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Reconciliation with the Timid Forest Creature

TimidCheaterAfter you’ve been cheated on, you’d think it’s a pretty simple decision tree — reconcile or divorce.

Choose divorce, it doesn’t matter if your cheater is sorry or not sorry, the infidelity is a deal breaker.

If you choose reconciliation, however, the matter of How Sorry Are They comes to the forefront of the decision. Not only How Sorry Are They, but What Exactly Do They Intend to Do About It? And that’s where chumps get tangled up in limbo land — trying to parse how remorseful the cheater is and weighing it against demonstrable acts of reconciliation, such as a post-nup, no contact with the affair partner, honesty, transparency, etc.

Remorse? Proceed. No remorse? Go directly to divorce — it seems pretty straightforward. Because, why would you waste one New York second with someone who isn’t sorry, right? I mean, you’d have to be a masochist.


…. There’s a work around.

The Reconciliation Industrial Complex has a wonderful loophole to the remorse question. I call it: Cheaters are Timid Forest Creatures (TFC).

Oh no, you can’t ask for transparency right now — you might frighten them away!

Don’t be angry and emotional! This is very difficult for them too! They’re grieving the affair partner.

Don’t take any immediate actions to protect yourself! You might intimidate your cheater away from reconciliation! They’re very undecided right now and the LAST thing you want to do is get all bossy and demanding with the consequences. Didn’t you read the memo on making the marriage a Good Place to Be? These ugly accountability requests are creating a dangerously bad vibe.

Beware their FOO issues! Didn’t you know your cheater is in the grip of TOXIC SHAME? There you are, being all loud and judge-y — it could trigger them into another bout of toxic shame, and THEN what? You know they don’t handle stress well! They may just be compelled to cheat again. So be patient and loving and ask them heart-felt questions about their subterranean shame issues. Hold their hands on this. The cheater is in as much pain as you are.

Yes, cheaters are Timid Forest Creatures. Very delicate, fragile, and skittish. Just one wrong move and… poof! They’ll scurry off into the underbrush and leave you. No one can make any decisions until the cheater stabilizes! They’re sad. Very, very sad. And broken. Would you break a broken person?

You? Oh sure, they’re sorry. It’s very unfortunate when Things Just Happen to splendid people. (Splendid people like them. Who are you again?)

When the narrative is TFC, who are you to ask for demonstrations of sorry? They need help! They have sex addiction or FOO issues or Borderline or depression… It makes them do things for which they’re not responsible. Not really. Hate the sin, love the sinner. Oh, here’s an idea! Why don’t you join a support group to help you HELP them?

Think of reconciliation as a soap bubble, and think of yourself as a raging rhinoceros. Do you want to crush the fragile surface tension of remorse with your clumsy demands? You realize if this all falls apart it’s your fault, don’t you? You weren’t there for them during this crisis.

How many of you bought this shit? How many of you waited before making a drastic decision of self protection like seeing a lawyer? Did you wait 6 months? A year to decide? Were you patient with your TFC?

How’d that work for you?

I think it’s better to keep the decision tree simple. You don’t see remorse? Don’t wait around for it to emerge from the fog. You don’t see it because it doesn’t exist. Don’t make this complicated. Don’t let your cheater or some quack therapist make this complicated. People who treat you like shit and don’t demonstrate one bit of sorry are not people you need in your life.

Are cheaters Timid Forest Creatures — or are they grifters?

Are they undecided — or are they eating cake at your expense?

Do things “just happen” to cheaters — or do they have agency?

Are cheaters compelled to Do Bad Things because of their FOO issues — or do they manage to hold it together for other people, like their friends or their boss?

Are cheaters really sad — or just sad for themselves?

Ask a Timid Forest Creature and find out!

Oops…. wait… it scurried under a tree root and is unavailable for comment.

This column ran previously. Check beneath the underbrush for a timid forest creature near you.  

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  • “Don’t kick my while I’m down”

    Is what he said to me. To ME.

    excuse me while I leave your ass behind. No kicking necessary.

    • They have no sense of irony and zero empathy after they have just destroyed you. The essence of narcissism.

      Mine accused me of the same, and of attacking the OW, simply because I would talk (nicely mind you) about my deeply hurt feelings.

  • I once lived in a house infested with a timid forest creature. Despite spackling, marital counseling (also known as Psych Ops as he tried to use what he learned there against me) making my needs infinitesimal, wearing rose colored glasses, and serving on the Marriage Police Force for thirty three years, I was unable to rid my home of this infestation. So I left. Metaphorically burnt that to the ground.

    Now I live by myself and as my Mental Divorce is nearly complete I’m not even checking for those nasty little hobgoblins, The Timid Forest Creature.

    There is nothing here for that ugly crap filled monster. There are no kibbles, no contact, nothing.
    I’m starving the Timid Forest Creature so that he will slink back to his HoWorker and the side-side chick.

    I’m learning to love myself which is the defense against the Dark Arts of the Timid Forest Creature.
    I have nothing for him.

    • “I’m learning to love myself which is the defense against the Dark Arts”

      I love this phrase with every part of my being. May it be a mantra for all the newbies. I wish I had recognized it as the “dark arts” as it would have been so helpful. sigh. Better late than never.

  • I was heavily criticised by my MIL (who was appalled by the fact that her daughter was a cheater) to my face for having challenged her over her behaviour. According to MIL I should have “ignored Mrs-LFTT’s relationship with her AP as it would have blown over in time once she got bored of it.”

    MIL (who is a chump herself) was adamant that I had damaged the marriage (and driven my then wife into the arms of her AP) by calling Mrs-LFTT out. MIL had trouble understanding that if the kids knew all about it (they discovered the affair as Mom’s iPhone was synched to an iPad they use) and that they had told me, then I had no choice but act.

    Let’s just say that I put her pretty straight and pretty quickly too.


    • I guess that the point I’m trying to make is that it’s hard to play hardball with a cheater when their own family buys into the TFC narrative, encourages the cheater to believe that she has a right to be treated as a TFC and tries to drag you in there too.

      F*ck that noise.


      • In general its a lot easier to placate the asshole and avoid boat rocking if you’re not the one getting fucked over.

        This is true whether or not cheating is involved. My sister used to be the family troublemaker and everyone rolled over to placate her highness.

        When her nastiness got involved in my divorce by moving in with my ex and embarking on a smear campaign against me by involving my kids (which didn’t work…they remained loyal to me and are now grown) i cut her off. Boy you’d have thought i perpetrated a horrible crime and her nastiness went nuts because it was the first time anyone had ever held her accountable for anything.

        Our mother tried to bully me with the whole “mistakes were made by everyone” bullshit. Umm, no…mistakes were NOT made by everyone and I stopped taking her calls too until she learned to drop it.

        Scumbag sister and I didn’t speak for 12 years. She finally did grow up and owned everything so we put it behind us.

        Dealing with the scumbag can be hard and a lot of people will resort to trying to placate them.

          • Thank you.

            I will say that my sister made a journey few people make. There were drugs involved that she cleaned up, and she owned every last shitty thing she did. I am not generally a forgiving person, but she did every last thing she could and I am satisfied that she is a different person now. She even bought her first house last year……unthinkable when you consider that 15 years ago she was a homeless drug addict living with my ex.

            She dragged herself out of her hole. I’m happy because we don’t have much family these days so at least we have each other now.

            • This is what remorse and change look like.

              Your sister got clean. She made real amends and admitted her faults. She changed her behaviors and become responsible for herself.

              She might have been an addict but she was not “timid forest creature” in the end. Wishing her continued success in her recovery. And how kind of you to see her journey and reconnect with her.

              • I want to throw in that even if my cheater ex had done these things i still wouldn’t have taken him back because the way I saw him changed.

                I no longer respected him and you can’t have a romantic relationship without that.

                My sister is my sister.

        • Kim,

          Sadly I spent most of my marriage placating the assh*le I’d married. I think that her family were glad I’d taken on the role …. as that was what they’d been doing until I took now Ex-Mrs LFTT off their hands.

          Well they got her back and aren’t happy about it!


          • I understand.

            My ex’s snotty daughter, who was always kind of shitty to me and seldom included me in anything unless it would make her look really bad (think her wedding/baby showers) cried when she heard I’d left him.

            We’d actually been divorced for a couple of months before he told anyone…that’s how little his side had to do with me.

            I’m quite certain it’s because she’s an only child and now he doesn’t have a wife to take care of him…so guess who he’s going to bother?

            • Kim,

              It would be funny of it weren’t so sad.

              Ex-Mrs LFTT’s brother and sister (well half-brother and half-sister, but that’s a whole other dumpster fire) have said that they will cut Ex-Mrs LFTT dead once MIL passes; they only tolerate Ex-Mrs LFTT because MIL has asked them to. I know that MIL came very close to cutting Ex-Mrs LFTT off about 18 months ago as a result of yet another outbreak of awful behaviour directed at MIL …… unfortunately MIL just cannot make that step even though it is well overdue. Similarly, our kids (who stayed with me when Ex-Mrs LFTT left us) have reacted very badly to Ex-Mrs LFTT’s demands that they be ready to look after her in her old age.

              Ex-Mrs LFTT is in for a big shock when she finally realises how many people she has alienated and how many people only tolerate her sh*t because MIL has asked them to.


          • LFTT, it’s funny you mention that because my in-laws (who are well off) were all about reconciliation and didn’t mind me continuing to pay for everything post separation and want their daughter to get financial support from me in the divorce. Why? Because they know she will come to them to be continuously bailed out and she becomes their burden instead of mine.

            They wouldn’t bat an eye at their daughter bleeding me dry. Just as long as they weren’t inconvenienced financially or with their time, that’s what matters most. Always good to know that very few people have your best interest at heart.

        • Kim,
          Was your sister messing around with your ex ? Why in the world would she move in with him ? Free lodging ? In exchange for what exactly ?!
          You’re a bigger person than I am, regardless of her recovery and any amends.

      • My MIL is coddling her son so badly still, that when I let her know how stressed and mixed up I am over her sons actions- she replied “well maybe if you’re that stressed you should see a dr… there’s really good medications to try” ???? and “he would never, ever cheat on you”… WHAT?!?
        That’s when I knew I was definitely in trouble and I SEE where he gets it from. Terrible stuff these people put on us

        My mother’s stance was:(first reaction) “he needs to go”
        A couple of months later: “they need you” referring to he and his daughter

        Needless to say I don’t talk to either one of them about this anymore

        And the article is 100 percent correct… it doesn’t Dona lot of good dragging your feet on a decision
        It leaves you looking for clues that they just may be genuine. (This time)

      • Well said.

        I think there’s also the element of fear and image management wrapped up in all of that coddling and placating. If the betrayed spouse cuts ties, all the emotional abuse and drama TFC love to engage in is going to be directed at someone else in their proximity – either the OW/OM or a relative.

        • AIAS,

          You are right; now that I’ve withdrawn myself and my kids from Ex-Mrs LFTT’s sights, she is back to giving her mother, sister and brother one hell of a time.

          I really feel for my MIL; she has a heart of gold, but lets her love for her cheater daughter over-rule her need to self protect. Sadly, Ex-Mrs LFTT is just like her late cheater father; she pulls at her mother’s heart strings to avoid having to face the consequences of her appalling behaviour.


          • Similar story. Ex MIL is no match for my ex wife who routinely and successfully blameshifts her mother (and anyone she’s around). She uses her mom whenever she needs something and ostracizes her if she’s ever called out. Her mother did not approve of her cheating or her relationship with her AP and my ex cannot stand that she’s the bad guy in the story and needs affirmation that what she did is justified and that I’m terrible (when she’s not regularly trying to get back with me).

    • Same. Only MIL had been the cheater in her 50 year marriage, so she “knew” that by ignoring her infidelity my FIL had kept the marriage intact. Good riddance to the whole family.

      • Such toxic crap.

        My ex MIL condemns me having a serious GF now though, which is super rich and not in the “best interest” of my children….two years (and about a year and a half from filing for divorce) after separating from her cheating daughter.

        Somehow that put me on the same level as ex having multiple affair partners and continuing to go through guys but hiding it during all of this. Being honest is always bad for cheaters and their flying monkeys. Living a life and being honest and open with the kids? BAD. Being a complete POS but hiding it from your kids? FINE

    • These people. My MIL was a chump who signed up for 15 more years of serial cheater sociopath until ultimately discarded. She routinely fell for the religious “I’ve repented” only to cheat again. Her daughter, my ex, had so many daddy issues when he left the fam as a teen.

      Then proceeded to do it to our family. MIL never excused the ex’s actions but constantly fell for the sad sausage and blameshifting act and really believed the marriage could be restored. No thanks. She did however tried to equate my ex’s pet peeves of me as somehow being on the same level at times and put too much stock into the revisionist history my ex claimed.

    • When she got tired of it and it blew over? The OW’s husband told me to not leave my X because she will get bored with him and leave him. Well, as far as I know the X and her they are still married. Sure glad I did not wait around until she got bored!

    • Wow, that very fuzzy logic on her part tells you a lot about where her daughter’s mindset comes from.

