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I Just Want Her to Be Truthful

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Narcissist GoldfishDear Chump Lady,

I recently broke up with my girlfriend of two years. I had suspicion that she was seeing someone else after she came home drunk one day at 8 in the morning and I kicked her out of my apartment.

Her iPhone was connected to her iPad, and she had left it here, so I decided to snoop around.

I found text messages between her and her coworker who I had told her a couple months ago that I didn’t want her talking to. Messages went a little like, I miss your touch, I love you, the way you touch me makes me feel like you love me.

I confronted her about these messages and she said she was drunk and didn’t mean any of them. It’s been two weeks now since she took all her stuff out of my apartment. We still talk here and there, and she tells me eventually she wants to get back together, but she wants to take a break.

I feel like I’m getting chumped at this point and I just don’t know if I should believe her or not, and want her to just be truthful so we can just end this once and for all!

Alan

Dear Alan,

“We” don’t end this. YOU end this.

Classic chump mistake thinking that you’re going to arrive at consensus about your girlfriend’s atrocious behavior and she’ll Do The Right Thing. But don’t feel bad. An entire Reconciliation Industrial Complex is built upon such faulty assumptions.

Oh hey, why don’t you just tell me the truth about what you and Nigel are up to? Lead with unvarnished honesty and transform into an ethical person I can trust! Who respects me! Because I asked nicely.

Pigs will fly.

There’s only YOU, Alan, and what you will tolerate. Let’s walk through your letter and play the “Is this acceptable?” game.

I had suspicion that she was seeing someone else after she came home drunk one day at 8 in the morning and I kicked her out of my apartment.

Apparently cheating and being shit-faced drunk at 8 a.m. are NOT qualities you want in a girlfriend and you acted accordingly. Now you’re second guessing yourself, why?

so I decided to snoop around

Does this relationship make you feel safe? Or flinchy and off-balance? Which do you prefer?

her coworker who I had told her a couple months ago that I didn’t want her talking to

You don’t control her. You only control you. If it seems that she’s investing her energies in another relationship, the answer to that dilemma is to remove yourself from her life and free her up for more Nigel time. Don’t pick-me dance. And don’t try to control the uncontrollable — her lack of investment. Decide what is and is not acceptable to you in a relationship.

Messages went a little like, I miss your touch, I love you, the way you touch me makes me feel like you love me.

Okay, Alan, you found evidence — she is, in fact, cheating with a coworker. Now you must BELIEVE the evidence and not spackle.

Do you tell your coworkers that you miss their touch? Does anyone who isn’t the subject of a sexual harassment lawsuit or a workplace affair do that?

Her excuse is she was drunk. That’s not a winning testimonial for a continued relationship. Either she’s fucking her coworker (game over) OR she gets drunk and propositions coworkers (game over).

Are either of these two things okay with you?

[She] didn’t mean any of them

So she just blows your life up for amusement? Now you can live on tenterhooks lest she get bored.

We still talk here and there

NO. No contact! She’s not your friend. If she left her favorite sweatshirt, line a hamster cage with it. Move on. Nothing to discuss.

and she tells me eventually she wants to get back together, but she wants to take a break.

She’s offering you Plan B. Hey, if things don’t work out with Nigel, she might give it a go. Alan, you’re worth more than that! Of course she won’t admit to Nigel, but she “loves” someone who isn’t you and moved out. Judge her actions. She’s a lying liar who lies.

And also Alan, pro tip: Mixed messages are just one message — run away. Either this person doesn’t know their mind, or they know their mind and they don’t want to tell you. Neither of those things are solid foundations for a relationship. You don’t want to have to convince them of your worth (that’s the pick me dance) and you don’t want a partner with a hidden agenda.

So fuck mixed messages. Don’t toke the hopium pipe. Take your power back.

I just don’t know if I should believe her or not

Hmmmm… delirium haze or heart break?

Choose heart break. Short-term pain, long-term gain. You’re free of a fuckwit. Stay in the haze, you waste years of your precious life. Why? To anesthetize the pain of being constantly devalued? To have a pretend girlfriend when REAL women walk this earth? Alan, sweetheart, put down the pipe.

want her to just be truthful

Well, I want world peace and pants that fit. I want everyone vaccinated. I want a job cuddling golden retriever puppies.

