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He’s Back After ‘Ending It’ with OW

zombieDear Chump Lady,

I just heard from my mother that my soon-to-be-ex reached out to her pleading after I had made it clear I was done talking to him last week. All the things I had prayed to hear 5 months ago after D-Day. He ended it with her. He admitted what a low life coward he was. He apologized to my parents for putting them through this. He told her he always loved me and that he would give me all the time I needed.

I have been faithfully coming to your site since June reading everything. I prayed to God that he would pine after me for the rest of his life as his punishment. Maybe that prayer came true.

He was a wonderful husband and best friend until he cheated and lost his mind. After D-Day he was a cruel 180 of his former self. I want to thank you again for this website. I think in my gut I know that we could never have anything special together again. I would always picture the two of them together. I would always remember the unceremonious discard of me after 14 years together. I don’t think I would ever trust again, ever. But, I still ache for him, I thought he might implode like this and realize what he did, but not this fast.

What do I do Chump Lady? Do I entertain talking to him again for some sort of “closure” although we know that doesn’t really exist. Do I continue no contact? Almost 5 months out we are in the middle of our divorce and I am still incredibly emotionally frail. It’s what every chump prays for but now that it has happened, it is just sad. Sad that our 9 year marriage was thrown away over a few months of sleeping and living with another woman.

KS

Dear KS,

So, he’s hoovering and you’re asking me if you should take another toke on the hopium pipe and break no contact?

Um… do you know who you’re writing to?

This is not Unicorn Lady. I’m not going to encourage you to take back a man who unceremoniously dumped you for another woman. There are a bazillion places on the Internet that will. Stand for your marriage! He’s back with a rose! He chose you! Stop the consequences at once and forgive! Think of the children! 

I am not that place.

I just heard from my mother that my soon-to-be-ex reached out to her pleading after I had made it clear I was done talking to him last week.

That’s nice. He violates your boundaries by triangulating with your mother. Quality partner material there.

He ended it with her.

Would you like to be his consolation prize? Provide a hanky when he gets misty watercolored memories?

Oh, right, she didn’t dump him, he ended it. You won the pick-me dance! And he’s a lying liar who lies, but hey, you can trust him on this.

He’s delusionally entitled to assume he still has a partner to come back to. That doesn’t insult you? It fills you with second-guessing? Slap yourself.

He admitted what a low life coward he was. He apologized to my parents for putting them through this.

Right. Go ahead with the divorce and report back on his remorse. He can demonstrate his apologies with a fair and generous settlement. Nothing says you can’t date him after the divorce, as he keeps on that self-improvement kick.

Oh… he doesn’t want to test that? He’d like a cessation of consequences now?

Crazy timing, that sorry.

He told her he always loved me 

The whole time he was abandoning you, living with, and fucking the Other Woman — he loved you the whole time? What kind of love was that? An annoying buzz in his head? A calendar alert on his iPhone? “Remember! You’re a married man who loves his wife!” Oh, thanks for the reminder, iPhone.

Do you want a partner who does unloving things and tells you it’s love? Do you enjoy cognitive dissonance for breakfast?

and that he would give me all the time I needed.

Right. Like he respected your 5 months of no contact.

Also, who the fuck does he think he is? Also, do you live in a fault state? You take him back, the law considers all this infidelity/abandonment shit forgiven.

He was a wonderful husband and best friend until he cheated and lost his mind.

He didn’t “lose his mind.” He chose to cheat on you. And leave you. You’re already trying to absolve him from responsibility and ascribe his abuse to some sort of nebulous madness. No, he’s a fuckwit with agency.

Do I entertain talking to him again for some sort of “closure” although we know that doesn’t really exist.

There is no closure. There’s acceptance. Which comes with time and no contact.

Talking to him again isn’t “entertaining.” It’s sticking your head in the mindfuck blender. I don’t recommend it.

Do I continue no contact?

Well, what do you want KS? Another hit on the pipe? Or a new life? Did you divorce him in some sort of “Harrumph! I’ll show YOU!” or did you really mean it? Were you asserting your self worth, or were you just waiting for the field to clear of one pernicious Other Woman? You realize she can be replaced. As can you. But whatever, if you think he’s the Great Prize, sure, talk to him.

Watch him grovel. Enjoy the power seat for once and all his sorry. (Ask him what he’s sorry for and watch him sputter to come up with the specifics. That’s always fun.) Bask in validation from a man who abandoned you. He wants you now!

Hop back up on that carnival ride. It’ll be different this time.

Do I sound cynical? I just, like, read millions of these stories.

But KS — seriously, you want to talk to him? Don’t go it alone, do it with a lawyer. You get that settlement. I predict his sorry will evaporate. But if it doesn’t, great, you’ll have a tangible benefit.

He wants YOU to believe in the Power of Maybe. He wants YOU to invest your future in his potential. So, reciprocity. Let him take on some uncertainty. Let him demonstrate that sorry and give you a fair out, with zero promises that you’ll reconcile with him later, but you might entertain the possibility.

Will he twist in the wind for you? Or will he replace you?

I think you know the answer to this.

When given a choice between fantasy and lucidity, I prefer lucidity. I’d stay the course on the divorce.

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.
  • Ha reminds me that my fw wrote me a letter apologizing for being such a low life, and he didn’t know why he did it yada yada yada. I would have loved to get that letter right after he left. I so wanted my marriage back. In fact I gave him a second chance soon after he left. He treated me like shit.

    Unfortunately for him and fortunately for me, he didn’t write the letter until he had stayed gone several months. Long enough for me to see clearly. As the old saying goes “he stayed at the fair too long”.

    The reality is once they have devalued and dehumanized you they will never treat you well again. I don’t care how much counseling they get.

    I read the other day where that Samuel and Samantha of the RIC fame divorced. My guess is she swallowed shit long enough to get the kids raised, and get some money together then dropped his cheating ass on the curb.

    Once I saw my ex for the cheating lying rat bastard he really was; I was never going to look at him any other way again.

    • Ooh Samuel and Samantha divorced! hahahahaha. The FW really liked them, even paid for their counseling group, just in the past 12 months. I believe they had another D-day in that time.

      I would welcome her to CN, if she spoke out about the whole Affair Recovery and the RIC BS. Otherwise, she just permitted many chumps to be gaslit.

      • Oh God I made the mistake of looking at the youtube videos of that terrible loser husband Samuel. Talking about HIS recovery and how HE tries to avoid relapse.

        Imagine a wife beater making those videos?? Fucker.

        And the commenters (mostly by cheaters or hopium sucking chumps) were SAD the couple broke up. “DENIED infidelity played a role.”
        I bet

        I can’t stand it. Change the narrative!

        • Wow. Did I lean heavily on that RIC site for a long time in my marriage? I did appreciate Samuel shedding light on things about the thought process whereby he took responsibility and didn’t blame his wife. My husband at the time wouldn’t even do that much, so I had hoped that he would at least get that much from this guy. But, otherwise, it was all so misguided.

          • Really? They divorced? I listened to every video he put out while I was separated from my husband who was in Sex Addiction counseling. I wanted our 33 year marrige to be saved so badly. The thing was, dispite the 20 thousand dollars we spent on his counseling, his heart stayed just as entitled, selfish, and hard toward me. He refused to talk about “the past” which Samuel said was important to do. So Affair Recovery helped me to see that my husband was not the “changed man” he claimed to be.

      • Too late to suggest a Friday Challenge? I have a nostalgic one: RIC and related scams and scammers we fell for. Have a feeling there will be plenty of updates, too: “Where are they now?” Bonus for those who link to a relevant post from CL, countering some element of their particular brand of BS.

        To be inclusive of the chumps who managed to avoid wreckonciliation, we could include movies, series, artists, celebs and songs we once loved, but after being chumped/finding CL now abhor.

      • I saw Samuels videos. He was one of the premiere RIC unicorns they showcased. My impression of him was off putting, and felt he was fake.

        Looks like their divorce is more proof that there is no such thing as magic unicorns.

        Hope Samantha comes here.

  • Girl, RUN. He didn’t dump her. She probably dumped him and he wants to go back to you until he can get something else.

    • Or, he’s just planning on cheating on his current gf with his soon to be ex-wife. They don’t like having to give anything up or be responsible for any choice they make.

    • I would venture this:

      OP, ask yourself, do you think he would be groveling back if the OW hadn’t broken it off? (Because let’s face it, we all know he didn’t dump her.) If their relationship hadn’t ended, would he be wanting your forgiveness, crying to your mom, self-depricating, and begging to come back?

      I’m going to say probably not.

      Plenty of chumps here can attest that the majority of cheaters, male or female, don’t snap to their senses and come on back of their own volition. They try to hoover for 4 main reasons. 1) The AP dumped them and they think you’re a backup plan so they don’t have to actually be single. 2) You imposed some legal consequences and they’d rather not have to suffer them. 3) You’re a meal ticket they’d prefer to keep. 4) The AP wants real commitment now and the sparkle of the illicit affair has worn off.

      In my case, my very first cheater over 10 years ago was situation number 4. He was all about her and how special she was and how I should just go away and all that other cheater twu wuv crap. Until he got her pregnant. Then hooo boy I bet he left burn marks on the road with how fast he tried to run back to me after 7 months of no contact. Of course by that time I was in a new relationship so he ran himself headlong into a wall when his backup plan failed. Dumbass was so shocked that I was not, in fact, pining away by my phone waiting for him to return.

      Point is, there’s a catch. Something happened and he’s looking for an escape route to whatever his situation is. Don’t take the bait.

        • I think that goes under the same umbrella as number 4, when the sparkle of the illicit affair wore off and the reality of an actual commitment sets in. It’s not fun anymore when there’s nobody to dupe and the have to actually settle in with the routine of mundane life. So kick up the drama!

          • Such wisdom only comes from a true chump!

            My FW “tried” (quite minimally) to hoover. He didn’t grovel or cry or even apologize. That’s when I figured AP dumped him for dramatic effect – what better way to squeeze out a commitment? Of course, his self-absorbed entitlement makes him too stupid to read other people, so he fell for it, panicked, and figured I would play back-up. All this, I saw in the few seconds it took him to mutter, “I was hoping we could get back together.” Honestly, I was offended by (and wary of) his “flat affect.” I just stared at him and said, “yeah, I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

            It’s weird how you lay around every day begging God to stop the madness and bring him back, but when he opens that door, your stomach just turns. It’s not even a thought, just a cold pile of dread at the image of re-living that empty sadness you once shouldered.

