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UBT: ‘I Wish You Were Still Nice’

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NiceThe Universal Bullshit Translator gets a lot of “It’s not what I did, it’s how you reacted” pitchforked into it. Blameshifting lays around in piles. Why can’t you chumps be NICER? Someone needs kibbles!

In today’s UBT submission, Lori writes:

He was on his way out last year and did a complete 180, I figure the “supply” dumped him, but here’s his response…….

“It was because you became nice. I wish you were still like that. We wouldn’t be in this situation. But then it became worse and you became pissed at me. About everything under the sun again! I wish you could be that Lori. I would still be there. I don’t know why you have to, then and now, be such an angry person. I was waiting for that Lori to come back. She never did. I’m sorry. No matter what you say or think. I’m sorry.”

Roughly translated: “Lori, I’m sorry you’re such an asshole.”

It was because you became nice.

“Became” — implying you weren’t nice before. You transmogrified into a kinder, gentler you and stopped being a raging Gorgon. Thank you.

I wish you were still like that.

Yes, it had to end because you could not sustain nice. Why oh why did you ever cease kibble production? It’s a mystery to him.

We wouldn’t be in this situation.

What “situation” is that? He can’t spell that out, because to do so might confer responsibility upon him, so we’ll just use the euphemism that the current unpleasantness is a “situation.” He’s like that douche from Jersey Shore. Mike “The Situation” Cheaterpants.

But then it became worse and you became pissed at me.

Oh Lori, you just can’t stay nice, can you? Being a terrible person is just congenital, un-niceness just laying below the surface, ready to rear its ugly head. Without provocation!

About everything under the sun again!

Everything! Nothing pleases you! He can’t do ANYTHING right! It’s just you and your unreasonable meanness. You’re a grinch! You hate Christmas! And kittens! And cupcakes! You’re pissed at everything under the sun! He’s under the sun, ergo you’re pissed at him. It’s not like he DID something. There’s no reason to this pissed-offedness. It’s Just Who You Are.

I wish you could be that Lori.

I mean the “nice Lori.” The person who fed me kibbles and believed my lies and didn’t stand in the way of my cheating. I miss her. Chumps are so nice. Why can’t you be my chump again?

I would still be there.

It’s all your fault it ended.

I don’t know why you have to, then and now, be such an angry person.

The Problem Is Not What I Did, It’s Your Reaction To It.

I was waiting for that Lori to come back. She never did.

I am a sad sausage. I sit by my window and pine for Nice Lori. Sometimes I think I hear her coming, and I paw at the door and wet myself from the excitement… but it was just the mailman. There’s nothing in my mailbox but cobwebs and loneliness. And bills I wish you would pay. And Pottery Barn catalogs addressed to you. Your name taunts me. I remember the Nice Lori and I cry.

Maybe she’ll come back? I’m steadfast and true — unlike Lori. I wait and I wait and I wait. My pants are soiled. But she Never Returns. (sob)

She abandoned me, all because she couldn’t be Nice.

I’m sorry. No matter what you say or think. I’m sorry.

I am the victim of your unreasonable anger. I said I was sorry for nebulous unnamed things. That should be enough.

No matter what you say or think, I’ll stick with my narrative that this is all your fault.

Have a nice day, Lori.

This column ran previously. 

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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.
  • I think we would all like to believe that those who did us wrong will come clean on their own, admit their discretions, want forgiveness, will do what it takes to fix the situation and we will move forward. It’s been my experience that this nearly never happens. I think fear is part of that, but I also think too many of these people just cannot ever truly look at themselves and understand that the bad behaviour was really their doing, their choice, and they need to fix the situation. This ‘sorry not sorry’ crap is asinine, and as I was reading your post I felt the utmost empathy for you. The endless back and forth, etc., kills people emotionally and completely kills any chance of a life with this person moving forward. I’m sorry you’re going through this. I am relatively new to this site and the comments from others on my story have been so helpful to me. Virtual hugs from Ontario Canada.

    • Mary:

      I’ve been here for 3.5 years, dday was 7/30/2017 and he left 8/8/17.

      I was just reflecting on why I come back daily still and I’ve decided that hearing that I am having a shared experience is very comforting to me…. especially the commonality of tactics, the words and terms used, the predictably of the ex …now.
      Like many others I looked deep and long in myself for the answers to why this happened. And like most other I acknowledge some less than perfectness on my part. And like you and others here I’ve finally fully embraced that for whatever reason my ex is not capable of that introspection.

      I’ve these 3.5 years other chumps sharing their pain and the words cheaters used and the tactics – it has made me feel less alone and allowed me to really gain confidence in the decisions I have made to enable my healing….regardless of what the rest of the world thinks.
      The people here have made my healing possible and I hope we help you as well.
      Hugs from FL – covid capital of the world

      • Me, too. This is the saddest, most horrific and ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL on line support group for a Chump. I was conditioned to believe that I was at fault for anything bad that ever happened. It took this group to really believe that his cheating is 100% on HIM. The community snark and outrage helped me to express feelings I couldn’t name. I trust that he sucks, I filed for divorce. 23 months and a trial later, I’m just jumping through the many financial loops to get assets awarded in compensation for his spending on 2 schmoopies. Love from Texas

        • Sarah in Texas,
          Yep.
          My d-day was my daughters actual birthday in March 2021 and if not for CL I would have been worm food (what my soon to be x and her twu wuv wanted and desperately tried to have done)— can you imagine what it’s like to be told the baby and my children may not be mine? What sick woman tells a man that as she is delivering the baby? Her twu wuv was even at the birthing. Repulsive.
          No contact, trust that she sucks and reading my compadres’ trials here. So Essential for a chump. Even now as x is trying to get kibble from me cuz the luster of her twu wuv is tarnishing, I come back here to remember what garbage she is.
          Hugs from NYC.

          • That’s horrible. I truly think my XW wanted me dead. She was so cruel and vicious out of the blue. Maximum gaslighting. I think she was hoping she’d cause me to jump off a bridge. Makes perfect sense, she would have inherited everything, no messy divorce, she could spin any story she wished with no counter balance, she could say “see he was nuts”, and she could even play poor widow. She’s that cold. So glad I had my kids and found CL. Sorry Satan, I’m here to stay.

        • Ditto for me also 👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻

          I’m 7 years out from Dday #1, 6.5 from false wreconciliation and 5 from divorce where following a 10 day trial, I got 80% of assets. In a Community Property stare— yay me!

          I love CL and the great Chump Nation. Life changing. I’m happy and successful and engaged to a man who is loyal and kind. However, 25 years with a malignant sociopath and the brutal blameshifting and discard left scars. I like to start my day with CL and the other abuse survivors. I laught, I cry, I feel, I heal.

      • Yep My first DDay was 26 Oct 2018 and I finally kicked him out 25 Aug 2019. I think what really helped was the response to the letter I sent CL asking whether Fuckwit was a narcissist. It was a punch in the gut that’s for sure. But it was what I needed to see that he really sucked no matter what he was. I’m still here for validation of my experiences. I’m on the way to meh (the journey damn nearly killed me) but I’ve realised the pain IS finite.

    • It’s entitlement. Chump Lady puts it wonderfully.

      The same entitlement that caused the cheating and the lying is what prevents them from stopping the abuse. In that they simply don’t want to. There’s no convenience for them, it’s not what they want. They don’t want the same relationship or connection that we want.

      Even if they never cheated or lied again (unlikely), we would still be paired with someone with the bonding capacity of rice pudding.

