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A False Confession?

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Mindfuck blenderDear Chump Lady,

The other night when I was questioning my husband for the umpteenth time since D-Day, he said his counselor advised him not to falsely confess to having sex with someone to make me “feel better.” He said he would not let me pressure him into a false confession.

Is this even a thing in infidelity? Would a counselor even say this? 

Adrienne

Dear Adrienne,

I have no idea. There are a lot of infidelity quacks out there who say the darnedest things.

That said, it’s entirely likely your cheating husband is just making up an “authority” excuse with which to manipulate you. He doesn’t want to answer your questions. So, he says his shrink won’t allow him to answer such questions.

Who are YOU to question the Great and Powerful Therapist?

Back in your box. Be a good chump and shut up.

See how that works?

Let’s untangle this very weird sentence:

he said his counselor advised him not to falsely confess to having sex with someone to make me “feel better.”

How on earth would hearing that your husband is fucking around make you feel better?

Oh right, you’re the Inquisition and you thrill to extracting false confessions from your victims. Heresy! To the rack!

Essentially, you’re a sadist and he’s a poor sausage.

It’s classic DARVO: Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim/Offender.

He didn’t cheat on you, no, he’s the target of a cruel witch hunt. Oh, and his therapist (who only he sees and hears and is bound by confidentiality) sides with him!

How convenient.

Next weird sentence:

He said he would not let me pressure him into a false confession.

You had a D-Day. So, somehow you discovered he was cheating. He’s not going to give away his power and answer your questions truthfully, i.e, “confess.”  He will not confirm or deny what you know. No, the best defense is a good offense. HOW DARE YOU QUESTION HIM! He will not submit to this unjust pressure! It will not stand!

He is a noble sausage making a principled stand and you are an unhinged harpy.

Adrienne, I think you need to take a step back. Your husband doesn’t want to answer your questions.

Let’s say you are, in fact, an unhinged harpy, who delights in extracting confessions, and wants gory details of fictional sex your innocent husband has with others.

Imagine how a loving partner would respond to that situation.

“Oh my God, Adrienne, it pains me to think you have these fears. What can I do to assure you?” And then that loving partner would be transparent — please! Look at my phone, our accounts, my calendar. We are partners, we have no secrets from one another.

If you persisted in your deranged paranoia, the next step would be to see a therapist TOGETHER. Not a singular therapist, alone, but together to figure out you both could feel safer in this marriage.

Why isn’t he doing that? IMO, because that problem (your unwarranted suspicion) isn’t the real problem. His advantage in an abusive power dynamic (cheating, lying, gaslighting you) is the problem.

You’re clearly so addled by this exchange with your husband that you’re writing to a stranger on the Internet to make sense of it.

Trust your senses. It doesn’t make sense.

Do you want to be in this kind of marriage? Do you feel safe?

Imagine letting go of the struggle for answers, and letting him keep his secrets. Alone.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Hi Adrienne,
    Not sure there’s much I could to add to that. CL hit the nail on the head. It’s just more BS from a Cheater who wants any excuse in the world to keep you confused and paralyzed. File it under: “more gaslighting from FW” and know that he isn’t doing anything positive that’s worth saving the relationship. I hope you are able to get free of him. Once you’re divorced and free, you’ll look back and see this all with great clarity.

    • I truly wish CL could invent a virtual reality headset to be used post DDay for all chumps.
      It would allow us to view our individual situations with clarity, zero emotions and distance. It would save all of us from years of pain. Whatever path we all walk, no matter what the individual details are, pain is universal. We waste so much time and energy doing mental gymnastics. We tie ourselves into knots and stick our heads into blenders (see CL’s cartoon).

      From the outside it is easier to see a situation with clarity. What I wouldn’t have done for such a tool. To be able to see my situation as it truly was! Just an ordinary cheater who imploded my world. Just so typical. And so sad.

      So, Adrienne, in lieu of a virtual reality headset, please listen to CL and the advice you will receive from your fellow chumps. You are with a cheater who values his secrets more than he does you. He doesn’t care about your sanity, your health or the relationship you think you have.

      I’m sure you’re saying “but, but, but”. We all did. Horrible to realize he isn’t even trying to do anything original or pretending to give a shit. It’s devastating to you and just another day of gaslighting to him.

      Walk away or run away. If you stay, your pain will only increase from today forward.

      I’m sorry you have to live through this.

      • Rebecca – spot on.

        In the moment, we’re all traumatized. We trusted our significant others and then there’s a DDay and our world turns upside down. For some of us, we trusted a FW for years. It takes a while for us to STOP trusting! We WANT the person we trusted to be who we thought they were. Some will repeat trusting a FW until enough DDays finally slap a Chump awake. We were all gaslighted and lied to… so our brains and hearts take a while to catch up.

        But once you learn to trust yourself and ignore the FW and stop putting your head in the blender, you’ll break free from the spell and it’s amazing how clear it will all become.

        Adrienne – there’s only one way to get through this and it’s by going through it. There’s no shortcut. And no virtual reality headset. So please listen to CL, Rebecca and all of us at CN when we say… FW is fucking with you and you need to be free of FW’s mental abuse.

      • The virtual reality made me think of something. Say it were a game with a stranger inserted as our partner, doing the same things to us that our partners were doing. I don’t think we’d accept that treatment at all. We put up with it from abusive partners because we are invested in them and either a past history which was better, or their potential “if only they’d change x, y and z.” I accepted a boatload of garbage from my ex that I’d tell anyone else to run away from. Finally the blinders fell off and I ran.

      • Rebecca and Adrienne,

        What you, Rebecca wrote reminded me of this poem which pretty much sums up my chump experience.

        https://palousemindfulness.com/docs/autobio_5chapters.pdf

        For me, it is taking time. 4 years post dday, 2years NC after 30 plus years of relationship with a TFC (AKA a covert, passive, aggressive narcissist.) and in many ways it is like I am just scratching the surface.

        BEST things I did:

        • Listened to my friends who said PROTECT YOURSELF, which I did although part of me felt like I was betraying him in the process. Our divorce was final in less than a year. I was still torn and deep into the RIC mindset.

        • After finding LACGAL and CL/CN, I went NC and the fog began to rise slowly.

        The old adage, ‘fake it until you make it’ paid off. What I didn’t see then that everyone else could see I can see now.

        Part of me is still in shock.

        Good Luck Adrienne. You are lucky you found CL. Hopefully you grasp the pearls of wisdom here and don’t make the mistakes I did.

  • Can I just say, it is so sad and so tiring the infantile rubbish that cheaters inflict upon chumps, and with the backing of the RIC make it sound not just plausible but “sophisticated”.

    I let go of that struggle a while back, omg how good. (I’m raising really traumatised kids on my own however … because SUNSETS for cheater to skip into). Most of the time the absurd cheater talk is 100% amusing – thank you CL for giving us chumps the gift of perspective to the point of seeing the silliness – except just this minute … I’m tired.

    Hang in there Adrienne. Grit your teeth and hang on in there until you come out the other side and see just how SILLY that dumb cheater is, and how improved you and your life are without him.

    • “I’m raising really traumatised kids on my own however … because SUNSETS for cheater to skip into.”

      Right?! And the worst part of it (for me and my kids) is that FW refuses to acknowledge that they’re even traumatized. He tells them that they’re feeling sorry for themselves and accuses me of “turning them against” him. As if lying to them about his motives, abandoning them (at Christmas), and forcing them to accept his absurd narrative (that the OW is a legitimate post-divorce partner) should have absolutely no effect on them. Not to mention the additional thousand cuts he’s made with his neverending stupid and selfish comments.

      He doesn’t know how lucky he is that the kids still talk to him occasionally – and that I never castrated him for inflicting such emotional damage on them.

  • Adrienne, having a conversation and expecting honesty from a cheater is a waste of time. He will never tell you the truth. Bringing in the shrink is what he using to keep you in place and allow you the honor of doing the pick me dance. Many of the Chumps here bought into the RIC and danced nicely and continued the kibbles for the Cheater. I know that I did. Fortunately, that scenario did not last long for me because DDay 2 came quickly. The RIC allows him a great path to place the blame on you. Yep, when I was I that phase, I was told that I had to share in the blame because I was to controlling, I wanted answers, I was a bad partner and so on. I did not buy into that. I have always worked hard, raised a great kid, kept a nice home and tried to make everyone happy. After DDay 2, I gave up the RIC, created and moved into my bunker, gathered documents, went silent and lawyered up. The FW got served his papers and moved out. I am no contact as s my 25 year old son who is on his own. The FW made attempts to communicate which were met with the talk to your lawyer spiel because they charge in six minute increments and are happy to talk to you.
    The best thing you can do is no contact. It gives you time to come to reality. I am at the point where I want Schmoopie to have him. She won the prize for whatever that is worth. Of course he playing the sad sausage role with his family and friends. I blocked them as well and have no interest in them or his narrative. I have a good picture of the truth and it does not go along with his narrative. I am at the point where I just want the settlement done and FW completely out of my life. I feel good about this path because I know it is better to live without lies. Is it hard? Yes, it is and there are good days and some very bad ones. I am on the slow hike to meh right now but I know with the support of CL and CN I will get there. You can too. Get rid of the drama and accept that you will never get the truth from a lying FW.

    • “Yep, when I was I that phase, I was told that I had to share in the blame because I was to controlling, I wanted answers, I was a bad partner and so on.”

      Yup, me too. Living in the post-D-Day reconciliation phase is a hellish place to be. My husband, who I still ardently loved, was back in my life and he never missed a moment to remind me of how grateful I should be and “how *dare* you want to talk about the past!?”

      Everytime I wanted to talk about his affairs he deflected, told me that healthy people aren’t hung up on the past, and that “this relationship will never work out if you are not going to trust me.”

      Just like CL, notes: he let me know that he was a noble sausage and I was a harpy.

      I felt like throwing up every day. The eggshells I had to walk on around him were even worse. I was hobbled and prevented from doing or saying anything he didn’t like because he held the idea of him walking out the door because I was a “bad wife who didn’t trust him” over my head like a sword on a string.

