but your life is going to bloom and fill up after covid. Not very long from now, you’ll be wondering what you ever saw in this loser.

    If you’re really lucky, he won’t be back. But most likely he’ll come slithering around again and you’re going to need to be strong to make a clean break. Invest in garlic.

    • It is true that a guy that ONLY pursues younger women or women significantly younger usually has issues. It should be considered a red flag. I have noticed narc men will first marry someone within 5 to 10 years younger. The second marriage is usually with someone far younger. Could be the trophy wife thing but it boils down to the narc never reaching full emotional maturity. Also, men that seek out single mothers, should be scrutinized as well. Single mothers have less freedom, more restrictions and that means spending far less on going out, etc.

      • I found out (way into the relationship) that he cheated on his girlfriend of 15 years with an 18 year old at the college he worked at. He would have been 37. I was sick thinking about it.

        His snapchat and Facebook was full of girls in their late teens to late 20s.

        My friend, who is 4 years younger than me, introduced us after he pursued her and she wasn’t interested.

        It definitely is gross.

        • Interesting, but the part that got me was: “Imagine you are a man in your 40’s or 50’s who has gone through an awful divorce. Your ego has been raked over the coals” No mention of the real possibility of the man being the one that rakes the spouse over the coals.

          But yes, marriage does not stay the same, nor should it. It should evolve and become more solid and comfortable.

          I married a man ten years older than me. Honestly, the age difference is mute, I was mature and had been through hell, he was mature and had been through hell.

          I do think for many there is such a thing as mid life crisis, though it is not an excuse it can explain a lot. I think that natural drop in sex drive may explain a lot of it in men. They go looking for a temp thrill to get their mojo back, and find themselves in a hell they never anticipated.

          Doesn’t excuse the horrible treatment they dish out, but I do think it happens.

  • Oh Morgan, I feel for you deeply. Many of us know the despair you are going through and I’m glad you found Chump Lady and Chump Nation as support.
    Will he ever regret choosing her? Maybe. I’m sure he’ll more regret not having you absorb all his nasty behavior and being his door mat. What cheaters seem to regret is that they’ve lost their centrality.
    My separation from my kid’s dad was at the end of 2013. Didn’t officially divorce until 2 years later. He stayed with her, 3 of the 5 years we were married. 2nd affair with a different woman, that I know of. When divorce was finally going through was when he had “a change of heart.”
    By that point, I recognized that he might need to grieve the loss of his affair partner, and I didn’t want to just be a rebound, so I told him I was commiting to the divorce and commiting to myself to be single for 2 years (ended up being 3,) to give us some time and distance to reevaluate and/or rebuild; and also, in case he had difficulty going no contact with A.P.
    He pushed to get back together with me right away, but agreed he would take time alone, like me, but wanted some sort of promise of reconciliation, which I couldn’t give him; so what did he do? He married her. Moved her into our old married home, which I abandoned financially in the divorce and let him keep. He replaced me with her, and did all the family stuff with her and our kid- bought her vehicles, expensive gifts, vacations (which he never took me on-left me back home with the kid instead,) supported her as she went through college, (he used to tell me that getting an education was a waste of time and money.) I even found out they were trying to have a child, but had difficulty getting pregnant due to their ages. I remember all the suffering I went through, watching their marriage play out as we co-parented… fast forward to now, 8 years later, and their marriage is falling apart.
    So what does he do? Still married to her, starts trying to woo me…buying me gifts, trying to spend time ‘as a family,’ being all flirty, which I tried to block with an emotional wall.
    I told him I was seeing someone, to which he upped the charm and pursuit and pulled the family card, saying he misses us, regrets everything, is a changed man, is sorry for what he did to me and our kid. He even offered to move me back to our old married home, rent free plus child support and would finally put my name on the deed, and my job would just be raising our kid happily playing family and he would go live with his mom or dad (which would make it easier for him to hide future side fucks,) if it made me feel more comfortable. He said he’d pay my bills long after our kid turned 18.
    Yeah… I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I didn’t give it a thought…or even anguish over it for a week, not because of the financial offer, but because of my sense of duty to my kid to try again and have an intact family. But the more I weighed this offer, the more I found myself at the same answer, as much as I’d like to believe that things would be different. I literally feel sorry for him and sorry for our kid, for the mind fuck games his dad is playing with him. Now I’m the asshole who won’t let daddy make amends, but I explained to my kid that he’s displaying the same behavior now, while in our marriage. If I didn’t just commit to closing the door forever, I would not be exercising good boundaries and I would be just as guilty of ambivalence as him and I am not my ex. I am not okay with a married man trying to woo me, and I am not ok with dating more than one person and I do not do the break up and get back together thing with exes. It’s okay to have boundaries with family, especially with family! I was so afraid to give him a great big no, because I knew it would hurt him badly, on top of his un-dealt with pain of our divorce by his current “divorce” with his A.P. turned wife. I actually want to spare him the pain and suffering I went through, because that’s the type of person I am, but it’s not my job to soften the blow of his divorce. I moved on. That was the consequences of his actions. I have seen his pattern of unhealthy relationship behaviors that I can’t ignore (obsession and contact with exes, sabotaging relationship every 3 years, pursuing things and people hard then dropping them as soon as he gets it, uh… cheating as a means of ending things.) He was willing to create a new family with her and now he wants to be family again. Why would I want to be in a relationship with someone I feel sorry for or who feels they have to manipulate me into one? I don’t doubt that he doesn’t miss us, or regret what he did, or choosing her (from what I’ve heard, she’s totally insecure and high-maintanence and I’ve seen texts between them on an old phone he let our kid borrow-they had the same miserable relationship we had-he treated her exactly like he treated me.)
    What he regrets, is not having a fall back, low-maintanence, wife appliance he can micro manage and feed into his fantasy image of being a good Christian man and intent to right wrongs of the past. He feels entitled to reconcile.
    But you know, I’m done focusing on him and his needs. I gave him far too much time and empathy than he deserves so I told him no – the sky didn’t fall and I have complete and total peace of mind! I don’t need to be taken care of and put in my place by a man. I’m a grown adult woman who rebuilt her life better and freer and I’m not giving that up. It is totally possible to do, although difficult to see right now- many of us have been there and you can too. Please find your inner strength and outer support and I hope you find a good community, because they will help with your children. I am sorry for the shit show you are going through. Please remember self care and self love, and practicing putting the focus back on you and how you’re going to overcome your obstacles. Hugs and blessings.

  • >