    • Hi Mary! I’m from Ontario too. Six years on this site and still coming back for the sanity. Chump Nation is hugely clever. In response to your post- i was reminded how the cheater ( my exhole) really knew how to act like he is deep. He could parrit emotional depth and it took me-ages-to realize he did not feel it. ( alsohe spent his life working on theatrical productions so he jnew all about cues and fake emotion) Gosh if i had only understood that depthcan be faked!
      It is great to be reminded of how shallow cheaters are. All that drama and melodrama is a cover for lack of depth.
      Chump Nation has your back

    • Pardon me, that sound was my eyeballs rolling allllllllll the way into the back of my head. My exhole also claimed had I just been able to control my anger he would have stayed. Well pardon me for having normal human response to incredible betrayal. Assholes.

    • Lots of cheaters in Calgary Canada all hanging off dating apps. Ladies and gentleman of these cheaters protect yourself, lawyer up and get out we deserve 1000 times better!🌷

  • The double edge sword of cheating is that the chump has been accused of being mean in order to justify the affair in the first place. No making nice. No kibbles. No contact.

    • One of my many crimes that forced ex into an affair was that once early on in our 24+ year marriage, I was mean to a store clerk.

      That was news to me. If it was such a problem, why take decades to bring it up? Mean? Mean? What ex did & said to me dday & beyond was mean x a billion.

      • Thank you! I get the “do you hear how disrespectful you are when you talk to me?” Um…..do you see how disrespectful your actions are and how I legitimately do not respect you anymore?

        • My ex rolled out the word “disparage” when asked to account for his absence. I think I know where he was and who taught him that word.

        • Same cocoanutcake!

          Perhaps I am not acting like i respect you because I actually don’t respect you anymore. Forgive me for being discerning and having standards, I guess.

          Cheaterpants didn’t care what I really thought, he just needed me to kowtow.

          • Hahaha.. so weird how that happens.. same same. Sorry, I do not respect cheating assholes who are completely weak and cowardly. Is that the vibe you are catching from me now? Ok bye Felicia!

      • Lol! One of my many crimes was getting a migraine on the first day of our honeymoon. Pretty shitty of me to arrange a migraine right then. Not just that, I insisted on laying down in the dark with an ice pack and not immediately exploring the beach!

        The other nails in my coffin from our 13 year marriage: I was grumpy on a tubing trip once, I was “mean” on the phone once (during a year long deployment), and I “yelled” at him when he hit a curb and I spilled coffee on myself.

        Somehow, my ex was able to survive all of this behavior and catalogue it as proof of my shitty character. And of course, as a chump, I went to marriage counseling and cried and begged his forgiveness for the above.

        Thank God the madness has subsided and I can see how insane this stuff is!

        • Oh Liz! The audacity of that migraine.. it’s weird. It was the same for me after our first DDay. On a trip, on the way to the hotel, my migraine came on strong.. How dare I ruin the first day of our holiday? He ended up drinking by himself in the bar and making friends, not coming back to the hotel room until 6am so unbelievably wasted.. but my migraine was what ruined our vacation.. not his drinking.

      • “One of my many crimes that forced ex into an affair was that once early on in our 24+ year marriage, I was mean to a store clerk. ”

        I’m sorry, did he blow the clerk as an apology?

        • I was cheated on because apparently I spoiled our day out once because I wanted to get home and use up a turnip that was lying in the fridge.

          AND YOU KNOW WHAT……I BELIEVED HIM.

          So there you go, 11 years of a relationship, 9 married, one son….counted for nothing because of the dam turnip.

      • Oh I LOVE when they hold on to piddling issues for years, then bring it up to prove you’re horrible.

        And so… fucking Schmoopie was supposed to help solve the problem… how again?

      • I was told my sobbing…nothing hysterical, I was just trying to deal with the betrayal (and a miscarriage) was making HIM feel uncomfortable. Wait..what?

        Also, on catching him out on his double life he told me ‘ Oh you think you know everything..you’re such a know it all’

        I’ve never claimed to know it all but I do know that he didn’t accidentally trip into her vagina.

        • After he told me that he wanted a separation, I said that men don’t ask for a separation unless there’s another women.

          And he said, “Oh you think you know everything.” Then he denied an affair. Three days later the truth came out.

          • I can laugh now at the ‘you make other people feel very, very uncomfortable’. I so wish I had been sufficiently on the ball to channel my inner Sybil Fawlty to say, nonchalantly, ‘no Basil, I make you feel very, very uncomfortable because I know what you are’.

            • Omg – FW has told me multiple times that I “make people uncomfortable” and it’s why he doesn’t have any friends and he refuses to give up his great “friendship “ with his 20yo coworker / EAP (he’s 53)

              I also don’t have a sense of humor since I find him sending EAP kissy face emjois inappropriate…and don’t find riding tricycles around Walmart a good date night

              • 😂 😂 😂. Although I’m still laughing my head off at the terrible crime of ‘wanting to use up a turnip’ above. If it weren’t so sad it would be one of the funniest shows around.

      • That is actually funny. You were mean to a store clerk, so I had to have an affair. I think that Chump Lady’s Friday challenge should be a contest for the best false equivalency. I think yours should be a contender. I was told that my husband had a affair because 20 years prior, I did not say that I missed him when I paid for his unemployed ass to go to Florida for 2 weeks during the winter while I stayed home, shoveled snow, and went to work. Part of the Friday challenge should be how many years it took for the cheater to bring up that particular gem. I am sorry you were married to such a person, but know you are not alone.

    • So true. My NEX ran around telling everyone how mean I was to him, even though I put him through school, cared for our medically needy child while he went on long unnecessary trips, and (how dare I) try to keep him on a budget. (He declared bankruptcy 1 year after the divorce.)

      Number one in his book were some medical issues I struggled with and how they crimped his style and caused him stress. (Oh no, caring for someone else.) I didn’t choose to have those, they weren’t due to lifestyle, it happened to me. Unlike his choice to cheat and lie.

      So mean.

  • They want to be infants. An infant or small child can smack Mom in the face, pee on her, vomit, have tantrums…and is still considered cute, ooohed and aaahhed over and loved unconditionally. They don’t understand that a 60 (or 30 or 50) year old infant is repulsive to normal people. And that a healthy woman does not want to be their Mommy.

    • Yep. Which is why so many cheaters talk up “unconditional love.” Which is the last refuge of those who don’t want to earn love.

      • Unconditional love=I can do anything and you are supposed to love me.
        My ex’s final statement.
        where do you learn that?

    • Their whole emotional range is “you’re a mean mommy/daddy from not letting me do what I want, give me what I want…wah!” These people just present themselves as adults but emotionally they’re not. I started to grow, wanted our relationship to too, and he didn’t “wanna”. So he went searching for “kindiegarten snacks” and found someone else to save him from his wife aka “bad mommy, mean mommy”. I have friends who “mother” their husbands like their imbeciles or infants and it makes me want to scream or vomit or both. Grrrr.

      • Yep. I remember reading early on in my discard that narcissists were emotional toddlers, and I somehow thought it was metaphorical, as in, they act like toddlers but are still adults who can/should know better. And then a couple months later I was watching my friend try to parent her hungry five-year-old while he was shouting at her telling her he hated her and she was a bad mommy, and it all seemed weirdly familiar somehow. I got chills. I thought, “Oh, now I get it. I was *literally* married to a toddler—just one with a bigger vocabulary and a bank account.” So many things fell into place for me after that realization.