      Reconciliation was hell. The power dynamics were so messed up; I was a prisoner in a marriage that I desperately wanted. So, thank God he found GF#3/Wifetress, packed his bags and left–thank God!

      Let him keep his secrets, Original Poster. I no longer want to know how many people my FW slept with; I don’t want to know anything about his life.

      Life is better when you’re on the other side of Hell and reconciliation with a FW, especially one who is not willing to do everything it takes to be a loving spouse, is Hell.

      • “I was a prisoner in a marriage that I desperately wanted.” Wow. Something about the way you put that really makes me feel that someone else has been through it.

        It is such hell to have one’s own natural desire to connect — a biological imperative to be social and share goodness, connection and support — used against us. It makes me think of forcing someone to hear, see or breathe something they don’t want to, where they can use your natural physical processes of connection with the planet to take in their sick power play.

        We give support and honesty and emotional integrity, they take that flow and instead of giving it back, they simply control it.

        Hard to stop on a dime the years of flowing one’s energy and attention toward a partner. It’s like trying to stop a river. They know it. Every time they’re nice, it’s like making it feel safe to flow in that direction again.

  • It’s time to stop looking for the elusive “closure”. It’s not going to happen. You will always have questions but you will never get the absolute truth from any cheater, And at the end of the day, does it even matter? You know he lied, manipulated, gaslit and cheated. He didn’t see your worth and if he did, he just didn’t care. It’s incredibly difficult to move forward from this but you can do it. And I know it’s hard to believe, but your life has amazing things in store, a life where your worth is valued and respected,

    • CinC,

      I agree absolutely. I achieved “closure” – if indeed it’s a thing – when I finally accepted and became comfortable with the fact that now Ex-Mrs LFTT was never going to accept that what she did to the kids and I was wrong, was never going to take responsibility for her decisions and was never going to try and make amends for the harm that she caused.

      Perhaps not closure from a traditional perspective … but it sure as hell works for the kids and I.

      LFTT

      • That is exactly the same closure my kids and I received from my ex-I actually do find comfort in it since I know my ex is incapable of real remorse so at least this way I don’t have to deal with my kids being mindfucked by the fake version.

  • The cheater delights in withholding the confession—it’s a secret he and the AP share! “Their secret, illicit love.” My x withheld the stupidest things—she has psoriasis, she has two bow tattoos on her hips, she’s still nursing her three year old… and then would blurt them out at random times, I think to stun me. I lived through 3 months of pick me dancing, and by the time I filed was so demoralized that I and our almost 30 year marriage meant so little to him, that I could barely move. I had major surgery 2 weeks later. He told his office—he’s a physician—that he needed a week off to care for his estranged wife. Except instead of even texting to ask, “hey how did the surgery go?” he opened bank accounts, shuffled money around, tried to block my access to mutual funds—as I was been wheeled into the operating room, no less—and the cherry on top, used our joint credit card to take a hooker out shopping (jewelry from goodwill) and out to lunch and dinner at two of our families favorite restaurants. He thought he knew the passwords to all of my accounts—my advice is: change all passwords the minute you get a whiff of cheating, because the person you thought you could trust with your life, will try yo destroy you.

    • My God! He’s a total ass, Faithful Rage. Sick and depraved.

      I appreciate the detail that he bought the hooker jewelry at Goodwill. #keepingitclassy

      That limbo period when you still share joint credit cards and bank accounts is particularly precarious. During those months, I made a pact with my cheating liar of an x that we wouldn’t withdraw more than x amount a week nor would we spend more than that with a credit card.

      I watched these accounts like a hawk, shaking each time I logged on to check.

      As you say, “…the person you thought you could trust with your life, will try to destroy you.” It’s the stuff of horror films.

      • On the 2nd Dday I called our banker and he agreed with me that BOTH of us had to agree to taking any money out of our joint savings. Boy was FW mad about that !

        So he used our adult kids to emotionally manipulate me to release money to him for all kinds of ‘reasons’.

        • Mitz – I’m here in the United States. I absolutely relied on the fact that either of us could access our joint accounts. That’s why I closed them, having the banks make out a cahier check for half the amount for him.

          Chumps should check with a lawyer about all of this. I have read about some who put their own lawyer’s retainer on the joint credit card, which might be the last charge to put on it.

          When the cheater begins to respond on a “need to know” basis, it’s time for the chump to quietly put together a support team and go grey rock.

      • I had ex promise he would not withdraw cash for the time being, this being what he did and spent on prostitutes, seedy massage parlors, and the like. He pushed back, saying what if he needed cash, blah blah blah, but (seemingly) reluctantly accepted. (This was of course back when I didn’t quite see how fucked up it was having to explain to him the whys of a consequence, let alone hand one out to him rather than him taking that initiative himself…you know, because he was so repentant.) Come to find, via a snail mail banking statement, that he was taking money out on his own “personal development” account. This being his account to which I did not otherwise have access, and an account that he thought he was stealthily switched to e-statements on. This was one of many hammers (but probably the hardest hitting) that told me I needed to get the fuck out.

    • “my advice is: change all passwords the minute you get a whiff of cheating, because the person you thought you could trust with your life, will try yo destroy you.”

      Agreed and great advice! I wish I had thought of this. Even after D-Day #2, I still hadn’t changed a lot of my passwords because I didn’t think he’d hack into my life. I thought, “Why would he? I’ve literally done nothing wrong. There’s nothing to see.”

      I should have changed my passwords. I didn’t see FW as an enemy; I saw him as my husband (albeit a cheating one). FW alternated between seeing me as either an obstacle or his enemy and acted accordingly.

      It’s staggeringly bizarre how many times FW showed me that I shouldn’t trust him and how many times I continued to trust him. I now shutter to think that I lived with him behind closed locked doors. I don’t trust him at all and will never be in a private space with him again–public space meetings (if needed) only. I no longer trust him either my safety or my life. Too many stories of wives and ex-wives who have “mysteriously vanished” are out there.

      Protect yourself: have your own bank account and change your passwords to every thing. Then change the locks.

      • “It’s staggeringly bizarre how many times FW showed me …”

        Yes. For me, it is staggeringly bizarre how many times he showed me that he clearly did NOT want to be married to me and I ignored all of his actions because I thought that the only way to get divorced was to say “I want a divorce” which is something he only said once (which STILL sparked a pick-me dance from me because his reason was that I was a bad wife).

        When one’s spouse shows in many ways that they see no value in the marriage whatsoever, please believe them

        • Believe them and recognize it when it is happening. Not as easy as it sounds, but so vital.

          For instance my ex almost always forgot my birthday, I mean he likely remembered it three times in a 21 year marriage. And when he realized he did, he would joke about it. I let it go because after all he didn’t gamble or drink or chase women. (Ha).

          Him forgetting my birthday was targeted disrespect against me. I just didn’t realize it. Same for valentines day. Oh in the first few years he did valentines day; but it quit and the “it is just a made up holiday” spiel began. So I let it go. I still remembered his birthday and always made his favorite chocolate pie for valentines day; but for me nothing.

          It didn’t occur to me until after the D that the man was compulsively orderly; always was. He for all of our married life used a small planning calendar and carried it with him all the time. He left some old ones behind when he moved out. I went through them. Pretty much everything he did was in there. My birthday was not marked in any of them.

          I am sure whores stuff was in there but in code; because he had some weird entries which I assume was his own code.

      • Yes the extremes that FW’s will go to is incredible. I was forced to live with him for a year (long story). At Dday 2 I discovered burner phones (locked of course) and he had changed passwords on lots of accounts (thank goodness I did most of the banking but he still pilfered money). The one that really stressed me out is he set up tiny video cameras in our house. They really do treat you like an enemy even though it’s them who are abusing us.

      • “It’s staggeringly bizarre how many times FW showed me that I shouldn’t trust him and how many times I continued to trust him. I now shutter to think that I lived with him behind closed locked doors.”

        Same and same. When I focus on this, FW is menacing, and I feel violated. So I try not to, because he’s just a pathetic coward and I don’t want to give him any power, if even in my mind. Weird how this tends to come up for me in the middle of the night, when I wake up from nightmares.

        • I became terrified of the ex. I would shake every time an email regarding the financial discussions landed in my inbox. On one occasion I had to get my neighbour to come with me to collect a recorded delivery letter from the post office. I’d worried about this letter for a whole weekend. When I collected it, it wasn’t from him! I had to get another friend to sit with me while I opened emails, or, at first, checked the new account I’d set up to receive his emails. The fear that this man who I had slept next to for 26 years generated in me is, now, 2 years out, unbelievable. Did that really happen? Shortly after coming across the evidential emails, and having taken legal advice immediately, I sent him a ‘without prejudice’ email (we are both lawyers). I was so terrified that his reaction might be violent that I left keys in all the locks until I was legally able to change the locks (which took a further year). With hindsight I understand that his behaviour, his actions, what he said, how he looked, had become so alien to me, so different from who I believed him to be, that he had morphed into a dangerous, threatening stranger. I was terrified of my mother for most of my childhood. The ex had taken on the same proportions as my mother in my mind. I would not have believed that this visceral, gut-wrenching reaction was possible before the discard (which lasted a year but which ramped up dramatically in the last 6 months during which time my father died). I was desperate, howling with pain and trying to function at the same time. It was easier to cling to hope, to speculate, than to face the reality of, quoting the poem above, ‘the deep hole into which I kept falling’. The man I loved had reduced me to terror, by his actions and words, without laying a finger on me. I wish the exgfOW the best of luck in her ‘karmic relationship’ with him. She will need it because he is capable of dark acts and she will not be immune. They split up twice before, when at university and in their early twenties. She knows all too well what she is getting.

          • MW,

            I blocked Mr. X from phone and emails.

            When emails somehow got through my block, the terror they elicited sent me spinning out of my familiar self too.

            Never had I experienced such intense feelings and it completely confounded me since it was just an email – the mere sight of his name on my screen was enough to trigger a response so unfamiliar to me that I found myself stunned as well – good old fight or flight instinct ramped up beyond excess.

            Luckily I have friends to whom I can send emails, unopened by me, who can field them for me.

            None have needed a response and each friend always has commented something to the tune of, ” This is a very sick man.”