          • Hmmm. Maybe. They are just so messed up. Mine came back a couple of times but didn’t really as the affair just went further underground. She was married too. Once I kicked him out, he tried desperately to get her to leave her husband. She wouldn’t. I think he started stalking her for a bit – creepy. Fast forward six months later. He is dating Victim GF#1. That lasted about 1.5 years. She broke off with him because the original AP was discovered. Fast forward 5 months later. He is dating Victim GF#2. Poor thing. I wonder when her d-day will be.

            On a happy note: my divorce is 100% finalized as of this upcoming Sunday 🙂 Only 2.5 years and 9 continuences. I am soooooo MEH.

  • Once someone dumps you and hoovers you back in, he knows he can do anything and get away with it. He knows he has a victim. Don’t be that victim. It only gets worse.

    • Yep. Mine dumped me many times over the course of the relationship, only to return ~6 weeks later after he had done whatever it was he wanted to do and that he knew I wouldn’t be OK with.

      No he wouldn’t talk to me about whatever it was and work to a resolution.

      “I WANT TO DO WHATEVER I WANT! YOU CAN’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!”

      The last time was so he could fuck other women. I told him very clearly that if you do this again, I will not take you back again.

      He said: “Good. Don’t worry, I won’t be back. And if I come back, you shouldn’t take me back. And it was a mistake for you to have taken me back all of those other times.”

      I crumpled over in pain on the floor, cried and hung up.

      Guess who was back in 6 weeks?

      But I held strong (well I pretended to be strong thanks to CL!!).

      But he didn’t relent which was such a mindfuck. So I started doing some digging. I knew he’d never tell me the full truth so I wanted something, anything to understand what he was doing.

      I hit the jackpot and learned of the cheating and lying that had been going on for YEARS – almost the entire time we had been together and definitely since we had been having problems. Funny how that works huh? Here I was twisting myself into knots trying to understand what was going wrong and how to fix things….

      Ugh, this is the thing I will never forgive him. I worked so hard when I only had a fraction of the truth!!! FUCKER.

      We did have a “closure” conversation ~ 5 mos later. I asked him straight up “Why didn’t you just tell me that you wanted to see other women?”

      Him: “Because I knew you would leave me.”

      Drop the mic (pipe) and walk away. These people are beyond disordered.

      clearly he believed that I would always be there and always take him back. I guess I inadvertently taught him that by taking him back all of the previous times.

      • “Ugh, this is the thing I will never forgive him. I worked so hard when I only had a fraction of the truth!!! FUCKER.”

        This. This exactly

        I tried SO DAMN HARD to have a loving marriage. I twisted myself into knots, accepted horrible behavior and listened when he sent me on wild-goose-chases of “if you do____. our marriage would be better” only to learn YEARS later that it was all a distraction so I wouldn’t notice that he was a fucker.

        • this, yes.

          I just found out that people knew about an affair he was having 20 years ago! Such a slap in the face. It shook me out of any last lingering puffs of hopium. I worked so damn hard all those years and there he was chuckling to himself while watching me twist myself into even more painful knots year after year. FUCKER!

          She’s nasty. He’s nasty. They match. I only wish I had not wasted forty years fixing and reinventing myself when I was never broken! Grrrrrrr!

          I think I saw him yesterday. First time in almost two years. We passed at an intersection and I didn’t even notice it was him until my radar picked up that someone was glaring at me. Strangely, I felt nothing. Maybe a twinge of annoyance. Not at all as I have imagined over and over in my head. All the rest of the way home I patted myself on the back and wanted to go back to that moment and shout, “Keep sending that alimony,dumbss, cause I love it!” Could my Tuesday be coming?

        • Exactly exactly exactly.
          How dare they take us hostage Subject us to their darkness and claim some bullshit like ‘we grew apart. It is the denial of autonomy which is the biggest head fuck. Psychic theft of time and spiritual resources you can’t get bag.

          • CHEATERS STEAL YOUR RIGHT TO INFORMED CONSENT.

            Cheaters and those who cheat with them have big, deep problems upstairs.

            Big.

    • Yup. He knew you were done talking to him so he thinks he can rope your mother into being a flying monkey, and if it works, he knows he can do all this shit and still get away with it. Manipulators love when it works. Eventually, if they have successfully hoovered you enough times, they stop even trying to apologize. They know you won’t impose any consequences anyway.

      That’s why you have to stick by your principles.

  • Yes, that is one sure-fire way to find out his real truth and motivation.
    Have your lawyer (NOT a mediator) send him a letter inviting him to sit down, with his own legal counsel, to discuss a settlement agreement.
    If your lawyer has any worth, they will be able to find out in short order exactly what he’s willing to disclose. Credit card and bank account statements for the past 9 years*? Phone records?
    Making him come clean has a funny way of showing a cheater’s true colors.
    And have that letter request he not contact your mother. He’s a big boy and needs to keep your mom out of this game.

    * You may be very surprised (but not us here) that there are other infidelities discoverable in those statements. Sorry but cheaters don’t lose their minds. They actually know exactly what they are doing and don’t care how it impacts you. No character transplants exist.

    • KS

      I agree with Rebecca here. Protect yourself via divorce where you get a good agreement and, if he is a unicorn, you can remarry in a couple of years time wherein you can see how it works for YOUto have him back in your life.

      But, I am afraid that you know too much already from all of us here at CN to settle. Your blind chump days are over. It will never be the same.

      Mr. X cheated and confessed, a couple of one night stands, early on in our marriage and I was totally naive and believed he was ‘clean’. No CL back in those days.

      What I know now after dday was that he just went underground with the cheating – it never stopped and those confessed one night stands were probably longer or there were more of them. I essentially spent most of my adult life living with a man who was leading a double life and looking great in both of them (Look up anything on covert, passive aggressive narcissist and you will see what I am talking about.)

      Eventually, after trying out an assortment of women he found the love of his life and after 6 months with her tossed out our 30+ years together to follow his bliss/penis. Pretty much tossed out our children too despite the fact that they were grown.

      “I’m done. It is MY turn now.” I still don’t get what that means??? My turn at what?

      Sadly, after dday I did chase and allowed hovering because all I found in my searches on the internet were RIC sites and books. Took me 2 years to find CL and then a bit longer to learn about NC.

      I hope you do have a ‘good’ one sweetie but please challenge that goodness with cash and everything YOU want.

      Good Luck

      • Your mention of there being no CL back then brings up what I think of often which is how I wish there had been someone, ANYONE who could have told me early on to go NC and run. I saw red flags for sure in 2004. First D-day was in 2012 and I ran smack into the RIC. And I wonder if I would have listened or if I would have spackled until I was ready to take the red pill and see the truth. Once you really see it and accept it, there is no going back.

        • Yes, my therapist told me to run a good year before my ex left the first time, and then strongly just before and after he left the second time. I didn’t believe her because frankly I wasn’t willing to face what that meant and had a lot of religious guilt. I was mostly a SAHM, older, and feared what I knew would be a bad divorce.

          But a year into separation, I was finally grounded enough to know that reconciliation was off the table. Even then, I waited until he initiated the divorce process before I did anything else.

          Slow learner.

      • P.S.

        KS,
        I forgot to add this:

        Once I found LACGAL and CL/CN my focus on fw and pick-me-dancin changed to ME.

        NC provided me with the opportunity to examine my behavior, my patterns, my denial – all the things that had kept me blind and stuck in the first place.

        Each red flag I found, and there were enough of them to mark off a huge construction site, shed light on me. Yes, I can see what he was doing but now I get to work on me and understand why I was doing what I was doing.

        Ouch, because what I see is a life long pattern of accepting less from others than I do from myself. They are allowed license while I am held to a rigid standard of perfection.

        In Al-Anon the behavior is given a name – ‘A doormat’.

        I have a new image now that I want to explore – that of fierce lions guarding my front door – like the statues found on the steps or roofs of sacred temples guarding them to ward off ‘evil spirits’.

        • Indeed. DARVO at its finest.

          The whole notion is premised on the idea that we chumps had been prioritized and privileged all along. As if the cheaters had been sacrificing themselves for us. Excuse me, but who was cleaning the toilets and making the meals while you were acting out your adolescent fantasies all those years?

          What kind of psychological jiu-jitsu do you have to master in order to come up with that entitled idiocy?

          Delusional psychopathic toddlers – every last one.

          • ChumpQueen,

            Your comment was like a light turning on.

            I had never considered that comment an example of DARVO.

            I was stuck with my vivid memory of me standing there, in shock – it was several days after dday and I couldn’t believe what was happening because this was the man who never complained, played the loyal and forever spouse and father so his words fell of shocked ears.

            I truly believed he was having a mid-life crisis which would soon pass (I did not know of all of the ‘baggage’ yet – that was to come later.) and that he was under the influence of a ‘bad woman’ that he would soon recognize and come running back to me.

            Yes, that is what my brain told me in those moments of shock. Dear, dear me back then.

            But you are right. I see it now and their effect. His words hit their mark for by putting me in my place as though I had been his jailor all of those years. Smooth as a sharp hot knife through butter. Damn he was good at it!

            I was that naive and his words tossed me right into the RIC and my own fervent pick-me-dancing routine that lasted about 2 years….

            Wow. I learn something new here daily.

            Thank you for your comment and the light 🙂

    • Yes, WTF is up with his mom taking his call AND passing on his sobfest like she was his secretary?

      If one of my kids was divorcing a FW for cheating, and the FW called me up to apologize and do the sorry dance, I’d hang up and block his ass.

  • I’m just an observer of a brother who was abandoned along with his children. There’s no way his ex would’ve ever been welcomed back. Even if she had crawled on her hands and knees over broken glass he would not have let her back in. So I say this from an entirely different viewpoint than you.
    He is going to “give” you time. Isn’t that sweet of him.
    Was he still loving you if he told you to get away from him? Did he tell you being around you made him sick? Did he tell you he did not ever love you? Did he tell you he’s been unhappy for years? You get my drift. I hope you remember every nasty thing he said to you because that person is still in there.

    • “Did he tell you being around you made him sick? Did he tell you he did not ever love you? Did he tell you he’s been unhappy for years? You get my drift. ”

      How do these fuckwits forget this shit they dished out. Mine said, oh I just said that to make you hate me. Well it worked asshole.

      • Mine told me that.

        Wow! I actually made my husband anxious and sick by being around me. My physical presence was the cause of all his anxiety.
        Wow! He had been forcing himself to be intimate with me for years.
        Wow! Early in the marriage, he realized we didn’t have anything in common and that I wouldn’t even be someone he would normally be friends with (?).
        Wow! My husband realized he didn’t love me shortly after marrying me but thought he could make himself satisfied because he had made the commitment.