Wishing for impossible things feels noble, Alan, and yet the world abounds with fuckwits. You have to deal with the reality you’re dealt.

Things didn’t work out with this shady girlfriend. Accept it. Move on. Block her and focus on your healing.

Ethical people exist, go invest in them. But expecting a deceitful person to become an honest broker?

Excuse me, I have a puppy to cuddle. My shift just started.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • You’ve only had two years invested in her. You’re not married, no kids, don’t live together. It may hurt but you’ve really got a chance to dodge a huge bullet without wasting anymore time with her. You’ll never get the truth anyway.

  • Cheating is a red flag.

    Lying is a red flag.

    An untreated alcoholic (speaking as an alcoholic with 35 years in recovery and people who lie and cheat and are out all night, come home at 8am, and offer being drunk as an excuse for their lying and cheating are suspect) is a red flag.

    A cheating, lying, potentially untreated alcoholic is the biggest red flag made by the Red Flag Factory.

    Stop, drop the flag, and run. And if you want a fixer-upper, buy a house.

    • 👍

      And a fixer upper house will most likely grow in value the more you invest in it. A cheating liar, never will.

    • “A cheating, lying, potentially untreated alcoholic is the biggest red flag made by the Red Flag Factory.”

      I laughed out loud, but even though it’s funny it’s SO TRUE!!

    • Velvet, you make an important point here: the coming home drunk at 8 am is a sign of someone who is abusing alcohol (to put it in the most optimistic way).

      Alan, ere are signs that your hopefully ex-girlfriend is not really available for a relationship.

      1. She has, at the very least, a problem with alcohol. This problem may be linked to her cheating, as alcohol abusers prefer other drinkers as social companions (and sometimes non-alcohol abusers are their preferred enablers (paying rent and utilities, keeping the house clean, putting up with Plan B). Her drunken exploits show you that like all alcohol abusers, her primary relationship is not with you or this other guy, but with alcohol. It’s self-destructive to be involved with nyone who has drinking problems (defined as “creates problems when they drink”).
      2. She’s a user in other ways. She was living in your apartment and treating you like sh*t.
      3. She’s lying and hiding things from you. That’s a huge character problem.
      4a. If you feel you have to tell someone to stay away another man (or woman), then you are with the wrong person. Someone invested in your relationship will protect the relationship and the boundaries you’ve agreed on. The flip side of this is TELLING a grown woman who to talk to (etc.) erodes YOUR OWN character. The need to control another person will chip away at your ability to see that person as equal to you, having autonomy. It will lead you to behaviors that are problematic in any true healthy, reciprocal relationship.
      4b. You don’t have to “tell” someone not to talk to a third party if your partner is trustworthy. A faithful person would not cause you worry in this regard.

      Sometimes it’s hard to break up without having proof of terrible wrongdoing. Most chumps need to learn the “acceptability test” as CL presents it. It’s not necessary for people to be literally caught
      with their pants down to say that behavior like you describe (drinking, lying, sexting, staying out all night, coming home drunk) is just not what you want to live with.

      You can do better. You did the right thing by kicking this girl/woman out of your apartment. Now sit down and figure out what kind of woman you DO want. When you pine for her to tell the truth or speculate on whether SHE wants to come back, you aren’t looking at her with clear eyes. There’s nothing to work with if a man or woman stays out all night drinking with a cheating partner.The world is full of lovely women you won’t have to watch stumbling in at 8 am, drunk, smelling like some other man.

  • Alan,

    Someone who wants to a break right now, but offers up the prospect of getting back together at some point in the future is playing you. You win by stepping back, saying “No” (or even “No thanks” if you want to be polite) and then going no contact.

    And don’t be surprised if at some point she plays the the old “I want an open relationship after the fact” gambit. Hint: you are already in an open relationship; just one that is one-sided, you didn’t agree to and you didn’t know about.