            Time and insight and time and…..

      • Protecting yourself is good advice. Change all of the passwords to your own accounts. Lock down the joint accounts as well — check with a lawyer to see whether you can take a portion of the money out. Don’t assume he doesn’t know the password to your 401k, or your savings account. Change those suckers. Get yourself a private mailbox at UPS or a mail forwarding service — I cannot emphasize that strongly enough. GET YOURSELF A PRIVATE MAILBOX THAT HE CANNOT ACCESS. Change the passwords to your laptop, your iPad, your phone, and any other tech that you use. He is not your friend. He’s an enemy. Treat him as such.

      • Yup. Exactly. They get a charge out of being the possessors of knowledge. Such a power trip.

        And when the jig is up, many (like my x) get almost giddy about sharing the details. They’d been holding it all in for SO long. He couldn’t wait to tell me where they’d fucked in our house and that she liked it when he went down on her more than I did. He cited that as one reason to leave me. He added (as if to console me), “But I don’t always have an orgasm when I’m with her.” What the actual fuck! That he thought it was appropriate to share this with me, his then-wife who is reeling from the news of the affair reveals what a sick bastard he is.

        • Spinach@35 totally agree. Your explanation is perfect. Cheaters are remarkably open about the details once they are found out. Ex spilled his guts to anyone and everyone that he came in contact with almost seemed proud of cheating. So strange to watch this total melt down of a human being. Makes me very afraid and so relieved I got the divorce early. My advice, protect yourself and your children.

  • Mine said something like this. He forgot he had admitted to similar things before though. They can’t keep their stories straight, so they opt to not answer questions at all. Remember “they won’t let this define them”. My FW would glom into something I asked. Realized later it was because he didn’t want to confess to what really happened which was soooooooo much worse.
    My concern with what I read is that he’s setting something up so he can legally say you’re making all of this up. When I first read your story, I was thinking his legal counselor. FW was told by counselor he got less than a week after d-day to not let me put words in his mouth. I’m not allowed to say how he felt or did anything. Be careful!

  • I never ever cease to be amazed at the utter sliminess of these cheating fuckwits. It’s as if we live in an alternate reality universe. I’ll never trust another man again. And women I’ve known who turned out to be cheaters? Kicked them to the curb. This is incredibly demoralizing and denigrating. Wish their heads would spontaneously combust.

    • Same here. I don’t see myself trusting anyone ever again. And I’ve always been the same with friends that I know have cheated. They ultimately are no longer my friends once I find out. I just can’t condone that crap.

      And, with that being said, could someone tell me why *I’m* feeling bad and guilty because I have to have the talk with STBX this week that I’m moving out and filing? Why the hell do I feel bad and why am I worrying about hurting him/his feelings when I already know he doesn’t give two shits about mine! I had finally stopped crying constantly because my plan is in place and things have been getting in order. Now that I have an end in sight I’m back to sobbing every day. What the actual fuck is that about? I need out of here so badly because of this exact reason and yet I’m still worrying about hurting HIM. My mother said, yesterday, it’s because I’m a decent person and that they raised me to care about other people and their feelings. This is true – my parents and grandparents are old school and your treat others with respect and consideration. Period. But I don’t feel like a decent person looking for apartments behind his back and walking out the door around the holidays and his impending birthday. Even thought one day last week I felt mighty and was talking shit like it’s no big deal and he deserves it- I actually feel really damn shitty for walking out and that makes no sense because I have every right. I’ve been crying since I woke up this morning (while he’s done as he usually does and ignored me the entire time) and I don’t even know why I’m stressing about it so badly.

      Sorry.
      Tangent.
      Moving on.

        • Virtual hugs!!!!!!!!! You are mighty and know what is best for you. I admire your strength and fortitude. You can do this. You are mourning still, and it hurts worse because the other half isn’t. You’ve got this!

        • Same here. I actually thought about the whole never trusting another female on the way into work this morning. I’ve been single for 3 years and divorced now for almost a year. Would I like to start dating again? Absolutely. But honestly I’m terrified that I’ll end up in the same position again. My kids love that dad gives them 100 % attention whereas mom is busy keeping her serial cheater AP in check so the kids don’t get much from her.

          CMGWAC you’re an empath. You invested so much that’s why you’re feeling the way you are. I wouldn’t have any talk with that POS. Have him served and move out without saying anything. Make sure though you have everything of yours moved out before you do. I made the mistake of not having everything of mine out and she will not let me have the stuff. Also I made sure my ex-wife was served at work with her AP in her office. She had no idea it was coming. So yeah I wouldn’t let him know anything. Take care of yourself you got this!!

          • I felt like you and then just really really wanted intimacy again, so I started dating. It’s work and mostly fun. After 3 years I found someone I think is special. But I am vigilant. My teenage daughter’s best friend was asking me about my dating and when I described some of what I do to make sure everything is kosher she said I have trust issues. (She knows what happened.) I told her no—if I couldn’t trust I wouldn’t date—I trust but then I am hyper vigilant about actions and words adding up. She then was like—hmmm that makes sense. I should do that. Uhhh…YES! So, ChumpTight, date if you want to and do your due diligence. My teenagers are surprisingly happy I found someone. I think it then gives them permission to be autonomous without worrying about me. (Although, I will always make sure I am financially independent!)

      • The answer is the same: because you care.

        You don’t have to ever date again. But for the same answer as to why you feel bad about filing, relationships matter to you. Even dying ones.

        If you having filed, put dating waaaaaaaay outta the way and address that later.

        File. Kill the dying beast and start to heal.

        But don’t give up on relationships and maybe with someone special. It obviously matters and you’re probably awesome at it.

          • Tall One, I prepped all my stuff in advance before retaining an attorney. The decision to file was easy because the FW put me through hell. He never expected being served and the look on his face was priceless. The FW scrambled like hell to get the fuck out when he and his lawyer realized what documentation we wanted. The FW did all his crap on a computer linked up to my son’s devices. You can guess the rest.
            Filing is the best decision I ever made. The fog is starting to clear since the FW got the hell out. I know there are still battles to fight but I am ready for this war.
            Schmoopie won the prize and boy am I glad she did.
            To Adrienne and all new chumps, get your ducks in a row and file. Never look back.

  • Adrienne: My FW had a moment of clarity…and I can’t even trust that info. He is a lying liar who lies.

    I asked him: “Do you feel any guilt or shame at all for lying to me, your therapist (therapist dropped him 3X for lying to him), your 12 step group and your family for decades?”

    FW said no, he feels no guilt, shame or remorse AT ALL. This was nearly a month ago.

    These types are psychopaths. It is hard for normal people to understand those that have a hole in their conscience. We are sane. They are not.

    YOU.
    CAN.
    NEVER.
    TRUST.
    HIM.
    EVER.

    Not even a little bit.

  • His being caught means you have a declared enemy. An enemy will think nothing of lying, tricking, doing evil things, stealing etc because they have no investment in your relationship. His goal is destruction. So you are on defense and need to be relentless in protecting yourself and your territory. That person you loved needs to be dead to you forever.

  • Just another flavor of a mind fvck and side stepping consequences

    If I tried to question ex he would start bleating that “I just want to see him dead, then I’l be happy”

    Yes I was this mean witch who instead of wanting to operate off of facts just wanted the man dead

    And liars lie, you can’t believe that the therapist said this

    • They will say anything to throw us off the path of learning what they truly did and/or holding them accountable.

      One day, I sat at the kitchen table and very calmly explained how horrible and painful he words and actions had been. With nary an apology or acknowledgement of what he wrought, he said “If one of our kids died, you wouldn’t do so well”. I told this story here and people thought he was threatening to kill one of them, he wasn’t (a chump here actually suffered her cheater murdering one of their children, so the possibility is real, but not in my case)…

      …I believe that he was insinuating that my pain was not not a result of his treachery but rather a result of my weakness. He had to reach pretty far to find something worse than his abuse and the idea that one of our kids could die was it.

      Context Clue: If you do something SO awful that the only thing worse is your kids death, they you have done something REALLY awful.

      The epilogue in my story is that he died and I did ok. At the time he died, we were in a terrible wreckonciliation but I loved him and I grieved for real. I later found proof of MUCH worse betrayal than I ever thought possible (including proof that his whole “coming clean” explanation was riddled with lies).

      I was standing in our basement literally holding hotel receipts in my hands. I dropped it all on the floor and walked away…my love was dead before the paper hit the carpet. A huge irony is that he had dropped dead in that same room about a year earlier – about 10 feet from where I was standing. Perhaps fitting that my love died in the same place.

      • “I believe that he was insinuating that my pain was not not a result of his treachery but rather a result of my weakness.”

        Yup, yup, and yup again. This is 100% my FW’s mindset; he believed he did nothing wrong (just fell in love with his soulmate(s) while having the sad sausage misfortune of being married), so, you see… it’s really him who is the victim and it angered him that I wasn’t on the same page as him.

        Bizarre. You can’t make this stuff up.

        Going grey rock/no contact was a game changer and a lifesaver. I was banging my head against a brick wall trying to get him to admit that he had hurt me. He would just shake his head condescendingly and say that my feelings were not his responsibility; only *I* could control how *I* felt and to say that he had any hand in that was very irresponsible of me.

        He easily flipped every conversation we ever and was always able to walk away with his head held high, knowing that he (according to him) had done nothing wrong and that my feelings were not his responsibility, only my weakness. I felt like throwing up every time he did this. I felt like a bad person. I felt like… well, no wonder he keeps cheating on me; it’s all my fault, not his.

        Then came that glorious day where I figured out I could get my sanity back by just… not talking to him anymore. He hated that and fought back, trying to initiate any contact he could, but I went absolutely, professionally grey rock. And I think it saved my life.

        No contact is a blessing.

        • It really is

          Every encounter is only an opportunity for more abuse

          Once you accept that and go NC it is so much saner

  • I wouldn’t stick around for Act II. This is a guy that’s shown you his cards and will make the same play again – because it works.

    “I didn’t tell you your Dr. said you’re terminal; I didn’t want it to stress you”. All the while he’s making plans for his future with your assets.