        So, how did I fail to properly appreciate such a lovely man of a husband?

      • This brings back traumatic memories for me which zing me back into reality. He would tell me that he only tolerates me, why would he need to spend quality time with me and our son when he sees us every day, that our son would be better off with me because he would probably abuse him and sign off his parental rights to me, I shouldn’t look to him as a hobby (I never did – I was too busy serving as wife appliance and wanted to spend quality time with the man who I married 🙄) – even told me I was too sweet and to not be so nice when I brought him coffee. Now, he had done. 180 trying to Hoover me back and also is playing big time image management playing uncle dad to our son every other weekend. I have to keep remembering who that is who he really – someone who abandon us callously and kick us to the ground.

    • I remember mine said “I’ve been unhappy for years.” But he never once mentioned it to me. He told me that I failed as a wife and he told my mom that I was like a piece of wood. God, those words were so hurtful. And hey, we had young kids, he worked a lot (now I know why since he ran off with the office work affair partner) and maybe we were a little off track. Maybe we weren’t the happiest. But you know what? I wasn’t having sex with some random guy. When you figure out what low lives these people are all you need to do is RUN like a motherf*ucker. They don’t change because they are miserable people who do not know or can feel what love actually is. They are not like us and they will never change. Why? Because they don’t believe anything they have done is wrong and so they will not look and think “Hey, I’m going to hurt my kids with this behavior, maybe I need to see someone who can help me with some of my issues.” All comes down to childhood trauma and how or how not they chose to deal with it.

      • “I haven’t considered myself married for years” said the fuckwit. Which, you know, came as a BIG surprise to me!

        I can honestly laugh at some of this shit now; it’s years later and the Karma Bus has made several stops at his address. But, the nerve of these assholes! yeah, kick him to the curb.

        • This is incredible, Incredible. I live in Central Europe. Our husbands most probably never met. Different nationalities, different countries, different continents. And my husband said EXACTLY the same thing. He wasn’t happy for years (news to me, especially when we were falling asleep spooned every night…) and he considered himself not married for years already…
          They are really so banal, so simple, so dumb.

      • Yes, CCE. A thousand times yes. Your summary also summarizes my ex—thanks for sharing it here. Years after my first DDay, I often still feel the full force—like a body-blow, a punch to my gut—of realizing I meant/mean nothing to my ex. And the selfish and casual cruelty of that. Now, just gray-rocking while coparenting two young kids with my ex takes everything I have each day

    • I agree
      Once they lay their soul
      We never got along, I never loved you for _____years, she’s my BEST friend, etc, etc.
      There is NO going back for me
      I just kept playing those lies in my head
      Made me fall out of love with him so fast

  • CL, you are the very best. Every word gold. 🧡

    It isn’t the reality of the cheater that pulls at us, it is our grief of what we believed the cheater was before the truth all came to light. It isn’t the cheater we miss, it’s the illusion of what we thought we had, what we wanted that we lost.

    When we feel pulled back, we must remember this. What you loved was what you felt in your own heart while you were being deceived, not what the lying abusive empty shell actually was. Remember to characterize it as that, regularly — not “I miss him” or “I still love him”, but “I miss what I thought he was before I knew the truth” and “I still feel love for what I thought he was and grieving that love still hurts acutely”.

    The words matter as you train your brain and heart to ignore the fantasy and acknowledge the reality, and only reality leads to the choices that end the abuse.

    • On the plus side, this also means that everything good and right that YOU experienced and felt is a part of YOU, and it was the best of YOU, and that means the other person doesn’t hold any keys to any part of you that YOU don’t already have inside you.

      They didn’t make you happy. You are in charge of that.

      They didn’t make you feel love. You felt love because you’re loving.

      They didn’t make you stupid while you believed the lies. They deceived. You eventually learned the rest of the information, took time coping with it and thinking it through, then moved forward. That’s you being strong, and you own that strength.

      You are mighty! The cheater doesn’t want you to realize that, so they try to stop you from knowing it, but that doesn’t make it less true. YOU are mighty. And I know it and see it — because you’re here, reading these posts, that’s how I know. ⭐

  • Dear KS,
    I was exactly… EXACTLY… where you were. My H left me and our babies to live with GF#1. It was one of the worst times of my life; I had nowhere to go and the kids and I ended up moving in with my parents. I eventually managed to get a grant for the down payment on a home (a shack, really, but still a home) and started to get my life, as a single mother and new home owner, on track.

    Guess who came crawling back to me?

    The dream with GF#1 had ended explosively. Ditto GF#2. He was lonely. He had no one. He needed a place to stay and a loving partner. He begged. He admitted that he had been a horrible cad. He said “I don’t know what came over me! It’s like I was a different person!” And he apologized profusely.

    He promised we’d be “stronger than ever.” He also promised that he was going to get professional therapy for just himself. Both promises never happened. I took him back and all the “I’m sorry I did that to you”s started to turn into “our marriage didn’t work because you didn’t trust me” and “you’re driving me away because you want to keep talking about what’s in the past.” The eggshells and gaslighting were worst than ever. He apologized for nothing anymore. Living with him again was horrid, he found so many ways to make me feel small, and I went on antidepressants. After about a year of him being back in my life, he found GF#3/Wifetress, packed his suitcase and moved into her place. It was achingly like the GF#1 scenario only this time I saw it coming. I was finally able to see the truth of it all: he just needed a place to stay with a person who would take him in while he feathered his nest elsewhere.

    It *starts* with proclamations of love. It *starts* with apologies and the admitting of wrongdoings. Then, after he’s back, those will begin to evaporate. It will get very miserable.

    • And I will bet he tells everyone that the two of you tried to make a go of it but just couldn’t do it. He will make it sound like the two of you came to the conclusion that your marriage couldn’t work. He will probably leave out the serial cheating part.

  • You mention you’re right in the middle of the divorce process. He’s likely hoovering to prey upon your good nature in an attempt to influence your settlement decisions in his favor. Don’t take off your business hat for one minute. My bet is he’ll ghost you when it’s done and over with. This is just his last burst of energy focused on minimizing financial consequences coming his way.

    I’m sorry you’re going through this. We’ve all been there and it’s a rough ride. We’re on your side; he isn’t.

    • absolutely! I came here to say it! He is manipulating you in order to secure himself a more favorable divorce settlement. so tread very carefully and thanks Latitude69 for this great advice

  • KS, his actions are those of a man who showed you what he’s capable of doing. And he’ll do it again. I’m in agreement with Rebecca on her advice. I will add to this in recommending you calculate the ten year mark of being in a marriage. If you reach 10 years you’ll be entitled to his Social Security benefits unless you remarry prior to age 62. If he’s a higher earner it will be to your benefit to proceed yet ensure you’ve reached that milestone.

    • Excellent point. I’d add this: KS, if you stay, get a post-nup. Or, if you’re in the middle of the divorce, make sure the judge signs the dissolution decree after your 10th wedding anniversary. You might be able to do this by disguising it as a way to make taxes easier. It’s a common practice that you can have your court date, and the judge won’t sign the decree until the first working day of January. That’s what I did. You are not “officially divorced” but you are for all intents and purposes divorced–the only thing you can’t do is get married again.

      • Unless YOU are the higher earner! I’m the wallet in my relationship and you may be as well… make a smart choice here KS!

    • This is kinda why, as a chump, I won’t remarry.

      My cheating ex wife went after lifetime alimony as i frantically pick-me danced through her multiple partners across our 20 year anniversary.

      Congratulations ladies. You want equality, here you go. If I do marry the wonderful woman I date now it will be in a state without alimony.

      • I’m sorry. I wish that your ex wife’s cheating made alimony null and void. I wish cheating was treated as the crime that it is.

  • “ You realize she can be replaced. As can you.”.

    WOW, just wow. This is what I come to Chump Lady for. This has set my mind on straight. How easily I was replaced for the OW. After just a little beach time/pool time romp. And he himself told me he’s had three girlfriends since he left. So yes, how easily the OW can be replaced as well. Let it sink in.

    • What “he himself” says could be all bullshit just to make you feel bad. Who knows. Either way, its not the look he thinks it is.

      The only answer to someone who says something like that is “That sounds risky. Do you get regular STD tests?”

  • There’s a moment when the fires so hot, you can’t imagine walking through it. And the hell hole behind you seems more pleasant than the path in front.

    What you don’t know —yet— is the power from that forward movement. The courage to walk through the fire helps change you into something/someone better.

    Yesterday’s post talks about the possibility of our fws changing. But chumps change too. I like myself better. I was told the divorce would be the best thing. I didn’t believe it. I do now.

    Walk through the fire. Trust yourself. You won’t need him anymore.

    • ^^^Beautifully said^^^

      There was a time I couldn’t imagine how my life could be good without him, let alone better. The unknown is scary. The familiar, no matter how bad, feels safer.

      But you’ll be okay without him. You’ll be better than okay.

      I didn’t believe the people who told me there was light at the end of the tunnel either.

      I’m here to tell you, the other side is GLORIOUS.

      https://youtu.be/XjQqSkGratQ

      • “I didn’t believe the people who told me there was light at the end of the tunnel either.

        I’m here to tell you, the other side is GLORIOUS”

        Amen! Every minute he spends as a past memory is a minute I feel progressively happier.

  • Please go forward with the divorce and don’t waste another second on this weak piece of garbage. More than likely his ass was dumped and you are his back up plan or as CL stated his consolation prize. Maybe he found out the OW was a deranged kook after moving in with her…who cares? Just think for a moment…you take him back and he says all the right things for a period of time. Maybe two or three years down the road someone else gives him attention and the cheating and cruel discard happen all over again…how will you feel? Much, much worse than you feel right now because while you will be pissed at him you will be doubly pissed at yourself. You just miss what you thought you had and who you thought he was please do not let him waste your time.

    • Even if he never cheats again, and even if he is perfect from now on, his wife will eventually realize that she lost respect for him.

      After the trauma-bonding subsides, the chump will always be awakened to the truth.

      You can’t unlearn the truth.

      A dead marriage is dead forever.

      No one wants a zombie “marriage”.

      In the end, it us no one’s fault, and no one can fix a dead marriage, no matter how hard they try.

  • My ex came back and asked for another chance. He said it was over between him and OW. I took him back.

    Yeah, don’t do it.