      • Stig,

        Unfortunately, Ex-Mrs LFTT’s logic comes from her father; he was (thankfully he passed about 15 years ago) a violent cheater who bullied to get what he wanted and would never admit to being wrong. MIL had appeased him for decades ….. unfortunately the lesson that Ex-Mrs LFTT learned from was that if she stamped her feet and threatened apocalyptic consequences, then she would get what she wanted and no-one would hold her to account.

        MIL was trying to push me into appeasing her daughter as that is what her family had always done with both Ex-Mrs LFTT and her father. There is a tonne of background here that I won’t go into; suffice to say that MIL and I have resolved our differences and are now on very good terms.


  • My ex kept telling me how much he was crying (through entire individual therapy sessions!!) and that he’s sad every day. Every day!!

    I never tried to reconcile once he confessed. But I did see the TFC nonetheless. He was SO fragile as was the AP apparently. She felt SO bad and was worried that he would try to reconcile, which he must have loved.

    It’s been 16 months. He “feels regret and remorse.” In typical narc fashion, this cheater claims to suffer more than anyone else.

    No true empathy in sight. It’s all about him and his sadz. His new bush can have him.

    • I didn’t think this would be so common! I’ve heard this is “really hard on me too I’m losing my wife and best friend”… or “my wife barely speaks to me or wants to kiss/hug me anymore”.
      He’s saying these things to ME…”MY wife”?!?
      Poor thing

      • Narcs are over-represented in the cheating population. I don’t know how often the grandiose narcs say that they’re hurting, but most of the covert narc identity is wrapped around always being the victim. It’s always someone else’s fault that they cheated (likely yours; should have been a better spouse) and if you enact consequences then hoo boy. In my case, FW was the one to ask for the divorce and was very obviously with the AP. It was really, really mean of me to gray rock him and keep all discussions about logistics because he was “going through a lot, too!” Oh why couldn’t both the AP and I provide him with emotional support?

        • God, that describes my ex wife.

          I also thought that being away from her and her being with other dudes would somehow cut down on the constant complaints, how she’s disappointed, and everything is someone else’s fault. Always the victim and everything she does is justified.

          These people should not be allowed to be around a normal population.

          • Oh, they are truly disordered (and, let’s remind ourselves, remain disordered even with the new supply).

            I still scratch my head that after my cheater ex fessed up to his multiyear affair, and I stormed out of the house, he called his sister (herself a CHUMP!!!) and later complained that she didn’t travel 2 hours to be with and comfort him. He said he comforted her when she found out about her husband’s affair (also with a younger nurse).

            He couldn’t seem to grasp that in this scenario, he’s the asshole husband not the betrayed chump. He also couldn’t muster some empathy for the sister. He couldn’t say, for instance, “I know this might be triggering for you.” Oh, and she happened to be my good friend from college (that’s how I met the FW).

            Anyway, he’s emotionally stunted, and that’s putting it mildly. I guess they all are! Usually, I hesitate to make generalizations, but after being on this site for a year and a half, to do so seems justified.

          • They truly live in their own world. My now ex wife as of last week told me in one of her rages that “you’re the one who left us”. I’m so sorry my dignity would not drop low enough to sit by and let her keep on cheating with the dozens of men she got caught cheating with or her tinder profile we found stating she had a boyfriend who wanted to watch her fuck other men. Nope, me filing for divorce was nothing to do with that, I just up and left my family. These are sick individuals.

      • I remember him telling me the same “this is really hard on me too” days after Dday; I had kicked him out (although I was hoping he’d beg to come back).
        I thought he had realized what he had done and that he was feeling deep remorse. But he was referring to the fact that he was sleeping at his parents- not that he had sacrificed so many people and destroyed our life.

        • I wish we could put all the cheaters in Thunderdome together. That’s my new fantasy – greater likelihood than catching a unicorn.

      • My ex-FW, full TFC mode, told me he fell for the college girl because he’d gotten to have a girlfriend. He told ME that.

        He’d also been complaining about MY lack of affection for him for years (into his cheating). Never mind that he never did anything to help and I’d I’d tried everything I could think of to rekindle our connection and intimacy. Hmm… the chicken or the egg. After reading this site for just a couple weeks, I’m beginning to suspect this is the true order of operations in many/most of the cases where chumps begin to hold back affection, generosity, move into separate bedroom, go numb, begin to create a completely separate (but not secret) life within the relationship, etc…

          • The things they say…. you just reminded me that when my first husband wanted to divorce he said it’s because he had gotten married too young. He was 30!
            (And that was 25 yrs ago when people were getting married younger.)

        • Correction:
          *NEVER had a girlfriend
          (And even if I didn’t count in his f’d up logic, that’s still a lie!)

    • Almost two months post divorce I still get emails about how sad he is, how he cries all the time because of how much he’s lost and how I never loved him or I’d work on us. It’s as if this misfortune just fell upon him randomly and no one cares about his pain, mostly me, because I’m too selfish.

      It’s frighteningly delusional. No words.

      • Yeah, my Cheater Narc Ex said in an email that he had lost way more than I had, when we split (ie; I kicked him out for cheating a second time). It’s true that by that point he no longer had;
        a close relationship with our kids
        our family home
        all our family friends
        more of his family (some already couldn’t stand him before)
        his own 2 friends (who he weirdly ghosted)
        the financial stability we had created together

        When I pointed out that he hadn’t ‘lost’ anything, he’d thrown it all away, he was FURIOUS!

          • Yea, I remember mine doing a pity party and telling me he was mourning the ‘loss’ of our relationship. I said the same… it wasn’t ‘lost’ he threw it away (& I was at that point hoping to RIC but he wanted the OW).

        • SAME!!!

          He said I was “sitting pretty” and that he lost it all. Unfair punishment!!!! He’d only fallen in love and opted for a bit more happiness. Why are people being so MEAN?

          Like your ex, mine hadn’t “lost” a damn thing; he’d tossed it away.

          He no longer has me (expendable), his kids, his grandchild, many of his friends, my entire family (not that he gives a damn), his reputation, and, oddly enough, his extended family, too. You reap what you sow.

          Because of my control over the universe, I caused all this.

      • Skeeter………I hope you block his emails. If you share kids he can text you the basics.

        He’ll drag you down with his self pity. His blaming and shaming attempts. Be your own best friend and block him.

      • Skeeter, you know what he’s going to do (is probably already doing) to make himself feel better, right?

    • Mine told his shrink (before D-Day) that he felt suicidal “every day” “all the time”. This did not match up with my observations of his behavior. Keep in mind there were numerous hours in the day when I was at work and he could have attempted suicide to his heart’s content. After all someone had to pay the bills while the poor baby was “depressed”. Nada. No suicide attempts, just a massive video game addiction and the affairs with 20-somethings.

      They all tell the same lies.

  • I have always loved this column. My STBX is the Queen of TFCs, working on annexing the Land of the Sad Sausages. (We are both women.) It *was* hard for me to find clear bearings for a long time because STBX expressed so much remorse, but wasn’t willing to hear about my feelings (oh, the toxic shame!) or be accountable in several key ways. And CL hits the nail on the head about what couples counseling can be like with a TFC – we tried three different therapists, none of whom gave real consideration to the trauma I was enduring. The mindfuck blender x 1,000. Afterward, I saw many warnings that it’s dangerous to do therapy with disordered people. (Certainly, my STBX weaponized the concepts she “learned” there against me.)

    I did couples counseling during my in-house separation for 15 months anyway, because I wanted to be sure that divorce was the right choice for my kids and me. If I had to do it over again, I might skip that part. But I also have great compassion for myself and the crappy choices I had to make after D-Day #2. Sometimes mental strength leads people to take on more shit, because they know they can handle it. Unfortunately, I didn’t really understand what sitting in toxic stress could do to my *body.* First I became prediabetic, and just over a year later, crossed the threshold into type 2 diabetes. All the doctors with whom I have conferred agreed that the main culprit is the toxic stress I’ve been dealing with – not diet, exercise, etc. I have left the cheater, but still have to deal with her crappy boundaries during Covid. (More stress and triggers.) So, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to shed more of the stress after getting vaccinated/finalizing divorce, when I can go back to minimal contact.

    New chumps, don’t fall for the TFC narrative. If your partner can’t handle your perfectly understandable pain after D-Day, it’s time for a break. Re-read CL’s column on Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse. Surround yourself with non-TFCs, and find a therapist who understands that infidelity is emotional abuse, and is real trauma for the chump. All best to you!

    • By therapist, I mean an individual therapist! DO NOT attempt couples counseling with a cheater – certainly not until they can grant that their actions have been emotionally abusive, and have resulted in trauma for you! (I would bet that 99% of cheaters never get to the point of admitting those items, let alone accepting accountability for them.)

      • Lezcchump, I agree on individual counseling only. My fw not only refused to take any responsibility for any issues in our relationship but would not do the homework the therapists assigned to help us “communicate”. They all decided our problem was lack of communication—-.he told them all the problem was me.

        • Agree completely. My cheating wife (4 affairs and counting) sucked our couples therapist in to her web of deceit and had her completely on her side. That was until it came out that we were in the middle of a false reconciliation for the entire 9 months of our couples counseling. My wife even signed a full disclosure affidavit, because I kept insisting there was more she was keeping from me. After that, our therapist wouldn’t even consider that she might still be lying. Until months later it came out that she was actually engaging in another affair the whole time and completely lied on the affidavit. But wifey was all smiles and happily agreed to whatever the therapist was saying. Meanwhile, poor chumpy chump me was all upset and angry the whole time, so obviously the problem was me and my anger. Therapist was shocked when the false reconciliation came to light. But I didn’t get an apology from her for acting like I was crazy for not believing the affidavit and being angry. Total midfuck all over again. I don’t think I’ll ever do couple’s therapy again.

          • Like signing some piece of paper is going to stop a pathological liar from lying. I swear most of these therapists are extremely naive.

          • Yep, so easy for them to sit there with a smug look on their face, they have been lying for a long time, it never occurs to them that they can’t continue.

            I remember meeting with our preacher (that he had arranged) and him sitting there all smug in his police uniform, and the first thing out of his mouth was a fault of mine. The preacher was horrified. (he was not going to counsel us, but refer us for counseling; if we decided to). I think what the preacher thought was he was going to hear how sorry fw was, and what he was willing to do to fix his mess. That was never going to happen.

            I knew without a doubt before walking in there, I was not going to go to counseling, or attempt any recon with this monster; but I wanted first for our preacher (who was also the police chaplain) to hear this guy out for a few minutes. Also, I wanted the chance to reject him, which I did.

            After a bit of time, and letting the preacher get an earful of his crap; I got up thanked the preacher for his efforts and said we are done here. My guess is he was balls deep in schmoopie just before he came to the session that he himself had requested. (keeping that high going) Oh and after I left he followed me out to my car, and asked me to sign our tax refund check. Said he would give me half. Sure he would. I signed it and said keep it. It was only 285 dollars. My half wasn’t worth having to see him again.

            The preacher called me later in a way of apology and said “He didn’t say what I thought he would be saying”. I said really? he said exactly what I expected. But at least then, the preacher knew what he was dealing with. As far as I know the fw never went back to our church, he and schmoops found a new host church to listen to their crap, until that too fell apart.

            I only know that because we have a grown son, and he would mention things, as would my daughter in law.

            I do think our preacher genuinely tried to help the ex “wake up”. But, I don’t think there was anything to wake up; he had a seared conscience and he was never going to be who he appeared to be before. If he ever was that. Who knows.

      • Thank you for this! You give strength and inspiration I am very sorry you have to be here but sounds like you’ve grown a ton from all of this! I am ten months out from dday. He hasn’t had any contact (that I’m aware of) but come on- it’s his daughters mom how long can THAT last?!? He swears by this but I’m smarter than THAT. Even if it wasn’t to “hook up” like they had in the past… she still isn’t going to just disappear! I’ve not talked with her about this -but my attempts in the past, to just meet about regular things-showed she isn’t the type to have a normal conversation as adults. Although I thought we were all just raising a young girl together.
        Anyway HE made an appointment for therapy and I am NOT excited or hopeful BUT I’m taking it with a grain of salt and have plans to file after I save a little money. Getting sick with Covid set me back as I needed time off unpaid
        Thanks again for sharing and especially about the therapy thing. I do too want to make sure it’s right for the family but I see my soul is being eaten alive by it
        Duly noted!????

        • Shann, all best to you. It’s a crapfest, and all the choices seem terrible until you can get out of it. Best wishes for getting your ducks in a row ASAP!

      • I am the daughter of a cheater father and before I knew about all of his affairs (though deep down, I *knew*) we tried family therapy for me, my mom, and my dad. The therapist was very astute and quit on us because she recognized my father for what he is. He tried to manipulate her and control her and tell her how to do her job, how to frame the conversation, and what questions to ask us! (We did one family joint session, she did one individual session with each of us, one more joint session, and then quit).

        Within the past six months (after my mother filed for divorce), my father asked therapist to facilitate a joint session with me and my father. She declined. In a separate conversation with me she said he is “just not capable of participating” in the process. Period. He cannot NOT manipulate people and therefore the process and therefore she didn’t think it would do any good.