    LFTT

  • How to Train a FW to Tell the Truth

    1. First, buy a goat.
    2. Have heartfelt conversations with your goat, explaining your values and sharing deeply.
    3. Don’t be perturbed when he eats the dishtowels.
    4. Repeat #2.
    5. Explain that your value system includes that he not nibble the neighbors bushes or poop on the floor.
    6. Pay the neighbor for the ruined bushes. Clean up the poop on the floor.
    7. Repeat #2. Louder.
    8. Take your goat for a walk, explaining he is not to run off, no bush-nibbling, no public pooping.
    9. Catch goat, pay for more ruined bushes, clean up poop.
    10. Repeart #2. Louder, and for a longer period of time.
    11. Continue to pay neighbors for ruined bushes, clean the poop from your floors.
    12. Explain before taking your goat to the grocery store the expectations for good behavior. Repeat #2.
    13. Catch goat, pay for ruined produce, apologize to all for unacceptable goaty behavior.
    14. Ponder what is wrong with self that goat behaves the way he does.
    15. Repeat #2. Hire a trainer from the Goat Industrial Complex to help said goat.

    This fun game can go on for years. Once you’ve successfully trained your goat you can advance to the next step, getting your fuckwit to tell the truth. Although much harder than goat training, your experience, unending patience, complete self-abegnation and a gallon of truth serum has been found successful in 0.2% of cases.

  • Alan,

    You’re falling into a common chump trap: thinking that the cheater will behave reasonably and with your (or your joint) best interest at heart. No. A thousand times no. They only think in terms of doing what’s best for them (or what feels good for them in the moment). [I was offered a plan B. Something along the lines of, “Can we get back together in, say, 3 years. Selfish noblesse oblige on his part. That he thought this was a reasonable request/offer speaks volumes.]

    Step away from the crazy. Don’t sink any more time on this relationship (as I did in mine–35 yrs).

    There are good people out there, as CL points out. You deserve better.

    Good luck.
    Spinach

    • Fourleaf,
      I totally agree. No contact is the only way you can ever move on. I was totally stuck in a crappy situation I created because I didn’t go no contact. I wasted 1-1/2 years AFTER my divorce smoking on the hopium pipe. I pick-me-danced way to long! Nothing in the world can help your recovery like No Contact. I preach it every chance I get to people who find themselves in our situation

  • Alan
    Be thankful that you have only spent 2 years with this awful woman. In my opinion wanting to believe them is such a powerful thing. After dday I wanted to believe every crazy story my now XH through at me. She doesn’t want to take a break to strengthen anything with you, she wants to see if she can make it work with a coworker. I went through the take-a-break thing with my husband of 21 years. He packed a bag one night to go stay in a motel so he could “get his act together.” What he was actually doing was spending 2 weeks in a hotel room putting his “act” in our neighbor. She’s never going to tell you the extent of her deceit. I agree with CL, go NO CONTACT now. Block her on your phone, and all social media. Take some time to mend your broken heart and to decide what your boundaries in a good relationship really are. Good luck Alan!!

    • 23 years and ditto 👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻… only difference is it was a girl he met on an elevator, not a neighbor, that I know of . . . . 🙄🙄🙄

      • Motherchumper99,
        On an elevator????? What a super schmuck!
        Either way it sucks! Hope your life is going better now!!

    • Alan,
      Cheaters and liars are lazy. She is trying to find the path of least resistance and let you do all the emotional heavy lifting, while trying to start a new relationship elsewhere (see monkey branching). If it works great (for her that is)! If not, no skin off her back…

      She has the emotional depth of a barnacle. Don’t think about her another minute.

      Good luck and Godspeed Alan!

    • I unwittingly gave cheater three free-for-all cheat breaks over seven years. I graciously and selflessly gave him needed “time and space” to heal and work on himself. These were major disruptions to my own life, and I was worried about him, too.

      What do you need, Alan? Try thinking about that instead.

    • Being cheated on and lied to hurts no matter how many years you are with a person. It’s still a crushing discovery. Betrayal is betrayal.

      Alan – Your ex-girlfriend (because that is what she will be) sucks. Trust that she sucks. She is a liar. She betrayed you and she is only thinking about herself and not you. She is mentally abusing you. I hope you can see this. What most of us know on this forum is that a cheater will rarely confess and give you the truth. Its why it is a mindfuck. Your ex-girlfriend is a POS. Change the locks. And in the interim, know it is okay to feel sad, confused, betrayed, angry. Coming to this forum will help you. I’m sorry you found us, but I hope you take Tracy’s wisdom to heart. She is 100% spot on every time. Hugs.

  • Hi Alan and welcome to CN,
    It’s “nice” to see a story that involves a chump with that pesky Y Chromosome as almost all stories here revolve around the we “Y” folk being the FWs and not the chumps.