    He did not “end” anything with OW. He continued his affair.
    He did not change his abusive behavior. It got worse. He almost killed me.
    He did not stop lying. He lied more.

    Eventually he kicked me out again because I wasn’t willing to put up with his shit, particularly his continued “friendship” with OW.

    Your ex is not back because he loves you. He’s back because
    -OW dumped him and he’s “lonely”. Or maybe he can’t survive on his own and needs your money/resources/home. He will use you until he finds another suitable candidate.

    -He is afraid of the consequences of divorce (I got this hoover too, a couple years after our wreckonciliation, once I got a lawyer and got the ball rolling), usually financial. When my ex’s plan of getting me back didn’t work out, he tried a different tactic of trying to assassinate my character in front of the magistrate and paint me as an uncooperative unfit parent, an abusive spouse, and an all around terrible person who used him and ruined him. (Nobody bought that, I’m happy to say.)

    -He thinks he can have his cake and eat it too. My ex thought that I’d be so glad to have him back that he could do whatever he wanted, and have both me and OW, and double kibbles (since she would be constantly trying to “win” him from me and I’d be trying desperately to keep him). I didn’t play the game and so he decided to throw his lot in with OW.

    Please don’t go back. It hurts now, but it won’t hurt forever. If you go back, you are just signing up for more pain.

    This song really spoke to me when I was in the same place you are. You already know the right thing to do. Choose to save yourself.:

    “Here We Go Again” by Beth Crowley

    Here we go again
    Our game of tug-o-war
    For me it’s real now
    I’m not playing anymore
    You try to wear me down with your pretty pretty words

    Just when I think I’m done
    I’m halfway out the door
    You pull me in again
    Promising to give me more
    And yet I’m still surprised every time that I get hurt

    I reach out to touch the flame
    Cause I refuse to think it burns
    Retreat and lick my wounds
    But of course I never learn
    You’re a rocket to the moon
    I’m stranded on the ground
    Come back for what you lost
    Let me show you, show you what I found

    Here we go again
    I lose myself in you
    Your love defines me in a way I didn’t want it to
    If I keep holding on
    You’re going to bend me til I break
    I’m coming face to face
    With what I’ve always known
    That I am terrified of who I am when I’m alone
    But now it’s time to choose
    Which one of us I’m going to save

    I reach out to touch the flame
    Cause I refuse to think it burns
    Retreat and lick my wounds
    But of course I never learn
    You’re a rocket to the moon
    I’m stranded on the ground
    Come back for what you lost
    Let me show you, show you what I found

    You could be
    The greatest chance I’ll never take
    You’ll always be
    My worst and favorite mistake…

    I reach out to touch the flame
    Cause I refuse to think it burns
    Retreat and lick my wounds
    But of course I never learn
    You’re a rocket to the moon
    I’m stranded on the ground
    Come back for what you lost
    Let me show you, show you what I found

    And here I go
    Again

    (it’s a beautiful tune – look it up on YouTube)

  • This really jumped out at me, ” After D-Day he was a cruel 180 of his former self.” He still has that in his back pocket, believe me.

    Mine was a little different than some because there was a diagnosed mental health aspect involved, but I believed the “complete turnaround” lie after a suicide attempt during our first separation. Our mutual therapist wisely told me to “wait and see,” but of course I brushed that off. Everything was new and wonderful again. After a month, he quit therapy. I found out later that he didn’t take any of the medication which was supposed to deal with the psychiatric issues. And of course, he left again after a cruel, downward spiral. I had reasons to expect that he was not going to be faithful during separation.

    However, we were supposed to work on our relationship long-distance. The cruelty was very much back, but it took a year before I said “no more.” I took a lot of hopium until it made me so sick that I went cold turkey. Of course, he tried to convince me, but I held.

    Then he kicked off the “quick and easy” divorce that became “long and crazy.” His attorney despised him, calling him the “worst client ever” and began oversharing with mine, trying to figure out how to handle my ex who reportedly was suicidal again and falling apart in other ways. That of course gave us an advantage, and we got it settled out of court. I was so exhausted that I didn’t even cry when it was final, and he was already ramping it up for more crazy in closeout.

    So that was my answer. If I had reconciled, it would have been more of the same if not more. I did invest in the potential after our first reconciliation, but he squandered all that big time. I found his discharge paperwork with all of the plans for how he was going live after he left the behavioral unit when we moved. All lies. If he had been willing to come back, live separately, and get the help he needed, I might indeed have been willing to take a “wait and see” approach, reconciliation not guaranteed. He could have at least been involved with our lives in a safe way. The therapist said she’d recommend giving it at least a year.

    Well, of course, he’d have none of that. It was join him for immediate reconciliation with no mental health treatment or the highway. I chose the highway.

    •  ”” After D-Day he was a cruel 180 of his former self.” He still has that in his back pocket, believe me.”

      Agreed, and he’ll bring it out again when you cease to be useful.

    • Just because a mental health issue isn’t diagnosed doesn’t mean it’s not there.

      Narcissists and psychopaths rarely get diagnosed because they’re not introspective enough to seek help.

      We chumps have a tendency to say things like, “he wasn’t himself,” “he changed,” or “he went crazy.” The truth is, they were always psychologically disordered. They just didn’t adopt the label like us more depressed, anxious, neurotic folks do.

      • Truth. My X constantly called me crazy, to the extent that I started to feel that I was! He could be really cruel, when he was persuing his next female mark.
        He absolutely has a mental illness, and in fact, when I looked, it ran in the males of his family going back a few generations. Wish I had realized that in 1977!
        I have to give much thanks to CL, she replied to my agonized question- can I really leave my husband, if he has mental problems? She told me to put that burden down, and save myself. Of course, he refused to acknowledge his problem, get help, or stop getting drunk and popping pills. So that was a big part of why she said that. And I truly feel like I saved my own life, by leaving 😕

  • “I just heard from my mother that my soon-to-be-ex reached out to her pleading after I had made it clear I was done talking to him last week.”

    This also reminds me that he went on what I call an apology tour. He actually drove to TX from IN and went to my dads house and my brothers house to apologize to them for the way he treated me. I don’t remember what he said. My dad said he just kept telling my ex that it is good if he is trying to straighten his life up; but he can’t go back. My dad was petrified that I would take him back again after the first time he came back. He didn’t need to worry, by that time I saw him for exactly what he was.

    I still however don’t know why he went on that apology tour. I also wonder what whore thought of it, or if it was just another scheme they cooked up to try and get me to give more in the D. Who knows.

    • That sounds like a form of triangulation, or at least image management to me. I get why he probably didn’t feel he could apologise to you at that point, but if he were really sorry the apology should have been given to *you*, also while accepting he wasn’t entitled to you accepting or ‘rewarding’ it in any way – not given to your family members who I assume he didn’t also treat badly just cos he could (though I’m sorry if he did. None of you deserved it).

      • Could be. When it happened I just kind of scratched my head. I was done by that time.

        I also know he was in a real mess at work. I think he was desperately trying to save his promotion (he didn’t) who knows what was going through his crazy head. I do know he liked my family. He hated the mayor for demoting him, the same mayor he conned by his lies. He is lucky he didn’t get fired.

        The may9or didn’t demote him for spite, he demoted him because he had become toxic to his administration. I am sure also the mayor didn’t like being duped.

        Honestly he had pulled such a con on everyone he may have just been like a drowning man trying to grab twigs to keep from drowning. Yes I am sure there were some that knew, but as is common on PDs, they keep that shit to themselves until it benefits them. Then someone dropped a dime and Kaboom. All hell broke loose.

        He with my help (a lot of help from me) had attained quite a lofty position for himself at work and in the community. And he had done it while lying to most everyone. It was just weird.

        I still marvel at how clueless I was.

        • I like that term, “apology tour”. My ex did a lot of that too, but when he could have told me (via the limited contact I allowed) and instead was telling others, like barely-acquaintances-with-either-of-us Others, how sorry he was…

          It was basically a gaslighting technique. He’s not acting sorry to me, but then I’m surrounded by people who say “oh yeah I met that guy. He’s Really Sorry about treating his wife so bad”

          My only response could be “oh really?” Because my phone was full of his nasty messages to me. It was just like turning down the gas lights while telling me I was imagining things.

          At one point the topic came up and he said “I’m sorry you didn’t get my apologies”. Like he could be Treating me badly and someone would say he’s sorry and I’d believe that person over my own experience his own behavior??? Just delusional

  • KS,

    So my XFW is doing mostly the same thing. Except we got a very quick divorce (finalized 7 weeks after next to last D-Day) and he gave me EVERYTHING. House, all furniture, all bank accounts, all retirement accounts (all mine anyways – he has no retirement), everything. Doesn’t pay much in child support, but you can’t get blood out of a turnip. XFW now claims to have had a change of life, got baptized, joined 2 small groups, all the things. Blocked all the woman on all the accounts (there wasn’t one in particular – the admitted affair was 6 years ago that was just admitted in May). We’ve been talking and spending time together (no sex), but he threw out some old gaslighting tricks last weekend, so I hit the brakes, and my therapist told me to go no contact (except re child) for 7 days and reevaluate then.

    Being the Bible believing Christian that I am, I want to believe that God can change someone completely, because that’s what His Word says. BUT, how will I really know?

    CHUMP LADY, please slap me if needed.

    • Maybe God can change someone completely. That doesn’t obligate you to be in a relationship with that “changed” person. Why why why would YOU choose to go back and dwell in the uncertainty of it?

      You already said: “how will I really know?” You WON’T. Not ever.

      He can’t pay decent child support, but he’s joined “two small groups.” And THAT’s supposed to be evidence of the new him??

      • God can change someone completely if they want to change. Claiming to have had a change of life are words. Actions speak louder than words.
        Using his old gaslighting tricks last weekend doesn’t sound like he’s had a change of life or a revelation. Why wait seven days? What’s there to reevaluate?
        You already know.

        • Not sure what the 7 days is about. But I’m actually doing it this time. She told me to NC right when he came back crying, but I didn’t. I do already know. Thanks, Brit.

          • ImmaChump, Lundy Bancroft points out in ‘Why Does He Do That?’ that if someone is an abusive partner, it takes several solid YEARS of therapy before you’ll see a REAL change in their behavior towards you.

            Most people, obviously, don’t make it through that. It’s too hard.

            Infidelity is spousal abuse. Do the math.

            Please go No Contact and use shared family calendar software from now on to plan all events involving your child.

            You don’t need to speak to him at all – and it sounds like right now you need to protect ImmaChump, rather than throw her under a bus again.