    “You were under alot of stress the day the bank called about overdrafts. I didn’t want you to be further stressed, so I took the call.” All the while he’s moving money at your peril.

    “My therapist says he’ll support me whether I choose to leave or stay. We’re working on us, baby.” All the while his gears are rolling toward the door.

    “I bought us this expensive new car so you will be more comfortable on distance trips.” All the while making sure you’re on top of the monthly payments.

    “Let’s use your inheritance on a lake house for our family and the grandkids.” All the while shifting what’s yours into communal assets.

    Once he showed you his cards as a lying manipulator out to play you, that was it. When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. Run, don’t walk to the nearest exit.

  • I got ‘truth and perception are not the same thing’. I agree. The truth was expressed in his ‘yearning, teary’ email to his long-distance exgfOW ‘mate’. Little did she know that he had been all over his twenties niece in front of me only a few weeks earlier! This man is mid-fifties. His perception was that I continued to be a complete idiot as I had been for the full 26 years of our relationship. As I told him what one example email said, he stared at me, smirking and said ‘did she, did I’ repeatedly. Thank goodness that I had arranged the meeting in a public place, otherwise I would have slapped that smug smile right off his ugly, twisted face. And I am not a violent person. Adrienne, leave him, do not ask any more questions, go no contact as far as you can. Do not think for one second that this man has any humanity left in him capable of being directed towards you. As soon as you come to terms with that fact you can create your new, better, life. Cheaters are not the sort of people you want to be around. They are poison. Let the OW (OM) ‘enjoy’ the fruits of their labours while you live clean!

  • CL nails it when she concludes: “Imagine letting go of the struggle for answers, and letting him keep his secrets. Alone.”

    Letting go (removing your head from the mindfuck blender) is key to moving on. It’s also incredibly tough. It goes hand and hand with NO CONTACT. Those two–letting go and having no contact–are the keys to moving on.

    Meh is that point in recovery when you can’t even remember where you put the mindfuck blender. You don’t seek closure. You accept that you won’t know everything and really don’t care anymore. You know enough. What happened sucked, but it’s in the past.

    My goal is to be able to shrug my shoulders and/or roll my eyes when I hear anything about my x or when I have any intrusive thoughts. #gettingthere

  • I think of certain horror movies, where it finally dawns on the lead character that her spouse/neighbour/boss is a complete psycho. It was all an act.

    That is what many of us went through

  • It took a very long time for me to accept that I will never ever never ever never ever ever know the truth. No matter how many questions I asked. Whether he answered or not. And I would not be able to believe anything he said.

    Ever.

    I was watching a Netflix documentary the other day called The Pharmacist. The story of a pharmacist in New Orleans whose son is shot during a drug deal. NOPD doesn’t really put much effort into solving the murder because because the victim is an addict. So naturally this man starts his own amateur investigation. One of the people interviewed for the documentary, a minister, said this man had “question mark pain”. The pain that comes from not knowing. The term caught my attention because it describes the pain of a victim of infidelity.

    I spent half my life with him and I will never ever never ever know the truth about half of my life. My marriage was a mirage and no matter how many questions I ask I will never know the truth That I have to interrogate him means I am in a BAD relationship in the first place. I am a detective married to the perpetrator of the crime I am investigating. The crime against me and our daughter. This is not a marriage. This is a game.

    It’s a small consolation that he lies to EVERYBODY.

    It’s been four years since DDay. We are divorced. He sees a therapist.

    And he is still lying.

    If you enjoy being married to someone who operates at the developmental stage of a toddler, by all means stay.

    • Same here. I came to a point about a year out of D that I will never know why, what or even who. 21 years of my life a mystery, (age 18 to 40) he lived a double life; and not just against me but he had a lot of folks fooled. He had to have fooled them or he wouldn’t have been able to attain the position he held in the community and at his work. Of that I am sure.

      One of the bigger mysteries within that mystery is how he managed to keep that whore quiet for so many years. I know of course he was funneling money to her, so I know she had reason to keep her mouth shut. But, by any standard she was not a bright woman, and she was a scrapper born I assume from coming from an uneducated FOO, and she made not attempt to better herself. She evidently went from one married man to another; once her two early marriages ended in D.

      I don’t know who her third son belonged to. She was not married when he was born. My son has questioned his dad if it is his and his dad denied it. Who knows.

      • Were you married to a sociopath? I downloaded The Sociopath Next Door and am half through. They are everywhere.
        Anytime I read of the scheming, planning, lying that goes on there is no other diagnosis that fits. There seem to be many of those in political arenas. Reading Chump Lady through the years it looks like this is many of the cheaters.

    • Gosh I feel this. Thanks for the insightful words. More than half my life was based on so many many lies…but at least I can feel safe in my truth. I loved him for many of those years, I was loyal and giving, I conceived our child when I was in love, I had happiness and joy for a lot that relationship. Those truths don’t change.

    • (((Velvet Hammer)))
      “ question mark pain”
      I, too, have this.
      Many Chumps tell their story which includes many many painful details of things involving the cheater & the AP.
      I only know that my cheater cheated. I know absolutely nothing, zero, “0”about the OW.
      There is absolutely no cure for “ question mark pain”

      Cheater, Narcs, lie, so a cure for this pain can never ever ever ever exist.

      YOU are a Gem to CN Velvet Hammer. You help so many new Chumps, ( & old Chumps too).
      💜

  • For a full year before the Big Reveal [“we need an open marriage in order to save what we have…”], KK was seeing a therapist 1:1.

    Every once in a while, she’d drop some abstract hint that she was on the verge of some great breakthrough, but that I was intentionally to be kept in the dark about it:

    “Jennifer has helped me come to a few realizations. These are private conversations and I’m not at liberty to discuss specifics, but you should know that I’m feeling really good about where my head is going.”

    I’d always tell her I was so glad she was making progress, and that it could only mean our marriage and family would be stronger because of it.

    On the night of the Big Reveal, she led with “I actually saw a divorce attorney last year…” as a way of roping me into the open marriage suggestion.

    I realize now that that entire period was the discard, facilitated by some credentialed back up. I’d like to believe that “Jennifer” was an ethical therapist who emphasized honesty, transparency, etc. and that KK just disregarded it, rather than being one of those horror-show therapists who says “you need to do what’s right for you, everyone else be damned.

    The overall takeaway is: hiding behind “privileged conversations” with people outside the marriage is just another tool in the toolbox of the disordered.

    • Agree, my STBX opened the open marriage issue. The truth was that he was already in that open marriage but neglected to inform me of it. Another cheater tactic.

    • “I realize now that that entire period was the discard,”

      It is horrifying when we discover that many of us can in hindsight pin point the almost minute the discard begins.

      My fw got promoted after he and I working for several years in the community and in politics to get him in position. He loved me so much during those years (vomit). Almost immediately after he was promoted, I was at the ceremony and he indeed gave me credit for helping him so much in his lifes work (gag).

      Then boom I could feel the shift. He was busy of course that was expected, but he stopped talking to me other than superficial things, he avoided me. So much that I stopped him on his way out one day and asked what was going on as it feels like he is pushing me away and I would like us to make sure and spend time together. He had a smirk on his face, and then said “oh, just work stress; it will get better soon” He said he just needed “space”. So I backed off and gave him space so he and whore could bond and get their new planned life in order while slowly peeling me off so he could drop me in the garbage can.

      By the end of the year I was drop kicked and they waltzed off into their new life into what they thought was going to be the life I had helped him build.

    • My ex-wife also went to therapy. I asked her severeal times if the therapist didn’t ask to invite me to join her for at least one session. (which is quite common in therapy land and actually advocated to therapists to get a clearer picture of important relationships and dynamics). She always said it was never brought up, which i thought was very strange.
      After the therapy was finished she seemed better, but in hindsight i know what she was doing. (AP). Not long after I got the question how I would feel about open marriage.
      Everything downhill since then.

      • I asked my fuckwit for an open marriage after learned he had been acting single for years.
        OH NO, he said, he didn’t want that!!!
        HA! Just special stuff for them….

    • In the “maybe we need an open marriage” camp as well. Always was in one, probably the entire time. This was a way of trying to tidy up and repackage what he took it upon himself to do all along. And here I thought I should be the “cool” wife who was OK with that seedy massage parlor charge. Never co-signing my own neglect and abuse ever again. We are all worth more than what these users want us to feel we are.

    • UX, this is one of the most diabolical and manipulative leadups I have heard of. Yick. Also sounds like your fuckwit is a true moron. Glad you’re out.

    • Yes to the priviledged conversations. After it dawned on me that ex was obsessed with Ponygirl, he told me that a few weeks ago he and she had had a conversation about their deep, spiritual friendship. He said that they had decided not to ‘do anything’ about it so as not to risk our marriage. I was supposed to be impressed by their heroic restraint I suppose, instead I was floored and horrified that he could have a conversation like that without telling me, without realising the danger of it and that it was a glaring warning that our marriage was already doomed. This is when cheaters confuse privacy with secrecy. A few months later I told him it was her or me, and he was gone.

  • The marriage therapist–a referral from his OWN therapist– told us it was unfair to make me live in uncertainty and that if he wanted to reconcile, he had to open up all emails, phones and other info to me so I could see if he was being honest, and see what he’d done. He pretended to do so. I discovered he had used other email accounts and other phones. He would never admit to anything unless I had written proof. Even then, he’d sit there with a blank stare and say he didn’t remember. And then he turned violent. I got help to get him out of the house immediately, and filed. My biggest mistake was not calling the police that day, although I reported later.
    Adrienne, I suspect he plans to retract what he’s already told you, and say it was a false confession, or that other things he told you weren’t true. You could ask to have a joint session with him and his therapist. I got that, and got to hear his therapist tell my ex that he, the therapist, felt personally and professionally betrayed by what my ex had done–and that was before the violence.

  • I wanted to know why my passive aggressive covert narc FW cheated. He claimed it was because I had purchased new dishes and he was afraid I would yell at him if he broke one of the coffee cups. WTF? ( He did break my things a lot — it was his passive aggressiveness.) He reason was so absurd it cured me of looking for the elusive “closure”. Closure is realizing that cheaters are lying. lazy and immature and that you will never get a honest answer from them. Being honest would mean they need to accept responsibility for their actions, and that is not going to happen.