    As it is, no contact and know that she sucks.

    I feel for you because I can relate, but you’re so fortunate that you got out now without the house and kids— get an STD check for sure because drunken sex is more likely than not “jiffy” free.

    Just tell yourself over and over— she’s trash. She devalued me. When that sinks in you can then work on you and listen to CL and CN they care about you and as much as the truth hurts, they want you well and see you as a person with high value.

    The drunkard trash that is your ex does not care about you, she does not want you well and she does not value you. DO NOT waste your time with trash.
    Take it out and Godspeed to Tuesday— it’s a long and horrific journey but CL and CN got your back.

    • Speaking of trash…dday with my post-divorce boyfriend of several years was the day he moved into a new apartment. I took home 3 bags of his trash a few days before the move to put out on my curb as he missed the pickup at the old apartment. Two days after dday I dumped the bags up against his apartment door & taped a sign on each with black marker saying, “Trash for trash” “A real man doesn’t treat women like trash” “Your trash isn’t worth the $2/bag pick up fee.” I also put a sign on his door that read, “A cheater lives here.”

      At one point a neighbor opened her door & looked at me, the door signage & the trash bags. I looked right back & said, “Yup, your new neighbor is a cheater!”

      Not my finest moment but I was emboldened by years of reading CL after my 24 yr marriage ended due to cheating. True my CL training, I went NC so have no idea of his reaction. I still laugh at the balls I had that day.

  • Alan, you didn’t say how long you lived together, but twice you said it’s your apartment, not ours, so I’m guessing she moved in with you. Normal couples worry if a partner fails to come home, yet when she woke up someplace else, she didn’t call to tell you she was OK, she just came back on her own time. If all she did was get drunk and fall asleep, wouldn’t she be angry and upset that you threw her out? Instead, she took her stuff out of your apartment and told you eventually she wants to move back after she’s had enought time on her break.
    Alan, that’s what some kids tell their parents, or their college, or a hotel. They want time to do what they please, secure in the knowledge that they can return when they need someone to do the adulting. She wants to be single and unaccountable while wanting YOU to remain committed and willing to take her back whenever she needs a place to land. She’s not going to be honest and tell you that, because she wants to keep you as an emergency option. She’s told you she wants a break from being with you. Although that hurts, that’s all the honesty you’re likely to get, and all you need to know. You don’t have to reserve space in your apartment or your head for someone who wants to be elsewhere.

    • And this is EXACTLY what I went through. Like right from the textbook of cheat. Alan , please don’t waste another minute on this Gomer. It took me a few months to really get to meh , but I did get there eventually and then found someone with principals , ethics , character , and morals. They are out there . You are a prize. Things like this can really put your self worth in question. Nah , not for a minute. You deserve better.

  • Sorry Buddy -you picked a loser. Run!! Get into therapy to figure out why you picked such a loser to begin with. Treat yourself the way you want to be treated. With love respect and self worth. You deserve better! Hugs!

  • This whole « take a break » thing. Does it ever work? Even without cheating, it sounds like «  I’m leaving, I expect you to be here if I return, if you’re not- oh well. »
    The small ´victory’ here is you get to leave. You get to dump. You get to stand up for yourself and say to the world ‘I’m not going to put up with this shit, she doesn’t deserve me.´
    You’re situation is awful, but it’s worse when you are suddenly discarded by the ‘love of your life’ for their cheating partner.
    Don’t give someone of such low value the chance to further devastate you.

  • Hi Alan—
    If you haven’t already read yesterday’s post, please do, because the issues are related. A big part of the reason your girlfriend can’t be truthful with you is she’s not being truthful with herself. She’s constructed an alternate reality to live in. The reasons why she did that ultimately don’t matter because she’s an adult and, as such, could/should choose to live in the real world with all its messiness and disappointments, and try to find joy there with the rest of us. That’s basically the definition of an adult—choosing to live in the real world when it would be easier to keep living in a world where there are only good guys and bad guys and you never have to do anything that doesn’t feel good…. If she admits what she’s done and the pain she’s caused you, that whole fantasy world comes crumbling down. And she can’t and won’t face that. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that she’ll change, either. The fantasy world thing is an integral part of her personality; it’s not like changing your socks or even quitting smoking. It doesn’t come off. Move on and find a woman living in the same world as you, the real world, to have a real relationship with.
    Hugs,
    Okupin

  • She is literally stringing you along. If Option A doesn’t work out, you are Option B.