        I think Margalis Fjelstad put it best when she wrote (I’m paraphrasing) that trying to have an intimate, adult relationship with a narcissist is like trying to have a relationship with a 3-year-old armed with a nail gun.

        • DUUUUDES! The little baby tantrums! What the actual hell is that about??

          I’m in the middle of playing nice until I can move the hell out and it’s killing me being near him, playing his STUPID games, and dealing with his FITS. And that’s exactly what they are. Fits. If he doesn’t get what he wants, in that EXACT moment, he pouts like a fucking baby. Previously, I’d walk on eggshells and worry about his temper and when he’s going to explode at me over nothing. NOW? I sit back and giggle when he’s throwing a tantrum because it’s SO god-awful PATHETIC.

          All those red flags that I ignored or made excuses for. Ugh.
          I should get some permanent red paint or dye and cover him in it while he’s sleeping so that the red flags show on the outside and no one else can be duped like I (and women he was with prior to me) was.
          Fucker.

            • I used to call the facial expression ‘the lip’. He would jut out his lower lip, screw up his eyebrows and glower. Every time he thought he wasn’t getting his own way. I’d say, puzzled, ‘why are you giving me the lip?’. And he’d do a weird head wobble and stalk off. It was the behaviour of a 3 year old. I do not miss ‘the lip’ one little bit. 😂

              • OMG, Mighty Warrior, I get ‘the lip’ too. If I never see it again it will be too soon.

          • I’m in the same position as you. Klootzak had a tantrum yesterday because he found I had put my Pyrex bowl away with my other Pyrex pieces (they are a set; I keep them together so I know where to find them) instead of plunking the Pyrex bowl on top of the metal mixing bowls where he wants it. He muttered about how stupid I must be to have put it where I did. “How hard is it to learn that?” He said. It is beyond his comprehension that this is my house and I put things where I want and IDGAF where he thinks it should be. He is like a toddler who demands that Mommy give him his blue cup and if he doesn’t get it, he will do something awful, I was very tempted to respond, “If it all bothers you so much, why don’t you just leave?”

            It isn’t that he can’t stand that the world doesn’t revolve around him. It’s that he still has not grasped that it truly does not revolve around him. I am this thing creating chaos in his order of things because I refuse to kowtow to his every whim.

            He is planning a vacation for himself – not with me and our child because what fun would that be – and it is so very tempting to change the locks while he is gone. I’m so done.

            • do it. do it. do it. do it. do it.

              there. i wish someone had said that to me.

              If i had done it, I would be better off today.

    • With the difference that children grow up and stop doing those things because of genuine remorse (it hurts me to hurt mommy, so now that I realize I’m doing it, I will stop).

      They are stuck at the moral development age of 2 years old.

    • Mine used to say he couldn’t be honest with me because he “didn’t feel safe because I was so judgy”.

      I didn’t even know how to respond to that.

      • Yep, mine said this. He couldn’t teen e about all the people he was screaming behind my back because I’d “judge” him for it. So he has to lie to me.

        Because God forbid i be seen as an adult who gets to have boundaries or decide what kind of relationship she wants to be a part of. Nope, Katie wouldn’t be ok with this therefore we’ll all lie to her! He and all his friends think that makes perfect sense. When I told one I would’ve liked to just know so I could leave because I think they’re all disgusting she was shocked. I would walk away from the glory of them?! Well yeah, you sick freaks all knew I’d leave, that’s why you all lied. If you didn’t think so, you wouldn’t have bothered to hide it. No response to that. Go figure.

      • Mine said so too! It made me question whether I really was a super Puritan, close-minded person, and it took me months to realize it’s not that it wasn’t so much my Victorian morals, but more of his shitty, sleazy, low standards. Subconsciously he knew it, and he gaslighted it all out on me.

      • Exactly. “I couldn’t tell you because you would get mad. You love being mad at me and throwing things in my face, it’s your favorite. You just love it when everything is MY fault, because you are soooo perfect.”

        My “perfection” was not lying, not punching and breaking things, and doing all of the adulting and parenting.

        I still don’t get the “Oh so everything is MY FAULT” argument. Yeah, it is. Your actions are causing these messes, so yeah, your fault.

        They will do/say anything to not take responsibility for their own actions.

      • Best response: You cannot be honest with me because you know that if you tell the truth, then I will leave you. You will lose all the benefits that I bring. You should quit blaming me for your lying and cheating. It is your decision to betray me. I deserve the truth, so I can make the decision whether I want to be in a relationship with you. Of course you don’t feel safe telling me the truth. Any sane person would leave you if they knew the truth. I am regaining my sanity right now, so please leave and never contact me again.

  • Many cheaters fail to grasp cause and effect, arguing that meanness arising from their cheating caused them cheat (even though it hadn’t happened yet).

    It is good to be free of a cheater’s heartlessness, but also their stupidity.

    • When a cheater controls the narrative by hiding the facts, it is so easy to play a chump like this. As you posit, we probably only ever have 98% of the the truth. The 2% of the reality I did discover blew my mind. One (of literally hundreds) of examples of this:

      Years before DDay, after returning home at fuckwit’s behest (after putting my entire life on hold to give my newly sober ex time and space to heal and transition to life without alcohol), I was not welcomed with open arms; I definitely did not receive those amends you hear about from recovering alcoholics, nor any thanks or acknowledgement of the sacrifices I had willingly, lovingly and patiently made for him and his family. I had spent a long cross country drive listening to sex positive podcasts and relationship advice – thanks Esther, Dan Savage and Cheryl Strayed – and getting myself ready to be positive, confident and happy. My ex was finally on a healthy path, and I wanted so badly for things to be good – okay, even.

      So I walked in the door after this long drive, after being way for months, and he was hunched over the kitchen table, hooded sweatshirt pulled almost over his eyes. He didn’t even hug me. The next two nights, after yanking the covers around and jabbing me with his toes and elbows to settle in – a wall of blankets between us – he’d fall asleep reading, back to me. I tried to fall asleep, silently crying (he would’ve been angry if he heard me) about determined to stay positive and hopeful, thinking maybe it just needed a little time. Recovery is supposed to be hard, right? The third night, I couldn’t take it any more. I slipped out of bed to go to another room in the house, and he was furious. I attempted to explain, telling him I didn’t want to leave but that I couldn’t cry myself to sleep yet another night. I wanted to cuddle, chat, make love – or at the very least, not feel resentment and disgust radiating from him. I was disappointed and confused. If he wanted me to stay, why was he angry and screaming? Did he not hear me saying I was sad because I wanted love and intimacy – with him? He refused to change his tone and made zero sense, so I eventually did get away to settle into my own room, where I could go to bed in peace in my own little bubble. The next night, he did not apologize but gruffly told me I could come back if I wanted. I said that if he invited me back in lovingly, I gladly would return; it’s all I wanted really. He never did, and that right on and bed became my sanctuary. Not out of stubbornness, but for my own peace of mind.