    There is a great article in the archives of Surviving Infidelity titled You Will Never Know the Truth. The truth is much worse than what they will ever admit. This is true in my case — my FW admitted to a year long affair but I had emails that proved their affair started much earlier. Accepting that I would never know the details also helped me move on. The truth is that they suck. That is all the truth I need.

    • UGH, same with the dishes, etc., Discarded Wife. Passive aggressive (FOO mother), narcissistic asshole (FOO father). What a winning combination I married. Then having that turned around on you like your anger at their lack of involvement and care for the home you are supposedly building together is YOUR fault. So glad to be out of that life.

    • My XH the substance abuser broke so many things. He never mentioned what he did. He rarely cleaned up the mess, and if it was something important (my grandmother’s ceramic Christmas tree) he just pretended he didn’t know what happened. Things break themselves, doncha know?

    • I didn’t have the broken dishes, but like others, there were certainly oddities. My therapist said that’s a deliberate ploy to throw you off the trail, LOL.

      After my intake appointment, my divorce attorney (40+ years in divorce law) set up what he called a “marital history” appointment. He was expecting a fight because of the attorney my ex picked and what I had told him in the intake appointment. He gave me an outline of what to cover and said that I was always free to pass on questions that he might ask. Multiple times he said, “And there’s probably more that you don’t know, trust me.” That rattled me, and I barely held back the tears in the elevator and cried all the way home. When I called one of my “seen it all” type friends, she said to believe my attorney.

      He recommended hiring a PI, but I wanted to save what little money I had and said just to get it settled. When it was going all kinds of wrong, I told him I would if it went to trial. His attorney blabbed more than he should have, and mine shared the generalities which he said would somewhat drive his trial strategy if it came to that. That was enough for me. Thankfully we settled, and I let go of knowing any more than I did.

  • Dear Adrienne,

    FW in my case said virtually the same thing but didn’t use a therapist as backup. He confessed to certain things early on after d-day, as if in a blurting trance. But later he tried to retract many of these things by saying he only said such and such because it’s what I “wanted to hear,” or because I’d “demanded [Shmoopie’s] scalp.”

    Firstly, like CL said, why tf would I “want” to hear about an affair? The revelations ripped my lungs out of my body. It was horrible. Furthermore, the term “scalp” had first been used because it has been Shmoops who demanded *mine.* Long before I knew she existed, she had called me names and had expressed rage when FW wouldn’t mistreat me in the specific ways she would have preferred. So FW was retracting his admission that Shmoops demanded my scalp by reversing this onus onto me.

    Weird. Yet more reason to block and go NC or gray rock and not expect truth or closure from cheaters. But for those of us who didn’t get that memo right away, you could say that FW’s ever-shifting senses of truth are par for the course. I think the general rule is that if a FW retracts an initial admission, this means the initial admission was not only true but true x a factor of 30. Anyway, for the record, every early blurted admission he later tried to retract by characterizing as a false confession turned out to be true and then some.

    — FW and Shmoopie were both defineably alcoholics. FW had managed to hide his drinking well for over a year but it progressed to the point that he could not quit without noticeable symptoms. So once that cat was out of the bag, it could not be put back in the bag. Yet he tried. At first, FW had admitted that most of the marital assets blown on the affair went to booze, possibly as an alibi for the affair (demon whisky made him do it!). But then he didn’t like the sordid light that shed on the affair and on Shmoopie, so he pretended that he’d just said this to appease me and it wasn’t true and his shmoops was a wholesome, healthy angel. Except, of course, when the full financial damage was finally fully exposed, this lie became even more impossible to sustain. They spent $40k in a year and a half, mostly in bars and liquor stores. And it turned out she was not only a active alcoholic for yesrs longer than FW and regularly drove drunk, but she was also a huge pot head. Furthermore, the drug abuse aspect was maddeningly obvious because they both looked the part. They both has the tell-tale bar fly beer guts, bleary eyes and perpetual ass-faced grumpy expressions.
    The one upside of the monumentally useless RIC process was the full disclosure part where all the past mindfucks and gaslights were amended. FW finally admitted the full scope of what drunken arses he and the AP had been.

    –FW initially admitted, then withdrew, then admitted again that he had every reason to know he was exposing me to potentially deadly STDs because the AP had quite the shady, high-risk past. She had a history of doing anal with strangers met through online dating sites w/o condoms.
    People who do anal are statistically far more likely to contract STDs and people who cheat are statistically far more likely to pass the infections to others than even those in “open relationships.” What’s more, the AP was still using those dating sites for about 6 months into the affair. Basically,
    failure to admit what a high risk person the AP was was a quasi criminal failure to warn of the danger I was in.

    –FW finally admitted that “scalping” me had been a ritual. Each time after he’d briefly paused the affair for various family holidays, he’d return and Shmoops would sulk and refuse to screw him until FW put me and the marriage down. Putting me down was apparently foreplay. It cast them both in an ugly light and made it impossible to “romanticize” or mythologize the affair as anything but sleazy, hateful and disgusting.

    Some FWs try to blame their own actions on the “hussy” AP. Some go to the ither extreme and try to protect the AP because, if the AP is merely dogshit, that means bagging the AP wasn’t a feather in the FWs narcy cap. Either way, lies are lies, mindfucks are mindfucks. Any way in which cheaters conceal or warp the truth is abuse. Proof of this is thst I think it shortened my trauma a little that I didn’t have to just trust that they sucked but got a pretty full admission of how and why they sucked (and probably an easier divorce and better settlement because FW gave up “plausuble deniability”) . But I didn’t get the facts until after FW tried to retract every icky, telling admission, so I still have blender scars on my head.

  • I read an interesting article last week about a spouse who had discovered her husband was posting on a site where all the people were supposed to have been in a relationship with a cheater. I wondered if it was Chump Lady, but it really doesn’t matter. Here, we generally take the chump who writes in at his or her word. We do not know the details, but we recognize the pain. I suppose some folks want to be a part of a group, and do lie — but what we do here is basically say forget what you know, or suspect, or the who, what, and especially why, and get on with your own life. This writer said she had never cheated on her husband. Why would she write in, if she had? What does the husband get by living an online lie? Who knows, but concentrating on details and perceived injustice is not the point. Your happiness and well being is the point. We all notice similarities in cheater behavior, and it may feel good to realize we are not alone, but the details don’t really matter. How you feel, does.

    I have been in a relationship with several liars, and cheaters during my dating and married years. Some were extremely jealous and possessive. I felt, at the time, I had to defend myself. I did not understand projection. But I did understand I could not live with a jealous person. They are jealous of what you do with your body, sure, but also your being smart, or your job, or your credit rating, or the opportunities you had in life, or any and all of these things. It’s not always a lover, either, it could be a so called friend, or a family member (in my case my Dad). The point is you cannot ever satisfy this personality type, they always lie, and they always justify. My Dad tried to pull the therapist “said” trick on everyone in my family. None of us bought it. As CL points out — is this behavior acceptable to you? If not, leave.

    In the end, it really does not matter what you know, or can prove, unless it is pertinent in a court of law. What matters is you do not feel safe, you cannot trust this person. I joined the marriage police long enough to prove to MYSELF that my instinct was correct. It was a discouraging and disgusting time in my life. Once you see certain things, you cannot unsee them. They may propel you to get out — anger and outrage are good fuels. But you do not have to justify here, or to anyone who really does love you or really is your friend. They know, and accept, who you are. If you are always suspicious of everyone, and constantly look for signs of a dementor — you make yourself unhappy. Get help. But also know that there are dementors out there, and when you find you are receiving death by a thousand cuts, get out of there and away from this person. You cannot be healthy and happy if you live in an environment where you believe you are responsible for “fixing” everything and everyone. Fix you — fix your picker, set priorities to achieve happiness. You deserve a better life, and you will never have one if you live with a liar and a cheat.

  • One more thing — this goes back to the question of do you tell — Just because someone tells you something, especially about a dead person, doesn’t mean it is true. It may be speculation, or hearsay. Someone may tell a “fact” about another person without any proof, what so ever. You do not know what their motivation is. Unless you have irrefutable evidence — which would hold up in court — don’t repeat or believe gossip. I really try to mind my own business, even if I hear something I want to believe. Stories get twisted. Remember that childhood party game where someone whispers in another’s ear, and you go around the room, and the last person says it out loud? Not accurate. Police interview eye witnesses, who tell what they believe they saw. Amazingly, not always accurate. So we are fallible humans — big surprise. Some people lie. Another big surprise. Just ask yourself what would be gained by repeating what I was told, which may or may not be true? Usually, nothing good. If your significant other dismisses your concerns, thinks he’s being funny, wants to keep his secrets, or turn the blame on you, is this behavior acceptable to you? You are the one who decides how you will live.

    • I totally get not spreading gossip, but the “don’t say anything unless you have irrefutable evidence” and “what would be gained by repeating what I was told” is used against victims (and chumps!) all the time.

      There are many, many crimes that are basically impossible to prove. Emotional abuse. Molestation. Even many rape cases have little to no forensic evidence, or even if there is some, there is always an out in saying it was consensual.

      For petty gossip, sure, don’t pass it along. But for anything where someone’s health, livelihood, and safety is involved in my opinion you have to err on the side of caution.

      • If I am talking to my therapist, or a close personal friend, or the chump nation — I feel I can tell what I perceive to be true without court worthy evidence. What I am trying to describe is any “confession” of the cheater, or OW/OM, or a third party telling you something they may believe to be true. I am just pointing out you do not know if it is true because it is not your experience. I am not certain if they are lying intentionally, or actually saying something they believe to be true, or are saying something for another reason/manipulation. When you repeat something you were told by another person, technically that is hearsay, and it may or may not be true.

        I am not ignorant enough to believe that all crime or damage can be proven in a court of law. Your truth is real to you, and sometimes when you hear another person’s story it rings true to you. But to repeat it as fact is not an accurate way to live. If someone tells me they think my ex had an affair with a specific person, I tend to believe them. There were so many incidents where I had a great deal of believable evidence. But I don’t know about EVERYTHING either ex did, and I don’t really want to anymore. After a point it doesn’t really make them any more guilty, or me any more unhappy. The whole relationship was not acceptable.