    You’re too good for that nonsense. Be done with her and move on to someone who isn’t interested in playing like this.

    I don’t understand why people pull this crapola but it’s definitely disrespectful as all get out. You are not married, there’s no commitment, so just tell her you’re removing yourself from her list of options. The emotional turmoil she wants to put you through isn’t worth your time.

  • ‘The fantasy world thing is an integral part of her personality;’
    So interesting. FW made it sound like he was raised in a fantasy land with the worlds most spectacular parents. He glorified them. He would talk a lot about writing their obituaries while they were alive and healthy – because they are sure to be the worlds greatest obituaries. I realize now his mom is a covert Narc. I was a fantasy of twu wuv to him – until I wasn’t and was replaced with the next twu wuv
    His young adult daughter was a perfect magical daughter to him – his sister was amazing.
    The exW he dumped before meeting me – not so great- me during the discard, not so great. Himself – so wonderful.
    He’s living his most recent fantasy now with coworkercheater and her kids.

  • I’m happily single (gray divorce), but I now have a zero-tolerance policy on certain things after going through a long separation and a high conflict divorce/closeout. Irrational talk is a big red flag. Her excuses are crazy, and she’s being awful to you by saying maybe-maybe not. People who truly love each other don’t do that.

    You don’t have to let anyone like that into your inner circle. EVER! Of course, sometimes you have to tolerate relatives and coworkers to keep things going, but we choose our friends and lovers.

  • Alan, you dodged a massive bullet. Thank God You didn’t breed with this lying POS. There’s nothing more excruciating than watching your precious children discarded, devalued, gaslit, and blamed by a narc cheater-parent.

    Take a good hard look at why you consider wreconciliation. Change those thoughts— otherwise they’ll be your downfall and you’ll repeat this fresh hell or worse. Ask me how I know 😭😭😭

  • Plus Alan, you may be hurting right now, but don’t underestimate how good it will feel to tell her “No” put all her shit in a trash bad outside you appartement and never ever talk to her again. She’ll be surprised for sure, and you’ll feel great for drawing that line in the sand and say out loud that no one gets to treat you that way and get a pass.

  • She’s letting her co worker put their hands down her pants, Alan. Sloppy seconds is what you get. You’re dodging a bullet, Alan.Take that gift and run, bud. Don’t look back.

  • Alan – To help you keep your resolve, listen to The Love Chat youtube/podcasts. You’ll find the strategies and reasons to go no contact, even though there’s also some discussion about the slim chance to re-visit the relationship in the future.

    No contact, no “let’s be friends”. Work on yourself and the healthy relationship you’ll find with someone else.

  • Alan, I fully understand where you are. I had all the evidence solid proof but 30 years ago me wanted an admission. Never got it . Unfortunately something drastically changed in me as a result of the fuck show. I became an insufferable asshole when it can to relationships. I met and dated many lovely and high quality moral women, sadly I didn’t trust anyone of them . As a result my mindset shifted from benefit of the doubt to slash and burn. It was a defense mechanism I suppose. I can’t tell you how regrettable that all was. So much so that when my daughter became dating age , i feared juxtaposed karma leveled at her, I reached out to all those ladies I believed I had hurt and sent each one a card apologising for my boorish behavior and for any pain I may have caused. All responded and were gracious . My daughter did deal with a cheating lowlife that I dragged by the leg down the stairs of their apartment to physically throw him out, she is now married to a hard working stand up guy that adores her and their beautiful baby boy. ( add to the mix my 2 gorilla sons have put him on notice !) The point is simply cut and run save yourself and know that not every one is a cheat trash can, give yourself a break recharge and reload you are worth every thing you can imagine for yourself

    • This is another place where Chumps drive into the ditch.

      We shouldn’t go from “giving the people the benefit of the doubt” to “slash and burn”. Those are both extreme and dangerous positions. On one hand, you are assuming everyone is benign, safe and acceptable–to the point when the first time they offend, you extend “the benefit of the doubt,” instead of noticing the person is likely not for you. On the other hand, we assume everyone is a lying sack of dog poo instead of taking the time to learn who and what they are.