        I guess when your therapist tells you a person is hopeless you should believe the therapist!

        My poor mother over the years tried therapy with my father and he always manipulated the therapist before and my traumatized mother had her feelings and experiences minimized because how could the charming man who brought coffee to the therapist be bad? ::bangsheadonwall::

        I am so proud of my mom for finally filing for divorce and getting away from him and getting agency over her own life. Now to just get it finalized and we can all be done with him!

        • I love this therapist ! She didn’t quit, she fired your father as a client. Brilliant !

          • Great therapist!!! It’s so key to find the right one.

            Bullshit and Lies, good luck to you and your mom!

            p.s. Mine made an anemic attempt to get everyone into family therapy when he realized the adult kids had all gone NC. When he’d told me about it, I mentioned that a non-immediate family member was already seeing that therapist (just a fact). In response, he got very angry with me and said, “Fine. Now I can’t use her.” This, too, was my fault.

            God, I’m so glad I’m free of that FW. When I look back at these incidents, I’m reminded of what a number he did on me. Constant blaming and projection.

            • Couple’s counseling is such a scam when it comes to infidelity, imo. As the betrayed person, you’re opting for a shit show and allowing your cheater (who is already shown to be a great actor and manipulator) a chance to put on a show for a third party and further abuse the betrayed spouse. It always becomes more lies, more timid forest creature, and victim blaming.

              No thanks

              Individual counseling? Sure. But there’s no hope for people who can’t be honest and cheaters cannot be honest.

    • I think I made a lot of mistakes after D-Day, but one thing I’m glad I got right (completely by accident) was not getting sucked into couple’s therapy immediately like my cheater wanted to do. This really was a bullet dodged because we looked for a couple’s therapist at the same time we were lining up individual therapists but couldn’t find a couple’s person with free time for a few weeks, by which point it was moot because my therapist had basically told me not to bother.

      Even without that, my cheater did the whole TFC thing where every conversation was about how awful his life had been and how proud I should be of him for finally confronting his demons or whatever. Meanwhile he’d use the “communication skills” he was learning in individual therapy to try to guilt-trip me for still being mad at him only two or three months after D-Day. And of course I was withholding affection if I couldn’t stand to talk to him for a day here and there.

      Fellow chumps, please please heed Chump Lady and take your heads out of this blender!

      • Gay or straight, cheaters are remarkably alike. It’s uncanny.

        I dodged the bullet of MC, too. Similar story. It became moot.

      • Yep. That was basically the attitude I got from my cheater too, AGC. She had experienced trauma, for sure, but she refused to see how she was continuing to pay it forward instead of dealing with it herself. Now she’s taking courses in counseling. ???? All best to you! ????❤️

      • When the therapist and my ex explained that it wasn’t about me, it was about him – shouldn’t that have been my cue to leave? Bingo. Also, was I paying for his therapy? I thought couples therapy was for working on communication and relationships, working towards mutual goals. At first, I fell for TFC’s pity-fest because I hoped he’d metamorphose into a unicorn and I thought it meant he loved me. At some point, the hopium wore off and I got tired of supportively sitting there while he sobbed about his wounds (like I now can see he did all fifteen years of our relationship). I finally said, “I know this is all about him. It always is, and that’s the problem! What about me? I’m the one who’s been hurt here.”

  • To be fair, the couples therapist said that if I couldn’t trust him I should leave, and I shouldn’t compromise my safety for his “needs.” Unfortunately, I was raised by untrustworthy people in an unsafe environment, and I wanted to believe he would change, so I went by the RIC book(s) until the day when I decided I wasn’t handing out any more kibbles until I saw actual change. I started paying attention to his actions, not his words. I could have knocked a decade off the wasted time if I’d done that sooner. All my RIC books went in the trash when I left because that’s what they are–dangerous trash.

    • “I wanted to believe he would change.” Of course you did Madge. That includes wanted them to “realize” what they’re doing to us (and others in the family). That includes wanting them to stop lying, drinking, using drugs, and having lots of “wannabe” girlfriends around. That includes wanted them to plug back into the marriage. That includes wanting them to feel empathy for our suffering and actual remorse for what they did. Of course we want these things.

      People don’t change. The cheater’s first response to being caught (or confessing) is your starting point. If the “I’m sorries” start, the question to ask is “What do you plant to do about it?” It’s a reasonable position to want to see what a marital partner has to say before hiking off to the lawyer’s office to file. It’s also not a bad idea to not tip your hand even if you know you will file. But no one should accept “I’m so sorry”/”I know I hurt you”/”I don’t know what I was thinking…” as a game changer after D-Day. The questions would be: What are you going to do to fix what you did? What changes will you make, not just to stay away from your Schmoopie, but to address the lying and other behaviors? Then watch what they do. So many say “I’m sorry” and come around with cards and flowers and dinner out but nothing important changes.

      Real change would be change in CHARACTER. Saying “I’m sorry” isn’t remorse. You are 100% right. Pay attention to actions, not words. And pay attention to actions at the tip of the cheating spear. Is there an effort for reciprocity? To address what was TAKEN to make the affair possible? Is there an ongoing discussion about the cheater’s dishonesty? Is there a long-term recognition that the cheater has lost trust and it is SOLEY the cheater’s responsibility to rebuild that trust? How does the cheater plan to go about that difficult task?

      Timid Forest Creatures don’t want to confront what they’ve done. They don’t want the hard work of facing their character deficiencies. They don’t want to face the mess they’ve made. And they don’t want to spend the years it will take to rebuild trust.

      • My FW father is a Timid Forest Creature. Last week someone on CL referenced Dr. Minwalla so I’ve been listening to his podcasts and what he talks about with regard to the trauma affecting the whole family is very helpful. Families don’t exist in a vacuum. What the cheater does to one he (or she) does to all. The whole family system is forever changed.

        Dr. Minwalla has a term, “Integrity Abuse Disorder,” which I quite like. My father has ZERO integrity a lack of character and is just a serious narcissist. I need to keep coming back to the fact that my father is a narcissist and sociopath who has no empathy or conscience. I keep forgetting that when I talk to him and so I end up going around in circles practically begging him to be a decent human being.

        When I found out more last year about my father’s fuckery with regard to multiple APs and confronted him about it, his first answer was “I’m not going to talk about that.” Not “I’m so sorry, I know it was hurtful to the family.” Or, “I know I hurt mom and I regret that so much.” Or, “I wish I hadn’t done that and want to make amends with the family.” Or anything a decent person would say. Though, a decent person would not have had so many affairs and APs and have slept with people young enough to be his grand-daughter. GROSS!

        The times I’ve called my Timid Forest Creature of a father out on his behavior, he has never, NOT ONCE offered an apology. Instead, he’s tried to DARVO me – which I threw right back in his face and said “oh no you don’t!” – blame my mother, come up with excuses about how he was faithful for *so long* (I guess that was exhausting or something), or intimate the fact that he was “never with someone close to home.” Okaaaay, well then, all is forgiven!

        I think my father was a bad seed from day one based on some recently-revealed family secrets that I don’t even know if my father knows about.

        • I’m heartened in a way that so many of us have identified our FOO and been brave enough to face it. My father, brother, husband all have been cheaters. I’ve recognised that I cannot go near a another relationship before I truly understand the damage done. I totally relate to the conversation going nowhere when you call out bad behaviour. Darvo all around. I’ve gone grey rock with them, as much as possible.

        • Bullshit and Lies,

          I appreciate your point of view as a daughter of a cheater. Thanks for sharing. At the same time, I just can’t imagine your pain. I really think it must be so tough to be the child of a cheater. I’m so sorry you have to deal with this.

          By the way, he sounds so much like my ex. Sadly, my adult kids would be able to identify with your comment–the lack of empathy, the inability to truly appreciate the harm he caused the entire family (not just me), and the lame excuses. It truly sucks. My heart goes out to you.

    • I hear you, Madge. Sadly, it took me three tries to believe that I deserved more than an angry, abusive cheater due to my untrustworthy family (who told me to give cheater/abuser another chance) in a n unsafe environment. I was already out the door when I started paying attention to words, not actions. Wish I had learned that about 40 years ago with the first cheater!

  • Any “relationship” that fragile, not to mention totally devoid of trust and safety, is best run away from.

    But I went there at first. Reining in my abject rage so as not to scare him off. INSANE. However, there was a benefit to keeping as cool as I did, and that’s the verifiable information he gave up. There is an advantage to channeling Lieutenant Joe Kenda and lowering lowering lowering the decibels. And it’s not about securing the cheater in a farce of a marriage. It’s about gathering intelligence to use to my advantage.

    Of course he is a Raiders of the Lost Ark final scene massive warehouse of Pandora’s boxes that he will take to his grave, but ripping his head off would have closed off even the trickle truth.

    • You’ve made a great point here. Taking the time to watch and listen is also an opportunity to gather documentation and learn more about the affair.

      • I got this concept from a lecture by Eva poumpouras in a video recently. Next read is her book, becoming bulletproof.

  • Mine did it 15 years ago. No RIC, some no BS counseling, true remorse, took all the blame. Now she’s doing the same thing with the same guy, divorce time – it’s in the works. Wrote a letter to CL about it with details, maybe she’ll publish.

    • MC,
      I feel you! Hope to hear more of your story at some point, sounds a lot like mine. My STBX’s first “hot” affair was in 2004, when our oldest kid was 2. But it was just a short fling – I found out very soon afterward and STBX seemed so sorry, set up all the therapy, etc. Her second affair, 14 years later (after her narc mother died) was much worse. Disordered people can’t handle difficult adult life events without resorting to new kibble sources (= emotional “supply”).

      This may be true for you, too: after D-Day #2, I saw much more clearly the “affair lite” behavior STBX demonstrated between her two “hot” affairs, like intense friendships with people she was attracted to. Chumpily, I bought the idea that I shouldn’t try to control her – when in fact, of course, it was unfair and immature of her to put me in that position in the first place. It was also one of several signs that she was devaluing me, for years before D-Day #2. (Note the abusive cycle of lovebombing followed by devaluation and discard.)

      Wishing you all the best! Am sorry you’re part of this club now, but CN has your back. Seeing the truth is mighty, no matter how long it took for us to get here.

      • Yeah last time kids were 2 and 5. Now they’re 13, 18, 21. And she came right out demanding divorce…you are right, these dysfunctional people can’t handle “adult” events. Don’t regret staying the first time, the 15 years were pretty damn good. And I have 3 great kids who I have to give my STBXW a lot of credit for.

      • I wish more people would pay attention to the devaluation that goes on in relationships with cheaters. Of course, people reading here have had D-Days so that is a good indicator that devaluation has gone on in the relationship for some time. One sign of devaluation is the kind of “affair lite” you talk about (intense friendships with those the cheater is attracted to or with those attracted to the cheater as well as “wannabes,” people who have made overtures or are inappropriately flirtatious). But how one partner DISCUSSES and NEGOTIATES boundaries with the other can be a major sign of devaluation: dismissing concerns, minimizing flirtation, accusing the partner of not trusting, etc., are all signs of devaluation.

      • LezChump this is the second of your comments I’m replying to today because it’s the second one that really hits home for me! I like your use of the term “affair lite.” That describes what my cheater did a lot of. It’s a special kind of mind-f**k because you think in classic chump fashion “Well if there were really anything fishy here he wouldn’t be telling me about this friendship in the first place.” And it’s different from a full-on emotional affair because the cheater maintains just enough plausible deniability that they can try to gaslight you when you call them on it.

        • “Affair Lite” – that was my father’s MO. Some of his “affairs lite” either turned into actual affairs or were already affairs and a fun and sneaky way for him to flaunt them in front of the family. Asshole.

        • I didn’t catch it when LezChump commented, but “affair lite” describes a plethora of Mr. Sparkly Pants’ “friendships.” I’m amazed that I didn’t catch own sooner, either with him or when LezChump brought up the behavior. Thank you for pointed it out!

          • Infuriating. Re affair lite- My mom just told me last night how my dad
            (they shared a business) would go out for lunch with female clients but never invite her. He also cheated. I found that out in my 40’s. I wish I hadn’t, there were already so many reasons to have little respect for him.

            And my fuckwit liked female work friends…but I never thought anything of it – he wasn’t a guy’s guy. And I thought he was a good man.
            And I know if I was uncomfortable, I would have felt jealous and controlling if I had said anything.
            It really pissed me off when he said ‘It was a whim, it just happened’
            Because I knew, that he knew what he was doing every step of the way… And he didn’t deny it. We know when we are attracted to someone.

  • Shit therapist said I shouldn’t show my anger it would drive him away. God the damage that is done by the RIC is unconscionable! Even after trauma therapy and years gone by the therapist still echoes in my head. At the time you’re so shattered and their remorse is so full of them and their gaslighting it’s overwhelming. I wish I had CL 20 years ago.