        I have a mountain of bad actions my father did in his life. He hurt every member of my immediate family. If someone told me he also had affairs outside of his marriage to my mother, it would not change the way I feel about him. She has dementia now, but even before, when she finally decided to divorce him for all the rest of his crap, what good would it have done to tell her something else that was bad, maybe believable, but just what I had been told and could not ascertain whether or not it was true?

        I am not saying don’t tell your truth. I am saying don’t repeat what someone else tells you as if it is the truth. It may be true, you might believe it is likely to be true, but you do not know for certain.

  • As my divorce attorney said multiple times, if it smells like garbage, it is garbage. Trust your gut.

    After we decided to separate and my ex chose to go far away, I briefly decided to see our mutual therapist, but she was sounding the alarm bells “change the locks and move on” while I wasn’t quite yet there. Kind of, but kind of not. Part of me knew it was over, and part of me hoped for reconciliation against the odds.

    So I decided to see a local life coach to work in a different way on my issues, figuring that it would help whatever the future held. Probably the biggest thing she taught me was that I was actually far more aware than I thought I was and that I needed to trust my gut after thoroughly questioning it.

    At the time I knew very little about what my now-ex was doing with his time after he left, but my gut was that it wasn’t good. There were certain gaps in what was needed for reconciliation that I was very uncomfortable with despite his insistence that he had turned over a new leaf and that we just needed to start over. The reality is that divorce had been off-and-on the table for a long time, and we had emotionally broken up and reconciled many times during our marriage. I had no reason to believe that it wouldn’t be more of the same.

    Finally, I took reconciliation off the table, and he followed it up with “reconcile or else.” I chose “or else.” He promised “quick and easy,” and it was hard, protracted, and expensive. He tried to manipulate and then acted out a lot with his attorney who blabbed to my attorney way more than he should have, but what we heard confirmed my gut.

    • I have only recently really started to listen to my gut and believe it. My gut says there’s so much more to the story. My gut says his lies are enough to fill up an entire garbage dump.

      • Yes, it’s like an onion with many layers. My ex abandoned the marriage four years ago, and I’m coming up on two years of divorce. I’m still finding stink as I recover. It’s been very upsetting at times to remember things that were said and assumptions I made that look different to me now in retrospect.

        Keep working it though. It does get better.

  • Adrienne I am so sorry this happened. But please don’t believe him. I found hotel receipts, jewelry receipts, resort reservations and receipts ad nauseum. All the dates corresponded with nights he was working. Imagine that? My fw denied an affair. He swore he was “helping a friend” cheat on his wife. Wtf?? By implicating himself???. None of it made sense. They lie and gaslight. Period.

    • “It’s not an affair! I said I’d never do that again! Boy, you really are an untrusting wife; you’re going to ruin this marriage by not trusting me. She’s just a friend and she needs my help–every night this week–with a sewing project. Also, her laptop broke, so I took out a new credit card so I can buy her a new one. Why? BECAUSE SHE’S MY FRIEND! We need to be able to stay in touch for this sewing project. Oh my gosh, you don’t even want me to have a friend?! I can’t believe you! Yes, I promise I’ll stop visiting her so much when the project is done.”

      “So, anyway… another sewing project came up. I’m the only one that can help with it. She needs me for this and if you tell me that I shouldn’t go out and help a friend in need then you are a bad person who thinks I should be chained to you and have no life of my own. Just putting that out there. No, we won’t talk about my past… mistakes. That’s the past; people who live in the past are horrible people. Yes, thank you, of course I’m right about this. I’ll be back home after midnight; say goodnight to the kids for me.”

      “So, anyway. Turns out we’ve fallen in love. Most of my stuff is at her house anyway. I SWEAR that neither of us planned this; it just happened. You take care. I’ll be back for the rest of my stuff in a few days. Why aren’t you talking…? Never mind. You need to see your doctor again and refill those antidepressants, Fourleaf, because you need help.”

      Quick summation and paraphrasing of actual “I’m just helping a friend” conversations. I’m so glad he left. Reconciliation was Hell.

      • Fourleaf, OMG, the friendship thing sounds so familiar from my few weeks in the RIC. I got to hear classics like “everyone sends pictures of their genital to their friends. You are so un-cool about this” and “friends buy each other underwear”. I was just a jealous and controlling bitch, I mean this stuff is what friendships are built on.
        Sorry, I do have friends and it never occurred to me to send the pictures of my private part, not ever. This is not normal. The stupid shit cheaters say to justify what they did is unbelievable. Looking back at it now, I can see how ridiculous this is. I am sure all of the chumps here have heard similar crazy crap. I think CL needs a list of these classic stupid cheating justifications. How can they possibly think we would buy into this? No contact definitely heals the blender injuries.

        • ““everyone sends pictures of their genital to their friends. You are so un-cool about this” and “friends buy each other underwear”. I was just a jealous and controlling bitch, I mean this stuff is what friendships are built on”

          Yup, happened here too during the RIC days. I couldn’t even tell him that, if he truly loved me and, considering his history, he’d stop sending pictures of himself in his underwear to “just a friend.” I got labeled as an untrusting and paranoid wet blanket for my efforts because “oh my god, she’s just a friend.”

          A friend he sends sexy pictures to.

          I can’t believe what I stuck around for and put up with. There is no telling how much worse it could have gotten because, clearly, I wasn’t going to leave him no matter what he did. I feel ashamed even typing that.
          God blessed me by having him leave (again).

          • Fourleaf, these two cheaters must be related or on a cheating site because they are much alike! Or maybe there are only a few types of cheaters and they all have a set MO.
            Yes, I am glad I got him served and am on the way to being free of a FW.

      • Similar. He was ‘visiting’ a friend whose husband died, to help ‘support her and her children,’ and I was the miserable cow that didn’t want him to help this poor woman.

  • This post brings up for me an incident which turned out to be a paradigm shift in how I felt about the Lying Cheating Loser. It was somewhere in the middle of our 4-year relationship. I’d already had a D-Day, a failed open relationship phase, and multiple breakups that didn’t stick.
    This particular summer day, we were hanging out by the lake with some of his coworkers – a rarity, since he went to great pains to exclude me from his social life. Nearby was a couple we didn’t know. The young woman (19 years old, it turned out, and noticeably intoxicated) came over and began flirting with a couple of the guys in our group, though she only paid cursory attention to LCL.
    At one point, I went to the bathroom together with another woman from our group. It was a ways away from our spot on the beach. I can still recall the vague uneasy feeling I had, walking away from the group.
    As we were walking back to the lake, that vague, uneasy feeling turned to ice cold dread. I saw LCL and the drunk woman walking out from the small grove of trees where the men had gone to pee. Him first, her following. As I rejoined the group, all hell broke loose. The young woman, upset, told her male companion that LCL had asked her to suck his dick in the grove. Her male companion confronted LCL who denied it. A drunken fistfight broke out.
    As soon as LCL and I got home, I threw him out, despite his protestations of innocence. Unfortunately, my resolve soonevaporated and I took him back. Again.
    But through the next two years, the lake incident would come to my mind. And what I know now – really, what I knew then but chose to deny – is that he absolutely solicited oral sex from that young, drunk, broken girl. He denied it till the day I left him, two years after that incident.
    There is no smoking gun, no irrefutable evidence, but it doesn’t matter. I know him. I know he did it.
    Today, if ever fond thoughts of LCL pop into my brain, I use the lake incident to remind me of what vile scum he is.
    To Adrienne I would say, whatever you were questioning your cheater about, odds are he did it.
    We will never know the full scope of a cheaters betrayal. But one day, we will know enough to tip the scales, and we will leave. Chances are, it’s on a Tuesday.

    • WW,

      Last night I was listening to a podcast wherein the woman was talking about how our brains cover up negative things that happens to us in order to actually protect us from incidents that are traumatizing. AKA spackling..

      Which means that our own brains work against us when it comes to breaking free from the stuff cheaters do to us. Its like our own brains are gaslighting us in order to protect us.

      How weird is that!?

      Well, your lake story brought to mind two incidents that I now know my brain shoved into the recesses of my memory because they were too ‘messy/confusing for me to handle…

      In fact, when recalling one of the incidents, I feel like crying because I did not stand up for myself and, in recalling the other incident, it makes me feel like I want to throw up.

      Both responses I see now are good things for me to remember whenever I have those fantasy, ‘if only’, thoughts.

      Both incidents I now see in a totally new light too. HIM not ME and another piece my innocence is restored.

      Thanks for sharing!

      • EC, thank you! I’m grateful my story helped you process a piece of your trauma.
        I too felt nauseated after I wrote my comment. It dredged up all the old icky feelings.
        Our brains are indeed mysterious organs. I’m currently reading “The Body Keeps The Score” by Bessel Van Der Kolk, which describes the effects of emotional trauma on the brain.
        I will never be who I was before I met LCL. It’s like I’ve had to learn to live with an invisible disability. But I’m alive, happy, at peace and in balance.
        I like that you use the word “restored.” If we do the work, I believe that a lot of what the cheaters damaged in us can be restored.

        • WW

          It is all tied in.

          I too have ‘TBKTScore’ and I have been doing mind/body stuff for years.

          Someone sent me this link which is a podcast about healing trauma and in it she gives mention to “TBKTScore’ too.

          https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/facing-fear-in-a-traumatized-world/id265264862?i=1000537162216

          It is the same message that keeps coming around for me.

          We can change our minds, and hence our lives, in the process or dealing with our trauma.

          I might add that CL and CN are a big part of that because I see now see how much my thinking has changed in regards to Mr. X simply due to reading here almost daily.

      • Yes, I was really good at gaslighting myself. There were so many things that happened that I realize now that should have set me off and didn’t. There were so many times I should have drawn a line that I refused to cross.

        Well, at least now I know on the other side. Thankfully both of our adult offspring are far better at seeing that sort of thing and backing off than I ever was. The youngest recently broke up with her long-term, college boyfriend. I didn’t pry, but from what she told me some of the cracks in their relationship became game-changers as marriage became a consideration. Good for her!