      I never give people the “benefit of the doubt.” It’s unhealthy. The option I choose is not to make a judgment until I really know someone. I keep my mind open and don’t allow people into the inner circle of my life until I would no longer be giving a “benefit of the doubt” about their character.

      To be clear, if someone you know offends you and later says they’re sorry, you can extend “the benefit of the doubt” until you get more evidence. But the second offense? Or like Alan faced, a whole boatload of offenses? We blow right past any “benefit of the doubt.”

      It’s dangerous to be in the benefit of the doubt business if that’s your default about deciding who is safe and who is not in your life. Better to just observe and withhold both judgment and increased involvement until you have evidence, data, and experience that allow you to decide if this person is of high character and has EARNED your trust. I work with college-age kids. I might look like I give “the benefit of the doubt,” but in the end, there is always a reckoning at grading time. I might give a kid a chance to turn his semester around, but if he doesn’t do the work, he fails the course. That’s not “the benefit of the doubt.” That’s allowing people to show you who they are, or how they are in this limited situation and moment.

      “Slash and burn” is projecting your anger and pain onto other people. Why would you even date in that position?

      Meet someone. Observe and listen. Pay attention how they operate in the world, how they talk, who their friends are, how truthful and consistent they are, how much they value reciprocity. There is no need to be in a hurry when giving people access to you and your life.

      In the end, the only person you need to trust is yourself. You can trust yourself to make good decisions about who you spend time with–if you fix your picker. You can trust yourself to set high standards for character when you allow someone deeper into your life. You can trust yourself to insist on reciprocity and kindness and respect. And you can trust yourself to know when someone breaks your trust and needs to go. Finally, you can trust yourself to know that you will survive if you need to end a relationship.

  • Run now, and don’t turn back. She won’t change. If you stay she’ll likely end up pregnant, you’ll wonder if its your baby. Then she’ll stay out late coming home drunk and you’ll be the one taking care of the baby. You can see where this is going, and it is pure hell.

    As far as the evidence you found, she 100% is screwing this guy. Don’t question yourself, and what you’ve found. Truly disordered individuals can paint a really pretty false reality to trap their pray. I know this because I fell for it for almost 20 years. Their words are meaningless, its the actions that we have to pay attention to.

    • Longtime Chump
      I agree with this. I would like to add that since it is a coworker she is messing with, Alan will forever be playing the marriage/boyfriend police. It will be a nonstop weight on his shoulder every time she is at work. He will drive himself crazy wondering what is going on in her workplace

    • “Then she’ll stay out late coming home drunk and you’ll be the one taking care of the baby. You can see where this is going, and it is pure hell.”
      This is exactly what happened to me. Alan doesn’t want this.

  • “Choose heart break. Short-term pain, long-term gain. You’re free of a fuckwit.”

    2 years is a short investment. Be thankful you didn’t purchase assets or breed with her.

    Don’t let her back into your life.

    Read past posts and comments and you’ll see what kind of bullet just grazed you.

  • “I feel like I’m getting chumped at this point and I just don’t know if I should believe her or not, and want her to just be truthful so we can just end this once and for all!”
    Alan,
    She’s not going to be truthful. When people cheat, they also lie. They lie to hide the affair. They lie to minimize it. They lie to shift blame to the innocent partner. And so you ex is going to lie to you for these reasons. She will omit information. She will misrepresent information. She will flat out falsify things. You have sufficient information that she sucks. You don’t need to gather more information to know that, and you will actually be unable to gather that information. When you see a mushroom cloud, you know that you need to take shelter. There’s no need to determine whether it was a plutonium or uranium bomb, what the yield is in megatons of TNT, whether it was delivered by gravity bomb, cruise missile, or ICBM, whether it was North Korea or an Al Qaida terrorist attack. Seeing the mushroom cloud is sufficient information and all the other details do not affect what your course of action should be. You take cover. You have seen the mushroom cloud over your relationship. That’s sufficient. Don’t beat yourself up over all of the details on that bomb. Don’t waste another minute on it. Time is too valuable. Peace of mind is too valuable.

    • Great analogy! I refer to fuckwits on a continuum. At one end is salmonella poisoning, and at the other end is Chernobyl.
      They are all various degrees of toxic. Even at the mildest degree (like a ONS, one time cheater who confesses), you don’t go back to the restaurant that gave you salmonella. They might have cleaned up their act, but you’ll never be sure.