      Fuckwit held this against me and twisted it in every possible way. Behind my back, he told people he was celibate, we were platonic – and worse. Later, after DDay 1 years later, this was the cause for his cheating. Well, guess what? During that time when I had been away, he kind of ended one affair (started a couple years earlier with an intern at work) and started another one with an even younger “woman.”This OW was showing up at the house while I was crying myself to sleep. They were in constant contact. He was being an absolute monster to me, and I knew it, but he treated me like I was abhorrent. And crazy! I remember telling him that we used to be a team, and he used to do clearly adore me, but suddenly it was like he hated and resented me – but I didn’t know why and was helpless to fix it. In one email, he wrote this girl to say, “B&R shaved her legs, put on a nice dress and is feeling confident. I don’t even want to touch her.” And then he’d tell me I wasn’t confident enough and make all these crazy arguments appear out of thin air. It doesn’t matter, but I look back at pictures of myself then, and I was adorable and fit and tan, after a season of hard work and outdoor adventures. Back “home,” I immediately found an interesting and challenging new job. I was taking classes, making art and cleaning out the house, learning about supporting a partner in recovery, looking after his family… And he was a grouchy asshole who was stabbing me in the back with some nasty young woman who didn’t know a thing about love or life. Or fuckwit. I was cooking and cleaning, and he was sneaking off to fuck her then come home and treat me like shit.

      And his story was that he started cheating – years later, with a different person – because I wasn’t sleeping with him and hugging him during that time. What a cowardly bully.

      So yeah. Cause and effect. And you can imagine how he tried to make me feel for being hurt/shocked/disgusted when I read that horrible email, and many more, years of abuse and lies later. Rinse and repeat.

      • Correction: that was *one* of the plentiful, contradictory and absolutely absurd justifications for cheating he provided. They changed rapidly depending on what he needed, what I knew or didn’t know, what others believed, and so on. Same old “bagged salad” word salad all chumps receive.

      • Thanks for sharing your terrible experience. You are not alone. I moved into the guest bedroom after similar treatment and serial cheating. I asked him to go to a therapist with me, and to cut contact with his affair partner but he refused. I tried to stay in the home in order to have a stable situation for my autistic son, but I had to move out when I began to fear for my safety. Now that I am in a healthy dating relationship, my ex husband is extremely angry and says that our marriage would have worked if I had done the things with him that I do with my boyfriend. He sees me looking happy in pictures of us doing things together. (I have gone totally no contact with my ex, and have a restraining order due to him breaking into my home and making death threats to me and others.) I find it crazy that he actually believes that I am the reason our marriage didn’t work. He did everything imaginable to sabotage a marriage, while I was working my ass off to do all the adulting. I was exhausted, but apparently still wasn’t doing enough.

  • The last serious conversation my ex and I had about reconciliation, I had a laundry list of things I wanted before I would consider it (drug rehab, therapy, steady employment) and he had “I wish you would change the narrative.” The narrative that he had been awful and I had been fine.

    I was like, I shall change the narrative when it’s there to change. Reports from his ex-friends indicate that the story he tries with them, as well as, presumably, his new buddies (he’s been forced to find an entirely new friend group as his long term friends are as sick of his BS as I am), is that I’m such a remarkably skilled storyteller (I’m a professional writer and editor), that it’s easy for me to create this narrative of his crimes. It’s designed to be flattering to my professional ego, while also, you know, calling me a liar.

    It’s “It’s Not What I Did, It’s How You Reacted to It” on steroids.

  • Yes! This makes me so mad. From mine, I get the “I just don’t like the person you’ve become.” Like WTF! Yes, I’m crying hysterically, super angry, clingy, and untrusting because you have are throwing away 20 years together and 3 young kids on a 23 year old subordinate that you think may be “the love of your life”.

    I also hate the “we had significant problems in our marriage” that you are using to justify why you started talking to her in the first place (not because she was infatuated with you and it felt good) but also using it to justify not making any effort to work through the issue (EA at the time, physical when he moved out). Especially when (1) you can’t even tell me what they were and (2) I was completely unaware of them. I mean, we had normal every day problems, I wouldn’t have called us blissful but I would definitely have called us happy. Over the past 8 months we have been progressively not happy but mainly because you wouldn’t stop your EA, you kept restarting it because her feelings were hurt and it was too hard to ignore her at work.

    • Those “we had problems” red herrings that cheaters throw out there in order to justify their adultery is maddening, I know.

      Take heart that it’s all BS; it’s all empty, hot air. They will say anything in order to justify their affairs and if they’ll fill in the blank with *anything* then their reasons are always empty–always BS.

      I was a member of another left behind spouses group in the 2000s and my favourite in-joke of ours (on the subject of asinine reasons the FW gives for cheating) was bagged salad. We were encouraged to list and share all the stupid, stoooooopid things the cheater said in order to justify things and we got the usual suspects:

      – You’re not the nice girl I once knew.
      – We’ve just drifted apart.
      – You love the kids more than me.
      – I don’t like that you became a stay at home mom.
      – I don’t like that you didn’t want to become a stay at home mom.
      – You stopped wearing short skirts.
      – You started wearing short skirts.

      Etc etc etc etc. When we piled all these “You did [this] therefore who could blame me for cheating?” reasons all together on the table we saw how stupid they all were. How empty. How nonsensical. How much these empty, blame-shifting excuses didn’t matter.

      But our favourite one–well, my favourite one!– was this one (I’m paraphrasing):

      – He told me he was leaving me because I always served bagged salad at supper instead of fresh salad.

      Everyone agreed that if she had been a green goddess who harvested fresh salad everyday and served it straight from the garden then he would have said “I’m leaving because I prefer bagged salad” instead. It helped us to finally realize that it didn’t matter what we did at all, what we wore, if we lost weight or didn’t, if we worked or didn’t, if we served bagged salad or fresh salad. None of it mattered.

      The bagged salad excuse was the icing on the cake for us for awhile before, like most fads, it disappeared. But I liked it because it made me chuckle in some very dark times. We’d say, “So, what was the bagged salad excuse your cheater gave you?”

      • this is fascinating.

        there are bagged salad echoes in the weird things my X said on the way out:
        –“you’re so straight forward. you would’ve never said things like that 20 years ago” (sharing an opinion)
        –“you say this is just who you are. well, this is just who i am” (mean)
        –“you went through menopause” (like it was a choice as opposed to a natural passage)

        bagged salad excuses.

      • Midlife Club – Are Pegasus and Wednesday still there occasionally?

        The bagged salad is the perfect stand-in for every stupid cruel ‘justification’ offered by a cheating spouse.

      • A couple gems my FW threw at me on his way out:

        – I reminded him to take the trash out on trash day.
        – He never liked the pattern of our everyday china. (LOL!)

        He told everyone else that we’d been living as roommates for the past 10 years. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve never given any of my past roommates weekly BJs. 🙄

        • “You remind me to take the trash out” and “I hate the patterns on our dishes” are classic pieces of bagged salad.

          My H told GF#1 (I read the email) that living with me wasn’t manageable anymore and he felt like he was drowning because I was boring, predictable, and I served him supper every night when he got home from work.

          You can be certain that if I didn’t have supper on the table every night he’d be citing that as the reason he didn’t love me.

          There’s no winning; it’s all bagged salad

        • “The problem still remained that I read the school email and the solution is that I send the email rather than read it. Not that he has issues with anger and disrespect that he should address.”

          Bingo. And what is it with this 10 years shit. It is always ten years. Maybe it just seems that way because so many marriages end at the 20ish year mark, and they just choose half the marriage as the starting point.

          Do fw’s that have been married thirty years say 15 years.

      • Hi Fourleaf,
        That is spot on— my soon to be ex told me— I’m nothing like her friend’s husband because he has a ride on mower and he acts all professional on it when he mows the lawn, while I have a push mower and act like a normal dad mowing a lawn. I’m just not the “father figure” she wants. Not joking — her twu wuv is a gardener so it all makes sense now. Tuesday is closer.