    • I also had a highly recommended horrific therapist. Who promised me on the phone that he was on the side of marriage and in the second session asked my husband if I was abusive? And what was wrong with me that he felt the need to go outside the marriage. It was horrible. He then pushed to have my husband as an individual client.
      That was a terrible missed opportunity and probably set the course for the eventual demise of the marriage You don’t owe anything to a marriage counselor and you don’t have to be concerned about the appearance of rejecting one. If they’re not working GO

      • I am so sorry!! It’s bad enough the cheater most likely points out our “faults” while there about their inability to be trusted… we have an appt Monday. It’s taken him months to schedule one. Only because I haven’t budged on my stance
        Geeze at least I can see by all these stories what to expect

        • Shann: You really do each need an individual therapist and understand through individual therapy why he has done what he has done (there really is no justification–people do what they want to do) and how your well being is being affected by his actions. Understand what those actions are doing to your well being. People think marriage problems and some immediately think couples counselor. Until both the abuser and abused get individual therapy, the couples counselor is usually just being neutral and making suggestions about talking it out. IMO the couples therapy just delays the real therapy. An individual therapist will probably say “why have you stayed” or something along those lines. Or “What about you? Good luck. You are strong enough to do what you need to do.

      • Never, ever use a couples counselor or individual therapist “on the side of marriage.”

        A marriage is an agreement or contract between two people. What matters in a marriage are the people, and in the case of infidelity, what matters most is the damage done to the innocent party.

        This is why any therapy should start as individual therapy for the cheater to examine behavior and character issues and for the chump to begin to prioritize their own best interest in making decisions. No one should save a marriage at the expense of their own self-respect or health.

        • I’d go so far as to say “saving a marriage” should never require anyone to sacrifice wither their self-respect or health. I’d also say that if that’s what is required, you haven’t saved the marriage at all, because it’s not a marriage at all in any respect worth the effort.

    • I think RIC therapy should have the same status as gay conversion therapy, not based on anything (except [prejudiced] opinions) and very damaging.

    • When I finally started to catch on, WAY (years) too late, I showed our therapist a sad sausage email from him – all word salad and excuses and shallow drivel, no agency or accountability. Rather than recognizing the gaslighting and validating my accurate perceptions, she commented on how I rejected him in my response by noticing this and by asking instead what he planned to do about it. She thought it was a romantic breakthrough, when I thought I was finally onto something that I’d been duped by for years. She’s the expert! I made nice.

  • Well this is rather timely for me. I’ve been away from the house for almost a month. After telling me he’s been miserable with me since we met 30 years ago I said he could leave. He refused to and I left. Since he started the discard over a year ago, he would not text me or call me or spend time with me. You get the picture.
    And he refused to do things around the house he either promised to do or I asked him to do. Since I left I have made no attempts to text or call him.
    But he started texting about all the things he’s being doing in the house! At 1230 this morning I get a text about how he is taking the cats to the vet, he replaced a toilet, disconnected the other one, started cleaning out the spare room. Washed two comforters and put them in bags so they don’t get dusty. I’d like opinions from CN — is this hoovering? Oh and I do go to the house every other morning to get mail and pick up personal items and he is still sleeping on the couch. I won’t go when he is awake. I don’t get it. I’d welcome anyone’s insight.

    • Hoovering. He wants you back as Plan B. He wants kibbles. “Gee, ain’t I swell for finally doing all this house stuff? Doncha miss me? Huh?”

    • Yes, he is hoovering you. The couch thing is probably cheater-hopium on his part, or some screwed-up self-flagellation thing. The question is, is he doing any of the hard things *you’ve* asked him to do? Real accountability, vs. play-acting?

      I would send him a short, sweet text telling him that texting is for emergencies only – and I would add, only if you have minor children. All non-emergency business can be handled via email or OFW (if you’re parallel parenting). Warn him that you will block his number if he continues texting non-emergent items. Then follow through if necessary, and don’t take the bait again.

      Am so sorry you’ve had to join us here, Ready, but we understand. Cheaters can be very sad sausages, and look for kibbles in a variety of forms. Don’t feed the TFCs.

      • Thank you Lezchump. You always have great insight.
        Fortunately our daughter is an adult so no small children. But interesting she feels like he’s not been much a part of her life either. For several years now. I had no idea.

        • Ready – Glad to hear you don’t have to deal with joint custody anymore, at least. Sounds like you have an emotionally intelligent kid! In second what LovedaJackass says below, and just want to reiterate the importance of No Contact.

        • Interesting, my adult children said he wasn’t responding to our texts or pictures or returning our calls. I believed all the lame excuses.

    • He realises you’re serious and is trying to lure you back for his convenience (doesn’t want to move out, doesn’t want to be A Divorced Person, to lose money, whatever). It’s purely tactical, proceed with your plan to divorce and get as far away from him and his kind as possible.

      You’ve done really well to get this far, keep going x

    • Is it possible that those “things” he’s reporting are things you’d liked to have help with before? Or things he knows you’d be doing?

      I noticed my husband will get extremely “busy” on a house project or something in the yard or garage when faced with the truth that we’re sinking here

      I just see it as how he handles stress. ALSO that they do t take us very seriously

      • Shann, yes these are things I would have liked help with that needed to get done and he has talked about to help clean up the house. He would either ignore my requests or say he was too busy or some other excuse.

        • Dear Ready

          Let him fix the house up – in case you need to sell it AND OR get it in the settlement. And otherwise ignore his texts. Of course he has an agenda and it isn’t to further your happiness with meaningful change in HIM.

          These tasks he does, finally, are his “proof” that HE TRIED…

          Idiot man child.

          • I’m in that situation now while I get my ducks in a row. I anticipate keeping the house so I am all aboard on whatever home improvement projects he wants to take on. Worst case it gets it ready for sale. I’m about to get quotes to upgrade the furnace from an old oil one to a new gas one and have the old gas tank hauled away. It makes it nicer and increases the value. He is going to fight me for every penny of child support or how to split the marital assets. I may as well get these things done. We are both paying for them but getting this stuff fixed is more manageable financially right now before things get uglier. This is his version of love bombing. “See what a swell guy I am letting you get the potholed driveway fixed and fixing the old furnace? If you leave me, people will wonder what is wrong with you to leave a catch like me who gave his permission for home improvements to be made. I even organized the potting shed!”

            • Make sure the projects are completed. I could see him leaving things in worse to get back at you for having a deal breaker and divorcing him. Where’s the asshole emoji ?????

              • This is always a concern for me! It’s been 10 months since dday and I’ve pushed for several projects… some he just did on his own.
                But initially when I said he had to leave- he started pulling out the fridge, taking down our big tv, unscrewing deck lights he put in last summer, etc…
                I found it all very amusing as I’ve never cared about “stuff”. Which is ALL it is! Was just mind blowing to watch though! Ewwww
                As far as today: No we’re not “okay” and NO I’m not saying we’re staying together. It’s all a process????

            • MrWonderful’sEx: Are you my mother? Because you just nailed my dad, home improvement “permission” deserving praise…right down to the potting shed.

              • Unless you are 6, you’re not mine. haha

                Many of these projects are things he is doing for himself. He just had the garage floor epoxied. It’s insane. But while he is doing that, I said hey, what about new flooring in the laundry room and furnace? And he is begrudgingly going along to my face but then bragging to the neighbors about the upgrades. I will make sure they are done. If he keeps the house, it raises value for him to buy out my half. I would rather keep it but who knows. I’m willing to be flexible. I just want him gone, but if he is in the mood to fancy you the house, all right, then!

    • Ready to move on…. he’s hoovering 100%! He’s your enemy and dangerous. Keep away from him.

      6 years out— XH continues to try to Hoover despite still living with golddigger AP (its crazy town at his house— extensive drug use, screaming fights, X “cheating” with Bumble victims). The rage-sad sausage-charm channels have become more pronounced. I’m mostly no-contact (4 kids).

      So happy I got away.

    • Bad, mean mummy left and the child is demonstrating his best behaviour so she’d come back because he doesn’t like adulting and needs mummy to come back.

      Of course it’s hoovering. Don’t pay attention and you’re worth more than a working toilet.

    • It’s also possible that he’s doing these things as image managements either in the community (he’s aware the story will come out, and want to portray himself as a good husband) or for an existing or future AP (he want to portray himself as a useful partner; years-neglected chores undercut that narrative). It’s not either-or, of course: he could be marketing himself simultaneously to you (if AP falls through) and AP.

      I know that as soon as she left me, my XW suddenly started doing all kinds of domestic things she’d never bothered with during our marriage (cooking, cleaning, taking care of the kids, dealing with utilities, yard, car, etc.). It’s true that she had to (because I wasn’t there to do them for her any more) but I am confident that a lot of this was play-acting to convince AP that replacing his wife was a net gain.

      It is often hard to know exactly why they do these things. I’m not convinced they always make sense, even. I do know that it is never about us – it’s always about them. He will have some reason (whether it makes sense to you, or not) for why his actions serve his interests, and that reason will NOT be “because I am trying to make RtMO’s life easier”.

    • I’m not going to weigh in on “hoovering” or not. I don’t know enough about why you left (was he having an affair? Has this behavior been on-going? Have you filed for divorce? All of those would be important information in figuring out what’s going on.

      What I will say is that he is probably giving you his idea of what will please you and make you do the thing he wants you to do: come home, tolerate his affairs, forgive him, show you he’s changing, etc. Unfortunately, none of that address what we do know about your STBX, that he said he’d been miserable with you. This strikes me as typical “timid forest creature behavior,” in that your husband is not confronting the real problems here of his words and his behavior. This is the equivalent of buying candy and flowers–taking the cats to the vets, doing laundry, etc.

      I think part of the problem here is that you moved out but you still have one foot at home, coming back to get your stuff every other day. I’d stop worrying about what he’s doing and make a decision about what YOU should do. If you want your house back, the only way to do that is to file for divorce and fight for a good settlement. For sure, I would never consider going back to anyone who says he was miserable with me for 30 years. Time to file. Either go back to your home and fight for a settlement or file and settle into a temporary place until things are resolved.

      • LovedaJackass, I left because he has treated me as though I am invisible for months and prefers to spend his time and energy on young 20 something female college students he goes to school with and on on line gaming. When I’ve tried to just even get him to spend time with me he had none. He would talk incessantly about these young girls he’s met and his online gaming community. He became more and more distant from me and did not talk to me even in the same house. Last year when trying counseling he flat out lied to the counselor about our lack if sexual life, my feelings about him going to school and accused me of singlehandedly ruining his friendships. He got to the point if I was driving someplace he would not sit in the front seat. The last thing he did was not allow me to ride in his car to go look for a new toilet. Wanted me to meet him there. He did that during counseling also. He thought if I drove and he went with me I somehow had all the power.
        Anyway, I had enough and tried to get a time to talk to him when he laid the 30 years of misery on me. I told him we are done and there is nothing left to discuss. I invited him to leave and he refused. I had told him I can’t live with let alone be married to someone who feels that way about me and someone has to leave. He would not and told me to leave and I did. I have made no attempts to contact him. I’ve rented a small apartment while I work on divorce paperwork for my attorney. This is the short version.

        • Have you filed? Your attorney should get the clock running on that to freeze assets.

          You clarify a lot in this post (college girls and gamers, really?) I’m glad you aren’t tolerating his devaluating behavior. But consider this: those college girls and gamers aren’t taking care of the cats and doing the housework. So he probably wants his wife appliance back. He can’t spend him time chasing college girls and gaming if there isn’t someone there to take care of the WORK of life.

          However, the more you appear at the house, the more he will think he can hoover you back. You are sending mixed signals. You don’t text or call. But it doesn’t matter if he’s awake or not. He knows you are still treating the house as your own (as well as his). So I’d say secure your clothes, papers, and valuables and only go to pick things up when you’ve made an appointment. Put in a change of address to the PO, to credit cards, etc., so mail isn’t an issue. If he sees you aren’t coming back, he’ll be more likely to settle if he’s not in a position to pay for things himself or at least without your income.

          30 years is a long time. It’s especially important to push your lawyer to protect your financial interest if this jackass isn’t working. What his behavior means is that he liked the former status quo–the young girls, the gaming, the lack of responsibility–and he’s trying to re-establish it. Ignore what he sends you, but pass it on to your lawyer. And light a fire under the lawyer if you want your house (and cats!) back.

    • Definitely hoovering. My ex did the same. I was away, and he started sending photos of the work he’d done, and telling me how hard he was working. Hopium will tell you to believe that he’s finally changed, finally ready to be a full partner. Reality will show you that he wants acknowledgement for his superhuman effort to do what he ought to have quietly been doing all along, and wanting kibbles for it.

      My experience is that this behavior is short lived, and actually rebounds on you, as after having done it he will resent having “had” to do it, and he’ll re-double his efforts at devaluing, and use his resentment as an excuse to cheat.

    • Too little, too late.
      His doing chores, which he should have been doing without whining during your entire marriage, doesn’t balance out his cheating in the marriage ledger. JfC…

    • Sometimes Hoovering isn’t about getting their cake back. Instead they are angling for some way to punish you or set you up where you’ll buy his BS during some critical decision.
      I experienced this. Once, post-break-up, he surprised me by asking if he could come with me to a day trip SciFi convention. (I so wish I’d known about No Contact then). I didn’t care whether he went or not, but knee jerk politeness allowed him to come along. Of course he ruined that convention for me right when I was happiest. I was naive enough to let him drive, so he was my ride. He wanted to leave early, acted up, and then I stuck in the car why he had one of his stupid tirades.