  • “he said his counsellor advised him not to falsely confess to having sex with someone to make me “feel better.” He said he would not let me pressure him into a false confession.”

    word salad. (definition) a confused or unintelligible mixture of seemingly random words and phrases, specifically (in psychiatry) as a form of speech indicative of advanced schizophrenia.

    having once worked psychiatry i can tell you that word salad is RARE among schizophrenics. but narcissists enjoy stringing terms together for the purpose of confusion, particularly if there’s a hint of authority to the terms/conditions. e.g. “my psychologist said…” “it’s a part of attachment disorder (DSM V)”.

    • Exactly. Calling on an “invisible army” or “invisible expert” is a key part of how so many narcissists operate. Once they bring in that invisible party you have no defense, because how can you refute someone not even in the room?

  • Adrienne:

    It sounds like you discovered something on D-day and are attempting to obtain further, more specific details. I implore you to stop this. Why? No good will come of it. You know what you know — spouse cheated. Is it texting? Is it online only? Is it everything-but-intercourse? Is it an emotional affair? These answers are not relevant. You had a D-day. In ANY form or fashion, he is a cheater, and you need to leave him to gain a life. That is why you are here. Details will only set you back, and any details he provides are lies or shaded to hurt you in order to devalue you (because the lower your value is, the easier it is to torture you).

    After my D-day, I never asked one question because I knew all would be lies, and I was afraid for my health that more trauma could kill me. In hindsight I am glad (though for years I struggled with trying to piece together imaginary timelines).

    Don’t ask him questions. Thankfully, his response tells you all you need to know. If your threshold is ‘did he actually have sex with such-and-such, because if so, I will leave, or at least I will feel closure if I have the TRUTH..’ then you are in the bargaining stage. You won’t get truth. You’ll get shit. Get away from him and protect yourself immediately.

    Hugs to you in this horrendous time.

  • I wonder if this is a big game of semantics. Did Adrienne’s husband just pay for specific forms of prostitution but not “sex”? Did he get caught sending flowers, jewelry, and propositions to a younger woman who had not yet agreed to have sex with him? Was he posting his profile on 3 dating sites?

    To me, this sounds like a guy who cheated, but is insisting that his cheating only be referred to in specific ways that minimize his choices.

    None of this bodes well for any future other than one where he is no longer part of the LW’s life.

  • Adrienne, my fuckwit was fond of saying he wouldn’t tell me my suspicions were true just to satisfy me. To me that means ; “Your suspicions are true, but to frustrate you, I refuse to admit to it.”

    He’s not going to admit it. So if you must know, you’ll need to find out another way. I found out a lot by snooping and may have found out more if I’d hired somebody, but it wasn’t worth it. I knew enough. It killed me not knowing all of what went on in my own life, but at some point you have to let it go.

    Maybe his therapist said that and maybe not. The point is, you know he’s lying. What more do you need to know to realize there’s nothing to work with?

    • 6 months after DDay, my FW said, Oh I did have an affair with that coworker”
      No Shit Sherlock, I know that.
      We were in the midst of a divorce at that time. He somehow thought that it would change the tide for me to know that!
      What I did find out 2 months before is that his first marriage ended the same.
      He did the same to TWO marriages!!!
      Ugh, you just hav nothing to work with there!
      Now I hear he’s getting married again!
      Circle of crazy… I am out! Freedom feels so good ❤️

  • I believed my ex back when we were still married (after D-Day #1) and he told me his therapist did not agree with my insistence on transparency: I had insisted the ex give me passwords to all his financial accounts but I got angry when I briefly checked each account (without time to do a deep dive into less recent months) and THEN he changed his passwords without giving me the new ones.

    Due to confidentiality requirements, I couldn’t ask the therapist if this supposed lack of agreement with my requiring transparency was true. But after I got him to agree to stop seeing this counselor (because I thought the rather young therapist probably didn’t know anything about infidelity and the related trust issues), it later occurred to me that my ex had probably lied to me so that I would ask him to quit individual counseling. In all likelihood, he MANIPULATED me by lying about what the therapist said. And it worked! He got out of the annoyance of individual therapy because he got ME to ask him to quit!

    Would a counselor advise against false confession? I suppose it’s possible – but highly unlikely! It sounds like subject a cheater would bring up, not a therapist.

    Why would a therapist broach this subject?? “By the way, remember not to confess to an affair you didn’t have.” It sounds like it was brought up by a cheater who was continuing to deny a physical affair and trying to convince everyone it was “only” an emotional affair.

    Bottom line: I call bullshit. Your husband is most likely lying with intent to manipulate.

    • Mine told me his therapist said all kinds of stupid shit. Two of them were that the therapist had advised him to start dating immediately and that the therapist believed I was still in love with him.

      Later, since liars tend to forget what lies they told, he told me that the therapist had actually warned him that he needed to get his act together, that if he had to start dating he’d likely meet with no success in meeting anyone as worthwhile as me, and that fuckwit himself had told the therapist he believed I was still in love with him. Whether either version was remotely true, who knows. I might just as well have tried to herd cats as to untangle all of the lies.

      I have concluded that “My therapist said…” precedes a lie almost all of the time with fuckwits. They lie to manipulate and to push for their agenda, they lie to hurt you, and they lie just because it’s as automatic to them as breathing. They think nothing of it and feel absolutely no guilt.

      • I heard that too…
        My therapist said that we would get divorced and then start dating 3 years later.
        Ahhhhhh, NOPE!
        Perhaps when you thought you were not good enough,
        Well you were overqualified!!!
        ❤️

        • He said his therapist predicted that? 😄
          That’s absolutely a lie. One thing even the dumbest therapists don’t do is make predictions. They aren’t supposed to be psychics, FFS.

          We sure were overqualified LetItSnow. They wanted us to believe the opposite was true so we would take endless amounts of shit from them. It’s delightful just knowing that they failed at that and lost the best thing that ever happened to them. Losers!

  • Yes to the priviledged conversations. After it dawned on me that ex was obsessed with Ponygirl, he told me that a few weeks ago he and she had had a conversation about their deep, spiritual friendship. He said that they had decided not to ‘do anything’ about it so as not to risk our marriage. I was supposed to be impressed by their heroic restraint I suppose, instead I was floored and horrified that he could have a conversation like that without telling me, without realising the danger of it and that it was a glaring warning that our marriage was already doomed. This is when cheaters confuse privacy with secrecy. A few months later I told him it was her or me, and he was gone.

  • I remember sitting in the counselor’s office with my ex when he was bullshitting her and changing his story based on what I revealed I knew.

    He’d started with how he didn’t know when he last spoke to her, then ok maybe he did talk to her, oh maybe they did have lunch…oh wait maybe it was dinner. Oh wait maybe I did pick her up at the airport but took her to her parents house, oh wait maybe I did take her to a friend’s house and hung out there. Oh wait maybe she did invite him to lunch but he refused because it would have been inappropriate. Get tge fuck out of here….like “inappropriate” was an issue for him.

    You all know how the bullshit carousel goes.

    At one point after all of the bullshit he had the nerve to look me in the face in front of the counselor and said “well it’s not like we went to a hotel”.

    I looked at him and pointed out that he had no incentive whatsoever to admit it at that point. He had everything to lose and nothing to gain.

    He was silent.

    Good riddance to trash.

  • About the therapist–sadly, if your husband is a cheater, he is likely lying to the therapist too–impression managment is usually more important to them than emotional growth. A therapist who is being snowed and gaslighted by a cheater isn’t going to be able to give any advice that applies to your actual marriage anyway. My ex-cheater used what he learned in therapy before I met him–deeper self acceptance, cognitive self control, regular meditation–to increase his ability to compartmentalize, so that he could cheat on me without letting his occasional feelings of guilt get in the way. After he left me, he took up some kind of intense daily yoga practice to deal with his feelings of cognitive dissonance because life with schmoopie turned out to not be the bed of roses he had expected. I wonder what his yoga swami would have thought of that if he’d known! Basically, a bad person can turn any good thing or good skill to bad ends–and that includes psychotherapy. It sounds like your gut is screaming at you that this man is not what he seemed to be when you married him. He’s not a reliable source of information about himself.
    His phone records might tell you who he calls the most and when; his credit card records could tell you where he goes and when and often whether he is alone or not; and you can hide a GPS tracker on his car or a dashboard cam or voice recorder somewhere. His social media and search history might reveal something too. A private investigator can find out and tell you what he does and who he sees when he is not with you. But a cheater will never himself tell you the whole truth unless and until it suits his purposes.

    I am so sorry you are going through this horrifying time. It must feel like walking through an earthquake, with the ground shifting under you unpredictably. Remember that his behavior is no reflection on you; he is what he is, and your need for integrity in those around you is not something you ever have to apologize for.

  • I have learned my lesson. I’ve learned from liar, cheater, ex, my FOO who question my honesty, my supposed to be friends who doubt my story. I’ve learned to stay away, hold my opinions to myself, trust absolutely no one on earth ever again. Lead a basically solitary, peaceful life. When I have no choice but to be around people and I hear someone say ” you can’t blame a man for cheating if his wife’s a bitch ” that I will not let go by, I will state my opinion loud and clear. NO HUMAN HAS THE RIGHT TO CHEAT EVER. There are many solutions if you are dissatisfied in your marriage starting with telling your spouse about your feelings so both of you are on equal ground with deciding how to remedy this problem. I have no desire for any man and guarantee that will never change. Protect yourself better from here on in.

  • Adrienne, another issue is whether you want to be the marriage police. Do you want to spend your precious life questioning a man who lies, cheats and manipulates you? Do you want to be married to a guy who likes an uneven playing field where he knows what’s going on and you do not?

    And how much remorse does he have if he “feels pressured” because you want to know what he did and with whom (that’s not asking for a false confession; that’s asking to know the reality in your marriage).

    Here’s my solution to this problem. File for divorce. File for custody if you have kids. Get your ducks lined up financially and get a good settlement. I get the shock and the pain of betrayal and wanting to take a time machine to a time when you didn’t know he was a cheater. But the faster you understand the need to protect yourself financially, emotionally, psychologically and medically, the better off you would be. If he is playing games around the therapist’s advice, he’s also playing games with you.