        • xioba

          Looking Professional while operating a law mower- an ultimate life time goal🙄😳🙄
          WTF?
          I’m sorry but I’m laughing at the stupidity of your ex

      • My bagged salad excuse was “You make lists. Everyone hates that.”
        I kept a grocery list on the refrigerator. Of course! That’s why he cheated. What was I thinking?

    • Although your cheater may legitimately have disliked the “crying, angry, clingy, untrusting” person that you became, it probably also (though maybe not consciously) was useful to him. Most people would have trouble admitting they’re nuking a happy marriage in favor of an affair; by provoking a confrontation, your husband brought out the worst in you, enabling him to tell himself (and the world) that the problems in your marriage were caused by you. Never mind that it’s a circular argument (he is legitimizing walking away because of your response to his telling you that he is walking away) – it’s good enough for him.

      This explains their refusal to actually address and problems in the marriage, or to help us manage the trauma of the betrayal: the implosion of our personalities is a feature, not a bug.

      • Absolutely. I brought that up during the 8 month pick me dance. 6 months of dedicated effort and dropping the OW and I wouldn’t be like this anymore. Maybe even less since it hadn’t actually progressed to a physical affair at that point. I also get the “she makes me feel the way you made me feel when we were 25.” You mean before we had 3 kids, you went to medical school, residency, and had a demanding job that you find unfulfilling, and an entire LIFE that does not revolve around just us? You mean when we were able to be selfish because we had no responsibilities? That goes hand in hand with damnitfeelsbadtobeachumpster’s comment and one of my own favs: “maybe I’ve changed and this is just who I am.” REALLY??? We have the ability to make a choice every day, THIS is the person you want to be?

        The bagged salad – that’s amazing and a great reference. When I found CL’s book in B&N, I grabbed it on a whim. I’m so happy I did and wish so bad that I had found it earlier. You have no idea how much I highlighted because I recognized it in my own life. He had me half convinced that while the OW was a problem, we were separating/divorcing because of my insecurity and our issues. That I reacted too poorly and just didn’t give him enough time/space to figure it out (eye roll).

        • Yes, and had you not found Chump Lady you would likely still be blaming yourself, or, at least, questioning whether you should be.

          It’s not enough for them to lay us flat with their cheating; they like to make sure, as they exit, that we won’t ever get up off the floor again.

    • You did have significant marriage problems. HIM.

      Read Private Lies and Grow Up! by Dr. Frank Pittman. Smart experienced people (like Chump Lady) spelling out the truth and cutting through the BS is necessary medicine for chumps.

      • Dr. Pittman says to cheaters,

        “YOU are the problem in your marriage.”

        Too many people still think of cheating like they think of mini skirts causing rape, unfortunately. And it ain’t got nothin to do with nobody or nuthin but the cheaters.

        • My father’s parting shot to my older brother was “Your mother has a lot of problems with men.” The unstated message was “I think so little of you, my only son, that I’m leaving you with this man hater !”. Blame shifting par excellence. Wrongo. My father’s abusive behavior was majorly problematic. You know, emotionally abusing his wife and kids, being selfish and inattentive. Cheating on his wife and thereby endangering her health. Physically attacking his wife a couple of times, in front of his children. Abandoning his children when he left his wife, twice. Lots of problematic behavior.

  • Kudos to Mary, first poster on this thread – well said! In time, each of us comes to the conclusion
    that there are people in this world that are not emotionally healthy and cannot sustain a relationship.
    With eyes now wide open, our lesson is learned, and we navigate the world with rose color glasses
    removed. Don’t own it, go into the pit with it, try to rationalize it, or expect closure. No need to
    labor forever at the injustice of this experience – it’s meant to teach lessons toward a better life.
    Redirect your energy away from these predators and onto worthy ambitions of better objectives.
    This site and LACGAL have been an excellent resource along the way, as are the many guys and gals
    who share your stories and lead others away from darkness into the light.

  • The most telling line is at the end:

    “No matter what you say or think”

    He doesn’t care what she says, feels, or thinks. It’s all about him. It doesn’t matter to him what he actually did, her pain, or her autonomy to leave. What she thinks doesn’t matter to him, she’s just “mean”

    • If only you could kill them with kindness 🙂

      Remember, we didn’t cause the cheating; we can’t control the cheating; we can line up our ducks and go no contact… and avoid this (and all) cheaterspeak blameshifting.

      Rock on Chump Nation – you’ve got this!

  • It’s funny how once you’ve reached meh and read enough of these that you see the cheaters in such a different light. This FW sounds like a child. As I was reading, it was truly like an 8 year old wrote it. Now I see this stuff and hope Lori got out ok and was able to move on. And that cheater FW is dumb as a brick. It’s amazing that many FWs are 50+ and remain stunted.

    • You are right. Going through this has given me my own (rudimentary and definitely not as eloquent UBT). I was watching a reality show and I always thought that one of the people was a FW. There is only 1 season and I have seen it quite a bit but this time it really did not sit right with me. He publicly and repeatedly made jokes amongst other people about their lack of sex but never attributed it to him being out of the home for the majority of the year. It was always the spouse’s fault. It reminded me of my own life. The FW still in my life would do this but we were active when possible and he would do things to avoid intimacy like leaving the home at night to go to a friend’s house every other night and returning in the wee hours of the morning. Clearly now, I see that he was with an OW but I did not then.

      What I finally pieced together this weekend is that if your spouse complains about your lack of sex life in front of others (and not to you in private) but is the main cause of it, they are not warning you that they are dissatisfied- they are most likely already cheating and setting you up as the fall guy. Like the FW of the post, it is always your fault- not theirs. I feel dumb for just now getting this.

  • This just in, and what a tie-in.

    On Monday, I opened an email, from our daughter’s school, regarding funding. I said, “Moe! Look! An email from Lovely Art High School!” And started reading it to him.

    He became instantly angry. At ME.

    Huh? WTF is going on?

    I am good at deflecting gobbledygook and so cannot quote what button in his rat maze mind got pushed, but the problem, according to him, is not his hair-trigger anger at me but I SHOULD JUST SEND THE EMAIL AND NOT READ IT OUT LOUD. (We were at our weekly business meeting where business/child matters are discussed, BTW).

    At the end of the day, he sent an email apologizing to me because “it looks like we were BOTH hurt”, even though he admitted completely misunderstood the content of the email (because of above-mentioned hair-trigger which shuts off his ears).

    The problem still remained that I read the school email and the solution is that I send the email rather than read it. Not that he has issues with anger and disrespect that he should address.

    Divorce is a good thing. Cheating and lying are the symptoms of a seriously screwed up person. Trust that.

    • “The problem still remained that I read the school email and the solution is that I send the email rather than read it. Not that he has issues with anger and disrespect that he should address.”

      So familiar. When I called my ex and told him he wants a divorce he needs to file, so we can get our finance’s separated.

      He said, “I know you don’t trust me, but if we both use my (his) lawyer; we can save a lot of money.” I said nope I will get my own lawyer, just file. He said “your problem is you can’t think for yourself” So the problem was not that he was a lying piece of crap, it was that I can’t think for myself.

      My response to that by the way was: “you are right, right now I can’t think; so I am hiring someone to do the thinking for me.”

      Then he said “well I hope we can be friends” I said “no, I am particular about who my friends are” I said “bye” and hung up. So again the issue was that I refused to be friends, not that he was a lying asshole who was trying to screw me into poverty.

        • I would like to say it was quick thinking, but honestly both statement were one hundred percent true.