      I made something good out his sabotage though, more compassion for myself. I noticed that something I call “fake green flags” was throwing off my ability to see red flags. After the break-up, hindsight can be so painful. I felt so stupid and ashamed remembering the red flags. But that SciFi con incident was a clear case of red flag covered by a flurry of fake green flags. These bad intentioned narcs squirt fake green flags like a squid squirts ink covering their escape. The red flag was him saying “that hurt” after I’d told him my career had finally launched. His response surprised me. Why would he feel hurt about me finally doing well?? For over a year, he’d blame my lack luster career start for his awful discard behaviors. So I thought he’d be relieved that problem was fixed. But his puzzling response was my red flag. After I looked astonished, he changed the subject to how he’d loved to go to that SciFi convention with me, our old friends, etc… (fake green flags that everything was normal and well)

      Of course now I realize that of course he hated seeing me happy and thriving after I was supposed to been destroyed at losing his fabulousness. Plus my thriving ruined his story to others of my moral worthlessness. But this incident showed me that it wasn’t just me being too stupid to know what to do in the face of a red flag. He was actively throwing off my ability to recognize what was going on and defend myself.

      • Chumpkin—Green flags is an awesome way to think of it. Wow. The FW is a pro at green flags to hide the blazing bright red flags that are everywhere. And the greens flags are why I constantly have to remind myself that FW is a total shit. Now I have the way to explain it to myself. Thanks!

        • Brilliant, Chumpkin! Octopus, waving green flags at everyone. You’re right, NoMore, this is a useful device.

    • Yup. Hoovering. It could be either a cruel, look at what you are missing. I’m being so productive while you are gone, look how much better I am without you in my life. Or whoever he had his sites on did not work out and he’s trying to please you. Of course like most narcs he needs someone. Refuse to be a consolation prize. Keep up the no contact and divorce his ass.

    • Definitely hoovering. Things are likely going south with the OW or he wants to goad her into pick-me dancing harder. Just before I moved out Nitwit went into full hoovering mode, “OW broke up with me! I missed two work calls, so they’ll probably fire me! How do I set up an account with the electric company? What would I do without you, NMMNC (after I did absolutely nothing to help him set up an account with the electric company)? How could I ever have made such a stupid mistake?”. All actual quotes from Nitwit. By that time I had discovered CL and CN and knew to ignore it. My only thought was, “Huh. He’s finally figured out that condos don’t clean themselves and money doesn’t just materialize into his account every month.”
      He was shocked because his Sad Sausage routine had always worked before.

      Just before the final separation of residences and finances seems to be a common time for cheaters to hone their hoovering skills.

  • I am learning to not criticize myself or feel shame for my decision to wait over five years after I found out my STBX was having an emotional affair at work.
    I got wind of it, I went to human resources, I went through his phone, I was given his passwords. He promised to stop. He immediately took her out to lunch to explain to her why his wife was making him stop the relationship.
    His remorse lasted all of about a week. He then proceeded to develop a Sexting an online relationship “Addiction” that was compulsive and almost constant. He said it was filling a void.
    At that time, we had been married for 25 years, two children, incredibly intertwined business interests and resources.
    I did everything I could, therapy, marriage counseling begging, threatening. For 5 years!! When I finally filed, the first thing he said was he didn’t want a divorce.
    After I refused to back down, he immediately flew to visit a woman he had met online and started A physical relationship.
    He then came back to the house expecting to live here with me during the divorce proceedings. I had the attorneys remove him.
    It has been incredibly difficult to untangle our business interests. He has taken no responsibility, shown no generosity or kindness during the divorce. The cruelty and crappy character remain.
    When I asked to borrow a four-wheel-drive vehicle from his company during the recent winter storms, he even said no to that. That would have cost him nothing.
    We have run into Covid delays and all sorts of issues

    Do I regret giving him a second chance- do I regret waiting? At the time, I thought it would give me some thing to stand on with my children, that I had tried, that I had done everything possible.
    There were some benefits to waiting. I was able to finish paying for my son’s college education. Do I regret giving him as much time as I did? Short answer is yes.
    By the time the divorce is final We will have been married 31 years.

    If my experience helps anyone – as CL Always says, there’s no such thing as a character transplant. He remained the same Disordered person. Right now I’m just working on the amount of time and energy I put into trying to “heal” him. That causes me as much pain is the infidelity. My lost time

    • I am so sorry! You invested in him and that business because that was supposed to be you LIFE. Together!
      Your dedication is a major loss to him. I understand about devoted your time to him and his well-being. I’ve been doing this a very long time like I’m taking a little birdie to one day fly away… I believe he’s sorry but not doing what’s needed to ever be solid again. But wait… we’re we EVER?????
      Here’s to you and all of us, here

      • Thank you. All the best. I appreciate your reinforcing my good intentions and hard work. It it was time for me to face reality
        He will never appreciate the devotion
        That is my dream but I’m learning here not to expect it The divorce right now is beating the emotional crap out of me. The paperwork, the fear, Loneliness. But there is a piece of me that is beginning to feel the relief and the freedom and it will be worth it.
        I have made peace with the fact that at 57 I may never find another partner, but being alone is better than having your value as a human being abused

        • Aww❤️ Good bless you. You know, I’m 45 and have the same feeling and fears so I’m realizing it’s not an age thing it’s normal anxiety that goes along with this process. I hope that you’re on the Facebook page for chumplady???? it helps when you’re in the mood for some reinforcement. My therapist told me yesterday to think more about what’s healthy… also not to worry about “what if’s” and to change my thoughts every-time that comes. Like: what if it’s great

    • I tried to reconcile for about a year with the TFC who was really just trying to manage his image at work (he was 50, a dentist, having a multi year on-again, off-again affair with his 27 year old assistant- didn’t want the rest of the office to know. Inadvertently – I let the office know – I assumed they all were aware) and that’s when I saw the mask fall. After that, he was all sadz- the affair partner was also embarrassed so she left him (was using him for money and power in the kingdom that was his office). I figured all this out much later of course but now can see it all. I do not regret trying to save the marriage- I did not really know all of the facts at the time – but his actions, shame-but lack of real remorse for my pain – are so painfully exactly what CL spells out here. Like a playbook. And now, 2 years from DDay, he is fighting me for every penny we share. He is a monster and I wish I had seen it sooner. But it’s hindsight. When you are in it, you think he can’t be this person. But trust CL – all the BS is the same for these disordered people. It will never change. You cannot reason with someone who just does not care. They are not TFCs, they are just stalling for time to save face and fuck you over more.

      • Yes to the “they are just stalling to fuck you over more.” I think once mine figured out I knew he doubled down on the hiding of assets. Money and their image is all they care about.

  • Nailed it!

    I bought into the reconciliation industry. I had to change, I was not to talk about the affairs, I was to pretend that nothing happened and that there were no consequences just so we could move forward!!! I did all those things, but what happened is that instead of processing my pain and setting boundaries, I became his enabler, his doormat and a caterer. It became all about his pain, I was not allowed to talk about mine or the children because that would “make him feel.bad”.

    So my two year bandaid, turned out to be fun triangulation for him with a wife that would not hold him accountable out of fear of spooking away that fragile creature The result ? the inevitable DD2 that has been far more painful that the first time, as he sails away into the sunset with OW and now he hates me for having so little respect for my self. Now he has more ammo against it because the industry made me meek. He even said that he wished I was mad and call him an as hole for what he did again, and I’m ” I forgive you. You are a good man.” Bah

    • Cheaters want to see intensity of emotion from us, even if it’s anger. It’s kibbles to them, proves their centrality in our lives. While it’s not good to feel like you’re repressing your own feelings, you certainly don’t need to process them in his presence. Reduce contact to the bare minimum necessary for divorce/kids. No need to talk about feelings anymore. No need to reassure him he’s a good person. Just the facts, ma’am. Gray rock and minimal contact. Be angry, but on your own time! All best to you.

      • I need to remember this when I get triggered. I don’t want to give him my energy, yet I want him to know how angry I am and hold him accountable. Of course he doesn’t take responsibility or accept accountability and I end up giving him the kibbles that he likes because hurting me and having me react is a very strong energy charge for him!


        • B&L: Practice self-compassion. Gray rock is best, but it’s difficult to do when you’re a human being with a soul. If you slip up and, say, threaten to remove his black heart with a spoon, forgive yourself. Chalk it up to having a bad moment, and try to do better next time. Everyone here understands and sends hugs.

        • It’s great to have someone who has had a cheater parent. I’m sure it’s a help to you to read about cheater behaviors and it’s a consolation to many of the parents here to see that kids can “get it” about cheating.

          Are you in therapy, yourself? As a grownup who caught one parent and heard (endlessly) from that same parent that the other one was cheating, their drama did a lot of damage to me. A therapist might help you keep good boundaries with your mother (who should be here, too!) and help you understand the differing impact of cheating on the spouse and the children. You can set yourself back in healing and your mother, too, if you “carry” her anger or pain about the cheating. So a good therapist, versed in the trauma of these issues, can do a lot to set you on a path to putting your parents’ issues behind you. It’s great that your mom can count on your support as she navigates divorce. And it’s great that you are aware that you are angry at your dad, as you should be. Just make sure you are doing what many of us do–get some help moving past this episode so you and others in your family can get on to “gain a life.” The goal? Meh.

      • Exactly this. Anger is a very passionate emotion. Surely this man is worth throwing a plate across the room!

        The most grating thing for them is for you to be indifferent. They may then say “well that’s why I had to leave. You don’t even care about me! Waaah.” And you can say “meh.”

    • >>He even said that he wished I was mad and call him an as hole for what he did again

      Don’t let him off the hook for that. Your anger is for you and your healing. Maybe he doesn’t deserve your anger anymore than a pissant deserves a second thought. Why be angry to make him feel better about the damage he caused?? Maybe its good he should feel icky facing your lack of anger which he cultivated for years.

      It is the MO of abusers to do everything they can to block/destroy their target’s anger (ability for target to protect themselves). He knew damn well what he was doing (although he’ll pretend otherwise & believe his own lies to avoid guilt). The RIC therapist helped. I know you see some truth in his assessment, but it’s dangerous to agree with an abuser that the sky is blue. A believable lie needs some bit of truth. On the subject of their abuse, the abuser always adds some dangerous, whackadooble wrong moral spin to the “facts”. So don’t agree with his entitlement to judge your emotions, worth, or degree of your “defectiveness”.

      There might be some hidden wisdom to not finding your anger now. For the life of me, I couldn’t feel anger near my narc parents as an adult. My mindless meekness protected my from my parent’s terrifying narcissistic rage when I was small. But I’ve noticed other layers. Holding back your anger might be a way protecting yourself from self-blame. Its also a way of avoiding crappy feelings until you’re ready with needed support. The experience leaves one with a closet full of inflamed feeling you can’t help but avoid. Bracing yourself to open the closet helps, but you need at least a good therapist to do this. To hell with his time table on your healing. I hope you have a good lawyer. I hope my rant here didn’t make you feel worse QOC. I admire Chumps who can hold back after reading some particularly relatable comments.

  • Oh how I bought the “remorse” because he started to cry in ONE therapy session. I’d never seen him cry before, surely this was a break through… NOPE.

    Did he ever schedule a therapy appointment? NOPE
    Did he agree to return to therapy after the “breakthrough appointment”? NOPE
    Did he agree to get STD tested and wear condoms? NOPE
    Did he stop fucking strange people from AFF, Craigslist and the like? NOPE
    Did he leave for an OW at the GYM who was a younger version of me? YUP

    I stayed… I tried my best to reconcile and forgive… and it didn’t matter in the end. He still discarded me because “I can see in your eyes that you don’t love me anymore”… NPD translation “I can see you no longer worship me therefore I must find a new victim who will.”

    Just remember folks: the shortest distance between two lines is a straight line… you’ll never find that with a cheater, but you will if you head directly to an attorney and learn your true options.

    Rock on Chump Nation… you’ve got this!

  • I was the champion of this. We reconciled, renewed our vows in Central Park. Bought a very costly secondary rental property, a house in Florida , 2 brand new snowmobiles ( all stuff he insisted on and I went along with the million dollars of debt it all created). He blew our retirement savings in his loser business( lied and hid that from me). I STILL stayed, then he screamed at me that he should be retired after running his business for 20 years.. at 55(I ran my business too but did not expect to retire especially since the retirement fund was now gone). 4 years of that before he cheated a second time( lies about it to this day saying he met her 3 days after our separation—he lived with me for another 6 weeks until he talked her into letting him move in). I don’t regret trying when it was a 30 year marriage I just wish the lawyer I consulted when I caught him cheating the first time had told me about a post nup. It likely would have ended things 4 years earlier because he stayed to try financial scorched earth. He would likely have refused to sign and that would have been my sign to put my ducks in a row and leave, before the massive debt and before he blew our retirement. I’m at meh about losing a loser but not so meh about no retirement when I am now 60.