            I’m a believing Christian as well. I believe people can change with God’s help. I also believe it takes TIME.

            I am not a believer in ‘overnight conversion’ – proof comes with time and demonstrated actions. I’ve seen too many Christians hurt and betrayed by the ‘Night of the Hunter’ style smooth-talking ‘born-again’ liars.

            For most ordinary Christians, conversion is a daily process and it’s the work of a lifetime.

            • I don’t think that staying with a cheater can help a cheater change for the better. Chumps who remain loyal out of compassion and love, who are willing to sacrifice themselves because they believe in their cheaters’ potentials, are headed down a long road of sunk costs, lost opportunities, depression, anxiety, uncertainty, neglect and abandonment. I could’ve continued to throw my love and life into the black hole that was my cheater for the rest of my life. I don’t believe it would have helped him, and it would have destroyed me. He became more, not less, abusive over time.

              Chumps count. Leaving a cheater is not giving up. Boundaries are the only consequences that work. Disengaging from the cycle of abuse is the only way to end it.

    • I don’t think your therapist is giving you good advice. You need to go months with no contact not a few days.

      There is absolutely no reason to rush back into a relationship with this man again. If he is gaslighting you, then you have all the information you need. The marriage was good for him; now he misses it; and he realizes that the truth does not serve his purposes.

      You deserve someone you can trust. As you said yourself, you’ll never really know if he has changed or is trustworthy again.

    • Immachumptoo: Head on over to Divorce Minister website listed on CL’s Resources link. He’s a chumped minister with a good grasp on biblical matters related to adultery. You’ll find the answer to your question there. Come on back to CL when you’re done – you’ll need them both for the head AND the heart.

      • Latitude69 – Thank you. I will read his site. Ironically, his post today is about the comfort he received from his cat during his divorce. XFW started letting our cat out against my wishes (he loved this cat too, but our prior cat ran away, so we were keeping this one indoors), and he (the cat) was hit by a car in February. Discard was in May and I truly believe it would have softened the blow somewhat if I still had my cat with me for comfort during that time. And now.

        Speaking of getting hit by a car, CN will probably get a charge out of this: XFW, me and our son survived a fatal car accident at the beginning of the pandemic. We were t-boned by a car traveling 115 mph. Our lives were spared for some reason. For XFW to start a phone relationship with another woman (pretty sure it was only phone) 3 months after all of us surviving this tragic event is unfathomable to me. The pain from the discard was so severe, I at the time wished I had just died in the accident and I wouldn’t have had to go through that. But I didn’t. So here I am.

    • God will not change anyone completely. Even if he can, the Christian God gave us free will and will not do that. Just like God didn’t make him abuse, God will not make him change.

    • XFW gave you everything because he was in a rush to be divorced (he was hot for someone in particular) and the quickest way to divorce is to give the partner everything. Yes, you more than likely were the main breadwinner and entitled to everything but he didn’t have to walk away with nothing. Now he has nothing and apparently it didn’t work out with OW (I don’t buy for a minute there was no one particular woman) so he comes back hat in hand. I respect religion and authentic followers, but it frosts my ass when dirt bags, such as your ex, use religion as a tool to manipulate and con. Be thankful for the quick divorce and having a chance to be well rid of this guttersnipe.

    • I hope God can fix those who break the adultery Commandment.

      And I hope God can lead victims to love their cheaters and to want the very best for them.

      And I hope God can show victims that the only way to love their cheaters is to divorce them.

      Spare the rod, spoil the cheater.

      I hope God can guide victims to the understanding that the kindest, most Christian thing you can do for your family is to embrace the Truth. The Truth is this: staying married to a cheater is an affront to the Christian God. Staying married to a cheater prevents the cheater from finding Jesus.

      If chumps really loved their cheaters they would enable them to understand that their unchristian actions have Christian consequences. It’s the only Christian thing to do.

    • Remember the story of Jesus and the adulteress? He didn’t tell her husband “She’s sorry, you have to take her back now”. He didn’t tell her she was entitled to reconcile with her husband. (In fact, Jesus said adultery was the ONE reason to divorce!)

    • ImmaChumpToo

      My experience only.

      Mine confessed and I believed him, being the Believer that I was. 30 years later and the truth came out. (I am now a Skeptic, yes spelled with a capital ‘S’)

      He never stopped leading his double life. He just became more skilled at it and I lived on hopium – a very powerful drug.

      Count your self slapped 🙂

    • Of course, change can happen, but a therapist friend of mine (a former pastor) observed not long ago that in 30+ years of counselling, the only lasting change he’s ever seen was gradual. Claiming “I’m all better” and staying that way long-term just doesn’t happen. Of course, sometimes people have a false epiphany and then later do come around, but it’s still slow as can be.

      Ultimately you have to decide if you’re willing to wait while he proves himself, or you’ll have to decide that you’ve seen enough.

      I went into the divorce process with mixed feelings but had no doubt by the end. It was blatantly obvious that there was no deep change at all. He tried to control and manipulate his $700/hour attorney, and of course, that blew up because you don’t play those games with someone at that level.

      • Elsie: Thanks for that. I like to say that people can change because *I* changed when I got saved 10 years ago. But I was never a lying, cheating, monster of a person to begin with, whereas XFW has had this pattern of behavior for 30 years. Like a football game that a team needs one more TD to win, they work their way one down at a time all the way to the goal line, but run out of time before they can get it over the line. I really don’t think XFW has enough time left on this Earth to climb the mountain he will have to climb to get up to a Phil Robertson level of sanctification. The mountain is too tall. The gap is too wide. The progress is too slow.

        Then you have Luke 17:6 about telling a mountain to move from here to there I guess it doesn’t apply to cheaters. Their mountain can’t be moved. I’m just discouraged. I read these things in God’s Word, but I don’t see them happening in my life.

        • ImmaChump, God gave us free will. We can choose freely to disobey him if we want.

          Your ex can freely choose to disobey you as well. And God won’t stop him.

          God doesn’t give us supernatural power over other people’s actions. He respects our free will too much for that.

          God has always told us that He wants us as lovers, not slaves.

          Faith CAN move mountains. Your faith has moved a big cheating mountain out of your life! A mountain of lies and deception and financial draining.

          I suspect God has been answering your prayers, but not in the way you want. You might want to consult the Letter of James about that one.

  • I see three good options and one bad one.

    The bad option is to believe him.

    The best option is to just continue with your divorce and pretend your mother never passed along his plea for forgiveness. I know it is reassuring or flattering or a relief to hear that he has seen the error of his ways, but please believe us when we tell you that this sort of behavior is not special. It is typical–and manipulative. He may even “really mean it” in some sense. But he also really meant it when he left you, was cruel to you, and betrayed you. And if you take him back, he’ll also “really mean it” six months from now when he says he is tired of trying to make it up to you or starts talking to an OW again.

    Another reasonable choice: Talk to your lawyer about how to use his “remorse” to hustle along the divorce process. If you want to have your lawyer communicate to him that you still want a divorce, a set amount of time post-divorce to heal, and that you’ll consider dating him again once you are both genuinely free agents, do so. But do not initiate communication with him yourself to do these things.

    If he is willing to do what it takes to win you back, then he’ll respect these desires, and you can date him again a few months after the divorce is final–if you really want to.

    Odds are very, very high that insisting on a divorce before taking him up on his offer to accept your forgiveness will result in another about face. Your soon-to-be-EX will shift to the rage channel; you’ll be damned as an unforgiving witch, you’ll be called “crazy” for insisting on a divorce when you could just do the things he wants you to do instead, you’ll be called manipulative, you’ll be informed that he is going to fight you for every penny in this divorce because you asked for it.

    A final reasonable choice: Ask your divorce lawyer to draft a post-nuptial contract that allows you to divorce at will with an established and generous settlement at any point in the future. He won’t like this option either, but if he is unwilling to sign it because it isn’t “fair,” you’ll have all the information you need to see that his version of “fair” means you suffer all the consequences and risks of his behavior. You’ll see that he expects you to extend unearned trust but is unwilling to trust you.

    Again, don’t go into negotiations with him about what is “fair” or not in the post-nuptial contract. It is a one time offer. He said he wanted another chance, so you give him one (with boundaries). Any response other than gratitude just means he is still more interested in himself than you, and any complaints are just his way of saying he doesn’t really trust you or himself. A person who says “I’ll do anything” and then nit-picks about your request is only offering words, not deeds.

    I hope you find the fortitude to continue with your divorce. My EX wrote letters to my mother and sister-in-law trying to rope them in as supporters. He was very transparent. He wanted them to persuade me to stop the divorce or if I wouldn’t, then to help him punish me for the way I was breaking up the family by getting the first divorce our extended family had experienced. Thank goodness my relatives are smart and were horrified by the letters.

    • This a sounds like the Chump doing a lot of hard work while still in the midst of trauma and acute shock.

      There are no choices for her to make. He destroyed the marriage. The marriage is dead. It will never ever be revived, because it is just dead.

      I know you agree with this, and that you and I are essentially saying the same thing. I just don’t want the Chump to waste one more second of her precious life on the impossible.

    • “…please believe us when we tell you that this sort of behavior is not special. It is typical–and manipulative.”

      I just wanted to highlight this.

      • “…He may even “really mean it” in some sense. But he also really meant it when he left you, was cruel to you, and betrayed you.”

        And I just wanted to highlight this.

  • He’s bargaining.

    Can you ever trust anyone who is bargaining?

    I once read that when you split with someone and want to try again, give it at least 6 months before making that decision – to let your emotions calm, you settle into your new life without them so to be sure you are making the decision for the right reasons (and not because of oxytocin or trauma bonding or sadz or whatever).

    Presumably despite the no contact you have had something to do with each other because of the divorce. Make sure the divorce is final, contact has ended (do you have kids? if so, see how he handles that for 6-months post-divorce) and then another 6 months before facing this decision again. If it’s real (his remorse, promises to change etc.) it will still be there in 6 months. No need to stress and push yourself to do something you aren’t 1,000% ready to do (without coming on here to ask for opinions first) especially when the decision has the potential for such dire consequences.

    That said, I’m sure what everyone else said applies. Could YOU be with him again? Again, there is no way to answer that honestly while you are still so “emotionally frail”.

    If he truly is sorry, he will understand that the divorce needs to move forward either way; you can always remarry if you want (would you??). It will be his behavior from here on out that will tell you everything: how does he behave through divorce? post-divorce? if kids, does he show up for them?

    Or is all of this “too hard” and he will run into the soft, warm arms and bosom of another to comfort his boo boos?