          I couldn’t think straight and I knew I needed someone to watch out for me and me alone.
          and I was particular about my friends; and he had proven he didn’t measure up.

          I was raised to believe that I would be known by who I chose as friends, and that asshole flew right under my radar.

    • Oh yes. I am not allowed to read klootzak an email or part of an article or anything. I decided I’m not going to forward emails and articles and whatnot. The point in reading it to him was to open a conversation about X thing. So I stopped reading anything to him at all and since some of the information was in posts from friends on social media, he missed out hearing about social events and all kinds if things. And I didn’t care one bit. If I learned something new, I just went and took action on what I learned and didn’t bother consulting him because I would have had to refer to the article where I read about it (one about how to refinish an old wood bannister comes to mind). So in the evenings I would quietly read and he would grumble that I wasn’t talking to him.

      These FWs are all alike.

  • cheating folks and changing the narrative.

    it’s like they want to recreate an artistic masterpiece when what they’re working with is a paint-by-number set. there are gaps and the cheap paint bleeds.

  • He wanted me to be “nice” and “play along” when I came back with my family to visit him, the house, the places I left behind by fleeing suddenly, unsure what was next.

    In the days prior, he had made promises “I want to start doing what’s best for everybody”, got self-help books, actually sounded contrite (was typing contrived, what a freudian slip).

    When I got here, I wanted to start discussing things, I was overwhelmed by everything and not very stable. He got angry because he thought I’d come there on vacation, had stocked up on all my favorite snacks and wanted to take me to the beach (he actually threatened me “not to take me to the beach”, yelling at me in the car, as I was a naughty 5-year old. Also, please don’t do that to children, either).

    He wanted me to be nice, so he could play nice, and everything would be nice (hopeful his abuse slip into oblivium, like it had so many times before) Discussing the real issues? He was not there for that AT ALL.

    I felt like getting slapped on sunburned skin.

  • Btw, the window-sitting and pining is EXACTLY how he portrayed himself in my absence the whole time after we separated. He was waiting for “his fiancée” to come back. The one who ran away after the ultimate D-Day was not his fiancée, apparently.

    Funny because I recall running away PRECISELY from a failed engagement, after a failed 11-year relationship (and the nth D-Day) before it became a failed marriage.

    I ran away because I was the same person, funny that.

  • What is with that “pining” image?!

    My ex was -living- with his OW and had the sads scrawled all over MySpace (gods that was so long ago lol) because his wife had the gaul to -leave- him and file for divorce.

    The whole profile was literally blue and had this playlist of sad howling music right up to the day he married OW. (A whole month after I was finally able to push the divorce finalization through)

    I had looked the day I kicked him out and the morning of the court date for signing.

  • My ex actually said to me during our final argument, “All the nasty things I’ve done to you over the years have turned you into someone I hate!”

    And it was like, I’m supposed to feel bad for that? LOL How dare I react like a human being instead of smiling like a Stepford wife about him lying, cheating, and humiliating me. It’s so weird that I didn’t enjoy all the nasty things he did to me.

    It reminds me of a jerk I dated long ago who dumped me and sneered at me, “You are the smartest woman I’ve ever dated” and his voice was just dripping with disgust. I remember being so confused and just said, “thank you?” and he looked shocked and flabbergasted that I would take being smart as a compliment.

    Same kind of logic. My best friend and I have laughed about that for literal decades. When my now ex husband pulled out his little nugget about all the nasty things he’s done to me, that’s exactly what my mind went to. Now we have something else insane and ridiculous to laugh about. LOL

  • Holy cow, feels like an episode out of my Jerry Springer show this past year and I can’t help it…I laughed out loud. I was the anger monger, I was cut down to anyone that would listen to his narrative, I was the one that “read it wrong.” I remember the first thing he said when I confronted him with proof, “oh my God, I know it looks bad” He left 4 years later because “he couldn’t live this way anymore. He loved me but wasn’t in love with me.” I was “always such an angry person.” Funny how now that he’s gone so is the anger, the resentment and contempt. Thank you Lori and Chump Nation, I made it to Tuesday on a Wednesday. I always was a day late and a dollar short with the idiot. Now I can finally put the past behind me and trust that he sucks way more than I ever thought possible.

    • Yup, he’s gone, and my anger has becomes much more manageable. Funny how we are blamed for reacting like human beings should act when nasty things are done to them. Nope, he’s not the problem — the problem is my reaction to what he did.

  • This is my story.

    I was told I “have an anger problem”, “problem controlling my emotions”, am “not a monster” (which was his way of saying he thinks I am a monster) and so much more.

    What he wanted was a cessation to my feelings: anger, sadness etc. that were a reaction to his treatment of me.

    He had been lying to me and gaslighting me for 5 years. I was very angry at him for the horrible ways he had been treating me. Trust me, I gave him plenty of opportunities to leave. I would ask him regularly, “do you want this? if you don’t want this, then you can leave, I will let you go”. Two years after breaking up he was still harassing me so obviously he didn’t want to go.

    All of this was before I learned about the cheating.

    Then I learned about the cheating, which was my deal breaker. He must have known that on some level because he went to crazy extents to hide it from me. He didn’t go to crazy extents to treat me well though. And he never took the chance to leave when offered.

    Eventually I came to understand that he stayed because he actually enjoyed hurting me 🙁

    He could have treated me well – but he didn’t. (my fault according to him) He could have left at any time – but he didn’t. Why?

    Then I discovered the truth; the secret life. It’s what I suspected all along but I always figured why would anyone go to the trouble to cheat if you aren’t trapped by marriage and children and property and your partner is regularly offering for you to leave?

    When I discovered the truth I was *furious*. It all made sense. I even went back in time and found supporting documentation of the things he was doing behind my back whenever things were at the worst for us. Basically, he would find a new interest and begin to devalue me, to my face and online to others, the mistreatment would ramp up and I would have no clue what was going on, what had changed etc.

    So when I discovered the truth, it was like everything suddenly clicked into place.

    This man didn’t want anything to change. He liked treating me like crap, he liked having me around to some degree, he liked all of it. Maybe he even like the lying and sneaking around. Maybe he even liked the arguing.

    I was furious. 5 years of my life; my dreams of marriage and family; my fertility; endless tears and arguments and suffering…WHY?

    And the overall assessment of me? Is that I have an anger problem.

    What about what caused the anger? Nothing to see there. The problem is my reaction.

    It took a good therapist to help me see that I didn’t seem to have an “anger problem” with anyone else in my life. I have good friends who I don’t fight with. They treat me nicely and we have fun together. I don’t have an anger problem at work. I am valued and treated with respect and make friends with coworkers at every job I have.

    Truth is I did blow a gasket. I couldn’t believe he could be so cruel with another’s life. But I felt justified in blowing a gasket.

    I wasn’t happy about my reaction but I don’t know what other reaction would be expected.

    He wanted a “clean slate”. Which meant that he never wanted to be held accountable for all of the shitty ways that he treated me.

    I wanted to not have been treated so terribly – which was impossible. My anger was my way of discharging some of the pain that I was feeling onto the person who was inflicting it upon me.

    It only sort of worked. He didn’t feel any pain from it and it provided him with the justification to mistreat me further.

    The alternative would have been to keep it all to myself – which eventually I did once I realized that not only did it not cause him pain but he may have even been getting off on mine.

    In retrospect, I wish I had just left. If someone treats you poorly, it isn’t going to get any better. They either know the correct way to treat another or they don’t/won’t and never will. The second I protest someone’s behavior and they excuse or dismiss me – I am out of there.