    • “I just wish the lawyer I consulted when I caught him cheating the first time had told me about a post nup. It likely would have ended things 4 years earlier because he stayed to try financial scorched earth.”

  • I was a complete idiot. After d-day 1, I was pissed, hurt, broken. I yelled, cried, was a mess for that first week to two weeks. He apologized for how he’d hurt me, yet wouldn’t admit to an affair. It was so confusing. I told him he had to get a new job, open his phone, etc. He agreed. I remember mentioning a new job in front of his dad and they both verbally shot that down, I was just so floored. I was still so confused, had a small baby and was just lost. His mom told me “you have to stay for the children” and asked what information did I know and had he told me the truth, and that maybe one day he would. He bought me a new car, we talked about a beach house. He quickly tired of making apologies and asked me was I done yet acting like this, it had to stop. My world had just shattered and it was inconvenient to him, I’ll never forget that moment. At first I blamed the ho-worker, I didn’t want to accept the fact that the person I trusted my life with would do this.

    Fast forward a few years, and I realize it was a a very cheap and half hearted reconciliation. He didn’t care and was still cheating, likely never stopped. I realized he had only gotten more sneaky with his ways, he learned from those prior mistakes only how to cover tracks better. He let me in his phone, all because he got a burner phone. He also would able and disable my fingerprint never giving me the passcode. It told me a year and a half after that first d-day to realize he was, is and will always be a cheater. He only cared enough to get be complacent and trusting him again so he could continue “eating cake”.

    Chumps going through the first d-day, I am sorry. That is the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced. For those that are strong enough to get their shit together and leave almost immediately you all are my heroes. These cheaters know exactly what they are doing, they almost work from the same playbook. Time time of fake reconciliation was terrible, and nothing but a waste of my life. It did however, give me time to wrap my brain around this and steel up enough start working my way out. Many of us that experience this also are subjected to other forms of abuse. And to the FW’s family, I no longer am in contact with them.

    • LTC….

      This echoes my experience. Ex told me he was sick of talking about it and wouldn’t be able to come home to this (me being upset) every night.

      It had been a month!!!

      Sorry for the fuckin inconvenience of having to deal with your lies and deception but I’m the one ruining the party.

      Still can’t wrap my head around it.

      • I think it’s more proof, that it’s all about them. It’s a painful realization.
        In hindsight I’m thankful mine wasn’t better and fake remorse. Otherwise I would have stayed stuck longer. So sorry for what you’re going through.

  • FOO issues. That is all I heard for 40 years from my ex asswipe. I never could figure out why he could be so civil and nice to others and treat me with disrespect at every turn. I was also told to wait six months before making any major life changing decisions. My retirement was already on track and I retired one month after DDay. I agree with Velvet Hammer about waiting to explode. I also went into stealth mode and gathered all the information I could plus moved out of state within a month so that he could not influence my decision on a daily basis. Best thing I could have ever done. He gave me enough information for me to know that it was the tip of the iceberg and it was already horrendous. At six months I knew there was absolutely nothing to save and filed. I was lucky to have no kids and could just up and leave him there surrounded by all his shit. Living a fabulous life now 4 years post DDay. Wish I had awakened sooner but at least I finally did.

  • Yep. My ex was a timid forest creature in that he was TERRIFIED of conflict and phony. So much so that anything beyond sports and the weather made baby uncomfortable.

    So you can imagine that after finding out about his ex skank gf who he’d been keeping around our entire relationship and getting a half asked apology for what I could prove I was informed that I had to change and HE couldn’t live like this. Meaning he couldn’t live with anything less than a phony smile, surface pleasantries, and me never bringing it up again because conflict was too scary. Even threatened me with divorce because I “just wanted to be miserable” and he “didn’t have to live with this”.

    Well, I called his bluff and took him up on his offer of divorce. Turns out he didn’t really want one and didn’t think I’d go that route….he was used to bullying and stonewalling. Cried and begged of course but through it all remained a phony liar.

    I’m much happier without him.

    • Love hearing it. My ex wife used the “I’ll file right now if you do x” whenever I’d call her out on the affair I caught her in and the few months of separation. I caught her one more time and finally filed for divorce myself. She freaked. “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’D DO THIS! WHY CAN’T WE JUST ACT DIVORCED FOR A YEAR?” “HOW CAN YOU MAKE A PERMAMENT DECISION OFF ONE MISTAKE?”

      She admitted to threatening me with divorce to try and control my actions. Joke is on her. When you file for divorce, you regain that control over your life. If you have kids, the cheating spouse will then use the kids as a pawn to hurt you. That’s how this usually goes.

      • The irony is that him threatening divorce accelerated the process for me. I think I would’ve stayed in unicorn land longer but once he brought it up I started to really think about what I was getting out of being married to him and the answer was very little. In that sense he did me a favor.

        I’m 19 years younger, make close to 6 figures, am an endurance athlete, and am reasonably attractive. My kids aren’t even his and didn’t care for him. He was in their lives for 13 years and its like he never existed.

        He doesn’t make that much, has a shitty toupee, has raging ED, and is a phony passive aggressive douchebag with low self esteem that was threatened by me.

        We weren’t a good match, but I was in a bad place after leaving my kids abusive father and he was a predator sniffing out much younger women.

        Fortunately 44 year old me was much less willing to tolerate him then damaged 31 year old me.

        Another irony is that the boys father quit drinking and we get along fine these days. That ship has long sailed….he has his life and I have mine, but we have no issues with each other and our boys appreciate that.

      • My ex wife said some similar things to yours. My favourite was how she thought I was just threatening divorce after catching her with near 20 men and being on tinder saying she had a boyfriend who wants to watch her with other men, that I’d calm down and we would just go back to normal. She now throws it at me that I’m the one who left! Personality disorders are just fantastic aren’t they?

        • Just keep repeating back to her why you left, with flat affect. Like a needle stuck in a record’s groove. I’m dating myself with that reference???? but you get the drift.

      • Mr. Wonderful will never admit that he has threatened me with divorce to control my actions, but he did. When he was retiring from the military, there is a pension protection annuity one can buy into at a minimal cost (6% of the monthly check) such that if you die, your spouse retains 55% of the pension for the rest of his/her life. Well, he didn’t want to pay 6% for that life insurance so that if he predeceased me, I would have none of the pension to continue to raise our son. He also had no separate life insurance so he said if he died, we were supposed to sell the house to get by. I told him that was irresponsible. The kicker is that the Navy says if they don’t want to protect the spouse’s share of the pension in the event of their death, the spouse has to sign in front of a notary to certify that he or she agrees to give up the annuity on the pension. He threatened me that if I didn’t sign and give up my right to the pension annuity, he would divorce me because he did not want to spend a dime of “his” money to make sure that I slept better at night that our son and I would be OK if he predeceased me. Like a fool, I signed. He won’t admit, will NEVER admit that he made me sign away my right to that under duress.

        But it is a funny thing how pensions are treated by the courts in my state. Pensions are marital property, so when we are divorced, I get a share of the pension every month that he is alive. And if he predeceases me? There will be a life insurance policy in place that he has to pay for to cover my share of the pension. So he will get away with nothing. But just like Kim, when he threatened divorce, it got me thinking more about it and as it turns out, instead if him “giving up” 6% of that pension every month to insure us, now he will be able to hand over 50% of it every month of his life. The government will auto pay it to me since we were married over 10 years and it is not like spousal support where it is dependent on his income. It is a split just like the house and 401k. So he thought his threat was so smart but it actually inspired me to imagine a picture of him and me, only without him in it.

      • There are unfortunately a lot of these types out there. It’s somewhat gratifying for me to know I’m not alone because dealing with a phony passive aggressive douchebag can make you crazy.

        My ex could simultaneously be a nasty prick and then play dumb with the best of them.

        • FW pretended to be dumb, that he had no idea when women were flirting with him and then – whoops! – suddenly they were having sex. It was on accident! He was a dumb forest creature! How did this happen? I can’t feel shame for something I didn’t see coming!

          The playing dumb was such a joke.

          • “Oops ! I tripped and my dick fell into a vagina pothole ! My bad !”
            “Whoopsie-clumsy me impaled myself through my twat on that rando penis sticking up”

  • Three and a half months of this shit. Quack therapist telling me not to upset him and to choke down every shit sandwich that was shoved down my throat, and wait for him to “realize”. God what a mistake. Towards the end, I remember him saying “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through in my entire life. My entire life!” Like I was supposed to feel sorry for him, like the torture he was putting me through wasn’t even on his radar. What an asshole

    • I’ll never go to couple’s counseling ever again. EVER. It’s signing up for a load of BS and theatrics. Couples counseling is 99% victim blaming and pick me dancing. The cheater is treated like the timid forest creature.

      I got one counseling session in with the ex before I shut that down. Her refusal to cut off contact with the AP. Her response to deleting her text messages to him was that I need to make her feel safe. LOL

      Female cheaters routinely play the weak timid forest creature BS
      Male cheaters play the “I’m sick” and “You did X, so I do Y” thing more often

      • My cheater played TFC. I wish I could say it was because of latent homosexuality. But he’s just not that strong.

  • These are always refreshing to read after my STBXW’s hovering back and repeated requests of reconciliation a year and a half after D-Day and a year after me filing for divorce. I got all of the typical BS. “I need a safe space to open up/tell the truth” because I’d get angry at the lies and cheating.

    “I need to get healthy right now and need time to make a permanent decision” LOL. This was said to keep the affair going and try to string me along. I shut that down after three months post D-Day. I filed for divorce. Ex continuously tries to come back whenever her on again/off again AP BF disappoints her/blocks her or whenever the dating app guys don’t work out. I moved on and met a good woman and she has raged ever since, trying to poison my children’s minds over it.

    Don’t ever let anyone convince you to keep the abuse going. NEVER MAKE SOMEONE A PRIORITY WHEN THEY SEE YOU AS AN OPTION! You’re better than that. Give them the finger, take back control of your life.

  • Remember when you made vows to God that you’d honor this person through sickness and in health, for richer or poorer” Well, their vows are contingent upon any type of difficulty of life coming their way. Stressed with adulting? License to cheat. But you can’t know about it.

    Why would anyone want to be with someone who cannot handle any difficult times and give themselves permission to obliterate you? Would you want a business partner who justifies stealing from you if they’re ever upset?

  • Still waiting on that fairy tale “WE RECONCILED AND THEY NEVER CHEATED AGAIN.” Any time I see this in religious circles, it’s undoubtedly BS and the other person hasn’t got caught yet, will (or has) cheat again, all while promoting a false image.

    I have read this forum for awhile and reddit and it is always filled with the same ending after reconciling– they cheated again and the betrayed always regret wasting more years of their life.

    • On the isurvived Reddit, someone from CN recently engaged in a very respectful and logical conversation about the betrayer’s paradox with a “reformed” cheater – a self-professed unicorn. The Chump posed several thoughtful and illuminating questions to the man, giving him opportunities to explain himself. He couldn’t, and he went back on his words and completely undermined his initial premise, which was that some serial cheaters CAN change and that reconciliation isn’t doomed to fail/too risky. The chump also nicely illustrated the paradox: how can you trust someone who has proven themselves to be untrustworthy? I haven’t done the champion chump justice, but that was my takeaway… and hopefully it opened some eyes.

    • I have an old friend from high school who is married to a Jesus cheater. She believes he has repented and will sin no more, or that is what she says. I think he feels stuck with him after all these years and just takes it. Her church really has her brainwashed on the subject. On the surface she seems kind of numb. If that is what a unicorn looks like, no thank you. I can’t imagine living the rest of my life that way.

    • I remember reading on SI of a woman who would sit at home while her cheater would go out and see the OW every evening after dinner for a few hours. This particular woman would talk about how it hurt, but she knew he was struggling and needed time to break free. Oh my goodness. Just can not imagine.

      I mean yes, I did it unknowingly, but once I knew; I just can not imagine putting up with it.

      The best thing my fw ever did for me was to leave and just stay with OW for a long while. By the time I let him come back, I let him stay for a week before I kicked him out. Had he come right back, I wouldn’t have had time to realize that life without him wasn’t really that bad.

      I didn’t have much money, but what I had was dedicated to me. Also, our son was fully emancipated, so I didn’t have small children to consider. That makes it rough for many Chumps.

  • Funny. I never went there. I just swung between grief and rage, while teetering on a crumbling foundation of disbelief. I was told that I suffered from emotional disregulation. Seriously. As CL says, it’s not what he did; it’s my response to it.

    In the meantime, he definitely played TFC – told me I was abusing him because I wanted him to answer my questions. Told me that he felt “so guilty.” When I replied,”well, that’s appropriate, don’t you think?”, he indignantly stormed away.

    Yep. He played victim like a Hollywood wannabe. And everyone swallowed it. Except me – bitch from hell – who refused to play his psychopath games. My “family” fell apart, and I lost my home. But I’m no longer married to a mask-wearing psychopath disguised as a wounded toddler.

    Now I wait for Tuesday – not the day when I’m over him, but the day the PTSD ends. May it come soon.