  • “pro tip: Mixed messages are just one message — run away.” THIS all day long.

    Get away Alan. Be done and choose better next time. Do a post-relationship inventory and list all the red flags you missed, then work on never missing them again. Good, honest people exist. And totally agreed with CL–you can’t (and shouldn’t) control other people. If you find yourself saying to your partner “I don’t want you talking to so-and-so”…you need to check your relationship and yourself.

    • “If you find yourself saying to your partner ‘I don’t want you talking to so-and-so…you need to check your relationship and yourself.”

      Agreed, NotANiceChump. That’s a good way to frame it, too. Even before reading CL’s response, that sentence in the letter caught my attention.

  • The trust is gone. And it is never going to come back.

    Every late night with ‘the girls’, every business meeting, every trip for her to visit relatives, will make you sweat.

    And if she can’t stay faithful now, try adding in the pressure of job losses, children, aging, and it will only get worse.

  • Cheaterspeak to English translations:

    Take a break = Be with somebody else. Maybe I’ll come back if I get bored and maybe not. You must wait on tenderhooks for as long as it amuses me.

    I didn’t mean it= I lie. I’m telling you flat out that I’m a great big lying liar.

    I was drunk= I have, or will soon have, a drinking problem, because I don’t want to live in the real world. Getting sloshed helps me escape.

    Back up the dump truck on this stupid bitch, Alan, and go find a sweet, genuine girl who will love you to pieces.

  • Thanks for the pro-tip. I will use and share this. With emotional abuse and manipulation, it’s the only way to cut through the fog quickly and without untangling the skein.

  • Uh, Alan, you may need to do some work on yourself. You sound controlling. You don’t get to “tell” your girlfriend not to talk to someone. You do get to let your girlfriend know how *you* feel when she talks to someone.

  • Though daunting to many of us chumps, dumping the abusive cheater is the easy task. The more difficult task is looking inward and figuring out why we’re attracted to such lowly people. Yes, they’re usually well-disguised sociopaths. But avoiding these special FWs in the future requires a lot of self-study and changing what we look for in a partner.

    • Yep. In friendships and professional associations as well. When you’ve found yourself at the receiving end of shitty behavior, in any forum, run the personal assessment and fix your picker. It’s remarkable how held back chumps can be from all facets of life by continuing to associate with these fuckwits.

  • I want to thank all of you! Thanks everyone for the advice. I am 26 and she’s 20 we had to dogs together which I don’t have anymore. We also lived together for a year and 8 months so things did move on pretty quickly. Should’ve noticed all the red flags from the beginning. Once again thank you all

    • Hi Alan. Glad you checked in. Take your time, you’re still young. Google “love bombing.” Your cheating (ex) GF is young too, but whatever age, don’t accept bad treatment. Learn what your dealbreakers are and stand up for yourself. You’re a person who commits and loves with his whole heart — and that’s a stock that always trades high. Hang in there.

    • She is too young, among other things. You’re really an adult. She’s just out of the teen years and just out of HS when you met her. 6 years won’t mean a thing when she’s 26 and you’re 32, but 20 and 26 is a big gap. The same thing happens at the other end of life, if people are 10 years apart. 70 and 80 are like different worlds.

      Consider adopting a rescue dog if she took the pups. A pet is good company in these situations/

      • I agree with you except for the other end.

        My husband and I are 71 and 81, and really there is not a huge difference. We grew up in the same era, have the same belief system. Yes the older ones can have health issues. Or the younger one can, as I have. Not huge, but in fact he is in better health than I am. But, also, folks of the same age can have health issues. That health thing can be a crap shoot, even for folks like us who exercise and take care of ourselves.

        I think part of my reason is that even at age 18 I was way more mature than other folks my age.

        I do think if you get into twenty years difference it will make more of a difference.

        When I started being interest in dating again, at age 40, I just was not interested in 40 year old men. I remember jokingly telling myself that I did not want to put another man through MLC.

        No I don’t think it was MLC, but guys of the same age as me, just didn’t do it for me.

        Also, while I do think MLC can be a thing, it is not excuse for using and abusing another human being.

      • I agree, I really wanted to adopt a dog when my ex and I D’d. But, I was seriously considering trying to get placed overseas in my job. Then my grandson came along and that killed that idea. Could not leave the country and that little bundle of pure joy.