    Stay strong. Come here to be pumped up when you need it.

    (((Hugs)))

    • Okay, I may have fired that off too quickly. I stand by my comment BUT in rereading your post I got stuck on this line:

      “After D-Day he was a cruel 180 of his former self”

      As one who was also cruelly discarded…this is the thing that hurt the most, that someone who claimed to “love” me could treat me this way. And even if you don’t love me? It’s still an awful way to treat another person.

      Doesn’t that speak volumes to who he is and, more importantly when considering reconciliation, what he’s capable of??

      I hope to someday have a partner that is never, ever cruel to me. No matter the problem we talk about it and find a solution. If that solution is to split? We do it lovingly, kindly, respectfully and with great challenge and we support each other through it.

      I really can’t think of a reason why it would be any other way – unless it’s YOU against ME. Unless they are railing against consequences for their behavior/choices.

      Love should not be war – even as it ends.

      Take the time, protect yourself, move forward with the divorce and watch and see what happens.

      Good luck!

  • KS,
    Looks like he found out there were consequences to his activities (maybe financial??). Either that or he has to go to Plan B (that is you). Keep going NO CONTACT. BLOCK HIS ASS. Getting your mother involved is crazy. Make sure your mother does the same. Don’t entertain his attempts to have contact.
    Inform your lawyer and make sure to document this. He did not have a sudden change of heart, he just wants kibbles or does not want to face the consequences of his cheating.
    I am in the middle of this as well with a FW who is doing everything he can to protect his assets and his ass. I am staying no contact and we are in the same house until he moves out this weekend. I plan to stay no contact. If he wants something he can work with his lawyer who can speak to yours. He will learn quickly this way because it will cost him.
    Keep strong and remember to trust your gut!

  • SCENE: The curtain rises; the stage is nearly dark. As the lone spotlight fades up, KS’s soon-to-be-ex is seen standing alone, clutching a well-worn blanket. His face is a mask of false self-confidence, his cowardice palpable beneath a sense of bravado. Music swells slowly . . .

    (to the tune of “Maybe” from the musical “Annie”)

    Maybe at her job
    Or maybe at her pad
    She’s prob’ly thinking about me
    Best stud that she’s ever had

    Maybe she’ll forgive
    And fall for it once more
    I’ll start by phoning her mother
    Hoovering by a back door

    Betcha she’s meek
    Betcha she’s tame
    Bet she’ll forgive me
    It’s always the same
    Betcha she’ll cave
    Why shouldn’t she though?
    This surely ain’t
    Our first rodeo

    So maybe she won’t see
    The coward I remain
    Soon I’ll be giving her scabies
    Maybe

  • “Sad that our 9 year marriage was thrown away over a few months of sleeping and living with another woman.“

    Agree, agree, agree.

    At the same time….

    “A FEW MONTHS OF SLEEPING WITH AND LIVING WITH ANOTHER WOMAN.”

    VERY big deal. Very VERY big deal.

    Not a paper cut. Not a parking ticket. Not leaving the milk out.

    May I suggest a reframe that helped me?

    Rather than this:

    Sad that our 9 year marriage was thrown away over a few months of sleeping and living with another woman.”

    ….I get it, I’ve thought it, but I believe that idea actually kind of minimizes what he did…..which really really needs to be MAXIMIZED….

    “He intentionally and deliberately inflicted the most severe emotional, mental, psychological, spiritual, and sexual injury possible without actually physically assaulting me. I found incontrovertible proof that he sucks at committed relationships and is a cruel, mean, horrible, rotten, evil, double-crossing, abusive, selfish, con artist who doesn’t know the first thing about love.”

    The first thought keeps me stuck.

    The second one, accurately describing reality without the sugar coating, puts my mind in the right place and my feet going in the right direction.

    • You married worse than an axe murderer. At least you might have seen a real axe coming and had a chance to protect yourself.

      I cannot afford to let years of experiences and memories with him, which I now have no clue about the authenticity of, to overshadow the Lord God King in-my-face hard proof of asshole massive mortal wound he
      perpetrated against me and our child.

    • PS…

      Wonderful husbands and best friends don’t lie to you and fuck you over royally.

      I BELIEVED he was a wonderful husband and best friend, so that’s what I saw.

      With the affair, I FOUND OUT he is neither of those things, which is far and away the most painful thing that has ever happened to me.

      I got married to him because I trusted him and believed I would BE SAFE FROM painful things being done to me by a romantic partner.

      Cheating is not an aberration.

      It is a REVELATION.

      • NO ONE gets the fantasy spouse/partner.

        You found out he didn’t exist.

        I was duped and deceived. I actually got the “better” version of Benedict OJ Madoff.

        The cheating accomplices SIGNED UP for life with liar cheater thief.

        They think you can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

        🤡

      • Thank you VH. The emotional abuse, cheating and discard is what haunts me, and this word “revelation” helps me reframe it. It speaks volumes about him and what he’s capable of.
        I own my part for covering red flags, it’s a long process. I struggle to have this truth fully revealed, forever sealed. Daguerreotype style.
        He tried to deny, minimize, rewrite history, he even said “I want to correct this image you have of me in your head” (he never wanted to get back with me so the whole thing was weird) but I now say, I WAS THERE. I know what I saw and felt.
        Thank you, going through the thick of divorce right now.

    • For me, That might be giving him way too much credit. I think my FW is just a lazy shit who likes to party. Doesn’t give a rats ass about commitment, responsibility other people’s feelings.

  • KS,

    If you take him back, you will feel victorious (when you are not spying on his every move). You will convince yourself you won.

    But here’s what happens 10 years into to the perfect reconciliation: you suddenly despise him.

    The reality of who you are chained to hits you like a ton of bricks and you realize that no matter how living and perfect he is, you would rather fuck a slug. You won. You don’t want him. You wasted another 19 years if your previous life. You lost out on finding a good partner. You lost romance. There is nothing worse than squandered time.

    • Totally agree about squandered time. I feel that way now and I didn’t stay but I sure spackled over whole friggin mansion worth of BS for 30 yrs. And now I feel foolish and like I wasted so much time. Hugs!

    • Amen.

      I have a dear friend who stayed. It’s been 15 years now. As she says, “Suspicion is a member of the family.” No thanks.

      I’m not going to tell her what to do or throw her away as a friend. But I have been dead honest when it has been appropriate to be so. I am NOT friends with him. I am civil and courteous out of respect for her. He and I do not socialize.

      Her situation has been a powerful reminder to me why I am 100% on board with divorce.

  • Cheating is not about love.

    It’s about taking people hostage.

    Lying prevents intimacy.

    TRUTH is love.

    They lie to EVERYBODY.

    The affair accomplices are dishonest low-quality humans too.

    Don’t be fooled by all the talk of LOVE.

    Stick with the winners.

    Cheaters, by the very definition, are not winners.

    If you want a substandard life, by all means stay.

    I’m holding out for someone who values me. Right now, that would be me and my daughter and my trusted friends who have my back.

    • “Truth is love.”

      Trust is everything.

      It’s not easy to trust again. I was so easily duped by my ex that I wonder if I can spot someone who doesn’t have integrity. To think, I used to pride myself on my ability to read people. *sigh*

      Now I approach new relationships cautiously. If I see any sign that someone lacks integrity, so help me God I will bolt.

      • I have a very good book about sexual predators, written by a pioneer in the field, Dr. Anne Salter.

        It’s been her experience that most people grossly overestimate their ability to detect lying. Extra difficult with skilled expert liars.

        We like to believe we can because it makes us feel safe, powerful, in control.

        But we can’t as well as we think we can.

        It’s no deficiency on our part.

        I think a good defense is to walk when the first lie is revealed or a pattern of breaking agreements is revealed. If I had done that I would have been out at year 2. But I would not have my daughter, whom I would not trade for all the power and control in the universe.

  • This summarizes the whole CL philosophy. Cheaters are bullies. They want what they want and will grab it from you and run away laughing. This is a deep set character defect that no amount of sorry fixes because sorry is part of the bullying. Manipulating you through your tenderness for the person you “love”. The rankest form of bullying. Run the other direction. Wrap yourself in a force field of no contact, lawyers and CN. Stay strong! Fight off the bully. Hugs!!

    • “Sorry is part of the bullying.” This is so, so true that I would tattoo it on my skin.

      I feel repulsed when FW says sorry. His “sorry” is salt on my wounds, because it puts the toxic ball back in my court. It’s insidious poison, which is so much more dangerous than overt harm.

      Sorry is the toxic 1980s air freshener that was sprayed to cover over the smell of shit. It only made the shit smell much worse than regular shit, and unlike regular shit, it could give you cancer.

  • This is a man whose lawyer has told him what a divorce will cost and to save HIS assets at the cost of YOUR health and sanity, to scurry back and tunnel in.

    Don’t fall for it. Divorce him. If he wants back in afterward, then he can work for it; and for crying out loud – don’t fall for it after the divorce either.

  • I second what someone upthread said about dragging out the divorce until you have been married at least 10 years because of the social security implications (I guess I’m assuming you’re in the US)! Otherwise, please don’t take him back! The twat and I were waiting for our appointment at the bank to separate our accounts when he looked at me and said it would be a “shame to throw away everything we’d worked so hard for the last 26 years”. I told him I didn’t throw anything away, that was all on him, and just the thought of getting back with that violent alcoholic made my stomach turn. Oh sure, he’d have been on his best behaviour for a while but I knew damn well how long that would last! So if your FW showed his cruel side after the 180°, that’s what you’d be living with again soon. Please go ahead with the divorce. Please!

  • Soo KS, let me make sure my eyes aren’t deceiving me. After five months (knowing that your husband’s banging an OW and living with her), you finally stop talking to him, and A WEEK later he has a brain transplant and is hoovering I mean professing his lying I mean undying love for your half of the assets I mean his options I mean you.
    I can see your dilemma. What a great opportunity.
    Seriously. Do you not have a problem with this timeline? And you speak as though you actually believe what he says. Have you verified his story, and I do mean story, with OW? Under any and all circumstances, you should still stay NC and hold his inflamed balls to the balance sheet. However, hearing from OW, yet again how much of a lying sack of shit he is, might help you to firmly and happily close the door, and get over your bad case of frailty.

    • You’re completely correct.

      It is devastating to witness a brand new Chump being re-victimized before our eyes.

      She is still in shock. Asking her to make wise decisions while she is still being traumatized is like asking a gunshot victim to perform surgery on herself while running from the shooter, who is claiming he wants to stop the bleeding that he caused.