    • After the last couples counseling session with my ex, I met with our therapist individually. Wrapping things up, I told her I thought counseling the betrayed partner to get STI tests should be her number one priority, during the very first meeting. Why? 1. After D Day, I couldn’t sleep, eat, or think on my feet for weeks; I was NOT putting my health first or making wise decisions – I was surviving. 2. The TFC doesn’t like to talk about the particulars of his sex life with his life partner – uncouth! He’s a private, independent, sensitive guy. He definitely doesn’t like to be “accused,” or have any association with, STI’s; not an attractive or easy topic to broach when you’re doing Pick Me. Sad but true. Oh, and how dare a chump slander an OW? She’s sweet and innocent! 4. When first D Day hits, most chumps (I am guessing) know only the tip of the iceberg, think their partner is a unicorn, and can’t even fathom that their longtime partner would risk their health in such an egregious, reckless and personal manner. Couples counselors, even those in the RIC (most of them?!), know the ugly truth. It’s criminal not to bring these health concerns to the forefront.

      Therapist’s response? She seemed miffed and said she would take it into consideration.

      Two postscripts: 1. I couldn’t get an appointment for months because once I finally snapped out of it and realized I needed to get tested, everything shut down due to COVID and my appointments were canceled… and then I lost my health care! 2. Finally took care of all tests (dodged a bullet, all clear – silver lining, the girls were all young enough to have had HPV vaccines) and the bill arrived this Valentine’s Day. Makes sense.

      Wondering what other chumps experienced with all of
      this – specifically re: counseling and advice and TFX attitudes? *Note, I used he/him pronouns because this cheater is male (can’t bring myself to call him ‘a man’)… not stereotyping or excluding other FWs because

      • My TFC said not to worry, that he’d been using condoms for the hookers and sex club hook ups, but just not with the girlfriend…so it’d be okay. He said he’d been getting regularly screened at Family Planning. Fucking seriously? The first thing my therapist said was “go to the doctor”. Luckily I didn’t have an STI. And I think I got lucky with therapists…mine said, “you need to get specialist help for emotional abuse” and he referred me to the local women’s refuge. Best move ever. More therapists need to understand this. I’d send your therapist a copy of LACGAL and direct her to this blog ASAP!

    • Oops! My first comment here was supposed to be on its own. (I thought I was figuring this out.)

      ChumpQueen, I wanted to tell you that I, too, became the focus of counseling and all relationship problems because of my sudden onset of “emotional
      disregulation.” Weird, it just came on out of the blue.

      I can’t deny that I wasn’t myself and was at the mercy of my unstable emotions. However, there was such an obvious onset to this dramatic “personality shift,”, and the triggers, which my ex repeated willfully and intentionally while playing TFR, we’re so predictable and preventable. Not to mention, my ex was guilty of far worse emotional (physical, sexual) disregulation, and had been for years. Did I shame him? Blame him? Point out the hypocrisy? Why did I allow him to control the narrative for so long? Gaslighting is so much more than a buzzword.

      • It’s trauma. It should be treated like trauma. What therapist would recommend that a war veteran should return to the site of the trauma during the healing process? Not just return, but LIVE there, 24/7, and have to interact constantly with the person or people associated/responsible for the trauma???


        All best to you, b&r. CN understands, even if many therapists don’t!

  • Ironically, my projection that he was a TFC kept me from initiating the well-deserved confrontations which would have fed his ego. And the no contact advice I read in “dating” blogs allowed me the emotional distance I needed to begin to think clearly.

    For most of the first year post D-Day #3, I was keeping my distance in the hope he would come to his senses.

    The reality check I needed was simply to compare my commitment, my behavior to his. He knew where to find me if he was ready to save our marriage.

    Anyone currently facing this limbo should follow CL’s advice and demand a post-nup before even considering returning to the relationship.

    I don’t know why divorce lawyers don’t share these strategies, even in no-fault states. By the way, anyone living in a fault state should spend that therapy money on a private detective and forensic accountant instead.

    • Me! I’m in a fault state. 😀 Trying to find a good PI at the moment for some fresher evidence. If a judge even grants me just 1% more of the marital assets, the PI will have paid for itself. Best reason ever to put on a smile and keep getting those ducks in a row!

  • I never got any of that. I was just discarded. I know people will say this is lucky in a way because when it was over it was just over, but it doesn’t feel that way. I wish my opinion mattered in some way and I had to shoo him away, but he couldn’t get away fast enough.

    The other day we were having a phone conversation about money (I don’t discuss anything else other than the necessities with him i.e. money and our son), and he started to cry… because he missed our dogs lmao

    • I’m sorry. He’s an ass, and he doesn’t deserve human acknowledgement. Ignore him so hard that he begins to doubt his own existence.

    • Mine just walked out initially. It does hurt, a lot. He about two months later, called and wanted to “try again”. I unwisely let him come back. (should have insisted he go to individual counseling before I let him come back, if I had he wouldn’t have come back. He stayed a week and treated me like shit again. I figure out about mid week, the only reason he wanted back in the house was to get access to the car (I had control of the car in the separation agreement) so he could do his politicking in style. He would take the car as soon as I got home from work, do his rounds then spend the evening sulking, and saying he is trying but he just feel so guilty, he has to work through it. No affection for me, while he is feeling guilty. Thing is, had he just asked me if he could use the care after work, I would have let him.

      I kicked his ass out by the end of the week. He did not hoover back, until he found out that I had gone out on a date six month slater. I knew that was not about me, but about destabilizing me just in case he needed me for something, or maybe to keep me dancing, so that he could hold the possibility of reconciliation over the whores head. (keep her dancing).

      Didn’t matter, I went to the meeting with our preacher that he arranged. I sat there for a bit, and listened while he talked about my faults, the preacher stared at him in horror. I got up and thanked the preacher for his efforts and walked away. The fw never wanted me back, just wanted me on standby.

      Preacher called me later and said, he didn’t say the things I thought he would say. I said really? he said exactly what I expected. He wanted me to win him back from schmoopie. Yeah, no thanks, she was welcome to him. She wanted my life she got it. She spent years until he passed, putting up with his selfish reckless shit actions.

      I know how it hurts, but I honestly think it is extremely rare for these fws to be honestly wanting the betrayed back, they just want use of us. That is the context that I think make it better when they just walk away.

      • This is a good point and thanks for sharing your story. Since they see as disposable, they do what’s more convenient to them. My ex makes a lot of money, so I guess I was of no use whatsoever anymore. That didn’t stop him from stealing precious years of my life when it suited him. I keep on telling myself this is how I need to see him, as someone whose connection to me had become shallow and unimportant, and be fuelled by that rage. But 17 years, some of them very happy, with someone else is a long time.

        • I think the worst part about it was like you said, the stealing of my time, as he used me for whatever his purpose was. Finding out that I was loving (physically and emotionally) someone who really had no regard for me. I don’t know if he never loved me after 20 years, (his parting shot) or if it was only the last ten years (as he initially said) or if it was the last couple years. I got a lot of different flailing in the heat of the discard.

          I assume I was just the place holder, raising our son until he found his tru wuv.

          He was so hateful and mean our last year together, that it made it impossible to come back from that. I am grateful because I know how he lived his life after our divorce and how he treated schmoopie. She had it coming to her, but it would have been me if she had not won the pick me dance. Luckily I only danced for a short while, until I saw his mask fall off, when I let him come home for a week. Then I feared him long enough to make the break.

          Because I/we are human, we may always think back to some good times and wonder; really? was it a lie? Unfortunately, it leaves us with little option but to assume he/she was always a liar. Very painful.

    • That’s so interesting, Vee–my ex also discarded me, no ifs ands or buts, and the only time in the 6 months we had contact between discard and divorce that I saw him tear up was over the dogs. After an 18-year marriage, what really got to him…was losing his dogs. Fucker.

      Yeah, we didn’t get to say our piece, and that really burns sometimes. But only speaking for myself–the reason that marriage was still together after 18 years of abuse was because *I wouldn’t leave.* If he hadn’t discarded me, I’d still be running around after him like one of those damn dogs. So, you know what? Thank God.

      • “If he hadn’t discarded me, I’d still be running around after him like one of those damn dogs. So, you know what? Thank God.”


        I think it is rare, very rare “unicornish rare” for the fw’s to really be after anything except what is good for them, no matter whether they circle back or not. Cheaters are selfish, nasty people, they care only about what they want. If they can use us they will.

      • It’s insane, isn’t it? I didn’t even know what to say when he was crying over the dogs, I was so irritated, but also thinking “who IS this clown?!”. I mean I care about the dogs as well, but after 17 years together and everything that happened, that’s what you’re crying about? Fr?

        Idk whether I would have left or not, I never got the opportunity to make any decision and be a part of this, because for the first 2 years when he was cheating on me I honestly cannot say I had any idea. When I started to have doubts in the last year before finding out, he kept gaslighting me and lying to me, so I never played an active part in anything.

    • >>he started to cry… because he missed our dogs

      To me these things sound like what psychology calls “displacement”, where a negative emotion is deflected onto a less threatening target. His negative emotion (grief, sadz) is deflected onto the dog instead of you because it’d be too threatening to wrap his head around any sorrow/guilt related to you. He spent a lot of time justifying his horrible treatment of you to himself, and now he can’t see past his lies. He jury-rigged his moral compass and it broke, and now he can’t correct his navigation.

      Not that his skein matters to you. JMHO. But I think that you weren’t crazy to think he had some warmth for you at one time. (What a genius! I haz a sadz; it must be the dog!). Displacement might explain why they change for the worst, doubling down on their justifications, lies, and BS without seeing the cost to themselves.

      • There’s another reason why displacement might explain their weird sadz about dogs, old furniture, or whatever. Feeling sadz about a discarded partner is threatening because that would imply blowing up their marriage was a big mistake. Can’t have that.

        • This is really interesting, thanks for sharing this.

          I do think he definitely was in love and attached to me especially in the early years. I have a slightly different story than many here, because for instance I can’t say he was nasty to me all along. He wasn’t perfect ofc, but neither was I. He was still relatively nice to me until the very end, in fact he still is to a degree. In a cold well mannered way, if it’s making any sense? And ofc, the total discard as if nothing we have ever done and built together, meant a thing.

          • Mine was nice to me too which is why his statement about 30 years of misery was such a shock. However when I think back I remember the red flags and the times I was going to leave because he was just so detached and distracted from our relationship. The last year has been absolutely horrible with his discard and outright completely ignoring my presence in the same room, not responding to texts and phone calls, etc. A real shit show.

            • Right?

              We were together for 21 years before the year of devaluation began, (I can pretty much pin point the day).

              Oh, I knew he was a bit selfish, and yes things for the most part had to be what he wanted, but he treated me well, we had a great romantic life. He bragged about me to folks etc. He knew I was a good mom to our son.

              Then on the day he left, “I have been unhappy for ten years”, upon his exit out the door “I never loved you”. And there I stood thinking “What the hell just happened” He just told me he was under work stress; now our whole marriage was miserable for him.

              My really big sin was I was not a spit shiner house keeper. I mean I wasn’t a bad housekeeper, just not a spit shiner. He always had clean clothes, clean kitchen and bathroom, I kept things picked up and cleared out etc, I even ironed his stinking shirts; not to mention running his errands and working all the volunteer work he could sign me up for, to help him in the community. I didn’t mind as I wanted to help him, because after all helping him, helped our family, but I was just not spit shiny enough. Then he left me for the town whore, who according to my son and my daughter in law actually made me look like a spit shiner in comparison.

          • Vee it DOES make sense. My husband is nice to me. Cleans house does some laundry, fixes everything and even cooks a lot of nights (I work afternoons) doesn’t call me names even if I call him one yet can hide things and lie to avoid an argument. Oh, and cheat. “But that was a long time ago and I am sorry for mistakes I’ve made”
            So everything considered it makes leaving tougher. Therapist says to look into “codependency”. That was my homework

  • This was me until I found you, CL. Thankfully it was *only* six months of my life, but it was the worst 6 months. I was going to stand by him, help him through this, bring our family closer together.

    I look back on myself and want to puke. It was all about him – which our whole marriage was. It took finding CL to stop determining my actions based on how I thought he’d react to them. Thank goodness for CL!!

    Going to couples counseling while he was engaging in an active affair? Ugh, stupid me.

    But I got there! 6 months post d-day (and he’s still having the affair) I told him to move out and I was filing for divorce. He was shocked. “But I haven’t decided if I want a divorce!” ???? he was still waiting for a sign from God, he told me. ????

    Me: “ it’s not your decision. I am filing for divorce”

    He moved out a month later and life for me almost immediately was better. Even having to coparent with him, it’s waaaay better than being married to him!

  • I never bothered with any stupid marriage counseling. I could tell he wasn’t really sorry because he continued to lie and be cruel. I also knew the reason he wanted to reconcile was because his slut didn’t want him. I will not be anybody’s plan b.

    My own family tried to convince me he was a TFC. My mom was angry that I wouldn’t stay with him and nasty about it in a way I had never seen her be to anyone. We didn’t speak for a year. She finally started to get it and apologized. We were trying to repair the relationship when she suddenly died.
    You don’t get over a thing like that.