    I think it’s important that we are accountable for our behavior and the truth is that I was very angry. But it didn’t need to be this way. He could have treated me well (not his mission I guess); he could have left me and found someone he wanted to treat well and left me to find someone who would do the same for me.

    What I think I finally figured out was that he didn’t want to have to treat anyone well. He wanted all of the perks but none of the work. He also wanted recognition for meeting basic expectations like showing up on time.

    Leaving him was the best thing for both of us. He needed to learn that you do in fact need to invest in something in order for you to achieve success in that thing. He was lazy AF with most things in his life (even his job). I think in a way I was handicapping him by enduring his shitty behavior and not holding him accountable enough. I was worried he would change for the next girl and it appears he did. He is partnered up now and I can only imagine that he didn’t pull any of this shit with his new lady and that he actually had to work and put in effort for their relationship to succeed.

    That said, I truly believe in “trust that they suck”. Sometimes it looks like they have changed and probably they have changed *some* things – especially the things you bitched the most about – but his default mechanism is set at lying, sneaking around, laziness and entitlement. So someday when they have problems (and I’m sure they will) this is his go-to set of behaviors for dealing with it. Fun times.

    I guess along those same lines, I need to make sure any future problems in my relationship don’t result in anger. I think about this a lot but my current partner doesn’t do any of these things to me and one of the few times we have had an issue, I bring it up, he listens and cares and we work to find a resolution. There’s no denial, lying, gaslighting, dismissal, false equivocation, or anything else like that and as such there is no anger.

    Sorry for the long comment; this one hits home for me.

    • I think they want someone to be shitty to as an outlet for how they feel about themselves. They’re doing awful things, NOPE! Project that all right onto you. That’s where all of this “it’s your fault” comes from. By you, they mean them. You’re the easiest punching bag because you care and you unintentionally signed up for all of it. Then they can continue doing all the nasty things they are doing in secret and have you to emotionally slap around and pick up the pieces, terrified it really was you who did something to cause it. It’s such an absolute mindfuck.

    • You were a good appliance. Barring a miracle (personality transplant, maturity injections, lightning bolts from Thor) his AP will be a good appliance too. If she gets sick of it, beware the hoover.

  • “I wish you could still be nice.”

    My reply?

    “After you. By all means, you go first.”

    “Sorry. I only grant three wishes and you’ve used them all up.”

    “I wish you were Jamie Fraser from Outlander and I had magic stones and they had Target and indoor plumbing and modern medicine in Olde Scotland.”

    Oh, the snappy, snarky responses this invites!

    😜

    • When my daughter was little, her friend Olivia told her that she had a roller-skating pony. Naturally my daughter wanted to see it, so she asked where it was on a play date at Olivia’s house.

      “It’s invisible,” said Olivia.

      “Well,” said my daughter, “I have an invisible monster that eats invisible roller-skating ponies.”

      Mic drop.

      You’ve just gotta find your sense of humor and outwit the cheaters, not really a difficult task based on the IQ evidenced by the typical cheater once the game is exposed.

  • Lori,
    I noticed a lot of the comments to this post include the ridiculous excuses for why they cheated.
    You were mean to a store clerk 10 years ago
    You had a migraine on our honeymoon
    He hated the China pattern
    You reminded him to take out the garage on trash day
    And my own personal responses from my cheater:
    You read to much and took to many walks🤦🏼‍♀️
    But I see your cheater went another way. Your cheater used the unicorn/hypothetical. “If only”. If only is a great one for these wackos because it can’t be disproven.
    If only you were nicer
    If only you didn’t nag
    If only blah blah blah
    Excuses are bad enough but the “if onlys” leave the Chump in limbo.
    Lori, it doesn’t matter how nice you were or were not. He would have cheated anyway. You could have become a Saint and he would have complained about your halo. This is all on him. He’s a coward and wants you to be mindf***ked and blame yourself. Go no contact and say bye bye to this schmuck!

    • Welcome aboard Todd! This site saved me. I just wish I would have found it sooner. Im divorced 5-1/2 years after a 21 year marriage and I still participate here. I have reached meh but still have bad days. I also hope my experiences can help someone else. Its nice to be among people who know exactly how you feel. Sorry you got mixed up with a fuckwit. Stick with us, you’ll be fine😊

      • Awesome Lori and Damnit! Thanks for the encouragement. Been paying a counselor and still felt ashamed, then , 60 minutes here and I see the path.

        • Todd,
          I 100% understand those feelings of embarrassment and shame. It takes time to really let it sink in that it wasn’t your fault. I don’t know if your embarrassment stems from the whole getting cheated on or it’s because of any spackling or pick me dancing you may have done. I suspect a little of both?
          I was personally humiliated by being cheated on. It made me feel so foolish. It made me feel like everyone around me was laughing at me. And I then was further embarrassed by the stupid things/spackling I did to try and make the marriage work. (I bought my then husband’s girlfriends daughter a car!)🤦🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️ I can actually laugh about it now! lol
          Most of us here have been down the humiliation road. Read through some of Chumpladys archives. The first couple of years, in my opinion are some of the best articles.

          • I thought I was bad for buying the AP baby gifts when she gave birth to my husband’s child. (I didn’t know it was his at the time- I thought it was her husband’s child, and so did he!) She had insinuated her way into my life under the guise of being my friend, so she could better learn how to compete with me in a contest that I didn’t know about. I had two different affair partners get a job at my workplace in order to stalk me. Don’t be embarrassed about anything you did. You are the sane person trying to deal with insanity.

    • hi Todd, welcome to show! you may find yourself in supporting or lead positions in the scenes played out here, no matter, you’re a welcome member of the cast!

    • Welcome, Todd. Sorry you need us but glad that you found us. Almost half the readers here are men, though we tend to lurk more and post less. It’s not about gender, but character. Wishing you strength and peace.

    • Todd, I was so gaslit by my XW I was no longer sure the earth was round. I found this blog and discovered story after story of the EXACT same tactics, techniques, deceptions, words and phrases, and actions that my XW was utilizing. Its like they all read the same Cheater Handbook. It can’t actually make any of it better, but at least you can feel less alone and not crazy.

      Like Nomar said, mostly females post, but plenty of male chumps lurk. I’m 5 years out, court is finally over, assets settled, rebuilding the business she torpedoed, 99% no contact, I got my kids through college, dating a wonderful woman, etc. but sometimes drop by to remind myself how far I’ve traveled.

  • It reminds me of the time when I had to go to couples therapy to work on my communication issues. That was right after we “separated” (he left with a bag of cloth s to an undisclosed location). We were not going to talk about why he wanted a divorce out of the blue, and we were not going to try and work on our marriage and avoid a divorce. We needed to work on my tone of voice and my nasty anger issues instead. “Ouch, it really hurts my ears, why are you yelling, I just need to fuck strange” and “you can’t be around the kids when you’re crazy like this”. Oh yeah, he went there.

    Needless to say, I didn’t go back. I signed up for boxing classes instead.

  • ‘I would still be there’
    NO THANK YOU!!!! They think they are such a super special gift to the chump, when actually, they’re the huge millstone hanging around our neck! Please, never come back, don’t be here, wherever you are, and whoever you’re using now, keep doing that!
    Can’t believe I stayed with the con man for 32 years, but at least I wised up, even though it took decades.
    It just makes me shudder- to think he could be here! He has never set foot on my little property, and I like it. I’m good, me and my two cats, and I’m dating a nice man, who’s very respectful. Done and dusted with conman, yuk!