  • KS,

    the ache is hard to manage, i know. it’s early days for me too and there are times when i get caught in a thought circle at 3 a.m. what works? i repeat to myself the following:

    1. he’s disordered

    2. he’s not emotionally capable of dealing with real relationships/conflict/real life shit/fill in the blank

    3. and, i deserve more

    this stops the aching thought loop for me. please note that 3. is a recent addition and it is here that i land–back to my self. it’s hard not to focus on him because he provides SO. MUCH. MATERIAL. but landing on my self has really helped me get straight.

    i work a 12-step program with Al-Anon and calling my sponsor helps me, too. “is this your business or his business?” she asks and the answer is almost always no. so i carry on.

  • He contacted your parents.
    He knows they buy the mask.
    He wants you to forget you saw the real him behind the mask.
    He discarded you.
    You didn’t mean shit to him.
    Now he changed his mind?

    Run to your parents to execute his “avoid the divorce consequences” plan because otherwise it’s going to cost him plenty?

    You know better than to believe someone who showed you just how much you mean to him.

    • Yes.

      He involved her mom to make it harder for her to file. Now if she files for divorce she’s not only disappointing him, but also her own mother.

      The actual Devil has nothing on this FW.

  • By any chance would it piss him off if you keyed his car?

    If so, you can safely assume how much he values you and your marriage.

  • Maybe an old statistic, but I heard the average woman in a domestic violence situation goes back seven times, if she lives that long, before she finally leaves. I consider cheating to be domestic violence. I didn’t understand that when I was young, and I don’t think the laws have quite caught up with the concept either, but I don’t actually remember the number of times I compromised and spackled. One day I just couldn’t anymore.

    The culture is full of songs about winning your love back, and happily ever after. Some of us live our whole life believing “One day my prince will come.” I learned to live my life independently — I could rely on myself. If a prince trotted up on his white horse and said hello, I wouldn’t be rude. I wouldn’t expect a trip to the alter or castle either. Dinner and a movie might be nice, conversation might be marvelous, but happily ever after is not something I believe in anymore.

    If this sounds sad, I don’t know how to convince you it is the opposite of sad! I am actually happy that I don’t look for a prince. I live my life for me, I take care of me, and I don’t look for a prince or anyone else to solve my problems. Do I need help sometimes? Sure. I have a few friends who both give and receive help. I can rely on people who practice reciprocity and honesty. So far, the prince candidates I found road in on a jackass, hungry, and in need of my resources. The welcome center is closed, sorry. Travel on — I’m not “the One” for you, buddy! This is not your mamma’s fairytale.

  • My ex has tried to hoover me 8000 times since dday, and I bit a few times, only to find out that heart-felt, I found Jesus bs lasted about 2-4 weeks max before he was up to his old crap.

    They hate consequences. They hate being alone. They realize no grass is as green as we were when they were snowing us and living a double life. Of course they want that back. Then they realize they will never get the naive version of us back. They’re stuck with the traumatized version, who’s onto them and they bounce yet again.

    I wish I could save you from the last two years of my life. Listen to CL. Divorce him, negotiate a great settlement, stay NC and get on with your recovery.

    • Same here, although my ex appears to be an outlier in this thread… he will never seek a reconciliation. Hoovering just isn’t in his wheelhouse. Covert manipulation and non violent threats are though, which is why I’ve been NC since the last penny of my ample share of his carefully guarded and previously only partially disclosed assets hit my accounts.

      Frankly, FW knew the jig was up and I truly believe he was just as ready to move his secret basement upstairs so he could continue to act out with the porn, sex workers, webcams, sexting, internet hookups, fuckbuddies, etc… as I was to get the hell out of there. I was little more than a prop in his cloak of respectability and was so for more than 36 years.

      I filed immediately after the last dday, and the divorce was finalized in 40 days … is that a record CN? And to be honest, although I was the absolutely best thing to ever happen to him, he would deny it with his dying breath. To a passive aggressive covert narcissist, I am easily replaceable. And I very much expect he’s already in the process of finding someone to do that … and I say let him have at it.

      Every day since I left is better than the day before, and HUGELY better than all those years of covert abuse.

      • Dang! You beat me!! My divorce was finalized 46 days after filing. FW stalled for a second and my atty left for the beach for 4 days, so that put me back a few days!

        • Imma, my attorney was in the hospital with Covid and still made it happen on day 40. As he put it, never in his 30 plus years of practice had he represented a client who deserved to get out of a marriage more….

      • “to be honest, although I was the absolutely best thing to ever happen to him, he would deny it with his dying breath. To a passive aggressive covert narcissist, I am easily replaceable. And I very much expect he’s already in the process of finding someone to do that … and I say let him have at it.”

        Would he even admit anything nice, at this point? They’re nuts. Seeing I was replaceable went from being the thing that destroyed me – to being what makes me incredibly relieved. Barbed wire monkeys are not good partners.

        BTW, you DEFINITELY deserve an award, Divine Miss.

    • “They’re stuck with the traumatized version.” So true, skeeter! These lowlives look down on hurt and imperfect people & it gives them more reason to abuse us. And if they had character, they’d have to face the fact that they were the cause. I’m assuming my ex found it was just easier to leave.

      KS, definitely look into waiting until the 10 year mark. You are probably not thinking about retirement & both of you have lots of earning years ahead, but being able to get 1/2 of his SS in retirement will probably make a big difference – just getting by vs. very comfortable. It doesn’t affect what he gets. You can ask for continuances for various reasons.

    • “ They hate consequences. They hate being alone. They realize no grass is as green as we were when they were snowing us and living a double life. Of course they want that back. Then they realize they will never get the naive version of us back. They’re stuck with the traumatized version, who’s onto them and they bounce yet again.”

      Well, this explains everything.

  • This is all really reminding me of “The Matrix” now where you have been plugged into a mirage of lies and once you really internalize that the fake system doesn’t exist, you accept that “There is no spoon.” That person you believed you loved never existed. You are empowered by that knowledge. You are no longer enslaved. The agents are the RIC trying to keep you in the system and well behaved. CL is Morpheus.

    I think I am going to rewatch that movie tonight and ponder this more.

  • My ex never even tried to Hoover me, which upset me at the time, but I now see as a blessing. Focus on your own wants and needs, not his. Spouses and life partners should put each other first. He has shown he will not do that. The first time, the very first time in an 8 year marriage that I ever really needed to rely my husband for anything, he abandoned me. What is the point of that.

  • Writing here you’re going to find many folk like me who think giving a cheater another chance risks your health and wastes your time. Vote you organize settlement.
    (x hoovered early days ‘I’ll do anything’ pre my finding CL and NC. I spoke of settlement, separating finances and kids well being. No way. Took my badass lawyer and a year to get that.)

  • I know if my fuckwit approached my mum to say he was sorry she would punch him in the gob!

    I don’t advocate violence, but I enjoy that she feels this way (she’s 80 love her).

    • Claire,

      I suspect that our mothers are of a similar mindset. If Ex-Mrs LFTT approached my mother (also in her 80s and every inch a badass) to say she was sorry, my mother would let rip; if not for what Ex-Mrs LFTT did to me, then for what she did to our children.

      LFTT

      • Yes, a part of me deep down dares him too.

        Glad you’re all in a better place now.

        Hugs to you all and to everyone here

  • KS, I don’t have the answer to this, only you do. But, hear me out and read until the end if you can, because it’s going to be bumpy:

    It’s been just over a year since my ex left. He’s having a baby due in December with OW. I never felt mighty in this. I never had the choice to leave, he was the one who left. He never even admitted to being with OW even though I had proof, until fairly recently to my son. Well, it’s one version of the truth, not the whole of it anyway. Nearly every week I dream that he’s come back and wake up with what feels like a hole in my chest when reality hits me again. And I know why that is. I hate my new life. Nothing is really good. This pain hasn’t gone away, and maybe it never will. I am changed forever. What I really want isn’t my ex coming back though, or not quite anyway, it’s to rewind time. For this thing to never have happened to me, and be the me I used to be. And I don’t have the power to do that.

    You could get back together with your ex, but it wouldn’t be the you before the cheating. It wouldn’t be the same relationship you miss so much. There’s no undoing or going back, from now all you have is uncharted territory whether with him or without him. You can never unknow that he cheated on you and left you for someone else.

    There’s this song which lyrics I think about all the time, and it makes me cry buckets https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIJhYBtnsEU

    Remember when we were little and we just didn’t know things, so we were happily going along without knowing anything? I liken being cheated on to that. We lose our innocence, and the world never looks the same again. I don’t think you can ever recapture the good you had with your ex. That time has passed, “you notice the stripes, the dirt in your fries”. So keep this in mind, whatever you decide.

    • It’s Pet Sematary if you stay with a cheater…where you bury the loved one that died and what you get back is not who left but very scary and hazardous…

      Or Game of Thrones, when Khal Drogo is reanimated by the witch….

      Once it’s done, it’s dead.

      When your horse dies, get off.

    • Vee, my heart goes out to you.

      My d day was over a decade ago, and you are so right: the chump is changed forever.

      You will feel better about your single life eventually. One day you will be grateful to be free of the liar. A year is just a tiny blip.

      I’m so sorry.

  • Dear KS,
    I needed this today. Seems you and I are on a similar timeline and I fear my freak will come sneaking back soonish— our divorce should be final in another week.
    No contact, remember she sucks.
    Thanks for the reminder CL.
    Xioba Xioba

  • I agree with CL, enjoy the power seat now. He already shot the hostage, he’s got nothing to deal with. Gather your strength, you are on the path to meh so keep going. We are all here to listen and stand with you. Now is the time to show some class, get the life you deserve, Give yourself the care you need but don’t wallow in it. Life is better than what you’ve had.

  • Oh KS, indeed, RUN!

    It’s time to spend a little bit of your love on yourself, and right now it’s time for tough love. It’s time to face reality. He didn’t suddenly “go crazy” when he unceremoniously dumped you, he showed you who he was! Believe it!

    Sorry you’re going through this, it’s the hardest part, stay strong. Get a good settlement, in a couple of months, or years, you’ll know for sure it was the right choice.

  • My initial reaction and I have not read any of the comments:

    1) Everyone likely said this, but the OW may have tossed him out.

    2) All the time in the world is a lie. He is likely fucking others right now. They all say the same thing to lure you back. History will repeat itself once you take him back.

    3) You are right, every day and every special occasion, you will remember how he is a lied and manipulated you to be with her. It will never be the same.