    • And let me say one more thing: Perhaps the most important lesson of all is that we can love someone but love ourselves enough to leave if that person shows no respect for us, let alone love or affection.

      • LovedAJackass,

        Like what you said but I feel compelled to add my 2 cents worth.

        I loved Mr.X and fully intended to stay married until ‘death do us part’.

        Sadly, back then I loved him more than I loved myself and it was my cohort of relentless friends who constantly advised me to protect myself in all ways possible which resulted in a divorce in less than a year after dday. I did it all the while loving him and hoping he would wake up and we could re-marry after he saw what a huge mistake he had made.

        I was the one to wake up.

        Hallelujah.

        I am 4 years out and 2 years NC (I am a RIC drop-out one reason being that I didn’t know about LACGAL when all hell broke loose. Took me 2 years to find it for some reason.).

        I am only now beginning to find things within myself to genuinely love. 30 years with a covert, passive aggressive narcissist taught me to de-value myself and not even realize that that is what I was doing. I thought I was humble….

        Just thought I should add that self-love can come later.

        • I was the same, am the same, EC and I am also an ec! I was dumped, affair denied, I found the emails 2 years ago this week. I wasn’t looking for the emails because I completely trusted him and believed him when he vehemently denied an affair (although deep down I now think that I knew). I saw a solicitor the next day and went no contact without knowing that no contact was a thing. It just felt right. I divorced him while still loving him. Part of me loves him still and I am accepting, slowly, that part of me always will. We had so many experiences together and I was happy during those experiences. However, during the 26 years together, with my covert passive aggressive narcissist, I lost what little self-love I had left. Getting it back is a painstaking, painful, challenging experience. Currently, as my ways of thinking are changing, I feel destabilised and quite lost. I don’t trust myself or my feelings. My therapist smiled when I told her this. She said that this is normal. Letting go of all the protective shields I have put in place over 61 years, including with an extremely difficult FOO, feels frightening. I know that I have to keep going. It is still very hard to identify what I love about myself. Some days are much easier than others. But it is becoming less about him and more about me.

          • MW,

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positive_disintegration

            Someone posted the above info here awhile ago and it helped me trust more in the process I too was/am going through which you mention above as feeling destabilized.

            Just today someone added this link to their reply:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAkkO2ICIQo

            The visual quality of the video is awful but, in my opinion, worth watching anyway because the speaker sums up precisely how we are indeed shaken to the core of ourselves when we are betrayed by someone we have loved so deeply and trusted so completely.

            CL/CN have helped me a lot in terms of educating myself in regards to this messy process of coming to grips with what has happened to us chumps. Interwoven with all the sage advice of protecting ourselves in the early stages after dday are the gems of what self discovery we are in for as we straighten out our thinking.

            My relentless march towards ‘Meh’ and ‘Tuesday’ lead me through my feelings of destabilization which you so aptly described above. Somedays are easier than others. The tough days are when I feel totally confused in the chaos ‘it’ needs to get me from one place in my consciousness to the next place of clarity.

            It is frightening yet rewarding because, I think, we are lucky enough to be alive during a time when trauma etc are being talked about openly and its ramifications are being acknowledged. My mother and her generation had no such luck.

            My mother never got to recover from what my father did to her. I not only have the opportunity to recover myself from what Mr. X did to me and our children but hopefully I get to heal from my FOO issues that I was previously blinded to but which set me up for what transpired in my adult life.

      • Whether or not we are in love with an actual person, or who we think he is, we can still do what is needed to protect ourselves, and our children. If we stop making our needs the last priority, and his needs the first, we are starting to find our way out of the crazy. Eventually, our thinking will clear and we will start to feel better about our own point of view and feel our welfare is important. We can start to love ourselves, and respect ourselves. Leaving is the first step of gaining a new life, because it changes the dynamic. If the house is on fire, you cannot save it by staying inside and inhaling more smoke. You have to get out to see how bad the fire really is.

  • The cheater loved to argue semantics, and would say that there was no way that he could prove to me that he wasn’t doing it, so it was up to me to learn to trust him again and get over it or not. I chose not.

  • Similar. He was ‘visiting’ a friend whose husband died, to help ‘support her and her children,’ and I was the miserable cow that didn’t want him to help this poor woman.

  • Way to stick a stainless steel spoon in the mindfuck blender, CL! Scratched an itch. Oddly satisfying to read you say the things we really, really want to respond to a cheater – but know better than to get suckered into. Also, grateful that you pointed out the whole “authority” scam. That kind of triangulation is such an insidious gaslighting tactic.

    Adrienne, sorry you are going through this. CL once wrote something to the effect of, “If there’s confusion/mixed messages, there’s manipulation/abuse” (or at least that was my takeaway). As you can see, a lot of us remember vividly what it was like to be where you are and are rooting for you.

  • My FW also lamented that he would not be “goaded” into a false confession and insinuated that I was gaslighting him for still not trusting him (he then confessed to a bunch of stuff that he backpedaled on later.) FW also told me his therapist told him I needed to let go of my anger towards him (1 month after a d-day no less…) because my inability to let go was making me emotionally abusive towards FW. He used texts I’d sent him asking variations of “how could you do this to your daughter and I?”/”how could you torpedo our entire life like this?” and he called the cops on me claiming harassment. The cops determined no crime occurred, and apologized to me for the trouble. FW then tried to use the police report from that incident to convince the courts to order me into anger management “for our daughter’s emotional safety.” The family court mediator said “No crime occurred that day, Dad, so I’m not ordering Mom to anger management. She’s mad because you cheated on her and that’s a completely normal reaction to being cheated on.” This website is a constant reminder to me that these cheating scumbags all read from the same script and say the same dumb shit to cover their tracks.

  • Adrienne – cheaters are liars by default. You have to lie a whole lot in order to cheat on your spouse. Most of the time, cheaters lie by omission or suggestion. That behavior doesn’t miraculously stop overnight. So, I would tell you what I used to say about my ex FW: if he’s not talking, he’s lying.

    It’s hard to accept; but when you do, you can finally let go and start living a life in which you actually matter.

    Good luck on this journey.

  • I’m all in favor of hiring a PI or just effectively snooping in order to get more truth. Not to learn everything, which is impossible, but to learn more than they’d ever tell you. In particular if you can read their own honest words, it helps to end whatever love you have for them, and that’s a good thing. Here are some examples, not made up:

    *Reading their messages to their OW, about how they’re trying to get you to have an abortion, and complaining that it isn’t working.

    *Reading their messages to family members you’d always gone out of your way to be kind to, describing how much of a problem you are.

    *Reading their x-rated messages to other women that were sent while they were on a special family vacation with you.

    This kind of discovery ends the love and longing for them. It hurts, but it also helps.

  • It doesn’t matter what he says or what his therapist days, or what he claims his therapist says, RUN AWAY. He’s shit, he’s garbage, he’s a retread liar, RUN AWAY.

    You get sucked in the intricacies of the drama at the cost of your own life. Change the channel. This isn’t a soap opera worth watching, let alone investing in.

  • >he said his counselor advised him not to falsely confess to having sex with someone to make me “feel better.”

    There’s another angle here which is worth mentioning. Something I regret failing to notice. Notice how easy it is to dismiss such an accusation as a stinky pile of nonsense, and fail to see the danger of such deep contempt. It’s actually a good habit in some situations (like working in Customer Service), to not give into an someone’s provocation. But this is a deadly mistake with FWs. Their “facts” are ridiculous but their absolute contempt is real. They’re desire to smack you down verbally or otherwise is real.

    Part of why I missed a bunch of red flags with my abusive Ex was because it became a habit to tune out his nonsense. I was overconfident and just kept dismissing nonsense. It never occured to me that innocence wouldn’t protect me. There were other reasons why I turned off my BS detector. He’d tell “funny” stories which were part true but with a lot of what I thought was comic exaggeration. I just let the ridiculous parts pass unchallenged, since it was a pain challenge. Later I realized that I had been conditioned/groomed into tuning out his untruths. In hindsight, it was chilling to remember the times he threatened me to my face, and I didn’t take it seriously.

    Another thing to notice is how these accusations plant seeds of self-doubt. A chump might wonder if they did something wrong, didn’t get the psych memo, or gave the wrong impression. Or sit stunned, trying to make sense of what happened, which used to happen to me. One time I was excited to go to a party, and asked his opinion on an outfit I put together. Mistake! He told me that it looked clunky, I’d embarrass myself, and men would hit on me because they think I was stupid. He knew my buttons, and said the exact thing which would leave me in stunned, immobile, remembering past shames and forgetting the party. This is why its so dangerous to share confidences with a FW. They build scar tissue sculptures on your childhood wounds, to keep you under control. Of course in hindsight, after much “no contact”, it’s easy to see that “men will hit on you because they think you’re stupid” is a reveal that I probably looked great and he didn’t want competition. But notice how framing it as “because you look stupid” would just poison with self-doubt any positive attention from the party.

  • My XH said something similar to me when I was trying to uncover the truth about his cheating. I asked for a full disclosure after many years of finding messages between him and other women, porn, racy pictures he had taken of other women, missing money, lies, etc., etc. After being told after each discovery that it wasn’t as bad as it looked, I finally started to suspect that it was indeed as bad as it looked. What were the odds that after 17ish years of this behavior that it had NEVER resulted in a physical affair? I asked for a full disclosure with a therapist, and during the first attempt at disclosure, he told me the same stories he had told for years about each discovery. I got really upset, because I *knew* he was lying. I was so sure there was more and I was fucking furious that he wouldn’t tell me the truth. So in the therapist’s office, while I am sitting there crying and saying that I *knew* there was more, he says “What, do you want me to MAKE SOMETHING UP??” What a mind fuck.

    2 years later, he finally did a real full disclosure and admitted to years and years of sexual affairs. I filed for divorce about 6 months later.

    So, either he was making something up when he did the full disclosure, or he was gaslighting me during the first attempt at disclosure. Either way, he is a completely fucked up person and not someone I want to be married to.

    I am 100% sure that he did not make up all the stuff he confessed to.

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