    • I’m so sorry your Mom wasn’t supportive of your decision and the resulting fallout. Big hugs. ????

      • Thank you, ChumpNeedsSunlight. You are a kind person and I hope you get that sunlight.

    • I’m so sorry, OHFFS. It’s so tough when the people you trust to have your back turn on you. It’s so interesting that you point out your mom was nastier to you than you’d ever seen her. That was my sister. She hated my ex and was supportive of the divorce, but she would occasionally get weird and passive-aggressive. One she was drunk and said the *nastiest* things to me on the phone, like that I had been “weaponizing my suicidal thoughts to manipulate her” and how she “wasn’t surprised I had turned on her because that’s what a dog does when it can’t get to the dog it really wants to attack–it attacks the one next to it in its own yard.” I was literally speechless. And then it slowly dawned on me: she had cheated on her first husband and then on the guy she left him for. She couldn’t accept my pain b/c if she accepted it, she’d have to acknowledge that she caused her partners that kind of pain…. So, she did the same bullshit abusive thing my ex did: project her shitty actions onto me and punish me for them.

      I don’t know if your mom had something like that going on, but it sounds like you were smart enough to realize what I didn’t for a long time: that nastiness had zero to do with our situations and everything to do with their unresolved bullshit.


      • Oh wow, okupin. What a terrible way for her to treat you, and how typical of a cheater to put her desire to deny her wrongdoing above your feelings. Do you still speak to her? Has she ever apologized?

        I do suspect my mom may have cheated, but mostly it was selfishness. She told me point blank she objected because “We expect you to be the stable one in the family.” She wanted me to pretend I was okay so she could rely on me. She had it in her mind that I was to take charge of my opioid addict brother when she was gone, so I was supposed to suck up my pain and give up my life for her favorite child. She knew I could not afford to take care of him if I divorced and she wanted him to be enabled and waited on hand and foot as he was used to her doing. When I found out her plans for me I realized she had no idea who I am as a person. I hate drugs and would never enable an addict.

        • Oh, got it. So yeah, she had plenty of her own issues she was smearing all over you, even if they weren’t about cheating per se. Geez, that sucks from your mom of all people.

          Yes, my sister apologized when she sobered up, and we have a good relationship now that the divorce is over and we don’t have to talk much about it. But I have to tell you: I’m definitely more careful of her now. I don’t tell her everything; I don’t trust her completely. It’s always going to be that way now, which is probably a good thing. People like me need to learn to have good boundaries with other people….

          • Yeah, a thing like that will taint a relationship forever. You’re right not to trust her.

      • They actually expect us to be their consolation prize when they don’t get some disgusting whore who isn’t fit to shine our shoes. The arrogance!
        Mine used to go on and on about how he “changed his mind”, which was a bald-faced lie.

        • Yep, all about TFC’s needs. Chumps are a lower caste.

          When I expressed how soul-crushing and unacceptable EVERYTHING was after I caved to hoovering after DD2 (slightly wiser but more fragile), FW completely ignored my needs and responded, “But I picked you!” (Allegedly.) I reminded him that I was the one who was deciding whether to choose him – and it wasn’t looking good. The arrogance, is right!

          Around that time, it also dawned on me that while I’d spent so much time trying to understand if the FW “really” loved me, if I was desirable to him, if I could trust and believe him, if he had feelings for someone else – he seemed completely unconcerned with my feelings for him. As if none of what he’d done or I’d learned about him had affected my love or desire or esteem for him.

  • I didn’t buy this shit but when the attorney told me that I had no money & asked me “couldn’t I just live peacefully with him?” I did not have enough energy to deal with the fall out from 6 kids who ranged in age from 7th grade to just graduated college as well as bill from the attorney! I would have had to sell our house at a loss & take 5 kids to a homeless shelter. That was in 2010. I did go to a DivorceCare class, just in case…went from part time to full time work, and used my extra time to slowly learn more about divorce, financial management, do home repairs, refinance the mortgage, etc. Since no other evidence of infidelity came to light, by 2016, with hopium, I decided to try a CSAT. He saw his own CSAT, I saw my CSAT (apparently they differentiate whether they will work solely with the “addicted one” or the “partner,” or both. He then became a timid forest creature. I was told from my CSAT that she was told “he was working on things.” But nothing ever happened! I understood the process to be: full disclosure, possibly a therapeutic separation, him working on the “12 steps,” financial reparation. Nope, it never happened. The timid forest creature froze, hoping no one would ever see him as the person who doesn’t do the real work. After 1 year of counseling & me going to SANON to Help Him Help Himself, I had enough. The people in SANON who I admired were the ones who divorced their spouse. At that time I found CL & other resources & was financially well off enough to make a plan. It still took time to carry that out, & I let the TFC stay timid because by then, I didn’t want to let him know what I was doing behind HIS back. I hated that part of it. So glad to be out. It seems black & white. Sometimes the choice is between 2 bad decisions. Ten years ago, I couldn’t face the actual financial changes that would happen to 6 kids.

  • Thank you for clearly spelling this out.

    The whole humbly looking at what else you could do better is a huge distraction from the important boundary that cheating and other abuse is a deal breaker.

    Chumps can’t control it, can’t fix it, can’t cure it or change it.
    you just get to choose how you respond.

    Strongly recommend line up your ducks, run, go no contact.

  • “Choose divorce, it doesn’t matter if your cheater is sorry or not sorry, the infidelity is a deal breaker.“

    This short law of relationship physics!! I could post this to every new CN member seeking direction after Dday. The KISS principle (Keep it Simple Stupid!) materialized.

    Short. Sweet. And to the point. The A&A version being “Don’t drink and Go to meetings”.

    STONED AF on hopium while mining Un-obtanium only lasts as long as the time it takes to reach tolerance. Tolerance being that point where no amount of the drug can provide the high. The drug stops working.

    The substitutes don’t provide it either.

    Having arrived At that destination there are two choices. Embrace death or tell him/her “Not Today” . (GOT reference)

    When you corner the TFC and stick an irrefutable, printed statement of guilt in their face texted by their own hand… It’s that second IN time- when they shut down, deflect, DARVO, whatever- They. Are. Done.

    When I stopped living in the problem (Infidelity) , and started living in the solution (NO CONTACT), my problems disappeared.

  • Only the cheaters pain counts.

    An intact family is the ONLY way to be happy.

    A good person sacrifices their dignity for their family.

    Bad people are only bad because they have ‘issues’.

    All of the above concepts suck

  • Truer words have never been written. I bought it, ate it up and then spent years pondering all the things I may have done or not done that contributed to him not being able to keep his pants zipped. I regret not just saying eff this and walking away when it first happened…

  • Heres the confusing part for me. He is a self professed sex addict and currently in tempormental sorry forest creature mode and in therapy. Hes been a sex addict he says all of our 35yrs of marriage covertly and my Dday was only 2yrs ago. I am so dumb!!! But he says he is now cured and Im being too harsh on him.

    He says it was ‘only porn’ and fantasy perving on coworkers ect. It is maddening because I found nude pictures he took of himself on his laptop. He said he just wanted to see how he looked naked from the perspective of the cell camera. He admitted to having several secret email accounts but “doesnt remember” them so I cant see them. He said he created them only for free porn trial specials then forgot them. He trimmed his hair down there which he never had before. He said that was him gearing up to maybe do something physical but dday happened before he could act on it. Gift card links in his browser. Admitted to going to strip clubs but says only before we were married never after. He decisively failed a lie detector test he agreed to on whether he was physically faithful to me but he insists INSISTS still he actually never touched a real live woman and that the lie detector test are not reliable.

    My gut says he has done something and it is maddening. No absolute solid proof. Does that make him a self righteous forest dweller of a lesser degree of virtual cheating even though I feel he is lying? Does my perception matter or count even on the outside chance Im wrong? In the meantime he denies and feels he is the victim.

    • It doesn’t matter whether he cheated with an “real live woman” or not. The question is whether his lies (he is definitely hiding something!) and behavior are acceptable to you or not. I strongly suspect but have never been able to prove that my XH had an OM as well as the OW that I know about. In the end it doesn’t really matter: even one Schmoopie is too many.

      FWIW all the circumstantial evidence points to him being physically unfaithful to you as well.

    • This guy is totally lying to your face! If what you wrote about is true, it´s more than enough. My God “perving on coworkers”!! eeww. He´s sounds really creepy. He´s hiding a lot, just get out and leave him to it.

    • Okay, you need to hear this. I found porn on our computer. One page was opened to local escorts, the other to porn sites. So, he said he was just wanking. I asked him why the page was open to escorts. He said he was using that as fantasy. I said bullshit. Then he proceeded to tell me that I was so naive, that I didn’t know how porn works, and if I was only a bit more clued up I’d realise that he was just wanking. After two days of crying, and him lecturing me, I told him I believed him.

      When all the shit came down, he told me he’d been going to hookers for years. So, he WAS looking up escorts to buy, the fucker. I also found lube in our car once, and he said, “oh, that’s for you. I was planning something nice.” Same shit…we fought, he wore me down, I eventually believed him. It looks weird when you see someone else tell this story – it’s like it’s so obvious. I really think you can’t trust him. I know you want to, I’ve been there. He’s lying. Hugs!

    • The thing about us chumps is that so many of us want to be ‘fair’ and not take action without proof. Forget about the proof and focus on what you want and need. Do you want to be free from this person? Then do it.

  • I consider myself very lucky to have escaped the clutches of the RIC. By the time Nitwit came up with the bright idea of couples counseling I already saw myself as a divorced woman with a bright future ahead of her. Compared to some of the exes described on here Nitwit was a rank amateur, so I got out after 3 years of marriage instead of 30. Again, that was all luck, not because I’m any smarter or better than any other chump on here.

  • In the case with our marriage, the timid forest creature would threaten suicide. He would become ill, throwing up every single day. It would be some type of life-threatening liver disease or something else like that.

    Over and over the pattern repeated for 24 years. Well my children grew up and eventually so did I. This last time that D-Day rolled around again, exactly a year ago today as a matter of fact, I had already made a plan for if it happened again…when it happened again.

    And so now I’m out. The divorce isn’t final yet but I’m out. He can go cry to somebody else. My give a damn is busted.

    How are you supposed to do walk away from somebody who is crying that they are physically and mentally ill? What kind of mean cruel person does that?

    I’ll turn it around… How are you supposed to live your life with somebody threatening to kill themselves? how are you supposed to live a mentally healthy life when somebody is constantly threatening you? I told him this: if I ever get an inkling that you are suicidal I’m going to call the crisis hotline and have you committed. And then that’s exactly what I did. Twice. I’m out. If he chooses to kill himself it’s on him. And guess what it’s been a year and he hasn’t. It was all talk, No it was not all talk, it was all threats.

    • ‘How are you supposed to do walk away from somebody who is crying that they are physically and mentally ill? What kind of mean cruel person does that?’

      My niece did this (including vomiting) when she wanted her way. At two and a half years old. My SIL took her to the doctor who told her that the toddler was manipulating her. I’m happy to report that my niece’s a teenager now and no longer doing it because if she did, nobody would pay any attention.

  • Just found out last night the sad timid forest creature in my life wrote an article posted on his linked in about his brokenness. ARE.YOU. SERIOUS?!?! He’s so broken?! Perhaps it’s because the 22 year old ballerina broke up with him. How about he more than broke – he almost destroyed his wife and FIVE children with years of infidelity/ double life and psychological abuse. He demonstrates NO regard for the lives he’s harmed. Unthinkable! How is this possible?! But this truth, this horror becomes clearer and clearer with each passing day.
    Either He has no clue of the agony he has caused us or he has a clue and doesn’t care. The tears, the nightmares, the ptsd, perverse view of world, trust issues, depression and anxiety – and I’m talking about impact on kids not me. It is devastating. But apparently he’s oblivious and oh so broken. Bull shit.

    • LinkedIn? That’s a professional platform, why would he write personal stuff there? Or is he financially broke?

      They can’t understand the depth of your pain because their feeling are very shallow and so they know little depth.

  • My timid forest creature and his timid sex slave were very upset that I was so mad. How dare I get mad when I found out they were fucking each other behind my back, while working in the same office as me? At work after DDay when I was trying to pick up the pieces of our business and recover my tiny scraps of dignity, my timid forest creature husband locked me into an office and nearly pinned me to a wall and leaned in and yelled, “You need to be friendlier to me.”

    Then, said forest creatures became very sad when I found their love notes. How dare I get mad and upset by their love? I got told I needed to get a grip, that I needed to befriend the new lover, and that I was, in fact, insane, and timid sex slave was looking for mental hospitals I could go to. I saw her emails because husband left his email open on our home computer (dumb forest creature).

    I stupidly read the RIC stuff, which said that husband wasn’t thinking straight because he was in “limerence” and I should have tolerance for this type of crazy behaviour. Yeah, trying to have your grieving and traumatised wife committed into a mental hospital is more than limerence brain – it’s the biggest dick move of all time. The timid woodland creatures did not have enough magical powers to take down this Chump! Fuck off creatures. And fuck off RIC!

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