    I’m sorry you are in the club no one signs up to be in. Heed the wisdom of CL and CN. Sage advice for sure.

  • It’s been said here ad infinitum— it’s all about what you find acceptable. Think back to your younger years when you imagined your future life, meeting your life partner, getting married, having a family, and growing old together.

    Did you ever include the scenario of being blindsided by your partner’s lies, secret life, and cheating? Did you dream about being emotionally abused by gaslighting? And then did you imagine that your partner would dehumanize you and kick you to the curb, only to return a few months later claiming they’ve changed? No? You never imagined ever tolerating such treatment? Then there’s your answer. It’s all about what you find acceptable.

    • Exactly! Thank you.

      This reminds me of Ophelia’s father warning her about Hamlet (who hoovers, gaslights, and blame-shifts like the worst of them) : “Tender yourself more dearly.”

      And look what happens to poor Ophelia. Run for your life while you still can.

  • Dear KS,

    He was not a wonderful husband, and he sure as hell was not your best friend.

    Your reality was abused by him.

    One thing I’m pretty sure about, and that is if you do bring him back, you will suffer. If not from the constant sadness of what happened and what he did, and the fear of whether he’s doing it now under your nose; but also they become even more hostile and disrespectful. At least my husband did when I let him back after his first big cheating event. I had small children, and brought him back after he was so convincing that he would rather “cut off his arm” then ever cheat on me again.

    Guess what? Over time, he got uglier, meaner, more resentful and there was nothing I could do to please him. He continued to cheat but got very sneaky about it, hiding his tracks, and denying his cheating with a vengeance, until I caught him lying then did some research and learned he was having another affair. Even then he told me I was “crazy” not to trust him. I thought I was crazy for so long and that I had trust issues. I had years of untangling of my own loss of judgment and reality. They mess with your reality, and will do it for years, decades – this is not a “best friend” this is not a “wonderful” husband – it is unforgivable. I hope that you don’t repeat my mistakes.

    • My cheater ex was very clever parsing her words. “I ended it with him” could be another way of her saying, “I started something new with someone else.” And nothing about such a statement precludes later having both affairs going at once. Like the old joke, “quitting smoking is easy—I’ve done it dozens of times!”

      • When I discovered my ex’s penchant for parsing words, I became very specific:

        “Have you *in any way* been in *any* contact (to or from) *anyone*?”

        He easily shifted to bald-faced lies. It took me more time to learn and accept that he could be that blatantly dishonest and manipulative and had no qualms about coercing and hurting me to get whatever he wanted.

  • Dear KS, He did things knowing they would devastate you. And it wasn’t a one off ( not that that would be OK), but the fuckwit ongoingly took actions knowing full well that these actions would devastate you, their unknowing partner. Your letter resonates with me because I too had a Mr. perfect pants until I didn’t, so the fantasy of our real love and his mental breakdown/ cheating …. which would be overturned by our real love was a very very strong one. The caretaker in me would have been tested by any sad sausage story, because apart from the cheating he was a pretty great husband.
    Just remember, your ‘relationship’ – your ‘sanctuary’- included him taking conscious actions knowing they would hurt you – traumatizing you knowing full well you would be devastated and deeply wounded.

  • When my ex finally “came to his senses” and tried to hoover, I told him that his “mistake” wasn’t cheating on me or leaving, but in giving me ample time to see him for who he really was and knowing just how big of a POS he really was. No fuckin thank you. Keep it moving. I’m not so sure I would have had as much conviction had he come before the divorce was final.
    My advice 8s to do as Tracy says, forge ahead with the divorce and set HIM up with a case of hoping. Tell him you MIGHT consider in the future giving him another chance, but first you are divorcing him and giving him time to get his shit together. I guarantee that at the end of that year, even if you do have a unicorn, YOU won’t want him anymore. Oh, you’ll be glad for your kids’ (if you have any) sake that he’s becoming a better human being. However, you won’t want him back in your life because you will have healed and learned self worth and self love by then.

    • Good point. The only way you can maybe, a tiny bit, help a cheater become a better person is by imposing consequences and removing yourself from his abuse. And the only reason I can see for caring about whether a cheater becomes a better person (which is still extremely unlikely, from what I can tell) is that you have kids with him and care about your kids.

      Either way, you have to do the same thing: leave and cut or minimize contact. So don’t get fooled by the power of maybe or by the hope that things WILL work out, after all. To do the kind of unconscionable things a cheater does, a person has to have serious character flaws.

  • If I could go back in time, I would not go back to my FW after he asked me to take him back after D-Day. It just led to years of uncertainty, gaslighting, devaluation & mistreatment, another D-Day, and his dumping of me. At least now I understand the pattern. No need for you to get caught in it, though, as you have CN to guide you out of the woods.

    Don’t go back.

  • KS: remorse, promises of change and eternal love… this is every chump’s dream, which is why you see us referencing multiple ddays. Been there, more than once. Hoovering does not make cheaters unicorns. It makes them predictable. If you resume contact, things will be worse than ever. The instant you give up your power, the cycle of abuse will begin again. Seriously, overnight. Until you know this in your bones and feel no temptation, you are in danger. My lowest lows came after I fell for promises like your ex is making. (I actually broke No Contact because he was “so persistent” that I felt pity for him and wanted to free him and offer comfort and closure.) It will be ugly and you’ll learn that the only closure comes from cutting contact with a disorder, cheating abuser. He will never say nicer things than he is saying now. You’ll probably learn what this whole stupid “trickle truth” thing is all about, and even then, you’ll accept that you’ll never know or want to know most of it. Don’t humiliate yourself on his behalf (Pick Me is traumatizing and makes everything worse, in every part of your life.) Focus your frantic urgency to save yourself into actually saving yourself. Read LACGAL and do what CL and other chumps smarter than myself counsel.

    If you can’t face it now, you will find yourself eventually back in the same place, having lost much more. Please, trust us. Don’t put yourself through what I did in order to trust he sucks. When you’re tempted to believe or engage with him, hop on a chump forum instead. Read, write, whatever it takes. We so don’t want you to repeat our mistakes and will cheer and comfort you every step of the way. You get to be one of those chumps who leaves comments to say you proudly resisted a fuckwit’s attempts at Hoovering.

  • “I think in my gut I know that we could never have anything special together again. I would always picture the two of them together. I would always remember the unceremonious discard of me after 14 years together. I don’t think I would ever trust again, ever. But, I still ache for him, “

    I so feel these words from you. I’m just over a year after Dday and there’s a part of me that aches for her and fears I’m doing the wrong thing by leaving. But something in my gut says I need to keep moving towards divorce. Some days she shows a glimmer of who I fell in love with and my heart reaches for her. Then sometimes just moments later she reveals her heart full of entitlement and complete lack of humility. Keep going. You’re not a bad person for leaving him. He was wrong for discarding your love

  • Our family slept in the same bed for a very long time…all three of us. When someone awoke they might move to another bed or another room, but we always went to bed together at 9:00ish pm in the same bed.

    Every night I said three things I was grateful for and asked X and our daughter. I always said him and our daughter and our animals and friends first. I can’t remember if he ever participated in that ritual. I remember our daughter did.

    I just cannot afford to have anything to do with someone who is ungrateful in general, ungrateful for me, ungrateful for so much that we had to be thankful for.

    Someone who is cheating or in an illicit relationship with a married/committed person is an extremely dangerous person who thinks nothing of hurting other people in one of the worst ways possible. And the children involved as well. They are showing you loud and clear the giant black hole where a heart should be, that there is no kindness or love inside. Take heed.

    The first thing my daughter ever bought with her allowance, at three years old, was lemonade for me from the kids’ stand next door. She worries that she is a psychopath or a narcissist. I have to keep telling her “no” and pointing out examples why she is not.

    I watch this video often. In the morning, before I go to bed. It brings me peace.

    https://youtu.be/gXDMoiEkyuQ

  • Gosh, this brings back triggers!
    Divorced him in 2016, lived with him until March 2017 then he moved to another state and me away to take care of my Mom who just had a stroke.
    The last time I saw him was 2018 when he said
    No apology, no remorse, just “All i wanted was non judgmental love”
    Sorry, when you cheat on your first wife, then also your second, we just want to get away!!!!
    WTF!!!!
    Loser.

  • The EW came boo hooing 2 weeks after divorce because (as I’d found out later) the AP joined the navy. Anchors Away Bitch….

    • Today’s thread is packed with phrases I would like to display on my walls, and my favorite might be yours: “Anchors Away Bitch.”. Thank you, sincerely.

  • CL, I will never stop loving you! How you manage to lift our spirits, champion us, and tell us hard truths, all while making us laugh, is a precious gift!

    I hope KS absorbs your advice and watches her every step very carefully.

    Put your best interests first, KS, because that’s precisely what your FW is doing for himself. He was never your friend. I have a friend whom I’ve known for 35 years. We are best friends. We’ve had our bumps and scrapes, but she has never betrayed or traumatized me. That’s what love is. Not the fairy tale he’s trying to peddle.

    Good luck!

  • My ex wanted to reconcile as well after things didn’t work out with OW

    I took it as no compliment. I was his wife, not his sloppy seconds.

    No f’g thanks

  • Take yourself off the clearance rack! You DESERVE to be treated like expensive fine wine.
    They do not change. They pretend to change and get sneakier. They lie better! They get better prepared at hiding assets, burner phones and telling you they are away for work. Who knows who broke up with who? Maybe the OW realizes he is a
    “ fuckwit “! I love using that word in a sentence!
    Ask your self this question. What would you tell your sister, best friend or daughter? Would you want to see them treated like this? What advice would you give them?
    You deserve better. I wish I would have found the chump lady when I first caught my husband, I think it would have saved me many wanted years.
    When people show you who they are believe them. Sending you many blessings!

  • I just know that he never chose me when he decided to cheat. That is all I need to know. Never take a cheater back – ever.

  • The only way a chump can know how “sorry” a cheater is to levy consequences–if married, separate and file for divorce, alimony (if appropriate) and child support. If living together unmarried, the chump can leave or tell the cheater to leave if they living in the chump’s home. The chump can go no contact (or very low contact if there are kids).

    When we know we’ve wronged someone, we aren’t surprised by consequences and we don’t blame our victim for those consequences.

  • If you don’t talk to him for another month or so…watch him change to anger. Then, you will know he has channels of charm, anger, remorse. That he is still the narcissist he always was. If you go back to him, likely all of your legal time starts over. For example, the longer you do a reconciliation, you lose back child support. And he has time to charm and get into your bank account and drain it.

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