  • I knew a “Mr. Taking a Break” for a couple of years, long ago. I even dated him for six months 🤦‍♀️. He reeled me in with his pity play-his father died when he was a baby, two disabled older brothers, and finances were tight for his mother. Plus he had been in therapy for ten years so also a “Mr. Sensitive”. Unbeknownst to me, he had been jerking around a woman for eight (!) years with dating and then breaking up, always on the lookout for a bigger, better deal. He used her as a security blankie and gave her emotional whiplash;they met in group therapy. She finally got away from him after I did. He and I dated then stayed friends. He ended our friendship over the phone, then called back after he reconsidered it. I told him to never call me again. What kind of therapy had he been in ? Not the “How to Be a Better Human” kind.

    Ps He had been married for a couple of years, she dumped, married another man yet he felt the need to call her once a year to “check in”. Leave her the fuck alone ! Maybe she felt sorry for him because of his fucked up f.o.o.

  • “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” From a most wise gal, our Maya Angelou, it’s rock solid advice.
    For some reason people who are chumped believe every person deserves that second chance, and then the third, and the forth, then years and decades down the line of forgiveness and chances.
    Her moral integrity is on full display to you, it’s a big fat zero. Believe what you see and feel. She will have you questioning and doubting every possible good honest belief you hold as she uses and confuses you for as long as you let her get away with it.
    These ppl are tornadoes of massive destruction and she will take you down if you stay in her vortex. Evacuate quickly and don’t ever look back.
    She is a emotional predator and she is cheating on you. That’s all the knowledge you need to hold onto. Sorry you ran into one, it’s pretty miserable.
    Good luck to you Alan, you are dodging a nuclear bomb. Took me over 40 years to believe what my gut tried to tell me. Trust that she sucks and go live your best life.

  • https://youtu.be/o-XVTs-zCW0
    This vid on trying to get a narcissist to admit what they did wrong.

    This one is a woman who talks about cheating a lot and not really being sorry.
    https://www.tiktok.com/@mentalhealness/video/6990355630183746822

    The series is made by a person who identifies as having NPD and is in therapy. I spent some time on the channel and found it compelling to hear about behaviours like gaslighting and lying about cheating from someone who claims they’ve done it. Interested in others’ opinions.

  • Hi Alan,

    I got chumped after a 1-2 year relationship and it really messed with my head and self-esteem. Sorry you’re going through this.

    I totally agree with CL that you have to ultimately ask yourself ‘do I find this acceptable?’ and a corollary ‘would I do this to someone else?’ (both answers ‘no’), but for me personally, none of the ‘you deserve better’ kind advice really hit home until I asked a follow-up question (with a good, non-cheater-apologist therapist helping me – recommend finding one if you can afford to do so), which was the slightly more uncomfortable ‘why did I find my cheater attractive in the first place’ (before the cheating discoveries). I discovered that there were earlier red flags aside from the cheating that I either ignored or actively found attractive. For me it was his loud personality, emotional neediness, eccentricities and ‘exciting’ lifestyle in a superficial way (I later realised I was using exciting as a euphemism for chaotic). Those kinds of things. Then I figured out that I found this attractive because my parents display some of these things (not to the same extent at all, but still there). Before this, I was finding it really hard to ‘fix my picker’ as CL says (even though I’d dumped the ex, I still was in agony that I’d never find someone ‘like him’… what a joke!). Once I realised WHY I had ended up with such a psychopath, I was actually able to recalibrate in a more clearheaded way what I found attractive in a partner and why. Suddenly people I hadn’t noticed before – probably because they were similar to me, quiet, and non-‘shiny’ – became much more attractive to me romantically. And ‘shiny’ loud people became much less attractive.

    Not sure if this is at all helpful at all, but just to share that sometimes, even though you absolutely are not to blame for her behaviour, it can feel empowering to think about what attracted you to her in the first place and whether that’s something you could actively control (I had always believed the Hollywood angle that you can’t decide who you love and why… which is BS!). Obviously hindsight is 20/20 so we can’t blame ourselves for picking bad people, and we are not responsible in any circumstance for their shitty choices, but I’ve found it helpful for trying to pick a nicer person going forward. Good luck,
    LondonChump x

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