  • After all I went through, I came to see that solid relationships are honest. You hurt me, and I say so. I hurt you, you say so. We work on the rough edges and keep the relationship exclusive. But a major breach? That’s something else entirely. You aren’t nice after an explosion hits the relationship.

    My ex initiated the divorce process, and at the second appointment, my wonderful attorney told me that I was going to have to toughen up because he was expecting a fight. He said that my future was at stake, and we weren’t going to just lie down and take it. After it was all over, I could go back to being nice. He also recommended going no contact and letting him handle everything so that in my niceness, I wasn’t going to shoot myself in the foot.

    After signing, we were expecting more of a fight in closeout, and indeed there was. Once that was all over and paid for, I knew without a doubt that it all had to be. Nice or not, my ex is not someone I want in my life. Period.

  • “Bagged Salad” is brilliant!

    Seriously, the blame-shifting they do is some perverted mental gaslighting gymnastics because they CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH.

    The ex-FW compared his devastation at me dumping him with my devastation by his betrayal. He even posted on Facebook that he was “coming out of the worst trauma he ever faced”. The man was blown up in a gas explosion as a teen, and my giving him consequences was his worst trauma?

    Actually, the night before D-day he spent the night in his old crappy rental house because he was pissed at me because my teen daughter stayed one extra night instead of going to her dad’s house. The timing of that is great – his petty-ass being pissed for something that was between my daughter and her dad had zero to do with him. And also he can remember that the last night we could’ve been together he was too busy being butt-hurt about something that didn’t involve him.

    He admitted he was wrong for his year+ affair (we were together only about 4 years). Then later he claimed I was too worried about political things and that changed our relationship. Uh yeah, he started the affair long before any of that. It’s all bagged salad.

    I finally got to Tuesday last week. I considered if I still need to check the blog. And I do. It reminds me that I’m not alone, that my instincts in leaving were good, and that I’m in good company with all of you wise and funny chumps.

  • Yes I admit I was nasty to him. It’s called reactive abuse. I didn’t understand that at the time. The guilt was huge until I understood I was reacting to his abuse. He said I was a nag( lol yes I “nagged” him to stop screwing other women and blowing 30 years of retirement saving on himself at 56.). SMDH

  • I watched a documentary on Netflix last night, I think it was called This Changes Everything. It made me think about multiple visions as if a situation was floating in space, and being viewed from different angles. I never did understand this concept in high school geometry class, but as a “seasoned” adult, I get it now.

    Basically the “problem” of being a woman or another type of minority living in a misogynistic, racist, phobic world, all depends on your view. If you are in the position of power and money, and control, you just cannot understand why all the “others” can’t just sit quietly and accept being in the place they were “born into” as part of a divine plan, and content to just be quiet and accepting of whatever crumbs happen to fall off the table. Nature’s grand design, you know. Sometimes, if you are in power, but think of yourself as a progressive, even liberal thinker, you don’t understand until you see irrefutable evidence. Then your vision is changed, forever.

    The change is incremental, and moves at a snails pace. It cannot be about what we “feel.” It has to be proven in numbers, and recordings, and photos, and words, all justice laden evidence. Liars and cheaters will lie to the bitter end, and try to say it is not what they did, but our reaction, or our imagination, or even, “you cannot prove that!” But when we can prove it, when we do know it, we can never go back to the time when we did not know. Geena Davis talked about the movie Thelma, and Louise, (one of my all time favorites) and the talk about this changes everything. But it didn’t. Upon investigation a whole history of observations and feelings had been documented in the entertainment industry, all thinking that these numbers would change everything, decades before the movie. But it didn’t. The civil rights act didn’t do it. The women’s movement didn’t do it. Other movements haven’t done it. Me Too is the latest.

    Why is this industry so important? Because if we cannot see ourselves in the pictures, and stories, and entertainment venues of our culture, then we believe we are isolated, and perhaps an aberration. We do not exist in the world as important, if we are different. We long to fit in our culture, and feel accepted and loved and a valued part of it. We cannot ever do this if we are quiet and accept being less than.

    So, once your chump eyes have been opened, and you find you have been sleeping with a deadly stranger instead of a beloved partner, you can never go back to being “nice.” That’s why you leave, and start your own life. You hope for change, and you work for change, but it hasn’t happened yet.

    So little girls are still risking their lives to go to school. And a thousand other things. What will it take to change everything?

    • portia, this doc is pretty amazing. to understand that 85% of entertainment viewed worldwide is produced by Hollywood blew my mind. the force is strong.

      that said, is Hollywood weakening? there are indicators. i listened to this podcast interview of an essay writer out of LA, Matthew Specktor, who is a culture writer and he’s got a couple projects in production in which he discusses LA’s waning power. pretty interesting stuff.

      as for opening your eyes to the full reality of your partner, it’s pretty sobering to discover your partner really doesn’t like/respect/regard you as you assumed/hoped. and there is no turning back from that realization. the mask slips and you see the person underneath, granted they’re not capable of much from an emotional perspective.

      it’s a lot.

    • Sleepy with a deadly stranger instead of a beloved partner.. this. Nailed it. I actually look at pictures and do not recognize him at all. He’s a completely different person with the mask off and I am so glad he’s off living the life with his AP. He’s dead behind the eyes.. a three year old trapped in a 37 year old’s body.. with the emotional maturity to match.

      The dance is now over, after 7 months, and I see clearly. The cheating shouldn’t have been the end of us.. all the BS before should have been for the last few years. Woulda, shoulda, coulda. So glad I finally found all you Chumps.. The book changed my entire perspective on the fuckwit. Although I knew it before, I definitely now understand it. He is mentally unstable and needs some intense therapy. Otherwise he’s doomed to a life of misery. Best wishes and warmest regards to him.

  • “I wish you were still nice” For me and XW she doesn’t use that same phrase but it’s the same meaning. Most of the time it’s……why won’t you co-parent with me? Which simply means……why are you grey rock. I know she doesn’t understand that terminology…..that would require self introspection. What she really means is….”why won’t you do what I say anymore?” The simple answer is that they don’t have a clue what that means. If you don’t do what they want means you are not nice or a bad parent. You need to disavow yourself of that delusion immediately. I guess the pill that was the hardest for me to swallow is the people around me. Yes, I can talk to my close friends about what happened and why I do what I do now……….sadly and maybe thankfully, most of society is not privy to what chumps experience or worse yet….blame us. Thanks, all you wreckonciliation sites who make us out to be the demons. Yes!! We don’t long for them to be punished or even persecuted, but turning the smoking gun on us seems so much like burning the witch at the stake. LOOK!! I felt abandoned or unloved!!!!! The only way out was to send nudes and bang someone else…..I had no choice!!!!! Make them wear the Scarlett “Chump letter”. I just want love, and hookups, and random STD’s…..it’s my life!!! Yes, yes it is…..but there’s another life involved and sometimes more than one……….but I never did mind about the little things. I’m well into divorced from my X, but the monster still rears it’s ugly head. Always because of my wonderfully innocent children. That’s why I’m not “nice”. No, we’re not friends……no we disagree about a great many things. Why? because I care about my children and my life. You’re life is only a factor as much as the court order I have in my hands says. Beyond that…..there is no we.
    You just can’t do it fellow chumps……they burned you again and again and again……..the odds say astronomically they will do it again, given the chance. Shovel the dirt on it for Smokey the Bears sake and start a new fire !!!

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